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                JANUARY 2014
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 19 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 6089-6167)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below

1,262  1,263  1,264  1,265  1,266  1,267  1,268  1,269  1,270  1,271  1,272  1,273  1,274  1,275  1,276  1,277  1,278  1,279  1,280

 

1,262 –  1 January [6089-6091]

• Taufel very positive about ORS capabilities  (1262-6089).

• Wrist slaps for T20 slow over rates  (1262-6090).

• Busy first quarter for international match officials   (1262-6091).

1,263 - 2 January [6092-6095]

• No UDRS means clear umpire error stands  (1263-6092).

• England withdrawals tactic to 'unsettle' bowlers, claims Johnson  (1263-6093).

• Former international referee honoured  (1263-6094).

• MCG nets 'stunt' results in broken rib  (1263-6095).

1,264 - 6 January [6097-6100]

• Martinecz continues on track for EUP spot  (1264-6097).

• Referees, umpires named for final World Cup qualifier event  (1264-6098).

• South Africa's Smith for Indian exchange  (1264-6099).

• Botha's action questioned by opposition, but not match officials  (1264-6100).

1,265 - 7 January [6101-6108]

• 'Dukes' again pushes Australian ball-market hopes  (1265-6101).

• Senior ODI, T20I debuts for Aussie umpires   (1265-6102).

• Laboratory examination shows Hong Kong spinner's action 'illegal'   (1265-6103).

• South African umpires named for Australia, New Zealand exchanges   (1265-6104).

• CA emerging umpire appointed to women's Ashes Test   (1265-6105).

• ICC coy about ORS funding details   (1265-6106).

• Bangladesh first class competition postponed by political unrest  (1265-6107).

• Coin toss decides T20 tournament after rain washes out final   (1265-6108).

1,266 - 9 January [6109-6110]

• ODI debut for New Zealand's Walker   (1266-6109).

• One match Indian exchange for Gough  (1266-6110).

1,267 - 10 January [6111-6115]

• Hill departs EUP for NZ Umpire Coach position  (1267-6111). 

• Sri Lankan heads list of potential EUP candidates  (1267-6112). 

• ICC match referee joins Cricket Tasmania Board   (1267-6113). 

• News of Aussie player's union report awaited  (1267-6114).

• Performance of BCCI domestic umpires under scrutiny  (1267-6115).

1,268 - 13 January [6116-6119]

• Captain warned after ball-tampering allegations surface  (1268-6116).

• Shamshuddin wins India's top domestic umpire award   (1268-6117).

• 'Spirit of Cricket' again gets the flick   (1268-6118).

• Bowler reprimanded for language offence   (1268-6119).

1,269 - 15 January [6120-6123]

• CA T20 series attracting huge betting interest   (1269-6120).

• First day of WC Qualifier sees reprimands, suspect action report   (1269-6121).

• Batswomen suspended for 'bringing game into disrepute'   (1269-6122).

• Zim funding crisis, player strike, continues   (1269-6123).

1,270 - 16 January [6124-6129]

• MCC committee lowers sights in attempt to rescue Test Championship   (1270-6124).

• 'Spirit of Cricket' message 'being reviewed'  (1270-6125).

• 'Wearable' bowler's action technology development 'in final stages'  (1270-6126).

• Corruption in domestic T20 events 'threat to game's health', says WCC  (1270-6127).

• MCC to step up China focus  (1270-6128).

• Fines for Bangladesh players after abusive language spat  (1270-6129).

1,271 - 17 January [6130-6131]

• WTC concept dead, two-tier Test structure mooted, says report   (1271-6130).

• UAE skipper fined for 'agressive appealing'   (1271-6131).

1,272 - 19 January [6132-6135]

• BPL match-fixing trial to resume today   (1272-6132).

• ECB establishing new third-tier 'emerging' umpires list   (1272-6133).

• Under-17 player reprimanded for use of obscene language   (1272-6134).

• Player strike continues to stop play    (1272-6135).

 
1,273 - 20 January [6136]

• Three nations pushing for control of international game   (1273-6136).

1,274 - 21 January [6137-6140]

• Pakistan to oppose proposed ICC changes   (1274-6137).

• Troi's move 'unconstitutional', says Cricket South Africa   (1274-6138).

• Reprimand for dissent, fines for slow over-rate, in WC Qualifier   (1274-6139).

• Player absences mean team forfeits match   (1274-6140).

1,275 - 22 January [6141-6145]

• CA, ECB 'feared' Indian break-away from ICC, claims report   (1275-6141).

• 'Don't jump to conclusions' on ICC management push, says NZC Director   (1275-6142).

• Suggested changes 'a serious challenge' for Sri Lanka: Sports Minister   (1275-6143).

• Female umpires feature in three CA tournaments   (1275-6144).

• Bush fires stop all play in the Grampians   (1275-6145).

1,276 - 23 January [6146-6151]

• Player's union chief calls for rejection of tri-nation push   (1276-6146).

• NZ urges calm but looks for answers to 'key concerns'   (1276-6147).

• Windies Board in 'hasty' meeting to consider suggested ICC changes   (1276-6148).

• Working paper content 'not entirely unexpected', says BCB chief   (1276-6149).

• Man 'investigated for illegal betting' in Australia   (1276-6150).

• Professional's suspension replaced with a fine   (1276-6151).

1,277 - 24 January [6152-6154]

• Indian board endorses ICC 'revamp' position paper     (1277-6152).

• Sri Lanka seeks deferral of discussions on tri-nation push  (1277-6153).

• Ugandan tests find bowler's action 'legal'     (1277-6154).

1,278 - 28 January [6155-6159]

 • Gunman reported to have killed five during match in Afghanistan     (1278-6155).

• Former ICC heavyweights call for return to Woolf report     (1278-6156).

• Bangladesh board endorses tri-nation proposals     (1278-6157).

• ODI 'send off' results in fine     (1278-6158).

• Zimbabwe strike continues as sponsorship talks continue     (1278-6159).

1,279 - 30 January [6160-6163]

• ICC revamp proposals 'softened' but 'money' confirmed in charge   (1279-6160).

• For 'absent hurt' read 'absent withdrawn'    (1279-6161).

• Coach implicated as BPL corruption enquiry continues    (1279-6162).

• Fines handed out for on-field, 'Twitter', comments   (1279-6163).

1,280 - 31 January [6164-6167]

• First female umpire appointed to an international panel   (1280-6164).

• Second international final for English umpire   (1280-6165).

• Assault with bat leaves player with 'serious head injuries'   (1280-6166).

• One match suspension handed out for second 'dissent' of the season   (1280-6167).

 

 
PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,262
Wednesday, 1 January 2014
 

TAUFEL VERY POSITIVE ABOUT 

ORS CAPABILITIES 

[PTG 1262-6089]

 

The Officiating Replay System (ORS) will help save a lot of time while reviewing umpiring decisions, according to Simon Taufel the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpire Training and Performance Training Manager.  Taufel gave his assessment of the new system, which is in its second trial, whilst conducting a live demonstration of it for the media during the first Test of the Sri Lanka-Pakistan series in Abu Dhabi yesterday (PTG 1260-6083, 27 December 2013). 

 

The ORS is an important experiment in the ICC’s continuing bid to improve the operation of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS). It aims to minimise the flaws in the current system by allowing television umpires to have control of the replays they can see, an improvement over current arrangements whereby they depend on replays provided by the broadcasters.

 

Taufel, who was monitoring the system yesterday with Geoff Allardice the ICC's General Manager Cricket, told journalists that around sixteen camera angles of proceedings on the ground are available to the third umpire in high definition via the ORS.  "For this match, for example, I have a 'Hawk Eye' technician operating next to me, I just have to direct him and say I want this angle and these two images together [and] he can quickly construct it for me".

 

"With sixteen camera angles I [can watch play] in a very much real time format so there is very little chance of communication error because I’m seeing it right in front of me", therefore "I feel it is a very efficient way of looking at replays", continued Taufel.  “We can look at a front foot no-ball check in two seconds, [and make a UDRS assessment] going through the 'Hawk Eye' in fifteen to twenty seconds". 

 

The system was first trialled during the Ashes series in England earlier this year when English international umpire Nigel Llong sat in a separate broadcast truck and effectively mirrored the role of the then third umpire Kumar Dharmasena during the third Test at Old Trafford (PTG 1160-5614, 2 August 2013).  Like Taufel, Llong was reported to have been positive about that first trial (PTG 1162-5625, 5 August 2013).

 

WRIST SLAPS FOR T20 

SLOW OVER RATES

[PTG 1262-6090]

 

Cricket Australia's (CA) Brisbane Twenty20 franchise side and its Sydney Sixers counterpart were both penalised for maintaining a slow over rate in their matches last weekend.  After time allowances were taken into consideration, Brisbane were assessed to be one over behind the required rate at the end of their home match against Hobart on Saturday, while the Sydney side were two overs shy at the end of their match against one of the Melbourne franchises at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday. 

 

Under the CA T20 Playing Conditions each member of the Brisbane playing XI was fined $A500, but if the side accepts the penalty without appeal the fine will be reduced to $A250.  The Sydney playing XI were fined $A1,000 each, but with no appeal they will each loose a total of $A500.  In addition Brisbane captain James Hopes and the Sydney side's skipper Moises Henriques will also receive "one strike each", which means that if either side is given another slow-over rate penalty this season while Hopes and Henriques are playing they will be automatically suspended for one match.

 

BUSY FIRST QUARTER FOR SECOND, 

THIRD -TIER MATCH OFFICIALS

[PTG 1262-6091]

 

Match officials on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier referee, and second and third-tier umpire panels, appear to be in for a busy six weeks from mid-January with some 108 matches scheduled across the final qualifier series in New Zealand for the 2015 World Cup (WCQ), then the Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  The two week long WCQ series begins with warm up games that start on Friday week, then there is a gap of nine days before the U19 event, that runs for three weeks, starts.

 

The WCQ tournament involves sixteen warm up and then forty-eight tournament-deciding fixtures, and the U-19 World Cup tournament ten warm up games before the thirty-four match series gets underway.  Past ICC practice suggests that three referees will be needed for each of the events, and ten to twelve umpires for the WCQ series, and sixteen for the U-19 World Cup.  

 

The referees are expected to come from the ICC's second-tier, four-person, Regional Referees Pane (RRP), and the umpires from its second-tier, thirty-four strong International Umpires Panel (IUP), and third-tier, nine-man, Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel (AAIUP) . The number of officials needed, and the fact that top-tier internationals are to be played in Australa, New Zealand and South Africa during the period in question, suggests that some of the RRP, IUP and AAIUP members will be present at both events. 

 

The WCQ series will see a total of ten teams involved, they being from Canada, Hong Kong, Kenya, Namibia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, the UAE and Uganda, all of whom will be competing for the remaining two 2015 World Cup spots that are still open.  Sixteen teams will take part in the U-19 World Cup, they being from each of the ten Test playing nations plus Afghanistan, Canada, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Scotland and the UAE.

 
PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,263
Thursday, 2 January 2014

NO UDRS MEANS CLEAR 

UMPIRE ERROR STANDS

[PTG 1263-6092]

 

Despite a clear umpire error that saw Indian batsman Virat Kohli given out caught behind to the first ball of the final day of the second and last Test at Kingsmead on Monday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are unlikely to change their view of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS).  Kohli was expected to lead India’s attempt to save the Test but a bouncer from Dale Steyn brushed his shoulder, having missed both bat and gloves, on its way through to ‘keeper AB de Villiers. 

 

The appeal for a catch was upheld by Australian umpire Rod Tucker and there was nothing to save a clearly surprised Kohli, despite replays clearly and instantly showing that he had not touched the ball.  The UDRS system is approved and used by all nine other Test playing nations but the BCCU has refused to endorse its use in either home matches or tours in other countries. International Cricket Council (ICC) playing conditions stipulate that both teams need to approve the system's use before a series begins.

 

Former opening batsman, ICC cricket committee chairman, and now commentator Sunil Gavaskar said on Monday that "The BCCI have been quite open about their objections to UDRS" as they believe "it is not one hundred per cent accurate and they will not accept it until it is".

 

He said that no amount of technology will ever be that accurate "while it was operated by human beings", and that "the solution for India, perhaps, is to simplify it and then give control to the third umpire or match referee to call for a review".  "The Indians are sceptical about technology such as ‘Hot Spot’, ‘Snicko’ and the predictive element of ‘Hawkeye’, but in the case when straightforward television replays clearly indicate an error, then they should be used", said Gavaskar.

 

Wisden India managing editor Anand Vasu said he was sceptical about whether the Indian team would change its UDRS stance, despite potentially series-changing mistakes like Kohli’s decision: “Attitudes are currently too entrenched. The players are convinced that technology produces just as many mistakes as human error, and they are a long way from changing their view".

 

ENGLAND WITHDRAWALS TACTIC TO

'UNSETTLE' BOWLERS, CLAIMS JOHNSON

[PTG 1263-6093]

 

Australian bowler Mitchell Johnson has publicly accused England of trying to unsettle he and his fast bowling colleagues by deliberately backing away from the stumps as they are preparing to deliver the ball.  Johnson said yesterday that while It is not uncommon for batsmen to walk away from a delivery if members of the crowd appear in their line of vision, the regularity with which it has happened during the Ashes series suggests England is doing it to gain an unfair advantage.

 

Johnson, who together with some English players has exhibited on-field behaviour during the Ashes series has often failed to meet the requirements of the 'Spirit of Cricket', said that he expects England to continue to employ the "back away" approach in the fifth and final Test which starts at the Sydney Cricket Ground tomorrow.  According to him "That's how they play the game and have always played the game since I've been playing so I don't think they'll change".  He called it "definitely frustrating when it happens all the time but that's part of the game, it's part of their tactics".

 

The issue came to a head during the Boxing Day Test when English batsman Kevin Pietersen walked away during Johnson's run-up.  That caused Johnston to react angrily and saw him throw the ball in Pietersen's direction, an action he says he regrets, and led to the two players sharing their opinions of each other.

 

Johnson says he "won't be playing nice" if England tries it again in Sydney.  "The only thing I regret is throwing the ball" as "I think that was probably a little bit inappropriate but the rest of it was fine" for "I just let [Pietersen] know that he needed to stop doing it".  "The sight screens are big enough, he should be watching the game [and] I won't back down if it happens again".

 

FORMER INTERNATIONAL 

REFEREE HONOURED

[PTG 1263-6094]

 

Former New Zealand international match referee John Reid was awarded his country’s second highest honour in the New Year’s honours list  for services to cricket.  Reid, now 85, who captained New Zealand to its first ever Test win against the West Indies in 1956 and went on to become an International Cricket Council (ICC) referee from 1993-2002, has been made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (OM).

 

During his career as an all-rounder from 1949-65, Reid played 58 Tests for his country, 34 as captain, and 246 first class games overall.  He took up referee duties with the ICC in 1993 and from then until retiring from that role in 2002 he oversaw 50 Tests and 98 One Day Internationals, the latter including the World Cups of 1993 and 1996, the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia in 1998, and numerous other series around the world.  

 

Reid, who still lives in his birth city of Auckland, has been flighting bowel cancer and received the news of his award in November just as he was about to spend six weeks in hospital.  He told a journalist that the OM makes up "for one thing I never ticked off his bucket list" in that "I didn't make a hundred at Lord's".

 

MCG NET 'STUNT' RESULTS 

IN BROKEN RIB 

[PTG 1263-6095]

 

Outspoken international television host Piers Morgan has confirmed he suffered a fractured rib when he was hit whilst facing former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee during a media stunt in the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) nets last Friday.  Many had expected Lee to go easy on the 48 year-old, however he hurled down six very fast deliveries that struck, bowled and toppled the Englishman, and had 2,000 watching spectators crowing with delight in a spectacle reminiscent of Rome's ancient coliseum.

 

Despite his wounds, Morgan insists he had no regrets and both he and Lee were spotted dining together in Sydney on Monday night.  Former New Zealand fast bowler Richard Hadlee criticised Lee for his "bodyline-style bowling" at Morgan soon after it took place.  Hadlee called it "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".  Lee's move was "a brain explosion of the highest order" that has "damaged cricket", said Hadlee (PTG 1261-6087, 30 December 2013). 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,264
Monday, 6 January 2014

MARTINESZ CONTINUES ON 

TRACK FOR EUP SPOT

[PTG 1264-6097]

 

Sri Lankan umpire Ranmore Martinesz's appointment as one of the three neutral match officials for the five-match Australia-England One Day International (ODI) series later this month suggests that he remains on track to a spot on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) later this year.  Martinecz, 46, who is currently standing in the New Zealand-West Indies ODI series (PTG 1246-6016, 3 December 2013), stood in four Tests in 2013, a sign the ICC regards him as a candidate for the EUP (PTG 1201-5781, 3 October 2013). 

 

Martinecz's neutral colleagues for the forthcoming 'Ashes' ODIs are his countrymen, EUP member Kumar Dharmasena and match referee Ranjan Madugalle, the latter looking after the first three games before Zimbabwean Andy Pycroft comes in to oversee the last two.  Martinesz will be on-field for matches one three and five in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, and Dharmasena for the games in Brisbane and Perth, each working as the television umpire when not on the field.  

 

Dharmasena's first match on-field in the series in Brisbane will be his 50th ODI, a tally he has accumulated in just four years, his record by the end of the five games being 51 on-field and 28 as the television umpire (51/28); while Martinesz's record will move on to 21/17, and  Madugalle as an ODI match referee to 279 games.

