1,367 - 3 June [6605-6611]
• Politics sees third Windies-NZ Test moved from Guyana (1367-6605).
• New Indian PM resigns as Gujurat cricket president (1367-6606).
• Eight named to manage WCL-4 series in Singapore (1367-6607).
• Sri Lankan off-spinner's action queried (1367-6608).
• Emburey skin cancer a reminder to cover up in the Sun (1367-6609).
• Bangladesh players await pay (1367-6610).
• 'Twits' facing Agnew ban from 'Twitter' (1367-6611).
1,368 - 4 June [6612-6615]
• CA confirms bonus points system for Sheffield Shield (1367-6612).
• More controversy after ODI sees 'Mankad'-style dismissal (1367-6613).
• Delhi scorers, umpires 'not paid for ten months' (1367-6614).
• Suspended Bangladesh player active in Los Angeles (1367-6615).
1,369 - 5 June [6616-6621]
• Proposed WICL event 'not on England's agenda' (1369-6616).
• Verma takes Srinivasan attack to Australia, Indian, UK Prime Ministers (1369-6617).
• Imported Indian pitches part of CA plan to improve spin performance (1369-6618).
• Clarke backs Mankad appeal, dismissal (1369-6619).
• Vandals set fire to club's artificial pitch (1369-6620).
• 'Terrible' Ashes umpiring helped spur retiree to join match officials ranks (1369-6621).
1,370 - 6 June [6622-6627]
• CA joins ECB in dismissing WICL plans (1370-6622).
• ICC Cricket Committee reported concerned about 'shrinking boundary lines' (1370-6623).
• MCC 'encourages' bowlers to warn batsmen in 'Mankad' situations (1370-6624).
• Buttler 'run out' will provide 'extra needle' to Tests, claims Bopara (1370-6625).
• Aussie fast bowler plans to target rival's head (1370-6626).
• 'Remote bowl out' saves 500 km round-trip (1370-6627).
1,371 - 7 June [6628-6633]
• Legal reasoning behind BPL acquittals set for release (1371-6628).
• 'Officiating Review System' given strong support (1371-6629).
• Number of illegal action testing centres to grow (1371-6630).
• Boundary distances a concern, modern bat designs again discussed (1371-6631).
• 'Mankad' Law provides 'a sensible balance', says ICC committee (1371-6632).
• Warne 'backs day-night Tests', says MCC (1371-6633).
1,372 - 8 June [6634-6636]
• India threatened ICC walk-out, says BCCI secretary (1372-6634).
• NZ queries referee about monitoring of bowlers' actions (1372-6635).
• Sri Lankan's bowling action to be tested in new Cardiff facility (1372-6636).
1,373 - 10 June [6637-6642]
• Ganguly to join IPL 'sealed envelope' investigation group (1373-6637).
• Tribunal provides BCB-ICC with BPL verdict details (1373-6638).
• Match officials keeping a 'close eye' on Windies spinners (1373-6639).
• First quarter's drug testing ends on a positive note for ICC (1373-6640).
• BCCI walk-out threats 'laughable', says former ICC president (1373-6641).
• Yorkshire skipper penalised for 'serious dissent' (1373-6642).
1,374 - 12 June [6643-6646]
• ICC silent on 'flawed', 'incomplete', ACSU Bangladesh investigation claims (1374-6643).
• Ganguly to join MCC World Cricket Committee (1374-6644).
• Mediation agreed to in Warrnambool umpiring 'tug-of-war' (1374-6645).
• Seamer takes four wickets in four balls at Taunton (1374-6646).
1,375 - 13 June [6647-6656]
• Srinivasan set for ICC post after Supreme Court rejects ban plea (1375-6647).
• Self-funded laboratory testing clears bowler's action (1375-6648).
• Sri Lankans the neutrals for Bangladesh-India ODI series (1374-6649).
• EUP pair, aspirant, to manage Lord's Bicentennial match (1374-6650).
• Reprimand handed out for 'questioning' umpire (1374-6651).
• Ireland pull out of planned Pakistan tour (1374-6652).
• Appoint more female directors or loose funding, warns UK Sports Minister (1375-6653).
• Dhoni sole cricketer on 2014 Forbes sports rich list (1374-6654).
• Teenagers riding motor bikes stop play (1375-6655).
• Volunteer barman steals club earnings (1374-6656).
1,376 - 16 June [6657-6659]
• Banned Bangladesh umpire standing in LA competition (1376-6657).
• BCB to investigate alleged player-spectator altercation (1376-6658).
• Club seeks appeal against no play decision (1376-6659).
1,377 - 19 June [6660-6667]
• ECB hands confessed match-fixer a life ban (1377-6660).
• Lengthy bans handed to BPL 'fix' pair (1377-6661).
• BEM for long-serving scorer (1377-6662).
• England fined for slow Test over-rate (1377-6663).
• ECB conducting second 'grass roots' survey (1377-6664).
• Chase after thief stops play (1377-6665).
• Safety concerns about 'flying balls' results in croquet club move (1377-6666).
• Owner left $200 out of pocket after ball smashes car windscreen (1377-6667).
1,378 - 20 June [6668-6669]
• SACA fined $A50,000 over player recruitment actions (1378-6668).
• Seamer fined after on-field altercation (1378-6669).
1,379 - 23 June [6670-6675]
• Lankan to appeal eighteen month ban (1379-6670).
• Club scorer chalks up 700th consecutive first XI game (1379-6671).
• Kiwi off-spinner's action reported as 'suspect' (1379-6672).
• Cairns not in the clear just yet (1379-6673).
• BCB looks into altercation between player and spectator (1379-6674).
• Kenyan stands in County second XI games (1379-6675).
1,380 - 24 June [6676-6681]
• ICC revamp to be formalised at world body's Annual Conference (1380-6676).
• Srinivasan continues on track for new ICC chairman's spot (1380-6677).
• Changes to ACSU line control in the wind? (1380-6678).
• CSA increases 'coloured', 'black' domestic team member quotas (1380-6679).
• CA schedules three more day-night Shield fixtures (1380-6680).
• Italian pair reprimanded for dissent (1380-6681).
1,381 - 27 June [6682-6683]
• CEC restates Cricket Committee thoughts (1381-6682).
• Four reprimanded after WCL-4 match (1381-6683).
1,382 - 30 June [6684-6687]
• Former Australian Test umpire dies (1382-6684).
• ‘Big three’ take up key ICC roles (1382-6685).
• ICC board agrees to minor changes to international Playing Conditions (1382-6686).
• Corruption in game ’not widespread’, says ICC CEO (1382-6687).
POLITICS SEES THIRD WINDIES-NZ
TEST MOVED FROM GUYANA
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has moved the third Test between the West Indies and New Zealand, which was due to be played in Guyana late this month, to Barbados. Doubt over the match arose as a result of an on-going dispute between the WICB and the Guyanese government over the management of cricket in that country, plus a ruling by a local judge about the "illegal" make-up of the Guyanese Cricket Board (PTG 1366-6603, 31 May 2014).
Meanwhile, three Englishman, Chris Broad, Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth, Australian Rod Tucker and Indian Javagal Srinath, were named on Sunday as the officials for the three-Test series; Broad being the match referee in the first two games and Srinath the third, and the other three each standing in two of the Tests and working as the third umpire in another. Illingworth and Tucker will be on-field during the first game in Jamaica, Gould and Tucker in Port of Spain for the second, and Gould and Illingworth in the third in Barbados.
Broad will be working as a referee in Tests for the 61st and 62nd times, Srinath for the 33rd, while for Gould the series will take his Test record to 39 on-field and 14 in the television chair (39/14), Tucker 31/11 and Illingworth 9/3. All five men played first class cricket prior to taking up umpiring, Broad, Illingworth and Srinath doing so at Test level. Fourth umpires for the series are expected to come from West Indian members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Peter Nero, Joel Wilson, Gregory Braithwaite and Nigel Duguid.
Following the Tests the sides will play two Twenty20 Internationals in Dominica, Wilson standing in both, the first with Nero and the second with Brathwaite, the latter being the third umpire in the first game and Duguid in the second. Srinath will oversee both fixtures.
NEW INDIAN PM RESIGNS AS
GUJARAT CRICKET PRESIDENT
Newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has resigned as the president of Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA). Modi was elected unopposed as GCA president in September 2009 the day after he was elected as Gujarat's Chief Minister, thus joining a string of other politicians in other parts of the country such as Sharad Pawar (Mumbai Cricket Association), Arun Jaitley (Delhi), Farooq Abdullah (Jammu and Kashmir) and Rajeev Shukla (Uttar Pradesh), who all hold senior administrative positions in the game on the sub-continent.
The GCA has called a Special General Body Meeting on Friday week to appoint a new president with another politician Amit Shah, Gujarat's Home Minister and the current GCA vice-president, being seen as Modi's replacement. If so Shah could also become a vice-president Board of Control for Cricket India at that organisation's annual general meeting this September, and one report says with Narayanaswami Srinivasan future as BCCI chief "looking increasingly bleak" (PTG 1366-6600, 31 May 2014), the Indian board could see a new set of office-bearers and Shah is "likely to assume a key position in cricket administration".
EIGHT NAMED TO MANAGE
WCL-4 SERIES IN SINGAPORE
Australian Steve Bernard has been named as the tournament referee for the World Cricket League Division 4 (WCL-4) series that is to be played in Singapore over the last week of this month. Bernard, a member of the International Cricket Council's second-tier referees panel as well as Cricket Australia's Umpire High Performance Panel, will head an officials panel made up of umpires Ruchira Pallyaguru (Sri Lanka), Nigel Morrison (Vanuatu), Allan Haggo (Scotland), Akbar Ali Khan (United Arab Emirates), Clive Howard (Hong Kong), and Ahmad Shah Pakteen and Ahmad Shah Durrani (Afghanistan).
Pallyaguru , who is to attend the series in the capacity of "mentor umpire", is a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Morrison is on the ICC's East Asia Pacific umpires panel, Haggo is a member of Europe's second-tier umpires panel, and the others presumably on an Asian Cricket Council panel, although trying to find out just which one has proven difficult. The eight officials will look after a total of eighteen fifty-over format games that will feature the national sides of Denmark, Italy, Jersey, Malaysia, Oman and host Singapore. The top two sides at the end of the week will progress to WCL Division 3 later this year, while the bottom two will drop to Division 5.
SRI LANKAN OFF-SPINNER'S
Sri Lanka off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake has been reported for a suspected illegal bowling action during his side’s One Day International against England at Lord’s on Saturday. Under International Cricket Council (ICC) rules Senanayake is now required to undergo specialised testing within twenty-one days, however, he will be able to continue bowling in international cricket until the results of that analysis are known.
Senanayake was reported at the end of the match by on-field umpires Marais Erasmus and Ian Gould, members of the ICC Elite Umpires Panel from South Africa and England respectively, television umpire Chris Gaffaney of New Zealand and the match referee his countryman Jeff Crowe. Crowe is said to have handed a copy of the report, in which match officials cited concerns over a number of deliveries that were considered to be suspect, to Sri Lanka's team manager on Sunday.
Sri Lanka Cricket has expressed the view in a press release that: "Sachithra had over the past two years played many bilateral/ ICC tournaments and four earlier games in the current tour without any hint of suspicion". Despite that there was concern about the legality of his action when he visited England with Sri Lanka A three years ago and he worked to remedy his action with Sri Lankan coaches as a result. Subsequent laboratory testing in Perth, Western Australia, found his action was within the limits set by the ICC.
EMBUREY SKIN CANCER A REMINDER
TO COVER UP IN THE SUN
Former England spinner John Emburey has revealed that he has skin cancer and claims that years of playing cricket outdoors in the sun while not wearing a hat or using sunscreen had caused it to develop. The now 61-year-old had surgery last Tuesday and was seen at Lords a few days later sporting a black eye and large stitches on his forehead where doctors had removed an area of skin.
Emburey told 'The Sun' newspaper on the weekend that when he "played there wasn't the same awareness of how much damage the sun can cause as there is now". He is reported to have a Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), the most common type of skin cancer which used to be most prevalent in elderly people, but it is now being seen in people under 40 years of age. BCCs that are treated at an early stage are usually completely cured, however, some BCCs are aggressive, and if left to grow they may spread into the deeper layers of the skin and sometimes to the bones, making treatment difficult.
BANGLADESH PLAYERS AWAIT PAY
A total of 108 players who completed the first year of their contracts with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) in December, have been unpaid since January according to Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper. Reports say the contract list for 2014 was not submitted to the BCB until April, and as a result only the twelve national players in the contract poor have received any pay over the last five months.
BCB "officials" are said to have claimed the delay was due to the fact both the Asia Cup and the World Twenty20 Championship events were held in Bangladesh over the first quarter of this year. The board's acting chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury told 'New Age' there was no need to worry as players "will get their arrear once the list is approved [at a] board meeting".
Under 2013 contract arrangements the 120 players engaged then were said salaries in one of three categories: 25,000 Bangalesh Takkas ($A350), 20,000 Takkas ($A280), and 15,000 Takkas ($A210) respectively. Data from the International Labour Organisation indicates that the official annual minimum wage in Bangladesh is around 17,000 Takka ($A240).
'TWITS' FACING AGNEW
BAN FROM 'TWITTER'
BBC cricket correspondent and commentator Jonathan Agnew has urged his detractors to adopt a more sportsmanlike demeanour when they contact him on the social networking site 'Twitter'. Agnew, 54, a former England player, has told the cricket blog 'The Full Toss' he was "fed up" with being sent “vitriol” by his followers on the micro-blogging site, and warned that he would simply block them from contacting him unless they adopted a more polite approach.
Agnew, who has 271,000 'Twitter' followers, described the medium as “fantastic” and that if it is not abused it helps "fans and bloggers" to communicate with professional broadcasters and others paid to work in the sport. However, he says just as in "real life" the manner in which you meet and have a dialogue with someone is a key to a good relationship, so it is via social media. He asks: “What is the point of coming on and making a rude, inflammatory introduction?", then says "The answer is, there isn’t, because you wouldn’t do that in real life unless you really want to cause trouble".
PLAYING THE GAME
CA CONFIRMS BONUS POINTS
SYSTEM FOR SHEFFIELD SHIELD
Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed yesterday that its domestic first class competition the Sheffield Shield is to feature a new championship points system over the next two southern summers. The news confirms a report last week that bonus points were part of a proposal that is designed to narrow the gap in match conditions between domestic first-class and Test cricket (PTG 1366-6602, 31 May 2014).
Under the new system, every run beyond 200 a team scores in the first 100 overs of its first innings will bring an extra .01 of a point, while the bowling team can score a maximum of 1.5 bonus points for dismissing five, seven and nine batsmen in 100 overs, or 0.5 points for each of those wickets. In addition there will still be six points for an outright win as in the past, but also a point for a draw whereas such a result previously attracted zero points, a change made in order that teams are rewarded if they can fight for a draw. On the other hand a first innings win will now earn no points, as opposed to the two points that previously applied.
The architect of the system, CA's team performance chief Pat Howard, says the system was geared towards assisting the development of Test batsmen and emulating Test conditions. "There's [now] 1.5 points on offer for bowlers but for batsmen it's unlimited". "We have seen the likes of David Warner take games away from people, so the opportunity for people to do that in the state system still exists", said Howard.
National coach Darren Lehmann also welcomed the changes saying they will lead to "more attractive and aggressive cricket". "You don't get first-innings points in a Test match [and] I think you will find there will be more teams setting targets, you'll see spinners come into the game on the fourth day, you'll see blokes chasing runs down".
The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) or player's union has another view though. ACA boss Paul Marsh said yesterday: "The players' view from the season just gone was that the pitches were significantly better, so we didn't think there was a need to change the points system". "In saying that, I don't think it's a significant issue. Will it produce any significant outcomes cricket-wise? It's difficult to say. Our players by nature are competitive beasts trying to win cricket matches and that is still going to be the focus. Our only potential concern would be if the focus shifts from winning to chasing bonus points".
MORE CONTROVERSY AFTER ODI SEES
England batsman Jos Buttler was run out 'Mankad' style during the fifth and final One Day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka at Edgsbaston overnight after previously having, along with his batting partner, been warned by spinner Sachithre Senanayake in his previous over for backing up. The dismissal, which is legitimate under both the Laws of Cricket and International Cricket Council Playing Conditions which are slightly different but do not require a warning to be given, once again brought a howl of protest from spectators and current and former England players.
Senanayake followed through on his warnings by turning slowly to break the wicket with Buttler a metre or so down the pitch before appealing to England umpire Michael Gough who then consulted with his colleague Chris Gaffaney of New Zealand. After discussion they in turn consulted Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews who elected to continue and as a result Gough raised his finger. The last instance of a 'Mankad' in international cricket was in an ODI in Port Elizabeth in 1992 when South African Peter Kirsten's innings was ended by Indian fast-medium bowler Kapil Dev in that manner .
England captain Alastair Cook said he expected Buttler's run out to "spice up" the forthcoming two-Test series between the teams. In a post-match press conference he said he's "never seen it before in a game" and a "line had been crossed" by Senanayake and Mathews. "I was pretty disappointed with it to be honest with you. You don't know what you'd do if you were put in that situation, the heat of the moment, until you are. I'd hope I wouldn't do it". For his part Mathews insisted Buttler had been repeatedly warned before Senanayake took off the bails.
The dismissal resulted in former England spinner Graeme Swann tweeting, partly in reference to Senanayake being reported for a suspect action this week (PTG 1367-608, 3 June 2014) : 'I think if I'd been called for chucking I'd try to keep a low profile for a while rather than pull out the Mankad!!!". He later added a second comment: "To be clear on this I think the 'Mankad' is just wrong even though it's not illegal. Like cuddling your sister whilst watching a film".
