1,281 – 2 February [6168-6171]
• Proposed ICC changes 'fair', says CA Chairman (1281-6168).
• 'Where's the money?', asks Queensland country chief (1281-6169).
• Off-spinner warned against bowling 'doosras' (1281-6170).
• Suspended ban for cricket agent (1281-6171).
1,282 - 3 February [6172-6177]
• Maintaining ball-bat balance key to T20 game's future, says 'Chappelli' (1282-6172).
• Umpires, scorers named for CA T20 semi finals (1282-6173).
• Aussie players' union submits 'state-of-the-game' report to CA (1282-6174).
• New women's series announced, full details awaited (1282-6175).
• Eleventh nation to get Test status? (1282-6176).
• London puts its hand up for ICC HQ (1282-6177).
1,283 - 4 February [6178-6184]
• Call for 'independent' directors on proposed ICC 'excomm' (1283-6178).
• CSA reported considering back-flip on revamp views (1283-6179).
• PCB reiterates its concerns about ICC changes (1283-6180).
• Pakistani umpires need to be paid better, says Dar (1283-6181).
• But do Australia's top players need more pay? (1283-6182).
• Ten year jail terms for match-fixing on table in UK (1283-6183).
• Zimbabwe strike reported set to end (1283-6184).
1,284 - 5 February [6185-6192]
• Sri Lanka reported 'still considering' proposed ICC changes (1284-6185).
• U-19 World Cup match officials named (1284-6186).
• Australia prepares to host Indian, South African, umpires (1284-6187).
• Four-week suspension handed down for repeated dissent (1284-6188).
• Cancellation of Wagga matches due to heat 'inconsistent', say critics (1284-6189).
• Nice work if you can get it (1284-6190).
• Fijian umpire Alice Springs bound (1284-6191).
• ECB umpire to stand in U.S. universities championships (1284-6192).
1,285 - 6 February [6193-6201]
• BCCI chief indicates full board to remain the 'supreme' ICC body (1285-6193).
• ICC overhaul will bring financial benefits to all, says ECB chairman (1285-6194).
• Sri Lanka says 'no' to ICC overhaul plans (1285-6195).
• CSA clarifies the status of its ICC revamp deliberations (1285-6196).
• Imran criticises ICC's 'colonial' revamp (1285-6197).
• Bowden, Ravi, but no Martinecz, on World T20 match officials panel (1285-6198).
• Loosing CA T20 skipper wants finals arrangements changed (1285-6199).
• More talk of improving Pakistani umpiring standards (1285-6200).
• Pair bat for 48 hours, set new world record (1285-6201).
1,286 - 7 February [6202-6205]
• Sri Lanka queries 'legality' of ICC revamp proposals (1286-6202).
• NUP newcomer joins senior members for CA T20 finals (1286-6203).
• Bat wave, verbal 'vents', earn one-week ban for dissent (1286-6204).
• Banned Pakistan trio reaffirm their desire to return to the game (1286-6205).
1,287 - 8 February [6206-6207]
• ICC revamp 'entirely motivated by money', claims Lord Woolf (1287-6206).
• Cross for WCL Division 5 tournament in Malaysia (1287-6207).
1,288 - 9 February 
• Board approves major changes to ICC governance, financial arrangements (1288-6208).
1,289 - 11 February [6209-6216]
• ICC changes 'good for the game', says BCCI chief (1289-6209).
• Player's union head calls revamp 'sad day for the game' (1289-6210).
• Sri Lanka to reconsider its position on ICC changes (1289-6211).
• Supreme court panel fingers IPL franchise head (1289-6212).
• Zimbabwean player strike grinds on (1289-6213).
• Comments on umpiring decision attracts reprimand (1289-6214).
• Perth fined for slow over-rate (1289-6215).
• Bowler's action cleared (1289-6216).
1,290 - 12 February [6217-6221]
• IPL corruption allegations roll on (1290-6217).
• Fiftieth Test for match referee Mahanama (1290-6218).
• 'Extreme heat' forecast results in association cancelling play (1290-6219).
• CA domestic day-night first class games near (1290-6220).
• Gillies for South African exchange (1290-6221).
1,291 - 13 February [6222-6225]
• ODI debut for Bangladeshi umpire (1291-6222).
• Windies umpire announces departure (1291-6223).
• Another ECB Reserve List umpire on the move (1291-6224).
• CA tinkering with domestic T20 season timings (1291-6225).
1,292 - 15 February [6226-6236]
• Pakistani domestic T20 game 'fixed', claims TV commentator (1292-6226).
• ECB already spending anticipated 'increased revenues' (1292-6227).
• CA back in the 'grass roots' training business? (1292-6228).
• Exchange umpires in Cape Town, Durban and Kimberley (1292-6229).
• 'Zing' wickets for debut in international event (1292-6230).
• End to Zimbabwe strike this time? (1292-6231).
• Reports suggest part of IPL-7 could be played outside India (1292-6232).
• Banned Hong Kong spinner named in WT20C squad (1292-6233).
• Umpire donates historic fine china plates to Bradman Museum (1292-6234).
• Modified Playing Conditions aimed at encouraging women players (1292-6235).
• Former umpire pleads guilty to cricket stealing charge (1292-6236).
1,293 - 17 February [6237-6240]
• Fight over ground use in Mumbai continues (1293-6237).
• Former EUP member mentoring U-19 WC umpires (1293-6238).
• 'Foul language' results in reprimand for U-19 bowler (1293-6239).
• Fine handed out for 'obscene language' (1293-6240).
1,294 - 18 February [6241-6244]
• MCG fund raiser aimed at helping umpire's son (1294-6241).
• Warrnambool umpires donate fees to cancer fund (1294-6242).
• Second English U-19 bowler reprimanded (1294-6243).
• US association's debt on the rise (1294-6244).
1,295 - 19 February [6245-4248]
• Sri Lanka agrees to go with the ICC flow (1295-6245).
• PCB committee to probe T20 'fixing' allegations (1295-6246).
• WICB positive about ICC revamp (1295-6247).
• Call for review of US cricket's 'governance structure' (1295-6248).
1,296 - 22 February [6249-6255]
• Bowden, Ravi vying for a second vacant EUP spot? (1296-6249).
• Dharmasena slips quietly into Port Elizabeth Test (1296-6250).
• U-19 World Cup quarter final officials named (1296-6251).
• Gough collects yet more 'frequent flyer' points (1296-6252).
• Batsman's head injury again raises concussion issue (1296-6253).
• Part of IPL-7 likely to be held outside India (1296-6254).
• Captain's season ends after umpire 'abuse' verdict (1296-6255).
1,297 - 23 February [6256-6260]
• Zimbabwe 'inadvertently' chose over age players for U-19 World Cup (1297-6256).
• Former England U-19 captain moved into IUP on-field spot (1297-6257).
• Board fines, suspends player for 'inappropriate gesture' on live TV (1297-6258).
• Zim financial machinations continue (1297-6259).
• Kaneria again exploring life ban legal issues (1297-6260).
1,298 - 24 February [6261-6263]
• Late season first class day-night trials 'ill timed', claims report (1298-6261).
• Indian U-19 captain suspended, spinner reprimanded (1298-6262).
• BCB asked to reduce player's ban 'for the sake of the team' (1298-6263).
1,299 - 26 February [6264-6271]
• Opponents cheated better than us, suggests Aussie opener (1299-6264).
• Pink balls and colour-blindness not expected to be a problem, says CA (1299-6265).
• Future tours program discussions postponed (1299-6266).
• BCB President 'not for turning' on 'inappropriate gesture' ban (1299-6267).
• Player's umpire hopes in doubt because of BPL scandal, claims report (1299-6268).
• Lack of groundsmen stops play (1299-6269).
• Minister sees Taliban match reviving peace talks (1299-6270).
• Money woes shut down Kaneria's latest appeal (1299-6271).
1,300 - 27 February [6272-6275]
• Match referee, umpire named for ODI milestones (1300-6272).
• Four-day match reduced to two by pitch, 'Dukes' balls, says report (1300-6273).
• A lunch break with a difference in opening Antigua ODI (1300-6274).
• NZ names this year's 'Favourite Umpire' (1300-6275).
1,301 - 28 February [6276-6279]
• Warner fined for ball-tampering suggestions (1301-6276).
• EUP candidates to stand in U-19 World Cup final (1301-6277).
• Bird to become Yorkshire county club's President (1301-6278).
• Player charges downgraded after wording of umpire's report queried (1301-6279).
PROPOSED ICC CHANGES 'FAIR',
SAYS CA CHAIRMAN
Cricket Australia (CA) chairman Wally Edwards says it is fair that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) receive a bigger share of world cricket revenue for what he termed ''hiring out'' 'Team India' to the International Cricket Council (ICC), and describes proposed ICC governance reforms as ''critical for the future of the game'', according to a report in yesterday's 'Sydney Morning Herald'. Edwards was speaking in Melbourne on Friday after CA's board of directors backed the reforms championed by their representatives and those of the BCCI and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) at last week's ICC board meeting in Dubai.
Edwards is said to have expressed the view that the current system for running the international game is completely dysfunctional, would not solve any of the problems that exist, and insisted no country would be worse off under the changes if the next ICC media rights deal, which will be negotiated this year, meets expectations in terms of financial return. At least half of the ten Test-playing nations, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Zimbabwe, have serious financial problems and almost all ten countries depend on India for survival, a situation that means the BCCI has significant ability to control the world game.
While the proposed ICC revenue distribution model would see the BCCI receive the lion's share of ICC revenue and to a lesser extent also benefit England and Australia financially, Edwards says that "assuming we get the right number when we go to tender", "the reality is [all 106 ICC nations] get more money in the new deal". "No body is going backwards and guess what, if it ends up the [dollar return is the same] we've had for the last eight years, India don't get any more money than anyone else". He stressed that CA-ECB-BCCI push did not occur because they wanted to "desert" other ICC nations for "we want world cricket to thrive, not go backwards".
"My focus has always been the game, not the money", continued Edwards, and "we have to get to a point where everybody wants to be part of this and see the game improve". ''Change is very important [and] I have worked very hard to make sure we have protected a lot of important things and if people just concentrate on the fact that India get more of the money and Australia gets marginally more than South Africa, and South Africa gets marginally more than Pakistan and New Zealand gets a bit more than Zimbabwe, then so be it". "What we have negotiated is more than fair", said Edwards, as "[India] are contributing towards eighty per cent of the money and they're taking about twenty per cent for hiring their team for the ICC".
ICC board members are due to gather in Singapore a week from today for a special meeting at which it is hoped that key aspects of the proposed revamp of the world body's management and financial arrangements will be finalised.
'WHERE'S THE MONEY?', ASKS
QUEENSLAND COUNTRY CHIEF
What Brisbane's 'Courier Mail' is this morning describing as "frustrated rural and regional officials" are said to "have a simple message for Australian cricket's high flyers: "Show us the money". Journalist Ben Dorries writes that "rivers of gold should be flowing through all levels of the game after Cricket Australia (CA) proudly signed off on a $590 million broadcast deal with [Australian] TV networks Nine and Ten" last June (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013), however, "cricket in many country and bush areas is battling, with overworked development officials often hopelessly outnumbered and outmuscled by their well-funded counterparts from [various football codes]".
Dorries says that the big Queensland regional hubs of Cairns and Townsville each have just one full-time funded cricket development/participation staffer, who has to travel thousands of kilometres each year, while "in contrast, both cities are saturated with footy development officials". Queensland Country Cricket Association chief Kev Maher is quoted as lamenting that "we have never seen a cent of the television money".
"All the dollars from the TV rights, the successful Ashes series and all the other money coming in has been really fantastic for Australian cricket,", says Maher, "but we want to see some of these funds graduate down to the development side of the game in country areas". "Generally, the numbers playing cricket in the country were a lot bigger ten years ago than they are now [and] the volunteer base has really been stretched due to economic reasons [cause by a long-lasting drought] in rural and regional Queensland".
A key problem in recent years has, writes Dorries, been Queensland Cricket's (QC) "perilously tight financial position". "Ironically, it appears QC got itself into financial trouble by giving too much cash to country cricket for many years, regardless of the size of the money pot distributed by [CA] to the state", continues the 'Courier Mail' article. QC is described as "in recovery mode and running a frugally tight ship", to the extent that players chosen for the Queensland Country side at last month's national championships in Canberra "had to help pay their own way".
CA is quoted as indicating that its distributions to state associations spiked by about eight per cent last year and a further increase is expected this year. No mentioned was made in the article about CA's plans to boost player numbers by some quarter-of-a-million people across the country over the next two years, or reports soon after last June's TV deal was announced that there were plans to boost 'grass roots' funding by around $A7.5 million over each of the last few years. Attempts by PTG to obtain details of project funding under than scheme over the last half year have so far come to nothing (PTG 1233-5941, 14 November 2013), something Maher's reported comments appear to underline.
OFF-SPINNER WARNED AGAINST
United Arab Emirates (UAE) off-spinner Nasir Aziz has been warned against bowling 'doosras' in international cricket following a detailed analysis of his bowling action conducted at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth two weeks ago. Aziz's action was reported twice during the World Twenty20 Qualifier series in the UAE late last year, first following a group stage match against Uganda (PTG 1234-5956, 17 November 2013), and then two weeks later after his side’s semi-final against Ireland (PTG 1245-6014, 1 December 2013).
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said yesterday that the UWA analysis showed "no significant difference" in the majority of Aziz’ off-break deliveries between the match footage and laboratory comparisons, however, there were "distinct differences" in the bowling of his 'doosra' deliveries between match footage and laboratory comparisons. ICC Regulations for the 'Review of Bowlers Reported with Suspected Illegal Bowling Actions' mean that Aziz is permitted to continue to bowl his stock off-break delivery in international cricket, but he has been formally "warned that should he continue to bowl the 'doosra' he will run the risk of being cited again".
Following the initial report after the Uganda match Aziz was required to submit to an analysis conducted by his Home Board Analysis, an investigation that concluded that he employed a legal bowling action (PTG 1241-5990, 25 November 2013). As a result he was permitted to continue bowling in international cricket but the second report following the Ireland match automatically meant the an 'independent' analysis of his action was required, hence the UWA tests.
A further report on the spinner's action within a period of two years will mean that Aziz will be required to submit to a fresh independent analysis such as that conducted at the UWA. If such an analysis concludes he has an illegal bowling action for any type of delivery, he will be suspended from bowling in international cricket for a minimum period of twelve months.
SUSPENDED BAN FOR CRICKET AGENT
Cricket agent Rob Barry has pleaded guilty to representing both a player and a club in contract negotiations and faces being struck off the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) agent list in the event of a repeat offence. Barry, the founder of London-based Total Sport Promotions, pleaded guilty at an ECB disciplinary panel hearing, which later ordered his registration as an agent be cancelled, but suspended the order for a two-year period, and that he pay £2,000 ($A3,800) toward the cost of the hearing. The ECB has not named the player or county in question.
PLAYING THE GAME
MAINTAINING BALL-BAT BALANCE KEY
TO T20 GAME'S FUTURE, SAYS 'CHAPELLI'
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell feels the Twenty20 (T20) format has made the game more batsmen-centric and more needs to be done to maintain a balance between the bat and the ball otherwise it could lead to the demise of the sport. Chappell expressed the view in his column in Sydney's 'Daily Telegraph' late last week, that organisers are putting more emphasis on "big hitting and bringing entertainment through bowlers being battered all over the park".
"Sixes are becoming as common as cheerleaders at T20 matches, [with more than a third] of the runs [in last week's Australia-England Twenty20 International (T20I) in Hobart] being registered via rope-clearing shots". According to him that is more than ten percent above the previous highest yearly average for T20Is, therefore "the number of T20 games being played and the on-ground fireworks aren't the only explosions occurring in [that format]".
"T20 sixes are on the increase and while this may sound exciting for the patrons, the administrators need to ensure they retain the right balance between contest and entertainment", says Chappell. "If they don't the consequences down the track could be dire and the game may eventually become unrecognisable as cricket", he continued. His assessment is that batting technique and proper shot selection is being neglected to score quick runs and eventually that could lead to the sport becoming "a poor amalgamation of cricket and baseball".
"Batting is an art but with the boundaries being reduced and [the quality of] bats improving at a rapid rate, there's plenty of incentive for players to completely ignore technique and concentrate on raw power", says Chappell. "There's definitely a place for hitters who excel but some batting artistry must remain for the game to resemble cricket".
UMPIRES, SCORERS NAMED
FOR CA T20 SEMI FINALS
Cricket Australia (CA) has named four of its top five National Umpire Panel (NUP) members to fill on-field positions in the semi finals of its Twenty20 competition in Melbourne and Sydney tomorrow and Wednesday. The latter day will also see two semi finals of CA's women's Twenty20 series played in Sydney, two other NUP members managing those games alongside two of the country's emerging umpires group.
John Ward and Gerard Abood, who are currently rated at two and five respectively on the NUP, are to look after tomorrow's game in Melbourne, relative newcomer Sam Nogajski being the third umpire and Bob Stratford the match referee. In Sydney twenty-four hours later NUP numbers three and four, Mick Martell and Paul Wilson will be on-field, with Geoff Joshua in the television spot and Peter Marshall the referee.
NUP member Damien Mealey and the emerging group's Greg Davidson, who seems the most likely candidate to join the NUP in the coming off season, will with Marshall look after the first women's semi final, while Ash Barrow from the NUP and another 'emerger' Tony Wilds will be on-field in the second, local Graham Reed being the referee.
CA has named three scorers for the men's Melbourne match, James Higgs, Jan Howard and Craig Davenport, and two for the Sydney game, Christine Bennison and Kay Wilcoxon. Chris McLeod and Ian Wright will be the scorers for both the women's semi finals.
The finals of both the men's and women's series will be played in an as yet unnamed city this Friday evening. Match officials for those games are likely to be announced on Thursday.
AUSSIE PLAYERS' UNION SUBMITS
'STATE-OF-THE-GAME' REPORT TO CA
Australia's players have recommended to Cricket Australia (CA) that its domestic Twenty20 series be played in October in future, says a report in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH). The change is one of a series of recommendations the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) has lodged with CA in a state-of-the-game report compiled from member contributions (PTG 1248-6025, 5 December 2013), however, apart from its concern about the impact of T20 on Australia's domestic first class and one-day competitions, no details of any other suggestions put forward by the ACA have surfaced as yet.
Journalist Chris Barratt says that the ACA wants the Sheffield Shield first class competition spaced out more evenly than the current summer when it has been squeezed into two widely separated packages, one at the start of summer and the other at the end. They also want CA's one-day series, which was played tournament-style in one city for the first time this season and saw each team play just six matches, extended to ensure side's play at least eight.
Barratt writes that the chances of the T20 event being shifted to October during the 2014-15 season "are minimal" as plans are already in place for it to again run in the December-January period. According to him players face a challenge convincing not only CA but the Ten Network of the merits of moving the event. Broadcaster Ten, which has four more years to run on its rights agreement with CA worth around $A80 million, is said to be keen to retain the T20 event's place in the Christmas-New Year holiday period.
Reports say that average attendances for CA's T20 series matches this season have been around 20,000, up a third on those of a year ago, while free-to-air television ratings show that close to one million people have tuned into each game, a rise of some ten per cent over the previous season when games were only accessible in Australia via pay-TV. The popularity of the competition is shown by the fact that half-way through the current season a total of 687,000 people had attended T20 matches, a figure that was already higher than the total attendances in each of the previous four competitions.
NEW WOMENS' SERIES ANNOUNCED,
FULL DETAILS AWAITED
A new 'International Women’s Championship' (IWC) involving the world's top eight ranked teams is being established by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Each of the sides will play the seven others in a series of matches, probably of fifty and twenty over formats, over a period of thirty months from mid-2014 to the end of 2016, with the resulting "top teams" qualifying automatically for the Women’s World Cup of 2017.
Competing countries in the first two-and-a-half year cycle will be: Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies. The ICC says that there will be "promotion and relegation at the end of the first cycle" but just what that means in practice has not been spelt out, however, it suggests a team from outside the top eight, for example Bangladesh, Zimbabwe or another nation, could via some mechanism yet to be decided, replace the side that finishes bottom in IWC-1 in IWC-2 at the end of this decade .
The ICC does say though that the "bottom countries" at the end of the 2016 IWC-1 series will be joined by "a number of teams" from the "ICC’s regional qualification structures" in a Women’s World Cup Qualifier series which will determine the final participants in the 2017 Women’s World Cup. How many teams will automatically qualify for the World Cup via IWC-1 and the number who will have to take part in the qualifier, are not clear at this stage.
ELEVENTH NATION TO
GET TEST STATUS?
