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                      AUGUST 2014
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 19 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 6784-6879)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below

1,404  1,405  1,406  1,407  1,408  1,409  1,410  1,411  1,412  1,413  1,414  1,415  1,416  1,417  1,418  1,419  1,420  1,421  1,422


1,404 -1 August  [6784-6787]

• Jail terms for match-fixing included in NZ legislation  (1404-6784).

• India has video evidence of Anderson-Jadeja incident, claims newspaper (1404-6785).

• Worcestershire Kiwi reprimanded for showing dissent   (1404-6786).

• Flying ants cause match to be abandoned  (1404-6787).

1,405 - 4 August [6788-6790]

• ‘$A450K’ later, Anderson-Jadeja cleared of Trent Bridge misconduct   (1405-6788).

• Banned players support jail term legislation  (1405-6789).

• Perceived umpire-related snub leads to BCCI VP resignation (1405-6790).

1,406 - 5 August [6791-6797]

• New Zealand’s Gaffaney named for Test debut   (1406-6791).

• No censure yet for batsman's angry reaction to LBW decision (1406-6792).

• Review of ICC Code of Conduct regulations needed, says commissioner (1406-6793).

• ‘Official warning’ given to Trent Bridge for ‘poor’ Test pitch    (1406-6794).

• Eight appointed to manage England-India women’s series    (1406-6795).

• ‘Wisden India’ poll supports Dhoni's criticism of initial Jadeja verdict   (1406-6796).

• Lankan under-15 team ‘deported’ over ’security concerns'    (1406-6797).

1,407 - 6 August [6798]

• ICC ‘considering’ Anderson acquittal, BCCI urges an appeal be lodged  (1407-6798).

1,408 - 7 August [6799-6801]

• ICC CEO closes Anderson case, warns players about ‘offensive language'  (1408-6799).

• CA often focusses on finances, not principles, says departing player’s chief   (1408-6800).

• BPL appeals process gets underway   (1408-6801).

1,409 - 8 August [6802-6807]

• MCC looks to bolster Laws-related work   (1409-6802).

• Captain defends Anderson’s ‘aggressive’ on-field behaviour   (1409-6803).

• Program targets English language skills of Indian umpires   (1409-6804).

• Former Indian Test umpire dies   (1409-6805).

• Disciplinary points system triggers two-match ban   (1409-6806).

• Spot in national squad for ‘angry’ batsman but still no censure   (1409-6807).

1,410 - 9 August [6808-6814]

• BCCI to take ‘missing video footage’ issue to ICC board   (1410-6808).

• MCC posts new set of Laws animations on-line   (1410-6809).

• BCB’s Umpire Educator dies   (1410-6810).

• Stand up to ‘culture’ of bad behaviour, says former Test umpire   (1410-6811).

• Madugalle back on track for 150th Test   (1410-6812).

• ’Twitter’, pitch damage, dissent and ‘deceit’ keeps league tribunal busy   (1410-6813).

• Player’s bat drilled in drug search   (1410-6814).

1,411 - 12 August [6815-6819]

 • Aussie player numbers top one million for first time   (1411-6815).

• Another spinner’s action reported as ’suspect'   (1411-6816).

• Zim player reprimanded for showing dissent   (1411-6817).

• Banned Butt plays in ‘private’ tournament in Qatar   (1411-6818).

• WICUA convention set for New York in 2015   (1411-6819).

1,412 - 13 August [6820-6821]

• CA 'National sign up week’ promotion neglects role of match officials   (1412-6820).

• Kaneria looses third, and last?, appeal against life ban   (1412-6821).

1,413 - 14 August [6822-6824]

• ‘Independence’ of ICC suspect bowling action testing questioned   (1413-6822).

• Batsman’s stump strike attracts reprimand   (1413-6823).

• Standard of Cardiff one-day pitch under investigation   (1413-6824).

1,414 - 16 August [6825-6829]

• ICC defends its suspect action testing regime   (1414-6825).

• CA drops ’Statmaster’ support, moves to new scorer ‘app'   (1414-6826).

• Reprimand for dissent for Indian batswomen   (1414-6827).

• Northampton all-rounder reprimanded   (1414-6828).

• Cardiff one-day pitch officially rated as ‘poor'   (1414-6829).

1,415 - 19 August [6830-6836]

 • Loosing side contests result of CPL final, queries match officials' actions (1415-6830).

• Obscene language results in reprimand for Pakistan spinner  (1415-6831).

• Slow over-rate fine for India  (1415-6832).

• Seven named to manage Windies-Bangladesh internationals  (1415-6833).

• CPL relies on ‘local’ match officials for 2014 series   (1415-6834).

• Kumble, Srinath stage walkout   (1415-6835.

• ‘Indirect physical abuse’ of umpires leads to ban   (1415-6836).

1,416 - 21 August [6837-6842]

• Mudugal to seek extension of IPL report deadline?   (1416-6837).

• Illingworth to be credited with additional Test   (1416-6838).

• Long-serving Pakistan umpire departs IUP   (1416-6839).

• ICC national umpire manager meeting details stay under wraps   (1416-6840).

• Queensland association concerned about shortage of umpires    (1416-6841).

• CA, ECB match officials’ newsletters go missing    (1416-6842).

1,417 - 22 August [6843-6845]

 • ICC launches new umpire accreditation program   (1417-6843).

• Neutral match officials for Zimbabwean tri-series named   (1417-6844).

• ’Suspect action’ spinner to be tested in Brisbane   (1417-6845).

1,418 - 23 August [6846-6854]

• Too much focus on spinners' actions, says human movement expert   (1418-6846).

• Umpires ‘need to get their act together' on no balls, says journalist  (1418-6847).

• Sports Minister sorts out Sri Lankan umpire groups  (1418-6848).

• EUP contenders together for Lanka-Pakistan ODI series  (1418-6849).

• Gaza war impacts Israel’s Premier League season  (1418-6850).

• Major ground work scheduled for the MCG  (1418-6851).

• Two Aussies selected for List A debuts    (1418-6852).

• History of 109-year-old women’s association being compiled    (1418-6853).

• Yet another dressing room robbery   (1418-6854).
 

1,419 - 25 August [6855-6861]
• Investigation suggests pressure on match referee behind CPL final debacle   (1419-6855).

• ICC umpire ‘best practice’ package a comprehensive, quality product   (1419-6856).

• Yet another off-spinner’s bowling action judged as ’suspect'   (1419-6857).

• Former West Indian Test umpire Sang Hue dies   (1419-6858).

• ’20-25’ Sri Lankan bowlers reported for ’suspect actions'   (1419-6859).

• Skipper penalised after umpire-directed rant   (1419-6860).

• NZCUSA set for annual conference weekend  (1419-6861).

1,420 - 27 August [6862-6865]

• PCB the latest to clamp down on suspect actions    (1420-6862).

• Aussies ’sometimes’ cross the sledging line, says Warner    (1420-6863).

• Call for CA Project Panel spots still awaited    (1420-6864).

• Team looses championship, mulls protest at umpires’ call on ground state (1420-6865).

1,421 - 29 August [6866-6873]

 • Umpires challenging ECB compulsory retirement age   (1421-6866).

• PCB establishes domestic ‘Umpire Evaluation Committee'   (1421-6867).

• ‘Illegal actions’, corruption, ‘Big Three’ power, game’s key issues, says Hussey (1421-6868).

• England fined for slow ODI over-rate   (1421-6869).

• BCCI umpire video analysts attending refresher courses   (1421-6870).

• CA funding country-wide ‘LGBTI' awareness program  (1421-6871).

• Century-old cricket association folds   (1421-6872).

• Argument over boundary sparks on-field ‘brawl'  (1421-6873).

1,422 - 30 August [6874-6879]

• CSA appoints its first full-time match officials administrator   (1422-6874).

• IPL probe committee reported seeking two-month deadline extension   (1422-6875).

• Match referee Mudugalle notches up 500th senior men’s international   (1422-6876).

• Betting link concerns see spectator ejected from Cardiff ODI   (1422-6877).

• PCB television rights return reported short of target   (1422-6878).

 

• Controversy, even at Under-11 level  (1422-6879).
 

 
PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,404
Friday, 1 August 2014

JAIL TERMS FOR MATCH-FIXING 

INCLUDED IN NZ LEGISLATION

[1404-6784]

 

New Zealand is to introduce a seven-year jail term for anyone caught match-fixing under an amendment to its Crimes Act that is expected to come into effect before the end of this year.  The match-fixing legislation, which was introduced into parliament in Wellington yesterday with unanimous political support, would apply lengthy sentences to anyone caught trying to influence or benefit from the outcome of a match or race.

 

New Zealand's justice minister Judith Collins said that: "Match-fixing is a growing problem internationally and has been described as the number one threat to the integrity, value and growth of sport [and] as we have seen from recent events, New Zealand is not immune to this threat”.  Her comment comes a month after former New Zealand player Lou Vincent was banned for life after admitting to fixing, while his former team mate Chris Cairns, who has vigorously denied any involvement in match-fixing, remains under investigation (PTG 1384-6691, 2 July 2014).  Opposition sports spokesman Trevor Mallard said the bill makes it "very clear that match-fixing is a crime”.

 

Late last year the New Zealand government released the report of a nine-month investigation into corruption in sport in that country which asserted there was little for people in the country to be concerned about (PTG 1248-6023, 5 December 2014).  That study was prompted by claims by the then government in Australia that sport there was riddled with doping and betting issues (PTG 1056-5133, 11 February 2013), however, since then nothing concrete has actually surfaced to back up such assertions. 

 

In May, the New Zealand government amended the Crimes Act to include match-fixing so as to give "greater certainty to law enforcement agencies and international sporting bodies”.  While currently active legislation might have covered match-fixing under other offences such as fraud, the May amendment made fixing activities a crime for the first time (PTG 1348-6517, 8 May 2014).  Sports Minister Murray McCully said then that "New Zealand is not immune to the international risks of match-fixing, and we are taking pre-emptive steps to protect our well-deserved reputation for playing fair and the integrity of New Zealand sport”.  

 

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

 

INDIA HAS VIDEO EVIDENCE OF ANDERSON-JADEJA 

INCIDENT, CLAIMS NEWSPAPER

[1404-6785]

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has found video evidence "of the whole altercation” that occurred between their player Ravindra Jadeja and England’s James Anderson during a lunch break at Trent Bridge three weeks ago, claimed an article in the ‘Indian Express’ yesterday.  Anderson is set to face a hearing today into allegations he pushed Jadeja, something he has denied occurred, while Jadeja’s appeal into the censure he was handed for his alleged part in the incident will also he heard today (PTG 1403-6782, 31 July 2014).

 

Shortly after the match at Trent Bridge ended Indian officials questioned why video footage on the alleged altercation was not available.   India had requested footage from a video camera located outside the dressing rooms that looks on to the area where the incident is said to have taken place.  A Nottinghamshire spokesman told journalists the camera had not been in operation at the time.

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board denied any suggestion evidence has been suppressed, saying that the camera was installed only a few weeks ago in order to provide visitors to the club's website with some insight into life inside the pavilion during major games.  Given that, just where the BCCI have obtained video evidence from as claimed by the ‘Indian Express’ is not clear.  Without it the hearing is likely to be one team’s word against the other and how good their respective lawyers are in arguing the case.

 

Under International Cricket Council regulations code of conduct commissioner Gordon Lewis, a retired Australian judge who will oversee today’s hearing, has two days in which to reach a decision on Anderson’s case.  The Englishman faces a potential ban of two to four Tests or up to eight One Day Internationals if found guilty.  Should that happen he has the right of appeal, however, he would not be able to play until what would be a three-member panel hears the case.

 

WORCESTERSHIRE KIWI REPRIMANDED 

FOR SHOWING DISSENT

[1404-6786]

 

Mitchell McClenaghan, Worcestershire’s Kiwi bowler, has received an official reprimand from the England and Wales Cricket Board for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during a one-day match against Northamptonshire on Wednesday.  McClenaghan, 28, was charged by umpires Martin Saggers and Steve O’Shaughnessy with a Level One offence that will remain on his County record for a period of two years. 

 

FLYING ANTS CAUSE MATCH 

TO BE ABANDONED

[1404-6787]

 

A Berkshire Cricket League Division 1 one-day match had to be abandoned at the 34 over mark of the second innings last Saturday because of an invasion of flying ants.  Visitors Reading had scored 258 off their 45 overs and home side Waltham St Lawrence were in trouble at 6/118 in the thirty-fourth over when the insects descend on the ground.

 

The umpires took the players from the field in the hope that the swarm would disperse, then tried bowling only to the less affected end of the pitch, but the insects could not be budged and the match was eventually called off, leaving the players to joke about the ‘ nticlimax’ involved.  Waltham St Lawrence chairman Chris England said: "In forty years of playing league cricket, I have never experienced anything like it”.  "I was batting at the time and had hundreds of the wretched things all over my body and swarming around my head and could not concentrate on the ball being bowled”.

 

Also in Berkshire but in another game, Matt Hampton the captain of Hurley Cricket Club was left with mixed emotions in a recent match when he hit a six only to see the ball smash through the windscreen of his BMW.  As he was scheduled to leave on a driving holiday the next day Hampton had to leave the match early in order to have repairs made.  Whether in the circumstances his team were allowed a substitute when they were in the field later in the day was not recorded in a ‘Maidenhead Advertiser’ report.

 

Meanwhile up in Durham, fire damage the changing rooms at the Wearmouth Cricket Club after a sports bag exploded.  The blaze started in the bag and as a player tried to drag it outside an aerosol can inside it exploded knocking him to the floor.  The local fire brigade was called and apart from a burnt wall no other damage ensued.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,405
Monday, 4 August 2014

‘$A450K’ LATER, ANDERSON-JADEJA CLEARED 

OF TRENT BRIDGE MISCONDUCT

[1405-6788]

 

England's James Anderson and India's Ravindra Jadeja, who were charged in connection to an incident during a lunch break at Trent Bridge three weeks ago, were found not guilty of breaching the International Cricket Council's (ICC) code of conduct at a hearing held on Friday.  Anderson faced a Level three misconduct charge over claims he abused and pushed Jadeja, while Jadeja was appealing against the Level One fine of half his match fee, a figure of around $A5,400, imposed on him by match referee David Boon who had “no doubt” a confrontation between the two did occur (PTG 1399-6768, 26 July 2014).

 

Reports say the quarrelling pair were cleared minutes after the end of what was a six-hour hearing held in Southampton that was overseen via ’Skype' by ICC judicial commissioner Gordon Lewis, a former judge who is based in Australia.  Lewis, who heard accounts from witnesses that included Indian and England players and officials who were in turn cross-examined before him by legal counsel employed by the respective national boards, is believed to have concluded those providing evidence were heavily biased in favour of their own side.  Claims last week that video footage of the incident was available, images that may have provided key evidence of what actually occurred, proved false (PTG 1404-6785, 1 August 2014).

 

As a result of the uncertainty Lewis decided he could not find Anderson guilty of the Level Three charge, a situation that had it occurred would, in the judge’s assessment, have resulted in Anderson missing several Test matches and between $A40,000 and $A80,000 in earnings; while down-grading the charge to Level Two equate to an earnings loss ranging from $A10,000 to $A30,000.  “My view [is that] with potential penalties that severe, for "me to be 'comfortably satisfied' [as required by ICC regulations], something close to beyond reasonable doubt was required”, concluded Lewis.

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which initiated the charge against Anderson and whose captain declared publicly that Boon’s handling of the Jadeja’s case was inadequate (PTG 1400-6770, 28 July 2014), appears to have limited their public response to a BCCI official saying they were “delighted” with the dropping of Jadeja's fine.  That same unnamed official is said to have admitted there was nothing the BCCI could do regarding Anderson’s reprieve other than to see whether ICC chief executive David Richardson decides to an appeal against it, a move that under ICC disciplinary rules, is allowed to the occupant in his position . 

 

Writing in the UK ‘Daily Telegraph’ on Saturday, English journalist Derek Pringle estimated that with both sides hiring lawyers to manage the overall processes involved, from the BCCI’s decision to charge Anderson up to and including Friday’s hearing, the total costs involved came close to £250,000 ($A451,000); £50,000 ($A90,300) for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and £200,000 ($A361,000) for the BCCI.  The latter’s expenses were higher because they employed lawyers to first initiate the charges against Anderson and then follow them up to Friday’s hearing, as well as fighting Jadeja's initial Level Two case before Boon, and then the appeal against Boon’s decision heard by Lewis.

 

In defending Anderson’s behaviour prior to Lewis announcing his verdict, England coach Peter Moores told journalists players "putting everything on the line when they play is what people come to watch”.  ''Jimmy plays it hard on the pitch, I think that is what international sport is”, claimed Moores.  Pringle described Anderson in his article in the ’Telegraph as "a renowned sledger” and he "may have been fortunate that a former Australian judge heard his case, [given that] Australia is the home of the practice” of sledging.  

 

Despite the charge hanging over him, Anderson was involved in an unpleasant verbal altercation with India's Ajinkya Rahane during last week’s third Test in Southampton, umpire Rod Tucker stepping in to tell both players to calm down on what had been a good day for the fast bowler as he took five wickets.  Anderson was also at the forefront of an incident in a County match in late April when he is said to have given a batsman a “very aggressive” send off.  "Neither umpire [Richard Kettleborough or Martin Saggers] felt the incident worthy of reporting", wrote Pringle, something he claimed "weakened India's case against [Anderson] at Trent Bridge”.  Anderson’s on-field confrontation with Australian captain Michael Clarke in a Test late last year was also mentioned in Pringle’s article (PTG 1251-6038, 10 December 2013). 

 

BANNED PLAYERS SUPPORT 

JAIL TERM LEGISLATION

[1405-6789]

 

Banned Pakistani players Salim Malik and Mohammad Aamer have backed moves by New Zealand's government to introduced prison sentences for players found guilty of spot or match fixing.  Jail terms of up to seven years have been included in legislation currently before the parliament in Wellington (PTG 1404-6784, 1 August 2014), and Malik, who is serving a life ban for match fixing and Aamer who is in the fourth year of a five year ban for spot fixing, said prison terms would help curb the menace of corruption.

 

Malik, who has pleaded his innocence since being banned in 2000, told the Reuters news agency that other cricket playing nations should also follow New Zealand’s move.  "I know how much I have suffered because of this match fixing stigma [and] it is time similar law was also enacted in Pakistan”

Aamer told Pakistan’s 'Geo Super' channel “the threat of going to prison would deter players from being tempted to get involved with match fixing”.  “Some people try to lure players down the wrong path”, he said, but the threat of jail "will definitely make players think twice about what they are doing”. 

 

Subhan Ahmad, the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) chief operating officer, said Pakistan supported New Zealand's move to curb fixing in sports.  Such an approach “has been discussed at International Cricket Council level by its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit”, he said, and “[the PCB] will be engaging with parliamentarians [in Pakistan] to enact a similar law”.  Over the last four years Pakistan has seen four of its current players, Aamir, Mohammad Asif, former captain Salman Butt and leg spinner Danish Kaneria, all banned for fixing-related activities.

 

PERCEIVED UMPIRING-RELATED SNUB 

LEADS TO BCCI VP RESIGNATION

[1405-6790]

 

Ravi Savant, one of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) five vice presidents who is also the chairman of the BCCI’s umpires’ sub-committee, is reported to have submitted his resignation to the board over what the ‘Mumbai Mirror’ indicated yesterday was an umpiring-related snub.  The ‘Mirror’ says that Savant was protesting the BCCI's decision to send Ratnakar Shetty, his "arch-rival” and the board’s game development officer, to "an umpires' conclave in the West Indies last month, a probable reference to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) annual gathering of national umpire managers.

 

Savant is reported to be claiming that he was not made aware of the Caribbean conference or that Shetty had taken part until after the meeting occurred.  He apparently believes that as head of the umpires’ sub-committee he should take decisions on matters relating to umpiring.  In addition the ‘Mirror’ says he is "not too happy that the BCCI office [which Shetty runs] will conduct an umpires' seminar in Bangalore this Wednesday.  Former Australian umpire Simon Taufel, who is now the ICC’s Umpire Performance and Training Manager (UPTM), is to hold clinics for Indian umpires during the seminar and Savant claims he was not involved in that program. 

 

"An angry Savant", who is also a vice-president of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), sent a letter of resignation letter to BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel who apparently tried to no avail "to mollify” Savant.  His umpiring-related concerns follow a number of others since he became vice president, one being when the BCCI, after allotting the 2014 India Premier League final to Mumbai shifted it to Bangalore without specifying the reasons, and the board’s reneging on an apparent promise that he would be made manager for the current England tour. 

