1,423 - 1 September [6880-6803]
• Indian cricket politics to heat up further this month (1423-6880).
• NZCUSA names its 2014 scorer, umpire award winners (1423-6881).
• Bangladesh spinner’s action to be tested in Cardiff (1423-6882).
• NZC-SLC exchange program to resume (1423-6883).
1,424 - 3 September [6884-6885]
• Remove lesser performing umpires before 65-year-olds, says union advocate (1424-6884).
• Two-month extension for IPL probe, Srinivasan remains in BCCI limbo (1424-6885).
1,425 - 5 September [6886-6890]
• IPL ’too powerful’ for the long-term good of the game, says Botham (1425-6886).
• Cairns’ lawyers reported pushing for Vincent prosecution (1425-6887).
• Religious comments lead to reprimand (1425-6888).
• Yorkshire captain banned for two first class matches (1425-6889).
• Lankan awards ceremony ignores umpires, scorers (1425-6890).
1,426 - 7 September [6891-6895]
• ’Specialist’ television umpire concept again aired (1426-6891).
• No surprise as BCCI hits back at Botham IPL comments (1426-6892).
• England structure alienating team from supporters, claims journalist (1426-6893).
• Former Zimbabwean Test umpire dies (1426-6894).
• Umpire’s 19th Century ancestor precludes him from Anglican-Vatican match (1426-6895).
1,427 - 10 September [6896-6900]
• Ajmal suspended from bowling, ‘all types’ of his deliveries ‘illegal' (1427-6896).
• Former Pakistan Test umpire dies (1427-6897).
• Appeals into BPL match-fixing findings get underway (1427-6898).
• Skipper banned for two matches for ’serious dissent' (1427-6899).
• Pope blesses Vatican XI, signs bat (1427-6900).
1,428 - 11 September [6901-6902]
• Sixth bowler in two months reported for ’suspect’ action (1428-6901).
• CA calls for Project Panel applications (1428-6902).
1,429 - 16 September [6903-6908]
• Bowling action ‘wearable’ technology research reaches last phase (1429-6903).
• CA fines three more T20 teams over player negotiation timings (1429-6904).
• Cairns to face UK perjury charges (1429-6905).
• Results of appeals against BPL corruption verdicts due ‘as soon as possible' (1429-6906).
• Banning of suspended captain from presentation ‘petty’ and ’a disgrace’, claims Vaughan (1429-6907).
• PCB reported concerned about Hafeez bowling action (1429-6908).
1,430 - 18 September [6909-6920]
• Year 2000 life ban for match fixing overturned by Delhi court (1430-6910).
• Ball tampering ‘will not be tolerated’, says CSA (1430-6911).
• Human movement expert claims Ajmal elbow condition ’not relevant’ in test results (1430-6912).
• Pakistan 'ignored’ 2006 report on Ajmal’s action, says former Test umpire (1430-6913).
• BCCI flouts its constitution, postpones AGM (1430-6914).
• Verbal abuse of opponents leads to fine for Bravo (1430-6915).
• NUP members plus two for CA domestic one-day series (1430-6916).
• Three county players penalised for on-field misdemeanours (1430-6917).
• CSA announces $A20M annual operating profit (1430-6918).
• Lack of black Africans in Test side an ‘embarrassment’, says CSA president (1430-6919).
• Flood tragedy hits bat manufacturers hard (1430-6920).
1,431 - 21 September [6921-6926]
• Colour blind opener rules himself out of day-night Tests (1431-6921).
• Rajasthan asks court to overturn BCCI ban (1431-6922.
• CA chief executive given unlimited tenure in that role (1431-6923).
• ‘Racist comments’ hearing likely in early October (1431-6924).
• Put team before money, says Windies chairman of selectors (1431-6925).
• Billionaire signs on to Irish cricket (1431-6926).
1,432 - 22 September [6927-6931]
• Honesty about ‘catch’ wins 2014 MCC ’Spirit of Cricket’ award (1432-6927).
• Disciplinary process was too drawn out, says Anderson (1432-6928).
• Bangladesh spinner completes Cardiff laboratory tests (1432-6929).
• Sydney club’s donations helping the game in Uganda (1432-6930).
• BCCI-Rajasthan dispute grinds on (1432-6931).
• More lawyers at forty paces (1432-6932).
1,433 - 24 September [6933-6935]
• Lahore off-spinner reported for suspect action (1433-6933).
• Bodenham’s career to end on 99 first class matches? (1433-6934).
• Security concerns sees WCL event moved from Uganda (1433-6935).
1,434 - 25 September [6936-6937]
• Derbyshire batsman dismissed ‘Handled the Ball' (1434-6936).
• No stranding on 99 for Bodenham (1434-6937).
1,435 - 26 September [6938-6946]
• Northern Districts to continue with football-style approach to on-field misbehaviour (1435-6938).
• Banned international to bowl in Lankan domestic series (1435-6939).
• New system improves collation of umpire performance data (1435-6940).
• Test scorers, former players, supporting Asian Games tournament (1435-6941).
• ICC match officials seminar covers ‘wide range' of issues (1435-6942).
• BCCI working committee to mull AGM dilemma (1435-6943).
• Cairns reported charged with perjury in 2012 libel trial (1435-6944).
• Teams assemble, climb, in preparation for ‘highest match’ (1435-6945).
1,436 - 29 September [6947-6951]
• BCB overturns umpire’s ten-year ‘sting’ ban (1436-6946).
• Bowling actions of two more off-spinners deemed ’suspect' (1436-6947).
• Six neutrals named to manage Australia-Pakistan series (1436-6948).
• Sri Lanka announces West Indies umpire exchange program (1436-6949).
• BCCI sets gam date (1436-6950).
• ‘Cloud stops play’ in Kilamanjaro match (1436-6951).
1,437 - 30 September [6952-6959]
• Ashraful's eight-year BPL match-fixing ban reduced by five years (1437-6952).
• Indian state associations to receive less money from BCCI in 2014-15 (1437-6953).
• Former Indian Test umpire dies (1437-6954).
• Fourth CL off-spinner’s action reported as ’suspect' (1437-6955).
• Batsman reprimanded for garbage can strike (1437-6956).
• Taylor claims a wicket, sixteen years on (1437-6957).
• Asian Games balls a concern for Bangladesh players (1437-6958).
INDIAN CRICKET POLITICS TO HEAT
UP FURTHER THIS MONTH
Politicking in Indian cricket circles is expected to reach new heights over the next four weeks in the lead up to the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) Annual General Meeting (AGM) on the last day of the month. Jockeying for positions on the BCCI’s top administrative committee has been under way for some time and jobs there are being hotly contested, a process that is particularly complicated this year given the uncertainties as to how the organisation’s current president-in-exile Narayanaswami Srinivasan, who has been nominated to return to that role, will fare in the Mudugal report into 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption issues.
What media reports are calling the Mudugal committee's "interim report" into Srinivasan and twelve other people, is to be considered by Indian’s Supreme Court in New Delhi later today. Three months ago the Court asked the committee to table its findings by the end of August, however, it is widely speculated Justice Mudugal is seeking a two-month extension to the deadline so his group can appropriately complete all of the work involved (PTG 1422-6875, 30 August 2014). Should that occur Srinivasan would remain in BCCI limbo until at least November, although he is expected to continue as the chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC). If Mudugal finds against Srinivasan in either the short or long-term though, it could have wider implications given the central role the BBCI now plays in directing the way the ICC moves forward.
Aditya Verma, the chairman of the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), an organisation that has been refused recognition by the BCCI and who took IPL matters to the Supreme Court last year, said on Friday he will “oppose” any move from either the BCCI or Srinivasan to delay the AGM. "In the 86 year history of BCCI, there is not a single instance of postponement of [an] AGM”, said Verma via a press release. Given the CAB is not a BCCI member, just how he would stop such a move should it actually occur is unclear. He also indicated the CAB had submitted a request to the Supreme Court that asks it to declare the nomination of Srinivasan as India's candidate for the post of ICC chairman as illegal given that the Court suspended him from his BCCI role, but neglects to say the Court actually refused that bid two months ago (PTG 1375-6647, 13 June 2014).
Another illustration of the political turbulence that is part of Indian cricket is the BCCI’s recent decision to ban Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) teams from participating in all of its domestic competitions during the 2014-15 season, including the country’s premier first class competition the Ranji Trophy, one-day and intrazonal Twenty20 competitions, plus key Under-19 and Under-16 inter-state events. That move, which leaves half-a-dozen national-level players and other members of RCA paying squads in a state of considerable uncertainty, came after Lalit Modi, the original driving force behind the IPL who is currently serving a life-time BCCI ban, was elected RCA president. The BCCI has formed an ad-hoc committee to run RCA affairs, however, Modi and his colleagues are said to be looking at taking legal action against the suspension of their association.
The BCCI-RCA standoff has resulted in match referees from the state being barred from officiating in any BCCI match, however, an unnamed BCCI official has been quoted as saying the jobs of "other [RCA] officials such as umpires and video analysts” are "safe and that they would continue to be on the Board’s payroll”. “We have an umpire’s committee that nominates officials for the domestic season and they directly come under the [BCCI’s] banner, so even if an umpire hails from Rajasthan, he need not to worry about the suspension of his board”, added the BCCI official.