Former England captain Michael Vaughan waded in with his opinion and his thoughts was aimed at Mathews, his 'Tweet' reading: 'Totally blame the Captain... He is the man who makes the decisions and should have over turned the decision... No way to play the game...". Another former England captain Alec Stewart added: "The spirit of cricket has been broken but Sri Lanka are within their rights to uphold the appeal. The laws of the game allow this dismissal".
In recent years similar dismissals have been reported in India (PTG 1251-6042, 10 December 2013), England (PTG 986-4787, 31 August 2012), while in Australia an appeal for one was withdrawn during an ODI in Brisbane (PTG 905-4398, 22 February 2012). After both the latter two occasions the Marylebone Cricket Club, the guardians of the Laws of the game, pointed out that a bowler can run out the non-striker and do so without a warning (PTG 987-4793, 3 September 2012).
DELHI SCORERS, UMPIRES
'NOT PAID FOR TEN MONTHS'
Scorers and umpires who support local matches in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) have not been paid for their services for ten months, according to a report in Saturday's edition of 'The Hindu'. Under DDCA arrangements a non-panel umpire earns 800 Rupees ($A14) per match, those on the "state panel" 1,000 ($A18) and a "Board-accredited umpire" 1,200 ($A22), while scorers earn 800-1,100 Rupees ($A14-20) depending on their category.
For what are termed DDCA "super league and hot weather matches" payments improve slightly but 'The Hindu' says local umpires earn "much below" the fee paid to India's first class umpires and scorers, the former receiving amounts that range from 15,000-20,000 Rupees per day ($A275-365), and the latter 5,000 a day ($A90).
An unnamed DDCA "senior local umpire" told the newspaper: “As it is, we do a thankless job. It is not easy to stand for 40 or 50 overs in searing heat well over 40 degrees in summer" as well as the "biting cold in the [national] capital’s winters". "At some venues we don’t even have basic facilities. And then, at the end of the day, there is no assurance of receiving the payment".
Another umpire, who is said to be on the verge of giving up his officiating career said: "It has become very difficult to pursue this profession [for] I need the money to meet the expenses at home". A third who was described as a "veteran local umpire" called his pay level “a decent amount though it can be better as for some of us, it is our bread and butter. Many of us run our households from these earnings". 'The Hindu' says that the "fear of being isolated, victimised and denied postings discourages the umpires from speaking on record".
However, according to the newspaper's report the DDCA will "have to find a way out soon since many umpires and scorers are looking at other avenues, such as officiating more in private tournaments, in order to make ends meet. It says though that now that former DDCA President Arun Jaitely has taken over as India's national Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs following last month's general election, "there is hope for the suffering umpires and scorers".
SUSPENDED BANGLADESH PLAYER
ACTIVE IN LOS ANGELES
Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful, who has publicly confessed to match fixing activities in last year's Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) competition and is currently serving an indefinite suspension by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), took part in a Twenty20 tournament in Los Angeles (LA) late last month. The event featured a $A22,000 prize and was formally sanctioned by the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA), however, it says that it was not aware that any banned player took part in the event.
USACA executive secretary Mascelles Bailey told 'Cricinfo' that unless there are people employed on the ground to monitor specifically who is playing it is difficult for USACA to police the use of banned players. Bailey said the players who took part in the LA tournament will not be reprimanded if they were unaware of Ashraful's presence, but if they knowingly did then "it's a different story" as the USACA had issued warnings that playing with banned player could result in a disciplinary charge. Banned Pakistani spinner Danish Kaneria was originally scheduled to play in Los Angeles but his name was withdrawn before it got underway following concerns expressed by some of the teams involved.
In mid-May 15 the USACA sent a memo notifying its members that they should not be playing in any unsanctioned tournaments and that any international players that may be participating need formal approval. That action followed the involvement of Kaneria in an unsanctioned Twenty20 event in Houston, Texas, in early May. The Pakistan Cricket Board later fined five of its contracted players for playing in that tournament and reprimanded its Marketing Manager who also attended (PTG 1356-6547, 19 May 2014).
LA Twenty20 organiser Mehul Dave said he was instructed that only players currently under a national contract needed approval, but since Ashraful is currently not under contract with the BCB, his name was not submitted for approval. No such concerns as applied to Kaneria appear to have been raised about Ashraful's involvement and his face was printed on tournament flyers promoting the event. Dave told 'Cricinfo': "There are some technical things with Mohammad Ashraful, he's not a banned player, just temporarily suspended".
Ashraful is said still be in LA and has been invited to continue playing with a local side in the Southern California Cricket Association (SCCA) on a weekly basis until he returns to Bangladesh. SCCA is no longer a member of USACA having recently affiliated with USACA's rival governing body, the American Cricket Federation which is not associated with the International Cricket Council (PTG 1347-6512, 7 May 2014). "He's playing in a public park with amateurs", said an official, and "I don't think that would be the right thing on our part" to ban him". "But if the [BCB] investigation is completed, he's found guilty, then obviously we have to honour that".
PROPOSED WICL EVENT
'NOT ON ENGLAND'S AGENDA'
England have indicated that they will not be releasing their centrally contracted players to play in the Women’s International Cricket League (WICL), a new Twenty20competition which could be staged in Singapore. Details of the event surfaced last month with reports "top players" could earn up to $A40,000 each to take part in what was then mooted as a twelve-day competition, the inaugural series of which could "possibly be played later this year" (PTG 1342-6485, 1 May 2014).
A report in 'The Guardian' yesterday says that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has dismissed claims that the competition has official endorsement from Cricket Australia and the International Cricket Council (ICC), stressing instead that the development of the women’s game should be left to the ICC and national governing bodies. Clare Connor, the ECB’s head of women’s cricket and chair of the ICC Women’s Committee, said: “There has been a lot of misleading and as yet unsubstantiated information around how far advanced the proposed WICL is. I stress that from an ECB perspective this competition is not on our agenda".
Connor continued by saying: “The immediate focus for international women’s cricket is the International Women’s Championship, which the ICC Board approved in January. For the first time ever, the top eight ranked women’s teams in the world will play each other in a bilateral competition, with results determining qualification for the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup. This is a real game-changer for the women’s game".
She added: “The ICC and its members do not recognise privately owned tournaments or leagues in the men’s or women’s game. The ICC and the members have made significant investment into women’s cricket over the ten years to create a commercially viable product. In particular there is recognition that a Women’s World Twenty20 every two years will be the vehicle through which to build commercial investment in the women’s game, and it is for the ICC and the members to capitalise on this and take it forward". “Any Twenty20 tournament that features the best players in the world outside ICC competitions would need to be run and controlled by one of the full members, as opposed to by a private operator".
ECB chairman Giles Clarke added: “Put simply there is no support or interest for the WICL. Women’s cricket has made enormous strides in recent years with great investment in the game from the grassroots to the international level. At the same time, thanks to the ICC global events and member investment, we have seen new and exciting players emerge on the world stage. This has to be the continued route for the women’s game, not a privately run competition".
The ECB announced last month that eighteen women would receive upgraded contracts, and Australia’s players have also received key pay rises in the last two years to allow them full-time status. However, at least one player in New Zealand, where the money on offer from her home board is not so attractive, welcomed the prospect of the WICL (PTG 1358-6560, 21 May 2014), as have women players in Pakistan.
VERMA TAKES SRINIVASAN ATTACK TO
AUSTRALIAN, INDIAN, UK PRIME MINISTERS
Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) secretary Aditya Verma is taking his challenge against Narayanswamy Srinivasan becoming the International Cricket Council's (ICC) chairman later this month to a higher level, this time by sending letters to the Prime Ministers of Australia, India and the UK. Verma currently has India's Supreme Court considering the appropriateness of Srinivasan taking up the new ICC position (PTG 1359-6565, 22 May 2014), and has also asked the ICC itself to examine the ethics and legality of it given that Srinivasan is the subject of a corruption investigation (PTG 1362-6582, 25 May 2014).
In his letters Verma urges the Prime Ministers to intervene and "direct" their respective cricket boards to get together and stall Srinivasan from becoming ICC chairman, an unlikely outcome particularly in Australia and the UK, and even in India at this time with the incumbent there, who has close cricket links, only being weeks into his job (PTG 1367-6606, 3 June 2014). Verma asks in part: “When the whole world, including the highest court of India, found that something was seriously wrong with Mr Srinivasan, why did your countries’ top cricket board officials accept the creation of a special post for him as chairman of the ICC and elect him unopposed?”
Verma told journalists in Kolkata that he: “wrote the letters to the concerned Prime Ministers because India, England and Australia are the powerhouses of world cricket". “If the Prime Ministers of these three nations put pressure on their respective Boards, I think Srinivasan can be removed". He also appealed to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and its affiliated units not to nominate the “tainted” Srinivasan at the ICC's annual conference in Melbourne in three weeks, adding that: “If I don’t get a reply from the BCCI and the thirty state associations within a week, I will take them to [the Supreme Court] as well".
Australian journalist Peter Lalor wrote in 'The Australian' yesterday that the ICC "seems determined to go through with a radical restructure at its conference in Melbourne this month" and that "Srinivasan will be named [its] first chairman under an arrangement that hands that job to a BCCI-nominated representative for [the next] two years". Lalor says that despite indications last week Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards had been in contact with Srinivasan to relay concerns from other members of the ICC about him assuming the top job while under investigation and suspension at home, "there is no will to halt the arrangement as first thought".
In Lalor's assessment it would take a change of heart from seven of the ten full member ICC member countries to block Srinivasan elevation in Melbourne, nor that the BCCI could recommend another person for the top ICC job. "Neither is likely to occur", he says. When contacted on Tuesday evening the office of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it had yet to receive Verma's letter and could not comment until it did.
IMPORTED INDIAN PITCHES PART OF CA
PLAN TO IMPROVE SPIN PERFORMANCE
Cricket Australia (CA) is importing special pitch soil from India as part of its efforts to improve performances against spin and thus help keep Australia as the number one rated Test nation. Sub-continental pitches are to be installed at the recently up-graded National Cricket Centre in Brisbane, possibly in the middle of an adjoining greyhound track.
Australia’s 4-0 Test loss in India last year has focused efforts to improve the team's performances against spin. CA's high performance manager Pat Howard said yesterday that everything was being done to ensure the national team improved against spin. “A third of all our matches are in the sub-continent, so you’ve got to be able to deal with it", said Howard. “Whilst we do practise here against spin we know it’s not as real as being there". “We’re never going to make it exactly the same but we’re going to try to get as close as we can".
While the imported Indian turf will not be ready for the Australians to practice on ahead its series against Pakistan in the spin-friendly United Arab Emirates (UAE) in October, it will be in place ahead of Test tours to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India over the next three years.
Australian captain Michael Clarke said yesterday “We didn’t play well in India, I don’t know but I am guessing they will prepare wickets that spin [in the UAE] and they will have two or three spinners in those teams". “We have to find a way to get better. That is one of our great challenges as a Test team". Another "is winning away and that’s why we’re trying to get our guys used to playing in different conditions".
CLARKE BACKS 'MANKAD'
Australia captain Michael Clarke has supported Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews' decision to uphold England batsman Jos Buttler's 'Mankad' dismissal in the fifth One Day International against England in Edgbaston on Tuesday saying being dismissed in that way is perfectly legal. Buttler was run out at the non-striker's end by bowler Sachithra Senanayake after being warned times about backing up too far (PTG 1368-6610-, 4 June 2014).
England captain Alastair Cook said on Tuesday that he felt a line had been crossed by the dismissal, but Clarke said yesterday: "At the end of the day I think as long as the player's warned it's obviously in the rules so you can make whatever decision you want". "Will an Australian player do it? I think I'd be silly to stand here and say, 'No, it will never happen under my captaincy'. "If something like that does happen under my captaincy I look forward to dealing with it at the time". "At the end of the day it's in the rules."
Buttler's was only the eighth instance of a 'Mankad' in international cricket, and the first since South Africa's Peter Kirsten was run out by India's Kapil Dev in 1992.
VANDALS SET FIRE TO
CLUB'S ARTIFICIAL PITCH
Vandals have damaged the pitch used by juniors at Bulkington Cricket Club (BCC) in Warwickshire for the third time in five years. The central strip of the pitch was set alight, causing major damage to the artificial turf and the club has been told the cost of repairing the pitch will be in the order of £1,500 ($A2,700).
The pitch, which initially cost more than £9,000 ($A16,000) to install, was originally purchased to provide junior team members with an area to train on in all weathers. It also meant that the juniors could practice without damaging the pitch used by Bulkington's senior team. Following previous attacks bills to repair the ground have ranged from £500 to £2,000 ($A900-3,600).
BCC secretary John Turner told a local newspaper that the attack "is just depressing [and] it can have a lasting effect on all the groups involved with the club". "Some of the costs this time will be covered by the club's insurance but it won't stretch to the amount we've been quoted". "We have contacted the police but without CCTV it is difficult to know who is responsible, because it happened in the early hours". Despite the pitch being surrounded by residential housing, there have been no witnesses to the spate of attacks, leaving police with no help to catch the culprits.
'TERRIBLE' ASHES UMPIRING HELPED SPUR
RETIREE TO JOIN MATCH OFFICIAL RANKS
Neil Schlittler, a 234-game, 16-season player with Prahran in Victoria's Premier Cricket (VPC) competition who has announced his retirement, has taken up umpiring believing it could be the path to first-class cricket that his ability as a player didn't allow, according to Melbourne's 'Stonnington Leader' newspaper yesterday. Schlittler, 37, boldly told the paper's John Amy that last season's Ashes series was one spur for: “With some of the terrible umpiring that went on, I thought, geez, there’s an opportunity there if I’m good at it!’’
Schlittler, 37, sees his "skills in life as cricket and conflict management" and thinks, the two go well together with umpiring, so it could be a way to reach first-class cricket". He has completed four of the six Laws classes ahead of an exam and envisages starting at VPC Third XI level, however, Amy writes that he has high expectations, having set himself the goal of reaching Cricket Australia's (CA) National Umpires Panel (NUP) "within seven years".
CA umpire educator and former Cricket Victoria umpiring manager Bob Parry is said to have alerted Schlittler to the possibilities of umpiring four years ago. Since then he has seen former Victorian and St Kilda player Shawn Craig graduate from Premier Cricket to the NUP and former Hawthorn Monash University fast bowler David Shepard make the transition to umpiring in the VPC's highest-level games. Cricket Victoria umpires manager Richard Patterson says it was pleasing a player of Schlittler’s stature was taking up umpiring. “It’s fantastic. There should be more of it", he said.
CA JOINS ECB IN DISMISSING
A story posted on Cricket Australia's (CA) web site yesterday afternoon indicates CA's view of the proposed six-team Women's International Cricket League (WICL) Twenty20 tournament is the same as that of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Despite reports last month that the WICL had widespread support, the ECB said on Wednesday that there has been a "lot of misleading and as yet unsubstantiated information" around about the planned league and made clear it will not be releasing their centrally contracted players to take part in it (PTG 1369-6616, 5 June 2014).
CA’s Executive General Manager of Team Performance Pat Howard is quoted yesterday as saying CA "has not endorsed the [WICL] in any way", following that up with a comment similar to that made by the ECB that the proposed league "has recently been discussed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and its Members, and was not supported". Reports last month claimed the WICL had the backing of the ICC, national boards including CA, and player unions, and discussions were also said to have taken place with British broadcaster BSkyB and Star Sports in India about television coverage (PTG 1342-6485, 1 May 2014).
The WICL is the brainchild of former Australian women's all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar and business partner Shaun Martyn, who six weeks ago were said to be hoping to change the landscape of the women’s game, as well presumably as returning them a profit. Martyn was quoted as saying then: ‘‘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' ". Paul Marsh, the head of the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) and the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, called it a "terrific initiative for women’s cricket" and that players are "very excited by what lays ahead".
While Howard, like ECB chairman Giles Clarke before him, poured cold water on WICL plans, he stressed CA is: "highly committed to developing female cricket at all levels of the game as we work to make it Australia’s favourite sport for women and girls". "We are working hard to professionalise the women’s game [and] last year’s restructuring of the contracting system for female international and state cricketers has seen our elite players become some of the best paid female athletes in the country".
Howard also said CA is "continuing to provide our elite [women] players with further opportunities", including "developing a model for a [domestic] women’s Twenty20 League, which is seen as an important step in further professionalising women’s cricket". CA is currently aiming to launch that male-like Twenty20 tournament for women during the 2015-16 austral summer (PTG 1345-6502, 4 May 2014). “As a result of these efforts, female cricket participation at the grassroots level is at an all-time high, with an eighteen per cent increase from 2012-13 taking us to 180,000 female participants", concluded Howard.
WICL organisers reacted to the ECB-CA comments by issuing a statement yesterday that said they are: "disappointed not only for the players as they are being potentially denied a great opportunity, but also for all the female coaches, commentators, medical staff and administrative personnel that we seek to create opportunity for". There was no mention of scorers or umpires in their statement, however, while there are plenty or females in the former category, there is a dearth of suitably qualified and experienced women umpires across the world (PTG 1280-6164, 31 January 2014).
The ACA's Marsh said it would be a missed opportunity for the women's game if the WICL was to "fall by the wayside". "I understand that [national] boards have had a history of rejecting private ownership, but I think women's cricket needs to be looked at differently because the boards have not invested in women's cricket anywhere near the degree they have in men's cricket". "Here we have an opportunity for a private enterprise to come in and do the job of the boards and put money into women's cricket and promote it. Let's hope this isn't dead in the water and the ICC and the boards continue the dialogue with the WICL and try to find a way forward here because from a players' perspective what I see is significant opportunity".
