1,302 – 1 March [6280-6282]
• NZ positive about day-night Test in late 2015, says CA chief (1302-6280).
• India to establish National Umpires Academy (1302-6281).
• 'Grass' to help Edgbaston pitch grass grow (1302-6282).
1,303 - 2 March [6283-6289]
• Six acquitted, four found guilty, of BPL-2 corruption charges (1303-6283).
• Apparent contrast in ICC fine regime queried (1303-6284).
• Pink ball 'seam visibility' 'might be a problem', says NSW coach (1303-6285).
• Dharmasena again replaces Gould in Test (1303-6286).
• Millns latest Englishman for Caribbean exchange (1303-6287).
• Money issues again on the table in Zimbabwe (1303-6288).
• Player whose shot dented car asked to pay for damage (1303-6289).
1,304 - 3 March [6290-6296]
• 'Insufficient evidence' to support Saikot T20 'fixing' claim (1304-6290).
• Kulkarni for WCL Division 5 mentoring role (1304-6291).
• Kiwi Vincent subject of second ICC investigation (1304-6292).
• BCCI puts figure on expected financial windfall from ICC changes (1303-6293).
• CPL boosted Caribbean GDP, says university study (1303-6294).
• IPL-7 planners awaiting announcement of Indian election dates (1303-6295).
• Sri Lankan domestic T20 series again scrapped (1304-6296).
1,305 - 4 March 
• Pink ball 'getting there', says Victorian skipper (1305-6297).
1,306 - 5 March [6298-6301]
• Batsman's ball pick up results in angst but no appeal (1306-6298).
• Rugby man to coach ECB umpires (1306-6299).
• Ultra slow over-rate leads to captain's suspension, fines for all players (1306-6300).
• Zimbabwe Cricket 'mismanaged ICC loan', claims report (1306-6301).
1,307 - 7 March [6302-6307]
• Banned umpire again seeks 'mercy', early return (1307-6302).
• Aussie skipper apologises for another 'meltdown' (1307-6303).
• England ball changed after showing 'unnatural deterioration' (1307-6304).
• Bowler records unusual figures of 0-0-8-0 in ODI (1307-6305).
• Long-serving umpire to stand in his 600th game (1307-6306).
• 'Spirit of Cricket' with a difference (1307-6307).
1,308 - 8 March [6308-6310]
• South Australian skipper appealing ball 'boot spike' one-match ban (1308-6308).
• More work needed on pink ball, says Victorian coach (1308-6309).
• Two NSW umpires recipients of 2014 National Officials Scholarships (1308-6310).
1,309 - 10 March [6311-6320]
• Australian side's 'way of winning' questioned (1309-6311).
• Coach Lehmann not bothered by sledging (1309-6312).
• 'Childish' cricketers' remarks also 'funny', says CA chief (1309-6313).
• South Australia withdraw from Botha 'disrepute' appeal (1309-6314).
• No sign of mooted NZ day-night trials (1309-6315).
• Westfield to return to club game (1309-6316).
• Lack of post-match hand shakes upsets winners (1309-6317).
• Umpire, scorer trophies missing from NZ awards night (1309-6318).
• Record number of clubs prepare for pre-season 'spring clean' (1309-6319).
• Judge's LBW reference leads to retrial (1309-6320).
1,310 - 11 March [6231-6324]
• CA continues to eye November 2015 day-night Test (1310-6321).
• Two added to original WT20C match officials list (1310-6322).
• Newspaper poll results in 'approval' for on-field 'aggression (1310-6323).
• Fine, points loss for team sheet error (1310-6324).
1,311 - 12 March [6325-6328)
• WT20C appointments suggest India's Ravi leads EUP vacancy contest (1311-6325).
• More internationals behaving badly (1311-6326).
• Pakistan 'likely' to agree to ICC revamp, say reports (1311-6327).
• Club appeals fine for team sheet error (1311-6328).
1,312 - 13 March [6329-6333]
• Player's abuse of umpire results in one-match ban (1312-6329).
• Three-nation IPL on the cards (1312-6330).
• Power failure stops play (6312-6331).
• Umpire's ACO membership 'suspension' lifted (1312-6332).
• Second club appeals 'team sheet' decision (1312-6333).
1,313 - 15 March [6334-6338]
• New approach to 'ball tampering' sees club suspend captain (1313-6334).
• Players' fined after umpire revokes his decision (1313-6335).
• Match referee overules umpires, captains wet ground concerns (1313-6336).
• Racism issues part of match brawl investigations (1313-6337).
• Badly worded By Law results in dismissal of player charge (1313-6338).
1,314 - 17 March [6339-6343]
• Fifth-straight Sheffield Shield final for Fry (1314-6339).
• BCCI continues to hold the 'whip hand' in ICC negotiations (1314-6340).
• Players fined for behaviour in WT20C opener (1314-6341).
• Post 'duck' locker punch breaks player's hand (1314-6342).
• 'Team sheet' finals appeal dismissed (1314-6343).
1,315 - 18 March [6344-6347]
• WICB again schedules 'domestic' first class day-night matches (1315-6344).
• Wet pitch, so umpires limit bowling to spin from one end (1315-6345).
• Match committee's mid-match format change being appealed (1315-6346).
• Batsman's 'catch' results in 'Handled the Ball' dismissal (1315-6347).
1,316 - 19 March [6348-6349]
• Bowler banned for bizarre pitch scratch (1316-6348).
• Improved police-administrator links needed in anti-corruption fight, says Speed (1316-6349).
1,317 - 20 March [6350-6354]
• Counselling would help curb bad behaviour in Mumbai, say psychiatrists (1317-6350).
• Scorers bring six decades of experience to Shield final (1317-6351).
• Fry named winner of CA 'Umpire Award' for 2013-14 (1317-6352).
• WA men, Victorian women, win 'Spirit' trophies (1317-6353).
• Floodlight failure again stops WT20C match (1317-6354).
1,318 - 23 March [6355-6359]
• Concerns about dew sees teams practice with wet ball (1318-6355).
• Hope UDRS 'Working Group' findings will sway BCCI (1318-6356).
• Costs prohibit players 'souveniring' WT20C stumps (1318-6357).
• Spinner returns after remedial work on his action (1318-6358).
• Club threatens Grand Final boycott over suspensions (1318-6359).
1,319 - 25 March [6360-6363]
• England captain fined for umpire criticism (1319-6360).
• ECB chief seeks tightening of lightning rules (1319-6361).
• No neutral officials to Pakistan unless safe, says ICC (1319-6362).
• All-rounder fined for equipment abuse (1319-6363).
1,320 - 26 March [6364-6369]
• 'Healthy' pay rise forecast for CA players (1320-6364).
• Indian Supreme Court calls for BCCI chief to stand down (1320-6365).
• Batsman caught via non-striker's bat (1320-6366).
• NZ, South Africa both fined for slow over-rates (1320-6367).
• Shillingford's modified off-break, arm balls declared 'legal' (1320-6368).
• Post innings 'table smash' results in report (1320-6369).
1,321 - 27 March [6370-6373]
• 'Suspend' IPL pending full investigation, says former BCCI President (1321-6370).
• Player payment issues cast cloud over BPL future (1321-6371).
• Former umpire held in custody over cricket embezzlement (1321-6372).
• No foreign flags for Bangladesh spectators (1321-6373).
1,322 - 28 March [6374-6377]
• Indian Supreme Court bowls IPL a 'doosra' (1322-6374).
• Afghanistan awarded 'Spirit of Sport' trophy (1322-6375).
• EUP members donate to cleft surgery project (1322-6376).
• Bangladesh reverses flag ban edict (1322-6377).
1,323 - 29 March [6378-6384]
• Gavaskar interim IPL head; Chennai, Rajasthan cleared for IPL-7 (1323-6378).
• ICC release Jayawardene 'catch' video (1323-6379).
• ECB reported 'on notice' over national 'grass roots' funding (1323-6380).
• Cairns acknowledges police, ICC probe (1323-6381).
• South African, Lankan captains suspended for slow over-rates (1323-6382).
• Slow over-rate fine for England (1323-6383).
• Airline schedules to curtail play? (1323-6384).
1,324 - 31 March [6385-6389]
• Report sketches latest pay deal for Aussie players (1324-6385).
• 'Step down' doesn't stop 'step up' to ICC (1324-6386).
• 100 first class matches for South Africa's Cloete (1324-6387).
• Bad behaviour to attract five-run penalty in Yorkshire league (1324-6388).
• Lightning destroys club pavilion in Oxfordshire (1324-6389).
PLAYING THE GAME
NZ POSITIVE ABOUT DAY-NIGHT
TEST IN LATE 2015, SAYS CA CHIEF
An article in 'The Australian' this morning quotes Cricket Australia's (CA) chief executive James Sutherland as indicating he has "received the blessing of his New Zealand counterpart [David White] to proceed with plans for a pink ball, day-night Tests" in the next trans-Tasman series which is scheduled for late 2015. Sutherland said though that he doesn't “want to put anyone under pressure on that because we have a few more steps to take ourselves before we start getting our visitors too comfortable", a reference to trials planned in CA domestic first class games next week and again in 2014-15 (PTG 1299-6265, 26 February 2014), as part of its long-discussed day-night Test plans (PTG 1182-5703, 30 August 2013).
Sutherland says he is encouraged by New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) views, calling their attitude "encouraging because it’s the sort of innovation where it’s easy for people to say": ‘No, we won’t do that’. “You can always find reasons not to like it or knock it back or think it’s too hard". "But we need to understand that even though it would be a big change, and it would be a lot different from what we’ve seen traditionally in Test cricket, it’s something that could secure the future of Test cricket across the world". Because of that he stressed that need to “take one step at a time" and carefully consider all the issues involved.
Sutherland plans to watch next week's first class match between Victoria and Tasmania and the Melbourne Cricket Ground, one of three such game being played around the country, in order to gain the perspective of the spectator. “Next week is about trying to validate the concept,” he said. “The players’ opinion is hugely important but what we cannot forget is that this is about the fan [as today] three days of a Test matches is held during business hours on working days".
“That stops a lot of people from watching" continued Sutherland, and while "Test cricket is strong and well supported here and in England, other parts of the world don’t have the same level of attendances", however, he appears to have made no reference to the interest Australian broadcaster Channel Nine has in the day-night Test concept (PTG 1121-5446, 10 June 2013). "It’s a big moment to be trialling it an important competition like the Sheffield Shield. How will the ball wear? How will it swing? How will it react at night? “I don’t think any of us are expecting it to behave like the red ball". "We know it’s going to be different". "We need some understanding of how different and I think we’re about to get it.”
Sutherland added that he's "been watching Victoria at day-night training [and is] really confident that for a fan at the ground, the pink ball is going to be a better viewing experience". "You can see the ball much more clearly in daylight and I’m sure it will be the same at night".
'The Australian' is also reporting that New South Wales fast bowler Doug Bollinger "trundled in off three paces and swung the pink ball about a metre" during an indoor training session at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday. "Twenty minutes later" though, "the swing was gone" and his assessment is said to have been that pink balls are “not going to do as much as [red ones]!”. On the other hand Bollinger's batting colleagues "claimed the pink ball was easier to see than the red", but their captain Stephen O’Keefe said “We’ll have to suck it and see".
Sutherland's comments about NZC's interest appear to be a rehash of news that surfaced six months ago that quoted White, NZC's chief executive, as being "very interested' in the day-night Test concept, and that his organisation planned to conduct trials in multi-day "lower level" domestic cricket there during the current austral summer (PTG 1183-5707, 2 September 2013). Whether those match trials went ahead is not known, but if they have there appears to have been no publicity about them over the last few months, something that in the absence of any other evidence suggests that as yet they have not.
INDIA TO ESTABLISH NATIONAL
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is to establish a National Umpires Academy and associated "zonal" academies around the country. The decision to establish the facilities was taken at a meeting of its umpires sub-committee in Bhubaneswar this week, the group's chairman and BCCI treasurer Ravi Sawant telling journalists afterwards that existing facilities to train umpires are not being put to optimum use, and he also expressed concern about "the lack of proper facilities to train match referees".
Sawant said that "although there are training facilities [for umpires] and they appear for exams, there is no such provision for match referees, and his committee is of the view that an academy-type structure will allow "better coordination between umpires and match referees". "India has the infrastructure but it is not being used properly", continued Sawant, who also pointed to the fact that India has not had representation in the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel since 2004 when Srinivas Venkataraghavan retired.
BCCI's umpires sub-committee is currently made up of Sawant as chairman, Sunil Dev (North), Sudhakar Rao (South), Rajesh Verma (East), Devendra Solanki (West), Bhagvandas Sutar (Central), Venkatraghavan who is a BCCI director, Arani Jayaprakash (retd. Test umpire), and Anurag Thakur who is the joint secretary.
'GRASS' TO HELP EDGBASTON
PITCH GRASS GROW
Heat lamps confiscated by police in raids on cannabis farms in the West Midlands will be used to help grass grow on the Warwickshire County Cricket Club's pitch at Edgbaston, says a BCC report aired yesterday. West Midlands Police have donated the lamps to the club which will use them to heat up the soil and replicate warmer conditions and the club hopes they will help keep the pitches there in prime condition.
Former Warwickshire bowler Charlie Dagnall told the broadcaster that its "like sticking a greenhouse over the pitch and if makes it more lively it can only be a good thing". Notts County Foorball Club are already using similar equipment seized by police at their Meadow Lane ground, as is a wildlife rescue centre in the region.
SIX ACQUITTED, FOUR FOUND GUILTY,
OF BPL-2 CORRUPTION CHARGES
The Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) anti corruption tribunal has acquitted six players and officials on charges of match-fixing-related offences during the second edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL-2) twelve months ago, however, four others have been found guilty and the tribunal is set to decide sanctions against them next week. The BCB formed the tribunal after the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) charged seven individuals with being involved in corrupt practices, and two others for failing to report corrupt approaches made to them during BPL-2 (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013).
Chairman of the BPL's Dhaka Gladiators franchise Salim Chowdhury, his chief executive officer Gaurav Rawat an Indian, bowling coach Mohammad Rafique, and players Mosharraf Hossain Rubel, Mahbubul Alam Robin and Englishmen Darren Stevens, were acquitted on all charges, the first five of fixing activities, and the latter of failing to report corrupt approaches which an earlier report claimed put in danger his umpiring ambitions (PTG 1299-6268, 26 February 2014). Suspensions imposed upon Rubel and Robin by the BCB eight months ago were lifted "with immediate effect".
Shihab Chowdhury, Salim’s son and the Gladiators' managing director was, however, found guilty of making an attempt to fix the Gladiators’ match against the Chittagong Kings in February last year, as was former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful who publicly confessed his guilt eight months ago (PTG 1118-5437, 6 June 2013). Unconfirmed reports also state that the younger Chowdhury was also involved in trying to solicit English players Stevens and Joshua Cobb, coach Ian Pont and agent Eddie Tolchard to help fix Twenty20 county matches. Pont and the Gladiator's skipper Mashrafee bin Murtaza were summoned by the tribunal in late January (PTG 1279-6062, 30 anuary 2014).
Sri Lankan Kaushal Lokuarachchi, who has also previously admitted his guilt, and Lou Vincent of New Zealand, the latter who was not part of the original ICC nine but was apparently only pulled into the considerations late last year (PTG 1249-6026, 6 December 2013), were found guilty of failing to report an approach by bookmakers. Ashraful, Lokuarachchi and Vincent have filed "a mercy petition" with the tribunal.
The tribunal says that it plans to release written details of its findings next week, and will in the mean time deliberate on what sanctions to hand Shihab Chowdhury and Ashraful, and on the mercy petitions lodged by Lokuarachchi and Vincent. Ashraful indicated when confessing his part in corruption on television last year that he anticipated being banned from the game for at least two years.
Both the ICC and the BCB expressed their "surprise and disappointment" at the outcome of tribunal deliberations, which suggests they are not happy with the fact that so many of those charged by its ACSU have been acquitted. They said in a joint statement that "Both organisations await the tribunal’s detailed written determination setting out the reasons for the outcome, and will consider it carefully before determining the next steps, including whether to appeal any aspect(s) of the judgment".
APPARENT CONTRAST IN ICC
FINE REGIME QUERIED
South Africa's Faf du Plessis has been fined half of the match fee he received for the recent Port Elizabeth Test by the International Cricket Council (ICC) because of a second "clothing violation" in the last twelve months, says a 'Cricinfo' report. Du Plessis took to the field in that game with green shoelaces instead of the white ones which are stipulated as the acceptable gear for Test matches, an offence that came after he wore shoes with a red tongue instead of a white one in a One Day International against Pakistan last November.
The fifty per cent fine has led to former South African wicketkeeper Mark Boucher to call for the ICC to think about "what's important to the game and what isn't" when they sanction players for breaching their Code of Conduct. He pointed to the discrepancies in the sanction handed out to du Plessis and that of David Warner who was fined fifteen per cent of his second Test match fee for making what match referee Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka described as "disrespectful," comments which "publicly denigrated an opponent" after he suggested South Africa had achieved reverse swing in Port Elizabeth by "scuffing the ball" by dubious means (PTG 1301-6276, 28 February 2014).
Boucher said he thought du Plessis' offence was not in the same vein as Warner's and he could not understand why the South African was "so harshly punished".
Former South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis entered the ball-tampering debate this week by suggesting that Warner himself was to blame for the scuffed ball in Port Elizabeth, saying that a six hit by the Australian opener landed on a concrete slab which was the sole reason for its subsequent roughness. “Warner hit the first ball of the twenty-first over from JP Duminy for six and it landed flush on a concrete slab", said Kallis.
"Dale [Steyn] told me that it landed right in the middle of the ‘rough’ side of the ball and made quite a mess of it", he continued "It was the perfect start to preparing the ball for reverse swing and it was happening as early as the thirty-fifth over as a result", he said. In addition “one end of the square [in Port Elizabeth] was also very abrasive and the damage done to the ball quickly deteriorated in those conditions".
PINK BALL 'SEAM VISIBILITY' 'MIGHT
BE A PROBLEM' SAYS NSW COACH
New South Wales coach Trevor Bayliss is reported by the Sydney 'Daily Telegraph' yesterday as saying his batsmen have "struggled to pick up the white seam on the pink ball" during their preparations for this week’s trial round of day-night Sheffield Shield matches. The fixtures in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne will all be played under lights with pink balls and black sight screens as part of work Cricket Australia is undertaking in the hope of staging a day-night Test match against New Zealand late next year, something at least one senior Kiwi official is said to be open to (PTG 1302-6280, 1 March 2014).
Bayliss indicated that his team has been training with pink balls in the nets, though they haven’t yet had a session with them under lights, possibly because the Sydney Cricket Ground has had a baseball diamond installed for a Major League Baseball series later this month. The NSW coach's experience so far suggests to him "visibility of the seam", "which you would like to be able to see", "might be the only [problem]", and "we’ll have to wait and see what their like under the lights". His assessment is in contrast to a previous report that suggested NSW batsmen had found the pink ball easier to see than red ones.
Nets-based training has been enough to suggest to Bayliss that “the actual pink itself held up pretty well out and that’s one of the concerns with the white ball as the white chips off or goes a dirty colour fairly quickly, but the pink ball seemed to keep its colour pretty well". But “playing 96 overs in a day might be a bit different, but we’ll just have to wait and see", he said.
Asked about CA's current plans to add more day-night first class fixtures next season, Bayliss said he is happy to embrace the initiative if it adds more entertainment value to Shield cricket. “If we give it a try and it’s good, it might give us another option", he said, "for not a lot of people watch Shield cricket so if we can get more fans at the four-day game then that’s fantastic".
DHARMASENA AGAIN REPLACES
GOULD IN TEST
Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena is standing in the third and final Test between South Africa and Australia, which got underway in Cape Town yesterday, in place of Ian Gould of England, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) original nominee . Dharmasena also replaced Gould in last week's second Test in Port Elizabeth but the reason for the change has not been made public (PTG 1296-6250, 22 February 2014). The ICC's web site is still showing Gould as the appointee in Cape Town alongside Pakistan' Aleem Dar, third umpire Richard Illingworth of England, and Roshan of Mahanama of Sri Lanka the match referee who were selected pre-series (PTG 1290-6218, 12 February 2014).
MILLNS LATEST ENGLISHMAN
FOR CARIBBEAN EXCHANGE
David Millns is the latest member of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) senior umpires panel to travel to the West Indies on exchange. Millns is currently standing in the first class match between Jamaica and Guyana at Sabina Park in Kingston, and if past practice is a guide he will feature in two other matches in the Caribbean over the next few weeks.
Nottinghamshire-born Millns is the sixth ECB umpire to travel to the West Indies as part of an exchange program the ECB and West Indies Cricket Board established just over five years ago (PTG 344-1822, 6 November 2008). Prior to taking up umpiring he played 171 first class and 98 List A games for teams in England, Australia and South Africa in a fourteen year career that ended in 2001. Now 49, he stood in his initial first-class fixture in 2006, joined the ECB's Reserve List in 2007 and was promoted to the Full List in 2008 (PTG 347-1844, 11 November 2008). The current game in Jamaica is his 78th first class match, and there have also been to date 58 List A, 50 Twenty20, women's One Day (ODI) and Twenty20 Internationals, and Under-19 Tests and ODIs.
Millns' on-field partner in Jamaica is London-born, but now Jamaica-based, Chris Taylor, who is making his debut at first class level. Taylor, who turned 34 on the eve of the current game, has so far stood in a single List A fixture, that being twelve months ago, and last August he was on-field for one game in the inaugural Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 series. He has also worked as the reserve umpire in a number of domestic first class and List A games.
MONEY ISSUES AGAIN ON
THE TABLE IN ZIMBABWE
Zimbabwe players are holding out on signing contracts that cover their participation in this month's World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series in Bangladesh, according to yesterday's edition of Harare's 'Saturday Herald' newspaper. The Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association (ZPCA), which wants more money than is currently being offered by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), are said to have demanded another meeting with ZC in Bulawayo tomorrow to resolve the issue, however, ZC officials have questioned the need to travel to Bulawayo when the game's headquarters is in Harare, 450 km away.