Despite the on-going chaotic nature of cricketing affairs on the sub-continent Alan Issac, who stepped down from a two-year stint as ICC president in June, told the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association’s annual dinner in Wellington on Saturday evening that Srinivasan’s actions in cricket had been unfairly portrayed in the international media, and he would be personally surprised if the Indian was found guilty of any wrong doing. Srinivasan has a lot to offer the game, said Issac, a measured, thoughtful individual with solid business experience who is well-respected in New Zealand cricket circles. He is also somewhat of a rare individual at the higher echelons of the world game in that he can still be found each cricket season serving drinks at the bar of his long-time club on the outskirts of Wellington.
NZCUSA NAMES ITS 2014 SCORER,
UMPIRE AWARD WINNERS
Euan West was named as the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association’s (NZCUSA) ’Scorer of the Year’ and Phil Jones its inaugural ‘Umpire of the Year’, on the first evening of the NZCUSA’s Annual Conference weekend on Friday. West won the award, the only national one for scorers in New Zealand, in acknowledgement of his achievements at first class and international level, as well as his considerable support in training and scoring at grass roots level, while Jones was selected for the honour on the basis of his long-time contribution to the training and development of umpires at all levels in the Auckland region.
West, 61, from Canterbury, has been a regular scorer at first class level in New Zealand where he spends the south hemisphere summer before travelling to the UK each year for the summer there and more scoring activities. Auckland-born Jones, 54, a long-time servant of cricket, has been a first class umpire for almost twelve years, and was promoted to a third umpire spot on the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel six weeks ago (PTG 1398-6766, 25 July 2014). While Jones was the first recipient of the NZCUA’s umpire award, West is the third since the trophy was introduced in 2012, Helen Simpson from Otago being the first, and Ian Smith of Wellington the second last year.
BANGLADESH SPINNER’S ACTION
TO BE TESTED IN CARDIFF
Reports say arrangements have been made for Bangladesh off-spinner Sohag Gazi to have his bowling action tested at Cardiff Metropolitan University in three weeks time. Gazi, 23, whose action was reported as suspect after a One Day International in the West Indies ten days ago (PTG 1419-6857, 25 August 2014), is the ninth international spinner to be named in such a manner over the last ten months, and the fifth since the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee expressed the view in June that "there are some bowlers operating with suspect actions [in international cricket] that should be scrutinised more closely” (PTG 1418-6846, 23 August 2014).
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe all-rounder Prosper Utseya, an off-break bowler who was cited for having a suspected action when delivering his arm and faster balls during an ODI against South Africa in Bulawayo around the same time Gazi’s action was questioned, took a career-best 5/36, including a hat-trick, in another ODI against South Africa on Friday. Just where Utseya, who was named as the player of that match, will undergo testing of his action has not yet been announced.
Another player banned from bowling, Kiwi Kane Williamson, is reported to have passed "a couple of initial tests on his action” as a result of remedial work he is doing whilst playing for Yorkshire. Reports say he is hopeful "an official test isn't too far off", however, he is scheduled to join his Northern Districts Twenty20 team mates this week ahead of the Champions League series which starts in India on Saturday week.
Yet another organisation that uses “cutting-edge technology” to study bowling actions in a laboratory situation received some publicity last week. An article in ‘The Australian’ newspaper describes the University of Sydney as being "at the forefront of biomechanics for performance in cricket" and that it "has worked with first-class and Test players”. Rather than illegal actions though the focus of that work is on factors in an individual’s bowling action that if modified could reduce their susceptibility to injury, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their deliveries.
Data on bowlers is gathered at the laboratory using fourteen cameras and the system has a number of mechanical methods of analysis that are said to be "unique to sports biomechanics”. The project is being undertaken by PhD student Aaron Beach, and is says his supervisor Rene Ferdinands, “the foremost spin-bowling project of its kind that we know of”. “It is used for coach education so that the coaches have a better idea of what is possible”, he says. The research will be presented as part of the Fifth World Congress of Science and Medicine in Cricket in Sydney next year, an event that is being run in conjunction with the World Cup.
NZC-SLC EXCHANGE PROGRAM
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) are to resume their umpiring exchange program during the forthcoming seasons in both countries, but as yet just who will be involved has not been announced. The exchange arrangement between the two boards was first announced in late 2010 (PTG 684-3354, 19 October 2010), SLC’s Ranmore Martinecz and NZC’s Phil Jones each travelling to the other country in 2010-11 (PTG 728-3582, 17 February 2011), Ravindra Wimalasiri and Wayne Knights doing so in 2012-13, however, it is believed to have been put on hold in 2013-14 due to SLC’s financial difficulties.
NZC’s exchange agreements with Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa (CSA) will also continue in 2014-15, but as yet it is not clear whether SLC’s other previous arrangements with Bangladesh and South Africa, which were also on hold in 2013-14, will be resurrected. SLC first sent umpires to Bangaldesh on exchange in 2008, then to Pakistan early the next year, but the latter was abandoned following the terrorist attack in Lahore (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009). The Bangladesh Cricket Board's exchange with South Africa commenced in late 2010.
REMOVE LESSER PERFORMING UMPIRES BEFORE
65-YEAR-OLDS, SAYS UNION ADVOCATE
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) should remove the "least well-performing umpires" from its top panel each year, rather than force those who are performing to a higher standard but reach the age of 65 into an automatic retirement, says the union that is to take an age discrimination case of two ECB umpires to a UK employment tribunal later this month. Should long-serving Peter Willey and George Sharp win their case, there will be nothing to prevent ECB contracted umpires continuing into old age if they pass the fitness standard tests that are already in place and must be met (PTG 1421-6866, 29 August 2014).
The two umpires, who turn 65 before the commencement of the 2015 northern summer, have between them to date played a total of 865 first class games and umpired a further 638, and are to be represented at the tribunal by Alan Leighton, the national secretary of Prospect, a UK trade union which in the past has represented the likes of football referees and their assistants. Leighton acknowledges that removing "least well-performing umpires” ahead of 65-year-olds could throw up another set of legal ramifications, but “it [is] very odd that umpires who are performing perfectly well [in comparison] should be removed from the [ECB Full] List”.
The ECB, who are reported to have been in negotiations with Willey and Sharp throughout the current UK summer, are expected to tell the forthcoming tribunal that the progression of young umpires should not be blocked by individuals remaining in the game beyond 65. But Leighton, whose case is based around changes to UK employment laws that came into force in 2011, stressed the intention in taking the issue to the tribunal is not to block players who wish to take up umpiring in their mid-thirties.
“If George and I don't win our case”, says Willey, there will be no hard feelings with regards to the ECB for they "have been very good to me and I have been lucky to have been paid as much as I have and have the winters off”. "I realise that if I went to the ECB and said I want to carry on umpiring until I drop dead, that would be stupid, but I could do another couple of years, not for the money, but to stay involved in the game”. "Not every umpire wants to stay on and not everyone wants me to, anyway, but we have regular health checks and if anyone develops an eyesight problem that can be corrected”.
Willey went on to say players in county cricket respect umpires and in his view "the standard is excellent”, however, “at Test level match referees need to be stronger”. He pointed to the Anderson-Jadeja incident at Trent Bridge in July (PTG 1391-6731, 16 July 2014), saying that “instances like that can't be good for the game and nor is the involvement of lawyers”. "In international matches, if an umpire upsets too many people, he will be out of a job”, claimed Willey, and “a lot of international umpires don't want to jeopardise their jobs by slapping wrists”. "How strong is the International Cricket Council?”, he asked, before saying: "Darrell Hair was an umpire who did his job properly [for] he knew there was ball-tampering going on”.
TWO-MONTH EXTENSION FOR IPL PROBE,
SRINIVASAN REMAINS IN BCCI LIMBO
India's Supreme Court has granted the Mudgal committee, the group it formed to look into corruption in last year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) and asked to report by the end of August, its request for two more months in which to provide its full findings (PTG 1423-6880, 1 September 2014). At the same hearing in New Delhi on Monday, the Court rejected yet another attempt by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to have its stood-down president Narayanaswami Srinivasan, one of thirteen people being looked at in detail by Mudgal, returned to that position.
The Court set the date of its next hearing into the matter as 10 November, a time by which Mudgal is expected to table the final report on its findings. During Monday’s hearing the BCCI again asked that Srinivasan be allowed to resume his administrative duties as the BCCI's Annual General Meeting (AGM) is currently scheduled for late this month. However, the Court said he "cannot be allowed to discharge his job as BCCI president until Justice Mudgal’s report” is available”. The Court ordered that the current investigation be undertaken in May (PTG 1355-6541, 17 May 2014), after directing Srinivasan to step aside from the role of BCCI chief before that (PTG 1320-6365, 26 March 2014).
What several reports call a "top BCCI official”, is quoted as saying it would be "extremely difficult" for the board to host the AGM this month as Srinivasan was seeking re-election for a fourth term. Last September he was elected unopposed for a third year in office and is reported to be lobbying the Cricket Association of Bengal in the east of the country to nominate him for a fourth term at the helm. Under the BCCI's rotation policy for such things it is its East Zone’s turn to propose a candidate for president.