ICC CRICKET COMMITTEE REPORTED CONCERNED
ABOUT 'SHRINKING BOUNDARY LINES'
The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee expressed concern over "shrinking boundary lines" during its two-day meeting in Bangalore on Monday and Tuesday, according to a report in yesterday's 'Mumbai Mirror'. Although the committee normally meets at this time of year, the ICC has not released any detailed pre or post publicity about its focus as yet, however, the 'Mirror' says the group feels that shorter boundaries are giving "undue advantage to the batsmen and unfair disadvantage to the bowlers".
Journalist Vijay Tagore says that the committee has "observed that due to cheerleaders, dugouts and television cameras, boundary lines are getting shorter by the day and the bowlers have to bear the brunt of it". The committee is said to want boundaries, across all formats of the international game, fixed at a uniform 90 yards, and that a recommendation to that effect is to be sent to the ICC's Chief Executives Committee (CEC) for consideration at the world body's annual conference in Melbourne late this month.
Among other recommendations the 'Mirror' says were discussed in Banglaore is an intriguing item the 'Mirror' story terms "empowerment of the umpires". The article states: "The committee is said to be of the view that the right to appeal against a decision should be taken away from the captain or player and that the one-field umpires, in coordination with the third umpire, should be the sole decision makers". That appears to be saying that the committee is suggesting decisions to have Umpire Decision Review System technology brought in to decision-making should be the sole purview of the three umpires. If so, and if it is eventually agreed to by the CEC and finally the ICC board, it would be a significant change to current practice.
The Banglaore meeting, which the members are said to have described as "producing high quality brainstorming and some novel ideas", also apparently suggested "strict action against players getting physical". There was an impression that "a large section of the viewing public are young fans who could be misguided by unruly behaviour" and the committee is said to want umpires to be more proactive and demanded strict action against the offenders.
Whether the recent Indian Premier League incident involving Kieron Pollard and Mitchell Starc was the trigger for such a discussion is not known (PTG 1370-6626 below), but the committee members the 'Mirror' spoke to, said they were particularly concerned about "disorder in the international games". One committee member is said to have pointed to the Mitchell Johnson-Ben Stokes fracas during the last Ashes series (PTG 1251-6039, 10 December 2013).
The ICC Cricket Committee is made up of Anil Kumble as chairman, ICC president Alan Isaac, its chief executive David Richardson, past players Andrew Strauss and Mark Taylor, representatives of current players Kumar Sangakkara and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, coach representatives Darren Lehmann and Ottis Gibson, member board representative David White, umpires' representative Steve Davis, referees' representative Ranjan Madugalle, Marylebone Cricket Club representative John Stephenson, statistician David Kendix, ICC Associate Member representative Trent Johnston, Media representative Ravi Shastri, and women's representative Clare Connor.
Lehmann, Gibson, Madugalle and Sangakkara were unable to attend the meeting but are reported to have sent their inputs to the ICC. When contacted by the 'Mirror' for comment about meeting's outcomes Kumble refused to comment, telling Tagore to "wait for the [ICC press] release". However, as yet , two days after the meeting ended, it is yet to appear.
MCC 'ENCOURAGES' BOWLERS TO WARN
BATSMEN IN 'MANKAD' SITUATIONS
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) says in a comment about the 'Mankading' of England batsman Jos Buttler this week that it "would always encourage" bowlers to give a batsman a warning before making any attempt to run out a non-striker. Buttler was given out after Sri Lankan bowler Sachithra Senanayake removed the bails at the non-striker's end whilst Buttler was out of his ground in a One Day International (ODI) at Edgbaston (PTG 1368-6610, 4 June 2014), a move that as in the past has produced much debate in cricket circles (PTG 1370-6625 below).
The MCC's Will Roe points out in a posting on 'The Laws Blog' section of its web site on Wednesday that there is "nothing in the Law" which states the bowler must warn the batsman first, and says "it could be argued" Senanayake, who had previously given Buttler a warning, "was being generous" in doing so. He then goes on to "encourage" bowlers to give such a warning, something the MCC has not mentioned in two previous attempts to explain the background to 'Mankad'-like dismissals. Two years ago for example an MCC web site post said a warning does not need to be given to a non-striker by a bowler before a run out attempt in a 'Mankad' situation (PTG 906-4404, 24 February 2012).
Roe then goes on to focus on just why when Senanyake was already in his delivery stride when he flicked off the bails to run Buttler out, he could have been dismissed, as the Laws of Cricket do not permit it in such a circumstance.
PTG reported over two years ago (905-4398, 22 February 2012), that Part 42.15 of the Laws, which deals with a 'Bowler attempting to run out non-striker before delivery', has been modified by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals. The first sentence of the Law as controlled by the MCC reads "The bowler is permitted, before entering his delivery stride, to attempt to run out the non-striker". However, in matches played under ICC auspices the middle section of that statement between the commas, has been changed in Playing Conditions to read: "before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing".
The ICC made the change because they thought batsmen were getting too much of a head-start while backing up. Most first class cricket jurisdictions have taken up the ICC's approach, although normally at club level the tenants of the Laws themselves apply.
BUTTLER 'RUN OUT' WILL PROVIDE 'EXTRA NEEDLE'
TO TESTS, CLAIMS BOPARA
England batsman Ravi Bopara believes the 'Mankad' run out of team mate Jos Buttler in Tuesday's One Day International at Edgsbaston will provide "extra needle" for the forthcoming Test series against Sri Lanka. Following Tuesday's match Bopara's captain Alastair Cook said, perhaps for the benefit of those marketing the Test series, he expected the run out to "spice up" the two matches between the teams (PTG 1368-6610, 4 June 2014).
Bopara, who reports say is unlikely to feature in England's Test side, told the BBC's Asian Network, Buttler was "not taking off and stealing yards, he's just walking". "Personally I don't think it is the right thing. I was quite shocked. I don't think I have seen that in international cricket before", said Bopara, despite the fact that it was the eighth time it has happened. While Sri Lanka's action was allowed for in international Playing Conditions (PTG 1370-6624 above), Bopara thinks it was of such a nature that "we will have to come really hard at them [in the Tests], which is when we play our best cricket".
BBC cricket correspondent and commentator Jonathan Agnew wrote yesterday that to avoid "any more incidents" like Buttlers, "I would rather see such decisions taken out of the hands of the bowler, and that's something the International Cricket Council should look at". In his view "a bowler should be allowed to point out to an umpire that a batsman is backing up, leaving the officials to watch what is going on".
Agnew continues by saying: "If, in the umpire's opinion, a batsman is trying to steal an extra run - and I strongly believe Tuesday's incident was not an example of a batsman trying to steal a run - then he gets a clear and obvious warning, like a bowler would for running down the pitch". Then "if the batsman did it again, I would apply a five-run penalty", something Agnew thinks "would take the heat out of it all straight away". He says though "there is a down side to this suggestion because, with all these television replays about, a fielding side might point something out and ask for five penalty runs to be applied, but I think it's better than this current situation".
AUSSIE FAST BOWLER PLANS
TO TARGET RIVAL'S HEAD
Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc was quoted yesterday as saying he is "still going to be trying to bounce" West Indian Kieron Pollard and "and hit him in the head" when the two next meet on the field of play. A month ago, Starc and Pollard were involved in an on-going, nasty on-field confrontation during an Indian Premier League (IPL) match played in Mumbai, activities for which they were both fined (PTG 1348-6515, 8 May 2014), censures that some observers thought were inadequate in the circumstances (PTG 1351-6531, 13 May 2014).
Starc, who appears unaware of 'Spirit of Cricket' principles and apparently unrestrained by Cricket Australia, was asked if he looked forward to Australia's next game against the West Indies in light of the Pollard incident. His reply was cutting: "If it's a Test match, you won't see Kieron there - he won't be playing". As to whether he "had a beer" with Pollard after their IPL exchange, Starc said: "No, and I don't plan on talking to him either". "All the cricketers know how Kieron is". "He can do what he likes".
'REMOTE BOWL OUT' SAVES
500 KM ROUND-TRIP
Northern Ireland side Templepatrick's loss to Republic of Ireland side Mullingar in a National Cup match late last month was unusual in that the two sides, which play at grounds around 250 km apart, didn't actually meet on field. Instead, weather meant that a "remote bowl-out" was conducted so that Templepatrick did not have to make the 500 km round-trip.
On the morning of the match a waterlogged square at Mullingar's ground meant no play would be possible that day, and officials there advise Templepatrick skipper Richard Greer by phone. It was then decided to move to the 'bowl out' option, something Templepatrick coach Andy McCrea told his local newspaper “is similar to a football penalty shoot-out without a batsman in sight".
McCrea said “In this case a normal set of stumps was set up in Mullingar, and their first five bowlers identified themselves to the neutral qualified umpire". “There was a similar set-up at [Templepatrick's ground], and the umpires kept in touch by phone as they recorded [when bowlers] hit or missed" the stumps. “In this case Mullingar scored three hits to our two, so they advanced to the next round", said the Templepatrick coach.
LEGAL REASONING BEHIND BPL
ACQUITTALS SET FOR RELEASE
Details of the legal reasoning that led the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) anti-corruption tribunal to acquit six players and officials of match-fixing related offences in late February are expected to be made public sometime in the next few days, according to press reports from Dhaka yesterday. The so-called "short verdict" announcement is important for both the BCB and the International Cricket Council (ICC) are awaiting the details so that they can decide whether or not to lodge an appeal against the acquittals, both expressing their "surprise and disappointment" at the outcome when the tribunal announced its general findings three-and-a-half months ago (PTG 1303-6283, 2 March 2014).
Those found not guilty by the tribunal were: the chairman of the BPL's Dhaka Gladiators franchise Salim Chowdhury, his chief executive officer Gaurav Rawat an Indian, bowling coach Mohammad Rafique, and players Mosharraf Hossain Rubel, Mahbubul Alam Robin and Englishmen Darren Stevens. The first five escaped charges of match fixing activities, and Stevens of failing to report corrupt approaches. The BCB and ICC said in a joint statement issued after the six were acquitted: "Both organisations await the tribunal’s detailed written determination setting out the reasons for the outcome, and will consider it carefully before determining the next steps, including whether to appeal any aspect(s) of the judgment".
Nizamuddin Chowdhury, acting chief executive officer of the BCB, said on Thursday his organisation expect to get the reasoning of the "short verdict" soon. Given "the information that I have, I can tell you that we are expecting to get the reasoning of the earlier verdicts within three to four days", which if correct would see an announcement by the tribunal on either Sunday or Monday. Shakil Kasem, a member of the tribunal, was more specific though, telling journalists they will give their reasoning to the BCB on Sunday. "Once we get it, we will discuss it with the ICC before we take our next step", said the BCB chief executive.
However, the imminent release of that information does not mean the tribunal will be announcing just what penalties it plans to hand the three players and a team official it found guilty of inappropriate BPL-related activities, the BCB indicating "a sanctions hearing" has been scheduled for Wednesday week at which "punishments will be determined".
The four involved are former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful who publicly pleaded guilty a year ago (PTG 1118-5437, 6 June 2013), Shihab Chowdhury the managing director of the BPL Dhaka franchise, Sri Lankan Kaushal Lokuarachchi, who has also previously admitted his guilt, and Lou Vincent of New Zealand who is said to have also confessed (PTG 1249-6026, 6 December 2013). Ashraful, Lokuarachchi and Vincent reportedly filed "a mercy petition" with the tribunal earlier this year.
'OFFICIATING REVIEW SYSTEM'
GIVEN STRONG SUPPORT
The Officiating Replay System (ORS), which the International Cricket Council (ICC) is developing to improve the speed and accuracy of television umpire decision making, was given very positive support by the ICC's Cricket Committee at its meeting in Banglaore on Monday-Tuesday. The committee is said to haver given unanimous support" to the expanded use of the system, which was first trialled in the Ashes series in England last year (PTG 1162-5625, 5 August 2013), in international cricket, and a recommendation to that effect is to be considered by the ICC's Chief Executives Committee in Melbourne later this month.
Apart from initial trials in England and the United Arab Emirates (PTG 1262-6089, 1 January 2014), the ORS was used during the latter stages of the World Twenty20 Championship earlier this year in Bangladesh. It consists of a dedicated sixteen-screen arrangement in the third umpire’s room that can provide a third umpire with near-instant replays from any camera angle, or sensor data from any Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) technology, that is available.
The system can be used in matches whether or not the UDRS is in operation or not, and the Committee says it helps umpires make accurate decisions quickly, particularly in regards to boundary and 'no ball' checks. The delay caused by stopping a dismissed batsman from leaving the field while the replays of the 'no ball' are reviewed was of concern to the ICC Committee, however, those who have experienced the system in operation believe the ORS will allow such checks to be made "in the background" and not hold up the game as is the case with present arrangements.
The Committee also considered the performance of the UDRS over the last year, from the technology and television umpiring errors that occurred during the Ashes in the UK, to "some of the noticeable improvements made to the UDRS in the second half of the season" such as the real-time 'Snickometer'. According to the ICC, overall the use of the UDRS increased the 'Correct Decision rate' by 4.4% during the twelve months.
During its meeting the Cricket Committee was also updated on the deliberations of the Working Group the ICC established to review the use of technology in umpiring. It was set up following controversies that occurred during the Ashes series in England twelve months ago (PTG 1191-5741, 19 September 2013). The Committee says it supported one of the "strong recommendations" from the Working Group that all technology used in decision-making should be independently evaluated prior to being included on a revised list of technologies approved for use in UDRS matches. Such testing is said to be likely to commence sometime in the next six months.
NUMBER OF 'ILLEGAL ACTION'
TESTING CENTRES TO GROW
An up-date on an International Cricket Council (ICC) project that is working to increase the number of "illegal bowling action testing centres" around the cricketing world was provided to the world body's Cricket Committee at its 2014 annual meeting which was held in Bangalore on Monday-Tuesday. Members at the meeting are said to have "noted" that Cardiff Metropolitan University is now accredited to conduct illegal action testing for the ICC, and that "other facilities in India, Australia, England and South Africa" were likely to be accredited over coming months; however no details of the latter were provided in the post meeting press release.
In the Committee's assessment there are "a number of bowlers" currently employing suspect actions in international cricket and its view is that the ICC's suspect action reporting and testing procedures is not adequately scrutinising them. The Committee has recommended that changes be considered to encourage umpires and referees to "better identify suspect bowlers with greater confidence, to use the expertise of the biomechanists working in this area to assume a greater role during the assessment process, and to allow for on-going scrutiny of bowlers once they have been identified under the ICC procedures".
An up-date was provided to the Committee on the project to measure illegal actions in a match environment using wearable sensor technology. The second stage of the project has just concluded, some seventy players being tested whilst wearing the sensors at training sessions during the Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates last February. The results of the trials are said to have been "very encouraging" and the final stage of the project now expected to conclude in 2016.
A newspaper report last November indicated that a functioning, cheap and readily available 'wearable' technology that will enable the legitimacy of a bowler's action to be determined in near 'real-time', could be available "within two years", that is by the end of 2015 (PTG 1241-5988, 25 November 2013). A meeting of the Marleybone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee in January, the club sponsoring the project with the ICC, was told that "excellent progress" is being made with the project at Griffith University in Brisbane, and that "recent results had shown a strong correlation between testing in the laboratory and live testing in a match situation" (PTG 1270-6126, 16 January 2014).
BOUNDARIES DISTANCES A CONCERN, MODERN
BAT DESIGN AGAIN DISCUSSED
A "sharp increase" in the number of sixes hit in One Day International matches over the last six months led the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee to look again at the 'balance between bat and ball' during its annual meeting in Bangalore this week. A key point of discussion was again the capacity of modern bats, but there was also concern about how short boundaries have become at some grounds.
The Committee said in a press statement that: "Having observed a noticeable distance between the rope and the perimeter fence at some international grounds, the Committee is of the "strong view" that venues must be set-up to their maximum boundary dimensions. Current ICC Playing Conditions direct that the largest possible playing area be provided but sets a maximum boundary size of 90 yards from the centre of the pitch.
During discussions in Banglaore, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) representative John Stephenson is said to have "reported on some of its research into developments in cricket bat design, and particularly the improved performance of today’s thicker bats". Concerns that "increasingly powerful batsmen with increasingly powerful bats" have been raised on a number of occasions over the last half-decade, bat thickness being seen by many as the key factor involved (PTG 1140-5523, 5 July 2013).
In Auckland in February last year the MCC's World Cricket Committee (WCC) recommended that the size of bats, particularly the thickness of their edges, be investigated, and the MCC said then that it was to conduct research into the matter "over the coming months" (PTG 1068-5192, 28 February 2013). Five months after that another WCC meeting, this time at Lord's, heard the views of a "range of cricket bat specialists" about the "size of bats" (PTG 1149-5563, 17 July 2013).
Such discussions do not appear as yet to have led to any concrete, match-related action, and the ICC's Cricket Committee continued that trend this week by concluding that it "will be keeping a close watch on the performance of cricket bats moving forward".
'MANKAD' LAW PROVIDES 'A SENSIBLE
BALANCE', SAYS ICC COMMITTEE
The International Cricket Council's Cricket Committee (CC) believes that as they now stand the Law and international Playing Conditions that relate to bowler's running out a non-striker provide a "sensible balance" between preventing a batsman from gaining an advantage whilst at the same time preventing the bowler from "unfairly seducing the batsman into leaving his crease by faking to deliver and then holding on to the ball". The Committee formulated its view at its annual meeting, which was held in Bangalore on Monday-Tuesday, around the same time England's Jos Buttler was dismissed in such a way in a One Day International on Tuesday (PTG 1368-6610, 4 June 2014).
