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                  APRIL 2014
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 17 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 6290-6483)  


Click below to access each individual edition listed below

1,325  1,326  1,327  1,328  1,329  1,330  1,331  1,332  1,333  
1,334
 1,335  1,336   1,337  1,338  1,339  1,340  1,341

 

1,325 - 1 April [6390-6394]

• Umpire apologises for 'no ball' call   (1325-6390).

• Floodlight failure again stops play   (1325-6391).

• Bangladesh-Windies exchange program continues   (1325-6392).

• U-14 players suspended over forged birth certificates   (1325-6393).

• Vandalism again hits club   (1325-6394).

1,326 - 3 April [6395-6397]

• Report recommends major overhaul of NZ cricket   (1326-6395).

• Match officials for WT20C semi finals announced   (1326-6396).

• Fines for 'language', 'dissent' handed to WT20C players   (1326-6397).

1,327 - 4 April [6398-6403]
'• Franchises reported facing IPL-7 revenue 'challenge'  (1327-6398).

• Former South African Test umpire retires from the game  (1327-6399).

• 'Some' 2011 World Cup matches 'may have been' 'fixed'   (1327-6400).

• No new ECB Reserve List members for 2014   (1327-6401).

• Zimbabwe to cut franchise sides from five to four   (1327-6402).

• Jail term for cricket theft umpire   (1327-6403).

1,328 - 5 April [6404-6409]

• 'Dozen' IPL players, five teams, named in 'confidential' report   (1328-6404).

• Interim BCCI President plans to make his own decisions   (1328-6405).

• Player's union to Srinivasan: 'Stay clear of ICC'   (1328-6406).

• Jones, Walker on-field for NZ domestic one-day final  (1328-6407).

• Non-compliance fines for Aussie T20 franchises  (1328-6408).

• Details of MCC's new 'Spirit of Cricket' campaign awaited   (1328-6409).

1,329 - 6 April [6410-6419]

• Two Englishmen, three Aussies, to manage men's World T20 final   (1329-6410).

• Willey to stand in his 300th first class game   (1329-6411).

• BCCI sheds Indian Cements connections, but not linked players, commentators   (1329-6412).

• Sports Ministry seeks details of IPL-7 anti-corruption plans   (1329-6413).

• WICB board approves '19-point plan' to lift Caribbean game   (1329-6414).

• PCB 'near bankruptcy', says chairman   (1329-6415).

• ECB signs three-year umpire sponsorship deal   (1329-6416).

• Revamp in NSW acknowledges role of match officials   (1329-6417).

• Bangladesh national team supported with $A1.4 million government grant   (1329-6418).

• How are your notes at intervals?   (1329-6419).

1,330 - 7 April [6420-6423]

 • November 2015 day-night Test plans 'on track', says CA CEO  (1330-6420).

• First class match deferred after crash injures player, kills father  (1330-6421).

• Boys die after touching power lines whilst retrieving balls   (1330-6422).

• Scotland Yard meets with Cairns, investigation continuing   (1330-6423).

1,331 - 10 April [6424-6230]

• 'Wisden' laments 'colonial-style divide and rule' in international game   (1331-6424).

• Indian Cements chief attending ICC board meeting   (1331-6425).

• South African Sports Minister lifts black player target   (1331-6426).

• Cricket Wellington backs suggested 'forty-nine per cent' sell off   (1331-6427).

• CA signs up to anti-homophobia campaign   (1331-6428).

• Football gives cricket the boot   (1331-6429).

• Punter 'shocked' to death after bet on WT20C final goes wrong   (1331-6430).

1,332 - 11 April [6431-6434]

• 'Challenge' system to open door to Test cricket  (1332-6431).

• BCB plans to launch BPL appeal one month on  (1332-6432).

• Canterbury working on its 'precarious financial position'  (1332-6433.

• A least one spot opens on CA emerging group  (1332-6434).

1,333 - 14 April (6435-6439]

• Melbourne meeting expected to ratify ICC governance changes   (1333-6435).

• Single change to WICB Senior Umpires Panel   (1333-6436).

• Indian police to establish new sports fraud unit   (1333-6437).

• Banned bowler to return to domestic game early?   (1333-6438).

• Lloyd set for 15,000 km umpire meeting 'commute'   (1333-6439).

1,334 - 16 April [6440-6444]

• IPL skippers sign 'Spirit of Cricket' pledge   (1334-6440).

• Bowden in the mix for IPL-7   (1334-6441).

• Saudi umpires undertake Level 1 training  (1334-6442).

• Top four Test sides in the money   (1334-6443).

• PCB official reported to have looked on as Kaneria plays   (1334-6444).

1,335 - 18 April (6445-6452)

• Court rejects Srinivasan's request to return, IPL probe continuing   (1335-6445).

• Fine, ban handed skipper for showing 'serious dissent'   (1335-6446).

• News agencies boycott IPL over 'editorial freedom' issues   (1335-6447).

• Umpires 'angry' at association's proposed 'take over' of umpiring  (1335-6448).

• Former skipper refuses PCB posts, cites 'ex-players tainted by corruption'  (1335-6449).

• Throwing of stones, firing of blanks, stop play   (1335-6450).

• 'No security problems in Pakistan', claims ACC chief  (1335-6451).

• Gloucestershire finances well in the red  (1335-6452).

1,336 - 20 April [6453-6456]

• BCCI heads meeting to discuss Supreme Court issues   (1336-6453).

• Player's benefits deception could cost him his house   (1336-6454).

• Mumbai edict on 'illegal tournaments' riles clubs   (1336-6455).

• Lancashire in the black after four ears of losses   (1336-6456).

1,337 - 22 April [6457-6460]
• BCCI to suggest three-man IPL probe to Supreme Court   (1337-6457).

• Separate statistics needed for day-night Test, says Pietersen   (1337-6458).

• PCB looking into Kaneria match   (1337-6459).

• Auckland reported less positive about suggested NZ changes   (1337-6460).

1,338 - 24 April [6457-6460]
• Indian Supreme Court's own committee likely to continue IPL probe   (1338-6457).

• Non-Indians again dominate IPL appointments   (1338-6458).

• Five games in England for WICB exchange umpire   (1338-6459).

• Malik complains of PCB-ICC 'double standards'   (1338-6460).

1,339 - 26 April [6465-6471]

• Zim Cricket rejects reported 'conditional' ICC loan   (1339-6465).

• Srinivasan's ICC links for Supreme Court challenge   (1339-6466).

• Reprimand for two County players   (1339-6467).

• Lankan players finally agree to pay deal   (1339-6468).

• Life tough for bowlers, says bowler   (1339-6469).

• Umpires, scorers receive tuition in Cambodia   (1339-6470).

• Ball tampering not just a cricket issue   (1339-6471). 

1,340 - 28 April [6472-6476]

• BCB lifts 'provisional' bans handed to acquitted BPL pair   (1340-6472).

• Former Sri Lankan Test umpire dies   (1340-6473).

• IPL reprimands for Warner, Finch   (1340-6474).

• Team manages 3 in reply to 108   (1340-6475).

• ECB 'pressuring' PCB over anti-corruption appointment, claims Latif   (1340-6476).

1,341 - 30 April [6477-6483]

• Indian Supreme Court defers Srinivasan ICC decision, procrastinates on IPL probe   (1341-6477).

• Call again made for 'independent' as ICC president   (1341-6478).

• Gavaskar wants more transparency for BCCI operations   (1341-6479).

• IPL skipper fined $A22K for slow over-rate   (1341-6480).

• Notts await decision on Trent Bridge pitch rating   (1341-6481).

• No visa for banned umpire   (1341-6482).

• Vandals hit clubs at both ends of England   (1341-6483).

  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,325
Tuesday, 1 April 2014

UMPIRE APOLOGISES 

FOR 'NO BALL' CALL

[1325-6390]

 

Australian umpire Rod Tucker is reported to have apologised for a 'no-ball' call mistake during during the World Twenty20 Championship match between South Africa and England in Chittagong on Saturday.  In the second over of England’s innings Albie Morkel had opener Alex Hales caught at point but Tucker to rule it a no-ball, however, replays, showed that Morkel’s foot landed behind the popping crease.

 

Hales, who was on nine at that time, went on to make thirty-eight off twenty-two balls.  AB De Villiers, who was captaining South Africa in the absence of Faf du Plessis who was suspended (PTG 1323-6382, 29 March 2014), said that he had asked Tucker “to refer it upstairs, but he said he had already made his decision"  "I knew what his answer would be, but I just wanted to buy some time, slow things down, because the guys were quite upset", said De Villiers.  "These things happen in cricket, we all make mistakes [but] at least he apologised afterwards [and] luckily it didn’t cost us the match".

 

Why, given the propensity international umpires have of checking for a 'no ball' when a batsman is dismissed, Tucker did not refer De Villiers' question to third umpire and countryman Bruce Oxenford is not known.

 

FLOODLIGHT FAILURE 

AGAIN STOPS PLAY

[1325-6391]

 

The World Twenty20 Championship match between England and South Africa at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium kin Chittagong on Saturday was stopped twice after generator failure plunged the stadium into darkness.  It was the fourth power-related interruption of the tournament, two previously occurring at the ground, Afghanistan and Netherlands experiencing one during a warm up match in mid-March (PTG 1312-6331, 13 March 2014), then two weeks later the fixture between Sri Lanka and Netherlands was halted, while another was in Sylhet in a game between Ireland and the United Arab Emirates (PTG 1317-6354, 20 March 2014).

 

Bangladesh Cricket Board director AZM Nasir told reporters the generator failed "for a split second and that was enough to stop the game".  Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper said yesterday that technicians managing the generator said a circuit breaker tripped momentarily on both occasions but that "it takes ten minutes for the floodlights to gain back power".  

 

The paper's report went on to say that 'Bangla Cat', "a renowned company known for power distribution was originally awarded the tender" to support games at the stadium, but later "some influential leaders of the BCB, amongst them Nasir, opted to give the opportunity to OMNI Power, a company linked with [the BCB's] cricket operations chairman Akram Khan and selector Faruk Ahmed".  Akram is said to have told reporters that it was not his company, rather it "is owned by one of my friends and I only requested the board to give the job to them".  "I don’t know why my name is implicated in all these things", said Akram.

 

International Cricket Council events manager Chris Tetley is reported to visited the generator site and was described as "highly disturbed" there were no air-conditioners placed around the "substation" to support its operation.

 

BANGLADESH-WINDIES EXCHANGE 

PROGRAM CONTINUES

[1325-6392]

 

Bangladesh umpire Tanvir Ahmed is currently in the Caribbean on exchange, his initial game there being in the West Indies Cricket Board's 'domestic' first class match between Trinidad and Tobago and Combined Campuses and Colleges which was played in a day-night format at Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain over the last four days.  Dhaka-born Ahmed, 41, who follows five previous Bangladeshi exchangees since 2009, appears likely to stand in two more first class matches in the West Indies over the next two weeks before returning home.  

 

No West Indian umpire took part in Bangladesh's 2013-14 National Cricket League which was played in January-February, those who have travelled there over the past five years being Nigel Duguid, Peter Nero, Joel Wilson and Gregory Brathwaite (PTG 1071-5213, 6 March 2013).

 

U-14 PLAYERS SUSPENDED OVER 

FORGED BIRTH CERTIFICATES

[1325-6393]

 

The Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) yesterday suspended two Under-14 players for two years for submitting forged birth certificates in the lead up to an inter-district tournament played in Chaibasa on Sunday.  JSCA Assistant Secretary Asim Kumar Singh said it had been found that the birth certificates produced by the pair, Aditya Swaroop Singh and Ashutosh Kumar, were different to those they had provided to the Association last year.  Last year the JSCA suspended thirty-three Under-16 cricketers for two years for producing fake birth certificates.

 

 

VANDALISM AGAIN HITS CLUB

[1325-6394]

 

Margate Cricket Club in Kent has launched an appeal to raise funds to repair the mini bus used to tow their pitch roller after it was vandalised two weeks ago.  The mini bus was donated to the club last July after their electric-powered, golf buggy-type 'Cushman’s cart', which had previously done the job, was stolen.  Club secretary Richard Ashby told local media outlets that “It's not the first time this has happened for we have been targeted before" and such actions are "just mindless".  Chairman Chris Carter said "the van has not been used all winter and as soon as we brought it out to roll the pitch it gets vandalised".  Police are said to be looking at CCTV footage and making enquiries in the area in order to try and identify the offenders.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,326
Thursday, 3 April 2014

REPORT RECOMMENDS MAJOR 

OVERHAUL OF NZ CRICKET

[1326-6395]

 

A far-reaching report prepared for New Zealand Cricket (NZC) recommends that its six major associations sell up to forty-nine per cent of the stake they have in their teams to private investors, according to a report in this morning's 'New Zealand Herald'.  Journalist Dylan Cleaver says that the "confidential report", which has been prepared by David Cooper, NZC's general manager of domestic cricket, contains eighteen recommendations that call for "a dramatic overhaul of the domestic game" that Cooper says "is under threat" as the country's number one summer sport.

 

The 'Herald' says NZC's "top table" acknowledges domestic cricket there "is failing at a commercial and high-performance level [and] has become a no-go zone for spectators".  It quotes the report as saying: "The majority of [NZC's six major associations who run first class teams] are under severe and ongoing financial pressure" and that "their dependence on both NZC revenue, via the international game, and gaming funding is significant".  There is also a quality gap between domestic and international players that needs bridging, and concern the growth of Twenty20 leagues around the world will draw Kiwi players from the international game.

 

What Cleaver calls "a source" told him the NZC "look at what the 'Big Bash' and IPL have done for Australian and Indian cricket and then look at [its own T20] games being played in front of 900 people and think, "What are we doing wrong here'?"  The report itself "highlights a need to address domestic cricket in sports marketing terms as well as in terms of sports administration".  Its also stresses "the obvious need to enhance the product, the promotion, the pricing, the entertainment package and, indeed, all aspects of the marketing of domestic cricket".

 

Cleaver writes that the recommendation that the Auckland, Canterbury, Central Districts, Northern Districts, Otago and Wellington Associations draw in private investors is a model not dissimilar to the approach adopted by New Zealand Rugby Union for four of their five Super Rugby franchises.  No details of the other seventeen recommendations contained in the report were provided in the 'Herald' article.

 

MATCH OFFICIALS FOR WT20C 

SEMI FINALS ANNOUNCED

[1326-6396]

 

Match referees Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka and David Boon of Australia have been named to oversee the semi finals of the men's and women's World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series. Umpires Ian Gould and Richard Kettleborough of England, Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena and Australian Rod Tucker are to stand in the men's semis, and Tucker's countrymen Steve Davis and Bruce Oxenford, plus Pakistan's Aleem Dar and South African Marais Erasmus, for the two women's matches that will decide places in Sunday's final.

 

Kettleborough and Tucker will be on ground in today's men's semi final between Sri Lanka and the West Indies, with Davis as the third umpire and Oxenford the fourth, Boon being the match referee.  The second semi final tomorrow night between India and South Africa will see Gould and Dharmasena on-field with Oxenford the television umpire, Davis the fourth official and Magugalle the match referee.

 

Today's women's semi between Australia and the West Indies, which will proceed the Lanka-Windies men's game, will see Dar and Erasmus working together, Dharmasena the television umpire, Gould the fourth umpire and Madugalle the referee.  Davis and Oxenford will be on-field during tomorrow's women's semi between England and South Africa with Tucker the third umpire, Dar the fourth and Boon the referee.

 

The Bangladesh Meteorological Department has forecasted rain and thunderstorms accompanied by blustery winds for Mirpur both this evening and tomorrow night.  WT20C Playing Conditions say that if a match is a no-result or abandoned due to inclement weather then the team which finished first in its second-round group shall progress to the final.

 

FINES FOR 'LANGUAGE', 'DISSENT' 

HANDED TO WT20C PLAYERS 

[1326-6397]

 

Bangladesh fast bowler Al-Amin Hossain and Sri Lanka all-rounder Tillakaratne Dilshan have been fined fifteen and twenty per cent of their match fees respectively for separate incidents in the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) matches played earlier this week.  Al-Amin was censured for giving a verbal 'send off' to Australian opener David Warner during their match in Mirpur on Tuesday, and Dilshan for showing dissent when given out in his side's game against New Zealand in Chittagong the day before.

 

Al-Amin was found to used "language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an international match” and accepted the sanction proposed by the match referee Ranjan Madugalle.  Madugalle said in a statement released by the International Cricket Council (ICC) that: “Celebrating the fall of a wicket should be done in a manner which is not abusive or disrespectful to the opponent".  Dilshan rubbed his elbow after the ball deflected off his gloves to the wicketkeeper to indicate that the ball had not touched his gloves and was reported for “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during an international match”.  Dilshan admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee David Boon.

 

Both players offences were Level 1 breaches of the ICC's Code of Conduct and  carry a penalty of a warning/reprimand and/or the imposition of a fine up to fifty per cent of the applicable match fee.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,327
Friday, 4 April 2014

FRANCHISES REPORTED FACING

IPL-7 REVENUE 'CHALLENGE'

[1327-6398]

 

With just twelve days left for the start of this year's edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL-7), five of its eight franchise sides are still looking for sponsors, including those for the right to use the front of their playing attire, according to a story posted on the 'Cricinfo' web site on Wednesday.  All eight IPL-7 franchises are expected to face a relatively "tough year" with returns potentially falling by twenty per cent, a situation exacerbated by the loss of ticket revenues as the first phase of the event is to be played in the United Arab Emirates. 

 

Journalist Nagraj Gollapudi says that uncertainty over venues for the second-half of the IPL, India's economic slowdown, the tournament's clash with the country's federal elections, and the controversies that have emanated from the corruption scandal during last year's IPL, have all affected sponsorships.  According to an unnamed "franchise chief executive", the enthusiasm among sponsors for the IPL is not the same as it was in the first five years and while he had been trying to "close deals" over the past month the sponsors "were not keen"

 

Gollapudi says that an IPL "front-of-chest' sponsorship is said to be worth anywhere between 100 and 200 million Rupees ($A1.8-3.6 million). 

 

FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN TEST UMPIRE 

RETIRES FROM THE GAME

[1327-6399]

 

Former South African Test umpire Cyril Mitchley is currently taking part in his 208th and last first class match for he is to retire as a match referee when the game between the Lions and the Cape Cobras ends at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday.  Mitchley, who turns 76 in July, played eleven first class matches for Transvaal from 1967-69, umpired 127 such matches, 26 of them Tests, from 1981-2001, and worked as a match referee in 73 games from 2004 up until his retirement.

 

Mitchley stood in South Africa's first home Test match after the apartheid era against India in Durban in November 1992 and was the first umpire to refer a run out decision to the third umpire after TV technology was introduced for the first time at Test match level, the batsman out being India's Sachin Tendulkar.

 

In addition to his Tests, which were played in Australia, England, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the West Indies, Mitchley stood in 208 List A games, 60 of them One Day Internationals (ODI) at home and in India, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates; seven being in the 1996 World Cup.  