Unnamed sources are said to have told the 'Herald' that five senior players, skipper Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Prosper Utseya, Elton Chigumbura and Vusi Sibanda, are the ones who are holding out for a bigger share of the earnings from the WT20C and "their voices have become the guiding sound for the ZPCA". The other ten players in the squad for Bangladesh are said to have been "dragged along in the dispute". ZC said in a statement that it had a meeting with the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association, Eliah Zvimba, two weeks ago about WT20C contracts but it "ended in deadlock and it was resolved to take the matter to arbitration".
Former ZC managing director and now Honorary Life Vice-President Don Arnott was appointed the arbitrator and the offer currently on the table would see each one of the fifteen-man squad receive a basic fee equivalent to $A9,400 with those who participate in the first two rounds being paid an additional $A12,900, a total of $A22,500, although bonuses for winning matches of around $A3,000 would come on top of that. No details are available of what the amounts the ZPCA think is appropriate are publicly available.
The current dispute comes after a two-month strike by players across Zimbabwe over payments owed to them by ZC that ended last last month (PTG 1292-6231, 15 February 2014).
Meanwhile Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), which was involved in a dispute with its players over payments last year, announced a seven per cent increase in pay for them in its latest list of contracts, details of which were released on Thursday. The seventeen contracted players for 2014-15 are divided into four categories but no details were given about the rates of pay that apply to each of them.
SLC said the increase in player revenues was based on Sri Lanka's international rankings, a five per cent increase for being ranked top in the Twenty20 International format, and an additional two per cent for One Day Internationals where they are ranked fifth, however, as their Test ranking is below fifth they will not be entitled to an increment for their results in the highest form of the game. There were in addition though, one off bonus payments for a small number of "top" players for their individual performances during the year.
PLAYER WHOSE SHOT DENTED CAR
ASKED TO PAY FOR DAMAGE
A New Zealand insurance company chased a fifteen-year-old school boy for compensation after a cricket ball he hit dented a car parked close to a cricket ground in the Wellington suburb of Owhiro Bay in early December. Wellington College pupil Taine Forster was sent a formal claim for $A715 by AA Insurance, an approach the 'Dominion Post' says stunned his parents and College Sport Wellington (CSW) executive John Hornal, who said he had never heard of such an action being taken before.
Forster junior, who says he had never hit a ball into a car before and told the 'Post' it made a very small dent, received a letter from AA Insurance last week summarising the damage to their customer's car and asking that the money be paid to them by tomorrow. He said he was "really surprised it was going to cost that much".
Hornal, who indicated CSW held indemnity insurance but that it did not cover this sort of accident, said balls were always hitting cars "but I haven't heard of an insurance company getting involved, not in my 25 years". Forster's mother Carole said she found the letter "astonishing". "Firstly, I find it strange that they sent it to a fifteen-year-old and not his parents". "Mostly though, I think the person parking beside the sportsground should accept the risk", she said. "If we start charging children and their parents, many of whom can't afford [the amount of money being requested], then they'll just stop playing sport".
Forster's uncle, who is a layer, eventually e-mailed the company and questioned how his nephew could be legally responsible. "Your claim is defective because it does not explain why he is legally responsible, so it is denied", he wrote. Within an hour of the 'Post' contacting AA Insurance, Forster's mother received a call from the company informing her the matter would not be taken any further.
'INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE' TO
SUPPORT SAIKOT T20 'FIXING' CLAIM
The Sialkot Twenty20 team in Pakistan has been cleared of match-fixing, a three-man Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) investigative committee saying in its report released on Friday that there was "insufficient evidence" to support allegations made against them three weeks ago. Former Pakistan batsman Basit Ali, who is now a television commentator, alleged then that a domestic match between the Karachi 'Dolphins' and Sialkot side played in Rawalpindi in mid-February had been "fixed" (PTG 1292-6226, 15 February 2014).
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) responded to media reports after the game by saying that every domestic match "is monitored by" its Anti-Corruption Unit acting under their domestic anti corruption protocols, and that the match in question was "no exception". It said in a statement that the investigation in to what was a low-scoring game had included hearings with Basit, players from Sialkot, the team's staff and match officials, and that while nothing inappropriate had been discovered, "if new evidence [comes to light] the matter will be re-examined".
KULKARNI FOR WCL DIVISION 5
Indian Vineet Kulkarni, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, has been appointed to stand in this week's World Cricket League Division 5 tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Kulkarni will also act as a mentor to help "educate and guide" the six other umpires selected as part of the "ongoing ICC initiative for umpire development outside the world body's ten Full Members", Sri Lankan Graeme Labrooy of the ICC's second-tier Regional Referees Panel being the event's match referee.
Apart from Kulkarni the umpires for the tournament are: Ramani Batumalai (Malaysia), Kathy Cross (New Zealand), Rockie D’Mello (Kenya), Iftikar Ali (United Arab Emirates), Alu Kapa (Papua New Guinea) and Ashwani Rana (Thailand). The reserve umpires for the fifty-over a side format tournament, which will involve the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Jersey, Malaysia, Nigeria and Tanzania and start this Thursday, are Malaysians Poobalan Loganathan and Shafizan Shahriman.
D’Mello stood in the last Division 5 tournament two years ago in Singapore when now former ICC Elite Umpire Panel member Tony Hill of New Zealand was the mentor umpire (PTG 890-4337, 20 January 2012). Cross' participation was flagged several weeks ago soon after she became the first women promoted to the ICC's Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel (PTG 1287-6207, 8 February 2014). Cross' appointment as an ICC Full Member to what is a ICC third-tier panel for second and third-tier nationals was unusual as is her selection for the level five event (PTG 1280-6164, 31 January 2014). Apart from her and Kulkarni the other five umpires come from lower-level ICC regional umpire panels.
The two teams that reach the final of this week'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.
KIWI VINCENT SUBJECT OF
SECOND ICC INVESTIGATION
Former New Zealand player Lou Vincent, who has been found guilty of failing to report an approach by bookmakers during a stint in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) and is awaiting censure (PTG 1303-6283, 2 March 2014), is also involved in an unrelated investigation being conducted by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ASCU). New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White has confirmed the second ACSU probe is separate from the BPL investigation and that Vincent was involved along with bowler Daryl Tuffey and all-rounder Chris Cairns (PTG 1249-6026, 6 December 2013).
Vincent and Tuffey have both confirmed they are cooperating with ASCU personnel, but Cairns has said he remains "in the dark" about the matter and expressed frustration the ICC has not presented any evidence to which he can respond. White declined to provide details of the latest case to come to light but reports say it is centred on matches played outside the three player's home country, and does not involve their national side. He also would not speculate on what sanction Vincent could face over the BPL matter, but said authorities took any infringement linked to corruption seriously.
Media reports three months ago hinted that the ICC investigation to which White refers could be centred on the now long defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL), the 'unofficial' predecessor to the Indian Premier League, which operated in 2007 and 2008. Vincent played a total of nineteen ICL games in March-April and October-November 2008, Cairns twenty across November-December 2007 and March-April and October 2008, and Tuffey twenty-four games across a similar spread of time.
Rumours of match-fixing activities in the ICL have been around for many years. In September 2009 the Urdu language daily 'Jang' quoted an unnamed ICL official as saying a former Pakistani Test "cricketer fixed [ICL] matches with the help of local bookmakers". 'The Daily Express', another Urdu newspaper, publishing a similar report around the same time (PTG 489-2539, 13 September 2009). The ICL was squeezed out of the market by what some observers over the years have described as "restraint of trade" tactics by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, but the league had the positive impact for senior English umpires in that it resulted in the England and Wales Cricket Board giving them full-year contracts for the first time.
BCCI PUTS FIGURE ON EXPECTED
FINANCIAL WINDFALL FROM ICC CHANGES
Changes to the way the International Cricket Council (ICC) conducts its business that were agreed to last month are "set to trigger a financial windfall for the already rich" Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that is estimated to see it earn extra monies in the order of $A672 million over the eight years from 2015-23, according to a media report from the sub-continent on Saturday. Overall the BCCI's gross, or before tax, revenue for that period when all of its income streams are totalled, is projected to be close to $A3.3 billion dollars.
BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel gave those figure to a local news channel in Bhubaneswar saying his board, which contributes sixty-eight per cent of ICC revenue, will from now on receive twenty-one per cent of the world body's earnings each year as opposed to four per cent at present. Patel also said that India would be "a permanent member of the ICC's three major committees": its board; the financial and commercial group; and the new executive committee (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014).
Cricket Australia (CA) indicated after its 2012-13 Annual Report was released last October that its revenue rose sixty-three percent to $A684 million in the period from 2009-2012 and it currently anticipates that figure will reach $A1.08 billion over the four years to 2017 (PTG 1221-5882, 30 October 2013). It also indicated then that was on track to achieve its goal of having cash reserves of $A70 million by 2016-17.
CA chairman Wally Edwards said at that time that “Financially, we’ve never been in better shape", that "a lot of good things are happening and we just need to win the Ashes now and I’m sure everyone will be laughing". That data and Edwards comments were made months before the now agreed to ICC changes came to light, and while CA's return from the ICC will not be as large as that expected by the BCCI, it seems clear that CA's financial status will receive a boost beyond that projected four months ago.
CPL BOOSTED CARIBBEAN GDP,
SAYS UNIVERSITY STUDY
Last year's inaugural Caribbean Premier League (CPL) generated close to $A120 million across the region, according to a study conducted by the University of the West Indies (UWI). Research conducted by the UWI's Mona School of Business and Management estimates that the competition, which saw over 250,000 spectators attend matches played across Antigua, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Saint Lucia, boost some country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) "by as much as 0.7 percent".
“With the region still feeling the effects of the global financial crisis, the CPL has been a real shot in the arm for the Caribbean", said Professor Densil Williams. The study puts the total economic impact for each host country last year as: Antigua $A8.2m; Barbados $A10.2m; Guyana $A4.5m; Jamaica $A12m; Trinidad, $A14.4m; and Saint Lucia $8.2m. In his view the event "could trigger an even bigger revival, because as it grows and the brand becomes more recognised, we anticipate that the impact on the economies will be much greater".
Meanwhile a newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago reported recently that the CPL is keen on staging the opening ceremony, as well as the first round of matches, of this year's competition in August, in Toronto, Canada. A "source" is quoted as saying organisers are "anxious to get cricket into the North American market" by "taking their product to that country in order to get the people excited".
IPL-7 PLANNERS AWAITING ANNOUNCEMENT
OF INDIAN ELECTION DATES
The Board of Control of Cricket for India (BCCI) has deferred taking a final decision on the venue of its seventh edition of Indian Premier League (IPL-7) until India's Election Commission (EC) announces the dates for general elections that are scheduled for sometime in April-May. Last month uncertainties about the election date, and concerns by India's Home Ministry about its ability to provide adequate security cover for both the elections and IPL-7 events, led to speculation that some of its matches could be played in either Bangladesh, South Africa or the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (PTG 1292-6232, 15 February 2014).
'Cricinfo' reported on the weekend that South Africa, which hosted the second edition of IPL in 2009 for the same reason, are the front-runners, low match attendance levels being the only concern. The UAE is said to be a "logistical challenge" with all domestic travel required to be done by road, a BCCI "source" saying that in addition "proximity to the betting mafia looms large when it comes to the UAE". Bangladesh's "preparedness, or the lack of it, to host another big event after staging both the Asia Cup and the World Twenty20, "may work against them", says the report.
In terms of the "betting mafia", a recent BCCI board meeting which was presided over by its president Narayanswamy Srinivasan, "made it clear that unlike the sixth edition of IPL, seventh will be "scam-free and fair". IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal told reporters on Friday that: “We have taken specific measures to curb match-fixing, have set up an anti-corruption team that will keep a close watch on the activities of the players, and have informed the franchisees and the players to be careful about such unethical practices”.
Separate reports over the weekend from New Delhi say that the Indian government has sought advice from International Olympic Committee (IOC) to fine tune its proposed "comprehensive legislation" to prevent "match and spot fixing", development of which got underway last May after news of investigations into IPL corruption allegations first broke (PTG 111-5405, 27 May 2013).
In a letter to IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper, the Indian Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Jitendra Singh said: "Ethics have become even more important in the current context in India [for] of late there has been a spate of incidents which amount to 'match/spot fixing' in the game of cricket". Singh went on to say that a number of countries have already passed legislations making fixing in sports a criminal offence and that he understands "the IOC has also studied such criminal activities and methods to combat them". The minister is said to have been responding to a letter from Kepper of late May last year regarding the lifting of the IOC's current ban on the Indian Olympic Association.
SRI LANKAN DOMESTIC T20
SERIES AGAIN SCRAPPED
The 2014 edition of the Sri Lankan Premier League (SPL) Twenty20 tournament has, like a number of its planned predecessors, been cancelled after Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) failed to attract interest from commercial partners, according to SPL director Ajit Jayasekara. The window for the tournament, originally slated for this July-August, will instead be used to schedule a short domestic T20 event featuring of the country’s "top players", according to reports from Colombo.
Jayasekara told 'Ceylon Today' that “Since terminating the contracts of seven franchise owners we have tried to revive the tournament, but there has been no response from the promotions partner". In addition "there’s no window left due to South Africa’s visit in July and Sri Lanka A team’s tour of England later that month", he said. Jayasekara remains optimistic of staging the tournament in the future but "we have to go through a fresh process of getting advertisers and people to apply for franchises", but "maybe we will be able to try and revive the SPL".
The SPL has failed to materialise in three of the four years since it was announced amidst much fanfare in 2011. Three weeks before the start of last year's edition, the board terminated the contracts of all the franchises after they failed to pay the participation fee. In the interim, an inter-state provisional tournament was organised while SLC hoped to draw a more lucrative business model with their commercial partners Somerset Entertainment Ventures.
PINK BALL 'GETTING THERE',
SAYS VICTORIAN SKIPPER
Victorian captain Matthew Wade's initial assessment after the first day's play in Cricket Australia's (CA) day-night first class trial is that playing a Test match under such conditions is "a long way from reality", but the pink ball is "getting there", says an article circulating in Australia's News Limited media this morning. Wade's match against Tasmania at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), was one of three Sheffield Shield games currently being played as day-nighters, the others being Queensland-Western Australia in Brisbane and South Australia-New South Wales in Adelaide (PTG 1301-6280, 1 March 2014).
Former Australian wicketkeeper Wade is said to have insisted there’s much research and design work to be done before the day-night Test CA is hoping to play late next year eventuates. “It’s early days but to be honest I can’t see [a day-night Test] happening quickly". “You want it exactly like it is when you play a red ball game and at the moment it’s not quite there, but it’s getting there". Senior CA officials have indicated more than once in the past that it might not be possible to have parity between red and pink balls and that some compromises may be needed to the way day-night Tests are played to account for that.
The Victorian captain, who’s yet to bat in the match and spent most of yesterday in the field wicketkeeping, said the ball “reacted differently from a red ball”. It "got a bit out of shape and old a lot quicker [but] it’s harder to see the seam because it’s white [on pink]", something New South Wales coach Trevor Bayliss pointed to last week (PTG 1303-6285, 2 March 2014). “It certainly swung a bit more, but it was conventional swing", however "we put a lot of work on the ball and got it really shiny and then it swung a bit more but not for very long".
Tasmanian Ben Dunk, who was batting during the transition from day to night at the MCG said he didn’t have any problems picking up the ball as it was "similar to every other ball we’ve played against". However, he did notice a difference when his side fielded in the evening, but attributed that to the late-night finish more than the ball. “The ground was dewy and it skidded off which is different to what we’re used to, but it’s night cricket so that’s what you’re going to get".
In Adelaide, long serving South Australian opener Michael Klinger said the pink balls soften quickly, feel like tennis balls when struck for its a struggle to hit the ball through the field and that "makes scoring difficult", but he doesn’t blame the ball for his side's batting struggles against New South Wales bowling yesterday.
Up in Brisbane the Queensland openers struggled to lay bat on the pink ball early in their innings but reports from there say that was primarily because of the moist, cloudy and rainy conditions which heavily favoured fast bowlers, but later, as is the case with red balls, "things settled down" and batting was not as challenging. Queensland middle order batsman Chris Lynn said he and his colleagues had to work extra hard for their runs and like Wade indicated the seam was more difficult to see as the ball got older. ‘’That made it hard against the balls that were swinging", he said. Lynn "found it did change once the lights went on and it was evening" and that at that stage of the day "the pitch started to grease up a bit with the dew and the light rain".
One report from Brisbane said though that "tne hurdle could be for fans with the pink ball much harder to pick up than white balls which are traditionally used in night cricket", however others have suggested that is not a problem and that the balls are easier to see from the outfield. Just how the six umpires who were on ground across the three games saw the ball was not mentioned in overnight reports. The pink ball used in Brisbane was photographed at every break in play yesterday and the photos will be sent to CA "for analysis".
None of the reports in the Australian media, or players who were interviewed, made reference to, or displayed any knowledge of, the pink ball, day-night first class matches that have been played in the West Indies, England, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates over the last five years, or the first class format trial conducted in South Africa eighteen months ago.
BATSMAN'S BALL PICK UP RESULTS
IN ANGST BUT NO APPEAL
South African batsman Faf du Plessis picked up the ball from the pitch after playing the ball in his side's innings in the Test against Australia in Cape Town yesterday, but there was no appeal to the umpires for an 'Obstructing the Field' dismissal as allowed for in the Laws. However, his action is reported to have been met with considerable angst from bowler Mitchell Johnson and at least one other nearby fielder, who are said to have "tersely explained it wasn't his turn to field yet".
Du Plessis said overnight after the day's play ended that the Australians "are pretty aggressive about that ball [for] I thought I was just being a nice guy picking the ball up, saving their legs in the field". "They run like a pack of dogs around you when you get close to that ball", "its probably the way they play their cricket [but] I always pick the ball up, it means nothing". One report contended that Australia was "maintaining the ball for reverse [swing and] didn't want foreign hands on it".
Johnson took a different viewpoint saying "We could have appealed for it, I guess", before continuing with "I was actually going to let the ball hit me but he didn't throw it straight". "We've always been like that [and] 'Hadds' [wicketkeeper Brad Haddin] has been a big believer in wanting to be the one to pick the ball up, or a fielder around there". "That's our job. We're out there to field", he concluded.
Reports say that umpires Kumar Dhamasena and Aleem Dar had a word with du Plessis after the incident, but Johnson said he didn't "know exactly what the ruling was but I think he just said that because they are so upset about picking it up [don't do it]". He then showed a lack of understanding of the Laws of the game by saying: "I see the ball as being dead when it stops".
Prior to last year's changes to the Laws du Plessis was liable to have been given out 'Handled the Ball' in yesterday's circumstances, but since then an 'Obstructing the Field' dismissal applies (PTG 1199-5771, 1 October 2011). There have been only seven batsmen dismissed 'handled the ball' in Test cricket under the now old Law. Former chairman of Australia selectors Andrew Hilditch is the only non-striker among them, having picked up the ball after a wayward throw in a 1979 Test against Pakistan in Perth. Hilditch passed it back to Sarfraz Nawaz, who successfully appealed.
When one journalist raised Hilditch's dismissal at last night's post play press conference, du Plessis' reply in was that: "I won't [be picking up the ball] again".
RUGBY MAN TO COACH ECB UMPIRES
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has recruited Stuart Cummings, a former UK Rugby League referee who recently stepped down from his position in charge of the Rugby Football League's match officials department, to work with its umpiring panel this summer, according to a comment he made during a 'Sky' rugby league program yesterday. Cummings, who was appointed MBE in the recent New Year's honours list for his services to rugby league over almost three decades, played Minor Counties cricket as Cheshire's wicketkeeper in 1986-87 when he was working as a schoolteacher in Warrington.
The 53-year-old, who will continue to work with 'Sky' as part of its Super League coverage whilst holding down his new position, said he's "not going to be telling [the ECB umpires] how to make decisions, don't worry about that". "It's more the off-field stuff that [ECB umpire manager] Chris Kelly is looking for me to help out with – preparation, reviewing games, things like that". "Standing as an umpire for six or seven hours is obviously very different to refereeing a rugby game, but hopefully I can offer a different perspective", he said.
Announcements over the last three months indicate that the ECB has a twenty-five man top panel of Full List (PTG 1250-6021, 7 December 2013), and a new third-tier 'Emerging' four-man group (PTG 1272-6133, 19 January 2014), but as yet there is no news of the composition of what has in the past been its ten-man, second-tier Reserve List.
In July 2009, Cricket Australia (CA) appointed former international Rugby Union referee Peter Marshall as one of five members of its Umpire High Performance Panel (PTG 454-2364, 13 July 2009). Over the last five seasons he has worked as a match referee in 89 senior CA matches, 33 in first class, 29 List A and 27 Twenty20 matches, as well as in women's Tests and Twenty20 Internationals, Under-19 and other fixtures.
Prior to joining CA Marshall, now 60, had officiating in 32 Rugby Tests as well as other matches in countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and the Pacific Islands in the decade from 1993-2003, including in two World Cups and was in contention for the 1999 World Cup Final, but with Australia involved in the match he was ruled ineligible. After retirement following the 2003 World Cup he joined the Australian Rugby Union as its National Referee Manager and was also coach of New South Wales Rugby referees.
ULTRA SLOW OVER-RATE LEADS TO CAPTAIN'S
SUSPENSION, FINES FOR ALL PLAYERS
Dhaka Division captain Mohammad Sharif was suspended for one match and all players from both his side and those of opponents Dhaka Metro were fined, for slow over-rates in their National Cricket League first class match played in Bogra over the weekend. Between them the two sides bowled just 88.1 overs in 392 minutes on the last day, whereas Playing Conditions required them to deliver 98 overs.