The Committee said in a statement issued yesterday that it "believes a non-striker should be deterred from leaving his or her crease before the time the bowler normally delivers the ball". It did not support the introduction of a formal warning being introduced prior to a bowler being eligible to run out a non-striker, but it "did support the view expressed by some captains that the umpires shouldn’t ask the [fielding] captain whether he wanted the appeal to stand before making a final decision".
WARNE 'BACKS DAY-NIGHT
TESTS', SAYS MCC
Former Australian spinner Shane Warne believes that day-night Tests could be an innovation that helps the game, according to comments attributed to him in an article that appeared on the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) web site yesterday. Warne, who is to captain the Rest of the World side in the Lord’s Bicentenary game against an MCC XI early next month, called himself a "traditionalist" when it comes to Test cricket for he "likes to see white clothes and a red ball", however, he's "all for innovation if it improves the game".
Warne focused on the issue of the ball that would be used, saying in regards to pink balls, that "if batsmen can pick them up okay and [they] don’t do anything silly under lights and it works, and the public like it, then that's great, let’s give it a go". However, he warns that: "We don’t want to see bowlers all over the batsmen or whatever because we want to see a contest".
He then went on to reiterate a point often made by the MCC, which is a strong supporter of the day-night Test concept, saying: "People can follow [such a] Test when they get home from work, they can either come to the ground or watch it on TV, so it’s a great innovation for them to be able to do that". "Anything to keep people interested in Test cricket whether that’s in person or on TV is great", said Warne, and "day-night Tests could be a good innovation".
Meanwhile, during this week's meeting of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee in Bangalore, discussion in relation to day-night Tests centred on the performance of the pink ball, an ICC press release saying those present "noted that development of the pink ball was ongoing"; a phrase that again suggests the general feeling is that more work is needed to develop a suitable ball. The Committee also said it was "encouraged by the recent interest shown by a number of countries in playing day-night Test matches", a reference to Australia and New Zealand (PTG 1310-6321, 11 March 2014), and believed that international Playing Conditions agreed to in 2012 "should still provide the opportunity for Boards to schedule a day-night Test match if both countries agree".
Cricket Committee members were provided with reports on this year's MCC v Durham day-night first class match played in Abu Dhabi, the fifth time the traditional County season opener was played in that middle-eastern city, as well as on the round of day-night Sheffield Shield matches played in Australia in March (PTG 1299-6265, 26 February 2014). No mention was made of a report being provided on the eight day-night matches played in the West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) domestic first class competition around the same time. Over the last five years the WICB has played far more day-night first class games at domestic level than any other ICC member (PTG 1315-6344, 18 March 2014).
INDIA THREATENED ICC WALK-OUT,
SAYS BCCI SECRETARY
Sanjay Patel, the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), told the Sports Journalists Federation of India's annual convention in Hyderabad on Friday that his organisation threatened to form an alternate version of the International Cricket Council (ICC) last year unless there was a major restructure in the way the world body operated. That pressure eventually led to representatives of Cricket Australia (CA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) joining the BCCI in pushing for a revamp of the ICC that would give India a greater share of world cricket revenues (PTG 1271-6136, 20 January 2014), changes that were eventually agreed to at a meeting in Dubai in February (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014).
A newspaper report in January indicated that CA and the ECB had entered into a "power-sharing deal with India" because "it is the only way to avert the total collapse of world cricket due to squabbling over revenue from the next [international] television rights deal". London 'Daily Telegraph' journalist Nick Hoult wrote at the time that the ECB feared that India would abandon international cricket and "go it alone if major changes to how revenue is distributed are not agreed" (PTG 1275-6141, 22 January 2014). Amongst concerns reported was the potential for the BCCI to expand the Indian Premier League and thus attract players from around the world with hefty salaries.
Patel went on to tell last Friday's journalist's convention that there is "no stopping" currently stood down BCCI president Narayanswamy Srinivasan from taking over as the chairman of the ICC at its annual meeting in Melbourne late this month as the Indian Supreme Court has not prevented him from doing so, although it currently has a petition before it about the matter (PTG 1369-6617, 5 June 2014). "By month's end India will take a leading role in the ICC as there is no Supreme Court bar on him", said Patel, and "Both of us are going to Melbourne [for] in the last four months we have settled [the issue] with all the Full Members of the ICC and convinced them about the new structure and the new financial model of the ICC which would be followed in the coming years".
Over the last few weeks there have been reports of attempts by at least one senior ICC board member and perhaps others to dissuade Srinivasan from taking up the ICC chairman's role until such time as the Supreme Court clears him of suggestions he was involved in corrupt activities in last year's Indian Premier League competition (PTG 1365-6593, 29 May 2014). The international player's union has expressed the view that no one in the ICC has the "courage to stand up to" Srinivasan (PTG 1366-6601, 31 May 2014), and in addition to Patel's comments two days ago other reports in the last week have indicated moves to have the Indian power broker stand aside have stalled (PTG 1369-6617, 5 June 2014),
NZ QUERIES REFEREE ABOUT
MONITORING OF BOWLERS' ACTIONS
New Zealand is reported to have sought clarification from match referee Chris Broad as to how he and his umpires plan to monitor West Indies off-spinner Shane Shillingford's 'doosra' and his team mate's Marlon Samuels' quicker ball during the two side's three Test series which is to get underway in Jamaica later today. The pair's actions were reported as suspect last November during a Test series in India, and while Shillingford's 'doosra' remains illegal despite recent remedial work on his action (PTG 1320-6368, 26 March 2014), the ban on Samuel's quicker ball has not been lifted (PTG 1255-6056, 17 December 2013).
Samuels was first banned from bowling in February 2008 because his arm extended more than the permitted fifteen degrees for off-breaks and quicker deliveries. He continued to play as a batsman but did not resume bowling in international cricket until September 2011 after "significant remedial work" (PTG 840-4105, 30 September 2011), having served an unrelated two-year suspension from cricket between May 2008 and May 2010 for passing information to a bookmaker. Shillingford, from Dominica, was initially reported after his international debut in November 2010 and banned a month later when his average elbow extension was found to be seventeen degrees, but he was cleared to return in June 2011 (PTG 770-3774, 5 June 2011).
New Zealand coach Mike Hesson told reporters on Friday that "we'll certainly get some clarification" about how match officials plan to deal with the respective bowler's 'doosra' and quicker ball. There has been no comment from the International Cricket Council about the matter, however, reports indicate Broad and his umpires, Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth of England, and Rod Tucker of Australia, have been working through the issues involved.
SRI LANKAN'S BOWLING ACTION TO
BE TESTED IN NEW CARDIFF FACILITY
Sri Lanka off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake, who was reported for a suspected illegal bowling action during his side’s One Day International against last week, is to undergo detailed scrutiny in a human movement laboratory in Wales, says Sri Lanka's 'Sunday times' (PTG 1367-6608, 3 June 2014). Senanayake who is not part of Sri Lanka's Test squad, returned home on Friday but is scheduled to go back to the UK "within the next few days".
Sri Lanka Cricket’s chief executive officer Ashley de Silva told the 'Times' that Senanayake, who was reported by match officials Marais Erasmus, Ian Gould, Chris Gaffaney, and Jeff Crowe, is to undergo testing at Cardiff's Metropolitan University, one of a range of new 'illegal bowling action testing centres' being established by the International Cricket Council (PTG 1371-6630, 7 June 2014).
GANGULY TO JOIN IPL 'SEALED ENVELOPE'
Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly is to join the Indian Supreme Court sponsored committee that is looking into the thirteen "persons of interest" named in a "sealed envelope" in relation to allegations of corruption in last year's Indian Premier League (IPL) competition. Three weeks ago the Court asked Mukul Mudgal, the former Chief Justice of the Punjab who led its initial IPL investigation that produced the "envelope", to look further into its contents, and to appoint a former player "of repute and integrity" to assist him in that task (PTG 1355-6541, 17 May 2014).
Ganguly, 41, who is regarded as one of India's most successful captains, played 254 first class matches, 113 of them Tests, 311 One Day Internationals and 77 Twenty20 Internationals in the period from 1989-2012, plus a total of 59 matches for two franchises over the first five seasons of the IPL from 2008-12. Nowadays he writes columns and commentates on international matches and is President of the Editorial Board of Wisden India. Media reports state that he will be allowed to continue with his media commitments whilst working on the IPL probe.
News of Ganguly's appointment brought positive comments from a number of quarters yesterday. Rahul Mehra, a Delhi-based lawyer who has taken the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to court on several occasions, called it a step "in the right direction". In his assessment Ganguly: "is one of the rare players who doesn't have an established conflict of interest, though he has a contract with one of the broadcasters. For the last twenty years he has known the ins and outs of Indian cricket and was also in the [Indian] team when the 2000 match fixing episode [involving former South African captain Hansie Cronje] happened, [an experience that will] surely help the committee with some valuable insights".
Writing in the 'Daily Bashkar', Shantanu Srivastava said "Ganguly could be just the man [the[ Mudgal Committee needed to deal with high-headed hedonists ensconced in the BCCI" for he is "a man of impeccable integrity with entrenched disregard for sombre ways of cricket administration". "As a former Indian skipper he knows the inherent power equations in the BCCI as well as anybody [and] if there is one man who would not flinch after looking at the sealed envelope it surely is Sourav Ganguly".
Cricket historian Boria Majumdar said via 'Twitter' that Ganguly is "by far the best choice" for the panel. He continued on his 'Facebook' page by saying: “Sourav Ganguly is by far the best choice [for] three reasons - he played in the IPL until recently, he is not on the BCCI payroll, and he is not associated with any franchise. His addition will only add credibility to the panel and hopes of a clean up have been enhanced".
Mudgal's committee, which consists of solicitor general L Nageswara Rao and senior advocate Nilay Dutta and will also be assisted by police from Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai, has been given solid investigative powers by the Court, including search and seizure of relevant documents and recording evidence, however, it cannot carry out any arrests. It is currently scheduled to submit its report into the sealed envelope names by the end of August, however, Mudgal has not ruled out an extension of time being needed (PTG 1358-6557, 21 May 2014).
Those whose names are contained in the "sealed envelope" include stood down BCCI president Narayanswamy Srinivasan, as well as what have been described as "prominent Indian capped” players, one of whom is allegedly part of the current side (PTG 1322-6374, 28 March 2014).
TRIBUNAL PROVIDES BCB-ICC
WITH BPL VERDICT DETAILS
The legal reasoning that led the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) anti-corruption tribunal to acquit six players and officials of match-fixing related offences, and find four others guilty, in February, was provided to the BCB and the International Cricket Council (ICC) via e-mail on Sunday (PTG 1371-6628, 7 June 2014). The BCB and ICC confirmed in a joint statement that that they have received the written reasons behind the tribunal's decisions and now plan to "carefully review" the information before deciding on any further action, "including whether to appeal any aspect(s) of the decisions".
The BCB's acting chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury told reporters in Mirpur on Sunday afternoon: "We now have the details of the guilty and those who were found not guilty and once we are fully aware of everything we will let the media know". Sunday's BCB-ICC statement made clear, as they both did in February when the tribunal announced its general findings, that they remain "disappointed" about the outcome to date (PTG 1303-6283, 2 March 2014), however, they "will not make any further comment on this matter" until such time they review the information provided to them by the tribunal.
Tribunal members, former Supreme Court judge Khademul Islam Chowdhury, lawyer Ajmamul Hossain QC, and former player Shakil Qasem, have again indicated that they are to announce the sanctions they plan to hand the four guilty parties next week, probably on either Wednesday or Thursday. The BCB formed the tribunal after the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) charged seven individuals last August with being involved in corrupt practices, and two others for failing to report corrupt approaches made to them during BPL-2 sixteen months ago (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013).
Dhaka's 'New Age' newspaper is reporting this morning that lawyers for former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful and Shihab Chowdhury the managing director of the BPL's Dhaka franchise face long bans from the game. The BCB’s anti-corruption code stipulates that anyone found to have "fixed or contrive in any way or otherwise influence improperly, the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of any match or event" should he handed punishment that ranges from a minimum five-year ban to a maximum of life. Ashraful said last year he was hoping to receive a ban of around two years, a censure that would enable him to return to the game, although he is currently playing in the United States (PTG 1368-6612, 4 June 2014).
New Zealander Lou Vincent and Sri Lankan Kaushal Lokuarachchi, who were found guilty of the lesser offence of failing to report an approach to them by a bookmaker, could be banned for between one and five years.
MATCH OFFICIALS KEEPING A
'CLOSE EYE' ON WINDIES SPINNERS
Umpires Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth of England, and Rod Tucker of Australia, plus match referee Chris Broad of England, will be keeping a close eye on the bowling actions of West Indian off-break spinners Shane Shillingford and Marlon Samuels during their side's Test series against New Zealand in the Caribbean this month, says reports on Radio New Zealand yesterday.
The tourist's coach Mike Hesson was reported to have approached Broad prior to the first Test getting underway on Sunday to enquire just how he and his umpires plan to monitor Shillingford's 'doosra' and Samuels quicker ball, each of which are currently banned in international cricket (PTG 1372-6635, 8 June 2014). Hesson told journalists in Jamaica that a he and his captain Brendon McCullum had had a meeting with match officials and "they've cleared up a few things for us" and that "the umpires on the field of play will make those decisions and we'll accept those".
Tucker and Illingworth are on-field in the first Test in Jamaica with Gould the third umpire, Gould and Tucker plus Illingworth in match two in Trinidad, and Gould and Illingworth in the third game in Barbados with Tucker the television umpire (PTG 1367-6605, 3 June 2014).
FIRST QUARTER'S DRUG TESTING
ENDS ON POSITIVE NOTE FOR ICC
None of the 238 urine samples collected from both men and women players by the International Cricket Council (ICC) over the first quarter of this year have returned "Adverse Analytical Findings". The "widespread" drug testing program, which incorporated both in-competition and out-of-competition testing, saw samples taken from players in thirty-one teams, twenty of them both the men’s and women’s sides of the ICC's ten full members, plus eleven others from teams of the world body's Associate and Affiliate Members.
"A record" 135 of the 238 urine tests were collected during the World Twenty20 Championship series in Bangladesh in March-April, a fifty-one per cent increase in the number conducted at the previous such event in Sri Lanka two years ago. Other tests were conducted during World Cup Qualifier event in New Zealand in January, the Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in February, as well as a number of what the ICC termed "high profile bilateral international series".
In addition to the testing the ICC also delivered interactive anti-doping education sessions to over 250 players and support personnel at the Under-19 World Cup. The world body says it "recognises the importance of education as a vital element in the broader fight against doping in sport, and it remains committed to supporting its member boards in drug awareness and education".
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said in announcing the results: “The ICC has a zero tolerance approach to doping in cricket and remains committed to ensuring cricket remains a drug free sport. The figures clearly indicate that the ICC has an extensive testing program and that both the ICC and its Members have been proactive in creating awareness and educating players on anti-doping issues. Whilst we are confident that the sport of cricket remains free from doping, we are not complacent about such risks and we remain vigilant and have plans to further develop the program in the coming months".
The ICC became a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code in 2006, the number of tests it conducts each year increasing five-fold since then. Over that time "only two tests", both in 2011, resulted in Anti-Doping Rule Violations, but both related to substances provided to players by medical support personnel for the treatment of injuries. The ICC introduced its "whereabouts program" in 2009 to facilitate effective out-of-competition testing.
BCCI WALK-OUT THREATS 'LAUGHABLE',
SAYS FORMER ICC PRESIDENT
Former president of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Ehsan Mani has described claims last week that India had threatened to walk away from the ICC twelve months ago as "laughable" and that he is "astonished that the ICC took this seriously". Speaking in Hyderabad on Saturday, Sanjay Patel the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), told a sports journalists conference his organisation threatened last year to form an alternate version of the ICC unless there was a major restructure in the way the world body operated, changes that were eventually agreed to at a meeting in Dubai in February (PTG 1372-6344, 8 June 2014).
Mani told 'Cricinfo' yesterday that during his term as president from 2003-06 a threat by a full ICC member to withdraw from the world body's events had been thwarted by other full members standing together, however, he refused to divulge the name of the national board he was referring to. This time around the England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket Australia "should have just stopped and thought about what is in the best interest of the game, instead of panicking which they clearly did, and started trying to compromise the organisation". "What they have done is terrible for the governance of world cricket by their very actions", said Mani.
When asked by journalist Sharda Ugra whether the advent of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which began two years after his term as ICC president, had changed the equations within world cricket, Mani said: "If you take out the foreign players from the IPL, it wouldn't be that attractive, it would just be a national tournament being played in India". He said "It's the foreign players that make the difference and what the cricket boards don't appreciate is that without their players or their former players, [the IPL] wouldn't be as attractive for people to come and watch".
"Who produces the players? It is the cricket boards, right?", continued Mani. "They have contracts with their players, so the current players would have found it difficult to break their contracts". "Yes the BCCI might have attracted a few players but, on the other hand, other countries would have had their players on contracts but there would have been big litigations for breach of contract, they would have got stay orders against all their players who would try to come out of existing contracts". "The BCCI would have been liable for huge amount of damages for inducements to break contracts".
Mani also questioned Patel's estimates of the contribution India had made to world cricket revenues, a figure the BCCI secretary put at around seventy-two per cent. "Mr Patel said somewhere that they came up with [that] figure and the ICC came back and said sixty-eight per cent, [but] to my knowledge, this is absolutely not correct", said Mani. He claimed three other ICC member boards had questioned the Australia, England and India on how the figures had been calculated, however, they "were told [the figures] were not up for discussion, you take it or leave it".