 

During the refereeing part of his career he oversaw 64 Cricket South Africa (CSA) domestic first class and 150 domestic List A games, there were four ODIs in Zimbabwe in 2007 when Bangladesh were the visitors, eight in the women's World Cup 2005 including the final, and others in an Under-19 Test and ODIs. 

 

CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat said in a statement yesterday that: “Cyril has given a lifetime of service to our great game as player, administrator, umpire and match referee and has been ever present as a match official throughout the period since unity".  "He has truly been a larger than life character and a true sportsman who was also a professional soccer player of note".

 

Gregory Fredericks, Chief Executive of the Gauteng Cricket Board (GCB), also commended Mitchley on the career he has had in cricket.  “Devoting sixty years of your life to this game is no small feat and I would like to congratulate Cyril on this".  "As a member of the GCB Umpires Association he is a sterling example of someone that served the game unconditionally and for that we have a massive amount of gratitude".

 

Mitchley's is a strong cricketing family for in addition to himself his three sons Cyril, Mark and Scott also played first class cricket, between them featuring in a total of 106 games over the seventeen years from 1982-99.

 

'SOME' 2011 WORD CUP MATCHES

'MAY HAVE BEEN' 'FIXED'

[1327-6400]

 

An article on the UK 'Daily Mail' website claims that a "confidential report" prepared by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ASCU) indicates "that some matches" in the 2011 World Cup on sub-continent "may have been fixed".  According to the 'Mail' the ACSU report, which it says was prepared for "internal purposes only" and "not discussed at the ICC board level", says that the same "betting gang" that operated during the World Cup was at work again in last year's Indian Premier League series, an event that has been at the centre of corruption allegations over the past twelve months. 

 

The "forty-one-page report" names the gang's mastermind as "SB" and is said to state that: "Five mobile numbers were identified and itemised billing details obtained for each, and SB's moves, including trips to Sri Lanka and Dubai in 2011, were tracked, as were his business dealings".   What were called "top players" are said to have reported to the ACSU that they had been approached by bookies during the World Cup.

 

NO NEW ECB RESERVE LIST 

MEMBERS FOR 2014

[1327-6401]

 

While no announcement has yet been made as to just who will be on the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Reserve List for 2014, appointments announced this week for the first month of the season suggest the ten-man panel of last year has been reduced to seven, the ECB's new four-man 'Emerging' group making up the numbers.  With two of last year's Reserve members, Graham Lloyd and Alex Wharf, promoted to the ECB's twenty-five man Full List (PTG 1250-6032, 7 December 2013), analysis suggests the only other person missing from the 2013 Reserve List is Mark Eggleston who had been a member since 2009.

 

The seven who appear to have been retained on the Reserve List for 2014 are: Paul Baldwin, Mike Burns, Ismail Dawood, Ben Debanham, Russell Evans
, Paul Pollard and Billy Taylor.  All have been given county appointments this month along with Ian Blackwell and Chris Watts of the ECB's newly established 'Emerging' umpires group (PTG 1272-6133, 19 January 2014), however, the two others named to the new panel, Tom Lungley and Russell Warren, have yet to be allocated a county match this year.  Of the eleven who now make up those two panels only three, Baldwin, Debanham and Watts, did not played at first class level before taking up umpiring.

 

Thanks to the operation of the now defunct Indian Cricket League, ECB Full List members have been paid an annual retainer in excess of $A70,000 per annum since 2008 (PTG 303-1590, 30 August 2008), and are also allowed to find other work outside cricket in the October-March period.  On the other hand Reserve and presumably Emerging List members are believed to receive, in addition to their match fees, an annual retainer of around $A18,000 for a new member and $A26,000 for those who have been on the panel longer.  The higher figure is close to the UK's current minimum wage, and that plus the fact the ECB only employs them for a total of six to nine weeks across six months of the year, means Reserve List members normally fit their umpiring around other paid employment.

 

Data available indicates that a first-year Reserve List member is usually given around forty days of match work, most of those being spent on-field in Twenty20, one and three-day county second XI and other games.  In subsequent years on-field days increase to around sixty a season, and if their performances are satisfactory at second XI level they are usually given opportunities to stand at county first team, university, tour, and women's and youth international, fixtures.  They are also expected to step in if a Full List member cannot fulfill or complete a fixture for any reason.

 

Both Full and Reserve List umpires are appointed to one of five umpire coaches who are said to regularly observe their charges and give feedback on performance, the coaches last year being former first class players and umpires John Hampshire, Mervyn Kitchen, John Steele and Barry Leadbeater, plus former Yorkshire captain David Byas.  Each coach's group of umpires are said to meet together before, during and after each season, and they act as an informal support network for each other whilst the season is underway. 

 

ECB umpiring chief Chris Kelly wrote in a Professional Cricketers Association publication several years ago that "it doesn’t go unnoticed that the Full List of umpires looks like a roll call of former first-class players", but suggested that any impression that is a prerequisite to selection is not correct.  "It would be true to say that no one will become a good umpire as a result of playing but having played does enhance the opportunity to be a successful umpire".

 

Nineteen of the twenty-five umpires added to the ECB's Full and Reserve Lists since 2008 when the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials was formed had played first class cricket.  With three current Full List members due to turn 65 after the 2014 season ends, the ECB's retirement policy means there will be three spots open on the top panel in 2015.  Leadbeater, now 70, tried to carry on after 65 back in 2008 but his effort was reported then to have received "a polite refusal" (PTG 356-1899, 3 December 2008).

 

ZIMBABWE TO CUT FRANCHISE

SIDES FROM FIVE TO FOUR

[1327-6402]

 

Zimbabwe Cricket's (ZC) 'Southern Rocks' franchise side, which is based in the south-eastern Province of Masvingo, looks likely to be disbanded as part of ZC's revamped domestic structure, a change that is being driven by the national body's need to cut costs, according to Harare's 'Daily News'.  The departure of the Rocks side, which was established in 2009, would reduce the number of teams in the country's first class, one-day and Twenty20 competitions to four.

 

The 'News' report says that ZC has sent a memo to the franchises informing them of the changes and that it indicates the dropping of one of them came as a result of International Cricket Council chief executive Dave Richardson's visit to Zimbabwe four weeks ago as part of efforts to help ZC out of its latest financial crisis (PTG 1308-6307, 7 March 2014).  After a strike earlier this season over non-payment of player salaries, ZC's domestic first class and one-day matches resumed in late February, but in order to save money the rest day between the four-day and one-day matches has been cut and both fixtures are now being played back-to-back.

 

JAIL TERM FOR CRICKET 

THEFT UMPIRE

[1327-6403]

 

Former umpire Roy James, who stole $A95,500 from the Northern Tasmania Cricket Association (NTCA), was given a fifteen month jail sentence on Wednesday and ordered to pay back the money (PTG 1321-6372, 27 March 2014).  James, 53, will have to serve at least eight months in jail before being eligible for parole, however, the Launceston 'Examiner' said yesterday that given he was on the dole and unlikely to have a career after prison, "the NTCA has little prospect of ever recovering the money".  

 

James, who had sole control of the NTCA's finances, began stealing the money less than a month after being elected voluntary finance director at the association in August 2012.  He transferred the money to his bank account in amounts ranging from $A1-5,000 a couple of times a month over the course of a year, but it was his failure to table the NTCA's financial report last June that led to suspicions surfacing among board members, who were unable to track him down for a period of time.  James eventually confessed to NTCA president Paul Clark before turning himself in to police.

 

In an interview with Launceston detectives, James said he had gambled away three-quarters of the stolen money, and during his trial the court heard he "was deluded in believing he could turn 'Black Jack' odds in his favour using maths".  In handling down the sentence Justice David Porter said James had spent most of his life involved in the cricket community, "rising though the ranks to become a respected senior umpire" and that "No doubt he'll find re-engaging with that group very difficult". 

 

In a victim impact statement, the NTCA said the effect of the crime on it had been "severe" as the stolen funds had come from property sales and was intended for member clubs and infrastructure upgrades.  Despite finding James remorseful, Justice Porter said his actions amounted to a gross breach of trust and that his actions were "a sustained course of dishonesty and deception".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,328
Saturday, 5 April 2014

'DOZEN' IPL PLAYERS, FIVE TEAMS, 

NAMED IN 'CONFIDENTIAL' REPORT  

[1328-6404]

 

"More than a dozen players" from five different Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises with "unverified" allegations against them have been named in the so-far confidential report compiled by Supreme Court Justice Mukul Mudgal on corruption in the IPL, according to a story in 'The Indian Express' on Thursday.  The paper says that the players concerned belong, as previously reported, to the Chennai and Rajasthan franchises whose owners are already being investigated in the corruption scandal, but that "three other teams", whose identities have not surfaced publicly, are also involved.

 

The Express report states: "Besides the dozen-odd players from three teams, the confidential report has also listed allegations against at least three IPL office bearers, [and] contains allegations, based on recorded testimonies of witnesses, against owners of teams other than [Chennai and Rajasthan]".  Other media reports have claimed the names of six prominent “Indian capped” players, including one who is allegedly part of the current team, are mentioned in Mudgal's report (PTG 1322-6374, 28 March 2014).

 

The Justice's report, which was submitted to the Supreme Court in early February, indicted Board of Control for Cricket in India Narayanswamy Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan for being involved in "betting and passing on information" regarding the Chennai franchise, which is owned by Srinivasan's company India Cements (PTG 1289-6212, 11 February 2014).  Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India's current national captain, is also the skipper of the Chennai side as well as a vice president of India Cements.  

 

While India Cements later tried to distance Meiyappan from the franchise, Mudgal and his colleagues concluded that he was a 'team official' according to the definitions in the IPL Code of Conduct and operational rules.  In addition, the court group raised questions over Srinivasan's conflicts of interest, which it said could have "large scale ramifications" for cricket.

 

It also wants further investigation into allegations of betting against the Rajasthan franchise's co-owners Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty. The Mudgal committee's report is also said to have found links between the "players/administrators/politicians and declared terrorists and the underworld".  The next date of cricket-related issues in the Supreme Court is set for Wednesday week, a day that is coincidently when the first phase of the seventh season of IPL begins in the United Arab Emirates. 

 

INTERIM BCCI PRESIDENT PLANS 

TO MAKE HIS OWN DECISIONS  

[1328-6405]

 

Interim president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Shivlal Yadav, who took up the position on Thursday following a decision by India's Supreme Court, told reporters that he "will be in charge only for five months", presumably the time it is envisaged will be needed to conduct a full enquiry into Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption issues.  The Supreme Court's order forced Narayanswamy Srinivasan to stand down as BCCI president and appointed Yadav and Sunil Gavaskar to fill his shoes (PTG 1323-6378, 29 March 2014)

 

Yadav described the task he is taking on "a challenge" for "the situation is not good", but that he has to accept the position in order to "ensure Indian cricket doesn't take a further beating".  When asked if Indian cricket's image has been tarnished by recent controversies, he agreed saying, "We all have to put our minds into restoring the faith of the public".  His "first priority will be to get fans and their confidence back into the game and develop infrastructure [and he plans to] concentrate more on cricketing matters, which have suffered over the last two years".

 

Several Indian media reports say that the first item on Yadav's agenda could well be the conundrum of just who represents India in an International Cricket Council (ICC) board meetings in Dubai next Wednesday and Thursday.  Srinivasan, who is currently due to take over as ICC chairman in July, normally does that but the Supreme Court said he should not take part in an BCCI matter, however, there were reports this week he would still attend next week (PTG 1324-6386, 31 March 2014).  When questioned on Thursday Yadav said he "cannot take this decision on my own [and] will put the matter before the BCCI's Working Committee".

 

When asked about his relationship with Srinivasan, former Indian off-break bowler Yadav, 57, was categorical, saying he is "not anyone's man". "I have many friends in the BCCI, have been a vice president for seven years and have developed a rapport with many, but you cannot say that I am Srinivasan's man or anyone else's man [and] I will take my own decisions".  While Yadav is yet to make a decision on his predecessor's participation in ICC matters, the international player's union yesterday made clear their views on the situation (PTG 1328-6406 below).

 

Meanwhile, Sunil Gavaskar, who has been appointed to look after this year's IPL event, said on Thursday that after the final in mid-June, he wants people to remember the league for the quality of competition only and hopes "it is as controversy-free as possible".  He expressed concern over the state of wickets and practice facilities in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah for the opening leg of the IPL, although added that the local police and the ICC have assured their cooperation to keep "any unscrupulous elements at bay".

 

PLAYER'S UNION TO SRINIVASAN: 

'STAY CLEAR OF ICC"  

[1328-6406]

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may not have made up its mind (PTG 1328-6405 above), but Paul Marsh, head of the international player's union, the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), believes that Narayanswamy Srinivasan, who stood down as BCCI this week, should not participate in International Cricket Council (ICC) management activities while he remains under investigation by India's Supreme Court.  Srinivasan, who is currently due to take over as ICC chairman in July, was forced to stand down from his BCCI position whilst an enquiry is undertaken into corruption in last year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series. 

 

Marsh, whose organisation and the BCCI president have rarely if ever seen eye-to-eye, said Srinivasan could not take part in next week's ICC board meeting in Dubai, or take up the world body's chairmanship.  While FICA are "pleased that Mr Srinivasan, at the behest of the Supreme Court, has agreed to step down from his duties as BCCI President, we are of the firm belief that he should not be exercising any functions on behalf of the ICC either, while any investigations concerning his conduct or that of his company are pending or unresolved". 

 

The FICA chairman pointed to the fact that the Supreme Court order prohibited any employees, other than players or commentators, of India Cements Limited, which owns the IPL's Chennai franchise, from performing any duties for the BCCI, and says that as that company's managing director "the order applies to Mr Srinivasan".  Srinivasan's son-in-law is the alleged team principal of that side, and some of its players are the subject of IPL corruption activities that are before the Supreme Court, two already having been banned for life by the BCCI (PTG 1188-5731, 15 September 2013).

 

Marsh went on to say that "the cricket world has been told time and again by the ICC that corruption is the game's biggest issue and that the game has a zero-tolerance approach to it".  "For our game to survive, we need it to be not only free of corruption but free of any suspicion of corruption". "The ICC needs to put the reputation of the game and confidence in its procedures first and the players, and other stakeholders in the game, are entitled to expect this from the ICC's Executive Board".

 

In that regard, Australian journalist Gideon Haigh wrote this week that the ICC's code of ethics states in part: "Each [of its director's] shall act in an honest and ethical manner".  It goes on to say that "In order to facilitate the transparent operation of the ICC, conduct that gives the appearance of impropriety will also be unacceptable [and] Directors shall not engage in any conduct that in any way denigrates the ICC or harms its public image".  Haigh is of the view that "under present circumstances it would be more than absurd" for Srinivasan to take up an ICC role.

 

Srinivasan has repeatedly said he has not engaged in any improper activity, but Marsh expressed a similar view to Haigh saying that "under the current circumstances, the prospect of Mr Srinivasan taking the highest posting in world cricket, while these matters are unresolved, is an impossible one".

 

JONES, WALKER ON-FIELD FOR 

NZ DOMESTIC ONE-DAY FINAL 

[1328-6407]

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has appointed Phil Jones and Derek Walker to stand in today's final of its season-ending domestic fifty-over one-day final between Northern Districts and Wellington in Mount Maunganui, Wayne Knights being the television official and former Test umpire David Quested the match referee; however, no details are available about the scorers for the game.  

 

The match will be Jones' fifty-sixth List A game since his debut in that format in January 2004 and Walker, who debuted in December that year, his fifty-ninth; although the latter also played thirty-one such games for Otago from 1980-88.  The pair stood together in the 2008 final of NZC's Twenty20 competition, Jones doing so again this season with Quested as his match referee, and the two umpires were in 2008 and 2007 respectively, on field in the country's domestic first class final.

 

'NON COMPLIANCE' FINES FOR

AUSSIE T20 FRANCHISES 

[1328-6408]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) announced yesterday that four of its eight domestic Twenty20 competition's franchises have been fined $A10,000, $A5,000 of which has been "suspended", for non-compliance with the event's contract reporting rules.  CA said the sanctions "relate only to administrative oversights" and there is no suggestion that the Brisbane, Perth and two Melbourne franchises breached the league’s salary cap rules.

 

Franchises are required to submit a post-season report to CA that provides full details of all payments made to players throughout the contract year, including a statutory declaration which declares that the information contained in the report is a true, complete and accurate record.  The four failed to submit the necessary materials on time. 

 

Prior to determining the sanction, CA wrote to the franchises concerned and asked them to explain why they did not meet the requirements, and after reviewing each submission CA’s Integrity Unit determined that a sanction for non-compliance in accordance with the rules was warranted.  Half of the fines is payable within seven days, while the remaining $A5,000 is suspended for a period of three years and immediately payable if there is a further subsequent breach of the contract reporting rules within that time frame.

 

DETAILS OF MCC'S NEW 'SPIRIT OF 

CRICKET' CAMPAIGN AWAITED

[1328-6409]

 

Six weeks after the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) said it would outline a "new campaign" in support of its 'Spirit of Cricket' message", there is still no news of just what the club has in mind.  The MCC said in a statement issued following the latest meeting of its World Cricket Committee in Abu Dhabi in mid-January, that it was reviewing its 'Spirit of Cricket' message" and expected to outline details of its plans by the end of February (PTG 1270-6125, 16 January 2014).

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,329
Sunday, 6 April 2014

TWO ENGLISHMEN, THREE AUSSIES, 

TO MANAGE MEN'S WORLD T20 FINAL  

[1329-6410]

 

Two Englishmen and three Australians have been named to manage play during the men's final of the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series between India and Sri Lanka in Mirpur later today, all of the five being former first class players.  Current world 'Umpire of the Year' Richard Kettleborough will be on-field with compatriot Ian Gould, Australians Rod Tucker, Bruce Oxenford and David Boon being the third and four umpires, and match referee, respectively.

 

The men's final will be proceeded by the women's decider between Australia and England, three-time world 'Umpire of the Year' Aleem Dar of Pakistan and South African Marais Erasmus standing in that match, while two contenders to join the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel this year, 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand and Sundarum Ravi of india (PTG 1267-6112, 10 January 2014), will be the third and fourth umpires respectively, the ICC's chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka overseeing the running of that game.

 

For Gould the men's match will be his twenty-eighth Twenty20 International (T20I), sixty-sixth in senior cricket overall and first world final since the Champions Trophy tournament of 2009 in Johannesburg.  Kettleborough will though be standing in first major world final, a match that will be his seventeenth T20I and 73rd in total at senior level.  Boon, who oversaw the Asia Cup fifty over format final in 2012, will be working as a referee in his twenty-fifth T20I.

 

Dar will be on-field in only his third women's T20I, the first of the three being the 2009 women's final at Lord's, but he is by far the most experienced umpire involved in Mirpur, having 34 men's T20Is to his credit including the finals of the men's event in Barbados in 2010 and Colombo in 2012.  His last men's T20I in Chittagong last Monday brought him level with former Australian umpire Simon Taufel at the top of the world T20I 'games umpired' list.  For Erasmus it will be his eighteenth women's T20I and second WT20C women's final in a row as he stood in the same match in Colombo in 2012.