Match referee Ahsanullah Hasan announced Sharif's ban and the fine after the match ended on Monday. Dhaka Metro, which was on the field at the start of the last day bowled just eight overs in the first hour of play, an incredibly low number, and both teams are said to have "slowed down at different stages throughout that day". Umpires Morshed Ali Khan and Shafiuddin Ahmed, who are both former Bangladesh international players, were standing in their sixteenth and eighth first class match respectively. What action they took on-field as a result of the go-slow tactics is not known
ZIMBABWE CRICKET 'MISMANAGED
ICC LOAN', CLAIMS REPORT
An article published on the 'Cricinfo' web site on Monday makes serious accusations that three senior Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) officials "misused" a December 2011 $A6.6 million loan from the International Cricket Council (ICC), the funds being directed to "enrich a bank on whose board they sit", at the same time "igorning a key condition of the loan". The authors of the article, Tristan Holme and Liam Brickhill, suggest that the recent and on-going impasse between the game's leaders and their players, over remuneration, has its roots in the alleged mismanagement of the ICC monies (PTG 1303-6288, 2 March 2014).
Holme and Brickhill say that the ICC has "known about these indiscretions since at least March 2013, but did not take any action against the individuals involved", and that the ICC has so far "failed to respond to specific questions" about the 2011 loan. A further request for comment on the ICC's latest $A3.3m loan, and the prospect of ZC being bailed out of its current debt, received the same response.
ZC's financial problems have been in the public spot light for over five years, attempts by former ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed late last decade to determine what was happing to funding provided to the Harare-based organisation being a key issue that saw him leave that job earlier than his contract stipulated (PTG 235-1297, 27 April 2008). Publication of the 'Cricinfo' article came a day before ICC chief executive, Dave Richardson, arrived in Harare, but as yet no publiclty appears to have been given for the reason for his visit.
BANNED UMPIRE AGAIN SEEKS
'MERCY', EARLY RETURN
Banned Bangladeshi umpire Nadir Shah, who was given a ten-year ban a year ago when a Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) investigation found him guilty of corruption after the 'India TV' channel's 'sting' operation in October 2012 (PTG 1077-5233, 18 March 2013), has submitted a second "mercy plea" to the BCB that asks it to reduce the term of his suspension. Last April, following four and three year bans handed by the Pakistan Cricket Board to two of its umpires involved in the same 'sting', Shah described the length of his suspension as "harsh" (PTG 1090-5309, 18 April 2013).
Shah was the only umpire involved in the 'sting' who actually met India TV's undercover reporters in person, the others being contacted via internet-based video chats. The Bangladeshi said at the time that he went along with the plan proposed by the reporters, who he met in a Delhi hotel, because he felt "threatened" by them, a stand he maintained in public. Despite that he did not report the approach to authorities, and later admitted his "mistake" in that regard to BCB investigators.
Immediately after his ban was announced last March he indicated he planned to lodge an appeal and in June he submitted a letter to the BCB asking the ten years be reduced to "two or three years". He told reporters at that time that if his suspension was reduced to the length he suggested he could work at making "a comeback as an umpire" later this decade.
Shah said at that time that he had "submitted a mercy letter addressing [BCB] president [Nazmul Hassan], and it [has been] received by the [acting] CEO [Nizamuddin Ahmed]"(PTG 1125-5466, 19 June 2013). In the nine months since nothing further has been heard about the issue in public until now, possibly because the BCB's focus has been on Bangladesh Premier League corruption issues (PTG 1303-6283, 2 March 2014).
AUSSIE SKIPPER APOLOGISES
FOR ANOTHER 'MELTDOWN'
Australian captain Michael Clarke has apologised to South African Dale Steyn both publicly and in person after what one report describes as his on-field "meltdown" during what was a "tense final hour" of the third and deciding Test between the two sides in Cape Town on Wednesday. The acrimony came when Steyn's batting partner Vernon Philander was given 'not out' caught behind after a review, a situation that saw Clarke engage in an animated discussion with umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka.
“Let’s just say [Steyn] got me at a bad time", said Clarke afterwards. "We just had a decision that didn’t go our way that I would have liked to have seen go our way but that’s the game and certainly as captain of your country you’ve got to be able to cop that on the chin". "Something was said to one of my team mates". "I seem to make this mistake a few times but I jumped in after him" (PTG 1242-5996, 26 November 2013). "It doesn’t matter what happened, what I said was something out of character and I apologise for that, I shouldn’t have said what I said". Steyn was restrained by drinks-carrying substitute Robin Petersen as a cluster of Australians, led by Clarke, exchanged words with him.
The Australian captain was also warned by Dar and Dharmasena about how his fielders were throwing the ball into rough areas of the pitch, reportedly in an attempt to scruff the ball up so it would reverse swing. "I always believed that if you’re in the ring you should be throwing the ball on the full because it’s a twenty metre throw, [but] if the guys are on the boundary you can accept that some guys can’t throw it that far". "Whatever the criticism we cop for that I’m more than happy to cop but I think our players understand there is a line and we know not to overstep that".
Making the ball reverse swing is a particularly high-profile topic after the South Africans used it to dismiss Australian in the second Test in Port Elizabeth. Australian opener David Warner was fined by the International Cricket Council and punished by the Australian team hierarchy for accusing the South Africans in general, and wicketkeeper AB de Villiers in particular, of ball tampering (PTG 1301-6276, 28 February 2014).
ENGLAND BALL CHANGED AFTER
SHOWING 'UNNATURAL DETERIORATION'
Umpires Marias Erasmus of South Africa and Joel Wilson of the West Indies are reported to have changed the ball because it showed "unnatural deterioration" after thirty-seven over whilst England was in the field during the third and final One Day International (ODI) against the West Indies in Antigua on Wednesday. England captain Stuart Broad said afterwards though that he was "baffled" by a decision and "saw no logic in it".
Broad told reporters post-match that "throughout the three [ODI's], the ball was roughing up, [and] little bits of leather were coming off it". "It's not like the ball was reverse-swinging", said 27-year-old all-rounder, who was leading England for the first time in a one-day series in place of the rested Alastair Cook. "I bowled three cross-seamers with the ball they gave us and the same wear was arriving on that ball".
Former captain Bob Willis accused England of ball-tampering after umpires decided to change the ball during a Champions Trophy match against Sri Lanka last year, but the International Cricket Council (ICC) denied that saying it was changed by umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan and his New Zealand colleague 'Billy' Bowden because it had gone out of shape (PTG 1124-5464, 15 June 2013). Broad said that while he did not believe the umpires were making a similar allegation in Antigua, he was "confused" as to why they intervened.
Whether Erasmus and Wilson changed the ball for the same reason as Dar and Bowden is not known. There has been no public indication from the ICC in the twenty-four hours since the third ODI ended that match officials in Antigua believed England has a ball-tamperin case to answer. "I'm sure we'll have a meeting with the ICC to figure out what occurred, and what the script is", said Broad, but "at the end of the day, it's not affected the result". "But it could easily have done, and that would have made me a little bit more cross".
BOWLER RECORDS UNUSUAL
FIGURES OF 0-0-8-0 IN ODI
Pakistani spinner Abdur Rehman had a spell to forget in his country's Asia Cup match against Bangladesh on Tuesday, the left-armer sending down a hat-trick of illegal full tosses in the One Day International (ODI) to finish with highly unusual bowling figures of 0-0-8-0. Brought on in the eleventh over as the first change, his first delivery slipped out of his hand and was well above batsman Imrul Kayes's waist and was also wide, his second attempt was a chest-height beamer which saw the batsmen run one as Kayes was caught but he escaped because it too was called a no-ball after review, while his third was another beamer that was hit for four by Anamul Haque the other batsman.
International Cricket Council (ICC) ODl Playing Conditions require a bowler be taken out of the attack after sending down more than one full toss above the waist regardless the speed of the delivery. Rehman appears not to have been given a warning after delivery one because of its width even though it was high, however, after the second beamer was delivered South African umpire Johan Cloete had a brief chat with Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq to deliver what was probably a first and final warning. Rehman then continue with the third delivery for which he changed to around the wicket but to no avail.
After that too was a beamer Cloete and his colleague Nigel Llong of England ordered the spinner out of the attack in what was his thity-first ODI to leave him with the record of conceding the highest amount of runs ever recorded without bowling a single ball. He was replaced by fellow left-arm spinner Fawad Alam.
LONG-SERVING UMPIRE TO
STAND IN HIS 600TH GAME
Long-serving umpire Don Heapy will stand in his 600th 'official' match as a member of the Tasmanian Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (TCUSA) in Hobart tomorrow, although the total of number of games he has officiated in during his 38-year career to date is thought to actually be closer to 700. Despite the coming milestone TCUSA Life Member Heapy, 67, who commenced umpiring in his late twenties, hopes to continue his involvement out on the ground for many more years to come.
Heapy, who will become the second TCUSA member after colleague Brian Pollard to chalk up 600 games this season (PTG 1249-6028, 6 December 2013), took up umpiring in the mid-1970s, first standing in a regional league before moving to what is now Cricket Tasmania's Prmier League competition, the state's feeder to the first class game. Since then he has stood in over 240 Premier League first grade matches, more than any other TCUSA member, a record that includes three Grand Finals at that level and almost thirty in other grades.
During the last half of the 1990s Heapy was selected to support both Sheffield Shield, tour and interstate one-day games, with fourth umpire positions in two One Day Internationals being the pinnacle. There have also been a number of state Second XI games, a national Under-17 men's tournament, in which he stood in the final, and a variety of other lower-level intra and interstate events. The last few years have seen Heapy go 'international' for he has stood in tournaments at Hau Hin and Chaing Mai in Thailand that involved teams from many countries around the world, as well as in the Hong Kong Premier League.
Off the field Heapy's record is equally impressive in supporting the TCUSA's activities. He was President of the Association for two years in the early 2000s, and all-up has served as Vice President for a total of eight. Awards have also come his way, including the inaugural TCUSA 'Umpire of the Year' trophy in 1995, for 'Services to the Association' in 1998 and the 'Advisor's Merit Award' in 2004. Heapy''s partner in Saturday's Premier League third grade game at Lindisfarne will be Mark Gilliard who this season passed the 500 game mark with the association. Its not often that the two umpires looking after a game have stood in a combined total of more than 1,000 games.
ICC CEO HELPS BROKER
ZIMBABWE PAY DEAL
Zimbabwe's player's union has agreed to a payment structure offered to them by Zimbabwe Cricket to cover their participation in the forthcoming World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series in Bangladesh, however, negotiations are reported to still be proceeding on future wage issues. Late last week the players threatened strike action if their financial security was not assured but have since agreed to play in Bangladesh pending further talks (PTG 1303-6288, 2 March 2014), the deal to ensure that being reached in the presence of International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson who is said to have travelled to Harare to mediate between the players and the board (PTG 1306-6301, 5 March 2014).
Zimbabwe Professional Cricket Association secretary-general Eliah Zvimba told reporters that "Players have been paid a lump sum towards the World Cup contract, [an] amount [that] covers appearance and match fees [and] will continue negotiating for a percentage from the ICC revenues to secure salaries for players after the [WT20C]". Players are reported to have accepted earnings equivalent to $A12,600 per player for the tournament, with bonuses of up to $A3,000 per second round match won.
Cricket in the African country has been in disarray over the last three months over payer payments, a situation that led to a player's strike that put domestic fixtures on hold for several months. The need for Richardson to travel to Zimbabwe to broker a deal suggests there was a real possibility the WT20C may have been one team short had agreement not been reached this week.
'SPIRIT OF CRICKET' WITH A DIFFERENCE
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is inviting alcohol companies to submit proposals to become the 'Official Spirits Partner' for next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The ICC says that the "successful applicant will receive marketing rights and benefits that will enable it to use [its] valuable intellectual property in association with its spirits brand(s)", the right to use the event logo in its advertising, and "also [to] supply product at all fourteen venues of the [tournament]".
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SKIPPER APPEALING
BALL 'BOOT SPIKE' ONE-MATCH BAN
South Australian captain Johan Botha is appealing a one-match ban handed to him on Thursday evening for "bringing the game into disrepute" following a somewhat bizarre incident on day three of his side's Sheffield Shield first class match against New South Wales in Adelaide on Wednesday. A report in today's Fairfax Press states that at the end of the eighty-eighth over of NSW's first innings, Botha took "the new ball and, in front of the umpires" ran "the old one along his boot spikes before tossing it to the boundary line".
It is believed that Botha, 31, and playing in his eighty-fifth first class match, was not cited on a ball-tampering charge as the old ball was no longer in use, rather umpires Damien Mealey and John Ward reported him on the 'disrepute' charge for what is described as "repeated inappropriate conduct relating to the condition of the match ball''. He also received a reprimand from match referee David Talalla for using "obscene, offensive or insulting language", again during NSW's first innings, but whether that was connected with the old ball issue is not clear.
Former South African spinner Botha is reported to have pleaded guilty to the disrepute charge but is challenging the "severity" of the ban, which was upheld at a hearing held after the match ended on Thursday night. Indications are that his appeal could be held on Monday ahead of his side's final Shield match of the season which begins in Hobart the next day, a key fixture that will decide whether South Australia plays in the season-ending final of that competition in two weeks time.
MORE WORK NEEDED ON PINK
BALL, SAYS VICTORIAN COACH
Victorian coach Greg Shipperd, whose side was involved in a day-night first class match this week, believes there are still issues to be resolved with pink balls before Test cricket is played under lights. Cricket Australia (CA) is pushing for a day-night Test as early as November next year, but several players in this week’s Victoria-Tasmania Sheffield Shield match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground are said said to be "adamant" the pink ball doesn’t have the same properties as its traditional red cousin.
Shipperd has told reporters that the pink ball “got out of shape quite dramatically for both sides” and "there’s still some work to do on its ‘plasticity’ [as] it gets too soft, too quickly". In addition “There’s some quite dark patches when that pink colour gets scraped off the surface of the ball" and also "issues in terms of hardness and the resilience of the ball over eighty overs".
Visibility of the pink ball was generally accepted as being good for most players and spectators, especially in daylight hours. Shipperd agreed with his captain Matthew Wade who indicated early in this week's game the ball didn’t behave the same way as a red ball through the course of a full innings (PTG 1305-6297, 4 March 2014), but acknowledged that “both teams understand we’re part of information searching".
Reports say that all players, and presumably the six umpires and three match referees, who took part in this week's three day-night Shield games were asked to fill out a survey after Thursday’s matches, with information to be used by CA as part of further considerations of the day-night Test concept.
TWO NSW UMPIRES RECIPIENTS OF 2014
NATIONAL OFFICIALS SCHOLARSHIP
Canberra reports indicated that two New South Wales members of Cricket Australia's (CA) emerging umpires group have been awarded National Officiating Scholarships for 2014 by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC). Greg Davidson, who made both his List A and first class debuts during the current austral summer (PTG 1250-6033, 7 December 2013), and Tony Wilds, are the recipients of the ninth and tenth scholarships to be given to cricket umpires by the ASC over the last six years.
The aim of the AIS program, which is now in its twelfth year and encompasses all sports, is to support and encourage the professional development of emerging "high performance" match officials by helping them progress through recognised pathways to the highest levels of their chosen sport in national and international competitions. As the governing body for cricket in Australia, CA would have had to given their support the pair's scholarship applications. Davidson and Wilds, who will have former international umpire Simon Taufel and Graham Chudley as mentors for the year's program ahead, will commence the scholarship by attending what is believed to be a four-day ASC workshop scheduled for Queensland in two weeks time.
Current National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Mick Martell became the first cricket recipient of a scholarship in 2008 (PTG 200-1098, 22 February 2008). Early in 2009 now International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel member Paul Reiffel, who was fast-tracked into umpiring via the 'Project Panel' (PP) system, received the scholarship along with then CA emerging umpire Steven John (PTG 369-1963, 9 February 2009); however, John quit umpiring altogether at the end of the scholarship program after missing out on NUP selection (PTG 639-3183, 26 July 2010). In the time since then, current NUP members Ian Lock, Simon Fry, and Sam Nogajski were awarded scholarships in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively, and NUP member Damien Mealey and Shawn Craig CA's current PP member, last year (PTG 1070-5203, 2 March 2013)
AUSTRALIAN SIDE'S 'WAY OF WINNING' QUESTIONED
The Australian side is to be congratulated for winning Test series against England and South Africa over the last four months, especially after loses in England and India before that, wrote Fairfax journalist David Sygall on Friday, however, "commentary on websites and blogs across the country" indicates that "a chunk of the Australian people too large to ignore feels disappointed by the team's behaviour". In Sygall's assessment many Australians "feel unrepresented by [national captain Michael] Clarke's men" because of the way they act on-field, and they're sad because "if there is one sporting team above others that Australians want to have speaking on their behalf [and] representing their better qualities, it's the national cricket side".
Sygall asks whether the Australian populace were being spoken for when Davis Warner "accused South Africa of ball tampering, questioned the work ethic of opponent Vernon Philander, and said the Proteas looked lazy in the field?" "Was recalled bowler James Pattinson acting on behalf of Australia when he incessantly sledged the world's top-ranked batsman, AB de Villiers, among others?" "What about the several close-in fielders abusing South African Faf du Plessis for picking up the ball and tossing it back to the bowler?" "Were they acting on behalf of Australia or acting, as du Plessis later said, like "a pack of dogs"? "And, when the Australians 'woofed' at du Plessis after his second-innings dismissal, were they displaying the nation's best traits?"
Throw in an umpire's warning to the Australians about scuffing the ball, continues Sygall, a confrontation between the players and an umpire after a controversial decision went against them, and a post-match apology from Clarke after his run-in with South Africa's Dale Steyn, and "you have yet another polarising Australian Test team performance".
The Fairfax journalist says that "no one suggests love-ins with opponents". "We all know to some extent, some by having played the game, others by long following it, that Test cricket is an extremely competitive environment". "Matches stretch on for days in the heat and dust, small decisions can change contests and careers [in what is a] high-pressure game of ultra-endurance, and certainly, the behaviour of many of Australia's opponents, particularly in recent years, has been no better". But in Sygall's view though is that what others do is "no excuse".
While "the Australian psyche is characterised by uncompromising toughness, determination and dignity, those traits must no longer be confused with boorish and bullying behaviour", continues Sygall, "after another significant win by our national cricket team, too many people are only half-celebrating and too many people feel the team has not spoken for them".
In an article titled 'Great summer, but no grace', long-serving broadcaster and journalist Tim Lane also commented on Australia's approach to the game in his column in yesterday's 'Sydney Morning Herald'. While he acknowledged the team's winnings results of late he concludes by expressing the view that captain Michael Clarke "would do well to ponder [whether] he will enjoy greater lasting satisfaction if he leads a team that plays in the right spirit, [as] winning with grace is important".
Despite that, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has pointed to "research" that suggests the Australian public are "broadly" happy (PTG 1309-6313 below), as it the team's coach Darren Lehmann (PTG 1309-6312 below).
COACH LEHMANN NOT
BOTHERED BY SLEDGING
Australian coach Darren Lehmann "has no qualms" about his side "regaining the ruthless sledging streak" displayed by the nation's teams of previous decades, says a report in 'The Australian' newspaper on the weekend. Lehmann was answering questions from reporters in Sydney after his return from the three-Test series in South Africa, three games that have seen the on-field behaviour displayed by some of his team questioned by some (PTG 1309-6311 above), and defended by others.
Former captain Ian Chappell's team of the 1970s earned the "ugly Australians' tag from some sections of the media, while Lehmann played alongside another Australian captain, Steve Waugh, who made "mental disintegration" into an art form. Today's approach on-field has been "rebranded" and is called "banter", says 'The Australian', batsman David Warner being in the forefront of proceedings against South African batsmen with the support of others whilst in the field.
However, Lehmann is said to be content with his charges' behaviour during the series in South Africa, saying "it was always going to be tough against the number one [Test] team in the world, but its always been the same [hard and fair] for many years" in Test cricket. "The way it was played... I'm really happy with that", said Lehmann. Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland also appears happy with things in general and says that 'broadly speaking" the Australian public are too (PTG 1309-6313 below).
'CHILDISH' CRICKETERS' REMARKS
ALSO 'FUNNY', SAYS CA CHIEF
Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has indicated that the "barking dogs" sledging directed by Australian fielders at South African batsman Faf du Plessis on the last day of the third Test last week might have been childish, but in its view "it was [also] funny". Du Plessis had indicated earlier in the match, after he had picked up the ball whilst batting, that the Australians "are pretty aggressive about that ball [and] run like a pack of dogs around you when you get close to [it]" (PTG 1306-6298, 5 March 2014).
Reports say that du Plessis was taunted for picking up the ball and the "pack of dogs" remark whilst batting in his side's second innings, Australian opener David Warner "leading the charge". Sutherland is said to have "laid down the law to the national team" in 2003 following then bowler Glenn McGrath's infamous run-in with the West Indies Ramnaresh Sarwan, however, he is said by reports to be unconcerned "about the heat du Plessis copped", unlike some others in Australia (PTG 1309-6311 above).
The CA chief executive described his player's actions in Cape Town on Melbourne radio station 3AW as "just typical of childish cricketers", and that while "some people might not see the humour in that, I did". He pointed to post-match and post-series handshakes and embraces between players between the Australians and retiring South African captain Graeme Smith as an indication of the level of mutual respect between the two teams.
"Our research during the course of [the South African] series suggests the Australian public, broadly speaking, is very very proud of the Australian cricketing team, said Sutherland. No details of that "research" has been released, therefore it is not possible to objectively access just what his "broadly speaking" comment actually means.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA WITHDRAW
FROM BOTHA 'DISREPUTE' APPEAL
The South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) are reported to have decided no to proceed with their appeal against the one-match ban handed to their captain Johan Botha for behaviour breaches during last week's Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales in Adelaide, according to today's 'Adelaide Advertiser". Botha was suspended on Thursday evening for "bringing the game into disrepute" following a somewhat bizarre incident that saw him take "the new ball and, in front of the umpires" run "the old one along his boot spikes before tossing it to the boundary line", but indicated that he planned to contest the "severity" of the sentence handed to him by match referee David Tallala (PTG 1308-6308, 8 March 2014).
The 'Advertiser' is reporting that Botha faced an increased suspension "sliding up to a $A10,000 fine or life ban" and potentially missing this season's Shield final if the appeal was dismissed by Cricket Australia Code of Behaviour Commissioner Anthony Crocker at the hearing that had been scheduled for later today in Adelaide. Journalist Richard Earle says that the fact SACA "actually lodged an appeal application made it appear unaware of the calamity that could await Botha" should he proceed. The South Australian body said in a press release issued late yesterday that it had withdrawn the appeal to “allow the team to settle and focus on what is the biggest match of the season” against Tasmania that starts in Hobart tomorrow.