The “top official" went on to say that “as of Monday we haven't sent [out] any notice about the next meeting of the BCCI's] working committee”, the group that has responsibility for formally announce when the AGM is to be held. Reports say BCCI rules require seven days notice be given that a working committee meeting is to be held, and when it does meet the committee in turn has to give fourteen days notice as to when and where the AGM will be held. The "top official” said that the BCCI "doesn't want to antagonise the Supreme Court by calling the AGM and get into more legal trouble”. "We have to take every step cautiously, will be taking legal advice and will also go through the Court order carefully before taking a final call”, he said.
Aditya Verma of the Cricket Association of Bihar, the group that brought the IPL-related Supreme Court action against the BCCI in the first place, said he was happy with Monday’s Court decision and reiterated his previous comments that he will oppose any move by the BCCI to postpone the AGM. "What is going on in the BCCI is highly undemocratic”, he said, for its “plea [to the Court on Monday] had only one motive, to get Srinivasan back into the board by hook or crook and make him eligible for the post of president at the AGM later this month”. "The BCCI has a one-point program: to look after the interest of one man and not the game”, claimed Verma.
IPL ‘TOO POWERFUL’ FOR THE LONG-TERM
GOOD OF THE GAME, SAYS BOTHAM
Former England captain Ian Botham has expressed concerns about the power of the Indian Premier League (IPL) believing it "too powerful for the long-term good of the game”, and says it is a "perfect opportunity for betting and therefore fixing”, and makes "players slaves to it” because of the high level or remuneration involved. Botham went on, whilst delivering the Marylebone Cricket Club’s 2014 Cowdrey 'Spirit of Cricket’ lecture at Lord's on Wednesday, to call for the IPL to “be scrapped"
Botham, who was once on the ground staff at Lord’s as a boy, says he is "worried about the IPL, in fact, I feel it shouldn’t be there at all as it is changing the priorities of world cricket”. "Players are slaves to it, administrators bow to it”, he says, before asking: “How on Earth did the IPL own the best players in the world for two months a year and not pay a penny to the boards who brought these players into the game?” He acknowledged though that that situation has eased a little in recent years.
“Corruption is enough of a problem in itself”, said Botham, "but the IPL compounds that problem given it provides the perfect opportunity for betting and therefore fixing”. “We have seen a few players exposed, but does throwing the odd second XI player into jail solve it?” "To kill the serpent, you must cut off its head and the [International Cricket Council's] Anti-Corruption Unit must pursue the root of the problem and if necessary expose the big names”.
Botham also spoke about domestic Twenty20 cricket, suggesting there is a danger of “overkill” of that form suffocating the County Championship in England. “We should be aware of overkill of T20”, he says, for “when it began, we played the tournament in a three-week burst and it worked”. "Since then, we have played more and more of it, and guess what? The crowds haven’t got bigger”. "The County Championship needs space to breathe, let’s not crowd our calendar with an overkill of T20”
Away from the County game Botham called for more to be done to encourage cricket in schools, asking: “Why aren’t the Government focusing on sport as a necessity in the school curriculum?” “The problem is now that schools are too big and there is no personal touch with the teachers, and as schools get bigger, one of the things you lose are your playing fields”.
CAIRNS’ LAWYERS REPORTED PUSHING
FOR VINCENT PROSECUTION
Lawyers acting for former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns are said to have reported his former team mate Lou Vincent to the UK Metropolitan Police in a bid to have him prosecuted for match fixing. London’s ‘Daily Telegraph’ said yesterday that Detectives from Scotland Yard could pursue a criminal case against Vincent after receiving the complaint, which is based around his confession to fixing cricket matches while playing in England for Lancashire and Sussex (PTG 1384-6691, 2 July 2014).
‘Telegraph’ journalist Nick Hoult says the Metropolitan Police have investigated Cairns and passed on a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) over suspicions of perverting the course of justice relating to the libel trial he won against Indian Lalit Modi in 2012, who had accused him of fixing. A lawyer acting for Cairns is said to have indicated that the CPS has not made a decision to charge Cairns but that a ruling is expected in the final week of this month.
Cairns is said to be facing financial ruin over his legal battles, a friend of his telling New Zealand media last week that while he was once one of the best-paid players in the world he is now earning only a minimum wage. Vincent has kept a low profile since a string of interviews in New Zealand after he was banned but is understood to be providing fresh information to the anti-corruption police, says Hoult. His evidence has also formed the basis of the police investigation into Cairns.
Hoult says “sources”, presumably at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), have indicated there is no longer an appetite to pursue criminal charges for fixing in England. But one of Cairns’ lawyers asked why no criminal charges have yet been brought against Vincent. "Why has the ECB failed to have the CPS prosecute Lou Vincent? How is the Vincent case different to the successful prosecutions of others?”, asked the lawyer.
He opined out that “David Richardson, the [International Cricket Council’s chief executive], stated as recently as 1 July [this year' that ‘where suspicious activity is uncovered, no stone will be left unturned to bring those involved to justice’. On the same day David Collier, [former ECB chief executive], announced that the Lou Vincent investigation had ‘been brought to a satisfactory conclusion and that the ECB’s action highlights our resolve to keep cricket clean’.
“It is said that Lou Vincent has estimated his earnings from cheating at around £150,000 ($A262,000), he continued, a reward for “fixing” that is "substantially more than others involved in cricket corruption who have been sent to jail”, such as "Englishman Mervyn Westfield and Pakistanis Butt, Amir and Asif who were convicted of conspiring to fix matches”.
LEAD TO REPRIMAND
Religious comments made by Pakistan batsman Ahmed Shehzad to Sri Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan after their sides’ final One Day International of the series in Dambulla last Saturday has led to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officially reprimanding their player. The PCB’s media manager Agha Akbar told the Associated Press that Shehzad, who together with his team mates have returned to Pakistan, had been summoned to PCB headquarters on Wednesday and asked about his comments,
Shehzad is said to have been caught on camera telling Dilshan as the players returned to their dressing rooms after the game: "if you are a non-Muslim and you turn Muslim, no matter whatever you do in your life, you go straight to heaven”. Dilshan's reply was reportedly not audible but Shehzad allegedly went on to say: "Then be ready for the fire”. Akbar said that "Ahmed has informed the PCB that it was a personal chat with Dilshan and there was nothing more to it” and "we understand that no Sri Lanka Cricket official or our own manager lodged any complaint”.
The PCB set up an inquiry under director of international cricket Zakir Khan, but as no complaints were lodged the board did not find a contract or code of ethics breach in Shehzad's behaviour, but warned him not to engage in religious exchanges in future.
Dilshan was born to a Muslim father and a Buddhist mother and was known as Tuwan Mohamed Dilshan. He shed his Muslim name shortly after his international debut in 1999 and took up the name Tillakaratne Mudiyanselage Dilshan with an ethnic Sinhalese-Buddhist identity. Though Dilshan carries a Muslim name, he and his brothers and sisters are said to have followed their mother's religion from their childhood.
YORKSHIRE CAPTAIN BANNED FOR
TWO FIRST CLASS MATCHES
Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale has received an automatic suspension under the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) disciplinary procedures and will miss his side’s final two first class matches of the 2014 season. Gale was reported by umpires Steve Garrett and Steve O’Shaughnessy for a Level Two offence of "using language or gesture that is obscene or of a serious insulting nature to another player, umpire, referee, team official or spectator” during a County Championship match against Lancashire last week, his second Level Two breach of the season; the first being for showing “serious dissent” at an umpire’s decision (PTG 1373-6642, 10 June 2014).
Unhappy at what he saw as Lancashire batsman Ashwell Prince’s delaying tactics on the third day of the match, Gale reportedly "used some choice words to let the South African know what he thought of his approach”. He is said to have apologised to Lancashire captain Glen Chapple before play commenced the following day but that did not spare him from a ban from what are two key games that could see Yorkshire win this year’s County Championship.
Chapple told reporters: “Galey spoke to me this morning and admitted that he had crossed the line, and he apologised”. "We accepted his apology and between the teams we put that to bed” . "He just got caught up in the heat of the moment”. "Yorkshire are having a great season, and when you get to the end, you do start to feel the pressure”. Gale also apologised for his behaviour prior to his first Level Two censure of the season being handed to him three months ago.
Gale received a six penalty point penalty for that first Level Two incident, and under ECB regulations the penalty for a subsequent Level Two breach within two years is another six penalty points. The Yorkshire skipper has therefore accumulated a total of twelve penalty points, nine being enough to trigger an automatic suspension. The twelve points will remain on his record for a period of two years and the accumulation of eighteen or more will result in another automatic suspension. In addition to the two-match suspension the ECB’s Cricket Discipline Commission has indicated it will also consider whether "any further action needs to be taken in relation to Mr Gale".
LANKAN AWARDS CEREMONY
IGNORES UMPIRES, SCORERS
Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) annual awards ceremony on Wednesday saw twenty-one individuals presented with trophies, twelve to men and women international players, six to those involved in men’s domestic first class and one-day competitions, and three at Under-23 level, however, SLC apparently chose not to acknowledge its umpires and scorers at the event.