 

Madugalle, who because of the ICC's neutral umpires policy for major matches was barred from looking after the men's final as his country's team is involved, will be looking after his eighth women's T20I, a history of games does not reflect the fact that he is far and away the world's most experienced match referee.  

 

Meanwhile Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC), which has been struggling financially for some time, has announced that it will pay its men's team a bonus equivalent to $A1.6 million if they can win the final, three times the amount it had previously promised if they returned home from Bangladesh with the trophy. SLC's board said in a statement that "an emergency meeting" of its executive committee held on Friday morning, twelve hours after their team won their semi final, decided to lift its previous offer.  Sri Lanka were the beaten finalists in the last WT20C event two years ago, and they have also been beaten in the final of the last two fifty over format World Cups, their last major trophy being the World Cup of 1996.

 

After a major row with players, SLC announced performance-based incentives for them last month.  However, the players are reported to have refused to sign the new central contracts put before them "and demanded more share of revenue from ICC events", and as a result are said to have gone to Bangladesh without reaching a formal agreement with their board. 

 

WILLEY TO STAND IN HIS 

300TH FIRST CLASS GAME  

[1329-6411]

 

Englishman Peter Willey, who is standing in his last season as a first class umpire this northern summer, is to umpire his 300th match at that level in Surrey's County Championship fixture against Essex which is due to get underway at The Oval two weeks from today.  Willey, who will turn 65 in early December, the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) compulsory retiring age, is listed to stand in his forty-nineth game with Richard Kettleborough at Lord's starting next Sunday, prior to number 300 with Jeremy Lloyds at The Oval eight kilometres to the south-east the week after.

 

Willey was appointed to the ECB's umpire Full List in 1993 after a seventeen-year playing career from 1976-92 at the game's top level, a time during which he played 559 first class games, 26 of them Tests, and 458 List A matches, 26 of which were One Day Internationals.  He made his debut as an umpire at first class level in April 1992, ten months after his final first class game as a player, and two months before his last appearance in a County match, that being a one-day fixture in June of that year.  His 300 first class matches as an umpire include 25 Tests from 1996-2003, 249 involving County and UK University sides, 25 in games involving overseas touring teams, and one in South Africa's domestic first class competition in 1997.

 

In April 1996 he became England's 102nd and the world's 435th Test umpire, over the next seven years standing in matches at the games highest level in Australia (five), England (nine, three being at Lord's), three each in South Africa and Sri Lanka, two in India, and one each in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.  By the time the International Cricket Council established its Elite Umpires Panel in 2002 he was well established at Test level, but is reported to have declined the opportunity to join that group because of the amount of time away from home that was involved.  Despite that he was chosen as a member of the umpiring panel for the 2003 World Cup, an event in which he also officiated in 1999.

 

Another first class milestone will be reached by Willey's Full List colleague Steven Gale who will notch up fifty such games in Gloucestershire's County Championship match in Bristol scheduled for the final four days of this month.  Currently on forty-seven games, Gale is to stand in match forty-eight at Trent Bridge with Neil Mallender over the next four days, then at New Road in Worcester with Ian Gould, before his fiftieth during which he is listed to be on-field with Nigel Cowley.

 

Gale, 61, made his debut at first class level in May 2008, the year in which he was appointed to the ECB's second-tier Reserve List, and was moved up to the Full List prior to the 2011 northern summer season (PTG 700-3438, 15 December 2010).

 

BCCI SHEDS INDIAN CEMENTS' CONNECTIONS, 

BUT NOT LINKED PLAYERS, COMMENTATORS  

[1329-6412]

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is reported to have complied with the order given to it by that nation's Supreme Court and stood down all the employees of India Cements (IC)  or its associate companies who had links with the board.  A week ago the Court passed an interim order that asked former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar to take over as the BCCI president for Indian Premier League (IPL) affairs, and senior vice-president Shivlal Yadav non-IPL matters, the pair replacing BCCI president Narayanswamy Srinivasan who is IC's managing director (PTG 1323-6378, 28 March 2014).

 

Apart from Srinivasan the notable BCCI-IC faces involve include Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) secretary and Srinivasan's close aide Kashi Viswanathan, a member of the BCCI's National Cricket Academy and New Area Development sub-committees, who headed IC's financial department for many years before he retired several years ago.  Others include the Indian national team's logistics manager Menon Arathi Satish, Prasanna Kannan the IPL's chief financial officer, and TNCA joint secretary RI Palani a member of the BCCI zonal academies committee, all three being senior IC managers.  Another individual named in Indian press reports was P S Raman, another TNCA vice-president who is Srinivasan's lawyer and a legal consultant for both the TNCA and BCCI.  Satish, who was in Bangladesh with the Indian team for the World Twenty20 Championship, was called home last week after the Supreme Court's order was handed down.

 

The Supreme Court also said, however, that players and commentators who are on IC's payroll can remain "part of the BCCI".  Besides India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is an IC vice-president, a number of present and former players including Ravichandran Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik, Rahul Dravid and player-turned-commentator Laxman Sivaramakrishnan are also employed by Srinivasan's company.  In a none too subtle move early last year, Sivaramakrishnan was engineered on to the International Cricket Council's Cricket Committee in place of then international player's union chief Tim May (PTG 1133-5500, 28 June 2013), one a number of issues that clearly still rankles with the player's group (PTG 1328-6406, 5 April 2014). 

 

SPORTS MINISTRY SEEKS DETAILS 

OF IPL-7 ANTI-CORRUPTION PLANS  

[1329-6413]

 

India's Sports Ministry has written to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to point out the responsibility the BCCI has to deal with betting and match-fixing during this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series, and asked that the board provide it with details of the "mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure [such] unethical practices" are not repeated this year , say reports from the sub-continent yesterday.  The Ministry, which sent the letter to the BCCI's chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty, is said to have requested answers to its questions by next Thursday, six days before IPL-7 is due to get underway in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

 

When asked by one of the IPL franchises in 2010  for permission to play exhibition matches in Dubai, the IPL's reply was reported at the time to have been that the BCCI does not "recognise" the UAE as a venue, a view that is apparently a hang over from the Hansie Conje fixing days of the 1990s when the UAE city of Sharjah was regarded as a match fixing "hub"  This year the IPL has apparently indicated its personnel had undertaken a thorough evaluation of the situation and that it is now happy for IPL matches to be played there.

 

David East, the Emirates Cricket Board chief executive, told 'Cricinfo' several weeks ago that: "The UAE government is entirely supportive of the IPL being here and will do everything to ensure it is a hugely successful tournament".  The government's assurance it would work to "keep the event clean" is said to have convinced the BCCI to stage IPL fixtures there.  What was called a "BCCI insider", said the "dark clouds of match-fixing" surrounding Sharjah  had passed long ago, the main culprit from those days being "on the run" from the law.

 

Late last month media reports suggested that the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the BCCI were close to signing an agreement for their respective anti-corruption units to work together to oversee integrity matters over the 2014, 2015 and 2016 IPL seasons, in India as well as the UAE.  ICC chief executive David Richardson said then in that regard that "our office in Dubai [along with Sharjah one of the three host cities in the UAE], has certain facilities which we will make available to the BCCI if they need them [particularly on the] anti-corruption side", and it was "very likely" an agreement would be signed.  Note announcement as to what is happening in that regard appears to have been made to date.

          

The BCCI was also asked in the Sport Ministry's letter to explain why, what it called a "non-regular venue like UAE", has been chosen to hold the first leg of IPL instead of a venue which is "on the regular international calendar".  

 

Venues in Bangladesh and South Africa were considered along with those in the UAE because India's general election will be conducted during that time, India's Home Ministry advising the BCCI in late February that it does not have the resources to provide appropriate security cover for both events simultaneously, and that it had yet to determine just when the elections would be held, an additional complexity IPL organisers have had to deal with (PTG 1303-6295, 3 March 2014).  The three grounds in the UAE were finally awarded the hosting rights for the first twenty matches of this year's event, after whichhe tournament will move to India in early May where the last forty of the sixty games will be played at ten grounds around that country over the six weeks to mid-June. 

     

The Sports Ministry is said to have gone on and enquired about the "amount of License fees paid to the International Cricket Council for IPL 2014", a rather strange question given the series is basically an Indian domestic event, even though players and officials from around the world are contracted by the IPL for it.  It also pointed out that the BCCI "is required" to contribute to India's National Sports Development Fund which is said to be calculated on either the percentage of the profit IPL-7 makes, "or a consolidated lump sum".  

 

An Indian business magazine reported this week stated that the BCCI wanted to have an insurance cover for IPL-7, which is due to get underway on Wednesday week, of 11 billion Indian rupees ($A3.3 billion) and that two company's "had been shortlisted" for the contract.

 

WICB BOARD APPROVES '19-POINT PLAN' 

TO LIFT CARIBBEAN GAME 

[1329-6414]

 

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is reported to have agreed to a "nineteen-point plan" which aims to re-establish the West Indies as the "number one performing team in world cricket".  The plan, which is contained in a thirty-three page report prepared by WICB Director of Cricket Richard Pybus, is said to have been developed following a Caribbean-wide study conducted over the three months to January this year.

 

Pybus' plan is said to include the "implementation of a captain’s council, professionalisation of [domestic] first class cricket, doubling of matches in the WICB's regional first class tournament, appointment of a coaching manager to implement a Caribbean-wide coaching program, and an elite coaching program targeting current and former players", however, a recommendation to reduce the number of 'domestic' first-class teams from seven is said to have been deferred.  A structured year-round cricket program for all WICB and all first class contracted players is envisaged, as well as fifteen full-time annually contracted players for each of the six regional boards, and professional administrative and coaching staff for each first class team.

 

WICB directors are said to have approved the nineteen recommendations during a meeting held in Port of Spain last weekend, but whether the funds will be available to allow each of the points agreed to to come to fruition is not yet clear.  Nor it is known whether Pybus' report contains any initiatives for umpires and scorers to support the proposed expansion of activity, for as yet it has not been made available for scrutiny via the 'Reports & Financials' section of the WICB's web site.  Pybus coached Bangladesh and Pakistan and a range of domestic teams around the world before taking up his WICB position last October.

 

PCB 'NEAR BANKRUPTCY',

 SAYS CHAIRMAN 

[1329-6415]

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is "near bankruptcy" and is making efforts to bring money into the game there according to its current chairman Najam Sethi.  Speaking on Thursday whilst defending the national side's performance in the World Twenty20 Championship in Bangladesh, Sethi is said to have, despite his comments a month ago, "surprised" journalists with his reference to bankruptcy, and indicated that he has scheduled a visit to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) headquarters in Dubai tomorrow "to resolve" the matter.

 

Pakistan is the only one of the ICC's ten Test playing nations who has yet to sign on to the recent governance revamp agreed to for the world body, changes that are expected to be formally ratified at the ICC board meeting in Dubai this Wednesday-Thursday.  Reports last month indicated the PCB would back the revamp, Sethi saying at the time that Pakistan cricket was in "crisis", he didn't "think [ICC changes are] about principles", rather its "about safeguarding our own self-interests in the long run in world cricket" (PTG 1311-6327, 12 March 2014).  

 

 ECB SIGNS THREE-YEAR 

UMPIRE SPONSORSHIP DEAL 

[1329-6416]

 

International eye care and hearing company 'Specsavers' has signed a three-year sponsorship agreement with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that will see clothing worn by all umpires in ECB first class cricket, "later" games in the National Club Championship, Twenty20 and County Age Group fixtures, adorned with the company logo, and also support provided for "numerous awards" to recognise "outstanding umpires".  New Zealand Cricket signed a similar deal with the company's franchises there three-and-a-half years ago (PTG 695-3412, 12 November 2010), however, like the new agreement with the ECB no details of the monies involved have been made public.

 

ECB chief executive David Collier said in announcing the deal that the “partnership is of great benefit to the ECB, [its Association of Cricket Officials (ACO)] and the game’s umpires themselves [as] It recognises the importance of umpires and officials and the ECB is indebted to Specsavers for this sponsorship".  The company's marketing director Richard Holmes said: “Technological advancements in recent years have certainly helped umpires but we will always rely on their personal judgements too and at 'Specsavers' we are glad to do our bit where we can to help ensure they get the best possible support to do their job".  

 

Apart from the reference to 'umpire awards', neither Collier or Holmes indicated just what other umpire and scorer related activities will benefit from the monies involved, and as yet the ACO itself has made no reference to the deal on its web site.

 

'Specsavers' has almost 2,000 locally-run businesses throughout the UK, New Zealand, and in Australia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.  The group's total reported revenue in the 2012-13 Financial year was £1.8 billion ($A3.2 billion).

 

REVAMP IN NSW ACKNOWLEDGES 

ROLE OF MATCH OFFICIALS  

[1329-6417]

 

Andrew Jones, Cricket New South Wales' (CNSW) chief executive, has made significant changes to CNSW's structure and organisational arrangements, amongst the moves appearing to be a clearer recognition of the importance of umpiring in CNSW's "performance pathway".  Jones, who took up his position in July last year, announced the changes last week after nine months of reviewing priorities and the way the Sydney Cricket Ground-based organisation functions, telling staff that the aim of his plans is to make NSW "the number one State for production of Australian players, attendance, fan passion, team success, participation and investment in the game".  

 

Under the new arrangements CNSW's three previous divisions, 'State Cricket', 'State Umpiring' and 'Cricket Operations', will be merged into a single department headed by a position titled 'General Manager, NSW Cricket Performance'.  Jones is reported to have indicated, amongst other things, such changes "will bring umpiring into the department that is also responsible for the development of elite players and coaches, reflecting its importance in the NSW elite pathway".

 

Current NSW State Director of Umpiring Darren Goodger, who is also Executive Officer of the NSW Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, is said to be continuing in those positions but with what Jones called "a revised reporting line" that is "direct" to the new Cricket Performance General Manager.  Jones though says he plans to continue to consult directly with Goodger "on key matters as required".

 

Jones, who turned 50 late last month, played five first class matches for NSW in the late 1980s and was described last year as Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland's "right-hand man" when he was CA's general manager of strategy.  A management consultant with an MBA from Stanford University, Jones was the architect of CA's ''Strategy for Australian Cricket 2011-2015: To be Australia's Favourite Sport'' document which was released in October 2011.

 

BANGLADESH NATIONAL TEAM SUPPORTED 

WITH $A1.4 MILLION GOVERNMENT GRANT 

[1329-6418]

 

The Bangladesh government spent in excess of 100 million Takka ($A1.4 million) in support of its national team's participation in Test, One International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) matches at home and abroad during the 2012-13 Financial Year, according to a statement made by Biren Sikder, the country's Minister for Youth and Sports, in Parliament in Dhaka on Thursday.  Over that twelve months Bangladesh played a total of four Tests, eight ODIs and four T20Is, loosing three of the Tests the other being drawn, winning four and loosing three of the ODIs, and loosing all four T20Is. 

 

HOW ARE YOUR NOTES 

AT INTERVALS? 

[1329-6419]

 

Former Australian captain Warwick Armstrong was the first man in Test history to bowl two consecutive overs in an innings, that happening during an Ashes match at Trent Bridge in May 1921, and it would appear that the umpires' poor note taking techniques were a key factor.  Armstrong's two overs came after England declared late on what was the first day of the match, its captain Lionel Tennyson going out on to the ground to announce his intentions, however, under the Laws as they then stood, declarations so late on the first day of a match were not allowed.  

 

Armstrong, who had bowled the over immediately before Tennyson's arrival on the field of play, signalled to his players to remain on the field, but eventually they as well as umpires John Moss and Alfred Street returned to the pavilion where a number of reports state the Australian captain pointed out to Tennyson, Moss and Street what the Laws said about the issue.  After the error was sorted out, England resumed their innings after a twenty minute break, however, the second breach of the Laws occurred straight away for Armstrong was allowed to send down the next over, his second in a row, by Moss and Street. 

 

The second and so far last occasion such a thing happened in a Test was in Wellington in March 1951, New Zealand spinner Alex Moir being the bowler involved.  NZ captain Walter Hadlee brought Moir on for the over before tea on the last day of game, the teams taking the break with visitors England needing just 53 runs to win outright.  However, when play resumed after the interval, Moir immediately bowled again, this time from the other end, neither batsmen Len Hutton or Gilbert Parkhouse, Hadlee, or more importantly umpires Jock McLellan and Melville Pengelly, noticing.  England later went on to win with six wickets in hand.  

 

At Old Trafford Moss was on the ground in the tenth of his eleven Tests and Street the fourth of seven.  Moss' umpiring career at first class level involved a massive 665 games, his first being at the age of 30 in 1894 and last in 1932 when he was 68, while Street's first class record as an umpire totalled 523 games from 1909-1939, he having also played 51 such matches for Surrey in the 1890s.  In Wellington, McLellan was standing in the first of his three Tests in a career that ended five years later after his fifteen first class game, while for Pengelly it was the third of his four Tests in a record that eventually totalled nineteen first class matches.  

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,330
Monday, 7 April 2014

NOVEMBER 2015 DAY-NIGHT TEST 

PLANS 'ON TRACK', SAYS CA CEO  

[1330-6420]

 

Cricket Australia's (CA) aim of staging the world’s first day-night Test match when New Zealand visits Australia in late 2015 remains "on track" following the trial conducted during a round of pink ball, day-night Sheffield Shield matches six weeks ago, says an article posted on the national body's web site last night. While there were problems with the white seamed pink balls used for the three first class games played in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne, CA chief executive James Sutherland is quoted as saying that "on balance, the feedback has been very positive", echoing comments made by one of his senior managers soon after the matches ended (PTG 1310-6321, 11 March 2014).   

 

During and following the three game, CA sought the views of players, umpires, coaches, curators, match referees and spectators, "more than 450 opinions" being gathered "on the merits or otherwise" of the pink ball trial.  That was complemented by a detailed examination of the balls at various stages of each innings, as well as statistical data that compared the performance of the pink balls against the results achieved with the traditional red 'Kookaburra' turf ball normally used.  That work looked at the average number of centuries scored per innings and the proportion of wickets that fell to spin and seam bowling, the analysis showing "no startling aberrations" from red ball data.

 

Ball problems experienced included "the external deterioration and softness of the ball" before the eighty overs "currently mandated" for a new ball to be introduced was reached.  The pink balls are also said to have been more susceptible to going out of shape than their red counterparts and also loose their hardness such that it was harder to score from them, while the white seam "was difficult to pick up as the ball got dirty" (PTG 1303-6285, 2 March 2014).  The problems were said to be "far more pronounced on the more abrasive playing surfaces at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Adelaide Oval, whereas balls used at the ‘Gabba' in Brisbane "retained their sheen for far longer".  

 

According to the article "Some players and team officials have been privately critical of the extent to which the external condition of the ball deteriorates" (PTG 1308-6309, 8 March 2014), but "many were supportive of the concept" and claimed visibility of the pink ball under lights was "very good" with no 'flaring' reported (PTG 1305-6297, 4 March 2014).  However, that group "bemoaned the fact" that the balls stopped swinging after "six to eight overs and showed no propensity to ‘reverse swing’ once the initial lacquer coat was removed" (PTG 1302-6280, 1 March 2014).