The winner of the Intercontinental Cup, a first class competition for second-tier country's national sides that runs over two-years, could be offered the opportunity to challenge for Test status under proposals being considered by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Ireland and Afghanistan are currently the top-two second-tier sides, the former now having one the cup four times and Afghanistan and Scotland once each in the ten years the competition has been underway; those nations plus Canada, Kenya, Namibia, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates taking part in the last series which ran from 2011-13.
Details are sketchy but some reports say that the winner of the Intercontinental Cup series that ends in 2019 could play the then lowest-ranked Test country on a home-and-away basis. If the former wins they would become the eleventh Test nation for a period that could run for a period for three to four years, but who they would play in that period has not been fleshed out. What would happen to the lowest-ranked Test side if they loose is also unclear, however, reports from last week's ICC board meeting in Dubai suggest that they would not be 'relegated' from the Test scene (PTG 1279-6160, 30 January 2014). Details may or may not be clarified after the ICC board meets in Singapore this coming weekend.
LONDON PUTS ITS HAND
UP FOR ICC HQ
Surrey are reported to have joined forces with the Mayor of London's office in an attempt to persuade the International Cricket Council (ICC) to move its headquarters to The Oval from Dubai. Reports late last month stated that the 'position paper' prepared members of the ICC's Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee from Australian, English and Indian had recommended the world body's headquarters move from Dubai in order to have wider access to potential employees and commercial partners (PTG 1275-6141, 22 January 2014), but whether that suggestion is still on the table is not clear.
CALL FOR 'INDEPENDENT' DIRECTORS
ON PROPOSED ICC 'EXCOMM'
"Two widely respected outsiders" who are "free from the entanglements of existing [national] boards", should be appointed to fill the two non Australia-England-India positions on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) proposed new executive committee (excomm], says Australian journalist Gideon Haigh. Last week an ICC board meeting in Dubai formulated a proposal, which may be finalised at another board meeting in Singapore this coming weekend, that would see those nations occupy three of five positions on the world body's most powerful decision-making group for at least the next two years (PTG 1279-6160, 30 January 2014).
Writing in the weekend edition of 'The Australian', Haig makes the claim that "no body talked about 'the good of cricket' [in Dubai] in anything but the most banal terms, because nobody really does anymore", as for those who attended that meeting "the good of cricket these days" is the "financial advantage of the [ICC national] full member board I'm president of". However, Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards has, amongst others, stressed that his aim has "always been the game, not the money" (PTG 1281-6168, 2 February 2014), as has apparently the Pakistan Cricket Board (PTG 1283-6180 below).
Haig, a keen observer of the ICC who has considerable insight into that body's machinations, says that while the appointment of two 'independent' members to the proposed excomm "would still constitute a minority", individuals who "know the ropes at the ICC" but are free of on-going links with national boards and have the "calibre to vote with their consciences" are needed. "India, Australia and England insist that they'll govern in the interests of all cricket", continues Haigh, "so OK fine, let's trust but verify and co-opt two widely respected outsiders to make sure they do", "people who aren't simply voting their own interests, people who can't be bullied".
Such a move would be a logical extension of proposals put forward in the 2012 Woolf report on ICC governance that recommended that directors independent of national boards be appointed to take the ICC forward, writes Haigh, an approach that was vetoed by India at that time (PTG 1278-6156, 28 January 2014). He comments that while senior figures from Australia, England and India who are likely to head up the excomm "may be getting along now", and that "each in their own ways are able men", "their first serious disagreement might well be an awkward one", and apart from that they aren't immortal and a different set of individuals from those nations on the executive committee "could be a lot less congenial". The former apparent strong relationship between England and Wales Cricket Board Chairman Giles Clarke and now disgraced American millionaire Alan Stanford is pointed to by Haigh as an example.
Haigh believes the current ICC "is kind of manageably awful and its default position is inertia", and as such there is a need for significant change. However, in his view the proposed new executive committee arrangements, which he describes as "enlightened despotism", "contain a different set of risks, ones less readily understood and arguable less effectively contained". But he warns, "enlightenment waxes and wanes", and "without safeguards it tends over time simply to become despotism". Despite that suggesting two independent directors be appointed "is so obvious, simple and self-evidently beneficial that I make it in the safe and sure knowledge that it will never happen", concludes Haigh.
CSA REPORTED CONSIDERING BACK-FLIP
ON REVAMP VIEWS
Cricket South Africa (CSA) appears to be considering a back-flip of its strong opposition to proposals to restructure the world game in return for a repaired relationship with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), claim media reports from Johannesburg yesterday that come as Pakistan appears to be holding firm on its views (PTG 1283-6180 below). In late January, CSA asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) to withdraw the draft proposal produced by some on the world body's Finance and Commercial Affairs Commercial Rights working group which would give key power to Australia, England and particularly India.
Two weeks ago CSA president Chris Nenzani described the proposed ICC revamp as "fundamentally flawed as regards the process and, therefore, in breach of the ICC constitution" (PTG 1274-6138, 21 January 2014). Discussions about the document and horse-trading dominated an ICC board meeting in Dubai early last week, and on Saturday CSA convened a joint session of its board and member forum to discuss its position ahead of this coming weekend's ICC board meeting in Singapore.
Reports say that "the price" of South Africa's "climb down" would be its vote in favour of revised revamp arrangements in return for India's commitment firstly to its side touring South Africa in the future, and secondly to its adoption of a "forgive and forget" approach with regards to the "issues" the BCCI has with CSA’s chief executive Haroon Lorgat. Those "issues" flow from Lorgat's term as the ICC's chief executive which have over the last three months seen the BCCI refuse to deal with him on CSA-BCCI bilateral issues (PTG 1217-5852, 25 October 2013).
The BCCI, which one South African media report describes as "consummate wheeler dealers", are said to be "confident of getting the result they want". "There is an offer [from the BCCI] on the table", claims the report, which hints that a monetary-related incentive is involved. "This is how the BCCI operates; do what they want or they won’t play against you", said what reports claim was a CSA source, who is also quoted as saying that "CSA would be selling their souls if they took up this offer, but it wouldn’t be the first time". India’s shortening of their tour to South Africa late last year is reported to have cost CSA around 200 million Rand ($A20m) in lost revenue (PTG 1217-5852, 25 October 2013).
A brief statement issued by CSA after its meeting on Saturday has Nenzani saying that: "We have reached a position where we will need to engage further with the ICC leadership before we can reach a consensus position ahead of next Saturday’s ICC board meeting" in Singapore, and he is "confident that we can reach agreement based on the principles that we strongly adhere to".
PCB REITERATES ITS CONCERNS
ABOUT ICC CHANGES
Cricket South Africa may be considering its position regarding moves to revamp International Cricket Council (ICC) organisational arrangements proposed by Australia, England and India (PTG 1283-6179 above), but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is reported yesterday to have decided to continue to oppose the revised changes, calling them "neither in line with principle of equity nor in the interest of the game of cricket". The PCB appears to be adhering to the position it announced prior to last week's ICC board meeting in Dubai (PTG 1274-6137, 21 January 2014).
Suggestions that the PCB is continuing to opposed changes at the ICC came after a meeting of its board over the weekend that was briefed by its representatives at the Dubai gathering. It also comes despite the ICC saying last week that its members, which included Pakistan, had "unanimously supported" a set of principles that were close to the tri-nation push (PTG 1279-6160, 30 January 2014), and later claims by Cricket Australia's chairman that the proposed changes were "fair" (PTG 1281-6168, 2 February 2014).
PAKISTANI UMPIRES NEED TO
BE PAID BETTER, SAYS DAR
Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar has called on the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to "take a leaf out of India's book" and improve the pay scales for match officials in his country, say reports from Karachi yesterday. Dar said during an interview on the 'Geo Super' channel on Sunday that Indian umpires are paid twice the amount his countrymen receive, and he had recommended to the PCB that it review umpire pay structures, establish central contracts, and improve the facilities provided to umpires in carrying out their match related duties.
Asked about the concerns about what some say is "the declining standard of umpiring" in Pakistan, Dar, a three-time winner of the world 'Umpire of the Year' award, said things would not improve unless more former players join the profession. "In other countries more former players are becoming umpires but we don't see this trend in Pakistan because the umpires are not well paid nor are they given required facilities and benefits by the [PCB]". He also recently told the Board that umpires must be accommodated in the best hotels while on duty so they can sleep properly and therefore function at their best on the field as "umpiring is a taxing and thankless job".
Dar defended his colleagues who have come under criticism for poor decision-making during domestic tournaments in Pakistan. "I have been hearing a lot of criticism about the umpiring but I think players need to focus on their own job". "Umpires are human beings and can make errors [and] in cricket players usually tend to have luck both ways so they shouldn't complain and blame the umpires", he said.
BUT DO AUSTRALIA'S TOP
PLAYERS NEED MORE PAY?
Australian cricketers occupy more spots on Australia's 'Business Review Weekly' (BRW) publication's list of the country's top fifty sports earners than those of any other game for the first time. The eleven players named are estimated to have attracted a total of $A29 million for their work over the past year, one-third of that amount coming from the participation of seven of them in the 2013 version of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
'BRW' says that at number six Test all-rounder Shane Watson "leads a long list of millionaire cricketers" with $A6 million in gross earnings, immediately ahead of his captain Michael Clarke at seven with $A5.5m in 2013. Next comes David Warner (12-$A3.8m), David Hussey (23-$A2m), Ricky Ponting (24-$A2m), Brad Haddin (30-$1.8m), Glenn Maxwell (31-$A1.8), Cameron White (40-$1.5m), Brett Lee (41-$1.5m), Adam Gilchrist (42-$1.5m), and Ryan Harris (47-$1.3m).
Apart from a multi-million deal with Cricket Australia (CA) Watson, who has at least nine sponsors of life-style products on his books, is estimated to have earned as much as $A1.4m from his work in the IPL in 2013. Clarke, an IPL non starter, is said to be "highly valuable to personal sponsors and [CA's] corporate backers", Warner 's income is derived "from the [IPL] and a raft of sponsors [who] boost his [CA] salary", while Hussey, Maxwell, White, Lee and Gilchrist also have CA/IPL earnings, and the latter and Ponting amounts from the Caribbean Premier League series.
The 'BRW' report says the boost in earnings for the eleven are a result of increased CA contracts, personal sponsorships and endorsement deals, and the "explosion of domestic Twenty20 competitions, the most lucrative of which is the star-studded [IPL]".
TEN YEAR JAIL TERMS FOR
MATCH-FIXING ON TABLE IN UK
Match-fixing could be made a specific criminal offence with a jail term of up to ten years in the UK if an amendment to a new Gambling Bill tabled in the House of Lord's by member Colin Moynihan is accepted, according to a report in London's 'Daily Telegraph'. The former sports minister and British Olympic Association chairman formally proposed a new clause be added to Government legislation being scrutinised by peers which would give police and courts more powers to prosecute those involved in fixing.
Currently the maximum penalty for "cheating at gambling" in the UK is two years in prison. Moynihan's amendments to the 'Cheating' section of the Gambling Act 2005 draw heavily on laws passed last year in Victoria, which some reports have widely credited as, in the Telegraph's words, "sparking a successful crackdown on corruption in sport there". Moynihan drew them up in consultation with Britain's Sports Betting Group, formed in 2010 following a Government-commissioned report into gambling in sport led by former Premier League chief executive Rick Parry.
Executives from British football, cricket, rugby union, rugby league, tennis and other sports are expected to join forces at the Whitehall summit to urge the Culture Secretary to back the changes, which ultimately require Government approval. Minister Maria Miller is said to be thought to be reluctant to legislate specifically against match-fixing unless a compelling case can be made that existing laws to tackle it are ineffective.
The news from London comes as reports from Dhaka yesterday indicated that tribunal verdicts on alleged match-fixing and spot-fixing in last year's Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) are likely to be announced late this month. Last August, seven individuals were accused by International Cricket Council investigators of BPL fixing-related crimes and another two with failing to report a corruption-related approach that was made to them (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013); one more being implicated more recently (PTG 1279-6062, 30 January 2014). A Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Anti-Corruption Tribunal is expected to end its hearings into the matter this Thursday.
ZIMBABWE STRIKE REPORTED
SET TO END
Zimbabwe's cricketers are reported to have agreed to end their boycott over unpaid wages yesterday and are returning to training after being promised money by next week, according to coach Andy Waller, but just when the domestic game will resume is less clear (PTG 1278-6156, 28 January 2014). Waller told The Associated Press that the national squad will gather later today for fielding practice and fitness tests after striking for two months over unpaid wages and bonuses and refusing to play domestic games.
The Zimbabwe cricket board has reportedly secured a loan of $A3 million from the International Cricket Council as well as monies from a sponsor. Zimbabwe cricket has been troubled by off-field issues for at least a decade, partly because of the southern African country's economic meltdown. Players also threatened to strike ahead of a home series against Pakistan last year before deciding to play, defeating them in a Test for the first time in fifteen years.
SRI LANKA REPORTED 'STILL
CONSIDERING' PROPOSED ICC CHANGES
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is still considering proposals to revamp International Cricket Council (ICC) structures and operations, changes that the ICC suggested last week had been "unanimously supported" by its ten full member nations at an ICC board meeting in Dubai (PTG 1279-6160, 30 January 2014). According to a report in Monday's edition of the Colombo 'Daily Mirror' SLC's executive committee, which held an "emergency meeting" in the Sri Lankan capital on Saturday, is to gather again today with a range of "stakeholders" in order to finalise its views prior to the next ICC board meeting in Singapore on Sunday.
Before to the gathering in Dubai, SLC stated publicly that it had asked the ICC for discussion on the whole subject of a revamp to be deferred until later in the year (PTG 1277-6153, 24 January 2014). Last Saturday's Colombo meeting is said to have discussed legal issues behind the proposed ICC changes and also a financial analysis of them carried out by a team headed by SLC Treasurer Nuski Mohamed.
An SLC press release issued after the meeting said "The Executive committee was firmly of the view that all endeavours should be made to safeguard the current rights and privileges of Sri Lanka Cricket as a full Member of the ICC". An unnamed SLC official is quoted by the 'Mirror' as saying privately that unless "they take a stand now, cricket will be destroyed if power is bestowed on a few countries".
News of the status of SLC's decision-making came the day after the Pakistan Cricket Board is reported to have decided to continue its opposition to the proposed changes in Singapore this Sunday (PTG 1283-6180, 4 February 2014), and separate reports Cricket South Africa may be moving to support the changes (PTG 1283-6179, 4 February 2014).
The Australia-England-India push requires eight of the ten ICC full members to vote for the changes if they are to proceed. While it is difficult to sift through the plethora of news reports currently circulating, it appears that Bangladesh, New Zealand the West Indies and Zimbabwe will join Australia, England and India in supporting proposed ICC changes, a total of seven votes. That suggests a 'line-ball' situation and therefore it is expected that negotiations between parties will be proceeding at a hectic pace this week and right up to, and during, the meeting in Singapore.
U-19 WORLD CUP MATCH
Thirteen umpires, one from each of the ten Test playing countries, and three from second-tier nations, plus three match referees, were yesterday named as the match officials for the Under-19 World Cup which will start in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next Monday and run to the first day of March. Two short-term candidates for the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top Elite Umpires Panel, Ranmore Martinesz of Sri Lanka and Sundarum Ravi of India, and a longer-term prospect, Chris Gaffaney of New Zealand, are amongst those chosen.
Umpires apart from Martinecz, Ravi and Gaffaney are: Rob Bailey (England); Simon Fry (Australia); Shaun George (South Africa); Enamul Hoque-Moni (Bangladesh); Jerry Matibiri (Zimbabwe); Peter Nero (West Indies); David Odhiambo (Kenya); Sarika Prasad (Singapore); Ian Ramage (Scotland) and Shozab Raza (Pakistan). The match referees are: Chris Broad (England); Graeme La Brooy (Sri Lanka); and Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe). With the exception of Odhiambo, Prasad and Ramage, who are from the ICC's third-tier Associate and Affiliate Panel of International Umpires, the umpires are from the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, while Broad and Pycroft are from the world body's top referees group and La Brooy its second-tier Regional Referees Panel.
Bailey, Gaffaney, George, Hoque-Moni and Martinecz have played the game at first class level, Bailey and Hoque-Moni in Tests, while Hoque-Moni, Martinecz and Ravi have stood at Test level, and they and all the others in One Day Internationals. For Prasad its his fourth U-19 World cup after those of 2008, 2010 and 2012, Hoque-Moni and Ramage their third after 2008-2012 and 2010-2012 respectively, and Martinecz, Nero and Ravi, who stood in the 2012 event, their second. Gaffaney, Hoque-Moni, Nero and Raza come to the U-19 series after having stood in the senior World Cup Qualifier series in New Zealand last month (PTG 1264-6098, 6 January 2014).
AUSTRALIA PREPARES TO HOST
INDIAN, SOUTH AFRICAN, UMPIRES
Reports say South African first class umpire Allahudien Paleker and his Indian counterpart Anil Chaudhary will be visiting Australia over the next two weeks to stand in Sheffield Shield first class matches as part of on-going umpire exchange agreements between their respective national boards and Cricket Australia (CA). Both are expected to stand in two games each, Paleker possibly in Sydney and Hobart, and Chowdhary in Brisbane and Perth, their on-field partners probably coming from four senior members of CA's National Umpires Panel (NUP), Gerard Abood, Geoff Joshua, Mick Martell and John Ward.
Chaudhary, 48, was elevated to third umpire membership of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel six months ago (PTG 1166-5642, 10 August 2013), made his debut at senior international level in a Twenty20 International last October, and in a One Day International the month after that. He has been standing at first class level since January 2000 and currently has 41 such games to his credit, two of them in South Africa in January-February last year, his latest being the final of this year's India's first class competition, the Ranji Trophy, just last week. There have also been a total of 41 List A games, and 38 Twenty20s, 15 of those being in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
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 39 first class games, two of them in the Plunket Shield in New Zealand 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.
The visit of Chaudhary and Paleker to Australia is expected to be followed by a visit of an Australian umpire to their respective countries. There are indications from South Africa that fourth-ranked CA NUP member Paul Wilson will be standing in two domestic first class games there, the first of which is to start on Thursday week, but as yet just when the exchange to India will occur, and who will be involved, is less clear.
The only first class match left in India this season is the annual Irani Cup match between the winner of the current year's Ranji Trophy, the nation's domestic first class series, currently Karnataka, and a 'Rest of India Team', which is to be played in Bangalore over five days starting next Sunday.
After that there is a two-week break before two List A format events, first the Vijay Hazare Trophy that is to run from 27 Feb-7 March and then the Deodhar Trophy from 23-27 March, which is to be followed by the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 Trophy from 28 March to 5 April that is played by the same sides who contest the Ranji Trophy. The 2014 edition of the IPL, which is unlikely to feature an exchangee, is to be played in April-May.
Australia's third current exchange agreement, that with New Zealand, saw Abood stand in one first class game in the Plunket Shield late last year(PTG 1245-6013, 1 December 2013), NZ umpire Wayne Knights crossing the Tasman Sea for a single Sheffield Shield game prior to that (PTG 1239-5984, 22 November 2013).
FOUR-WEEK SUSPENSION HANDED
DOWN FOR REPEATED DISSENT
Mount Maunganui captain Ben Guild has appealed a four-week suspension handed to him last week for his actions in a senior Bay of Plenty Cricket (BPC) match against Otumoetai Cadets two Saturdays ago, says a report in yesterday's 'Bay of Plenty Times'. Guild, a 'Times' sports writer, was reported by umpire Ross Ladyman under New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) Code of Conduct (CoC) for repeated dissent after being given out caught behind, but his club president believes the month-long sentence is too harsh.
The 'Times' says that Guild was of the view that he had not hit the ball. Ladyman is said to have stated in the incident report that the Maunganui captain swore at him as he left the field and at the drinks break two overs later walked on to the ground and started to argue the decision again. The contents of Ladyman's report is said "to have been accepted by Guild who did not seek to challenge any aspects", but the newspaper then goes on to say "he went on to the field at the drinks break as captain to talk to his batsmen". Both parties are said to have agreed Guild apologised after the match.
David Small, Northern Districts' disciplinary commissioner, who was appointed by New Zealand Cricket (NZC) to look into the issue, is said to have been satisfied there were two CoC breaches by Guild, at the first at the time of dismissal and the second at the drinks break. BPC chief executive Paul Reid said NZC "takes these sorts of incidents a lot more seriously these days" and in his view "the process was followed very diligently".
"These events are unfortunate for both Ben and the umpire involved", continued Reid, "but from our point of view we wanted the incident dealt with appropriately, as we want to try and prevent these instances happening full stop". "I feel for Ben but this is a timely reminder that behaviour in sport is a big issue and it is about creating the right sort of culture". "Ben was not made an example of - it was always about making sure the right process was followed correctly".