 

Cricket Australia is yet to name its on-field umpires or scorers for either the ODIs or three Twenty20 Internationals that following it, the games in the latter format in Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney being overseen by Pycroft.  It seems probable though that John Ward, who formally became an on-field member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) six weeks ago (PTG 1245-6013, 1 December 2013), will make his ODI debut, he and fellow IUP member Simon Fry sharing on-field duties.

 

REFEREES, UMPIRES NAMED FOR FINAL

 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER EVENT

[PTG 1264-6098]

 

International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel member Marais Erasmus, and senior referees Jeff Crowe and Roshan Mahanama, are amongst the seventeen match officials named to look after the final Qualifier series for next year's World Cup which is to be played in New Zealand over the last half of this month.  Officials chosen come from nine of the ten Test-playing nations, the exception being Zimbabwe which misses out on having a umpire in a high-profile ICC tournament for the second time in two months (PTG 1227-5911, 7 November 2013).  

 

The Qualifing tournament involves ten teams playing sixteen warm up and then forty-eight tournament-deciding fixtures to decided which of Canada, Hong Kong, Kenya, Namibia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Uganda, will become the last two sides to qualify for next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

 

Apart from Erasmus the umpires named, all of whom are members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, are: Ahsan Raza (Pakistan), 'Billy' Bowden and Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand), Johan Cloete and Shaun George (South Africa), Michael Gough and Tim Robinson (England), Vineet Kulkarni (India), Mick Martell (Australia), Enamul Hoque-Moni (Bangladesh), Ruchira Palliyaguru (Sri Lanka), and West Indians Peter Nero and Joel Wilson.  Devdas Govindjee of South Africa, a member of the ICC's second-tier Regional Referees Panel, is the third match referee alongside New Zealander Crowe and Sri Lankan Mahanama.

 

Of the seventeen, eleven played first class cricket before taking up match official roles (Crowe, Erasmus, Gaffaney, George, Gough, Govindjee, Hoque-Moni, Mahanama, Palliyaguru, Raza, and Robinson), four of those also playing in Tests (Crowe, Hoque-Moni, Mahanama and Robinson).

 

Erasmus, Bowden and Moni have all stood in Tests while Crowe and Mahanama have served as referees at that level, while everyone else except Martell, for whom its his first overseas appointment from the ICC, have been on-field in senior ODIs.  Eight weeks ago Gaffaney, Gough, Govindjee, Raza and Wilson were amongst the 19 match officials from 16 countries who stood in the 16-team, 71-match World Twenty20 Qualifier series in the UAE (PTG 1227-5911, 7 November 2013), Gough standing in the final with Govindjee the match referee.  

 

SOUTH AFRICA'S SMITH 

FOR INDIAN EXCHANGE

[PTG 1264-6099]

 

Former Northern Transvaal batsman Dennis Smith, who made his first class debut as an umpire eight years ago, is to stand in a quarter and semi-final of India's Ranji Trophy competition as part of the on-going Umpire Exchange Program between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket South Africa (CSA).  Smith, 42, will be on-field for the quarter final between Mumbai and Maharashtra which gets underway in two days time, as well as one of the semi finals in Indore starting on Saturday week.

 

Smith, whose first international exchange was to Australia last March where he stood in domestic first class matches in Adelaide and Hobart (PTG 1069-5200, 1 March 2013), will be standing in his 83rd and 84th games whilst in India.  He played 28 first class and 36 List A games for Northern Transvaal in the period from 1993-2000.  Which Indian umpire will travel to South Africa in March as part of the latest CSA-BCCI exchange has not yet been made public. 

 

A similar exchange agreement between the BCCI and Cricket Australia saw the former's Vineet Kulkarni and the latter's Simon Fry travel to each other's country for games twelve months ago (PTG 1005-4882, 3 November 2012 and 1023-4971, 28 November 2012).  To date there has been no announcement as to whether a similar swap will occur in 2013-14, however, authorities in both countries regularly overlook publicising such activities.

 

BOTHA'S ACTION QUESTIONED BY 

OPPOSITION, BUT NOT MATCH OFFICIALS

[PTG 1264-6100]

 

The bowling action of Johan Botha, the captain of the Adelaide franchise side in Cricket Australia's (CA) Twenty competition, is reported to have caused concern for members of the Perth's franchise team, according to a report in the 'West Australian' newspaper.  Perth's reported complaints are said to have centred on two 'doosras' Botha bowled during their innings at Adelaide Oval on New Year's Eve, however, match officials had a different perspective for it appears that no  'Doubtful Bowling Action' (DBA)  report was made.

 

The former South African spinner's action was cleared as recently as last October after he was cited for a DBA in South Australia's opening fifty-over one-day domestic match against Victoria and underwent biomechanical testing at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra as a result (PTG 1217-5855, 25 October 2013).   During that testing, in front of a twenty camera system that records at 250 frames a second, Botha reportedly bowled his off-break, quicker and 'flicker' balls six times each.     

 

That was the third time he has been reported and tested in the last five years, but he has been eventualy allowed to return to bowling on each occasion.  In 2009, independent testing carried out for the International Cricket Council cleared his off-break and arm-ball deliveries in international cricket, but he was banned from bowling his 'doosra' as detailed scrutiny showed his average elbow extention for that ball then was a massive 27.7 degrees (PTG 422-2228, 13 May 2009).  In contrast,  last October's AIS report found Botha's "action for all deliveries is under, or equal to, the allowable elbow extension of fifteen degrees, with an average of nine degrees".  

 

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

 

Television commentators Adam Gilchrist and Tom Moody referred to Botha using the 'doosra' while bowling to Perth player Nathan Coulter-Nile in the New Year's Eve Twenty20.  Match referee Daryl Harper is said to have been "alerted" to the deliveries, although by whom is not clear, but CA has apparently indicated that the bowler was not been the subject of an official report after the game.

 

Western Australian players and officials are said to have been "furious" when umpires Ian Lock and Ashley Barrow did not report Botha after a Sheffield Shield match played in Perth in November "when he made changes to his action to deliver his faster ball".  According to the newspaper an unnamed "interstate coach told cricket officials recently that bowlers with suspicious actions were being coached to pass the testing protocol".

 

Now Australian coach Darren Lehmann was reprimanded twelve months ago, when he was the coach of CA's Brisbane Twenty20 franchise side, for questioning the action of West Indies import Marlon Samuels (PTG 1034-5024, 1 January 2013).  Adelaide franchise coach Darren Berry, a staunch defender of Botha, was also charged but cleared after an argument with Samuels that was sparked by the bowler's action (PTG 1044-5073, 22 January 2013).  

 

Samuels' action was tested at the University of Western Australia last month after he was reported in India and he was subsequently banned from bowling his quicker deliveries, however, his colleague Shane Shillingford was suspended for an illegal action (PTG 1255-6056, 17 December 2013).   Work is currently underway to develop technology that will enable a bowler's action to be measured in 'real time' during matches, however at the present time such 'routine' testing is unlikely to become a reality until next year at the earliest (PTG 1241-5987, 25 November 2013). 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,265
Tuesday, 7 January 2014

'DUKES' AGAIN PUSHES AUSTRALIAN 

BALL-MARKET HOPES

[PTG 1265-6101]

 

Long-time England-based ball manufacturer 'Dukes' says it is said to be preparing to dispatch "50,000" of its hand-stitched balls to Cricket Australia (CA) as part of an on-going attempt to make inroads into an Australian market that is dominated by local manufacturer 'Kookaburra' whose balls are machine-stitched.  A report in London's 'Daily Telegraph' yesterday quotes Dukes' owner Dilip Jajodia as saying that "top level umpires in Australia voiced concerns about the durability" of Kookaburra balls two years ago and as a result CA "started to talk with other potential manufacturers". 

 

Jajodia, who acquired the Dukes brand from British sports equipment manufacturer Gray Nicolls in 1987, told the 'Telegraph' that when he visited CA last February after having sent "50,000 balls" to Australia prior to that, he was told, presumably by a CA official, "that after 81 overs of top-class cricket, not nets, our [Duke] balls still looked incredible".  Whether Jajodia's reference to "top-class cricket" includes CA first class games is not clear.

 

Fourteen months ago the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' reported that CA was to use 'Dukes' balls in its under-age championships, some State Second XI matches "and possibly late season Sheffield Shield games" during the 2012-13 austral summer as part of preparations for the 2013 Ashes series in England (PTG 1008-4899, 25 October 2012).  'PTG' understands that 'Dukes' balls were used for some games in those 2012-13 underage series, and have or will also be used similarly in the current season's youth tournaments.

 

CA's 2013-14 Playing conditions for its domestic first class games state that 'Kookaburra' red and white balls have "been approved" for such  matches, but that "in addition Cricket Australia may from time to time approve the use of other balls".  In contrast 'White Kookaburra Turf' balls are the only ones listed as being approved for CA's domestic one-day series, and they are also mentioned in a similar way in its Twenty20 competition Playing Conditions; however, matches in the latter series "may see the use of balls provided by other manufacturers".  State Second XI matches also "may see other manufacturers balls used".

 

CA's senior cricket operations manager Sean Cary was quoted by 'The Age' fourteen months ago as saying that the idea was to not just focus on the 'Dukes' ball but to also bring in the Indian 'SG' variety when an Australian visit to the sub-continent looms. "The first step" said Cary then was "to find out whether the ['Dukes'] ball can handle our conditions, and we can do that in under-age championships".  He went on to indicate that if the 'Dukes' perform satisfactorally CA will then work out "a strategy to introduce them into senior competitions".

 

Cary also acknowledged there was an economic rationale for introducing a competitor to the Australian market for both the 'Dukes' and 'SG' balls are cheaper that Kookaburras and it was CA’s job to minimise the costs of playing the game.  Around the same time the Pakistan Cricket Board announced that the 'Kookaburra' brand was to replace locally made 'Gray' balls in its domestic first class and limited over competitions in 2012-13 (PTG 1007-4896, 24 October 2012).

 

'Kookaburra' director Rob Elliot, whose company recently acquired British brand 'Readers', responded to CA's trial plans by saying that his company could potentially face "dire consequences" if it lost the support of the Australian cricket community.  AS report in Brisbane 'Courier Mail' at that time claimed that previous trials of Duke's ball saw their durability questioned, but it gave no details of just when and where the trials it refers to were held.

 

SENIOR ODI, T20I DEBUTS 

FOR AUSSIE UMPIRES

[PTG 1265-6102]

 

Australian umpire John Ward, who was confirmed in an on-field position on the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) just over a month ago (PTG 1245-6013, 1 December 2013), is to make his senior One Day International (ODI) debut in Brisbane on Friday week.  Cricket Australia (CA) announced yesterday that Ward and his IUP colleague Simon Fry are to work with Sri Lankans Ranjan Madugalle, Kumar Dharmasena and Ranmore Martinecz, and Zimbabwean Andy Pycroft, in the five-match Australia-England ODI series over the next three weeks (PTG 1264-6097, 6 January 2013). 

 

Fry will be on-field with Martinecz in match one in Melbourne next Sunday, match three in Sydney and match five in his home town of Adelaide, and Ward with former world 'Umpire of the Year' Dharmasena in the intervening games in Brisbane and Perth.  When not on-field Martinecz and Dharmasena will be the television umpire for the game, Ward and Fry occupying the fourth umpire spot whilst the other is on-field.  Ward has served in the latter capacity nine times previously and the series will take Fry's ODI tally to ten on-field and seven as the television official.

 

Scorers for the series will be Jim Hamilton and James Higgs in Melbourne, Brian Fitzgerald and Judy Harris in Brisbane, Christine Bennison and Adam Morehouse in Sydney and Rita Artis and Neil Ricketts in Adelaide, however, an announcement on the scorers for Perth is still awaited.

 

While Ward will be making his ODI debut, another of his IUP colleagues, Paul Wilson, will stand in a senior international for the first time during the three Twenty 20 International (T20I) matches Australia and England will play once the one-day series ends.   Ward made his T20I debut twelve months ago and currently has two matches on-field to his credit, while Fry has stood in four such games over the last three years.  

 

Fry and Ward will be on-ground for the first match in Hobart, Wilson and Ward in Melbourne and Fry and Wilson in the final match of England's tour in Sydney.   Wilson will work as the television umpire in Hobart, Fry in Melbourne and Ward in Sydney, fourth umpires in those games being their colleagues on CA's National Umpires Panel, Mike Graham-Smith, Geoff Joshua and Gerard Abood respectively.  The fourth Australian member of the IUP, Mick Martell, will be standing in the World Cup Qualifier series in New Zealand whilst the 'Ashes' ODIs are underway (PTG 1264-6098, 6 January 2013).  

 

Scorers for the T20Is will be Graeme Hamley and Robert Godfrey in Hobart, Jan Howard and Mike Walsh in Melbourne and Toni Lorraine and Robyn Sanday in Sydney.

 

LABORATORY EXAMINATION SHOWS HONG 

KONG SPINNER'S ACTION 'ILLEGAL'

[PTG 1265-6103]

 

Hong Kong spinner Moner Ahmed has been found to have an illegal bowling action and has been suspended from bowling in international cricket for twelve months by the International Cricket Council (ICC).  Ahmed was reported twice during the World Twenty20 Qualifier in the United Arab Emirates last November, first after a group match against Italy and then a playoff game against Papua New Guinea (PTG 1234-17 November 2013).

 

Following the initial report Ahmed was required to submit to an analysis by his home board, which concluded that his action was legal and as a result he was allowed to continue bowling in international cricket (PTG 1240-5986, 23 November 2013).  However, the second report thirteen days later meant that he was required to submit to an ICC analysis  It was performed at the School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health at The University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth in mid-December.

 

UWA testing showed Ahmed's elbow extension action across his stock, quicker and arm ball deliveries exceeded the fifteen degrees level of tolerance permitted under ICC Playing Conditions, and resulted in his suspension from bowling in internationals.  

 

SOUTH AFRICAN UMPIRES NAMED FOR 

AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND EXCHANGES

[PTG 1265-6104]

 

South African first class umpires Allahudien Paleker and Patrick Jele are to stand in matches in Australia and New Zealand next month as part of the on-going exchange program between Cricket South Africa (CSA), Cricket Australia (CA) and New Zealand Cricket (NZC).  Paleker will be on-field in Sheffield Shield games in Sydney and Hobart and Jele in Plunket Shield fixtures in Christchurch and Dunedin around the same time.

 

Paleker, 35, played 16 first class and twenty-one List A games for Northerns from 1997-2006 before making his umpiring debut at first class level in October 2009.  He has since gone on to stand in 38 first class games, two of them in the Plunket Shield in February-March 2012, plus 31 List A matches, two women's One Day Internationals (ODI), an Under-19 Test, and four Under-19 ODIs. 

 

While Jele, 27, has not played first class cricket, his profile is an umpire is very similar to Paleker.  The Pretoria-born umpire made his first class umpiring debut a month after Paleker and currently has 35 such games and another 35 in List A fixtures to his credit, plus two women's ODIs, an Under-19 Test and three Under-19 ODIs. 

 

Dennis Smith, a third CSA umpire, will be standing in two Ranji Trophy first class matches in India over the next two weeks, the first a televised quarter final game in Mumbai and the second a semi final in Indore (PTG 1264-6099, 6 January 2013).

 

Corrie van Zyl, CSA's general manager of cricket, said yesterday that Paleker, Jele and Smith "rank among our most promising umpires".  “It is interesting to note that nearly all our top umpires over the years have benefited from these reciprocal arrangements, [including] Marais Erasmus, Shaun George and Johan Cloete who will be officiating in the World Cup qualifier tournament in New Zealand [later this month]" (PTG 1264-6098, 6 January 2014).  In addition, "one of our top match referees, Devdas Govindjee, will also be officiating in [that] tournament" which "confirms that our programs are working well to develop international-class match officials".

 

van Zyl pointed out that the "exchange program with New Zealand has been running for 15 years which makes it the longest running program of this type in the history of the game at first-class level", while those "with India and Australia have also been running for a substantial length of time".  Mike Gajjar, CSA's Manager of cricket operations, said the exchanges "have proven to be beneficial to all the countries involved in preparing umpires to officiate in different conditions and cultures that will assist them in the long term".

 

One umpire each from Australia, India and New Zealand are stand in two rounds of CSA's domestic four-day first class competition in the period from 13-23 February.  Neither country has as yet indicated which of their umpires will be involved.

 

CA EMERGING UMPIRE APPOINTED 

TO WOMEN'S ASHES TEST 

[PTG 1265-6105]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has selected Greg Davidson, the most likely candidate for appointment to its National Umpires Panel (NUP) later this year, as one of the two umpires for the one-off Test match the Australian and English women's sides are to play in Perth which commences next Friday.  New South Welshman Davidson, who made his first class debut early last month and at List A level just prior to that  (PTG 1250-6033, 7 December 2013) , is to stand in the four-day Test with long-time NUP member Ian Lock who will also be making his debut at Test level.

 

Three scorers, Sandy Wheeler, Aaron Vincec and David Debb have been named by CA for the Test, the referee being Terry Prue, who stood in nine men's Tests from 1988-94, and 75 first class matches overall from 1983-2000, three of them being Australian domestic finals.