 

Sutherland acknowledged that "we clearly need to continue to improve the ball and make sure it behaves as closely as possible to the red ball, but I have always said that somewhere along the way, in order to get to that outcome, it may be necessary to reach some sort of compromise on the ball" (PTG 1121-5446, 10 June 2013).  Such compromises could he said include “what ball is used, how it’s used and maybe for how long it’s used in an innings, [for example] whether eighty overs is the right time for a ball to last, or whatever?"   

 

In terms of spectators the response to the pink ball trial was "largely positive and spectators in particular rated the innovation favourably".  Negative responses from that group "largely centred on the traditional preference for Test and first-class cricket to be played during daylight hours with one 'fan' saying: 'why try to fix something that ain’t broke?'"  Sutherland pointed out that the move towards day-night Tests was not to replace the traditional approach, emphasising "we’re not talking about playing the Boxing Day Test at night", but rather to provide greater opportunities for spectators and television viewers when Tests were played outside the peak holiday period.  “I don’t think anyone is any doubt about the commercial appeal of day-night Test cricket, and that fan and spectator access would be clearly improved", he said. 

 

Sutherland's overall view is that "all of those things were a really good learning experience that we need to put together and take back to ball manufacturers, but I don’t see any reason from here why we wouldn’t be continuing to go onwards and upwards with our trials with a view to playing some Test cricket at night".

 

FIRST CLASS MATCH DEFERRED AFTER 

CRASH INJURES PLAYER, KILLS FATHER  

[1330-6421]

 

The first class match between Leicestershire and Derbyshire which was due to get underway yesterday, was deferred until later in the season after a road accident on Friday seriously injured the visitor's first choice wicketkeeper and claimed the life of his father.  The match, which was to have been the two team's opening first class match of the 2014 northern summer, and a friendly game between their respective second XIs that was to start today, have both been postponed as a mark of respect.

 

Derbyshire Keeper Tom Poynton's father Keith died and his twenty-four-year-old son was hospitalised with a suspected fracture and other injuries.  Simon Storey, Derbyshire's chief executive, said in a statement: "We are a small close knit group here and Tom's dad was well known to our players and coaching staff".  "We are still trying to come to terms with the devastating news and at the moment our concerns are solely with Tom and his family at this difficult time".  "We are deeply indebted to the chairman, chief executive and director of cricket at Leicestershire who have supported the decision to postpone the game.  A Leicestershire statement said: "Our thoughts are with Derbyshire at this tragic time".

 

BOYS DIE AFTER TOUCHING POWER 

LINES WHILST RETRIEVING BALLS  

[1330-6422]

 

Two boys were electrocuted and died within an hours of each other in separate cricket-related incidents in the environs of Bangalore on Saturday, according to a number of media reports from the sub-continent yesterday.  Eight-year-old Bharath Narasimhappa went on to a roof at his school in Seegehalli to retrieve a ball but came into contact with a high voltage power line that lay a metre above the school building, then some fifteen kilometres away a short time later whilst trying to reach a ball that had lodged high up in a tree, thirteen-year-old Dinesh Ramesh came into contact with power lines when the branch he was on broke and fell on to the wires.

 

SCOTLAND YARD MEETS WITH 

CAIRNS, INVESTIGATION CONTINUING  

[1330-6423]

 

Former New Zealand player Chris Cairns told Fairfax NZ News on Friday that he met with Scotland Yard investigators in Auckland last week, but that plans by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ASCU) to interview him had been deferred due to the on-going police enquiry.  Cairns said in December, after being linked to a match-fixing probe being conducted by the ICC, that he was unaware as to 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).

 

Cairns said that the meeting with personnel from Scotland Yard last week had been held in New Zealand but that it was cut short because the investigators had to return to the UK, however, he stressed that he would continue cooperating with them through his legal team in Britain.  He had "not been arrested or charged" and maintained he had "nothing to hide and we remain totally committed to doing whatever it takes to prove that via whatever means necessary" (PTG 1323-6381, 29 March 2014).  "'The ICC had also arranged to interview me this week in New Zealand", he continued, but "unfortunately that didn't go ahead, as they requested it be deferred while the Metropolitan Police inquiry is ongoing".

 

According to Fairfax, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan police did not comment on last week's meeting or the nature of the investigation, Cairns himself refusing to divulge the reasons for the meeting. 

 

Cairns and fellow former New Zealand team-mates, Daryl Tuffey and Lou Vincent, who were linked in media reports to an ICC investigation into allegations of match-fixing last December, played together for the Chandigarh franchise in the now defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL).  Cairns left the ICL in 2008 and his departure was the focus of much scrutiny after former Indian cricket powerbroker Lalit Modi alleged on 'Twitter' two years later it was due to match-fixing.  In 2012, Cairns, who strongly denied the allegations, successfully sued Modi for libel in the London High Court, winning around $A160,000 in damages and $A720,000 to cover his legal fees.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,331
Thursday, 10 April 2014

'WISDEN' LAMENTS 'COLONIAL-STYLE DIVIDE 

AND RULE' IN INTERNATIONAL GAME 

[1331-6424]

 

International cricket is set for a future of "colonial-style divide and rule", according to the 2014 and 151st edition of 'Wisden Cricketers' Almanack' which was published yesterday.  In February, nine of the ten full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) agreed on changes to the way world cricket is governed by the International Cricket Council (ICC), handing key roles over the powers and revenue to the sport's so-called "big three" nations, Australia, England and particularly India (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014).

 

According to Wisden's editor Lawrence Booth, who has written about the game for 'The Guardian', 'The Observer' and 'The Sunday Times', and is a regular contributor to 'The Cricketer' magazine, "Cricket is appallingly administered, and is vulnerable to economic exploitation by the country [India] powerful enough to exploit it and the two countries [Australia and England] prepared to lend their plans credibility".  In his assessment: "As India prepare to take their 'central leadership responsibility', international cricket holds its breath"  over the extent and quality of that country's influence.

 

INDIAN CEMENTS CHIEF ATTENDING 

ICC BOARD MEETING  

[1331-6425]

 

Indian Cements' (IC) managing director Narayanswamy Srinivasan may have been forced to stand down as the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), but that hasn't stopped him attending this week's International Cricket Council's (ICC) board meeting, according to an ICC press release that lists attendees issued overnight.  India's Supreme Court last week issued a stand down order to the BCCI for Srinivasan and all IC employees or its associate companies who had links with the board while it looks further into corruption issues that surfaced in last year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series, however, those involved in playing and commentating were allowed to continue their current roles (PTG 1329-6412, 6 April 2014).

 

BCCI interim president Shivlal Yadav, who last week told journalists he would make his own decisions (PTG 1328-6405, 5 April 2014), and secretary Sanjay Patel, are said to have both refused to answer any queries regarding Srinivasan's attendance in Dubai.  Normal practice in the past has been for the BCCI president of the day to attend ICC board meetings as a director, while the secretary attends the world body's second-tier Chief Executives Committee meetings.  

 

Several reports from the sub-continent say the BCCI obtained permission from the Supreme Court for Srinivasan to continue with his ICC responsibilities.  However, the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA), or player's union, last week requested that the ICC side-line Srinivasan from the executive board and stop him from taking over as the ICC chairman in July (PTG 1328-6406, 5 April 2014), a position he is being elevated to as part of the Australia-England-India push to revamp ICC operations (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014).  The ICC itself has remained silent about Srinivasan's removal as BCCI head and participation in its board meeting, limiting itself to a general "no comments at this stage", according to several reports.

 

Reports say that the key focus of yesterday's and today's Dubai meeting, the board's second scheduled quarterly gathering of 2014 and third overall, will be on finalising the new ICC governance arrangements agreed to in principle by the board at a special meeting in Singapore two months ago, changes that include Srinivasan's ICC chairmanship (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014).  Last night's ICC statement about the meeting is limited to saying: "The Board will discuss a range of issues, including reports from the ICC Chief Executives’, Audit, Finance and Commercial Affairs, and Governance Committees" and that the meeting will conclude later today.

 

Concerns about Srinivasan's attendance in Dubai raised by FICA and a number of long-term observers across the cricket-playing world appear to centre on a clause in the ICC's constitution that states "Directors shall not engage in any conduct that in any way denigrates the ICC or harms its public image", and another that says an ICC director "can be removed as a member of the [board]" if: "he is guilty of any dishonesty, gross misconduct or wilful neglect of duty (whether by act or omission); or in the reasonable opinion of the [board], he commits (whether by act or omission) any act which brings or would tend to bring the Council into disrepute; or that he conducts himself in a manner materially adverse to the interests of the [ICC]".

 

However, Srinivasan has not been charged with any IPL-related misdemeanour, and indeed has repeatedly indicated he has not personally been involved in anything inappropriate (PTG 1328-6404, 5 April 2014).  Given that and the obvious clout he has in the international game no one in the ICC system is likely to want to question his attendance on this occasion.  

 

SOUTH AFRICAN SPORTS MINISTER 

LIFTS BLACK PLAYER TARGET    

[1331-6426]

 

South Africa's top national sporting organisations in cricket, rugby, netball, athletics and football, could be "banned from representing [the country] in international events" if black players do not make up at least sixty per cent of teams fielded by those sports at international level.  Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula said last Saturday that it had been decided to increase the current 50-50 quota system to the sixty per cent figure because of a "lack of willingness in implementing transformation, especially the enforcement of quotas".

 

Mbalula was speaking after a meeting that discussed the report of a pilot study into the "status of transformation in the country" since Apartheid ended, saying that failure to implement the new quota system would result in a withdrawal of any form of government funding and support to federations and sporting bodies concerned.  "[We will] withdraw the national colours from any federation(s) who are hell-bent on the current set-up and status quo", said Mbalula in a statement, and his department would also block sponsorship for any sports association that was hostile to transformation, while bidding for and hosting sports events would become illegal without government approval.

 

"We are going to engage and inform rugby and all the other sporting codes that this is something that has got to happen", continued Mbalula, and "[will demand] development plans from the South African Rugby Union, South African Football Association, Cricket South Africa (CSA), Athletics South Africa and Netball South Africa as a matter of urgency and with immediate effect".  Asked if he was worried about resistance from commercial sponsors, Mbalula said "transformation is not going to be easy", but he has not seen "anybody" raise their hands saying it was not doable, but he "would cross that bridge when I get there".

 

CSA spokesman Altaaf Kazi was quoted as saying his organisation was still awaiting a "one-on-one meeting" with Mbalula about the issues raised by the pilot study.  "We are not in a position to comment on the statement as the Minister might want to explain what he meant when he finally meets us", said Kazi.  Last October CSA announced that its professional franchises would be required to include at least one black African in their team line ups, and amateur sides two (PTG 1210-5830, 14 October 2013), down from a proposal two weeks before that of at least two black Africans in every top-level team, and three in second-tier semi-professional provincial sides (PTG 1202-5788, 4 October 2013).  

 

Haroon Lorgat, CSA's chief executive, described that new requirement at the time as an "incentive, not quota based".  "We have a very talented population", he said, and "we have all embraced the need to accelerate transformation".  Black Africans comprise almost eighty per cent of the country's population, but only five black African players have represented South Africa at Test level over the twenty-two years since the country returned to the international fold.  By contrast nine mixed-race and three of Asian origin have been selected for Tests.  

 

CRICKET WELLINGTON BACKS SUGGESTED

'FORTY-NINE PER CENT' SELL OFF    

[1331-6427]

 

Cricket Wellington (CW) strongly supports New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) discussion document that suggests the franchising of its and the country's five other major association sides, according to a FairfaxNZ report.  Last week a 'New Zealand Herald' story said that a "far-reaching" report prepared for NZC's consideration recommends its six major associations sell up to forty-nine per cent of the stake they have in their teams to private investors, as the domestic game there needs "a dramatic overhaul" for it "is under threat" as the country's number one summer sport (PTG 1326-6395, 3 April 2014).

 

CW chief executive Peter Clinton told Fairfax's Hamish Bidwell that he does not want to see domestic cricket's stocks fall any further and would happily sell a forty-nine per cent stake in his team to appropriate private investors.  Bidwell writes that it would take "special investors" to get involved with a product that, as it stands, "makes no money and might not at any time in the future", but Clinton says he won't be "sitting on his hands" about such matters as he would "rather go out there and ask that question than sit here and not ask it at all".

 

Clinton is said to believe in the "strength of [CW's] product" and that it's well followed, if not well attended, but without outside investment and expertise, he fears domestic cricket will be watched by fewer and fewer people and continue to have to be fully funded by NZC.  "The discussion paper would have [CW's three sides] as they are, across all formats, but the idea would be for them to be a fully professional sports team which has its own governance and manages its own internal budget and looks after itself and its strategic objectives", he said.

 

Bidwell says that monies to operate CW's first class, one day and Twenty20 sides are separate from those of its amateur arm but it all "comes out of the same pot".  That means that "when you take money from NZC and allocate it to [the three senior sides], you do it at the expense of the kids playing school cricket".  A stand alone franchise, bankrolled by private owners and NZC, would enable CW to do away with what Clinton called "internal conflicts" about who gets what.

 

CA SIGNS UP TO ANTI-HOMOPHOBIA CAMPAIGN  

[1331-6428]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday joined the Australian Football League, Australia Rugby Union, National Rugby League and Football Federation of Australia in committing to the elimination of homophobia in sport. All five of Australia's major professional sports have agreed to tackle discrimination related to sexual orientation through the 'Anti-Homophobia and Inclusion Framework' that is hoping to implement anti-homophobia and inclusion policies by the end of August this year. 

 

Nathan Lyon, Alex Blackwell and CA Executive General Manager Media, Communications and Marketing Ben Amarfio, represented Australian Cricket yesterday alongside those and past and present players from other sports to pledge their support for the framework.  Amarfio said: "We aspire for cricket to be a sport for all Australians [and] that means creating an environment that recognises, accepts and celebrates our differences".  "Cricket should not only be played within the Laws but also the 'Spirit of the Game' including respect for teammates and opponents alike", and "It should go without saying that all athletes deserve to be treated equally and judged on their performances and contribution to their sport, not their sexual orientation". 

 

Australian women's team vice-captain Alex Blackwell called it "a really significant day to see sport unite on this important issue".  "I'm proud that my sport, cricket, is taking a leadership position in stamping out homophobia in sport".  "It's about cricket creating a welcoming environment for all sections of our community regardless of race, gender, religious beliefs or sexuality [and thus is] a really positive step".

 

FOOTBALL GIVES CRICKET THE BOOT  

[1331-6429]

 

The North Adelaide Australian Rules Football Club is standing by its decision to "kick" junior cricketers off Prospect Oval midway through a match last Friday even though the ground had been booked in advanced by the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA), says a report by journalist Kurtis Eichler in the 'City Northern Messenger'.  A football club official stopped the hour-long matches thirty minutes early so that its players could used the ground for a training session, a move that saw what was the final round of the season in the twelve team, eight-a-side Prospect District 'Kanga' Cricket primary school competition, cut short. 

North Adelaide chief executive Greg Edwards said the club had “every right to stop the game immediately", but "as the kids had travelled to the oval, we thought it best to let them play for [thirty] minutes, even though Friday night was our last training session before our first match".  Walkerville Primary School coach Vernon Sawers said the early finish “ruined our last day of play”.  “It is very important for young children to get a chance to bat and to bowl and this makes it very difficult", he continued, and it's "very hard to explain that to an eight or nine year old boy".

 

A SACA spokeswoman is quoted by Eichler as saying that it would review the arrangement to avoid future clashes.  “In previous years, the competition had been played into April without an issue", said a spokeswoman.

 

PUNTER 'SHOCKED' TO DEATH AFTER 

BET ON WT20C FINAL GOES WRONG  

[1331-6430]

 

A Sri Lankan fruit seller suffered a "massive" heart attack and died after he lost a $A325 bet that India would win Sunday's World T20 Championship (WT20C) final in Dhaka, said Colombo police on Monday. SP Kumara placed the 40,000 Rupee bet on the eve of the match, wrongly predicting Sri Lanka would repeat its failure at three previous international tournaments and lose to India. 

 

A police official told reporters that Kumara had gone to a bookmaker in Gampaha some twenty kilometres north-east of Colombo and placed "a fairly large bet" and watched the match on television there.  "When Sri Lanka won the match, he could not believe it", said the police spokesman, for "It was the second time he had backed the wrong team [for he had] bet $A1,100 on Sri Lanka to clinch the last [WT20C] title in 2012, only to see his home country lose to the West Indies". 

 

Kumara is said to have collapsed and after admission to hospital in Gampaha he was pronounced dead. An inquest on Monday was told that the man had no known medical condition, and reports say police "suspect the shock of losing the bet triggered the heart attack".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,332
Friday, 11 April 2014

'CHALLENGE' SYSTEM TO OPEN 

DOOR TO TEST CRICKET

[1332-6431]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has paved the way for its second-tier Associate member countries to earn Test status by introducing what it calls the 'Test Challenge', an event that will take place every four years between lowest ranked Test team and winner of the world body's first class rated Intercontinental Cup (IC) series for second-level nations.  The decision, taken at the ICC's board meeting in Dubai on Wednesday-Thursday, means at the current time either Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, the two lowest-ranked Test teams in ICC rankings, will have to play the likes of Afghanistan, The Netherlands, Ireland or the United Arab Emirates, for Test status. 

 

The ICC said in a media release last night that the 'Test Challenge' proposal is for tenth ranked Test side on 31 December 2017, or at the conclusion of any series in progress at that time, to play two five-day matches at home and two five-day matches away against the winner of the 2015-17 IC, with the inaugural Challenge scheduled to take place during 2018.  In addition to the 2015-17 IC and the 2018 Challenge, a second IC is to be held from 2019-21 with the second Test Challenge listed for 2022.  Discussions on making Test status available to a wider circle of nations has been underway for some time (PTG 1282-6176, 3 February 2014).

 

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson was quoted in the release as saying: "The ICC Test Challenge now opens the door for Associate Members to play Test cricket and in doing so gives even greater context to the Intercontinental Cup which will now be a pathway to Test cricket".  It would appear that the status of a current Test playing nation will not change if it looses to a contender from the lower level.  Other aspects of the new system, such as how the new nation maintains its Test status, are less clear.

 

BCB PLANS TO LAUNCH BPL 

APPEAL ONE MONTH ON 

[1332-6432]

 

Two players who were cleared by a Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) anti-corruption tribunal last month of match-fixing in last year's Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20 tournaments, Mosharraf Hossainand and Mahbubul Alam, will not be allowed to take part in the second half of the BCB's national first class competition which starts tomorrow, as the BCB plans to appeal the tribunal's decision.  

 

The tribunal acquitted six players and officials on charges of match-fixing-related offences during BPL-2 in January-February 2013, but found four others guilty of corruption (PTG 1303-6283, 2 March 2014), but as yet the latter group have not been given any censure.  Jalal Yunus, the chairman of the BCB's media committee, told 'Dhaka Tribune' on Wednesday that "The board is planning to appeal", "it might happen in a day or two [and the pair] won't be able to play the National Cricket League [as a result]".  The players' lawyer old the 'Tribune' that the BCB can appeal but it won't affect [last month's] judgment".