Guild has appealed the decision and is quoted as saying he believes "the decision was made in a vacuum, with no consideration given to context whatsoever, including that I am basically the only guy in the region who still walks when he's out, and also believe the interpretation of the code of conduct to be severe". Commissioner Small was not able to comment on his decision saying "there are strict guidelines around commissioners not [being] allowed to comment".
Mount Maunganui Cricket Club president Jason Dovey is said by the 'Times' to have asked: "Is this the worst thing that has ever happened in Bay cricket, that deserves four weeks?" "Ben didn't physically assault [the umpire], yes, he verbally abused him, but I have seen Bay representatives do it to umpires, and there are players who do it every game".
"Ben knows he is in the wrong and made a mistake", continued Dovey, but "Personally I think one week is what it deserved, as they need to set examples, but four weeks is pretty harsh" "Ben is a very, very good cricketer who puts time into cricket with coaching juniors". "Was his clean record really taken into account and the things he does for the game? As Bay Development team captain he is up there for his leadership and maturity as well as his ability".
The 'Times' says it was the first time Guild had been cited for breaching the CoC since 2008.
CANCELLATION OF WAGGA MATCHES DUE
TO HEAT 'INCONSISTENT', SAY CRITICS
The Wagga Wagga District Cricket Association (WWDCA) has been criticised for inconsistency in cancelling last Saturday's senior and junior matches because the temperature that day was forecast to exceed forty degrees Celsius. Les Muir, the sports editor of the local paper the 'Daily Advertiser', yesterday described the WWDCA's decision to cancel what was the first day of a round of two-day Saturday-Saturday games "a ridiculous precedent" and that the association "must now live with the consequences" in the future.
The decision to cancel all games was met with a mixed reaction from players, "some of the more senior ones" taking to 'Twitter' on Friday night to express their disappointment at the decision. The main issue for most of them seems to have been inconsistency, for the association had opted to go ahead with all matches on a day when the mercury reached a top of 41.8 just two weeks ago. In comparison last Saturday's maximum in Wagga was 41.7, the city's long-term mean maximum for January and February over the last 143 years being in the order of 33 degrees.
Health concerns are "obviously the key issue" says Muir, "for standing around for three or four hours in forty degree heat could be tiresome and taxing, perhaps even life-threatening for [some older players]". Despite that he says cricket is "a summer sport and there can be little justification for the decision to cancel play on Saturday. The 41.7 maximum that day was in his assessment "hot, but not excessively so - pretty much the same as it was a few weeks back" "when cricket went ahead as scheduled".
Muir believes "the reality is that anytime the temperature hovers near forty degrees in future, there will a necessity to consider abandoning matches", something he describes as "an utter waste". "Safety concerns certainly need to be considered, but Saturday's decision seems to have been rushed and rash", writes the sports editor. He quotes a long-term local sports identity as describing the call off as "hasty" and that "contingency plans, such as changing the starting time of matches [by two hours] to 11 a.m. and having extra drinks breaks, could have been implemented".
"Cricket in Wagga or anywhere cannot, and should not, be dictated by the thermometer", says Muir, who points to the fact matches were played in nearby centres such as Griffith and Albury last Saturday where maximum temperatures there were 42.3 and 41.6 respectively. That view was "no more pointedly confirmed when a representative match between Wagga and Ardlethan was played in the former city last Sunday", says Muir, a day when, the maximum recorded was 42.0. The starting time of that match was brought forward to 10 a.m.
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT
Australia's senior players have earned a bonus of nearly $A1 million as a result of their "annihilation" of England in Test, one-day and Twenty20 formats this austral summer, says a report in this morning's 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH). Journalist Andrew Wu says that's probably not all they can expect as more could flow their way "if they can continue their hot run for another two months".
Wu says that just how substantial the windfall will be is yet to be finalised by Cricket Australia (CA) and the players' union, the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA), as the fact England was ranked in the top four in the Test and one-day formats at the start of the summer also has to be factored into the incentives on offer to players. A further $A970,000 in cash incentives may also be earned by players after the forthcoming Test series against South Africa and the World Twenty20 Championship event in Bangladesh.
That $A97K is made up of bonuses of $A350,000 if Australia can displace India from second in the Test rankings, $A280,000 if it can retain first sport in the One Day International (ODI) rankings until the cut-off date at the end of March, and a further $A60,000 if it can win the country's first World Twenty20 title. Should India, which plays in the Asian Cup in February and March, regain the top ODI spot, then Australia's bonus for finishing second will be $A140,000. The 'SMH' story says though that the $A700,000 cheque for number one Test ranking will, however, will remain out of reach for this year at least.
Wu says that the bonuses are part of a new performance-based player payment scheme agreed on by the ACA and CA two years ago following a recommendation in the Argus review, which suggested financial incentives for success. Under the previous payment plan players were entitled to 26 per cent of CA revenue, but under the terms of the current agreement can claim between 24.5 per cent to 27 per cent depending on the national team's success.
Australia's 'Business Review Weekly' reported a few days ago that cricketers occupy eleven of the top fifty spots on its sports earners list for the past year, all-rounder Shane Watson being the highest paid at $A6 million (PTG 1283-6182, 4 February 2014). That news came shortly after the head of Queensland Country Cricket complained publicly about the lack of resources available for the game in his region (PTG 1281-6169, 2 February 2014).
FIJIAN UMPIRE ALICE SPRINGS BOUND
Fijian umpire Mervyn Nabuka has been selected to umpire in the Imparja Cup series for male and female indigenous Australians from all states and territories that is to be played in Alice Springs for the twenty-first time next week. Nabuka, who was promoted to membership of the East Asia Pacific's second-tier Supplementary Umpires Panel early last year (PTG 1070-5204, 2 March 2013), was in Australia last July for the EAP's regional Under-19 tournament which was held in south-east Queensland, that and next week's visit being funded via an EAP scholarship.
Nabuka, 38, played for Fiji in the 'Pacifica Championship' 50-over format series in 2002, a competition that saw the likes of former Australian first class umpire and now Cricket Australia Umpire Educator Bob Parry, current New Zealand first class umpires 'Billy' Bowden and Phil Jones, and now ICC Elite Umpire Panel member Rod Tucker of Australia, standing in matches.
Papua New Guinean umpire Helen Atai became the first female umpire from the EAP region to travel abroad when she stood in the Women's division of last year's Imparja Cup (PTG 1072-5120, 7 March 2013). 'PTG' believes a second EAP umpire will travel to Alice Springs with Nabuka, but just who that and those from around Australia will be, has not yet been announced
ECB UMPIRE TO STAND IN U.S.
Former English first class player Billy Taylor, who is now an umpire on the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) second-tier Reserve Panel, is to officiate in the American College [university] Cricket National Championship (ACCNC) series that is to be played in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in mid-March. Taylor, 37, who was appointed to the ECB Reserve Panel prior to the 2011 northern summer season after a ten-year career as a fast bowler with Sussex (PTG 700-3438, 15 December 2010), is also a Level 2 Player Coach and in addition to umpiring in Florida he will also undertake fast bowler coaching duties.
BCCI CHIEF INDICATES FULL BOARD
TO REMAIN THE 'SUPREME' ICC BODY
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chairman Narayanswamy Srinivasan told 'Cricinfo' yesterday that the board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) will remain the world body's "supreme" decision-making body under proposals currently being considered by ICC members. Reports circulating prior to the board's meeting in Dubai a week ago, quoted the position paper that Srinivasan helped write as saying the new now five-man 'executive committee', would be "the sole recommendation committee … on all [ICC] constitutional, personnel, integrity, ethics, development and nominations matters" (PTG 1272-6136, 20 January 2014).
Srinivasan is said to have "strongly denied" that the permanent membership of Australia, England and India on that committee amounted the return of the "veto-era", a reference to the situation that existed up until 1993 when Australia and England played the key role in decided what happened in international cricket, an arrangement boards like the BCCI fought for many years to overturn (PTG 1285-6197 below). "There will be two other members at all times [on the executive committee] and anyone can become the chairman after the term of the first chairman, [Wally Edwards, Cricket Australia's (CA) chair, ends]", said Srinivasan, however, he made no reference to suggestions the "other two" should be totally independent of the ICC or its members (PTG 1283-6178, 4 February 2014).
Echoing comments by Giles Clarke, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) (PTG 1285-6194 below), who along with Edwards and Srinivasan penned the proposed ICC revamp, the BCCI chief said the restructure is aimed at providing financial stability to all cricket-playing nations and making the ICC a more inclusive organisation. "The BCCI is quite happy to be involved with the leadership of cricket", he said, and "we will embrace the new structure, which will be good for cricket as a whole". According to him, none of the other boards had objections to India taking a higher share of the revenue as its contribution to cricket's global revenues was recognised. "A strong India with a vibrant commercial structure is good for world cricket", he said.
Asked about the apparent absence of a consultative process during the six months the wide-ranging changes were being developed by himself, Clarke and Edwards, Srinivasan said the initial proposal presented to the ICC board members was only a draft, "which somebody had to prepare", and that it was "put up for discussion, not for approval". "When we met in Dubai [in early] January", ahead of last week's board meeting proper, a gathering at which the seven other ICC board members are reported to have seen the position paper for the first time, "I made the presentation and said [to those present they were] free to put [their ideas] forward".
According to Srinivasan "a lot of changes [to the original proposals] have taken place [since then for] there has been lot of consultation, a lot of points have been dropped and some changes have been made".
ICC OVERHAUL WILL BRING FINANCIAL
BENEFITS TO ALL, SAYS ECB CHAIRMAN
An overhaul of the International Cricket Council (ICC) will give countries greater financial security, according to Giles Clarke the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Clarke, along with Cricket Australia (CA) chair Wally Edwards and Narayanswamy Srinivasan who heads up the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), are behind proposals to revamp ICC operations that are currently being considered by the world body's members (PTG 1273-6136, 20 February 2014).
The trio's original position paper outlining the proposed changes was consider by the ICC board in Dubai last week, further discussions and possibly a vote on the issues involved being scheduled for another meeting of that group in Singapore this coming weekend. With the ICC due to negotiate a new multi-billion dollar, eight-year television deal this year, the key issues in Singapore are expected to revolve around just who will manage the discussions involved, how the huge earnings that will result will be distributed between members, and the way national boards will approach the scheduling and development of tours to and from other nations.
Clarke is quoted as saying by several media outlets yesterday that: "If anyone thinks that international cricket [is currently] working, well they are mistaken", Edwards describing the current situation last week as "dysfunctional" (PTG 1281-6168, 2 February 2014). Clarke asks: "If the status quo is so successful, why were so many countries in a perilous financial state?" He hopes "that the new proposals provide the ICC with a new energy and direction and also countries with greater financial security", something Srinivasan has also indicated is his aim (PTG 1285-6193 above).
The ECB chairman is adamant changes are necessary and says all countries will profit financially if Australia, England and India are given more power to negotiate broadcasting and marketing deals on behalf of the ICC. "If our predictions are correct", says Giles, "no [ICC] member will earn less and most will earn an awful lot more [so]ow can that be bad for cricket?"
A Press Trust of India (PTI) report over the weekend stated that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which has concerns about the proposals (PTG 1283-6180, 4 February 2014), is expected to receive a significant financial boost in its share of the the next ICC television rights deal. PTI says that for the 2007-14 ICC rights schedule the PCB received around $A60 million from the world body, but that is expected to rise to close to $100 million for the years from 2015-23. In a separate report PCB chairman Mohammad Zaka Ashraf was quoted as saying that the BCCI had offered to play against Pakistan in a bilateral series at a neutral venue if PCB agrees to sign up to the proposed ICC revamp.
Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper reported yesterday that the Bangladesh Cricket Board is facing an "acute shortage of funding" to run its day-to-day activities, a situation that has led them to seek a loan of 90 million Bangladesh Takas ($A1.3 million) from a private bank. Reports say the BCB face a revenue shortfall of more than 63 million Taka ($A910,000) in the first three months of this year. Zimbabwe Cricket is another in trouble and it is said to have received a $A3 million loan from the ICC this week, not the first it has received, an amount that is expected to allow its domestic competitions to resume next Monday after a two-month player strike over the fact they had not been paid for many months (PTG 1283-6184, 4 February 2014).
An example of the financial injection tours by India have for other ICC board members surfaced in New Zealand two days ago, a media report from there saying that New Zealand Cricket is expecting "the biggest payday" in the country's sporting history from the broadcast rights from this austral summer's Indian tour. The amount concerned is an unverified $A35 million, a sum that is reportedly some $A10 million more than when the Indians last visited in 2009.
SRI LANKA SAYS 'NO' TO
ICC OVERHAUL PLANS
Sri Lanka decided to oppose proposals to overhaul International Cricket Council's (ICC) governance structure and revenue share model at a meeting of its executive committee held in Colombo yesterday, a gathering that also saw "all stake holders, past captains, past presidents and secretaries of SLC and sports ministry representatives" in attendance (PTG 1284-6185, 5 February 2014). Overnight reports say that the changes that will be on the table at this weekend's ICC board meeting in Singapore in Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) "unanimous" assessment "jeopardise [its] rights and privileges as a full member of the ICC".
Yesterday's decision by SLC to oppose the changes means that it joins the Pakistan Cricket Board and most probably Cricket South Africa on the 'nay' side of considerations now underway amongst ICC board members (PTG 1285-6196 below). Should those three boards hold their currently announced positions in Singapore it would mean moves to get agreement to the ICC change proposals could be stymied as eight of the ten ICC full members need to cast their vote in favour of the proposals for them to be passed. Without the three country's support the move would fail by one vote.
CSA CLARIFIES THE STATUS OF
ITS ICC REVAMP DELIBERATIONS
Cricket South Africa (CSA) has rejected news reports that suggest it is in the process of concluding an agreement with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in regards to restructure proposals currently being considered by ICC members, say reports from Johannesburg yesterday. On Monday, numerous South African media outlets ran stories that suggested CSA was considering a back-flip of its strong opposition to proposals in return for a repaired relationship with the BCCI (PTG 1283-6179, 4 February 2014).
CSA president Chris Nenzani said in a statement issued on Tuesday that "while we are engaged in discussions with the ICC and other members, including the BCCI, to find an acceptable way forward, we have not and will not consider deals that compromise our key principles and integrity". “This is a difficult time for global cricket and attempts to mislead and create confusion are not welcome", he continued. “CSA vehemently denies any notion of deals being made with any other party". "On the contrary, we will seek to uphold good governance and our professional approach to find solutions to the current proposals being considered by all the member boards".
Monday's reports suggested a deal being struck would see, among other things, CSA's chief executive Haroon Lorgat reintegrated into his role as South Africa's top cricket administrator after he fell out of favour with the BCCI last year, which compounded the falling out he reportedly experienced with the Indian body when he was the ICC's chief executive from 2007-12.
IMRAN CRITICISES ICC'S
Former Pakistan international Imran Khan has criticised plans to reform International Cricket Council (ICC), saying they would take the game back to the days of colonialism. Moves to restructure the ICC such that India, Australia and England have prime control of international cricket were discussed during an ICC's board meeting in Dubai earlier this week, and will be considered further at a board meeting in Singapore this coming weekend..
Khan, who captained Pakistan to a World Cup win in 1992 and now heads a political party in his home country, said the proposals harked back to the days when England and Australia had effective right of veto at the ICC. He told Agence France-Presse that if he was the head of the Pakistan Cricket Board he "would have strongly objected to the new colonial system", and that the game was now in a "genuine crisis". Last week's ICC board meeting reminded him of one he attended in 1993 when "India and Pakistan were on the same page and they fought to end the imperialism in the ICC and wanted it to be run in a democratic way".
While "it became democratic", continued Khan, "India's big money influence and support from Australia and England [take] it back to square one". "The revenue is coming [into the game] but money should not be decisive and that’s why the quality is suffering which is disastrous". He believes "there is a lack of quality in players, if you talk of spinners or fast bowlers or batsmen, and unless a correct mix is not found cricket will suffer". "I think the answer is to make the ICC more productive for the betterment of cricket", concluded Khan.
BOWDEN, RAVI, BUT NO MARTINECZ, ON
WORLD T20 MATCH OFFICIALS PANEL
New Zealand's 'Billy' Bowden and India's Sundarum Ravi have been named as members of a sixteen-man match officials panel for next month's World Twenty20 (WT20) Championship series in Bangladesh. The pair, who are on-field members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, are along with Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka vying for a spot on the ICC's top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) later this year, however, the latter has not been appointed to the WT20 event.
Bowden and Ravi are to work with the eleven current members of the EUP, Aleem Dar (Pakistan) Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), Australians Steve Davis, Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker, South African Marais Erasmus, and Englishmen Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong. Match referees for the event will be Australian David Boon, Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalleand and Javagal Srinath from India.
LOOSING CA T20 SKIPPER WANTS
FINALS ARRANGEMENTS CHANGED
Cameron White, the captain of the Melbourne Stars franchise which lost the semi final of the event on Tuesday evening to Hobart, believes there should be a double chance for the team that finishes the home-and-away season on top of Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic Twenty20 league. It was the first loss of the season for White's side in a match that if they had won, would have seen them reach the event's final tomorrow night, and thus qualify for this year's Champions League tournament where they would have been in the running for a share of the $A6 million on offer.
Hobart captain George Bailey agreed with White that there should be some reward for finishing the regular season on top. The same thing happened to the other Melbourne franchise last year when they won seven of their eight round-robin matches and finished on top only to be ejected from the competition when they lost the semi final. "You don't get a second chance", said White, as "It's a cut-throat Twenty20 game and you're out".
MORE TALK OF IMPROVING
PAKISTANI UMPIRE STANDARDS
Intikhab Alam, the Pakistan Cricket Board's director of domestic cricket, acknowledged there have been "a lot of complaints" about what was called "poor and pathetic" umpiring in domestic cricket there, and that he plans to address the issues involved. Speaking in Islamabad at the launch of a Pakistan-wide Twenty20 tournament, he said he planned to " form a committee to monitor" the situation, "no one will be spared", and "if an umpire is found guilty of favouring the opponents, he will have to face the music". Intikhab also plans to "completely transform the domestic umpiring structure", something Pakistani international umpire Aleem Dar has been pushing for for sometime (PTG 1283-6181, 4 February 2014), but so far according to some claims, apparently to little effect.
PAIR BAT FOR 48 HOURS, SET
NEW WORLD RECORD
Two batsmen in Lincolnshire have set a new world record by batting non-stop for forty-eight hours, in the process raising thousands of pounds for the UK's Brain Tumour Research charity. Billingborough Cricket Club players Dave Newman, 34, and Richard Wells, 22, beat the previous record for such an activity by a whopping twenty-two hours.
The pair began batting in adjacent indoor nets at a sports centre at noon local time last Thursday and occupied their respective creases until midday on Saturday, allowing themselves breaks of just five minutes per hour, facing more than 30,000
deliveries over the two days. Newman said after completing the marathon effort that he was "exhausted, but it’s a great feeling". Wells ended with swollen wrists and suffered two blows to the arm, one each side of the elbow, as a result of deliveries sent down by former England player Matthew Hoggard who assisted with the fund raising.
SRI LANKA QUERIES 'LEGALITY'
OF ICC REVAMP PROPOSALS
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Jayantha Dharmadasa has written a letter to the International Cricket Council (ICC) questioning the legality of changes proposed to the way the game's`s global revenue sharing and governance model operates. SLC announced on Wednesday after a special meeting of it stakeholders that it had decided to oppose moves that are to be discussed at a meeting of the ICC board in Singapore over the weekend (PTG 1285-6195, 6 February 2014)
In a letter sent to ICC`s head of legal affairs Iain Higgins yesterday, Dharmadasa said major transformations proposed by cricket boards from Australia, England and India are at odds with ICC constitutional arrangements. "Sri Lanka Cricket has received legal advice from its Legal Advisory Committee to the effect that these purported `Resolutions` are in fact not valid resolutions in law", wrote Dharmadasa. "Pursuant to your invitation for us to contact you in the event of us having issue with the same, we write to seek clarification from you, as Head of Legal of the ICC".
SLC's letter to Higgins goes on to say that "In any event, as Head of Legal of the ICC, you are duty bound to ensure that any Purported Resolutions that are placed before [ICC] members are done in accord with the constitutional documents of the ICC, and we would in that context request that you furnish us with the clarifications requested as a matter of extreme urgency".
The letter also raises question about the proposed new five-man executive committee board on which three senior officials from Australia, England and India, England would have permanent positions Australia, as well as suggested arrangements for the way international tour programs will be organised in the future.
One of the resolutions to be considered in Singapore "essentially do away with the current Future Tours Program (FTP) scheme and permit individual national boards to contract with each other", wrote Dharmadasa. "You would be aware that contracts that have already been entered into by individual members on the basis of the existing ICC board approved FTP, including sponsorship and broadcasting contracts for which such members have committed and already received monies". "We seek confirmation that you have considered the legality of this, and have advised the ICC of its potential liability to indemnify any members that may be caused loss and damage in this regard".
