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                   MAY 2014
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 25 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 6484-6604)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below

1,342  1,343  1,344  1,345  1,346  1,347  1,348  1,349  1,350  1,351  1,352  1,353  1,354  1,355  1,356  1,357  1,358  1,359  1,360  1,361  1,362  1,363  1,364  1,365  1,366

 

1,342 - 1 May [6484-6492]

• More 'razzamatazz' needed in the game's presentation, says Aussie skipper   (1342-6484).

• IPL-like event to 'revolutionise' the women's game?   (1342-6485).

• First class player criticises umpire via 'Twitter'   (1342-6486).

• Bangladesh domestic final for Windies umpire   (1342-6487).

• Brathwaite, Wilson stand in Caribbean first class final   (1342-6488).

• Trent Bridge pitch cleared by ECB panel   (1342-6489).

• Details of ACC Premier League match officials awaited   (1342-6490).

• IPL UAE matches come to an end    (1342-6491). 

1,343 - 2 May [6492-6495]

• Bowden returns to the EUP   (1343-6492).

• Aussie side plays the game 'extremely fairly', says national captain   (1343-6493).

• Franchise withdrawals from future BPL contests  (1343-6494).  

• Players facing fines for lack of fitness   (1343-6495).

1,344 - 3 May [6496-6500]

• PCB reported reviewing Malik life ban   (1344-6496).

• Club hands out one-match ban for 'Twitter' comments   (1344-6497).

• Gustard named for sixth WICB England exchange   (1344-6498).

• Second five-figure fine for slow IPL over-rate   (1344-6499).

• Nine months probation for on-field fracas   (1344-6500).

1,345 - 4 May [6501-6504]

• Neighbour's complaints lead to sixes ban at village ground   (1345-6501).

• CA targeting new women's domestic T20 series in 2015-16   (1345-6502).

• Senior ICC match officials join IPL-7   (1345-6503).

• Marketers go to great heights to promote T20 series   (1345-6504).

1,346 - 5 May [6505-6508]

• Former mining boss to chair CA board, ICC Excomm, next year   (1346-6505).

• Cricket can survive without day-night Tests, says Aussie captain   (1346-6506).

• Bermuda looking to raise standards   (1346-6507).

• 'Rust' and 'cold' produces three 'beamers'   (1346-6508). 

1,347 - 7 May [6509-6514]

• ICC's 'lack of action' on Srinivasan criticised   (1347-6509).

• Test cricket needs 'nurturing', says 'Chappelli'   (1347-6510).

• Three match suspension, full match fee fine, for all-rounder's 'obnoxious gesture'   (1347-6511).

• US group announces 'major initiative' for the women's game   (1347-6512).

• Cricket ACT keen for a team in planned CA women's T20 series   (1347-6513).

• Plans to convert club's ground to a car park shelved   (1347-6514).

1,348 - 8 May [6515-6521]

• IPL pair fined for significant on-field confrontation   (1348-6515).

• 'Big three' to oversee review of ICC anti-corruption unit   (1348-6516).

• NZ tightens match-fixing related legislation  (1348-6517).

• Former ICC President nominated as next MCC head   (1348-6518).

• Mahmudullah regrets 'lewd gesture', BCB to investigate further? (1348-6519).

• Second slow over-rate for Mumbai IPL captain   (1348-6520).

• London Court upholds Kaneria's life ban   (1348-6521).

1,349 - 9 May [6522-6526]

• PCB hands out two-year ban for doping violation   (1349-6522).

• Senior County players receive reprimands for dissent   (1349-6523).

• Reduced India tour hits South African finances, forces review   (1349-6524).

• IPL might not be everybody's 'cup of tea', but interest remains strong   (1349-6525).

• Warrnambool umpires call for meditator, but cricket association stands form.   (1349-6526).

1,350 - 11 May [6527-6530]

• IPL stands down umpire, link to 'run out' error suggested   (1350-6527).

• Fourteen match officials manage Asian Premier League series   (1350-6528).

• CSA continuing push on player quotas   (1350-6529).

• ICC confirms anti-corruption system review   (1350-6530).

1,351 - 13 May [6531-6534]

• 'Leniency' of Pollard-Starc IPL censure queried    (1351-6531).

• Modi returns to cricket administration, suggests 'independent' IPL    (1351-6532).

• Seven weeks on report on school match incidents awaited    (1351-6533).

• ICC praises game's progress in PNG    (1351-6534).

1,352 - 14 May [6535]

• CA promotes two to its National Umpires Panel   (1352-6535).

1,353 - 15 May [6536-6537]

• Ashes day-night Ashes Test neither necessary or imminent, says MCC    (1353-6536).

• Second top-tier ODI 'neutral' selection for Gaffaney   (1353-6537). 

1,354 - 16 May [6538-654x]

• ICC given details of 'widespread fixing across cricket', claims report   (1354-6538).

• Bihar secretary queries reports of Srinivasan-franchise link   (1354-6539).

1,355 - 17 May [6540-6543]

• Player's union stresses need for ACSU 'independence'   (1355-6540).

• Mudgal to investigate Mudgal 'sealed envelope' names   (1355-6541).

• Non-refferal sees Pietersen escape a second time   (1355-6542).

• Skipper complains of 'sharp practice' after second XI 'stacked'   (1355-6543).

1,356 - 19 May [6544-6549]

• Vincent offered £20,000 spot-fix bribe, says former Lancashire team mate (1356-6544).

• International agreement on 'sport manipulation' needed urgently, say researchers (1356-6545).

• ECB names four umpires for England-Lanka ODI series (1356-6546).

• PCB fines five, reprimands another, over 'unauthorised' Texas T20 event (1356-6547).

• Three of six NZ associations reported not keen on private investor concept (1356-6548).

• CA post season umpire state director's meeting nears (1356-6549).

1,357 - 20 May [6550-6556]

• Model aircraft hits umpire, stops play (1357-6550).

• NZC queries why more confidential testimony is leaked (1357-6551).

• ICL 'smelt bad', says former Kiwi chief executive (1357-6552).

• South African players not involved in match-fixing, says union boss (1357-6543).

• Kolkata IPL skipper fined for dissent (1357-6554).

• BCB signs six-year television deal for half its estimated worth (1357-6555).

• Three killed by gun fire during match (1357-6556).

1,358 - 21 May [6557-6561]

• Game 'bigger than the individual', says IPL investigator   (1358-6557).

• Vincent information said to point to 'twelve players'  (1358-6558).

• Cairns again denies allegations of corruption   (1358-6559).

• WICL concept 'awesome' says Kiwi women's skipper  (1358-6560).

• Delhi IPL captain fined for slow over-rate   (1358-6561)

1,359 - 22 May [6562-6565]

• ICC to investigate match-fixing leaks, moves to censure newspaper   (1359-6562).

• McCullum 'disappointed' about leaks, says 'most players' not corrupt   (1359-6563).

• Tuffey breaks silence, stresses innocence   (1359-6564).

• Srinivasan again appeals to India's Supreme Court   (1359-6565).

1,360 - 23 May [6566-6571]

ECB reported to have charged two with match-fixing   (1360-6566).

• Srinivasan's latest appeal rejected for now   (1360-6567).

• Latest leaked testimony names Cairns as match-fixer   (1360-6568).

• Two 'approached by bookmakers' during IPL-7, says Gavaskar   (1360-6569).

• TV station claims bookmaker had 'links' with ICC anti-corruption official (1360-6570).

• Uttar Pradesh umpires brought in for Nepal Premier League   (1360-6571).

1,361 - 24 May [6572-6578]

 • ECB charges show no plea bargain involved, says Vincent   (1361-6572).

• Vincent to face Champions League fixing charges next month  (1361-6573).

• Senior ICC officials 'split' over injunction on leaked testimony?  (1361-6574).

• No answers yet to allegations of ACSU officer's 'link' with bookmaker (1361-6575).

• Thirty-seven attend ACC match referee's workshop   (1361-6576).

• High performance manager sacked over 'player recruitment activities' (1361-6577).

• Broad 'tweet' queries spinner's bowling action   (1361-6578).

1,362 - 25 May [6579-6582]

• Corruption enquiry nearing end, says ICC chief   (1362-6579).

• Pakistani approached to 'under perform' in Hong Kong sixes event  (1362-6580).

• Umpire Manager position open at Queensland Cricket (1362-6581).

• Verma continues to question Srinivasan's ICC presence  (1362-6582).

1,363 - 26 May [6583-6584]

• BCB tribunal still considering BPL corruption charges   (1363-6583).

• Srinivasan to chair Asian Cricket Council meeting, says report   (1363-6584).

1,364 - 28 May [6585-6592]

• Police give Cairns 'full access' to testimony given against him (1364-6585).

• SACA to learn 'ramifications' of T20 recruitment actions today   (1364-6586).

• Dharmasena, Oxenford to stand in IPL final   (1364-6587).

• Batsman recalled after show of dissent   (1364-6588).

• Bowden the 'TBA' for England-Lanka Tests   (1364-6589).

• All-rounder's action reported as 'suspect'   (1364-6590).

• Skipper laments call of 'time'   (1364-6591).

• High Court Judge drops dead during legal fixture   (1364-6592).

1,365 - 29 May [6593-6599]

• ICC power brokers working on a Srinivasan contingency?   (1365-6593).

• BCB concerned about BPL inquiry delay   (1365-6594).

• CA under 'mounting pressure' to fix T20 contract system   (1365-6595).

• Sussex players 'sickened' by Vincent-Arif match-fixing allegations   (1365-6596).

• Rumblings continue in Nepalese cricket   (1365-6597).

• 'Knuckles rap' predicted for Broad   (1365-6598).

• Club burgled twice in three days    (1365-6599).

1,366 - 31 May [6600-6604]

• Cairns maintains innocence, labels fixing allegations 'absurd, bizarre and scary'   (1366-6600).

• ICC needs 'courage' to stand up to power brokers, says player's union   (1366-6601).

• CA looking to change domestic first class points system  (1366-6602).

• Judge's ruling puts Guyanese Test in doubt  (1366-6603).

• Australia, England 'getting cold feet' on Srinivasan, claims report   (1366-6604).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,342
Thursday, 1 May 2014

MORE 'RAZZAMATAZZ' NEEDED IN THE GAME'S 

PRESENTATION, SAYS AUSSIE SKIPPER  

[1342-6484]

 

Australian captain Michael Clarke, fresh from witnessing major sporting events in the United States, plans to urge Cricket Australia (CA) to invest more in entertainment at matches in order to attract "new non-traditional fans" to the game, according to a report in the 'Australian Financial Review' (AFR).  Journalist John Kehoe says Clarke was "impressed by the prominence of loud music and dancing during breaks in play, prizes for people in the crowd and novel food", when he and wife attended both National Basketball League and Major League Baseball games last week.

 

The Australian skipper spoke about his thoughts at a reception hosted by Australia’s Ambassador to the United States, Kim Beazley, in Washington.  “The one thing I’ve learnt from being here is that Americans do sports better than any other country I’ve ever experienced", said Clarke.  “The whole time you’re there is pure entertainment. Even if you don’t follow that sport, you will have a great time because there’s so many other things going on around the event that make you want to go back and that’s something I will take back to Australia and [CA]”.

 

Kehoe says in his article that the emergence of Twenty20 cricket has been influenced by the desire to draw more families and women to attend matches.  CA engaged US sports marketing expert Dan Migala to consult to the eight franchises of its domestic T20 league, an effort that included studying minor league baseball for marketing ideas.

 

Clarke was in the US as part of an endorsement for a sporting goods company there which is designing a new 'Michael Clarke' signature baseball glove for cricketers to wear at training to protect their hands in fielding practice.  Clarke signed a three-year endorsement deal with the company earlier this year for an undisclosed sum that will add to the $A5.5 million he is currently estimated to earn a year, $A2m of which comes from CA (PTG 1283-6182, 4 February 2014).  As far as can be estimated, CA spends an amount equal to around half of Clarke's reported annual earnings on its umpiring and scoring programs each year.

 

Beazley, a former Australian Defence Minister with a passion for United States' history, told guests at the Washington reception that the American Civil War of the 1860s was responsible for baseball trumping cricket as the dominant bat and ball sport in the US.  “It settled not only the issue of slavery, but also whether the United States would be a cricket country of baseball country", said Beazley.  

 

"Until the civil war, cricket and baseball were about equal in popularity in east coast cities such as Philadelphia and New York, but during the war, players realised it was easier to organise a baseball diamond than a cricket pitch, so they gave up cricket after the first year or two of the civil war and they all took up baseball", according to Beazley's take on history.

 

IPL-LIKE EVENT TO 'REVOLUTIONISE' 

THE WOMEN'S GAME?   

[1342-6485]

 

Australia’s women players are set to "cash in" as part of a plan to revolutionise the women’s game, with players to have their incomes in some cases doubled by featuring in a new Indian Premier League (IPL) like Twenty20 tournament to be held in Singapore, reported the 'Sydney Morning Herald' (SMH) on Tuesday.  The event, to be called the Women’s International Cricket League (WICL), will says journalist Chris Barrett, pay "top players" up to $A40,000 each to take part in a competition that is expected to be played over a ten to twelve day period, the inaugural series "possibly being played later this year".

 

The new league, which "will feature seventy-eight of the world’s leading players", is the brainchild of former Australian women's all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar and business partner Shaun Martyn, who hope to change the landscape of the women’s game, as well presumably as return them a profit.  Under current plans the WICL would consist of six privately owned teams and what Barrett calls "final negotiations" are underway with potential franchise owners from Australia, the United States and India.  The overall concept is said to have the backing of the International Cricket Council, national boards including Cricket Australia (CA) and player unions.  Discussions are also said to have taken place with British broadcaster BSkyB and Star Sports in India about television coverage. 

 

Martyn told the 'SMH' that WICL "top tier-one players" will earn $A30-40,000 and that’s only in year one [as] we have to move that salary cap up each year as we grow the business".  Following a pay rise from CA last year, Australia’s fourteen centrally contracted players earn between $A25,000 and $A52,000 plus match payments, while those at state level are on $A2,500 to $A7,000 a year prior to match fees. Barrett says that South Africa’s captain Mignon du Pree is understood to be paid "only $A1,000 a month" by Cricket South Africa.  

 

‘‘What we’re trying to do is create an opportunity for women that they don’t have, [as] we want to be able to say to young girls around the world ‘There is actually a career pathway here' ", said Martyn.  According to him his organisation will "offer letters of participation to probably the top thirty or forty ranked Twenty20 players", from around the world.  After that "we’ll have some spots that are open for people to apply and then we’ve got got a place in each team reserved for a player from an emerging nation ... China, Japan etc, so we can develop the players from those countries". 

 

Paul Marsh, the head of the Australian Cricketers’ Association and the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, told Barrett that "We think it’s a terrific initiative for women’s cricket and cricket in general".  "Having spoken to a number of the players I know they’re also very excited by what lays ahead".  CA, which has conducted a state-based team women's T20 league for some years, has been considering a women’s version of its men's domestic Twenty20 league for sometime, and Barrett says the subject is expected to be on the agenda at the national body's board meeting in Melbourne later this week.

 

FIRST CLASS PLAYER CRITICISES 

UMPIRE VIA 'TWITTER'  

[1342-6486]

 

Sussex spinner Ashar Zaidi is reported to be facing potential disciplinary action after he criticised the umpire who had given him out via 'Twitter' moments after he left the field in a first class match against Somerset in Hove on Tuesday.  Zaidi, who had been given out caught behind by Nigel Llong, a member of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel, waved his bat towards Llong to indicate he had not hit the ball, then walked off "very slowly" once he finally accepted the decision.

 

Soon after returning to the pavilion, Zaidi tweeted “stinker” adding the sign off “wtf”, which normally means in 'twitterese' " what the f*** ".  Apparently realising what he had done he is said to have "quickly deleted" the message, which was not spotted by Sussex management, and he was expected to have found out after the match ended yesterday if he was reported by Long and his colleague Alex Wharf for dissent on the field, although Mark Robinson, his county's director of cricket,club, apparently believes he was "unlucky to be given out".

 

Sussex are reported to have warned their players at the start of the season on the responsible use of social media and say he is likely to be disciplined for the tweet by the club.  Robinson is quoted by the London 'Daily Telegraph' as saying that Zaidi  "should not be doing that whether or not it was a good or bad decision".  In Robinson's view, however, Zaidi reaction at the crease was not dissent.  According to him his player "was just desperately disappointed because he didn’t think he had hit the ball".  "I think the umpires have had a very good game but there is always the odd decision that doesn’t go your way but it is part of the game", concluded Robinson.

 

BANGLADESH DOMESTIC FINAL 

FOR WINDIES UMPIRE  

[1342-6487]

 

Barbadian Leslie Reifer Junior, a member of the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) twelve-man Senior Umpires Panel (SUP), is to stand in the five-day final of the Bangladesh Cricket League competition in Dhaka next week as part of the on-going exchange agreed between the WICB and the Bangladesh Cricket Board.  Reifer, who went on exchange to England last year (PTG 1095-5347, 2 May 2013), will stand in two games whilst in Bangladesh, the first class match between the BCB's Central and North zones, which starts tomorrow in Fatullah, being his first in that country.

 

Bangladesh umpire Tanvir Ahmed spent time in the Caribbean on exchange earlier this month, standing in three matches in the WICB's 'domestic' first class competition in Trinidad, Antigua and Barbados, the initial game being played in a day-night format at Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain (PTG 1333-6436, 14 April 2014).  Dhaka-born Ahmed, 41, followed four previous Bangladeshi exchangees since 2009, they being Gazi Sohel, Sharfuddoula, Anisur Rahman and Masudur Rahman, while Reifer's visit follows those of fellow SUP members Nigel Duguid, Peter Nero, Joel Wilson and Gregory Brathwaite (PTG 1071-5213, 6 March 2013).

 

For Reifer, 24, whose father and two uncles played first class cricket, one of the latter featuring at Test level for the West Indies, the two matches in Bangladesh will be his eighth and ninth first class level following his debut in February last year.  The WICB is also sending an exchange umpire to take part in five games in England this month but as yet his identity has not yet been made public (PTG 1338-6463, 24 April 2014).  

 

BRATHWAITE, WILSON STAND IN 

CARIBBEAN FIRST CLASS FINAL  

[1342-6488]

 

Gregory Brathwaite of Barbados and Joel Wilson from Trinidad and Tobago stood in this week's final of the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) first class competition between the Windward Islands and Jamaica on the island of Saint Lucia.  Local Keith Felix was the match referee for the four-day game, while his compatriot Francis Maurice was the reserve umpire.

 

The match was Brathwaite and Wilson's first final on-field in the Caribbean's top competition, the former being the reserve umpire last year, and their twenty-eight and twenty-sixth first class games overall respectively for the pairl; their only other WICB final on-ground being in April last year in the one-day competition.  What records are available indicate that Felix was looking after his tenth first class game and first final while Maurice, who played first class and List A games for the Windward Islands from 1984-93, has now been the reserve in nine first class games as well as standing in two, one each in 2009 and 2010 respectively. 

 

The two semi finals of the competition saw Wilson and his countryman Peter Nero working together in one match and Brathwaite and Nigel Duguid of Guyana in the other, Nero and Wilson being West Indian on-field members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), while  Brathwaite and Duguid are IUP third umpire members.  Duguid stood in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 WICB first class finals, Nero working with him in the 2012 match.

 

This year's WICB first class series featured a total of twenty-four matches, six of which were played in day-night formats, the third time in five years that such games have been included in the Caribbean first class program (PTG 1315-6344, 18 March 2014).  A total of fourteen umpires, twelve from the WICB's Senior Umpires Panel and one each from Bangladesh and England were on-field across the two dozen games (PTG 1333-6436, 14 April 2014).

 

TRENT BRIDGE PITCH CLEARED 

BY ECB PANEL  

[1342-6489]

 

An England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) pitch panel chaired by Pitch Liaison Officer (PLO) Tony Pigott has decided not to penalise Nottinghamshire for the state of the pitch it provided at Trent Bridge for the first class match against Warwickshire (PTG 1341-6481, 30 April 2014).  Pigott, assisted by fellow PLO David Capel and ECB pitches consultant Chris Wood, decided not to censure the club after an investigation that lasted some three hours.

 

Pigott and his colleagues interviewed captains Chris Read and Ian Bell, coaches Mick Newell and Doug Brown, as well as Nottinghamshire groundsman Steve Birks, the ECB's 'Groundsman of the Year' in 2012, as part of their investigation, deciding in the end that the pitch should not be rated 'poor' but rather "below average".  As a result Notts will not loose any County Championship points because of the state of the pitch they provided.

 

When asked about whether Counties should or should not use the heavy roller so early in the English season, Pigott declined to offer his views.  Under ECB Playing Conditions for the home side to decide whether to make the heavy roller available or not, something in the Warwickshire game Nottinghamshire decided not to do.

 

Newell was relieved about the panel's decision, acknowledging it was "not a great pitch".  "We will go away and take some lessons on the subject of the heavy roller but the fact is that, at Trent Bridge, the heavy roller tends to kill the pitches".  "We would rather use the light roller and let the pitch deteriorate naturally and we think the pitches will never be rubbish here, there is no history of them getting up and down and really variable. Having said that, I accept that a match finishing before lunch on the third day is not ideal. So we'll have to think about that".

 

DETAILS OF ACC PREMIER LEAGUE 

MATCH OFFICIALS AWAITED  

[1342-6490]

 

Teams from six countries are to play the first three of fourteen fifty-over games in the Asian Cricket Council's (ACC) new Premier League (ACCPL) tournament in Kuala Lumpur today.  The ACCPL evolved from the former ACC 'Trophy Elite' cricket competition, the event over the coming eight days giving ACC Associate and Affiliate members further experience of international one-day cricket, a process that also forms a key part of the regional rankings process, the four top teams going on to play in the 2014 ACC Championship which is to be held somewhere in the region in the first half of December. 

 

Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nepal, Oman and the United Arab Emirates will each play five games this week, matches that will be overseen by International Cricket Council (ICC) second-tier match referee Graeme La Brooy of Sri Lanka, whose last of ten matches in that role this year's Indian Premier League series on Tuesday ended after twenty overs in a tie (PTG 1242-6491 below).  The ICC's web site currently shows Singapore's Sarika Prasad and Nepal's Buddhi Pradhan as having the task of standing simultaneously in all three matches today.  So far attempts to obtain the list of umpires for the event have not been successful.

 

IPL UAE MATCHES COME TO AN END  

[1342-6491]

 

Eighteen match officials from seven countries were used to support the first twenty games of this year's Indian Premier League (IPL), all of which were played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The even now moves to India where the remaining forty matches are to be played, but it remains to be seen whether the officials who looked after games in the UAE will continue with the series for the remainder of the season.

 

Graeme Labrooy of Sri Lanka and Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe each oversaw ten of the twenty fixtures played to date 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, and Indians  Anil Chaudhary, Vineet Kulkarni, Sundarum Ravi and Chettithody Shamshuddin, worked as either on-field or television umpires.  Three other Indian first class umpires, Krishnamachari Bharatan, Krisnaraj Srinath and Krishnamachari Srinivasan, have been limited to fourth or reserve umpire positions. 

 

Dar and Illingworth each had six games on-field and one in the television suite (6/1), Erasmus 5/1, Bowden 4/4, Chaudhary, Kulkarni and Ravi all 4/3, Dharmasena 4/1 and Shamshuddin 3/3.  Indian umpires were given 15 on-field spots and worked as third umpire 12 times, while their overseas colleagues were assigned to 25 on-field and 8 television slots.

 

Pycroft is normally a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top match referee's panel and Labrooy, who has since moved on to Malaysia for another event (PTG 1342-6490 above), 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. 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,343
Friday, 2 May 2014

BOWDEN RETURNS TO THE EUP  

[1343-6492]

 

New Zealand umpire 'Billy' Bowden is to rejoin the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) ten months after he was dropped from the twelve-man group for what were broadly hinted at the time as "performance" issues (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013).  Bowden, 51, replaces countryman Tony Hill who left the EUP in January (PTG 1276-6111, 10 January 2014), and is the only change to the panel for the year ahead, he being chosen in preference to the other two apparent contenders for an EUP spot, Ranmore Martinencz of Sri Lanka and Sundarum Ravi of India.

 

Geoff Allardice, the ICC’s General Manager Cricket, said in a press release issued yesterday that “Billy’s return to the elite panel is a result of his hard work and perseverance" and that "his skills and experience will further strengthen the ICC umpiring team".  Bowden joins current members Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena, Steve Davis, Marais Erasmus, Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker on the panel for the next twelve months.  

 

Bowden's appointment does nothing to break the heavy reliance of Australian and English umpires on the panel as together those countries contribute to eight of the twelve positions, Davis, Oxenford, Reiffel and Tucker from the former and Gould, Illingworth, Kettleborough and Llong from the latter.  Dar, Dharmasena and Erasmus are from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa respectively.  

 

Bowden, who is perhaps best known around the world for his unorthodox approach to signalling, served on the EUP from 2003-2013 and to date has stood in 76 Tests, the seventh highest total in history, 189 One Day Internationals the second highest number by an individual, and 21 Twenty20 Internationals, also the seventh highest on record in that form of the game. What will be his eleventh and probably twelfth year on the panel will formally start on 1 July as the ICC normally signs its elite umpires up on two-year contracts. 

 

Decisions on the make up of the EUP for the 2014-15 year were made by an ICC Umpires Selection Panel consisting, Allardice being its chairman, plus the ICC's Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle, ex-England player and coach and umpire, David Lloyd, and Srinivas Venkataraghavan, the former India captain and international umpire.  The group is believed to have met in Dubai sometime over the last week (PTG 1333-6439, 14 April 2014).

 

AUSSIE SIDE PLAYS THE GAME 'EXTREMELY 

FAIRLY', SAYS NATIONAL CAPTAIN  

[1343-6493]

 

Australian captain Michael Clarke says in a 'Cricinfo' interview that he has no intention of changing the aggressive on-field approach taken by his side in its recent series against England and South Africa, insisting that the team plays the game "extremely fairly".  As he has in the past, Clarke talked about he and his players knowing "there's a line you can't cross" in terms of on-field behaviour, but during his talk with the web site's Daniel Brettig, he does not appear to have equated that line with the tenants laid down by the 'Spirit of Cricket' Preamble to the game's Laws.

 

Clarke, whose team reacquired the world's number one Test ranking yesterday, said that: "Sometimes when you're playing sport at the highest level, emotions come out for people to see, and I think that's a great thing about our game".  According to him "You can go close to 'the line', but you can't cross it", and in his general view "Australians play sport extremely fairly".  "I can tell you in my career 100 different instances [of sporting play] that nobody knows about, because it's not [heard] over the stump microphone, or you can't see it first-hand".  He does not appear to have elaborated on just what some of those instances were.

 

The Australian captain acknowledged there had been "stray incidents" in his side's matches over the last year, such as his heated, expletive-laced exchange with England's James Anderson in the opening Ashes Test in Brisbane in November (PTG 1242-5996, 26 November 2014).  "What I said to James Anderson wasn't appropriate, especially being over stump mic[rophone] where boys and girls can hear that, [and as in the case] with the Dale Steyn incident [in Cape Town in early March]" (PTG 1307-6303, 7 March 2014).

 

Clarke said that  "The Australian way is to play tough, non-compromising cricket on the field. I think if you speak to a lot of the other [international] players you'll find that we're very social off the field, we go out of our way to make sure we see the other team, win, lose or draw, after a game".

 

In his stated view "The integrity of the game is crucial, we all know that as players, and certainly as captain of Australia that's a big part of my job to make sure that we always uphold the integrity of the game".  "With those sorts of things, when you're out of line you get pulled up by Cricket Australia or the International Cricket Council anyway, so there's things in place to ensure you don't overstep that mark".

 

Australian coach Darren Lehmann said after the Test in which Clarke engaged Steyn, that he had "has no qualms" about his side "regaining the ruthless sledging streak" the nation's teams of previous decades have displayed (PTG 1309-6312, 10 March 2014).  

 

Despite that a number of senior, long-serving Australian cricket journalists questioned what one called "Australia's way of winning" (PTG 1309-6311, 10 March 2014), but an on-line poll conducted by Melbourne's high-circulation 'Herald Sun' newspaper resulted in two-thirds of the 6,155 people who responded saying they liked seeing the team "so passionate", a phrase often used by players and in reports to describe behaviour that is not in line with 'Spirit of Cricket' principles (PTG 1310-6323, 11 March 2014).

 

FRANCHISE WITHDRAWALS FROM 

FUTURE BPL CONTESTS  

[1343-6494]

 

Two-time Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) champions, the Dhaka Gladiators franchise, have announced that they will not participate in any future BPL Twenty20 tournaments, but say they want the competition to continued for the sake of the development of the game in that country.  Players and administrators from the franchise were centre stage in the report into corruption in the second edition of the BPL a year ago prepared by the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), and while six were cleared, four others are awaiting censure by a Bangladesh Cricket Board tribunal (PTG 1340-6472, 28 April 2014).  