 

CANTERBURY WORKING ON ITS 

'PRECARIOUS FINANCIAL POSITION'  

[1332-6433]

 

New Zealand's Canterbury Cricket Association (CCA) has decided not to go ahead with a proposal to impose a levy of $NZ17 on each adult player and $NZ12 on juniors, a move the Christchurch newspaper 'The Press' says was one of a number of options considered to help the CCA improve its "precarious financial position".  CCA chief executive Lee Germon was quoted as saying that his organisation wanted to raise their "near-empty cash reserves up to $NZ400,000 by July 2017", but that target has now been reduced to $NZ200,000; however, "that doesn't mean we need to stop when we get to $200[K], but $400[K] would have meant a cost to the game".

 

'The Press' says that the CCA's books "weren't as pretty as they could be" for a number of reasons, including increased costs of the development of Hagley Oval and an Environment Court hearing last year drained the association's reserves "effectively to nil".  New Zealand Cricket (NZC), which is facing its own challenges (PTG 1326-6395, 3 April 2014), is also said to have proposed reduced funding for its six major associations, and the CCA no longer receives the special $NZ20,000 a year "earthquake grant" it has been given since the tragic February 2011 quake that took 185 lives.

 

Germon said that feedback about the proposed levy from clubs and associations in its region.had been mixed with "some understanding the need for an increased income, but not wanting levies, some all for it and some wholeheartedly against it".  The clubs and associations 'The Press' spoke to were largely against it with one club representative "fuming and refusing to enforce or collect the levy had it been imposed", but Germon emphasised the levies were "just one of a raft of options" and the board would continue to investigate other revenue streams.  

 

Less money coming into to the CCA means less being spent through the district associations and sub-associations which deliver the game at grass roots level.  While such players aren't being asked to pay more, the association still needs to improve its financial position and the board will not sign off any budget that returns anything less than a $NZ50,000 profit each year.  The board "decided we still need reserves, but not at the expense of the product we're meant to be delivering", said Germon.

 

Meanwhile, Otago Cricket Association (OCA) chief executive Ross Dykes told the 'Otaga Daily Times' (ODT) that domestic cricket in NZ "is not the moribund scene some are suggesting", although he concedes it "is in need of rejuvenation".  Dykes was responding to reports NZC is reviewing the way it functions, suggestions such as selling up to a forty-nine per cent of teams to private entities, something his counterpart at Cricket Wellington supports (PTG 1331-6427, 10 April 2014).  "In principle, [the OCA] thinks it is very timely to have a review of domestic cricket", said Dykes, what he calls "the big challenge" being attracting more people to watch domestic cricket. Crowds for Otago's home one-day games "have plummeted in recent years", says the 'ODT' story, and domestic Twenty20 games are "also not attracting people in the same numbers".

 

AT LEAST ONE SPOT OPENS 

ON CA EMERGING GROUP  

[1332-6434]

 

A spot appears to have opened on Cricket Australia's (CA) emerging umpires group with the retirement from representative cricket of former first class umpire Richard Patterson, his aim apparently being to focus on his duties as Victoria's State Director of Umpiring, a role he took up last August (PTG 1159-5611, 1 August 2013).  A further vacancy will be created on that nominally four-man group should another of its current members, Greg Davidson of New South Wales, be elevated by CA over the winter period to its National Umpires Panel (NUP) for 2014-15. 

 

Patterson, who turns 48 today, stood in twenty-two first class games in the period from 1999-2004 but then fell out of favour with the selectors.  He returned to senior cricket several years ago in an attempt to again make the NUP, however, appointments given to him by CA suggest he was never able to get much traction in that regard.  The career of Davidson, 43, has gone the other way in that time with CA giving him debuts at both first class and List A level during the 2013-14 austral summer (PTG 1221-5880, 30 October 2013).

 

In addition to Davidson and Patterson, last season's CA emerging umpires group consisted of a second Victorian Shawn Craig, 40, a former first class player who is being fast-tracking into umpiring, and Tony Wilds, 52, a second New South Welshman.  Analysis of CA appointments over the last six months suggests Phillip Gillespie of Victoria and Ben Treloar of New South Wales may be the current front runners to join them, they plus Craig Hoffman of Queensland and South Australia's Craig Thomas being given fourth umpire roles in CA's domestic Twenty20 series last austral summer (PTG 1255-6057, 17 December 2013).  Others on the fringes appear to be Canberra-based Simon Lightbody of NSW and Jamie Mitchell of Tasmania, the latter having Melbourne-based CA Umpire High Performance Panel member David Tallala travel to Hobart to observe him during that state's club grand final two weeks ago.

 

If Davidson is moved on to the twelve-man NUP over the next few months, and assuming CA keeps that group at its current size, the question arises as to just who of the currently panel would be retired to make way for him; Ash Barrow, 51, of Victoria and the long-serving Ian Lock, 55, of Western Australia being possibilities.  Perhaps that will become clearer, at least for panel members, this weekend, for they are reported to have been called to Melbourne for a meeting tomorrow.  To date no news on just what the focus of that gathering is has surfaced.   

 

Some members of the NUP, probably its top six-reated officials, Simon Fry, John Ward, Mick Martell, Paul Wilson, Gerard Abood and Geoff Joshua, will be busy in July-August for CA, along with Cricket South Africa and the Board of Control for Cricket in India, have scheduled games for their 'A' sides across a combined total of twenty-four days of one-day and four-day cricket in Brisbane, Darwin and Townsville in that period.  As it stands at the moment though, the opportunities for emerging group members over the southern hemisphere winter appear very limited.  


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,333
Monday, 14 April 2014

MELBOURNE MEETING EXPECTED TO

RATIFY ICC GOVERNANCE CHANGES 

[1333-6435]

 

Amendments to the constitutional of the International Cricket Council (ICC) that will formalise changes to its governance and financial arrangements, the so-called 'Big 3' push of earlier this year, are to be put before the Full Council for ratification at the ICC's Annual Conference in Melbourne at the end of June; a move that is seen as many as a mere formality.  Nine of the ICC's ten full member countries agreed to a set of resolutions that summarised the changes at a special board meeting held in Singapore eight weeks ago, and its second quarterly meeting of the year in Dubai last Wednesday-Thursday authorised the drawing up of the necessary constitutional amendments. 

 

The Dubai meeting also agreed a long-term work plan to support the implementation of those board resolutions which do not require constitutional change.  One of the "cornerstones" of the new financial model is an extended Future Tours Program (FTP) which will now run until 2023.  ICC chief executive David Richardson said via a press release that: “The FTP is a very important piece of work as it gives members long-term certainty in relation to both their playing schedule and financial planning".  "Significant progress has been made but there is still work to be done to develop a balanced calendar of tours and finalise these agreements".”

 

Amongst other matters considered this week was a "general update" on anti-corruption and integrity (PTG 1333-6438 below), and reports from the ICC's Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee on commercial rights matters post-2015, online piracy, event forecasts and audited financial statements for 2013.

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the only national board not to agreed to the changes agreed to in Singapore, said in a statement on Thursday that after receiving assurances of international cricketing tours, including those by India, it will "conditionally support" revised ICC resolutions that cover the world body's new governance structure and financial model.  The PCB wants to ensure its team will be a part of bilateral series against all ICC Full Members, including India, over the next eight years.  

 

Last week PCB chairman Najam Sethi said his organisation was "near bankruptcy" (PTG 1329-6415, 6 April 2014), but more recent reports say it could earn an estimated 30 billion Rupees ($A330m) in the next eight years from a full set of bilateral agreements.  

 

SINGLE CHANGE TO WICB

SENIOR UMPIRES PANEL 

[1333-6436]

 

Umpiring appointments by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for its 'domestic' first class season this year indicate only one change has been made to its twelve-man Senior Umpires Panel (SUP), London-born but now Jamaica-based Chris Taylor replacing long-serving Jamaican Norman Malcolm who announced his retirement in February (PTG 1291-6223, 13 February 2014).  Taylor, 34, was the only West Indian to make his debut during the twenty-one home-and-away matches played in the lead up to a top four playoff series over the next few weeks.

 

A total of fourteen umpires worked on-field during the first class season, the twelve SUP members plus exchangees David Millns of England and Tanvir Ahmed of Bangladesh, all fourteen standing in three matches each.   They were supported by fifteen match referees, six of whom looked after two matches and the others one each, all in their home cities or regions, plus nineteen reserve umpires, two working in two matches each and the rest having single games.  Millns' three games were in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, and Ahmed's in Trinidad, Antigua and Barbados.

 

In addition to Taylor the SUP is made up of: four umpires from Trinidad and Tobago, Zahid Bassarath, Peter Nero, Danesh Ramdhanie and Joel Wilson; Patrick Gustard and Verdayne Smith (Jamaica); Gregory Brathwaite and Leslie Reifer Jr (Barbados), Nigel Duguid and Nandkumar Shivsankar (Guyana); plus Lennox Abraham (Windward Islands - Dominica).

 

INDIAN POLICE TO ESTABLISH 

NEW SPORTS FRAUD UNIT 

[1333-6437]

 

India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has set up a dedicated Sports Frauds Investigation Unit (SFIO) to tackle corruption in sports including match-fixing, according to a report in Saturday's 'Hindustani Times'.  The newspaper quoted a "CBI source" as saying that the establishment of the SFIO is likely to be announced by the Bureau tomorrow, twenty-four hours before the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League is due to start in the United Arab Emirates.

 

The source indicated that the SFIO will be part of the CBI's Special Crime Branch and that it will act as a "resource base and help other agencies in training and education regarding the menace of corruption in sports".  It will coordinate with other law-enforcement agencies around the world, including Interpol, and also liaise with sports federations and state police forces to build capabilities to tackle match-fixing and other corrupt practices in sports, said the source.  The unit is also expected to "work closely" with India's Department of Sports (DoS) in order to "help frame policies that would build deterrence in the system". 

 

The DoS is said to be "in the process" of finalising a [Parliamentary] bill to criminalise sport frauds that will aid enforcement agencies including the CBI curb corruption in sports", something authorities on the sub-continent have been looking at for some time.    The Sport's Ministry recently wrote to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to point out the responsibility the BCCI has to deal with betting and match-fixing during this year's IPL, and asked that the board provide it with details of the "mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure [such] unethical practices" are not repeated this year (PTG 1329-6413, 6 April 2014).

 

BANNED BOWLER TO RETURN 

TO DOMESTIC GAME EARLY?

[1333-6438]

 

Banned Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Aamer will not be eligible for next year’s World Cup even if he returns early to domestic cricket later this year, according to comments made by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi in Lahore on Friday.  Aamer, 21, was banned for a minimum five years by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2011 for spot-fixing during a Test match against England at Lord’s the year before (PTG 854-4176, 2 November 2011).

 

Sethi told a news conference that Pakistan had pushed for a reduction in Aamer’s suspension because of his age, and that under amended ICC anti-corruption regulations, while are likely to come into force in June, his ban at domestic level could be reduced by twelve months, but at international level it will still have to run its course.  The idea behind the move is said to be to help the player get ready to play international cricket as soon as the ban period is over, rather than wait for the ban to end before he can start training. 

 

Salman Butt, Ameer's captain who was also banned by the ICC over the Lord's Test along with bowler Mohammad Asif, is hopeful Sethi will "do for other players" what he is doing for Ameer.  Butt said on Saturday that he had been to the PCB "at least 10-15 times" to see what it could do for him in terms of rehabilitation, but was yet to receive any positive response.  "I'm available 24-7,  I come to the ground every day, and as long as I am fit I am ready to play", said Butt.

 

Meanwhile, former Pakistan and Essex spinner Danish Kaneria said during an interview with the BBC Asian Network on the weekend that the England and Wales Cricket Board's decision to ban him for life in 2013 from playing the sport.  Kaneria, who has already lost several appeals to overturn his ban, started a fresh bid in the High Court’s Commercial Court on Friday.  The ECB censure means Kaneria is ineligible to play cricket under any authority affiliated with the ICC, including Pakistan, which is effectively a world-wIde ban.

 

LLOYD SET FOR 15,000 KM 

UMPIRE MEETING 'COMMUTE'  

[1333-6439]

 

International Cricket Council (ICC) umpire committee member David Lloyd said in his 'Sky Sports' blog on Thursday that he's "just found out' that he's going to Dubai "for the day" at the end of the month to attend an "ICC Umpires meeting" which will be headed up by to world body's Umpires and Referees Manager Vince Van Der Bijl.  Lloyd, a former first class player, coach and umpire and now well known as a television commentator, does not indicate precise what will be discussed for a meeting that will involve him in a 15,000 km round-trip commute from Lancashire. however, it is possible it involves ICC Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) contract issues for the 2014-15 year.

 

EUP members are normally engaged on two year contracts which commence in July, an arrangement that means the ICC only has to consider appointments, and process documentation, for six of the twelve panel members each year.  No details as just which of the current six are up for contract renewal this year, although at least one new member is expected to join the panel this year, because of the departure of New Zealand umpire Tony Hill, a potential second being Australian Steve Davis who turned 62 last week.  Three men appear to be possibles for elevation, Indian Sundarum Ravi, Sri Lankan Ranmore Martinecz, and 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand (PTG 1311-6325, 12 March 2014).   

 

Apart from Van Der Bijl and Lloyd, the other members of the umpire selection group used to be the ICC's now chief executive David Richardson and former Indian Test player and umpire Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan.  Whether ICC cricket operations manager Geoff Allardice, who is Van Der Bijl's boss, is now a member of the committee in place of Richardson is not known.  It may not be all work for Lloyd though because he finished his blog with the comment: "If there's time I might just take in an [Indian Premier League] match".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,334
Wednesday, 16 April 2014

IPL SKIPPERS SIGN 'SPIRIT 

OF CRICKET' PLEDGE  

[1334-6440]

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) announced yesterday that this year's Indian Premier League (IPL), which is due to get underway in Abu Dhabi later today, will once again promote its 'Spirit of Cricket' message.  The IPL, now in its seventh year, is to "champion" the Spirit of Cricket' message "to new audiences worldwide, with some of the game’s most exciting players endorsing the 'Play Hard, Play Fair' message".

 

The MCC says that at a "gala dinner" held last night on the eve of the opening match, each of the eight captains signed a pledge declaring that the IPL "will be played according to 'Spirit of Cricket' [tenants]".  John Stephenson, the MCC's Head of Cricket, who attended last night's event, said via a press release: "The IPL is one of the most popular and exciting competitions in world cricket, and we are delighted that each captain will promote the 'Spirit of Cricket' message this year [for] the campaign highlights respect for everyone involved in the game, from supporters to players, umpires to coaches".

 

Stephenson said that the "MCC believes that cricket should be played hard and that it should be played to win, but not at all costs".  "To have players of the calibre of those involved in the IPL support the campaign is fantastic for the Club as we continue to promote the ‘Play Hard, Play Fair’ message across the cricket world".  Sunil Gavaskar, Interim IPL President, chipped in saying: "MCC Spirit of Cricket is a vitally important campaign that I am delighted the IPL is backing again this year".  "Some of the biggest names in cricket are taking part in the tournament and their support for the ‘Play Hard, Play Fair’ message will be very impactful [sic] for spectators across the world".

 

Following the last meeting of the MCC's World Cricket Committee (WCC) in January, the WCC described the IPL as "a powerful vehicle" via which 'Spirit of Cricket' issues can be promoted, and as such suggested the MCC should "enhance its partnership with the IPL".  The committee said it "believed 'Spirit of Cricket' concepts "can make a significant contribution to the [IPL] and improve the way the game is played" (PTG 1270-6125, 16 January 2014).  The Club said at the time it was "reviewing its 'Spirit of Cricket' message", but as yet no details of just what that involves have been made public (PTG 1328-6409, 5 April 2014).    

 

BOWDEN IN THE MIX FOR IPL-7  

[1334-6441]

 

South Africa's Marais Erasmus and and England's Richard Illingworth are to stand in the opening match of this year's seventh Indian Premier League (IPL-7) series which is to be played in Abu Dhabi tonight, New Zealand's 'Billy' Bowden being the television official, Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe the match referee, and local Krisnaraj Srinath the fourth umpire.  For Pycroft its his fifth-straight IPL tournament, Bowden, Erasmus and Srinath their fourth, while Illingworth will be taking part in the world's richest domestic Twenty20 tournament for the first time. 

 

Over the last six years the IPL has given on-field roles to thirty-nine contracted umpires, seventeen from India, six were Australian, five South African, there were three New Zealanders, two each from England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and one each from the West Indies and Zimbabwe.  Sixteen of the thirty-nine either were, or have subsequently become, members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP).

 

Australian Simon Taufel, now the ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager (UPTM), with fifty-five games, has stood in the most number of IPL matches, including during the 2013 version of the event.  His UTPM duties though include special responsibility for Indian umpiring, so just how that mixes with IPL contract issues is not clear.  Last year when he had the "dual role as an umpire and umpire coach" and Indian umpires subsequently came to the fore in the event much more than in previous seasons (PTG 1088-5295, 12 April 2013); standing in the final games of the event for the first time (PTG 1111-5407, 27 May 2013).

 

Indian media reports last year stated that the IPL pays on-field umpires the equivalent of $A3,100 for each match they stand in which suggests Taufel, who stood in twelve matches last year including the final, could have earned a minimum of $A37,000 for on-field work alone, plus most likely a five figure sum as a retainer that included extras associated with his IPL umpire coaching role.  

 

Others involved last year, such as Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka (thirteen matches on-field), Pakistanis Asad Rauf (fourteen) and Aleem Dar (eleven), Nigel Llong of England and Rod Tucker of Australia (both seven), all of whom were then EUP members, would have each received cheques between $A22,000 and $A40,000 for their contributions on-field alone.  They are each reported to earn around a third of a million dollars each year as from the ICC as EUP members, IPL duties being a bit of icing on the cake.

 

SAUDI UMPIRES UNDERTAKE 

LEVEL 1 TRAINING   

[1334-6442]

 

A total of forty-nine aspiring Saudi Arabian umpires took part in six-day Level I courses conducted by Asian Cricket Council (ACC) umpire trainer Mahboob Shah in the country's capital Riyadh earlier this month.  ACC Development Officer for Saudi Arabia Iqbal Sikander said via a press release that: “Organised cricket has really grown in Saudi Arabia in the past two years, and the regions are competing with each other in a manner which raises standards of players and officials’ all over the country".

 

The day after the course in Riyadh ended Mahboob Shah, a Pakistani who stood in twenty-eight Tests and thirty-two One Day Internationals in the period from 1975-97, made the 961 km journey to Jeddah to train umpires in the west of the kingdom.  At the end of the course a Twenty20 match was played during which all the candidates there took times standing in the game as part of an experience and assessment process.

 

TOP FOUR TEST SIDES 

IN THE MONEY   

[1334-6443]

 

The South African, Australian, Indian and England Test sides are being paid a total of $A1.3 million as the world's top four ranked Test playing nations over the last twelve months.  While South Africa finished on top and received $A506,000, Australia claimed second place and will be awarded US$394,000, while India and England received $A282,000 and $A170,000 for finishing third and fourth respectively.