‘SPECIALIST’ TELEVISION UMPIRE
CONCEPT AGAIN AIRED
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior believes the introduction of “specialist” third umpires would improve the quality of decisions that come via the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) process. Speaking during a panel discussion following former England captain Ian Botham’s delivery of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) 2014 Cowdrey 'Spirit of Cricket’ Lecture at Lord’s last Wednesday (PTG 1425, 6886, 5 September 2014), Prior “backed” what a story posted on the MCC’s web site called "a new approach to officiating the controversial system”, however, it is not the first time such a concept has been floated and considerable work has already gone into lifting third umpire UDRS training and performance standards.
Prior, whose 79-Test career has spanned the evolution of UDRS, said he was frustrated at "having seen wrong decisions being made, despite the technology being employed". "If we are going to use UDRS, which I think we should, then we have to get the right outcome”. "There's no point going through everything and then still getting a wrong decision because the stump mic[rophone] wasn't turned up or whatever the reason is” (PTG 628-3135, 2 July 2010).
His experience with the UDRS has led him to believe that the job of on field umpire and third official had evolved into different roles. "It's actually two different jobs now”, he said, for “umpiring on the field and being a third umpire or TV umpire are very different things”. Members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) currently normally look after both on-field and television umpire roles in internationals in which the UDRS is being used.
ICC General Manager (Cricket), David Richardson, who is now the world body’s Chief Executive Officer, first mentioned the possibility of recalling some "more experienced umpires" to be specialist television officials just prior to the first ever UDRS-supported Test in 2008 (PTG 284-1507, 24 July 2008), and controversies in two separate Test series the following year brought the concept to the surface (PTG 379-2018, 3 March 2009).
At its July 2009 meeting the MCC's World Cricket Committee (WCC) talked about a "specialist TV umpire panel" being created so as to ensure that those involved "are comfortable in using the required technology” (PTG 457-2374, 16 Jul 2009), and three-and-a-half years later it asked whether the ICC "should consider the introduction of a cadre of third umpires who specialise in television decision reviews only” (PTG 1068-5191, 28 February 2013).
Controversies in last year’s Ashes Tests in England saw the matter aired yet again (PTG 1147-5555, 14 July 2013), former EUP member Daryl Harper who is now part of Cricket Australia’s Umpire High Performance Panel, being quoted as saying "a full-time television umpiring analyst” was required to support UDRS operations for that’s “what the umpires wanted in the first place, five years ago”, when UDRS first arrived (PTG 1149-5564, 17 July 2013).
English television commentator David Lloyd, who is also a member of the ICC's umpire selection group, said during the 2013 Ashes controversies “specialist technology umpires are likely" (PTG 1161-5618, 3 August 2013), and an England and Wales Cricket Board official was reported to have called today's third umpire role "so complex" it requires specialist training with officials dedicated to the role (PTG 1188-5732, 15 September 2013). In addition Simon Taufel, the ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager, called television umpire work "an incredibly challenging role" and that "specific training is needed in that area" (PTG 1156-5592, 26 July 2013).
To that end Taufel and his group, with the assistance of television broadcasters in several countries, has developed a specialist training module for television umpires, the concept of an independent specialised group of television specialists appearing to be impracticable in practice for a range of reasons. Ashes controversies also spurred the ICC to develop a more sophisticated, better integrated and near real-time UDRS, for use in matches by its third umpires, an approach that is reported to have been well received and was given strong support by the ICC’s Cricket Committee earlier this year (PTG 1371-6629, 7 June 2014).
NO SURPRISE AS BCCI HITS BACK
AT BOTHAM IPL COMMENTS
Indian Premier League (IPL) organisers have criticised former England captain Ian Botham’s comments about what he sees as the power and influence their annual tournament has on the world game, its propensity to attract corrupt practices, and call for it to be “scrapped” (PTG 1425-6886, 5 September 2014). Sanjay Patel, the secretary of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which runs the event, said with some bluster on Friday that Botham should "get his facts right" and that he "was in no position to take the moral high ground" given his involvement in now disgraced Texas financier Allen Stanford’s ill-fated, Caribbean-based, Twenty20 competition six years ago.
Botham outlined his views on the IPL and its place in world cricket whilst delivering the Marylebone Cricket Club’s 2014 Cowdrey 'Spirit of Cricket’ lecture at Lord's on Wednesday. He asked how does "the IPL own the best players in the world for two months a year and not pay a penny to the boards who brought these players into the game?”, but Patel told the Press Trust of India that his board had in fact "distributed over $US10 million ($A11.5 million) as compensation to other cricket boards for allowing their players to play in the IPL”. That figure is though only a relatively small percentage of the earnings the BCCI has gleaned from the seven IPL events to date.
In 2008, Botham was one of several prominent former players who appeared alongside Stanford at the launch of his competition which was cancelled after the first edition following charges of non-cricket related fraud being laid against the Texan. Stanford was later sentenced to 110 years in prison for heading up a $A7 billion ‘Ponzi’ scheme in a verdict which was seen as a huge embarrassment for the England and Wales Cricket Board as they had embraced his approach to the game. Patel said he "can still visualise the photo of Botham sitting in the front when Stanford went to England [and] “we don’t want his advice”, as the BCCI has former Indian "players such as Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Kapil Dev and Rahul Dravid to advise us”.
ENGLAND STRUCTURE ALIENATING TEAM FROM
SUPPORTERS, CLAIMS JOURNALIST
Something in the relationship English supporters have with their national side has changed over the last decade, wrote London ‘Daily Telegraph’ journalist Alan Tyers on Friday, and not for the better. In his view the supporters “generosity and patience" are in short supply as player’s central contracts and the ‘England bubble’ that results from the “huge number of support staff involved”, has removed them not just from the counties in the literal sense that they rarely turn out for them, but also from the public in general "in an emotional sense".
As a result, continued Tyers, the team’s connection with the paying public is suffering. What makes that connection feel even more remote in his assessment is that England players "are trained to speak in that weirdo 'obviously there’s a lot of talent in that dressing room and we are taking the positives’ [type of] fashion”. Add in "high ticket prices, satellite television excluding many potential fans, and the remorseless cherry-picking of other countries’ brightest talents", and England cricket "has given itself little goodwill upon which to draw when results go bad", he says.
FORMER ZIMBABWEAN TEST UMPIRE DIES
Former Zimbabwean umpire Quintin Goosen, one of only five of his countrymen who have stood at Test level, passed away in Chegutu on Wednesday at the age of 65. Born in Matabeleland South, Goosen played for Mashonaland Country Districts before becoming an umpire in his country's domestic first-class cricket competition, the Logan Cup, from 1994 to 2002, his only Test being the match between Zimbabwe and Pakistan that was played in Bulawayo in February 1995.
In addition to a total of sixteen first class games, the Test and eleven in Logan Cup fixtures and others tour matches, he also stood in seventeen List A fixtures, twelve of which were One Day Internationals, six each in Harare and Bulawayo. The Zimbabwe team wore black arm-bands during their last match in the triangular ODI series against South Africa in Harare Sports Club on Thursday as a token of respect on his passing.
UMPIRE’S 19TH CENTURY ANCESTOR PRECLUDES
HIM FROM ANGLICAN-VATICAN MATCH
An umpire who offered his services for a match between teams from the Church of England and the Vatican in Canterbury later the month, has been turned down because he may be “biased” as an ancestor of his was an Anglican Bishop two centuries ago, says an article in Thursday’s edition of the ‘Canterbury Times’ newspaper. Michael Claughton, 65, who has been umpiring for the past twelve years, is related to Thomas Claughton, a 19th Century Bishop of Rochester and of St Albans, and as the organisers and looking for umpires "who are theologically neutral”, they say that connection, as tenuous as it is, means his participation would not be appropriate.
Claughton, who thought the organisers "would be glad to have my service”, said he was told "we'll probably be looking for a Methodist or an atheist’”, something he called “amazing, “bonkers” and "church bureaucracy gone mad”. ‘Church Times' editor Paul Handley, whose group are looking after arrangements for the game, is quoted as saying Claughton’s summary of the situation is "perfectly true [for] we wanted to be careful that the match is seen to be completely fairly played”.
Handley went on to say that the Kent County Cricket Club, on whose ground the game is to be played, had indicated they will look for people who are theologically neutral as umpires, but what their view of the affiliations of scorers is has not been made public. "The whole project is to show how the two churches are together”, continued Handley, and “there's absolutely no question of Michael Claughton's skill as an umpire or his honesty”. "We just thought it would be a nice way of showing everybody this is neutral [and] it's possibly the first ever match where the umpire has got a faith test to get through”. However while both teams will be trying to win, "we aren't expecting any sledging”, concluded Handley.
AJMAL SUSPENDED FROM BOWLING, ‘ALL
TYPES’ OF HIS DELIVERIES ‘ILLEGAL'
Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal, whose action was reported as “suspect” during a Test match in Galle last month and tested in Brisbane shortly after (PTG 1417-6845, 22 August 2014), has been banned from bowling in the international game “with immediate effect” after that testing showed "all types" of his deliveries were bowled with an illegal action. Ajmal, the highest wicket taker across all three match formats over the last three years, is reported to be hopeful though that a “natural bend" in his arm caused by an accident will see him cleared in time to play in next year’s World Cup.