In recent days the boards of both Pakistan and South Africa have each raised formal objections to the proposals (PTG 1283-6180, 4 February and 1285-6196, 6 February 2014).
NUP NEWCOMER JOINS SENIOR
MEMBERS FOR CA T20 FINALS
The appointment of a relative newcomer on Cricket Australia's (CA) National Umpires Panel (NUP) to support roles in the finals of CA's men's and women's domestic Twenty20 finals in Perth tonight alongside more senior colleagues suggests he is seen as having the potential to go a long way in the umpiring game. Sam Nogajski, who is mid-way through just his second season on the NUP (PTG 949-4614, 13 June 2012), has been given a third umpires role in the women's final between Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, and the fourth umpire spot in the men's decider between Perth and Hobart.
Nogajski, 35, will be working as the fourth umpire in the men's final with NUP ranked two, three and four, Mick Martell and John Ward being on-field with Paul Wilson the television official and Bob Stratford the match referee, Don Dixon and Sandy Wheeler being the scorers. Dixon and Wheeler will also record the details of the women's final, NUP five and six, Gerard Abood and Geoff Joshua being on-field, Nogajski the third umpire and former Test umpire Terry Prue the match referee.
Ward will be standing in his third CA T20 men's final in the past four years, Martell his second in a row on-field and in the two years prior to that he was the television umpire, for Wilson it will be his second in a row in the third umpire spot, and Stratford his first national T20 final. Joshua has officiated in a women's final once before, as the third umpire in 2012, while for Abood, Nogajski and Prue its their first CA women's final.
Abood, Joshua Martell, Nogajski, Wilson and Ward were all involved in the semi finals of the men's competition earlier this week (PTG 1282-6173, 3 February 2014). Topped-ranked NUP member Simon Fry is absent having been named as one of the match officials in the Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (PTG 1284-6186, 5 February 2014).
Also announced yesterday were the appointments for the final of the fifty-over based Women National Cricket League between New South Wales and Victoria in Sydney on Sunday week. NUP member Mike Graham-Smith, who is in his first season on the NUP, and CA emerging umpire and member of the national body's Project Panel for former first class players Shawn Craig, will be on-field for that game with Steve Bernard the match referee and Darren Mattison and Chris McLeod the scorers.
BAT WAVE, VERBAL 'VENTS', EARN
ONE-WEEK BAN FOR DISSENT
Paul Arkinstall, an all-rounder with the Stars club in the South Canterbury Cricket Association (SCCA) in New Zealand, was handed a one-week ban for on-going dissent during a senior one-day match played in Timaru on the country's South Island last Saturday. Arkinstall is said to have been "frustrated" after being given out LBW by an unnamed 'official' South Canterbury umpire during the game's first innings, holding his bat in the air as he walked off as if to show he had hit the ball and yelling "umpire?" on the way, before "continuing to vent verbally" throughout the remainder of the game including whilst fielding, says a report in yesterday's 'Timaru Herald'.
SCCA's code of conduct commissioner Craig O'Connor handed down his ruling on Wednesday morning after a hearing held the previous night. Arkinstall was present for those proceedings and was supported by Star Cricket Club president Julian Blanchard. He said later in a written statement that he accepted the decision, saying "I was wrong to show dissent after being given out, the umpires give up their time on a Saturday and I have to take the good with the bad". The ban means he will miss the first day of his side's two-day fixture that starts tomorrow, however, somewhat unusually he will be eligible to play on day two of the match the following Saturday.
The 'Herald' says that Arkinstall was banned for two weeks in 2006 after being found guilty of "shoulder-charging an opposition player". SCCA acting chief executive Mark Medlicott said his record was taken into consideration and so was the nine-year length of time between the incidents. Blanchard said his club would support Arkinstall. "Paul is a very competitive player and at times he needs to reign this in". "He is a valuable member of the club and the committee and this incident was unfortunate but I am sure Paul has learnt from this".
News of Arkinstall's suspension comes a few days after a player on the North Island of New Zealand was handed a four-week ban for dissent, he too according to media reports expressing his displeasure at a decision after being given out and continuing to argue about it later in the match. Mount Maunganui skipper Ben Guild is appealing that ban, a censure that his club president has described as "harsh" (PTG 1284-6188, 5 February 2014).
BANNED PAKISTAN TRIO REAFFIRM THEIR
DESIRE TO RETURN TO THE GAME
On Wednesday, three years to the day Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir were banned for arranging for no-balls to be delivered to order during an August 2010 Lord's Test against England, the trio have again reiterated their desire to return to high-level cricket. Butt was banned for ten years with five suspended, Asif seven with two suspended and Aamir for five years, but reports from Lahore this week say they could all return to the game in August next year.
Butt, 29, who was the captain of the Pakistan side at Lord's, finally admitted his guilt in June last year and said he wanted to move on from the issue (PTG 1135-5508, 30 June 2013). He told journalists on Wednesday that he tries "hard to forget but someone always makes me remember that tough day". "I regularly play cricket as I cannot adopt any other profession and I am very, very keen to stage a comeback", he said. Last June he was ordered to participate in rehabilitation programs organised by the International Cricket council and Pakistan Cricket Board as part of the conditions for his possible return to international cricket.
Asif, 31, has found a sideline in films and is about to "star" in a joint Indian-Pakistani film, but says he wants to return to the game. "Although I am going to act in the film, my first love is cricket and I am counting the days until my ban is over", he said. "Cricket will always be part of my life, it's in my blood and I will bowl once again for Pakistan".
Last October the ICC formed a committee to consider relaxing some aspects of Aamir's ban but so far nothing appears to have come of their deliberations, in public at least (PTG 1214-5842, 20 October 2013). Now twenty-one-year-old Aamir, who was a teenager at the time of the Lord's Test, also said he was looking forward to returning. He said that he trains "a lot because I cannot think of anything else to do other than playing cricket".
ICC REVAMP 'ENTIRELY MOTIVATED
BY MONEY, CLAIMS LORD WOOLF
The convenor of the Woolf review, whose independent examination of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) governance structure two years ago at the ICC's own behest was quickly vetoed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has criticised the proposed revamp of the world body, calling the plans a "retrograde step". Media reports say that the latest version of the restructure will be put to the vote in Singapore today at an ICC board meeting, however, over the past few days there have been indications at least three nations, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka, oppose the moves (PTG 1285-6195, 6 February 2014).
Lord Harry Woolf's 2012 report targeted the ICC board and the way it operates, using phrases such as "self interested or parochial decision-making" to describe how some of the national board chiefs on the world body's top committee approached their tasks, and called for significant changes to the way that committee operates, including the appointment of independent directors (PTG 1283-6178, 4 February 2014). Several past ICC presidents called on the current board to return to the tenants outlined by Woolf when news of the proposed ICC revamp put forward by Australia, England and India first surfaced several weeks ago (PTG 1278-6156, 28 January 2014).
Woolf, a former Chief Justice of England and Wales, told Scyld Berry of the London 'Daily Telegraph' on Thursday the proposed restructure is "a really alarming position for the future of cricket", for "it is giving extraordinary powers to a small triumvirate of three people, and everybody else has got no power to say anything or do anything". "I would certainly think it would be very difficult to get any person who was completely objective, looking at cricket, to understand how these proposals could take forward the program for international cricket", said Woolf. Berry himself wrote that it "is the equivalent of the presidents of China, Russia and the United States taking over the United Nations and ruling the world, for ever".
If implemented the changes would make the ICC "a private club instead of being a world governing body", continued Woolf. "To say a sport that has got aspirations to be a world-class internationally should not have an independent body at the top seems to me to be very surprising" and appears "to be entirely motivated by money". "People will be worried for less powerful figures, or countries, in the cricketing world. "It is elevating three members [Australia, England and India], and the assumption is made that if you get large earnings from cricket, they are yours and not cricket's, which is very false".
Woolf also talked about 'Transparency International', which last November called for strengthening the integrity and transparency of cricket management (PTG 1238-5976, 21 November 2013), as "being very concerned about this".
Asked by the 'Telegraph' about India's power in the ICC, Woolf said: "It's an undisputed fact that [India] are the biggest generators of money and that they can say that should be taken into account, but how it should be taken into account is a matter of judgement". "That's why this wants to be looked at". "It may seem very attractive to the three countries involved, and they are undoubtedly the biggest countries in the cricketing world, [but] more importantly I would say are the interests of the smaller countries".
Woolf pointed to a paragraph in the paper that originally summarised the planned changes that said the proposed new executive committee "will act as, and I emphasise this word, 'the sole recommendation committee on all constitutional, personnel, integrity, ethics, developments and nomination matters, as well as all matters regarding distributions from the ICC'" (PTG 1273-6136, 20 January 2014). "I have never seen anything of that sort in a body of this nature", concluded Woolf.
Despite that BCCI chairman Narayanswamy Srinivasan claimed two days ago that the ICC board, not the new executive committee, will remain the world body's "supreme" decision-making body, and without saying just why denied any "veto" would be involved (PTG 1285-6193, 6 February 2014). The three authors of the proposed ICC revamp, Srinivasan, Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards (PTG 1281-6168, 2 February 2014), and England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke (PTG 1285-6194, 6 February 2014), have all expressed the view that the changes proposed will significantly benefit world cricket.
CROSS FOR WCL DIVISION 5
TOURNAMENT IN MALAYSIA
New Zealand umpire Kathy Cross, the first women to be appointed to an International Cricket Council (ICC) umpire panel, is to stand in the week-long World Cricket League (WCL) Division 5 tournament in Malaysia next month. While Cross has stood in international women's tournaments outside her own country on a number of occasions (PTG 1161-5620, 3 August 2013), the WCL-5 event, which will feature men's teams currently ranked 29-34 in the world, will be her first as a member of the ICC's third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel (PTG 1280-6164, 31 January 2014).
In addition to Malaysia as the hosts, the other sides who will take part in the fifty-over a side format tournament from 6-13 March are Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Jersey, Nigeria and Tanzania. The two teams that reach the final of next month's series will progress to the next WCL Division 4 tournament which will be held later this year, numbers three and four will remain in Division 5 for its next series in 2016, while five and six will drop to Division 6, whose next tournament is scheduled for next year.
Cross, 56, stood in a number of men's List A games in her home country in the period from 2004-07 but now routinely stands in senior men’s club cricket in Wellington, the latter a standard well above that of WCL-5 games, as well as New Zealand Cricket and ICC women's tournaments (PTG 1227-5915, 7 November 2013).
BOARD APPROVES MAJOR CHANGES TO ICC
GOVERNANCE, FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS
The sixteen-man board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday approved a "comprehensive resolution" covering wide-ranging structural, governance and financial model changes to the world body's operations, a revamp that puts senior personnel from the national boards of Australia, England and India in pivotal management roles. The Singapore meeting saw eight of the ICC's ten full members vote to accept the changes, the exceptions being Pakistan and Sri Lanka who abstained having previously made clear their opposition (PTG 1286-6202, 7 February 2014), while South Africa, who had called the plans "unconstitutional" (PTG 1274-6138, 21 January 2014), went along with the restructure, saying its content was "significantly different" to that originally proposed.
Under the new arrangements, most of which have been public for several weeks, Australian, English and Indian officials will head up three key groups for what the ICC says is "an initial transitional period to 2016 only". Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chairman Narayanswamy Srinivasan will become ICC chairman in July, and the ICC board will, in the ICC's words and as flagged by its new chairman this week, "continue to be the primary decision-making body" (PTG 1285-6193, 6 February 2014). Also as expected "a new Executive Committee [ExComm] will be formed to report into the Board", it being headed by Cricket Australia's (CA) Wally Edwards, while England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chair Giles Clarke will continue to lead the ICC's Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee (FCAC).
Apart from Edwards the ExComm will have representatives of the ECB and BCCI on it, plus two others nominated by the other seven full members of the ICC, while the FCAC will also have, apart from Clarke, individuals from CA and the BCCI as members; arrangements that thus give those three national boards solid control of their respective deliberations. The ICC said in a statement issued after the meeting that once the "transitional period" is completed, the ICC chairman position will be elected from within the world body's ten full member national directors, but it makes no mention of what membership arrangements will then apply for the ExComm and FCAC.
In the financial area, CA, ECB and the BCCI will receive more money from ICC earnings compared other national boards, the latter receiving monies according to "the contribution they have made to the game, particularly in terms of finance, their ICC history and their on-field performances in the three formats". "The model's structure will ensure that none of the full members will be worse off than they are at present and, if forecasts of revenue generation prove to be correct, all will be significantly better off", says the ICC statement, a claim made by Clarke mid-week (PTG 1285-6194, 6 February 2014).
On the international tours front, current Future Tours Program arrangements will end with schedules being dependent on "contractually binding" negotiations between boards. As was widely expected the World Test Championship is to be scrapped and replaced by a return of the Champions Trophy series in 2017 and 2021 for the ICC says "it proved impossible to come up with a format for a four-team finals event in Test cricket that fits the culture of Test cricket and preserves the integrity of the format". A 'Test Cricket Fund' is to be established "to help ensure all of the Test playing teams will be able to sustain a home program of Test cricket through to 2023". "The fund will be available to all of the Test playing members except CA, ECB and BCCI".
Also on the Test front, ICC Associate Members "now have a clear pathway to playing Test cricket" as the winner of the next Intercontinental Cup, a first class competition for second-tier nations, will be entitled to take part in a play-off against the bottom-ranked full member and, if successful, obtain Test status. The ICC says that "this complements the pathways that are already in place for any member to be able to qualify for the major events in One Day International and Twenty20 International cricket".
ICC president Alan Isaac says in the statement that: "The Board has made some significant decisions today which provide us with long-term certainty in relation to the future governance, competition and financial models of the ICC". Isaac went on to say that the Pakistan Cricket Board and Sri Lanka Cricket "who abstained have pledged to further discuss the issues with an aim to reaching unanimous approval over the coming weeks".
ICC CHANGES 'GOOD FOR
THE GAME', SAYS BCCI CHIEF
Changes to the governance and structure of cricket's world body that were adopted by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) board last Saturday will benefit the game and ensure its financial health, according to Narayanswamy Srinivasan who is to take up the role of of the newly-created post of ICC chairman in July (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014). Eight of the ICC's ten full member nations approved the proposals, Pakistan and Sri Lanka abstaining from casting their votes (PTG 1289-6211 below).
Srinivasan, who is expected to continue as head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after taking up the new role, told 'The Hindu' newspaper yesterday that the moves are "good for cricket overall, good for the financial health of all full, associate and affiliate members", indicating that "meritocracy" is involved. Asked if he will try to convince Pakistan and Sri Lanka to sign on to the changes, the BCCI chief said "Reaching out to Sri Lanka and Pakistan is not just my responsibility, it's for everybody [involved with the ICC] to work on".
Cricket South Africa's reported last-minute decision to vote in favor of the revamp after it had supported Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the lead up to the meeting was defended by Srinivasan. "Maybe some members had some lingering doubts on the proposals [but] when the doubts got clarified, the proposals found support". He is said to have "vehemently denied" accusations the BCCI, Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board had formed an oligarchy and that it could veto suggestions made by other members, something that is of concern to many observers, including the international player's union (PTG 1289-6210 below).
Over the weekend, Nazmul Hassan, the president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, announced that he had signed a Members' Participation Agreements with the BCCI for four tours on India, the first of which will be Bangladesh's maiden Test tour of that country in 2016. Reports say that agreement came as a result of negotiations that later saw ICC changes voted in. Yesterday, Srinivasan's son-in-law was found by a panel of India's Supreme Court to have engaged in "illegal betting" activities whilst head of an Indian Premier League franchise (PTG 1289-6212 below).
PLAYERS UNION HEAD CALLS
REVAMP 'SAD DAY FOR THE GAME'
"Self-interest" and "short-term deal making" will prevail over cricket's long-term health after changes to the International Cricket Council (ICC), according to Paul Marsh the executive chairman of the international player's union, the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA). The ICC board passed key reforms on Saturday, a result that puts senior figures from Australia, England and India in key positions in the ICC structure and their board's a greater share of the world body's revenue (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014).
Marsh said in a statement that: "This is a very sad day for our game [and] should be an indicator to the future for all of us, where self-interest and short-term deal making will override the long-term health of the game and views of its key stakeholders". FICA had urged the seven other Test playing nations to block the proposals but only Pakistan and Sri Lanka abstained from voting in Singapore (PTG 1289-6211 below).
England Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke indicated prior to Saturday's meeting that all countries will profit financially under the changes that have now been approved, but Marsh believes it "highlights how poorly our game is governed". "Of extreme concern to all involved in FICA is the fact that so many key stakeholders in the game condemned the proposed changes, yet the ICC Board still approved [them]".
FICA co-ordinates the activities of national players’ associations from Australia, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, but not those from India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe. Its relationship with the ICC has not always been harmonious, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) being a particularly adversary, and with the BCCI's chairman Narayanswamy Srinivasan soon to become the ICC's chairman further tensions are anticipated by some observers (PTG 1289-6209 above).
SRI LANKA TO RECONSIDER ITS
POSITION ON ICC CHANGES
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had "no choice" but to abstain from voting on changes proposed to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) governance and financial structures after South Africa did a "U-turn" on its previous stance to oppose the moves, said Sri Lanka Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage yesterday. Cricket South Africa (CSA) originally called ICC revamp proposals "unconstitutional" and asked the ICC to withdraw them (PTG 1274-6138, 21 January 2014), but after last Saturday's vote in Singapore it said the restructure now proposed is "significantly different" to those it originally opposed a month ago (PTG 1288-6209, 9 February 2014).
Aluthgamage told reporters in Colombo yesterday that SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga had briefed him via phone from Singapore, and that "we were banking" on CSA and "never expected [them to change] their views". According to the SLC the scope of the resolutions tabled in Singapore were substantially different from those its board considered at meetings last week and that as such "a fresh mandate" from its executive committee and stakeholders is required. SLC now plans to hold further meetings on the matter and "will express [its] stance at the next ICC Board meeting in April".
Pakistan also abstained from voting in Singapore but as yet it has not indicated how it will move forward on the matter because it is again in a state of upheaval after the country's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif removed Zaka Ashraf as chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and appointed an eleven-member ad-hoc committee to run the PCB's affairs. Islamabad Cricket Association president Shakil Shaikh, a member of the new committee, is reported to have said that Ashraf was removed because of what he called his "mishandling of Pakistan's case in the recent changes [to] ICC" administrative and financial arrangements.
Last month Ashraf was restored to the PCB's chairman's position by a divisional bench of the Islamabad High Court after he had been suspended last year on grounds of "not holding transparent elections for PCB chairman". Ashraf is said to have made "several attempts" to seek his Prime Minister's views on proposed ICC changes before going to Singapore, including writing a letter, however, he reportedly "didn't succeed in meeting with Sharif".
SUPREME COURT PANEL FINGERS
IPL FRANCHISE HEAD
An Indian Supreme Court panel's report released yesterday has found that Gurunath Meiyappan, the son-in-law of chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is guilty of illegal betting on Indian Premier League (IPL) games, say reports from New Delhi. The panel, headed by retired judge Mukul Mudgal, said in a 170-page report that "after an extensive investigation" it had found that "Roots of corruption and malpractices have crept in deep into the game of cricket, more particularly the IPL, and are seeping into the game at an alarming rate".
Meiyappan was the "team principal" of the IPL's Chennai franchise which is owned owned by BCCI chairman Narayanswamy Srinivasan's India Cements company and captained by national skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Meiyappan has previously been charged by Mumbai police with forgery, cheating, criminal conspiracy, breach of contract and handing critical team information to alleged bookmakers. The panel’s report came just two days after Srinivasan was chosen as the first chairman of the International Cricket Council as a result of a major revamp of the world body's governance and structural arrangements (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014).
The panel dismissed Srinivasan’s claim that Meiyappan was "merely a cricket enthusiast", saying he was the face of the franchise. It also said Srinivasan himself could face a conflict of interest case because he was both the BCCI president and also the owner of the IPL franchise, something it called "a serious issue" that needed to be considered by the court. In addition, the panel said that allegations of betting and spot-fixing against another IPL franchise owner, Raj Kundra of the Rajasthan entity, "must be further investigated".
Judge Mudgal told a television station the "menace of match-fixing may never be eradicated from cricket" and in his assessment "It is necessary to legalise betting and gambling to erase match-fixing".
IPL rules state that a franchise "may be terminated immediately" if the franchisee or owner’s actions have a "material adverse effect" on the competition’s or the sport’s reputation. BCCI vice-president and chief spokesman Rajiv Shukla, whose organisation owns and runs the IPL, told Agence France-Presse his board would take further action only after the Supreme Court gave its verdict. "This is a panel report, let us wait to see what the Supreme Court rules", he said, before adding that he had "no further comments to make".