 

Davidson has also been named to stand in the last of three One Day Internationals the two sides are to play, his partner for that match in Hobart being NUP member Sam Nogajski.  Tony Wilds, another New South Welshman, who like Davidson is a member of CA's current emerging umpire group, is to stand with the NUP's Tony Ward in the second match of the series which will also take place in Hobart, while a third member of the emerging group, Shawn Craig, will be on-field in the first game in Melbourne with NUP member Geoff Joshua. 

 

Graeme Hamley and Robert Godfrey will be the scorers for both games in Hobart, while those for the opening match in Melbourne have not been named as yet.  Daryl Cox will be the match referee in Melbourne, and Richard Widows and CA Umpire High Performance Panel member Steve Bernard for games two and three respectively in Hobart. 

 

Ward and Craig plus Wilds and Damien Mealey a fifth NUP member, are to stand together in the Twenty20 Internationals the two sides are to play in Melbourne and Sydney respectively at the end of the England side's tour, Bernard being the referee for both fixtures.  Toni Lorraine and Robyn Sanday will record the details of the Sydney game but the scorers for the Melbourne game are yet to be named.

 

The fourth member of CA's current emerging group, Richard Patterson, is to stand in a one-day match between an Australian XI and England in Melbourne in the period between the Test and first ODI.

 

The women's series is being 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 one-dayers and Twenty20 games are each valued at two points each (PTG 1257-6067, 20 December 2013).

 

ICC COY ABOUT ORS 

TRIAL FUNDING DETAILS

[PTG 1265-6106]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) says that "no information is available" about the costs involved in running the Trent Bridge and Abu Dhabi trials of its Officiating Review System (ORS), or just who is paying for the package of technologies involved.  ICC Umpire Training and Performance Training Manager Simon Taufel spoke positively of the system whilst demonstrating it to the media during the first Test of the Sri Lanka-Pakistan in Abu Dhabi a week ago (PTG 1262-6089, 1 January 2014). 

 

Feeds of television images and outputs from various Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) technologies to the ORS would have been provided by the match broadcaster.  However, just who funded the development of the ORS system's software and the provision of equipment and a technician for its daily operation, which is unlikely to have been something a broadcaster would have been interested in or prepared to pay for, remains a mystery.  It is possible that ICC politics, particularly India's opposition to UDRS operations, may be the reason the world body does not want to discuss the funding issue publicly. 

 

An ICC spokeswomen told 'PTG' via e-mail yesterday that the results of the trial will be reviewed before any decision is taken on "how the system may be used in the future".  If Taufel's enthusiasm is any guide senior ICC officials are likely to push for it to be introduced as a standard part of matches in which the UDRS is operational, but the question of "who pays" for the ORS will be a key issue in the decision-making processes involved.

 

BANGLADESH FIRST CLASS COMPETITION 

POSTPONED BY POLITICAL UNREST

[PTG 1265-6107]

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has postponed the start of this year's National Cricket League (NCL), its lone first class competition, because of the political situation in that country.  The eight-team franchise team-based NCL was to have got underway tomorrow, however, violence continues across the country following the execution of a prominent opposition figure and there are fears the turmoil could spin out of control.

 

Last week the Asian Cricket Council decided that Bangladesh will, for the moment at least, remain the host of the 2013-14 Asia Cup, One Day International format series, which is scheduled to be played there over two weeks in late February and early March.  Bangladesh's status as a host nation was in doubt because of the security situation, the West Indies Under-19 team pulling out of their tour there last month after an explosion near the team hotel (PTG 1251-6045, 10 December 2013). 

 

In addition to the Asia Cup, Bangladesh is scheduled to host Sri Lanka for a bilateral series and will also stage the World Twenty20 tournament in March-April.

   

COIN TOSS DECIDES T20 TOURNAMENT 

AFTER RAIN WASHES OUT FINAL 

[PTG 1265-6108]

 

The Grassmere Cricket Association (GCA) in south-west Victoria crowned its Panmure side their Twenty20 champions by the flip of a coin after rain washed out play on the final day of the competition on Sunday.  Panmure, which reports say was fortunate to make the GCA semi-finals in the first place, will now represent the association in an eight-team regional Twenty20 tournament that is to be held over the Australia Day long weekend in two-and-a-half weeks time.

 

Panmure defeated Killarney in Sunday's first semi-final then Yambuk won their match against Hawkesdale to qualify for the afternoon final, however, after that the heavens opened play in the final was not possible.  GCA T20 Playing Conditions for what was its first twenty over tournament state that if rain intervenes a result can be determined provided each side can bat for five overs, but should that not be possible a super over is the next option followed by a coin toss as the third and final choice.  

 

Yambuk captain Dan Oakley told the 'Warrnambool Standard' his side “weren’t too disappointed” at an outcome he described as “a very strange circumstance”.  “I suppose it was 50-50 but it was very strange [as] I would’ve thought we would’ve won [for] we came out on top after the group stage, finished second by net run rate [and] didn’t lose a game all the way through".  His side's net run rate prior to the semi finals was 1,8769 and Panmure's 1.2780.  "No begrudging Panmure" continued Oakley, "they’re a good side [and] good luck to them [in the regional tournament]".

 

In reporting on the result the GCA's web site says that it was "Not the way anybody wanted to finish a great weekend".  GCA president James Sinnott told the 'Standard' that his executive is "happy to tinker with the rules in consultation with the clubs to get the best and fairest winner".  The winning club in the Australia Day event will pocket $A15,000, the runner-up $A5,000 and the semi-finalists $A1,000, prize money that is very large for a country cricket competition.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,266
Thursday, 9 January 2014

ODI DEBUT FOR NEW ZEALAND'S WALKER

[PTG 1266-6109]

 

New Zealand umpire Derek Walker is to make his One Day International (ODI) on-field, and both ODI and Test television, debuts during India's tour of his country over the next six weeks.  Walker, along with his compatriots Gary Baxter, 'Billy' Bowden and Chris Gaffaney, plus Richard Kettleborough of England, Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka, and Australians David Boon, Steve Davis and Rod Tucker, have been named to manage games during the seven-match tour.  

 

Tucker is to stand in all five ODIs that are to be played in Napier, Hamilton, Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington, Walker being his on-field colleague in the first match, Gaffaney the second, Bowden the third and fifth and Baxter the fourth, with Boon the match referee.  Walker will work as the television umpire in two games, and Baxter, Bowden and Gaffaney one each.  The Tests in Auckland and Wellington next month will see Davis and Kettleborough on-field, Baxter and Walker respectively being the third umpires and Madugalle the match referee.

 

Madugalle will have managed a total of 148 Tests as a match referee by the end of the series, while Davis' Test tally will have moved on to 52 games and Kettleborough 19.  For Baxter the Auckland game will be his ninth as a third umpire in a Test but for Walker it will be his first in that role at the game's highest level.  Of the six involved in the ODIs, Bowden's match record will be 184 on-field and 52 as the television umpire at series end (184/52), Baxter 38/18, Gaffaney 19/6 and Walker 1/2, while Boon will have overseen 44 such games.

 

ONE MATCH INDIAN 

EXCHANGE FOR GOUGH

[PTG 1266-6110]

 

England umpire Michael Gough stood in a single Ranji Trophy first class game in India last week on his way to the World Cup Qualifier (WCQ) series in New Zealand (PTG 1264-6098, 6 January 2014).  Gough, 34, who was on-field with WCQ colleague Vineet Kulkarni at the Ferozeshah Kotla in Delhi in the home side's last round match against Karnataka, took part in the match as part of the on-going exchange agreement between the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). 

 

Hartlepool-born Gough, who played Under-19 Tests and One Day Internationals for England then 67 first class games for Durham before moving into umpiring, told local reporters after his first match in India that "It has been a great experience for me with so many close appeals right through the match".   "I've been umpiring for nearly six years now [and] hopefully, I'll make the next level after I travel to New Zealand after this".

 

The match in Delhi was Gough's 88th at first class level, and during the time between it and his 87th in a county match at Trent Bridge in September, he stood at the invitation of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 11 Twenty20 Internationals in the final qualifier series for this year's World Twenty20 Championship event which was held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in November; including the main final (PTG 1244-6009. 29 November 2013). 

 

During the WCQ event over the next two weeks, Gough will be based in Mount Maunganui, some 200 km south-east of Auckland.  Tomorrow he will be on-field in a warm up match then he has four games on-field and one as reserve umpire in the first round of the tournament proper, his colleagues in the umpiring pool in Mount Maunganui being Ashan Raza of Pakistan, Shaun George (South Africa) and Joel Wilson (West Indies), Jeff Crowe of New Zealand being the match referee.  Teams based there are Canada, Kenya, Namibia, the Netherlands, the UAE and Uganda.

 

Along with countryman Tim Robinson, Gough is currently a third umpire member of ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  The ECB is yet to announce which of them will be promoted into the vacant IUP on-field spot alongside Rob Bailey that opened after Richard Illingworth was elevated to the ICC's top Elite Umpires Panel six months ago (PTG 1130-5488, 26 June 2013).  Former England Test player Robinson, 55, stood in two matches in India on exchange three years ago, and in the final of the ICC's first class series for second-tier nations, the Intercontinental Cup, between Afghanistan and Ireland last month (PTG 1250-6034, 7 December 2013).
 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,267
Friday, 10 January 2014

HILL DEPARTS EUP FOR NZ 

UMPIRE COACH POSITION

[PTG 1267-6111]

 

New Zealand umpire Tony Hill has stepped down from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) early in order to join New Zealand Cricket (NZC) as its Umpire Coach.  Hill, who was a umpire regional training manager in his home country for many years, is to take up his new position in March and focus mainly around managing recruitment and retention processes for amateur umpires, talent identification of potential professional umpires and the coaching of New Zealand’s elite umpires.

 

Hill, who turns 63 next June and whose retirement from the EUP was anticipated this year (PTG 1135-5505, 30 June 2013), made his international debut in a One Day International (ODI) in Napier in March 1998, and went on to officiate in 40 Tests, 96 ODIs and 17 Twenty20 Internationals in a 15-year career as a top-level umpire.  He was appointed to the EUP in March 2009 after 11 years on the ICC's second-tier panel (PTG 395-2093, 24 March 2009), and during his overall career he stood in the World Cups 2007 and 2011, the Champions Trophy  in 2009 and 2013, and the World Twenty20 Championship series of 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012.  

 

Auckland-born Hill's final ICC appointments were as the television umpire in the recent Ashes Tests in Adelaide, Perth and in Sydney (PTG 1229-5923, 10 November 2013), his last international on-field being in an Ashes Test in Durham in August; a fixture in which his performance was questioned by some; one report then suggesting was either "considering quitting", or "intends to step down", from the EUP (PTG 1169-5650, 14 August 2013).  NZC National Umpiring Manager Rodger McHarg responded then by saying Hill had "been maligned unfairly" and his "confidence hadn't taken a hit" as a result of controversies during the Ashes series in England (PTG 1173-5669, 19 August 2013).

 

Vince van der Bijl, the ICC Umpires and Referees Manager, paid tribute to Hill yesterday, saying that he "has given sterling service to the game over many years and his humour, commitment and selfless approach will be sorely missed".  "He loves cricket and officiating, so we are delighted that in his new role he will continue to serve the game and help New Zealand continue to produce top level umpires into the future", continued van der Bijl, who also thanked Hill for "playing such an important role in the period of transformation within the match official community and for your contribution to each of us".

 

Commenting on his departure Hill said: “I have treasured my time as an umpire and more recently as an [EUP member, as] it has been so special officiating internationally among great players alongside the finest umpires in the world".  “This wonderful opportunity as NZC Umpire Coach enables me to continue to be part of this marvelous match official community and work with the aspiring umpires throughout New Zealand".

 

McHarg said yesterday that he’s "thrilled" about Hill’s new role for “Tony’s been a highly respected umpire for a number of years and we’re incredibly pleased to secure the services of someone with his knowledge and expertise".  “The demand for quality umpires in our game is ever increasing and we’re dedicated to providing top level officiating at all levels of the game [and] we believe Tony will be instrumental in helping us to continue to raise that bar".

 

The NZC Umpire Coach position Hill, a former school teacher, will now take up was advertised late last year and is the fourth new match management and umpire-related position created by NZC, for three months ago fellow former Test umpires Doug Cowie, George Morris and David Quested were appointed to three newly created domestic match referee positions (PTG 1221-5879, 30 October 2013).  Presumably Hill will now report to former Test umpire McHarg in NZC's match officials structure and therefore be the first point of contact for the country's six Regional Training Officers. 

 

Hill's departure from the EUP leaves at least one position vacant on the panel, but there are also suggestions that Australian Steve Davis, who turns 62 in April, could like his Kiwi colleague depart this year, possibly when at the end of June when ICC EUP contract periods normally end (PTG 1267-6112 below). 

 

SRI LANKAN HEADS LIST OF 

POTENTIAL EUP CANDIDATES

[PTG 1267-6112]

 

International Cricket Council (ICC) umpire appointments over the twelve months suggest that two umpires, Ranmore Martinecz or Sri Lanka and Sundaram Ravi of India, head its list of new candidates for positions that fall vacant on its top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) in mid-year.  The departure yesterday of EUP member Tony Hill of New Zealand opens one spot, but there are suggestions that another could need filling by mid-year when the membership of the EUP for the 2014-15 year starts (PTG 1267-6111 above).  

 

Martinesz's appointment as one of the three neutral match officials for the high-profile five-match Australia-England One Day International (ODI) series this month is the latest indication the ICC are considering him for higher honours (PTG 1264-6097, 6 January 2014).  Over the last ten months the ICC allocated the now 46-year-old his first four Test matches (PTG 1173-5667, 19 August 2013), the usual number for EUP candidates prior to their elevation, plus two ODI series as a neutral in Bangladesh, one over the last few weeks in New Zealand, and now this month's 'Ashes' series.  

 

Ravi, 47, who has been standing at first class level for over 21 years, is currently standing in his second Test, having made his debut last October, and he will have stood in a third by month's end, taking his tally at the game's highest level to three matches (PTG 1249-6027, 6 December 2013).  He was appointed as the neutral official in last northern summer's 'Ashes' ODI series, and last February worked in the same capacity in New Zealand's one-day series against England.

 

Whether Hill's countryman, former EUP member 'Billy' Bowden, who was dropped from the panel last year (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013), is in contention as reports suggest is his desire, remains to be seen.  He was given a Test during the recent Ashes series in Australia,  his 93rd, possibly primarily to ease the load on the umpires that were available, particularly given that Hill was limited to working only as the television umpire (PTG 1229-5923, 10 November 2013). 

 

Unconfirmed by persistent reports over the last six months suggest Bowden lost his EUP position not because his actual decision making was letting him down, but rather for his approach to what the ICC labels as 'Attitude and Teamwork', which is believed to be its number one umpiring philosophy.  That item is at the top of a list of required ICC umpire attributes that reports say includes, in order of priority after that, 'Preparation and Knowledge', 'Match Management', 'Correct Decisions', 'Technique' and 'Personal Development' (PTG 1226-5904, 5 November 2013).

 

ICC MATCH REFEREE JOINS 

CRICKET TASMANIAN BOARD

[PTG 1267-6113]

 

Former Australian player and now international match referee David Boon has been appointed to the board of Cricket Tasmania (CT).  Boon had previously worked for CT and as a national selector, but resigned from both positions in 2011 to take up a match referee position with the International Cricket Council (ICC) (PTG 766-3756, 26 May 2011).

 

Boon said yesterday that he plans to continue in the ICC role and that he will be able to manage it and his new responsibilities.  An ABC Radio report says he "is off to New Zealand and Bangladesh over the next few weeks", but that he will attend CT board meetings via webcam where possible.  "There will be hurdles with the time that I do spend away from Tasmania with the ICC but modern technology as it is...I'd still be able to contribute to (attend) board meetings".

 

Launceston-born Boon, 53, says his international connections might be helpful in securing an Ashes Test for CT's home ground Bellerive Oval.  "I would think that, at some stage that that comes around for discussion, I would hopefully have some input to that, under the direction of the [CT] chairman".  "It would be, I think, for Tasmanian cricket, the absolute icing on the cake to have an Ashes Test at [Bellerive], [as] it is one of the best cricket grounds in the country", he said.

 

Details of Boon's "off to New Zealand" have been released by the ICC (PTG 1266-6109, 9 January 2014), and the reference to Bangladesh suggests he will be the match referee for the Twenty20 and One Day Internationals Sri Lanka is to play there next month; but that is yet to be confirmed by the world body. 

 

Boon also said yesterday that there is no guarantee the World Twenty20 Championship in Bangladesh in March-April will progress as planned, and that the ICC would continue to monitor the political situation there (PTG 1265-6107, 7 January 2014).  "Obviously the safety of players and administrators as it always has been is of paramount importance and the appropriate envoys will visit Bangladesh and they will make an assessment closer to the time whether the safety of players is an issue or not", said Boon.

 

NEWS OF AUSSIE PLAYER'S 

UNION REPORT AWAITED

[PTG 1267-6114]

 

No news appears to have surfaced of the report into the 'state of the Australian game' that the Australian Cricketer's Association (ACA), or player's union, indicated that it planned to submit to Cricket Australia (CA) by the end of 2013.  The country's professional players were said to be questioning the effectiveness of the implementation of CA's 'Argus' review, the results of which were announced two years ago, one report suggesting they were so concerned about the situation they were considering offering some of their own money to help tackle the issues involved (PTG 1248-6025, 5 December 2013).

 

Players were said 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 (PTG 1206-5804, 9 October 2013).