The former ICC president said had the BCCI's bluff been called, its own revenues would have reduced considerably "by seventy to eighty per cent because no one would like to see India playing Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and New Zealand day in and day out". "Television channels and broadcasters want high-profile teams, teams that play good cricket to play against India". "It's a two-way thing, it's not a one-way thing", he says.
In January Pakistan-born but now UK resident Mani, along with Malcolm Gray of Australia his predecessor as president, were amongst a number of high-profile individuals who called for the dumping of the 'position paper' that later led to major changes to the way the ICC operates, and a move to the independent governance model recommended by the 2012 Woolf committee (PTG 1278-6156, 28 January 2014). Two weeks later the major thrust of the changes outlined in that paper were agreed to by the ICC board at a special meeting in Dubai (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014).
YORKSHIRE SKIPPER PENALISED
FOR 'SERIOUS DISSENT'
Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale has received a penalty under the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) disciplinary code for showing "serious dissent" at an umpire's decision during his side's County Championship match against Lancashire at Headingley late last month. Gale openly challenged a caught behind decision given against him by umpire Peter Willey, however, he receive a reprieve when Willey reversed his assessment and called him back to the crease (PTG 1364-6588, 28 May 2014).
Gale was reported by Willey and his colleague Ian Gould for a Level 2 breach of the ECB code. Normally he would have received a three point disciplinary penalty for his actions, but as the Headingley incident took place within two years of a previous fixed penalty offence he was docked six points. The Yorkshire skipper had been found guilty of "showing dissent at an umpire's decision" at Headingley in June 2012, Willey also being one of the umpires on that occasion (PTG 953-4632, 26 June 2012). His latest penalty will remain on his record for a period of two years and should he accumulate nine points in that time he will receive an automatic one match suspension.
ICC SILENT ON 'FLAWED', 'INCOMPLETE',
ACSU BANGLADESH INVESTIGATION CLAIMS
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) tribunal that looked at charges of corruption in last year's Bangladesh Premier League (BPL-2) Twenty20 series is reported to have expressed serious concerns about the way the International Cricket Council's ICC's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) handled its investigation into the matter. Last Sunday the tribunal provided the BCB and ICC with the detailed reasoning behind its decision to acquit six and find four others guilty in its report last February (PTG 1373-6638, 10 June 2014), and it is that confidential document that has now been leaked to the 'Cricinfo' web site.
The article, which was written by journalist Mohammad Isam, reports that the tribunal has called the process of the ACSU investigation "flawed and incomplete to the extent that allegations of unfairness could be sustained", or in other words had any of the acquitted six actually had charges laid against them there is a strong probability the cases against them would have been thrown out on appeal. It goes on to say that the "methods of investigations" used by ACSU officers contained "deficiencies", and there was a lack of "protocol or guidelines" with regard to interviewing witnesses and suspects.
The ACSU conducted the investigation into what went on in BPL-2 after having been contracted by the BCB to provide anti-corruption cover for that series. The ICC body's subsequent report last August charged nine with match-fixing related activities, seven of attempting to arrange the outcome of games, and two with failing to report approaches made to them by bookmakers (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2014); a tenth person became embroiled in the investigation late last year.
The 'Cricinfo' story says a key criticism levelled against the ACSU in the BCB tribunal's "59-page report" is that it allowed a BPL game between the Dhaka and Chittagong franchises to proceed even though it had knowledge that arrangements had been made to fix the result, one of four BPL-2 games that media reports say were nobbled in that way. An unnamed ACSU officer, who had been being tipped off by a Dhaka team member on the morning of the game, asked his informant to secretly record a further conversation in order to provide evidence that could be used to prove fixing charges, but he did not otherwise intervene. That recording was subsequently sent to the ACSU in Dubai, however, in contravention of an agreement the ICC had with the BCB, the latter was not told about the information obtained on the Dhaka-Chittagong fix.
Tribunal members Khademul Islam Chowdhury, a former Supreme Court judge, Ajmamul Hossain QC a lawyer, and former player Shakil Qasem, apparently call the ACSU's approach "unfortunate and wrong", for it "allowed the [anti-corruption] code to be breached, and from [this] breach corrupt people must have benefitted" because of the outcome of the game. "How [could] a sports regulator who was under an obligation to prevent corruption in sport allow a corrupt match to take place?", they ask.
The BCB and ICC said in a joint statement issued after the tribunal provided them with its detailed findings on Sunday that they remain "disappointed" about the outcome, however, they "will not make any further comment on this matter" until such time they review the information (PTG 1303-6283, 2 March 2014). The two organisations said in February that when available they would study the tribunal's detailed findings so they can decide whether or not to lodge an appeal against the six acquittals. The tribunal has indicated that they expect to announce the sanctions they plan to hand the four guilty parties next week, a range of bans being available to them under BCB regulations (PTG 1373-6638, 10 June 2014).
The ICC's board decided at its April meeting in Dubai to undertake a review of ACSU operations as a matter of urgency due what it said were the "substantial changes" that have occurred in the sport since the unit was established fourteen years ago (PTG 1348-6516, 8 May 2014). The world body described suggestions by some that the review indicated the ACSU might be failing in its duty to protect the game as "entirely misplaced and inaccurate” (PTG 1350-6530, 11 May 2014). Last month stories appeared in the Bangladesh media that suggested an ACSU officer working there had links with a bookmaker (PTG 1361-6575, 24 May 2014).
When plans for the ACSU review became public, media reports claimed that instead of it reporting to the world body's chief executive officer (CEO) it might instead go straight to the new ICC chairman's position, a role that is currently scheduled to be taken up by India's Narayanswamy Srinivasan who is under an investigations cloud at home (PTG 1372-6634, 8 June 2014), but current ICC CEO David Richardson called speculation about such a change in line control "premature and detrimental". The international player's union has pushed for the ACSU's operations to be "independent" (PTG 1355-6540, 17 May 2014).
GANGULY TO JOIN MCC
WORLD CRICKET COMMITTEE
Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly has been invited to join the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) the World Cricket Committee (WCC) after being approached by current committee chairman, ex-England skipper Mike Brearley. Ganguly, who was last week inducted on to the Indian Supreme Court-appointed inquiry into allegations of corruption in the Indian Premier League (IPL) last year (PTG 1373-6637, 10 June 2014), will be the third Indian captain on the WCC alongside Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble, other former Test captains amongst the MCC group's membership being Charlottee Edwards, Kumar Sangakkara, Andrew Straus, Steve Waugh and Michael Vaughan.
Meanwhile, reports from India yesterday say that senior advocate Nilay Dutta, who along with former Chief Justice of the Punjab Mukul Mudgal and solicitor general L Nageswara Rao make up the Supreme Court's IPL investigative panel, has described Ganguly's role in its work as to "review suspicious cricket 'action' that could have 'deliberately' affected the outcome of a match". Dutta told a Bengali newspaper that Ganguly "will use his experience as an international cricketer to tell the panel whether a particular stroke played or delivery bowled was a spontaneous action or premeditated" and as such "his views will be crucial".
The WCC meets twice yearly to discuss the prevalent issues in the game (PTG 1270-6124, 16 January 2014). Its next meeting is scheduled to be held at Lord's over three days in mid-July, however, Ganguly will not take up his spot until next October, potentially well after his work with the Mudugal committee is expected to have completed its work.
MEDIATION AGREED TO IN WARRNAMBOOL
The Warrnambool Cricket Umpires’ Association (WCUA) in south-west Victoria is reported to have had a "minor win" in its bid to retain control of umpiring appointments and development in the region, says this morning's 'Warrnambool Standard' (PTG 1349-6526, 8 May 2014). News broke in April that the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) planned 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 told the 'Standard' yesterday that they had secured a mediation session with the WDCA "about three weeks ago" and that they expect it to occur, under the auspices of "respected Colac cricket identity" and lawyer Jim Ryan, next week. The WDCA had accepted a request for mediation "after initially resisting" said Cole, whose organisation is happy to have the opportunity to "put our point of view".
WDCA chairman Nick Frampton is said to have been optimistic yesterday that mediation was the right way forward in the search for a solution to the current impasse. Frampton said a two-and-a-half-hour meeting with captains and officials of his association's thirteen clubs last month had convinced the board to enter mediation. "They just want to know they’re going to have umpires come the first Saturday in October [and] we’re going to take a position into mediation that we think is reasonable and more importantly, the clubs think is reasonable".
The "revised" WDCA position, which has “a strong mandate from the clubs”, is said to involve the creation of a subcommittee to look after umpiring that features members of both the WDCA and WCUA. The sub-committee would reportedly ensure "some decision-making power" remained with the WCUA, particularly with regards to umpire appointments. "I’m really hopeful the umpires come with an open mind and can see the best option for their members is to accept this negotiated position", said Frampton.
SEAMER TAKES FOUR WICKETS
IN FOUR BALLS AT TAUNTON
Somerset seamer Alfonso Thomas became the first player since 2011 to take four wickets in four balls in a first class game during his side's County Championship match against Sussex at Taunton on Tuesday. Thomas, 37, bowled James Anyon, trapped Rory Hamilton-Brown LBW, had Ed Joyce caught behind for a hat-trick, and then bowled Matt Machan with the first delivery of his next over, a feat that together with a wicket at the other end in the intervening six balls saw Sussex go from 0/33 to 5/33 in the space of just ten balls.
Thomas is the thirty-eighth player to achieve the feat in a first class match. The last player to take four wickets in successive balls at first class level was Otago fast bowler Neil Wagner in April 2011 in a match against Wellington played in Queenstown. The first ball of his over resulted in a catch, the second, third and fourth saw the batsman bowled, the fifth was let go and the sixth again saw the batsman bowled. Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga became the first bowler to take four wickets in four balls in international cricket in 2007 during a World Cup match against South Africa in Guyana.
SRINIVASAN SET FOR ICC POST AFTER
SUPREME COURT REJECTS BAN PLEA
The Supreme Court of India yesterday refused to hear a request that Narayanswamy Srinivasan, the stood aside president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), be prevented from continuing his work with the International Cricket Council (ICC), including taking up its new chairman's role in two weeks time. The Court ordered Srinivasan from his BCCI position two months ago in relation to Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption queries (PTG 1323-6378, 29 March 2014), and then rejected two appeals from him against their decision (PTG 1360-6567, 23 May 2014), however, precisely why it decided not to intervene with regards to the ICC is not yet clear.
A lawyer for the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) told a two judge Court bench that given its decision to remove Srinivasan from the BCCI in the wake of "serious charges", his client questioned how he could be allowed to continue with the ICC. Reports from the Court say the two judges were "unimpressed" with the arguments put to them, and after reviewing the various orders handed down on IPL matters over the last few months, they concluded “There is no conflict [with regards to the ICC] and our order is clear", thereby declining to hear the CAB plea.
The move to have the Indian powerbroker barred from the ICC came from Aditya Verma, the CAB's secretary, whose organisation has been persuing him through the Court. Verma has also written "several times" to the ICC about the appropriateness of Srinivasan's ICC links (PTG 1347-6509, 7 May 2014), and also to the Prime Minsters of Australia, India and the UK over the matter (PTG 1369-6617, 5 June 2014). He appears to have had no reply to any of his correspondence to date.
At one stage late last month there were indications of moves at the top level of the ICC board to have Srinivasan stand aside from the chairman's role pending the outcome of the investigation being conducted into IPL corruption on behalf of the Supreme Court, however, that initiative appears to have been quickly squashed (PTG 1366-6604, 31 May 2014). The Court-directed IPL investigation is unlikely to conclude before late August at the earliest, some six weeks into Srinivasan's now expected term as the world body's new chairman.
SELF-FUNDED LABORATORY TESTING
CLEARS BOWLER'S ACTION
Karnataka off-spinner Sunil Raju's bowling action has been shown by biomechanical testing carried out at the University of Western Australia (UWA) to involve an elbow extension that is well within the tolerance level of fifteen degrees. Raju, 25, played the last of his twelve first-class games in November 2012 having been reported for a suspect action several times over the last seven years, and was so keen to return to play at that level that he personally paid all expenses involved in the visit to, and three days of testing in, Perth.
Laboratory tests in early March found that both his off-break and 'doosra' are legal. The UWA report says that during its examination Raju “bowled with vigour, flight and turn [and that as such the] assessment is a good representation of his match technique”. The tests showed though that he has a natural hyperextension problem which allows him some leeway in the extension of his elbow.
Raju was first reported for a suspect action during an Under-19 game in 2007. “When I played for India Under-19, there were no problems", said Raju, "but I was reported again in 2008 season". "In 2011, during the Ranji Trophy semi-final against Baroda, I was called on the field during the first innings, however, later that evening, the umpires and match referee [Sudhir Asnani, Subrat Das and Manu Nayyar] saw the footage and felt that there was nothing wrong and allowed me to bowl in the second innings". "Then in 2012, during a Ranji game against Tamil Nadu at Chennai, I was reported again".
“Every time I would get called, I used to lose four to five months of cricket as I could not bowl until my action was cleared". "When I spoke to umpires, they didn’t say I was chucking, they just said that my action was ‘doubtful' ". As a result he decided to approach the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) who in turn asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for permission for him to travel to Australia. That was eventually agreed to provided he paid all the expenses involved.
Raju told 'Wisden India' this week that he has submitted the UWA report to the KSCA and they will forward it to the BCCI and he hopes to be able to return to first class cricket at the earliest opportunity.
SRI LANKANS THE NEUTRALS FOR
BANGLADESH-INDIA ODI SERIES
Sri Lankans Roshan Mahanama and Kumar Dharmasena have been appointed as the neutral match officials for the three One Day Internationals (ODI) Bangladesh and India are to play in Dhaka on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday next week. With the Umpire Decision Review System not in operation Dharmasena will be on the ground in all three games, his on-field and third umpire colleagues being Bangladesh members of the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), Enamul Hoque Moni, Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid and Anisur Rahman.
Moni will be on-field with Dharmasena in matches one and three, Sharfuddoula joining the Sri Lankan in the second game. Sharfuddoula is the third umpire for fixture one and Rahman the second and third, non-IUP members Masudur Rahmann being the fourth umpire for the first two ODIs and Tanvir Ahmed the third.
The series will take Mahanama's tally as a match referee in ODIs to 196 games, Dharmasena to 54, he also having 28 as a television umpire and five as a fourth umpire (54/28/5). Moni's ODI umpiring statistics will move on to 49/9/9, Sharfuddoula 9/26/6 and Rahman 1/13/14, the latter's debut coming last February (PTG 1291-6222, 13 February 2014), while for Masudur Rahmann it will be the nineteenth and twentieth time he has been the fourth umpire in an ODI and Ahmed his sixteenth Mahanama played 213 ODIs before taking up umpiring, Dharmasena 141, Moni 29 and Anisur Rahman two.
Reports from the sub-continent say that the absence of key Indian players for the series has not gone down well with Indian broadcasters and there is a possibility that the three matches will not be televised to audiences in India. Bangladesh's Gazi TV, which has the rights for cricket in Bangladesh (PTG 1357-6555, 20 May 2014), is said to have approached two broadcasters in India, one apparently offering less than $A1 million, while the other is covering the Football World Cup and did not show any interest. Two other India broadcasters could not be approached because, in the words of one report, the Board of Control for Cricket in India "has problems with them".
EUP PAIR, ASPIRANT, TO MANAGE
LORD'S BICENTENNIAL MATCH
English umpires Ian Gould and Richard Kettleborough, both of whom are members of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), will be on-field at Lord's early next month for the one-day match between a Marylebone Cricket Club select and a Rest of the World XI, a fixture that is being held to mark a remarkable 200 years of cricket at the ground.
The third umpire for the game will be Michael Gough, a member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel who is seen by many observers as a potential EUP member in three to four years time. That trio will work with scorers Andy Scarlett and Christine Drew, statistician David Kendix looking after Duckworth-Lewis calculations should they be needed.
REPRIMAND HANDED OUT FOR
Nottinghamshire captain and wicketkeeper Chris Read has been warned about his behaviour by the England and Wales Cricket Board after being reported by umpires Martin Saggers and Alex Wharf during the County Championship match against Yorkshire earlier this week. Read was run out on day one at Headingley after colliding with Yorkshire bowler Steve Patterson, and reports said he "appeared to question" Sagger's decision (PTG 1373-6642, 10 June 2014). The reprimand will remain on Read's record for a period of two years and if he accumulates a total of nine or more penalty points in that time he will receive an automatic one-match suspension.
IRELAND PULL OUT OF
PLANNED PAKISTAN TOUR
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) expressed disappointment yesterday after Ireland cancelled a scheduled tour following this week's militant siege on Karachi airport that left thirty-seven people dead, dashing hopes of reviving international cricket there following a five-year hiatus. A PCB spokesman said arrangements with second-tier team Ireland were close to being finalised "but all efforts have gone in vain again".
"Cricket Ireland and the PCB were in advanced discussions to play three ODIs in Pakistan in September", said spokesman Barry Chambers. "We are obviously very keen to secure as many fixtures as possible against [top-tier sides], and these proposed games would have been very beneficial ahead of the 2015 World Cup".
Pakistan has not hosted a tier-one team since 2009 when buses carrying the Sri Lanka team and match officials were attacked by gunmen in Lahore (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009), and the team since has been forced to play its ‘home' matches at neutral venues, usually in the United Arab Emirates.
APPOINT MORE FEMALE DIRECTORS OR
LOOSE FUNDING, WARNS UK SPORTS MINISTER
Cricket in England is amongst a number of sports that could face cuts in government funding if it fails to appoint more female directors, warns UK Sports Minister Helen Grant. In her first major sports-related interview since being promoted to the Ministry, Grant made it clear that getting more women into decision-making roles was one of her top priorities.