ZIMBABWEAN PLAYER STRIKE GRINDS ON
Zimbabwe's domestic twenty-over competition, which had been due to start yesterday and run until Saturday, has been postponed after players refused to end their strike over non-payment. Player's representative Eliah Zvimba told Agence France-Presse that players went on strike two months ago over unpaid wages and bonuses dating back to last September and staged a sit-in at Harare Sports Club yesterday where a domestic tournament was set to take place.
After indicating last week that the monies owed would be paid by yesterday (PTG 1283-6184, 4 February 2014), Zimbabwe Cricket is said to have informed the players it did not have the money it needed to pay the salaries. Despite reports last week that it had received a $A3 million loan from the International Cricket Council it now appears they are still waiting for it to arrive, and other reports say that a potential commercial sponsor, which is thought to be offering around $A700,000, are close to pulling out.
"The situation is not healthy, everyone is sad", said Zvimba, as "we checked our [bank] accounts and there was nothing". "Morale is very low in the team". "You are talking [about] hungry and angry people". Zvimba said that although the Zimbabwe Cricket has shown "commitment to paying them, the players can play only after they have been paid".
COMMENTS ON UMPIRING DECISION
Bangladesh opener Shamsur Rahman has been officially reprimanded after pleading guilty to a charge of making inappropriate comments about an umpiring decision in a media conference held after the third day’s play in the second cricket Test against Sri Lanka in Chittagong on Thursday. Shamsur said their "day had been ruined by one decision" and that the Bangladesh dressing room had been irked by the dismissal of Nasir Hossain, who was "erroneously" given out caught behind by Australian umpire Paul Reiffel.
Shamsur admitted the offence and accepted the proposed sanction offered to him by match referee David Boon of Australia and as such there was no need for a formal hearing. Under International Cricket Council regulations the range of sanctions for all first Level 1 offences is a warning or reprimand and/or the imposition of a fine of up to half of a player's applicable match fee.
PERTH FINED FOR SLOW OVER-RATE
Cricket Australia has fined Perth players for maintaining a slow over rate in the final of their domestic Twenty20 series against the Hobart last Friday night. After time allowances were taken into consideration, the side were assessed to be one over behind the required rate at the end of the match. Under Playing Conditions for the series each member of the team was been fined $A500, but is they accept the penalty without appeal, it will be reduced to $A250. Given it was Perth's second slow-over-rate penalty for the season (PTG 1259-6079, 24 December 2013), captain Simon Katich also receives a one-match suspension, however, some reports say he is unsure whether he wants to play on again next season.
BOWLER'S ACTION CLEARED
Gloucestershire offspinner Jack Taylor's suspension from bowling in competitive county cricket was lifted by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) with "immediate effect" yesterday. Taylor was suspended from bowling last May after reports from umpires and an independent analysis showed his action was "illegal", however, after undergoing a period of remedial work in the time since then he was reassessed last week and subsequently cleared to bowl again in county fixtures.
IPL CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS ROLL ON
Six "prominent" "Indian capped" players, including one who is part of the current team, "are likely to face questioning" for their alleged roles in last year's Indian Premier League (IPL) fixing scandal, according to media reports from Delhi yesterday. Reports claim that the names of the six have been mentioned in a "sealed section" of the report filed with India's Supreme Court on Monday by a committee headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal that has been probing IPL betting and spot-fixing allegations (PTG 1289-6212, 11 February 2014).
The Supreme Court investigation has taken four months and involved questioning players, IPL team owners, the police, journalists, anti-corruption unit personnel and various other stakeholders. It was conducted separately from those undertaken by the police, who have filed charges in court against a string of officials, players and bookmakers for illegal betting during last year's IPL.
FIFTIETH TEST FOR MATCH
Sri Lankan match referee Roshan Mahanama will oversee his fiftieth Test match when South Africa and Australia play the second game of their three-match series in Port Elizabeth next week. Mahanama, 47, will look after the series between the two nations, the first match of which gets underway in Johannesburg later today, his umpiring colleagues being Aleem Dar of Pakistan, and Englishmen Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth.
Dar and Illingworth will be on field today in Johannesburg with Gould the third umpire, then the two Englishmen will stand together in Port Elizabeth with Dar in the television suite, the last match in Cape Town seeing Dar and Gould on-field and Illingworth the third umpire. By series end Dar's Test record will have moved on to 89 on-field and 14 as the third umpire (89/14), by far the most of any umpire standing in Tests today, Gould to 39/13 and Illingworth to 7/2.
Mahanama, who played 52 Tests for his country from 1985-98, was appointed to his first Test as a match referee a decade ago in May 2004, and since then he has fulfilled that role in games played in all the Test playing countries except his own and Australia. To date there have been 12 in South Africa, 9 in New Zealand, 6 in both Pakistan and the West Indies, 5 each in England and India, 4 in Bangladesh and one in Zimbabwe.
Apart from Mahanama's 50, the Newlands ground in Cape Town, where the third Test is to be played, will also bring up its half century for the game is the fiftieth Test to be held there since the first back in 1889, and the thirteenth involving South Africa and Australia.
After the Tests, Australia's tour will end with three Twenty20 Internationals (T20I), Chris Broad of England being the match referee for those games, and home members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Adrian Holdstock, Johan Cloete and Shaun George the umpires, each being on-field in two games and the television umpire in a third. The series will take Broad's T20I referee record to 55, Geeorge to 15/4, Cloete 12/6 and Holdstock 10/4.
'EXTREME HEAT' FORECAST RESULTS
IN ASSOCIATION CANCELLING PLAY
Clubs in Victoria's South West Cricket Association (SWCA) are said to be divided on the decision to abandon all matches that were to have been played last weekend because of a forecast of very hot conditions, temperatures in the Camperdown area rising to 42 degrees Celsius on Saturday. The Warrnambool newspaper 'The Standard' said yesterday that a "straw poll" of division one club captains had "yielded no consensus about whether the decision was right or wrong".
SWCA officials called off play at 7 p.m. on Friday evening, conscious of the impact of a forecast 40-degree day could have on players and umpires. On Sunday SWCA secretary Grant Myers defended the decision, saying executive members had “a duty of care” to those involved. “We heard the odd grumble about play being called off but with the temperature getting into the forties it was a good commonsense call". “We have that 40-degree mark as a tipping point and with many places in the district reaching that we erred on the side of caution". Myers said his executive also factored in players being unavailable on extreme fire danger days like Saturday due to the fact many of them are volunteer fire fighters.
Terang skipper Ben Grinter, whose side are two games outside of finals spots, said player welfare was more important than chasing points. “With our position on the ladder we needed to play Saturday to push forward for finals, but I think the league made the right decision", he said. “Just because we play a summer sport doesn’t mean players should be subjected to extreme conditions". Woorndoo captain Grant Cameron agreed, saying “People have farms, your livelihood comes before your sport [and] if a fire starts you want some sort of a chance to protect your farm". “The other thing is I’ve worked over [in Western Australia] in the heat and I’ve seen a lot of blokes go down with heatstroke".
Mortlake skipper Todd Lamont though was disappointed and believes the decision not to play any games came too early. “As hot as Saturday was, I wasn’t too concerned about the fire danger, I don’t think it was too hot to play cricket". Bookaar captain Fraser Lucas was also "frustrated", noting that play went ahead in similar conditions the week before, although temperatures that Saturday only reached around 37 degrees. “Maybe they made the right decision for the lower grades but when it comes to division one you’ve got to play regardless of rain or the heat", he said.
SWCA's decision to cancel a whole round of matches because of the hot conditions came two weeks after the Wagga Wagga District Cricket Association (WWDCA) in New South Wales did the same thing when similar temperatures were forecast, a decision that saw some criticise it for an inconsistent approach to heat issues (PTG 1284-6189, 5 February 2014).
CA DOMESTIC FIRST CLASS
DAY-NIGHT GAMES NEAR
Cricket Australia (CA) has named the match officials who are to oversee the three day-night, Sheffield Shield round nine, first class games that are to be played in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne early next month (PTG 1182-5703, 30 August 2013). National Umpire Panel (NUP) members John Ward and Damien Mealey are to stand in the match in Adelaide with David Tallala the match referee and Rita Artis and Neil Ricketts the scorers, the NUP's Sam Nogajski and Mike Graham-Smith will be together in Brisbane, Peter Marshall being the referee and Brian Fitzgerald and Rodd Palmer the scorers, while in Melbourne NUP members Ian Lock and Tony Wards will be on-field, Stephen Bernard the referee, with Craig Reece and Mike Walsh the scorers.
CA has named all twelve NUP members for matches in Sheffield Shield rounds seven to ten, the first of which is to start today. With the exception of Simon Fry, Graham-Smith, Lock, and Paul Wilson who have one match, the other eight NUP members have been allocated two Shield games, as have visiting South African and Indian umpires Allahudien Paleker and Anil Chaudhary. Fry and Wilson will, however, be overseas in the United Arab Emirates and South Africa respectively, the later standing in the Under-19 World Cup and the latter in first class matches on exchange.
CA Umpire High Performance Panel members Marshall and Bob Stratford have each been appointed to three of the remaining twelve Shield games as match referees, and their colleagues Bernard, Tallala, and Daryl Harper two each.
Seventeen scorers will record the details of those games, four in Melbourne, three each in Brisbane, Hobart and Sydney, and two each in Adelaide and Perth. Jim Hamilton, Jan Howard, Craig Reece and Mike Walsh all have one game in Melbourne, Brian Fitzgerald two and Cliff Howard and Rodd Palmer one each in Brisbane, Graeme Hamley two and Nathan Bester and Rob Godfrey one each in Hobart, and Kay Wilcoxon two and Christine Bennison and Toni Lorraine one each in Sydney. In Adelaide Rita Artis and Neil Ricketts will look after two games and across in Perth Lance Catchpole and Sandy Wheeler also two.
GILLIES FOR SOUTH AFRICAN EXCHANGE
Just twelve months after he made his debut at first class level, Sydney-born but now Auckland-based Tony Gilles has been selected as the latest New Zealand umpire to travel to South Africa on exchange. Gilles, 43, who was elevated to New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) domestic Elite Umpires Panel five months ago (PTG 1187-5725, 14 September 2013), is to stand in two rounds of Cricket South Africa's (CSA) domestic four-day first class competition over the next two weeks, the first which starts tomorrow while the second is due to get underway the following Thursday.
ODI DEBUT FOR BANGLADESHI UMPIRE
Bangladeshi umpire Anisur Rahman is to stand in his first One Day International (ODI) in the second game of the three match series the home side and Sri Lanka are to play in Dhaka next Wednesday. Rahman and fellow member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid, will be working with the two neutral officials for the series, Australians Rod Tucker and David Boon, all four being former first class players.
Rahman, 42, played two ODIs for his country in the mid-1990s prior to it attaining Test status, during a career that saw him play 35 first class, and 47 List A games. He made his debut as an umpire at first class level in March 2007 and currently has 36 matches to his credit, one of them being last year's domestic final at home, and others that include a number whilst on exchanges to Sri Lanka and the West Indies in 2009 and 2012 respectively, and also in South Africa in 2011 when he toured with Bangladesh's 'A' side. His List A record currently stands at 39 games.
Tucker will be on-field in matches one and three next week with Sharfuddoula, game two seeing him standing with debut Rahman, the two locals being in the television suite when not out in the middle. The series will take Boon's ODI record as a referee to 47, Tucker to 44 as an on-field umpire, Sharfuddoula to 8 on-field and 25 as the third umpire (8/25), and Rahman to 1/9.
WINDIES UMPIRE ANNOUNCES DEPARTURE
Jamaican Norman Malcolm, who was re-elected as president of his country's Cricket Umpires’ Association last weekend, has announced his retirement as a member of the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) Senior Panel of Umpires. An umpire for over thirty years, he made his debut at first class level in February 1994 and went on to stand in a total of 53 such games, most in the Caribbean, others being in second-tier international fixtures played in Canada, Scotland and the United States.
Malcolm, who turns 59 next month, is reported to have advised the WICB of his decision in December but only made it public at the weekend at his association's annual meeting. He leaves the WICB's senior panel with 98 List A fixtures to his credit, four of them finals of the Caribbean's domestic one-day competitions, the total including 27 One Day Internationals in the period 2008-11, some of the latter being matches played in Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland. He also worked as the third umpire in six Tests.
ANOTHER ECB RESERVE LIST
MEMBER ON THE MOVE
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Reserve List member Billy Taylor is not the only one of that group travelling overseas to umpire in the lead up to the 2014 English season (PTG 1284-6192, 5 February 2014), for his colleague Mike Burns is currently touring Malaysia and Singapore as an umpire with a Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) side. The MCC will play total of five one-day games are being played this week, three against a Malaysian XI and two in Singapore.
Burns, 45, played 154 first class, 221 List A and 9 Twenty20 games for Warwickshire and Somerset from 1991-2005, captaining the latter county in 2003-04. He was made a member of the Reserve List in December 2011 (PTG 866-4232, 1 December 2011), making his umpiring debut in first class cricket in March 2012 and currently has stood in four games at that level, as well as two List A and a single T20 at senior level. The ECB indicated it would announce its Reserve List for 2014 by the end of January, but as yet it appears that no details have been released.
The MCC undertakes four men's tours each year as part of its active playing program of around 500 matches. Last year its teams visited Argentina, the Cayman Islands, France, Cyprus and Uganda, and this year in addition to the current tour, others are scheduled to Finland, Botswana and Japan in June, October and November respectively.
CA TINKERING WITH DOMESTIC
T20 SEASON TIMINGS
Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic Twenty20 competition will be shortened next season, a move that will reduced slightly the length of the gap between the first and second sections of CA's first class Sheffield Shield season. While this season's T20 series was very successful from a marketing point of view, its timing resulted in the current first class season being put on hold for two months, something that has been a concern for the Australian Cricketer's Association (ACA), or player's union (PTG 1282-6174, 3 February 2014).
'Herald Sun' journalist Malcolm Conn is reporting this morning that a CA review panel has already proposed that the T20 series finish by the end of January when school holidays are over rather than drift into the first week of February. CA is said to want to keep the competition confined to the period most likely to attract families, a significant number of women and children attending cricket matches for the first time. An ACA proposal to play it in October as a strong lead-in to the season has been rejected because it would fail to capitalise on the holiday season, says Conn.
PAKISTANI DOMESTIC T20 GAME
'FIXED', CLAIMS TV COMMENTATOR
Former Pakistan batsman Basit Ali, who is now a television commentator, has alleged that a domestic Twenty20 match between the Karachi 'Dolphins' and the Sialkot 'Stallions' played in Rawalpindi on Tuesday was "fixed", however, he has not backed up that claim with any detail. Karachi won the low scoring game when they reached 92 in their innings, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) responded to media reports by saying that every domestic match "is monitored by" its Anti-Corruption Unit acting under PCB Domestic Anti Corruption protocols, and that the match in question was "no exception" in that regard.
Following Ali's claim, what reports say was "a serious situation" was averted two days later when on Thursday, as Sialkot was preparing to play its next match against Islamabad, Ali was removed from the television booth for the game. That came as a result of "a strong protest" from Sialkot captain Shoaib Malik and his teammates who reportedly claimed they couldn't play if Ali was in the commentators' box. However, former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif, who wrote a letter to the International Cricket Council as long ago as 2003 citing the need to change aspects of One Day International Playing Conditions he believed were prone to spot-fixing, believes that the PCB should take Ali's allegations seriously. Ali himself was the subject of unsubstantiated match fixing allegations during his playing career twenty years ago.
Reports from Lahore say it is not the first time that matches in the PCB's T20 regional event have come under the spotlight. In 2005 Malik was fined and banned for one Test match by the PCB after admitting his team threw a game against Karachi Zebras to protest a decision to penalise them for slow over-rate in an earlier game. An inquiry concluded that the incident "damaged Pakistan's cricketing image and had shown disrespect to the crowd", but that "his actions were not part of any match-fixing with no financial implications, but were an immature attempt to express his disappointment at earlier decisions in the competition that he felt went against his side".
In 2012 Danish Kaneria and Hasan Raza were investigated by the Karachi City Cricket Association after allegations surfaced that their team, the Karachi Zebras, threw a match against the Peshawar Panthers. Later that year Kaneria was banned for life by the England and Wales Cricket Board for his involvement in a fixing case in county cricket, and despite several appeals he is still subject to what is in effect a world-wide ban (PTG 1139-5522, 4 July 2013).
ECB ALREADY SPENDING ANTICIPATED
England are to have their first full-time professional women's cricket team following major investment by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), which announced "significant" pay rises for its top players on Thursday, increases that come on top of "bonuses" being paid to those who played in the recent Ashes series in Australia. The ECB approved pay rate changes during a board meeting this week, a statement issued afterwards reading in part: "In a ground-breaking decision by the ECB directors, it was agreed that a portion of the increased revenues ECB are likely to receive from future [International Cricket Council] events should be re-invested in urban areas and the women's game".
ECB chairman Giles Clarke, who was involved recently in pushing significant changes to the way the ICC operates (PTG 1289-6209, 11 February 2014), said "these pay rises are significant and, as a result, we are proudly creating the first group of full-time women's professional cricketers". Former captain Clare Connor, who is now the ECB's head of women's cricket, told BBC Sport that current England captain "Charlotte Edwards and I had to pay for our first England blazer to go on tour to India in 1995 and now 18 years on, what a fantastic day this is for the sport". "I am incredibly proud of the backing the ECB give the women's game and it is a monumental day for our sport". Just what the actual pay rates of the players will be was not disclosed.
At the same time the ECB board also committed to reviving "inner-city" or urban cricket over the next ten years and hopes to attract thousands of new players. A study, conducted by the ECB and involving almost a million participants, shows that some 908,000 who participate in "inner city" competitions struggle to get access to turf pitches. Thirty per cent of those involved are "from an ethnic minority", the average age of amateur players is thirty-one, ninety-three per cent are male, but "only fifty per cent think 'playing in the right spirit' is the most important part of the game".
Whether finding and training the extra number of umpires and scorers needed to support the 'thousands of new players" being targeted by the ECB is part of the work program envisaged is not known, as appears to be the case in Australia which is also eyeing a large boost in playing numbers in a next two years (PTG 1189-5734, 16 September 2013).
CA BACK IN THE 'GRASS
ROOTS' TRAINING BUSINESS?
The inclusion of an article covering a number of basic umpiring techniques in Cricket Australia's (CA) latest Match Officials Newsletter suggests that the national body may, after a decade of inaction, be back in the business of providing training material for 'grass roots umpires', however, further evidence is needed to confirm that is in fact the case. Since CA launched its then ground-breaking Level 2 accreditation program in 2002, a body of work that leant heavily on material developed for other sports in Australia, its training efforts have been focussed on those umpires who have been identified as having the potential to reach first class level, while support for the umpiring and scoring fraternity who ply their trade in club and general 'grass roots' games has been at best poor and more generally non-existant.
Contained in this week's Match Officials Newsletter, CA's third in three months and sixth since the first edition eighteen months ago (PTG 1227-5918, 7 November 2013), is a document titled 'On field routines and technique'. Over a total of fourteen 'Power Point' format pages its author, former first class umpire Bob Parry who is now CA's Umpire Educator, covers items titled 'Technique', a half-page summary of issues involved when an umpire at the bowler's end picks up a ball delivered by a bowler, and 'Positioning', first with regard to an umpire standing at the bowler's end, and then at square leg, plus a section which discusses matters related to the period when the official is transitioning between the two.
While observers in many Australian states have welcomed the initiative, Parry's 'Power Point' like product, which appears to have been prepared for presentation to a 'live' audience, is such that many of the pages are not that easy to follow and there is a need for a 'human voice' over in order to clearly bring out the factors involved. There is also the question as to whether the document is a product of input from senior umpire trainers around the country as the editing, structure and illustrations are in places loose, and some of the factors contained in the material appear inconsistent with those currently being taught at the 'local' level in some regions. In addition, and despite its title, the paper makes no mention of a wide range other on-field 'routines' or 'techniques' that make up a modern-day umpire's inventory.
It is also not clear as to whether Parry's effort is an opportunistic one-off or is part of what many see as a sorely needed, wider push to provide club-level and other 'grass roots' umpires around the country with well-structured and coordinated training materials for today's game (PTG 1086-5290, 8 April 2013). Plans to develop on-line learning and a complete revamp of the now 2002 era Level 2 pack that have been flagged as 'in work' over the last few years have so far failed to materialise for the bulk of umpires around the country (PTG 910-4428, 7 March 2012). At the same time efforts to address scorer related issues last year appear to have stalled, in part it seems because of differing views those in the senior scorer community have regarding the use of paper versus computers (PTG 1179-5690, 26 August 2013).