 

CA chairman Wally Edwards pointed out at his organisation's 2012-13 Annual General Meeting that it has doubled its spending on the national team in the past six years, although at the same time he acknowledged 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".

 

Whether the Australian side's apparent change of fortunes on-field over the last two months, during a somewhat 'doom-and-gloom outlook was transformed by success in the Ashes series, will have an impact on the ACA's report remains to be seen.

 

PERFORMANCE OF BCCI DOMESTIC 

UMPIRES UNDER SCRUTINY

[PTG 1267-6115]

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India's ( BCCI) umpires sub-committee commenced a three-day meeting at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore yesterday, its main aim reportedly being to assess and grade the performance of the domestic umpires over the current first class season which has only two weeks to run.

 

Sudhakar Rao, a representative from south in the nine-member sub-committee, told the 'Times of India' that "we will have to review 60 to 70 matches and judge the standards", an initiative that was introduced four years ago in order to "tackle substandard umpiring and to fine-tune the quality of officiating".

 

The meeting is being chaired by umpires sub-committee director and former Test captain and umpire Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan, and involves the likes of former Test umpires Virinchirpuram Ramaswamy and Arani Jayaprakash. 


PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,268
Monday, 13 January 2014

CAPTAIN WARNED AFTER BALL-TAMPERING 

ALLEGATIONS SURFACE 

[PTG 1268-6016]

 

Railways captain Murali Kartik was warned by umpires Suresh Shastri and Pashchim Pathak on Friday after they changed the ball when they became concerned about its state during what was "an acrimonious day three" of their Ranji Trophy quarter final match against Bengal in Kolkata, says a Press Trust of India (PTI) report.  Match referee Rajendra Jadeja told journalists after the day's play that a decision on "whether to ban Kartik" will be taken by a Board of Control for Cricket in India's disciplinary committee.   

 

Bengal team manager Debabrata Das said his side became concerned when Abhimanyu Easwaran was bowled by Anureet Singh in the fifth over of their innings by what he said was "reverse swing", the team being 2/15 after 14 overs when the ball was changed.  According to Das "The ball started reversing from the fourth over which was just impossible [for] they were pricking the ball and coach Ashok Malhotra and I complained about that to the match referee".  Das and Malhotra alleged Kartik and fast bowler Anureet Singh as being responsible.     

 

Jadeja indicated that he had received a report from Shastri and Pathak saying that "Ball tampering [is a] Level 2.9 offence and as we cannot say who has done it, it's the captain who will be imposed a fine in the range of 50-100 per cent of his match fee".  In another incident during the match Bengal's Writtick Chatterjee was fined ten per cent of his match fee for showing dissent on being given out caught behind on Thursday.  He is said to have stood his ground after the umpire raised his finger.

      

The latest "ill-tempered" match between the two sides came a month after their previous meeting during which a Kartik was involved in a 'Mankading' incident in New Delhi that led to considerable disharmony despite the fact that his action was within the Laws of the game (PTG 1251-6042, 10 December 2013).  

 

SHAMSHUDDIN WINS INDIA'S TOP 

DOMESTIC UMPIRE AWARD 

[PTG 1268-6117]

 

Chettithody Shamshuddin was named as the best umpire in Indian domestic cricket at the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) 2014 Annual Awards event held in Mumbai on Saturday.  Records available indicate that Hyderabad-born Shamshuddin, 43, made his debut at first class level in October 2012.

 

Over the last year he stood in nine domestic first class games, two on exchange in England, three List A and nineteen domestic Twenty20 fixtures; in addition picking up his appointment from the International Cricket Council in a second-tier series (PTG 1227-5911, 7 November 2013), plus his senior One Day International debut courtesy of the BCCI.  Just what the BCCI's criteria are for deciding the award are not known. 

 

'SPIRIT OF CRICKET' AGAIN 

GETS THE FLICK 

[PTG 1268-6118]

 

Umpires Rajesh Deshpande and Amiesh Saheba had a particularly challenging day during the Ranji Trophy quarter final match between Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh [UP] in Bangalore on Saturday.  As UP batted in its second innings to try and win the game outright and earn a place in a semi final against Punjab in Mohali later this week, Karnataka players were in the words of one report "continually in the faces of [UP] batsmen throughout the day". 

 

"Words were exchanged, icy glares were given, and every new [UP] batsman was accompanied to the centre by a fielder or two" who, amongst other things, reportedly expressed their opinion of their batting abilities, according to a report in the 'Mumbai Mirror' yesterday.  As opening batsman Tanmay Srivastava left the crease after being dismissed he was subjected to a long verbal 'send-off', while Lokesh Rahul was so incensed at something that was said to him he advanced towards the fielder "who got real close to him" before the umpires intervened. 

 

Other similar interactions are reported to have continued but to date there have been no indications that any reports about player behaviour were lodged with match referee Sridharan Sharath.

 

BOWLER REPRIMAND FOR 

LANGUAGE OFFENCE 

[PTG 1268-6119]

 

Doug Bollinger, who is playing for the Hobart franchise in Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic Twenty20 competition, has been reprimanded for breaching CA'S Code of Behaviour (CoB) during his side's game against one of the Sydney franchise teams on Saturday evening.  Bollinger was reported by umpires Damien Mealey and Sam Nogajski for "using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting during a match".

 

CA says correctly but somewhat misleadingly in its press release, that "this was Bollinger’s first offence under this Article of the [CoB] in the past eighteen months".  Bollinger was, however, suspended for a single CA one-day match in October for "Throwing a ball at or near a Player or Player Support Personnel in an inappropriate and/or dangerous manner during a Match" whilst playing fir New South Wales side's against Queensland (PTG 1213-5840, 18 October 2013). That offence is covered by a separate CoB Article to that which deals with language issues.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,269
Wednesday, 15 January 2014

CA T20 SERIES ATTRACTING 

HUGE BETTING INTEREST

[PTG 1269-6120]

 

Punters have bet more than $A600 million on matches in Cricket Australia's (CA) Twenty20 (T20) series so far this austral summer, according to a report in today's Brisbane 'Courier Mail'.  Global betting company 'Betfair' have taken bets totalling $A573 million, while a range of other corporate and online bookmakers in Australia and around the globe have received around $30 million in wagers over the 22 matches played up until Monday, says journalist Ben Dorries.

 

Dorries says it is the volume of bets on Betfair, where punters can back teams to win or lose and bet live 'in-play' at any stage during matches, that is particularly "staggering".  He says that more than $A20 million has been bet on all but two of of the first 22 fixtures", the match between the Hobart and Perth franchises a week ago bringing in "an astonishing $A47.6 million in wagers".  In order to put that in a wider perspective, Dorries says that Betfair only received bets from around the world totalling just $A6 million on last year's high-profile Melbourne Cup horse race.

 

The top five CA T20 games in terms of total amount of bets placed with international agency Betfair to date have been:  Perth-Hobart $A47,639,482.64; Sydney Thunder-Brisbane $42,816,051.28; Adelaide-Sydney Sixers $40,455,253.34; Brisbane-Sydney Sixers $38,745,414.61; and Brisbane-Perth $33,634,902.66.

 

While Betfair is reporting by far the most significant bets, other bookmakers have reported a large increase in wagers on the T20 series from previous seasons.  "Compared to last year, the turnover is up nearly 40 per cent and the number of bets is up 50 per cent", according to Tattsbet's Gerard Daffy.  "We have taken more bets during each match, particularly on exotic bets like the top run scorers, so clearly people are watching the games".

 

CA's T20 competition "has become such big betting business that Betfair punters are going to games and betting in live markets from the grandstands so they can try to get an edge over a several-second television delay".  Live betting odds fluctuate wildly with every wicket and big hit in T20 cricket, so punters have an advantage if they are at games rather than watching slightly delayed TV coverage.   The series are being screened live into the UK and the new free-to-air coverage in Australia with Channel Ten paying $A100 million for the rights for five years, has also led to an increased betting turnover (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013).

 

The 'Courier Mail' says that the incredible volume of bets from around the world has CA's "anti-corruption police watching closely given the sawn-off 20-over game is the most susceptible to fixing".  Dorries quotes a CA spokesman as pointing out that anti-corruption measures had been centralised and there were the same strict security measures in place for its T20 matches as there are for international games.  

 

Last November, CA signed a contract with Swiss-based data supplier 'Sportradar' to monitor for signs of corruption and fraudulent activity in its domestic game (PTG 1238-5979, 21 November 2013).  The company is what CA calls an "integrity partner", their role being to track betting-related activity using its Fraud Detection System, the same technology tused late last year during an investigation of a Melbourne second-tier football team's match-fixing activities. 

 

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

 

FIRST DAY OF WC QUALIFIER SEES 

REPRIMANDS, SUSPECT ACTION REPORT

[PTG 1269-6121]

 

Kenya's Morris Ouma and Raymond Haoda of Papua New Guinea have been reprimanded for breaching International Cricket Council (ICC) Code of Conduct regulations, and Uganda's Deusdedit Muhumuza reported for a suspect action, on the first day of the World Cup (WC) Qualifying event in New Zealand on Monday.

 

Ouma and Haoda were reprimanded for "using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an International Match" in their game in New Plymouth.  The incident relating to Ouma occurred in the 18th over of Kenya's innings when he used "offensive language" after being caught in the outfield, while Haoda's came in the 37th when he used "offensive language" after a catch was dropped from his bowling.

 

Both players admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Jeff Crowe, who said in a statement that: "The reactions of the players were clearly in breach of the Code, as offensive language has no place on a cricket field".  "Players need to understand the importance of conducting themselves within the Spirit of the Game", concluded Crowe.  

 

Charges against the pair were brought by on-field umpires Ruchira Palliyaguruge and Shaun George from Sri Lanka and South Africa, and third umpire 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand.  Under ICC regulations Level 1 breaches for this offence carry a penalty of a warning/reprimand and/or the imposition of a fine up to half of the applicable match fee.

 

Muhumuza, a medium-pacer, was reported by umpires Michael Gough, Ahsan Raza and Joel Wilson of England, Pakistan and the West Indies respectfully, following his side's game against the Netherlands in Mount Maunganui, a match in which he bowled four overs. ICC regulations require that his home board conduct an analysis of his bowling action and provide the world body with a written report of the outcome of that review within seven days.

 

BATSWOMEN SUSPENDED FOR 

'BRINGING GAME INTO DISREPUTE'

[PTG 1269-6122]

 

West Indian batswoman Deandra Dottin has been suspension as a result of "an incident" that occurred during last October's tri-Nation Twenty20 series in Barbados and has not been selected for her side's nine-match tour of New Zealand in February-March.  No details of the incident have been made public, however, the charge brought against her by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) relates to: “engaging in behaviour unbecoming that could bring the game of cricket into disrepute or be harmful to the interests of cricket”.

 

Dottin, who has since apologised, is reported to have met with the WICB's Disciplinary Committee in mid-December who found her guilty of the charge.  The committee set out a number of conditions for her, they being: "that she undergoes evaluation, followed by a continued counselling program in [January-February]; she undergoes continuing monitoring for a year, and that periodic reports from her counselling sessions be sent to the Disciplinary Tribunal and the WICB; that she miss the upcoming tour of New Zealand tour; and that she is allowed the opportunity to meet with her two biggest cricketing idols as a means of mentorship".

 

Barbadian Dottin, 22, was named player-of-the-series following the tri-nation T20 series against England and New Zealand, an event that he side won.  During the Women's World T20 Championship in 2010  she became the first woman to make a century in that format when she scored a record 112 not out against South Africa Women in St Kitts, reaching her 100 in just 38 balls.

 

ZIM FUNDING CRISIS, PLAYER 

STRIKE, CONTINUES

[PTG 1269-6123]

 

Zimbabwean cricket remains in limbo with players boycotting domestic matches over the last month because they haven't been paid.  National captain Brendan Taylor told The Associated Press (AP) yesterday that players met with Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairman Peter Chingoka over the weekend and will sit down with him again today in an attempt to "resolve the current crisis and give cricket a lifeline".

 

ZC is reported to owe $A15 million to a local bank and is said to have asked to the International Cricket Council for yet another loan, this one of $A3 million.  The cash crisis forced ZC to cancel this month's tour there by Afghanistan, a similar situation to the planned Sri Lanka visit late last year. Zimbabwe's series against Pakistan last year was also marred by problems over the non-payment of players and the Zimbabweans threatened to go on strike then before a short-term solution was found.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,270
Thursday, 16 January 2014

MCC COMMITTEE LOWERS SIGHTS IN ATTEMPT 

TO RESCUE TEST CHAMPIONSHIP

[1270-6124]

 

With the fate of the announced 2017 World Test Championship (WTC) series apparently in the hands of the marketeers, the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) has reaffirmed its support for the event but suggested a down-sizing of current plans in order to ensure it proceeds.  News surfaced last month that broadcasters had shown "little appetite" for the planned WTC series in England and that the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee (FCAC) is in the process of conducting a financial study into its viability (PTG 1257-6066, 20 December 2013).  

 

The WCC has been pushing the WTC concept for the past five years, the MCC group's aim being to preserve the "primacy" of Test cricket (PTG 799-3906, 18 July 2011).   After a false start, ICC chief executive David Richardson formally "launched" the WTC last October, indicating that it would be a four-team event with two semi finals and a final (PTG 1210-5825, 14 October 2013).  However, the WCC is now saying following its latest six-monthly meeting, which was held in Abu Dhabi on Monday-Tuesday, that if the four-team structure is not possible, "a scaled-down version involving the top two teams", should be considered.

 

In the WCC's judgement "Test cricket would suffer if the [WTC] concept was dropped", and that either a one-off Test or Test series between the two top ranked sides "would still provide a context that the longest form of the game currently lacks in comparison to [the fifty and twenty over formats]".  It says it "understands the commercial sensitivities and logistical issues surrounding the proposed [WTC], but feels that a solution must be found", and while "a WTC involving only two teams is not the committee's preferred solution, it would be better than nothing".    

 

The WCC also called for a "binding" international Future Tours Program" (FTS), the multi-year matrix of scheduling that sets out the broad timings and content of the tours teams from each of the ICC's Full Member nations make to each others countries.  The WCC believes that "certainty of match programming is essential for the proper administration of cricket amongst ICC members", and that once the FTS is agreed to it "must be complied with", for "so far major changes to schedules have almost invariably adversely affected Test Cricket".

 

Nine of the fifteen WCC members took part in the Abu Dhabi meeting under the chairmanship of former England captain Mike Brearley.  Those present were: Jimmy Adams, Steve Bucknor, Rahal Dravid, Rod Marsh, Tim May, who was attending for the first time, Shaun Pollock, David Richardson and Steve Waugh.  Those unable to attend were: Anil Kumble, Andrew Strauss, Michael Vaughan, Charlotte Edwards, Majid Khan and Kumar Sangakarra.  

 

'SPIRIT OF CRICKET' MESSAGE BEING REVIEWED 

[1270-6125]

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) "is reviewing its 'Spirit of Cricket' message" and expects to outline plans for a new campaign on that subject by the end of next month, according to a statement issued following the latest meeting of the club's World Cricket Committee (WCC) on Monday-Tuesday.  The WCC also described the Indian Premier League (IPL) as "a powerful vehicle" via which 'Spirit of Cricket' issues can be promoted, and as such suggested the MCC should "enhance its partnership with the IPL".  The committee "believes" 'Spirit of Cricket' concepts "can make a significant contribution to the [IPL] and improve the way the game is played".

 

'WEARABLE' BOWLER'S ACTION TECHNOLOGY 

DEVELOPMENT  'IN FINAL STAGES' 

[1270-6126]

 

The "end of 'throwing' in the game is a "step nearer" thanks to the 'wearables technology' project being funded jointly by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the International Cricket Council (ICC), says the MCC's World Cricket Committee (WCC).  A newspaper report last November indicated that a functioning, cheap and readily available 'wearable' technology that will enable the legitimacy of a bowler's action to be determined in near 'real-time', could be available "within two years" (PTG 1241-5988, 25 November 2013).  

 

The WCC, which held its latest six-monthly meeting in Abu Dhabi on Monday-Tuesday, said in press release yesterday that ICC General Manager Cricket Geoff Allardice had told the meeting that "excellent progress" is being made with the project at Griffith University in Brisbane, and that "recent results had shown a strong correlation between testing in the laboratory and live testing in a match situation".  

 

November's report said that transmitters "smaller than a matchbox" that can be attached to a bowler's arm have already been developed to measure degrees of elbow flex and send the data to computers in the stands.  At that time Griffith researchers were close to finishing the first of second phases of the project, phase one developing a relatively rudimentary device, the second last year honing it to measure fast as well as slow bowlers, while phase three over the coming twelve months "will hopefully deliver a finished product" that could be "available in your local sports store for $A19.95" sometime next year.

 

The WCC recommended in Abu Dhabi that the MCC should continue to support and invest in the project as it "could provide a platform for a consistent solution to the [illegal deliveries] problem at all levels of the game".  It says that the "ICC will now put together a plan for the next phase and present [it] to [the] MCC for their approval".

 

CORRUPTION IN DOMESTIC T20 EVENTS 

'THREAT TO GAMES HEALTH', SAYS WCC 

[1270-6127]

 

Corruption in the game is "being successfully combated at international level", says the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC), but much more needs to be done to address the issue in "domestic Twenty20 global leagues" for such activities there "pose the biggest threat to the game's health".  The WCC indicated, following its latest meeting held in Abu Dhabi on Monday-Tuesday, that it "would like to see" a "set of minimum anti-corruption standards" that would have to be met before the International Cricket Council (ICC) gave its formal blessing to such [national] events.