Sports governing bodies have been told that by 2017 at least a quarter of their board members must be female otherwise their funding will "potentially" be at risk. Currently the England and Wales Cricket Board's top committee has two female directors out of a total of fifteen, two short of the ratio the Minister is targeting in three years time.
DHONI SOLE CRICKETER ON
2014 FORBES' SPORTS RICH LIST
Current Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the only cricketer on this years Forbes' Magazine list of the world's hundred highest-paid athletes. Rated number twenty-two on the list, six places lower than last year but still better than his number thirty-one in 2012, the magazine says his total earnings fell over the last twelve months from a total equivalent to $A33.5 million to $A32 million.
Forbes' figures are said to include salaries, bonuses, prize money, appearance fees, as well as licensing and endorsement income. According to it the majority of Dhoni's earnings, $A28 million, came through endorsements. He signed bat sponsorship deals with two leading brands late last year that are reportedly worth a combined $A5 million annually, up from the $A1 million a sports shoe manufacturer was paying him previously.
TEENAGERS RIDING MOTOR
BIKES STOP PLAY
The Houghton Regis club in Bedfordshire says it faces being asked to leave the Bedfordshire Invitation Saturday League (BISL) because "teenagers riding motorbikes across the [turf] pitch" have forced some of their home games to be abandoned. A BBC report yesterday said that at times the bikers have "carved up" the square mid-game, and BISL organisers have told them they could be eliminated from the league if they do not tackle the issue.
Club member Aziz Choudhary told the BBC the "antisocial behaviour is something the council and police should take action on". Bedfordshire Police said resources do not allow for continuous match patrols and it does not provide private event security except for large-scale public gatherings, which organisers pay for. Choudhary said the town council had previously paid for policing but those funds have now run out and as a result the club faces a £35-an-hour charge per officer to be there, a fee for a match of close to £200 ($A360). "I don't know what their [police] priorities and resources are, but this is a very important thing in the local community", said Choudhary.
A police spokesman said officers will continue to "keep an eye on games" where resources allow and will always attend emergency incidents. The local Member of Parliament said he would talk to the police and Central Bedfordshire Council's "antisocial behaviour unit" about how the problem can be solved.
STEALS CLUB EARNINGS
A volunteer in charge of the bar at the Benwell and Walbottle Cricket Club in Newcastle stole £3,123 ($A5,600) over a period of seven months before he was detected. Warren Forrester, 53, who repeatedly lied to the club’s treasurer, telling him the bar wasn’t making any money, was ordered to pay back £2,000 ($A3,600) and put on a twelve-month community order after pleading guilty to one count of theft at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court earlier this week.
A prosecutor told the court that Forrester served as barman between April 2012 until December 2013. “In the first year, he didn’t hand over any money due to a poor cricket season and the cancellation of events which was accepted by the treasurer". “But, in April 2013, the bar started with a £100 float, but when the treasurer contacted Forrester later he again said there was no money, a result that continued for several months until late last year the treasurer contacted the club's chairman who called in police. Forrester was arrested and made a full admission when interviewed.
Forrester's lawyer said he had been desperate for money after being made redundant from his work and that he had become "addicted to gambling; a similar situation to that which occurred in Australia earlier this year (PTG 1327-6403, 4 April 2014). She said "he accepts that, during 2013, he was gambling and he took the money because of that". In sentencing him the judge said: “It beggars belief that any organisation that was receiving money and then suddenly was not, and let it go on for a considerable period of time, didn’t at any stage do a stock check". "People put their trust in this man but the amount of trust they put in him was more than what they should have done".
BANNED BANGLADESH UMPIRE
STANDING IN LA COMPETITION
Bangladesh umpire Nadir Shah, who is serving a ten-year Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) ban, is currently standing in matches in the Southern California Cricket Association (SCCA), a competition that has no formal links with the International Cricket Council (ICC). Shah, who is now 50, was handed the BCB ban fifteen months ago after being found guilty of offering to give decisions to order in games during an undercover operation conducted by journalists from the 'India TV' channel (PTG 1077-5233, 18 March 2013).
Prior to working in SCCA matches, Shah stood in the final of a Twenty20 series played in Los Angeles (LA) last month. That tournament also featured former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful who is currently suspended by the BCB over his part in match fixing activities in last year's Bangladesh Premier League (PTG 1368-6612, 4 June 2014), and who appears likely to learn the length of the suspension that will be handed to him later this week (PTG 1373-6638, 10 June 2014).
Reports say Ashraful was invited by former Bangladesh player and current LA resident Nazim Shirazi to play for his side in the Twenty20 competition. Shah is said to be Shirazi's cousin and like Ashraful he has stayed in LA since that event and is currently umpiring on a weekly basis in the SCCA. The Twenty20 series was officially sanctioned by the United States of America Cricket Association, an Associate Member of the ICC, however, the SCCA is affiliated with the rival American Cricket Federation and so appears out of the ICC's reach.
In June last year and again in March Shah, a former member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, told reporters he had sent a "mercy plea" to the BCB asking that it reduce the term of his suspension (PTG 1307-6302, 7 March 2014), however, as yet no public announcement has been made about the matter by the BCB. In April he indicated he had been denied a visa to visit India for family reasons and that no reason has been given for the rejection (PTG 1341-6482, 30 April 2014).
BCB TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGED
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is to look into allegations all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was involved in an altercation with a spectator during his side's opening One Day International (ODI) against India in Mirpur yesterday. Just what happened is unclear at this stage, Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim saying he didn't know the details, while current BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said "we have heard of an incident which we will look into after the [three-match] series" ends on Thursday.
Shakib was banned for three matches and fined the equivalent of $A4,000 by his own board for "making an inappropriate gesture on live television" during a home ODI against Sri Lanka in February. The ban meant he missed the final ODI of the Sri Lanka series as well as his side's first two games in the Asia Cup the following week (PTG 1297-6258, 23 February 2014). Less than a month later he was fined half of his match fee for his part in an altercation during the opening game of the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series in Mirpur (PTG 1314-6341, 17 March 2014).
CLUB SEEKS APPEAL AGAINST
NO PLAY DECISION
Derbyshire County Cricket League (DCCL) club Mickleover are waiting to hear if they will be allowed to appeal after a league hearing found against them for calling off their second XI side's home game against Ashbourne in late May. The DCCL awarded Ashbourne the maximum twenty-seven championship points after they claimed they turned up for the game to find that a pitch had not been prepared and conditions were otherwise good enough to play.
Mickleover remain convinced they did nothing wrong and told the 'Derby Telegraph' that they are "bemused" by the decision. George Selby, one of three people at the club responsible for preparation of the ground for matches, said he and his colleagues are "hurt" by the implication that they made an unsporting decision and feel the league have not listened adequately to their side of the story.
Selby said: "We know Ashbourne weren't happy about the decision and respect that it's within their rights to take the matter to the league and we really don't want to get into a tit-for-tat argument with them". "The [pitch] wasn't prepared because it had been too wet to get rollers and mowers over to the square [and] there was also an area in front of the score box which was under an inch of water"/ "We called them at 10 a.m. on the day to cancel the game and they told us they intended to come anyway".
He stressed that "I'd just like people to know that we weren't trying to pull a fast one for we take the game seriously and the 'Spirit of Cricket' seriously. "We had eleven lads who were desperate for a game as we'd already had a number of matches called off before this one". "As far as we can see, this is their word against ours and we're bemused that, in those circumstances, we have lost the points".
ECB HANDS CONFESSED
MATCH FIXER A LIFE BAN
Former Sussex player Naved Arif was yesterday banned from cricket for life by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for breaching its anti-corruption code. Pakistan-born Arif, 32, who was charged last month along with team mate Lou Vincent of New Zealand (PTG 1360-6566, 23 May 2014), is reported to have pleaded guilty on tape and via signed statements, to six breaches of the code relating to corrupt activity in connection with a forty-over match Sussex played against Kent in August 2011.
The ECB, which has for first time concluded that the outcome of a county match was fixed, said in a statement yesterday that: "In accordance with the provisions of the ECB Anti-Corruption Code, Mr Arif has accepted an agreed sanction of a life ban from all forms of cricket". Arif, 32, who played for Pakistan A during a 2009 tour of Australia, was released by Sussex two years ago and had been turning out in the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League prior to a temporary suspension that was imposed six weeks ago.
ECB chief executive David Collier called the censure "a very clear message that ECB has a zero-tolerance approach to corruption in cricket and that it will root out and punish those who pose a threat to the game's integrity". According to the ECB: "The terms of the ban will prevent [Arif] from playing, coaching or participating in any form of cricket which is recognised or sanctioned by ECB, the International Cricket Council (ICC) or any other National Cricket Federation".
The now-retired Vincent, 35, who is said to have given the ICC information on "widespread fixing across cricket played in at least five countries" in the period from 2008-12 (PTG 1354-6538, 16 May 2014), is awaiting a decision from the ECB on fourteen charges related to the Sussex-Kent game Arif was involved in, as well as a Sussex-Lancashire Twenty20 fixture the same season. He was banned for three years yesterday by the Bangladesh Cricket Board for offences in last year's Bangladesh Premier League (PTG 1377-6661 below), and is also expected to be charged soon for inappropriate activities in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament of 2012 (PTG 1361-6573, 24 May 2014).
The Sussex-Kent match in question was investigated and cleared by the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, which found insufficient evidence, before the ECB reopened the case in 2012. Sussex, which indicated yesterday that it would be making any comment on Arif's ban, also found no evidence during its own internal investigation.
LENGTHY BANS HANDED
TO BPL 'FIX' PAIR
Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful and the owner of Dhaka Gladiators Shihab Chowdhury were yesterday banned from all cricketing activities for eight and ten years respectively, three years of each being suspended, for match-fixing during the second edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) fifteen months ago. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) tribunal also banned retired New Zealander Lou Vincent for three years and Sri Lankan Kaushal Lokuarachchi eighteen months, for failing to report an approach to them by bookmakers; however, all four are entitled to appeal their respective world-wide bans.
Ashraful, who will also have to pay the BCB a fine of one million Taka ($A13,800), Vincent, Lokuarachchi and Chowdhury, were found guilty by the tribunal three months ago, Ashraful having confessed to fixing, and Vincent and Lokuarachchi to failing to report an approach to them by a bookmaker (PTG 1303-6283, 2 March 2014). Chowdhury is reported to have been captured on tape talking about the fixing of a BPL game between his side and Chittagong, a recording that was made as part of an investigation carried out by the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU).
Much to the BCB and ICC's concern, another six who had been accused were found not guilty by the tribunal in March. Reports last week indicated that was because tribunal members believe BPL corruption investigations carried out by the ACSU were "flawed", and "incomplete", such that the cases the ICC body set out against them last August were unlikely to survive an appeal (PTG 1374-6643, 12 June 2014). The tribunal provided the BCB and ICC with the detailed reasoning behind its findings nine days ago, and they may appeal the six acquittals once they access the tribunal's analysis (PTG 1373-6637, 10 June 2014)
Ashraful, who said in a tearful public confession of his guilt last year that he hoped he would receive a two-year and then return to playing aged 31 (PTG 1118-5437, 6 June 2013), will if he does not appeal or is not successful in any appeal, be 37 by the time he is eligible to take part in cricket sanctioned by a competition that is affiliated with the ICC. At the moment he is playing weekly in a league based in Los Angeles that does not have formal links with the ICC (PTG 1376-6657, 16 June 2014).
Vincent, 35, who has provided information on "widespread fixing across cricket played in at least five countries" (PTG 1354-6538, 16 May 2014), is reported to have retired from the game. Last month the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) charged him and his former Sussex team-mate Pakistani Naved Arif with fixing the outcome of a county match, and he is also expected to also be charged soon for activities in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament in 2012 (PTG 1361-6573, 24 May 2014). Arif was banned for life yesterday over the county match charge (PTG 1377-6660 above).
Lokuarachchi, 32, a former Sri Lankan Test, One Day International and Twenty20 International player, is still active as an all-rounder at first class, List A and Twenty20 level in Sri Lanka. While Ashraful has been suspended from playing in his home country since allegations of match-fixing first arose last year, Lokuarachchi played ten first class, eight List A and six Twenty20 games, two of the latter in last September's Champions League series.
BEM FOR LONG-SERVING SCORER
A scorer in Gloucestershire has received a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to cricket as a volunteer in the latest Queen's Birthday Honours list for the UK. Sue Drinkwater, 52, from Cheltenham, the Gloucestershire Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers' (GACUS) scorer trainer and its web master, has spent three decades training scorers, and while she was "shocked but thrilled" to be given the award, she doesn't think "I do any more work for scorers or cricket than anyone else does".
During her career she has recorded the details of One Day Internationals (ODI), first class, List A, Twenty20, a range of County second XI games, as well as Under-19 Test and ODIs. Last year Drinkwater was presented with an England and Wales Cricket Board's 'Outstanding Services to Cricket Award' at a lunch attended by 400 people at Lord's, GACUS at the time speaking of the "tremendous work that Sue does for scoring in Gloucestershire and indeed further afield".
ENGLAND FINED FOR SLOW
England players have been fined after their side was ruled to be one over short of its over-rate target in last week's Test match against Sri Lanka at Lord’s which ended on Monday. In accordance with International Cricket Council regulations that govern minor over-rate offences, players are fined ten per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time and their captain double that amount, England captain Alastair Cook therefore lost twenty per cent of his match fee and his team mates ten per cent each.
Media reports state that seventeen overs were lost across the five days of the match because of slow overrates, there being "faults lay on both sides". England needed just one wicket to win the game by close of play on the last day.
ECB CONDUCTING SECOND
'GRASS ROOTS' SURVEY
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is again conducting a survey of recreational players and match officials about how they think the game can be improved at "grassroots" level. The ten-minute on-line National Cricket Playing Survey, which was conducted for the first time last year, is open to all players, from Premier League regulars to occasional, midweek social cricketers, and is designed to help the ECB better direct funding of £96m ($A156m) it has made available for community cricket across England and Wales over the four years from 2013-16.
For those who indicate they are involved in umpiring, the survey system throws up a page of questions, including how often the respondent stands in matches, at what level, whether they are involved in "women's and girl's cricket", their ECB Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) membership status, and ACO courses attended. There is also a question that asks former players "why you left the game?", one of the 'tick boxes' provided to choose from being "Poor quality umpiring". General questions seek to find out details of a person's employment status, ethic group, religion or belief and sexual orientation.
ECB chief executive David Collier said in launching the survey: "Last year's survey attracted a fantastic response and our county cricket boards and leagues have already responded with innovative and forward-thinking ideas which will all help attract more people to the sport and make it as inclusive as possible". More than 21,000 current and former players completed the original survey, the first of its kind ever undertaken by the ECB, and the national governing body is said to be acting on the detailed feedback it received. Changes already made include according to the ECB: "new formats, rule changes, different start times, shorter travel distances to matches and greater opportunities for women, girls and people with a disability to play the game".
CHASE AFTER THIEF
Play was stopped in the Lancashire League game between Church and Haslingden on Sunday when players chased a man through nearby fields and woods after he was seen leaving the pavilion with mobile phones he had stolen from a dressing room. Samuel Stanley, 29, of Doncaster, was eventually tracked down using a phone app, and after he pleaded guilty in court the following day to stealing six phones worth £3,050 ($A5,500), he was jailed for three months.
Church wicketkeeper Sam Tucker was about to go in to bat when he "spotted this individual and he was in and out the changing rooms". "When he started to make an exit I went after him" and given "it was a packed ground all the supporters were wondering where the next batsman was hurtling off to". "I alerted the rest of the opposition team who followed me out of the ground and we started a major manhunt through the fields".
Tucker, who still had his helmet on and his bat in his hand during the chase, said that the posse "lost the thief quite quickly, but [a Haslingden] player had GPS tracking technology on his phone so we managed to track one of the phones so we knew we were near him". The thief was eventually spotted and tackled to the ground. Umpires Michael Bibby and Ian Laurence later restarted play and Haslingden, who were second in the league table behind Church, won the match.
SAFETY CONCERNS ABOUT 'FLYING BALLS'
RESULTS IN CROQUET CLUB MOVE
Croquet players with the Worcester Norton club have been given notice to leave their playing areas adjacent to the local Worcester Cricket Club at the end of this northern summer because of what local officials call "safety concerns" posed by the risk of "flying cricket balls", says the 'Worcester News'. However, those involved with the croquet club are more inclined to think the push to remove them is part of an effort to enlarge the cricket ground because "it’s not big enough for the Birmingham Premier League", a competition the club aspires to play in.
The report in the 'News" says that if the cricket area is extended it would mean that balls are less likely to be hit into homes, gardens, conservatories and cars near the ground, damage to which in the past "has saddled the club with hefty bills". Mike Goode, chairman of the overall sports complex at the ground confirmed that, saying his organisation incurs significant costs each year paying for damage to buildings adjacent to the cricket ground, as well as vehicles parked onsite and nearby, and there have also been "a number of near misses" with balls flying over the hedge onto the croquet lawns.
Goode said the decision regarding the croquet lawns, which satellite images show lie some forty metres from the cricket square and are used by a club that has 25-30 members, was taken “with considerable regret" for "the croquet club has been a valued part of the sports club since the 1980s and we have been working with them to help them find a new home", but so far to no avail. "Croquet [is] a quintessentially English past time enjoyed by many regardless of age [that we are] extremely keen to help protect, but it has to be done in a way that is safe and sustainable for all", said Goode.