Whether Parry, who rook up his current position eight months ago (PTG 1116-5426, 4 June 2013), is engaged in work that fits into an overall long-term strategic initiative aimed at the majority of umpires and scorers around the country is difficult to assess at this stage. That is particularly so given CA's general tendency to undertake match official related work under a cloak of secrecy, a situation that appears to apply even when they have 'good news' stories to tell. Despite that the recent surge in Match Officials Newsletters may well be, believe some, a sign that a more open period is ahead, but others are yet to be convinced.
EXCHANGE UMPIRES IN CAPE TOWN,
DURBAN AND KIMBERLEY
Indian umpire Chettithody Shamshuddin, and his colleagues Tony Gillies of New Zealand and Paul Wilson of Australia, are currently standing in South African domestic first class matches in Kimberley, Durban and Cape Town respectively, the first of two matches they will each be involved in during their respective exchange visits. Shamshuddin is currently on-field with local Dennis Smith in the Knights versus Titans fixture, Gillies with Gerrie Pienaar in the Dolphin-Warriors game, and Wilson with Karl Hurter as the Cape Cobras take on the Lions. Their second matches are due to get underway next Thursday.
'ZING' WICKETS TO DEBUT
IN INTERNATIONAL EVENT
'Zing' wickets will be used in an International Cricket Council (ICC) event for the first time during the Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. Developed in Adelaide the wickets, that light up red and flash when they are broken, were first used in Australia's domestic Twenty20 series twelve months ago (PTG 1027-4992, 10 December 2013), then in New Zealand Cricket's T20 event this austral summer (PTG 1233-5952, 16 November 2013).
The ICC announced six months ago that subject to satisfactory testing the system was in line for use in senior One Day and Twenty20 Internationals (PTG 1136-5510, 1 July 2013). The world body said in a press release this week that the stumps will be used to provide "television viewers and spectators at the venue an enhanced experience", however, the technology will only be used in the semi-finals and the final of the event at the Dubai International Stadium in two weekend's time.
END TO ZIMBABWE STRIKE THIS TIME?
Zimbabwean players have ended a two-month strike over unpaid wages and bonuses after the cricket union processed outstanding salaries, according to a report in yesterday's edition of Harare's 'Daily News', but just when the season there will actually resume, and whether match officials will also receive monies owed to them, is not yet clear. Elias Zvimba, the secretary-general of Zimbabwe's player association, told the 'News' on Thursday that "the strike is over".
Reports indicate that Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has obtained the funds to pay outstanding salaries, however just where they came from is not known, but the International Cricket Council (ICC) is thought to be the likely provider. ZC was said to have had a sponsor about to sign up and to have asked the ICC for a $A3 million loan, a figure that would add to the $A18 million it is already reported to owe the world body.
REPORTS SUGGEST PART OF IPL-7
COULD BE PLAYED OUTSIDE INDIA
General elections scheduled for India sometime in April-May may see part of this year's seventh Indian Premier League (IPL-7) series being played in Bangladesh, South Africa or the United Arab Emirates. Senior IPL management figures are said to be preparing for meetings with the country's Home Ministry next week after which it is hoped the dates of the election may become clearer, a decision being expected in the next ten days.
The event's second edition in 2009 was moved to South Africa at short notice because federal elections were being held at that time and the Indian government was concerned it could not provide adequate security for players or spectators.
Speaking in Bangalore yesterday, IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal also indicated that a booklet will be published that gives "the dos and don’ts" with regard to anti-corruption measures. “We have already given [all those involved] clear guidelines [but] will also publish a booklet and arrange for video presentations to inform the franchises what to do and what not to". According to him "We are taking every possible step to ensure a corruption-free tournament" this year.
BANNED HONG KONG SPINNER
NAMED IN WT20C SQUAD
Hong Kong spinner Moner Ahmed might have been banned from bowling in international cricket, however he is likely to play for his side as a batsman in Bangladesh next month during the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series. Ahmed was reported twice during the World Twenty20 Qualifier in the United Arab Emirates last November (PTG 1234-17 November 2013), a subsequent ICC analysis performed at the School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health at The University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth in mid-December showing his action was "illegal" (PTG 1265-6103, 7 January 2014).
Charlie Burke, director of cricket with the Hong Kong Cricket Association, said that "Moner is only banned from bowling [and] he is still one of the better players against spin that we have in Hong Kong which is a factor that we will face in Bangladesh". Hong Kong meet Afghanistan, hosts Bangladesh and Nepal in one of the two preliminary groups, a sub-series they have to win to enter the WT20C's main draw.
UMPIRE DONATES HISTORIC FINE CHINA
PLATES TO BRADMAN MUSEUM
Long serving New South Wales umpire Arthur Watson, who stood in his 700th match in Sydney Cricket Association in November and is a noted collector of cricket memorabilia (PTG 1217-5854, 25 October 2013), has donated eighteen rare fine china plates that mark the careers of some of the world’s leading batsmen to the Bradman Museum in Bowral. The plates were produced in limited numbers by the 'Coalport', 'Royal Grafton' and 'Royal Worcester' potteries, a portrait of the individual player dominating the centre if each plate.
The players represented span most of international cricket’s entire history and include Englishmen W.G. Grace, Frank Woolley, Jack Hobbs, Wally Hammond, Denis Compton, and Graeme Hick, Bradman himself and West Indian Viv Richards. Seventeen of the plates are not represented in the museum's existing collection. Inverall-born Watson, 73, a former first class umpire, has donated collection pieces to the Bradman Museum in the past. The Museum says that it is planning to place his latest contributions on public display in the near future.
MODIFIED PLAYING CONDITIONS AIMED
AT ENCOURAGING WOMEN PLAYERS
Last Sunday's “Central Highlands T20 Just for Girls” tournament for the 'Wendy Gray Shield' that featured youth teams from four regional western Victorian associations in Ballarat, was played with a "modified set of rules". Under the changed arrangements, scorers were required to add five runs to a team's score for every wicket they took whilst in the field, those at the crease were allowed to face six balls even though they may be dismissed during that time, and a maximum of six balls were bowled in an over, regardless of whether wides or no balls be called, in overs one to nineteen. Regional Cricket Manager Campbell Waring said before the event that the competition’s main focus was the "development of girls' cricket" by providing a "positive cricket experience in an 'all-girls' setting".
FORMER UMPIRE PLEADS GUILTY
TO CRICKET STEALING CHARGE
FIGHT OVER GROUND USE
IN MUMBAI CONTINUES
The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) is concerned that so-called "tennis ball cricketers" from schools, colleges, and general work places who play the game for what the 'Times of India' calls "sheer fun", are refusing to leave the famous, vast Azad, Cross, Oval and other sports grounds across the city so that MCA-run fixtures can be played. Traditionally, tennis ball cricketers are allowed to play on those grounds from 7.00 when the sun rises to 9.30 a.m. each morning and then between 4.45 to 6 p.m. when the sun sets, the time in between being allocated to MCA games played on pitches owned by some fifty clubs.
An MCA press release issued last week says that even when the tennis ball cricketers are persuaded to leave the ground, they have then "gone to the extent of assaulting players and umpires". MCA secretary Nitin Dalal has sought the help of the police as: “It’s becoming very difficult [as] the tennis ball cricketers pitch stumps on plots owned by clubs and damage them". The association says it plans to approached Raosaheb Patil, Maharashtra's Home Minister, to "sort out this issue".
Two months ago an MCA ‘G’ division match between the United and Sportsfield clubs at a university college ground had to be abandoned after local residents demanded they be allowed to play "tennis ball cricket" there (PTG 1255-6060, 17 December 2014).
FORMER EUP MEMBER MENTORING
U-19 WC UMPIRES
Tony Hill, who resigned as a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) last month, is currently working in support of umpires standing in the Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. Hill, who left the EUP in order to join New Zealand Cricket (NZC) as its Umpire Coach (PTG 1267-6111, 10 January 2014), is says the ICC acting as an umpire coach during the tournament, providing guidance and advice "as required" to the thirteen umpires involved (PTG 1284-6186, 5 February 2014. Prior to the event getting under way last week, Auckland-based Hill and ICC referees and umpires manager Vince van der Bijl ran a two-day workshop for the match officials.
'FOUL LANGUAGE' RESULTS IN
REPRIMAND FOR U-19 BOWLER
England Under-19 fast bowler Jack Winslade has been reprimanded for “using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting" during his side's World Cup match against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Abu Dhabi on Friday. The incident in question took place in the fifteenth over of UAE’s innings when Winslade used foul language after having been warned earlier for the same offence.
On-field umpires Sundaram Ravi of India and Ian Ramage of Scotland, plus third umpire Shozab Raza from Pakistan, reported the Engishman to match referee Andy Pycroft. Winslade, who has played for Surrey's second XI, admitted to the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by Pycroft and as such there was no need for a formal hearing.
FINE HANDED OUT FOR
South Australian medium pacer Joe Mennie has been fined twenty per cent of his match fee for "using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting" during his side's Sheffield Shield match against Queensland in Brisbane on Saturday. Mennie, 25, was reported by umpires Gerard Abood and Anil Chaudhary and accepted the proposed penalty set by match referee David Tullala. Cricket Australia say it was Mennie's first offence under its Code of Behaviour system in the past eighteen months.
MCG FUND RAISER AIMED AT
HELPING UMPIRE'S SON
A dinner is to be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Saturday week to raise funds for the care of the son of Victorian umpire David Shepard who suffers from a rare genetic condition known as Usher Syndrome. Shepard, 43, played first class cricket for his state and has since turned to umpiring in Victoria's District competition, his progress as a match official being marked by his selection to stand in Cricket Australia's national Under 17 series in Adelaide last month.
Now four-year-old Louis Shepard was born profoundly deaf and the currently incurable condition is such that he is likely to loose his eye sight before he reaches the age of ten. Just before his first birthday he was fitted with 'Cochlear' implants so that he can hear, and his family is working to raise money for his on-going specialist care, education and to maximise his quality of life.
Next week's benefit function at the MCG will feature entertainment, dinner and drinks and there will be silent and live auctions throughout the night. Details of how to obtain tickets for the event, and for those who can't attend how donations can be forwarded, can be found at the 'Louis Looking Forward' web site.
WARRNAMBOOL UMPIRES DONATE
FEES TO CANCER FUND
Umpires in Warrnambool in south-west Victoria donated $A1,900 from their match fees last weekend to a campaign to bring improved cancer care services in their region. Warrnambool Cricket Umpires Association (WCUA) secretary Sean Cole told the city's newspaper that his colleagues had voted that each active member would donate $100 to help fund a cancer treatment centre for the south-west.
WCUA head Charlie Rivett passed the monies to cancer project founder Vicki Jellie last Saturday, a day when umpires also held a minute’s silence to honour past member Robert Campbell, who recently died on lung cancer after having umpired in the region for sixteen years.
SECOND ENGLISH U-19
England Under-19 seamer Josh Shaw has been was reprimanded for giving Sri Lankan opener Sadeera Samarawickrama a 'send off' after having him caught at covers during the World Cup match in Dubai on Sunday. Shaw, 18, who has played at second XI level for Yorkshire, picked up two wickets in the thirty-fifth over of Sri Lanka’s innings, but was found to have "pointed or gesturing towards the pavilion by a bowler or a fielder upon the dismissal of a batsman during an International match”.
On-field umpires Simon Fry of Australia and Shaun George from South Africa plus third umpire Enamul Haque of Bangladesh brought the charge before match referee Chris Broad of England and Shaw later admitted to the offence. Shaw is the second England fast bowler after Jack Winslade to reprimanded in the tournament (PTG 1293-6239, 17 February 2014).
US ASSOCIATION'S DEBT ON THE RISE
The United States' Cricket Association's (USACA) total debt jumped from $A2.1 million in 2011 to $A3.3 million in 2012, according to the tax return the group tabled for the latter financial year, says an article posted on the 'Cricinfo' web site yesterday. Most of the debt resulted from legal fights with other cricketing entities in the country, battles that were sparked by the USACA's disenfranchisement of thirty-two, or two-thirds, of its member leagues ahead of its 2012 election, a move reports claim was designed to ensure the reelection of incumbent president, eventual winner, and now current president, Gladstone Dainty
Journalist Peter Della Penna says that the USACA's 2012 tax return, which was filed with the government last November after two deadline extensions, the first in mid-April and the second in mid-August, was made public last week. He reports that the association's revenue in 2013 was $A418,000, down almost half from the year before, the USA national team's on-field activity internationally was reduced by half over the twelve months, and that "there is little evidence that USACA used any development money to construct pitches or other infrastructure in that time frame".
Four years ago USACA had announced it had signed a contract with a number of entities to establish a professional Twenty20 league in the United States in 2012, an activity that they said at the time could bring a windfall of $A11 million for the association, but so far the event has failed to materialise.
SRI LANKA AGREES TO GO
WITH THE ICC FLOW
Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) Executive Committee agreed "unanimously" on Monday to support changes to International Cricket Council (ICC) governance, financial and operational arrangements agreed to by eight of the ten ICC full member nations at a special ICC board meeting held in Singapore ten days ago (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014). Sri Lanka, along with Pakistan, abstained from voting on those changes in Singapore saying they needed more time to consider the issues (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014), but as yet the latter nation is yet to decide its position on changes the ICC is now moving forward with
Press reports from Colombo over the last week have been full of concern that what were repeatedly called the 'Big Three', the boards of Australia, England and India, would make life difficult for SLC if they did not agree to the proposed changes. However, SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga told journalists after Monday's meeting all ICC members "respect our views and we have a better understanding amongst each other".
Ranatunga indicated that over the next seven years SLC expects to receive income totalling around $A63 million from in-bound tours, a one month visit by India bringing in $A30 million, and those by England and Australia $A14 million and $A8 million respectively. "Series with these three countries will bring us a revenue of [around $A50 million and if] we object to their proposals our cricket is going to suffer", he said. India is due to tour Sri Lanka in 2017 and Ranatunga is said to be "hopeful" it and other tours currently planned up until 2018 will not be affected.
Answering criticism about SLC's change of heart regarding the ICC changes, which it originally rejected (PTG 1286-6202, 7 February 2014), Ranatunga countered with: "People talk about principles and all that [but such things] will not give us the money [for] we have to make our money from these tours". "When any other countries come for a full tour we bear the same cost to host them but the returns are very small compared to the ['Big three'] countries".
Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi said yesterday that the "Big Three", Australia, England and India, "must listen" to the PCB's point of view if they need Pakistan’s support in ICC matters, something most observers think is a comment made for home consumption. The PCB is yet to reach a decision on ICC changes, and is now the only one of the ten full member nations who has not signed on to the planned revamp. Sethi told reporters in Lahore “we are not obliged to accept the ‘Big Three’ proposals" and "will make a decision based on our own interests".
PCB COMMITTEE TO PROBE
T20 'FIXING' ALLEGATIONS
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has appointed a three-member committee to investigate allegations of match-fixing during a Twenty20 match between sides from Sialkot and Karachi last week. Former Pakistan batsman Basit Ali, who is now a television commentator, claimed the match was 'fixed" after Karachi won what was a low scoring game (PTG 1292-6226, 15 February 2014). PCB's general manager for domestic cricket operations Shafiq Ahmed, Wasim Ahmed Shahid, its senior manager for security and anti-corruption, and Ali Naqvi, an "independent cricketer", make up the committee which is expected to provide its findings to PCB's chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed "within a week".
WICB POSITIVE ABOUT ICC
West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) President David Cameron has given assurances that its international side will benefit from the recent changes agreed to by the board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) at a meeting in Singapore ten days ago (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014). The WICB was one of eight full members of the ICC to vote in favour of the changes, arrangements that Cameron told a news conference in Port-of-Spain on Monday "will allow the game to grow and develop in the Caribbean and in the Americas far more robustly and vigorously" than at present.
Cameron said that "the West Indies have the most unfavourable matches based on the [current] Future Tours Program (FTP), and you would notice that we have been playing Bangladesh and New Zealand every year for the last two or three years and that is why the WICB is set to have a massive deficit at the end of our financial year which ends in September".
“The new proposals will allow the WICB to increase the number of profitable tours it hosts while decreasing the amount of unprofitable tours it is obliged to host under the FTP", continued Cameron, and "the WICB will be able to negotiate fees when the West Indies team plays in an away series”. According to him “We have already secured commitments from the major countries to play an increased number of matches and series over the next eight years", although when asked he could not give details of those tours and home series.
CALL FOR REVIEW OF US
CRICKET'S 'GOVERNANCE SITUATION'
The American Cricket Federation (ACF), which has eleven affiliate leagues, has asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) to review "the current governance situation in [United States]". That news comes soon after indications the ICC-recognised governing body, the United States' Cricket Association (USACA), had recorded a debt totalling $A3.3 million in 2012, a figure that is a third greater than that $A2.1 million loss of the previous twelve months (PTG 1294-6144, 18 February 2014).
The ACF's request is said to have been contained in a message addressed to Tim Anderson, the ICC's Toronto-based Global Development Manager for the Americas, by the Federation's chief executive Jamie Harrison. "We had the opportunity to request such a review back in November, but we chose not to do it then, mainly in deference to the players who were making preparations to represent the USA at the ICC WT20 Qualifier [series] as we felt that it would have been a distraction" to them. Now, however, the US national side "has no significant international commitments for the foreseeable future and we feel that this issue could be resolved in a short time".
The current ACF-USACA skirmish is nothing new for cricket in the United States as there have been numerous such battles in recent years. A 2012 USACA governance review conducted by TSE Consulting, which was funded by a grant from the ICC, recommended changing the organisation's structure, reducing the size of its board and the introduction of both independent and player-level directors, term limits for board members and the redefining of membership categories.
BOWDEN, RAVI VYING FOR A
SECOND VACANT EUP SPOT?
New Zealander 'Billy' Bowden may have been dropped from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top umpiring panel last June but that hasn't stopped the world body from choosing him as a neutral official in internationals, his latest appointment being to next week's eleven-match, One Day International format Asia Cup series in Bangladesh. Bowden, now a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), has been selected to work in the Asian series with along with South African IUP member Johan Cloete, Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) members Bruce Oxenford of Australia and Nigel Llong of England, and the latter's countryman Chris Broad and another Kiwi, Jeff Crowe, as the two match referees.
Oxenford and Llong have already been allocated the final of the series two weeks from today with Crowe the referee, the latter looking after seven games overall and Broad the other four. The two EUP members will be on field in six games each and Bowden and Cloete both five, but at this time there is no indication on the ICC's web site who will fill the third umpire positions. Should those appointments pan out Broad will end the series with 244 ODIs as a match referee and Crowe 192, while Bowden's on-field ODI record will progress to 189, second behind current all-time ODI umpire Rudi Koertzen of South Africa who retired on 209, Llong 78, Oxenford 57 and Cloete 37.
Apart from his selection by the ICC for the Ashes series (PTG 1229-5923, 10 November 2013), Bowden has also been chosen by the world body for next month's World Twenty20 Championship (PTG 1285-6198, 6 February 2014), and thus currently appears to be in contention for a return to the EUP later this year. Indications are that Ranmore Martinecz of South Africa is the front runner to fill the vacancy on the EUP left with the departure of New Zealander Tony Hill (PTG 1267-6111, 10 January 2014 ), with Bowden and Sundarum Ravi of India the candidates if Australian Steve Davis, whose performances have dropped off as he moves further into his sixties, leaves the EUP this year. Cloete is seen as a contender for the EUP in twelve months time, his next milestone being selection for his first Test.
DHARMASENA SLIPS QUIETLY
INTO PORT ELIZABETH TEST
Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena has been slipped into the match officials pool for the Test series between South Africa and Australia, taking over the on-field spot in the current match in Port Elizabeth in place of the original nominee, Englishman Ian Gould. Gould, who worked as the third umpire during last week's opening Test in Johannesburg, was to have been on-field with countryman Richard Illingworth in Port Elizabeth, Aleem Dar of Pakistan being the television umpire as scheduled (PTG 1290-6218, 12 February 2014). No reason has been given for Gould's absence but the International Cricket Council's web site currently indicates he will be back for the third and final Test in Cape Town which starts a week from today.
U-19 WORLD CUP QUARTER FINAL
Indian umpire Sundarum Ravi will be on-field in two quarter finals of the Under-19 World Cup, one today and the second tomorrow, other umpires given sports in those matches being Rob Bailey of England, Australian Simon Fry, Chris Gaffaney of New Zealand, South African Shaun George, Enamul Hoque-Moni of Bangladesh and Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka, over all control of the games being in the hands of Englishman Chris Broad and Sri Lankan Graeme La Brooy as THE match referees.