Earle writes that the appeal hearing scheduled for a “remorseful” Botha today "was always potentially disruptive" for his side as it seeks to win a place in next week's Sheffield Shield decider for 2013-14.
NO SIGN OF MOOTED
NZ DAY-NIGHT TRIALS
Reports six months ago that quoted David White, New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) chief executive, as saying that his organisation planned to conduct day-night trials in multi-day "lower level" domestic cricket there this austral summer, do not appear to have come to fruition (PTG 1183-5707, 2 September 2013). NZC has not publicised such matches and despite their 'novelty' there appears to have been no media reports published in that country about such an activity over the past four months, which suggests either the original report was wrong, or alternatively the trials did not proceed for some reason.
White, who made the comments late last August following publicity about Cricket Australia's hopes to conduct day-night Tests, was said at the time to have been 'very interested' in that concept. CA chief executive James Sutherland emphasised that point a week ago when he told 'The Australian' newspaper that he has "received the [White's] blessing to proceed with plans for a pink ball, day-night Tests" (PTG 1301-6280, 1 March 2014). Whether Sutherland was extrapolating from White's comments of last August or there have been further discussions since is not clear, but as yet it would appear, on the information publicly available, that NZC has not looked at the practicalities of playing first class cricket at night.
WESTFIELD TO RETURN
TO THE CLUB GAME
Essex's Frinton Cricket Club, who have teams in the East Anglia Premier League and other competitions, are ready to give a "second chance" to banned bowler Mervyn Westfield who is free to return to club cricket this northern summer following a suspension for a spot-fixing offence in a county forty-over fixture in 2009 (PTG 953-4627, 26 June 2012). Westfield served eight weeks of a four-month prison sentence and was banned from professional cricket for five years and club cricket for three years as a result, but the latter was reduced to two years after he agreed to take part in an anti-corruption program run by the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) (PTG 1197-5765, 29 September 2013).
Frinton player Pat Patel told BBC Essex last week that Westfield, who turns twenty-six in May, had "been recommended to us by the PCA". "Obviously he did make a mistake but I feel everybody in life deserves a second chance". "We've spoken to him, he is a very good young man [and] it's his big chance to start again at grass-roots level cricket". Westfield, who played for England at Under-19 level in a tournament in Malaysia in 2007, featured in seven first-class and eight List A games for Essex in the last half of last decade, but at the moment at least he cannot return to county cricket until the 2017 season..
LACK OF POST-MATCH HAND
SHAKES UPSETS WINNERS
Services captain Yashpal Singh said after his side defeated Delhi in a Vijay Hazare Trophy fifty-over match on Thursday, that he was “terribly hurt” by the failure of the home side "to shake hands after the match". The 'India Times' reported on Friday that "the entire Services team waited at the ground for at-least half an hour for the customary after-match hand shake, but none of the Delhi players, save top-scorer Jagrit Anand, came out to congratulate them".
“What kind of behaviour is this?", asked Yashpal, before pointing out that "this is not the first time that we got this behaviour from Delhi", as they did the same in a in Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 fixture "a few seasons back". Services spinner Sakuja said he has "played in the [India] North Zone team alongside some of the [Delhi] players", as well as at club level with Delhi's captain Gautam Gambhir, and he thought the home side should have acted more graciously, "even though we are players of a smaller stature", or standing, than the likes of them.
The 'Times' report states that "most of the [Delhi] players sneaked out of the rear entrance of the Feroze Shah Kotla dressing room in order to avoid questions from waiting journalists". It goes on to say that "while no one from the Delhi team management came on record, a source close to skipper Gambhir said that Ishant Sharma and Ashish Nehra were both injured although nature of the injuries were not known". He does not appear to have explained though why that kept the healthy members of side from shaking hands with Services players.
UMPIRE, SCORER TROPHIES MISSING
FROM NZ AWARDS NIGHT
Eight trophies were presented to three men and one woman for their performances as players in first class, one-day and Twenty20 format domestic and international games at last week's New Zealand Cricket awards night. There were presentations to players who have reached the milestones of 50 or 100 Test or One Day International (ODI) caps, for the men's and women's overall domestic and international players of the year, both first class bowling and batting, for the top player in Twenty20 Internationals, One Day Internationals and Tests, as well as the 'Sir Richard Hadlee medal' to the 'Player of the Year. However, as has been the case for many years both there and in Australia, the awards list for the evening did not include any acknowledgment of the work of either the umpires or scorers who support the domestic or international game there.
RECORD NUMBER OF CLUBS PREPARING
FOR PRE-SEASON 'SPRING CLEAN'
A record-breaking 2,014 cricket clubs in the UK have registered to take part in the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) 'Cricket Force' event, a three-day program that will see club facilities rejuvenated and prepared across the country ahead of the forthcoming 2014 season. From Friday to Sunday in the first week of April, tens of thousands of club members and volunteers are expected to come together to clean, tidy, repair and revitalise clubhouses and cricket grounds.
ECB chief executive David Collier called the fact that more than 2,000 clubs have signed up for an event that is still a month away "a superb achievement", and it is "fantastic to see that clubs clearly value the initiative as a way to make sure that they start the season on the front foot".
Former England captain and ECB’s Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships, Mike Gatting, who is also the President of the Marylebone Cricket Club this year, also reacted positively and urged "those who haven’t yet signed-up to get involved [for] since [the initiative] started in 2002, thousands of cricket clubs up and down the country have seen their fortunes turned around because of the long term impact that the program has had". Gatting pointed to "cricket clubs across the country" as "represent "the lifeblood of the sport", and as such "it is hugely important that we all pull together and look after playing facilities".
JUDGE'S LBW REFERENCE
LEADS TO RETRIAL
A convicted rapist who was sentence to six year's jail last June for abusing a young girl in his care in Queensland, has been granted a retrial because the judge compared the jury’s role to an umpire making an LBW call. Queensland's Court of Appeal (CoA) overturned the convictions given to the man and ordered a retrial after his lawyers fsuccessfully argued that the cricket analogy given to the jury amounted to a "misdirection".
Before the jury in the original case retired to consider their verdict last June, the unnamed judge is reported to have told them that if they were not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt, they would need to give the benefit of the doubt to the accused "like an LBW decision’’. "You know, you can look at where the front foot is, you can look at the height of the ball, you can look at the snicker and any other replays that are available, where the ball is pitched, whether it was in line with the stumps", he continued, "and if you’re satisfied of all of those things, the batsman’s out". "But if you’re not sure that that ball is really going to hit the stumps or whether there’s some element of doubt about whether the ball pitched in line or not, you have to give the benefit of the doubt to the batsman". "And that’s the thing about criminal trials [for] the benefit of the doubt goes to the defendant".
The accused's barrister appealed on the grounds the judge erred in defining the term "reasonable doubt" and because the sentence he received was manifestly excessive. In a unanimous judgment, the CoA allowed the appeal: setting aside the guilty verdicts and ordering retrials on four counts.
CoA President Justice Margaret McMurdo said the direction was inappropriate and would have "confused" or "misled" the jury. "To liken reaching a verdict in a jury trial on five serious charges involving sexual abuse of a little girl to an umpire’s LBW decision in a cricket match is apt to trivialise the solemn role the community demands of jurors", she said. Justice McMurdo noted the direction to the jury was given a few weeks before last austral summer's Ashes tour, when interest in the game was "likely to have been high".
CA CONTINUES TO EYE NOVEMBER
2015 DAY-NIGHT TEST
Sean Cary, Cricket Australia's (CA) general manager of cricket operations, appears confident that a pink ball suitable for use in day-night Test matches will be developed in time for Australia and New Zealand to play such a game in November next year. Cary, a former first class player and previously CA's Umpire Manager, made the comment on ABC Radio's 'Grandstand' on Saturday during an interview about last week's Sheffield Shield day-night round of matches in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne, an experiment that resulted in both positive and negative comments from coaches and players about the visibility and quality of the pink balls used.
Victorian coach Greg Shipperd said he found the ball difficult to see, it went too soft too soon, the pink colour could scrape off the surface of the ball, leaving dark patches, and went out of shape "dramatically" (PTG 1308-6308, 8 March 2014), while his captain Matthew Wade said he could not see day-night Test cricket happening quickly, although the pink ball was "getting there", and Queensland batsman Chris Lynn indicated he had struggled to see the white seam on the pink ball, which made it hard to pick swing and spin from the bowler's hand (PTG 1305-6297, 4 March 2014).
Cary emphasised though that "The fact that we had two matches go pretty much to the death-knock with very exciting finishes, batsmen scoring centuries, spinners taking wickets and fast bowlers taking wickets, we believe we created a balanced approach" "We certainly had balls wearing differently across the three venues [but] pleasingly none of the balls fell apart", he continued, before indicating that CA will get feedback from ball manufacturer 'Kookaburra' on the balls used, and he hopes they can continue the development work they have been conducting over the last five years to find "a product that's ready for international cricket".
Cary also said CA staff had surveyed spectators at the three venues and that while there were some visibility issues for them at the 'Gabba' in Brisbane, at the Adelaide Oval and the Melbourne Cricket Ground feedback had been positive. He described viewers in Adelaide and Melbourne as "really excited", the pink ball "shining out beautifully", however, those in Brisbane had "mixed views", for some "fans, and I was one of those on one of the nights up there, found it a bit more difficult to pick the ball up from the stands"; as it "actually looked a little bit more orange than it did pink" there. Cary wasn't sure whether or not that might have been because the lights at the Gabba are different from the other two grounds.
At the moment, CA is said to be hoping to schedule further day-night Sheffield Shield matches during the 2014-15 summer, the early rounds in November being a target, the period in the year after that when Australia and New Zealand are to play a three-Test series. "Our friends across the ditch in New Zealand are very keen for every opportunity to create a day-night Test match", said Cary, a point made several times by CA chief executive James Sutherland over the last six months, although whether New Zealand Cricket is itself doing work to promote and prepare for such a game is less clear (PTG 1309-6315, 10 March 2014).
In Cary's assessment the "Adelaide Oval would be a great venue [for the first day-night Test] but there's so many different factors that have to pass under the bridge before we decide which ground it could be held at". "I think our next step would be to try and get a day-night Shield match down in Hobart to see how that goes, and look at the 'Gabba' and Adelaide Oval again".
TWO ADDED TO ORIGINAL WT20C
MATCH OFFICIALS USE
Sri Lankans Roshan Mahanama from Ranmore Martinecz have been added to the match officials list for the forthcoming World Twenty20 Championship series, their inclusion bringing to total number of match referees to four and umpires to fourteen. Match referee Mahanama and umpire Martinecz were not included in the original list released by the International Cricket Council (ICC) a month ago, and the latter now joins fellow members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel at the tournament, 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and Sundarum Ravi of India (PTG (1285-6198, 6 February 2014).
Match referee responsibilities across the event will be shared between Mahanama, his countryman Ranjan Madugalle, David Boon of Australia and Javagal Srinath of India. Apart from Bowden, Martinecz and Ravi, the other eleven umpires are from the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), a group those three will be hoping to join or rejoin later this year. EUP members in Bangladesh will be: Aleem Dar (Pakistan), Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Steve Davis, Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker (Australia), and Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong (England).
NEWSPAPER POLL RESULTS IN 'APPROVAL'
FOR ON-FIELD 'AGGRESSION'
Comments by Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland that research conducted during the course of their team's recent Test series in South African suggests the Australian public is, "broadly speaking, "very very proud of the [the side]" (PTG 1309-6313, 10 March 2014), appears to be borne out if an on-line survey conducted by Melbourne's high-circulation 'Herald Sun' newspaper on the weekend means anything. A number of Australian journalists, including the Herald Sun's own Robert Craddock, have recently expressed concern about their side's on-field demeanour during their recent series against England and South Africa, and that led to the newspaper's on-line survey (PTG 1309-6311, 10 March 2014).
Asked two questions by the 'Herald Sun', the first "Do Australia's cricketers need to tone down their aggression?", and the second "No, it's great to see them so passionate", two-thirds of the 6,155 people who responded to the poll favoured the latter point of view. A total of 4,063 votes cast, or 66.01 per cent, liked seeing them "so passionate", a phrase often used by players and in reports to describe behaviour that is not in line with 'Spirit of Cricket' principles, while 2,092 or 33.99 per cent, wanted the "aggression" toned down. Comments posted by many respondents suggested that "aggression" was part of the way Australians play the game at all levels, and that to approach the sport in any other way is not what it is all about.
FINE, POINTS LOSS FOR
TEAM SHEET ERROR
South west Victoria's Warrnambool and District Cricket Association has fined Russell Creek's division one side $A250 and stripped them of the championship points they earned in defeating Allansford over the last two Saturday's because of a team sheet error. Russell Creek alerted umpires Sean Cole and Tony Robinson and their opponents about the error mid-way through the opening day of the two-day game, the team discovering after teenager Jack Ansell had batted at seven and scored seven, that they had failed to put his name on the sheet
WTC20 APPOINTMENTS SUGGEST INDIA'S
RAVI LEADS EUP VACANCY CONTEST
Indian umpire Sundaram Ravi may well be the front runner for the clear vacancy that exists on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) if the world body's appointments for the initial phrase of the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series in Bangladesh are any guide (PTG 1310-6322, 11 march 2014). Ravi has been appointed to four matches in the twenty-game, 'Super 10' opening phase of of the men's World Twenty20 Championship series which starts in Bangladesh on Friday week, however, the other two EUP possibles, 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka, have been limited to women's matches, and/or men's pre-Super 10 lower-level fixtures that mainly involve second-tier nations.
Ravi will be the busiest of the EUP contenders with nineteen appointments overall, four Super '10' plus five in the pre-Super 10 series, two on-field, one as third umpire and two as the fourth official (2/1/2), plus ten in the women's event (5/1/4). Then comes Bowden, the most experienced official on the planet still umpiring at this time, with eighteen, and Martinecz fourteen, Bowden's figures being 1/1/2 in the pre-Super 10 and both he and Martinecz 6/4/4 in women's fixtures. The ICC makes clear it chooses what it considers the best umpires available for its games, and Ravi's selection for senior men's games suggests he is currently ranked ahead of the other two. The world body's approach in past tournaments also points though to neither of the three will be in contention for games in the men's WT20C final phase in early April.
Current world 'Umpire of the Year, Richard Kettleborough of England, former winners Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka, plus Rod Tucker of Australia are the stand-outs for the men's 'Super 10' phase with ten appointments each. Kettleborough has 6/1/3, and Dar, Dharmasena and Tucker each 5/2/3. Steve Davis and Bruce Oxenford of Australia, Ian Gould of England and Marais Erasmus of South Africa all have 3/2/1, Nigel Long of England 2/2/0, Ravi and Paul Reiffel of Australia both 2/1/1 and Richard Illingworth of England 1/1/2. All of the umpires except Martinecz have appointments to pre-Super 10 first round games, while all except Dar, Dharmasena, Kettlebourough and Tucker have assignments to women's tournament games.
Of the match referees, Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka has nine 'Super 10' matches to look after, David Boon of Australia six and Javagal Srinath of India five. Those three will oversee pre-Super 10 first round games, although Madugalle only has one, and Srinath five and Boon six. Boon, Srinath plus Rosham Mahanama of Sri Lanka will be the match referees for the twenty women's opening group of games.
England all-rounder Ravi Bopara and West Indian pair Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels have all been fined for their on-field confrontation in Sunday's opening Twenty20 International between the two sides in Bridgetown. The confrontation, which is the latest of a string of on-field confrontation in internationals of late, took place in the tweltfh over of England's innings when Bopara made insulting comments towards Samuels, who responded, says the International Cricket Council (ICC), then Sammy joined in discussions trading insults with Bopara, before on-field umpires, West Indians Joel Wilson and Peter Nero, intervened.
Wilson, Nero plus third umpire Gregory Brathwaite and fourth official Nigel Duguid reported the trio over the incident, to which all three pleaded guilty after the match. Match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe found that the three had breached a Level 1 part of the ICC's Code of Conduct that states: “Where the facts of the alleged incident are not adequately or clearly covered by any [other] offence, conduct that either: (a) is contrary to the spirit of the game; or (b) brings the game into disrepute”.
As a result Pycroft fined Bopara twenty-five per cent of his match fee, Sammy twenty percent and Samuels ten. All Level 1 breaches carry a penalty of a warning/reprimand and/or the imposition of a fine up to half of a player's applicable match fee.
PAKISTAN 'LIKELY' TO
AGREE TO ICC REVAMP
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the only full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) that is yet to agree to the recent governance changes at the world body, is likely to back the revamp at the ICC board's next scheduled meeting next month, according to reports from Lahore (PTG 1289-6211, 11 February 2014). Current PCB chairman Najam Sethi, who has described the current situation as a "crisis" for Pakistan cricket, told reports that he doesn't "think this is about principles", rather its "about safeguarding our own self-interests in the long run in world cricket".
However, former PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf continues to hold the view that the changes are "unjust to the other members. "The restructuring is still against the basic principle of equality and the 'Big Three' [Australia, England and India] will be acting despotically". According to him the new ICC model "is bound to fail in the long run". "The way cricket is being treated, the structure won't sustain itself in the long run and in the next three years board members, especially the supporters, will start realising this and things will start splitting", he said.
CLUB APPEALS FINE FOR
The Warrnambool and District Cricket Association's (WDCA) Russells Creek club is appealing against the severity of the penalty handed to them for a team sheet error in a two-day match that ended last Saturday. On Monday the WDCA fined the club $A250 and docked the championship points its division one side won in defeating Allansford because they failed to include one of their players on their team sheet for the game, however, despite that it gave no points to their opponents which missed out on a semi finals spot this weekend as a result (PTG 1310-6324, 11 March 2014).
While the ruling had little impact on Russell Creek’s finishing position because it couldn’t make the semi-finals, it has left club officials "seething", according to the 'Warrnambool Standard'. President Glenn Kelson said his club would appeal against the penalty, calling the fine "excessive, especially when we brought it to the attention of the umpires and the opposition captain". The club is upset the penalty is considerably harsher than the one given to the Merrivale side last season when it played a player in a one-day game against Nirranda who was not listed on the team sheet. On that occasion Merrivale was fined $A250 and stripped of points, but on appeal the points were reinstated and the fine reduced to $A100.
WDCA general manager Michael Harrison said the competition's match committee had met on the Sunday night after the first day's play and that the association sought advice from Cricket Victoria (CV) about how to proceed after Russell Creek pointed out its error. “We wanted to make sure what you do with the player who wasn’t on the team sheet, can he continue to play and they said yes and advised us to play the match out and then deal with it", runs the quote attributed to Harrison.
PLAYER'S ABUSE OF UMPIRE
RESULTS IN ONE-MATCH BAN
Simon Harmer, an all-rounder with South African domestic side the Warriors, has been banned from playing in his side's first class match against the Lions that starts in Port Elizabeth today after being found guilty on Monday of using bad language in a Cricket South Africa (CSA) Twenty20 match in Willowmoore two months ago. Harmer, 25, who has been playing at first class level for the last five seasons, was charged for a Level 2 CSA Code of Conduct breach for: "use of language that was serious obscene, offensive or insulting to an umpire".
Which of the two umpires involved, Brian Jerling and Allahudien Paleker, were the subject of Hamer's views, or what the circumstances were, are not known. The all-rounder pleaded guilty as charged, which led CSA Disciplinary Commissioner Professor Rian Cloete to say in a statement that: "It is important that an effective penalty be imposed and it is fundamentally important for disciplinary action to correct behaviour". "In the circumstances I am satisfied that the appropriate penalty in respect of this [Level 2] offence is a suspension for one four-day match, but without the need, in addition, to impose a fine". Just why it took two months for action to be taken on the matter is not clear.
SERIES ON THE CARDS
Reports from Mumbai indicate that the first two week's of this year's Indian Premier League (IPL-7) competition in April-May will be played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), there could then be a move to Bangladesh for the second two weeks, before the competition travels to India for the event's final three weeks. Uncertainties about the date of India's election date, and concerns by India's Home Ministry about its ability to provide adequate security cover for both the elections and IPL-7 events (PTG 1303-6295, 3 March 2014), appear to have been overcome, although it is possible the move to Bangladesh may not be needed, and that after the UAE the last five weeks will all be played in India.
While the IPL is a domestic tournament, the International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday welcomed the fact that games will be played in the UAE, chief executive David Richardson saying that: “IPL 2014 matches will complete a remarkable season of cricket in the UAE which has already seen the successful staging of the World Twenty20 Qualifier [last November] and the Under-19 World Cup [last month]. Richardson then went on to mention security and corruption issues, saying that given "the importance of the integrity of the competition, the ICC will provide its full support for the matches in the UAE, including through the provision of anti-corruption services".
Whether the ICC's anti-corruption support will also apply in Bangladesh and India, where there have been serious issues in that regard over the past year, is not yet clear.
POWER FAILURE STOPS PLAY
Power failures marked the beginning of initial World Cup warm-up matches at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong overnight, the game between Afghanistan and the Netherlands twice being disrupted when the floodlights failed due to a power failure. The lights were first lost for twenty minutes as the Dutch were about to start their innings and they were eventually given a revised target to chase in fifteen overs, however, ten minutes after power was restored there was a second failure, providing umpires Sundaram Ravi of India and Rod Tucker of Australia with another issue to manage.
Fazle Bari Khan, the venue manager of Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury, told the 'New Age' newspaper that the problems occurred when power across Chittagong city went down. "We do not have any back-up generator here at the moment, so we could do nothing", he said, however he indicated that the Bangladesh Cricket Board has promised to send one for the tournament proper gets underway. In December 2011 a day-night One Day International between Bangladesh and Pakistan at the stadium was also disrupted, that time not because of a power failure but a problem with the floodlights themselves.