 

One of the Gladiators' owners Salim Chowdhury, whose son Shihab is amongst those found guilty of inappropriate activity in relation to the team's performance, made the announcement about the franchise's withdrawal from the BPL, the third edition of which was cancelled because of what was then the on-going inquiry into what went on in last year's series.  Claiming that the Bangladesh national side "would have done better" in the World Twenty20 Championship in March if BPL-3 had been held last January, Chowdhury senior called the BPL "a big platform and players can share their dressing room with other international stars".

 

Chowdhury and his fellow owners questioned the competence of the ACSU and its members, claiming that their investigation was "faulty and that they themselves have some relationship with the bookies", but no journalist seems to have questioned that claim or challenged the owners for evidence to back it.  Chowdhury also reportedly criticised the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) for not allowing Gladiator's left-arm spinner Mosharraf Rubel and fast bowler bowler Mahbubul Alam to take part in the BCB's domestic first class competition, despite the fact they were acquitted of BPL wrong doing by its disciplinary tribunal (PTG 1340-6472, 28 April 2014).  

 

In that regard Chowdhury pointed to the fact that "some foreign cricketers" who were also cleared by the tribunal, had not been barred from participating in their domestic competitions in their own countries as had Mosharraf and Mahbabu.  Gladiatior's lawyer asked "if the foreign cricketers can continue playing then why cannot our cricketers?".  Nurus Sadik, the lawyer of Mosharraf and Mahbabul, called the BCB’s stand "tantamount to disrespecting the verdict of the tribunal".

 

PLAYERS FACING 'FINES' 

FOR LACK OF FITNESS  

[1343-6495]

 

Pakistani players will be fined and face being dropped from the team if they do not meet required fitness standards as part of new plans designed by the national selection committee to prepare for the 2015 World Cup, says a Reuters report from Karachi on Wednesday.  Chief selector Moin Khan told reporters that unless players raised their fitness standards and worked on mental strength they would "not be able to compete internationally and win big matches".

 

The former captain, who is now the manager of the national side, told a news conference on Tuesday that while the Pakistani players were talented they needed to focus on improving their fitness and mental strength.  Those in contention for selection will have to meet standard fitness levels which we will set them, and if they don’t they can be fined and be dropped from the side, said national selector Mohammad Akram.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,344
Saturday, 3 May 2014

PCB REPORTED REVIEWING 

MALIK LIFE BAN  

[1344-6496]

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is to review, on the recommendation of a judicial inquiry, the life ban for match fixing imposed on the country's former captain Saleem Malik, according to PCB chairman Najam Sethi.  Last week Malik criticised the PCB for refusing to review his life ban and for not recognising a player's welfare association in which he is actively involved (PTG 1338-6464, 24 April 2014).  

 

Malik was one of three international captains, along with South Africa's Hansie Cronje and India's Mohammad Azharuddin, to be given life bans from all forms of cricket after Delhi police discovered evidence in 2000 that Cronje had accepted money from a bookmaker to throw matches.  During a subsequent enquiry into the scandal, Cronje, who died in a plane crash in 2002, named Malik as one of the players involved in a deal with a bookmaker.  The Pakistani has, however, always denied any wrongdoing, filing an appeal in the Lahore High Court (LHC) in 2001 which rejected his case.

 

Sethi told PTV Sports this week that "Malik has approached us and told us he has been cleared by a court. He has sent some documents to us and our legal team is studying them".  "I have told him to come and meet me in the next few days as we are ready to review his case".  He also stated that the PCB had also sought advice from the International Cricket Council on its former captain's case.

 

Following the 2001 LHC decision Malik, who played 103 Tests and 283 One Day Internationals, approached Pakistan's Supreme Court which ordered a lower court to decide on his case, and after what he called a "seven-year struggle", in 2008 that court declared the life ban handed to him "illegal".  He claims that despite that, "previous PCB chairmen had not been briefed properly" by officials about his case and it had therefore not been reviewed.  He said on Thursday: "I have just asked the board to give me a fair hearing and then decide whether the ban should be removed" and is "happy I am finally getting a chance to state my case".

 

CLUB HANDS OUT ONE-MATCH 

FOR 'TWITTER' COMMENTS  

[1344-6497]

 

Sussex’s Ashar Zaidi has been handed a one-match ban by his club as a result of the comments he made via 'Twitter' during his side's match against Somerset this week.  Zaidi, who had been given out caught behind by Nigel Llong, a member of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel, waved his bat towards Llong to indicate he had not hit the ball, and soon after he reached the pavilion used 'Twitter' to make clear his view of Llong's decision (PTG 1342-6486, 1 May 2014).

 

Sussex moved quickly to pre-empt further punishment for Zaidi, saying in announcing the ban that he had “apologised for his behaviour and regrets his actions deeply”.  The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is reported to have confirmed the spinner would not face any further disciplinary action.  At the start of this season Gerard Elias QC, the chairman of the ECB’s discipline commission, warned players they could be heavy punished for criticising umpires on social media.

 

GUSTARD NAMED FOR SIXTH 

WICB ENGLAND EXCHANGE  

[1344-6498]

 

Jamaica's Patrick Gustard will become the sixth West Indian umpire to stand in matches in England this month under an exchange agreement between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).  Gustard, 42, a member of the WICB's twelve-man Senior Umpires Panel (SUP), has been umpiring at first class level since January 2010 and currently has nine such games to his credit, including the 2013 final of the Caribbean's domestic first class competition.

 

Gustard is to stand in three Marylebone Cricket Club University (MCCU) fixtures against County sides in Southampton, Cambridge and Loughborough respectively, then two County second XI games in Bristol, one a fifty over fixture and the other a three-day match.   He is to stand with David Millns, who visited the Caribbean earlier this year (PTG 1333-6436, 14 April 2014), in his first game on Monday in Southampton, then with International Cricket Council Elite Umpire Panel members Richard Kettleborough and Richard Illingworth in Cambridge and Loughborough respectively, then with a so-far unnamed umpire for his final two matches in Bristol. 

 

The Jamaican's visit is a continuation of a WICB-ECB agreement that was signed in 2009 and has since seen SUP members Peter Nero, Joel Wilson, Gregory Braithwaite, Nigel Duguid and Leslie Reifer Junior travel to England to stand in County matches.

 

SECOND FIVE-FIGURE FINE 

FOR SLOW IPL OVER-RATE  

[1344-6499]

 

Rohit Sharma, the captain of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Mumbai franchise, has been fined the equivalent of $A22,000 because his side maintained a slow over rate during the match against Hyderabad in Dubai on Wednesday. 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, and should it transgress in that regard again during the current season, the fine is double that amount.  Rajasthan's IPL captain Shane Watson was fined $A22,000 last week after his side took twenty minutes longer than the allowed time to bowl its twenty overs (PTG 1341-6481, 30 April 2014). 

 

NINE MONTHS PROBATION 

FOR ON-FIELD FRACAS   

[1344-6500]

 

A player who threw punches during a match played in south-east Queensland in late March was placed on a nine months probation order after a trial in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court this week.  The game concerned wasn't being played under the Toowoomba Cricket Association banner, but rather one of the final games in a "Last Man Standing" competition run by a "private franchise".

 

Police prosecutor Greg McIntyre said police called to a disturbance during a cricket match ten weeks ago had found an "agitated" Anthony Andrew, 24, slumped against a toilet block near the oval.  McIntyre told the court that when "Asked what had happened, [Andrew] said he was angry because he'd been playing cricket and believed a lot of the umpiring decisions were going against his team".

 

After another team-mate was given out, Andrew went on to the ground and argued with the umpire, a period during which he swung a punch which missed, but he did punch an opposition player who tried to intervene.  When that occurred the competition organiser, who was not named in the 'Toowoomba Chronicle' report, "entered the fray and the pair traded blows on the field".  

 

Andrew, who denied being drunk, later pleaded guilty to a charge of public nuisance and Magistrate Bruce Schemioneck subsequently warned him about his behaviour and handed down the nine month probation period.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,345
Sunday, 4 May 2014

NEIGHBOUR'S COMPLAINTS LEADS TO 

SIXES BAN AT VILLAGE GROUND

[1345-6501]

 

The Britwell Salome village club in south-east Oxfordshire has been has been forced to introduce a ban on hitting sixes and spend over £4,000 ($A7,000) to install a twenty metre high net after a neighbour, Diana Attenborough, complained that it was dangerous when balls fell within the grounds of her home adjacent of the club’s playing area.  When it first received the complaint the club installed a five metre high net, however, balls continued to land in her garden, and Attenborough, whose son is a barrister, approached the club again, it responding with the higher net and a new a ‘local rule’ that means a player hitting a six at the ground will now score no runs.

 

Club chairman Nigel Joyner, told the local newspaper: "We play on average two games a week for five months a year and have been in the village for over 85 years and in all that time we have not had any complaints other than those from Diana".  "About two years ago she threatened to take the club to court to stop the us playing games if balls landed in her garden, but we managed to come to an amicable decision in January".  That meant though that "we’ve had to use up all of our funds, money we had hoped to use to replace our tractor so we can cut our grass and build a new shed as the old one is falling down" to erect the netting. 

 

A neighbour, who lives near the grounds but did not want to be named, said: "We all love the club and have never had any problems. It is mainly dads and sons from the village who play", and "its only the odd ball that comes over every now and then, and the club would cover the cost of any damage caused".  Another villager added: ‘The club is part of our community, it puts on events for the village and allows dog walkers to use it grounds".

 

Britwell Salome captain Ross Joyner, said that "Cricket is a way for many people to keep fit and socialise, its a shame how one person can ruin that for the others".  "There seems to be a lot of health and safety cases being taken to the extreme across the board and its a bit worrying if that continues in this way".  Residents of the village as said to have generally supported the club and feel it had no reason to be concerned, one villager donating £400 ($A725) to cover the cost of the net which was installed on three twenty-five metre high posts which the club had made and shipped in from Norway.

 

Attenborough, who has lived in her house for eight years, said: "The old net was much lower so the balls came over and made it very dangerous to be in the garden [and we eventually] came to an amicable solution" with the higher nets and six hitting ban.  However, after taking the action it did the club learned this week that their neighbour has put her £850,000 ($A1.5m) home up for sale.  Joyner said that his club understands Attenborough's concern as "a ball has gone over and smashed a pane once before which we covered the cost for, but it is odd that she has now put her house on sale".  "Either way the net, which unfortunately is a bit of an eyesore because of the great white posts, will prevent any future problems there". 

 

CA TARGETING NEW WOMEN'S 

DOMESTIC T20 SERIES IN 2015-16

[1345-6502]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) aims to launch the new Twenty20 tournament for women during the 2015-16 austral summer.  CA directors agreed at their recent board meeting that the move, which comes as plans for an Indian Premier League-like international league for women have come to light (PTG 1342-6485, 1 May 2014), is another step towards professionalism for the women's game in Australia, an approach that has been given fresh impetus by the success of the Australian women's team over the last few years.

 

Just how many teams will compete in CA's domestic women's event, and whether they would be state or franchise owned sides, are yet to be announced, but a mix of double-headers with men's matches and standalone fixtures, can be expected say reports.  While New South Wales and Victoria have dominated women's domestic competitions in Australia in recent years, the general player standard in other states is much more limited, but presumably there will be scope for the best internationals from around the world to be contracted to play as occurs in the men's game 

 

Belinda Clark, a former Australian captain who now manages CA's National Cricket Centre, believes a revamped women's series will capitalise on the gains the women's game has made in recent years.  ''There's been a lot of work done in the last five years to get more international T20s on television, and the ratings of those, whether they've been matches we've had in Australia, or international matches back in Australia, have been getting stronger and stronger", said Clark via CA's website.  

 

Such changes, continued Clark, "give us great confidence that if we can get this right, we'll be providing a really good opportunity for our players, but also for the public to see women's cricket at this level more often".  ''The men's game has advanced and evolved at the same pace as the women's game [recently] so I think the difference is that people are noticing the women's game more now than before, but the rate of change in the sport in general is amazing, and the T20 format is a great opportunity for us to leverage that and get more girls playing".

 

Clark added that an upgraded women's T20 could be a "powerful motivator for young women".  She said that ''One of the main drivers is that young girls understand that there is a pathway for them".  ''For those girls who want to play cricket, this is a viable option for them to aim to, and for those who want to watch cricket, they'll have a choice of watching good competitions in both males' and females' [leagues]".

 

SENIOR ICC MATCH OFFICIALS JOIN IPL-7 

[1345-6503]

 

Nigel Llong of England, Bruce Oxenford of Australia, Ranjan Madugalle and Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka, plus Javagal Srinath of India are the latest members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top umpiring and match referee panels to be contracted to join this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) competition.  Their colleagues Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena, Richard Illingworth, Marais Erasmus and Andy Pycroft, plus newly promoted 'Billy' Bowden, took part in the first twenty games of the series, which were played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (PTG 1342-6491, 1 May 2014), but now the series has moved to India for the final forty games another set of officials have been added to the roster.  

 

Llong, who earlier this week was standing in a first class County match in Hove (PTG 1344-6497, 3 May 2014), is working in the IPL for the second time after his debut last year,  Oxenford also his second, the first being in 2012,   Madugalle his third in a row,  Mahanama his fifth straight,  w hile local Srinath is in his seventh season with the competition having overseen games in every series played to date.   Dharmasena and  Pycroft are continuing in the Indian phase of the series, however, Illingworth is returning to County duties.   

 

Indian umpires who have joined the IPL panel since it moved to India are Rajesh Deshpande, Sanjay Hazare, CK Nandan,  while Anil Chaudary, Sundarum Ravi and  Chettithody Shamshuddin,  who stood in UAE-based games, are continuing to support matches.   Deshpande has worked as a  reserve umpire in last two series, while  Hazare and Nandan  have two seasons of IPL on-field and television umpire roles behind them.

 

MARKETERS GO TO GREAT HEIGHTS 

TO PROMOTE T20 SERIES 

[1345-6504]

 

UK "multi-channel marketing agency 'Threepipe' went to great heights to promote the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) 2014 domestic Twenty20 competition last week by sending a cricket ball to what some reports say was the "edge of space".  Under the scheme, 'Threepipe' took a white 'Kookaburra' ball of the type that will be used in the T20 series, attached it to a steel rod frame and launched it under a helium balloon from the Edgbaston ground in Birmingham where the finals of this year's event are to be played.

 

The 'Threepipe' balloon carried the 'Kookaburra' to a height of over thirty kilometres, the height routinely reached by weather balloons around the world each day, at which point it burst and the ball then fell slowly down under a parachute and was retrieved from the English countryside near Newbury 160 km to the south.  What was a three-hour round trip was filmed by a camera fixed to the steel support and the footage it collected is to be "packaged into a promotional video". 

 

'Threepipe' is said to have worked with Sheffield University engineers and the UK Civil Aviation Authority to calculate windspeeds from time of take-off "to ensure the ball came down safely in a rural area", and presumably radar or other tracking, or an onboard navigation system, was used to determine precisely when the ball came to earth.  A 'Daily Mail' report says the marketing project is costing around £25,000 ($A46,000) and indicates "the ECB are hoping to furnish [its T20 series] with some of the 'razzmatazz' that surrounds Australia's T20 event".  

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,346
Monday, 5 May 2014

FORMER MINING BOSS TO CHAIR 

CA BOARD, ICC EXCOMM, NEXT YEAR

[1346-6505]

 

Recently retired Rio Tinto managing director David Peever is to be the next chairman of Cricket Australia (CA) when current chair Wally Edwards leaves the position in October next year.  Peever, 56, was elected vice-chairman of CA at a two-day board meeting that ended in Melbourne on Friday, and when he takes over from Edwards he will also assume the role of chairman of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) new Executive Committee (Excomm) that has been established as part of the forthcoming ICC revamp (PTG 1279-6160, 30 January 2014)

 

Peever was appointed as an independent CA director eighteen months ago as part of broad governance changes to Australian cricket which saw the number of directors reduced from fourteen to nine, with just one from each state and three independents (PTG 1009-4905, 27 October 2012).  Edwards said after Friday's board meeting that Peever's appointment was a “tremendous result” for Australian cricket for in his assessment “David Peever is a great leader and will bring outstanding business acumen to the role combined with a deep passion for the game".

 

Peever, who has served on the executive committee of Queensland Cricket, graduated from James Cook University with an economics degree and later completed a Masters of Science in Mineral Economics from Macquarie University.  He is currently a Non-Executive Director of the Melbourne Business School, a Director of the Business Council of Australia, a member of the Australian Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council and the Department of Defence Gender Equality Advisory Board, and a Director of the Australian Foundation Investment Company Ltd.  

 

Reports say that he will now be "travelling extensively" in the company of Edwards to meet and understand cricket's overseas custodians, from the financial powerbrokers in India and England, to the administrators of the many Associate nations.  Edwards said on Friday "the ICC's in much better shape now than it was when I came into the job and it will be better in another eighteen months", however, "it's really getting to meet the people [involved and] get a feel for the way it works, the way people think, and get a bit of an understanding of the ICC itself".

 

CRICKET CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT 

DAY-NIGHT TESTS, SAYS AUSSIE CAPTAIN 

[1346-6506]

 

Australian captain Michael Clarke does not think that Test matches need to move to a day-night format in order to survive as a concept, according to an interview he game to 'Cricinfo' last week, but he is not against the general idea.  Cricket Australia (CA), Clarke's employer, as well as the national body's television backers, have been pushing towards the introduction of day-night Tests for a number of years, in March this year playing a round of matches in its domestic first class competition as day-nighters with the aim of playing a Test in the new format against New Zealand in November next year (PTG 1310-6321, 11 March 2014).

 

Clarke's said that "if you've watched any Test cricket over the last twelve months, there would have been a lot of people off their chairs watching the game", a situation that shows the popularity of Tests in some parts of the world.  However, he doesn't "think it would be fair or right for me to sit here and say yes or no [to playing a day-night Test]".  "I think I need to experience it, probably at first-class level, before I could comment on that", he continued, and should Australia play such a match, Clarke says he would need to play under lights at first-class level before submitting to those conditions in a Test.  

 

Last month former England batsman Kevin Pietersen 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" (PTG 1337-6458, 22 April 2014).  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  (PTG 1330-6420, 7 April 2014).

 

BERMUDA LOOKING TO 

RAISE STANDARDS  

[1346-6407]

 

Clubs competing in the Premier and First Divisions on the island of Bermuda "are being forced" to raise their standards or face sanctions, including point deductions, during the season when it starts later this month, according to a story in the 'Royal Gazette' newspaper yesterday.  The Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) held a meeting with club representatives and umpires last Wednesday to advise them that penalties will be imposed for "tardiness, not preparing wickets for matches and not producing white balls for play in the fifty-over games".

 

The Board was forced to delay the season's start this week because many pitches are still not ready for play.  But once the season gets underway, clubs were advised that there will be no rescheduled matches this season, and games must go on with or without umpires, failing which no points will be awarded to either team.  The toss must be made twenty minutes before the scheduled start and if a captain is not ready for the toss, or a team is without the minimum nine players present, the toss will be forfeited.

 

Each captain is required producee a copy of his team at the toss and reserves must be noted on BCB sheets or club letterhead. If a team do not have nine players, they will be given until fifty minutes after the expected start to have their quota.  Failure to prepare a wicket as a host club, even for a team who ground share, will result in a ten-point penalty, while any club who have not paid their BCB registration fee by mid-June will be deducted ten points.  In addition, fast bowlers under the age of nineteen will be limited to a maximum of seven overs per spell while anyone younger than thirteen years will not be allowed to play in the island's senior league.

 

'RUST' AND 'COLD' PRODUCES 

THREE 'BEAMERS'  

[1346-6408]

 

Friarmere player Gary Kershaw, whose side plays in Lancashire's Saddleworth and District Cricket League, accepted that “rules are rules” last week after watching team-mate Sohail Mahmood removed from the attack after bowling three full tosses over waist height.  Though there is nothing unusual in such bowling, the difference on this occasion was that they were the first three balls of the innings!  “There was nothing malicious in it; Sohail was just very rusty", added Kershaw, while umpire Mike Dunkerley said: “The bowler was genuinely apologetic, he told me it was a cold day, he was a bit stiff and he hadn’t bowled for a couple of years".  "He just held up his hands and said sorry". 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,347
Wednesday, 7 May 2014

ICC'S 'LACK OF ACTION' ON 

SRINIVASAN CRITICISED 

[1347-6509]

 

Aditya Verma, the secretary of the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), the organisation currently challenging the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption issues, has written to members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) to urge them to stop Narayanswamy Srinivasan from attending ICC board meetings and becoming that group's chairman in July.  Verma has questioned what he sees as the ICC's inaction on issues that came from last year's IPL and questioned why, when Srinivasan was stood down as the president of the BCCI on the order of India's Supreme Court, he was allowed to attend last month's ICC board meeting (PTG 1331-6425, 10 April 2014).   

 

The CAB is currently waiting for a ruling from the Supreme Court about barring Srinivasan from involvement in ICC matters pending a final verdict from the Court on IPL matters, a decision that will not come until further investigations into the issue have been completed, probably by Justice Mukul Mudgal, in September (PTG 1341-6477, 30 April 2014).  According to a 'Times of India' (TOI) report, Verma alleges in his letter that the ICC has kept its "mouth shut" on IPL "scams" and questions what he apparently states is the ICC's decision of not enquiring about IPL related issues.  

 

"As per ICC conduct rules, if any player's name comes up in any illegal acts, it is the duty of ICC to investigate, but I am sorry to say the ICC is not taking any interest", continues the letter.  While he has pleaded his innocence, Srinivasan's name, along with several IPL administrators, and six "prominent Indian capped” players, including one who is allegedly part of the current team (PTG 1322-6374, 28 March 2014), are included in a "sealed section" of the report from the first phase of Mudgal's four-month investigation which was tabled in early February (PTG 1289-6212, 11 February 2014).  The Supreme Court is yet to decide whether it will ask Mudgal to continue the IPL investigation.

 

Verma is said to go on in his letter to ask in a somewhat sarcastic tone whether "the ICC has become Indian Cement Cricket"?, a reference to Srinivasan's family company 'India Cements', many of whose employees with BCCI links were stood down by the Court (PTG 1329-6412, 6 April 2014).  He then urges the ICC to stop Srinivasan from functioning as chairman of the ICC's executive board until a Court-directed IPL probe is over.  "Once again I am requesting on the behalf of my CAB to immediately intervene and take appropriate action against guilty persons", continues the letter.  The "ICC must respect the Indian law as the [Supreme] Court of the country has stopped the BCCI president from functioning till the probe concludes".

 

The BCCI has objected to Mudgal's group following up on their February report as it claims the findings of that work were "erroneous", and asked the Supreme Court instead to form a new panel.  The Court, which had asked the BCCI to nominate its members to carry out the work, subsequently rejected the names it put forward and the idea of the BCCI carrying out that work (PTG 1341-6479, 30 April 2014).

 

TEST CRICKET NEEDS 'NURTURING', 

SAYS 'CHAPELLI' 

[1347-6510]

 

The fact that the World Test Championship (WTC) has languished because of minimal television interest is "further condemnation" of an administration that "lacks both credibility and foresight", says former Australian captain Ian Chappell.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) scrapped the concept four months ago because of lack interest from television marketers (PTG 1271-6130, 17 January 2014), and subsequently introduced the 'Test Challenge' for the top non Test-playing countries (PTG 1332-6431, 11 April 2014).

 

Chappell expressed the view in his 'Cricinfo' column over the weekend that if ICC marketing men can't put together an attractive television package for a WTC then they are "either not trying or their selling credentials are worse than mine".  He quotes the late Australian media magnate Kerry Packer, who in the late 1970s disrupted cricket to eventually gain the rights to televise the game in Australia, as once imploring Rugby League officials: "Never let a media company run your sport". 

 

The former captain says that instead of "bickering over power and how the money will be split, it would be more productive if the ICC initiated a think-tank on Test cricket".  "In addition to coming up with a feasible format for a [WTC], ideas on how to revitalise the game, like how best to fast-track day-night Tests and improve the competitiveness of the bottom half of the competition, could be kicked around".

 

For Chappell its interesting to hear players of the "calibre of Australia's Michael Clarke and England's Kevin Pietersen" say they are not sold on day-night Tests (PTG 1346-6506, 5 May 2014), pointing to Packer's World Series Cricket and the fact that "more than thirty-five years ago, the Super Tests were played at night". 

 

He "enjoyed playing those games as the time frame allowed you to avoid the heat of the day and was more conducive to large attendances, but the one downside was the ball".  "Finding the right colour and durability is the key to day-night Tests, [plus] ensuring you don't play matches at venues where there's likely to be heavy dew", he says, all problems that still exist today.

 

"Test cricket has to be nurtured and fostered, not just left to tread water while [administrators] concentrate on short-term choices designed to fill the coffers", concludes Chappell.

 

THREE-MATCH SUSPENSION, FULL MATCH FEE FINE, 

FOR ALL-ROUNDER'S 'OBNOXIOUS GESTURE'

[1347-6511]

 

Bangladeshi all-rounder Mahmudullah was fined one hundred per cent of his match fee and given a two-match suspension for an "obnoxious gesture" he made after reaching his century in his Central Zone side's Bangladesh Cricket League match against North Zone on Monday.  Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper said yesterday his "lewd gesture" spoiled celebrations on a day he achieved the rare feat of scoring a century and taking a hat-trick in the same first class game.

 

'New Age' indicated in its report that after reaching his hundred, Mahmudullah "moved a few yards from the crease, pointed at the logo of [the Central Zone franchisee] on his shirt and then used the handle of the bat making a lewd gesture whilst pointing at the dressing room several times".  Players and officials present at the ground said it reminded them of the actions of another Bangladeshi, Sakib al Hasan, during February's One Day International series against Sri Lanka (PTG 1297-6258, 23 February 2014).  He was banned for three matches and fined for "making an in appropriate gesture on live television".

 

Team "sources" indicated Mahmudullah was upset with Central officials, coach and a selector, who had criticised him for his "casual approach" whilst bowling on the previous day.  Then he had delivered an over almost standing on the crease, which "did not go well" with the franchise officials and selector Habibul Bashar, who was also watching the game.  Before the start of the third day’s play on Monday, coach Mizanur Rahman Babul raised the point and criticised him for acting against the spirit of the game, but the all-rounder is said to have questioned the qualifications of the officials who criticised him. 

 

Mahmudullah's punishment came less than a month after he was handed a similar fine and a one-match ban for kicking his helmet during a National Cricket League game in Cox’s Bazar in mid-April (PTG 1335-6446, 18 April 2014).  Match referee for the Central-North game Shawkatur Rahman told 'New Age':  "What he [did] looked very ugly and difficult to put into the words", continued the referee.  "It was a Level three offence and the minimum punishment for that is a fine of full match fee and two-match suspension". "We could not take his previous ban into consideration as it happened in a separate tournament", otherwise his punishment [on this occasion] would have been severer".  Should he repeat the act he will be suspended for five matches", concluded the referee.

 

US GROUP ANNOUNCES 'MAJOR 

INITIATIVE' FOR THE WOMEN'S GAME 

[1347-6512]

 

The American Cricket Federation (ACF) has announced the launch of the first phase of a "major initiative" aimed at "fully embracing and supporting women’s cricket in the United States".  The plan is to kick off with a “Women’s Cricket Awareness Week” later this month that will coincide with the fourth annual women’s Twenty20 tournament in Atlanta, Georgia, an event run by the Georgia Women's Cricket Association.

 

Plans call for the three-phase development program, the first "an assessment of the talent and volunteer pool available", then "the creation of programs aimed at growing and developing the sport both at the grassroots and established senior levels", after which "a comprehensive" program will be put in place to make "women’s cricket a definitive part of the cricket landscape in the United States".

 

The move comes as the ACF is feuding with the long standing United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) about who should be recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The ACF was established after a split occurred at the USACA's 2012 annual meeting and their membership has grown quickly to the point that in February they asked the ICC to recognised it as a national governing body.  

 

There is uncertainty as to just which regional associations have changed their allegiance from the USACA to the ACF, and the two organisations are reported to currently be trying to make their respective cases to the ICC. 

 

CRICKET ACT KEEN FOR A TEAM 

IN PLANNED CA WOMEN'S T20 SERIES 

[1347-6513]

 

The organisers of cricket in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) around Canberra, Cricket ACT, is interested in being involved in Cricket Australia's (CA) planned revamp of its women's Twenty20 competition that is expected to get underway in the 2015-16 season.  CA announced last week that it is planning to establish the new tournament as the leading women's domestic competition in Australia  (PTG 1345-6502, 4 May 2014).

 

The ACT women's side were the runners-up in the Women's National Cricket League (WNCL) Twenty20 competition last season, however, the organisation doesn't have a team in CA's men's T20 series, although it is keen to put in a bid whenever expansion beyond the current eight teams is on the table.  Cricket ACT chief executive Mark Vergano said over the weekend that the performances of the women's team in the WNCL since their inception in 2009 had shown that Canberra would be capable of having a women's team in the planned new competition.

 

PLANS TO CONVERT CLUB'S GROUND

TO A CAR PARK SHELVED

[1347-6514]

 

Plans by the Tauranga City Council (TCC) in New Zealand to turn the ground used by the Mount Maunganui Cricket Club (MMCC) into a bitumen covered car park have been shelved, according to a story in the 'Bay of Plenty Times'.  While a small car park is to be built in an area adjacent to the MMCC's ground next to the Bay Oval, "Its not going to be on the playing field surface", says TCC councillor Steve Morris.