 

During the twelve months to the end of March, Australia played thirteen Tests (seven wins), England twelve (five wins), South Africa seven (three wins) and India six (two wins).   International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson congratulated South Africa on its achievement and said that "With the top eight Test sides closely matched, and every side aiming to claim the coveted number-one Test position, I’m looking forward to another exciting, challenging and competitive season, which will go on to strengthen Test cricket’s reputation as the most enduring and respected format".

 

South Africa's cheque for $A506,000 as the top nation is up from the $A475,000 that applied last year which in turn was a significant jump from the $A186,000 for the number one team before that.  The ICC says that the top side at the end of the coming year will receive $A533,000 and the second, third and fourth ranked teams $A415,000, $A298,000 and $A181,000; sums that total $A1.47m, a 13 per cent increase on the year just ended. 

 

Just how the respective national boards distribute ranking monies received by them, and whether any of it flows to support community-based levels of the game where Test players originally hailed from, is difficult to determine.  

 

PCB OFFICIAL REPORTED TO HAVE 

LOOKED ON AS KANERIA PLAYS 

[1334-6444]

 

Reports from Karachi yesterday say that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) "is likely to face some questions from the International Cricket Council" (ICC) after one of its senior officials was seen at a three-match exhibition event played in the United States last weekend in which banned leg-spinner Danish Kaneria played.  Kaneria, who is again appealing the life time ban imposed on him by the England and Wales Cricket Board for alleged spot-fixing in the London High Court (PTG 1333-6438, 14 April 2014), is said to have been invited to take part in the Houston event even though his is a world-wide ban.

 

Several Pakistan Test players, including Nasir Jamshed, Fawad Alam, Wahab Riaz and Abdul Razzaq  are said to have featured in the 'Friendship Twenty20 Series' in which Kaneria is reported to have taken several wickets, matches the PCB's Marketing Director Badar Rafai is said to have attended. Pictures of Kaneria with other players and Rafi in a group photograph are said to have "gone viral on social networks".  An unnamed PCB official in Lahore is quoted as saying that: "We don't know anything about these matches but obviously we are looking into it because Kaneria's presence in these matches has to be questioned".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,335
Friday, 18 April 2014


COURT REJECTS SRINIVASAN'S REQUEST 

TO RETURN, IPL PROBE CONTINUING

[1335-6445]

 

India's Supreme Court rejected a plea by the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) suspended president Narayanaswami Srinivasan to reinstate him to that position on Wednesday, saying he had effectively turned a blind eye to allegations of wrongdoing in last year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series.  The court ordered him to stand down from the position three weeks ago, so that a "fair and independent" investigation can be conducted into IPL spot-fixing and betting matters, a view it reiterated this week (PTG 1323-6378, 29 March 2014)..  

 

Part of the court's reasoning is said to be that the report of a three-man, four-month-long investigation commissioned by the court, part of which remains "sealed", had listed Srinivasan amongst thirteen people who needed to be investigated.  That was the first public indication his name was included in the "sealed" section, "twelve allegations" apparently having been laid against him.  Previously, media stories have suggested the names of six prominent “Indian capped” players, including one who is allegedly part of the current team, are in the sealed section (PTG 1321-6370, 27 March 2014 ).    

 

Precisely why Srinivasan was named has not been made public, but the court said this week he "knew about, but did not take seriously", allegations of IPL corruption last year.  The BCCI did set up its own two-man committee to look into such matters, but it found no wrongdoing by senior cricket officials or IPL owners over the scandal, including Srinivasan and his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan (PTG 1159-5609, 1 August 2013); however, the latter who has since been indicted for IPL betting-related activities (PTG 1289-6212, 11 February 2014).

 

Last June the Bombay High Court charged the BCCI with having a conflict of interest in setting up its two-member IPL inquiry panel.  That court later found that panel "illegal" and "unconstitutional" (PTG 1159-5609, 1 August 2013), a judgement that eventually led to the matter going up to the Supreme Court. 

 

 

Srinivasan, who is due to take over as chairman of the International Cricket Council in July (PTG 1324-6386, 31 March 2014), had an affidavit filed with the court on Tuesday that questioned his removal from the top post at the board and asked for his return, saying he was being unfairly blamed for corruption allegations that have hit the IPL.

 

The affidavit is reported to have said in part that he is "highly aggrieved by the unfair and unsubstantiated allegations made against me in the course of [the court's] hearing [into IPL matters]".  He went on to say that he was "personally not aware of the reason why this Honorable Court orally expressed that I should not continue as [BCCI President]".

 

According to Srinivasan's affidavit "there is no provision in the BCCI Constitution for an interim President" (PTG 1323-6378, 29 March 2014), and "my term as BCCI President ends in September and I should be allowed to complete it [as] I'm not under any inquiry or probe, [and there is] no conclusive evidence against me". 

 

Srinivasan, who is regarded by most observers as the most powerful man in world cricket because of India's massive financial clout, also made reference to the Supreme Court's order that employees of India Cements, of which he is the managing director, should be removed from BCCI positions (PTG 1322-6374, 28 March 2014), calling that "unfair" for it "tarnishes [them] in the eyes of the public".

 

The Supreme Court hearing into IPL matters is set to resume next Tuesday, issues to be examined then including the amended clause in the BCCI constitution that allowed Srinivasan's Indian Cements to own a team in the IPL as well him being sent as a BCCI nominee to ICC meetings.  Prior to that amendment being passed BCCI officials were not permitted to own or be involved with IPL teams.  The BCCI has also been asked to provide details on whether it now plans to conduct a probe into the allegations contained in the report it commissioned.

 

Several Indinan state cricket associations have written to interim BCCI president Shivlal Yadav over the last few days requesting the board meet before the court reconvenes on Tuesday.  Rajasthan Cricket Association secretary KK Sharma questioned the manner in which the BCCI's counsel at the court's hearings was taking instructions from "certain individuals" as the issues "have never been discussed at a board meeting".

 

FINE, BAN HANDED SKIPPER FOR 

SHOWING 'SERIOUS DISSENT'  

[1335-6446]

 

Dhaka Metro captain Mahmudullah has been fined his full match fee and given a one-match suspension for "showing serious dissent" at an umpire’s decision during his side's first class National Cricket League game match against Khulna at Cox’s Bazar last Tuesday.

 

His indescretion occurred in the thirteenth over of Dhaka Metro's second innings on day three of the match on Monday, Mahmudullah throwing his helmet and batting gloves near the boundary rope while returning to the dressing room after being given out caught.  Reports say he was then seen to kick his helmet and according to a Bangladesh Cricket Board statement also used abusive language "in full view of the spectators, cricketers and match officials".

 

The charge against him was laid by the two on-field umpires Masudur Rahman and Mahfuzur Rahman who were standing in their twenty-eighth and sixtieth first class matches respectively.  After the game ended on Tuesday, Mahmudullah admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Akhtar Ahmad.

 

NEWS AGENCIES BOYCOTT IPL OVER 

'EDITORIAL FREEDOM' ISSUES  

[1335-6447]

 

A number of well known international news agencies have decided against covering this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) due to the exclusion of some photo agencies from covering matches, organisers of the event wanting editors to use images taken by their own official photographers.  Thomson Reuters, Agence France-Press and Associated Press are amongst those who have sent no reporters or photographers to the tournament, which began on Wednesday, as a protest against what they say is the IPL's "limit on editorial freedom".

 

The photo agencies, including Getty Images and Action Images, supply publishers of editorial newspapers and websites around the world with images from sporting events in numerous countries without problems, but have been excluded from covering the seventh edition of the IPL following a disagreement regarding the commercialisation of images.

 

A spokesman for the News Media Coalition (NMC), an international body that monitors threats to editorial operations, told journalists that the IPL's policy is "counter-productive and will lead to cricket fans being denied the varied and independent coverage they would expect from such reputable news sources".  

 

"Between them news agencies reach hundreds of thousands of publishing entities which are seen by millions of readers [and] that's the value of getting the news media on-side, to the benefit of team franchises, players and sponsors", said the spokesman.  He concluded with: "International news and photo agencies were able to cover the first IPL tournaments including the one in South Africa and we do not believe there should be an obstacle for the IPL 7 or other Indian cricket events".

 

UMPIRES 'ANGRY' AT ASSOCIATION'S 

PROPOSED 'TAKE OVER' OF UMPIRING

[1335-6448]

 

Members of the Warrnambool Cricket Umpires Association (WCUA) in south-west Victoria are reported to have reacted angrily to news the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) wants to take charge of umpiring next austral summer, according to a report in Thursday's 'Warrnambool Standard'.  In a sign of their displeasure, WCUA members agreed on Tuesday to terminate WDCA chairman Nick Frampton’s membership of their body.

 

The WDCA’s proposal would see it take control of umpire recruitment, development and match appointments from next season, and recruit a new umpiring manager, a $A4000-a-year position, to implement the program.  The WCUA currently looks after all of those aspects of the game in the Warrnambool region. 

 

WCUA president Charlie Rivett told the 'Standard' his organisation "has been going for 75 years as an independent body and we wish to stay that way" .  It plans to send letters to all WDCA clubs highlighting its point of view, and Rivett  says he will wait for club responses before convening another meeting of his members to discuss the matter.  "The clubs actually run the WDCA", he says, and "a few of [them] have [already] said that we should be independent". 

 

Frampton, who was awaiting correspondence from the WCUA, said his association had taken a proactive stance towards umpiring.  “There was an issue and we need to fix it" and it is not an “us-versus-them battle“, continued Frampton, however, "at the end of the day we are responsible for cricket in the region".

 

FORMER SKIPPER REFUSES PCB POSTS, CITES

'EX-PLAYERS TAINTED BY CORRUPTION'

[1335-6449]

 

Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif said on Tuesday that he turned down the job of chief national selector with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) because he could not work with "ex-players tainted by corruption".  Corruption, match-fixing and spot-fixing allegations have dogged Pakistani cricket for two decades, but the now 45-year-old Latif famously blew the whistle on match-fixing as a player in 1994 and 1995, 

 

Latif told journalists in Karachi that "I have my principles, which do not allow me to work with players who were punished for match-fixing in the past".  He refused to name anyone but reports suggest he appeared to be referring to former team-mate, leg-spinner  Mushtaq Ahmed, who is said to have been offered a role in the national cricket academy.  

 

Ahmed was among six Pakistani internationals fined by a judicial commission in May 2000 as a result of Latif's allegations.  A commission led by Lahore high court judge Malik Qayyum later also censured Ahmed and recommended he not be given any office of responsibility in the team or on the board.  England employed Ahmed as a spin bowling coach in 2010, reportedly despite advice from the International Cricket Council that it not do so.

 

"Any players suspected or punished in the past have no business working for the PCB in any capacity, and since I know that more than one player were offered jobs in the PCB I stayed away from it", said Latif, who also refused the role as head of the anti-corruption unit in the PCB.  While he "wanted to purge the game in Pakistan, when I saw that unwanted elements were there I turned down the job".

 

Pakistan is the country worst-hit by match-fixing in cricket, with three of their top players, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Ameer currently serving five-year bans for spot-fixing (PTG 1333-6438, 14 April 2014).  Leg-spinner Danish Kaneria is serving a life ban imposed in 2012 by the England and Wales Cricket Board for spot-fixing in a county match, although that apparently did not stop him playing and mixing with senior players and a PCB official in the United States last weekend (PTG 1334-6444, 16 April 2014).

 

THROWING OF STONES, FIRING 

OF BLANKS, STOP PLAY

[1335-6450]

 

A "minor scuffle" between players during a match in the Uttar Pradesh city of Meerut is said to have "turned ugly" on Wednesday when team members and spectators "hurled stones and fired blanks" at each other.  More than half-a-dozen youths are said to have been injured in the clash before police arrived "and resorted to force to disperse the warring mobs", after which the match was abandoned.

 

'NO SECURITY PROBLEMS IN 

PAKISTAN', CLAIMS ACC CHIEF

[1335-6451]

 

Ashraful Haque, the chief executive of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) says he has no security concerns in Pakistan and called on the country's cricket authorities to restore the confidence of the game by bringing back international cricket.  The country has not hosted any serious international cricket since a terrorist attack on vehicles carrying the Sri Lankan team and match officials in Lahore in March 2009 (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009), which has resulted in foreign teams shunning tours to Pakistan in the time since.

 

Haque also said there efforts are underway to convince smaller Asian nations like the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Nepal to tour Pakistan in as part of a program that would will" an opportunity to these countries to play "bigger Asian teams like Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh".  While the ACC is encouraging such a program, the ACC's chief executive, who is a former Bangladeshi first class cricketer, called on the Pakistan Cricket Board to increase its efforts to convince teams to tour there and restore the confidence of the cricketing nations.

 

GLOUCESTERSHIRE FINANCES 

WELL IN THE RED

[1335-6452]

 

Gloucestershire this week announced an annual loss for the year that ended in January of £122,000 ($A220,000) despite receiving £1.64m ($A3m) from the England and Wales Cricket Board, a situation a 'Bristol Post' report says highlights the "continued financial dependency of the counties" on the ECB.  The 'Post' says that Gloucestershire’s deficit "would have been closer to a quarter of a million pounds had it not received an unexpected legacy of £115,000 ($A207,000) from an unnamed donor.

 

Club chairman Roger Cooke described the figures as “extremely disappointing” and admitted losses on such a scale were “clearly not sustainable".  Although income rose from £3.30m ($A6M) in the previous year to £3.42m ($A6.2m) in 2013, the gains were more than offset by a rise in costs both on and off the field.  There were also mitigating circumstances, given that capacity at the club’s Nevil Road headquarters in Bristol was much reduced while a major ground redevelopment project was carried out.

 

Gloucestershire  is said to owe "various creditors" and there is concern that should interest rates rise in the meantime, it will put considerable pressure on the county’s cash flow.   Club treasurer Tony Elgood described 2013 as a “transitional year” but admitted the past twelve months had been “disappointing” from a financial point of view.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,336
Saturday, 20 April 2014

BCCI HEADS MEETING TO DISCUSS 

SUPREME COURT ISSUES 

[1336-6453]

 

Members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) most senior administrative committee are to attend a hastily arranged meeting in Mumbai tomorrow to discuss the state of the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing and betting case that is currently before the Indian Supreme Court.  The meeting comes in the wake of the court's rejection of BCCI president Narayanaswami Srinivasan's request to return to his post because of allegations laid against him in a court sponsored report (PTG 1335-6445, 18 April 2014).

 

"At least five or six affiliated members" are said to have requested that a meeting be held to discuss how the BCCI should proceed with regard to its dealings with the court. Concerns have been expressed by some senior officials in India that the BCCI's counsel at the court's hearings was taking instructions from "certain individuals", and that the board's position on issues directed to it "have never been discussed at a board meeting", and no board meeting had been convened to that end.

 

“We have noticed the observations of the Supreme Court during its hearing [and] do not want any stance taken by the board to damage the reputation of either it or the players", said K K Sharma the secretary of the Rajasthan Cricket Association, who was one of those to call for a meeting which could involve up to thirteen senior officials from all parts of the country..

 

After Srinivasan was replaced by Sunil Gavaskar and Shivlal Yadav late last month as required by the Supreme Court (PTG 1323-6376, 28 March 2014), some BCCI members were reported to have argued strongly for a special general meeting of the top committee to discuss the matter, but those submissions are said to have been ignored.  This time, with Srinivasan clearly side-lined, there appears to have been little option but to convene a meeting before the court resumes its hearing on Tuesday.

 

Meanwhile, Gavaskar says that playing the game with integrity and honesty is critical, "particularly amid the corruption allegations that have dogged the IPL [of late]".  In his view "iIntegrity is non-negotiable" and "you cannot compromise on integrity as far as any sport is concerned', but he also stressed "there are a lot of honest players out there who go out and slog and sweat it out and give their best every single delivery, every single minute and you should have faith in them".

 

PLAYER'S BENEFITS DECEPTION 

COULD COST HIM HIS HOUSE 

[1336-6454]

 

A benefits cheat who six months ago was found guilty of claiming £22.000 ($A38,000) in disability payments over a five-year period while opening the batting for his village cricket team  (PTG 1200-5780, 2 October 2013), is set to lose his home after being ordered to repay the money he took from the system to UK welfare.

 

Stewart Lorains told benefits authorities he was constantly in pain, slow at walking, and needed daily assistance with washing, going to the toilet and dressing.  During most of the time covered by his claims he was the Boosbeck village wicketkeeper in the Cleveland Cricket League who scored 614 runs in 41 games, according to the club's web site which he himself maintains.

 

Lorains was given a four-month jail sentence, suspended for twelve months last October, but when authorities launched a bid to have the amount he scammed returned this week, a prosecutor told Teesside Crown Court there was only £16,209 ($A29,000) available from his existing easily cashable assets which could be returned to the state.  The remainder, suggested Lorains' council, .could only come from the sale of the house Lorains shares with his wife.  

 

MUMBAI EDICT ON 'ILLEGAL 

TOURNAMENTS' RILES CLUBS 

[1336-6455] 

 

A new edict by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) that bans clubs and players affiliated with it from taking part in "unauthorised tournaments" held in the city.without permission ihas created "a furore in the city's cricketing fraternity", according to reports on Thursday.  Senior MCA officials have written to its 350-plus clubs stating that "appropriate action will be taken against the club and player" who contravenes the ban.

 

The MCA says its stand is not to give any preference to unauthorised tournaments conducted without its permission and is not aimed at any particular tournament.  "We are not against genuine tournaments", says MCA joint secretaries Nitin Dalal, "but sometimes they clash with our events [ and it is also] difficult to get grounds and match officials when [the many] illegal tournaments [that are run] are being played". 

 

One coach whose charges are playing in one of the so-called illegal tournaments described the MCA's move as an over reaction. "The youngsters who are not in MCA sides are getting good opportunities to play games and we don't want to go against the association, but what we are doing is not a bad thing".

 

An organiser of a Twenty20 tournament is said to have reacted angrily, claiming such events were not disturbing the MCA's schedule.  "Whatever tournaments we organise are only after the end of the season".  "We want to give opportunity to the youngsters, hence we organise. It's not that we are poaching players", and in his view "everybody has a right to play"

 

LANCASHIRE IN THE BLACK 

AFTER FOUR YEARS OF LOSSES 

[1336-6456] 

 

Gloucestershire's finances might be in the red (PTG 1335-6452, 18 April 2014), but Lancashire has marked a return to profitability after four successive years of losses by announcing a record operating profit of more than £3.5 million ($A6.3m) for the 2013 calendar year. The club more than doubled revenue thanks largely to six successful days of international cricket last northern summer which saw almost 150,000 spectators go through the gates at Old Trafford, a record number for the ground.

 

Following the completion of the stadium redevelopment, the Club was successful in establishing new partnerships with major corporate brands, gains that were supplemented by its existing long-term relationships, and which helped to deliver growth in excess of £1m ($A1.8m) in annual sponsorship.