 

No news has surfaced about the ICC National Umpire Manager’s conference, where it was held or just who attended.  However, presumably matters Taufel focusses on in his UPTM job such as the coaching, training and education of international umpires. plus the work of an ICC committee he is involved with that is looking at the use of technology in decision making, will have been on the agenda. 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,406
Tuesday, 5 August 2014

NEW ZEALAND’S GAFFANEY 

NAMED FOR TEST DEBUT

[1406-6791]

 

New Zealand umpire Chris Gaffaney will become the first Kiwi to make his Test debut in thirteen years when he takes the field in the single Test between Zimbabwe and South Africa that is due to get underway in Harare on Saturday.  Gaffaney, the fiftieth Kiwi to umpire at Test level and world number 479, joins Indian Sundarum Ravi and Sri Lanka’s Ranmore Martinecz in the current candidate pool for a spot on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) next year; a pool that could be joined by South Africa’s Johannes Cloete if he debuts in next month's two-match Test series between the West Indies and Bangladesh. 

 

Gaffaney played 83 first class games for Otago from 1995-2005 and has been umpiring at first class level since March 2008.  He will work on-field in what will be his 31st first class fixture with Pakistan’s Aleem Dar for whom it will be his 90th Test and 123rd first class game overall, while Sri Lankan Roshan Mahanama will be the match referee in a Test for the 52nd time.  Like Gaffaney, Dar and Mahanama are also former first class players, the latter having done so at Test level.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) does not appear to have named a third umpire for the Test which if correct indicates Zimbabwean members of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) will look after third and fourth umpire duties.

 

Dar, the most experienced Test umpire still standing at that level, becomes the fourth umpire to reach the 90 Test mark.  Those preceding him were West Indian Steve Bucknor whose 90th Test came in Leeds in June 2004 during a career that ended on a record 128 matches, Englishman David Shepherd, who stood in a total of 92 Tests, in Port of Spain in April 2005, South African Rudi Koertzen in Napier in March 2008 in what eventually became a 108 game tally, and Australian Daryl Harper in Colombo in July 2010, the year before his Test career concluded on 95 Tests. 

 

Gaffaney, 38, and Cloete, 43, who has been umpiring at first class level for the past 21 years and passed the 100 match mark earlier this year (PTG 1324-6387, 31 March 2014), have both been under consideration for higher level honours by the ICC for several years now.  As is the norm for those who aspire to an EUP position, the ICC first selected the two IUP members to stand in a range of lower-level internationals, then as they proved their ability as neutral officials in a number of senior One Day International series (ODI) (PTG 1353-6537, 15 May 2014).  

 

The last rung of the ICC’s audition for EUP selection is their performance at Test level, something Ravi, 48, and Martinecz, 47, both achieved last year; however, some experienced observers suggest the latter's chances have been set back by his performance in the ‘Ashes’ ODI series last austral summer.  Of the 25 individuals who have stood in their first Test in the period since the EUP was established in 2002, so far only just on half have gone on to win promotion to the world’s most senior umpires’ panel.

 

To date the ICC has not announced the match officials who will manage the three-match ODI series Zimbabwe and South Africa are to play after their single Test, nor for the three ODIs the West Indies and Bangladesh are to play later this month ahead of that tour's two Tests.

 

NO CENSURE YET FOR BATSMAN’S ANGRY 

REACTION TO LBW DECISION

[1406-6792]

 

India ‘A' batsman Ambati Rayudu reacted particularly angrily and gestured to both umpires after being judged to have been leg before wicket by Australian umpire John Ward in the final of the one-day international second XI series played in Darwin last Saturday.  Australia ‘A’ bowler Ben Cutting delivered a sharp in-swinger to Rayudu which appears to have hit him on his pads, but after Ward raised his finger the Indian stared and gestured at him as he walked from the ground, then appeared to comment to square leg umpire Simon Fry as he passed him on the way to his side’s dressing room.

 

A number of reports distributed by Indian media outlets described Rayudu's behaviour as “shocking” and one said: "It’ll be interesting to see if the [Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)] takes against any action against the 28-year-old”.  Long-serving Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle took to ’Twitter’ to express his displeasure at Rayudu's reaction, saying: “saw ambati rayudu's reaction to being given out. the bcci must take whatever action it deems fit. but it must”.  A summary of the match posted on the BCCI web site states simply that "Ambati Rayudu was adjudged leg before off Cutting for 7”.

 

The match referee for the final was Cricket Australia’s (CA) Bob Stratford, a former first class umpire and now member of CA’s Umpire High Performance Panel.  If he has lodged a report on Rayudu news of it has not yet been made public, there being no reference to the matter this morning on the BCCI’s web site.  A number of veteran observers and writers of the international scene have suggested of late that something needs to be done by cricket administrators to curb what they see as an increasing tendency for bad behaviour to occur and be tolerated during games (PTG 1400-6771, 28 July 2014).

 

REVIEW OF ICC CODE OF CONDUCT REGULATIONS

NEEDED, SAYS COMMISSIONER

[1406-6793]

 

Gordon Lewis, the Judicial Commissioner who presided over last week's hearing into the incident involving England’s James Anderson and India’s Ravindra Jadeja, is reported to have indicated that the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) disciplinary Code of Conduct contains a “number of inadequacies” and should be reviewed.  Lewis found both players not guilty of breaching the Code of Conduct during last month’s Trent Bridge Test after a six hour hearing that is said to have cost the England and Indian boards a combined total of around $A450,000 to (PTG 1405-6788, 4 August 2014).

 

After outlining the reasoning behind his decision to dismiss the charges laid against the pair, which included his assessment that witnesses from both sides were “hopelessly biased”, Lewis went on to highlight in his written verdict the deficiencies in the disciplinary code that need attention.  "As a newly appointed Judicial Commissioner, I urge the ICC to conduct an immediate review of its Code of Conduct, as these proceedings have highlighted a number of inadequacies in the Code and situations with which it cannot easily cope”.   

 

Meanwhile several media reports say that Anderson did not contest Trent Bridge umpire Bruce Oxenford’s witness statement tabled at Lewis’ hearing that he called Jadeja a "f***ing p**ck" and a "f***ing c**t" when he appealed for a catch not long before before the alleged pushing incident between the two occurred.  That led Dileep Premachandran the editor-in-chief of ‘Wisden India’ to ask in a measured piece that appear yesterday that if such repots are correct: “Why didn’t [Oxenford] report [Anderson] for that breach of the ICC Code of Conduct [and] why has no action been taken?” in that regard. 

 

‘OFFICIAL WARNING’ GIVEN TO TRENT 

BRIDGE FOR ‘POOR’ TEST PITCH

[1406-6794]

 

Trent Bridge has been given an official warning under the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Pitch Monitoring Process following the first Test between England and India last month.  Reports during the game described the pitch as very slow and match referee David Boon officially rated it in his official post-match  as “poor” after groundsman Steve Birks took the unusual step of apologising for its condition after day one of the game (PTG 1395-6747, 20 July 2014). 

 

The ICC said in a press release yesterday that the pitch did not provide a fair contest between bat and ball and that it was of an unacceptable standard for Test cricket.  The sanction is said to have taken into account "the Nottingham venue’s history of producing good quality international pitches, that the monitoring of pitch preparation by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) before the Test was appropriate, and that there was a commitment by both the ECB and Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club to relay the pitch ahead of the next international cricket season".

  

The finding was made by the ICC’s General Manager Cricket, Geoff Allardice, and its chief match referee, Ranjan Madugalle, who considered evidence that included video footage of the match.  The ICC’s current Pitch Monitoring Process regulations state that on the first occasion a pitch or outfield is rated as “poor” a warning and/or a fine not exceeding $US15,000 ($A16,000) can be given to the home board, in this case the ECB, together with a directive for appropriate corrective action.  A "second or further” occurrence within a period of five years of the previous finding would attract a fine not exceeding $US30,000 ($A32,000) together with a directive for appropriate corrective action.  Further sanctions apply to pitches and outfields that are found after investigation to be rated as “unfit”. 

 

News of the Trent Bridge warning came on the same day it was announced a Test is to be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (SVRS) in Antigua next April when England will be the visitors, only the second such match played there since a Test was abandoned in 2009 after just ten balls (PTG 372-1984, 14 February 2009).  That game was called off due to an unsafe outfield caused by excess sand and was subsequently held at very short notice at the nearby Recreation Ground, a situation that led to SVRS being banned from hosting international cricket for twelve months (PTG 390-2075, 18 March 2009).   

 

EIGHT APPOINTED TO MANAGE 

ENGLAND-INDIA WOMEN’S SERIES

[1406-6795]

 

Eight first class umpires have been named by the England and Wales Cricket Board to manage the four-match series, one Test and three One Day Internationals (ODI), the England and Indian women’s teams are to play over the next three weeks.  David Millns and Billy Taylor are to stand in next week’s four-day Test at Wormsley, their first in such a game, while Jeff Evans and Steve O’Shaughnessy will be on-field in the first ODI, Mark Benson and Martin Saggers in the second, both of which will be played in Scarborough, then the third at Lord’s will be looked after by Nick Cook and Ismail Dawood.

 

Evans has previously stood in four women’s ODIs, another two having been washed out, O’Shaughnessy four, Benson and Saggers three and one respectively, Cook four, all of them at Lord’s as is the case in this series, and Dawood two.  Records available indicate that Dawood will be taking part in a match at Lord’s for the first for he neither played there during his pre-umpiring career or worked there previously as a match official.  The England-India series is part of the International Cricket Council’s new championship series for women (PTG 1390-6722, 14 July 2014). 

 

‘WISDEN INDIA’ POLL SUPPORTS DHONI'S 

CRITICISM OF INITIAL JADEJA VERDICT

[1406-6796]

 

An on-line poll conducted by ‘Wisden India’ on the question as to whether Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was right to publicly criticise match referee David Boon's verdict on Ravindra Jadeja's misconduct charge last week, overwhelming supports the action he took.  Dhoni called Jadeja’s loss of fifty per cent of his match fee, a censure that was eventually overturned on appeal (PTG 1405-6788, 4 August 2014), “unjust”, and he also suggested "a lot of things were neglected [by Boon] in judging the case”, observations that were let pass even though they appeared to contravene the International Cricket Council’s Code of Conduct regulations (PTG 1402-6777, 30 July 2014).

 

Seventy-one per cent of those who made known their views via the poll agreed that: “As captain [Dhoni] was right to defend his player as he deemed fit".  Of the remainder, fourteen per cent thought Dhoni "should have let the Board of Control for Cricket in India handle the issue, eight per cent “he should have waited until the verdict on James Anderson was announced", and seven per cent that "He should have been more mindful of his responsibilities”.  ‘Wisden India’ does not indicate what the total number of votes cast were, or what their country or origin was.

 

LANKAN UNDER-15 TEAM ‘DEPORTED’ 

OVER ’SECURITY CONCERNS' 

[1406-6797]

 

An Under-15 school team from Sri Lanka which flew into Chennai on Sunday to participate in a four-day tournament that started yesterday was sent back to Colombo because of what were called "security concerns”, says a Press Trust of India (PTI) report.  That move came, says PTI, "close on the heels" of an article posted on an official Sri Lankan government web site that included “derogatory” comments about Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa plus "a graphic image" of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  

 

The article is said to have "triggered widespread public and political outrage" in Tamil Nadu that led to remove its removal from the web site and the issuing of an unqualified apology to the two leaders.  In 2012, Jayalalithaa had, in line with her strident stance against Sri Lanka, ordered the sending home of a football team from that country that had arrived in Chennai to play a friendly match.  Jayalalithaa has repeated expressed the view Sri Lankan military personnel had committed war crimes against Tamils in the island nation.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,407
Wednesday, 6 August 2014

ICC ‘CONSIDERING’ ANDERSON ACQUITTAL,

BCCI URGES AN APPEAL BE LODGED

[1407-6798]

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has written to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to “express their disappointment” over the acquittal of England's James Anderson on a charge he abused and pushed India's Ravindra Jadeja during last month's Trent Bridge Test (PTG 1405-6788, 4 August 2014), however, it has denied it formally requested that the decision be appealed.  Under ICC regulations only its chief executive David Richardson can lodge an appeal, something that must be done by next Sunday, but as yet the ICC has only indicated it has received Judicial Commissioner Gordon Lewis’ written decision and is considering its content.

 

BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said yesterday that in the letter, which was sent on Monday evening, "we said we are not happy with the decision, expressed our concerns about the flaws which we find in the process, and [outlined] why there is a need to appeal against this order”.  He acknowledged the BCCI has no right to appeal the case at this stage of the process but emphasised that the "ICC, who are the prosecutor, still have the right”.  Patel’s comment about “flaws” possibly reflects in part Lewis' reported claim that the ICC's disciplinary Code of Conduct, under which he examined the case against Anderson, contains a “number of inadequacies” and that as such it should be reviewed (PTG 1406-6793, 5 August 2014).

 

‘Cricinfo’ is reporting this morning that after India officially levelled the charge against Anderson, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) offered to instigate an internal disciplinary procedure against him in return for India withdrawing the charge.  However, talks between ECB chairman Giles Clarke and BCCI officials are said to have "collapsed when the ECB refused to guarantee a minimum sanction of a two-Test suspension for Anderson”.  

 

There were also reportedly talks between Paul Downton, the managing director of England cricket, and Indian coach Duncan Fletcher.  A "BCCI official” is said to allege "that Downton offered to 'rest' Anderson for one Test in the current series if the charges were withdrawn, and then threatened the counter-charge which was ultimately laid against Jadeja when the offer was declined” (PTG 1392- 6736, 17 July 2014).  Downton and the ECB are said to have "strongly denied” that and insisted no offers were made as there could be no presumption of Anderson's guilt ahead of the disciplinary process, however, the BCCI is said to have interpreted the ECB's offer as an admission of Anderson’s guilt.

 

Lewis’ was reported to have described the witnesses from both sides that provided information at his hearing as “hopelessly biased”, and the lack of video evidence meant he was not in a position to untangle the facts.

 

Should the decision be taken to proceed to an appeal the ICC’s chief legal officer will then have two days in which to select a three-person panel to hear it.  That group will then have thirty days in which to conduct its work, their final decision being final and unappealable.  As the dispute is between England and India the three persons selected would have to come from across the ICC’s eight other Full member entities: Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lankan, the West Indies and Zimbabwe. 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,408
Thursday, 7 August 2014

ICC CEO CLOSES ANDERSON CASE, WARNS 

PLAYERS ABOUT ‘OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE' 

[1408-6799]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced yesterday it has decided not to lodge an appeal against the decision to clear England's James Anderson over his fracas with India's Ravindra Jadeja during last month’s Trent Bridge Test.  Last Friday, independent ICC Code of Conduct (CoC) commissioner Gordon Lewis cleared Anderson of abusing and pushing Jadeja (PTG 1405-6788, 4 August 2014), however, on Monday the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which initiated the charge against Anderson, wrote to the ICC to express their “disappointment” at his findings and urge the world body to appeal the decision to absolve him (PTG 1407-6798, 6 August 2014).

 

ICC chief executive officer (CEO) David Richardson, a lawyer by profession, said via a press release that after "carefully considering” Lewis' written decision his office’s assessment is that the "disciplinary procedures [involved] were robust and transparent and all parties had ample opportunity to ask questions, test the evidence and make submissions”.  The matter was he said "complicated and sensitive [and] there appears to have been vastly conflicting evidence on both sides, [however] we have determined that there is no merit in an appeal and that it would not be in the best interest of the sport to take such action”.  Despite that the ICC "will now review [CoC] procedures and reflect upon the comments made by Lewis about how a case of this nature might better be provided for in the future” (PTG 1406-6793, 5 August 2014).  

 

Richardson, who praised Lewis’ “vast [judicial] experience” that "was invaluable to the process [conducted] over recent weeks", went on to warn players about using offensive language towards opposition players.  "International cricket is tough, competitive and uncompromising but we must reiterate that there is no place in the game for the use of offensive language that is personally insulting of one player by another”, said Richardson.  He also emphasised "It is imperative that all captains, players and coaches as well as umpires and referees are reminded of and do not shirk their responsibility to one another and to the game”.  That comment follows his advice last month that international umpires had been instructed to be stricter in managing player aggression (PTG 1395-6749, 20 July 2014), but there has also been a suggestion from a former player that umpires may think they don’t have sufficient support from the game’s managers to take an appropriate stand (PTG 1393-6741, 18 July 2014).  

 

Anderson, who has been involved in a number of incidents over the last six months, has been urged by former England batsman Geoff Boycott to "cut out his habit" of sledging opposition players. Boycott, who predicts that “one day there will be a fight between players because a batsman will decide he is not going to take such abusive remarks from a bowler”, asks: “Why do international cricketers think it is OK to abuse people on a cricket field and get away with it, why do cricket authorities do nothing about it, and when umpires hear this foul-mouthed abuse why do they not stop it?”  "Jimmy should reflect on whether he wants to be remembered as one of the all-time great English seam bowlers or a foul-mouthed abusive bowler”, wrote Boycott in yesterday's London 'Daily Telegraph”.

 

CA OFTEN FOCUSSES ON FINANCES, NOT 

PRINCIPLES, SAYS DEPARTING PLAYER’S CHIEF

[1408-6800]

 

Cricket Australia's (CA) "desire to pacify India" has made it a follower rather than a leader on the world stage, a situation that has "potentially dire" consequences for the international game, says Paul Marsh the now former head of the Australian Cricketer’s Association (ACA) who left that position this week.  Marsh, who was talking to Chloe Saltau of the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age’, believes subservience to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is an example of CA’s tendency to put financial considerations ahead of matters of principle, although he also praises Australia’s national body in his interview with Saltau for "significant gains on the commercial front and the recent resurgence of the Test and one-day teams”.  

 

Marsh has “no confidence" that an incident such as the infamous spat between Australian Andrew Symonds an India’s Harbhajan Singh in 2008, the so-called ‘Monkeygate’ affair that at one stage had the BCCI threatening to abandon the tour (PTG 172-919, 9 January 2008), would be handled differently in 2014.  He indicated Australian captain Ricky Ponting's team felt betrayed by its board over that situation and believed CA sought to safeguard India's tour, and the significant financial issues involved, before supporting a player who had been racially abused.  "CA’s decision not to call India’s bluff [at that time] was the catalyst for where world cricket sees itself today”, he says.  

 

"CA has shown all too often that it will succumb to the threats of the BCCI and every time they do this the BCCI gets stronger”, continued Marsh.  He ranks the recent move by India, England and Australia "to take control" of the International Cricket Council as the most disappointing event of his nine years in charge of the ACA.  "Internationally, I see CA as a follower rather than a leader and their decisions are compromised by their desire not to upset the BCCI and risk the money that comes from India. 

 

Marsh believes the concentration of power and wealth among the strongest nations could lead to Test cricket only being played between three or four countries in the next two decades.  "I think smaller countries will have to focus their energies and resources on the limited-overs formats as they won’t be able to compete in Test cricket and therefore their investment will move away from domestic long-form competitions”.  There is "increasing competition between the scheduling of domestic Twenty20 events, in particular the Indian Premier League, and international cricket”, and he spoke of players choosing T20 events over international cricket, and expressed concern that the quality of players available for internationals will be “substandard" as a result.

 

The son of former Australian wicket keep Rod and brother of former Tasmanian captain Dan, also cited CA's determination to stage the world's first day-night Test against New Zealand next year, amid "serious concerns" among players about the suitability of the ball (PTG 1383-6689, 1 July 2014), as an example of putting commercial interests ahead of the integrity of the game.  "My challenge to administrators is to focus your energies on the ball and don’t accept a compromised product”, he says.

 

On the domestic front though Marsh believes that: "CA is by and large doing a good job and credit should be given to its leaders”.  "Revenues continue to grow on the back of increased attendances, TV ratings, sponsorships etc, and this has allowed CA to invest back into the game”, he says.  "Players have been major beneficiaries of this growth and the high-performance area of [Australian] cricket has had an excellent last twelve months and we have all been buoyed by this”.

 

Despite the growth, Marsh says ACA members had agreed to provide, out of their own pockets, funds totalling $A10.75 million over the next three years to target matters recommended by the ACA’s 'State of the Game’ report, a document that the players’ prepared late last year in response to CA's ‘Argus’ review, some of the contents of which they have questioned (PTG 1206-5804, 9 October 2013).  Part of those monies, $A2.6 million or  $A870,000 a year, will help Premier League level clubs around the country retain experienced players and coaches, however, he did not indicate just where in the game the other $A8.15 million is headed.  