 

Morris said he and a number of his colleagues raised concerns about putting tarmac down on the cricket ground for in their view: "We don't need to be putting that sort of level of capital expenditure at this stage for car parking when we have other fiscal constraints".  "The objection myself and others raised to staff was 'bang for buck' and sure we want to have a presentable car park but it can't be a priority at the moment, and it also lets the MMCC do business as usual".  So "On two fronts it is common sense", he says. 

 

MMCC president Jason Dovey says the cricket community is obviously very pleased with the decision for "the future of any senior club is juniors and we need that area for our junior cricket".  "We get eighty kids down there on a Friday night and once you take a green space away you are never going to get it back, so we are very, very happy".

 

But Dovey says the club's concern is now what future they will have once the lease on their clubrooms expires in 2019.  "The council will not give us a timeframe as to how long".  "We will get the use out of it for another four years but the club's concern is do we keep spending [around $A10,000] of our money on the facility for six months use per year till then, or could we be investing that in a new pavilion [elsewhere] or joining another facility that is already on the park?  "That is the limbo we are in".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,348
Thursday, 8 May 2014

IPL PAIR FINED FOR SIGNIFICANT 

ON-FIELD CONFRONTATION

[1348-6515]

 

Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc and West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard have both have been fined as a result of a significant on-field confrontation during their respective side's Indian Premier League (IPL) match in Mumbai on Tuesday.  Match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe fined Pollard and Starc seventy-five and fifty per cent of their match fees, but given the nature of the confrontation both appear to have been lucky to escape without a suspension being involved. 

 

The confrontation started after Starc peppered Pollard with short-pitched bowling that culminated with a bouncer that narrowly missed the Trinidadian’s head as he tried to hook.  That prompted an exchange of words that ended with Pollard 'shooing' Starc back to his bowling mark, and as he was about to deliver the next ball, Pollard belatedly pulled away from his crease.  The Australian responded by firing the ball at the retreating batsman after which Pollard shaped to throw his bat at the bowler and ended up hurling it into the turf.     

 

Both players were visibly angry and continued to exchange words and later in the innings Starc ran Pollard out, but before taking a bail off he taunted the hopelessly stranded batsman by asking him to try and make his crease.

 

Pollard, who pleaded guilty, was charged with the Level 2 offence for “throwing his bat at or near a player”, while Starc also pleaded guilty to a Level 2 charge of "breaching the spirit of the game" (PTG 1334-6440, 16 April 2014).  IPL Level 2 offences can attract penalties that range from a fine of between half and the total of their match fees, and/or a suspension of up to two matches.  Tuesday's match also saw fines handed out for slow over-rates and a reprimand under the IPL's clothing policy (PTG 1348-6520 below). 

 

'BIG THREE' TO OVERSEE REVIEW 

OF ICC ANTI-CORRUPTION UNIT

[1348-6516]

 

The operations of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) are to be reviewed by a group made up of representatives of the three nations behind the planned revamp of ICC administrative arrangements: Australia, England and India.  'Cricinfo' is reporting this morning that the review was decided at the ICC board's April meeting in Dubai, and although a number of unidentified nations are said to have been concerned about arrangements proposed for the review, there was general agreement that the overall issue needs to be looked at as a matter of urgency  

 

The decision to undertake the review is said to stem from the realisation that the sport has changed substantially since the ACSU was established fourteen years ago.  Then, corruption was seen as primarily an issue for international games broadcast on satellite television, but the explosion of the Twenty20 game and the number of opportunities there are for matches to be illegally influenced, has encouraged national boards to initiate their own anti-corruption units.  A proposal discussed in Dubai is said to involve a "dramatic reduction" of the size of the 'central' ICC ACSU in favour of closer links between the anti-corruption groups of the ten ICC Full Member nations.

 

One potential change flagged in the 'Cricinfo' report is that the ACSU could after the review report to the ICC chairman, rather than the world body's chief executive as applies at the present time  For a year from July the ICC chairman is currently scheduled to be Narayanswamy Srinivasan of India, despite the fact he is being investigated by India's Supreme Court over 2013 Indian Premier League corruption issues.  The Supreme Court has been asked to bar Srinivasan from taking part in ICC activities pending finalisation of the IPL corruption probe but is yet to make a decision (PTG 1341-6477, 30 April 2014). 

 

If Srinivasan serves that first term, under changes agreed to by ICC board members in February, the nominees of Australia and England will take up that role in 2015-16 and 2016-17, before the task returns to an Indian to begin that cycle all over again (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014 ).  A change of ACSU reporting responsibilities away from the relatively 'independent' ICC chief executive in Dubai to one of the so-called big three nations, Australia, England and India, is seen by many observers as a backward step.  

 

The ACSU review, the terms of reference and reporting time-lines have yet to be set, is expected to be undertaken by a four-man team that includes officials from each of the 'big three' plus current ICC chief executive David Richardson. 

 

NZ TIGHTENS MATCH-FIXING 

RELATED LEGISLATION

[1348-6517]

 

The New Zealand government has amended its Crimes Act to include match-fixing in order to give "greater certainty to law enforcement agencies and international sporting bodies". While existing legislation might have covered match-fixing under other offences such as fraud, the amendment will for the first time deal directly with fixing as a crime.

 

New Zealand sport and recreation minister Murray McCully said in announcing the move that "New Zealand is not immune to the international risks of match-fixing, and we are taking pre-emptive steps to protect our well-deserved reputation for playing fair and the integrity of New Zealand sport".   According to him the new policy will provide a comprehensive framework for collaboration across government, the sport sector and the betting industry to address match-fixing risks to the country. "An important component of the policy is ensuring we have a strong legal framework around match-fixing, and ensuring it is subject to criminal sanctions", said McCully.

 

FORMER ICC PRESIDENT NOMINATED 

AS NEXT MCC HEAD

[1348-6518]

 

Former England and Wales Cricket Board Chairman David Morgan has been nominated as the next President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).  The selection of Morgan, who is the current president of the Glamorgan County Cricket Club, was announced at the MCC's Annual General Meeting at Lord’s yesterday.

 

Morgan accepted his nomination by outgoing MCC President Mike Gatting and will take up the year-long post in October.  Gatting said that "Morgan has been and remains one of the most influential voices in the world game, and I’m sure he will do an excellent job in leading MCC through a very important time in its history".  "He is ambitious, creative and efficient and is the ideal person to succeed me and I’m delighted he accepted my invitation", said the former England captain.

 

Morgan, who was appointed OBE in 2008 for his services to cricket, spent four years as Chairman of Glamorgan from 1993-97, was deputy chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) until 2002 then spent the next five years as chairman before moving on to the ICC in 2008 for a two-year term.  His most recent contribution to English cricket was the Morgan Review of 2011, which was considered to be the biggest shake-up of the county game in a decade. That report’s recommendations were implemented prior to the start of the 2014 season. 

 

MAHMUDULLAH REGRETS 'LEWD GESTURE', 

BCB TO INVESTIGATE FURTHER 

[1348-6519]

 

Bangladesh all-rounder Mahmudullah has apologised for the gesture he made during a Bangladesh Cricket League match on Monday shortly after he scored a century, an action that later led to him being handed a two-match suspension and loosing all of his match fee for the game (PTG 1347-6511, 7 May 2014).  Mahmudullah denied what was described as a "lewd gesture" by onlookers was an attempt to insult some of his team's officials who had been critical of his approach to the game the previous day, calling the reaction of those who saw it a "total misunderstanding as it was not directed towards anyone".

 

A remorseful Mahmudullah told 'New' Age on Tuesday that "Being a national cricketer it was not expected from me and I am feeling very guilty and ashamed for the incident".  He said he "was going through a rough patch, things were not moving the way I would have liked. I was unable to control my emotion after scoring the hundred though it should not have happened".  "I am determined not to repeat such an irresponsible act ever again in my career", said Mahmudullah, who is reported to have pleaded not guilty during the hearing conducted into the incident.

 

Mahmudullah’s ban came in less than a month after he was handed a similar fine and a one-match suspension for kicking his helmet in the sixth round match of the National Cricket League in Cox Bazar in mid-April (PTG 1335-6446, 18 April 2014).  'New Age' says that the matter may not end here as Bangladesh Cricket Board media committee chairman Jalal Yunus said his board’s disciplinary committee can further look into the matter.  "The match referee has already given his verdict and also conveyed the message to the disciplinary committee who will also look into the matter", said Jalal, and "We regret that the incident has lowered the image of the game of cricket".

 

SECOND SLOW OVER-RATE FINE 

FOR MUMBAI IPL CAPTAIN

[1348-6520]

 

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, the captains of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Mumbai and Bangalore franchises respectively, have both been fined after their teams maintained slow over-rates in a match in Mumbai on Tuesday.  The Mumbai skipper, who was fined for a slow-over in a previous match last weekend (PTG 1344-6499, 3 May 2014), was fined the equivalent of $A44,000, while his opposite number, for whom it was his first offence this season, lost $A22,000.

 

Under IPL Playing Conditions captains are fined $A22,000 the first time their side fails to start bowling the last of their twenty overs in one hour and twenty-five minutes, while a second transgression during the same season sees that fine doubled.  In addition to the slow over-rate fines that resulted from Tuesday's game, Bangalore bowler Varun Aaron was reprimanded for violating the IPL's clothing regulations, while West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard and Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc were fined because an on-field confrontation (PTG 1348-6515 above). 

 

LONDON COURT UPHOLDS 

KANERIA'S LIFE BAN 

[1348-6521]

 

Former Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria has once again had an appeal against a life ban imposed on him for his involvement in the Mervyn Westfield spot-fixing case dismissed.  The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) handed him the ban two years ago, but his second appeal was dismissed by the UK Commercial Court on Tuesday, which also confirmed the £100,000 ($A165,000) cost of the original hearings should still be born by Kaneria (PTG 1089-5308, 14 April 2013).

 

As the ECB is a member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Kaneria, who has repeatedly denied involvement in corruption but did not attend Tuesday's hearing, is effectively banned from playing the game anywhere in the world, although last month reports indicated he played at least one Twenty20 fixture in the United States (PTG      1337-6459, 22 April 2014).  His original appeal last year was unsuccessful.

 

David Collier, the ECB's chief executive, again suggested Kaneria "publicly admit his guilt".  He said in a statement that the latest "judgment re-affirms the previous findings of guilt and recognises that the two [ECB disciplinary panel] decisions to impose a life ban were proportionate to the seriousness of the offences".  "It also makes it abundantly clear that there was no error of law or irregularity involved in the disciplinary process".  According to Collier ECB processes and the judgement of a High Court judge confirm that "Mr Kaneria acted as a recruiter of spot-fixers and exploited his status as an international player to engage a young county professional, Mervyn Westfield, in corrupt activity".

 

Westfield was given a four-month prison sentence in 2012 after admitting to accepting payment in order to concede a certain number of runs off an over during a televised forty-over match in 2009 and named Kaneria as the man who induced him to take part in that activity (PTG 953-4627, 26 June 2012).   Westfield been allowed to return to club cricket this northern summer and now takes part in a programme of education arranged by the Professional Cricketers' Association.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,349
Friday, 8 May 2014

PCB HANDS OUT TWO-YEAR 

BAN FOR DOPING VIOLATION

[1349-6522]

 

Pakistani cricketer Kashif Siddiq Khan was banned for two years on Wednesday after he tested positive for a banned substance.  The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in announcing the ban that the thirty-two-year-old, who is the son of first-class umpire Mohammad Siddiq Khan who stood in 187 such games from 1980-2007, violated its anti-doping code, however, it would not give details of which substance was involved.

 

The PCB indicated that the all-rounder, who captained the State Bank team in Pakistan's domestic competition, underwent a doping test last November during its domestic Twenty20 cup series.  The National Dope Testing Laboratory in New Delhi, India, ran tests on the samples he provided and an "adverse analytical finding was reported".

 

Khan was provisionally suspended from participating in any form of cricket in early January pending the proceedings of the PCB's Anti-Doping Tribunal.  After a series of hearings the tribunal this week found him guilty of violating the code and issued the ban, the start of which has been backdated to January when his suspension formally began.

 

Khan is not the first player in that country to be banned for doping.  Former Pakistan players Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif also failed doping tests in 2006, although their samples were collected 'out of competition'.  Akhtar was subsequently banned for two years and Asif for one but the bans were overturned on appeal, a decision that was criticised worldwide at the time.

 

SENIOR COUNTY PLAYERS RECEIVE 

REPRIMANDS FOR DISSENT

[1349-6523]

 

Lancashire captain and coach Glen Chapple and  Glamorgan’s Murray Goodwin have each received reprimands from the England and Wales Cricket Board for "showing dissent at an umpire’s decision by word or action" during separate County Championship games played over the last week.  

 

Chapple was reported by umpires Mark Benson and Steve Gale during during his side's first class match against Sussex, and Goodwin by Michael Gough and Russell Evans in Glamorgan’s match against Worcestershire.  Their three point penalties will remain on their records for a period of two years and the accumulation of nine or more penalty points in that time will result in an automatic suspension.

 

REDUCED INDIA TOUR HITS SOUTH 

AFRICAN FINANCES, FORCES REVIEW

[1349-6524]

 

What is said to be a "difficult financial climate" is reported to have forced Cricket South Africa (CSA) to look at aspects of its second-tier semi-professional competitions during the southern winter break.  Last summer's abbreviated tour by India when one Test, four One Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals were cut from the originally mooted program, cost CSA in the order of $A33m in revenue, forcing a review of its operations (PTG 1217-5852, 25 October 2014), says Firdose Moonda Cricinfo's South Africa correspondent.

 

CSA's second-tier first class, one-day and Twenty20 series involve fourteen provincial-based teams and acts as a feeder for the country's six franchise-based top-tier sides, however, it has now been six seasons since it was able to attract a sponsor.  Currently the fourteen sides each play thirteen, three-day, first class matches a season as opposed to ten four-day games for the franchise sides, and it is possible that the number of second-tier first class and Twenty20 matches played will be reduced.  Moonda also suggests the number of games in CSA's top-tier domestic T20 series could be reduced, perhaps significantly.  

 

The 'Cricinfo' journalist quotes an unnamed CSA "insider" as saying in reference to tier-two games that "With that amount of matches, there is also the cost of umpires, venues, travel and accommodation so it would make sense to cut that down".  Any reductions will impact on the opportunities umpires have to support second-tier competitions and thus advance to the highest level of the domestic game there.  CSA itself did not respond to questions about the matter sent to it by Moonda.

 

IPL MIGHT NOT BE EVERYBODY'S 'CUP OF 

TEA', BUT INTEREST REMAINS STRONG

[1349-6525]

 

Indian Premier League (IPL) organisers say that the opening twenty games of what is the seventh series this year, which were played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have been an "unprecedented success" in terms of crowds at grounds, television viewership and digital platform access.  The IPL says there were "full houses" at every game across the three UAE venues, eighty-tour per cent of which were paid tickets, a figure that compares favourably to fifty-six per cent paid that applied in South Africa during IPL-2 in 2009.

 

In terms of television viewership, overall numbers obtained for the UAE games in markets like Assam, Rajasthan, Hyderabad, Delhi and Bengaluru were up on those for the 2013 series.  Visits to the official IPL website over the first ten days of this year's event were up by ten million on those for the same period in 2013, while IPL Facebook ‘Likes’ rose from 3.8 million to 9.1 million, and are said to be still increasing.  Similarly, IPL's 'Twitter'  account gained 360,000 new followers in the first two weeks and its 'FantasyLeague' now has 850,000 registered active users.

 

Tom Moody, the coach of the Hyderabad franchise, told a journalist last week that in his view the IPL is a "quality product" but that it has reached a plateau in its growth.  He also believes the annual series will continue to be robust operation despite the corruption scandal that erupted last year and is still on-going in the courts.  Moody gave credit to the IPL and the International Cricket Council for the work they have done in the education and operational areas to ensure the tournament is clean and that the players are honest.  He said the corruption scandal had not affected his side.

 

Prior to the season beginning, one report said that the eight IPL-7 franchises were expected to face a relatively "tough year" with returns potentially falling by twenty per cent, a situation "exacerbated" by the loss of ticket revenues" because the first phase of the event was to be played in the UAE (PTG 1327-6398, 4 April 2014). 

 

WARRNAMBOOL UMPIRES CALL FOR MEDITATOR, 

BUT CRICKET ASSOCIATION STANDS FIRRM

[1349-6526]

 

The Warrnambool Cricket Umpires’ Association (WCUA) in south-west Victoria wants an independent mediator to settle a dispute they say threatens to undermine its future, says a story in yesterday'a 'Warrnambool Standard'.  News broke last month that the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) wants to take charge of the management and training of its umpires next austral summer, a responsibility that has been with the WCUA since 1945 (PTG 1335-6448, 18 April 2014).

 

WCUA secretary Sean Cole has called on the WDCA to discuss the future of umpiring in the region and wants both organisations to meet in the presence of a meditator as stipulated in a 'memorandum of understanding' (MoU) the two groups have.  He said he sent the request in an e-mail to WDCA chairman Nick Frampton a week ago plus "three pages of why I think they were wrong and basically I haven’t had a reply".  The e-mails from Frampton "have been ‘I don’t agree with that’ and they’ve made no attempt to contact us".

 

Cole said indications were at least twelve of his members would not umpire cricket if the WDCA did not abandon its proposed new structure.  “At the meeting we held where they voted to terminate Frampton’s membership of the umpires’ association, there were twelve out of the nineteen [active umpires] there", he said.

 

Frampton confirmed with the 'Standard' on Wednesday he had received the e-mail requesting mediation, but in the words the newspaper used "he stood by the WDCA’s decision to seize control of umpiring".  The WDCA chief indicated that the MoU allows such a move provided three months’ notice is given, and that was "the clause we exercised [a month ago]", he said.

 

Frampton said he was confident there would not be a shortage of umpires next season as the WDCA "had already recruited five new umpires to go with four board members who also officiated on weekends".  A further five were part of the 2013-14 umpires’ academy and were keen to stand in matches again.  He is also confident existing WCUA members would commit to umpiring when the time came to make a decision.  “I think they’re trying to do the right thing by their body. They’re not wanting to show dissent", claimed Frampton.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,350
Sunday, 11 May 2014

IPL STANDS DOWN UMPIRE, LINK TO 

'RUN OUT' ERROR SUGGESTED

[1350-6527]

 

Indian umpire Sanjay Hazare was yesterday stood down from participating in the remaining matches of this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series for what IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal described vaguely as "many reasons", and that there was a strong case for his removal.  Several reports have connected Hazare's departure, which comes after just one game on the field this IPL season, to an error he made during his only match just over a week ago in Delhi when he chose not to refer a 'run out' appeal against home captain Kevin Pietersen, subsequent replays showing the batsman was out of his crease when the ball removed the bails.

 

Pietersen was sent back when he sought a leg bye and wicketkeeper Sanju Samson retrieved the ball and hit the stumps but Hazare, who was standing at square leg, turned down the appeal.  Reports say that when he was questioned by fielding captain Shane Watson, Hazare told him Pietersen had reached his crease in time, and in speaking to journalists later said that he "was confident that he made his ground, I was very clear about that, hence I did not refer to the third umpire".  When asked by match referee Andy Pycroft about the incident after the game "I told him the same thing", but acknowledged later that "it was a human error [and] once I had made the decision I could not correct it".

 

It is not clear whether Watson's team lodged a complaint about the matter, however, after Hazare worked as the third umpire in an IPL match a few days later, Board of Control for Cricket in India operations manager MV Sridhar told him he had been stood down.  For Hazare, 53, this year's IPL is his fourth, the others being in 2009, 2010 and 2011, while the match in Delhi where his error occurred was his only game on-field in the 2014 season.  

 

Hazare, a former member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), played forty-eight first class games for Baroda in the period from 1981-98 before taking up umpiring, and whilst on the IUP he stood in five One Day Internationals late last decade. 

 

FOURTEEN MATCH OFFICIALS MANAGE 

ASIAN PREMIER LEAGUE SERIES  

[1350-6528]

 

The Asian Cricket Council used a total of thirteen match officials for the fifteen matches Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nepal, Oman and the United Arab Emirates were involved in last week as part of the Asian Premier League series (PTG 1342-6490, 1 May 2014).  Seven of the officials were from Malaysia where the tournament was staged, two each from Nepal and Sri Lanka, and one each from Singapore and Thailand.

 

Former Sri Lankan Test player Rumesh Ratnayake and his countryman Graeme La Brooy plus Malaysians Ramesh Menon and Tan Kim Hing were the match referees, while the umpires were locals Viswanadan Kalidas, Loganathan Poobalan, Shafizan Shahriman and Narayanan Sivan, the Nepalese Buddhi Pradhan and Vinay Jha, plus Sarika Prasad from Singapore and Upul Kaluhetti from Thailand. 

 

CSA CONTINUING PUSH 

ON PLAYER QUOTAS  

[1350-6529]

 

Cricket South Africa's (CSA) top-level Franchise teams may be required to field at least five players "of colour" per match, and second-tier provincial sides at least six, next austral summer as part of continuing efforts to transform the playing population in that country.  South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said last month that national sporting organisations such as cricket 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 (PTG 1331-6426, 10 April 2014), however, he stepped back from that two weeks ago after discussions with CSA and other sports bodies about their achievements and development plans. 

 

Last October prior to the 2013-14 season, CSA announced that its professional franchises would be required to include at least one black African in their team line ups, and provincial teams two (PTG 1210-5830, 14 October 2014), down from the two and three respectively that had been under discussion prior to that (PTG 1202-5788, 4 October 2013).  That move came as a direct result of concerns expressed by the Department of Sport about the slow rate of change in the racial profile of players in the game, and CSA are said to currently be considering new targets for its teams.  

 

'Cricinfo' says that the South African Cricketers' Association is believed to have preferred a target that would require franchises to field an average of five players of colour a season as it would allow for injury situations or basic loss of form, however, despite that they do not plan to oppose the per match figure.  The web site points out that three of the six franchises met the proposed new colour requirement during matches across the 2013-14 season, while another two fielded four such players throughout.

 

Recruitment action by the teams is said to have as a key focus black Africans in anticipation of a greater requirement to represent the country's largest demographic group, which makes up eighty per cent of the population.  Last austral summer one team often fielded three such players at first-class level but none of the others went anywhere near that figure.  A recent Ministry of Sport report gave CSA "3.5 out of 10" for black African selection a rating which was deemed "poor", comparing that with Under-19 level teams in England and India which scored 5 and 8 out of 10 in that category respectively.

 

ICC CONFIRMS ANTI-CORRUPTION 

SYSTEM REVIEW

[1350-6530 ]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed on Friday that a review of its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) and its inter-relationship with the domestic anti-corruption units set up by the world body's full member boards is to take place, as reported by the 'Cricinfo' web site last week (PTG 1348-6516, 8 May 2014).  At the same time the world body described speculation and suggestions by some the ACSU might be failing in its duty to protect the game as "entirely misplaced and inaccurate”.

 

ICC chief executive David Richardson said in a statement: “It is important to emphasis that the review is only commencing, and, therefore, to draw any conclusions on the outcome of the review [is] premature and detrimental to the working of such an important unit”.  He made no mention of Cricinfo's suggestions that officials from the so-called 'big three' ICC nations will undertake the review, that the central of Dubai-based section of the ACSU could be reduced in size, or that the ACSU could report to the ICC chairman rather than its chief executive following the review and thus make it less 'independent'.

 

Richardson confirmed that impetus for the the review stems from the dramatic change in the "cricket landscape in recent years [because of] domestic Twenty20 cricket leagues", and the "establishment of some domestic anti-corruption units".  He said: “Corruption is undoubtedly the biggest threat to the sport, undermining the very values that attracts players, spectators and commercial partners, and the corruptors do not respect geographical boundaries".

 

His assessment is that the "ACSU remains a world leader in the fight against corruption in sport, and has done some outstanding work since its inception" fourteen years ago.  "For obvious reasons, much of this work takes place away from the public eye, but [that doesn't mean] it should not be ignored or in any way undervalued".

 

The ICC chief executive concluded by saying: “We are committed to putting in place the very best structures and personnel to protect the game, and there is nothing unusual about the commission of an internal review.  "Indeed, similar exercises have been carried out in the past, the most recent in 2011, which have led to enhancements of policies, procedures and resources", continued Richardson.  He says "there is always room for improvement, we welcome these opportunities and look forward to building on the anti-corruption structures and strategies that are already in place within the game".


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,351
Tuesday, 13 May 2014

'LENIENCY' OF POLLARD-STARC 

IPL CENSURE QUERIED

[1351-6531]

 

Indian Premier League (IPL) governing council member Ravi Shastri, a former India all-rounder, has indicated that a repeat of the type of on-field altercation in which West Indian Kieron Pollard and Australian Mitchell Starc were involved in last week could in future result in significant fines ranging from an amount equal to double their match fees and a ban.  Match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe fined Pollard and Starc seventy-five and fifty per cent of their match fees respectively after what was a rolling series of incidents that included Starc directing a ball at Pollard who in turn threw his bat into the ground (PTG 1348-6515, 8 May 2014).

 

Under current IPL rules the maximum censure available to Pycroft was the loss of each player's full match fees and/or a ban of up to two matches.  Shastri's view, as outlined in his column in the 'Times of India' (TOI), is that the pair should have been given a fine and then a stern warning, for he "would tell the player that next time if you even come close [to a breach] you will face serious consequences".  He pointed to the "stiff" $A55,000 equivalent fine handed to then IPL Rajasthan franchise captain Shane Warne in 2011, "who was on a [$A770,000 equivalent] contract" for allegedly verbally abusing Rajasthan Cricket Association secretary Sanjay Dixit.  "Tell me one player who has been fined [the equivalent of] $A55,000 anywhere?",  asked Shastri.

 

The fact that Pollard and Starc behaved the way they did and received no fine has resulted in some observers contrasting that with the $A22,000 fine the IPL hands to captains whose sides are found to have produced slow over-rates, a censure that is doubled to $A44,000 for a second offence in the same season.  Talking with 'Cricinfo' after his 'TOI' column was released, Shastri rejected a suggestion the slow over-rate issue was being pushed so hard because it had an impact on television scheduling.  He does not appear to have answered the basic question asked of him, rather deflecting it by saying that the IPL had set a better example "than anyone else", including the International Cricket Council, in terms of its approach to slow over-rates.  

 

'Cricinfo' journalist Nagraj Gollapudi described the Pollard-Starc incident as "perhaps the ugliest on-field incident in the IPL since Harbhajan Singh slapped Sreesanth in 2008", an action that saw the former banned for eleven matches (PTG 237-1307, 29 April 2008).  Gollapudi queried: "On what basis did Pycroft decide that Starc and Pollard's behavior was not serious enough to warrant a one-match ban or heftier fines at the least? Both men could have caused injury to the other. That it did not happen should be a reason for relief, and not a reason to view their actions with leniency. Did Pycroft make his decisions independently?"

 

In Gollapudi 's view the punishments handed to Pollard and Starc set a "wrong precedent" for "the bar is set very high now and will not act as a deterrent for disgraceful behaviour [and] will the IPL continue to slap inconsequential monetary penalties on players who earn massive pay cheques?"  According to Shastri, who is a member of the IPL's code of behaviour committee, no advisory has been issued to match referees in light of the Pollard-Starc incident as IPL officials "were aware of the rules".

 

MODI RETURNS TO CRICKET ADMINISTRATION, 

SUGGESTS 'INDEPENDENT' IPL

[1351-6532]

 

Lalit Modi, the inaugural commissioner of the Indian Premier League (IPL), has rather ironically suggested that an "autonomous body" run the high-profile, high financial return IPL independent of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).  Modi, a former BCCI vice president who was dumped from IPL leadership and subsequently banned for life by the national body for "misconduct", returned to the game last week as president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) for the second time following a controversial and much-contested election that saw India's Supreme Court involved.

 

Modi told journalist Nagraj Gollapudi that he "would remove the IPL from under the BCCI and put it in the hands of a separate company run by "professionals" that would send an annual report to the BCCI.  He believes it is important to involve the franchise owners in the decision-making process and that the league's board would have one or more of them on it.  "The owners need to have a big say in it for you cannot have a system that keeps changing rules to suit one's own needs", he says.  

 

The "one's own needs" comment is illustrated by recent reports that claim the allocation of match venues for the Indian leg of this year's IPL was produced with an eye to BCCI elections in September, a number of politically important state bodies in cricket terms being given multiple matches.  In addition, no reason has yet been given for the recent decision to move this year's IPL final from Mumbai to Banglalore, a change that illustrates the often mysterious way the tournament is managed; although in recent times the Mumbai Cricket Association and the BCCI have been at logger heads over various issues.  Similar often political, unfathamoble actions also occurred during Modi's tenure as IPL head. 

 

Writing in 'Cricinfo', Gollapudi quotes former Deccan franchise chief executive Tim Wright as suggesting that the BCCI would not want to hand IPL operations to an independent authority or even nominate a chairman who had the authority to manage the series by themselves; someone Modi describes as a "strong person".  "The IPL could not have been created without BCCI money, without the state associations' stadia and many other things", said Wright.