 

During 2013 the club achieved an encouraging thirty-six per cent increase in domestic cricket revenue and believes that this figure will increase significantly in 2014 with its senior side's promotion back to Division 1 of the County Championship and the introduction of the new Twenty20 competition supported by a guaranteed five Friday evening matches.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,337
Tuesday, 22 April 2014



BCCI TO SUGGEST THREE-MAN IPL 

PROBE TO SUPREME COURT  

[1337-6453]

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is to recommend to India's Supreme Court later today that a three-man panel it put together at a meeting on Sunday probe the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scandal (PTG 1336-6453, 19 April 2014).  Last week the Court asked the BCCI to provide details of how it planned to conduct a second and fresh probe into the scandal, the alternative being that a court-appointed tribunal would be asked to do the job.

 

BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel declined to reveal the names in the proposed panel, but a range of Indian media outlets say it will comprise former Indian captain and commentator Ravi Shastri, Jai Narain Patel, an ex-chief justice of the Kolkata Hight Court, and RK Raghavan a former head of the country's Central Bureau of Investigation.  BCCI lawyers are hoping the Court will accept the proposal after it last week rejected Narayanaswami Srinivasan's plea to reinstate him as BCCI chief, saying he had effectively turned a blind eye to allegations of wrongdoing in the IPL (PTG 1335-6440, 18 April 2014).

 

SEPARATE STATISTICS NEEDED FOR 

DAY-NIGHT TESTS, SAYS PIETERSEN  

[1337-6454]

 

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has called the day-night Test concept "stupid", saying the conditions would be too different and the ball would be too affected, factors that would require a whole new set of statistics for such games to be developed "as its totally different".  The Marylebone Cricket Club and others have been pushing day-night Tests for the last five years and a range of first class matches have been played in the format in a number of countries in that time to iron out the issues involved, including in Australia where plans for such a match in nineteen months time are said to be "on track" (PTG 1330-6420, 7 April 2014).

 

Pietersen said that while he had not played with a pink ball, he couldn't imagine night Test cricket working, and said the International Cricket Council would need to make it a whole new format of the game.  "You've got Brett Lee running in at quarter to ten at night with the second new ball. I mean it's just stupid".  "If you are going to play day-night Test cricket in Durban, I can't see a ball spinning when the sun goes down, and the light comes on. I can see the ball seaming.  "On day five, spinners win you Test matches. But with the lights coming on, it will be seamers who will win you matches on day five. So I am not a fan of it at all".

 

PCB TO LOOKING INTO KANERIA MATCH  

[1337-6455]

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is conducting an internal inquiry into the presence of its director of marketing Badar Rafayi at a match in the United States that featured banned Test player Danish Kaneria (PTG 1334-6444, 16 April 2014).  Despite a lifetime ban from the English and Wales Cricket Board for spot-fixing, Kaneria reportedly played at least one match in a Twenty20 series in Houston two weeks ago alongside several other Pakistan internationals.

 

An unnamed PCB official told news outlets in Lahore that "Several eyebrows have been raised over the fact that a senior board official was seen with Kaneria during a cricket series and we will deal with the matter in order to curtail any unnecessary controversy".  He added that the board may also "interrogate" the other Pakistani players who participated in an event where a banned player was playing".  He stressed that "even though the players have a right to earn money, they must avoid such tournaments as it could harm their reputation".

 

Last year, the International Cricket Council raised objections when another banned Pakistani player, Mohammad Asif, went to play in a club match in Norway on the invitation of some local organisers.  Kaneria is currently waiting a decision on his ban after the his appeal against the ban in London High Court's Commercial Court. The verdict is reported to be due this week.

 

AUCKLAND REPORTED LESS POSITIVE 

ABOUT SUGGESTED NZ CHANGES 

[1337-6456]

 

Auckland "will provide the strongest opposition" among New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) six major associations to a proposed revamp of the domestic game, according to the 'New Zealand Herald'.  Canterbury, Central Districts, Northern Districts, Otago and Wellington are believed to be supportive of the ideas raised in a NZC generated report which recommended a major overhaul of the domestic game, including selling up to forty-nine per cent of franchises of associations to private investors (PTG 1331-6427, 10 April 2014).

 

Auckland Cricket chief executive Mark Cameron, who was part of the steering committee that considered how to improve the delivery of the domestic game, would only say when asked about the situation by the 'Herald' that "All I can say is that we have significant concerns and reservations about the recommendations [and] until such time as I discuss it with the board, it's inappropriate to be discussing specifics".

 

Despite that the 'Herald' said on Sunday that it "has learned" Auckland Cricket has some questions over the privatisation concept. The confidential NZC report stated that: "The majority of associations are under severe and ongoing financial pressure and most are not in a position to build reserves for long-term, strategic investment in professional or amateur cricket, [and] their dependence on both NZC revenue, via the international game, and gaming funding is significant" (PTG 1332-6433, 11 April 2014).  Auckland is reportedly less financially vulnerable than other cricket associations due to an income stream from the Eden Park Trust Act.  

 

While Auckland has reservations, the New Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZCPA), or player's union, welcomed the changes.  NZCPA head Heath Mills told the 'Herald that: "We're dealing with a sports structure that is archaic [and] if change doesn't come quickly it will be like trying to turn around the 'Queen Mary'".  "We're delighted NZC is working on this for it's a constructive way to review the game".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,338
Thursday, 24 April 2014

INDIAN SUPREME COURT'S OWN COMMITTEE

LIKELY TO CONTINUE IPL PROBE   

[1338-6457]

 

India's Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a proposal by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that it form a three-man panel to probe Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing allegations (PTG 1337-6453, 22 April 2014).  Last week the Court asked the BCCI to provide details of how it planned to conduct a second and fresh probe into the scandal, the alternative being that a court-appointed tribunal would be asked to do the job, but it would now appear the court will opt to use its own committee to continue the probe it started last October. 

 

Reports from the sub-continent on Sunday suggested that the BCCI had decided to propose former Indian captain and commentator Ravi Shastri, Jai Narain Patel, an ex-chief justice of the Kolkata Hight Court, and RK Raghavan a former head of the country's Central Bureau of Investigation, to conduct the enquiry requested by the court.  However, during Tuesday's court hearing the Cricket Association of Bihar, the complainants in the case (PTG 1322-6374, 28 March 2014), raised objections to the BCCI panel and that appears to have led to the court deciding to go its own way.

 

Justice Mukul Mudgal, whose group tabled an independent, court-requested report with the country's highest legal body in early February after four months of work that involved interviews with over fifty people (PTG 1289-6212, 11 February 2014), told reporters on Tuesday that should the court give its approval to proceed, he and his two colleagues on the committee would meet and decide on how best to move forward.  That consideration, which could begin after the court again meets to consider IPL matters next Tuesday, would include whether any new members should be added to the committee which is also expected to be supported by a range of Indian "investigative agencies".

 

Mudgal's original report included a "sealed section" that reportedly named thirteen players and administrators, including BCCI president Narayanaswami Srinivasan plus six prominent “Indian capped” players, one of whom is allegedly part of the current team (PTG 1321-6370, 27 March 2014 ).  If approved, the next phase of their work is expected by most observers to focus on what if any links each of those thirteen individuals may have had to corrupt activities.

 

Another facet of the Supreme Court's hearing last Tuesday was the approval it gave for the BCCI to hear the recordings made by Mudgal's committee when it interviewed Srinivasan, the IPL's Chennai, and Indian nation, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman.  The BCCI has been sworn to secrecy about what the tapes contain, and they are only to be heard by two lawyers nominated by it in the presence of a senior Supreme Court official.

 

NON-INDIANS AGAIN DOMINATE 

IPL APPOINTMENTS   

[1338-6458]

 

Match officials from six countries other than India have filled two-thirds of the positions available to them across the opening ten games of this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series, a reversal of the situation that applied twelve months ago (PTG 1086-5287, 8 April 2013).  Graeme Labrooy of Sri Lanka and Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe have had overall control of games as match referees, while 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand, Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Labrooy's countryman Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus of South Africa and Richard Illingworth of England, worked as either on-field or television umpires.   

 

Four Indian umpires, Anil Chaudhary, Vineet Kulkarni, Sundarum Ravi and Chettithody Shamshuddin, have also been given on-field and television spots, however, their international colleagues have filled 14 of the 22 on-field spots overall to date, the locals looking after 7 of the 11 third umpire jobs.  Three other Indian first class umpires, Krishnamachari Bharatan, Krisnaraj Srinath and Krishnamachari Srinivasan, have been limited to fourth or reserve umpire positions.  

 

Pycroft is normally a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top match referee's panel and Labrooy its second-tier group, and Dar, Dharmasena, Erasmus and Illingworth the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), while Bowden, a former and currently aspiring EUP member, is with the world body's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  Chaudhary, Kulkarni, Shamshuddin and Ravi are also current IUP members, the latter like Bowden being in contention for an EUP spot this year.

 

FIVE GAMES IN ENGLAND FOR 

WICB EXCHANGE UMPIRE   

[1338-6459]

 

This year's West Indian exchange umpire to England, whose name is yet to be announced, is scheduled to be on-field for a total of thirteen days across five matches next month, a similar pattern to that which applied twelve months ago for Leslie Reifer Junior of Barbados (PTG 1098-5347, 2 May 2013).  The umpire involved will be the sixth sent to England under the exchange agreement between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the England and Wales Cricket Board, his predecessors being Peter Nero, Joel Wilson, Gregory Braithwaite, Nigel Duguid and then Reifer.

 

As in previous years the first class games the exchangee will stand in have been limited to Marylebone Cricket Club University (MCCU) fixtures against County sides plus two County second XI games, one of the latter being a fifty over game and the other a three day match.  The first three games are to be played in Southampton, Cambridge and Loughborough respectively, and the last two in Bristol. 

 

Other umpires on the WICB's current Senior Umpires Panel who have yet to travel to England on exchange are: Zahid Bassarath, 30, and Danesh Ramdhanie, 47, of Trinidad and Tobago; Patrick Gustard, 42, Verdayne Smith, 36, and newcomer Chris Taylor, 34, from Jamaica (PTG 1333-6436, 14 April 2014); Guyana's Nandkumar Shivsankar, 41; and Lennox Abraham, 54, of the Windward Islands.  

 

Given the WICB's push in recent years to have younger umpires rise through its ranks, "under thirty-five" being a key focus, Bassarath and Smith are possibilities for this year's exchange position.  Bassarath has been standing at first class level in the Caribbean since February last year and currently has five such games to his credit, and Smith, who also made his debut in the same month last year, six.   

 

MALIK COMPLAINS OF PCB-ICC

 'DOUBLE STANDARDS'   

[1338-6460]

 

Former Pakistan captain Saleem Malik criticised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) yesterday for refusing to review his life ban and for not recognising a player's welfare association in which he is actively involved.  Malik, who was banned for life for alleged match fixing in 2000, said he was "fed up with the double standards" displayed by both the PCB and the International Cricket Council (ICC).

 

Malik, now 51, told the Press Trust of India that in 2008 a court in Lahore had lifted the ban but the PCB "refuses to accept the judgement and reopen my case".  He pointed to the fact that: "In India, Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja were also banned for life but after winning their cases in court the Indian cricket board let them back into the cricketing fold".  Additionally, "the PCB wants the ICC to reduce the ban on a banned player, Mohammad Aamer" (PTG 1333-6438, 14 April 2014), "and in my case it is not even willing to review my case again".

 

Malik went on to say that he and other unnamed former players who regularly play veterans cricket, had formed a welfare association to work for "needy former players, umpires and organisers".  He says his group were given permission by the PCB to play a benefit match at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore last Sunday for former Test player Ehteshamuddin, however, on the evening before Malik was told by telephone he couldn't organise the match as he was serving a ban and the board didn't recognise the welfare association".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,339
Saturday, 26 April 2014

ZIM CRICKET REJECTS REPORTED

'CONDITIONAL' ICC LOAN   

[1339-6465]

 

Harare reports say that Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), which has a long record of questionable financial management, has turned down an International Cricket Council (ICC) loan offer because part of the deal included the requirement that an ICC administrator oversee how the monies that would have been forthcoming were distributed once they are in the country.  ICC chief executive Dave Richardson and his senior financial administrator visited Zimbabwe in early March as part of efforts to help ZC out of its latest financial crisis (PTG 1308-6307, 7 March 2014), a situation that had spurred a player strike over the non-payment of their salaries, an issue that also affected match officials there (PTG 1292-6231, 15 February 2014).

 

Indications are that the ICC had agreed to provide ZC, which is said to have debts in the order of $A22 million, with a "conditional loan" of $A17.6m.  While not denying the loan had been offered, cricket authorities in Harare said through a spokesman that the matter was one "of strict confidentiality between ZC and the ICC" and that "we have a business plan that is driven by restructuring and whose key dynamic is to cut down on costs".  Part of the ICC's requirement are said to have included a major restructure and "trimming down" at ZC.

 

In January, ZC was reported to have applied to the ICC for a loan of $A20m but it has been claimed that the world body's board rejected that request, instead providing around $A3m to help end the player strike, and while that eventuated, members of the national side continued to argue with their administrators over money for some time after that (PTG 1303-6288, 2 March 2014).  One of a number of results from ZC's austerity drive has been the reported decision to axe of one of its five domestic franchise sides (PTG 1327-6402, 4 April 2014).

 

SRINIVASAN'S ICC LINKS FOR 

SUPREME COURT CHALLENGE

[1339-6466]

 

The right of Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the stood aside president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), to represent that body at International Cricket Council (ICC) meetings, is likely to be challenged when India's Supreme Court reconvenes next Tuesday to discuss Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption issues.  Since he left the presidency as ordered by the Court, Srinivasan has attended an ICC board meeting (PTG 1331-6425, 10 April 2014), but perhaps more critically he is scheduled to take over as ICC President in July, a move that is part of a revamp of ICC administration orchestrated by Australia, England and India (PTG 1288-6209, 9 February 2014).

 

Nalini Chidambaram, a senior lawyer for the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), the group who took the BCCI to the Supreme Court over what it sees as the national cricket body's inappropriately handling of IPL corruption issues (PTG 1322-6374, 28 March 2014), is said to have described Srinivasan's claim he can be part of the ICC, as like "a man who is not fit to be a High Court judge [wanting] to be a Supreme Court judge".  Srinivasan has repeatedly said he has not engaged in any improper activity, the latest time being last week he asked the Supreme Court to allow him to return as BCCI president, a move that was unsuccessful (PTG 1335-6445, 18 April 2014).  The Court has previously described the issue of Srinivasan's ICC participation as an "internal [BCCI] matter".

 

Earlier this week former BCCI President Shashank Manohar said that organisation's reputation is at its lowest in the eighty years since it was founded and that the situation "needed to be cleaned up".  "Nothing has moved" since IPL corruption issues surfaced nearly twelve months ago (PTG 1105-5383, 17 May 2013), because in his view the BCCI lacked leaders to take on Srinivasan "who is shamelessly and stubbornly" trying to hold on to power.  One person who is, however, is the CAB's secretary Aditya Verma, who has been described in a report in the 'Indian Express' as the man behind the legal challenges that have ended up in the Supreme Court.

 

Verma, who one blogger called "a brave man", has in fact the backing of some powerful politicians come cricket administrators in Bihar, a state in eastern India adjacent to Bangladesh.  The CAB has in fact been at odds with the BCCI since 2007 when its request and subsequent appeal over membership of the national body were rejected, whilst Jharkhand, a new state that was carved out of the southern part of Bihar in 2000, had its membership bid accepted.

 

REPRIMANDS FOR TWO COUNTY PLAYERS

[1339-6467]

 

Somerset batsman Nick Compton has been reprimanded for showing dissent during his side's County Championship match against Durham at Chester-le-Street on Monday.  Reports say he "failed to hide his disappointment" after being given out LBW in Somerset's first innings, and was "reported for his display of petulance by umpires Michael Gough and David Millns".

 

Yorkshire all-rounder Richard Pyrah was also reprimanded over an incident in a second XI match against Nottinghamshire in Nottingham last week.  He was reported by Millns and his colleague Brian Jones for "abuse of cricket ground, equipment or fixtures/fittings".

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement both were involved in Level 1 offences, the penalty for which is a reprimand.  The associated three point disciplinary penalties they each incurred are to remain on their records for a period of two years, and should either of them accumulation of nine or more penalty points in any two-year period they will receive an automatic one-match suspension.

 

LANKAN PLAYERS FINALLY 

AGREE TO PAY DEAL  

[1339-6468]

 

The pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and its thirteen contracted players ended on Wednesday when the latter group agreed to accept ten percent of the participation fees from International Cricket Council and Asian Cricket Council events, but just what that equates to in terms of remuneration has not been made public.  The players, who had been due to sign their central contracts with SLC eight weeks ago, had been demanding twenty per cent of their national board's participation fees.

 

A three-member committee appointed by Sri Lanka Cricket comprising treasurer Nuski Mohamed, chief executive officer Ashley de Silva and chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya held talks with Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews on Tuesday.  After discussions the committee in consultation with the office bearers of the SLC’s Executive

Committee offered the players ten percent, a figure that will be applied for the next five years and "will be non-negotiable", said SLC in a statement.  The offer was accepted by the players and they have agreed to sign their annual contracts prior to travelling to England early next month for a Test and one-day series.

 

LIFE TOUGH FOR BOWLERS, 

SAYS A BOWLER 

[1339-6469]

 

Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal believes that life is becoming increasingly tough for bowlers in limited-overs cricket due to the changes that have been made to the formats of Twenty20 and fifty-over matches.  Ajmal, who has taken 169 wickets in 33 Tests, 182 in 110 One Day Internationals (ODI) and 85 in 63 Twenty20 Internationals, told Reuters in an interview that "there is hardly any respect for bowlers these days", the attitude and approach of batsmen has become "more brazen" and they are now playing "attacking shots unimaginable a few years back".  

 

These days continued Ajmal, "batsmen can attack in T20 or 50-over cricket from the start and as a bowler you need to keep coming up with something new in every match".  "T20 cricket is made for batsmen while in ODIs the five fielders inside the circle rule has brought pressure on the bowlers".

 

UMPIRES, SCORERS RECEIVE 

TUITION IN CAMBODIA  

[1339-6470]

 

Forty-four Cambodian university students and three physical education teachers took part in umpiring and scoring programs that were conducted in Phnom Penh recently by the Asian Cricket Council's (ACC) umpire trainer Mahboob Shah, who recently ran similar programs in Saudi Arabia (PTG 1334-6442, 16 April 2014).  The ACC's Rumesh Ratnayake says that the course, which was the first of its kind run in that country, showed there was "a fair amount of enthusiasm" for the game in Cambodia and there is "a good chance of it catching on"..

 

The Cricket Association of Cambodia have been ACC members since 2012 but have yet to apply for International Cricket Council Affiliate Status, the latter being according to Ratnayake, "some way off yet", “the main thing [is the] need to have access to a couple of proper grounds", although one is scheduled to open sometime this year on land made available by Cambodia's Olympic Committee on a fifty-year lease.