 

It is not clear either just why the player’s union feels it has to fund what many see as a such a key area on CA’s development pathway at a time when the national body has an unprecedented level of monies flowing to it courtesy of last year’s television deals (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013).  As a result of those contracts, CA forecast in its 2012-13 Annual Report it anticipates its revenues over the four years to 2017 to be a record $A1.08 billion (PTG 1221-5882, 30 October 2013).

 

BPL APPEALS PROCESS GETS UNDERWAY

[1408-6801]

 

A preliminary hearing into the appeals submitted by three individuals and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and International Cricket Council (ICC) of decisions handed down by a BCB Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) disciplinary tribunal was held in Dhaka yesterday.  Last year ten individuals, most of them players, were charged by the ICC with corruption-related offences during the BPL’s 2013 season (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013), however, in late February the tribunal acquitted six of them (PTG 1303-6283, 2 March 2014), and in June banned the other four for periods that ranged between eighteen months and ten years (PTG 1377-6661, 19 June 2014).   

 

Reports say that the joint BCB-ICC submission is directed at the six acquittals (PTG 1394-6745, 19 July 2014), while Gladiators managing director Shihab Chowdhury and former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful are seeking a reduction of their respective ten and eight-year bans (PTG 1397-6761, 23 July 2014), however, Sri Lankan Kaushal Lokuarachchi wants his entire eighteen-month suspension lifted immediately.  The final hearing into the appeals is currently expected be held over four days during the second week of September with final decision’s on them being handed down "as soon as possible after that”.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,409
Friday, 8 August 2014

MCC LOOKS TO BOLSTER 

LAWS-RELATED WORK

[1409-6802]

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is calling for applications for its newly established ‘Laws of Cricket Advisor’ position a job as its name implies will play a key role in the Club's day-to-day work on the game’s Laws, a particular emphasis being to oversee the production and revision of a range of on-line umpire educational materials.  The need for the role was identified as part of the MCC’s recently released 'Cricket Strategy' which found in part that the Club should be more proactive in promoting and guarding the Laws and the philosophy contained in them.

 

The successful applicant for the new position, which will be based at the MCC's Lord’s headquarters and report to Laws and Cricket Academy Manager Fraser Stewart, will be required to produce and review "market leading" on-line training and educational materials including on-line exams.  Such output will be made available to match officials from all levels of the game around the world and be linked to an accompanying accreditation system, the details of which have not yet been released.  

 

In addition, the person chosen will liaise with other MCC groups "to investigate commercial opportunities that may exist in relation to the Club’s ownership of the Laws, assisting with the production of animations on the Laws of Cricket, and to search for illegal cricket equipment being sold around the world”.  He or she will also handle all Laws related administration, including supporting the Club’s Laws sub-committee, answer Laws queries sent to the Club, coordinate research projects, write topical Laws-related articles for the Lord’s website, and the annual summary of the Laws sub-committee’s work for the Club’s Annual Report.

 

Those applying are required to have a “passion" for and knowledge of the game, be self-motivated and resourceful and have "a meticulous eye for detail".  Robust presentation and interpersonal skills are also essential as he or she will be interacting with a diverse range of people, internally and externally with the aim of establishing long-lasting relationships.  Fluency in English is also essential as are "excellent written and communication skills” plus a "firm knowledge and understanding of English grammar”.

 

The MCC says that “ideally” candidates, who have until Tuesday week to apply, will have experience as an umpire or scorer and of producing or delivering training courses for match officials.  Strong IT skills, especially in programs such as ‘Word', 'PowerPoint and ‘Excel', are an essential prerequisite, and a back ground in e-learning materials would be “beneficial”.

 

CAPTAIN DEFENDS ANDERSON'S ‘AGGRESSIVE’ 

ON-FIELD BEHAVIOUR

[1409-6803]

 

England captain Alistair Cook believes that fast bowler James Anderson needs to adopt an aggressive approach during matches to maximise his effectiveness at the game’s highest level.  Cook, who was speaking on Wednesday soon after Anderson had been formally cleared of misconduct by the International Cricket Council (PTG 1408-6799, 7 August 2014), said that as long as aggressive behaviour is left on the ground it should not be seen as a problem, a view, given the nature of the bowler’s reported on-field demeanour, that is somewhat removed from the Laws’ ’Spirit of Cricket' tenants of respecting opponents and the game itself.

 

Cook admitted that "there may have been little bits where [Anderson] might have overstepped the mark throughout his career (PTG 1405-6788, 4 August 2014), but you'd rather be on that line than too passive”.  Anderson has something of a "split personality”, continued Cook, who explained his opening bowler's on- and off-field personalities were as different as any player he had known.  “He has a very different personality when he crosses the [boundary] line”, said Cook, however, no one "should moan about it because what happens on the field should stay on the field and off the field you should be a nice guy”; but "you have to get yourself in that right mental state for you personally to perform”. 

 

"We all know that every time you pull on the shirt as an England player, or any international side, you are role models for anyone watching”, acknowledged Cook. But “we also want to play competitive cricket [and therefore] don't want to be too nicey-nicey with everyone saying they're playing in the right spirit”.  "There's always that muddied line but I don't think we need to change too much”, he said, as in his assessment during the current England-India series "both sides have been very competitive and played it in the right way and in the right spirit”.

 

Meanwhile, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Wednesday that he stands by his decision to press charges against Anderson as it “was the right thing to do", and again made comments about match referee David Boon’s handling of the initial hearing into Jadeja’s role in the incident at Trent Bridge (PTG 1402-6777, 30 July 2014).  At the time Dhoni was particularly vocal about his displeasure over Anderson’s actions, was firm in his support for team mate Jadeja, and critical of Boon.  The Indian captain indicated he was pleased the fine handed to Jadeja had been overturned. “There wasn’t even a one per cent mistake committed [by Jadeja]”, claimed Dhoni, who then went on to say pointedly it "would be really interesting to see [on] what [basis] David Boon fined Jadeja in first place”.    

 

However, Dhoni believes "strong characters like Anderson are needed in the game”.  “It doesn’t matter whether it’s [Anderson] or a player or some other side [or India], what matters is that they stay within the guidelines for that’s important for the game and the spectators, [therefore] umpires must step in when the line is crossed”.   "If one of my players gets fined and he is within the boundary lines I’ll go and defend him, but if he crosses that line he will go alone and face the consequences”. The basis of India's report against Anderson was "the physical assault and not the sledging”, said Dhoni. “It was the physical contact that we had problem against”.  "We never said anything about sledging [even though] quite a few harsh words were spoken on the field”.   

 

Boon, who was the match referee for the first three Tests, is also in that role for the fourth Test of the series that got underway at Old Trafford yesterday in place of Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle the original appointee.  As a result Madugalle will now not chalk up his 150th Test as a referee during the current series (PTG 1385-6696, 3 July 2014).  The reason for the change is not known.  

 

PROGRAM TARGETS ENGLISH LANGUAGE

 SKILLS OF INDIAN UMPIRES 

[1409-6804]

 

Simon Taufel, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager, is seeking to improve the English language skills of Indian umpires, say media reports from the sub-continent yesterday.  Taufel, who is currently conducting a series of umpiring workshops in India, is said to have approached the British Council, the UK government’s organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations, to seek their assistance in developing a communication skills program for senior umpires in country’s such as Bangladesh, Indian, Pakistan and Sri Lanka where English is not the first language.  

 

A key focus of the program appears to be in regard to the quality of the liaison that occurs between third umpires and television production personnel, most of whom normally converse in English, when reviews are requested by the umpires on the field of play.  Twelve months ago  Taufel is said to have discussed communication issues with the four Indian members of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, Sundarum Ravi, Chettithody Shamsuddin, Anil Chaudhary and Vineet Kulkarni.  This year thirty of the 100 umpires who are currently taking part in an umpire education program in Bangalore run by Taufel, and who will be working as third and fourth umpires in fixtures that include the Indian Premier and Champions Leagues, are said to be taking the communications unit.

 

FORMER INDIAN TEST UMPIRE DIES

[1409-6805]

 

Bengalli umpire Bhairab Ganguli, who stood in five Tests and two One-Day Internationals (ODI) in the 1980s, died in Kolkata last week two days before his 83rd birthday.  Born in what is now Dhaka in Bangladesh, Ganguli was appointed to a total of 29 first class and 7 List A games in India in the period from 1971-86, three of the latter being finals of the Deodhar Trophy, and around the turn of the century he was the match referee in 11 first class and three List A games.  During his career he also stood in a women’s ODI as well as an Under-19 ‘Test’.  Following his retirement Ganguli, his nation’s 37th Test umpire, went on to became a member of the Board of Trustees at the Cricket Association of Bengal.

 

DISCIPLINARY POINTS SYSTEM 

TRIGGERS TWO-MATCH BAN

[1409-6806]

 

Hampshire wicketkeeper Adam Wheater has been suspended for two County one-day matches by the England and Wales Cricket Board after he showed serious dissent against an umpire's decision, a Level Two breach, during a one-day game against Leicestershire on Wednesday.  Wheater, the first County player to be banned during the current northern summer, misses the two games as he has previously received a reprimand and three penalty points following two Level One breaches in August last year (PTG 1187-5728, 14 September 2013), thus reaching the nine points that triggers an automatic ban.  Wheater’s team mate Matt Coles was reprimanded for a Level One breach of abuse of the equipment or fixtures/fittings following the same game.

 

SPOT IN NATIONAL SQUAD FOR ‘ANGRY’ 

BATSMAN BUT STILL NO CENSURE

[1409-6807]

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has named India ‘A’ batsman Ambati Rayudu as one of seventeen players in the squad that will play five One Day Internationals and a single Twenty20 International against England starting later this month, but as yet there has been no word of any censure being handed to him for his actions in a match in Darwin last Saturday.  Rayudu reacted particularly angrily and gestured to both umpires after being judged to have been leg before wicket in the final of the one-day international second XI series against Australia ‘A’ (PTG 1406-6792, 5 August 2014).

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,410
Saturday, 9 August 2014

BCCI TO TAKE ‘MISSING VIDEO 

FOOTAGE’ ISSUE TO ICC BOARD

[1410-6808]

 

Factors surrounding the confrontation involving England’s James Anderson and India’s Ravindra Jadeja at Trent Bridge last month are to be raised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at the next International Cricket Council’s (ICC) next board meeting in Dubai in October, according to a report in Thursday’s ‘Hindustan Times'.  The previous day, ICC chief executive David Richardson announced that despite urgings from the BCCI, his office had decided not to lodge an appeal against the acquittal, a few days earlier, of the pair by ICC Code of Conduct Commissioner Gordon Lewis (PTG 1408-6799, 7 August 2014).  

 

The ‘Times’ article indicates that the BCCI plans raise what it called “the missing CCTV footage” at Trent Bridge.  India team management requested footage from a video camera located outside the dressing rooms that looks on to the area where the Anderson-Jadeja incident is said to have taken place.  However, a Nottinghamshire spokesman told journalists after the match the camera had not been in operation at the time and the England and Wales Cricket Board denied any suggestion evidence was being suppressed.  A subsequent Indian media report claimed video footage had been found, however, that claim was later found to be incorrect (PTG 1404-6785, 1 August 2014).

 

“A BCCI official” is quoted by the ’Times’ as saying: "It is beyond us to believe that the cameras were not functional during the incident”.  "How conveniently coincidental can it be that the footage is available before and after the incident, [but] not during the incident?”, he asked.  That is first time anyone has claimed publicly that only a specific section, rather than the whole, of the tape is not available, but it is impossible at this stage to determine just how accurate that suggestion actually is.  Such a situation "is a clear breach of the ICC’s anti-corruption security protocol [and] the footage could have put all the theories [about the incident involving the two players] to rest”, said the official.

 

On Thursday, BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel made comments that suggested his organisation was lobbying for a complete revamp in the ICC players' Code of Conduct.  In discussing the Anderson case with journalists Patel said "the Code needs to be revamped or rehauled, whatever you may call it [for] currently the BCCI could not have asked for an appeal against [judicial commissioner Gordon Lewis’] acquittal of Anderson”.  "The appellant in this case could have been only the ICC [and that’s] a big flaw in the process]’, he said.  However, ICC chairman Narayana­swami Srinivasan, the BCCI’s stood down president, is reported to have “made it clear" yesterday that the world body is “not considering” a complete overhaul in the Code.

 

MCC POSTS NEW SET OF 

LAWS ANIMATIONS ON-LINE 

[1410-6809]

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the Guardians of the Laws of Cricket, has released a second set of animated videos as part of a long-term program designed to help explain "some of the frequently misunderstood areas of the Laws".  The new videos, which are aimed primarily at beginners or casual observers rather than experienced umpires or scorers, have been voiced over in English, Hindi and Urdu, and cover five subjects: 'The wicket is down'; 'Obstructing the field'; 'Batsman out of his ground'; 'Damaging the pitch'; and 'Hit the ball twice’.

 

Stephen Fry and Ramiz Raja have again provided the narration for the English and Urdu versions of the new videos, while those in Hindi feature the voice of Bollywood actor and cricket enthusiast Saif Ali Khan.  The initial five videos released last October covered ‘LBW', 'No Balls', ‘Wides', 'Boundary catching', and 'Running out the non-striker’ (PTG 1200-5775, 2 October 2013).  The MCC says that current planning calls for a further five videos to be released early next year.  

 

Fraser Stewart, the MCC's Cricket Academy Manager, told PTG last October that the idea for the animations "came from MCC’s desire to do more to educate the public on the Laws of Cricket".  The MCC engaged London based firm Hoxton Redsox, who specialise in such projects, to produce the clips.  The company engaged a script-writer who worked closely with Stewart to produce narration that was factually correct, succinct and easy to understand.  The animations could only be so long, therefore care was needed to paraphrase the Laws without losing their meaning.

 

The latest batch of videos were released as the Club announced that it is seeking applications for its newly established ‘Laws of Cricket Advisor’ position, a job as its name implies will play a key role in the Club's day-to-day work on the game’s Laws, a particular emphasis being to oversee the production and revision of a range of on-line umpire educational materials (PTG 1409-6802, 8 August 2014). 

 

BCB'S UMPIRE EDUCATOR DIES

[1410-6810]

 

Ziaul Islam, a former member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel who played for his county in the 1970s prior to his umpiring career, died last week.  ‘Masud’, as he was often called, stood in 27 first class and 23 List A games last decade, as well as two women’s, and nine Under-19, One Day Internationals (ODI).  He was also the television umpire in six senior ODIs played in Bangladesh.  At the time of his death Masud was the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s Umpire Educator.

 

STAND UP TO ‘CULTURE’ OF BAD BEHAVIOUR, 

SAYS FORMER TEST UMPIRE 

[1410-6811]

 

A culture of bad behaviour is developing in the modern game and stronger deterrents and strong management are needed if it is to be stamped out, says former England Test umpire John Holder.  Holder told the BCC’s Sam Sheringham on Thursday that in his view England's James Anderson was "extremely lucky" to escape punishment for his altercation with India's Ravindra Jadeja at Trent Bridge last month, the decision to acquit him being made primarily because evidence available from witnesses was such that the truth could not be determined to the degree necessary (PTG 1405-6788, 4 August 2014).

 

Former first class player Holder, who went on to stand in 421 first class matches, 11 of them Tests, in a higher-level umpiring career that ran for 28 years from 1982-2009, said the decision not to punish Anderson sends out the wrong message.  "Jimmy yaps too much at opponents” and "I don't understand why when you are playing against someone you have to be mouthing off all the time”.  Holder, 69, who now umpires in the Central Lancashire League, says poor standards in international cricket are filtering down to lower levels.  

 

Holder described player behaviour as "awful, there is a lot of inane chatter, dissent towards umpires and the use of the "F" word has become far too prevalent”.  Anderson is reported to have admitted that he called Jadeja a "f***ing p**ck" and a "f***ing c**t" when he appealed for a catch not long before before the alleged pushing incident between the two occurred (PTG 1406-6793, 5 August 2014).  Holder believes that if fines don't help improve behaviour, then bans are needed for “if the players know the ultimate sanction for bad behaviour is suspension, they will stop doing it” for “trying to brush [incidents] under the carpet” does not work”. 

 

Like Holder, former India skipper Rahul Dravid also described Anderson's ‘not guilty’ verdict as the “wrong message” from the game’s administrators for at the moment they appear to be saying that "abuse is OK".  He said "some sought of reprimand” would have been appropriate as evidence of on-field verbal abuse was "clearly mentioned in umpire Bruce Oxenford’s report”, a similar view also being expressed by ‘Wisden India’ editor-in-chief Dileep Premachandran earlier in the week (PTG 1406-6793, 5 August 2014).  “The message we’ve given out at the moment, the game has given out, is that it’s okay to do this stuff [abuse], which I think is wrong. I think there needed to be some sort of action taken”, said Dravid.

 

Meanwhile, former England captain Michael Vaughan wrote in the London ‘Daily Telegraph’ that "Anderson should carry on sledging India as long as the [he] does not stray into outright abuse".  "Fast bowlers use sledging as a mechanism for getting up for the challenge and as long as it does not become personal, I have no problem with it”.  "A batsman is at his best when he is concentrating on the present, looking at that red ball and focusing on nothing else”.  "If you can take his mind away from the red ball then you are starting to win the battle".

 

Almost sixty per cent, or 51,870 of the 90,000 respondents to a ‘Cricinfo’ on-line poll over the last few days feel that the not-guilty verdict in the Anderson-Jadeja hearings was “unfair, something happened, so there should have at least been a reprimand”.  On the other hand twenty-three per cent or 20,356, voted “Let’s move on, and slightly less, 19 per cent, 16,893, say the decision was "Fair. There was no video evidence, only either side’s version of the incident”.

 

MADUGALLE BACK ON TRACK 

FOR 150TH TEST

[1410-6812]

 

Sri Lanka’s Ranjan Madugalle who had, according to some media reports, been replaced as match referee for the fourth Test between England and India at Old Trafford by Australian David Boon (PTG 1409,6803, 8 August 2014), is in fact working in that role during the current game.  Madugalle, the International Cricket Council’s chief match referee, is therefore expected become the first person to reach the 150 match mark as a referee in Tests when the final game of the series gets underway at The Oval next Friday (PTG 1385-6696, 3 July 2014)  

 

‘TWITTER’, PITCH DAMAGE, DISSENT AND 

‘DECEIT’ KEEPS LEAGUE TRIBUNAL BUSY

[1410-6813]

 

The posting of “abusive comments” about an umpire on ‘Twitter' following a recent Saddleworth and District Cricket League's (SDCL) junior match has resulted in Micklehurst Cricket Club all-rounder Nick Lawrence being suspended for six matches by the SDCL’s disciplinary panel, a group that has particularly busy this week  In addition, the Saddleworth club’s Darren Shadford was banned for two games after being found to have “deliberately damaged the pitch” before the start of a cup semi-final against Heyside, and Waqas Malik, the skipper of the Whalley Range side, also for two for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision.

.

In a separate exercise, the league fined the Hollinwood club £200 ($A360) and suspended Bashir Khan, the captain of its second XI in a match against Glodwick, for  four matches because of what was described as being “complicit in the deceit” involved when Majid Khan, a player registered with another club, played for Hollinwood using the name of one of its players.  Hollinwood later submitted a transfer request for Khan, but this was refused by the league committee until such time Khan appears before them "to explain his actions".

 

PLAYER’S BAT DRILLED IN DRUG SEARCH

[1410-6814]

 

Jimmy Neesham, who has played four Tests and eleven One Day Internationals for New Zealand, was the target of what some reports called "overzealous customs officials" on Thursday when he handed his bat in for inspection on arrival in the United States.  When it was returned to him Neesham, who was travelling with his Caribbean Premier League franchise side, found that four holes had been drilled into it by officials who apparently suspected it might contain drugs.  Earlier this week the Marylebone Cricket Club called for applications for its new position of ‘Laws of Cricket Advisor’, however, it seems unlikely that one of the tasks the eventual occupant of that role will have, that of “searching for illegal cricket equipment being sold around the world”, will involve such inspections (PTG 1409-6802, 8 August 2014). 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,411
Tuesday, 12 August 2014

AUSSIE PLAYER NUMBERS TOP ONE 

ONE MILLION FOR FIRST TIME

[1411-6815]

 

Cricket Australia's (CA) twelfth 'Australian Cricket Census' (ACC) indicates the number of people who were involved in playing the game "in some capacity" across that country during the 2013-14 austral summer topped the one million mark for the first time, a rise of 16 per cent on figures for 2012-13.  The growth of player participation rates was the key focus of ACC data released yesterday as part of the national body's 'PlayCricket Week’, reference to match officials being limited to a single statistic that states CA “trained” 1,611 umpires, however, there was no explanation of just what that means, nor was any data on scorers provided in the documentation released. 