 

"No such system" currently exists, says the WCC, and as a result it is impossible for the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) "to oversee" such competitions across "all territories".  In the WCC's assessment, which comes after a year when players and others involved in T20 leagues in several countries have faced corruption charges, ICC member countries should agree to an increase in funding for the ACSU for "it is doing some excellent work to combat corruption in the game", but "it requires more resources" to conduct its work".

 

During its Abu Dhabi meeting the WCC was given a presentation by the ACSU's head, and while the committee acknowledges that "much of the body's work must necessarily remain confidential", "it would like to see the ICC highlight more the the [unit's] output" in order to give the cricketing public confidence that a lot is beling done to tackle this fundamental issue affecting the game".

 

MCC TO STEP UP CHINA FOCUS 

[1270-6128]

 

There is "great potential to grow the game in China" and "it is not an unrealistic ambition to develop the sport [there]", according to the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC).  As a result an MCC women's team is to tour China next October, playing matches and running coaching sessions in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.  MCC President Mike Gatting is to lead the tour to China, but prior to that MCC women, the Chinese women's team and the Hong Kong Cricket Club are to play a triangular Twenty20 tournament on Lord's Nursery ground in July, an MCC men's side playing a HKCC team on the main ground on the same day. 

 

FINES FOR BANGLADESH PLAYERS 

AFTER ABUSIVE LANGUAGE SPAT 

[1270-6129]

 

North Zone batsman Naeem Islam and South Zone bowler Robiul Islam have been fined for breaching the Bangladesh Cricket Board's Code of Conduct during the third day's play of the Bangladesh Cricket League in Savar Tuesday.  The pair, who were found guilty of using abusive language against each other during the post-tea session that day, were each fined 20,000 Taka ($A290), or half their match fees, by match referee ASM Roquibul Hasan after they were reported by on-field umpires Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid and Mahfuzur Rahman. 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,271
Friday, 17 January 2014

WTC CONCEPT DEAD, TWO-TIER TEST

STRUCTURE MOOTED, SAYS REPORT

[1270-6130]

 

'Cricinfo' is reporting this morning that the World Test Championship (WTC) concept is dead and that International Cricket Council (ICC) members are now considering a two-tier, promoting-relegation, Test playing structure that would allow nations such as Afghanistan and Ireland to play Test cricket.  Earlier this week the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC) reaffirmed its support for the four-year cycle WTC but suggested a down-sizing of announced plans in order to ensure they proceeds (PTG 1270-6124, 16 January 2014).  

 

Journalist Daniel Brettig writes that just three months after the planned WTC event of 2017 was launched, the ICC Board will vote it down at a meeting later this month because of lack of interest by television broadcasters and a range of issues surrounding the staging of such a series (PTG 1257-6066, 20 December 2013).  He "understands that the board will instead consider the promotion-relegation plan", which will give "nations like Ireland and Afghanistan earning their way into Test matches while at the same time placing the likes of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh on the precipice". 

 

At this stage just how such a system would operate in practice is either not known, or is yet to be formulated in detail, but Brettig says that the ICC is likely to "consider increasing the financial rewards on offer" to teams who win the number one Test rankings spot each year.  ICC Associate or second-tier nations would be able to challenge for spots on the Test match table on the basis of their performance against the lower-ranked Full Members.  Importantly, in terms of the politics of getting approval such a change, the ten current ICC Full Member nations' status as Full Members would not be in jeopardy, nor would their related financial advantages.    

 

Suggestions that a two-tier Test structure be introduced are not new.  Early last year, during a WCC meeting in Auckland, New Zealand Cricket's chief executive David White is said to have addressed the meeting about such a concept, reportedly saying such an arrangement "would be catastrophic for the long-form of the game in the nations outside the top four in the world" (PTG 1069-5198, 1 March 2013).  

 

Concern has been expressed in a number of quarters over recent years that the "primacy" of Test cricket is being overridden by the shorter forms of the game, particularly the Twenty20 format (PTG 799-3906, 18 July 2011).  The latest such example came this week when it was announced that Pakistan's series against Australia in October has been be reduced from an earlier agreed three Tests to two.  The Pakistan Cricket Board is said to have negotiated the removal of one five-day match and that is to be replaced by a series of limited-overs matches, possibly three one-day and one Twenty20 fixtures.  

 

UAE SKIPPER FINED FOR 

'AGRESSIVE APPEALING'

[1270-6131]

 

United Arab Emirates (UAE) captain Khurram Khan was fined half of his match fee and reprimanded twice for "aggressive appealing" during his side's World Cup Qualifier match against Canada in Christchurch yesterday.  The incident that led to the fine involved a run out when the skipper advanced towards on-field umpire Enamul Hoque-Moni of Bangladesh whilst appealing, a Level 2 breach that later resulted in the fine and a reprimand.  After the appeal proved unsuccessful, he then "repeatedly shook his head over a sustained period of time".  The latter offence earned him a second reprimanded for “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during an international match”.  Khan later apologised for his actions.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,272
Sunday, 19 January 2014

BPL MATCH-FIXING TRIAL 

SET TO RESUME TODAY

[1272-6132]

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) Anti-Corruption Tribunal is scheduled to resume hearings into last year's Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) match-fixing scandal in Dhaka today, five months after the International Cricket Council (ICC) publicly named nine individuals as being involved (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013).  The BCB Tribunal began its work in late November with a preliminary hearing at which eight of the nine were represented by their lawyers (PTG 1241-5988, 25 November 2013), the exception being former player Mohammad Rafique who refused to attend, but he is now expected to take part.

 

Retired Justice Khademul Islam, who heads the three-member panel, told the 'New Age' newspaper yesterday he and his colleagues are "hoping for a speedy [but fair] trial as the reputation of the country is at stake".  All nine on trial were involved with the BPL's Dhaka Gladiators franchise, seven being directly charged with fixing-related activities and the other two with failing to report corrupt approaches despite being obliged to do so (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013).  

 

Those accused of fixing-related crimes are former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful, who has already pleaded guilty, Mosharraf Hossain, Mahbubul Alam, Dhaka Gladiators owners Selim Chowdhury and Shihab Chowdhury, the franchisee’s Indian chief executive Gaurav Rawat, and Rafique. 

 

'New Age' is reporting that Englishman Darren Stevens, who along with Sri Lankan Kaushai Lokuarachchi was charged for failing to report a corruption-related approach that was made to them, arrived in Dhaka on Friday and will attend the hearing.  He is said to be planning to stay in the country for twenty-one days, a period in which "the tribunal is expected to complete the trial process".  Lokuarachchi has previously pleaded guilty to the charge.  

 

The charges were brought after a lengthy investigation by the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, which was engaged by the BCB to provide anti-corruption cover during what was the BPL’s second edition in January-February last year.  

 

ECB ESTABLISHING NEW THIRD-TIER 

'EMERGING' UMPIRES PANEL

[1272-6133]

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is reported to have added a third-tier to its senior umpiring groups, the new layer apparently consisting of emerging umpires who are considered to have the potential to move on to its second-tier Reserve and top-tier Full Lists in 2015 and beyond.  Sources say that Ian Blackwell, Tom Lungley, Russell Warren and Chris Watts, the first three of whom are former first class players who have 411 matches at that level between them, will make up the new panel for the 2014 northern summer.

 

Derbyshire-born Blackwell, now 35, is a former England Test and One Day International (ODI) player, who featured in one Test and 34 ODIs for his country, some of the latter in the 2003 World Cup.  His high-level career that ran from 1997 to 2012 and overall he played 210 first class, 254 List A and 77 Twenty20s matches for five different counties and for Northern Districts in New Zealand.  After commencing his umpiring career in the North of England Premier League in 2012 he moved south and in 2013 stood in first and lower grade matches in the West of England Premier League, also debuting in county second XI fixtures (PTG 1252-6046, 11 December 2013).

 

Lungley, 34, another native of Derbyshire, spent his playing career from 2000-10 with Derbyshire and Lancashire, featuring in 55 first class, 81 List A and 30 T20 matches.  Records available suggest he commenced umpiring the year after his playing retirement, making his debut at county second XI level and also internationally in women's one-day and Twenty20 games in 2013.

 

Warren, 42, played two Under-19 Tests for England in the early 1990s, then went on to play 146 first class, 177 List A and 2 T20s for Nottinghamshire over the fifteen years from 1992-2006.  He stood with Lungley in the same women's internationals last year, but his first game in county second XI games was in 2011, the year he appears to have started umpiring, however, records available on line suggest he only started standing regularly at ECB Premier League level last year.

 

Watts, who is from Norfolk, is the oldest of the four at 46 and the only one not to have played at county level.  Data available indicates he has been standing in East Anglia Premier League competition matches since 2009 and in Minor Counties fixtures since 2010, while his debut at county second XI debut came, like Warren's, in 2011

 

The ECB named its 25-man Full List for 2014 last month, promoting two former first class players to its ranks, however, an announcement on its second-tier Reserve List for the year ahead is not expected until late this month (PTG 1250-6032, 7 December 2013).  Reports from the UK suggest that if the latter panel remains at its normal ten there are two, and perhaps more, vacancies from last year to fill on it, however, the actual number on that panel could be affected by just how the ECB plans to utilise Reserve and Emerging  group members throughout the coming summer.  

 

What is clear though is that 2014 current Full List members Martin Bodenmam, George Sharp and Peter Willey will all reach the ECB's compulsory retirement age of 65 prior to the 2015 season getting underway, and as such there are clear vacancies on that top panel for 2014 Reserve and Emerging members to work towards in the summer ahead.

 

UNDER-17 PLAYER REPRIMANDED 

FOR USE OF OBSCENE LANGUAGE

[1272-6134]

 

New South Wales spinner Jayden Park has received a reprimand for "using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting" during a Cricket Australia (CA) Under-17 national championship match against the Northern Territory in Adelaide last Tuesday.  CA said in a press release issued on Friday that the incident, which involved a 'send off', occurred whilst NSW were in the field.  Park, who on-line score sheets suggest was reported by umpires James Hewitt of Western Australia and Will Braid of Tasmania, accepted the reprimand proposed by match referee Bob Parry.  It was his first offence under this Article of the CA's Code of Behaviour in the past eighteen months.

 

PLAYER STRIKE CONTINUES 

TO STOP PLAY

[1272-6135]

 

Zimbabwe's domestic competitions, which were due to resume this weekend and early next week after a month-long strike by players who in some cases have now not been paid for five months, have still not got underway.  Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) said in a press statement that yesterday's planned restart could not occur because "the players have been on a long festive season break [and] need time to work on their fitness and match-preparedness", but it also indicated it is still working to raise the money to pay the outstanding salaries and match fees (PTG 1269-6123, 15 January 2014).  

 

Reports from Harare say that ZC, with is reported to be talking with a local bank and to have asked to the International Cricket Council (ICC) for yet another loan, this one of $A3 million, is said to be in negotiation with a potential sponsor.  Other news stories state that the ICC is only prepared to consider providing money if they they are provided with an audit of ZC finances, something that accounting firm KPMG is said to currently be conducting.  

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,273
Monday, 20 January 2014

THREE NATIONS PUSHING FOR CONTROL 

OF INTERNATIONAL GAME

[1272-6136]

 

A 21-page 'position paper', which if adopted would see greater control of world cricket given to the governing bodies of Australia, England and India, is to be discussed at the International Cricket Council's (ICC) executive board's first quarterly meeting for 2014 in Dubai next Monday-Tuesday.  In addition to considering what would be a radical overhaul of ICC administration, the meeting will also look at: how the world body's multi-billion dollar earnings are distributed between nations; a promotion and relegation arrangement for Test cricket; and a new Future Tours Program (FTP) arrangement that is likely to see England, Australia and India playing each other more often.

 

Media reports say that the key proposal in the paper is for the formation of a four-man executive committee that would become "the sole recommendation committee … on all [ICC] constitutional, personnel, integrity, ethics, development and nominations matters".  There would be on-going, guaranteed positions on that group for representatives of Cricket Australia (CA), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), with the fourth position being nominated on an annual basis by the other seven ICC full member national boards.

 

Such an arrangement would replace the current ICC executive board which at the moment consists of the heads of the boards of all ten ICC full-member nations.  Reports say the other seven ICC member boards, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Zimbabwe, only received copies of the position paper ten days ago, and they have yet to indicate publicly whether they will back the proposal, which would effectively reduce their power in the game.

 

The position paper was developed by a 'working group' of the ICC's Financial and Commercial Affairs committee (FCAC), a body that is chaired by Giles Clarke, the ECB's chairman, and includes ICC President Alan Isaac, its chief executive David Richardson, BCCI chairman Narayanswamy Srinivasan and CA chair Wally Edwards.

 

Currently in the financial area so-called "surplus" income from major ICC events is distributed evenly between the ten full-member member boards, but this would change under the proposal with the boards that earn the highest revenues, those of Australia, England and India, taking a greater slice of the pie.  The "value contribution" of India to ICC earnings is listed as "over 80 per cent", the other nine full member nation contributions ranging from 0.1-5 per cent (PTG 1255-6055, 17 December 2013).  It comes as no surprise therefore that the proposed financial change is linked to plans to greatly modify FTP arrangements, the paper saying that "as it currently stands the draft FTP contains a large number of [financially] unviable tours".  

 

As a result it calls for the scrapping the FTP, world cricket's centrally-coordinated, multi-year schedule of tours for the ten Test playing or ICC full member, countries, which in turn is the key to how much each nation receives via television rights deals.  The current FTP states that each country must host the other at least once every eight years, but the position paper is said to state that "No member should be forced to host uneconomic tours [and] there should be no ICC FTP regulation or central FTP agreement between ICC and full members".  

 

That means that should the proposed changes be ratified, arrangements for tours would lie with individual nations, a number of media reports saying for example that means CA, the ECB and the BCCI will be able to pick and choose opponents.  The paper goes on to say that "CA and ECB will offer a guarantee of three Tests and five limited-overs matches per cycle to the top eight members", which at the present times means ninth and tenth rated members Bangladesh and Zimbabwe would not be able to engage in official bilateral full tours to either Australia or England. 

 

The FCAC document also proposes that the World Test Championship (WTC) concept be scrapped and replaced by a return of the Champions Trophy One- Day International format series, what was supposed to be its last version being played in England last year.  The currently scheduled inaugural WTC in England in 2017 and the second version listed for India in 2021 are both expected to be replaced by a resurrected Champions Trophy event (PTG 1271-6130, 17 January 2014).  

 

The promotion-relegation system mooted for Tests, full details of which are yet to be made public, would not involved Australia, England or India who would be exempt from being dropped into any second-tier group that is established regardless of their playing ratings.  That is said to be "solely in order to protect ICC income due to the importance of those markets and teams to prospective ICC media rights buyers".

 

If next week's ICC executive board meeting is unable to resolve any or all of the proposals before it, it will have further meetings scheduled in April, July and October to further consider matters.  However, the position paper is said to contain an April deadline for the formation of what is titled the ICC Business Company, a new entity, in order that it can take over the task of issuing tenders for the ICC's next media rights and sponsorship cycle.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,274
Tuesday, 21 January 2014

PAKISTAN TO OPPOSE PROPOSED ICC CHANGES

[1273-6137]

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) indicated yesterday that it will oppose the overhaul of International Cricket Council (ICC) decision-making arrangements being proposed by Australia, England and India.  News broke on the weekend that those three nations have circulated a proposal that would give them prime control of world cricket, a change that is to be discussed at the ICC executive board's first quarterly meeting for 2014 in Dubai next Monday-Tuesday (PTG 1272-6136, 20 January 2014). 

 

A member of the PCB governing board told the Press Trust of India yesterday that at a meeting held in Lahore on Saturday he and his colleagues decided that the proposal "should be strongly opposed" next week.  He was quoted as saying that “The governing board was firm that this was a very sensitive issue for Pakistan and the PCB should go to the ICC meeting well prepared to give strong arguments against the proposed changes".  

 

According to the PCB member “The governing board made it clear that the draft proposal basically would divide the world cricket order and Pakistan should not accept any position in the lower tier", a reference to both the administrative dominance proposed by Australia-England-India, and to the potential for their side to have to play in any 'division 2' should a two-tier Test system be introduced.  He also said his board has authorised its chairman Zaka Ashraf to use "all possible means" to convince the ICC against going ahead with the changes.

 

Another source is said to have "disclosed" that the PCB chairman had been asked to contact the other six member boards who would be affected by the proposed changes and ensure a unified stance at the ICC meeting.  “The PCB chief has been advised to form a unified stance on the matter with South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and West Indies before the ICC meeting".  South Africa announced its opposition to the changes proposed overnight (PTG 1273-6138 below).

 

Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan is said to have told reporters in Dhaka yesterday that his organisation "can't do anything on our own [and] I have to find countries who are in our position and then think what to do".  'Cricinfo' is reporting this morning that "the head of one of the [seven] boards outside [what it called] the 'Big Three' said the draft paper 'came out of nowhere" [and that] nothing had been hinted at".  Another called the situation "devastating" and "I don't think the plan would have worked if either of [Australia and England] had not acceded".

 

Tony Irish, chief executive of the South African Cricketers' Association defined suggested changes to ICC arrangements "concerning," saying they will have "significant implication for cricket", while his New Zealand equivalent Heath Mills says he's worried and that the proposed arrangements "spell trouble in the long term".