Ajmal was originally reported for a suspect action in April 2009 whilst bowling the ‘doosra’ but was quickly cleared (PTG 415-2191, 4 May 2009). He told reporters in Faisalabad yesterday International Cricket Council (ICC) experts have yet to consider his medical reports and "once they do it I am sure there shouldn't be any problem”. "If one has a medical problem then what can he do?” "So I am one hundred per cent positive and hoping for the best”.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan indicated soon after the ban was announced that his board planned to submit an appeal against to an ICC-appointed Bowling Review Group, however, the PCB has since said it was "contemplating its future course of action and weighing all options”. "The PCB has referred the matter to its recently-formed Illegal Bowling Action Committee, which will consider the matter and [provide] their views and/or recommendations and the Board shall thereafter decide what action to take” (PTG 1420-6862, 27 August 2014). Under ICC regulations the PCB has fourteen days to lodge any appeal.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s ’Sunday Times’, has reported that biomechanical experts at the University of Western Australia (UWA), where off spinner Sachithra Senanayake underwent rehabilitation of his action following his bowling ban, believe it is too early for him to be retested by the ICC. UWA’s Jacqueline Alderson is said to have written to the Sri Lanka Cricket saying: "I think it would be very unwise to be sending ‘Sachi’ for retesting just yet as he is still too close to the limits and without knowing how the data is modelled it is impossible to even estimate what [the results any reevaluation] by the ICC" will produce”. UWA is currently in dispute with the ICC over testing regimes and standards (PTG 1414-6825, 16 August 2014).
"If you are seeking my advice concerning the venue for a retest”, continued Alderson, "then I would be very careful at this time to suggest any venue”. "Probably Loughborough [in England] or Brisbane I would imagine”. "I would not be keen to use Chennai at this time given their inexperience [and] I’m not convinced about Brisbane as yet either”. The ‘Times’ say Senanayake is working "on all four varieties” of his remodelled action recommended after UWA testing and he believes it will eventually help him make a return to international cricket. His original test levels showed a flex of 36-40 degrees but that has now been brought "much closer" to the 15 degrees allowed by the ICC.
FORMER PAKISTAN UMPIRE DIES
Former Pakistan Test umpire Ferozeuddin Butt, who stood in a single Test between Pakistan and New Zealand in Karachi in 1990, died in that city on Friday at the age of 72 after a long illness. Butt, who played one first class game for Karachi in 1964 during his playing career, stood in a total of 146 first class matches over the 22 years from 1980-2002, five of them being major domestic finals, and there were also 110 List A matches, four of them One Day Internationals (ODI), three women’s ODIs and one Under-19 ODI.
Mahboob Shah, who stood with Butt in his only Test said: “Feroze had complete command over the rules of the game and he held good integrity”. After retiring from the game, he worked as writer for the monthly magazine 'Cricket Herald’, Aziz Rehmatullah its editor describing him as "a thorough gentlemen who possessed great knowledge of the game”.
APPEALS INTO BPL MATCH-FIXING
FINDINGS GET UNDERWAY
Appeals against the findings of a Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) anti-corruption tribunal that looked into corruption in last year’s Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) series got underway in Dhaka on Monday. Three men who were found guilty of corruption, former national captain Mohammad Ashraful, Dhaka Gladiators managing director Shihab Chowdhury, and Sri Lankan Kaushal Lokuarachchi have submitted appeals, as have the BCB and the International Cricket Council (ICC) about the tribunal’s decision to clear six other individuals of match-fixing.
Chowdhury and Ashraful are reported to be seeking a reduction of their respective ten and eight-year bans (PTG 1397-6761, 23 July 2014), however, Lokuarachchi wants his entire eighteen-month suspension lifted immediately. There are indications that what is expected to be the final hearing into 2013 BPL corruption will be completed this week, and that final decisions on the appeals will be handed down "as soon as possible after that” (PTG 1408-6801, 7 August 2014).
SKIPPER BANNED FOR TWO
MATCHES FOR ‘SERIOUS DISSENT'
Lancashire captain Paul Horton must sit out the opening two matches of next year's England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Twenty20 series because of his actions during the final of the competition against Warwickshire at Edgbaston late last month. Horton, 31, was reported for dissent by umpires Rob Bailey and Michael Gough for his gesturing with outstretched arms on being given out caught down the leg-side off the bowling of spinner Jeetan Patel for one (PTG 1419-6860, 25 August 2014).
The penalty for the Level Two breach of the ECB's Discipline Code of "showing serious dissent at an umpire's decision by word or action", is three penalty points, however the ECB’s Cricket Disciplinary Commission deemed further action was necessary on this occasion and has handed Horton the two-match ban. Horton, who has accepted the punishment, said: "I apologise to the umpires for my actions”. " I realise that these were unacceptable, particularly given the high profile nature of the match, watched by millions around the world on TV and a full house at Edgbaston”. "As players we must be aware of our responsibilities as role models, none more so than the captain”.
POPE BLESSES VATICAN XI, SIGNS BAT
The Vatican team that is to travel to England for a five-match tour, including fixtures against an Anglican XI in Kent and a Queen’s side at Windsor Castle, was given an official blessing by Pope Francis yesterday. The Latin American Pope, who is said to be "a passionate football fan but knows little about cricket", also signed a bat that the team will take with them and be auctioned on-line on eBay, or by a method a Vatican official said was "possibly something more dignified”, in order to raise money for a joint Catholic and Anglican campaign against modern-day slavery and indentured labour.
The Papal XI will play matches against chaplains of the British armed forces at Aldershot and the Royal Household Cricket Club at Windsor Castle, as well as two other games, before "the climax of the tour”, what one report called “the showdown" with a Church of England team in Canterbury in nine days time. Father Anthony Currer, 41, the captain of the Vatican XI, who is an Englishman, told reporters that intimidating the opposition through sledging would not, however, be in the ecumenical spirit of the encounter, and that “hopefully nothing will be picked up by the stump microphones”.
SIXTH BOWLER IN TWO MONTHS
REPORTED FOR ‘SUSPECT’ ACTION
Bangladesh medium pace bowler Al-Amin Hossain has become the sixth bowler in two months to be reported for a suspect illegal bowling action. Al-Amin, 24, was cited after his side’s first Test against the West Indies which ended in St Vincent on Tuesday, and while he can be selected for the second Test which starts on the island of St Lucia on Saturday, he is requited to undergo laboratory testing by early October.
The match officials’ report, which was handed to Bangladesh team manager Habibul Bashar at the conclusion of the St Vincent Test, cited “concerns” which have not been specified publicly about the legality of the bowling action of Al-Amin, 24. The on-field umpires for the game were Marais Erasmus of South Africa and Richard Illingworth from England, Steve Davis of Australia was the television umpire, and Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka the match referee.
Since July five bowlers, all off spinners, have been reported by the International Cricket Council, including Sohag Gazi, Al-Amin’s Bangladesh teammate, Saeed Ajmal of Pakistan, Prosper Utseya of Zimbabwe, Sachithra Senanayake from Sri Lanka and Kane Williamson of New Zealand. In the eight months prior to that four off-spinners, Shane Shillingford and Marlon Samuels of the West Indies, Namibia's Van der Westhuizen, and Nasir Aziz of the United Arab Emirates, were reported for suspect actions in international fixtures (PTG 1418-6846, 23 August 2014); while Trinidad and Tobago all-rounder Kevon Cooper was similarly reported during an Indian Premier League match (PTG 1364-6590, 28 May 2014).
The only medium to fast bowler whose action has been queried prior to Al-Amin 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).
CA CALLS FOR PROJECT
Cricket Australia (CA) appears to be targeting women who have played at senior interstate level for the new female spot on its Project Panel, a group that until now has been exclusively for males who have previously played first class cricket. News surfaced six weeks ago 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).
CA’s call for applications released yesterday says that “preference” will be given to “individuals who have already tried umpiring”, then makes reference to male applicants who have played the first class game, and females with experience playing in its one-day format Women’s National Cricket League and its Twenty20 equivalent. The first part of that description and the word “preference” could be taken to mean those who have not played at those levels could apply, however, it may be a caveat directed at non-playing female umpires, or on the other hand it may just be a badly crafted set of words.
Those applying for the positions should, says CA: “ideally have many or all of the following characteristics: a positive attitude and are team-focussed; an interest in and a suitable disposition to umpiring; are a self-starter who is accountable for their actions and take pride in their own development; are prepared to work hard as they develop through grade-club cricket levels; value integrity and respect the game; and are able to use umpiring to complement work or study, not as the sole means for employment".
Those chosen will be given a one year contract for the financial year ending 30 June 2015. That means they will have one season to demonstrate their basic aptitude for umpiring for “at the conclusion of each season a performance appraisal process [will be] conducted and, if earned, a contract extension will be granted”, says CA. Project Panel umpires will be required to complete the relevant training and accreditation courses prescribed by CA within their own State Association umpiring program. In addition, CA will provide individual professional development opportunities and closely monitor the progression of each umpire throughout their development.