 

Wright raised the example of Formula One motor racing where the administrative and financial or commercial powers are split between two bodies, one that governs the rules and the other that looks after commercial aspects.  "The BCCI's only motive to do something similar would be to crystallise the brand value of IPL, as Formula One has done, but I do not see that as imminent or likely even in the medium or long term because of the BCCI's broader interest and role in the sport" across India and increasingly abroad.

 

Less than twenty-four hours after Modi's return as the RCA's president was confirmed a week ago today, the BCCI banned the entire association and put an ad hoc body in place to run the game's affairs in that region.  Recent news suggests Modi has taken what appears to be the standard management route in Indian cricket at the present time by announcing a legal challenge to the BCCI's banishment of the RCA.  

 

SEVEN WEEKS ON REPORT ON SCHOOL 

MATCH INCIDENTS AWAITED 

[1351-6533]

 

No disciplinary action has yet been taken after a senior schools match played in Galle in late March ended in mayhem, and a report is yet to be provided by match referee Basil Perera, according to the weekend's Sri Lankan 'Sunday Leader'.  Allegations and video clips available are said to indicate that with eleven overs and forty-five minutes to play as Mahinda College tried to hold out for a draw, their spectators ran on to the ground, an action that in turn led to some fielders from the Richmond College side pulling up the stumps to defend themselves from "attack", "assaulting" some of the invaders in the process according to some observers.

 

The 'Leader' article appears to suggest that no one was actually injured during the ground invasion but the match, the 109th annual "friendly" game between the two colleges, was abandoned and subsequently awarded to the Richmond side by Perera because of what the newspaper claims he said was "the trend in the way wickets were falling regularly".  

 

During the post match awards ceremony, Richmond College vice captain and wicketkeeper Sithara Gimhana, who has played for Sri Lanka at Under-19 level, is said to have 'mooned' opposition players "in front of thousands of spectators", receiving "a standing ovation" for his act from his team's supporters.  Other members on the national U17 and U19 teams in the Richmond side are said to be amongst those who 'pulled stumps' out on the ground. 

 

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) executive member and Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA) general secretary Dilshan de Silva told the 'Leader' that seven weeks on they are yet to receive a report on the match from Perera, who with umpires Thilak Fernando and Ruchira Palliyaguru, the latter a member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, managed the game.  

 

de Silva said both SLC and the SLCA could take stern action if anyone had breached the rules and code of conduct for: “If these types of incidents are ignored and we let the gentleman’s game be ruined, what would happen to our cricket?  "The match referee and the umpires could have had the police intervene to calm the crowd and re-start the match as there was time for further play and the light was good", continued de Silva, but "If the interruption occurred several times then these officials could have taken a decision".

 

ICC PRAISES GAME'S 

PROGRESS IN PNG 

[1351-6534]

 

International Cricket Council (ICC) President Alan Isaac, chief Executive David Richardson and Global Development Manager Tim Anderson met with Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister Peter O’Neil in Port Moresby on Friday in the lead up to the world body's annual two-day Development Committee meeting which was held there on Sunday-Monday.  The ICC considers PNG as a development "success story" with the Pacific island nation, which has over 150,000 people who participate in cricket and is currently ranked sixteenth in the world, recently earning One Day International (ODI) status for the first time.

 

Isaac said of the meeting via an ICC press release that during discussions he and his colleagues told the PM that PNG's progress in the game has resulted in the ICC taking the country "more seriously".  “A requirement, however, of playing ODI matches is a venue that meets the ICC’s regulations for such games, and we therefore also stressed to the [PM] that this is an area Cricket PNG now requires some additional assistance".  O’Neil said his Government is "particularly proud" of the progress cricket is making there and is current discussing Cricket PNG's requirements in terms of ODI fixtures.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,352
Wednesday, 14 May 2014

CA PROMOTES TWO TO ITS 

NATIONAL UMPIRES PANEL

[1352-6535]

 

Former New South Wales grade captain Greg Davidson and retired Victorian first-class player Shawn Craig have been promoted to Cricket Australia's (CA) twelve-man National Umpires Panel (NUP) for the 2014-15 austral summer in place of long-serving Ian Lock of Western Australia and Tony Ward of Victoria.  Davidson made his first class and List A debuts late last year therefore his promotion was anticipated, and while Craig's selection seemed inevitable given his playing pedigree, his elevation after just four seasons of umpiring comes earlier than most thought and before he has stood at first class level.   

 

Davidson and Craig join ten men who served on last year's NUP: Gerard Abood (NSW), Ash Barrow, Geoff Joshua and John Ward (all Victoria), Simon Fry and Paul Wilson (South Australia), Michael Graham-Smith and Sam Nogajski (Tasmania), Michael Martell (Western Australia), and Damien Mealey (Queensland) (PTG 1131-5490, 20 June 2013).  For Fry, 47, and John Ward, 52, the coming season will be their tenth on the NUP, its the seventh for Martell, 47, sixth for Abood, 42, and Joshua, 44, fifth for Barrow, 51, and Wilson, 42, third for Mealey, 46, and Nogajski, 35, and second for Graham-Smith, 43.

 

CA says that Fry, Martell, Ward and Wilson will again be Australian members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) and are thus eligible to officiate in international matches either abroad or in Australia; Fry and Ward presumably continuing in on-field spots and Martell and Wilson as third umpires (PTG 1193-5748, 23 September 2013).  Last season the ICC selected Martell, Fry and Ward to officiate in a World Cup Qualifier series in New Zealand, the Under-19 World Cup in Dubai, and World TwentyT20 Qualifiers in Dubai respectively, while Wilson made his Twenty20 International debut in Melbourne.

 

Davidson, 43, who captained the Parramatta Club in the Sydney Cricket Association before retiring in 2008, has been a regular in first grade grand finals there of late and became the 79th umpiring member of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association to officiate at first class level last December (PTG 1250-6033, 7 December 2013)   He had made his debut as a CA umpire at List A level two months earlier (PTG 1195-5757, 26 September 2013), having previously stood in four Under-19 One Day Internationals (ODI), four State 2nd XI matches and five matches in the Futures League.  He was awarded a 2014 National Officiating Scholarship by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) earlier this year (PTG 1308-6310, 8 March 2014), Craig being a recipient last year (PTG 1070-5203, 2 March 2013).

 

Craig, 40, a graduate of the Australian Cricket Academy (ACA), played twenty first class games for Victoria, all but two in the Sheffield Shield, from 1997-2000, plus the same number of one-day matches in Australia's domestic competition over the same period.  Before his debut with his State team he played four matches with an ACA side in South Africa, and later for them in Australia against England A and a Pakistan touring side; as well as a range of other games, including twelve with Victoria's Second XI. 

 

He took up umpiring when selected as the fourth member of CA's Project Panel (PP) three-and-a-half years ago (PTG 678-3327, 7 October 2010), a group whose aim is to fast-track former first class players into umpiring ranks.  He thus follows in the wake of former PP members Rod Tucker and Paul Reiffel, who are now members of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), and current NUP and IUP member Wilson.   

 

Sean Cary, CA's Senior Manager Cricket Operations and a former first class player himself, said via a press release that he "welcomed the progression of former players to the [NUP and expressed the view that] Australian [umpiring] stocks are in good health".  “Both Shawn and Greg have extensive involvement in cricket and long playing careers before progressing to umpiring and their promotion is a reward for hard work and the critical role our State Associations play in developing high-quality officials".  

 

Cary continued by saying: “Australia has a proud history of producing quality umpires who have gone on to international honours after coming through our state and development pathways".  He also pointed out that “Australia also has four umpires [currently] contracted to the [EUP] and [those on the NUP next season] have a wonderful opportunity to follow in their footsteps as we continue to set the standard for international officiating", although despite that it seems unlikely all twelve are in reality in contention.

 

In somewhat of an oversight, the CA press release says no more about Lock and Tony Ward than that they "are the men replaced from last season's panel" and thus makes no reference to their contribution to the game.  England-born Lock, 55, was the longest-serving member on last year's NUP having been with the group since 2003, and departs having supported a total of 86 first class, 56 List A and 28 Twenty20 matches, at one stage being a contender for a position on the IUP.  Ward, 54, who joined in 2008, had six seasons on the panel and leaves with a record that includes 31 first class, 32 List A and 25 Twenty20 matches.  Whether the pair will continue to umpire with their respective local associations is not yet known.

 

The elevation of Craig and Davidson opens up CA's emerging umpires group to new members to vie for future NUP spots. Appointments made by CA to lower-level games over the last eight months suggest, on the surface at least, that Phillip Gillespie of Victoria, plus Tony Wilds and Ben Treloar of New South Wales, have their heads in front at this stage.  In addition, Craig Hoffman of Queensland, South Australia's Craig Thomas, Canberra-based 'New South Welshman' Simon Lightbody, and Jamie Mitchell of Tasmania, are perhaps on the fringes if their selections last season are any guide (PTG 1332-6434, 11 April 2014).  Like Davidson, Wilds was awarded a 2014 ASC National Officiating Scholarship by the ASC earlier this year.

 

CA says those involved in selecting NUP members for the year ahead were the five members of its Umpire High Performance Panel, Steve Bernard, Daryl Harper, Peter Marshall, Bob Stratford and David Talalla, plus CA’s Match Officials Manager Sean Easey.  Harper and Stratford both umpired at first class level, the former being a member of the ICC's EUP from 2002-11, standing overall in 94 Tests, 174 ODIs and 10 Twenty20 Internationals (PTG 766-3757, 25 May 2011).

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,353
Thursday, 15 May 2014

 

ASHES DAY-NIGHT TEST NEITHER 

NECESSARY OR IMMINENT, SAYS MCC

[1353-6536]

 

John Stephenson, the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) Head of Cricket, says that while the club is keen to see day-night format Test fixtures introduced, he  does not believe an Ashes Test under lights is either "necessary or imminent", according to an article posted on Cricket Australia's (CA) web site yesterday.  The MCC has been pushing the day-night concept particularly hard for some seven years now, however, Stephenson doubts there is a need for England’s Test team to be involved in such matches as attracting spectators to watch their games, whether at home or abroad, is "rarely a problem"; rather the concept is for countries where attendance at Tests needs a boost.

 

In an interview with senior writer Andrew Ramsey, Stephenson said: “People [in the UK] are very worried day-night cricket with pink balls will come in instead of a traditional Lord’s Test, however, that wouldn’t happen in a million years", and he also appeared to suggest such a game will not be played elsewhere in England; although the latter would be the prerogative of the England and Wales Cricket Board, not the MCC.  “We fill out Lord’s Tests every time and it doesn’t matter who the opposition is, so it wouldn’t happen here, it’s not relevant here" and in England in general, "but a lot of Test nations don’t have that sort of following", he said.  As such he says the MCC sees the day-night concept addressing the problem of the "dwindling number of fans attending Tests [in some countries and that it will] get people to come and watch Test cricket at a time that better suits them", that time being in the evening after work. 

 

Stephenson went on to mention "venues around the world with easy access that would really benefit from [the day-night] format in a series that" in his words "might otherwise be quite difficult to sell to the local population, [and that such a move] could make a huge impact on the local community".  "I’m thinking of places like Hamilton and Napier in New Zealand, Bloemfontein in South Africa and Antigua and Barbados in the West Indies", said the MCC man.  "Even if they got two or three thousand more people in it would create that buzz" and "be a success".  He appears to have made no reference to the interest television networks, primarily in Australia, have in day-night Tests, who are eyeing increased viewer numbers and the enhancement of advertising revenue that flows from that (PTG 1121-5446, 10 June 2013).

 

While he says he can appreciate the apprehension associated with such a fundamental change to the way that some Tests are played, he believes the game’s current custodians would be guilty of neglect if they don’t act soon to arrest declining Test match attendances in most parts of the world.  “I can understand the mindset of some people, they don’t like the prospect of change".  "But for over 100 years now Test cricket has basically remained the same and there really hasn’t been any effort to market it or change it to adapt to society as it is now".  “If we continue to do that and turn a blind eye to declining attendances around the world we’ll only have ourselves to blame when we realise that it’s dying and it’s no longer viable".

 

The former seam bowler went on to say that "the success" over the last five years of the day-night fixtures the MCC has staged in Abu Dhabi has led him to believe "the debate about the suitability of the pink Kookaburra-brand ball, the type of sight screens, the level of floodlighting, and even variables such as local dew factor, has been effectively settled" (PTG 1315-6344, 18 March 2014).  While such a claim will be question by some (PTG 1346-6506, 5 May 2014), he believes the only impediment from here is the "mindset of people who believe the current form of Test cricket should be preserved and there is no pressing need for such innovation".

 

During his discussion with Ramsey, Stephenson indicated he was "glued" to the live stream of day-night Sheffield Shield matches played in Australia in March, and while he had no doubt a day-night Test at the new Adelaide Oval would be a "spectacular occasion", he felt it "might better fit" the type of smaller venues he outlined in other countries.  “I’m not trying to discourage Adelaide because I think it will be brilliant there, it’s an incredible ground, the location is great, the floodlighting would be perfect and the climate would be ideal", said Stephenson.

 

Ramsey points out in his article that CA chief executive officer James Sutherland recently confirmed that Australia’s scheduled Test series against New Zealand towards the end of next year seems likely to contain the first day-night Test (PTG 13106321, 11 March 2014).  Sutherland also indicated, in a similar vein to Stephenson, that "iconic fixtures" such as the Boxing Day and New Year Tests in Melbourne and Sydney would not be shifted from their daytime scheduling, but a day-night Test would possibly work best outside of the traditional summer holiday period and was most likely to be held in Adelaide, Brisbane or Hobart.

 

CA have yet to release its schedule for domestic first class games in 2014-15, however, its general manager for cricket operations Sean Cary indicated in March that further day-night games were likely, most probably in Adelaide, Brisbane and Hobart in the November-December period.

 

SECOND TOP-TIER ODI 'NEUTRAL' 

SELECTION FOR GAFFANEY

[1353-6537]

 

Former New Zealand first class player Chris Gaffaney, who made his debut as an umpire at that level in March 2008, has been named as a 'neutral' official in a top-tier One Day International (ODI) series for the second time (PTG 1236-5963, 19 November 2013), appointments that suggest he remains in contention for a possible spot on the International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) in the next few years.  Gaffaney, 38, has been selected alongside the EUP's Marais Erasmus of South Africa for the five ODis England and Sri Lanka that start today week, Jeff Crowe of New Zealand being the match referee.

 

The appointments page on the ICC web site currently suggests that Gaffaney will be on-field and Erasmus the third umpire in the first, third and fifth ODIs at The Oval, Old Trafford and Edgbaston respectively, their roles being reversed in fixtures two and four at Durham and Lord's.  The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is yet to announce who the second on-field umpire for each match will be, the list of possibles being the three ECB umpires on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Michael Gough, Rob Bailey and Tim Robinson, as well as the four Englishmen on the EUP, Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleboorough and Nigel Llong.  

 

If individual game appointments are as they appear at this time, Crowe will have moved his ODI match referee record to 198 by the time the series ends, Eramus to 52, and Gaffaney 23.

 

Gaffaney together with Johannes Cloete of South Africa, Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka and Sundaum Ravi of India, appear to currently be on the ICC's one-to-two-year watch list for possible elevation to the EUP.   The latter pair were given on-field positions in multiple Tests last year, getting there via stints as 'neutrals' in top-tier ODI series, a pathway all new EUP members have followed in recent years; although not everybody makes it, Bangladesh's Enamul Hoque-Moni for example having one Test two-and-a-half years ago but none since (PTG 888-4331, 16 January 2012).  Gaffaney is in the senior ODI 'neutrals' phase of his examination by the ICC as is Cloete, although the South African is more advanced in the process and a sign that he is making progress will be appointments to Tests sometime this year (PTG 1236-5962, 19 November 2013).  

 

Whether Martinecz and Ravi will be allocated further Tests and thus remain in EUP contention in 2015 remains to be seen, but they were beaten to this year's single vacant EUP spot by Gaffaney's highly experienced compatriot 'Billy' Bowden (PTG 1343-6492, 2 May 2014), so they possibly are.  With Australian Steve Davis likely to depart the EUP in twelve months time after seven years on the panel (PTG 234-1296, 24 April 2008), a further vacancy on the world's top umpiring group appears to be on offer in 2015.  While it is probably too early for Gaffaney, at the current time it would seem that Martinecz, Ravi, and should Test selection eventuate for him, Cloete, will be the ones to watch between now and next February-March to become the thirtieth person to work as an EUP member.

 

As for the two Tests England and Sri Lanka are to play at Lord's and Headingly next month after the ODIs, the ICC web site indicates that Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe will be the match referee for both, Australian Paul Reiffel and a 'TBA' (to be advised) at Lord's, and his countryman Steve Davis plus another 'TBA' at Headingly.  Presumably the second on-field and third umpires for those fixtures will be announced at a later date along with either Gough, Bailey or Robinson as fourth umpires.  The Lord's Test will be Reiffel's first there as an umpire, he having played on such game there in 1997 as well as two ODIs during the World Cup of 1999. 

 

The ICC is yet as to indicate who the match officials will be for New Zealand's three Test, five ODI tour of the West Indies, the first Test of which is due to get underway in just over three weeks time. 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,354
Friday, 15 May 2014

ICC GIVEN DETAILS OF 'WIDESPREAD 

FIXING ACROSS CRICKET', CLAIMS REPORT 

[1354-6538]

 

Former New Zealand player Lou Vincent has provided information to the International Cricket Council (ICC) on what the London 'Daily Telegraph' described in an article yesterday as "widespread fixing across cricket" involving matches in at least five countries.  Details are said to cover his experiences during competitions in England with Lancashire and Sussex, India with Chandigarh in the now defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL), both New Zealand and South Africa with the Auckland "Aces', plus a Hong Kong 'Sixes' tournament, his evidence being such that the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) is said to be "close to charging a former Pakistan international". 

 

Vincent, 35, who played 23 Tests and 102 One Day Internationals for his country, told journalists in December he would cooperate with detectives after his name, along with those of his former New Zealand and ICL Chandigarh teammates Chris Cairns and Daryl Tuffey, emerged in connection with a corruption investigation being carried out by the ICC and London's Metropolitan police (PTG 1249-6026, 6 December 2013).  After his international career ended in 2007, Vincent worked a 'travelling' specialist Twenty20 batsman over the next four years in competitions in Bangladesh, England, India, South Africa, England, New Zealand and Zimbabwe.  He has now reportedly provided a "treasure trove" of information to the ICC about matches targeted for spot-fixing, including the names of players who were involved and dates of meetings with 'fixers'.  

 

In March this year he was found guilty of failing to report an approach by bookmakers during the 2013 version of the Bangladesh Premier League and filed a "mercy petition" with the tribunal concerned, but two months on it is still deliberating on an appropriate censure (PTG 1303-6283, 2 March 2014).  Media reports are now saying that the ACSU is also looking at "a few games" played by the Auckland 'Aces' in the 2012 Champions League Twenty20 series in South Africa, as well as when he played for that side during in New Zealand's domestic series that same year.  In addition, Vincent's reported attempt to fix a County domestic T20 in England in 2011, and allegations that surround a forty over game between Sussex and Kent that same season, are also in the mix, as are his claim players were offered bribes in ICL games six years sago.

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive David White responded to the 'Telegraph' story, as he did last year, by stating that "This is an ICC investigation and [NZC] is very limited in what it can say", but he did emphasise that no games played in the country involving the national side are being investigated by the ACSU.  He also confirmed some Auckland Aces fixtures at home and in South Africa were under investigation, however, "We would like to stress that we understand that this is very much an isolated incident".  "Match-fixing is a threat to cricket around the globe, and we remain one hundred per cent behind the ICC in their focus of fighting corruption", concluded White.

 

As for Cairns, he said a month ago that he had recently met with Scotland Yard investigators in Auckland and that their work was "on-going", but that ASCU plans to interview him had been deferred due to the on-going police enquiry (PTG 1330-6423, 7 April 2014).  He stressed, as he has done before that, he would continue cooperating with authorities through his legal team in Britain as 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).  Like Vincent, Tuffey has confirmed he was cooperating fully with ASCU personnel, his lawyer saying in a statement in December he does not believe his client is the focus of investigations (PTG 1251-6043, 10 December 2013).

 

The ACSU is said to be working closely with independent detectives employed by several international cricket boards.  The 'Telegraph' suggests Vincent's probe is likely to take "another twelve to eighteen months to complete", and that he had already agreed to a plea bargain in an effort to avoid a criminal prosecution.   News of this aspect of the much-maligned ACSU's work comes a week after the ICC acknowledged it is planning to conduct a review of that body's operations (PTG 1350-6530, 11 May 2014).

 

BIHAR SECRETARY QUERIES REPORTS 

OF SRINIVASAN-FRANCHISE LINK

[1354-6539]

 

Aditya Verma, the secretary of the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), the organisation challenging the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption issues, has written to interim IPL head Sunil Gavaskar asking for advice on reports stood down BCCI head Narayanswamy Srinivasan stayed at the same hotel in Ranchi as the IPL's Chennai franchise side last Tuesday.  Srinivasan, whose company owns the Chennai franchise, was ordered by India's Supreme Court to disengage himself from cricket administration in that country pending the results of an enquiry into IPL matters (PTG 1320-6365, 26 March 2014). 

 

'Cricinfo' journalist Sidharth Monga says that so far it has not been possible to independently verified if Srinivasan was indeed at the hotel, and in addition his attempts to seek comment from BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel had not been successful.  In his correspondence to Gavaskar, Verma is said to have asked whether he is aware of the reported hotel stay and if so "have you taken action against the involved persons?"  The CAB secretary maintained that "Even a social visit, or one in his personal capacity, would be problematic".

 

Monga saysa Verma also raised concerns about a recent interview given by IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal to the 'New Indian Express' two weeks ago in which he is quoted Biswal as saying: "Look, Srinivasan has stepped aside, honouring the instruction of the Supreme Court. But overall, he is the president of BCCI. I have to be in touch with him for other aspects. But touch wood, Srinivasan is not interfering at all in any IPL matters".  In his message to Gavaskar, Verma claimed that "is a violation of the order of the highest court of the country".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,355
Saturday, 17 May 2014

PLAYER'S UNION STRESSES NEED 

FOR ACSU 'INDEPENDENCE'

[1355-6540]

 

Paul Marsh, the head of the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA) or player's union, believes that an integrity unit that is independent of national interests is critical to the game's future, and emphasised corruption in the game in not limited to players on the field of play.  Marsh was commenting after news broke this week of reported confessions by former New Zealand player Lou Vincent (PTG 1354-6538, 16 May 2014), and that the International Cricket Council (ICC) is to undertake a review of its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU).

 

Marsh told Cricinfo's Daniel Brettig ACSU activities need to be kept at arm's length from the boards of ICC member nations so it is better placed to deter and investigate instances of corruption at all levels, calling the need for independence "absolutely critical".  He agreed though that current ACSU arrangements need to evolve further to keep pace with the increase in domestic Twenty20 competitions around the world, a point made by ICC chief executive David Richards a week ago (PTG 1350-6530, 11 May 2014), and reinforced by the revelations about Vincent.  "Domestic cricket and T20 tournaments [are] an area of risk", said Marsh, claiming players are "probably not educated as well as they are at the international level".

 

The FICA chief expressed dismay that Vincent's testimony had been leaked, saying player associations have long insisted on the need for the "strictest confidentiality" in dealings with such reports.  "In many respects it's a positive that a player has come forward and reported on information that they have, and in [the case of Vincent] he's been right in the middle of" things, said Marsh, but "the flipside is it's extremely disappointing that testimony he has given has found its way into the public domain as it might discourage players approaching anti-corruption units in the future".  "I'm not laying the blame at the ACSU on that issue, I'm not saying it was or wasn't them, [for] I know multiple parties had access to this report".

 

Incentives suggested Marsh, perhaps in the form of more lenient punishment, could apply to players who "elect to blow the whistle".  "If [someone like Vincent] is able to get some sort of leniency for taking what is a brave step [in] providing information about others, then I think it's important that everyone sees there is some sort of leniency shown if a player does that".  "I certainly don't advocate that a player should get off free, but there's got to be some incentive there, otherwise players probably will run the gauntlet", he said.

 

MUDGAL TO INVESTIGATE IPL 

'SEALED ENVELOPE' NAMES

[1355-6541]

 

India's Supreme Court yesterday asked Mukul Mudgal, a former Chief Justice of the Punjab, to continue his investigation into last year's Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption issues in what is a follow-up to the preliminary, 170 page, report his group submitted in February after a four-minth probe (PTG 1289-6212, 11 February 2014).  The latest Court order empowers Mudgal to look into his original report's so-called "sealed envelope" that contains the names of persons of interest, a group Supreme Court Justice Patnaik described yesterday as "very famous people" whose reputations "will be damaged beyond repair" should their identities inappropriately become public before Mudugal reports at the end of August.

 

In looking at the 'envelope' group, which is said to include stood down president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Narayanswamy Srinivasan, as well as "prominent Indian capped” players, one of whom is allegedly part of the current side (PTG 1322-6374, 28 March 2014). Mudgal is to work with two other members of his original committee.  He and his colleagues, solicitor general L Nageswara Rao and senior advocate Nilay Dutta, are to be assisted by a yet-to-be-named former player "of repute and integrity", plus police from three cities.  The reconstituted panel had been given greater powers than previously in that it can seize relevant documents and record evidence, however, it will not have the power to arrest. 

 

Prior to being asked by the Supreme Court to look into IPL matters last October, Mudugal acted as an adviser to the 2012 independent review of the ICC's governance structure by a group led by Lord Woolf, a former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.  Woolf recommended significant changes to the way the ICC board operates, primarily that it should be made up of persons independent of national boards in order to overcome the present generally self-serving approach taken by most nations.  Nothing has come of that report over the last two years, primarily because of the opposition of the BCCI, and from July onwards, following significant changes agreed to in February, that entity plus those from Australia and England will have a dominant role in ICC decision-making (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014).   

 

While Woolf's work was underway, Mudugal was also the chairman of an Indian government committee charged with drafting what is known as the National Sports Development Bill, legislation whose advocates see as holding the BCCI and other national sporting bodies in that country to higher standards of transparency and accountability.  The BCCI along with others has aggressively opposed the bill, however, the draft Mudgal presented to India's sports minister Jitendra Singh last September, seeks to declare persons against whom criminal charges have been laid ineligible to contest elections for national sporting bodies such as the BCCI.    

 

In addition, it stipulates that such organisations must: ensure office bearers retire at the age of seventy; appropriately nominated players be included in the executive board's make-up and that at least a quarter of those must have voting rights; and ten percent of members overall would need to be female.  Except for the president who is allowed three consecutive terms, none of the other office-bearers would be eligible to contest a third term. 

 

In handing down its latest decision yesterday the Supreme Court said Sunil Gavaskar, who has called for the BCCI to operate more transparently (PTG 1341-6479, 30 April 2014), and Shivlal Yadav, will continue in their respective interim roles as head of the IPL and BCCI respectfully until it makes further orders.  It originally indicated they would hold those positions until the end of June.

 

BCCI lawyer Radha Rangaswamy asked the Court to make its final decision on IPL matters by the first week of August, however, that request was denied.  That suggests any outcomes from Mudugal's report may surface around the time of the BCCI's 2014 annual general elections due at the end of September, a timing that would be an interesting juxtaposition.

 

Additionally, the Court made no ruling yesterday on a request made to it last month to ban Srinivasan from representing the BCCI at International Cricket Council (ICC) meetings (PTG 1339-6466, 26 April 2014).  Srinivasan is currently due to take up the new position of ICC chairman in July two months before Mudugal reports, a situation that may also have an impact on just what the Court eventually decides on his links to the ICC.

 

NON-REFERRAL SEES PIETERSEN 

ESCAPE A SECOND TIME

[1355-6542]

 

What one Indian media outlet called "shambolic umpiring" continued in the seventh season of Indian Premier League (IPL) on Thursday when Delhi franchise skipper Kevin Pietersen was reprieved for the second time in this year's series due to a decision not to refer a close run out decision.  Last week umpire Sanjay Hazare was stood down from taking part in this year's IPL after just one game, apparently after he decided not to go for a run out referral involving Pietersen, subsequent replays showing he should have (PTG 1350-6527, 11 May 2014).

 

Replays are said to have showed that during the third over of Delhi's run chase in Ahmedabad two nights ago, a direct hit found Pietersen short of his crease as his "bat stuck in the mud and his foot was in the air when the ball hit the stumps".  The umpire in that instance was Sundarum Ravi, a potential contender for a spot on the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel (PTG 1353-6536, 15 May 2014), and like Hazare he opted to respond to the appeal against Pietersen on his own.  A number of Indian newspaper have asked whether Ravi will be "punished" or if he will "be able to walk away from this unharmed".

 

SKIPPER COMPLAINS OF 'SHARP 

PRACTICE' AFTER SECOND XI 'STACKED'

[1355-6543]

 

Paignton second XI captain Tim Ward wants Devon League rules changes after turning up at Instow to find four North Devon first team players had been drafted into the home side's second XI line up last weekend.  North Devon's first XI were due to visit Torquay for a fixture, however, that game was called off due to a waterlogged pitch thus allowing four of its players to appear for the seconds, something Ward described to the 'Torquay Herald Express' on Wednesday as "sharp practice at best".