 

TRIO'S MOVE 'UNCONSTITUTIONAL', 

SAYS CRICKET SOUTH AFRICA

[1273-6138]

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has requested that the International Cricket Council (ICC) withdraw the draft proposal produced by the world body's Finance and Commercial Affairs Commercial Rights working group which would give power to Australia-England-India.  News of CSA's official response to the proposal follows the weekend joint session of its Board of Directors and Members’ Forum which called for  "a more consultative and constitutionally-ordained process to take place", and comes as Pakistan expressed similar views (PTG 1273-6137 above) .

 

Chris Nenzani, CSA's President and chairman of its Board of Directors, says in a letter to ICC President Alan Isaac that was made public overnight that: “Without addressing the merits of the proposal insofar as it concerns constitutional amendments and changes to ICC competitions, these proposals should first be referred to the relevant ICC committees or sub-committees for proper consideration and to make recommendations to the ICC Board".  

 

The letter, which was copied to all ten full members of the ICC, went on to say that “Although there is nothing to prevent a review of the ICC funding model or finances, the proposal self-evidently is inextricably tied up with a fundamental restructuring of the ICC, which has far-reaching constitutional implications".  “The draft proposal is, therefore, fundamentally flawed as regards the process and, therefore, in breach of the ICC constitution, [and] in our respectful opinion, a more considered, inclusive/consultative, and properly constitutionally-ordained approach is required".

 

REPRIMAND FOR DISSENT, FINES 

FOR SLOW OVER-RATE, IN WC QUALIFIER

[1273-6139]

 

Uganda’s Phillemon Selowa Mukobe has been reprimanded for “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during an international match” in his side's game against Kenya in the World Cup (WC) Qualifier series in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, on Sunday.  Mukobe delayed leaving the wicket after being given out caught behind and was found guilty of a Level 1 breach the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel by match referee Jeff Crowe.

 

Crowe said in a ICC statement issued yesterday that: “Players are expected to respect the umpires’ decisions at all times [and] I hope Mr Mukobe has learned from this experience, and that all players are reminded of their responsibilities to conduct themselves within the spirit of the game".  The charges against the Ugandan were laid by on-field umpires Ahsan Raza of Pakistan and Michael Gough of England, plus third umpire Joel Wilson of the West Indies.

 

The ICC also announced yesterday that Scotland had been fined for a slow over-rate in their match against the United Arab Emirates in Queenstown on Sunday.  Match referee Devdas Govindjee imposed the fines after the Scots were ruled to be two overs short of the required over-rate after time allowances were taken into consideration.  As such skipper Preston Mommsen was fined forty per cent of his match fee and his team-mates twenty per cent.

 

ICC regulations that govern minor over-rate offences require that players are fined ten per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, and their captain double that amount.

 

PLAYER ABSENCES MEAN 

TEAM FORFEITS MATCH 

[1273-6140]

 

A series of accidents, injuries, illnesses and a suspension, led the Rail Cricket Club to forfeit their two-day, first grade match against the Kookas in the South Coast District Cricket Association (SCDCA) in New South Wales on Saturday.  Kookas declared at 4/317 on day one of the match two Saturday's ago then had Rail 9/85 at stumps, and while they eventually reached 116 early on day two last weekend, only six members of their named side were at the ground.

 

SCDCA Playing Conditions require that a team have seven eligible players at the start of an innings, therefore the unnamed umpires stopped Rail, who had been asked to follow on, from starting their second innings, and as a result the match was called off and the Kookas' side declared the winners by forfeit.

 

Rail skipper Col Yeaman told the 'Illawarra Mercury' that the situation was "ridiculous".  "I live in Sydney [100 km away] now and make the drive down on a Saturday morning and to confront this situation was about as bad a day I've had at the club".  He said his team had a seventh player at the ground, however, he was ruled out because he had pulled out of a representative game that was to be played the next day because of injury, and as such he was automatically unavailable for Saturday's club game.

 

Yeaman said he was only informed ninety minutes before play was to begin on Saturday that two members of his team were injured, "one with a 'busted leg' [and] the other having hurt himself at work".  Then thirty minutes before the first ball was delivered he was told another player had suffered food poisoning and was unable to play, while another had been "suspended" for showing dissent on day one the previous week.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,275
Wednesday, 22 January 2014

CA, ECB 'FEARED' INDIAN BREAK-AWAY 

FROM ICC, CLAIMS REPORT

[1275-6141]

 

A London 'Daily Telegraph' report on Monday suggests that England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) officials, and by implication Cricket Australia (CA), have entered into a "power-sharing deal with India" because "it is the only way to avert the total collapse of world cricket due to squabbling over revenue from the next [international] television rights deal" (PTG 1273-6136, 20 January 2014).  London's 'Daily Telegraph' journalist Nick Hoult, who has good connections with English cricket, wrote that the ECB feared that India will abandon international cricket and "go it alone if major changes to how revenue is distributed are not agreed".

 

The ICC is said to hope that it can raise some $A2.5 billion from its next television rights deal which is due to run from 2015-2023.  India's contribution to the value of the current 2007-2015 television deal is said to have been 80 per cent, the other nine ICC full members only contributing between 0.5 and 5 per cent each, but despite that "massive imbalance" overall ICC revenue from television was split equally across the ten full member boards, something the Australia-England-India proposal would change.

 

Hoult says that "England and Australia are clearly protecting their own self interest but feel the result of India operating outside of [the ICC], even if they [CA and the ECB then] control [the world] body, is too great to comprehend".  If India was to depart the world scene the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) could schedule "multiple Indian Premier League [IPL] seasons every year", events that would impact on international matches as IPL organisers could "steal the best players from other countries by offering vast sums to play without the need of clearance from their home board".

 

CA's only reported public comment on the matter at this time has been a bland: "As usual, there are a range of important matters up for discussion at the ICC Executive Board meeting [next week and] the outcome of that meeting and any decisions made will be communicated by the ICC, [therefore] until that time, we won't be making any comment".  ECB chairman Giles Clarke , who was involved in developing the propose changes, was quoted by the 'Observer' newspaper on Sunday as saying: "There's not much I can say about a draft... we get through a lot of those". 

 

Meanwhile, Bermuda's Neil Speight, the ICC Associates and Affiliates member countries representative on the ICC's Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee (FCAC), a sub-group of which formulated the changes now on the table, was quoted by the 'Bermuda Gazette' yesterday as saying that he had "no knowledge" of the proposals being put forward in the FCAC "position paper".  An unnamed official from one of the Associates and Affiliates members had earlier told 'Cricinfo' that their interests were not being "properly" guarded by Speight.

 

Whether Speight was kept in the dark or not is not clear, however, another report earlier this week said that details of the "working group position paper" were only provided to all ICC board members at an "unscheduled" meeting held in Dubai two weeks ago.  Those present were apparently not provided with an agenda beforehand, and attendees are said to have been told, apparently for the first time, that work on "the plan", details of which were presented by BCCI president Narayanswamy Srinivasan  "had been underway for six months".

 

Apart from Clarke as its chairman, others on the FCAC are Srinivasan, CA's Wally Edwards, ICC chairman Alan Issacs, who is a New Zealander, plus Speight, they being assisted by Dean Kino CA's general manager of legal and business affairs, John Perera the commercial director at the ECB, and Sundar Raman the IPL's chief operating officer.  Kino and Raman also form a two-man technical committee for the Champions League Twenty20, which is reportedly one of the world's wealthiest cricket tournaments. 

 

The 'Daily Telegraph' story goes on to report that the FCAC sub-group has also recommended a move of ICC headquarters from Dubai “to a more acceptable business jurisdiction where [staffing] talent is also available”.  Hoult says that Cardiff could emerge as the new home for a reshaped ICC and that "financial incentives" from government authorities in Wales have already been made in order to attract the ICC to what is that country's biggest city, however, Singapore, Colombo and Delhi are also said to be other possibilities.  While cricket facilities in Dubai, which the ICC moved to from London in 2005 are roundly described as "outstanding", attracting employees to live in that area of the world has become harder and the BCCI have been lobbying for a move from there for sometime. 

 

'DON'T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS' ON ICC 

MANAGEMENT PUSH, SAYS NZC DIRECTOR

[1275-6142]

 

The possibility that the International Cricket Council (ICC) could be run primarily by Australia, England and India, as has been proposed, may not be a bad thing, according to former international Martin Snedden, who spoke to the 'New Zealand Herald' on Monday on behalf of New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) national board.  In addition to taking control of all key ICC matters, changes proposed by the three nations include the way the world body's finances are distributed, scrapping the currently centrally-organised Future Tours Program (FTP), and the establishment of a two-tier Test system (PTG 1273-6136, 20 January 2014).

 

Snedden said, in response to a question from a 'Herald' journalist, that while NZC didn't have "a hell of a lot" of power at the ICC table, "we do have the ability to influence and persuade [those involved] a little bit".  "Don't jump to the conclusion what [the three nations are] doing is not good for world cricket", said Snedden, before pointing out that India continues to generate the majority of ICC income, "a situation that won't change", and therefore other national boards have to embrace the fact that country's administrators have the ability to control the world game.  Cricket Australia and the English and Wales Cricket Board are said to have "signed up" with the Board of Control for Cricket in India for just that reason (PTG 1275-6141 above).  

 

Yesterday afternoon, after several hours of talks at NZC headquarters, Snedden told a radio station that he believes that whatever change occurs at the ICC, "There will [still] be a confirmed playing schedule involving all Test-playing countries, and in lots of ways people on the outside won't notice any difference".    A number of NZ media outlets have subsequently questioned how that would be so given the country's team is likely to reside in any second-tier of Test cricket, something current NZC chief executive David White, another former Test player, said last year "would be catastrophic for nations outside the top four in the world" (PTG 1069-5198, 1 March 2013).  .

 

Asked about Cricket South Africa's rejection of the changes proposed (PTG 1274-6138, 21 January 2014), Snedden said he hadn't "had an opportunity to consider [their open] letter yet [so] I don't know the basis for their argument".  Like South Africa, Pakistan has also indicated that it cannot support the Australia-England-India proposal, while Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan said his organisation "can't do anything on our own [and] I have to find countries who are in our position and then think what to do" (PTG 1274-6137, 21 January 2014).

 

Former Test player Snedden, now 55, a lawyer by profession, was NZC's chief executive officer from 2001-06 before leaving to head up organisation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.  Currently the head of New Zealand's peak tourism body, he joined the eight-person NZC board last year.  A report from Auckland overnight said that a NZC board meeting has been scheduled today to formulate the stance it will take in regard to the Australia-England-India proposal to next week's ICC executive meeting in Dubai. 

 

SUGGESTED CHANGES 'A SERIOUS CHALLENGE' 

FOR SRI LANKA: SPORTS MINISTER

[1275-6143]

 

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is set to oppose the proposed changes in the International Cricket Council (ICC) administrative structure which seeks to place Australia, England and India in a central position in the ICC's administrative structure, say reports from Colombo late yesterday.  Describing the proposals as "a serious challenge to Sri Lanka's Cricket set-up", Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told reporters that SLC’s executive committee is to meet on Thursday to formulate the official stance that will be taken to next week's meeting in Dubai.  

 

Sri Lanka joins Bangladesh, Pakistan and South Africa in having voiced their general opposition about the suggested ICC restructure, New Zealand currently appears more neutral in its position (PTG 1275-6142 above), but just what the West Indies and Zimbabwean boards think of the matter have not yet been made public. 

 

Saint Kitts-based Charles Wilkin, a Queens Council and a former chairman of the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) Governance Committee, was reported by the West Indies News Network overnight as  describing the planned changes as “startling”, and that "if adopted [they] will create a cabal within world cricket…with total control of the game internationally" in three nation's hands.  

 

In his view "the proposals have the potential to destroy West Indies Cricket by putting us in a position where we have to fight on an ongoing basis with South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe for two places in the top rung of world cricket, and if we do not make that rung we are doomed to second class status".  He called on the WICB to announce its position on the matter and speak out against the draft proposals at next week's meeting in Dubai.  

 

FEMALE UMPIRES FEATURE 

IN THREE CA TOURNAMENTS

[1275-6144]

 

Canberra-based umpire Deanne Young, New South Wales' Claire Polosak and Western Australian Ashlee Kovalevs have been standing in Cricket Australia (CA) national championships played in the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia over the last few weeks.  Earlier this month Young stood in CA's annual National Country Cricket Championships in Canberra, and is currently in Adelaide supporting this season's male interstate under-17 series, both selections being a first for females, while Polosak and Kovalevs worked in the national Under-18 female series played in Ballarat, Victoria; Polosak being chosen to stand in yesterday's final between Victoria and her home state.     

 

Kovalevs, who is in her second year as an umpire, told the 'Ballarat Courier' that "umpiring at nationals is the peak for me so far".  "Everyone in Ballarat seems to be very friendly and very welcoming and all the clubs and the players have been very supportive".  She is said, although whether it is correct is not clear given its her second year, to "umpire A grade cricket in both men’s and women’s competitions in Western Australia", while Polosak told the 'Courier' she was the first of her gender to umpire a female first grade final in Sydney.

 

Polosak and Kovalevs say that as far as they are aware they are the only female cricket umpires in their respective states.  “We’re definitely limited in numbers, but [CA] is definitely trying to increase our numbers which is good to see, and there’s lots of support out there if girls do want to take up umpiring", said Kovalevs.

 

Last May, CA's Match Officials area was reported to be looking to bring more females into umpiring around the country and there were indications it had mapped-out an initiative that involved "contracting" what one source at the time called a 'Project Umpire' (PTG 1101-5359, 8 May 2013).  That proposal is believed to have included plans for each Australian state and territory to not only promote umpiring to females, but also to set up training programs and structures to provide them with a clear pathway and opportunities to progress.  

 

However, despite the national body announcing earlier this year that its revenue was to receive a significant boost due to new TV deals (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013), lack of financial support from senior CA management appears to have limited the range of actions that have been taken to boost female umpire numbers to date.     

 

BUSH FIRES STOP ALL PLAY

IN THE GRAMPIANS

[1275-6145]

 

The Grampians Cricket Association (GCA) in far south-west Victoria, was forced to abandon all of last weekend's scheduled games due to the extreme heat and the threatening nature of bushfires across the region.  Large fires that could not be contained broke out in both the Grampians and Black Ranges and several townships and their sporting ovals were in serious danger on Saturday-Sunday.

 

With weather forecasts and fire conditions looking bad, the GCA announced on Friday morning that no games would be played.  "Being a country Association with country people, it would have been impossible" for matches to go ahead, said GCA president Anthony Martin, for apart from the basic danger, "people would have been off fighting fires and clubs just wouldn't have been able to get teams together".  

 

Martin told Grace Bibby of the 'Ararat Advertiser' that the focus of his executive would be to finish off what has been "an interesting season", with no more disruptions.  "When there is rain, cricket gets cancelled, but that doesn't happen all that often around here", said Martin.  Fires are still burning in the region this morning. 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,276
Thursday, 23 January 2014

PLAYER'S UNION CHIEF CALLS FOR 

REJECTION OF TRI-NATION ICC PUSH  

[1276-6146]

 

Paul Marsh, the chairman of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), or peak player's union, "seriously questioned" proposals for a major revamp of a range of International Cricket Council (ICC) administrative and operational arrangements yesterday.  Marsh also criticised key ICC board members who were involved in the development of the 'position paper' that outlines the suggested changes, accusing them of acting inappropriately, however, Cricket Australia (CA) chairman Wally Edwards has since hit back at the FICA chief's comments.

 

Media reports quote Marsh as saying that as board members of the ICC, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke, and Narayanswamy Srinivasan the chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and Edwards, the key people behind the position paper, "owe fiduciary duties to the ICC that include putting the interests of the ICC ahead of those of their individual boards, a duty to remain loyal to the ICC and avoid conflicts of interests and to act in good faith to promote the success of the ICC".  "We seriously question whether all of these duties have been met", said Marsh.

 

“Once again we are seeing the result of the poor governance structure and practices of the ICC, on this occasion led by three of its board members".  "This proposal is 180 degrees from the structure proposed in the ICC’s own independently commissioned governance review [the Woolf Report of two years ago and is] clearly unconstitutional", a term used by Cricket South Africa earlier this week (PTG 1274-6138, 21 January 2014).  “The game deserves far better than this and all within FICA call on the other seven ICC board members to reject this proposal at next week’s board meeting [for] the future of the game depends on them doing so".

 

Marsh said that distributing funds from ICC events based on commercial contributions would mean the Test-playing nations that need cash injections the most would receive the least.  According to him the proposals relating to tour scheduling are "disturbing", and "the reassurance to [national] boards outside the 'Big Three' that they are guaranteed to earn more in the next rights cycle than they have in the current one ignores the fact they are almost certain to lose more money from a re-shaped Future Tours Program (FTP)".

 

"Of significance is the section [in the position paper] that offers a guarantee from [CA] and the ECB to play three Tests and five One day Internationals per [FTP] cycle to each of the top eight members, yet there is no mention of any such guarantee from the BCCI", continued Marsh.  "Each Test-playing nation relies heavily on revenue from Indian tours" and "what chance do the majority of members have of survival if the BCCI decides not to tour their countries on at least a semi-regular basis?".  "This will affect everyone and it cannot possibly be in the interests of international cricket nor of the health and sustainability of the world game of which the ICC is supposed to be the custodian".