UMPIRE'S ACO MEMBERSHIP
The England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Association of Cricket Officials (ACO), has decided "not to contest an appeal" by former English first class umpire Keith Coburn against the suspension of his ACO membership, according to a terse statement posted on the ECB's web site on Tuesday. Last May an ACO disciplinary panel was reported to have found Coburn had not broken any rules in his role as Cambridgeshire's county umpire appointments officer, but it did judge that he had brought the game into disrepute by his actions and warned him about his future conduct; however, there was no indication at the time that his ACO membership had been "suspended" as a result (PTG 1106-5387, 18 May 2013).
An independently chaired Appeals Committee set up by the ECB to deal with Coburn's contest of his suspension is said to have "accepted" the ACO's decision on Tuesday. The ECB statement says that as a result: "Mr Coburn's period of suspension has ended and his full membership of the [ECB ACO] is therefore reinstated with immediate effect". The statement ends with the comment that "there will be no further comment on this matter from either party.
Suggestions that Coburn had amended the East Anglian Premier League’s umpires’ merit list first surfaced publicly fourteen months ago (PTG 1042-5064, 19 January 2013). Concerns about Coburn's actions were forwarded to the ACO, the evidence submitted including a secretly recorded conversation. Coburn told a Cambridge newspaper last year that the claims against him were completely unsupported by the audio recording, which lasted for two hours and twenty-six minutes, and "at no stage suggested any personal animosity as a basis for my umpiring judgement".
Coburn is said to have been motivated by concerns he has about "the unreliability of captains’ marks given to umpires" across the twenty-six ECB Premier League competitions. Such scores, the methodology of which he said varies across those leagues, "are used to rank [umpires] in the competition and can determine whether they get promoted" or not. He is reported to have been "waging", what the newspaper's report said at the time had been a three-year "crusade" about the matter.
Records available indicate that Coburn, 55, who was on the ECB’s second-tier umpire Reserve list for both the 2008 and 209 English seasons, stood in three Minor Counties fifty over one day games last northern summer, one of them a semi final,
SECOND CLUB APPEALS 'TEAM
First it was the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association's (WDCA) Russell Creek club that appealed a WDCA tribunal decision to fine them and take away match points they earned against Allansford last Saturday because of a team sheet error (PTG 1311-6328, 12 March 2014), but now Allansford has also appealed and wants the points for the match awarded to them. Those championship points are very important to Allansford, for if they receive them they will qualify for a semi final match this weekend, but if they do not the Woodford side will as it currently stands, play in the semi final against West Warrnambool.
Allansford coach Stephen Blacker said his side should have received the points because Russell Creek played what he is said to have called "an ineligible player". “We either won or lost, you can’t be half pregnant", he said, and "We should be receiving the first-innings points [as] you can’t have half a decision". In his view the WDCA match committee’s ruling set a bad precedent by not awarding any points and he suggested that in future "clubs could use the decision to manipulate results by playing an unlisted player to ensure a rival received no points".
NEW APPROACH TO 'BALL TAMPERING'
SEES CLUB SUSPEND CAPTAIN
Reports from northern Tasmania indicate that the captain of a team there has been suspended by his club and could face a sanction from the Northern Tasmanian Cricket Association (NTCA) after he deliberately used the wrong type of ball in an NTCA forty-over, fourth grade match against Mowbray two Sunday's ago. South Launceston skipper Quentin Von Stieglitz is alleged to have hidden the fact he used a two-piece ball at the start of opponent Mowbray's innings instead of the four-piece type required by NTCA Playing Conditions, a move apparently taken in order to obtain more swing from his side's deliveries.
Information available suggests that the umpires involved did not, as is the required practice, seek a ball from South Launceston and check it prior to the game getting underway. Rather Von Stieglitz, who was also his side's opening bowler, is said to have indicated, apparently as the players took the field, that he had the ball in his pocket. Because a number of balls had been hit out of the ground and lost in recent games there, Von Stieglitz is said to have given a second ball to the umpires to hold on to in case the ball used at the start of the innings was also lost. It was not until after the first wicket fell some twenty minutes into the game, when as required the umpires were given the ball being played with, that it was realised a two-piece 'Platypus' type was being used.
When questioned by the umpires Von Stieglitz is reported to have stated he was using the two-piece version as his club was running short of four-piecers, however, somewhat tellingly an inspection of the 'stand by' ball being held on ground is said to have shown it was in fact an NTCA approved, four-piece 'Kookaburra' 'Senator' version. It is not clear what happened from there, but the umpires, whose names sources would not reveal but are shown in on-line electronic score sheets to have been Greg Dawson and James Pevitt, apparently decided to continue play, possibly with the four-piece 'Senator'. Mowbray went on to bat for its full forty overs and eventually won the match easily, Von Stieglitz bowling a total of seven overs and taking 1/21.
While no details are available reports say that Dawson and Pevitt reported Von Stieglitz to the NTCA and that it is currently investigating the matter. The decision of the South Launceston club to suspend their captain could be read to indicate that they are not happy with the apparent actions of their captain, and that his suggestions about a shortage of balls being behind the approach he took are unlikely to be correct.
Von Stieglitz will probably not be thinking much of the issues involved at the moment though, as he is standing as a candidate for the Tasmanian Parliament in a state-wide election being held there today. His campaign material says that his "sporting passion is cricket and he plays an active role in his local club where he works in coaching and development" and that his "efforts in this arena have made him a well-known and popular character throughout his region". Part of his party's manifesto calls for "a positive approach" and "a 'fair go' [or deal] for all Tasmanians", but it does not mention anything about the 'Spirit of Cricket'.
PLAYERS' FINED AFTER UMPIRE
REVOKES HIS DECISION
Western Australian batsman Shaun Marsh and New South Wales spinner Nathan Lyon have been fined by Cricket Australia (CA) for incidents that occurred on the final day of their Sheffield Shield match in Canberra on Thursday. Marsh was charged with dissent for 'showing his bat' after being given out LBW by National Umpire Panel Paul Wilson, although he was reprieved when Wilson revoked that call, a decision that saw NSW players show their general displeasure, Lyon kicking down and uprooting his stumps soon afterwards.
As Lyon 'celebrated' taking what was a particularly important wicket, Marsh is said to have "indicated instantly that he had [got] an inside edge to the ball". Wilson's change-of-mind, which is available to an umpire where he realises he has made a mistake, reportedly "infuriated" Lyon who then exchanged "a few words" with Marsh. Marsh then hit a four off the next delivery and that didn’t help Lyon’s mood for he then went on to make his feelings known via the stumps.
Lyon chose not to be interviewed after the match but CA’s website quoted NSW captain Steven Smith as saying, rather euphemistically, that he didn't “think [Lyon] touched the stump too hard". "It was quite loose around that area, I think he just tapped the stump and it came out" and "It probably looked a little worse than what it was". Smith went on though to defend Wilson’s decision to overturn the LBW, saying from his position at first slip he believed "Marsh had hit it". “It takes a lot of courage from Paul to change his decision, so well played", he said. WA skipper Adam Voges admitted the decision was controversial and strange, but insisted that getting the correct decision was all that mattered.
On the other hand NSW coach Trevor Bayliss called Wilson's action a ''dangerous precedent''. Bayliss, who played nine seasons of first-class cricket with NSW from 1985-93 and is an experienced coach, said he could not remember an umpire overturning his own decision. According to him "It was the first time I've ever seen it [and] whether [Wilson] realised his mistake himself or when Marsh showed hit bat is not clear". Just how Wilson, who played a Test for Australia and was standing in his twenty-fifth first class match since taking up umpiring, saw the situation has not been spoken about in public.
For their troubles Marsh and Lyon were reported by Wilson and his colleague Gerard Abood and after the game match referee Daryl Harper fined the pair twenty percent of their match fees. That will not preclude either of them from playing in next week's Sheffield Shield final, both teams having qualified for that game.
MATCH REFEREE OVERULES UMPIRES,
CAPTAINS WET GROUND CONCERNS
South African coach Russell Domingo is reported to have indicted that umpires Adrian Holdstock and Shaun George, and captains Faf du Plessis and Australian George Bailey had all agreed that Wednesday's Twenty20 International (T20I) between the two sides should not go ahead, but that match referee Chris Broad of England, who was overseeing his 362nd international, had "stepped in and declared the show must go on". Play was delayed for two-and-a-half hours as showers had fallen across Durban for much of the day and the match was eventually reduced to just seven overs a side, the shortest T20I ever played by Australia.
Reports from the game state that du Plessis and Bailey and were "very concerned" about the risk of injury on the slippery ground before this month's T20I World Cup in Bangladesh. Domingo is said to have claimed the situation "was a little bit odd because the umpires decided not to give it a go [as did] both captains". "At the end of the day it turned out to be a great spectacle for the crowd, but there's always a threat of serious injuries when conditions are like that, but it's done now, and everyone's OK".
Australian batsman Brad Hodge described "it as "a 50-50 call, that things "weren't ideal", but "it was a good game of cricket that all parties got something out of". "The problem is, you're leading up to a [T20I] tournament which is pretty important and both sides would have been worried about injures". On the other hand "we've come all the way to South Africa [and] you want to play cricket".
RACISM ISSUES PART OF MATCH
Authorities in Victoria are investigating whether racism sparked an ugly brawl at a suburban match in Melbourne's north last Saturday, according to a report in 'The Age' newspaper. A Cricket Victoria (CV) spokesman is quoted as saying that a North West Metropolitan Cricket Association (NWMCA) game between the Glenroy and Northern Lions cricket clubs had to be "cancelled" due to what was called a "melee", and 'The Age' reports that it "understands [a Lions] batsman sustained head injuries causing bleeding and had to undergo medical treatment".
NWMCA president Steven Knight said his association was investigating the incident and the he was unable to comment further. CV's Rohan O'Neill said that neither club had made allegations of racial vilification so far, but it would be looked at as part of the investigation as the Lions club is mainly made up of Sri Lankans. O'Neill said the brawl was an "unusual occurrence" in the game in Victoria. "We have been really active in ensuring that these sports are inclusive of all cultures and abilities, and both male and female participants", he said, and "we want to ensure that the cricket environment follows that philosophy".
BADLY WORDED BY LAW RESULTS
IN DISMISSAL OF PLAYER CHARGE
A badly worded By Law that apparently led to an umpire not informing his colleague or the captains of both sides that he was reporting a player, led to the charge being thrown out by a Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) tribunal on Wednesday. Merrivale batsman Matthew Wilkinson will now be available for its finals campaign starting today after the tribunal decided it could not consider the matter that had been brought before it.
The 'Warrnambool Standard' says that umpire John Atwood charged Wilkinson with the 'Spirit' breach because of what the newspaper calls "excessive and overzealous sledging" of his opponent's captain on the opening day of their final home-and-away round match two weeks ago. Merrivale president Simon Fleming, acting as advocate for Wilkinson, argued at the tribunal that Atwood had failed to follow the reporting process correctly, pointing out that he did not follow the "appropriate process or tell anyone else at the ground of his intention to inform a higher authority". “The umpires had plenty of opportunity to inform our captain he intended to report Matthew", he said.
Atwood is reported to have said that he was following a directive from the WDCA board that it was up to the captain to specifically ask if any player had been reported. Umpire advocate Nick Frampton confirmed that was the directive of the board, but that the rule had not been rewritten to clearly state it in black and white. “That By Law is written exactly the same way as in the Cricket Victoria guidelines and that is how they stipulate the reporting procedure", he said. However, Fleming said Merrivale’s interpretation of the rule was that it was up to the umpire to tell the captain, and went on to indicate his club had not been informed of the directive. Frampton said it had been communicated at a briefing at the start of the 2012-13 season, but he wasn’t sure if it had been reiterated at the start of this season.
SHIELD FINAL FOR FRY
Adelaide-based umpire Simon Fry has been selected to stand in his fifth-straight Sheffield Shield final, the five-day deciding match of Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic first class season which is is to get underway between New South Wales and Western Australia in Canberra on Friday. Fry will be working on-field with Victorian John Ward, the match referee being Melbourne-based Bob Stratford, the same trio that also had those roles in last year's final (PTG 1078-5244, 22 March 2013), however, the names of the scorers have yet to be released, while television schedules available suggest there will be no third umpire as broadcasters appear to have lost interest in what used to be the Australian season's grand finale.
Fry and Ward ended the season as they started in being rated as CA's first and second ranked domestic umpires respectively and their selection for the final was never really in doubt. Ward, who moved up to an on-field position on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) alongside Fry prior to the summer, made his senior One Day International (ODI) debut in January. This week's game is his third CA domestic final of the season after the one-day and Twenty20 (T20) deciders, and for Fry its his second for he and Ward stood in the one-day final.
Both were given appointments by the ICC, Fry in Canada and also in last month's Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ward also travelling to the latter country in November for a World T20 Championship Qualifier series. All-up Fry featured in close to fifty games across on-field, television and reserve umpire roles, and Ward forty, while Stratford oversaw just over thirty games across CA's first class, List A, T20 and state second XI games, as well as an Under-19 ODI series in Darwin over winter.
Fry becomes the third person to have stood in five finals in a row in the thirty-two years since what is now CA introduced a Sheffield Shield decider between the top two sides at the end of the competition's ten home-and-away rounds in 1982-83. Darrell Hair tops the umpire's list with eight finals, all of them in a row from 1993-2000, and Peter McConnell also stood in five-straight, his being from 1987-91. While Hair stood in eight finals, McConnell was there in a total of seven as was Peter Parker, the latter also having been third umpire five other times, and then comes Fry, Steve Davis and Bob Parry each with five.
Former Test umpires Tony Crafter, Mel Johnson and Steve Randell stood in four each, Dick French, Mel Johnson, Terry Prue and Simon Taufel all three, Daryl Harper two, current Test umpires Bruce Oxenford in three and his colleagues Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker both two. Of the eighteen umpires who have been on the ground in a Shield final, Fry, Ward and Parry are the only ones not to have worked on-field at Test level.
This week's game will be Stratford's fourth Shield final as the match referee, more than anyone else in the seventeen seasons since that position was first introduced to a final, his others being in 2013, 2009 and 2004. After that come Ron Archer, Peter Burge and Ric Evans with three, while in addition to his three finals as a umpire French also worked in one as the referee; Peter Marshall and Richard Widows also having one final each. Unfortunately statistics for the scorers who have had the all-important task of recording the details of Shield finals over the last three decades are not available due to the paucity of readily available records.
The 2013-14 season's final first class match in Australia will be played at Canberra's Manuka Oval for the first time because NSW's long-time home the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) has been temporarily converted into a baseball stadium for a series of US Major League focussed games that start on Saturday. It is only the third time a non-Test ground has been used for a Shield final, the others being Allan Border Field (ABF) in Brisbane in 2000 and the St Kilda Cricket Ground (STKG) in Melbourne in 2009. Overall the WACA ground in Perth and the 'Gabba' in Brisbane have each hosted eight finals, the SCG six, Bellerive Oval in Hobart and the Melbourne Cricket Ground both three, and after this week there will have been one each at the Adelaide Oval, ABF, STKG, and Manuka Oval.
BCCI CONTINUES TO HOLD THE
'WHIP HAND' IN ICC NEGOTIATIONS
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) threatened to "leave world cricket behind" by expanding its Indian Premier League (IPL) if the International Cricket Council (ICC) didn’t undergo a structural overhaul that reflected the BCCI's financial contribution to the world game, according to Cricket Australia (CA) chairman Wally Edwards (PTG 1275-6141, 22 January 2014). In an interview with 'Cricinfo', Edwards also said that India had given a commitment to keep the IPL in its present size and not expand its duration for at least the next eight years, however, subsequent media reports from the sub-continent suggest the BCCI hasn’t formally committed to any such arrangement and that it still holds the whip hand in ongoing ICC discussions.
Concern about IPL expansion was one of the key issues that is said to have spurred CA and the England and Wales Cricket Boards joining the BCCI in developing the ‘position paper’ that eventually led to nine of the ten Full ICC members agreeing to ICC structural changes last month (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014). A BCCI "source" was quoted by the 'Indian Express' on the weekend as saying in reponse to Edwards' interview that "Yes, we discussed the IPL issue with different cricket boards on the sidelines of ICC meetings but I would like to maintain that no written commitment has been made", however, he followed up with: "At the same time, I can say that there’s no plan to expand the IPL in the immediate future".
Edwards also said that the BCCI had to be persuaded to avert a 'Packer-like situation' whereby almost all top international players had shunned mainstream cricket to join the IPL as the salaries that would have been on offer would have been difficult to resist. He also expressed fears that there was a real possibility of the "IPL turning into a travelling circus that would take all our good cricketers for twelve months a year and leave us with second-rate international cricket". “It’s not a pretty thought, but it’s possible, and they know that", said Edwards, and "maybe in the end it will still happen one day, but I don’t think it will happen in the next eight years".
The 'Express says that the BCCI "insider also revealed" that its was yet to sign the ICC Members Participation Agreement (MPA) for the world body's next television rights negotiations, and that the issue [is still on the] table". “There are a few issues in this regard which need to be looked into and we will reach an agreement through discussion", said the BCCI source. Edwards indicated that with the MPA still not signed, it was better to not antagonise or alienate the BCCI.
"India are strong and we've got to recognise that, but what we want them to do is be part of the decision-making process and be in the ICC rather than just turning up and being aggressive, angry and unhappy", he said. "That's where they are, they're unhappy. "ICC management has been trying for a year to get [the MPA] signed and it still isn't [and that situation] has to be resolved by [the next] ICC board meeting". According to Edwards the BCCI have "said more than once 'you can have a World Cup but we won't be coming' [and] they might not [and] I can easily see them not coming".
PLAYERS FINED FOR BEHAVIOUR
IN WT20C OPENER
Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan and Afghanistan's Dawlat Zadran have both been fined half of their match fees for an altercation during the opening game of the first round of the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series in Mirpur yesterday. Fast-medium bowler Dawlat made deliberate contact with batsman Shakib In the ninth over of Bangladesh's innings and the latter reacted by responding accordingly and the pair were found to have engaged in "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play during an international match".
Both players pleaded guilty to the charges and match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka said in a statement afterwards: "Cricket is a non-contact sport and the teams were reminded at the pre-tournament briefings that intentional and avoidable physical contact of any form is unacceptable and [the fines handed to Dawlat and Shakib] reflect that". The pair were reported by on-field umpires Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong, both Englishmen, as well as third umpire Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and fourth umpire Richard Kettleborough, another Englishman.
POST 'DUCK' LOCKER PUNCH
BREAKS PLAYER'S HAND
England all-rounder Ben Stokes will miss the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series after breaking his right hand when he punched a dressing room locker immediately after he was dismissed for a 'golden' 'duck' during the third Twenty20 international against the West Indies in Barbados on Thursday. Stokes, 22, admitted the injury was a major disappointment on the eve of his country's departure for Bangladesh and the WT20C event, calling it in an England and Wales Cricket Board statement "a huge error in judgment following a frustrating tour for me and I deeply regret my behaviour".
Stokes' misdemeanour is not the first of his otherwise highly-promising career. It is just thirteen months since he was sent home, along with a team mate, from an England Lions tour of Australia after what one reports said was having "ignored team management's instructions over preparation and recovery", another putting is as "management's lost patience with the pair's persistent late-night drinking". Shortly before his Test debut in Adelaide last December Stokes voiced his gratitude to England's then team director Andy Flower for giving him a “second chance” at an international career, but his on-field demeanour during his Ashes Tests and the subsequent one-day series was found wanting on several occasions (PTG 1251-6038, 10 December 2013 and 1278-6158, 28 January 2014).
'TEAM SHEET' FINALS
WICB AGAIN SCHEDULES 'DOMESTIC'
FIRST CLASS DAY-NIGHT MATCHES
Six of the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) twenty-four 2014 'domestic' first class season matches are being played as day-night fixtures, start times of 3 p.m. local time meaning that the last two sessions of each day's play are taking place after the sun sets. This is the third time in the last five Caribbean seasons that the WICB has scheduled day-night, pink ball fixtures in its domestic first class series for it did so in both 2010 and 2012, a total of eight games being involved across those two seasons (PTG 896-4362, 2 February 2012), they and the current matches apparently being part of the on-going push to introduce day-night Tests.
Of this year's six WICB games, two are to be played in Trinidad and Tobago at the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain, and one each at the Beausejour Stadium, St Lucia, Warner Park in St Kitts, Guyana's Providence Stadium, and the 'Three Ws' Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados. Of the seven WICB first class sides, Barbados, Combined Campuses and Colleges, Guyana, the Leeward Islands and Trinidad and Tobago will each play two day-night games, and Jamaica and the Windward Islands one each.
In 2010 the WICB's timing was such that play after sun set was restricted to the two-hour session after tea (PTG 534-2736, 17 December 2009). Two years later playing times were moved to later in the day with a 3.30 p.m. local time start, 'Dinner' ran from 5.30 to 6.10 p.m, the second two-hour session ended at 8.10 p.m., then after the normal 20 minute 'Tea' break the last session ran from 8.30 to 10.30 p.m. (PTG 896-4362, 2 February 2012). Games this year are starting half-an-hour earlier at 3 p.m. with a 10 p.m. scheduled finish, which means with the sun setting in the Caribbean between 6.00 and 6.15 p.m. at this time of the year, the whole of the last two sessions will as in 2012 take place under lights.
By the end of the current Caribbean season the WICB will have conducted a total of fourteen, or more than half, of the number of first class day-night matches played over the five years since development of the concept was raised for the first time following experiments conducted at first class level in Australia in the 1990s. The others include the traditional England County season opener that has been held in Abu Dhabi each March since 2010, this year's game being due to start this Sunday (PTG 1244-6011, 29 November 2013), two Pakistan first class finals, one in 2011 and the other 2012 (PTG 874-4270, 17 December 2012), a single County Championship match in 2011 (PTG 834-4075, 16 September 2011), and a 'first class format' match in South Africa 2012 (PTG 989-4802, 6 September 2012), with the latest being three in Australia's first class competition just over a week ago (PTG 1310-6321, 11 March 2014).