BOWLING ACTION ‘WEARABLE’ TECHNOLOGY
RESEARCH REACHES LAST PHASE
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) says in an article posted on its web site that the International Cricket Council (ICC) is “optimistic” so-called "wearable technology" for monitoring illegal bowling actions on a near real-time basis will be ready for trials in matches "as soon as next year”. That story indicates development work on the “match box size” technology, which started nearly six years ago at Griffith University in Queensland (PTG 377-2012, 25 February 2009), is proceeding slightly behind the time-line envisaged last November, a report then saying a "functioning, cheap and readily available package" could be available in sports stores by the end of 2015 (PTG 1241-5988, 25 November 2013).
Under current ICC protocols, bowlers whose actions are suspected of being “illegal" are not called during play, but rather reported by match officials after games end, a situation that leads them to being subjected to costly and time consuming testing in specialist laboratory conditions within twenty-one days, and a wait after that to find out the precise results. That method has been applied to an unprecedented number of suspensions over the past year, and in the last two months in particular, because of an ICC “crackdown” on illegal bowling actions (PTG 1428-6901, 11 September 2014), and there are reports of concerns that other bowlers may also be cited (PTG 1429-6808 below).
Griffith University researchers are said to have “completed" the second phase of the development process, which included testing of more than 70 bowlers during net practice at the Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates last February. The research, which is being funded by the ICC and MCC, the latter to the tune of $A55,000 a year, is now moving onto the third and final stage which the MCC says includes: the process of attaching sensors on a match day; ensuring that the data received is not compromised and that the sensors remain in position; and establishing just how quickly after a delivery data from them will be available to view off the field. That work is to be conducted at Australia’s National Cricket Centre in Brisbane.
While that work is going on the ICC has been pushing ahead with the establishment of a number of "illegal bowling action testing centres" around the cricketing world (PTG 1371-6630, 7 June 2014), a move that came as a result of a serious disagreement of principle between the ICC and the previously loan testing centre at the University of Western Australia in Perth (PTG 1413-6822, 14 August 2014).
Meanwhile, writing in ‘India Today’ on Monday, journalist Yajurvindra Singh expresses the view that cricket authorities should have the actions of “every international bowler tested and certified before they debut”. "A conformity certificate seems the only way forward to eradicate chuckers”, he says, as “the game cannot go through the slow [assessment] process currently followed, for with the amount of cricket being played the offender could have a bagful of wickets before he [or she] is stopped”.
Professor Bruce Charlton, a medical doctor and Visiting Professor of Theoretical Medicine at the University of Buckingham, last week renewed a suggestion he made in 'The Cricketer’ magazine several years ago that there are "two forms of throwing”. The first is what he calls "strong-throwing”, that is, with the palm of the bowler's hand facing the batsman, which can generate considerable extra speed, while the second "is weak-throwing", which is done with the back of the bowler's hand facing the batsman and is equivalent to the way the ‘doosra' is bowled. Charlton argues that weak-throwing should be legalised, or at least be permitted an amount of flexion above the ICC’s current fifteen degree limit.
Veteran journalist Scyld Berry wrote in an article last week that it is his hope "that the intended, or unintended, consequence of this ICC clampdown is that wrist-spin will revive”. "Its practitioners have virtually disappeared from international cricket”, he says, for they have been out-numbered by off-spinners armed with a ‘doosra'.
CA FINES THREE MORE T20 SIDES OVER
PLAYER NEGOTIATION TIMINGS
Cricket Australia (CA) has fined three of its domestic Twenty20 teams for entering into agreements with players during the competition's contract embargo period. Earlier this year South Australia’s High Performance Manager Jamie Cox was sacked for his part in similar activities in regard to the Adelaide franchise, and the South Australian Cricket Association were later fined $A50,000 by CA, $A20,000 of which was suspended for three years, for entering into negotiations with potential players during the embargo period (PTG 1378-6668, 20 June 2014).
The latest teams to be fined were the Hobart ‘Hurricanes', Brisbane ‘Heat' and Sydney ‘Sixers’. Hobart were fined $A20,000 for their agreements with Ben Dunk and Alex Hales, half of which was "suspended for three years in recognition of the club's full cooperation with [CA’s] Integrity Unit investigation”. Sydney were penalised $A10,000 for entering into an agreement with Moises Henriques during the embargo, and Brisbane same amount for a similar offence with a yet-to-be-announced player for the 2014-15 season.
Despite half of Hobart’s fine being suspended, Cricket Tasmania chief executive David Johnston has been quoted as saying: “We are disappointed at the outcome [for] the club feels that the rules are unrealistic and as we have seen, they have been altered for next year”. “If we had waited until the contracting period had opened then we would have lost one of our best players and missed out on a major signing and drawcard in Alex Hales”, said Johnston.
The four clubs have been fined under a CA domestic Twenty20 rule that said: "During the contracting embargo period [which runs for 100 days from early February to mid-May], teams must not enter into any agreements, including renewals of existing agreements, arrangements or understandings, with any player in relation to or in any way in connection with the [T20 competition]”.
Iain Roy, CA’s Senior Manager Integrity, said: "While we recognise that in each case these were not flagrant breaches, we remain committed to ensuring clubs fully adhere to the competition's contracting guidelines at all times". "The penalties handed down reflect the need to uphold the integrity of the league”. "We acknowledge each club's assistance during the course of our investigations and now consider each matter closed” and no other investigations were ongoing in connection with the contracting process ahead of the 2014-15 season.
CAIRNS TO FACE UK PERJURY CHARGES
Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns will face charges of perjury from the UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in relation to his 2012 High Court libel trial with Indian Lalit Modi. Cairns, who has been charged alongside barrister Andrew Fitch-Holland who appeared as a witness at the trial, successfully sued Modi for accusing him of match fixing while playing in the now defunct Indian Cricket League in 2008.
A CPS spokesman told the London 'Daily Telegraph": "We can confirm that we have authorised police to charge Chris Cairns with one count of perjury, which arises from a libel trial held in the UK in March 2012”. "We have also authorised police to charge Andrew Fitch-Holland with one count of perverting the course of justice, which arises from actions taken relating to the same trial”. "Both suspects will be formally charged by police in due course”, said the spokesman. Cairns later released a statement saying he would "do whatever it takes to fight once again and prove my innocence”.
Lawyers acting for Cairns were said two weeks ago to have reported his former team mate, and confessed match-fixer, Lou Vincent to the UK Metropolitan Police in a bid to have him prosecuted for match fixing (PTG 1425-6887, 5 September 2014).
RESULT OF APPEALS AGAINST BPL CORRUPTION
VERDICTS DUE ‘AS SOON AS POSSIBLE'
After a four-day hearing, the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s (BCB) disciplinary panel completed its final public deliberation on Thursday into the appeals lodged against an anti-corruption tribunal’s findings into 2013 Bangladesh Premier League corruption. Three men who were found guilty of BPL-related corruption, former national captain Mohammad Ashraful, Dhaka Gladiators managing director Shihab Chowdhury, and Sri Lankan Kaushal Lokuarachchi, submitted appeals, as did the BCB and the International Cricket Council (ICC) about the tribunal’s decision to clear six other individuals of match-fixing (PTG 1427-6898, 10 September 2014). The BCB said in a press release that the results of the appeals process will be released "as soon as possible”.
BANNING OF SUSPENDED CAPTAIN FROM PRESENTATION
‘PETTY’ AND A ‘DISGRACE’, CLAIMS VAUGHAN
Former Yorkshire batsman Michael Vaughan says the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) decision to bar that county’s captain Andrew Gale from formally lifting the Championship trophy after his side won the competition last Friday was "petty" and "a disgrace”. Gale, who was banned for Yorkshire's final two first class games of the season following an altercation with Lancashire's Ashwell Prince during a match at Old Trafford earlier this month (PTG 1425-6889, 5 September 2014), eventually got his hands on the trophy after the formal presentation ceremony had ended.
Gale, who has been involved in several on-field incidents this northern summer, was not allowed to formally receive trophy as the ECB felt it was not appropriate while he awaits a disciplinary hearing. In announcing his two-match ban, the ECB indicated that its Cricket Discipline Commission is also considering whether "any further action needs to be taken in relation to Mr Gale”. Vaughan told the BBC that he thinks "the club should have had the opportunity to say who they wanted to lift that trophy”, and "I guarantee that everybody wanted Andrew Gale to get on the podium and lift that trophy”.
PCB REPORTED CONCERNED ABOUT
HAFEEZ BOWLING ACTION
Reports from Karachi claim that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is concerned that all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, 38, may be the next bowler to face a ban because of his action. A PCB “source” was quoted as saying: "we are very much aware of the possibility of Hafeez getting singled out for a suspect bowling action” as “the Board is already in a difficult situation trying to cope with the Saeed Ajmal issue and a possible ban on [off-spinner] Hafeez [would] be another huge blow”.
YORKSHIRE CAPTAIN FACING ‘RACIST COMMENTS'
CHARGE, SAYS REPORT
Yorkshire's captain Andrew Gale has been charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) with using racist language during a confrontation with Lancashire’s Ashwell Prince in a first class match played two weeks ago, says a report posted on the London ‘Daily Telegraph’ web site overnight. Gale was automatically banned from Yorkshire’s final two first class matches of its championship winning season as a result of his Level Two on-field confrontation with Prince, and an earlier Level Two incident during a match in June; the ECB saying last week that its Cricket Discipline Commission would also consider whether "any further action needs to be taken in relation to Mr Gale” (PTG 1425-6889, 5 September 2014).