 

Conducted for CA by independent research firm Street Ryan, the latest ACC data set suggests more than a quarter of a million players have been added to the ranks of participants in Australia over the four seasons since 2010-11.  Data for 2013-14 puts the overall number of people "taking part at their local grounds, schools and indoor centres” at 1,105,709, up 153,776 on 2012-13, a growth rate double the increase reported a year ago for the previous twelve months (PTG 1189-5734, 16 September 2013).  CA announced last year its aim then was to increase overall numbers to 1.2 million by 2015, a figure that will be reached provided an 8 per cent increase is achieved over the coming 2014-15 summer. 

 

By far the largest increase was in the number of females involved, the growth rate in that area being put by CA at an impressive 39 percent, a surge its says helped spawn a total of 113 new female club teams.  Data provided shows a total of 247,000 females took part in games around the country, close to 69,000 more than figures provided for the previous summer, and almost a quarter of the overall 2013-14 participation figure of 1.1 million.  While the female growth figure was high, so was that for school and children’s cricket where an additional 122,000 took part, up 30 per cent to a total 536,646, or almost precisely half of the 1.1 million.  The reported growth figure for the previous twelve months in the school and children’s area was a massive, unsustainable, 47.9 per cent.

 

"Club and community" numbers accounted for either 337,000 or 399,787, depending on which part of the information released is looked at.  The higher figure represents a 25 per cent rise from the 318,830 number CA published last year, and the smaller an 8 per cent rise, but whatever the actual growth rate was, CA says it was the "biggest single-year percentage growth in more than five years”.  The number of clubs involved went from 3,737 in last years data to 3,995, up a surprising 258, across what CA says were a total of 477 associations; although last year 577 associations were mentioned which may suggest either the 477 or 577 is a typographical error.  

 

Conversely though, indoor playing numbers appear on the data provided to have fallen by 5 per cent.  CA puts the numbers involved in 2013-14 at 169,276, and while it provides no comparison or any other comment on it, that figure is 8,686 less than the 177,962 given for the indoor game in ACC data for 2012-13 released last year.

 

CA chief executive James Sutherland said in a press release yesterday that the increase in numbers, "at a time when match attendances, television ratings and commercial partnerships are at record levels, demonstrates that our strategy is paying dividends with the foundations of the game incredibly strong”.  “This growth is reflective of the incredible work of state and territory staff and the ongoing enhancement of national programs which continue to provide kids with safe and enjoyable physical activity”.  Sutherland said CA is "particularly pleased to see such a dramatic increase in female participation” which he says was "undoubtedly driven in part by outstanding performances of the [Australian women’s side] over the last year".

 

ANOTHER SPINNER’S ACTION 

REPORTED AS ’SUSPECT' 

[1411-6816]

 

Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has been reported with a suspected illegal bowling action during his side’s Test against Sri Lanka in Galle on Sunday, the latest bowler to be reported since the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee express its concerns about “suspect actions” two months ago (PTG 1371-6630, 7 June 2014).  The Galle match officials’ report, which was provided to Pakistan team manager Moin Khan on Sunday, cites concerns over "a number of deliveries that were considered to be suspect and concluded that the bowler’s action needed to be tested".

 

Ajmal’s bowling action will now be scrutinised further under the ICC process relating to suspected illegal bowling actions and he is required to undergo testing within 21 days, but is permitted to continue bowling in international cricket until the results of the testing are known.  Moin said he was “surprised” at the report but confident Ajmal will be cleared. “We will play him in the next Test” which begins in Colombo on Thursday. 

 

The spinner was first reported for a suspect action in April 2009, his ‘doosra’ being the problem then (PTG 413-2184, 28 April 2009), a situation that led several well known commentators to call for off spinners to be allowed an additional "two or three degrees" of flexion beyond the fifteen degrees currently allowed so that they can bowl such a ball without censure or questioning by umpires (PTG 415-2191, 4 May 2009).  His action was subsequently cleared after testing at the University of Western Australia (UWA) (PTG 429-2257, 25 May 2009).  The ICC warned then though that whenever "Ajmal bowls in a match in the future his action will be under the scrutiny of match officials”.

 

Three months ago England player Stuart Broad reportedly received a "rap on the knuckles but no formal punishment" over comments he made on 'Twitter' about Ajmal that questioned the legality of his action (PTG 1361-6578, 24 May 2014).  The comments prompted complaints from both Ajmal and the Pakistan Cricket Board to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).   ECB chairman Giles Clarke reportedly provided assurances that Broad, England’s Twenty20 captain, would be "reminded of his responsibilities" but not fined (PTG 1365-6598, 29 May 2014).

 

Since June’s ICC Cricket Committee meeting, Sri Lanka offspinner Sachithra Senanayake (PTG 1390-6724, 14 July 2014) and New Zealand's Kane Williamson (PTG 1398-6767, 25 July 2014), have both been reported and subsequently banned from bowling due to illegal bowling actions.  Senanayake arrived in Perth yesterday where he is to undergo a remediation program that will be overseen by Daryl Foster, a UWA biomechanical expert.

 

ZIM PLAYER REPRIMAND 

FOR SHOWING DISSENT 

[1411-6817]

 

Zimbabwean bowler Tendai Chatara has been reprimanded for showing dissent when he was given out caught behind late on the opening day of the one-off Test against South Africa in Harare on Saturday.  Chatara shook his head and gestured toward his pad after Test debutant Chris Gaffaney raise his finger, but with no Umpire Decision Review System in operation he could not be recalled even though replays suggested the ball deflected off his thigh pad and not his bat. 

 

Gaffaney, his on-field colleague Aleem Dar of Pakistan, and third and fourth umpires Jerry Matibiri and Owen Chirombe of Zimbabwe reported Chatara and he subsequently pleaded guilty to a Level One breach of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) player Code of Conduct and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka.  All ICC Level One breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand and a maximum penalty of half of a player’s match fee.

 

BANNED BUTT PLAYS IN ‘PRIVATE’ 

TOURNAMENT IN QATAR

[1411-6818]

 

Pakistan’s Salman Butt, who is serving a ten year ban for spot fixing, five of which were suspended, recently played in a tournament in Qatar   Butt’s ban, which is currently expected to end in August next year, prevents him from playing in any cricket that falls under the purview of the International Cricket Council (ICC) or its members, however, the Qatar Cricket Association (QCA), an ICC Affiliate Member, says the event Butt took part in was a “private” tournament.  

 

Butt, as well as his team mates Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif all served prison terms for their involvement in spot-fixing during a Test at Lord’s in 2010.  Two months ago, banned former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful and former Bangladesh umpire Nadir Shah, who are both currently serving lengthy bans for corruption, took part in competitions in Los Angeles that were run by organisations that are not members of ICC affiliates (PTG 1376-6657, 16 June 2014). 

 

WICUA CONVENTION SET 

FOR NEW YORK IN 2015

[1411-6819]

 

The West Indies Cricket Umpires Association (WICUA) has announced it is to hold its twenty-seventh convention in New York from 20-27 July next year, the second time the organisation has met in that city in the 55 years since the first such biennial gathering in Trinidad and Tobago in 1962.  The WICUA held its nineteenth convention in Brooklyn, New York in June 1999, Trinidad and Tobaga having to date hosted five, Barbados and Guyana four each, Bermuda and Jamaica both three, and Antigua, Montserrat, St. Kitts, St Luca and St. Vincent all one. 

 

WICUA affiliates come from a very wide geographic area that stretches from Canada and the United States in the north, to Bermuda in the mid-Atlantic to the east, and in the Carribean and its environs in the south; the latter including: Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands (Antigua, Anguilla, Montserrrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the British Virgin Islands), Trinidad and Tobago, and the Windward Islands (Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent.  

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,412
Wednesday, 13 August 2014

CA ‘NATIONAL SIGN UP WEEK’ PROMOTION 

NEGLECTS ROLE OF MATCH OFFICIALS 

[1412-6820]

 

A range of promotional materials prepared by Cricket Australia (CA) strategists to support Monday’s launch of its national 'PlayCricket Week’ and player 'National Sign Up Campaign’, contain no mention of the need for, or opportunities available to, the scorers and umpires who play a key but often unheralded role in the game.  Similar CA campaigns  have seen more than a quarter of a million people added to club playing ranks in Australia over the past four years  (PTG 1411-6815, 12 August 2014), however, there has been a lack of consistent, parallel programs from the national body aimed at lifting the numbers and performance standards of club level match officials.

 

Player recruitment publicity released on Monday for the 2014-15 season included: the provision on-line of details of men’s, women’s and junior cricket, including club contact links; poster-like promotional materials that can be readily modified by clubs for their individual use; a 30 second television commercial to be aired over the next two months; advertisements on a range of web sites and a radio network in each state; and campaigns via ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’; all of which are supported by a media release that “showcased” the statistics from CA’s 2013-14 ‘Australian Cricket Census’ (ACC).  

 

The on-line panels and links for men’s, women’s and junior cricket, provide good ’starter packs’ for potential players, and the television commercial shows players of all ages taking a active part in the game, however, while well produced, neither they or the other materials contain illustrations of, or reference to, match officials 'at work’.  

 

CA’s match officials unit has over many years, and under a range of managers, had the identification, training, development and management of umpires for the domestic first class game and above as its key focus; while scorers drift to the top via years of service with their respective state associations, their promotions in general terms not being part of CA’s match officials focus.  While the need to find appropriate umpires, and allocate the resources necessary, for higher-level work is obvious, CA have yet to succeed in widening its umpiring and scoring work into a coordinated national effort that provides modern, up-to-date training materials  and a range of other initiatives needed to recruit and retain those match officials who support the game at club level.  

 

KANERIA LOOSES THIRD, AND LAST?, 

APPEAL AGAINST LIFE BAN 

[1412-6821]

 

Former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, who was banned for life by an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) disciplinary panel in June 2012 (PTG 954-4627, 26 June 2012), has had a third application to appeal against a life ban for spot-fixing refused, and he now appears to have no option but to accept the ban (PTG 1348-6521, 8 May 2014).  Kaneria, 33, was found guilty of corruption while playing with Essex during a County one-day match in 2009 but denies any wrongdoing, however, his latest appeal was declared "totally without merit” by a judge of the UK's Court of Appeal yesterday.  

 

ECB chairman Giles Clarke said in a statement after the judge’s decision was handed down that the result "has exhausted all the legal options available to [Kaneria]” and “its high time that Mr Kaneria came clean about his involvement in these corrupt activities”.  Clarke welcomed the decision, adding: "Kaneria acted as a recruiter of potential 'spot-fixers' and used his seniority and international experience to target and corrupt a young and vulnerable player”, a reference to Essex team mate Mervyn Westfield who was jailed for four months after admitting to a corruption charge.  During Westfield's trial the judge said the scam had been orchestrated by Kaneria.

 

Westfield returned to club cricket this northern summer and now takes part in a corruption-related education arranged by the UK Professional Cricketers' Association.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,413
Thursday, 14 August 2014

‘INDEPENDENCE’ OF ICC SUSPECT BOWLING 

ACTION TESTING QUESTIONED

[1413-6822]

 

The independence and transparency of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) new testing procedures for bowlers who have been reported with suspect actions has been questioned by a Professor from the University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth, says an article published in Melbourne newspaper ‘The Age’ this morning.  That point of view comes less than twelve hours after a ‘Cricinfo’ report the ICC is not convinced procedures at UWA’S biomechanics laboratory, which for two decades from 1995 was the world’s only such facility, were rigorous enough, an assessment that appears to be behind the ICC's decision to set up alternative testing centres in other parts of the world.

 

News the ICC was increasing the number of "illegal bowling action testing centres” surfaced two months ago, however, the reasons behind that move have not emerged in public until now.  The ICC Cricket Committee's assessment then was that there were "a number of bowlers” in international cricket with suspect actions, umpires and referees should be encouraged to "better identify” and report them, testing procedures were not adequate, and biomechanists should play a "greater role" during the assessment process (PTG 1371-6630, 7 June 2014). 

 

‘Cricinfo’ said yesterday the ICC "is unhappy" with the UWA facility as it does not meet "the standards they want” and that "not enough” of the bowlers reported and then tested in Perth in recent years have been found to possess suspect actions.  As a result the ICC decided to “take greater control" of the process and accredit other laboratories so "they can implement uniformity to the testing to the standards they want”.  Since the Cricket Committee meeting three bowlers, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, Sri Lanka’s Sachithra Senanayake and Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal have had their actions reported, the first two later being banned from bowling following laboratory tests (PTG 1411-6816, 12 August 2014).  Testing of both Williamson and Senanayake’s actions was carried out at the Cardiff Metropolitan University (CMU) in Wales, one of the ICC’s new testing centres.

 

Despite the ICC’s concerns, Senanayake is currently at UWA undertaking remedial work on his bowling action (PTG 1401-6774, 29 July 2014), but the university's Professor Jacqueline Alderson told ‘Age’ journalist Chloe Saltau the ICC has refused to provide Sri Lanka Cricket, and through them the Perth laboratory, with a copy of the ICC’s standard testing protocols so the spinner’s action can be remediate to the extent required.   “The ICC has effectively taken control of the testing process”, said the Professor, who believes “such analysis should be independent but it’s not”.  Her view is that “procedures by which decisions are made must be open to peer review, and must be available to bowlers and their boards to ensure that process is open and fair”.  What’s happening now isn’t "in the best interests of cricket”, she says.

 

Alderson indicated that her university withdrew its services from the ICC in March this year because of a dispute over its intellectual property which comes from the experience it has acquired over almost twenty years of work in the field, knowledge she claims the ICC is using to set up other testing centres.   ’The Age’ says the intellectual property dispute stems from a review of University of WA testing processes conducted in 2009 "partly by an Italian data expert" who "has since been hired by the ICC" and  who "was involved" in CMU's testing of Williamson and Senanayake in Cardiff; all of the latter’s deliveries being found to exceed the ICC’s 15-degree elbow extension limit (PTG 1390-6724, 14 July 2014). 

 

In addition to the costs involved in setting up the new testing centres, the ICC is also funding the development, in partnership with the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), of inexpensive and readily available 'wearable' technology that will enable the legitimacy of a bowler's action to be determined in near 'real-time’.  A meeting of the MCC's World Cricket Committee last January was told "excellent progress" was 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).  Barring unforeseen problems, such devices are currently expected to be widely available in 2016.  

 

BATSMAN’S STUMP STRIKE 

ATTRACTS REPRIMAND

[1413-6823]

 

South Africa’s Dean Elgar has been reprimanded after pleading guilty to a Level One charge of “Abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings during an International Match”, during the fourth day’s play in the one-off Test against Zimbabwe in Harare on Tuesday.   After he was bowled in South Afica’s second innings, Elgar hit one of his stumps with his bat.  

 

The charge against him was brought by on-field umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Chris Gaffaney of New Zealand, plus third umpire Jeremiah Matibiri and fourth umpire Owen Chirombe who are both Zimbabwean.  International Cricket Council Level One breaches carry penalties that can range from an official reprimand up to a maximum of half a player’s match fee.

 

STANDARD OF CARDIFF ONE-DAY 

PITCH UNDER INVESTIGATION

[1413-6824]

 

Glamorgan are reported to be facing an investigation after the pitch provided at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff for their fifty over match against Durham last Friday was reported to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) by umpires Mark Benson and Peter Willey.  Both sides were dismissed inside forty-five overs on what one newspaper report called a “two-paced” pitch that was being used for the first time since it was relaid last October.  

 

Toby Radford, Glamorgan’s head coach, described the pitch to the BBC as "purely for bowlers” and "definitely poor”, and even though his side lost the match it could also loose championship points should the strip is declared sub-standard.  An ECB pitch panel was expected to inspect the wicket this week.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,414
Saturday, 16 August 2014

ICC DEFENDS SUSPECT BOWLING 

ACTION TESTING REGIME

[1414-6825]

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is reported to be “adamant” the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) concerns about the independence of its suspect bowling action evaluation system, and suggestion it was inappropriately using UWA testing protocols, are wrong.  Earlier this week UWA Professor Jacqueline Alderson, whose organisation withdrew its services from the ICC in March this year because of a dispute over testing-related intellectual property issues, criticised the world body for its approach and accused it of not making its standard testing protocols available to support work to assist banned Sri Lankan spinner Sachithra Senanayake remediate his bowling action (PTG 1413-6822, 14 August 2014).

 

An ICC spokesman told Cloe Saltau, a journalist with ’The Age’ newspaper in Melbourne, that: "The process is now more independent than it has ever been [and] the testing centre and biomechanical staff will still be engaged and paid by the ICC, as they have been previously”.  "If scientists were not considered to be independent, then we wouldn’t have entertained the concept that an Australian institution could be used as the sole testing centre - potentially testing Australian bowlers, for example”.  "The process will be further enhanced as biomechanists from different countries are accredited to conduct tests on behalf of the ICC”, said the spokesman.

 

Saltau wrote yesterday that in 2009, an ICC expert panel into the subject of bowling action testing recommended sticking with the UWA laboratory as the sole testing centre but that changes be made to the testing regime it used.  The ICC says the UWA agreed to implement the changes, but then it "chased the UWA for three years for those changes to be implemented, without success”.  As a result the ICC commissioned a project to develop its own standardised testing system "so the ICC and its members could better address the issue of illegal actions", and says it had no choice but to send bowlers to newly accredited Cardiff Metropolitan University for testing when the Perth laboratory withdrew its services.

 

In a letter to ICC chief executive David Richardson in March, UWA's Tim Ackland objected to his university's data being made available ''[without consultation or our consent] to other institutional parties involved in the [2009] study, in order to find inconsistencies in the UWA's dataset”.  He also said the university should not have to change its internal modelling and data collection procedures at the behest of the ICC medical committee, which it said did not include a qualified biomechanist.   Saltau concludes her story that “with such testiness among the testers, it's little wonder throwing remains one of the most emotive issues in the game”, but testing bowlers in match conditions rather than a laboratory, with bowlers wearing sensors on their arms, is on the horizon (PTG 1270-6126, 16 January 2014). 

 

 

 

REPRIMAND FOR DISSENT FOR 

INDIAN BATSWOMEN

[1414-6827]

 

Harmanpreet Kaur, a member of the Indian women’s side, has been reprimanded after showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during the first day’s play in the Test against England women in Wormsley on Wednesday.   The International Cricket Council ICC) said in a press release that the charge against Kaur was brought by on-field umpires Billy Taylor and David Millns, and while it does not state it specifically, it probably related to her LBW dismissal.  She admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee David Jukes. and as a result there was no need for a formal hearing.  ICC Level One breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand and a maximum fine of half of a player’s match fee.

 

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE ALL-ROUNDER 

REPRIMANDED  

[1414-6828]

 

Northamptonshire all-rounder Andrew Hall has been reprimanded by the England and Wales Cricket Board for his behavior during the county’s home one-day match against Derbyshire on Monday.  Hall was reported by umpires Peter Willey and Steve O’Shaughnessy for using "language that is obscene, offensive or insulting and/or making an obscene gesture”.  The penalty will remain on Hall's record for two years and the accumulation of nine or more penalty points in any two year period will result in an automatic suspension.

 

CARDIFF ONE-DAY PITCH 

OFFICIALLY RATED AS ‘POOR'

[1414-6829]

 

The pitch provided at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff for Glamorgan's one-day match against Durham eight days ago has been officially rated as “poor”, and below the standard required, by an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Pitch Panel (PTG 1413-6824, 14 August 2014).  Glamorgan chief executive Hugh Morris said the pitch had been newly laid as part of efforts to produce surfaces with greater life at the ground, and “whilst we accept the verdict, the Pitch Panel's review confirmed that there was nothing to indicate in advance that the pitch would behave as it did".

 

Morris went on to say his club began a pitch improvement program in 2011 with two new pitches being relaid over each of the last four northern winters. "This investment was taken after years of umpire reports that the [pitches] were often low and slow in Cardiff”.  He went on to point out that: "The feedback we have received from the ECB, umpire reports and visiting teams, both domestic and international, for the newly laid surfaces has been positive, including during last year's Champions Trophy” event.  

 

There will be no direct impact this year for Glamorgan as a result of the “poor” finding, however, in 2015 the side will commence that year’s one-day competition on minus two championship points.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,415
Tuesday, 19 August 2014

LOOSING SIDE CONTESTS RESULT OF CPL 

FINAL, QUERIES MATCH OFFICIALS' ACTIONS

[1415-6830]

 

The management of the Caribbean Premier League’s (CPL) Guyanan franchise has written to the competition’s organisers to dispute their loss to Barbados in last Saturday's final of this year’s event, says a report in Guyana's ’Starbroek News’ yesterday.  In a match played on the island of St Kitts, rain interrupted play three times before being stopped by a fourth burst, Barbados eventually winning courtesy of Duckworth-Lewis calculations, however, Guyanese officials are said to be arguing the match officials involved made errors in the way they applied the Playing Conditions and managed the game.