 

Ward questioned whether dropping second XI players in those circumstances was a good policy and he wants a rule put in place to stop teams making wholesale changes to their second XIs after they have been picked.  In his view: "The league should bring in a rule saying the team has to be picked by Thursday night and you can't start changing it wholesale on Saturday lunchtime".  He says "of course there needs to be a way of dealing with genuine exceptions", "but putting four first teamers in shouldn't be allowed".

 

According to the Paignton captain his "team is a mixture of older players like myself and the young pups you hope will be the next first XI".  "It isn't good to turn up to play a side that's as strong as North Devon were as it can seriously dent the confidence of young players", and "you have to question as well how much good something like that does for North Devon?"  "I wonder how [the dropped North Devon second team players] felt?"

 

The 'Herald Express' says that North Devon, the home club of the late English international umpire David Sheppard, chose not to respond to Ward's comments, however, Devon League chairman Stuart Munday did and said he would take the matter further.  In his assessment "North Devon haven't broken any league rule, but I would say what they have done is contrary to the Spirit of Cricket".  

 

"I understand why Tim is upset, but as for bringing in a rule I am not sure how we would go about it [for] the biggest problem would be policing it". "And let's be realistic about this, how many times do you see second XIs stacked with first XI players at the end of the season if they are trying to avoid being relegated?"  "Most clubs have done it", continued Munday, but "Tim has a point and I will raise it at a meeting of first XI captains planned for the next few weeks and see what they say?"

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,356
Monday, 19 May 2014

VINCENT OFFERED £20,000 SPOT-FIX BRIBE, 

SAYS FORMER LANCASHIRE TEAM MATE

[1356-6544]

 

Former Lancashire player Mal Loye told yesterday's London 'Daily Mail' that he was offered £20,000 ($A36,000) by then team mate Lou Vincent to get out for fewer than ten in a Twenty20 game against Durham in 2008.  News broke last week that Vincent has provided information to the International Cricket Council (ICC) about what has been described as "widespread fixing across cricket" involving matches in at least five countries (PTG 1354-6538, 16 May 2014).

 

Initially offered £10,000 ($A18,000), something he says he quickly rejected on principle, Loye said that as he was warming up in the nets just prior to the game getting underway, Vincent upped the offer, saying "Look, the money's double - £20,000".  "I just gave him a definite no", and said "Louey, I don't want any part of it".

 

Loye's memories of the match are said to remain strikingly vivid.  "There were two awkward situations that day which will always live with me", he said. "We batted first and I was getting my pads on [to open with Vincent], clear in my mind that I'd never been so determined in my life to get to ten".  "I wasn't one hundred per cent sure Lou was up to something, but I knew after the first over, for "when we met in the middle after it had been bowled Louey just said: 'You know what I've got to do'".  He then steered the next ball to second slip to depart for one from five balls.   "It was brilliant the way he did it", said Loye, who himself went on to score 53 from 37 deliveries. 

 

Loye quit the game four years later having played seven One Day Internationals for England and now coaches at a school in Northamptonshire.  He says he told no-one about Vincent's approach other than his "mother, his then girlfriend and a couple of mates", who advised him to put it out of his mind and get on with his career.  He did just that until he was contacted "out of the blue" by the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) anti-corruption unit last year, after which he was interviewed by police.

 

Failing to report an approach was not the misdemeanour in 2008 that it is now, and Loye attempted to rationalise Vincent's behaviour by putting it partly down to the New Zealander's struggles with depression. He suspects now though that Vincent targeted him because he was going through problems of his own at home.  Asked why he thinks Vincent got involved in such activity Loye said: "He probably got himself into a serious [financial] hole".  "My gut feeling is that he was quite angry with the game, which was financially not as rewarding as other sports".

 

As to what advice he would offer a player who received a similar approach today, Loye said: tell someone and tell the right  people".  "The Professional Cricketers' Association are doing a great job [in regards to education] (PTG 1057-5144, 12 February 2013), and the ECB were brilliant with me, but I still think the counties could do more".

 

Meanwhile, England batsman Ian Bell believes increased anti-corruption measures could be needed for televised domestic games played there.  "It's different internationally where you have to hand your phones in [but for] county games there is nothing", said Bell, and "you could be on your phone all day if you want".  However, the ECB does not believe there is a need for the same level of restrictions on electronic devices domestically as there is at international level.  

 

An ECB spokesman told 'Cricinfo' journalist Andrew McGlashan: "We are constantly vigilant but don't believe corruption is endemic in county cricket, however, we take measures proportional to the level of threat [but] don't feel the need to take away players' mobile phones or laptops at televised county matches".  ECB anti-corruption officers "are a physical presence at every televised match and frequently go into dressing-rooms and talk to players", continued the spokesman.  "We certainly can't be complacent for the Mervyn Westfield affair showed that some players, particularly young [ones], can be vulnerable" (PTG 1197-5765, 29 September 2013).

 

INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT ON 'SPORT MANIPULATION' 

NEEDED URGENTLY, SAY RESEARCHERS 

[1356-6545]

 

Criminal gangs launder an amount in excess of £80 billion ($A142 billion) from illegal betting on sport around the world annually, according to a study published by the Doha-based International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) and Sorbonne University in Paris, football and cricket being the sports most under threat, although tennis, basketball, badminton and motor racing are also targeted.  News of the study's findings comes days after yet another story of alleged corruption came into public view via reports former New Zealand player Lou Vincent had provided the International Cricket Council (ICC) with information about "widespread fixing across cricket" (PTG 1354-6538, 16 May 2014).  

 

The ICCS study estimates wagers worth a total that ranges between £164-408 billion ($A292-725 billion) are made each year, however, legal betting accounts for just £3.3b ($A5.9 billion) in world-wide tax revenues.  Asia and Europe are said to represent 85 per cent of the total legal and illegal market, Asia alone accounting for just over half, or 53 per cent, of the total world illegal market.  Researchers estimate there are about 8,000 legal operators mainly operating in offshore low tax zones, but say it is “impossible” to say how many illegal gambling operations exist.

 

Chris Eaton, ICSS director of sport integrity told London's 'Daily Telegraph': “The rapid evolution of the global sports betting market has seen an increased risk of infiltration by organised crime and money laundering".  “Alongside this, the transformation of the nature of betting, with more complex types of betting, such as live-betting, which according to this study is the most vulnerable, has made suspect activity even harder to detect", said Eaton.

 

According to Laurent Vidal, the chair of the Sorbonne-ICSS Research Program: “It is clear that current international instruments are insufficient and there is a desperate need for well-designed criminal laws specific to the manipulation of sport".  He believes: “An international agreement on the manipulation of sport competition, coordinated by an overarching global platform, is now an urgent necessity".

 

ECB NAMES FOUR UMPIRES FOR

ENGLAND-LANKA ODI SERIES

[1355-6546]

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board has named four umpires to fill 'home' on-field positions in the single Twenty20 International (T20I) and four of the five One Day Internationals (ODI) England and Sri Lanka are to play over the next three weeks.  Last week the International Cricket Council (ICC) named New Zealand's Jeff Crowe and Chris Gaffaney plus Marais Erasmus from South Africa, as the neutral officials for a series that is to be played at The Oval, Durham, Old Trafford, Lord's and Edgbaston respectively (PTG 1353-6537, 15 May 2014).  

 

Rob Bailey and Michael Gough will be on-field at The Oval tomorrow for the T20I, Tim Robinson being there as the third umpire and Crowe the referee; the three Englishmen being current members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel.  Bailey is expected to be on field for the opening ODI at The Oval with Gaffaney, Robinson in Durham with Erasmus, Gough and Gaffaney at Old Trafford and Ian Gould plus his ICC Elite Umpire Panel colleague Erasmus for match four at Lord's.  The umpire for the final game at Edgbaston with Gaffaney is yet to be named publicly.

 

The ODIs will take Gould's record in such games to 88, Bailey to nine, Gough to four and Robinson to two.  Robinson played in 26 ODIs for England during his playing career and Bailey four.

 

 

PCB FINES FIVE, REPRIMANDS ANOTHER, 

OVER 'UNAUTHORISED' TEXAS T20 EVENT 

[1356-6547]

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) fined five of its players 500,000 Rupees ($A4,600) each on Friday for participating in an "unauthorised" Twenty20 tournament in Texas last month that also involved leg spinner Danish Kaneria who has been banned for life by the England and Wales Cricket Board for corruption. (PTG 1337-6459, 22 April 2014).  The PCB also "officially reprimanded" its marketing director Badar Rafai for both attending one of the matches at the invitation of organisers and "showing poor judgment" in posing for a photograph with Kaneria.

 

The PCB, which formed a three-member committee to investigate the matter a month ago, said in a statement that those fined were fast bowler Wahab Riaz, all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, middle order batsman Fawad Alam and opening batsmen Nasir Jamshed and Shahzeb Hasan.  Riaz, Alam and Jamshed are part of Pakistan's summer training camp in Lahore in which about forty cricketers are training for the forthcoming season.  

 

All five admitted they had participated in the event but told the committee they didn't know prior approval from the PCB was required for them to be able to take part, but the investigative committee did not accepted the five were unaware of the need for a 'No Objection Certificate' for the games.  Kaneria's case is said to have been referred to its integrity committee "for further action".  The group that looked into the issues surrounding the "unauthorised" tournament was made up of the PCB's domestic cricket director Intikhab Alam, general manager of vigilance and security Azam Khan, and international cricket manager Usman Wahla.

 

THREE OF SIX NZ ASSOCIATIONS REPORTED NOT 

KEEN ON PRIVATE INVESTOR CONCEPT  

[1356-6548]

 

Auckland are not alone amongst New Zealand's six major associations in having reservations over proposals to take the domestic game there to private investors, according to an article in Saturday's 'New Zealand Herald.  A report in the 'Herald' last month said that Auckland "will provide the strongest opposition" to New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) mooted revamp of the domestic game that could include selling up to forty-nine per cent of association franchises to private investors (PTG 1357-6460, 22 April 2014), prior to that Cricket Wellington being reported as generally supported such an approach by NZC (PTG 1331-6427, 10 April 2014). 

 

Journalist David Leggat now says Northern Districts (ND) have indicated like Auckland they too have a cautious attitude to the issue, and at least one other "major association", which was not named, is understood to have similar reservations.  ND chief executive Peter Roach told the 'Herald' that there is a perception the domestic game is broken, however, "We don't share that belief".  "Domestic cricket has one very important role and that's to produce very good international players, and certainly from [ND's] point of view we believe we're doing okay in that regard."

 

Roach went on to point to New Zealand's "improved world standing" and argued that on a per capita basis "you have to say New Zealand is punching above its weight significantly".  "We are on an upward trend so the system can't be totally broken", but having said that he also acknowledged there are areas such as the profile of domestic cricket which are a concern".

 

"We don't think we should be sitting on our hands saying domestic cricket is achieving every goal it should be", said Roach, before asking "do we think private investment is the answer at ND?", answering his own question by saying "its not at the top of our tree at present".  "We haven't said no it should never happen. Just that it's not a priority for us", and while "growing commercial returns for the game is clearly vital, ND believe that is possible without going down the private investment route".

 

NZC, which is said to be keen to push down the privatisation path, had sought feedback from its six associations and others by last Thursday, four weeks ahead of its scheduled mid-June board meeting, but Leggat thinks it is more likely a substantial discussion on the issues will not take place until the following board meeting in mid-July.  Major association chairmen and chief executives are currently expected to meet in Auckland the day prior to the June board meeting.

 

CA POST-SEASON UMPIRE STATE 

DIRECTOR'S MEETING NEARS   

[1356-6549]

 

There are indications that Cricket Australia's (CA) annual post-season meeting with State and Territory Directors of Umpiring or their representative is to be held in Brisbane later this week, not Melbourne as has been the case for many years.  No details of just what will be discussed at what is normally a two-day gathering are as yet available, nor is it known whether CA will release any details.  In the past reports available suggest a range of operational and strategic issues regarding the season just ended and the one to come and beyond, will be on the table for consideration, comment and feedback from those present (PTG 1086-5290, 6 April 2013).

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,357
Tuesday, 20 May 2014

MODEL AIRCRAFT HITS 

UMPIRE, STOPS PLAY

[1357-6550]

 

A match between sides from Cosby and Gilmorton in the Leicestershire and Rutland Cricket League's Division 6 competition was halted for ten minutes on Saturday when the square leg umpire was hit on the back of his legs by a model aircraft.  The plane is said to have appeared "out of the blue" before it stalled and crashed to the ground, bouncing once before striking the unnamed official.

 

Cosby opening batsman Nigel Meredith, who was batting at the time, told the 'Leicester Mercury' the umpire was not badly hurt and everyone saw the funny side of the incident.  “It was just as well that the plane bounced before it hit the umpire otherwise it could really have hurt him".  "In my eighteen years of playing I have seen play stopped for rain and even a dog on the pitch but not because an umpire has been hit by a plane", said Crosby.  The person who was flying the plane later came into the club house later to claim it and apologise for what had happened.

 

NZC QUERIES WHY MORE 

CONFIDENTIAL TESTIMONY IS LEAKED

[1357-6551]

 

New Zealand Cricket is said to be "demanding answers" over leaked testimony given to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) by its current national captain Brendon McCullum.  The London 'Daily Mail' reported on the weekend that McCullum had told ICC investigators he was offered $A200,000 to fix matches by a former international player in 2008, news that comes after countryman Lou Vincent's apparent confessions and concerns about the leaking of that information (PTG 1355-6540, 17 May 2014).

 

The 'Mail' quotes McCullum as saying a person referred to as his "hero" had tried to bribe him to "under perform" in a Worcester cafe during New Zealand's tour that year, telling him "that all the big boys in international cricket" were doing it and also how he could hide the money trail.  The newspaper suggests that the player who tried to bribe McCullum is the same one Vincent reportedly told investigators he was involved in match-fixing with (PTG 1356-6544, 19 May 2014).

 

The report says his "hero" asked him if he knew what 'spread betting' was.  When the answer was 'no' he explain the basic principles, which were to score below a certain rate for the first six or so overs and then towards the end of the game there was another split.  The so-called "hero" told McCullum he had "done this himself and that potentially he could get for me from between $A70,000-180,000 a game".  The unnamed individual then indicated he had a good group working for him in the Indian Cricket League (ICL) at which point  McCullum realised his "hero" was actively concerned in fixing.  "I believed he was asking me to do the same thing for him in the IPL as others were doing in the ICL".

 

The 'Daily Mail' also reported that the "hero" told McCullum how to take money he might have earned in corrupt activities back to New Zealand without raising suspicion, that being by purchasing property from "a man he knew in Dubai".

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive David White said yesterday that McCullum is not under investigation by the ICC, he has to be applauded for reporting the approach, and that NZC has "one hundred per cent confident in our captain".  White, who said he did not know how long the ACSU investigation will take but that NZC needs an explanation from the ICC about how this information has come out.  "We want to discuss with the ICC the leaks. We're very disappointed that this has been leaked first and foremost to the media, so that is a concern for us. We're very disappointed that this information is in the public domain".

 

ICL 'SMELT BAD', SAYS FORMER 

KIWI CHIEF EXECUTIVE

[1357-6552]

 

Former New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive Justin Vaughan says there were suspicions six years ago that "corrupt activities" were occurring in the 'unauthorised' and now defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) Twenty20 events, according to an article in last weekend's 'Sunday Star Times' newspaper.  There have long been concerns about how vulnerable the ICL was to unscrupulous practices, including from the organisers of the competition themselves, for at one stage they were reported to have withheld payments to all of the Pakistani players who took part because of match-fixing concerns (PTG 488-2539, 13 September 2009).

 

Vaughan was the chief executive of NZC when the ICL was launched in 2007, several international players from his country putting their careers at risk by signing up for it.  They included Lou Vincent, Chris Cairns and Daryl Tuffey who all played for the Chandigarh side.  That trio have, of late been, under investigation by police and the International Cricket Council (ICC), probes that are reported to have resulted in Vincent confessing to his involvement in questionable activities in the ICL as well as a number of other countries (PTG 1354-6538, 16 May 2014).  Cairns and Tuffey have stressed they are innocence of any inappropriate activity.  

 

The 'Star Times quotes Vaughan as saying: "There was a general bad smell coming from that competition, it was unsanctioned [and] we felt [at the time] it was was totally in another orbit so it almost wasn't our problem".  "I guess we always hoped that New Zealand players weren't going to get caught up in wrongdoings that were going on [then] but it was out of our mindset because we were dealing with [our national side] and all the ICC sanctioned competitions they were playing in".  

 

Vaughan said he was saddened and very disappointed because: "Whenever one of your own gets involved in these activities, even if it wasn't when he was representing New Zealand, it undoubtedly stains the reputation [and that's] unfortunate but inevitable".  "It was no surprise perhaps [in terms of} the ICL but it's surprising to see that it was able to then spread into the likes of domestic cricket in England" (PTG 1356-6544, 19 May 2014).

 

Reports appeared in several Pakistani newspapers in 2008 that quoted an unnamed ICL official as saying a "former Pakistani Test cricketer fixed [ICL] matches with the help of local bookmakers".  The player in question, who was never named publicly, was dropped from the remainder of the tournament involved because of what one newspaper said then was his "involvement with bookmakers".  Reports of Vincent's revelations last week claimed his evidence was such that the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit was "close to charging a former Pakistan international" (PTG 1354-6538, 16 May 2014), however, whether he is the ICL personage concerned is not known. 

 

The ICL, which was the brainchild of India's Zee Television network, came into being at a time when the Board for Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) wanted nothing to do with the Twenty20 format.  However, after India won the inaugural World Twenty20 Championship, the BCCI changed its tune and conceived the Indian Premier League, working with and via the ICC the rest of the world to squeeze out the ICL.

 

Match officials who signed up to officiate across all or part of the ICL's various series include current English first class umpire Nigel Cowley and former members of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) first class list, Allan Jones, Jeff Evans, Trevor Jesty, Ray Julian, and Roy Palmer, Pakistanis Shakeel Khan and Mustaq Mohammed, Irishman Keith Smith, former South African Test umpire David Orchard who now works for Queensland Cricket, and now ICC Elite Umpire Panel aspirant Ranmore Martinez from Sri Lanka.  Indian umpires involved included: Alfred Burrows, K R Chesian, Rajesh Mundhra, M Rajesh, Venkatraman Satish and Dinesh Waghela, with Balwinder Sanddu a match referee.

 

Jones retired five years early from the ECB's Full List to sign up for the ICL, the money on offer apparently being an attraction at a time when members of the ECB's top panel were only employed on a part-time basis (PTG 326-1714, 9 October 2008).  As part of its moves to discourage its umpires from taking part in the ICL, the ECB eventually responded by introducing twelve-month contracts for its Full List umpires and increasing their annual salaries to what was reported then to be in the order of $A70,000-100,000 a year (PTG 371-1978, 13 February 2009).  Sri Lanka Cricket banned those of its nationals who took part in the ICL, including Martinecz, but he was soon rehabilitated and named a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (PTG 425-2238, 18 May 2009).

 

SOUTH AFRICAN PLAYERS NOT INVOLVED 

IN MATCH-FIXING, SAYS UNION BOSS

[1357-6553]

 

Professional players in South Africa are not involved in match-fixing" activities, according to Tony Irish, the chief executive officer of the South African Cricketers Association (SACA).  He told the Super Sport web site that "the very best South African players, who also participate in the Indian Premier League (IPL)", earn between ten and fifteen million Rand ($A1.1-1.5 million) per year in total cricket earnings and have secure contracts in South Africa, which "should make them less susceptible to the financial lure of corruption". 

 

Irish, who was commenting following reports of former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent's involvement with match-fixing activities (PTG 1356-6544, 19 May 2014), also pointed to Cricket South Africa (CSA) and its six franchises having anti-corruption codes in place and that players are "expertly educated about the dangers of bookmakers’ advances".  Referring to Vincent's apparent claim that a Champions League T20 tournament was involved, Irish said: “None of the South African players involved in that [particular event] reported anything untoward to SACA or CSA and as far as we know, none of our players are under investigation at the moment". “Although one can never totally discount these things in cricket, I would be very surprised if it turned out that any South African players wasn’t clean", he said.

 

Irish also indicated that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between his organisation has with CSA, the franchises and the players, and which was renewed for four more years three weeks ago, mean that players received "roughly twenty per cent of all CSA’s professional cricket revenues".  "Where players have [such four-year] contracts it should lessen the risk of being lured into financial gain from other sources".  Super Sport said that Irish did not want to disclose what CSA's revenues were, but he indicated South African players are "arguably the fourth best paid cricketers in the world, behind those from India, Australia and England".  However, "Some senior players in [other parts of the] world are not paid that well, which perhaps makes them more susceptible to accepting offers from bookmakers".

 

“Bookmakers will be interested in domestic Twenty20 matches all over the world", including South Africa, Australia and the Caribbean and the like for that format just happens to be where most of the betting takes place, continued Irish.  “That does not mean that any of those tournaments are corrupt, but it does mean that anti-corruption units, players and everyone else involved must be continuously vigilant.

 

KOLKATA IPL SKIPPER 

FINED FOR DISSENT

[1357-6554]

 

Gautam Gambhir, the captain of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Kolkata franchise was fined fifteen per cent of his match fee yesterday for showing dissent at an umpire's decision in his side's match in Hyderabad.  Gambhir was given out caught behind by English umpire Nigel Llong in the second over of his side's innings and reports state the batsman was "fuming" as he left the ground.  The IPL said in a statement that Gambhir admitted to what was a Level 1 offence 

 

BCB SIGNS SIX-YEAR TELEVISION DEAL 

FOR HALF ITS ESTIMATED WORTH

[1357-6555]

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has signed a six-year contract worth a reported $A3 million a year with local television network Gazi Satellite Limited for media and broadcasting rights to international series that are to be played in Bangladesh from now until 2020.  As it currently stands, Bangladesh is to host at least 31 Tests, 33-47 One Day Internationals and 14 Twenty20 Internationals during that time, matches that include those in two series against India which always generate considerable interest around the host nation.

 

Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper said yesterday that the BCB decided to sell the rights for a total close to $A20 million, a figure half their estimated present market value.  The BCB had appointed Australian firm Future Sports and Entertainment to advise it what an appropriate amount for the contract would be, their advice prior to bidding apparently being that a figure around $A45 million, or close to $A7 million a year, would be acceptable.  BCB president Nazmul Hasan told reporters that his organisation is "satisfied with the deal" for "it would have been more embarrassing for us if no party had taken part in the bidding or had not exceeded the floor price" the BCB set of $A20 million.  Reports say that of the bidders only Gazi TV offered an amount in excess of the BCB's bottom line.

 

The 'New Age' story concludes by saying "the BCB could not hide the fact that its decision to select Gazi TV was never an out-of-question issue as one of [the BCB's] directors, Gazi Golam Mortuza Pappa, is associated with the [television channel]".  When questioned about that, BCB media and marketing committee chairman Kazi Inam Ahmed said Pappa "never had a desire to attend any of the meetings [during which his committee discussed the contract] as he had already bid for the deal".  Inam emphasised "we were totally transparent in our deal".

 

THREE KILLED BY GUN 

FIRE DURING MATCH

[1357-6556 ]

 

Three leading figures from two activist groups in south-eastern Bangladesh were shot dead when a gunfight erupted between their respective supporters during a match being played in Laxmipur Sadar on Saturday.  In addition to the three who died, four others were hit by bullets whilst the fighting was underway, officials from both groups later blaming each other for the tragedy.  

 

Meanwhile, what is being described as "an act of stopping a cricket ball heading towards the boundary" during a game being played on the outskirts of Mangalore on Sunday sparked a riot between two Indian communities that left five injured and a number of vehicles damaged.  Just why the ball was stopped and by whom are not mentioned in the 'Times of India' report, but it was enough to trigger a barrage of stones being thrown by both of the parties involved, actions that led to five people being taken to hospital and three cars and two motor cycles being badly damaged.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,358
Wednesday, 21 May 2014

GAME 'BIGGER THAN THE INDIVIDUAL', 

SAYS IPL INVESTIGATOR

[1358-6557]

 

Justice Mukul Mudgal, who has been given the responsibility by India's Supreme Court of conducting the next phase of investigations into corruption in last year's Indian Premier League (IPL) competition (PTG 1355-6541, 17 May 2014), told India's 'Economic Times' on Monday that "the game of cricket is bigger than any individual and that the task [he and his colleagues have] is to ensure it remains that way".  Mudgal, who is to now look into names contained in the "sealed envelope" from the first phase of his investigation, called the task of looking into such a "high profile" case a "huge responsibility and a "daunting opportunity"

 

In an interview with 'Times' journalist Boria Majumdar, Mudgal said that "[so far] we have worked for four months in trying to get to the root of the problem within the framework of the limited mandate we had", a reference to the work his group undertook between last October and February (PTG 1289-6212, 11 February 2014), but with increased powers "we now have the opportunity to really investigate the matter".  '“We have been given enormous investigative powers. Now it is upon us to ensure we use the powers justly and make sure no one is hurt or defamed unnecessarily. That is something we will guard against from the outset and ensure that the power is exercised properly", said the former Chief Justice of Punjab.

 

However, Mudgal warned that: "Sometimes people’s expectations tend to be a little unreasonable and to expect that we can cleanse the game as a whole would be to expect too much".  "We need to stay within the parameters of our mandate. Let’s not be overambitious to start with and say we can clean cricket as a whole. Rather, I would like to say that we will investigate the IPL problem to its very core and try to do it objectively and rationally".

 

In reply to a question as to whether he would be able to deal with what Majumdar termed the "iconic" individuals whose names reports claim are in the "envelope", Mudgual said: "Let me state one thing clearly —  We will be entirely objective in our investigation and will always keep in mind that we are doing it for the game, which is why these icons exist in the first place".  "We will not be taken by whether someone is an 'icon'.  All we are concerned with is the sanctity and welfare of cricket", he said.

 

Mudgal went on to talk about how he proposed to conduct the investigation in the three-and-a-half-months currently given to him by the Supreme Court which asked for a response by the end of August. “The task assigned to us is complex and there is also no doubt that we will have to be discreet".  However, "whether or not we need three months or more is impossible to state at this point in time. If we think we need more time and have real reasons to believe so, I have no doubt that the Court will grant us an extension. But, there is no reason to speculate on this issue now".  

 

Mudgal is currently on holiday but once he returns next week he says "we will get going with the task at hand, and it will be important we choose the right people for the job".

 

VINCENT INFORMATION SAID TO 

POINT TO 'TWELVE PLAYERS'

[1358-6558]

 

Information provided by former New Zealand player Lou Vincent has enabled investigators to identify "twelve players" from around the world whom they suspect have been involved in match fixing, says the London 'Daily Telegraph'.  The newspaper broke the news last week that Vincent had provided the International Cricket Council (ICC) with details of what the 'Telegraph' described as "widespread fixing across cricket" involving matches in at least five countries (PTG 1354-6538, 16 May 2014). 

 

The players said to have been identified are being investigated for either fixing or failing to report a corrupt approach to the relevant authorities, offences that can carry a maximum five-year suspension. Spot-fixing can carry greater penalties, including criminal prosecution, and according to the 'Telegraph': "One English county player" could face a charge of failing to report an approach, as does "a former Pakistani international".  Whether the latter was the "former Pakistani International" the Indian Cricket League (ICL) suspected of "involvement with bookmakers" in 2008 is not known (PTG 488-2539, 13 September 2009).    

 

According to a report in the London 'Daily Mail', Vincent was often instructed to score ten to fifteen from twenty deliveries and then get out.  It is also reported that during the ICL, he accidentally hit a ball for six when attempting to be stumped and was later chastised by another player, who was reportedly in on the fix, for failing to keep his side of the bargain.  Vincent is said to have told investigators: "He waved a bat around close to my head and threatened to hit me with it. He said I'd cost him millions and accused me of fixing for someone else".

 

 

Vincent's evidence, which is said to run to "forty-two pages", is also said to have given authorities insight into how money is paid to corrupt players through banks, some based in England, and how contact is maintained with criminal ringleaders overseas.  Investigators have also interviewed, amongst others, the likes of current New Zealand captain Brendon McCallum (PTG 1357-6551, 20 May 2014), and former Lancashire player Mal Loye (PTG 1356-6544, 19 May 2014), who both reported offers of money to engage in inappropriate match-related activities, although neither is reported to be under investigation themselves.  

 

The 'Telegraph' says investigators "have photographic evidence of bank records and transactions, which is helping to identify the Asian mafia barons who are said to control multibillion-dollar illegal betting industries in India".  The scandal is also reported to be revealing how the fixers exert pressure on players once they have accepted money to under perform, as well as the value placed on any form of insider knowledge about fitness and team tactics.  However, in moving to formal charges and prosecution that might follow, anti-corruption authorities will have to weigh up the reliability of Vincent's claims and whether they can successfully secure a conviction using him as a witness. 