‘Telegraph’ journalist Nick Hoult says that the charge makes Gale the first county cricketer to be accused of a racism-related offence, but that Yorkshire "are standing by their captain and will fight this charge”. The county, which is described as “furious” about the ECB move, are said to believe Gale has been "unfairly charged and are in the process of engaging a high powered law firm to defend him”. A date for the hearing has not been set but is expected to take place next week with Gale facing either a Level Three or Four offence under the ECB’s code of conduct.
Hoult says Gale and Prince are understood to have exchanged insults in the final moments of the third day of the match at Old Trafford as Yorkshire pushed for a crucial victory in the championship race. Gale is said to be adamant there was no racial aspect to the exchange, but the ‘Telegraph’ story says the captain moved himself in the field in an attempt to squeeze in one further over before break in play. As he moved closer to Prince the batsman is alleged to have told him to “f*** off back to cover point”. Gale allegedly responded by saying “Well you can f*** off back to your own country you Kolpak f*****”.
‘Kolpak' players are those born outside England but able to play there as non overseas players due to a statute of European Union law. Hoult says the case against Gale is likely to hinge in whether the word Kolpak is racist. The word could be construed as racism in this case because Prince is black and was brought up in Apartheid South Africa, but Yorkshire reportedly will argue that it is not a reference to colour or ethnicity but simply a term of reference.
The ECB’s code of conduct states a Level Three offence to be “using language or gesture that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person's race, religion or belief, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation or background”. The definition of a Level Four offence is similar except that the words “seriously offends” has been added. The umpires from the match concerned, Steve Garrett and Steve O’Shaughnessy, reported Gale for a Level Two offence for using “language or gesture that is obscene or of a serious insulting nature to another player, umpire, referee, team official or spectator”.
YEAR 2000 LIFE BAN FOR MATCH FIXING
OVERTURNED BY DELHI COURT
A Delhi district court has cleared former Indian batsman Ajay Sharma of all charges related to match-fixing, and has directed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to allow him to take part in the board’s activities and those of its associates. Sharma, now 50, was caught up in the infamous match-fixing scandal of 2000, and together with Mohammad Azharuddin was banned for life by the BCCI after being found guilty of having associations with bookmakers.
Sharma, whose benevolent fund payments, monthly pension and allowances will now be released to him, was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India after he was cleared that: “It’s been a turbulent phase in my life for the past fourteen years”. “It’s hard for anybody, but now that the court has cleared my name of any wrongdoing, I can look forward towards starting a meaningful chapter in my life after all these years and hope the stigma goes away”.
”I have no bitter feelings against anyone [and] no regrets that my first-class career came to an abrupt end”. “I just want to look forward [for] now I can at least watch my son Manan [Sharma] play from the stands during Ranji Trophy and other domestic tournaments”. “I would also like to now share my experiences and technical inputs with juniors and am available if the Delhi and District Cricket Association wants to use my services in any manner”.
BALL TAMPERING ‘WILL NOT
BE TOLERATED’, SAYS CSA
Cricket South Africa (CSA) is concerned about its national players gaining notoriety for ball-tampering and vowed at its Annual General Meeting in Johannesburg late last week not to tolerate such behaviour (PTG 1430-6818/19 below). Over the past twelve months, South Africans Vernon Philander and Faf du Plessis have both been fined by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as a result of ball-tampering charges, issues that caused CSA's ethics sub-committee to raise the matters at the meeting.
CSA board member Vusi Pikoli, a leading figure in South Africa's legal industry and the chairman of the ethics sub-committee, said he was "deeply concerned" with allegations of ball tampering and that "such behaviour cannot be tolerated" from top players. "The [sub-]committee wishes to raise its deep concern [at] the recent reports and allegations of ball-tampering, takes a very dim view of these reports, and wishes to send out a strong message [about] such behaviour”. “Conduct [like that] damages our fragile reputation”, said Pikoli, and “it's not about what others do, it's [what we do] and we urge our lads to take this matter very seriously”.
Philander was fined three quarters of his match fee after he was caught by television cameras scratching the surface of the ball during a Test against Sri Lanka in Galle in July (PTG 1394-6744, 19 July 2014), while Du Plessis lost half of his match fee for a Test against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last October for rubbing the ball over a zipper on his trouser pocket (PTG 1219-5861, 28 October 2013). Last February, Australian batsman David Warner alleged that South African wicketkeeper AB de Villiers had roughed the ball with his gloves in a Test in Port Elizabeth, but on that occasion Warner himself was fined for his comments (PTG 1301-6276, 28 February 2014).
HUMAN MOVEMENT EXPERT CLAIMS AJMAL ELBOW
CONDITION ‘NOT RELEVANT’ TO TEST RESULTS
Bruce Elliott, a biomechanist at the University of Western Australia, has questioned the relevance of spinner Saeed Ajmal's unusual elbow condition, a factor the Pakistani reportedly plans to use as a defence in his attempts to overcome his illegal bowling action ban (PTG 1427-6896, 10 September 2014). Laboratory testing showed that Ajmal’s elbow flex averaged forty-two degrees, more that twice the permitted fifteen degrees, but he believes his elbow condition, which resulted from a bus accident more than fifteen years ago, should see him given special dispensation.
Elliott told Chloe Saltau of the Melbourne newspaper ‘The Age’ that the elbow condition, which is said to be reminiscent of the congenital abnormality that gave Sri Lankan spinner Muthiah Muralidaran a permanently bent arm, would have no effect on Ajmal's test results and the legality of his action, even if it made his action look different to the naked eye. “It makes him more likely to be called [or reported] because it looks strange, and therefore is something for umpires to take into consideration, but it doesn't in any way allow him to extend differently from anybody else”, said Elliott, whose laboratory was until recently the sole testing centre for illegal actions but no longer has a relationship with the International Cricket Council (ICC) (PTG 1414-6825, 14 August 2014).
Ajmal’s tests, which were carried out by personnel engaged by the ICC in Brisbane last month, showed that his average elbow extension for offspin delivered over the wicket was between thirty-seven and thirty-nine degrees, forty-one to forty-two degrees for offspin around the wicket, forty degrees for the ‘doosra’, thirty-eight degrees for 'quicker ones' around the wicket, and forty-two degrees for quicker balls over the wicket.
His suspension applies only to international cricket and his manager, Umran Khan, told Fairfax Media recently that he had attracted interest from "a few” teams in Cricket Australia’s (CA) domestic Twenty20 competition, having played for the Adelaide side two seasons ago. However, his participation in that event would have to be approved by CA which has also addressed issues related to dubious actions in recent summers (PTG 1204-5801, 8 October 2013). According to Saltau a CA spokesman has told her that Ajmal would not allow a suspended bowler to bowl in its "flagship Twenty20 competition”.
Elliott’s UWA colleague Daryl Foster expressed the view late last month that off-spinners have been unfairly targeted in the ICC’s bowling action crack down of recent months and that the "enhancement of the craft” of spin bowling has been “exciting for the game” (PTG 1418-6846, 23 August 2014). Another banned bowler, Sri Lanka’s Sachithra Senanayake, worked with Foster at the UWA last month to identify alterations he needs to make to his bowling action to meet ICC requirements (PTG 1427-6896, 10 September 2014).
Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott says “its simple”, "if your your allowed to throw [with an elbow extension of] up to fifteen degrees, you throw it thirteen degrees”. He told ‘Cricinfo’ recently he doesn’t believe "anybody can bowl the ‘doosra' properly on a length at a decent pace without bending and straightening the arm, which is throwing”.
“The guy in Perth where they have everything [to measure bowling actions in detail] say they proved that most bowlers throughout history bent and straightened their arms, [but] I'm not sure I believe that”, said Boycott. “Umpires are reporting [suspect actions] more because they have the ICC’s support, [however previously] they were afraid to call them in the middle, when the law was that the umpire had to deal with it”. “To call somebody for a no-ball, my god that's a big call [and] in many ways this is probably a better system to do it privately”.
Around the same time, former Indian international umpire Ivaturi Shivram, who officiated in nine One Day Internationals from 1994-2002, told the ‘Indian Express’ in Hyderabad last week that the success of Twenty20 cricket is behind the increase in suspect action reports. According to him “T20s and run-restriction formulas mean spinners want to push a lot harder and that is causing the bend”. He believes “umpires must take action on the field if they find a bowler with a suspect action [for] he should be called straightaway, otherwise, bowlers will continue to bowl with suspect actions”. He doesn’t like the ICCl’s fifteen degree limit, saying similarly to Boycott: “an action is either clean or not”.
PAKISTAN ‘IGNORED’ 2006 REPORT ON AJMAL’S
ACTION, SAYS FORMER TEST UMPIRE
Cricket authorities in Pakistan “turned a blind eye” after currently banned spinner Saeed Ajmal was reported for a suspect action in a domestic match in 2006, according to a report by the Reuters news agency. Former Pakistan Test umpire Riazuddin told Pakistan's Geo Super television network in an interview on the weekend that he "reported [Ajmal’s] action after a first-class match [in that year] because there were problems with some of his deliveries”, and “unfortunately I don't know what happened about the report but no action was taken and he continued to play in domestic cricket”.