 

Barbados scored 6/152 in 20 overs, an innings that was interrupted twice by drizzle and rain, the first at the end of the seventh over and the second after ball 11.2, the covers being put on on both occasions.  Despite those weather-related delays, Guyana’s innings was deemed to remain a 20 over affair and their target therefore 153, a situation that is said to have stood even after rain delayed their innings getting underway.  It did eventually start but by 7.54 p.m., almost four hours after the game commenced, when the innings was at the 15.5 over mark and Guyana 4/107 needing 46 off 31 balls, rain again interrupted proceedings leaving them eight runs short of par.    

 

The ‘News’ story says that eventually the weather cleared, "the covers were removed, mopping up took place, and the stumps were back in position [and] the field and pitch [were] ready for play to resume”.  "This entire process was conducted under the supervision of fourth umpire [Carl Tuckett of the Leeward Islands], who indicated the game would restart”.  "Both [on-field] umpires, [Joel Wilson of Trinidad and Tobago and Gregory Brathwaite of Barbados] then went on the field when the stumps were up and subsequently went back off the [ground] without communicating anything to the Guyana team on the position of the game”, states the ‘News’ citing Guyanese team officials.

 

"Ten minutes later" Guyana’s team manager "approached the umpires" and was told that the game would restart at 8:40 p.m. with the full quota of overs to be bowled, and the CPL is said to have posted those facts on its ‘Facebook’ page.  As the match had gotten underway at 4 p.m. local time, Playing Conditions available suggest it should have finished before 8 p.m.  On being advised of the 8.40 restart time, Barbados’ captain and coach, who would have known the Duckworth-Lewis situation, are both said to “have objected”, at which point the claim is Wilson and Brathwaite “suddenly indicated" they planned to consult the CPL's Technical Committee and match referee Denovan Hayles of Jamaica.  "After a few minutes”, Guyana was informed by [Hayles] the match [had] ended and Barbados was declared the winner based on Duckworth-Lewis calculations”.

 

Guyanan officials, who the ’News' suggests had raised issues regarding to the appointment of “umpires and match officials for the semi-finals and final of [this year’s] tournament” (PTG 1415-6833 below), told the ’News’ that they have written to the CPL "specifically with regard to the decisions taken [during] the match and intend to vigorously pursue [its case].  Just how the CPL, or the match officials involved, saw and handled the situation as it evolved was not mentioned in the article and has not been made public. 

 

OBSCENE LANGUAGE RESULTS IN 

REPRIMAND FOR PAKISTAN SPINNER

[1415-6831]

 

Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has been reprimanded and warned for “using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an International Match”, a Level One offence, during the fourth day’s play in the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Sunday.  The incident involved occurred after the 105th over of Sri Lanka’s second innings when he used obscene language which was picked up by the stump microphone and heard on television.

 

The charge against Ajmal was laid by the on-field umpires, Englishmen Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth, and third umpire Bruce Oxenford of Australia.  In international cricket all Level One breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand up to a maximum penalty of half of a player’s match fee.

 

SLOW OVER-RATE FINE FOR INDIA  

[1415-6832]

 

The Indian team has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the fifth and final Test against England at The Oval which ended on Sunday.  Sri Lankan match referee Ranjan Madugalle, whose was overseeing his 150th Test (PTG 1385-6696, 3 July 2014), imposed the fines after Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side was ruled to be three overs short of its target at the end of the match when time allowances were taken into consideration.

 

International Cricket Council regulations governing minor over-rate offences require that players be fined ten per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with captains fined double that amount.  As such, Dhoni was fined sixty-per-cent of his match fee while his players lost thirty-per-cent.  The penalty was accepted by India without contest so there was no need for a hearing.  Should Dhoni is found guilty of one more minor over-rate offence in Tests over the next twelve months he will receive an automatic one-match suspension.

 

SEVEN NAMED TO MANAGE 

WINDIES-BANGLADESH INTERNATIONALS 

[1415-6833]

 

Seven members of the International Cricket Council’s top match officials panels from six countries have been named as the neutrals to manage the Test and One Day International (ODI) series between the West Indies and Bangladesh over the next four weeks.  Jeff Crowe of New Zealand, Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Richard Kettleborough of England are to oversee the three ODIs in Grenada and St Kitts, and Steve Davis of Australia, Marais Erasmus of South Africa, Richard Illingworth of England and Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka, the Tests in St Vincent and St Lucia.

 

Kettleborough will be on-field in the first and third ODIs when Dar will be in the television position, the two reversing those roles in the middle fixture; a series that will take Crowe’s ODI record as a referee to 204 games, Dar’s to 160 on-field and 41 as the third umpire (160/41), and Kettleborough’s to 43/23.  The second on-field and fourth umpire positions have not been announced as yet, but are likely to come from West Indian members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, on-field members being Peter Nero and Joel Wilson of Trinidad and Tobago, and third umpire members Nigel Duguid of Guyana and Gregory Braithwaite of Barbados. 

 

In the Tests, Mahanama will be overseeing his fifty-second and fifty-third as a referee while Illingworth, who will be on-ground in both fixtures, will take his Test tally as an umpire to eleven.  Erasmus will be on-field with Illingworth in match one with Davis the television official, the Australian and South African swapping roles for the second game.  The latter pair’s Test record will move on to 54/30 and 26/19 respectively by the end of the series.

 

The ICC, which usually gives Test debuts to umpires in matches that feature either Bangladesh or Zimbabwe, overlooked Johannes Cloete of South Africa for the series in the Caribbean.  That currently leaves India’s Sundarum Ravi, Sri Lanka’s Ranmore Martinecz and New Zealand’s Chris Gaffaney as potential candidates for a spot on the ICC’s top Elite Umpires Panel next year.  Gaffaney, who made his Test debut last week in Zimbabwe (PTG 1406-6791, 5 August 2014), stayed on there as the neutral umpire for the three-match ODI series between the home side and South Africa, along with Mahanama as match referee.  Those games will take Mahanama’s ODI referee record to 199, and Gaffaneys as an umpire to 26.

 

CPL RELIES ON ‘LOCAL’ MATCH 

OFFICIALS FOR 2014 SERIES 

[1415-6834]

 

Caribbean Premier League (CPL) organisers, who employed two match officials from outside the region for its inaugural event last year (PTG 1179-5692, 26 August 2013). used six members of the West Indies Cricket Board’s twelve-man Senior Umpires Panel and two match referees, to support this year’s event.   Gregory Braithwaite and Leslie Reifer of Barbados plus Joel Wilson and Denovan Hayles of Jamaica managed the three finals matches  played on the island of St Kitts late last week (PTG 1415-6830 above), the others who were involved with them in the twenty-seven lead-up games being Nigel Duguid of Guyana, Patrick Gustard of Jamaica, and Peter Nero and Hayden Bruce of Trinidad and Tobago. 

 

Wilson, an on-field member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), stood in the two semi finals and the final of the series, Braithwaite, an IUP third umpire, being the other on-field umpire in the final with Duguid, also an IUP third umpire who had been on-field in one semi final and third umpire in the other, in the television spot for the final.  Hayles was the match referee for the three finals games.

 

Overall, Bruce was the match referee for sixteen matches and Hayles the other fourteen played.  Of the umpires, Brathwaite stood in fourteen games and was the third umpire in another four (11/4), Nero, an IUP on-field member, and Wilson both had 11/3, Gustard 10/5, Duguid 9/6 and Reifer 8/7.  

 

Another nine umpires used in fourth umpire positions were: Deighton Butler, Francis Maurice and Wycliffe Mitchum (Windward Islands); Bernard Joseph and Carl Tuckett (Leeward Islands); Colin Alfred (Guyana); Jonathan Blades (Barbados); Kellman Kowlessar (Trinidad and Tobago); and Christopher Wright (Jamaica).  Alfred, Maurice, Mitcham and Wright have umpired at first class level while Maurice, and Tuckett played first class cricket prior to taking up umpiring.

 

KUMBLE, SRINATH STAGE ‘WALKOUT' 

[1415-6835]

 

Former Indian captain Anil Kumble and fast bowler Javagal Srinath are reported to have "staged a walkout" at the Annual General Meeting of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) on Sunday over allegations the state body has been using its funds on matters other than the playing of cricket, says a Press Trust of India (PTI) report yesterday.  Kumble, who is currently serving as the chairman of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee, was KSCA president from 2010-13, a time during which Srinath, an ICC match referee since 2006, was the association's secretary.

 

What the PTI termed an “angry” Kumble accused the current administration of a lack of direction and running the organisation in an autocratic manner.  Srinath is said to have claimed present KSCA administrators are "deviating from what should be their goal”.  He emphasised the need for more turf pitches in an additional twenty-five districts across the state as part of a twenty-year plan.  "That's how kids come up. That's how you integrate education into sport”, he said.  “We don't want this administration job, [rather] all we want is to promote cricket and its development”.

 

‘INDIRECT PHYSICAL ABUSE’ OF 

UMPIRES LEADS TO BAN 

[1415-6836]

 

The president of Bermuda’s St David’s County Cricket Club, Otis Minors, has been banned from playing for the rest of the current season and placed on a year’s probation after an “altercation” with umpires Emmerson Carrington and Oscar Andrade following his side “unexpected” loss in a recent cup match.  Bermuda’s ‘Royal Gazette’ reported on Saturday that Minors has also been forced to write formal letters of apology to clubs in the competition, including his own, the association itself and the Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association. 

 

Steven Douglas, the Eastern Counties Cricket Association president, said Minors was summoned before the league’s committee to face charges of "indirect physical abuse, more specifically kicking over a trash can [whose] contents scattered in proximity to Carrington and Andrade”.  The club president pleaded guilty to what was a Level Two charge laid against him and has already sent the letters of apology.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,416
Thursday, 21 August 2014

MUDUGAL TO SEEK EXTENSION 

OF IPL REPORT DEADLINE?

[1416-6837]

 

The Indian Supreme Court appointed committee that is looking into betting and spot-fixing activities in last year’s Indian Premier League series (IPL-6), is unlikely to provide the court with its final report by the end of this month as requested, say press reports from the sub-continent yesterday.   In May, retired Justice Mukul Mudgal was asked to follow-up on the preliminary, 170 page, report his original group submitted in February after a four-month probe (PTG 1289-6212, 11 February 2014), the focus of the new work being on the so-called "sealed envelope" that contains the names of thirteen persons of interest in regards to alleged IPL-6 corruption (PTG 1355-6541, 17 May 2014).

 

Reports claim Mudgal's committee, whose chairman expressed doubt two months ago about the end-of-August deadline, is likely to submit an interim report to the Court next Wednesday, and at the same time seek an extension of the deadline for their final report.  A delay could have implications for the Annual General Meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which is currently scheduled for the last week of September.  There are indications the fight for positions on the BCCI’s top decision-making body is fierce.

 

ILLINGWORTH TO BE CREDITED 

WITH ADDITIONAL TEST

[1416-6838]

 

The Test umpiring record of England’s Richard Illingworth is to be credited with an additional on-field appearance by the International Cricket Council (ICC).  Illingworth, a member of the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), was working as the third umpire in the second Test between the West Indies and New Zealand at Port of Spain in mid-June when Australian Rod Tucker was unable to continue after the first drinks session of day four, the Englishmen remaining on-field for the remaining 152 overs of the match.

 

In 2011, the ICC’s Cricket Committee and Chief Executives' Committee decided that umpires who "take over as permanent replacements for injured, ill or otherwise absent on-field umpires for the remainder of [a] match, [will] be credited with an official Test appearance” (PTG 871-4255, 11 December 2011).  That decision was reached on the basis that the duties of a third umpire specifically include covering for an on-field colleague should circumstance require, such as injury or illness.  However, the ICC made clear it then that providing "temporary cover" for an on-field umpire is viewed as part of the fulfillment of third umpire duties and should not in itself be classified as a Test appearance.  

 

Meanwhile, Illingworth is one of five umpires the England and Wales Cricket Board has appointed to stand in the One Day International (ODI) series between England and India over the next two weeks.  Those selected apart from him are his EUP colleague Richard Kettleborough, and England members of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, Rob Bailey, Michael Gough and Tim Robinson.  Kettleborough will be standing in his 42nd ODI, Iliingworth number 29, Bailey his tenth, Gough sixth and Robinson fourth.  

 

Bailey will be on-field with Australian Paul Reiffel in Bristol next Monday (PTG 1385-6696, 3 July 2014), the latter’s partners in Cardiff, at Trent Bridge, Edgbaston and Headingley being Illingworth, Gough, Robinson and Kettleborough respectively; all six umpires and match referee Ranjan Madugalle being former first class players, four having played at Test level.  Gough and Robinson are to stand in the  single Twenty20 International at Edgbaston, however, just who the television officials will be for that game and the ODIs has not yet been announced.

 

LONG-SERVING PAKISTAN 

UMPIRE DEPARTS IUP

[1416-6839]

 

Long-serving Pakistani umpire Zameer Haider, who was moved from an on-field to a television umpire position on the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) last year (PTG 1185-5713, 8 September 2013), has now been dropped from the group altogether.  Pakistan’s current on-field members Ahsan Raza and Shozab Raza, who are not related, have retained IUP their spots for the 2014-15 year, while Lahore-born Ahmad Shahab has been promoted into the spot left by Haider’s departure.

 

Haider, 51, had been a member of the IUP since 2006, in that time standing in 15 One Day Internationals (ODI), plus 31 as the television official, at grounds in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the latter during Pakistan’s ‘home’ series there.  His Twenty20 International match record totals 12 on-field and 5 in the television suite in Pakistan, England when his country’s team played home matches there, and the UAE.  He also worked as the third umpire in six Tests, one in the UAE and the others in Pakistan prior to the March 2009 terrorist attack there. 

 

Ahmad Shahab, 45, played one first class and four List A games for Bahawalpur during the first half of the 1990s, and made his umpiring debut at that level in January 2003.  In the time since he has stood in 93 first class games, four of those being in Sri Lanka whilst on exchange in November-December 2008, and there have also been two as a television umpire in the finals of two of Pakistan’s first class competitions.  His record stands at 50 matches in domestic List A games, three of those being in Colombo, and another three as third umpire, while his Twenty20 tally is currently 33 on-field and 17 in the television spot.  He also has a single Under-19, and five women’s, ODIs to his credit.

 

ICC NATIONAL UMPIRE MANAGER MEETING 

DETAILS STAY UNDER WRAPS

[1416-6840]

 

No information as to what was discussed during this year’s meeting of the national umpire managers (NUM) from the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ten full members will be made public by the ICC.  Apart from broad facts such as that the meeting was held last month in the Caribbean, just where it was held, who the attendees were, and what the key issues considered and outcomes were, remain a mystery.  

 

The fact that the meeting was held at all only came to light because of a dispute within the Board of Control for Cricket in India (PTG 1405-6790, 4 August 2014).  An ICC spokesperson told ‘PTG’ on Tuesday: "we don’t release that information as it is more like an internal meeting, however, the [respective NUMs from each country] may disseminate information after a meeting if/as [they] deem fit”.  To date none have.   

 

QUEENSLAND ASSOCIATION CONCERNED 

ABOUT SHORTAGE OF UMPIRES

[1416-6841]

 

Teams in the Ipswich area of south-east Queensland could be forced to officiate matches themselves during the coming season if a shortage of umpires cannot be overcome in the next few weeks.  Ipswich Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (ICUSA) president David Staines told his local newspaper that umpiring levels hit a high in the 2012-13 season when an official was available for every game across the competitions four divisions, however, numbers slipped last austral summer and the ICUSA was unable to cover all fixtures played after Christmas.

.

Staines, who said his association is looking for female as well as male umpires, said if more recruits were not found soon matches in the lower divisions could face fixtures without umpires.  Queensland Cricket Umpires’ and Scorers’ Association president Nelma Grout said officials were greatly needed in all cricket associations so players did not have to fill the role.  Staines said all prospective umpires would receive training from experienced officials and accredited Cricket Australia trainers. 

 

Meanwhile a league in England faces similar problems according to Gareth Dowson Lincolnshire's umpire training officer.  He told the 'Lincolnshire Echo’ earlier this week: "We are drastically short of umpires, not only in the Lincoln area, but also in the Grimsby and Scunthorpe areas [and] without officials we are going to have a real problem in a few years’ time”.  Currently “there is such a shortage of the men in white coats that decisions are now being made as to which matches receive two umpires, which receive one and which receive none at all".

 

Dowson said there are several reasons why there is a desperate shortage of umpires, including that “people are not willing to stay in the game if they have played it for 30 years [as] they have had enough by that time and don't want to spend another 10-15 years officiating”.  "The time commitment is also an issue as being away from home and family for a day can put people off”.  “Also, umpires have to be thick-skinned for over the last two years I've noticed players verbally abusing umpires and players, which is totally out of order”.  "It's not as bad as football, but I have noticed verbal abuse in the game”, said Dowson.

 

CA, ECB MATCH OFFICIALS’ 

NEWSLETTERS GO MISSING

[1416-6842]

 

Match officials newsletters produced by Cricket Australia (CA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have gone missing recently, it being four months since the former produced an edition and eight months for the latter.  CA’s publication, which first appeared two years ago this month and is distributed electronically (PTG 974-4726, 8 August 2012), has now appeared seven times and featured a total of 64 stories.  Its production rate has been somewhat spasmodic though, the time between editions varying from as little as a month to as much as six months.  The now 18-edition ECB publication, which is distributed both electronically and in print form by the Association of Cricket Officials and has run up to 32 pages, appeared four times each year in 2010, 2011 and 2012, however, the October 2013 edition was missed, and now so have this year's March and May editions. 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,417
Friday, 22 August 2014

ICC LAUNCHES NEW UMPIRE 

ACCREDITATION PROGRAM

[1417-6843]

 

Broad details of a "competency-based benchmarking program for best-practice umpiring” whose development has been guided by the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Unit (UPTU), were released yesterday; almost seven years after an ICC umpiring 'Task Force’ recommended an accreditation process be developed for umpires whose aim is to stand at international level (PTG 126-686, 1 November 2007).  While the main goal of the initiative is to set out the principles and standards an aspiring international umpire has to demonstrate, the ICC says the materials provided in the ‘best-practice’ package can also be used by umpire trainers at all levels of the game.

 

What the ICC states in a media release is an “online resource” “that is now live on the web”, is designed to raise the overall standards of umpiring across the globe and support "the growing network of umpire coaches" in ICC member countries through a philosophy of "continual improvement and development”.  It is structured around what the ICC calls the "six foundation pillars” of umpiring: Technique; Preparation; Attitude and Teamwork; Decision making; Match management; Self-Management and Personal Development.   

 

The package is reported to be "thoroughly resourced with a database of audio-visual and textual material to support best practice for umpires and umpire coaches”.  For each of the six pillars, an 'Umpire Page' and an 'Assessor Page’ is provided that sets out "clear guidelines and resources" for an umpire and his or her assessor to draw from, "built-in feedback functions" allowing those involved to track their progress against "defined competencies”.  That arrangement, says the ICC, will "allow umpires and coaches to systematically assess their competencies against clearly defined criteria”, and ensure umpires take prime responsibility for their own professional development.

 

Each of the ICC’s ten full member national boards, who are believed to have had copies of the program for several months, have been encouraged to customise it  to suit their domestic cricket development needs. W hat could be looked at as a Level Four qualification slots in above what some countries have as a Level Three program for first class level, Level Two for serious club level umpiring, and Level One for beginners, school teachers, parents and the like; but how it will link in with the Marylebone Cricket Club’s proposed accreditation system is less clear (PTG 1409-6802, 8 August 2014).  

 

While the ICC states the new package has been "welcomed enthusiastically around the world by both umpires and coaches”, it is also likely to mean the content and materials for those levels below it may have to be modified if a coordinated approach is to eventually be established and maintained from top to bottom of the umpiring pyramid. 

 

The new program, which was developed principally by UPTU members Simon Taufel and Denis Burns, “other ICC Umpire Coaches" and Melbourne-base 'MMR Creative Studios', is said to have been “launched" at last month’s meeting of national umpire managers from the ICC’s full members countries held in the Caribbean (PTG 1416-6840, 21 August 2014).  Despite the wording the ICC used yesterday, in that the competency program “is now live on the web”, it has not provided a link to it, and a search of the web in the time since has not turned up any results.  Just what the arrangements, if any, are for general access to it is not clear, nor as yet is how individual national boards plan to utilise the new package.