 

Former England captain Andrew Strauss has praised Vincent for giving cricket authorities "something to work with against a cancer on the game".  Strauss told TalkSport Radio in the UK that he believes Vincent is now a key figure in trying to get to the bottom of match-fixing's tangled web, though he conceded that could be a losing battle.  One media report claims Vincent is "in hiding in New Zealand having employed a private security firm to protect him as he fears repercussions from the Asian mafia gangs who controlled his bookmaker contacts".

 

A study published by the Doha-based International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) and Sorbonne University in Paris last week estimated criminals launder an amount in excess of £80 billion ($A142 billion) from illegal betting on sport around the world annually, football and cricket being the sports most under threat (PTG 1356-6545, 19 May 2014).

 

CAIRNS AGAIN DENIES 

ALLEGATIONS OF CORRUPTION 

[1358-6559]

 

Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns has denied suggestions he is the player current Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum has reported to have suggested to International Cricket Council (ICC) investigators was at the centre of match fixing activities six years ago (PTG 1357-6551, 20 May 2014).   McCullum was reported on the weekend to have told the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) he was offered $A200,000 to fix matches in 2008 by a former international player who he described as his "hero", and there are now suggestion in the media that another Kiwi under the corruption spotlight, Lou Vincent, has named the "same man".

 

The 'New Zealand Herald' has reported that "multiple sources" have accused Cairns as being the player McCullum and Vincent was referring to.  Long-serving cricket commentator Brian Waddle has apparently suggested to the 'Herald' the accusations are not surprising, saying: "It's been an open secret for some time. If you put two and two together you probably could've guessed anyway".

 

Cairns has always indicated his innocent in regard to accusations of spot or match fixing..  He reiterated that once again yesterday, saying in a statement that he "totally rejects the allegations against me and I will prove this".  Such allegations "are a complete lie", he says, for he "never approached McCullum, or anyone else, about match fixing or any other improper activity".  "However, I think it is very dangerous to try to do this through the media and court of public opinion, where it is impossible to present all the information and facts".  

 

"I am committed to concluding my interview with the [London] Metropolitan Police as soon as possible and will work through the proper channels to, once again, prove my innocence", continued Cairns.  "I just ask people to remember that, as yet, the ICC have still not so much as interviewed me and that what is circulating in the public domain is barely one side of the story. There is a long journey ahead".  The former New Zealand captain won a High Court libel trial in the UK 2012 after former Indian Premier League boss Lalit Modi accused him of match-fixing. 

 

A month ago Cairns said he had met with Metropolitan Police investigators in New Zealand, but that plans the ASCU had to interview him had been deferred due to the on-going police enquiry.  That interview with UK police was cut short because the investigators had to return home, however, Cairns stressed then that he would continue cooperating with them through his legal team in Britain (PTG 1330-6423, 7 April 2014). 

 

WICL CONCEPT 'AWESOME' 

SAYS KIWI WOMEN'S' SKIPPER

[1358-6560]

 

Establishment of the Women's International Cricket League (WICL) would be "awesome", according to New Zealand captain Suzie Bates.  The new league, which if it gets off the ground "will feature seventy-eight of the world’s leading players" and is expected to be based in Singapore, is the brainchild of former Australian women's all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar and her  business partner Shaun Martyn (PTG 1342-6485, 1 May 2014).

 

Bates told 'Cricinfo' she "hasn't heard too many of the details" since receiving the first e-mail but it "about eighteen months ago letting us know there was this idea in the background for a women's version of the [Indian Premier League]".  The New Zealand skipper said "some countries, notably Australia and England, now provide far greater rewards to their women but others have struggled to keep pace. She conceded that New Zealand Cricket finds it difficult to compete and can only offer a small number of players limited financial support.

 

"We try to do as well as we can", said Bates, and "Last year I was involved in contracts for the first time where four players were signed up for twelve months to work part-time in cricket and also provide some financial stability".  "The downside of that was that we were given a contract but expected to work for the money in cricket, which is positive for the development of the game but [their] being advertised as professional contracts wasn't quite the truth, and [it was] more about working in cricket to sustain your career".

 

Bates said she "was involved in coaching and a lot of cricket, which made you a bit stale by the end of the season". "I'd like to look at other career options to sustain my cricket, which is why these leagues are exciting", probably a reference to both the WICL and Cricket Australia's planned revamp of its women's domestic Twenty20 series in 2015-16 (PTG 1345-6502, 4 May 2014).

 

DELHI IPL CAPTAIN FINED 

FOR SLOW OVER-RATE

[1358-6561]

 

Kevin Pietersen, the captain of the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Delhi franchise side was yesterday fined the equivalent of $A22,000 after his team maintained a slow over-rate during Monday's match against Punjab in Delhi.  The offence, which was his first of that kind for the current season meant that under the IPL’s Code of Conduct relating to minimum over-rate offences he was fined the basic amount, but should it happen again in the IPL this year he will be fined double that amount (PTG 1348-6520, 8 May 2014).

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,359
Thursday, 22 May 2014

ICC TO INVESTIGATE MATCH-FIXING LEAKS, 

MOVES TO CENSOR NEWSPAPER

[1359-6562]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has served an injunction against a British newspaper in a bid to prevent further leaks of information gathered by its anti-corruption investigation from reaching the public, according to current ICC president Alan Issac.  ICC chief executive David Richardson yesterday apologised for the leaking of confidential match fixing related testimonies given to his Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) by current New Zealand Brendon McCullum and his former team mate Lou Vincent, and said an investigation into how such information became public was underway.

 

In the past week, a series of articles published in the 'Mail' clearly suggest their journalists have seen details of both men's interviews with the ACSU, although as pointed out by international player's union head Paul Marsh last week, "multiple parties had access" to the McCullum-Vincent evidence (PTG 1355-6540, 17 May 2014).  Isaac told Radio New Zealand this morning he couldn't outline the legal reasons for the move against the newspaper other than that the release of such information "is not helpful" and "totally unacceptable".  

 

The ICC investigation is expected to include inquiries at ICC member bodies as their respective anti-corruption staff have reportedly received copies of the pair's testimony.  The information "was distributed in tightly controlled fashion and unfortunately somebody has let us down obviously", said Issac.  "What we're going to have to investigate is how widely those individual people may have distributed the report from there".  Isaac couldn't rule out that the boards of various cricket nations had seen a copy of the reports, however, New Zealand Cricket has said its chief executive David White had not.

 

Richardson said it is too early to assume that the leaks came from within his organisation, however, if an ICC "insider" is found to be responsible they will be stood down".  He expressed "deep regret" over the leaking of McCullum's testimony and that he has spoken to the player, assuring him the ICC values "the courage and integrity he has shown in reporting the approach he received to fix a game".  McCullum's lawyer Garth Gallaway later said Richardson called his client on Tuesday night in India, where he was playing in the Indian Premier League, and is satisfied with the assurances given there is nothing that can be done given his testimony is now in the public domain.  McCullum returned home to New Zealand this morning (PTG 1359-6563 below).

 

Answers as to just why ICC investigators haven't yet interviewed Chris Cairns, another New Zealander who some have alleged was a key man in match fixing, something he himself has repeatedly denied, were not provided.  Richardson said that: "In the course of investigations a number of people have been spoken to, Chris Cairns will be interviewed when the time comes, when it's appropriate, and when possible to do so".  Some media reports say that explanation would tend to lend weight to suggestions the ICC may be trying to build a case against Cairns before talking to him.  Cairns has indicated he was waiting to complete a curtailed interview with British police and that the ICC had to date not contacted him over such matters (PTG 1358-6559, 21 May 2014).

 

Meanwhile, former Australian umpire Darrell Hair says he has little confidence in the ICC's ability to eradicate corruption from the game.  Hair stood in some of New Zealand's' games in England in 2008 around the time McCullum says his "hero" a match-fixer approached him (PTG 1357-6551, 20 May 2014).  The former umpire told Radio New Zealand's 'Checkpoint' program yesterday he saw no sign of anything amiss during those two games, which New Zealand lost.  Hair said he has little faith in the sports governing body's chances of cleaning up the game because the ICC claims it has limited powers. However, he said the England and Wales Cricket Board has "successfully dealt" with players thought to be acting corruptly and it is surprising the ICC has made "so little ground".

 

Reports indicate that there is widespread concern amongst cricket administrators in most countries about the way the image of the game is taking a battering as accusations of match-fixing involving top players swirl around the sport.  Craig Dickson, a senior sport law lecturer at Auckland University of Technology, told Radio New Zealand match-fixing could destroy the integrity of the sport and that people "will stop watching" if they can't be assured it is a genuine contest.

 

McCULLUM 'DISAPPOINTED' ABOUT LEAKS, 

SAYS 'MOST PLAYERS' AREN'T CORRUPT

[1359-6563]

 

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum says he is disappointed his match fixing testimony was leaked to the media but that he has no regrets about providing the information he did to the International Cricket Council (ICC), however, he made no comments on just who the player said to be at the centre of corrupt activities might be.  The London 'Daily Mail' reported ten days ago that McCullum had told ICC investigators he was offered $A200,000 to fix matches by a former international player in 2008, news that comes after countryman Lou Vincent's apparent confessions and concerns about the leaking of that information (PTG 1357-6551, 20 May 2014).

 

McCullum spoke in Christchurch this morning after a stint in the Indian Premier League, his first public comment since he and former team mate Vincent's testimonies to ICC investigators were leaked.  Returning home for the birth of his third child, McCullum said he wouldn't hesitate to talk to the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit investigators again and was quick to encourage other players to report any match fixing as soon as possible.  He indicated he has complete confidence in the ICC's processes and while he concedes the game has been tainted by the fixing accusations, he believes most players in the sport aren't corrupt.

 

TUFFEY BREAKS SILENCE, 

STRESSES INNOCENCE

[1359-6564]

 

Former New Zealand fast bowler Daryl Tuffey says he "had yet to be presented with a single scintilla of evidence to substantiate any claims" he has been involved in match-fixing.  The names of Tuffey and his former national team mates Chris Cairns and Lou Vincent have been in the media over the last six months in relation to investigations being carried out by the International Cricket Council (ICC) into corrupt match-related activities (PTG 1249-6026, 6 December 2014).

 

In a statement released by his Sydney-based lawyer yesterday, Tuffey said he is frustrated by the "unsubstantiated attacks on his good name" which have "been levelled by a few self-interested individuals" and reiterated his comments when the investigation first began last December that he would cooperate with authorities and is confident he will be cleared of any wrong-doing.  Since that comment six months ago Tuffey has not spoken publicly about the ICC investigation. 

 

Another former New Zealand fast bowler Iain O'Brien, who is now a BBC commentator, believes the true extent of match-fixing in cricket is yet to be revealed. He told Radio New Zealand's 'Morning Report' program yesterday the problem is bigger than most people can imagine and is on every continent, but presumably not Antarctica.  O'Brien said more Kiwis are involved than anyone would like, even if that means just one player. 

 

Also yesterday, Australian captain Michael Clarke and fast bowler Ryan Harris expressed their concerns about reports of corruption in the game saying they take it "personally".  "I've been out there and done my best, my teammates have, it's just a very unfortunate thing that we're talking about corruption", said Harris, and "corruption in any sport I think is wrong and it damages the credibility of the sport".  "That's something that as players we take personally, because every time we go out as an Australian cricket team, and I know a lot of other teams do as well, they go out to win".  

 

Clarke said he's "extremely confident about the players that I've played with" and that "a big part of our job is to uphold the integrity of our sport and I think we do that well".  "Everybody involved in the game is disappointed that things like this happen but I want to pay credit to the ICC and Cricket Australia (CA) for the work they put in to try and stop this, stamp it out of our game".  "Players have a big role to play as well, making sure that if you are approached or if something does come up, to go and speak to your captain, your team manager, the people at [CA]".

 

SRINIVASAN AGAIN APPEALS 

TO INDIA'S SUPREME COURT

[1359-6565]

 

Narayanswamy Srinivasan, the stood down president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is to again appeal to India's Supreme Court, this time asking that it allow him to return as the head of the BCCI's "non Indian Premier League" (IPL) affairs, matters that would continue to be looked after by Sunil Gavaskar.  The Court asked Srinivasan to stand down from the BCCI presidency in late March pending a "fair and independent" investigation into 2013 IPL corruption issues (PTG 1323-6378, 29 March 2014), three weeks later rejecting his first plea to it that he be allowed to return (PTG 1335-6440, 18 April 2014).

 

Srinivasan's latest seemingly more limited request is expected to go before Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan later today and he is expected to decide whether the Court will hear the petition at a later date or reject it outright.  Reports say that part of his submission to the Court is an "affidavit of urgency" that states that by the time of the Court's next scheduled hearing into IPL matters in September, his term as president of the BCCI will have come to, or be nearing, its an end.  The BCCI's annual elections are due in that month, and Srinivasan is currently scheduled to take up the ICC chairman's position in July; although whether or not it is appropriate he continue in ICC roles as present is also before the Court for consideration (PTG 1339-6466, 26 April 2014).

 

Today's appeal submission also mentions Justice Mudgal original IPL investigative committee's "sealed envelope" that contains the names of persons who need further investigation, Srinivasan's being to only name of thirteen that has been made public to date.  The petition states that: "It is only the applicant [Srinivasan] who is having to face the stigma of restriction from functioning as the president of the BCCI despite no charges having been established".  The Court revealed that Srinivasan is the "thirteenth name" in the sealed envelop when it rejected his first appeal last month.  Mudgal, whose committee is to look into the "envelope" (PTG 1355-6541, 17 May 2014), has himself stressed the need to ensure no one is hurt or defamed unnecessarily during his investigation (PTG 1358-6557, 21 May 2014).

 

Last week Aditya Verma, the secretary of the Cricket Association of Bihar, wrote to Gavaskar asking for advice on reports Srinivasan stayed at the same hotel in Ranchi as the IPL's Chennai franchise side.  Srinivasan, whose company owns the Chennai franchise, was ordered by the Supreme Court to disengage himself from cricket administration in that country pending the results of Mudgal's enquiry into IPL matters (PTG 1320-6365, 26 March 2014).  To date there has been no further clarification of whether or not Srinivasan stayed at the same hotel or has had links that would put him in contempt of the Court's order.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,360
Friday, 23 May 2014

ECB REPORTED TO HAVE CHARGED 

TWO WITH MATCH-FIXING

[1360-6566]

 

The UK 'Daily Telegraph' reported late yesterday that the England and  Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is expected to announce they have charged New Zealander Lou Vincent and Pakistani Naved Arif his former Sussex team-mate with fixing the outcome of a county match.  Journalist Nick Hoult writes that Vincent, 35, who has already confessed to fixing (PTG 1354-6538, 16 May 2014), and Arif, 32, who lives in England, are to be charged with more than fifteen counts of match-fixing, actions if proven are likely to see them receive world-wide, life-time bans from the sport.

 

According to Hoult, who usually has solid cricket sources, Vincent faces more than ten charges of fixing, some of which relate to a Sussex-Kent one-day fixture plus another one-day game played in 2011.  Arif is said to face at least five counts relating to the Sussex-Kent match, including with being Vincent's accomplice in allegedly rigging it.  Vincent reportedly told International Cricket Council (ICC) investigators he was approached by his fixer the day before the match and told he'd received £40,000 ($A73,000) to throw the game.  There is no suggestion any other player from either team was involved in the alleged fix.  

 

The game in question was televised live by 'Sky' and attracted bets totalling more than £12 million ($A22 million) on one regulated gambling website alone, the highest total for any match of its kind in the past three years, plus countless more millions on the illegal bookmaker markets in India.  Hoult says there were suspicions at the time the match was corrupt but it was cleared by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit following an investigation by its analysts which failed to uncover any wrongdoing.  However, the case was reopened in August 2012 by the ECB’s own security unit which is headed by former Metropolitan Police murder squad detective Chris Watts, and that investigation apparently found enough evidence to move to charging both players.  

 

The charges that are said to have been laid were issued by the ECB rather than the ICC to whom Vincent provided evidence.  Arif is said to have been served with his charge papers by the ECB "at the end of April" and is now suspended from all forms of cricket. He was released by Sussex in 2012 and has since played a handful of professional Twenty20 matches in Pakistan and for two seasons, including an appearance last month, with Little Stoke Cricket Club in the North Staffordshire and Cheshire Premier division.  Vincent was reported earlier this week to currently be "hiding in New Zealand" (PTG 1358-6558, 21 May 2014). 

 

SRINIVASAN'S LATEST APPEAL 

REJECTED FOR NOW

[1360-6567]

 

India's Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear Narayanswamy Srinivasan's plea to reinstate him as the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for all but non Indian Premier League (IPL) affairs (PTG 1359-6565, 22 May 2014).  In March a bench of the Court asked Srinivasan to stand down from the BCCI presidency pending a "fair and independent" investigation into 2013 IPL corruption issues (PTG 1323-6378, 29 March 2014), three weeks later rejecting his first plea to it that he be allowed to return as BCCI president (PTG 1335-6440, 18 April 2014).

 

Two members of the Court, Justices Balbir Singh Chauhan and Arjan Kumar Sikri, sat yesterday as a two-person 'bench' of the Court to consider Srinivasan's request for reinstatement.  The two Justices, who have not previously made rulings on IPL-related matters, said they would not interfere with an order passed by another of the Court's benches, such issues to date being decided by members of the Court's thirty-one judge roster who are currently on holiday. 

 

In handing down their decision Chauhan and Sikrihe said Srinivasan could formally approach their colleague, Justice Ananga Kumar, with his latest request.  Kumar passed the original order about Srinivasan stepping down from his BCCI position in late March, in doing so asking "How did he stay on despite all the allegations?" and calling the fact that he did "nauseating for cricket" (PTG 1320-6365, 26 March 2014).  Whether Srinivasan plans to appeal again as suggested by yesterday's judges has not been made public at this time. 

 

LATEST LEAKED TESTIMONY NAMES 

CAIRNS AS MATCH-FIXER

[1360-6568]

 

Elly Riley, the ex-wife of former New Zealand player Lou Vincent, is reported to have told to the International Cricket Council (ICC) in ten sworn pages of evidence, that the so-far unnamed ringleader involved in match-fixing related issues is former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns.  Riley's former husband plus current New Zealand Brendon McCullum are said to have both named the same man as the 'fixer' in their testimonies, but just who they named has not yet come to light; however, on Tuesday Cairns said if he was the person named by the pair they were wrong and he again emphasised that he had not been involved in match-fixing (PTG 1358-6559, 21 May 2014).

 

Riley’s evidence, which was provided to the ICC last October and is the third such set of confidential information to be leaked, was that the fixing began during the Indian Cricket League (ICL) in 2008, and that Vincent told her: ‘‘Chris was going to pay him $US50,000 [$A$54,000] a game for the fixing".  "Vincent was confronted by a stranger with a suitcase full of money shortly after, but two weeks later things went awry" (PTG 1358-6558, 21 May 2014), continued Riley, for ‘‘I got a phone call from Lou and he was crying, saying he'd just lost Chris Cairns $US250,000 [$A270,000] or something like that because he got things wrong".  Riley is said to alleged the fixing continued in English County cricket, and the more players that were involved, the more money Cairns would receive.

 

During a 'night out' in Manchester in 2008, the same year McCullum said he was approached by someone he called his "hero" about fixing (PTG 1357-6551, 20 May 2014), Riley said she had confronted Cairns.  He apparently told her "they were safe, everyone did it [fixing] and no one would get caught".  She reportedly then called his "involving so many players" "greedy" and that she "just can't see how information on the fixing is not going to leak out to others and you're not going to get caught". "Chris just sort of laughed it off", telling her she "was right [but] not to worry as he had it all under control". 

 

In January 2010, former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi accused Cairns of match-fixing in the ICL, the Kiwi winning £90,000 ($A164,000) in damages for libel two years later in the UK High Court, Modi also being ordered to pay costs estimated at the time to have been around £1.5 million ($A2.7 million).  Judge David Bean ruled that Modi had "singularly failed" to provide any reliable evidence that Cairns was involved in match-fixing or spot-fixing, or even that there were strong grounds for suspicion that he was.  

 

According to Bean at the time: "It is obvious that an allegation that a professional cricketer is a match-fixer goes to the core attributes of his personality and, if true, entirely destroys his reputation for integrity".  Bean also said that during hearings Modi's lawyers had launched a "sustained and aggressive" attack on Cairns, with the words "liar", "lie" and "lies" used twenty-four times, and to reflect that, he increased the damages increased from a starting point of £75,000 to £90,000.  Six months later Modi failed in an an attempt to have the UK Court of Appeal overturn the High Court's ruling.

 

Cairns, whose father Lance and uncle Barry both played first class cricket, the former at Test level, captained the ICL's Chandigarh side in three competitions in 2007-08, the allegation made by Modi relating to the second and third of those series played in March-April and October-November of 2008.  Of his twenty ICL games, ten were played in that March-April period, one of them being a final, and three in the October, but he was missing from his side's line-up in its last five games of the October-November period.  

 

In September 2009 several newspapers in Pakistan quoted an unnamed ICL official as saying that "a former Pakistani Test cricketer" fixed ICL matches "with the help of local bookmakers".  The respective articles claim that after the matter came to the notice of the ICL, the player in question was dropped from the remainder of the unnamed tournament involved (PTG 488-2539, 13 September 2009).  The circumstances of Cairns' exit from that ICL event were the focus of his 2012 libel case against Modi.  Cairns' version of those events was that he was sacked by Chandigarh administrators not for match-fixing but rather because he had failed to disclose an injury to them.

 

TWO 'APPROACHED BY BOOKMAKERS' 

DURING IPL-7, SAYS GAVASKAR

[1360-6569]

 

Two individuals playing in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) have been approached by bookmakers, moves that have been reported to, and are being investigated by, the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, interim IPL head Sunil Gavaskar revealed yesterday.  The IPL has tightened its anti-corruption procedures this year after a spate of issues that are currently under investigation arose in 2013, 'integrity officers' being assigned to all eight franchises, random checks made of the telephones of players, coaches and support staff, their e-mails scrutinised, and franchises required to submit their list of invitees to IPL-related parties.

 

At a time when the ICC is dealing with a number of leaks of confidential testimony given by a number of people, including current New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum (PTG 1360-6568 above), Gavaskar said that the information had not been released via the IPL, saying: "I can assure you that the leak did not come from the IPL, I don't know where it came from but it's an issue to be concerned about".  The ICC is currently investigating just where the leak to the UK 'Daily Mail' came from and has served an injunction on the newspaper to try and prevent it pushing anymore cricket-related testimony it might have (PTG 1359-6562, 22 May 2014).  

 

'Cricinfo' reported yesterday that the tightened measures have drawn mixed reactions, with players said to be more forthcoming in reporting information but some IPL franchises calling the steps "confused" and "humbug".  A number of franchise officials spoken to by journalist Nagraj Gollapudi said that the problem was within the IPL for that organisatiomn lacked a culture of complying with the rules and regulations.  One official said that the efficacy of the new measures would depend upon whether the Board of Control for Cricket in India was going to be decisive when anything wrong was revealed. "To many franchises, the IPL works on double standards", writes Gollapudi.

 

TV CHANNEL CLAIMS BOOKMAKER HAD 'LINKS' 

TO ICC ANTI-CORRUPTION OFFICIAL

[1360-6570]

 

Dhaka-based television channel Bangla Tribune released audio tapes on Wednesday that they allege show a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) from India had what it calls "links" with an Indian bookmaker during the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series in Bangladesh earlier this year.  The television channel says that the bookmaker was arrested by Dhaka police in April, but was later released at the request of the ACSU officer who indicated the man was his informer. 

 

Bangla Tribune says that the tapes it released, the dates of which were not stated, include the unnamed ACSU official telling the bookmaker to be careful and leave Bangladesh immediately as his presence has already been noticed.  The official was also heard telling the bookie that his presence has created a mess and it could be difficult to defend him, says he channel.  “You better leave this place because you are now a marked face and you can easily be identified...better you leave this place before somebody recognises you", runs the quote attributed to the "ICC official".  The channel says that the ICC has not given it "any official reaction on the matter".

 

A series of reports in Bangladesh newspapers during April, parts but not all of which match Bangla Tribune's story, said that "suspected" Indian bookmaker Atanu Dutta had been arrested three times in March-April over suspicions he was involved in WT20C-related betting.  One report said Dutta was "not a complete stranger" to Bangladesh cricketing circles and had been "regarded as a suspicious character for a long time".  During Bangladesh tours Dutta is said to have followed the team, saying he was either a salesman for a Kolkata-based home appliance business or a land and property businessman.  Bangladesh players are said to have advised the ICC about Dutta in Zimbabwe in 2011, only to be told in response that unless there was a specific charge against him nothing could be done.

 

Dutta was also seen "playing an active role" in a betting syndicate during the last edition of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) fifteen months ago, according to Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper.  It reported last month he was arrested during that BPL series only to be released because of lack of evidence, and because the ACSU's Dharamveer Singh had told police Dutta was his "source".  The ICC provided anti-corruption cover for that event at the request of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, eventually producing a report that named nine individuals they said were guilty of corruption (PTG 1303-6283, 2 March 2014), but only four of them were found guilty however as yet, two months on, that quarter, which includes New Zealander Lou Vincent, have not been censured for their actions (PTG 1340-6472, 28 April 2014).

 

'New Age' also claimed that during Bangladesh's home series against New Zealand in November-December, Dutta was "seen entering a restricted area" whilst a One Day International was underway.  He "remained active with his mobile phone during the course of a game, allegedly to relay "information to the betting syndicate in India and the United Arab Emirates", says the newspaper's report, thus taking advantage of what 'New Age' says was the thirty second delay between the action on the field and viewers seeing the action on television.

 

UTTAR PRADESH UMPIRES BROUGHT 

IN FOR NEPALESE PREMIER LEAGUE

[1360-6571]

 

Two so-far unnamed Indian umpires from the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) are to officiate in the next series of matches that are to be played in what is the first season of the Nepal Premier League (NPL).  Reports say the move came after the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), which had organised the NPL in conjunction with the Zohra Sports Management (ZSM) company, withdrew its support for the event and barred Nepalese umpires from taking part.

 

NPL matches featuring six teams have been scheduled for May–June 2014 and comprise both twenty and fifty over competitions played in a round-robin format followed by semi-finals and finals between the top four teams. The fifty over part of the event is now underway in Dhangadi and Kanchanpur and is due to conclude tomorrow, then the tournament will move to the Twenty20 format over the first half of June in Kathmandu.

 

ZSM Managing Director Aamir Akhtar, a former Nepalese Under-19 national team member, used a press release to thank those umpires from his country who had been working in the fifteen fifty over matches played to date "with full dedication".  He went on to say ZSM "was forced to contact umpires from India as CAN did not uphold its part of the NPL agreement the two entities had agreed to. 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,361
Saturday, 24 May 2014

ECB CHARGES SHOW NO PLEA 

BARGAIN INVOLVED, SAYS VINCENT 

[1361-6572]

 

Former New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent says he hopes the match-fixing charges laid against him by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) dispel any rumours that he made a plea bargain, as was suggested when news of his testimony to International Cricket Council (ICC) investigators was first leaked (PTG 1354-6538, 16 May 2014).  On Thursday, the ECB announced Vincent is facing fourteen charges in relation to two county matches played under its jurisdiction in August 2011, a Twenty20 match between Sussex and Lancashire and a forty over game between Sussex and Kent, his team mate Naved Arif being charged with six offences in relation to the latter game (PTG 1360-6566, 23 May 2014). 

 

The Sussex-Kent forty over game is said to have aroused "immediate suspicions in betting circles" and punters raised their fears on gambling forums within minutes of its end.  One angry punter wrote: “Hard when at least two of your bats are playing for the [opposition]. Disgusting stuff from Sussex".  Ed Hawkins, an expert on betting and corruption in cricket, was the first to reveal via his 2012 book, 'Bookie, Gambler, Fixer, Spy', that the match was under investigation.  Subsequent examination of betting data revealed a total of £12 million ($A22 million) was gambled on one website alone, the highest figure for three years.

 

Vincent's lawyer Chris Morris released a statement yesterday morning, after news of the charges became known, which said: "The fact of the charges, and more are likely (PTG 1361-6573 below), dispel any notions of a plea bargain having been done as unfortunately appears to be wrongly suggested by others".  Morris revealed the ECB's charges arose from matters Vincent disclosed to authorities, and that the now former player "remains accountable for his actions of the past".  Vincent is said to have no plans to comment further at this stage.

 

Meanwhile, long-time New Zealand cricket commentator Bryan Waddle told 'Television One' it's interesting that it was the ECB that laid the charges not the ICC, which has an on-going investigation into match-fixing allegations.  "It doesn't look good again for the ICC and their Anti-Corruption and Security Unit" (ACSU), said Waddle, in reference to reports the world body had looked into the Sussex-Kent match but found nothing.  The ICC is under significant pressure from a number of fronts in relation to corruption issues at this time (PTG 1361-6574 below).

 

However, the London 'Daily Telegraph', which broke news of the charges against the former Sussex pair, including that the ICC had found nothing unusual about the Sussex-Kent game, said yesterday that the ICC "is adamant that it did not clear the match between Sussex and Kent of the suspicion [it was] fixed".  That, says journalist Nick Hounlt, contradicts a 2012 statement issued by Sussex which said “a full investigation was undertaken [by the ICC] with nothing untoward coming to light”.  