WET PITCH, SO UMPIRES LIMIT
BOWLING TO SPIN AT ONE END
Umpires standing in the season-deciding grand final of the Victorian Turf Cricket Association's (VTCA) North B1 competition between Glenroy and Avondale Heights used a highly unorthodox approach on Sunday in order to keep play going on what was day two of the match, according to an article in yesterday's 'Moreland Leader'. Water spilt onto the pitch from the covers when they were removed before the start of Sunday's play leaving "a big wet patch" at one end, and 'Leader' journalist Tim Mitchell says that as a result umpires Brett Hickey and Robert Sinnott asked Glenroy, who were bowling when the day started, "to use a spin bowler from [the other] end [only] in an effort to keep the game moving".
Glenroy captain Sean Pipe is quoted by Mitchell as saying that with two days of playing time left this coming Saturday and Sunday in what is a scheduled four-day game, he "tried to push for [Sunday's play] not to go ahead, but the umpires played the game". According to him Hickey and Sinnott said "we could only bowl spin from one end because it was too dangerous" to do otherwise, and that he'd "never heard of such a thing in my life". Pipe's side eventually dismissed Avondale for 131 on Sunday before going in to bat themselves that day and be all out for a total of just 82, the Glenroy captain saying his opponents “ended up getting a couple of wickets from hitting the wet patch". Avondale didn't fair much better in their second innings for at stumps on Sunday they were 5/20, a score that effectively leaves them 5/69.
The 'Leader' says that it contacted VTCA umpires manager Steve Herman and competition manager Peter Howarth but both were unaware of any ruling from the umpires, and no details of their thought processes are available from other Melbourne sources contacted by 'PTG' yesterday. Such an approach has been used in the past to "allow kid's to have a match", but to apply it in a senior game, especially a final, appears unique. However, Avondale Heights president Richard Phillips described Hickey and Sinnott's actions as "a good idea" and that they "had 'prudently' addressed the ground situation with the ball spitting dangerously at batsmen from the wet spot". Play is due to resume in the match on Saturday, with Sunday also available if needed.
MATCH COMMITTEE'S MID-MATCH
FORMAT CHANGE BEING APPEALED
For the second consecutive week the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) in south-west Victoria is being challenged over its handling of a match, according to an article in the 'Warrnambool Standard' this morning. This time Merrivale is seeking to have its Division 1 semi-final loss to Dennington declared "null and void" so that it can progress to this weekend's season deciding grand final, and as a result a hastily-scheduled meeting of the WDCA tribunal has been set for tonight ahead of the association's 'Cricketer of the Year' dinner tomorrow evening.
Merrivale is challenging a decision by the WDCA's match committee to reduce the semi final two-day match over the weekend to a one-day game on Sunday after rain prevented play for more than three hours on the first day. The game eventually got underway at 4.30 p.m. on Saturday and Dennington reached 1/90 off 19 overs before stumps were called, but shortly after 9.30 a.m. on Sunday the clubs were informed by e-mail that the fixture would revert to a one-day game and that the two teams who have to start the match from scratch. Had the game continued as a two-day fixture and no result been obtained Merrivale, by virtue of finishing higher on the Division 1 ladder, would have advanced to the grand final.
On the Sunday more rain reduced the now one-day game to thirty-eight overs a side and Dennington eventually prevailed. Merrivale president Simon Fleming said his committee had decided to dispute the match committee's decision "to revert a two-day semi-final into the one-day format". “Our beef is not with the Dennington Cricket Club [for] the game was played in remarkably good spirit and that’s a credit to the two teams and the umpires [Ray Hawthorne and Tony Robinson] who were caught in the middle". “Our issue is with the ongoing mis-administration of the WDCA executive", continued Fleming as "we believe the match committee has interpreted the rules incorrectly".
Long-time WDCA administrator Justin Balmer, a member of the match committee, is said by the 'Standard' to have "severed ties with the association and Merrivale". “I resigned in disgust at the decision and the process that took place", he said, but declined to comment further. Last week the WDCA handled a number of controversies, two in relation to a team sheet error and another that centred around a poorly worded By Law that led to a charge laid against a player being thrown out (PTG 1313-6338, 15 March 2014).
BATSMAN'S 'CATCH' RESULTS IN
'HANDLED THE BALL' DISMISSAL
Trinidad and Tobago batsmen Evin Lewis was given out 'Handled the Ball' on the first day of his side's first class day-night match against the Leeward Islands at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain on Friday. After having batted for over three hours and on 78, Lewis played a defensive shot to a delivery from Leewards' off-spinner Justin Athanaze, the ball bounced in front of him then spun back and he caught it before quickly dropping it back onto the ground.
BOWLER BANNED FOR BIZARRE PITCH SCRATCH
South Australian bowler Daniel Worrall has been suspended for scratching "an image of a penis and testicles" into a pitch during a state second XI, or 'Futures League', match against Victoria at Toorak Park in suburban Melbourne last week. Worrall, 22, who played one first class match for South Australia this austral summer as well as two Twenty20 fixtures for one of Cricket Australia's (CA) Melbourne franchises, was suspended for two matches for his artwork and will miss the start of next season as a result.
CA indicated in a press release yesterday that during the Futures' game Worrall marked a pitch, presumably one adjacent to the one being used for his game, that was being prepared for a grade cricket final last weekend. He was reported by umpires Phillip Gillespie and Ang Sammartino for breaching CA's Code of Behaviour by "acting in a way that was unbecoming and bringing the game of cricket into disrepute". Match referee Daryl Cox imposed a penalty of four suspension points after the game ended on Friday, a censure that is "equal to two four-day games or four one-day or Twenty20 matches". Worrall pleaded guilty to the charge but several reports say he disputed Cox's penalty, but it was upheld at a hearing held yesterday morning.
South Australian Cricket Association high performance manager Jamie Cox said yesterday that: "We are extremely disappointed in Daniel's actions, it's not in line with the behaviour we expect of [one of our] players". "We do believe this out of character for Daniel", continued Cox, and "he regrets his behaviour and has accepted the penalty".
IMPROVED POLICE-ADMINISTRATOR LINKS
NEEDED IN ANTI-CORRUPTION FIGHT, SAYS SPEED
Australia is closing legislative loopholes to fight sports-related corruption but there is a need to allow police to share more information with sports administrators, says former International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed (PTG 979-4745, 7 August 2012). Now the head of Australia's Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports, an advocacy group representing the governing bodies of Australian sports that include cricket and several football codes, Speed yesterday welcomed a move by the state of Queensland to introduce legislation that targetes betting-related crime in sports, but said bureaucracy was slowing the fight against corruption.
Queensland joins New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria in passing appropriate legislation and Speed urged Western Australia and Tasmania to commit to doing the same. "Western Australia's view is that their existing general fraud legislation, which is not specific to sports betting, covers the situation", said former barrister Speed, but he doesn't "believe that's the case". "We don't want to see a situation where a matchfixer or corrupter can come to Australia and commit an offence in one state or territory and do the same act in another state and not commit an offence". "We don't want to see forum shopping where matchfixers come into a particular state because the legislation is more favourable to them".
Australia has been prominent in drafting legislation to fight betting-related corruption, two footballers being convicted in Victoria in December using new legislative powers, and on Monday world soccer's governing body FIFA handed that pair a lifetime global ban as a result.
While pleased with that outcome Speed said that "It'd be great if police forces had increased capacity to share information with sporting bodies about suspicious activity", for at the moment they "are restrained by legislation in some states from providing that information". "It might be [for example] that police forces see a player who is not committing a criminal offence but is associating with known criminals", however, at the moment "they're limited in their ability to pass that information to sporting bodies.
COUNSELLING WOULD HELP CURB BAD
BEHAVIOUR IN MUMBAI, SAY PSYCHIATRISTS
Concern has been expressed in Mumbai about a rise in the number of young players in that region who have been misbehaving both on and off the field in recent weeks and there are calls for improvements in the way juniors are managed and mentored in their early years, says an article in yesterday's 'Times of India'. The last few weeks have seen a string of incidents involving players as young as fifteen, older teenagers and young men playing in Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) fixtures being involved in angry on-field sledging, arguments with umpires, and damage to dressing rooms.
The 'Times' quotes MCA Vice President Ravi Savant as saying that "we have had enough" and the only way "to curb this menace is to suspend [players who offend] for a few matches". However, others are said to believe the matter is more complex and that the MCA needs to consider other approaches to the issues involved, including what the 'Times' describes as whether "the younger generation is becoming less capable of handling the increasingly complex aspects of the game, and [if] too much money too soon is spoiling cricketers?"
'TOI' quotes psychiatrist Harish Shetty as saying that players "who are not able to achieve their on and off field goals get frustrated and quickly fade away if they aren't mentored". "If big industrialists need mentors, why can't cricketers understand they too need mentors". "My experience tells me suspension of players is no solution [and that] we need to address their problems and counsel them".
Mugdha Bavre, another Mumbai psychiatrist who specialises in sportspeople and has been dealing with young players "for a long time", told 'TOI' that "to most of them, cricket is now a career as no other sport offers the amount of money that cricket does". "They fail to understand that to get money, they need to perform at the highest level, and for that to happen, they need to do a lot of hard work [but that even that] doesn't mean success is guaranteed". "It's here that they get frustrated as they are unwilling to accept their failures and umpires or opposition players become their targets [therefore] we need to counsel them".
Bavre called on MCA management to address the issue and have a counseling centre that can guide "youngsters who need to be guided in dealing with the financial and psychological aspects involved". In that regard Professor Ratnakar Shetty, the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) General Manager Game Development, told the 'Times' that the BCCI's National Cricket Academy provides, in addition to "game skill tuition", "finance management and mind-management programs". He is quoted as saying that "with money pouring into Indian cricket, it's imperative that young players keen to make careers in cricket are guided properly". "Most of the smaller [Indian] states are doing a fantastic job [and all associations in the country] must have a [unit] to counsel young players".
SCORERS BRING SIX DECADES OF
EXPERIENCE TO SHIELD FINAL
Christine Bennison and Kay Wilcoxon, who have been selected as the scorers for this season's Sheffield Shield final, bring in excess of sixty years of experience in their craft to tomorrow's match in Canberra between New South Wales and Western Australia. The pair are part of a team of five who will work under match referee Bob Stratord during what is a five-day game, the others being on-field umpires Simon Fry and John Ward (PTG 1314-6339, 17 March 2014); Canberra-based Simon Lightbody, who has yet to stand in a first class game, being a reserve umpire for the first time at that level.
Bennison, who is with Sydney's Parramatta club, has been scoring for thirty-six years, all except two of those for Parramatta's first grade side. Over that time she has recorded the details of ten Tests (PTG 1237-5967, 20 November 2013), and prior to tomorrow's final thirty-seven Sheffield Shield matches, one of which was the final of that competition in 2008. There have also been some ten international tour matches, some of which will have been given first class status, and overall she is thought to be close to the sixty first class game mark as a scorer.
Wilcoxon, who is now with the Fairfield-Liverpool club, has been working as a scorer since the mid-1980s. She scored at first grade on a part-time basis for four years across the turn of the century, but since 2002 has recorded first team match details for her club. The Shield final, her first, will be her fourth first class match in which NSW has featured.
Obtaining details of the two scorers who have looked after each of the thirty-one Shield finals that have been played prior to this year is unfortunately not straight-forward. Data provided by Cricket NSW Statistician Adam Morehouse, who scored at Test level for the first time during the most recent Ashes series, indicates that Judy Harris of Queensland (Q) heads the list with nine finals, then comes the late Charles Bull of Western Australia with eight, Brian FitzGerald (Q) seven, AJ Nicholls (WA) six, David Evans (NSW) five, the late Ern Cosgrove (NSW) four, and three each to Kevin O'Neill (Victoria) and Graeme Hamley (Tasmania).
Craig Reece and Michael Walsh (Vic), Janet Gainsford (Tasmania) and Sandy Wheeler (WA) all featured in two Shield finals, while the following in addition to Bennison are believed to have worked in one each prior to this year: Rita Artis and Tom Lowrey (South Australia), John Sandes (NSW), James Higgs, Archie Morris, John Thorburn and Basil Wright (Q), Narelle Johnston (NSW), Jim Hamilton and Janet Howard (Vic), and Robert Godfrey (Tasmania).
FRY NAMED WINNER OF CA
'UMPIRE AWARD' FOR 2013-14
South Australian Simon Fry was named as winner of Cricket Australia's (CA) 'Umpire Award' for 2013-14 during the national body's State Cricket Awards ceremony in Canberra yesterday. Fry, 47, a nine-year member of CA's National Umpires Panel who also holds an on-field position on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, was earlier this week selected to stand in his fifth-straight Sheffield Shield final and seventy-first at first class level (PTG 1314-6339, 17 March 2014).
Last year CA announced it had considered three candidates for the 2012-13 award, and that its decision then was based on an assessment of their contributions to the game off the field of play, their performance on it, and any milestones that they achieved during that year (PTG 1078-5243, 22 March 2013). However, no such details of who was considered for the award and just what the background to Fry's selection have been released this year, but presumably the parameters looked at were similar and that information collated on CA's umpire performance data base played a key part.
Fry's obvious "milestones" over the past year have included, in addition to yet another Shield final, CA's one-day domestic decider, and his first appointments from the ICC, initially to second-tier international first class and List A fixtures in Canada in (PTG 1159-5508, 1 August 2013), and then as one of sixteen umpires who stood in last month's Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates where he stood in the game to decide fifth place (PTG 1296-6251, 22 February 2014). Regarded by many as a hard working quiet achiever, Fry is known and respected for the meticulous way he prepares for games, his solid fitness, calm on-field demeanour and commitment to team work in his interaction with colleagues.
Over the now eleven-years of the award, now ICC Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) member Bruce Oxenford and retired Simon Taufel are both three-time recipients, Oxenford in 2008, 2011 and 2013 and Taufel, who was the inaugural winner in 2004, and also in 2006 and 2012. The other winners of the award apart from Fry have been: Peter Parker (2005); Daryl Harper (2007); Paul Reiffel (2009); and Steve Davis (2010). With the exception of Fry, all the winners have stood in Test matches, although Davis, Oxenford and Reiffel are the only ones still doing so, all except Fry and Parker also attaining membership of the EUP.
Neither Davis, Oxenford, Reiffel or the other Australian currently on the EUP, Rod Tucker, stood in domestic matches in their home country during the 2013-14 summer.
WA MEN, VICTORIAN WOMEN
WIN 'SPIRIT' TROPHIES
Victoria has won Cricket Australia's women’s 'Spirit of Cricket' award for 2013-14 while Western Australia took out the men's trophy at yesterday's State Cricket Awards ceremony in Canberra. The 'Benaud' awards are decided on a tally of votes cast by umpires and recognise State sides that have best played in the spirit of the game, a recognition CA has said on previous occasions "shows that elite cricket should be played hard but fair".
FLOODLIGHT FAILURE AGAIN
STOPS WT20C MATCH
South African umpire Marais Erasmus and his English colleague Ian Gould had to contend with both rain and floodlight failure during last might's World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) match between Ireland and the United Arab Emirates in Sylhet overnight. Floodlight failure also impacted on a WT20C warm up game between Afghanistan and the Netherlands at a ground in Chittagong last week (PTG 1312-6331, 13 March 2014).
CONCERNS ABOUT DEW SEES
TEAMS PRACTICE WITH WET BALL
England and New Zealand were so concerned that their opening World Twenty20 Championship match in Chittagong last night would be affected by dew that they deliberately used wet balls during a training session at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Friday. With dew playing a key role at the ground in an international in the past (PTG 740-3634, 15 March 2011), and again in the Bangladesh-Nepal match in Chittagong last Tuesday when home spinner Al-Amin Hossain said he had "never seen such dew in his life", team management from both sides decided to use wet balls in the hope that players can adapt to the conditions expected at the venue.
England captain Stuart Broad told reporters on Friday that with the game starting at 7.30 p.m. local time "it looks quite obvious dew is going to play a part". "We’re practising today with wet balls, getting the spinners bowling with wet balls, fielding with wet balls". "It’s not something you do very often", continued Broad, and he doesn't think "I’ve ever done it" before. In addition to spinners though its also "something to consider as a fast bowler; will your leg-cutters and off-cutters grip, will you be able to get enough grip on it to make it worthwhile?". "We’ve picked up some good information from the ground but we’re still not quite sure how much effect the dew will take, so we’ll have to think on our feet [during the game]", added Broad.
HOPE UDRS 'WORKING GROUP'
FINDINGS WILL SWAY BCCI
The International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'Working Group' on the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is to meet next month as part of its consideration of how best to use technology in umpire decision-making, say reports from Bangladesh. The ICC's chief executives committee (CEC) agreed to establish the group last September, a move that was made as a direct result of UDRS-related controversies that occurred during last northern summer's Ashes series in England (PTG 1186-5720, 11 September 2013).
ICC chief executive David Richardson indicated yesterday that former Indian captain Anil Kumble, who is now the chairman of the ICC's Cricket Committee, plus others who include Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards, ICC General Manager Cricket Geoff Allardice, and Simon Taufel the world body's Umpire Performance and Training Manager, are involved in the Working Group. Richardson is reported to be "upbeat" about Kumble's participation in UDRS discussions as his views could "win over" the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which has to date has refused to use UDRS technology because it is not one hundred per cent accurate.
Richardson said that UDRS technology has improved every year since its introduction and the ICC now has a much larger body of evidence as to its accuracy. “We're finding it is much more accurate, much more reliable and people have more faith in it, including I'm sure the Indian players in due course", he said. “Ball-tracking cameras for example used to be 100 frames a second but they're much quicker than that now", but "there's always going to be an element of some 50-50 decisions that are going to go either way". As a result "depending on which team you support, you're going to agree or disagree with the decision".
Despite improvements, Richardson indicated that “There's a lot of work to go [for the 'Working Group] but hopefully everyone will get to better understand the accuracy and they'll make progress toward a standardised way of using technology at their next meeting". Last September the CEC talked about an "independent assessment" being conducted of UDRS technology (PTG 1191-5741, 19 September 2013), but whether or not the 'Working Group' is conducting it or someone else is providing the necessary data to them is not clear. One aspect that will be part of deliberations will be the Officiating Replay System which trials to date show significantly speeds up the process of reviewing umpiring decisions (PTG 1262-6089, 1 January 2014), but who pays for the operation of it and other items that make up UDRS packages remains an issue .
COSTS PROHIBIT PLAYERS
'SOUVENIRING' WT20C STUMPS
Bronte Eckermann, the Adelaide-based inventor of 'Zing' wickets that light up red and flash when they are broken, has told journalists in Bangladesh where the stumps are being used in some World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) matches, that players there won’t be able to walk off the field with them as souvenirs for each set "represents $A40,000 of patented technology". Eckermann says his 'glowing stumps' are special and not easily replaced, each bail costing as much as an 'iPhone' so "we can’t afford to give them away to players at the end of a game".
Because of the costs involved Eckermann, who indicated his company's "main aim is to help umpires make better decisions when it comes to close run-outs or stumpings", is always stationed next to the boundary rope in games his invention is deployed in, and that he gets restless towards the end of a match and "will chase the players and get the stumps and bails back if they try to get away with them". “Widespread use of 'Zings' [in the future] will bring down the cost" of each unit, he says, and "may be a few years down the line I can allow the players to keep the bails and stumps after a final".
Domestic Twenty20 competitions, first in Australia and then in New Zealand and the West Indies (PTG 1233-5952, 16 November 2013), plus some finals matches in last month's Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (PTG 1292-6230, 15 February 2014), have used Eckermann's invention to date. Eckermann got the idea when his daughter was playing with a ball that lit up when it was thrown, and says that despite "extensive use of his invention across the world", the ‘Zings’, which are made of a composite plastic and have sensors connected to a microprocessor, "have never failed him nor have they been broken".
The ICC announced eight 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 last month ahead of the U-19 World Cup that the stumps were to be used to provide "television viewers and spectators at the venue an enhanced experience" (PTG 1292-6230, 15 February 2014), but there was no mention of umpires making better decisions when they are in use.
SPINNER RETURNS AFTER REMEDIAL
WORK ON HIS ACTION
West Indian off-spinner Shane Shillingford returned to first class cricket on Friday for the first time since undergoing remedial work on his bowling action. Shillingford, from Dominica, was reported for a 'suspect bowling action' in a Test against India in Mumbai last November (PTG 1234-5956, 17 November 2013), and laboratory testing conducted at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth prior to Christmas found that his arm extended more then the permitted fifteen degrees in delivering his off breaks and 'doosras' (PTG 1255-6056, 17 December 2013).
Reports from Jamaica, where he is playing for the Windward Islands, indicate Shillingford underwent remedial work in Barbados under the guidance of former Barbados and West Indies fast bowler Vasbert Drakes and West Indies coach Ottis Gibson. After that he travelled back to UWA two weeks ago for another analysis of his bowling, Richard Pybus the West Indies Cricket Board's Director of Cricket telling journalists on Thursday that “We look forward to getting the results of his re-test in Perth so that he can re-start his international career".
Shillingford, 31, who is currently playing his eighty-seventh first class game, said that he has "put in a lot of hard work over the past few months, it was a bit tough at first, but once the coaches told me what I had to do, I went straight to work". "I just had to be really patient and I worked really hard". “I am happy for the advice that I have received from the coaches, especially Vasbert, and I must also thank everyone for the support they have given me during this period", he said.
Last November news of Shillingford's ban led to Dominica's bowling coach saying that "talk about [Shillingford's] action is uncalled for" (PTG 1238-5978, 21 November 2013), and former West Indies fast bowler Andy Roberts claiming that "some umpires" and the International Cricket Council were targeting him (PTG 1242-6000, 26 November 2013).
CLUB THREATENS GRAND FINAL
BOYCOTT OVER SUSPENSIONS
A club whose first grade team qualified for next Saturday's Lower Clarence Cricket Association (LCCA) season-deciding grand final in north-east New South Wales, is considering not turning up after team members were handed a range of suspensions because of incidents that occurred during their semi final against Iluka eight days ago. The Wanderers side had captain Andrew McLachlan banned for two weeks, two of his team mates plus a third-grade player who was a spectator all received three-weeks, and two others in McLachlan's side were handed suspended sentences.