 

NEUTRAL MATCH OFFICIALS FOR 

ZIMBABWEAN TRI-SERIES NAMED

[1417-6844]

 

Pakistan’s Aleem Dar, England’s Ian Gould and India’s Javagal Srinath, have been named as the neutral match officials for the seven-match One Day International (ODI) series between home side Zimbabwe, Australia and South Africa in Harare over the next two weeks.   Srinath will be the match referee for all seven matches, Gould standing in the first three with a so far unnamed Zimbabwean member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), a second being in the television position, while Dar will be on-ground the last four fixtures, including the tournament’s final, again with local IUP members on-field and as third umpires.

 

Dar, who was in Harare for a Test between Zimbabwe and South Africa just two weeks ago and is currently in the Caribbean for the West Indies-Bangladesh ODI series (PTG 1415-6833, 19 August 2014), will have taken his ODI record to 164 matches by the time the tri-nation event concludes, Srinath’s seven games mean his match referee record in ODIs will move on to 138, and Gould’s three to 91 ODIs. 

 

‘SUSPECT ACTION’ SPINNER TO 

BE TESTED IN BRISBANE

[1417-6845]

 

Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal is to miss the first One Day International of the series against Sri Lanka in Colombo tomorrow, and possibly the second next Wednesday, as he will be in Brisbane to undergo tests on his bowling action, says the Reuters news agency this morning.  Ajmal was reported as having a suspected illegal bowling action during his side’s Test against Sri Lanka in Galle earlier this month, the third bowler to be reported since the International Cricket Council’s Cricket Committee (ICC) express its concerns about “suspect actions” in June (PTG  1411- 6816, 12 August 2014).

 

What was called "a senior official" of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) told Reuters yesterday Ajmal is to undergo tests at an ICC accredited biomechanics laboratory on Sunday and that he will be accompanied on his trip to Brisbane by Dr Sohail Saleem "a member of our medical panel”.  Reports shortly after the Galle Test indicated match officials there were concerned about "a number" of Ajmal’s deliveries, but the unnamed CB official reportedly said that "around thirty" had been mentioned in the report received by his board.

 

Ajmal, now 36, was first reported for a suspect action in April 2009, his ‘doosra’ being the problem then (PTG 413-2184, 28 April 2009), a situation that led several well known commentators to call for off spinners to be allowed an additional "two or three degrees" of flexion beyond the fifteen degrees currently allowed so that they can bowl such a ball without censure or questioning by umpires (PTG 415-2191, 4 May 2009).  His action was subsequently cleared after testing at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth (PTG 429-2257, 25 May 2009). 

 

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake, who has been banned from bowling in the international game because of an illegal action, returned to Sri Lanka yesterday after ten days of remedial work with UWA human movement expert Darryl Foster in Perth (PTG 1401-6774, 29 July 2014).  ‘Cricinfo’ is reporting today that Foster's laboratory, which withdrew its services from the ICC last March (PTG 1414-6825, 16 August 2014), found that before the remedial work got underway, each of Senanayake's deliveries exceeded the fifteen-degree flex limit.  

 

Foster is said to be satisfied with the changes in Senanayake's action but could not provide assurances on the exact degree of flex at each delivery until final test results become available "in the next two weeks".   A Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) press release yesterday said that if the UWA report turns out to be positive for Senanayake, SLC "will be presenting [him] to the ICC accredited Cardiff [Metropolitan] University [in Wales] for clearance testing”.  Suspicions were first raised about the legality of his action during a Sri Lankan A-team tour to England in 2011.  Then, he underwent remedial work with national spin bowling coach Piyal Wijetunge and was subsequently cleared to play after UWA tests.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,418
Saturday, 23 August 2014

TOO MUCH FOCUS ON SPINNERS' 

ACTIONS, SAYS HUMAN MOVEMENT EXPERT

[1418-6846]

 

Daryl Foster, a human movement expert at the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) biomechanics laboratory in Perth, believes off-spinners have been unfairly targeted by the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) apparent crack-down on suspect bowling actions, and that more attention needs to be paid to the delivery style of bowlers of pace.  Foster, 75, who has worked with some of the world's leading bowlers over the last forty years, told Cricket Australia’s (CA) web site recently that fast bowlers with potentially dangerous actions, whose faster deliveries are “a safety issue”, have long slipped through the net.

 

Over the last ten months seven off-spinners, Shane Shillingford and Marlon Samuels of the West Indies, Kane Williamson of New Zealand, Sri Lanka’s Sachithra Senanayake, Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal, Namibia's Van der Westhuizen, and Nasir Aziz of the United Arab Emirates, have been reported for having suspect actions in international fixtures; while Trinidad and Tobago all-rounder Kevon Cooper, who had prior to that undertaken remedial action and UWA, was reported for a suspect bowling action during an Indian Premier League (IPL) match in May (PTG 1364-6590, 28 May 2014).   

 

The latest to be reported is Zimbabwe all-rounder Prosper Utseya, an off-break bowler, who was cited as having a suspected action during his side's third and final One Day International against South Africa in Bulawayo two days ago.  The ICC said yesterday the match officials’ in that game cited concerns regarding his arm ball and fast delivery and concluded his action needs to be laboratory tested, something that will happen within twenty-one days, however, he can continue to bowl in internationals until the results of that examination are known.

 

Of the earlier reportees, Shillingford was eventually cleared after UWA tests (PTG 1320-6368, 26 March 2014), Samuels was banned from bowling his quicker deliveries after similar examination there (PTG 1264-6100, 6 January 2014), Williamson, who was tested at Cardiff Metropolitan University, had his then action declared “illegal” (PTG 1398-6767, 25 July 2014),  Senanayake has been to UWA for remedial work and  Ajmal is undergoing tests in Brisbane tomorrow (PTG 1417-6845, 22 August 2014), while Aziz was warned against bowling ‘doosras’ after UWA testing (PTG 1281-6170, 2 February 2014) and Van der Westhuizen’s faster delivery was declared illegal by his board (PTG 1241-5990, 25 November 2013) , but  just what happened to Cooper after the IPL report is not clear.

 

The only medium to fast bowler whose action has been queried was Uganda's Deusdedit Muhumuza in the World Cup Qualifying event in New Zealand last January (PTG 1269-6261, 15 January 2014), however, his delivery style was found to be acceptable after testing by his home board (PTG 1277-6154, 24 January 2014).

 

Foster, who has worked with the likes of former Australian fast bowlers Dennis Lillee and Brett Lee, Sri Lanka’s Muthiah Muralidaran, South Africa’s Johan Botha, Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik, Shoaib Akhtar and Shabbir Ahmed, India's Harbahjan Singh, and more recently Senanayake (PTG 1417-6845, 22 August 2014), says he's never come across a bowler who "intentionally goes out of his way to chuck”.  

 

He told the CA web site he is not as concerned about off-spin bowlers who push the ICC’s fifteen-degree limit for he believes the "enhancement of the craft” of spin bowling "has been exciting for the game”.  “Personally, it wouldn't worry me if a spin bowler bowled at twenty degrees, but it certainly would worry me if a fast bowler did that”.  "Everyone's trying to invent things to, I think, make the game better”, he says, in reference to such deliveries as the ‘doosra’ and “carrom” balls.

 

However, in Foster's assessment: "there are fast bowlers, past and present, who probably have exerted a little bit more [elbow] extension when they bowl their bouncer, and the sudden delivery of a ball that is eight or ten kilometres faster is the one that’s going to kill someone”.  "People say [such deliveries from quick bowlers are faster because] they just put more effort into it”, says Foster, who then asks: "how did they put more effort into it?  “If there's going to be a crackdown”, he says, "there's got to be a crackdown on all aspects of bowling, not just the right-arm off-spinners”.  

 

Last June, the ICC's cricket committee expressed the view that "there are some bowlers operating with suspect actions [in international cricket] that should be scrutinised more closely”, and it was revealed the world body was working to increase the number of accredited human action assessment laboratories around the world (PTG 1371-6630, 7 June 2014).  However, the UWA facility, which for many years was the planet’s only such accredited laboratory for cricket is not one of those, as it withdrew its services from the ICC last March after an intellectual property dispute (PTG 1414-6825, 16 August 2014).

 

UMPIRES ‘NEED TO GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER’ 

ON 'NO BALLS', SAYS JOURNALIST

[1418-6847]

 

Umpires in the international game are not watching where a bowler’s foot lands as closely as they used to and are regularly missing ’no balls', states ‘Cricinfo’ journalist Sidharth Monga in a recent article.  Monga expresses the view that the International Cricket Council masks what he calls "a general trend of falling umpiring standards”, by "releasing misleading statistics on the percentage of decisions umpires have been getting right", data he says somewhat sarcastically rates "moving your hand parallel to the ground and around waist high for a straightforward four” as a "correct decision”.

 

Apart from the key issue that bowlers are not permitted by the Laws of the game to overstep and lead to the batting side accumulating more runs, the fact umpires are not watching for no-balls closely enough on a routine basis creates trouble for bowlers, says Monga.  "When an umpire fails to call [a bowler’s] foot fault he is basically omitting to tell [him or her] all is not right”.  He gives as an example England bowler Ben Stokes who, in his Test debut in Adelaide last austral summer, was denied his first wicket when the third umpire on review called the delivery a no-ball.  Stokes "had landed in the exact same spot a few times before without the umpire calling him”, claims Monga, and “had he been called earlier, he would have delivered from six inches further back”.  

 

In Monga's assessment, over the decades since television technology exposed umpires to ever detailed scrutiny, the missing of no balls has never been as bad as it is today; although to what degree he has analysed the problem to reach that conclusion is not clear.  While the “going upstairs” approach to check for a no ball when a wicket falls "is a welcome addition”, umpires "will go upstairs even if [the bowler] has half of his foot behind the line”, and "if we keep checking every tight one, we won't get ninety overs in in a day”.  According to Monga there is no external solution to this problem and the answer is in his view relatively straight-forward: "umpires simply have to get their act together”. 

 

SPORTS MINISTER SORTS OUT 

SRI LANKAN UMPIRE GROUPS 

[1418-6848]

 

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Sports Mahindananada Aluthgamage met with representatives of that country's four waring umpires associations last week in an attempt to establish a coordinated, standardised, approach to the way umpires are appointed to schools-level matches.  Media reports say Aluthgamage took that action because the structure and operation of schools cricket, which is a high-profile entity on the island, was "in danger" due to differences between the four umpiring groups.

 

Speaking to Colombo's "Sunday Times", Dilshan de Silva the general secretary of the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SSCA), said: “Our only request was to ask for umpires of high standard”.  He added that "at the moment there are only two associations with quality umpires and we requested the other associations to upgrade their members’ standards”. As a result of the discussions, a committee made up of members of the four groups has been established, and all parties agreed that match officials will be assigned on the basis of their knowledge, capabilities and grading; although whether that will actually work in practice remains to be seen.

 

Those appointed to matches, who should receive their assignments no later than forty-eight hours prior to a game getting underway, will be required to be no older than sixty-years-of-age and have qualifications that comply with the standards adopted by the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).  In that regard SLC is to establish a “special" evaluation program and the respective associations agreed to conduct examinations as part of moves to upgrade the standard of their umpires.  Aluthgamage directed the SSCA "to take stern action" against schools that violate agreements reached at the meeting, “especially” in terms of what the ’Times’ described as 'Big Matches’.

 

EUP CONTENDERS TOGETHER FOR 

LANKA-PAKISTAN ODI SERIES 

[1418-6849]

 

Two contenders for a position on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) next year, Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka and Sundarum Ravi of India, will be working together in the three-match One Day International (ODI) series Sri Lanka and Pakistan are to play in Hambantota, Colombo, and Dambulla over the next week.  Ravi has been named as one of three neutral officials for the match, the others being umpire Steve Davis of Australia and match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe.

 

Despite the fact that the first game of the series is due to get underway later today, the ICC is yet to post details of match officials for the three games on its web site.  However, reports from Hambantota this morning suggest Davis will be on field for two of the games, today’s and next Saturday’s in Dambulla, with Ravi standing in the second game in Colombo on Wednesday; each being in the television suite when not out on the ground.  However, that arrangement is subject to confirmation.  

 

It would appear Martinecz will be on-field with Davis today while Ruchira Palliyaguruge, Martinecz’s colleague on Sri Lankas’s section of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), will be on-ground with Ravi on Wednesday, however, as yet who will stand with Davis in the final game is not clear.  Davis goes into the series with a record of 124 ODIs on-field and 51 as the television umpire (124/51), Martinecz  26/19, Palliyaguruge 18/9, and Ravi 12/11, while the third Sri Lankan on the IUP, Ravindra Wimalarsari, has 2/5.  Pycroft starts the series with 102 ODIs as a match referee under his belt.

 

GAZA WAR IMPACTS ISRAEL’S 

PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON 

[1418-6850]

 

While it is an insignificant blip compared with the larger tragedy, the Israel Cricket Association's (ICA) Premier League season, which usually runs from March to early October, has been seriously truncated because of the on-going conflict in the Gaza Strip, says a story published in the ‘Haaretz’ newspaper yesterday.  To date only about a third of the 108 scheduled games have been played, in part because the area in which grounds are sited have no protection from the country's ‘Iron Dome’ anti-rocket system, but also because of the absence on military duty of players who are members of Reserve Units.

 

Naor Gudker, the ICA’s chief executive, told ‘Haaretz’ on Thursday that Israel's Home Front Command has not been willing to let most games proceed because of the ‘Iron Dome’ issue and it is looking unlikely, with winter and its accompanying rains normally set to arrive in November, that all listed matches will be played this year.  That potentially presents a problem for the ICA’s finances, for if it does not complete the minimum number of games required by the organisers of Irsael’s national sports lottery, what is a key Association funding source could be compromised. 

 

Gudker says though that for many of the league's players, who are mainly Indian-Israelis and English-speakers from other Commonwealth nations, “No one feels like sport” with the war raging as it is.  Despite the tragedy though, one positive development has been the involvement in the south of the country of the local Bedouin community, for they continue to visit and play with a local club there.  “The war has not affected our relationship with them”, says Ronen Waskar a member of Israel's national side.

 

MAJOR GROUND WORK 

SCHEDULED FOR THE MCG 

[1418-6851]

 

The entire surface of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), an area of almost 20,000 square metres, is to be torn up and replaced in October ahead of the 2014-15 season in Australia, the first time that has occurred in ten years. It is estimated that part of the work at the ground that is to host next year's World Cup final in late March, will involve the removal of some 150 truck-and-trailer loads of material, an operation expected to take six days, that being done to flatten the base in preparation for the installation of the new turf, which has been growing in central Victoria since January.  

 

Twelve days have been allotted for the installation of the new turf and it is anticipated there will be a two week gap between the finish of the work and the playing of the first match there, a first class fixture between Victoria and New South Wales, which will be followed by a Twenty20 between Australia and South Africa four days after it ends.  The works program, which the Melbourne newspaper ‘The Age’ says has been budgeted at $A1.7 million, is the most extensive undertaken by the ground’s owners, the Melbourne Cricket Club, since the overhaul of 2004 in the lead up to the 2006 Commonwealth Games.  

 

In New Zealand, Cricket Wellington (CW) and the Basin Reserve Trust are "wrapping up a very solid proposal" to the Wellington City Council (WCC) that details the costs required to bring "day-night Test" and limited-overs cricket to the ground, however it seems the implementation of such work is at least a few years off.  The WCC, CW, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and stadium management are said to have been discussing the lights idea for some time, a WCC spokesman telling the ‘Dominion Post' on Thursday there was support for putting the funding of floodlights into its 2015-25 ten-year plan.

 

NZC and Cricket Australia are hoping to conduct the first ever day-night Test in Australia in November next year (PTG 1383-6688, 1 July 2014), but the reference to such a game being played in New Zealand itself appears to be the first such public comment of that kind. 

 

TWO AUSSIES SELECTED 

FOR LIST A DEBUTS 

[1418-6852]

 

Several reports from Melbourne yesterday suggest that Victorian umpire Phillip Gillespie and his New South Wales colleague Tony Wilds, who are currently at the head of Cricket Australia’s (CA) emerging umpires group, have been named for their List A debuts in CA’s domestic one-day fifty over competition in October.  That series will again be played in tournament fashion, what will be a twenty-three match, twenty-three day event taking place across two grounds in Brisbane and four in Sydney (PTG 1380-6680, 24 June 2014). 

 

CA’s move to appointment Gillespie and Wilds, who are contenders for appointments to its twelve-man National Umpires Panel (NUP) next year, appears designed to expose them to higher-level cricket as part of their development program and are in effect part of their “audition” for NUP membership.  That is a change to last year when CA appointed Tasmanian Mike Graham-Smith to the NUP without him having stood at either senior Twenty20, List A or first class level (PTG 1131-5490, 26 June 2013), something it repeated this year with the elevation of former Project Panel member Shawn Craig to the NUP (PTG 1352-6535, 14 May 2014).  While he played first class cricket, Melbourne-based Craig is yet to stand in a match at that level.  

 

At the moment there is no news as to whether CA anticipates appointing Gillespie and Wilds to a first class fixture later in the season, however, last austral summer Greg Davidson, who like Craig was elevated to the NUP this year, was given a single first class game prior to his appointment to that panel. 

 

HISTORY OF 109-YEAR-OLD WOMEN’S 

ASSOCIATION BEING COMPILED 

[1418-6853]

 

Robyn Calder, who has spent "a lifetime" with the Victorian Women’s Cricket Association (VWCA) as a player, umpire and board member, is working to write a history of the 109-year-old organisation which will, says Melbourne’s ‘Herald Sun’ newspaper, "cease to exist after its coming integration into Cricket Victoria”.  In recording the contribution the Association has made to women’s sport for over a century, Calder wants to talk with the "thousands of women" who’ve played the game about their experiences, and is also chasing a full record of the more than 300 clubs to have played in the VWCA through its history; from the early clubs, many of which were attached to factories and other workplaces, to the thirty-odd entities still competing today.

 

YET ANOTHER DRESSING 

ROOM ROBBERY

[1418-6854]

 

Police in north-east England are hunting a suspected serial thief they believe may have carried out an elaborate scam to rob members of the Scalby Cricket Club whilst they were fielding in a recent match against Sewerby in the Scarborough League, says a report in yesterday’s ’Scarborough News’.  Scalby, which won the game, faced a shock when they returned to their dressing room to find a total of £155 ($A275) missing from five of their team members' wallets.

 

The culprit is believed to be an Anthony Tye, who police forces across the country claim is behind a wave of cricket club thefts separate from those have occurred in northern England this northern summer (PTG 1393-6743, 18 July 2014).  Detectives believe Tye, who also goes under the alias Anthony Smith, may have carried out a spate of thefts in Bristol, as well as Preston and the Midlands.  The 60-year-old is believed to build up a rapport with both teams, duping them into thinking he’s affiliated with the opposition, before carrying out the thefts.

 

Scalby’s Paul Hesp told the ’News’ that Tye was there when the side arrived for the Sewerby game and seemed “talkative and pleasant”.  “He seemed to fit in, was knowledgeable about cricket and we just thought he was a Sewerby supporter”, said Hesp, adding Tye even helped during drink breaks.  “While we were fielding during the second innings he was seen in our changing room and claimed to have been sorting the toilets, but we all now believe this was a diversion while he was busy thieving”.  “All this only sunk in after the game when Sewerby said they had never seen him before and thought he was with us!"

 

The ’News’ says it has been alleged that Tye also turned up at recent Bridlington-Flixton fixture "but was sent packing”.  Other police forces have reportedly linked Tye with thefts in which laptops and mobiles were taken, although only cash was stolen at Sewerby.  A Humberside Police spokesperson said: “A man is wanted for similar offences across the country and [we] would also like to speak to him in connection with this incident”.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,419
Monday, 25 August 2014

INVESTIGATION SUGGESTS PRESSURE ON MATCH 

REFEREE BEHIND CPL FINAL DEBACLE

[1419-6855]

 

Match referee Denavon Hayles "properly applied the relevant rules" in the rain-marred final of this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) two Saturdays ago and the result of the game, which was derived via the Duckworth-Lewis system, cannot be "reversed or nullified", said the event’s Cricket Tournament Committee (CTC) yesterday; however, the same statement also indicates the Playing Conditions for the match had not been adhered to.  The CPL’s Guyana franchise, which lost the match, wrote to the competition’s organisers soon after the game to dispute the result, arguing that the match officials involved made errors in the way they applied the Playing Conditions and managed the game (PTG 1415-6830, 19 August 2014).