 

ECB chief executive David Collier said after the charges were made public that his anti-corruption unit "had "worked tirelessly in conjunction with the ICC's ACSU to bring about these charges, which once again demonstrates the ECB's zero tolerance approach to corruption in our great game".  Hoult says the match was originally investigated by the ICC in 2011 but the trail "went cold" until, as indicated by his lawyer, Vincent’s confession late last year.  "Extensive and intricate detective work" by the ECB’s own anti-corruption officers examining irregular patterns on spread-betting markets during the match have helped build a case which will see English cricket’s first disciplinary action over the rigging of a match.

 

Former England captain Michael Vaughan told BBC Radio 5 live yesterday that he wants anyone found guilty of match-fixing banned for life from cricket, a wish current statutes appear to allow for.  His view is "there must be no way back for corrupt players or officials and they shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a cricket field again".  "Where this incident has hit us hard is that it is our game, or county game, our domestic game and that's a real concern", added Vaughan, who is worried more cases are set to come to light in English cricket.  

 

Despite Vaughan's fears, ECB managing director Paul Downton played down the extent of the fixing and said that "five matches in England in the last six years" are being investigated.  Downton told BBC's Test Match Special he doesn't "think it's as widespread as the recent press coverage has led us to believe", but he did no provide any indication just when, and in what formats, the other three of the five matches he mentioned were played, although would be a Lancashire-Sussex Twenty20 played in 2008 (PTG 1356-6544, 19 May 2014). 

 

VINCENT TO FACE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

FIXING CHARGES NEXT MONTH 

[1361-6573]

 

Cricket Australia’s (CA) legal chief Dean Kino is preparing charges that are to be laid next month against self-confessed match-fixer and former New Zealand bastman Lou Vincent, according to Melbourne's 'Herald Sun' newspaper.  Kino is also the head legal adviser of the Champions League Twenty20 tournament, which is owned by the national boards of India, Australia and South Africa, and his current work is reported to be directed at indications Vincent was involved in match-fixing activities during games in the 2012 version of that event (PTG 1354-6538, 16 May 2014).  

 

Vincent, along with a former Sussex team mate Naved Arif, was charged by the England Cricket Board earlier this week with fixing county games (PTG 1361-6672 above), and his lawyer has indicated that he will be the subject of additional charges.  In addition to Champions League matches there are also questions about fixing in a Twenty20 match between Lancashire and Durham played in 2008.  Former Lancashire player Mal Loye has confirmed he was approached by Vincent and offered a bribe to support a fix, but as yet no charges have been laid over that game (PTG 1356-6544, 19 May 2014).

 

SENIOR ICC OFFICIALS 'SPLIT' OVER INJUNCTION 

ON LEAKED TESTIMONY? 

[1361-6574]

 

David Richardson, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and a lawyer by profession, "is facing scrutiny" over the handling of match-fixing issues, claims an article in London's 'Daily Telegraph' yesterday.  What are called "senior ICC figures", one of whom is probably an Englishman, are said "to be furious" about Richardson's decision "to threaten British newspapers, including the 'Telegraph', with legal action over [the publishing of] leaked witness statements" given by New Zealanders Lou Vincent, Brendon McCullum and Vincent’s former wife Elly Riley, to ICC anti-corruption investigators.

 

Current ICC president Alan Issac told Radio New Zealand on Thursday he couldn't outline the legal reasons for the world body's reported move to serve an injunction against London's 'Daily Mail' to prevent it from publishing any additional leaked information it might have, calling the release of such information to date as not helpful" and "totally unacceptable" (PTG 1359-6562, 22 May 2014).  As ICC chief executive, Richardson has the power to engage lawyers and instigate action against media outlets, but the 'Telegraph' story says senior ICC board members are "believed to be dismayed over the fact they were not consulted".  

 

Chris Watts, the former Scotland Yard murder squad detective who heads the ECB’s anti-corruption unit, said the work that led to the Vincent-Arif charges was an "extremely complex and lengthy investigation coordinated across many jurisdictions around the world".  He indicated that Vincent has been interviewed four times by anti-corruption officers and his confession named others involved and the methods used by bookies to pay players in cash for fixing.  The ICC first interviewed McCullum in 2011 and again last year when he claimed Chris Cairns was the ringleader of a fixing operation, something Cairns has strongly denied (PTG 1358-6559, 21 May 2014). 

 

Whatever the truth about the claims of disagreement amongst senior ICC personnel, the leaking of such key testimony as that given by Vincent, McCullum and Riley has put significant pressure on the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) at a particularly sensitive time.  The world body is preparing to review the unit's functions and the relationships it has with the domestic anti-corruption units set up by the world body's full member boards (PTG 1350-6530, 11 May 2014), and so far unanswered allegations surfaced this week about an ACSU member's "link" with an Indian bookmaker (PTG 1361-6575 below) .  

 

Two weeks ago Richardson said suggestions by some the ACSU might be failing in its duty to protect the game as "entirely misplaced and inaccurate”, but this week McCullum's lawyer described the unit's work in regards to Vincent "incompetent".

 

NO ANSWERS YET TO ALLEGATIONS OF 

ACSU OFFICER'S 'LINKS' WITH 'BOOKMAKER' 

[1361-6575]

 

Dharamveer Singh Yadav, an India-based member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ASCU), has refused requests from media outlets on the sub-continent to respond to allegations by the Dhaka-based TV channel Bangla Tribune that he had "links" with a bookmaker.  Bangla Tribune released audio tapes earlier this week that they claim are a recording of phone calls Yadav had with alleged Indian bookmaker Atanu Dutta during the India-Pakistan Twenty20 International match at this year's World Twenty20 Championship in Bangladesh in March (PTG 1360-6570, 23 May 2014).

 

The channel said that following "audio surveillance", Dutta was arrested by police officials in Dhaka but was later released after Yadav allegedly told the officials that he was his informer.  During the Indian-Pakistan match a man the television channel claims to be Dutta telephones a person alleged to be Yadav who responded by warning the alleged bookmaker "to be careful this time because I told them [presumably security officials at the game] that you were gone".  'Yadav' said it was not safe for 'Dutta' to stay at the game but he assures 'Yadav' that "nothing happened today [in terms of betting-related activities as] that person [presumably a security officer] sat behind me".  "I spotted him early on", said 'Dutta', and "after that, I did nothing suspicious".

 

'Yadav' then asks 'Dutta' "Where are you now?" in the stadium and on being told, says "there is only one way to save yourself from them, stay in the crowd and they will not notice you".  "Get out now, and do not sit in the corner", continues 'Yadav', for "if you sit in the corner, you will be spotted, you have to sit among the public, near the top".  "I was sitting at the top", counters 'Dutta'.  'Yadav' then says "There is big trouble when you are spotted", but the alleged bookmaker assures him he plans to return to India, saying he is "going away from here [by bus but] only after tomorrow's [match]".  'Dutta' then says he was "exiting the ground right now, nothing happened today [and] I am stopping the work".  After a further exchange 'Yadav' says "leave, keep calm and exit the place".

 

Bangla Tribune does not provide any information as to just how it acquired the tapes and what steps it may have taken to confirm the two involved were indeed Dutta and Yadav.  The story, which has been aired widely in the media on the sub-continent but less so elsewhere, provides the ICC with yet another headache in its efforts to investigate and clean-up corruption in the game, at the same time it is conducting a review of ACSU operations (PTG 1350-6530, 11 May 2014).  

 

The leaks of player testimony and now the serious further distraction of having an ACSU official personally embroiled, however innocent he may be, look to some observers to be part of a concerted effort by someone to attack and undermine the ICC as it seeks to eradicate corrupt activities.  If so it suggests the world body and the anti-corruption units of some of its national board's, may for the first time be getting close to determining just who the 'Mr Big's' of the illegal betting industry are. 

 

THIRTY-SEVEN ATTEND ACC 

MATCH REFEREES WORKSHOP 

[1361-6576]

 

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) held its first workshop for Match Referees in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month, a total of thirty-seven individuals from seven ACC tournament-hosting countries, Malaysia, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), being involved.  The three-day meeting was conducted by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Referees and Umpires Manager Vince van der Bijl and one of its umpire coaches Peter Manuel, who were assisted by ACC "umpiring resource person" Bomi Jamula and a number of ACC Development Officers.

 

The program, which was the first of its kind held for an ICC Region, took participants through the preparation, process and post-match running of a game.  Following van der Bijl’s outlining of the ‘Golden Rules’, attendees were taken through twenty-five learning modules that included: how to make assessments of umpires without TV broadcasts; role-playing scenarios with players, ‘parents’, coaches and managers; illegal bowling actions; and over-rate calculations.

 

ACC Development Manager Bandula Warnapura said the gathering “was a very useful exercise for all concerned".  "As teams [in the Asian region] play at an increasingly higher level, with more intense and meaningful competition, proper standards and disciplines have to be observed on and off the field".  Another ACC Development Officer Rumesh Ratnayake, said “The match referee is like the chief executive of a game" in that they "keep an eye on everything, let the umpires and ground officials do their job, but take overall responsibility for all game related matters".

 

The ACC says the workshop took place as more of its member counties, Afghanistan, Hong Kong and the UAE, have obtained One Day International status.  Iqbal Sikander, a third ACC Development Manager who was in Kulala Lumpur, said other nations will be looking to emulate them in the years ahead.  This month's workshop follows one held in June 2010 that involved members of the ICC's top and second-tier match referee panels, an event ACC Development Officers took part in.

 

HIGH PERFORMANCE MANAGER SACKED 

[1361-6577]

 

In a surprise move the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) yesterday sacked high performance manager Jamie Cox because of his “failure to disclose player recruitment negotiations carried out by him”.  SACA chief executive Keith Bradshaw issued a statement saying the former Tasmanian opening batsman had been dismissed after an "internal review revealed that Jamie has failed to comply with SACA’s own policies and expectations".  

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is said to have contact Bradshaw last Tuesday to advise that player recruitment activities undertaken on behalf of the Adelaide franchise side in CA's domestic Twenty20 competition during its embargo period were under investigation for possible contravention of 'Player Contracting and Remuneration Guidelines'.  SACA tok the action even though the CA inquiry is still ongoing, said Bradshaw, and “While it is regrettable that it has been necessary to take this step, SACA has high expectations of its senior management, as well as a clearly defined Code of Conduct that must be adhered to".

 

BROAD 'TWEET' QUERIES 

SPINNER'S BOWLING ACTION

[1361-6578]

 

England bowler Stuart Broad is said to have risked disciplinary action after appearing to question the legitimacy of Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal's action, a bowler whose delivery style has been questioned before, particularly after he has taken a host of wickets.  Ajmal is currently playing for English county Worcestershire, taking thirteen wickets in his side's recent County Championship win over Essex, including a career-best 7/19 in the second innings.

 

Ajmal's bowling statistics for that game prompted former England captain Michael Vaughan to post a still photograph of Ajmal bowling during that match on 'Twitter', an image which had the caption: "You are allowed 15 degrees of flex in your delivery swing.... #justsaying".  Broad, currently out with a knee injury, replied by commenting: "This has to be a fake photo?!".  In a subsequent 'Tweet' he added: "Bowlers can bowl very differently in a lab while being tested compared to needing wickets in the middle".

 

The Pakistan spinner was reported for having a suspect bowling action in 2009, however, independent laboratory ['lab'] testing demonstrated that his arm flexed within the fifteen degree tolerance allowed by the International Cricket Council (ICC).  English cricket has long been suspicious of 'mystery' spin and innovations such as the 'doosra' whereby an off spinner bowls a delivery that turns away, rather than towards, a right-handed batsman.  As an England centrally contracted player Broad can be penalised by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) if he is found to have made derogatory comments about his fellow professionals. 

 

For his part Ajmal is said to have asked for an explanation about Broad's comments from the ECB, particularly that the action he uses in a match situation is not the same as that used in testing.  Umpires in county cricket can report international bowlers to the ECB just as they would domestic bowlers if they have any doubts over their action.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,362
Sunday, 25 May 2014

CORRUPTION ENQUIRY NEARING 

END, SAYS ICC CHIEF 

[1362-6579]

 

Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns, who some reports have claimed was at the centre of match fixing activities in the past, left home for London yesterday where he is to complete the interview with the Metropolitan police he commenced in New Zealand last month (PTG 1330-6423, 7 April 2014).  That news came around the same time the International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief executive David Richardson indicated his organisation's match-fixing inquiry into three former Kiwi players is now expected to be completed "within weeks", a significant change from the year-to-eighteen-months timetable it talked about just last week.

 

Richardson told Radio Sport in New Zealand yesterday: "We are at the end of the investigation, it is close to being finalised and I'm sure Chris Cairns will be spoken to and given an opportunity to put his side of the story".  "Although part of it does involve a police investigation in the UK, which I can't really vouch for as to when that will be finalised, but from our perspective the investigations are close to finality and hopefully we should be making announcements pretty soon".

 

Cairns' lawyer, Aaron Lloyd, confirmed to the 'New Zealand Herald' the former all-rounder was flying to England on Saturday, the paper quoting him this morning as saying he is to "meet with the Met police to conclude the interview he started and is also hoping to meet with the ICC [Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU)]".  Cairns is said to have a signed guarantee he will not be detained and is expected to return to New Zealand next week.

 

In April, Cairns had confirmed he met with Scotland Yard investigators but refused to divulge the reasons for the meeting.  After it emerged that McCullum and Vincent, in their testimonies to the ACSU, said a 'Player X' had approached them with offers to fix games, Cairns issued a statement denying all allegations relating to the case (PTG 1358-6559, 21 May 2014).

 

PAKISTANI APPROACHED TO 'UNDER PERFORM'

IN HONG KONG SIXES EVENT

[1362-6580]

 

Pakistan-based cricket web site 'PakPassion' reported on Friday that Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal was approached to "under perform" during the 2012 edition of the Hong Kong Sixes (HKS) tournament played at the Kowloon Cricket Club.  Somewhat "remarkably", writes journalist Saj Sadiq, the person who asked the question of Akmal was "a Pakistani based in Hong Kong who had been appointed as the Pakistan cricket team’s liaison officer for the tournament".

 

Sadiq says that the Pakistan side's team manager for that year's HKS had to return home following the death of a relative.  "With no team manager present, the liaison officer thought he would make the most of the opportunity", "befriending Akmal, [and offering] him lavish gifts including watches, jewellery and cash in whatever currency the Lahore-born batsman wanted, in return for him to underperform and give away his wicket cheaply at every opportunity".  The liaison officer allegedly told Akmal that he owned a local company that would look after Akmal very well throughout his cricket career but in return he would have to provide some favours when playing international cricket.

 

According to 'PakPassion', the unnamed liaison officer said to Akmal that the public's expectations would be that he would score heavily in HKS games and that he could make him a very rich man if he made a series of "unexpected low scores".  Akmal was also told by the liaison officer that he could help him own property all around the world if he worked with him.  Akmal is said to have immediately reported the approach from the liaison officer to team mates and that person was immediately removed from his role.  Sadiq says he understands the Pakistani team management reported the liaison officer's alleged behaviour to HKS organisers.

 

The 'PakPassion' story goes on to state that Hong Kong wasn’t the only time Umar Akmal had been approached.  The web site says it "has learnt" that 23 year old Akmal, "was inundated with calls from a bookie" whilst the team were staying in Dubai during the one day series against England in 2012 which was played prior to that year's HKS.  Akmal is said to have "immediately reported the approaches to the team management" who passed on details to the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU).  Akmal was later interviewed by an ACSU official "but was never interviewed" by by that group when he reported the Hong Kong approach later that year.

 

Former New Zealand player Lou Vincent, who has been charged with match-fixing in matches in England (PTG 1361-6572, 24 May 2014), is reported to have mentioned a Hong Kong 'Sixes' tournament in the evidence he provided to the ACSU last year (PTG 1354-6538, 16 May 2014). Vincent played four matches in the October 2011 edition of that annual event.

 

UMPIRE MANAGER POSITION 

OPEN AT QUEENSLAND CRICKET 

[1362-6581]

 

Queensland Cricket (QC) has called for applications for the position of 'Umpire Development and Support Manager', one of eight vacancies on its staff that were advertised mid-week as part of what appears to be a major revamp of its organisational arrangements.  Over the last decade former first class umpires Mike Ralston and David Orchard have filled positions in QC's Game Development Department (GDD) titled 'Umpire Support Officer' and 'Umpire Coach' respectively, but whether their jobs have been rolled into the new position, and just what their personal future in the restructure might be, are not yet clear.

 

The Brisbane-based organisation, which in February was reported to have been in a "perilously tight financial position in recent years", says it is seeking to "grow Australia's favourite game", particularly in regional Queensland".  QC says the GDD is "responsible for promoting and developing the game amongst the younger generation, as well as across both genders and within Australia's indigenous and multicultural communities", a task that includes the role of umpires in the game.  

 

In its call for applications for the umpire-related position, which close on Wednesday week, QC lists a range of tasks the successful applicant will be expected to cover.  They include to: develop and implement strategies to attract potential umpires; design programs for the development and assessment of umpiring skills; design and oversee the implementation of an umpire review and feedback process; build, maintain and oversee a network of appropriately skilled umpire trainers and accessors; design and deliver education and training initiatives for umpire trainers; recommend talented and emerging umpires for consideration for higher honours; and provide feedback and input to QC and Cricket Australia on issues affecting umpiring .

 

The person chosen to fill the role is expected to have an "unquestioned passion for the game" and must have a detailed knowledge of its Laws and Playing Conditions.  They "will also need outstanding communications skills, including those needed to produce high quality written submissions, proposals and training materials, but also the verbal and presentation skills necessary to facilitate effective umpire training seminars".  The person also needs to have the ability to "maintain effective working relationships with a wide range of stakeholders as well as the financial skills to frame sound budget submissions, generate accurate forecasts and manage umpire costs within agreed financial parameters".

 

In addition to the umpire position, QC has also advertised two Regional Development Managers, one of whom will be based in Brisbane and the other in Townsville, plus five Market Development Officers, all seven of those jobs being located organisationally within the GDD.

 

In February, Queensland Country Cricket Association chief Kev Maher complained, particularly in the face of the large increase in revenue CA proudly trumpeted last year, about the lack of funds available to support the game in country areas.  "Cricket in many country and bush areas is battling, with overworked development officials often hopelessly outnumbered and outmuscled by their well-funded counterparts from [various football codes]", said Maher.  He also pointed out that the big Queensland regional hubs of Cairns and Townsville each have just one full-time funded cricket development/participation staffer, who has to travel thousands of kilometres each year" (PTG 1281-6169, 2 February 2014).

 

The Australian Cricketers Association web site currently indicates Cricket New South Wales (CNSW) also has a vacancy in its umpiring area, that of their 'Umpire's Administration Officer, applications for which close this Tuesday.  The position includes the provision of administrative and clerical work in support of the New South Wales Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NSWCUSA), keeping records of appointments, coordinating and supporting NSWCUSA meetings, and preparing publications and circulars.  CNSW says they "expect a high volume of applications"  for the position.

 

VERMA CONTINUES TO QUESTION 

SRINIVASAN'S ICC PRESENCE

[1362-6582]

 

Aditya Verma, the secretary of the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), is reported to have written to Iain Higgins, the head of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) legal affairs area, to put his view that if Narayanswamy Srinivasan takes up the role of chairman of the ICC in July it will be a violation of the world body's 'Code of Ethics'.  Verma wrote to ICC board members three weeks ago to urge them to bar Srinivasan from attending their meetings and becoming that group's chairman, questioning why, when Srinivasan was stood down as the president of the BCCI on the order of India's Supreme Court, he was allowed to attend last month's ICC board meeting (PTG 1347-6509, 7 May 2014).   

 

In his letter to Higgins, Verma has reportedly targeted sections 2.1 and 3.2. of the ICC Code, the first of which says in part "Each Director shall act in an honest and ethical manner", and the second that reads: "Directors shall at all times serve the interests of the ICC and the sport of cricket as a whole", plus "Directors shall not promote their own (or a group of) Cricket Board’s interests at the expense of the dignity, integrity or interests of the ICC or of the sport of cricket in general".  

 

Verma wrote that "Srinivasan violated clause 2.1 on a number of occasions, having acted in a manner that denigrates the ICC and harm its public image".  His letter is said to "quote exhaustively" from the judgement handed down by Indian Supreme Court Justice Mukul Mudgal panel's initial report that was released in February (PTG 1289-6212, 1 February 2014).  The CAB secretary requests Higgins to "formally report the matter to [ICC] Ethics Officer Sean Cleary, for further investigations as per 8.2 of the Code of Ethics".

 

Section 8.2 states that anyone who violates the Code may be subject to disciplinary measures and requires the Ethics Officer to review all alleged violations of the Code of Ethics.  It concludes: "If appropriate, the Ethics Officer will conduct an investigation, hold a hearing and also recommend sanctions, (including but not limited to a recommendation to remove a Director under Article 4.11 (f) of the ICC Memorandum and Articles) to the ICC Executive Board for its ultimate determination".

 

Verma currently has a petition about Srinivasan's presence at ICC meetings before the Indian Supreme Court seeking he be banned from doing so, and he has also requested advice from interim Indian Premier League head Sunil Gavaskar regarding suggestions Srinivasan might be in contempt of the Supreme Court order than bans him from anything to do with the Board of Control and Cricket in India of its activities (PTG 1354-6539, 16 May 2014). 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,363
Monday, 26 May 2014

BCB TRIBUNAL STILL CONSIDERING 

BPL CORRUPTION CHARGES

[1363-6583]

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) anti-corruption tribunal considering what punishment to give four men it found guilty of match-fixing related activities in last year's Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20 series, is unlikely to deliver its final verdict on the matter until next month, according to Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper.  In late February the tribunal acquitted six players and officials but did not announce any punishment for the three players and a franchise official who either pleaded guilty, or were found guilty, as a result of its investigations (PTG 1303-6283, 2 March 2014).

 

'New Age' quotes the tribunal's chairman as saying on Saturday that his group was waiting for "a new submission" from the prosecution after a "technical issue" was raised regarding some allegations involving the England and Wales Cricket Board's Twenty20 tournament.  That submission is said to have been made six weeks ago at which stage tribunal members said they needed "two weeks" from then to complete the hearing and announce verdicts.  However, tribunal chief Justice Khademul Islam Chowdhury told 'New Age' they are yet to complete the hearing and "taking everything into consideration I don’t think it will be possible to announce the full verdict this month".  

 

BCB "sources" are said to have confirmed that the unexpected delay has resulted from the absence of one of the tribunal members, senior lawyer Ajmalul Islam QC, who is in the UK "on a personal visit".  Ajmalul was expected to return to Dhaka on Sunday and BCB sources expect the tribunal to resume the hearing "immediately".

 

Corruption charges were originally laid nine months ago against nine men by the International Cricket Council with a tenth, Lou Vincent of New Zealand, being added later.  The four currently awaiting a decision fro the tribunal are: Shihab Chowdhury who is the son of the BPL"S Gladiators' franchise managing director, former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful, Sri Lankan Kaushal Lokuarachchi, and Vincent.  Chowdhury and Ashraful face charges of match-fixing, the latter publicly confessing to such actions close to a year ago (PTG 1118-5437, 6 June 2013), while Lokuarachchi and Vincent were found to have failed to report an approach by a book maker to authorities.

 

SRINIVASAN TO CHAIR ASIAN CRICKET 

COUNCIL MEETING, SAYS REPORT

[1363-6584]

 

Narayanswamy Srinivasan, the stood down president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is to chair a meeting of the Asian Cricket Council's (ACC) finance and marketing committee in Chennai today, according to a Press Trust of India (PTI) report issued overnight.  It claims the meeting has been kept a "hush-hush affair", Srinivasan refusing to comment when contacted by PTI, while the BCCI is said to have not been prepared to divulge just where the meeting is to be held.

 

An "anonymous" ACC source is said to have indicated that today's meeting is to discuss "various aspects of sponsorships and investments in tournaments across the Asian region".  While India's Supreme Court has kept Srinivasan away from working as the head of the BCCI, it has as yet not ruled about submissions put to it about his links to the International Cricket Council. 

 

Today's meeting is expected to be attended by the acting chief executive of the Bangaldesh Cricket Board Nizamuddin Chowdhury, Raju Babu Shrestha from the Cricket Association of Nepal, Nuski Mohammed from Sri Lanka Cricket, Badar Mohammed Khan of the Pakistan Cricket Board, ACC chief executive officer Syed Ashraful Haque, and its finance manager Thusith Perera.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,364
Wednesday, 28 May 2014

POLICE GIVE CAIRNS 'FULL ACCESS' 

TO TESTIMONY GIVEN AGAINST HIM

[1364-6585]

 

Former New Zealand player Chris Cairns, who is currently embroiled in a range of match-fixing allegations, has been given full access by the UK's Metropolitan Police to the testimony given against him by "at least five current or former New Zealand internationals", says a story posted on the 'New Zealand Herald' web site early this morning.  Cairns, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, left home for London last Saturday to complete the interview with the Metropolitan Police he commenced last month  in New Zealand (PTG 1362-6579, 25 May 2014).   

 

Journalists  Andrew Alderson and Dylan Cleaver say the police's decision to allow full disclosure could be an indication it is close to a decision on whether to lay charges, however, Cairn's lawyer Aaron Lloyd said last week that the former player been given a signed guarantee he will not be detained.  On Monday, Cairns sent a series of 'tweets' saying he was respecting the confidentiality of the Met Police process and would comment when he could.  A police spokesman said yesterday that although Cairns had waived his right to anonymity by confirming he was travelling to London for the interview, they would not be changing their policy of not discussing an ongoing investigation.

 

The 'Herald' says that legal experts spoken to last night said they believed the police would present their evidence to the UK Crown Prosecution Service, who would determine what, if any, charges will be laid.  When Cairns concludes his interviews with the police it would open the way for the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) to begin questioning him.  ACSU chairman Sir Ronnie Flanagan told the 'Herald' yesterday: "A criminal investigation will always take primacy. We make sure anything we do does not interfere with a criminal investigation.  There are times we would wish to conduct interviews but would hold back at the request of [police officers]".  

 

Cairns has expressed frustration at the time it has taken for ACSU officers to contact him, but ICC chief executive officer David Richardson indicated over the weekend that his organisation's match-fixing inquiry into three former Kiwi players is now expected to be completed "within weeks" (PTG 1362-6579, 25 May 2014).

 

SACA TO LEARN 'RAMIFICATIONS' OF 

T20 RECRUITMENT ACTIONS TODAY

[1364-6586]

 

What the 'Adelaide Advertiser' is this morning calling the "full ramifications" of the South Australian Cricket Association's (SACA) player recruitment negotiations for the Adelaide side in Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic Twenty20 competition, and the future of its high performance unit, are expected to be revealed by CA in Melbourne today.  Last week SACA sacked high performance manager and former Australian national selector Jamie Cox because of his “failure to disclose player recruitment negotiations carried out by him”, the association's chief executive Keith Bradshaw saying his dismissal came after an internal review sparked by a CA investigation (PTG 1361-6577, 24 May 2014).

 

Bradshaw and SACA president Andrew Sinclair are to meet with CA’s integrity unit who will reportedly spell out whether anyone other than Cox should be shown the door.  The 'Advertiser' says it "can also reveal" SACA "will call in a crack risk management team to ensure there is no repeat of alleged breaches of [T20 competition] player contract guidelines".  Bradshaw told the newspaper yesterday: "We have been completing the documentation around our own inquiry which we will be going to Melbourne to discuss with CA".  "At that meeting we expect to get an update from them on the proposed next steps and get an update on their own expectations".

 

SACA is said to potentially be facing a fine of up to $A150,000 and or sanctions which may affect future recruiting, and Bradshaw and Sinclair will use "the Melbourne mission to underpin SACA’s regret at player recruitment activities reportedly undertaken on behalf of the Adelaide [T20 side] during the League’s embargo period".  "We are taking things very seriously at the moment and that is one of the things we will be reporting to CA", said Bradshaw.

 

West Indian allrounder Kieron Pollard and former Australian pair Brad Hodge and Mark Cosgrove had all been linked to the Adelaide T20 side under Cox’s watch.  Having interviewed Bradshaw and Cox last week, CA’s integrity unit headed by Iain Roy is scrutinising other SACA activities, actions that have led to speculation over coach Darren Berry’s future.  “Hopefully there is no new information that has been uncovered by CA, no further requirement for any action against any staff. We have been through a very exhaustive process", said Bradshaw.

 

DHARMASENA, OXENFORD 

TO STAND IN IPL FINAL

[1364-6587]

 

Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and Bruce Oxenford of Australia are to stand in the final of this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series which will be played in Banglaore on Sunday, Dharmasena's countryman Roshan Mahanama being the match referee.  Dharmasena, who is taking part in the IPL for the sixth-straight season, stood in the final last year with Simon Taufel another Australian (PTG 1111-5407, 27 May 2013), while Oxenford is to work in his first IPL final in what is his second season with the league, and Mahanama his second in five seasons as an IPL match official.