McLachlan told the 'Clarence Daily Examiner' that he was "suspended for not being able to control my team and the others for sledging". "Personally I've been at the club for sixteen years and have never been cited and to be told the clean slate counts for nothing is a pretty big slap in the face". He questioned the "transparency and legality of the judicial process" and stated "we weren't allowed to actually sit in and hear what the accusations were, which makes it difficult to mount a defence", "the match report being very vague [so] it's hard to fathom how we came out of it so bad".
ENGLAND CAPTAIN FINED
FOR UMPIRE CRITICISM
England captain Stuart Broad has been fined fifteen per cent of his match fee for criticising umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Paul Reiffel of Australia following his side's opening World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) match against New Zealand in Chittagong on Saturday evening. Broad was unhappy that Dar and Reiffel allowed play to continue during a thunderstorm, expressing his views in his post-match media commitments, his board's chairman sympathising with his general views (PTG 1319-6361 below).
With England having batted for its full twenty overs, and New Zealand needing to face a minimum of five overs for a result to be obtained, Kiwi captain Brendon McCullum stepped away from the fourth ball of the fifth over, which was delivered by Broad, because lightning lit up the stadium background. Knowing a storm was closing in McCullum took his side into a Duckworth-Lewis lead of one run by hitting the final ball of the fifth over for six, after which only two balls of the sixth were possible before Dar and Reiffel took players from the ground.
Broad was critical of the decision to play on, saying: "We had a batsman pull away because the lightning flashed before his eyes [and I'm] amazed we stayed on after 4.1 overs with lightning around". "It's not sour grapes because the New Zealanders feel exactly the same", continued the England captain, as "it was unsafe for the players to be out there and, to be as polite as I possibly can, it was distinctly average decision-making". "I asked the umpires why we stayed on the field and they said they didn't see the lightning as a threat and they didn't see it because it was behind them - I don't agree with that, I was on the field". Broad added that he "personally wouldn't have taken the risk". The umpires have not spoken publicly about what their view of the situation was.
However, New Zealand seamer Kyle Mills believes the fact that England lost the match may have contributed to Broad's frustration. "I think that's probably a bit of a hindsight thing, isn't it? If Stuart was on the other end of it he would be more than happy with the decision". "In cricket you win some and you lose some, the umpires are trying to make the decisions to the best of their ability".
Broad was charged by Dar, Reiffel, plus third umpire Rod Tucker and fourth official Sundarum Ravi with "public criticism of, or inappropriate comment in relation to an incident occurring in an international match or any player, player support personnel, match official or team participating in any international match". Broad accepted the charge and the penalty handed to him by match referee Javagal Srinath of India.
Srinath said in a statement issued by the International Cricket Council that "Umpires are the final judges of the fitness of the ground, weather or light for play". "Weather decisions are the most difficult to make, but the umpires make the best decision possible, taking all factors into account", continued Srinath, and "public criticism" like Broad's "is not good for the spirit of the game". He emphasised that "mutual respect between players, match officials and administrators is paramount to the game of cricket".
That didn't stop Broad though for he later 'tweeted': "'Shame to be fined. Back to bland and unopinionated press conferences I'm afraid. Draw a line and on to the next game!" Under ICC regulations the range of permissible sanctions for all first Level 1 offences of the type Broad was charged with ranges from a warning or reprimand and/or the imposition of a fine of up to half of a player's applicable match fee.
ECB CHIEF SEEKS TIGHTENING
OF LIGHTNING RULES
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke has spoken to International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson about "the need to take decisive action" should lightning strike again during a World Twenty20 Championship match, says a report in yesterday's London 'Daily Mail'. Clarke made the approach after England captain Stuart Broad was fined for making negative comments about the umpires' weather-related decision-making after his side lost its opening WT20C match against New Zealand in Chittagong on Saturday (PTG 1319-6360 above).
Clarke told the 'Mail' that he and Richardson "have been having discussions of a very serious nature". In his view the situation in Chittagong presented "extraordinary circumstances, and the umpires were in a tricky position, but if it had been a golf tournament, everyone would have been off". "I completely see Stuart Broad’s point", continued Clarke, for "the safety of both the players and the crowd should be paramount if there’s an electrical storm". "If it happens again, they’re almost certainly going to have to go straight off".
England opening batsman Michael Lumb, who grew up in Johannesburg, an area of significant thunderstorm activity, claimed on Sunday that the lightning in Chittagong should have prompted an immediate abandonment. "It takes lives" and he is "a bit scared of lightning" for deaths by lightning on the Highveld region around his home city are a fairly regular feature. Last year, in Johannesburg, two schoolboys were hospitalised after being struck by lightning during a practice session (PTG 1060-5155, 17 February 2013).
Lightening can also be a problem in parts of the subcontinent. Eighteen months ago in Sylhet, where WT20C games are also currently being played, a dozen people were killed and twenty others injured, when lightning struck as they were exiting a mosque following special prayers for Ramadan. The Imam who led the prayers was among the dead.
ICC Playing Conditions for Twenty20 Internationals say that "the safety of all persons within the ground is of paramount importance [and] in the event that any threatening circumstance, whether actual or perceived, comes to the attention of any umpire (including for example weather, pitch invasions, act of god, etc.), then the players and officials should immediately be asked to leave the field of play in a safe and orderly manner". However, there appears to be no specific instructions that relate directly to lightning and its associated thunderstorms as is the case in many club-level competitions around the world.
NO NEUTRAL OFFICIALS TO PAKISTAN
UNLESS SAFE, SAYS ICC
The International Cricket Council (ICC) will only send 'neutral' umpires and other match officials to Pakistan should Bangladesh tours there later this year if a security assessment shows that it is safe, says ICC chief executive David Richardson. The last neutral officials to stand in international matches in Pakistan were caught up in a terrorist incident in Lahore in March 2009 when armed men attacked their bus and that of the Sri Lankan team as they were travelling to the stadium there for the third day's play of a Test match, an incident that saw eight policemen and the driver of the match official's van killed (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009).
Speaking in Dhaka on the weekend in regard to that country's mooted tour to Pakistan, Richardson said that the security of neutral umpires employed by his organisation would not be risked under any circumstances. "We have our duty of care to our employees and people that are contracted to us". "So we would have to look at the security situation to come to a conclusion". "Is it safe to send them there?" "If it is, we would have no problem sending umpires to Pakistan". "If it's not safe, we have a duty of care to them and we'd say no".
Richardson said that if it was not judged the be prudent to send neutral officials to Pakistan, the board there would have to go to the ICC board and ask for dispensation from the rules regarding appointment of umpires. ICC regulations for One Day Internationals require at least one neutral umpire, and two if a television position is involved, and at least two neutral umpires for Tests and three should the Umpire Decision Review System be operational. "If there's going to be an exception from that, the board will need to grant it", said Richardson, "but that's not to say that they wouldn't".
Two years ago when a visit by Bangladesh to Pakistan was mooted, the ICC said that the non-availability of neutral umpires should not be the determining factor as to whether the series takes place or not (PTG 928-4513, 16 April 2012).
ALL-ROUNDER FINED FOR
New South Wales all-rounder Stephen O’Keefe has been fined an amount equal to twenty per cent of his match fee for an incident that occurred in the players’ race after he was given out LBW in his side's first innings in the Sheffield Shield final in Canberra last Saturday. O’Keefe, who was reported by umpires Simon Fry and John Ward for "Abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings during a match", accepted the penalty proposed by match referee Bob Stratford therefore a Code of Behaviour hearing was not required.
'HEALTHY' PAY RISE
FORECAST FOR CA PLAYERS
Australia’s international players are expected to "bank more lavish pay-packets" in the year ahead as a result of significant increases in the amount of money Cricket Australia (CA) is earning from new media rights deals signed over the last nine months, arrangements that has seen its annual income top an estimated $A200 million (PTG 1221-5882, 30 October 2013), says a report published in various News Limited Australia newspapers yesterday. According to that story, CA is set to announce its new player contract list as early as next week, however, individual contract values are expected to be "kept a closely-guarded secret".
Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), or players' union, chief Paul Marsh told News Limited that: "Given the players receive a percentage share of [CA] revenues we expect a healthy increase in player payments". “The beauty of the partnership the ACA and players have with CA is that as revenue increases so do player payments [and] as such all parties are incentivised to continue growing the game". A CA-ACA Memorandum of Understanding allows 17-20 players to be selected for CA's annual contract list.
A Fairfax media report last month stated that Australia's senior players had earned a bonus of nearly $A1 million as a result of their "annihilation" of England in Test, one-day and Twenty20 formats last austral summer. It indicated that such 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 are said to have been entitled to 26 per cent of CA revenue, but under the terms of the current agreement they can now claim between 24.5 per cent to 27 per cent depending on the national team's success (PTG 1264-6190, 5 February 2014).
Also last month, the Sydney-based 'Business Review Weekly' reported that for the first time Australian cricketers occupied more spots on its 2013 list of the country's top fifty sports earners than those of any other game. That report, which focused on estimated total earnings from CA and other contracts, indicated that of its current twenty contractees, all-rounder Shane Watson led "a long list of millionaire cricketers" with some $A6 million in gross earnings over the last year, his captain Michael Clarke $A5.5m, opener David Warner $A3.8m, Brad Haddin and Glenn Maxwell both $A1.8m, and Ryan Harris $1.3m (PTG 1283-6182, 4 February 2014).
News of those earnings 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). CA's 2012-13 Annual Report, which was released last October before the Australia-England-India push became public knowledge, said that the organisation's revenue rose sixty-three percent to $A684 million in the period from 2009-2012, that it currently anticipates that figure will reach $A1.08 billion over the four years to 2017, and that it is on track to achieve its goal of having cash reserves of $A70 million by 2016-17. Chairman Wally Edwards was quoted as saying at the time that “Financially, we’ve never been in better shape".
INDIAN SUPREME COURT CALLS
FOR BCCI CHIEF TO STAND DOWN
India's Supreme Court yesterday called on Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Narayanswamy Srinivasan, who is to also become the chairman of the International Cricket Council in July as part of a major overhaul of the world body's operations (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014), to step down from his BCCI post so as to enable a "fair investigation" of match-fixing activities during last year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series, in which his son-in-law has been indicted, to be conducted (PTG 1289-6212, 11 February 2014).
Using what media reports described as "unequivocal language", Justice AK Patnaik warned that the court would be forced to pass an order if Srinivasan did not comply, and went on to ask: "How did he stay on despite all the allegations? His staying on was nauseating for cricket". Srinivasan is said to have two days in which to comply, but what are being called "senior" BCCI officials are said to believe he has no option but to abide by the court's ruling.
Last Friday in Mirpur, ICC chief executive officer David Richardson welcomed Srinivasan’s ascension to the ICC chairman’s post, saying India bringing a hands-on approach to the ICC for the first time had to be viewed as a positive development. “[The BCCI’s] approach was always to sit on the outside, not to partake in developing strategy", said Richardson, for "they left that to the other people". “Now for the first time, they have taken the responsibility on their shoulders to lead in developing the strategy". Richardson said “it is too early to say [exactly what governance changes Srinivasan will bring about]", but as the "chief executive of the organisation which he chairs I will be having regular meetings with him".
Richardson also said that a balance had to be struck between giving BCCI the "concessions" it sought, and ensuring that everything didn’t go as per the demands of the Indian Board. “It’s a negotiation" primarily "between the members [for] they have to decide how they have to distribute [ICC revenues] amongst themselves". “I don’t know where you draw the line". "In any negotiation, I always find once the deal gets done, once you’ve agreed to sign and buy the house, you always think you could have done a better deal". "But you run the risk of losing the deal if you don’t agree".
Other reports yesterday from New Delhi say that former IPL chairman Lalit Modi, who has had a serious falling out with the BCCI, has claimed that he has evidence to suggest there was "fixing" in a Champions League Twenty20 tournament, however, he did not indicate in which year. Modi made the claim via 'Twitter", saying that "he would bring out [the details] in the public if the BCCI and ICC didn`t do so".
BATSMAN CAUGHT VIA NON-STRIKER'S BAT
South African batsman Hashim Amla was caught off his batting partner's bat during his side's World Twenty20 Championship match against New Zealand in Chittagong on Monday evening. Amla, who had opened the innings and was on 41, struck a ball from medium-pacer Corey Anderson straight back down the pitch where it hit the shoulder of non-striker J-P Duminy's bat hard then looped up in the air. Anderson reacted quickly and was able to take a straight-forward catch half-way down the pitch.
Two years ago a batsman was dismissed in a Twenty20 club match in Adelaide after the ball he hit rebounded from the bowler's head, looped high into the air, and was caught by the wicketkeeper running backwards (PTG 904-4393, 21 February 2012).
NZ, SOUTH AFRICA BOTH FINED
FOR SLOW OVER-RATES
Both New Zealand and South Africa have been fined for slow over-rates in World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) matches played over the last four days. NZ's offence came following its game against England in Chittagong on Saturday, and South Africa when it played the Kiwis at the same venue on Monday.
Match referee Javagal Srinath fined Brendon McCullum’s side was ruled to be one over short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration, and he did so two days later after Faf du Plessis’ side was found to be two overs short of its target. International Cricket Council regulations that govern 'minor' over-rate offences, those involving three overs or less, require that players be fined ten per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.
As such, McCullum was fined twenty per cent of his match fee and his players received ten per cent fines, du Plessis forty per cent and his team mates twenty per cent. Should either captain be found guilty of one more minor over-rate offence in a Twenty20 International over the next twelve months, they will receive an automatic one-match suspension.
SHILLINGFORD'S MODIFIED OFF-BREAK,
ARM BALLS, DECLARED 'LEGAL'
West Indies’ off-spinner Shane Shillingford’s off-break and arm balls have been found to be legal and he can now resume bowling in internationals. Shillingford, who was reported for a 'suspect bowling action' in a Test against India in Mumbai last November (PTG 1234-5956, 17 November 2013), returned to first class cricket over the weekend in his Windward Island side's match against Jamaica, his first outing at that level since he undertook remedial work on his bowling action (PTG 1318-6358, 23 March 2014).
The International Cricket Council said yesterday that Shillingford’s off-break and arm balls were re-tested at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth three weeks ago, and that the elbow extension measured for each of his deliveries was within the fifteen-degree level of tolerance permitted under the ICC. However, the Dominican has confirmed that he will no longer bowl the 'Doosra' and it will remain an illegal delivery and he cannot bowl it in international cricket.
POST INNINGS 'TABLE SMASH'
RESULTS IN REPORT
West Warrnambool may have won this season's Warrnambool and District Cricket Association's (WDCA) Division 1 grand final last weekend, but one of its players faces a late start to next season after being reported during what a local media report says was a "fiery period" in the match. Late order batsman Jed Turland, who took 2/7 during Deddington's innings, is alleged to have "smashed a table with his bat inside the change rooms", after being bowled for a 'duck' in West’s first innings.
Umpires Geoffrey Stephens and Tony Robinson are said to have reported Turland for "unsportsmanlike behaviour and abuse to equipment" and his fate now rests with the WDCA’s match committee. It can either offer a set penalty or decide to have the matter heard by an independent tribunal. If offered a set penalty the West Warrnambool player has the option of accepting it or taking it to the WDCA tribunal.
Deddington played in the grand final after an appeal to the WDCA by the Merrivale side over changes were made mid-match to the format of the two team's semi final, was rejected (PTG 1315-6346, 18 March 2014).
'SUSPEND' IPL PENDING FULL INVESTIGATION,
SAYS FORMER BCCI PRESIDENT
Shashank Manohar, the former President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) believes match fixing allegations surrounding the Indian Premier League (IPL) are so serious that the billion-dollar tournament must be scrapped this year. Manohar, who was succeeded as president by current incumbent Narayanswamy Srinivasan, is said to want "all IPL matches" investigated and the competition suspended “until the faith of the people in the integrity of the game is restored”.
Srinivasan, who is considered by many observers as the game's "most powerful man", has been been caught up in the IPL betting and corruption scandal because his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, a team official with the IPL's Chennai franchise which the BCCI chief's company owns, has been indicted for involvement in betting activities. Earlier this week Srinivasan was asked by the Indian Supreme Court to step aside to ensure a "fair investigation" into IPL corruption allegations, a judge suggesting his refusal to stand down was "nauseating" (PTG 1320-6365, 26 March 2014). The court warned that they would formally order him to quit if he did not do so.
Reports say that the BCCI "has been pleading" with the Supreme Court not to release a "sealed report", prepared by a committee headed by former Punjab Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal, which allegedly contains serious information about IPL-related fixing and potentially that of other cricket events. That report is said to contain the names of six prominent “Indian capped” players, including one who is allegedly part of the current team.
Manohar said in a statement yesterday: "The Supreme Court's observation is that there are very, very serious allegations made in the report and unless the BCCI president steps down, no fair probe can be conducted". “In view of the serious allegations, regarding betting, spot-fixing and match-fixing, the public at large has lost its faith in IPL games", and "it is my considered opinion that until the faith of the people in the integrity of the game is restored, the IPL tournament for the year 2014 should be suspended".
Srinivasan, who takes over in July as head of the International Cricket Council, has yet to make a statement on the judges' comments, however, reports from the sub-continent yesterday say he faces "growing calls to resign from within his own ranks". "SC [Supreme Court] tongue-lashing sets stage for Srini's exit" was the front-page headline of 'The Times of India' yesterday, while the 'Mail Today' said Srinivasan had been "given out" by the court. BCCI vice presidents Shivlal Yadav and Ravi Savant were quoted as saying their board would "have to follow" the views of the court and that Srinivasan's position is "untenable".
PLAYER PAYMENT ISSUES CAST
CLOUD OVER BPL FUTURE
The international player's union, the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), has advised its members against future participation in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) because tournament organisers continue to owe significant monies to players who have participated in the last BPL series fifteen months ago. FICA chairman Paul Marsh told reporters yesterday that while "a few players have received full payments from their participation in the 2013 BPL, the vast majority haven't and payments are now months overdue", a situation that "is a repeat of the issues we saw in 2012".
Marsh said that "unfortunately this is an outcome FICA predicted and we advised players prior to the tournament of our concerns", but "we were hoping the BPL would prove us wrong and deliver an event that addressed our concerns". "It didn't and going forward we are left with no choice but to recommend players don't participate in an event that doesn't respect players' basic contractual rights".
Sri Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan is said by a 'Cricinfo' report to have only been paid a fifth of the fee promised to him for representing the Dhaka Gladiators franchise, but that entities owners, who are currently dealing with corruption-related issues (PTG 1303-6283, 2 March 2014), are said to insist they owe him nothing. Sri Lanka Cricket is reported to have made representations to the BCB on Dilshan's behalf but apparently to no avail. Earlier this week several players with the BPL's Chittagong franchise, England's Ravi Bopara, Netherlands' Ryan ten Doeschate, West Indies' Kevon Cooper, Zimbabwe's Brendan Taylor and Surrey's Jason Roy, have complained to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) that they have not been paid.
The BCB, who originally said they would act as guarantors in the event of non-payment issues in the BPL, are now claiming it is not their responsibility to pay the fees incurred by franchises. 'Cricinfo' says that the situation is such that "the future of the BPL as a reputable international tournament is now in serious doubt".
FORMER UMPIRE HELD IN CUSTODY
OVER CRICKET EMBEZZLEMENT
Former Northern Tasmanian Cricket Association (NTCA) umpire Roy James, the association's now former Finance Director, is to be sentenced next week after pleading guilty to embezzling $A90,500 from the organisation (PTG 1292-6236, 15 February 2014) . A court heard yesterday that James, 53, who the Launceston 'Examiner' describes in a report this morning as "a former well respected senior umpire", began stealing the money almost as soon as he was elected to the voluntary board position in 2012, and that as much as three-quarters of the funds he misappropriated were used to fund a gambling habit.
The 'Examiner' says that "the rorting came undone" when James failed to table a finance report and avoided association meetings, a situation that "triggering suspicion among board members". James, who the NTCA's web site still lists as its 'Finance Dirctor', finally met with the association's president Paul Clark last September and admitted the theft before handing himself in voluntarily to police. Justice David Porter said it was proper that James, who has no relevant criminal history, be held in custody until his sentencing next Wednesday.
NO FOREIGN FLAGS FOR
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), which is currently hosting the World Twenty20 Championship series, has issued a directive to ban local supporters from stadiums if they are seen carrying, or trying to fly, the flags foreign national teams competing in the tournament, say reports from Dhaka. The order is said to have come after an outcry over images of locals waving Pakistani flags during the recently concluded Asia Cup which was also held in Bangladesh. That nation was part of Pakistan before the 1971 war of independence during which some claim three million people were killed. A BCB spokesman said "we’ve ordered security officials and guards to make sure Bangladesh fans cannot carry or fly flags of foreign nations in the stadiums".
INDIAN SUPREME COURT
BOWLS IPL A 'DOOSRA'
India's Supreme Court threw preparations for this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) competition into chaos yesterday by suggesting that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) ban both the Chennai and Rajasthan IPL franchise sides from this year's series, an event that is currently due to get underway in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in just twenty days time (PTG 1312-6330, 13 March 2014). The court handed down its proposal during a day on which BCCI president Narayanswami Srinivasan indicated that he will be stepping down from his post as called for by the court on Tuesday so that a "fair investigation" of alleged match-fixing activities during last year's IPL can be conducted (PTG 1320-6365, 26 March 2014).
The judges involved in the case are reported to have proposed that former India opener and now BCCI-employed television commentator Sunil Gavaskar be made interim BCCI president in place of Srinivasan, who is currently due to become the chairman of the International Cricket Council in July as part of a major overhaul of the world body's operations (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014), The court also suggested that anyone involved with the India Cements group, which owns the Chennai franchise and has Srinivasan as its managing director, should not be involved with the BCCI pending the resolution of IPL corruption issues. The BCCI, whose lawyer told the court Srinivasan was ready to step aside, has been asked to formally respond to the the court's proposals today.
Gavaskar told reporters that it is "Difficult for me to say anything at this stage, [but] if the highest court in India asks you to do something, [it would] be an honour to accept". However, he told NDTV in relation to comments made by former BCCI president Shashank Manohar earlier this week that the IPL should be suspended pending a resolution of corruption issues (PTG 1321-6370, 27 March 2014), that "Not having the IPL is not going to help". "When match-fixing cropped up no one said to stop Test cricket", said Gavaskar and "we will have to wait and see what direction the Supreme Court gives so let's not jump the gun". According to him "Any cricket lover will feel sad if Chennai doesn't play IPL as they have given a lot of joy to fans".