Today's India-England match will see Martinesz and Gaffaney on-field with Fry the television official, Hoque-Moni the fourth umpire and Broad the referee, the second fixture between Pakistan and Sri Lanka having George and Ravi supported by Bailey as the third umpire and somewhat surprisingly, Sri Lankan La Brooy as the referee. Tomorrow Australia and the West Indies will have Ravi and Moni on-field, Gaffaney as the third, George the fourth and Broad the referee, while the match between Afghanistan and South Africa has Fry and Bailey allocated to the on-field positions, Martinecz the third and La Brooy the referee.
Those selections mean that the other umpires selected for the World Cup, Jerry Matibiri (Zimbabwe); Peter Nero (West Indies); David Odhiambo (Kenya); Sarika Prasad (Singapore); Ian Ramage (Scotland) and Shozab Raza (Pakistan), will be assigned to final 'Plate' matches of the those national teams that did not make the main quarter finals draw: Bangladesh, Canada, Namibia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, the United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe.
Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe will be the match referee for those games, although the fact that Broad is due to look after an Asia Cup match in Bangladesh on Thursday (PTG 1296-6249 above), suggests La Brooy and Pycroft will be the referees for the semi final and finals of both the main and 'Plate' U-19 World Cup competitions.
GOUGH COLLECTS YET MORE
'FREQUENT FLYER' POINTS
Englishman Michael Gough has been appointed to stand in the One Day International (ODI) between the West Indies and Ireland in Jamaica tomorrow. Gough, who was on-field in three first class games in the Caribbean two years ago this month on exchange, has had a busy three months, being in the United Arab Emirates in November-December at the behest of the International Cricket Council (ICC) (PTG 1250-6034, 7 December 2013), then last month in India again on exchange (PTG 1266-6110, 9 January 2010), followed by a stint in New Zealand, again at the ICC's request (PTG 1280-6165, 31 January 2014).
Gough has been appointed by the ICC to stand in the ODI with Gregory Brathwaite, Devdas Govindjee of South Africa, a member of the ICC's second-tier Regional Referees Panel being the match referee. Brathwaite was on-field with Joel Wilson in both the Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) the West Indies and Ireland played in the lead up to their single ODI, with Govindjee the referee. In three weeks time Ireland will be in Bangladesh playing in preliminary games of the World T20 Championship series, fixtures if it wins will secure a spot in the event proper.
BATSMAN'S HEAD INJURY AGAIN
RAISES CONCUSSION ISSUE
The head injury sustained by South African all-rounder Ryan McLaren during the first Test against Australia in Johannesburg has again brought the issue of concussion in sport into focus, according to a 'Fox News' story aired on Wednesday. Three months ago headaches, blurred vision and unsteadiness suffered by McLaren's captain Graeme Smith after he was hit in the head by a bouncer delivered in a Test against Pakistan, led to a renewed call from Australian sports doctor John Orchard for tighter rules regarding concussion issues (PTG 1244-6010, 29 November 2013).
McLaren was ruled out of the current second Test in Port Elizabeth because he experienced headaches and nausea more than twenty-four hours after the heavy blow inflicted by a delivery from Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson in Johannesburg. The South African was brought to his knees by the strike and required treatment for a bloody wound that opened above his ear, however, despite being visibly shaken he resumed his innings a few minutes later. A player was killed in a club game in South Africa in October after being hit on the side of the head with a ball whilst batting, his death occurring despite the fact he was wearing a helmet (PTG 1220-5868, 29 October 2013).
Three months ago, Cricket New South Wales medical officer Orchard called on cricket officials to introduce a substitute who can bat and bowl if a player suffers an injury during a match. Cricket follows the ‘Zurich Consensus’ that players cannot return to the field of play if they’re diagnosed with concussion, but the International Cricket Council is said by 'Fox Sports' not to have "any laws specifically pertaining to the issue".
An on line poll conducted by Fox this week saw forty-seven per cent of voters say a batsman should be allowed to return immediately if he's cleared of concussion, forty-six per cent saying 'no'. How many people voted in the poll or what their expertise in the game was were not revealed.
PART OF IPL-7 LIKELY TO
BE HELD OUTSIDE INDIA
Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Ranjib Biswal indicated on Thursday that part of this year's tournament will be held outside India due to security reasons associated with national elections that are due to be held sometime in April-May when IPL-7 will be underway. Biswal had earlier met earlier that day with officials from India's Home Ministry who indicated they are unable to provide adequate security for both the elections and IPL event at the same time, the situation being particularly complex at the moment as the date for the elections in that period has not yet been finalised.
Biswal went on to say that “The decision on the final venue will be made by a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) working committee meeting", the choice of alternate locations being between Bangladesh, South Africa and United Arab Emirates; South Africa hosting IPL-2 in 2009 in similar circumstances. BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel indicated last week that “As far as possible we want to do the IPL in India and if not, then South Africa is the preferred venue at the moment".
A report in the 'Mumbai Mirror' on Wednesday quoted Cricket South Africa (CSA) president Chris Nenzani as saying that his association would be happy to assist in the staging of IPL-7 but indicated he has not had any word from the BCCI and the news came to him "only through the media". Relations between the BCCI and CSA have been strained following the Indian board's decision to truncate their side's tour there late last year, and links deteriorated further when plans for the revamp of the ICC first came to light.
But Nenzani told journalists that the relations with the BCCI are "getting normal, slowly and surely". "We're engaged with the BCCI". "We're hopeful of mending fences with the BCCI". "We have come a long way in this pursuit and I can say the relations will be fully back on track very soon", said the CSA president.
CAPTAIN'S SEASON ENDS AFTER
UMPIRE 'ABUSE' VERDICT
The Newcastle District Cricket Association (NDCA) in New South Wales has suspended university captain Luke Bird for the rest of the season and given him a suspended ban of that will cover the first six playing days of the 2014-15 season for umpire abuse in a recent game. All-rounder Bird pleaded guilty after being reported by umpires Terry Collins and Michael Connolly, while his team mate Michael Radnidge was also cited for misbehaviour in the same game and given a suspended two-day ban.
University club president James Wallace said his committee would meet this week to consider appealing against the severity of Bird’s ban. He told the 'Newcastle Herald' that: ‘‘I think there was a lot of passion, and Luke’s always played with a lot of passion, and certainly he’s remorseful about what’s taken place, but frankly there was a lot of passion from both sides".
When asked if Bird needed to tone down his on-field behaviour, Wallace said: ‘‘Luke has a role in our club that is not just captain of first grade for he’s on our committee and integral in our sponsorship and other things and he certainly knows what my attitude about those things is". ‘‘I don’t want him to play with any less passion; it’s just about how he controls that", said the club president.
ZIMBABWE 'INADVERTENTLY' CHOSE OVER
AGE PLAYERS FOR U-19 WORLD CUP
Zimbabwe "inadvertently selected" five over-aged players in its squad for the Under-19 World Cup series that is currently underway in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement posted on its web site that the error, which appears have come to light after the Group stage of the competition, was due "to a miscommunication and administrative error between Zimbabwe Cricket and the organisers" of the two-week long U-19 event which is due to conclude next Saturday.
After consulting the event's Technical Committee the ICC "has allowed" Zimbabwe to continue with the same set of players in the lower half of the second stage of the tournament, the Plate series for the eight teams that finish the opening Group matches in the bottom two of their respective tables. The ICC says that "teams participating in the Plate Championship were, given the circumstances, satisfied with that proposed course of action".
Playing Conditions for the U-19 World Cup do not indicate what the birthday cut-off date is for those eligible for the event, however, it is possible that the six non Test playing countries, Afghhanistan, Canada, Namibia, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Scotland the UAE, may have had a more recent date to work to than those whose senior teams play Test cricket. Ninety-one of the 240 players in the tournament are over nineteen, fourteen of those havind had their twentieth birthday.
Data readily available on line indicates that seven of Zimbabwe's fifteen man squad currently range in ages from nineteen years two months (19/2) to nineteen years nine months (19/9). On the other hand Canada have twelve (19/1 to 20/5), New Zealand nine (19/1 to 19/4), PNG nine (19/2 to 20/4), Australia eight (19/1 to 19/4), Scotland eight (19/2 to 20/2), India seven (19/1 to 19/4), UAE seven (19/1 to 20/10), Afghhanistan six (19/1 to 20/1), Namibia six (19/2 to 19/11), South Africa six (19/1 to 19/5), West Indies five (19/1 to 19/3), Pakistan four (19/1 to 19/3), England two (19/1 to 19/3), Bangladesh one (19/3) and Sri Lanka one (19/2).
Of the Test nations the oldest player is Zimbabwe's Cuthbert Musoko at 19/9, the next oldest being South Africa's Corbin Bosch at 19/5. Overall the eldest player taking part this year is the UAE's Mohammad Hamid who is within two months of turning twenty-one, while the youngest is Afghanistan all-rounder Shahidullah who turned fifteen just before the tournament began.
FORMER ENGLAND U-19 CAPTAIN
MOVED INTO IUP ON-FIELD SPOT
Less than twenty-four hours after the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced English umpire Michael Gough had been appointed to stand in a One Day International in Jamaica (PTG 1296-6252, 22 February 2014), comes news that he has been elevated to an on-field spot on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) after two seasons in a IUP third umpire role. Gough joins countryman Rob Bailey in an IUP on-field place left vacant by the elevation of Richard Kettleborough to the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) eight months ago, Tim Robinson remaining in what now appears to be the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) single IUP third umpire spot.
Gough, 34, a former England Under-19 Test captain, had a short first class career with Durham but gave it up at the age of just 24 because he no longer enjoyed playing the game. He then took up umpiring, becoming a member of the ECB's umpire Reserve List prior to the 2006 northern summer at the age of 27, before being promoted to their Full List three years after that (PTG 347-1844, 11 November 2008); his overall senior match tallies to date as an umpire being 88 first class, 60 List A and 65 Twenty20 games. His first class tally includes games in India and the West Indies, and there have also been women One Day Internationals, Under-19 Tests, and in the last twelve months his first senior ODI and Twenty20 International fixtures, and of late a flurry of ICC second-tier appointments.
Hartlepool-born Gough, who is now the youngest of the IUP's twenty on-field members, is believed by a number of keen observers to have the potential to move up to EUP level in a few years time. At the moment Sri Lankan IUP member Ranmore Martinecz appears the front runner for elevation to the EUP in a few months time with Kiwi 'Billy' Bowden and Indian Sundarum Ravi just behind him (PTG 1296-6249, 22 February 2014), South Africa's Johan Cloete then Bowden's countryman Chris Gaffaney possibly being in contention in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
If ICC appointments in recent times are a guide, current IUP on-field members from Australia, Bangladesh, Pakistan the West Indies and Zimbabwe do not appear be be seen, at the moment at least, as future EUP candidates by the world body.
BOARD FINES, SUSPENDS PLAYER FOR
'INAPPROPRIATE GESTURE' ON LIVE TV
Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has been banned for three matches and fined by his own board for "making an inappropriate gesture on live television" during the second One Day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka in Mirpur on Thursday. The ban means he missed the third and final ODI against Sri Lanka in Dhaka overnight, as well as his side's first two games in the Asia Cup this Wednesday and Saturday, and he is also out of pocket a sum equivalent to $A4,000.
The incident concerned occurred after Shakib was caught in the field after what commentators say was a very poor shot. Television images of the Bangladesh side's viewing area showed Shakib gesturing towards his crotch and then towards the camera, the footage also being shown on the large replay screen at the ground. His action appears to have been made in relation to what the commentators were saying about his dismissal, their words apparently being audible to him.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) said in a statement on Friday that "Shakib appeared at a BCB disciplinary hearing today and admitted the offence and accepted responsibility for the act". The BCB's acting chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said: "Shakib was repentant for the incident and readily accepted that the behaviour was unbecoming of a player of his experience and stature [and] we also reminded him that his action was unacceptable".
ZIM FINANCIAL MACHINATIONS CONTINUE
A member of the International Cricket Council's finance department is to visit Zimbabwe early next month to further explore ways in which the world body can assisting financially troubled Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), according to a report in yesterday's 'Zimbabwe Independent'. Journalist Kevin Mapasure quotes "a reliable authority" as saying that the ICC "will pay off all of ZC's debts and deduct the money from [its] yearly benefits" in a follow-up to the advance payment made to pay outstanding players’ and support staff salaries and allowances after their two-month strike (PTG 1292-6231, 15 February 2014).
Mapasure writes that Zimbabwe is entitled to a share of the World Twenty20 Championship "cake and will get a fee of about [$A3.5 million] after the tournament in Bangladesh next month". He claims that ZC has already been paid part of that money after struggling to meet most of its obligations since late last year. ZC’s finances will also receive a boost from a triangular series involving Australia and South Africa that the board is to host in mid-year. Only World Cups and playing against India, England and Australia at home are profitable ventures for ZC, while all other tours there are loss making, says the 'Indepemdent'. ZC is said to anticipate receiving around $A12 million from next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
KANERIA AGAIN EXPLORING
LIFE BAN LEGAL ISSUES
Former Essex and Pakistan cricketer Danish Kaneria, who was given a life ban after an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) disciplinary panel concluded that he encouraged a team-mate to "deliberately concede" runs as part of spot-fixing activities in a game again Durham in 2009, has again involved the ECB in legal action, according to a report from London on Friday.
LATE SEASON FIRST CLASS DAY-NIGHT
TRIALS 'ILL TIMED', CLAIMS REPORT
South Australia (SA), which is in contention for a place in this season's Sheffield Shield final for the first time in two decades, is "now at the mercy of an ill timed, pink-ball lottery", claims Adelaide-based News Limited journalist Richard Earle. With two rounds left in Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic first class competition, the first which will be played in day-night format with pink balls (PTG 1290-6220, 12 February 2014), SA is in a very tight contest with New South Wales (NSW) and Western Australia (WA) for a spot in the final at the end of March.
SA are to play NSW at home at the Adelaide Oval in one of the day-nighters starting a week from today, a game that Earle says is SA's "most important since winning the 1995-96 Shield title". In his view that fixture will "be decided in a blur of day-night, pink-ball experimentation at the pointy end of the competition". He quotes SA coach Darren Berry as describing the situation as "out of my control" and that with "pink balls and black sight screens it is whoever adapts best". “If we are going to experiment with anything I would prefer it earlier [in the season] rather than late", said Berry, who like everyone else will have known about the planned day-night games for a least six months.
In addition to the SA-NSW match under lights, WA is to play Queensland at the Gabba in Brisbane in the same format at the same time, as will Victoria and Tasmania at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, matches that are part of work CA is doing towards what they hope will be a day-night Test in the next couple of years (PTG 1182-5703, 30 August 2013). Reports last year suggested that dew could be a problem at night at the Gabba in particular and that the Adelaide Oval is currently at the head of the list for a day-night Test, although the question as to just which ball to use for such a contest remains.
Berry's side yesterday failed to defeat Victoria outright at the Adelaide Oval in a Shield match and Berry pointed to drop in wickets, which are being used for the first time at the ground this season as part of a football-inspired revamp (PTG 1241-5991, 25 November 2013), as an issue. "We have won outright in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne [but] the drop ins are not breaking up or deteriorating", said the coach.
INDIAN U-19 CAPTAIN SUSPENDED,
India’s Under-19 captain Vijay Zol has been suspended for one match and off-spinner Aamir Gani reprimanded after they were found to be guilty of Code of Conduct offences during their World Cup quarter-final against England in Dubai on Saturday. Zol, whose side lost the semi final, will miss today’s third place play off match against Sri Lanka.
Zol was found to have used "language or gesture(s) that is seriously obsence, seriously offensive or of a seriously insulting nature" after he had caught batsman Ben Duckett at short mid-wicket in the thirtieth over of England's innings, an incident that occurred four overs after Gani used obscene language when he captured Ed Barnard's wicket, both of the incidents being captured on television.
Match referee Graeme La Brooy of Sri Lanka imposed the sanctions after both players pleaded guilty to the offences and accepted the proposed sanctions, the charges against them being laid by on-field umpires Ranmore Martinesz of Sri Lanka and Chris Gaffaney of New Zealand, plus third umpire Simon Fry of Australia.
BCB ASKED TO REDUCE PLAYER'S BAN
'FOR THE SAKE OF THE TEAM'
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim and coach Shane Jurgensen have asked their board to consider reducing the three match ban they handed to all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan last week after he made an "inappropriate gesture" during a televised match (PTG 1297-6258, 23 February 2014). Shakib missed his side's final One Day International (ODI) of the series against Sri Lanka on Saturday because of the ban and it will also mean he will be absent for Bangladesh's first two game's in the ODI-format Asia Cup this week, but according to a 'Cricinfo report his captain and coach want the ban reduced "for the sake of the team".
Mushfiqur is quoted as saying: "We have talked to [Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan and told him] we respect the board's decision and whoever does such a thing should be punished [and] there is no greater punishment for a player than suspension". "We have asked him if there can be any consideration [as to] whether his suspension can be reduced [and Nazmul] has said that he will look into the matter". The captain and coach's concerns are said to have come as a result of injuries to several senior players. We "have thought only in the best interest of the Bangladesh team" as Shakib "is an important player", said Mushfiqur.
OPPONENTS CHEATED BETTER THAN
US, SUGGESTS AUSSIE OPENER
Australian batsman David Warner says his team will seek clarification from match referee Roshan Mahanama over South Africa's, in particular wicketkeeper AB de Villiers, "pushing the boundaries on scuffing up the ball", says a report in Melbourne's 'Herald Sun' newspaper yesterday. Warner’s comments, which come just days before the series-deciding third Test begins in Cape Town, suggest in the words of journalist Tyson Otto that "excessive ball scuffing may be behind South Africa’s fast bowlers’ superior ability to bowl reverse swing".
Warner indicated to Sky Sports Radio that South Africa’s ability to swing the old ball was one of the major differences between the two teams in this week's second Test in Port Elizabeth, a match the Australian side lost by a very large margin. He said his team "worked on the ball a lot in England and we got the ball to reverse a lot there, and [to a lesser degree] at home [in Australia, but in South Africa] it just didn’t work for us because the outfield was probably a little bit moist under the ground".
The 27-year-old opener, who is not known for his knowledge of the Laws or 'Spirit of Cricket' issues, is then said to have suggested that scuffing up the ball with 'bounce throws' was behind the home side's bowlers ability to get reverse swing, and that South Africa "did it better than what we did, or more obvious than what we did, [but] at the end of the day it comes down to who can do that the best and work on the ball". In his view "umpires [need to warn] both teams not to throw the ball into the [pitch] which you generally try and do", and "we were actually questioning [presumably within his own side] whether or not de Villiers would get the ball in his hand and with his glove wipe the rough side every ball".
South African team manager Mohammed Moosagee is said to have been "furious with Warner's comments". Moosagee told South African newspaper DFA that "Warner's remarks are disappointing and discouraging [and] it takes the gloss off a great Proteas team performance". "It smacks of sour grapes and it could just be a tactical plan to get us involved in matters that will distract our attention from this crucial Test in Cape Town". "Hardly anyone takes anything David Warner says seriously" and "we will leave it to the International Cricket Council to look into his remarks".
Last October, South African batsman Faf du Plessis was fined half of his match fee in a Test against Pakistan for rubbing the ball near the zipper of his trouser pocket (PTG 1219-5861, 28 October 2013). The match referee for that game, David Boon of Australia, said the ball-tampering charge was warranted, but also that it "was not part of a deliberate and/or prolonged attempt to unfairly manipulate the condition of the ball". "We're not a team that scratches the ball", said de Villiers at the time, and while "we want to swing the ball as much as we can and try to get it to reverse we don't cheat".
PINK BALLS AND COLOUR-BLINDNESS NOT
EXPECTED TO BE A PROBLEM SAYS CA
The colour-blindness of Victorian captain Matthew Wade prompted Cricket Australia (CA) to seek advice from optometrists about the visibility of the pink balls to be used in next week's round of "experimental" day-night Sheffield Shield games, says journalist Chloe Saltau in an article in this morning's edition of the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age". The three games in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne, which will be played from 2-9 p.m. each day, are part of a trial that CA hopes will lead to it hosting the first ever day-night Test against New Zealand in 2015-16 (PTG 1182-5703, 30 August 2013).
Wade is said to have faced the pink 'Kookaburra' balls that are to be used in daylight last week, however, he will not know until Victoria uses them at a training session at the Melbourne Cricket Ground tomorrow night how well he will be able to pick them up in murkier conditions, says Saltau. Cricket Victoria operations manager Shaun Graf is said to have asked that an optometrist to attend tomorrow's training session.
CA though is said to be "confident" the pink ball can be seen by people who are colour blind, a spokesman for the national body saying that: "Throughout our planning for day-night shield cricket, we've sought advice from a number of experts, including optometrists, on the visibility of the pink ball", which will be used in conjunction with black sight screens. ''The advice we've received to date is that there isn't any reason why a player with normal colour blindness would have any more difficulty seeing a pink ball compared to a red ball given its lighter colour and higher luminosity".