Justin Davies, the croquet club chairman, said: “Most of them [cricket club members] don’t know what croquet is about and couldn’t care less [as] they’re only interested in their cricket". The 83-year-old, who has arthritic knees, said the sport was one of the few things he was still able to do to keep healthy, and that the oldest player in his club is aged 90.
OWNER LEFT £200 OUT OF POCKET
AFTER BALL SMASHES CAR WINDSCREEN
A driver who parked her car outside a community centre complex in Cambridgeshire adjacent to the Huntingdon and District Cricket Club (HDCC), says she has been left more than £200 ($A360) out of pocket after her windscreen was smashed by a cricket ball. Adele King is, says the 'Cambridge News', "fuming" because both the community centre and the cricket club have denied being liable for the damage to her car.
King said that after discovering the damage she spoke to the community centre and was told they were not liable and was referred to the cricket club. Players she spoke to admitted their ball had damaged the car and they took her details and gave her a contact number for the club chairman Martin Stephenson, who told her and her husband later the HDCC was not liable for the damage.
SACA FINED $A50,000 OVER PLAYER
The South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) has been fined $A50,000 by Cricket Australia (CA), $A20,000 of which has been suspended for three years, for entering into negotiations with potential players for the Adelaide side in CA's domestic Twenty20 competition during an embargo period. SACA sacked its high performance manager Jamie Cox last month because of his “failure to disclose player recruitment negotiations carried out by him” (PTG 1361-6577, 24 May 2014), but the sanction handed to him by CA was limited to banning him from involvement with the Adelaide T20 side during the 2014-15 season and he is free to return after that should he and his now former employer wish.
West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard and former Australian pair Brad Hodge and Mark Cosgrove had all been linked to the Adelaide T20 side under Cox’s watch. CA's integrity unit investigation into the matter found that no other member of SACA's staff, including coach Darren Berry, breached tournament recruitment guidelines. What is effectively a $A30,000 fine is very light compared with amounts of up to $A150,000 reports last month said could be a possibility (PTG 1364-6586, 28 May 2014). In May last year SACA was fined $A15,000 by CA for inappropriate approaches to Victoria and Australia leg-spinner James Muirhead.
Iain Roy, the head of CA's integrity area, a unit that was established just six months ago, said that the national body "acknowledge SACA's co-operation during the course of the unit's investigation", but stressed that CA "is committed to ensuring the contracting rules for all of [its] competitions are adhered to at all times". A number of media reports over the last month have said the type of player approaches Cox lost his job over had been the norm over the three years since CA revamped its T20 series, a period prior to its integrity unit being officially charged with policing the guidelines that apply.
SEAMER FINED AFTER
New Zealand seamer Tim Southee has been fined thirty percent of his match fee as a result of an altercation with West Indies batsman Kirk Edwards on the second day of the Test match in Port of Spain on Tuesday. Southee pleaded guilty to the charge of conduct "contrary to the spirit of the game", a Level One breach that under International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations carries a minimum penalty of an official reprimand and a maximum penalty of half of a player's match fee.
LANKAN TO APPEAL
EIGHTEEN MONTH BAN
Sri Lanka all-rounder Kaushal Lokuarachchi told 'Ceylon Today' on Saturday that he plans to appeal the length of the eigtheen-month ban handed to him by the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) anti-corruption tribunal last week. Lokuarachchi, whose evidence was classed as "not reliable" by the tribunal, was found guilty of failing to report a spot-fixing approach to him by a bookmaker during last year's Bangladesh Premier League series (BPL-2), but he is said to now be claiming that approach was made to him by one of the owners of his BPL team the Dhaka Gladiators.
Lokuarachchi told 'Ceylon Today' that he rejected the 'spot fix' approach made to him a few hours before the start of his side's match against Chittagong in early February 2013, a game that the International Cricket Council (ICC) is said to have known beforehand was going to be fixed (PTG 1374-6643, 12 June 2014). "[The owner of the team] asked me to give away fourteen runs off the seventeenth over [of Chittagong's innings which was] to be bowled by me [but he] straightaway said 'no'. Then the [chief executive officer] of the team approached me and asked me to do it. I again said 'no' ". The owner of the team was Salim Chowdhury and its chief executive officer Gaurav Rawat, both of whom were found not guilty of corruption by the BCB's BPL tribunal (PTG 1371-6628, 7 June 2014).
Dhaka captain Mohammad Ashraful, who was part of the 'fix', called upon leg spinner Lokuarachchi to bowl the seventeenth over of the Chittagong innings as planned, however, details of the match available on line show he gave away only three runs in that over, at the same time capturing two wickets. The Sri Lankan said "In the dressing room [after the Chittagong innings] the owner threatened me and said I should not tell anyone what happened. Naturally I was very upset. As you see it was not a bookie who approached me, but an owner of the team, who provided me accommodation. So I kept mum". Despite being in good form with the ball Lokuarachchi was not selected for the side in its seven remaining matches of BPL-2.
Lokuarachchi's lawyer Dinal Philips told 'Ceylon Today' that: "The entire judgment is a shocker as Lokuarachchi has fully cooperated with the ICC all along" and "the punishment is far and excessive for a first time offender". Lokuarachchi went on to question the credibility of the tribunal and said if he had not told the truth he could have averted trouble. "I've a serious doubt about these officials in the tribunal. In the first place they didn't accept my statement. I told the truth and faced the consequences. I'm quite ready to accept the punishment if I had been approached by a bookie and I kept silent. But it was the owner of the team".
Sri Lanka Cricket's chief executive officer Ashley de Silva is said to have indicated that his organisation is yet to hear anything official from either the ICC or BCB regarding Lokuarachchi's ban.
CLUB SCORER CHALKS UP 700TH
CONSECUTIVE FIRST XI GAME
Ivor Chaplin, a scorer with the Brentham Cricket Club in west London, recorded the details of his 700th consecutive Middlesex County Cricket League (MCCL) match on Saturday. Chaplin, who joined the club fifty years ago has been scoring for its first XI since 1966, has scored every MCCL match Brentham have ever played, a record that stretches back to 1972, while his overall scoring record is now says the England and Wales Cricket Board, in the order of 1,880 games.
Due to his commitment as the club's statistician Brentham has been able to award numbered caps to every player who has represented the first XI in the MCCL, the scorer himself having been given the honour of cap number '0'. During the tea interval at the club's home ground on Saturday a special presentation was made to him and the score box, which has recently been renovated, was re-dedicated in his name. Chaplin is also a vice-president of the MCCL, a title given to him in recognition of his long service to the game, as well as a Life Vice President and an Honorary Life Member of his club.
KIWI OFF-SPINNER'S ACTION
REPORTED AS 'SUSPECT'
New Zealand batsman and part-time off-spinner Kane Williamson has been reported for a suspected illegal bowling action during the second Test against the West Indies in Trinidad last week. Umpires Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth and Rod Tucker, and match referee Chris Broad, have told New Zealand team management they were concerned about a number of Williamson's deliveries they considered to be suspect and believe his action needs to be tested.
Williamson bowled almost sixteen overs for one wicket in Port of Spain. Under International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations his bowling action will now need to be tested within twenty-one days, however, he can continue to bowl in international cricket until the results are known. The third and deciding Test of the series between the two sides is due start in Barbados on Thursday.
New Zealand's head coach Mike Hesson told a radio station that the report was not "completely unexpected" because of what he suggested is a "clampdown" on suspect bowling actions by the ICC which "if that's the case, then I applaud [the move]". The ICC's Cricket Committee, which met in Bangalore two weeks ago, said that in its assessment there are "a number of bowlers" currently employing suspect actions in international cricket and the ICC's suspect action reporting and testing procedures was at that stage not adequately scrutinising them (PTG 1371-6630, 7 June 2014).
Hesson said Williamson did not bowl the 'doosra' or the quicker one and that the player was "miffed" at the timing of the report, but hoped that the ICC would show consistency in reporting bowlers for suspect actions. After New Zealand's Caribbean tour ends in two weeks time, Williamson is to join Yorkshire for the remainder of county season and is expected to have his action tested in Loughborough sometime in the first half of July.
CAIRNS NOT IN THE
THE CLEAR JUST YET
Contrary to reports by at least one media outlet, former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns is not yet in the clear over match-fixing allegations levelled against him by former team-mates, according to Fairfax News yesterday. Cairns has stressed his innocence on a number of occasions and been 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" (PTG 1366-6660, 31 May 2014).
Quoting what it called "senior sources", London's 'Daily Telegraph' reported last week that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) would not charge Cairns with match-fixing offences. Fairfax said yesterday though that it understands the 'Telegraph' "may have jumped the gun in stating the ECB's position", and that the ECB is waiting to see what the UK Metropolitan Police, who have interviewed Cairns, will do, and that in addition "there is also a separate anti-corruption probe being undertaken by the International Cricket Council (ICC)".
BCB LOOKS INTO ALTERCATION BETWEEN
PLAYER AND SPECTATOR
Bangladesh all-rounder Sakib al Hasan has admitted that he made a mistake by leaving the dressing room during a rain break in last Tuesday's One Day International against India in Dhaka only to be involved in a scuffle with a spectator (PTG 1376-6658, 16 June 2014). Dhaka newspapers reported yesterday that Sakib was involved in an altercation with a man who had allegedly been harassing his wife.
Sakib, who insists he did raise his hand or hit the man, told reporters he "was not aware that leaving the dressing room was against the rule [so the] fault is mine". Police are said to have arrested a man the following day but released him after he was granted bail. Sakib filed a formal complaint against him and three others unnamed persons a day after the incident.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) conducted a hearing into the incident yesterday and is to advise Sakib of its decision on the matter once it receives his team manager's report.
KENYAN STANDS IN COUNTY
SECOND XI GAMES
David Odhiambo of Kenya, a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel (AAIUP), appears to have been standing in a number of County second XI matches in England over the last few weeks. Odhiambo, 38, was in Kidderminster last week for three-day and one-day games between the Worcestershire and Glamorgan second XIs, in Coventry before that for similar fixtures played by the Warwickshire and Durham second XIs, and in Radlett before that for matches between the Middlesex and Essex second XIs.
ICC REVAMP TO BE FORMALISED AT
WORLD BODY'S ANNUAL CONFERENCE
The revamp of International Cricket Council (ICC) operations engineered by the national boards of Australia, England and India over the last twelve months, and agreed by the ICC board in February (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014), is to be formalised during the ICC's Annual Conference week which is due to get underway in Melbourne today. A total of eight separate meetings of a variety of committees will be held over the next five days culminating with that of the ICC board after which amendments to the world body's 'Memorandum and Articles of Association' will come into force.
The ICC says that in addition to the revamp, that incorporates appointment of the new ICC Chairman, a role that is expected to be filled by India's Narayanswamy Srinivasan (PTG 1380-6677 below), other matters to be covered during the week are consideration of the recommendations on cricket and development issues from recent committee meetings, such as that of its Cricket Committee (PTG 1371-6629>6633, 7 June 2014), and discussions of an annual report from the chairman of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, a group that is currently being reviewed (PTG 1380-6678 below).
Oman's request to become an ICC Associate, or second-tier member, will be evaluated, a new ICC President will be elected to a two-year term, there will be briefings on the status of preparations for next year's one-day format World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and of work being carried out on the new post-2015 commercial rights strategy, the primary focus of which is a new television rights deal.
Today will see two meetings underway, one the Chief Executives Committee which consists of the administrative heads of the ICC's ten Full member countries plus three representatives of Associate members which will run until tomorrow night, and the other a one-day gathering of persons whose task is to look after the interests of the ICC's thirty-seven Associate and fifty-nine Affiliate Members.
Three meetings are scheduled on Thursday-Friday, they being of the ICC's Governance Review Committee, its powerful Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee and Human Resources and Remuneration Committee, with the Annual Conference itself listed for Thursday. On Friday and Saturday the ICC board will meet as will the board of ICC Development International, the world body's commercial arm.
SRINIVASAN CONTINUES ON TRACK
FOR NEW ICC CHAIRMAN SPOT
Narayanswamy Srinivasan, the suspended chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), remains on track to take up the International Cricket Council's (ICC) newly created chairman position when the ICC's Annual Conference week ends in Melbourne on Saturday. Media reports from the sub-continent yesterday say that the BCCI has sent "final confirmation" to the ICC that what one newspaper called "its President-in-exile" will be its candidate for the new chairman's spot, a role that has been created as part of the major revamp of ICC operations that are expected to be endorsed later this week (PTG 1380-6676 above).
Srinivasan, who has been stood down as BCCI president by India's Supreme Court pending an examination of 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption-related issues, was unanimously reelected as the head of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) on Sunday for the fourteenth consecutive year. In addition to that, all of the TNCA's office bearers and executive committee members were elected unopposed for the tenth-straight year, a situation that suggests they are either very good at their jobs, no one else amongst the state's 73 million population is interested, or opportunities for others to join the board are somewhat limited.
Some countries are said to have concerns about Srinivasan taking the chaiman's post before the IPL corruption probe has finished and Cricket Australia's chairman Wally Edwards is reported to have sought assurances from the Indian powerbroker that there will be no surprises when it does. "We respect the right of each nation to nominate their representative on the ICC but with that comes great responsibility to ensure representatives comply with the standards required to govern the game", said Edwards recently.
"I have been assured by Mr Srinivasan, legally and by ICC management, that there is nothing preventing the BCCI putting him forward as a candidate for chairman", continued Edwards, who is "confident that Mr Srinivasan can play an important role in strengthening world cricket". Noted Australian journalist Gideon Haigh described Srinivasan in this year's edition of 'Wisden' as "not simply cricket's most powerful figure, but the most powerful figure cricket has ever known".
CHANGES TO ACSU LINE
CONTROL IN THE WIND?
The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) will be reporting to the ICC's new 'Executive Committee' and not its chief executive as at present, if reports circulating in the media about the current review of ACSU operations are correct. The decision to examine the way the ACSU functions was taken at the ICC's last board meeting in April, representatives of Australia, England and India plus current ICC chief executive David Richardson reportedly making up the review group (PTG 1348-6516, 8 May 2014), which is not expected to complete its work for another month.
The Executive Committee, or 'ExCo' as it is often referred to, will be formally established during this week's ICC Annual Conference gathering in Melbourne, and comes about as part of the revamp of ICC operations engineered by senior members of the national boards of Australia, England and India agreed to in February (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014). Its role was described earlier this year as: "the sole recommendation committee on all constitutional, personnel, integrity, ethics, development and nominations matters".
Last month, Richardson said that the ACSU, which is reported to have an annual budget of around $A6 million, ?remains a world leader in the fight against corruption in sport, and has done some outstanding work since its inception" fourteen years ago. He emphasised that the ICC is "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" (PTG 1350--6530, 11 May 2014).
Around the same time the international player's union said 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 (PTG 1355-6540, 17 May 2014). Two weeks ago a Bangladesh Cricket Board tribunal was highly critical of the ACSU's investigation of Bangladesh Premier League corruption (PTG 1374-6643, 12 June 2014).
CA chairman Wally Edwards will head up the ICC's ExCo until he retires next year, but whilst in that role he will report to an ICC board that is expected to be headed by Narayanswamy Srinivasan of India who, if as expected planned constitutional changes to the ICC are ratified at its Annual Conference this week, will occupy the new ICC chairman position (PTG 1380-6677 above).
CSA INCREASES 'COLOURED', 'BLACK'
DOMESTIC TEAM MEMBER QUOTAS
Cricket South Africa's (CSA) franchise sides must play at least five players "of colour" in their teams, including a minimum of two black Africans, from the start of next season under a decision taken by CSA's Board of Directors on Friday. In addition, regional teams playing in CSA's second-tier semi-professional competitions will have to field at least six players of colour, three of whom must be black Africans (PTG 1350-6529, 11 May 2014).
CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat told reporters after the meeting that: “CSA is determined to grow the pool of black African players by ensuring there is quality playing opportunities for such players in all forms of cricket”. “Having studied the results from last season’s experience, we have decided to increase the minimum number of players of colour by one". “It is a fact that we have still not succeeded in unlocking the vast cricket talent among black African people and next season we will expect the affiliate and franchise presidents, chief executives and their coaches to assume direct responsibility to do so.”
Overall the figure for players of colour in general has been raised by one as has the required number for black Africans over the regulations that applied last austral summer, but the incentive-based scheme for encouraging the selection of black Africans that applied then has been ditched. A lower levels of the game the South African side that won this year's Under-19 World Cup had eight players of colour, four being black Africans, amongst its fifteen-man squad (8/4/15), while the four-day game senior 'A' side touring party to Townsville in early August has 9/5/15, while the 'A' one-day group that will visit Darwin in late July has 10/4/15.
Jesse Chellan, the chief executive of the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union, told reporters he was not surprised by the decision as it is part of CSA’s "transformation drive [to increase] the number of black Africans playing at higher levels". He said that from the point of view of his Dolphins franchise the target of five players of colour was not an not a problem" as they have often played such players in their teams anyway, however, he described increasing the number of black African players in his team as "a challenge".
The Dolphins have just lost fast bowler Mthokozisi Shezi who was signed by the Cobras in the off-season, leaving just one black player, Khaya Zondo, who has significant franchise experience. "We’ve got a good pool of African players but they’re very young and inexperienced [therefore] we’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of us this winter to prepare the guys", said Chellan, who indicated the Dolphins would be investigating the usefulness of a loan system whereby one franchise can loan out a player if they are not using him themselves.
Other matters discussed at CSA's board meeting in Johannesburg included the future sustainability and growth of the game in that country with CSA management presenting a new operating model to ensure sustainable advancement of the game in future. The board's chairman and CSA president Chris Nenzani said that "we cannot sit back and do nothing while the sustainability and growth of the game is under threat", and the "new model is intended to guide CSA, its affiliates, associates, franchises and stadia on how to optimally apply and allocate its resources to deliver on its strategies whilst sustaining itself in the process".