The Supreme Court is involved in IPL issues via a case lodged by the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) last June with the Bombay High Court which charged the BCCI with having a conflict of interest in setting up a two-member inquiry panel to look into the IPL corruption issue. The lower court later found that BCCI panel "illegal" and "unconstitutional" (PTG 1159-5609, 1 August 2013), a judgement that led both the BCCI and the CAB to file petitions with the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court's reaction last October was to appoint its own committee, that one a three-member panel headed by former a former High Court judge, to conduct an independent inquiry into a range of IPL-related corruption allegations. That group submitted its findings early last month but key details of its 170 page report have been "sealed" by the Supreme Court, although some media outlets are claiming it contains the names of six prominent “Indian capped” players, including one who is allegedly part of the current team. The report is known though to have found Gurunath Meiyappan, Srinivasan's son-in-law and head of the Chennai franchise, guilty of illegal betting on IPL games (PTG 1289-6212, 11 February 2014).
Yesterday's court request to ban the two franchise sides forced the BCCI to postpone an IPL media conference that had been scheduled for Abu Dhabi in the UAE late that afternoon,.
AFGHANISTAN AWARDED 'SPIRIT
OF SPORT' TROPHY
This year's Laureus "Spirit of Sport" trophy has been awarded to Afghanistan's cricket team in recognition of their rapid rise in the international game, their qualification for the first time for the fifty-over format World Cup, and for two successive World Twenty20 Championship series. The Laureus World Sports Awards, which were established in 1999 and are regarded as the 'Oscars of sport', honour "outstanding individuals" from the world of sports and the "greatest sporting achievements" of the previous twelve months.
A Laureus release issued after yesterday's awards ceremony in Kuala Lumpur says that "Afghanistan's success on the pitch has captured the imagination of the whole cricketing world", and their "enthusiasm for the game often against almost insurmountable odds in terms of pitches and facilities, is a story being told again and again".
Noor Mohammad Murad, the Afghanistan Cricket Board's (ACB) chief executive officer accepted the award on behalf of the team, saying: "We are very proud to receive 'Spirit of Sport' Award' [as] "it recognises the hard work of players, officials and administrators over the past twelve years in building cricket in our country". "Cricket is more than a game in Afghanistan", he continued, for "It is a tool which is making an impact in the development of peace, unity and development" and "I am sure this award will motivate us in continuing to build cricket and its impact in our country".
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said in a press release yesterday that "We have been aware of the inspiring rise of cricket in Afghanistan for some time, however, by receiving this prestigious award it is clear that the wider international sports community has now also recognised the significant, positive influence cricket is having in Afghanistan". “Congratulations to the ACB on this outstanding achievement", said Richardson.
Of the 130 trophies across nine categories that have been handed out since the awards began fourteen years ago, only three have now gone to cricket. Prior to Afghanistan, the sport's two previous recipients were Steve Waugh's Australian side, which was named 'Team of the year' in 2002, and the Indian and Pakistan teams who were jointly given the 'Sport for Good' award in 2004.
EUP MEMBERS DONATE TO
CLEFT SURGERY PROJECT
Members of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) have made a donation of $US10,000 ($A11,000) to 'Operation Cleft', a Rotary project that provides free cleft repair surgery for underprivileged children in Bangladesh. EUP members Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and Richard Kettleborough of England presented a cheque on behalf of their colleagues to representatives of the charity at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
Reports say that there are an estimated 300,000 untreated clefts in Bangladesh and that another 3,000-4,000 babies are born with the condition each year. 'Operation Cleft' works with a team of local surgeons and coordinates with hospitals to provide free cleft surgeries across the country, and since its inception in 2005 it has enabled over 8,250 children in Bangladesh to have the operation involved. Kettleborough told reporters that EUP members believe the Cleft project is "a very, very worthy project [that] can make a difference to the lives of little children" and that "to put a smile on the faces of these children gives us hope and hope for all the other children for the future".
EUP members have supported a range of charities over the last five years with similar donations, including motor neuron disease research in the UK and the Chitra Lane Special Child and Children Resource Centre in Sri Lanka.
FLAG BAN EDICT
The Bangladesh government yesterday withdrew its ban on the carrying of flags of foreign countries in cricket stadiums during the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series. The previous day the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), which is hosting the WT20C event, had issued a directive to ban local supporters from stadiums if they are seen carrying, or trying to fly, the flags of foreign national teams competing in the tournament (PTG 1321-6373, 27 March 2014).
GAVASKAR INTERIM IPL HEAD; CHENNAI,
RAJASTHAN CLEARED FOR IPL-7
India's Supreme Court yesterday installed former national captain Sunil Gavaskar as "interim head" of the Indian Premier League (IPL), while Shivlal Yadav, another former Indian player and current vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), was appointed to oversee all other non-IPL affairs at the BCCI. The court's judges also said that the IPL's Chennai and Rajasthan franchise sides, which are at the centre of allegations of illegal betting and spot-fixing, will now be allowed to take part in IPL-7, a significant change of position from the day before when they said both should be suspended from the eight-team tournament (PTG 1322-6374, 28 March 2014).
Gavaskar takes up his new role two weeks before the seventh series is due to get underway in the United Arab Emirates, he and Yadav between them covering for incumbent BCCI president Narayanswami Srinivasan who was asked to leave his post while an investigation is carried out into spot-fixing and illegal betting that many believe took place during the IPL's 2013 series eleven months ago (PTG 1320-6365, 26 March 2014). Srinivasan, whose company Indian Cements owns, and son-on-law Gurunath Meiyappan headed up, the Chennai franchise, "stepped aside" from his BCCI position in June last year after Meiyappan was arrested over allegations of IPL betting and pending the results of a BCCI investigation into IPL corruption-related issues.
Both Srinivasan and Meiyappan have denied any wrongdoing, the former returning to his presidential post after the BCCI probe found there was no case to answer. However, Meiyappan was later indicted for illegal betting during his time as the Chennai franchise's head, and queries about appropriateness of the BCCI investigation were then taken to the Supreme Court over the "lack of independence" involved in its deliberations.
The court said yesterday that in taking up the BCCI role Gavaskar would have to stop his work as a television commentator in order to avoid any conflict of interest, adding that he would have to be "adequately compensated" by the cricket board for loss of earnings; however, whether it reinforced its views of Thursday that anyone with a link to Indian Cements should not be involved in IPL-7 is unclear. Current Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is an Indian Cements vice president, is also the skipper of the Chennai franchise's side.
News of the IPL scandal surfaced during last year's IPL when former Indian Test bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and two other players with the Rajasthan franchise were arrested on suspicion of taking money to concede a fixed number of runs during games (PTG 1105-5383, 17 May 2013). Sreesanth, who had denied any wrongdoing, and his Rajasthan team mate Ankeet Chavan, were later banned for life by the BCCI (PTG 1188-5731, 15 September 2013).
India's media has generally praised the Supreme Court's "bid to clean up Indian cricket" and that their moves are "good for Indian cricket". Commenting on Gavaskar in particular, 'Cricket Country' website said that his "sheer weight of cricketing credentials tilt the balance in his favour against all previous [BCCI] presidents put together". The Supreme Court yesterday set April the sixteenth as the date for its next hearing into the case.
ICC RELEASE JAYAWARDENE
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has taken the unusual step of releasing the video footage used by third umpire Steve Davis to give Sri Lanka batsman Mahela Jayawardene 'not ou't in his side's World Twenty20 Championship match against England in Chittagong on Thursday. Jayawardene looked to be on his way for a 'golden duck' when England cover point fielder Michael Lumb dived forward to intercept the ball before it hit the ground, replays available to television viewers suggesting to many that Lumb had caught it cleanly.
Jayawardene stood his ground, apparently thinking the ball might have bounced, and England captain Stuart Broad and his team mates appeared visibly annoyed when Davis' 'not out' decision came up on the stadium's big screen. Broad said after the match on Thursday evening: "We were confident it was out, 'Lumby' was certain he had caught it but whenever it goes upstairs it's 50-50 isn't it?" "You're never quite sure what TV camera they have got so Mahela was well within his rights to stand there and take that risk. It worked out for him".
Yesterday morning a message on the ICC's official 'Twitter' feed said: "There's been a lot of debate about Steve Davis' decision as 3rd umpire on the low catch by Michael Lumb in #EngvSL #wt20", then it provided a link to the "replays that Steve Davis saw to make his ['not out'] decision", images that to date have been viewed by over 4,300 people. The replays showed Davis reeling the video back and forward and zooming in for a closer look, the images indicating that the ball had made brief contact with the ground before Lumb gathered it up.
ECB REPORTED 'ON NOTICE' OVER
NATIONAL 'GRASS ROOTS' FUNDING
Sport England, the body charged with investing UK government monies into 'grass roots' sport, is reported to have put the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) "on notice" that it could suffer a significant cut in the monies awarded to it next year if it does not stem the flow of players leaving the sport. Sport England distributes around half a billion pounds of lottery money to some forty-six sports every four years, the aim being to encourage greater participation in sport at the grass roots level.
England's Football Association (FA) this week suffered a £UK1.6 million ($A2.9 million) cut in the amount of the National Lottery-generated money it received for its grass roots programs after data showed the number of "over sixteens" participating in at least "thirty minutes of football" a week fell by 183,100 over the last decade. Grass roots numbers for cricket are reported to have fallen by 46,900 from 148,300 since 2005, while in contrast there were solid increases in both athletics, up 662,600 from 1,353,800, and cycling, up 368,200 from 1,634,800, over the same time.
Media reports say by "punishing [the FA] over the alarming decline in participation in football in recent years", Sport England also made it clear to the ECB and the Rugby Football Union "they will suffer the same fate in a year’s time if they did not take advantage of being given another twelve months to stop people abandoning their sports". Both are said to have avoided losing millions in funding after Sport England "backed their plans for growth", but it "refused to cut the FA any slack after the strategy of English football’s governing body was found to be wanting".
Sports England policy is said to be that funds taken from a sport's previous allocations are reassigned to a pool of money that other sports who are "more successful' in attracting participants can then bid for.
While Cricket Australia has talked up its plans to boost 'grass roots' player numbers and provide extra funding for that level of the game since it signed broadcasting contracts that provided significantly increased earnings to it nine months ago (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013). To date it has not released any details as to how such grass roots monies reported to be involved in the 2013-14 Financial Year have, or are, actually being spent (PTG 1233-5941, 14 November 2013).
POLICE, ICC PROBE
Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns has acknowledged for the first time he is under investigation by London's Metropolitan Police and the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), however, it is still not clear to him why. Cairns said in December, after being linked to a match-fixing probe being conducted by the ICC, that he was unaware of why he was being investigated, that ACSU personnel had not contacted him, but that he had engaged lawyers to look after his interests (PTG 1251-6043, 10 December 2013).
In 2009, then Indian Premier League chief Lalit Mod accused Cairns of match-fixing, which led the Kiwi to launch a libel case against him. Cairns, who won that case, said this week that he "will be engaging further" with the police and the ACCSU "in the coming days and weeks" and "will be happy for the authorities to resolve this once and for all". He is concerned that he has been unable to work since news of probes into his activities broke and that "from a financial aspect it's stressful", but he's "got nothing to hide [and is willing to] go through whatever process is required".
The 'New Zealand Herald' said in a report on Thursday that it "understands" members of the Metropolitan Police are in New Zealand and possibly Australia, furthering the inquiry". When asked if they have officers in New Zealand and Australia a Scotland Yard spokesman told the 'Herald' "we cannot comment for operational reasons". A New Zealand Cricket spokeswoman said it would comment once the situation had unfolded further and they had a chance to gather more information.
SOUTH AFRICAN, LANKAN CAPTAINS
SUSPENDED FOR SLOW OVER-RATES
South Africa and Sri Lanka captains Faf du Plessis and Dinesh Chandimal have been suspended for one match each, while their players have been fined, after both their sides maintained slow over-rates during their World Twenty20 Championship match in Chittagong on Thursday. It was both captains’ second minor over-rate offences within a twelve month period in the same format, as South Africa was fined for being two overs short against New Zealand last Monday (PTG 1320-6367, 26 March 2014), while Sri Lanka was short by one over against New Zealand in Pallekele last 21 November (PTG 1241-5993, 25 November 2013).
Match referee David Boon imposed the suspensions and penalties after both sides were ruled to be one over short of their targets when time allowances were taken into consideration at the end of South Africa and Sri Lanka's matches against the Netherlands and England, respectively, the latter also receiving a slow over-rate fine (PTG 1323-6383 below). Du Plessis pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the proposed sanctions, so there was no need for a formal hearing, and he will therefore will miss his side’s match against England later today.
However, Chandimal pleaded not guilty to the offence and therefore a full hearing was held yesterday for which Boon was the adjudicator. Following the hearing, the charge and proposed penalty were upheld by Boon, and Chandimal will thus miss Sri Lanka’s match against New Zealand on Monday.
The charge against du Plessis was laid by on-field umpires Steve Davis and Bruce Oxenford, third umpire Rod Tucker and fourth umpire Aleem Dar, while the charge against Chandimal was laid by on-field umpires Dar and Tucker, third umpire Davis and fourth umpire Oxenford, who are all members of the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel.
SLOW OVER-RATE FINE
England has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during its World Twenty20 Championship match against Sri Lanka in Chittagong on Thursday. Match referee David Boon imposed the fines after the side, led by Stuart Broad, was ruled to be two overs short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration, the fifth time in the series this week that fines for slow over-rates have been handed out (PTG 1320-6367, 26 March 2014).
As required by International Cricket Council regulations that govern 'minor' over-rates, Broad was fined forty per cent of his match fee, and his players lost twenty per cent. Should Broad as captain be found guilty of one more minor over-rate offence in a Twenty20 International over the next twelve months, he will receive an automatic one-match suspension as was handed to both the South African and Sri Lankan captains yesterday (PTG 1323-6382 above).
TO CURTAIL PLAY?
Cricket authorities in England's Channel Islands say matches between teams from Jersey and Guernsey are under threat because of changes to air schedules. The two airlines that serve the Jersey-Guernsey route, Blue Islands and Aurigny, now have a codeshare deal and that means there are no longer suitable flights for teams to travel between the two islands, which are some 50 km apart, in a single day, says a BBC report, while the timings of the ship-based ferry service have also changed, meaning players cannot go by sea.
In the past the cricket boards of Guernsey and Jersey have gone to 'Aurigny' at the start of the year to tell them when they want to fly and the airline has ensured there is enough capacity, but under the new deal 'Aurigny' sells seats on the route but only 'Blue Islands' planes actually make the twenty minute flights between the two islands.
Jersey Cricket Board chairman Ward Jenner told the BBC that inter-island matches are "essential because the cricketing playing public on each island is really very small [and] you end up playing each other a lot of times", therefore "you can get a bit sick and tired of seeing the same faces every week". He says its also "very important if we want to compete on a world stage that we play against our friends in Guernsey". The Channel Islands Cricket League was cancelled at the end of 2012 in part due to travel costs and associated problems which means that the few games that are played between island sides are even more important. Guernsey Cricket Board chief executive Mark Latter told BBC Radio Jersey: "We are in dialogue [with the airlines] and hopefully there'll be a resolution".
REPORT SKETCHES LATEST PAY
DEAL FOR AUSSIE PLAYERS
Australia's international players, their state colleagues, those from the country's six Twenty20 franchises and well as former players, "will all be the beneficiaries" of Cricket Australia's (CA) "massive broadcast deal" of last year when CA announces its player contracts for the year ahead sometime over the next few days, according to a report in Saturday's 'Weekend Australian'. Journalist Peter Lalor says that he "has seen documents" that suggest CA will offer contracts to eighteen international players, and that that group will be paid retainers from a funding pool for 2014-15 that totals $A14.6m, a rise of $A1.4m from the total amount that was distributed in 2013-14.
Lalor says that "the big winners" in terms of payments will be Ashes series standouts David Warner, Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin, who together with their Test captain Michael Clarke "are each likely to receive in the vicinity of $A2 million" from CA in the year ahead. A sliding scale will apply from those at the top down through the eighteen, with the bottom ranked contractee being "guaranteed" a basic retainer of $A250,000. A News Limited report last week said that players were likely to "bank more lavish pay-packets" in the year ahead but that individual contract values are expected to be "kept a closely-guarded secret" (PTG 1320-6364, 26 March 2014).
On top of whatever 'basic' pay they receive, all eighteen can boost their cricket earnings from CA further with payments from what is said to be a "$A3.3m marketing pool", "$A5m in potential bonuses linked to their ability to win matches", and match fees. Lalor says for example that the team received a "$A580,000 bonus for the Ashes whitewash", a figure different to the $A1m reported by Fairfax media last month (PTG 1284-6190, 5 February 2014). Match fees are expected to rise by nine per cent in 2014-15, those picked for Tests earning $A13,100 a game, an increase of $A1,100, $A5,243 for a One Day International, up $A443 on last season, and for a Twenty20 International $A3,932, a rise of $A332.
Below international level Australian state players will, according to 'The Australian' report, "get the biggest pay boost", their minimum contracts rising from $A52,000 to $A60,000, while the retainer for "top players" in state teams will increase from $A155,000 to $A176,000.
'The Australian' says that "on paper" Australian cricketers are the highest-paid in the world with "only England’s Test stars coming close". Lalor says that England captain Alastair Cook is the highest-paid Englishman on a retainer of about $A1.5m and that he and his team mates earned $21,000 for each Ashes Test of the recent series, "considerably more than their opponents who were on $A12,000 per Test". In contrast Indian players are said to receive an annual retainer of around $A160,000 and be paid $A9,000 a Test, although "the largesse of the Board of Control for Cricket In india, patrons and various sponsors boosts the pay of their players". Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for example is said to earn an estimated $A35m a year, much of it through sponsorship.
Lalor writes that professional players in Australian did so well out of CA's recent broadcast deals that the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA), or player's union, organised a retrospective pay rise for anybody who played in the past twelve months, as that was part of the negotiating period. ACA chief executive Paul Marsh told his members this week that his "Executive are of the view that, because the new media deals were done in 2013-14, players who were contracted in that year should receive some of this increased money". The ACA has also negotiated an arrangement whereby $A10.75m is paid into the player's pension pool, while another $A10.75m has been set aside to finance an ACA initiative "that sees past players employed to further develop and promote the game".
'STEP DOWN' DOESN'T
STOP 'STEP UP' TO ICC
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Narayanswami Srinivasan may have stepped down from that position while investigations are conducted into Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption issues, but that won't stop him attending next week's ICC Executive Board meeting in Dubai next week, reports 'Cricinfo'. On Friday, India's Supreme Court installed former national captain Sunil Gavaskar and Shivlal Yadav to oversee cricket activities in India that have normally fallen under Srinivasan's purview (PTG 1323-6378, 29 March 2014).
The key focus of the ICC board meeting on Tuesday-Wednesday next week is expected to be proposed new ICC governance arrangements (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014, changes that at the moment include Srinivasan taken over as ICC chairman in July. In handing down its orders regarding the BCCI, the Supreme Court said it would not pass an order on Srinivasan's involvement at ICC level as in their view it was an "internal" matter for the BCCI to decide. BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel pointed that decision out to 'The Indian Express and said "We want him to attend ICC [meetings as its] because of his hard work in the past few months that BCCI has been strengthened in world cricket".
100 FIRST CLASS MATCHES FOR
SOUTH AFRICA'S CLOETE
South African umpire Johan Cloete, who appears to be on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) watch list for possible promotion to its Elite Umpires Panel in the next few years, stood in his 100th first class match in Durban over the weekend. Cloete has been standing at first class level since the age of 22 in October 1993, his 100 games including domestic exchange visits to New Zealand in 2004, India in 2010, Australia in 2011, as well as Intercontinental Cup matches involving second-tier national teams in Namibia, the Netherlands and Ireland, the latter appointments coming courtesy of the ICC.
Cloete's 100th game was between the Dolphins and the Lions in Cricket South Africa's (CSA) domestic first class completion, and CSA's chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement that the umpire's achievement was "significant and underlines the excellence and endurance he has brought to the job since he made his first-class debut more than twenty years ago". “CSA congratulates Johan on his fantastic achievement and being only 42 years of age we are confident that he has many good years ahead to serve his profession", concluded Lorgat.
A member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Cloete to date also stood in thirty-seven One Day Internationals (ODI) and eleven Twenty20 International matches and has been the television umpire in one Test. Included in his ICC appointments were ODIs in last month's Asia Cup in Bangladesh (PTG 1296-6249, 22 February 2014), and a few weeks prior to that in a 2015 World Cup qualifier event played in New Zealand (PTG 1264-6098, 6 January 2014).
BAD BEHAVIOUR TO ATTRACT FIVE-RUN
PENALTY IN YORKSHIRE LEAGUE
Umpires in the Bradford Cricket League (BCL) in West Yorkshire have been given the option of imposing a five-run penalty to sides for player misconduct in matches during the coming northern summer, however, they will only be allowed to apply it once per team per match. What Bradford's 'Keighley News' describes as a "stiffening of the disciplinary procedure" didn’t go down well with a number of BCL club captains at their pre-season meeting last week, but the league’s disciplinary chairman Brian Pearson says the penalty will only be applied if there is misconduct which does not abide by the England and Wales Cricket Board's Code of Conduct or 'Spirit of Cricket' tenants.
Pearson said that after a five-run penalty is applied any further incidents in a match from the same side will see an offender put on report. He said that "some recent disciplinary cases have lasted several weeks but under the new system incidents will be dealt with more quickly". “An umpire will report the incident to me by 10 p.m. on the Sunday for a Saturday match and a club official will be informed their player has been reported by 10 p.m. on the Monday". “I would expect [the club] to hold a disciplinary hearing, but the league intend to hold their hearing within ten days which will be attended by the player, a club official and their captain.
LIGHTNING DESTROYS CLUB
PAVILION IN OXFORDSHIRE