 

Of the eight on-field positions available across the four final matches, six of them have gone to non-Indians.  Englishman Nigel Llong and Sundarum Ravi of India were to have stood in last night's opening finals match in Kolkata which will now be played later today due to rain, Oxenford and local Vineet Kulkarni will be together tonight in Mumbai, then on Friday again in Mumbai, Dharmasena and Australian Rod Tucker will be working together, before Dharmasena and Oxenford step up for the main final.  Indian Chettithody Shamshuddin was the third umpire named for last night's game, Tucker will fill that role in the first Mumbai game, and Shamshuddin in the second and the final, Mahanama looking after three of the four games and Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe the first Mumbai fixture.

 

IPL organisers contracted nine of the twelve members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) for this year's series, the exceptions being Australians Steve Davis and Paul Reiffel, and Ian Gould of England.  Across the fifty-six round robin games played prior to the finals, on-field umpiring spots were evenly shared between EUP and ten Indian first class umpires, four of the latter who are members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, however, locals worked as third umpires 45 times and EUP members just 11.

 

ICC match referees were also contracted for the series, Pycroft being present from the start to finish of the series, others used in addition to Mahanama being his countrymen Ranjan Madugalle and Graeme Labrooy, and Javagal Srinath of India.  Labrooy is currently a member of the ICC's second-tier match referee's panel.

 

BATSMAN RECALLED AFTER 

SHOW OF DISSENT

[1364-6588]

 

Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale apologised to the umpires overnight but faces possible disciplinary action for dissent after he benefited from a decision by umpire Peter Willey to reverse his decision in the Roses match against Lancashire at Headingley yesterday.  Reports say Willey gave Gale out to a "leg-side tickle" but the batsman "challenged the decision with several gesticulations towards Willey", an approach that culminated in his recall to the crease after he was some ten metres past the stumps at the bowler’s end on his way back to the dressing room.

 

Willey, in his last season on the county circuit before mandatory retirement this September, consulted with Ian Gould his colleague at square leg before deciding to recall Gale who was on 25 at the time but later finished the day unbeaten on 95.  'The Guardian' says that Gale still faces a reprimand for dissent "but may consider three [disciplinary] points on his record a worthwhile trade".  He is said to have gone to Willey to apologise for his behaviour once play ended owing to bad light.

 

Gale told journalist Richard Gibson that he "should have walked off really, that’s the way you should behave in cricket".  “Pete admits it was a terrible decision and he got it wrong. I had a big red mark on my trousers where it hit me and I said: ‘You’ve got that one wrong, mate'. In a roundabout way. He said: ‘All right, come back.’ I was a bit shocked, to be honest. Fair play to him. It takes a brave man to admit he’s wrong like that.  “He made the decision so fast, he already had his finger up when he realised that 'Gunner' [Gould] had signalled from square leg that it had hit my thigh pad".

 

Willey, who turns 65 in early December, the England and Wales Cricket Board's retirement age for umpires, is currently taking part in his 862nd first class match, 559 as a player and 303 as an umpire, 26 of which were as a player in a Test and 25 as an umpire at the game's highest level.

 

BOWDEN THE 'TBA' FOR 

ENGLAND-LANKA TESTS

[1364-6589]

 

New Zealander 'Billy' Bowden has been named as the third neutral umpire for the two Test series between England and Sri Lanka at Lord's and Headingley next month.  Bowden, who recently rejoined the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) (PTG 1343-6492, 2 May 2014), fills the 'TBA' ('to be advised'') positions listed by the ICC two weeks ago alongside Australian members of the EUP Paul Reiffel and Steve Davis, the first at Lord's and the second at Headingley, match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe overseeing both games (PTG 1353-6537, 15 May 2014).

 

The two Tests will take Bowden's matches at the game's highest level to seventy-eight, level with former Australian umpire Darrell Hair, or equal sixth on the all-time Test umpire's list.  Davis, who will work as the television umpire at Lord's, will be standing in his fifty-third Test overall at Headingley, while for Reiffel who will be the third umpire at Headingley, the Lord's Test will be his first there as an umpire and his tenth overall.  Pycroft, who has had a busy six weeks with the Indian Premier League (PTG 1364-6587 above), will be looking after his twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth Tests.

 

ALL-ROUNDER'S ACTION 

REPORTED AS 'SUSPECT'

[1364-6590]

 

Trinidad and Tobago all-rounder Kevon Cooper was reported for a suspect bowling action during what turned out to be the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Rajasthan side's final match of this year's season on Sunday.  Cooper, who took 2/38 off his four overs of medium pace, was reported by on-field umpires Rod Tucker of Australia and Krishnaraj Srinath of India, plus the latter's countryman Sundarum Ravi who was the third umpire.  

 

Cooper was reported for a similar offence during the Caribbean's 'domestic' Twenty20 series in 2011 after which he was sent to the University of Western Australia to undergo remedial measures. Following a three-week program there he returned to play for Trinidad and Tobago in the Champions League Twenty20 series four months later.

 

Under IPL regulations Cooper, who is yet to make his international debut for West Indies, now has the option of requesting an official assessment carried out by the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) Suspect Bowling Action Committee (SBAC).  That tribunal is headed by former Indian captain and Test umpire Srinivas Venkataraghavan, former India captain Javagal Srinath who is also an International Cricket Council and IPL match referee, former Test umpire Arani Jayaprakash, and Sanjay Patel the secretary of the BCCI.

 

It is the first time Cooper, who has been part of the Rajasthan franchise since 2012, has been officially reported for an illegal bowling action in the IPL.  Pending clearance by the SBAC he will be available to play should he be picked by Rajasthan for the 2015 season, however, he can be suspended from bowling altogether if he is reported for a second time in an IPL fixture.

 

SKIPPER LAMENTS CALL OF 'TIME'

[1364-6591]

 

What Worlington captain Richard Ford described as "overly officious time-keeping" denied his side a "routine" win over Witham in a Two Counties Cricket Championship match played in Suffolk last Saturday.  In a 45-over game affected by rain, Worlington scored 8/273 and had Witham 9/111 with just one over left to bowl, but the match was brought to an end and declared void before it could be bowled as the cut-off point of 8 p.m.
stipulated in league rules had been reached.

 

Ford told the 'Cambridge News' that he “couldn’t believe it, we had one over to bowl and the weather was the best it had been all day".  “We were rattling through the overs", continued Ford, “Then with one over to bowl the umpire said it was one minute past eight and we had to stop".  “I could understand it if we had ten overs left but it was just one. The way we’d been bowling, it would only have taken another two minutes".  I just couldn’t understand why we couldn’t complete the game with one over to go [and] said to the umpires that surely common sense should prevail".  

 

In Ford's view such a situation "makes a mockery of the game of cricket".  “We were going to win and would have got nineteen points, with Witham getting five.  Instead we got fifteen and they got eleven because of the six extra points they got for having a game declared void. We should have had a bigger gap over them", concluded Ford.

 

HIGH COURT JUDGE DROPS 

DEAD DURING LEGAL FIXTURE

[1364-6592]

 

The legal fraternity in Trinidad and Tobago is mourning the death of High Court Judge Justice William Hannays who collapsed and died whilst playing in a Judges verses lawyers match on the outskirts of Port of Spain on Sunday.  Hannays, who would have turned sixty tomorrow, was rushed to hospital but was said to have been unresponsive by the time he arrived.  Reports say he had long had a keen interest in cricket and is a past President of the Trinidad and Tobago Lawyers’ Cricket Association and West Indies Lawyers’ Cricket Association respectively. 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,365
Thursday, 29 May 2014

ICC POWER BROKERS WORKING ON A 

SRINIVASAN CONTINGENCY?

[1365-6593]

 

As yet unconfirmed media reports from Kolkata yesterday suggest work is going on behind the scenes to look at "what if" scenarios should India's Narayanswamy Srinivasan be prevented from taking up the position of chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) at the end of next month.  The right of Srinivasan, who was stood down as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in April by order of India's Supreme Court, to take up the ICC role while a probe into Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption is underway, is currently being challenged both via that Court and directly with the ICC itself (PTG 1362-6582, 25 May 2014).

 

A Kolkata 'Telegraph' story published yesterday states that Wally Edwards, the chairman of Cricket Australia, had talked by telephone with Srinivasan about the issues involved, what were called "well-placed sources" indicating the call had “upset” the Indian.  Srinivasan is also reportedly "not pleased over whispers" Giles Clarke the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) may have raised the idea of an “interim arrangement” for the world body until such time the result of the IPL probe being led by Justice Mukul Mudgal releases its findings.  Srinivasan is one of thirteen IPL names Mudgal will be looking at over the next few months (PTG 1355-6541, 17 May 2014).  

 

Edwards, Clarke and Srinivasan are the key power brokers behind previously agreed changes to the way the ICC operates (PTG 1288-6208, 9 Februry 2014).  While the 'Telegraph' story is yet to be confirmed, it makes sense that with those changes due to come in affect in just four weeks time with Srinivasan potentially in a key leadership position, Edwards and Giles would be looking to ensure appropriate back-up measures are in place should he have to stand aside as ICC chairman on either a short or long-term basis.

 

Meanwhile on the regional front Srinivasan continues as the president of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), a role he has as a result of his nominal BCCI position, for he chaired a meeting of the ACC's finance committee in Chennai on Tuesday (PTG 1363-6584, 26 May 2014).  That gathering is reported to have been a short one that saw annual audited accounts passed, according to BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel.  The Press Trust of India quoted "sources" at the meeting as saying those present expressed their support for Srinivasan.

 

However, 'The Hindu' yesterday quoted ACC chief executive officer Syed Ashraful Huq as "predicting testing times ahead" for his organisation"  "The [ICC] is set to undergo major structural changes during its annual general meeting in Melbourne from 23-26 June [and] only after that would ACC’s future be known", said Ashraful.  

 

“The ACC is dependent on funds from the ICC", continued Ashraful.  “Without funds, it would be impossible for us to take our development program forward in countries such as Afghanistan, China, and Nepal".  He is particularly excited by the growth of cricket in China. "I must have made around fifty trips to China", said the ACC chief executive, and "Each time I go there, I see an improvement".  “There is good support for cricket there, the ground at Guangzhou is a world class facility".  He also spoke of the rapid strides made by Afghanistan, saying: “There is so much talent there".

 

BCB CONCERNED ABOUT 

BPL INQUIRY DELAY

[1365-6594]

 

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hasan said yesterday that his organisation is "under pressure" from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to have the final verdict of its Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) anti-corruption tribunal released.  The tribunal found four men guilty of match-fixing related activities in last year's BPL four months ago, and reports earlier this week said it is unlikely to deliver its final verdict on the matter until next month (PTG 1363-6583, 26 May 2014).

 

Nazmul Hasan told reporters in Dhaka that he is "worried about the delay".  "The ICC asked me at the last meeting [in Dubai seven weeks ago] why it is taking so much time".  "About twenty days ago I asked [the tribunal] about the verdict [and] they said it will be done in two to three weeks".  "I don’t see any signs of it now [and] will wait until [Friday] and then give them a letter".

 

CA UNDER 'MOUNTING PRESSURE' 

TO FIX T20 CONTRACT SYSTEM

[1365-6595]

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is said to be facing "mounting pressure" to fix what the 'Adelaide Advertiser' calls this morning the "broken [player] contract system" that currently applies for its domestic Twenty20 series.  Journalist Richard Earle writes that there is "nation-wide consternation" that South Australian high performance manager Jamie Cox, who was sacked last week by the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA), is not alone in breaking recruitment rules that prevent franchises signing players until May each year, a system Earle say has "frustrated players, managers and officials".

 

Coaches and administrators in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania preside over both state and Twenty20 franchises and contracts.  Earle says that arrangement makes the division of contractual payments "a murky affair" which some fear is open to manipulation.  On the other hand New South Wales and Victorian state cricket set-ups are separate from those for the two Sydney and two Melbourne franchises respectively.  Earle says "a firestorm" could ignite if former national selector Cox ends as the sole scapegoat after CA’s integrity unit investigations cease.  SACA is also reported to potentially be facing fines of up to $A150,000 and sanctions for contractual dealings outside of the pre-May embargo period.

 

SUSSEX PLAYERS 'SICKENED' BY 

VINCENT-ARIF MATCH-FIXING ALLEGATIONS

[1365-6596]

 

Sussex cricket manager Mark Robinson says he is sickened by the match-fixing allegations against former players Lou Vincent and Naved Arif.  Last week the England and Wales Cricket Board laid fourteen charges against Vincent in relation to a Twenty20 match against Lancashire and a forty-over game against Kent in 2011, while Arif has six charges to answer in regard to the latter match (PTG 1361-6572, 24 May 2014).

 

Robinson told the BCC that "The last few weeks have been upsetting. We are deeply shocked.  The thought that someone isn't performing to their highest ability to try and win is sickening and disgusts myself, the players and the club.  It makes us angry that players wouldn't try their best to win a match. In life there are bad apples, we just have to make sure none of them are at Sussex".

 

If the pair are eventually found guilty it will be the first time the game's authorities have proved the outcome of a county match in England was fixed.  Robinson, a former seam bowler for Northants, Sussex and Yorkshire, said he was glad that corruption in the game was being exposed.  "We want the truth to be out, as hurtful as it is".  "There's an element of trust and you want to believe in people. It's in world cricket and we hope more are discovered to help bring out the truth".

 

Sussex captain Ed Joyce said the current playing squad were "very angry" when the allegations and charges came to light.  "It's the worst thing you can do to a sports team", said the Irishman. 

 

RUMBLINGS CONTINUE IN 

NEPALESE CRICKET

[1365-6597]

 

Tanka Angbuhang Limbu, the president of the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), is currently the subject of a non-confidence motion over his recent decision to outsource the organisation of the country's new Nepal Premier League (NPL) to a private company, a move that resulted in six of his colleagues on CAN's governing council tending their resignations.  Reports last week said that CAN, which had organised the NPL in conjunction with the Zohra Sports Management (ZSM) company, withdrew its support for the event and barred Nepalese umpires from taking part, the latter forcing organisers to bring in umpires from Uttar Pradesh (PTG 1360-6571, 23 May 2014).

 

The fifty-over-a-side leg of the NPL was completed last week and the second, or Twenty20 part, is scheduled to be held next month, however, the non-confidence motion against Limbu may mean that remaining games in what is the league's inaugural season won't go ahead.  Some in Nepal cricket, which is said to have "long-simmering divisions", are suggesting Limbu has some sort of personal arrangement with ZSM, and that as a result he had decided to "not make it mandatory" for the firm to submit its NPL financial accounts to CAN officials.  Just what Limbu's view of the situation is is as yet unknown.

 

CAN General Secretary Ashok Nath Pyakurel told the 'Republica' newspaper though that:  “Players will not be affected by the dispute".  However, "agitating CAN members" are said to have "officially told umpires and scorers" not to be a part of the event.  Binaya Jha, the president of Nepal's Umpire Panel, said "it is not possible to officiate matches if someone calls us in the middle of a tournament".

 

'KNUCKLES RAP' PREDICTED FOR BROAD

[1365-6598]

 

England player Stuart Broad will receive a "rap on the knuckles but no formal punishment" over comments he made on 'Twitter' about Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal that questioned the legality of his action, says 'The Independent' (PTG 1361-6578, 24 May 2014).  The comments prompted complaints from both Ajmal and the Pakistan Cricket Board to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). ECB chairman Giles Clarke has reportedly provided assurances that Broad, England’s Twenty20 captain, will be "reminded of his responsibilities" but not fined.

 

 

CLUB BURGLED TWICE 

IN THREE DAYS

[1365-6599]

 

Whalley Cricket Club, which plays in Lancashire's Ribblesdale Cricket League, has vowed to spend "thousands" improving security after being targeted by burglars twice in three days last week.  On the Wednesday those involved caused "extensive damage" to the cellar, emptied the till and trashed the clubhouse, then on the Friday they gained entry again, this time stealing a television, and damaged the cellar, doors and bar area, however, that time the till was empty.

 

Simon Ditchfield, junior co-ordinator at the club, told the 'Lancashire Herald': “The first time it happened it was upsetting but you could also shrug it off a bit because it hasn’t happened for four years", but “when I got another call a couple of days later I was shocked".  “They made a real mess. Things were smashed up very badly. We have no paid staff and it’s not worth claiming insurance because our premium will go up.  “We don’t want the club to look like a prisoner of war camp and make it look like we live in a bad area but we have no choice but to increase the security".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,366
Saturday, 31 May 2014

CAIRNS MAINTAINS INNOCENCE, LABELS FIXING 

ALLEGATIONS 'ABSURD, BIZARRE AND SCARY'

[1366-6600]

 

Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns remains adamant that he has never fixed cricket matches, sought to have others undertake such activities, "or otherwise play the game of cricket in anything other than the spirit it so richly deserves to be played in".  Cairns, 43, stressed his innocence in Auckland yesterday after a week in London where at his "own request" he was interviewed by the Metropolitan Police and the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), a time during which the police are reported to have given him full access to evidence that suggests he had been involved in match-fixing in the past (PTG 1364-6585, 28 May 2014).

 

Testimony provided to the ICC that became public last week indicated that three individuals, Cairns' former team mates Brendon McCullum, New Zealand's current captain, and Lou Vincent, who was charged with fixing by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last week (PTG 1360-6566,  23 May 2014), plus Vincent's ex wife Elly Riley, had pointed to the former all-rounder as being at the centre of match-fixing activities late last decade (PTG           1360-6568, 23 May 2014).  Vincent's evidence has been claimed to have identified "twelve players" from around the world who could have been involved in match-fixing (PTG 1358-6558, 21 May 2014).

 

Cairns told journalists at Auckland airport that he decided to travel nearly 40,000km to and from London to make clear to police, the ICC and ECB "that these allegations are false and I have nothing to hide", a claim he has made repeatedly in the past (PTG 1358-6559, 21 May 2014).  "I was not arrested or otherwise detained in London and I have not been charged with any offence, criminal or otherwise", including in relation to allegations that he may have perjured himself during his successful 2012 defamation action against Latit Modi the former Indian Premier League (IPL) chief.  Modi had publicly accused him of match-fixing in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) in 2008 (PTG 1357-6552, 20 May 2014).  

 

Vincent's allegations have "stunned" Cairns who said yesterday: "The truth is, he has been caught cheating and seeks to mitigate his sins by blaming others [and] the allegations he and his ex-wife make against me are despicable lies".  He also pointed to the fact McCullum waited until February 2011, three years after the ICL ended, before reporting his allegations to anti-corruption officials, and "not in a timely fashion" as suggested by some in the game.   Daryl Tuffey, Cairns and Vincent's team mate in the ICL, has stressed his innocence of any wrong-doing (PTG 1359-6564, 22 May 2014). 

 

Cairns said McCullum's evidence included a statement that he had told present and former national players Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills and Stephen Fleming of the approach he alleges Cairns made about match-fixing.  Those three are said to have aided the ICC's investigation into his activities but none of them "have made a direct accusation against me", said Cairns, who also queried why when McCullum made his allegations nearly a year prior to the Modi defamation trial such evidence was not tabled as part of the then IPL chief's defence.

 

As far as Cairns "understands" it, "no person has made any statements to support the allegations Mr Vincent and his ex-wife have sought to level against me", nor are there any "allegations that I ever received any monies for my alleged activities, nor paid any monies to any person" (PTG 1357-6551, 20 May 2014).  As such "I find the manner in which this whole matter has progressed, and the limited information that has been provided to me until very recently, to be very disturbing", a "situation [I find] truly absurd, bizarre and scary".  "Whatever happens [from now on], I am hopeful that proper process will be followed and that I will be cleared of these allegations".

 

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White issued a brief statement yesterday that said his organisation "is unable to comment on today's statement from Chris Cairns, regarding his interviews with British police and ICC investigators. Many of the points made are, or may be, matters of evidence, and it would be wholly inappropriate to discuss them ahead of relevant hearings and investigations".  ICC chief executive David Richardson suggested last weekend that his organisation's match-fixing inquiry into Cairns, Vincent and Tuffey is now expected to be completed "within weeks" (PTG 1362-6579, 25 May 2014).

 

ICC NEEDS 'COURAGE' TO STAND UP TO

POWER BROKERS, SAYS PLAYER'S UNION 

[1366-6601]

 

No one in the International Cricket Council (ICC) has the "courage to stand up to" Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Narayana­swami Srinivasan and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke as they cast a "very large shadow" in world cricket, according to Ian Smith the chief operating officer with the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA), or player's union.  Smith makes that assessment in a letter he sent to Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) secretary Aditya Verma that assures him FICA is "working behind the scenes to influence ICC officers to do the right thing" by preventing Srinivasan to become the chairman of the ICC.

 

A Press Trust of India (PTI) report yesterday says it is in possession of a copy of Smith's letter to the CAB's Verma whose organisation has been at the forefront of challenges to Srinivasan both at home and abroad (PTG 1339-6466, 26 April 2014).  PTI quotes the letter as saying: "We are, of course, working diplomatically behind the scenes to influence ICC officers and executives to do the right thing, but Mr Srinivasan, along with Mr Clarke of the ECB, casts a very large shadow and it appears no-one has the courage to stand up to the power of BCCI and ECB whilst Mr Srinivasan and Mr Clarke remain in de facto control of those Boards".

 

Smith, who is also the legal director of the UK Professional Cricketers' Association, is said to have made it clear that preventing Srinivasan becoming ICC chairman "now depends on the final verdict of the Supreme Court of India as FICA's chances of success taking legal recourse is not positive" (PTG 1347-6509, 7 May 2014).   "I have taken legal advice at the highest level on what options for legal action are available to FICA in light of the current governance crisis and the news is not positive either in terms of likely success, cost or risk".  "The consensus is that what you and the Supreme Court of India are doing represents the best course of action".

 

Smith also cited the practical difficulties of taking the matter to a logical conclusion even if ICC Ethics Officer Sean Cleary investigates the matter as it will be ICC Board's prerogative to accept or reject his findings for it will be headed by the same man against whom the charges were framed.  Verma wrote to Cleary about "ethical issues" surrounding Srinivasan's continuation as an ICC board member last week (PTG 1362-6582, 25 May 2014).  "The process of getting the Ethics Officer, Mr Cleary, to formally investigate our complaint (or any complaint) is pretty rigorous and time-consuming", continues the letter. 

 

"The main problem is that, whilst I have absolutely no doubt about the bona fides, skills and experience of Mr Cleary, his findings and recommendations go to the ICC Board who then decide whether they accept them and whether or not they will implement his recommendations".  "As you can imagine, this does not lead to faith in the system as it would be the same men who can't currently bring themselves to take any action who would be determining whether action was necessary! This is a giant flaw in the system", says Smith's letter.

 

Smith appears to have been "very frank about the fact that BCCI rules world cricket", says PTI.  In his assessment: "If no-one at BCCI is going to stop Mr Srinivasan and the Supreme Court do not intervene, I am confident that no one at ICC will do so".  As a result "I think there is every likelihood that Mr Srinivasan will turn up in Melbourne and be crowned as ICC's first Chairman", concludes Smith.  There are suggestions, however, that moves are underway amongst some ICC board members to look at just what options exist should the Supreme Court rule against Srinivasan between now at the Melbourne meeting (PTG 1366-6604 below). 

 

CA LOOKING TO CHANGE DOMESTIC 

FIRST CLASS POINTS SYSTEM 

[1366-6602]

 

Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic first class competition the Sheffield Shield is to feature a new championship points system during the 2014-15 season, but at this stage CA won’t confirm reports that changes planned include a re-introduction of bonus points as the proposal is currently the subject of consultation with Australia's six state cricket associations.  The overall proposal is designed to narrow the gap in match conditions, particularly with regard to the preparation of pitches, between domestic first-class and Test cricket, and is said to have been agreed to at a CA board meeting held in Brisbane in March.

 

The previous incarnation of the bonus points system, which was employed in Shield cricket for a decade from the 1970s, brought about an increased number of outright results with points only on offer in the first 100 overs.  However, while it encouraged teams to score at a faster rate in order to secure points, it also meant declarations became common place in order to deprive bowling teams of wickets, and as a result many a tail-end batsman spent negligible time in the middle.

 

Last summer, CA instructed curators at first-class venues to make a conscious effort to prepare fewer ‘green top’ pitches in order to ensure Shield matches no longer became a day one ‘shoot out’ but rather followed a similar rhythm to Test matches, a philosophy that came about because of the national side's then relatively poor showing (PTG 1225-5900, 4 November 2013).  That move enabled spin bowlers to play a more significant role as games wore on, and batsmen to better develop their games against both fast and slow bowling.  Statistics for last season show the average duration of Shield matches increasing from 289 to 338 overs per game, spin bowlers delivered an 1000 extra overs and claimed more than 100 extra wickets compared to the season before, and the number of Centuries scored rose by twenty per cent.

 

Under CA's current system, teams are awarded two points for taking a lead on the first innings, and six points if they can secure an outright victory.  There are no points awarded for a draw, although that may change under the proposed new system in order to provide further incentive for teams that are clearly not in a position to chase a win.  It is another element of the proposal that is designed to more closely replicate the scenarios experienced in Test cricket where, in many cases, holding out for a draw is almost as valuable as a victory.

 

While declining to comment on reports that the revamped points system will do away with the current allocation of first innings points in favour of a sliding scale of points for runs made and wickets taken within the first 100 overs, an unnamed CA spokesperson confirmed a new points system will operate next austral summer.  "At this stage we’re not in a position to elaborate further on what those changes will be, however we do acknowledge there will be alternations to the current system with the aim of creating a more even contest between bat and ball".  Media reports about the proposed changes are not so coy, however, and state that a bonus points system will be introduced.

 

Currently in England’s county championship, an outright win earns sixteen points, a tie eight and a draw five on top of bonus points scored in each team's first innings.  Bonus points apply to the first 110 overs of those innings, with up to five points on offer for runs scored and up to three points for wickets taken during that period.  In South Africa the first 100 overs a team’s first innings attracts one point for reaching 150 runs plus 0.02 points per extra run, while bowling sides are awarded one point for taking three wickets, two points for five wickets, three points for seven wickets or four points for nine or more wickets during that period.  Those bonuses are added to ten points for an outright win and six points for a tie.

 

CA's web site reported yesterday that it understands the new system will be introduced on a trial basis with a subsequent review to decide on whether it is adopted as a permanent measure.  The CA spokesperson was quoted as saying: “We’re hopeful of making an announcement in the near future".

 

JUDGE'S RULING PUTS GUYANESE 

TEST IN DOUBT

[1366-6603]

 

The third and final Test of the three-match series the West Indies is to play against New Zealand in Guyana late next month appears to be under a cloud after a local judge deemed the make-up of the current Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) "illegal" and barred it’s executive from carrying out any cricket activities.  Doubt over the match has arisen as a result of an on-going dispute between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the Guyanese government over the management of cricket in that country. 

 

Madam Justice Sandra Kurtzious issued the order that restrains the board from conducting any GCB affairs or from being involved in any WICB duties.  The GCB was taken to court by a group who claim current board members were elected illegally last year because of a flawed constitution. They say those elections were unconstitutional and hence the GCB could not carry out the day to day functions of the Board.  The government's passage of the Guyana Cricket Administration Bill 2012 earlier this month has brought matters to a head for once it is signed into law the GCB will cease to exist.  The WICB is reported to consider the bill a "gross governmental interference in the business of one of its territorial boards".

 

Reports say there is a possibility the WICB will contract a "private firm" to assist in hosting the games in Guyana as the public there "have been starved for Test cricket".  Senior officials in Guyana are said though to believe the match will be moved to either Barbados or Dominica, the latter being the favourite as it is to host two Twenty20 Internationals straight after the third Test.  The International Cricket Council is yet to name match officials for the three Test series, the first in Jamaica that starts tomorrow week, the second in Trinidad and Tobago the week after that, and the third wherever it is played.

 

AUSTRALIA, ENGLAND 'GETTING COLD FEET' 

ON SRINIVASAN, CLAIMS REPORT 

[1366-6604]

 

Australia and Eng­land, "who originally sponsored" the appointment of Narayana­swami Srinivasan to the newly created chairmanship of the International Cricket Council (ICC), are "getting cold feet" about such a move according to a report published in 'The Australian' newspaper yesterday.  On Wednesday, unconfirmed reports from Kolkata suggest work is going on behind the scenes to look at "what if" scenarios should Srinivasan be prevented from taking up the position of chairman of the ICC at its annual conference in Melbourne in four weeks time (PTG 1365-6593, 29 May 2014). 

 

Journalist Peter Lalor, who usually has good connections with Cricket Australia officials, wrote that their chairman Wally Edwards "has been in conversation with Srinivasan and it is understood [to have] relayed concerns about the Indian taking up the new ICC chairman's position".  Those concerns relate to a probe into Indian Premier League corruption currently underway that includes a focus on Srinivasan (PTG 1355-6541, 17 May 2014).  Lalor says that "Australia and England are increasingly uncomfortable about him controlling the world game when he seems to be in such trouble at home".

 

Ian Smith, the chief operating officer with the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA), or player's union, says he has legal advice to the effect that if India's Supreme Court does not bar Srinivasan from taking up the ICC chairman's role "there is every likelihood [he] will turn up in Melbourne and be crowned as ICC's first Chairman" (PTG 1366-6601 above).


End of May 2014 News file