 

While Giles and Srinivasan have not talked publicly about the proposal or its implications, Edwards apparently felt compelled to publicly answer Marsh's allegations, saying yesterday that "Traditionally, CA does not comment on ICC discussions it is about to have [for] we talk to other ICC nations across the table rather than via the media, but we were today disappointed to see [FICA] question whether CA and others have met their fiduciary duties as ICC members".  

 

"CA's approach internationally is consistent with its approach at home where we have made significant strides improving the governance of Australian cricket", continued Edwards.  "There will be a discussion in the next few days among the ICC's full member nations about possible changes to how the ICC works".  "CA's view going into that discussion is that we need to continue to promote international cricket competitions including the primacy of Test cricket, we need to improve global cricket leadership and we support that members should be working to promote the interest of the game as their priority".

 

NZ URGES CALM BUT LOOKS FOR 

ANSWERS TO 'KEY CONCERNS'

[1276-6147]

 

New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) board is reported to have "key concerns" about the changes proposed for the administration of international cricket that they want addressed when the board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) meets next week, however, its spokesman continued to urge calm yesterday and stressed the need for a methodical approach be taken to addressing the matter.  Like its counterparts elsewhere, the NZC board was caught unawares by the proposed change, and it was briefed on the 'position paper' prepared by some members of the ICC's Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee (FCAC) at a meeting held in Auckland yesterday.

 

Board spokesman Martin Snedden is said to have been "hesitant" to describe the board's reaction to the briefing, pointing out to journalists that yesterday's meeting was only the beginning of a negotiation process which could stretch out until April or May.  He reiterated his comment of the day before that "it is important not to assume the worst this early on" (PTG 1275-6142, 22 January 2014), and urged New Zealanders to not "get caught up in a frenzy about the proposal but actually step back and say 'how can we move it towards an end result?'"

 

Snedden acknowledged that "Not all of the information is on the table or completely clear at the moment so part of what we are doing in our discussions with other countries and with ICC is trying to draw out the specific detail around some of these proposals that may not at the moment be crystal clear". According to him "the key things we are looking for are a stable playing program in international cricket, both in terms of bilateral arrangements between two countries, and also in terms of ICC events through to 2023, and we need a revenue sharing model that enables our revenues to be growing during that same period of time".  He assured New Zealanders that he and fellow board members will be working hard to look after the country's interests at next week's ICC meeting in Dubai.

 

WINDIES BOARD IN 'HASTY' MEETING TO 

CONSIDER SUGGESTED ICC CHANGES  

[1276-6148]

 

Reports from Antigua overnight say that West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) members have been meeting via hastily arranged teleconferences over the last two days to discuss proposed changes to the International Cricket Council (ICC) which one of them says "could have devastating consequences for West Indies cricket".  Earlier this week Saint Kitts-based Charles Wilkin, a former chairman of the WICB's Governance Committee, described the changes proposed to ICC administration and operations as having "the potential to destroy West Indies Cricket" (PTG 1275-6143, 22 January 2014).

 

A WICB press release lists the issues being discussed at its current round of meetings as "ICC group structure governance, financial model, bi-lateral cricket and ICC events", subjects that mirror the content of the 'position paper' that is to be considered at an ICC board meeting in Dubai next week (PTG 1273-6136, 20 January 2014) .  WICB Director Baldath Mahabir described the suggested changes as "very serious" and his personal view is that if the West Indies end up playing "in second tier cricket, we may lose interest among the fans and this could prove detrimental".  

 

Mahabir told a reporter that "anytime you have a situation where people are looking to divide and rule it could never be good".  "Looking at the proposals [before us], this is a situation where power broking and sharing will go to three [ICC] members and this cannot be healthy".  “We are at a point where we need to expand the game and by bringing a model that is not inclusive would do damage to the sport down the road".  "This model would only lead to monopolising of the sport and I cannot see how this could be good for cricket".

 

Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe is being quoted by 'Cricinfo' as having criticised the ICC-related proposals, arguing they would not be good for the West Indies game.  “Cricket is cyclical and to ask the West Indies to play second tier cricket will be unfair".  "They had ruled the sport for quite a while and now although they are not doing that [but they showed] glimpses of getting back over the last year".  “They have fallen away a bit over the last few months but a nation that has done so much for cricket to suffer that fate now will be cruel", [for cricket] is their national sport and to receive a blow like that would hurt the game there".

 

WORKING PAPER CONTENT 'NOT COMPLETELY 

UNEXPECTED', SAYS BCB CHIEF

[1276-6149]

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is to meet in Dhaka today discuss the proposals that have been made to revamp international cricket, however, at this stage it has no plans to make its views known prior to next week's International Cricket Council executive board meeting in Dubai, says a report in this morning's edition of the 'New Age' newspaper.  The article says that the BCB is unlikely to make its concerns public "as it faces a double-edged sword at the ICC meeting for the future of the World Twenty20 Championship series [there] in February-March will also be discussed, security in the country currently being a concern (PTG 1265-6105, 7 January 2014).

 

'New Age' says that Bangladesh will be one of the worst affected countries as if approved the proposal "would deny them Test cricket until 2019 at the earliest".  The newspaper says that the draft proposal states that from 2015 the number nine and ten Test playing countries, currently Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, would play in the ICC's Intercontinental Cup (IC) for second-tier national sides.  The winners of the next IC series would be able to challenge the eighth-ranked team in a four-Test home-and-away series, and then go on "to play against the seven remaining Test teams if they are victorious".  'New Age' states that the next IC is scheduled for 2019, which it says means after a series against Zimbabwe this October, Bangladesh’s international commitments "will be restricted to limited-overs cricket".

 

Acting BCB chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury told reporters in Dhaka on Wednesday that "every proposal has a positive or negative side" and his board will review its position at today's meeting and "take the side that will be good for us" in Dubai.  While there have been reports that the 'working paper' has comes as a surprise for many, its arrival "was not completely unexpected" for "the issues [now on the table] have come up for discussion in different ways on different occasions [at ICC meetings]", said Chowdhury.  Earlier this week BCB president Nazmul Hassan said that his organisation "can't do anything on our own [and] I have to find countries who are in our position and then think what to do" (PTG 1274-6137, 21 January 2014). 

 

An unnamed cricket official is quoted by 'New Age' as saying that Bangladesh’s vote "could be crucial, as India and Australia have strong influence on some other cricket playing countries".  "However", continued the official, "Bangladesh has hardly opposed any moves initiated by India in ICC meetings [and] there is no guarantee that the BCB will show some guts this time".  

 

MAN 'INVESTIGATED FOR ILLEGAL 

BETTING' IN AUSTRALIA

[1276-6150]

 

Australia's Fairfax Media is reporting this morning that "a man investigated for illegal betting" by Victoria Police at a Cricket Australia (CA) Twenty20 match in Melbourne last weekend reappeared at the Australia-England One Day International (ODI) in Sydney the following day and was "warned about his conduct".  Journalists Chloe Saltau and Chris Barrett say they have been told the man, 29, was approached by security at the Sydney Cricket Ground during the ODI on Sunday night and cautioned, although he was not ejected from either venue.

 

Saltau and Barrett "understand" the "British man", who was  had a laptop computer in his possession, and that his presence at Australian grounds on consecutive days heightens concerns about the potential for betting markets to be manipulated by overseas bookmakers via messages relayed to them from venues.  CA is said to believe the practice is not widespread, but the amount of money gambled on Australia's T20 league so far this season, more than $A625 million with 'Betfair' alone, has put anti-corruption officials on alert (PTG 1269-6120, 15 January 2014).

 

Fairfax says that central to the issue are delays of up to twelve seconds from live play and the broadcast of international and domestic T20 matches in other countries, giving a person at the ground time to pass on information on play so markets can be fixed by illegal bookies.  A number of men were expelled from grounds during last year's Champions Trophy series in England because of suspicions they were engaged in illegal betting activities.  

 

CA has had an anti-corruption unit since 2011, including a presence at grounds and restricted access to players, who have to hand over phones and tablets before games.  The Australian body also has information-sharing agreements with every corporate betting agency in Australia and has engaged an external bet monitoring company, 'Sportradar', to provide intelligence on the nature and volume of betting on domestic games (PTG 1238-5979, 21 November 2013).  While Victoria has new sports integrity laws, which carry a maximum ten-year jail sentence, New South Wales and other Australian states do not at this time.

 

PROFESSIONAL'S SUSPENSION 

REPLACED WITH A FINE

[1276-6151]

 

Canterbury contracted cricketer Ronnie Hira's suspension for abusing a member of the crowd in a Christchurch one-day club final last month has been replaced by a $A280 fine.  Hira was originally banned from for the last two weeks of 2013 which would have seen him miss a domestic Twenty20 match for Canterbury, but the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association stepped in and the ban was put to one side in order "to discuss a punishment Hira felt was fairer" (PTG 1259-6076, 24 December 2013).

 

Hira believed that being suspended from a match with Canterbury because of his actions in a club game meant he was punished twice as he would also miss out on the income from the T20 match.  A Christchurch Metropolitan Cricket spokesperson is being quoted by Fairfax NZ News this morning as saying Hira was free to play all cricket once he had paid his fine and that financial penalties could be used in future for professional players while it was still preferable to punish amateurs with suspensions.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,277
Friday, 24 January 2014

INDIAN BOARD ENDORSES ICC 

'REVAMP' POSITION PAPER

[1277-6152]

 

Proposals for a major shake-up of the way the International Cricket Council (ICC) operates were formally approved by members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at a meeting in Chennai yesterday.  In their view the changes mooted are "in the interests of cricket at large", however, media reports this morning are describing that news as "serving notice", a "warning" or "a threat" to ICC full member nations that should they opposed the revamp at next week's ICC board meeting in Dubai, India could walk away from ICC events (PTG 1275-6141, 22 January 2014). 

 

Despite that interpretation, an unnamed BCCI official was quoted last night as saying that: "we have never said that [the 'position paper' over which controversy current rages and which was put together by the ICC's Finance and Commercial Affairs committee], was set in stone or a 'take-it-or-leave it' proposition". 

 

Yesterday's Chennai meeting was chaired by Shivlal Yadav, one of the BCCI's vice-presidents, as it's president and one of the authors of position paper, Narayanswamy Srinivasan, could not attend because of to the death of his mother earlier in the day.  Yadav is said to have left the talking to Sundar Raman, the chief operating officer of the Indian Premier League (IPL) , who was involved in providing support for development of the 'position paper' that will be the focus of the ICC's Dubai meeting.  That suggests that like other members of other ICC full member boards, those from the BCCI were not aware of details contained in the position paper.

 

Yadav is said to have explained why the changes suggested are necessary and discussed the proposed revenue model via which India stands to earn a bigger percentage of the ICC earnings.  The Chennai meeting is said to have been "insistent on not yielding ground on the matter of revenue distribution, the [position paper] apparently recommending "a maximum allotment of twenty-one per cent" of the ICC's revenues to the BCCI on the grounds that Indian cricket helps generate eighty per cent of ICC's global revenues. 

 

The IPL chief is also said to have explained that "the other big advantage of the proposals" is that India could be more free to negotiate bilateral series with full member nations, rather than having to follow the currently centrally coordinated Future Tours Program, an issue that has a clear link with financial issues.

 

As to the proposed four-man executive committee with the position paper is said to describe as the "sole recommendation committee … on all constitutional, personnel, integrity, ethics, development and nominations matters" (PTG 1273-6136, 20 January 2014), the BCCI official is said to have suggested the matter is not as clear cut as has been painted to date.  Reports earlier this week indicated that Australia, England and Indian officials would take up three of the four positions on the proposed new ICC executive committee permanently, a fourth member coming each year from one of the other seven ICC member nations.  

 

The BCCI official was quoted as saying yesterday that the four-man executive committee would "report to the ICC board, which will have the right to approve or reject its recommendations", a comment that appears considerably at odds with what reports claim the position paper envisages; however, such an approach would not necessarily mean the full ICC board would be in a position to reject any of the executive group's decisions.   Another suggestion from Chennai yesterday is the possibility that the  executive committee  could be enlarged beyond the four recommended in the position paper.  

 

SRI LANKAN SEEKS 'DEFERRAL' OF 

DISCUSSIONS ON TRI-NATION PUSH 

[1277-6153]

 

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is to ask that discussion on the position paper put forward by a sub-group of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Finance and Commercial Affairs committee not take place at next week's ICC board meeting in Dubai.  In addition to considering what would be a radical overhaul of ICC administration, the Dubai meeting will also look at: how the world body's multi-billion dollar earnings are distributed between nations; a promotion and relegation arrangement for Test cricket; and a new Future Tours Program arrangement (PTG 1273-6136, 20 January 2014).

 

SLC's executive committee, which met in Colombo yesterday (PTG 1275-6143, 22 January 2014), "agreed to write to the president of the [ICC] and inform them the unanimous view of the executive committee of Sri Lanka Cricket is that the said position paper needs to be deferred and reconsidered on a future date".  The group is also said to have decided it will discuss the issues involved "with the general membership of SLC at a future date".

 

Nishantha Ranatunga, SLC's secretary, said after the executive committee had met that: "We feel that Sri Lanka has earned certain things at an administrative level through Sri Lanka's performance over a long time [and] we will explain to the ICC about the things that affect Sri Lankan cricket, which we are not supportive of".  According to him SLC, which like other ICC member boards only learnt of the position paper two weeks ago, has "not been in close contact with any other ICC boards" and planned to present its "honest and independent" view to the ICC next week.

 

'Cricinfo' is however pointing to what it describes as "SLC's treacherous financial position [which] leaves the board particularly vulnerable to any outcome that will hamper revenues in the short term".  In particular the scheduled home series against India in 2017 "is the centrepiece of the board's broadcast deal with [broadcaster] Ten Sports, and any threat to that tour will have substantial impact on the board's finances".

 

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is said to have "refused to take a firm position" against the revamp plan even though changes proposed "could deprive their side of Test cricket for at least the next four years", says Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper this morning.  The BCB, which like SLC also faces considerable financial challenges, reviewed the tri-nation plan yesterday in what 'New Age' describes as a "marathon" meeting (PTG 1276-6149, 23 January 2014).

 

UGANDAN TESTS FIND 

BOWLER'S ACTION 'LEGAL'

[1277-6154]

 

Uganda's Deusdedit Muhumuza's bowling action, which was reported as "suspect" after play the first day of the World Cup Qualifying event in New Zealand last week, has been found to be "legal" after tests conducted by his home board (PTG 1269-6121, 15 January 2014).  The International Cricket Council said yesterday that examination had shown that Muhumuza "displays hyperextension in his bowling arm which he is unable to control" but that nothing "illegal" had been found.  As a result the Ugandan can continue bowling in international cricket, however, should he be reported again within a period of two years of the date of the first report, he will be required to submit to a detailed independent, laboratory-based, analysis.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,278
Tuesday, 28 January 2014

GUNMAN REPORTED TO HAVE KILLED FIVE 

DURING MATCH IN AFGHANISTAN

[1278-6155]

Afghan authorities are reporting that a gunman shot and killed five local cricketers playing in a match in Laghman province, in the east of the country close to Pakistan, on Friday.     Indications are that a man, who was riding a motorcycle, opened fire on players before fleeing the scene, but as yet no one has claimed responsibility for the atrocity.

 

Provincial spokesman  Sarhadii Zhouak speculated that the Taliban may be behind the incident as when that group ruled the country over a decade ago they imposed severe restrictions on sports and public celebrations, attacks on people taking part in such events being common during that time, however, the local chapter of that organisation is said to have denied any involvement in last week's massacre. 

 

Cricket in Afghanistan has begun to grow in popularity with the national team set to take part in next month's Asia Cup in Bangladesh, then shortly after in  its third consecutive Twenty20 World Championship series, which will also be played in Bangladesh .  The side has also qualified for next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, the first time it will have taken part in that 50-over format tournament. 

 

FORMER ICC HEAVYWEIGHTS CALL 

FOR RETURN TO WOOLF REPORT

[1278-6156]

 

Two former Presidents of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Pakistan's Ehsan Mani and Malcolm Gray of Australia, plus the latter's countryman former ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, are amongst a number of high-profile individuals who have called for the dumping of the 'position paper' that is suggesting major changes to the way the ICC operates.  The ICC's board is due to discuss the paper during its first quarterly meeting of the year in Dubai over the next few days (PTG 1273-6136, 20 January 2014).

 

In addition to asking ICC to withdraw the appeal, Mani's thirteen page rebuttal of the 'position paper' asks the world body and its stakeholders to urgently "review and comment on the 2012 Governance Report [produced] by a group led by Lord Woolf a former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, with a view to implementing its recommendations and improving ICC's Governance structure, in keeping with contemporary best practice".  Nothing has come of that report over the last two years, primarily because of the opposition of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.  

 

Ali Bacher, a former head of cricket in South Africa, wrote separately to current ICC President Alan Issac to express the view that "if accepted" the proposed changes "would lead to division and strife in world cricket as never seen before".  "ICC member countries should never forget the animosity that existed particularly in the sub-continent and the Caribbean when England and Australia had veto rights [on the world body in the period] prior to 1993". 

 

Meanwhile, in the Caribbean, Clarvis Joseph a former vice president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) was quoted in the 'Antigua Observer' yesterday as saying: "There are very wide implications for the development of cricket" and he labelled the WICB's reported "no comment" when asked its views of the position paper as "cowardly".  