As part of those efforts the board agreed in principle to a proposal to introduce a new knock-out style Twenty20 competition while at the same time reducing the number of first class matches played by the semi-professional teams in CSA's second-tier competition from thirteen to ten. The T20 series will be contested by all of the CSA's provincial affiliates and consideration will also be given to inviting teams "from several African countries".
CSA also decided on Friday to more than double the number of national professional contracts awarded to members of its national women’s squad. Lorgat said that “Last season we had for the first time awarded contracts to six of our top women players and together with the intensive training program at the High Performance Centre, this played a major role in the impressive results we achieved at the World Twenty20 when we reached the semi-finals". “We will now increase the number of national contracts to fourteen which will enable us to have a full-time professional squad of players".
CA SCHEDULES THREE MORE
DAY-NIGHT SHIELD FIXTURES
Cricket Australia (CA) has scheduled a round of day-night Sheffield Shield first class matches in the first half of November, a move it flagged earlier this year as part of a continuation of the trial of balls and playing conditions that might see its national side play the first ever day-night Test against New Zealand in November next year (PTG 1310-6321, 11 March 2015). Media reports are suggesting that Adelaide is currently be the most likely venue for such a Test with Hobart also "a possibility".
Last March, CA played a similar round of Shield matches for the first time in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne with the same teams playing each other as will be the case in five months time. The three round two games this coming November, start times of which are yet to be announced, will see South Australia play New South Wales in Adelaide, Tasmania and Victoria in Hobart, and Western Australia and Queensland in Perth.
Earlier this month the International Cricket Council's Cricket Committee "noted that development of the pink ball was ongoing" and that it was "encouraged by the recent interest shown by a number of countries in playing day-night Test matches", a comment clearly in reference to Australia and New Zealand (PTG 1371-6633, 7 June 2014).
CA also announced yesterday that its one-day domestic series this austral summer will again be played in tournament format in October, the twenty-three match, twenty-three day event taking place across two grounds in Brisbane and four in Sydney and feature an extra round of games than last year's series. Last year, when the tournament approach was taken for the first time, all of the matches were played at suburban grounds in Sydney. Details of the scheduling for CA's domestic Twenty20 competition are expected to be released "in a few days".
ITALIAN PAIR REPRIMANDED
Damian Crowley and Carl Sandri of Italy have been reprimanded for separate Level 1 breaches during their side’s match against Oman on the opening day of the World Cricket League Division 4 tournament in Singapore on Saturday. The pair were found to have shown "dissent at an umpire’s decision during an international match".
The charge against Crowley related to an incident in the twentieth over of the Italy innings when as the non-striker he hit his bat into the ground following the umpires’ decision that the batsman on strike was out. Sandri's incident came in the 30th over when he delayed leaving the crease after being given out. Both players admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Steve Bernard of Australia, therefore there was no need for a formal hearing to be conducted.
CEC RESTATES CRICKET
Boundary sizes, the search for a better balance between bat and ball, illegal bowling actions and the development of the Future Tours Program (FTP) for internationals up until 2023, the first three of which were highlighted by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee earlier this month, appear to be the key items discussed by the ICC's Chief Executive Committee (CEC) in Melbourne over the last few days. The two-day CEC gathering is one of a number of meetings that make up the ICC's Annual Conference week which today is expected to see India's Narayanaswami Srinivasan formally installed as the world body's new Chairman (PTG 1380-6677, 24 June 2014).
ICC's general manager of cricket Geoff Allardice said yesterday that "with the way bats are performing these days, and the way the batsmen are hitting the ball, sometimes mis-hits are carrying for six and there is concern that that balance is a bit skewed at the moment". During a Twenty20 international in Hobart last summer when twenty-two sixes were hit for example, the shortest distance to the rope was fifty-six metres. ICC regulations currently put the maximum boundary distance for its matches at ninety yards.
"With constant advances in bat technology, the size of grounds is one of the few things match referees can control, although the ICC will monitor the evolution of bats over the next two years", said Allardice. Concerns that "increasingly powerful batsmen with increasingly powerful bats" have been raised on a number of occasions over the last half-decade, bat thickness being seen by many as the key factor involved (PTG 1140-5523, 5 July 2013). The Marylebone Cricket Club has been conducting research into developments in cricket bat design, particularly the improved performance of today’s thicker bats, for several years, and the ICC's Cricket Committee said three weeks ago it "will be keeping a close watch on the performance of cricket bats moving forward" (PTG 1371-6631, 7 June 2014).
In terms of illegal actions Allardice repeated the Cricket Committee's assessment that "there’s enough bowlers with suspect actions that should be being scrutinised that probably haven’t been". Long-serving Australian spinner Brad Hogg said earlier this year he was “bamboozled how some blokes are getting reported for [their actions] and others aren’t”. Over the last three weeks Sri Lankan off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake (PTG 1367-6608, 3 June 2014) and New Zealand part-timer Kane Williamson (PTG 1379-6672, 23 June 2014), have been reported for suspect actions. Allardice indicated that the situation will be reviewed over the next few months and a new report with recommendations will be submitted to the next ICC CEC meeting in October.
CEC discussed on-going FTP development over the last few days and Allardice said there was “genuine respect” among members, including India, to ensure they play against all fellow Test-playing nations instead of focusing on the most lucrative series. The program is expected to be finalised within the next two months, once bilateral negotiations between members are finished. Allardice said there would be an even mix between all forms of the game but that "balancing those three formats has been a bit of a challenge".
FOUR REPRIMANDED AFTER WCL-4 MATCH
Four players, Michael Pedersen and Amjad Khan of Denmark, and Amir Ali and Munis Ansari of Oman, have been reprimanded for separate Level 1 disciplinary breaches during their sides' encounter on day four of the World Cricket League Division 4 (WCL-4) series in Singapore on Tuesday. Italian pair Damian Crowley and Carl Sandri were reprimanded for showing "dissent at an umpire’s decision during an international match" during the opening day of the event last Saturday (PTG 1380-6681, 24 June 2014).
Pedersen, Denmark's captain, was reprimanded for a slow over rate, his side being ruled to be two overs short of its target after time allowances were taken into consideration. His teammate was cited for "several incidents" during Oman's innings that involved "swearing at the opposition", conduct that was deemed either contrary to the spirit of the game or bringing the game into disrepute. The two Omanis were both found to have each "shown dissent at an umpire's decision during an international match", Ali delaying leaving the wicket after being given out by the umpire, while Ansari "spoke to the umpire in an aggressive manner" after an LBW appeal was turned down.
According to a press release issued by the International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday, the players admitted the offences and accepted the sanctions proposed by match referee Steve Bernard of Australia. The charges against the four were brought by on-field umpires Ruchira Pallyaguru of Sri Lanka and Ahmad Shah Durrani of Afghanistan plus reserve umpire Allan Haggo of Scotland.
Under ICC regulations Level 1 breaches carry a penalty of a warning/reprimand and/or the imposition of a fine up to fifty per cent of the applicable match fee. While players involved in men's Tests, One-Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals are fined for slow over rate offences, those taking part in other internationals cannot be sanctioned financially.
FORMER AUSTRALIAN TEST UMPIRE DIES
Former Australian international umpire Rex Whitehead died on Thursday after suffering a massive stroke. Whitehead, 65, had a relatively brief four years in higher-level cricket, standing in fifteen first-class matches, four of them Tests, plus fifteen List A games, fourteen being One Day Internationals, and a single women’s Test, in the period from 1979-83.
The first of his four Tests, a match between Australia and India at the Sydney Cricket Ground that saw him become his country’s seventy-second Test umpire, came at age of thirty-two in only his second season at first class level and was in fact just his sixth first class fixture. He stood in all three Tests during that tour and was involved in the infamous walk-out by then Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar during the final game in Melbourne.
Whitehead gave Gavaskar out LBW in India’s second innings, a decision that the batsman disagreed with as he indicated he had hit the ball. As he walked from the ground the Indian captain decided to take his opening partner Chetan Chauhan with him in a sign of a protest at the decision. “Gavaskar reckoned he’d hit it, but I was at square-leg and knew that he hadn’t”, said Mel Johnson his umpiring partner that day.
Australian captain Greg Chappell is said to have asked Whitehead and Johnson "What happens now?” and Johnson said: "Well, there’s a set of laws that we’ve got to follow and if he doesn’t want to play by them then the match is forfeited”. Whitehead’s retort is said to have been: ‘I’m not standing out here in a Test match to see the game forfeited. Let’s get them back out on the field one way or another”. “Fortunately, Indian manager [Shahid Durrani] pushed Chauhan back out and Dilip Vengsarkar [India’s number three] came with him”, said Johnson, who put the resumption “down to [Whitehead’s] determination to not let the game end in a forfeit”.
“You can always say they were good after they’ve died”, said Johnson, before emphasising that “[Whitehead] really was a class umpire [who took his role] very, very seriously”. "He hated making mistakes, as we all do, but he was just a beaut to work with”.
‘BIG THREE’ TAKE UP KEY ICC ROLES
Narayanswamy Srinivasan was confirmed as the chairman of International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday after the organisation’s fifty-two member full council approved changes to the ICC’s constitution at its Annual Conference in Melbourne (PTG 1380-6676, 24 June 2014). The revamp, which alters the way the ICC operates, was engineered by the national boards of Australia, England and India over the last twelve months (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014), and now sees Srinivasan, Cricket Australia (CA) chairman Wally Edwards, and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke, in key positions across a range of influential ICC sub-committees.
Srinivasan told journalists on Thursday that “It is an honour to be confirmed as the chairman of the [ICC and that he] will leave no stone unturned in trying to strengthen the pillars and foundations of our sport, both on and off the field”. “I want to ensure that cricket retains and grows its popularity, and that the ICC plays a leading role in this global growth”. “I want to see more strong teams in international cricket, but for this to be achieved, we all need to work hard to develop local talent in our countries”.
The sixty-nine-year-old industrialist and now new ICC chairman, who was stood down as head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) by India’s Supreme Court three months ago because he is being investigated in relation to 2013 Indian Premier League corruption issues (PTG 1323-6378, 29 March 2014), again stressed he had not been involved in any irregularities.
Even though he lost two appeals to the Court (PTG 1360-6567, 23 May 2014 ), Srinivasan claimed that he, and not the Court, had made the decision to stand down, that he’d “done nothing wrong, my conscience is very clear and there is no taint on me”. He also denied that the BCCI had threatened to “walk away” from the ICC as claimed by his home board’s secretary Sanjay Patel earlier this month (PTG 1372-6634, 8 June 2014), and Edwards before that (PTG 1314-6340, 17 March 2014).
The handing of the majority of the powers and revenue to the sport’s so-called “big three” nations is reflected in the membership of the ICC’s senior committees that will formulate and take key issues to the full board: the new Executive Committee (Ex-Comm); and the powerful Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee (FCAC). Clarke, Edwards and Srinivasan have key roles across both those groups, and the latter is also directly involved in the work of most of the other ICC sub-committees.
As flagged previously, Ex-Comm will be chaired by Edwards and include Clarke, Srinivasan, with the president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) David Cameron, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board Najam Sethi, being chosen to work with them, current ICC chief executive David Richardson joining in an ex-officio capacity. Clarke heads up FCAC, that group having as its members Edwards, Srinivasan, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan and Sri Lanka Cricket president Jayantha Dharmadasa, plus Richardson again an ex-officio member.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) director Martin Snedden will head up the Governance Review Committee (GRC) which will have Zimbabwe Cricket's (ZC) Peter Chingoka, the BCCI’s Patel, Singapore's Imran Khawaja, and the BCB’s Hassan as members, plus both Srinivasan and Richardson who will attend in ex-officio capacities.
Srinivasan will be a busy man because in addition to work with Ex-Comm, the FCAC and GRC, he will also chair the ICC Development Committee whose task is to grow the game beyond its traditional boundaries. That group will include ZC's Chingoka, the WICB’s Cameron, NZC’s Snedden, plus the three ICC Associate Member representatives on the world body's Board, the three Associate Member representatives on the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee, and the Affiliate Members' Global Representative. Richardson and the ICC's Head of Global Development Tim Anderson will be ex-officio members.
Richardson, whose term as ICC chief executive was last week extended for two more years, will also be busy as he will also head the group that is to review anti-corruption processes and resources at international and domestic level (PTG 1380-6678, 24 June 2014 and 1382-6687 below). That panel, whose Terms of Reference was agreed to last week, is to include ECB chief executive David Collier, BCCI representative Sundar Raman, CA chief executive James Sutherland, and what is described as "an independent expert”.
While officials from nine of the ten ICC full members were appointed to the world body's committees at the Annual Conference, those from Cricket South Africa (CSA) do not feature at all. Just why that should be so is not entirely clear, however, the BCCI’s approach to its dealings with CSA over the past year have been somewhat confrontational (PTG 1296-6254, 22 February 2014), but as yet Srinivasan’s elevation to the ICC’s most powerful job has not overcome that.
Also on Thursday, Bangladesh’s Mustafa Kamal became the ICC’s eleventh president replacing Alan Issac of New Zealand for a two-year term on the same date his national side played its first Test match in 2000. He said he looks "forward to working with the ICC board and management, and will be delighted to contribute in any way I can”. "In Mr Srinivasan and David Richardson, I have absolute trust and confidence that we have a combination that will not only strengthen our sport, but will also take this great organisation to a new level”.
ICC BOARD AGREES TO MINOR CHANGES
TO INTERNATIONAL PLAYING CONDITIONS
Changes to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) articles of association and appointment of members to its various sub-committees dominated the world body's Annual Conference in Melbourne last week, if media reporting that summarised the outcomes of the event is any guide (PTG 1382-6685 above). By week’s end though the ICC board also “noted” or agreed to a range of positions put to it by lower committees, three of which related to the Playing Conditions that will apply to the international game from this October, however, there are likely to have also been a range of other decisions about which no publicity was or will be given.
Under changes agreed to, a bowler who has spent time off the field in a Test will be allowed to resume bowling after he has either spent the same period of time on the field as he spent off it, or he has been back on the field for thirty overs, whichever occurs first. In addition, five minutes will be added to the time in which an innings in a Twenty20 International (T20I) has to be bowled in, 85 rather than 80 minutes now being allowed; while the trial that allows a "top-up" of unsuccessful player Umpire Decision Review System reviews after 80 overs will be extended for another twelve months (PTG 1191-5741, 19 September 2013).
The Board noted "with concern” advice from the ICC’s Cricket Committee about the number of bowlers with suspected illegal bowling actions currently playing in internationals cricket (PTG 1371-6630, 7 June 2014). It also noted the recommendations from that group and the Chief Executives Committee to revise processes to encourage umpires and referees to identify suspect bowlers, and to allow for ongoing scrutiny of bowlers once they have been identified under ICC procedures. The view that international venues "must be set up to their maximum possible boundary dimensions, as per the playing conditions, to help maintain an appropriate balance between bat and the ball”, was also supported (PTG 1381-6682, 26 June 2014).
Netherlands and Nepal, both of whom qualified for the World Twenty20 Championship in Bangladesh earlier this year, were given T20I “status". That means there are now eight ICC Associate sides with T20I status, the other six being Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Ireland, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and the United Arab Emirates who already have that status as they play One Day Internationals.
It was also agreed that the USA Cricket Association (USACA) was the ICC’s recognised member for that country and approved the Development Committee’s recommendation that Oman Cricket should become the thirty-eighth Associate Member of the ICC. The suspension of the Affiliate Membership of Brunei and the removal of Tonga as an Affiliate Member was also confirmed.
“Significant progress" made on the international Future Tours Program (FTP) through to 2023 was noted by the board who "expressed satisfaction" that there "was now more certainty around long-term scheduling with a reasonable balance between home and away matches for all ten [ICC full member] teams as well as between the three formats. It was agreed those ten "must sign all bilateral [FTP] agreements through to 2023 before the next ICC meeting in October”.
CORRUPTION IN GAME ‘NOT
WIDESPREAD’, SAYS ICC CEO
David Richardson, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) chief executive officer (CEO), says that recent high-profile reports of corruption within the game are not symptomatic of a widespread problem. Richardson told a media conference following the ICC’s Annual Conference in Melbourne that the world body's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) had performed a significant role in recent years in preventing the spread of spot and match fixing.
News of corruption in the game, which had centred on last year’s Indian Premier League and Bangladesh Premier League competitions, has spread over the last few months after allegations made by former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent became public. Richardson said that while he understood such widely reported instances might lead people to fear corruption was spreading within the game, he was confident that a vast majority of top-level cricket and cricketers were free from the taint of illegal bookmakers and corrupt practices.
“The [ICC's] strategy for dealing with attempts to match and spot fix games by a large number of bookies that travel the world trying to corrupt players is education [of players], prevention and disruption” of illegal activities, said Richardson, who is to head a review of ACSU activities and operations over the next few months (PTG 1382-6686 above). "Probably if you look at the state of things today you can count on one hand the number of on-going investigations and even with that small number it’s doubtful whether more than one or two will result in charges being laid”.
“To me that’s reflective of the current state of corruption”. “Of course it’s [always] a threat”, he continued, and "wherever cricket is played, and we have to ensure we disrupt all their efforts to corrupt or umpires or groundsmen or whoever”. Richardson said the recent cases that attracted widespread media coverage might actually have further helped the ICC’s anti-corruption investigators in dealing with match and spot fixing. He said in the wake of those cases a number of players had approached ACSU staff to report the most innocuous of contact with people outside the game in order to make sure that all potential approaches were reported.