Australian opener Chris Rogers, who is colour-blind and short-sighted, said in November he wouldn't play with a pink ball again because he couldn't see it during a floodlit game he played for the Marylebone Cricket Club in Abu Dhabi. Earlier this week South Australian coach Darren Berry indicated he was not happy with the day-night experiment late in the season when key championship points are at stake (PTG 1298-6261, 24 February 2014).
Tasmanian coach Dan Marsh is reported in this morning's Hobart 'Mercury' as saying that he has no idea what to expect in the day-night first class "experiment". "We’ll try and acclimatise but we don’t know what the pink balls are going to do and we need to find out in the next week whether they are going to swing conventionally or going to be good for reverse swing" and as such "it's a bit of an unknown for us".
Marsh said he was open to the concept of day-night long-form fixtures but only "if it can be done properly". Asked if it was a good idea he said: “I’ll tell you after [next week's] game". "To play under the lights could be good for the game and if we had a day-night Test match it could be really good, but the ball is a key part of that". "If the ball can stand up then I’m all for it, but if the ball is no good then I wouldn’t push on", he said.
According to News Limited journalist Ben Dorries, 'Kookaburra' is increasingly confident the bright pink ball it has produced is durable, but he writes in the Brisbane 'Courier Mail' this morning that "plenty of state captains are predicting next week's matches could be over within two days as ball dominates bat".
Queensland skipper James Hopes told Dorries "the pink balls they have come up with now are a pretty good hybrid between white and red balls". In his view though "the great unknown is the night time and maybe if you bat first and get seven or eight wickets down, you might declare and send them in for a few overs at night". The 'Mail' article says "there are fears that fast bowlers will wreak havoc with the pink ball at night, potentially meaning spinners could be forced out of the game".
The Queensland side have been training with the pink ball during the day but will have a better idea of what to expect when they have a centre wicket practice session at the Gabba tonight. Their coach Stuart Law and physiotherapist Martin Love played in Sheffield Shield day-night trial in the 1990s and would not be surprised if next week's match doesn't last the distance, says Dorries. "Playing Test cricket at night is a great idea but the X-Factor is going to be the ball", said Law. “If it doesn't act the same as the red ball, well, it will be interesting", he continued, but "you don't want to get to a stage where you play day-night Tests and the first thing you do is drop your spinner".
CA indicated last year that if next week's trial goes well it might schedule a similar round of games in 2014-15 but at a different time of the season (PTG 1182-5703, 30 August 2013), but Dorries says it is also considering whether to "up the ante" and stage two day-night Shield rounds ahead of a potential forerunner to an historic day-night Test against New Zealand in late 2015.
FUTURE TOURS PROGRAM
A Intercontinental Cricket Council (ICC) meeting to discuss the new format of its Future Tours Program (FTP) which was to have begun in Dubai today has been postponed until mid-March, according to media reports from Colombo. The FTP is the multi-year matrix of scheduling that sets out the broad timings and content of tours between each of the ICC's ten Full Member teams, and one of the resolutions adopted by its board two weeks ago involves replacing current FTP arrangements, which currently run until April 2018, with "legally binding" contracts for tours between national boards (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014).
Unconfirmed reports say that "some countries" requested the ICC to postpone the meeting until next month because they were, according to a quote attributed to Sri Lanka Cricket's secretary Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga, "engaged in other urgent tasks". That comment is being taken by some to indicate that "a scramble" is underway amongst each of the Full Member nations to lock in their team's tours after the current FTP expires and well into the next decade. Ranatunga said our "understanding is that tours [already] scheduled until 2020 will go on as is and we will reconfirm them once we meet in Dubai next month, however, our key task will be to get some series going from 2020-23".
According to the SLC secretary Sri Lanka can "only make a sizable profit" when they play three countries, Australia, England and India, a comment that is echoed repeatedly in media reports from many other countries over the last month (PTG 1295-6247, 19 February 2014), visits by national teams other than those failing to make sufficient money (PTG 1297-6259, 23 February 2014). Just how teams from the so-called 'Big Three' countries will be able to tour sufficiently often to meet the expectations of the seven other Full Member countries remains to be seen.
Ranatunga thinks though that the new system "is more legally binding" than the current one and that once two boards sign a contract committing both their teams for a tour they "cannot [then] pull out".
BCB PRESIDENT NOT FOR TURNING ON
'INAPPROPRIATE GESTURE' BAN
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan indicated yesterday that all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan's three-match suspension, which was handed to him because of an "inappropriate gesture" he made during a televised match last week, will stand (PTG 1297-6258, 23 February 2014). Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim and coach Shane Jurgensen had asked their board to consider reducing the ban "for the sake of the team" (PTG 1298-6263, 24 February 2014).
Hassan told journalists that Shakib's "punishment would act as a deterrent to future indiscretions by players". "It was difficult to take the decision against him and it is equally difficult to overturn that decision", he continued. "I have nothing against Shakib the person but we have taken an action against his behaviour". "We took the decision on Shakib to give the message that nobody is above the law [and hopefully this example means] nobody will even think of doing such a thing" again.
PLAYER'S UMPIRE HOPES IN DOUBT
BECAUSE OF BPL SCANDAL, CLAIMS REPORT
Kent player Darren Stevens' hopes of becoming a first class umpire after his retirement "seem unlikely" to come to fruition as a result of his embroilment in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) match-fixing scandal, claims a report in London's 'Daily Mail' on Sunday. Stevens, who turns 38 in April, has not been charged with direct involvement in match-fixing, rather his offence as a member of the BPL's Dhaka Gladiators franchise is alleged to be that he failed to report he had knowledge of corrupt activity in the league twelve months ago, but failed to report it to authorities, something that is still considered a serious offence.
'Mail' journalist Sam Peters says Stevens "will find out if he has a future in the sport next month" when a Bangladesh Cricket Board investigative committee hands down its report, and that "he faces a ban of up to five years if found guilty of failing to report two separate approaches to fix games". The all-rounder is said to have been one of twenty county cricketers, including former England players Owais Shah, Kabir Ali and Dimitri Mascarenhas, who were interviewed by the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit "over claims that some Gladiators franchise members have links to an illegal betting ring".
Nine people from the franchise, including the Gladiators owners, face charges, seven for direct involvement in fixing activities, and Stevens and Sri Lankan Kaushai Lokuarachchi for failing to report a corruption-related approach made to them (PTG 1272-6132, 19 January 2014). Reports say Lokuarachchi has previously pleaded guilty to that charge.
LACK OF GROUNDSMEN STOPS PLAY
The fifth round of matches in Bangladesh's National Cricket League (NCL) first class competition which were due to get underway tomorrow, will not go ahead at the moment because of the lack of groundsmen, says Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper. NCL tournament committee assistant manager Ariful Islam said on Monday that "we cannot continue with the tournament as there are no groundsmen available" but "hopefully after the practice matches of the World Twenty20 [Championship] are over we will be able to resume the tournament".
MINISTER SEES TALIBAN MATCH
REVIVING PEACE TALKS
Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Monday that members of the the Pakistani Taliban are "avid viewers" of cricket matches and he has invited the militant group to swap their guns for cricket bats and play a game, something he feels "would bear positive results" and help revive stalled peace talks. Pakistan's government entered into a formal dialogue with the Taliban earlier this month, but the process faltered after the militants executed twenty-three kidnapped soldiers and the military then retaliated with a series of air strikes that are said to have "killed dozens".
Reaction to the Minister's comments was overwhelmingly negative on 'Twitter', which is used mainly by the country's English-speaking community. In a reference to bloody toll inflicted by the Taliban on Pakistan's forces over the years, one user said: "Cricket on a red pitch and may be they could bowl with our soldiers heads?" Another termed the minister a "bloody lunatic" and said "he should invite the families of those beheaded" by the Taliban to the match.
MONEY WOES SHUT DOWN
KANERIA'S LATEST APPEAL
Former Pakistani Danish Kaneria has been asked by a court in London to lodge a hefty security amount with it if he wants his latest appeal against his ban and cost orders given against him to be heard, but the leg spinner says he hasn't got the money. In June 2012, Kaneria was banned for life by an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) disciplinary committee for engaging in spot-fixing activities in a county game in 2009, the £200,000 ($A370,000) costs of the hearings involved being awarded against him at the time (PTG 953-4627, 26 June 2013).
Kaneira told the Press Trust of India on the weekend that at a hearing held behind closed doors last Friday the ECB had "pushed for the appeal to be split and heard separately and the court has told me to deposit a security amount of £20,000 ($A37,000) if I want my appeal against the life ban to be heard [in] April". He said he had informed the court that he was not in any position to make such a large deposit (PTG 1297-6260, 23 February 2014).
MATCH REFEREE, UMPIRE
NAMED FOR ODI MILESTONES
Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe and Marais Erasmus of South Africa will pass key milestones in their One Day International careers during the three-match series between the West Indies and England in Antigua over the next week. Pycroft will be looking after his 100th ODI as a match referee in the first match of the series tomorrow, while Erasmus will be standing in his 50th as an umpire in the last game next Wednesday.
Pycroft, Erasmus and Australian Rod Tucker have been named as the neutral officials for the three fixtures, the South African being on-field in the first and third games and Australian in match two, each working as the third umpire when they are not adjudicating on the ground. Barbadian Gregory Brathwaite will stand with Erasmus in match one, Joel Wilson of Trinidad and Tobago coming in game two with Tucker and three with Erasmus. The series will tale Pycroft's record as a match referee in ODIs to 102, Erasmus to 50 on-field and 28 as the television umpire (50/28), Tucker to 45/19, Wilson to 13/6 and Brathwaite to 12/2.
Ten match referees have reached to 100 ODI mark prior to Pycroft, the last being Javagal Srinath three years ago (PTG 809-3966, 4 August 2011). Pycroft, 57, looked after his ODI in May 2009 and has since worked in that capacity in games played in eight Test playing entities plus the United Arab Emirates (UAE) , the exceptions being his own country and New Zealand.
Erasmus, who turns 50 today, stood in his first ODI in October 2007, and in addition to games in his home country has also managed others in Australia, England, India, Kenya, New Zealand, Scotland, Sri Lanka and the UAE. Both men worked in the World Cup of 2011 and the Champions Trophy last year, Pycroft also looking after the Asia Cup series of 2010.
The Zimbabwean will stay on to look after the three Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) the West Indies and England are to play in Barbados after their ODIs, all four West Indian members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Brathwaite, Wilson, Nigel Duguid of Guyana and Peter Nero of Trinidad and Tobago, the latter who will have by then will have returned from the Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, working in the T20Is.
Brathwaite, Nero and Wilson will be on-field in two games each, with Brathwaite, Nero and Duguid, who made his international on-field debut last Friday in a T20I between the West Indies and Ireland, each having one game in the television suite. The series will take Pycroft's T20I record to 35, Wilson's to 12/4, Nero 10/2, Brathwaite 9/3 and Duguid 1/5.
FOUR-DAY GAME REDUCED TO TWO BY
PITCH, 'DUKES' BALLS, SAY REPORT
What was scheduled as a four-day Cricket Australia (CA) second XI, Futures League, match between the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Western Australia in Canberra, ended in just two on Tuesday, in what journalist Lee Gaskin of 'The Canberra Times' described as "one of the most bizarre games in ACT history". A total of 685 runs were scored and forty wickets fell in an hour less than two days, what Gaskin describes as "the experiment of using the English Duke ball combined with a below-par pitch producing variable bounce resulting in a nightmare for batsmen".
Fifteen 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). 'Dukes' balls were used for some games in those underage games over the last two seasons , and the 'Times' says this week's Canberra match was the second Futures League round this season where a 'Dukes' ball was used to see if it can hold up under Australian conditions.
Long-time England-based ball manufacturer 'Dukes', whose balls are hand-stiched, is hoping to make inroads into an Australian market that is dominated by local manufacturer 'Kookaburra' who produce machine-stitched balls (PTG 1265-6101, 7 January 2014).
A LUNCH BREAK WITH A DIFFERENCE
PLANNED FOR OPENING ANTIGUA ODI
The lunch break of tomorrow's opening One Day International between the West Indies and England in Antigua will see a ceremony not normally associated with cricket grounds, the bestowing of high-level honours on three former West Indian players by the Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, their home nation. The ceremony, which will take place at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium at North Sound, will see former fast bowlers Andy Roberts and Curtly Ambrose, and former West Indies captain and current team manager Richie Richardson, invested with 'The Order of the Nation', an award that entitles them to use the prefix 'Sir'.
According to reports from the Caribbean yesterday, Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack will confer the status of knighthood on the trio, who will also be part of a parade at the ground that will highlight all seventeen of Antigua and Barbuda’s former international cricketers; Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and Leader of the Opposition Gaston Browne also being in attendance. Roberts, the first Antiguan to represent the West Indies, made his debut for that side forty years ago, Richardson thirty years ago, and Ambrose sixteen years ago. The three will join Sir Vivian, who was elevated in 1999, as knights.
United States citizen Allen Stanford was given a knighthood by the Antigua and Barbuda government in 2006 at a time when he was the Caribbean country's biggest foreign investor and a major sponsor of cricket and other sports in the region. That honour was withdrawn three years later when Stanford's financial empire collapsed after he was accused by U.S. investigators of using his bank on Antigua and Barbuda to orchestrate an alleged $A7 billion 'Ponzi' scheme. Stanford was also fêted by the England and Wales Cricket Board during that time.
NZ NAMES THIS YEAR'S
Anthony German, a resident of the Auckland suburb of Howick, has been named as New Zealand's 'Favourite Cricket Umpire’ in a nationwide search conducted by New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and its umpires' sponsor "to reward unsung heroes of club cricket". German, 43, won the title says NZC because he "dedicated his weekends to coaching and umpiring cricket for his son’s team of ten-year-old boys".
German, who was nominated by his son Max, says he is delighted to have won a prize that includes "a one-on-one training session with a high profile NZ umpire, $NZ1000 spending money, and two tickets [to an international match]". "I was humbled to be named a finalist let alone the overall winner, it’s such a great prize and an honour to receive the title", he said, before thanking NZC's sponsor "for recognising us umpires who do it simply for the love of the game". Son Max says his dad deserved to win the prize as he: "makes the game fun, he is fair, and always wants us to be the best team we can be".
NZC's National Umpiring Manager Rodger McHarg, congratulation German in a press release saying "we are thrilled to once again be involved in this initiative and acknowledge the role of volunteer umpires in New Zealand". "We need a lot more volunteers like Anthony so that more games can have quality umpiring at all levels”.
WARNER FINED FOR BALL-TAMPERING
Australian opener David Warner has been fined by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for questioning how South Africa's bowlers had achieved significantly more reverse-swing than Australia's in the second Test in Port Elizabeth, his suggestion being that the home team had used tactics to deliberately alter the state of the ball (PTG 1299-6264, 26 February 2014). The ICC announced yesterday that Warner had been charged with a level-one breach of its rule that requires players and coaches to refrain from criticism of, or "inappropriate comment", about opponents or match officials, a censure he accepted and that led to him loosing fifteen per cent of his match fee, a figure of around $A2,880.
Match referee Roshan Mahanama explained his rationale for charging Warner in an ICC press release, saying" "It was disrespectful for David to publicly denigrate an opponent when commenting on a match-related incident, and imply that a South African player was engaging in sharp practice" and he's "sure David will be careful when making public comments in future".
While Warner, who could have been fined up to fifty per cent of his match fee by Mahanama, has been the subject of disciplinary action from both Cricket Australia and Cricket New South Wales over his career, this is only the second time he has attracted punishment from the ICC. The other incident occurred in January last year, when he accepted a reprimand for dissent after standing his ground and then shaking his head after he was adjudged leg-before in a one-day match against Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground (PTG 1044-5076, 22 January 2013).
The Australian team have distanced themselves from Warner's allegations according to bowler Ryan Harris. "Davey's [David Warner] comments were wrong, it's been dealt with [and] I don't really want to deal with that further", he said.
Harris did admit to ball tampering himself, but only in a practice session the team held yesterday in the lead up to this weekend's third Test in Cape Town. "We were cheating today, scraping it on the concrete", said Harris, as "it's good practice for the batters because [balls] actually [swing] a lot more than what it does in a game" "So if they can hit those, they're obviously going to hit the ones in the game", he continued, and its also "great practice for us [bowlers] as well .. and hiding the ball when you're running in to bowl takes a lot of practice as well".
EUP CANDIDATES TO STAND
IN U-19 WORLD CUP FINAL
Tomorrow's final of the Under-19 World Cup in Dubai between Pakistan and South Africa will see two candidates in the running for promotion to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) later this year in the on-field spots. Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka and Sundarum Ravi of India, who stood together in a semi final, will be supported by New Zealand's Chris Gaffaney as the third umpire and Enamul Hoque-Moni the fourth, Graeme La Brooy of Sri Lanka being the match referee.
Martinecz stood in the final of the last U-19 event in 2012, his partner on that occasion being Richard Illingworth of England who has since been promoted to the EUP (PTG 984-4776, 25 August 2012), as were Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and another Englishman Richard Kettleborough who were elevated to the ICC's highest umpiring panel after standing in the 2010 final (PTG 560-2848, 29 January 2010). Gaffaney was the reserve umpire for the 2012 final.
Meanwhile in the lower-half of the World Cup, the Plate tournament, the final played yesterday between Bangladesh and New Zealand saw Peter Nero of the West Indies and Ian Ramage of Scotland as the umpires with Zimbabwe's Jerry Matibiri the reserve, and Devdas Govindjee of South Africa the match referee. Govindjee was in the West Indies for their series against Ireland as late as last Sunday (PTG 1296-6252, 22 February 2014).
BIRD TO BECOME YORKSHIRE
COUNTY CLUB'S PRESIDENT
Yorkshire yesterday confirmed that former English international umpire 'Dickie' Bird is to be voted in as the club's president at their Annual General Meeting late next month. The now 80-year-old played for Yorkshire and Leicestershire from 1956-64 before taking up umpiring, a craft that saw him go on, from 1970-1998, to stand in 503 first class matches, 66 of them Tests, as well as 491 List A fixtures, 69 being One Day Internationals that include the finals of three World Cups and two Champions Trophy series.
Bird is quoted as saying on Yorkshire's website that: "Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would become the president of the greatest cricket club in the world". "It is a tremendous honour and I am very humble and proud and grateful to chairman Colin Graves and the Yorkshire Board for nominating me and I'm looking forward to my term in office". Bird, who will serve a one-year term, will replace former England and Yorkshire batsman Geoff Boycott.
PLAYER CHARGES DOWNGRADED AFTER
WORDING OF UMPIRE'S REPORT QUERIED
The Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) in south-west Victoria suspended the Woodford side's Rick McInerney for two matches last night after finding him guilty of using obscene or offensive language during what was the final day of a WDCA division two match against East Warrnambool-YCW last Saturday. As a result of the umpire's report McInerney faced four charges over an incident involving the opposition's Jamie Baulch, they being 'engaging in inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with other players or officials', 'threatening to assault another player, team official or spectator' and 'intentionally contacting or striking another player', however, all three were dropped after the umpire's written description of the altercation was questioned by tribunal members.
According to a report in this morning's 'Warrnambool Standard', umpire Andrew Prentice told the hearing there had been niggling between the two sides on the first day of the match the previous week and that he spoke to Baulch at the conclusion of that day's play. On day two last Saturday, continued Prentice, Baulch was batting and hit deliveries from McInerney to the boundary on a number of occasions, however, he "eventually skied the ball and was caught", continued the umpire. “I turned to watch the catch and when I turned around both [Baulch and McInerney] were in the middle of the pitch shaping up".
Under questioning from the tribunal, Prentice stressed that he saw no punches thrown or any physical contact, but did hear McInerney and Baulch exchanging words and in his assessment "McInerney seemed to be the aggressor". The umpire conceded his match report, which said the players “were going at it” should have been worded better, because physical contact “did not happen”.
McInerney said after the ball was skied, he turned to watch the catch and was heading to celebrate with his teammates but when he turned around Baulch was standing right beside him. “Baulch pushed me a bit and sort of punched me, I took a couple of steps back and put my hands up ready to defend myself further". “There was a bit of yelling and I admit there was swearing", said McInerney. Witnesses James Umbers and Jarrod Hastings, both Woodford players, both said they saw Baulch approach McInerney, push him and that McInerney only lifted his fists in a defensive manner. Baulch was not at the hearing.
After a short deliberation, the tribunal concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to uphold the three charges relating to physical contact but handed down the two-match ban for using obscene or offensive language. The suspension means McInerney will miss this week’s game with top side Merrivale as well as next week’s semi-final, but he will be available should his side make the grand final.