 

However, Melbourne's 'Herald Sun' newspaper is reporting this morning that "Australia's plan to seize joint-control of world cricket has cleared one potential road block with the West Indies reluctantly surrendering to the coup".  Journalist Malcolm Conn writes that "despite deep-seated opposition to the radical proposal, the [WICB] have reportedly gone to water behind closed doors".  "The West Indies are in a parlous financial state and cannot risk falling out of favour with India", says Conn's article.

 

If that report, and news that Bangladesh has endorsed the content of the 'position paper' for what are also believed to be financial reasons, are both correct, it means that the Australia-England-India push to revamp ICC operations has at least five votes at this week's meeting, several short of the seven or eight most reports say will be needed to get the revamp over the line.  Zimbabwe's financial state suggests it will also go along with the revamp and thus provide vote number six say reports, which would leave one or two of New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka needing to also vote in favour.

 

Pakistan and South Africa have indicated, publicly at least, that they opposed the changes, Sri Lanka have asked for consideration of the matter, while New Zealand's position is as yet unclear (PTG 1276-6147, 23 January 2014).  Conn covers all angles this morning by saying that "many officials sense" the position paper "could be passed in some form or sent back for further refinement".  However, the paper is said to contain an April deadline for the formation of what is titled the ICC Business Company, a new entity, that would take over the task of issuing tenders for the ICC's next media rights and sponsorship cycle; work that needs to be started in the next few months.

    

BANGLADESH BOARD ENDORSES 

TRI-NATION PROPOSALS

[1278-6157]

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is reported to have voted 20-3 on Friday to endorse proposals formulated by Australia, England and India that would see a major revamp of the way the International Cricket Council (ICC) is administered and operates, a major about-face on its reported decision of the day before not "to take a firm position" on the matter (PTG 1277-6153, 24 January 2014).  BCB president Nazmul Hasan is quoted in yesterday's edition of Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper as saying that his board "did not want to incur the wrath of [India's board] by opposing the plan".   

 

News of the back-flip came just hours after stories surfaced that claimed members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's top decision-making committee had unanimously endorsed the proposed changes (PTG 1277-6152, 24 January 2014).  After the BCB's change of heart was announced there was a spike in critical commentary commentary on various social media outlets in Bangladesh.  Cricket administrators and former players there savaged the BCB, using such terms as a "suicidal decision" that is "tantamount to signing a death warrant for Bangladesh cricket".

 

Reports from Dhaka say that there is widespread belief that if the proposal receives final approval at the ICC board meeting in Dubai this week, it would deprive Bangladesh of Test cricket at least until 2019.  Saber Hossain Chowdhury, who was the BCB's president when his country's team was awarded Test status on June 2000, has since written a letter to Nazmul, saying that he was deeply concerned by the development and "aghast and deeply disappointed at the  apparent decision of BCB [board] to endorse a plan-proposal of three full members of ICC".

 

Acting BCB chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury told reporters in Dhaka last week, prior to his board's meeting, that Bangladesh would "take the side that will be good for us" in Dubai (PTG 1276-6149, 23 January 2014).

 

ODI 'SEND OFF' RESULTS IN FINE

[1278-6158]

 

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been fined fifteen per cent of his match fee by the International Cricket Council (ICC) following an altercation with Australia's James Faulkner in last Friday's One Day International in Perth.  Stokes gave Faulkner a 'send off' when he took his wicket and was subsequently charged with "using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an International Match".

 

Match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe said in an ICC statement that: "Mr Stokes' reaction was a clear breach of the Code [of Conduct], as players are expected to respect their opponents at all times, no matter what the match situation is".  Stokes, who was charged by charge on-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and John Ward of Australia, third umpire Sri Lankan Ranmore Martinesz and fourth umpire Simon Fry of Australia, admitted the offence after the match and accepted the sanction proposed by Pycroft.

 

Meanwhile, Mahuru Dai of Papua New Guinea was reprimanded for “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during an international match” in his side’s Super Six match against the United Arab Emirates in Christchurch, on Sunday.  The incident saw him rub his shoulder and delay leaving the wicket after being given out caught.

 

Match referee Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka said of his decision: “The actions of Mr Dai were clearly a breach of the Code, which plainly reminds players of their responsibilities to respect the umpires’ decisions at all times and to conduct themselves within the spirit of the game".  The charge against Dai was laid by on-field umpires Michael Gough and Chris Gaffaney of England and New Zealand respectively, and third umpire Peter Nero of the West Indies.

 

ZIMBABWE STRIKE CONTINUES AS 

SPONSORSHIP TALKS CONTINUE

[1278-6159]

 

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), whose inability to pay players and staff salaries for many months has led to a prolonged strike in a protest that has put all senior domestic cricket on hold, could be on the verge of striking a sponsorship deal with a multinational company trying to establish markets in Zimbabwe, according to reports from Harare (PTG 1272-6135, 19 January 2014).  ZC has been claiming they were in talks with potential sponsors for some time but so far discussions have come to  naught, but what are called "reliable reports" are apparently suggesting a deal is imminent.

 

Players are said to have gone five months without salaries and coaches for eight months, while match officials supporting domestic matches appear to not have been paid for even longer than that.  What the 'Zimbabwe Independent' is calling a "source" is quoted as saying that "something is likely to come out of the discussions because the prospective sponsors have a keen interest in cricket". “They know the current situation and they can take advantage and penetrate the market while helping the game which is in dire need of financial support".

 

Players are reported to have been told ten days ago that they would received part payment by Monday last week, however. nothing has yet materialised and the strike continues.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,279
Thursday, 30 January 2014

ICC REVAMP PROPOSALS 'SOFTENED' 

BUT 'MONEY' CONFIRMED IN CHARGE

[1279-6160]

 

Significant changes to the way international cricket is run were agreed in principle by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) board in Dubai on Tuesday, although they were somewhat softened from the set of proposals put forward by Cricket Australia (CA), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) earlier this month (PTG 1273-6136, 20 January 2014).  However, while the ICC uses the term "unanimous" to describe decisions taken by the board this week, reports say no votes were taken and the issues are to be discussed further prior to and during another board meeting in the next few weeks.

 

The key factor to emerge from what one representative described as "three days of intense negotiation" was the recognition that Australia, England and most especially India, raise a huge portion of the ICC's revenue.  As such BCCI, CA and ECB officials will take more formal control of the world body by heading up respectively the deliberations of its board, new ICC executive committee and influential Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee [FCAC] for at least the next two years, the BCCI formally taking up what the ICC describes as "central leadership responsibility".

 

Membership of the new, and very powerful executive committee, is to be increased from the four originally proposed to five.  Senior CA-ECB-BCCI officials will still take up three of those spots but two of the seven other ICC full members will now having a place at the table, but it will be chaired, at least for a "transitional period" for two years from this June, by CA's Wally Edwards.  BCCI president Narayanswamy Srinivasan is to chair ICC board meetings while ECB chair Giles Clarke will continue to chair the FCAC.  In theory at least other ICC full member representatives could chair those three groups after the so-called "transitional period" ends in mid-2016.

 

Other matters agreed to at this stage, but which are still to be thrash out in detail include: the establishment of a 'Test cricket fund' that will make money available to the seven Test countries outside the Australia, England and India in order to "encourage and support Test match cricket"; apparent confirmation of a two-tier Test system but that no country will now loose their Test status however others will have the opportunity to play at the game's highest level, although just how was not spelt out; and the long expected dumping of the Test championship concept which will be replaced by a returned Champions Trophy one-day competition in its previously agreed time slots (PTG 1271-6130, 17 January 2014).

 

ICC President Alan Isaac, a New Zealander, said in announcing meeting outcomes that "extensive work will now be undertaken in advance of a follow-up board meeting next month".  He also expressed disappointment that there had been what he called "misconceptions" over the 21-page 'position paper' put forward by CA-ECB-BCCI which was leaked ten days ago and widely criticised.

 

Isaac said in the ICC statement" that "around July last year I encouraged [the three boards] to enter into a constructive dialogue together to help resolve some of the key commercial and governance issues facing the game".  "It is obviously very disappointing that a draft position paper from these members was leaked as this prompted a debate that ignored the ongoing negotiations between all members and led to unwarranted criticism of many of those involved in the process".

 

Isaac says he is not worried that under the new governing structure three countries will have control over the world game. "[The ICC] has a group of people who are charged with being directors who have to act in the best interests of world cricket, [a] responsibility [that] was reiterated many times in the last two-three days".  "It is accepted of course that they sit around the table as presidents or chairmen of member boards but the discussion of the last two days has been in respect of their roles as directors of ICC acting in the best interests of world cricket".

 

FOR 'ABSENT HURT' READ

'ABSENT WITHDRAWN'

[1279-6061]

 

On-line score sheets for the Cricket Australia second XI match between Queensland and Western Australia which ended a day early in Brisbane yesterday describe the visitor's wicketkeeper Tom Triffitt as being 'retired hurt' in his side's second innings, when in fact he and his team mate Tim Armstrong had been flown back to Perth for disciplinary reasons.  Queensland Police said Triffitt, 23, had been arrested and charged with two counts of stealing and one count of wilful damage over an incident that is alleged to have occurred around 5 a.m. yesterday, and while Armstrong was not charged reports say it is "understood to have been involved in an alleged incident in Brisbane's central business district".

 

Both men had been due to continue playing on the third day of the match, a game in which Australian bowlers Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle and squad member Alex Doolan were involved in to gain match practice ahead of the South African Test tour.  Triffitt is due to appear before Brisbane Magistrate's Court in early March and the Western Australian Cricket Association said in a statement yesterday that its "management will meet with both players before determining an appropriate course of action" and that it plans "no further comment until the matter is fully investigated".

 

COACH IMPLICATED AS BPL CORRUPTION 

ENQUIRY CONTINUES

[1279-6062]

 

Dhaka Gladiators skipper Mashrafee bin Murtaza and coach Ian Pont have been summoned by the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s Anti Corruption Tribunal to give their accounts of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) match-fixing scandal (PTG 1272-6132, 19 January 2014).  Reports from Dhaka say that Mashrafee, who was not one of the nine charged with corruption last year (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013), appeared before the tribunal yesterday, while Pont is expected to testify before the three-member group later today.

 

Mashrafee, who led the Gladiators to the title in successive seasons, was replaced by Mohammad Ashraful who has publicly admitted his guilt, in their game against the Chittagong Kings early last year, a match that is at the centre of the match-fixing controversy.  The sudden decision of the team's management to drop him for the game, which his side lost, was met with surprise by the media at the time.  

 

Pont was not one of the nine charged but news reports from Dhaka state he was implicated by the Gladiators’ bowling coach Mohammad Rafique who was.  Last week Gladiators’ lawyer Nawroz Chowdhury claimed Pont was "deliberately spared from charges" despite being involved in the decision-making process, saying "documents made available to us show coach Ian Pont was aware of everything and he had accepted $A6,000 for it".

 

FINES HANDED OUT FOR ON-FIELD, 

'TWITTER', COMMENTS

[1278-6063]

 

Spinner Brad Hogg has been fined twenty per cent of his match fee for "using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting" during his Perth side's Twenty20 match against the Melbourne Stars at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Monday.  Hogg exchanged words with Melbourne batsman David Hussey after the latter had been run out, reportedly telling him "where to go" as he left the field. 

 

Cricket Australia (CA) says in a statement that "Hogg admitted to the offence' which was reported by on-field umpires Gerard Abood and Geoff Joshua "and accepted the fine proposed by match referee Daryl Harper".  Also fined and reprimanded in the last week was Sydney Sixes Daniel Smith for making "public or media comment that is detrimental to the interests of cricket".

 

Smith's $A1,000 fine relates to a post he made on 'Twitter' this week regarding selections for Australia's forthcoming tour of South Africa.  He admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by CA.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,280
Friday, 31 January 2014

FIRST FEMALE UMPIRE APPOINTED 

TO AN INTERNATIONAL PANEL

[1280-6164]

 

New Zealand's Kathy Cross has become the first female to be appointed to an International Cricket Council (ICC) umpires panel.  The ICC calls the selection of Cross, 56, to its third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel (AAIUP) for the year ahead "another significant milestone" in its 'Females in World Cricket Strategy' that "will hopefully lead to more high level female officials coming through the ranks".

 

Cross and this year's other new AAIUP member Nigel Morrison of Vanuatu, join last year's members Sameer Bandekar (United States), Mark Hawthorne and Richard Smith (Ireland), Wynand Louw (Namibia), David Odhiambo (Kenya), Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal), Sarika Prasad (Singapore), Ian Ramage (Scotland) and Courtney Young (Cayman Islands).  Shahul Hameed of Indonesia, who joined the AAIUP when it was established in 2006, has left the panel, however, the ICC makes no mention of Niels Bagh of Denmark, another long serving member, who seems to have quietly disappeared from last year's AAIUP ranks.

 

In addition to being the first female, Cross also becomes the first umpire from an ICC full member nation to be appointed to the world body's third-tier panel for non full member countries.  Members of the AAIUP can be assigned to One Day International and Twenty20 International matches involving Associate and Affiliate Members, first class games in ICC Intercontinental Cup competition for second-tier national sides, and one-day format fixtures played in World Cricket League (WCL) Divisions 3-6 for third to sixth-tier nations, as well as ICC Development Events such as next month's Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

 

Taumarunui-born Cross, who is currently a member of New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) Reserve Panel (PTG 1187-5725, 14 September 2013), was chosen to stand the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand in 2000, following that up with a second such event in 2009 in Australia (PTG 118, 21 March 2009).  In between she stood in five NZC men's senior List A and one senior men's T20 and a range of other NZC games, then was the only female umpire to be selected to stand in the Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament in Bangladesh in 2011, an event that saw her selected to officiate in the third place play-off (PTG 852-4162, 30 October 2011), and a similar  event in Ireland last year when she was appointed to the final (PTG 1161-5620, 3 August 2013). 

 

Vince Van Der Bijl, the ICC's Umpire and Referees Manager, says that "We are delighted with the inclusion of Kathy Cross in the [AAIUP as] she is an excellent role model for aspiring umpires and she has shown her umpiring prowess [at international level]".  Information collated from ICC full member countries suggest that no other females are currently close to standing at international level, while perhaps as few as 5-6 of that sex overall are potentially in contention across the ten ICC full member entities.

 

Just what Morrison, who has in recent years been a member of the ICC East Asia Pacific's (EAP) top umpires panel (PTG 1070-5204, 2 March 2013), thought about his elevation is not mentioned in the ICC release.  It does point out though that he has previously officiated in the 2012 WCL Division 8 event in Samoa and its Division 7 counterpart in Botswana in 2013, as well as in EAP tournaments before that.  Van Der Bijl "paid tribute" to Hameed though, thanking him "for his untiring service and contribution in making the [AAIUP] the strong and reputable unit that it is".

 

The panel for 2014 was named by the Associate and Affiliate Selection Committee, which comprises: Van Der Bijl a South African; ICC second-tier match referee panel member David Jukes of England; former Test umpire Brian Aldridge of New Zealand who is also a former EAP umpire manager; West Indian Adrian Griffith the ICC's Umpire and Referees Administration Manager; and Australian Edward Fitzgibbon, the ICC Development Events Manager.

 

SECOND INTERNATIONAL FINAL 

FOR ENGLISH UMPIRE

[1280-6165]

 

Joel Wilson of the West Indies and Michael Gough of England have been appointed to stand in the final of the World Cup Qualifier series in Christchurch tomorrow between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Scotland, Johan Cloete of South Africa being the reserve and Jeff Crowe of New Zealand the match referee.  For Gough, 34, its his second major international final in two months, the other being the deciding match of the World Twenty20 Championship qualifier series in the UAE nine weeks ago (PTG 1244-6009, 29 November 2013).

 

ASSAULT WITH BAT LEAVES  PLAYER

WITH 'SERIOUS HEAD INJURIES'

[1280-6166]

 

An argument that developed during a match in Nagpur on Tuesday ended with twenty-two-year-old player Ashish Barange in hospital in critical condition with "serious head injuries".  The 'Times of India' (TOI) yesterday reported police as saying that a member of the batting side hit Barange on the head with a bat after what umpire Shubham Aatram says was "confusion over a 'no ball' [and that that] led to a confrontation".  

 

While doctors have carried out a CAT scan, other than indicating Barange suffered "internal injuries" they have not yet provided their assessment of the long-term outlook about his health to police; although there are indications that a charge of murder could ensue.  Details of just what the reported "confusion" was over Aatram's call have not yet surfaced.    

 

ONE MATCH SUSPENSION HANDED OUT

FOR SECOND 'DISSENT' OF THE SEASON

[1280-6167]

 

Western Australian spinner Ashton Agar, who made his Test debut in the Ashes series in England last year, has been suspended from playing in his state's next first class match for showing dissent towards an umpire's decision during WA's Second XI match against its Queensland counterparts earlier this week.  As it was the twenty-year-old's second similar offence this austral summer it was treated as a level two charge, hence the suspension.  

 

No details of his offence in a match that was umpired by Tasmanian Jamie Mitchell and Stephen Dionysuis of Queensland have been released, but Cricket Australia says he admitted to the dissent charge and therefore a hearing wasn't required.  Last November, Agar was fined twenty-five per cent of his match fee for "showing dissent at an umpire’s decision" while bowling in WA's Sheffield Shield match against Victoria in Perth (PTG 1242-5998, 26 November 2013).

End of January 2014 News file