 

Part of the attraction of cricket in Cambodia is said to be that it provides access to conversational and written English as well as an "international outlook" for children and their parents.  Teams there are currently playing six-a-side matches with a hard ball, there being three tournaments a year that feature around seventy local players, and as a result umpires and scorers are said to be in short supply.

 

BALL TAMPERING NOT 

JUST A CRICKET ISSUE 

[1339-6471]

 

New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda has been suspended for ten games for having a glob of pine tar on his neck to rub on his hands on so that he could grip the ball in a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox on what was a cold Wednesday night this week.  Television commentators described seeing "a brown gooey substance" on Pineda's neck and during the game's second innings Boston manager John Farrell asked umpires to examine it up close, and after an inspection  Pineda  was ejected under a rule that bars pitchers from having “any foreign substance” in their possession or on their body during a game.


Pine Tar, a sticky material, is actually legal in baseball but only for those with a bat in hand, for the game’s official rules say the bat handle can be covered with any material to improve a hitter’s grip.  Ball tampering in baseball in the past includes Philadelphia pitcher Kevin Gross' ten day suspension in 1987 after he was caught with sandpaper in his glove.  That same year, Minnesota’s Joe Niekro also received a ten day suspension for carrying an emery board and sandpaper in his pocket.  Reports say though that such instances are rare nowadays for with the many cameras at major league games now, hiding a tiny object that could be used to scuff the ball would be next to impossible.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,340
Monday, 28 April 2014

BCB LIFTS 'PROVISIONAL' BANS 

HANDED TO ACQUITTED BPL PAIR 

[1340-6472]

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have lifted the 'provisiona'l bans it gave to Mosharraf Hossain and Mahbubul Alam of the Bangladesh Premier League's (BPL) Dhaka Gladiators franchise two weeks ago.  While the pair were cleared of match-fixing in last year's BPL series by a BCB anti-corruption tribunal last month, the board said they would not be allowed to take part in the second half of its national first class competition, which has now ended, as it planned to appeal the tribunal's decision (PTG 1332-6432, 11 April 2014).  

 

Left-arm spinner Hossain and fast bowler Alam were among ten players and officials accused by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ASCU) of being involved in corrupt practices or failing to report corrupt approaches made to them during the second edition of the BPL early last year.  Eight weeks ago the tribunal acquitted six of the accused, including Hossain and Alam included, but four others were found guilty as charged (PTG 1303-6283, 2 March 2014).  Those four were Dhaka Gladiators owner Shihab Chowdhury, former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful, Sri Lankan Kaushal Lokuarachchi and Kiwi Lou Vincent, however, two months on their censures have still not been announced.

 

Both the ICC and the BCB expressed "surprise and disappointment" at the tribunal's overall decisions, which suggests they are not happy with the fact that so many of those charged by its ACSU were acquitted.  They said in a joint statement at the time 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".  That written determination is also yet to be released, something the tribunal said eight weeks ago would occur "within two weeks".

 

No mention was made of the BCB's planned appeal yesterday when the announcement of the lifting of Hossain and Alam's provisional bans was made.  The board's acting chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury told journalists in Dhaka only that: "We have sought legal opinion and [it] suggested there is no problem regarding Hossain and Alam returning to take part in any form of cricket".

 

Mosharraf said that he was extremely happy with the BCB's decision, "the toughest phase of my life is just over", and he is now expecting to play for Central Zone in the Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL), a first class competition.  For his part Mahbubul called the last year "quite hard for me because of the mental pressure that I went through" and he is unsure of his immediate future.

 

After the BCL Mosharraf hopes he will be able to play in England at league or Minor County level.  Last year he played in the Durham County Cricket League but had to return early after BPL-related charges were laid against him.  Six years ago the BCB banned him for ten years for playing in the "unofficial" Indian Cricket League (ICL), an alleged match-fixing hub, however, after he renounced his ICL links he was allowed by the BCB to return to the game there.

 

FORMER SRI LANKAN 

TEST UMPIRE DIES 

[1340-6473]

 

Basil Anthony, the former Sri Lanka umpire who officiated in Sri Lanka's inaugural Test, against Australia in Kandy in 1983, died in Perth late last week aged 76.  That match in Kandy, his only Test, was only his second first class game, and in total he stood in a total of sixteen first class matches in Sri Lanka in the period from 1981-91.  During that time he was also on-field in six List A games, two of them being One Day Internationals involving his national side, one against Australia and the other England.  Anthony served as vice-president and general secretary of the Sri Lanka Cricket Umpires Association, before migrating to Australia where he continued umpiring at grade level.

 

IPL REPRIMANDS FOR 

WARNER, FINCH 

[1340-6474]

 

Australians David Warner and Aaron Finch, players with the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Hyderabad franchise, both received an official reprimand for showing dissent at an umpire's decision during their side's match against Delhi in Dubai on Friday.  No details have been provided by the IPL as to just what the dissent involved, both remaining 'not out' as the end of their side's innings.  The IPL said in a statement that "Both Mr. Warner and Mr. Finch admitted to the level 1 offence".  The on-field umpires for the game were Marais Erasmus of South Africa and Sundarum Ravi of India.

 

TEAM MANAGES 3 

IN REPLY TO 108 

[1340-6475]

 

Wirral, a team playing in the third division of the Cheshire League in north-west England, were bowled out for just three runs on Saturday by opponents Hasslington, ten of their batsman recording 'ducks', the 'not out' batsman a single, while 'leg byes' topped the innings with two.  The side, which was batting in reply to Hasslington's score of 108, was 8/0 after six overs, but the latter order batsmen managed to hold out to the tenth over, bowler Ben Istead taking 6/1 and his new ball partner Tom Gledhill 4/0 off 26 balls.

 

Wirral captain Pete Clewes told BBC Radio that “It was just a freak performance. We bowled well. We fielded well. We bowled them out for 108, and we were feeling perfectly confident when we went into bat, but for some reason we all just batted atrociously. It was extraordinary".  Number nine batsman Matt Garrett who went out to bat with the score at 7/0, said he "headed into the changing rooms to get my pads on when we were three down and got out to the middle just in time to take my guard when the seventh wicket fell.  Six of the Wirral batsmen were bowled, two caught, and two given out LBW. 

 

As embarrassing as Wirral's loss was, it was not a world record lowest score says the BBC in a report, Somerset club Langport being dismissed for zero in a game against Glastonbury in 1913.  The lowest score in a first-class match is six, made by "The B's" against England at the old Lord's ground in 1810, eight of their batsmen making 'ducks', while the figure in a Test match is the 26 New Zealand posted against England in Auckland in March 1955, five batsmen failing to score..

 

ECB 'PRESSURING' PCB OVER ANTI-CORRUPTION 

APPOINTMENT, CLAIMS LATIF

[1340-6476]

 

Former Pakistan captain of Rashid Latif claimed on Wednesday that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) denied him the position of chief of its Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) as a result of what were called the "orders" given to it by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), according to a Pakistan News Service story published on Friday.  Latif said that ECB expressed reservation on his appointment because he was "in favour" of banned Pakistani Danish Kaneria, who was found guilty by an ECB tribunal in 2012 of engaging in corrupt practices in a County match in 2009; a ban that prevents him from playing anywhere in the world.

 

The former wicket-keeper batsmen is reported to have said that the ECB had "pressurised" the PCB for not appointing him to the ACU post because it is not happy with him over his fight for Kaneria to get justice.  Latif has expressed the view that on the one hand the PCB was pleading the case of a convicted player Mohammad Aamer, against whom "undeniable evidence" was found of spot fixing, while on the other it had failed to take Kaneria's case up with the ECB, even though there was, what he called, "only circumstantial and debatable evidence made against him".

 

Aamer looks like being able to play domestic cricket in Pakistan a year earlier than his ban originally allowed following representations made by the PCB to the International Cricket Council.  Kaneria is currently in the midst of a third appeal to the courts in England to have his ban overturned (PTG 1333-6438, 14 April 2014).

 

Latif, who famously blew the whistle on match-fixing as a player in 1994 and 1995, said last week that he turned down the job of the PCB's ACU chief as well as its chief national selector because he could not work with "ex-players tainted by corruption", an apparent reference to his former team-mate, leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, who is said to have been offered a role in the national cricket academy (PTG 1335-6449, 18 April 2014).

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,341
Wednesday, 30 April 2014

INDIAN SUPREME COURT DEFERS SRINIVASAN 

ICC DECISION, PROCRASTINATES ON IPL PROBE

[1341-6477]

 

India's Supreme Court of India yesterday refused to bar Narayanswamy Srinivasan, the stood down president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), from attending International Cricket Council (ICC) meetings, deciding that the issue should be considered at a later date.  The Court had been asked by the Cricket Association of Bihar to bar Srinivasan from representing BCCI at the world body's board meetings, which he is scheduled to chair from July onwards, instead deciding that it should concentrate on issues directly related to the probe into last year's Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption scandal.

 

Despite that little progress appears to have been made regard to the Court's plans for the ongoing investigation, as it set aside a decision until next week on Justice Mukul Mudgal forming a new panel to investigate IPL betting and spot-fixing matters.  At the request of the Court the BCCI proposed its own a three-member panel a week ago (PTG 1338-6461, 24 April 2014), however, it was rejected, and instead the Court asked Mudgal to name a team of investigators he would need to take the probe further in what was anticipated as a four month long task. 

 

Television reports in India say that Mudgal had sought assistance with its work from various quarters, including India's Central Bureau of Investigation’s anti-corruption sports cell as well as the Delhi and Mumbai police.  If it gets the go ahead the Mudgal group is expected to focus on the activities of "thirteen names" contained in a "sealed envelope" it produced in February as part of a four month long investigation into IPL matters, one of them being Srinivasan.  

 

Two weeks ago the Court rejected an appeal by Srinivasan to reinstate him as the president of the BCCI. It said that there could be no fair probe into the spot-fixing allegations that marred IPL last year if he continued to be at the helm, given his son-in-law, was one of the subjects of the investigation (PTG 1335-6445, 18 April 2014).

 

CALL AGAIN MADE FOR 'INDEPENDENT' 

AS ICC PRESIDENT   

[1341-6478]

 

Former International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ehsan Mani wants an independent chairman for the world's highest governing body, a position that is due to be taken up in July by Narayanswamy Srinivasan who was ordered to step aside as Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president a month ago (PTG 1320-6365, 26 March 2014).  In January Mani, along with several other former senior ICC officials, supported the dumping of the Australia-England-India 'position paper' that called for a major revamp to the way the ICC operates (PTG  1278-6156, 28 January 2014), changes that have since been been agreed to and are due to come into force in July (PTG 1333-6435, 14 April 2014). 

 

Speaking from London on Sunday, Mani told the Pakistan newspaper 'The Nation', that: "What the ICC desperately needs is an independent chairman who is not connected to any Board, someone of the stature of [former Australian and British Prime Ministers] John Howard or John Major to act in the best interest of the game and all the members", before continuing in reference to Srinivasan with "but as you are well aware that is unlikely to happen". 

 

Pakistan-born Mani has said previously that he supports the tenants of the 2012 'Wolff' ICC Governance Report that recommended an independent structure for the ICC board should be adopted (PTG 1279-6160, 30 January 2014), however, that approach was vetoed by the BCCI, which also blocked moves to make Howard an ICC vice president as a precursor to his elevation to the world body's president's position.

 

'The Nation' says that "strangely", given the controversy that surrounds Srinivasan at the present time, "current ICC president Alan Issac and all of his board members have remained silent on the issue of the president's position", including Australia's Wally Edwards and England's Giles Clarke who worked closely with Srinivasan in formulating ICC revamp proposals.  Last month, ICC chief executive 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 .   

 

While Srinivasan says he had done nothing wrong, he is currently the subject of an investigation by an Indian Supreme Court panel (PTG 1341-6477 above).  'The Nation' points out that that is similar to a case ten years ago during Mani's tenure as ICC president.  It involved then Sri Lanka Cricket board president Thilanga Sumathipala, who was facing serious criminal charges at home, and he was advised to say away from the ICC board meetings during that time.

 

GAVASKAR WANTS MORE TRANSPARENCY 

FOR BCCI OPERATIONS  

[1341-6479]

 

Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar, who along with Shivlal Yadav in March was appointed to manage Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) matters, says that by the end of his stint in the position in early June, he wants "to open the BCCI’s doors to the public, through the press, so that there is clarity for everyone concerned", about the way India's top cricket body operates.  Gavaskar and Yadav were appointed to their roles by India's Supreme Court after it ordered BCCI president Narayanswamy Srinivasan to stand down pending the outcome of enquiries into corruption in last year's Indian Premier League series (IPL) (PTG 1323-6378, 29 March 2014).

 

Gavaskar told journalists at a hotel in Dubai on Monday he is "hoping the BCCI will become more open".  "We are trying to make [the IPL more] open and it will carry on for the rest of the BCCI where there will be healthy discussions where people can speak freely and fearlessly", so that "everyone can be involved in the decision making process".  "We will make mistakes, mistakes have been made, but if we admit to mistakes, then we’ll get better".

 

A 'Wisden India' report says that "getting answers to questions, important or not, from the BCCI is near impossible at the best of times"; although in PTG's experience India's cricket authorities are not exactly alone in that regard.  Gavaskar said its not only important to "inform people what’s been happening, but also to get feedback on things that maybe we can do better". “We are hoping to do this regularly for the next month and maybe beyond. It’s something new for the BCCI but I hope it will be a regular feature so that you can form your own judgment and then do as you see fit".

 

Gavaskar pointed to "four major stakeholders" in the game, the "biggest being the fan", then come "the players, the media and the administrators, and the sponsors as well".  "If all of us work together, we will be able to take the game forward. not just Indian cricket, but world cricket".  In his view" “A lot of the good the BCCI does doesn’t come out".  "We need to have a proper PR, an authorised media spokesperson; if BCCI has that, it’s point of view will be better expressed and people won’t talk to the media here and there and there will be more clarity".

 

IPL SKIPPER FINED $A22K 

FOR SLOW OVER-RATE  

[1341-6480]

 

Shane Watson, the captain of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Rajasthan franchise, was fined the equivalent of $A22,000 for maintaining a slow over rate during his side's match against Chennai in Dubai last week.  Under IPL Playing Conditions captains are fined that amount the first time their side fails to start bowling the last of their twenty overs in one hour and twenty-five minutes, Watson's side exceeding that by twenty minutes, however, a second such occurrence would see him loose double that amount. 

 

The day after Watson's fine, Morne Morkel of the Kolkata franchise received an official reprimand for "using insulting language" during his team’s match against Bangalore in Sharjah.  According to an IPL statement Morkel admitted to the Level 1 offence, however, just what was involved was not spelt out in any detail.  Also last week Australians David Warner and Aaron Finch, who play with the IPL's Hyderabad franchise, both received an official reprimand for showing dissent at an umpire's decision during their side's match against Delhi in Dubai (PTG 1340-6474, 28 April 2014).  

 

NOTTS AWAIT DECISION ON TRENT 

BRIDGE PITCH RATING  

[1341-6481]

 

Nottinghamshire are waiting to discover whether they will be docked County Championship points for the pitch they provided for their current match against Warwickshire at Trent Bridge.  Thirty wickets fell in the first five sessions of the match on Sunday-Monday, a situation that was enough for Tony Pigott, one of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) pitch liaison officers, to be summoned to the ground.

 

Reports say that umpires Steve Garratt and David Millns advised the ECB about indentations in the pitch that had contributed to increasingly variable bounce.  After his arrival, Pigott is said to have studied video footage before inspecting the pitch, after which he spoke to the umpires as well as Lisa Pursehouse, the Notts chief executive.  He then decided to convene a pitch panel which will sit after the game ends later today, and if they decide that the pitch deserves a "poor" rating, Nottinghamshire face an eight-point penalty which would rise to twenty-four for a pitch that is deemed unfit for first-class cricket.

 

If Notts lose this match and go on to suffer a points penalty they will regret their decision of not to make the heavy roller available for the game. A change to ECB Playing Conditions means that this season the heavy roller can only be used once by each side after the toss has been made, but it is the home County’s decision whether a heavy roller is available or not (PTG 1233-5936, 14 November 2013).

 

NO VISA FOR BANNED UMPIRE  

[1341-6482]

 

Former Bangladeshi umpire Nadir Shah, who was last year banned for ten years as a result of a 'sting' operation by an Indian television channel (PTG 1077-5233, 18 March 2013), has been denied a visa to travel to India, say reports from Mumbai yesterday.  Quoting "sources in Bangladesh", the 'Pakistan Observer' is this morning reporting that Shah, a former member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, applied for his visa four weeks ago, however, his passport has been returned without the visa and no reason has been given for the rejection. 

 

Shah told the 'Observer' by telephone from Dhaka that he wanted to travel to India to see his "ailing aunt" as "she is an old lady and nobody is there to look after her”. "I don’t know whether my visa has been denied because of my suspension but I am very upset with this latest development”.  Since his suspension just over a year ago, he has "been to India on several occasions and travelled to USA to meet my mother", therefore he is "surprised” about the current situation. 

 

The 'Observer' approached the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh to seek reasons why the visa was rejected however they were not prepared to comment on the matter.  Shah says he is "likely to seek views of the president of the BCB [Bangladesh Cricket Board]", and is also continuing to request that his ban be revoked.  He told reporters last month that he had sent a "mercy plea" to the BCB asking that it reduce the term of his suspension (PTG 1307-6302, 7 March 2014).

 

VANDALS HIT CLUBS AT BOTH 

ENDS OF ENGLAND  

[1341-6483]

 

Volunteers at Bradshaw Cricket Club in in the Bolton Cricket League (BCL), were horrified to discover the sight screens at their ground, which members had helped to build, had been damaged by youths playing football.  To save funds, club members built the screens, the materials required costing £1,000 ($A1,800), thousands of pounds less than what they would have incurred had they bought new screens.

 

The screens were put into position at the club in time for its second team’s opening game of the season two Sundays ago, but by the following day they had been damaged.  Club chairman Steve Dickinson told the 'Bolton News' that he: “would like the people who did this to understand how much effort it takes to run clubs".  "Coaches and volunteers do it free of charge and we are trying to improve the facilities".  Those involved “knew they were doing the damage and I want their parents to know what they have done and if they are willing to put something towards maintaining [the screens]".  “It’s hitting the club and if it was their 'iPad' or mobile phone I kicked with a football, they wouldn’t like it".

 

The incident at Bradshaw comes weeks after another BCL club, Darcy Lever, was targeted by vandals who caused "hundreds of pounds of damage".  It included broken sight screens, drain spouts pulled from a building, with one thrown on to the club houseroof and turf churned up.  Daffodils were also pulled up, a security light damaged and part of the wicket aquare dug out.

 

At the other end of England, vandals also hit the Torre Valley North club in Torquay, destroying equipment, smashing kitchen facilities and stealing electrical items after the club house was broken into sometime on Sunday evening.  Practice nets were also targeted and graffiti daubed on walls.  When club members arrived at the ground on Monday morning they found a water pipe had been turned on and the pitch area flooded, an event that occurred ahead of this Saturday's first match of the season.  Total damage is estimated to run at more than £1,000 ($A1,800).

End of April 2014 News file