 

The CTC said that after “carefully” reviewing Hayles' report and "the arguments raised by the Guyana[n franchise] in their several written representations”, it had "concluded that there are no grounds for the result of the final to be reversed or nullified”.  It then went on to say that the image of the tournament should not be muddied for “the CPL has succeeded in reinvigorating the passion for cricket across the region and has in two short years established its own distinctive brand and earned exciting market appeal [and] nothing must be done to impair its image or erode its credibility”.

 

However, the CTC’s concern that the event’s reputation not be “muddied” took somewhat of a hit due to other conclusions it outlined later in its statement.  According to it ,Hayles’ report indicates that during the match he received a request from the CPL’s chief executive and a member of the CTC to consider whether the "full match could be played without resort to the Duckworth-Lewis rules”.  That statement appears to explain why the focus during the game was on trying to complete all forty overs and not on reducing them because of the rain delays, an approach that is normally taken in such games.  Yesterday’s CTC statement says specifically that under "the Playing Conditions [there was no] authority to make such a ruling [to go for forty overs] and "the consent of both captains was required [for that, but] that was [not sought]".

 

The CTC’s statement concludes by saying, somewhat extraordinarily, that in the circumstances both it and CPL management "would offer no objection" to the matter being referred to the International Cricket Council if "contending parties still so desire for a ruling that is definitive, transparent and expeditious”.

 

ICC UMPIRE ‘BEST PRACTICE’ PACKAGE

A COMPREHENSIVE, QUALITY PRODUCT 

[1419-6856]

 

Detailed examination of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) new "best-practice umpiring” package shows it to be a quality product that underlines the high level of personal professionalism the world body’s Umpire Performance and Training Unit expects umpires to bring to the modern game.  The ICC released broad details of the product late last week and indicated the main goal was to set out the principles and standards an aspiring international umpire has to demonstrate to advance, although it emphasised, and subsequent inspection shows, the material is also suitable for use by umpires and trainers at all levels of the game (PTG 1417-6843, 22 August 2014).

 

Preparation of the manual has clearly involved a massive amount of work for those involved have brought together, edited, and organised into an easy to access format, a total of 259 video clips that range from a few seconds to minutes, and 366 downloadable files that are provided in either PDF or ‘Powerpoint’ form.  While size isn’t necessarily a sign of importance, the ‘Technique’ section is the largest in terms of file numbers with 112 videos and 91 readable files across 8 sub-sections (112/91/8), then comes ‘Decision making’ with 93/92/9, ‘Preparation' 12/72/6, ‘Attitude and teamwork’ 16/67/4, ‘Match management' 20/20/6, and ’Self management and personal development’ 6/24/7. 

 

For each of the forty sub-sections the ICC sets the techniques and methods that will be utilised to judge an umpire’s actual performance in that particular area.  In addition, each sub-section also lays out, often in considerable detail under a heading titled “You must successfully demonstrate', what an umpire has to show in practice, either in games, associated activities, and sometimes life in general, that they understand and where appropriate “live”, the attributes each part of the six modules set out.  

 

The sub-sections of the ‘Technique’ module are: positioning and movement; on-field communication; signalling; man and player management; use of the third umpire; coping with pressure; concentration; and body language.  Module two, ‘Preparation’, covers: planning and goal setting; knowledge and understanding; fitness and diet; practice skills; self-assessment and self-evaluation; and audiometric and optical testing.  ‘Attitude and teamwork’ is divided into: positive attitude; living the ICC [Playing Control Team]; partnering skills; and mental toughness.

 

Module four, 'Decision making’, goes through: judgement; judgement of front foot no balls; judgement of run out; judgement of LBW; judgement of caught behind; judgement of bat/pad; judgement of doubtful bowling action; third umpire decision module; and ball changes, shape/colour/tampering.  The 'Match management’ module is broken down into: managing and resolving conflict; communication; ground, weather and light; pre series meetings; over rates; and substitutes; and module six, ‘Self management and personal development’, into: goal setting; ICC intranet; emotional intelligence; performance tracking; time management; leadership; and handling the media.

 

National umpire managers at the ICC’s ten full member boards, plus other selected individuals with a solid background in umpire training, are believed to have had access to the package over the last three months.  Those national entities, whose representatives also reportedly considered the materials at a face-to-face meeting in the Caribbean last month, have been encouraged to customise the material to suit their individual domestic development needs.  At the moment the new package is available on-line, however, it is password protected and therefore not generally available.  To date there has been no indication from any of the national boards as to just how they propose to utilise the material.

 

YET ANOTHER OFF-SPINNER’S BOWLING

ACTION JUDGED AS ‘SUSPECT'

[1419-6857]

 

Another off-spinner, this time Bangladesh’s Sohag Gazi, has been reported with a suspected illegal bowling action following the second One Day International (ODI) of his side’s series against the West Indies in Grenada on Friday.  Gazi, 23, is the ninth spinner to have been reported for a suspect action in an international over the last ten months, and the fifth since the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee expressed the view that "there are some bowlers operating with suspect actions [in international cricket] that should be scrutinised more closely” in June (PTG 1418-6846, 23 August 2014).

 

The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) said yesterday that the match officials’ report from Friday's game, which was handed to Bangladesh team manager Habibul Bashar on Saturday, cited concerns about the legality of the bowling action Gazi used for all of his deliveries.  His action will now be scrutinised further under the ICC process that relates to suspected illegal bowling actions reported in Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals.  It requires bowlers to undergo testing within twenty-one days, and he is permitted to continue bowling in international cricket until the results of the testing are known.  Which of the ICC’s human movement accredited laboratories will carry out the testing has not yet been announced.

 

Reports say that Gazi has been reported previously for a suspect action, that being two years ago by an umpire in a tournament in Bangalore where he was playing for Bangladesh A.  The on-field umpires for the ODI in which Gazi was reported were Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and Gregory Brathwaite (West Indies) who were on-field, third umpire Richard Kettleborough (England), fourth umpire Joel Wilson (West Indies), and the match referee Jeff Crowe (New Zealand).

 

Meanwhile, the ICC said via another press release on Saturday that Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal will be tested at Cricket Australia's National Cricket Centre (NCC) in Brisbane later today, those carrying out the examination being members of the "ICC’s accredited and lead team of Human Movement Specialists” (PTG 1417-6845, 22 August 2014).  They are to use "the same testing protocol that were earlier followed for the testing of Sri Lanka’s Sachithra Senanayake and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson”, the testing date and location being agreed to in consultation with the Pakistan Cricket Board.  

 

The NCC is "one of a number of world-class facilities that can now be used by ICC accredited Human Movement Specialists for testing bowlers with suspect actions”, says the press release.  The results of Ajmal’s tests are expected to be announced "in about two weeks”.

 

FORMER WEST INDIAN TEST

UMPIRE SANG HUE DIES 

[1419-6858]

 

Former Jamaican umpire Douglas Sang Hue, who stood in 31 Tests in a high-level umpiring career that stretched over 28 years from 1960-88 and included World Series Cricket (WSC) in Australia in its hey day, died on Friday at the age of 82.  Sang Hue’s first Test, which was only his second match at first class level, was in April 1962 at Sabina Park, Kingston, and his last was in April 1981 also at that ground, his others at the game’s highest level being played there, in Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago.

 

In 1972-73 Sang Hue became the first person to stand in all five Tests in a series in the West Indies when Australia toured, an achievement he repeated a year later when England visited the Caribbean.  After a stint in County cricket in 1977, he was employed by WSC in Australia where he stood in a total of 28 matches during the 1977-78 and 1978-79 austral summers at grounds in Adelaide and right up the east coast of Australia from Melbourne to Cairns.  That move resulted in him being dropped by the West Indies Cricket Board, but he returned to their fold in 1981 for his last three Tests, continuing after that in domestic cricket until 1988. 

 

All-up, Sang Hue stood in a total of 85 first class matches and there were also 20 List A fixtures from 1960-88, one of them being his single One Day International.  In June last year the Jamaica Cricket Association named the umpires' room at the northern end of the Sabina Park ground after Sang Hue and his countryman Steve Bucknor (PTG 1138-5520, 3 July 2013).

 

'20-25' SRI LANKAN BOWLERS 

REPORTED FOR ‘SUSPECT’ ACTIONS

[1419-6859]

 

The reporting and subsequent banning of Sri Lanka off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake for an illegal action last month (PTG 1390-6724, 14 July 2014), has led Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to implement a domestic-based campaign to remove bowlers with illegal actions from the game there, including at schools level; an approach the International Cricket Council (ICC) is also taking seriously at international level (PTG 1419-6857 above).  The SLC program, which so far has required umpires standing at Under-23 level and below to report bowlers with suspect actions, is said to have begun a month ago and brought "encouraging results” with around 20-25 bowlers being reported to date; however, how many of them are spinners is not known at this stage (PTG 1418-6846, 23 August 2014).

 

SLC umpires educator Tyron Wijewardene, a former member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, says that suspect actions have: "been an ongoing issue with our cricket and we are now taking radical steps to eradicate this menace which is like a cancer spreading to all corners of the country". "Since we started to crack down on illegal bowling there have been encouraging signs with bowlers who have been reported once, or called during a match, showing a big improvement”.

 

Wijewardene, who turns 53 this coming Friday, played first class cricket prior to taking up umpiring, and eventually went on to stand in four Tests in the first half of last decade.     Since taking up the umpire educator position in April he has conducted workshops for umpires in Kandy, Kurunegala, Colombo and Galle to brief umpires on illegal bowling actions, and also held a separate workshop in Colombo for school coaches.  He is said to be planning to expand the campaign to Under-19 level before the start of the next schools' season and later right down to the Under-13 game.  He has also brief provincial coaches on the need to identify and rectify suspect bowling actions rather than send them all the way to Colombo for evaluation.

 

Under SLC suspect action arrangements, details of a bowler who is reported by umpires and the match referee goes to a committee is headed by former national selector Shabir Asgerally and made up of former Sri Lanka fast bowler Graeme Labrooy, who is also a member of the ICC’s second-tier Regional Referees Panel, and Prasad Paranavitana.

 

SKIPPER PENALISED AFTER 

UMPIRE-DIRECTED RANT

[1419-6860]

 

Lancashire captain Paul Horton has apologised after showing dissent following his dismissal during his side’s four-run defeat in the final of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) domestic Twenty20 competition on Saturday.  Horton is said to have been handed a three point disciplinary penalty by the ECB for showing his frustration after being given out caught at the wicket by umpire Rob Bailey, however, replays showed he did not hit the ball.

 

Horton said afterwards: "Whether the decision was right or wrong I was wrong for showing dissent for that’s not for me to judge”.  "It’s for the umpire to judge and the TV cameras to prove who is right or wrong”.  "I went in to see the umpires and received my Level Two breach, and I’ve apologised [for] there’s no place for [dissent] on a cricket field”.  “I was out of order [but] these things happen in the heat of the battle, [however], sometimes you let your emotions run wild, and that’s all that happened out there”.

 

The ECB played both semi finals and the final of the competition at Edgbaston with four umpires, Bailey, Michael Gough and Tim Robinson, England’s current members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, and Neil Mallender, a former Test umpire, looking after the three games.  Robinson stood in both semi finals, the first with Gough and the second with Mallender, the latter and Bailey working as the third umpire in those games.  Bailey and Gough were on-field for the final with Robinson the television umpire.

 

NZCUSA SET FOR ANNUAL 

CONFERENCE WEEKEND

[1419-6861]

 

Scorer and umpire members of the New Zealand Cricket Umpires’ and Scorers’ Association (NZCUSA) are preparing to attend that body’s 58th annual conference this coming weekend.  The event, which is due to get underway in Wellington on Friday and run until Sunday afternoon, will bring together members of the umpire and scorer associations from New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) six regions: the North Island’s Auckland, Central Districts, Northern Districts and Wellington, and Canterbury and Otago from the South Island. 

 

Cricket Wellington’s chief executive Peter Clinton is to open the meeting proper on Saturday morning, while Gavin Larsen will talk about preparations and arrangement for next year's World Cup, part of which will be played in New Zealand.  Tony Hill, a former member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel, will talk about his now role as NZC's national umpire coach, a new position this year (PTG 1267-6111, 10 January 2014), while NZC’s national umpires manager Rodger McHarg, a former Test official, will brief those attending on umpiring matters, Peter Mayell NZC’s technology manager for scoring providing a similar information session on scoring issues.

 

NZCUSA members present will take part in three training sessions over the weekend, one titled 'Big decisions and mental skills’, another 'Goal setting, planning, self assessment and accreditation’, and a third 'Preparation and pre match’.  The Association's scorer members will be taken through three sessions, the first focussed on traditional scoring methods, the second live scoring and Duckworth Lewis system issues, and the third an assortment of matters that include: NZC's scoring strategic plan, next year’s World Cup, career pathways, the tournament scorers’ program, and training and assessment issues.

 

Sunday morning features a panel session that will focus on the question: “What do captains, players expect from umpires?’.  After that umpires Kathy Cross, Wayne Knights and Tony Gillies, who have officiated overseas in the last twelve months, either on exchange or as the result of appointments from the ICC, will provide details of their experiences.  The weekend proper begins with the Association’s Annual General Meeting this Friday evening, and will include twenty-four hours later by the NZCUSA President’s dinner.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,420
Wednesday, 27 August 2014

PCB THE LATEST TO CLAMP 

DOWN ON SUSPECT ACTIONS

[1420-6862]

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has directed its match officials to report suspect bowling actions during the approaching 2014-15 domestic season, and has set up a panel, that includes international umpire Aleem Dar, to analyse the reports.  The move from the PCB follows the reporting of its international off-spinner Saeed Ajmal for a suspect action (PTG 1417-6845, 22 August 2014), and appears similar to the approach being taken by Sri Lanka Cricket (PTG 1419-6859, 25 August 2014), both initiatives flowing from the International Cricket Council’s recent clamp down on bowling actions (PTG 1418-6846, 23 August 2014).

 

A PCB spokesman told the ‘Cricinfo’ web site: "We have a list of bowlers and we have encouraged the umpires and match referees to keep a close eye on bowlers with suspect actions”.  "If the bowlers are reported, they will go through a procedure at the NCA [National Cricket Academy], which a five-man committee will oversee before clearing them”.  Apart from Dar, the other members of the bowling committee are: former chief selector Iqbal Qasim, NCA head coach Mohammad Akram, national spin-bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed and the PCB's sports medicine specialist Sohail Saleem.

 

‘Cricinfo’ says the PCB-run NCA is in possession of a biomechanics system, but the machinery is not in use. A lab was temporarily activated for a brief period at the NCA indoor school in 2008, but it was later shut down. There is no suggestion that the PCB will revive the lab for the testing process, and the bowlers' actions are more likely to be analysed by human observation.  

 

AUSSIES ‘SOMETIMES’ CROSS THE 

SLEDGING LINE, SAYS WARNER

[1420-6863]

 

Australian batsman David Warner has described sledging as a legitimate form of gamesmanship and part of the game but admits he went too far in accusing AB de Villiers of ball tampering during the Test series against South Africa earlier this year.  Warner was fined $A2,900 by the International Cricket Council after claiming de Villiers was using his wicketkeeping gloves to rub the rough side of the ball during a Test in Cape Town in February (PTG 1301-6276, 28 February 2014).     .

 

Warner said last night that: “Obviously with myself coming out and saying the comment about AB de Villiers probably wasn’t the smartest thing, and I regret saying that”.  However, on the field, “We set a standard where we want to go out there and play aggressive and hard cricket and not cross the line”.  "There are some times you do nudge that line a fair bit and the odd occasion you might step over that, but you do have to realise that we’re out there to win”.  “We do like to be aggressive and sledging is a form of the game when we’re out there and it happens in all sports”.

 

After South African batsman Faf du Plessis describing the Australian side as a “pack of dogs” for their on-field behaviour earlier this year, the response of was for the players to bark at him whilst he was batting.  Warner describes that response as “one of the funniest” and “most notable” sledges he has been involved in.

 

CALL FOR CA PROJECT PANEL 

SPOTS STILL AWAITED

[1420-6864]

 

Less than a month out from the start of Premier League cricket around the country, Cricket Australia (CA) is yet to formally call for applicants for the male and female umpire spots on its Project Panel, positions that are thought by some to attract an annual retainer in the order of $A40,000.  News surfaced in late July that CA, which has been encouraging male former first class players to take up umpiring via its ‘fast-track’ Project Panel over the last twelve years, would also be seeking a female for the panel for the first time (PTG 1402-6778, 30 July 2014).  

 

While the men’s spot will go to a former first class player, the question still remains as to where those applying for the female position will be allowed to come from.  The obvious option given past Project Panel philosophy is that women applying will have to have played at state or international level and not yet be involved in umpiring.  On the other hand the pool of females who umpire at club level could be tapped, although due to the failure to follow through on once-mooted initiatives to boost female umpire numbers, those with reasonable experience currently in that category can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and none of those have operated at the top level of Premier League competitions around the country.

 

Despite no apparent action, at least at the public level, logic suggests that if it is managing the issue appropriately CA will have been looking at, and possibly negotiating with, potential candidates for the two positions, so that they will be ready to “apply” once a formal call for applications is made.  Logic also suggests the respective contracts will run for at least two years, with the option to continue after that provided those chosen meet performance targets.  The last time CA called for Project Panel applications was in 2010, the advertisement on that occasion being circulated in mid-August that year (PTG 655-3244, 19 August 2014).

 

TEAM LOOSES CHAMPIONSHIP, MULLS 

PROTEST AT UMPIRES' CALL ON GROUND STATE

[1420-6865]

 

Officials from the Arbroath United Cricket Club are considering lodging a protest with Cricket Scotland after their senior side lost the Eastern Premiership competition title they won in 2013 to Aberdeenshire last Saturday in what the Scottish newspaper ‘The Herald’ called a "controversial fashion”.  Arbroath blame the umpires assigned to their game against Stoneywood-Dyce for calling off the match “too early” and say their groundsman should have been granted more time to make what was a "saturated pitch” playable.  

 

As a result of that situation, Arbroath needed Falkland to beat Aberdeenshire if they were to retain their league crown, however, that game was also abandoned because of "a damp patch” in the outfield and Aberdeenshire therefore claimed top spot and the league title instead.  

 

Arbroath chairman Geoff Fisher told the ‘Herald’ that “what really irked us was the failure of the umpires to make full use of the time available for the groundsman to keep working on the damp patch” so that Falkland had the opportunity to defeat Aberdeenshire.  "The [Aberdeenshire] game was scrubbed before 2 p.m., yet under the regulations they had until 4 p.m. to start a match”, said Fisher.  "Given the importance of the fixture, we think much more could have been done”.  "I know that whatever we do will be seen in many quarters as sour grapes, but there is a principle here”, concluded Fisher. 

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,421
Friday, 29 August 2014

UMPIRES CHALLENGING ECB 

COMPULSORY RETIREMENT AGE 

[1421-6866]

 

Peter Willey and George Sharp, two long-serving English umpires who have between them stood in 634 first class games, 40 of them Tests, over the last 22 years, are reported to be fighting the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) mandatory 65-years-of-age retirement policy.  Former first class players Willey and Sharp will turn 65 in December and March respectively, as does another of their ECB Full List colleagues, former English Premier League football referee Martin Bodemham, in April (PTG 1272-6133, 19 January 2014).

 

In 2011 a change in UK law abolished the concept of a set retirement age and required employers to “objectively justify" why individuals should not be able to “work on” past 65.  A ‘Cricinfo’ article posted overnight says the ECB has legal advice that justifies its compulsory retirement policy on the basis that it wants to promote newly retired players seeking another career.  An ECB spokesman is quoted as saying: "We want cricketers who give up playing in their mid-thirties to have the chance of umpiring as a second career [and] history shows that former players make good umpires so we need to provide some certainty as to when opportunities will arise”.  

 

Willey, a former chairman of the ECB umpires association, told Cricinfo’s Ivo Tennant there was a difference of opinion among the first-class umpires. "Our younger colleagues want us to go, so as not to block their progress, and the older ones are not quite sure”.  Negotiations between the umpires and the ECB are said to have been going on for at least the last four months and Willey says “our legal people are looking into what we should do”. In the past numerous ECB umpires have wanted to continue in the game, for the lifestyle and involvement as much as improved remuneration, writes Tennant, who continues with: "No doubt Dickie Bird [who is now 81], if he had his way, would still be officiating today”.

 

Lawyer Robert Griffiths, who currently chairs the Marylebone Cricket Club's Laws committee, when asked his opinion told ‘Cricinfo’ he "can see no reason why, if an umpire is capable of properly performing his duties, he should be required to stand down at 65”.  "It seems to me the essential prerequisites of being a good umpire, as with a judge, are good judgement, vast experience and knowledge of the Laws of cricket”.  

 

In the six years since the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials took over from the now defunct Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers, ten umpires have retired from the ECB’s Full List when they reached 65.  Seven of those who have been promoted to replace them since then were former first class players (PTG 1250-6032, 7 December 2013), Bodeman being one of the three that wasn’t (PTG 347-1844, 11 November 2008).

 

PCB ESTABLISHES DOMESTIC 

‘UMPIRE EVALUATION COMMITTEE'

[1421-6867]

 

In addition to establishing an 'Illegal Bowling Action Committee’ (IBAC) this week as part of moves to “strengthen domestic cricket” (PTG 1420-6862, 27 August 2014), the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also formed three other panels, one to look at ground issues, a second to evaluate umpire performance, and a third made up of “match observers”.  The English-language newspaper ‘Dawn’ says that the new committees will look after “tasks [that in the past have been] performed by field umpires and match referees”, however, because "they have their other assignments” and are short of time as a result, "it seems [the new committees] will all [use] match [video] recordings” to make their judgements. 

 

Five men have been named as members of the Umpires Evaluation Committee: Iqbal Qasim and Shakil Shaikh from the PCB’s top management committee; Haroon Rashid, the PCB’s Director of Game Development;  Saleem Badar who is referred to as ‘ICC umpires coach”; and Saqib Irfan the PCB’s manger of umpires, referees and domestic cricket operations.  Qasim played 50 Tests and 196 other first class games, Saleem Badar umpired 272 first class matches, 5 of them Tests, while Irfan is also a former first class umpire who has eight such games to his credit.  No details are available as to just what the previous system used to evaluate umpires was, or why the new group has been formed. 

 

Those named as PCB match observers are: Azhar Khan for Lahore; Saleem Jaffer for Karachi and Hyderabad; Ijaz Ahmad for Multan and Bahawalpur; Naveed Latif for Faisalabad, Sargodha and Sialkot; Naushad Ali for Islamabad and Rawalpindi; and both Sarfraz Akhtar and Sajid Shah for Peshawar and Abbottabad. The Grounds Committee consists of Intikhab Alam the PCB's Director of Domestic Cricket Operations, Irfan, the PCB’s chief curator and Ejaz Faruqi from the organisation’s top board.  Ahsan Raza, a Pakistani member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, has been named as an alternate for ICC Elite Umpire Panel Aleem Dar on IBAC when the latter be absent from the country.  

 

In a separate report yesterday, ‘The Hindu’ reported that new PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan had "given instructions" that the biomechanics laboratory at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) be made operational as soon as possible.  The PCB imported the equipment involved in 2008, but it was later shelved due to the cost of operations.  A PCB “source” is quoted as saying a "separate building" is being constructed at the NCA and it is expected the laboratory will then again become operational "using ICC protocols.

 

Another unnamed PCB “official” told reporters it is estimated that should off-spinner Saeed Ajmal be banned from bowling from the international game as a result of tests carried out on his bowling action in Brisbane this week (PTG 1417-6845, 22 August 2014), it will take "around 45-60 days for him to complete this process of remodelling his action and having it cleared by the ICC”.  The official said that the second scenario was that Ajmal might be advised to refrain from bowling certain deliveries like the ‘doosra' and work on his action while delivering them.  "We also can't rule out the fact that his action could be cleared on basis of the [Brisbane] tests in Brisbane but it is best to prepare for the worst”, he added.

 

The PCB also decided this week to to postpone the first edition of its proposed Twenty20-format 'Super League’ competition.  That is said to be because it did not get what were referred to as "healthy bidders” and there is now not enough time to put the necessary arrangements in place in time for the planned December-January 2014-15 event.  The inaugural season was originally supposed to have begun in March last year.

 

‘ILLEGAL ACTIONS’, CORRUPTION, ‘BIG THREE’ 

POWER, GAME'S KEY ISSUES, SAYS HUSSEY

[1421-6868]

 

Former Australian batsman Mike Hussey believes bowlers with dubious actions have been able to beat the system too easily, and fears traditional spinners will have little impact at next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.  The former Australian batsman was the guest speaker at the Mebourne Cricket Club's annual Bradman Luncheon earlier this week, where he identified illegal actions, corruption and the concentration of power with the 'Big Three' nations as the key issues facing the game today, says a report in the Melbourne newspaper ’The Age’.

 

Hussey told the luncheon that he welcomed the “crack-down” on illegal actions that has resulted in a spate of ’suspect action’ reports in the international game (PTG  1418-6846, 23 August 2014).  "More people seem to be getting called around the world [and] ideally where I would like to get to is that you've got a measuring device in-game rather than sending someone off to a laboratory”; a reference to so-called ‘wearables technology’ that is being developed on behalf of the International Cricket Council and the Marylebone Cricket Club by Brisbane’s Griffith University to measure how much bowler’s flex their elbow.  "It would be great to measure[bowler’s actions] properly” in near real-time, said Hussey.

 

In Hussey’s assessment, the tendency for suspect actions "to creep into the game a bit more [is] because a lot of games are [tilted] in favour of batsmen, with bigger bats and flatter pitches, so bowlers are maybe stretching things as much as they can to be competitive in games”.  If that is so then there is no excuse, he says for "the rules are there and we should stick to the [them]”.  "Players seem to be able to beat the system a little bit too easily at the moment and I think it's something that needs to be looked at," Hussey said.

 

Last month members of the MCC’s World Cricket Committee (WCC) called illegal bowling actions "one of the sport’s major issues", and hoped that the continued joint ICC-MCC research into wearable sensors would soon be a workable option for match conditions (PTG 1392-6738, 17 July 2014).   

 

A newspaper report last November indicated that Griffith University anticipated 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).  The WCC, as did the ICC’s Cricket Committee in June (PTG 1371-6630, 7 June 2014), called for "vigilance and strength from the umpires to report players whose bowling actions were questionable”.

 

ENGLAND FINED FOR 

SLOW ODI OVER-RATE

[1421-6869]

 

England has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the second One-Day International (ODI) against India in Cardiff on Wednesday.  Match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka imposed the fines after Alastair Cook’s side was ruled to be one over short of its target at the end of the match when time allowances were taken into consideration.  

 

International Cricket Council slow over-rate regulations require that players are fined ten per cent of their match fee for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.  As a result Cook was lost twenty per cent of his match fee and his team mates ten per cent.  Should England have another slow over-rate in an ODI in the next twelve months Cook will face a one-match ban.

 

BCCI UMPIRE VIDEO ANALYSTS 

ATTENDING ‘REFRESHER’ COURSES 

[1421-6870]

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is reported to be conducting a series of two-day ‘video analysis’ workshops at various locations around the country in the lead-up to the sub-continent’s 2014-15 season.  Those attending, the video analysts employed by the BCCI’s various state affiliates who run a six-camera system at games that is directed at recording umpire performances, are being provided with refreshers on technical aspects of the system and had the “responsibilities involved in their jobs”, matters that are being reinforced by the BCCI’s assistant Manager (Cricket Operations) Sumit Malapurkar, and Ashitosh Dandige the national board’s senior video analyst.

 

Dandige told ‘The Hindu’ earlier this week that “The role of video analysts in assessing the umpire’s role in modern day cricket has become significant [for] the videos have come handy to the technical officials to go through the decisions and assess the quality of umpiring”.  He says "The technology is put to use to assess the standards of umpiring which is crucial for the conduct of the game".  The BCCI first set up the video system in 2007 as part of a larger program that is aimed at improving its umpiring standards (PTG 67-366, 15 July 2007).

 

CA FUNDING COUNTRY-WIDE 

‘LGBTI' AWARENESS PROGRAM

[1421-6871]

 

What Australia’s ‘Gay News’ calls a "diversity training program” that is billed as a “dedicated guide’ to welcoming lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTI) members of the community into the game, will "soon be rolled out to cricket clubs, school teams and indoor cricket centres" around that country.  The program, whose title is 'A Sport For All’, is being funded by Cricket Australia, and involves the recruitment and training of people as “ambassadors” and “educators" on LGBTI issues who are to take the "subject of diversity” to Australia’s 3750 clubs.

 

The program has been developed as a result of the 'Anti-Homophoba and Inclusion Framework’ to which CA a signatory. It commits the governing body to devise and implement policies that address homophobia and promote "diversity in sport”.  A CA spokesman told ‘Gay News’ that “by 2017-18, every member of the Australian cricket work force will have been trained in inclusion and cultural awareness".  “At the same time, all elite Australian cricketers, both male and female, will take part in diversity training”.

 

CENTURY-OLD CRICKET 

ASSOCIATION FOLDS

[1421-6872]

 

South Australia’s century-old Southern Cricket Association (SCA), which has steadily shrunk from 15 clubs and 45 senior teams 25 years ago is disbanding, for the six remaining clubs, Port Noarlunga, Morphett Vale, Seaford Rise, Flagstaff Hill, Noarlunga and Kangarilla, have decided to move to neighbouring associations.  Port Noarlunga and Morphett Vale were admitted to the Adelaide and Suburban Cricket Association at the organisation’s annual general meeting last week, Seaford Rise and Noarlunga have joined the Great Southern Cricket Association (GSCA), and Flagstaff Hill and Kangarilla have switched to the Hills Cricket Association. 

 

SCA president Gary Bilney, who started playing for Kangarilla in 1964 and has held various committee roles over the past three decades, said the SCA’s downfall was very disappointing but the clubs would move on.  “When you’re down to six teams we knew it’d only take one [to leave] to make it all fall over”.  The SCA lost Aldinga, McLaren and Willunga to the GSCA in the 1980s and 1990s, and over the last decade O’Sullivan Beach folded, Reynella joined the Adelaide Turf Cricket Association and Cove went to the Adelaide and Suburban Cricket Association.

 

Bilney said “We’ve put a lot of work into keeping it going ... but hey, life goes on”.  He also goes on to say that the SCA’s two junior competitions for Under-11s and Under-13s are also likely to be disband.  Seaford Rise president John Fruss said his club, which has been part of the SCA for 20 years, had mixed feelings.  “It’s disappointing because there’s a lot of history gone, but you’ve got to go with the times”, said Fuss.  Noarlunga president Peter Lamz said his club, a founding member of the SCA in 1889, was sad the association was dissolving but excited about what lay ahead.

 

 

ARGUMENT OVER BOUNDARY 

SPARKS ON-FIELD ‘BRAWL'

[1421-6873]

 

A dispute about whether or not a batsman had hit a four in a Kent Village Cricket League match between home side Detling and Aldington last Sunday is said to have ended in what was described as “a group brawl” that an umpire standing in the game called the "worst behaviour" he had witnessed in his 40-year career.  Robert Wanstall, who was at square leg when the argument broke out, is quoted by ‘Kent On-line’ as saying: "It's not what you expect from a cricket match, there was no on-going rivalry between the two clubs and it just came completely out of the blue".

 

One report says a Detling fielder dived for the ball as it approached the boundary and it hit his arm, rolled under his body, hit the fence and rolled back.  "I looked at the other umpire, signalled it was a four [to him] and thought that was the end of it”, said Wanstall.  “However”, he continued, “the [Aldington] batsman assumed it hadn't gone for four and just saw red, a few words were exchanged and there was a bit of pushing and shoving”.  "People were holding people back who were supposedly involved, there was a lot of shouting and a few swear words [and] it was a bit of a kerfuffle”, but "no punches were thrown, no one was injured and the police were not called”.

 

According to Wanstall the fracas “"died down and we carried on, the teams shook hands after the game and [there were apologies] but we thought it wasn't the best idea to go to the pub and have a drink together [afterwards]”.  He said he had submitted a report to the league and officials will investigate and decide whether to take any actions against the players involved.

PLAYING THE GAME
NUMBER 1,422
Saturday, 30 August 2014

CSA APPOINTS ITS FIRST FULL-TIME 

MATCH OFFICIALS ADMINISTRATOR 

[1422-6874]

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced yesterday that Karl Hurter has been appointed as its first full-time Match Officials Administrator, a move it says is part of an overall restructure of the country’s match officials system.  Hurter, 50, a former member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), appears to have retired from the first class game as he is not listed as a member of CSA’s top domestic National First Class’ Panel (NFCP) for the 2014-15 season. 

 

CSA Chief Executive Officer, Haroon Lorgat said via press release that Hurter's "vast umpiring experience” in the new role "will play a vital role in ensuring that CSA continues to produce world-class match officials”.  Hurter made his debut at first class level in February 1998 and went on to stand in 115 such games, plus 127 List A fixtures, four of them One Day Internationals (ODI) and others via ICC appointments to lower-level international events, a single Twenty20 International, women’s and Under-19 ODIs, and a women’s Test.   

 

KwaZulu-Natal’s Babalo Gcuma, 38, who has been a CSA Emerging Umpire Panel member for the last seven years, has been added to the fourteen-man “professional” NFCP in place of Hurter.  Lorgat congratulated Gcuma, who currently has 46 first class games to his credit, on his promotion saying: “Our match officials can easily be compared with the best in the world and I must acknowledge the key role they play in making South African cricket a world leader”.  “We will continue to create opportunities for them to progress, notably through our exchange programs with Australia, India and New Zealand”, said Lorgat.

 

Gcuma joins last year’s NFCP members: Murray Brown, Johan Cloete, Marais Erasmus, Shaun George, Adrian Holdstock, Earl Hendrikse, Ian Howell, Bongani Jele, Brian Jerling, Allahudien Paleker, Gerrie Pienaar, Dennis Smith and Brad White.  Cloete, George and Holdstock have retained their positions on the ICC’s IUP "after receiving favourable feedback in international matches”, while Erasmus is on the ICC’s top Elite Umpires Panel.  CSA match referees for the coming austral summer are: Tiefie Barnes, Devdas Govindjee, Barry Lambson and Shahid Wadvalla.

 

NFCP members have between them stood in a total of 1,104 first class matches to date, Jerling’s record being 141, including 4 Tests, Howell 109, 9 being Tests, Cloete 101, White 94, Brown and Smith both 89, Pienaar 80, Erasmus 77, 25 of which were Tests, George 68, Hendrikse 66,  Holdstock 60, Gcuma 46, Paleker 43 and Jele 41. Seven of the fourteen are former first class players, Erasmus, George, Holdstock, Howell, Paleker, Smith and White, and overall their ages range from Howell and Jerling at 56, to Pienaar 55, Erasmus 50, Hendrikse 47, George 46, Brown 45, Holdstock and White 44, Cloete 43 and Smith 42, then comes Gcuma 38, Paleker 36 and Jele 28.

 

CSA’s second-tier 'Amateur Panel’ for 2014-15 consists of seventeen men: Rudi Birkenstock, Roderick Ellis, Lourens Engelbrecht, Stephen Harris, Bernard Harrison, Ryan Hendricks, Clifford Isaacs, Clive Joubert, Lester Leendertz, Bryan Mantle, Jack Morton, Stephen Rex, Faizel Samsoodien, Irvin Van Kerwel, Phillip Vosloo, Laurance Willemse and Jeff Wolhuter.  Its 'Pilot Panel', which was previously known as the Emerging Umpire Panel, is Marlon Jansen, Jurie Sadler and Abdoellah Steenkamp.  The latter trio have been appointed to the Pilot Panel "after showing great promise over the past few seasons in CSA select tournaments”.

 

IPL PROBE COMMITTEE REPORTED SEEKING 

TWO-MONTH DEADLINE EXTENSION

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The 'Mudgal Committee', which has been conducting probe into allegations of spot-fixing and illegal betting in last year's Indian Premier League (IPL) series on behalf of India’s Supreme Court, is reported to have asked for an additional two-months to complete its enquiry.  The committee submitted what is said to be its interim report “in a sealed envelope” to the court in New Delhi yesterday and the judges involved are expected to discuss its contents on Monday.

 

The committee provided the court with its preliminary findings last February, producing a list of thirteen individuals it felt needed to be investigated (PTG 1290-6217, 12 February 2014).  In May the court asked it to reconvene and continue its inquiry, at that time setting a deadline of the end of this month for it to produce its final report (PTG 1355-6541, 17 May 2014).

 

MATCH REFEREE MADUGALLE NOTCHES 

UP 500TH SENIOR MEN’S INTERNATIONAL 

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Ranjan Madugalle, the International Cricket Council’s chief match referee, managed his 500th senior men’s international in Cardiff on Wednesday when England and India played the second match of their One Day International (ODI) series.  That milestone came just two week’s after another milestone for the Sri Lankan, that being his 150th Test as a match referee when the same two sides met at The Oval (PTG 1385-6696, 3 July 2014).

 

In addition to those 150 Tests, Madugalle has also looked after 280 ODIs, including two World Cup and three Champions Trophy finals, and 70 Twenty20 Internationals, two being the finals of World Championship events.  In total Madugalle has worked as a match referee in 522 internationals, 14 of the additional 22 being women’s ODIs, 7 women’s T20Is, one of those a world final, and a single Under-19 ODI, it too being a world final.

 

BETTING LINK CONCERNS SEE SPECTATOR 

EJECTED FROM CARDIFF ODI

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A spectator was removed from the ground by stewards during second One Day International between England and India in Cardiff on Wednesday for allegedly relaying match information to bookmakers on the sub-continent, say reports.  Chris Watts, head of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) anti-corruption unit, is said to have told journalists that a man, who is reported to have been using two laptops and a phone during India's innings, had been ejected for breaching the terms and conditions of his ticket. 

 

Angus Porter, the chief executive of the UK Professional Cricketers’ Association says that evidence available points to people trying to beat the delay that is built into the relay of television images from grounds in England to the Indian sub-continent.  Because of the delay, which is often very brief, betting odds can be manipulated by those who have access to near-instant information from inside grounds.  Those involved are "not necessarily corrupting the match itself”, said Watts, but rather "engaging in corrupt activity in the sense they are getting bookies fixing the odds before the events are seen on TV in India”.

 

Its not the first time spectators have been ejected from grounds in England for such reasons, twelve being dismissed in 2012 and nine last year (PTG 1158-5605, 31 July 2013).

 

PCB TELEVISION RIGHTS RETURN 

REPORTED SHORT OF TARGET

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The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is reported to be facing a challenge in selling the television rights of its forthcoming 'home' series against Australia and New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates in the last quarter of this year for a figure it thinks is appropriate.  The Press Trust of India quoted “a reliable” PCB “source” yesterday as indicating the PCB’s bottom line for each of the series was around $A8-9 million, however, only one broadcaster has shown any real interest and they have offered some $A6 million for both series, a total of five Tests, eight One Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals.

 

According to the source the PCB earned close to $A10 million from the sale of television rights by selling the recent series against South Africa and Sri Lanka separately to two different broadcasters.  "However, this time the PCB has been forced to sell the Australia and New Zealand series in a bundle because the value of the New Zealand team among the broadcasters is very low, lower than even the Sri Lankan team”, he said.  "The worst part for the PCB is that under previously agreed tour agreements hey have to play three Tests against New Zealand while the Australian series involves only two.

 

In April then PCB chairman Najam Sethi said his organisation was “near bankruptcy” (PTG 1329-6415, 6 April 2014), however, subsequent reports suggested quote him as indicating he was expecting it would earn the equivalent of around $A330 million over the next eight years (PTG 1333-6435, 14 April 2014).

 

CONTROVERSY, EVEN AT 

UNDER-11 LEVEL

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Derbyshire’s Dunstall Cricket Club (DCC) says it has been forced to cancel a presentation evening after the Burton and District Youth Cricket League (BDYCL) refused to hand over trophies that were won by the club’s ’A’ and ‘B' Under-11 sides.  The BDYCL took the action after launching an investigation into a claim the DCC broke its rules by mixing up, rather than keeping strictly separate, the playing squads for each team during the season.

 

BDYCL chairman Dave Boden was quoted by the ‘Dunstall News’ yesterday as saying the DCC "will be summoned to a meeting of a league representative committee next week to answer an allegation that Dunstall A and B teams, in the under-11s age group, used some of the same players in matches in both the cup and league”.  "This has been admitted by [DCC chairman] Andrew Mandleberg, who has offered a defence, [but] in the meantime, the trophies have been retained”.

 

Mandleberg told the ‘News’ "the accusation being made is that we have loaded our teams to procure an unfair advantage, or in other words we have cheated”, but “in fact there is no rule prohibiting [such a move]”.  According to him: "We have not broken any rules and have only ever tried to act with the spirit of the game in mind”.



End of August 2014 News file