Reuters says that Ajmal’s case is not unique on Pakistan's domestic circuit, "where bowlers with suspect actions have been allowed to carry on playing despite reservations from match officials”. "No-one in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has ever taken this problem seriously”, said former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif. "There are cases of bowlers, who clearly straighten their arm more than the permitted fifteen degrees angle, being allowed to carry on playing”. "But now with the new protocol put in place by the International Cricket Council for [testing] bowlers with suspect actions, the PCB realises it has to be proactive and not reactive, and that is why they have set up [their] illegal bowling action committee” (PTG 1420-6862, 27 August 2014).
PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan is reported to have indicated that committee has to date “pointed to around thirty-five bowlers whose actions need to be worked on”. The country’s Shabbir Ahmed, Shoaib Akhtar, Shoaib Malik, Muhammad Hafeez, Riaz Afridi and Shahid Afridi have all been either reported or called at international level in the fifteen years since 1999.
What Latif called the PCB’s "passive attitude towards suspect actions is perhaps the reason why plans for setting up a biomechanics laboratory at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore have been on ice since 2009”. The PCB bought equipment worth a reported $A450,000 for the facility but it has remained unused, although a project is now underway to restore it in the next few months (PTG 1429-6908, 16 September 2014). Former Test captain Aamir Sohail, who headed up the NCA, said he had pushed for establishing the laboratory in order to work with bowlers at the domestic level who had problems with their actions, but “for one reason or the other it didn't happen and we are now facing the consequences”.
Meanwhile, Australian coach Darren Lehman has told an Adelaide radio station that the decision to ban Ajmal, Pakistan's most successful bowler in recent times, was “interesting”, and called the International Cricket Council's crackdown on illegal bowling actions "good for the game”. "If you're within the rules then fine but if you're not, then you've got to be looked at”, he said. "What [the ICC move] tells coaches and players and everyone coming through the game is that you won't be able to do any of that moving forward”. Lehmann is one of seventeen people on the ICC's Cricket Committee, the group that three months ago sparked the current focus on bowling actions (PTG 1371-6630, 7 June 2014).
BCCI FLOUTS ITS CONSTITUTION,
Key members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), whose president Narayanaswami Srinivasan is currently suspended from that post on the orders of India’s Supreme Court, have postponed the organisation's 2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM) which was scheduled to have taken place on Tuesday week. Under the BCCI's rotation policy, it is the turn of its East Zone associations to propose a candidate for president (PTG 1424-6884, 3 September 2014), but they are others who took part in a recent “informal meeting” in Chennai, decided to wait to consider an AGM date at a meeting of the board’s working committee that is to be held tomorrow week.
Despite being sidelined from BCCI affairs by the Court since April because his name features in an investigation being carried out into allegations of corruption in last year’s Indian Premier League series, Srinivasan, who is also the chairman of the International Cricket Council, hopes to be re-elected as BCCI president for the next three years. The Chennai meeting, which involved five of the six East Zone representatives with voting rights, plus around twenty others from around India, agreed to the AGM’s postponement; one media report calling the result a “show of strength” for Srinivasan.
The decision to put off the AGM to a yet-to-be determined date came as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision two weeks ago to give the Mudgal committee, which is looking into IPL issues, a two-month extension to complete its work. At the same time the Court refused a request from the BCCI to have Srinivasan reinstated as the organisation’s president. BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told reporters after the meeting in Chennai that: "After taking all the possible technical and legal opinions, at the moment, there seems to be no other option but to postpone the AGM” and that the working committee "will discuss and finalise how to proceed further in this issue”.
One media report claimed that “key members in the BCCI executive committee seem to be misinterpreting [both] the Supreme Court's order and [its own] rules and regulations that determine AGM dates”. Usha Nath Banerjee, the BCCI’s former legal advisor called the situation "utter nonsense” and said “the BCCI is bigger than an individual but it seems a large group of people will do anything to break rules to accommodate a man under investigation”. Srinivasan has repeatedly stated he is innocent of any wrong-doing, and former ICC president Alan Issac of New Zealand said recently the Indian had been unfairly portrayed in the media (PTG 1423-6880, 1 September 2014).
Reports point to BCCI's constitutional rule 16 which states: "the Annual General Meeting of the Board shall be held every year, but not later than 30 September at such place and time the president may fix”. Rule 16 M (v) goes on to says: "the secretary shall at least 21 days prior to the date fixed for the meeting, forward to each member, notice setting out the agenda of business to be transacted at the AGM”. Several journalists have pointed out that the Supreme Court gave interim BCCI president Shivlal Yadav all the powers of his post to run the daily affairs of the organisation.
The current situation has led Aditya Verma, the secretary of the Cricket Association of Bihar, which has long been denied recognition by the BCCI and has been the petitioner to the Supreme Court in the IPL corruption case, to indicate he will approach the Court for a ruling if the BCCI doesn't hold the AGM by the end of this month. "I ask the court to direct the BCCI to conduct their AGM on time and also to appoint an observer [to oversee] the smooth and fair [conduct] of BCCI elections”, he said.
VERBAL ABUSE OF OPPONENTS
LEADS TO FINE FOR BRAVO
The West Indies' Darren Bravo has been fined thirty per cent of his match fee for approaching and “verbally offending” Bangladesh batsmen during the fourth and final day’s play in the second Test against Bangladesh in St. Lucia on Tuesday. Bravo, who was playing in his thirty-second Test match, had been found guilty of the Level One offence under International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations in relation to conduct that "is contrary to the spirit of the game, or brings the game into disrepute”.
The ICC says that Bravo had been warned on several occasions by umpires Steve Davis of Australia and Richard Illingworth of England not to approach and verbally offend the opposition batsmen but "repeatedly failed to heed [their] instructions”. Bravo is said to have disputed the offence and a formal hearing was then conducted by match referee Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka, the charge having initially been brought by Davis, Illingworth, third umpire Marais Erasmus of South Africa and fourth umpire Peter Nero of the West Indies.
Mahanama subsequently found Bravo guilty and issued the fine, saying via an ICC press release that: “The umpires felt that the player’s behaviour brought the game into disrepute and he was reminded of his responsibilities to extend respect at all times to both his opponent and to match officials”.
NUP MEMBERS PLUS TWO FOR
CA DOMESTIC ONE-DAY SERIES
Cricket Australia (CA) has assigned all twelve members of its National Umpires Panel (NUP) plus two emerging umpires to the twenty-one round robin matches of its domestic fifty over competition next month, according to reports collated from a number of states over the last week. The series, which like last year is being played in tournament fashion, but this time in Brisbane and Sydney instead of just the latter city, will see NUP member Shawn Craig, and emerging umpires Phillip Gillespie and Tony Wilds, make their List A debuts, appointments that will come after they have served as reserve umpires in early games (PTG 1418-6852, 23 August 2014).
Data available suggests that two NUP members, Mick Martell and Paul Wilson, will each stand on four of the round robin games, with the other ten, Gerard Abood, Ash Barrow, Shawn Craig, Greg Davidson, Simon Fry, Mike Graham-Smith, Geoff Joshua, Damien Mealey, Sam Nogajski and John Ward, all having three matches on-field. CA’s five Umpire High Performance Panel members, Steve Bernard, Daryl Harper, Peter Marshall, Bob Stratford and David Tallala will be in action as match referees, Tallala having five games and the others four each.
Nine of the twenty-one preliminary matches will be day-night affairs, while thirteen overall will be shown on television, third umpires only being named for the latter games. Davidson and Mealey have two television umpire spots, all their NUP colleagues except Marttel having, like Wilds, one each. Umpires for the single semi final and final of the event, are likely to come from CA’s current top rated domestic officials: Fry, Ward, Wilson and Martell, reports suggesting that Stratford will be the match referee for those games.
THREE COUNTY PLAYERS PENALISED
FOR ON-FIELD MISDEMEANOURS
Three county players, Hampshire’s Matt Coles and Lancashire’s Jos Buttler and Steven Croft, have all been penalised by the England and Wales Cricket Board's Cricket Discipline Commission following incidents in matches played late last month. Coles, who was reprimanded for a Level 1 offence just last month (PTG 1409-6806, 8 August 2014), was handed six penalty points for his offence, while Croft and Buttler were both reprimanded for theirs.
Coles had been reported for a Level Two breach of "throwing the ball at or near a player, umpire or official" during his side's County Championship match against Leicestershire, while Croft and Buttler were cited for Level One breaches. Croft engaged in "abuse of cricket ground, equipment or fixtures/fittings" during Lancashire's one-day match against Leicestershire, and Buttler dissent during the side's Twenty20 semi final against Hampshire a few days later.
CSA ANNOUNCES $A20M
ANNUAL OPERATING PROFIT
Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced an operating profit of 199 million Rand ($A20.1 million) for the last twelve months to the end of April at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) late last week in Johannesburg. Recent media reports have suggested just the opposite, a 200 million Rand loss, as a result of the more limited tour late last year that had been scheduled by India, a situation brought about by the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s desire to have Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th and final Test played at home in a hastily arranged tour there by the West Indies (PTG 1227-5916, 7 November 2013).
CSA president Chris Nenzani said at the AGM that: "If you consider the high level of dysfunctionality in governance and the inappropriate responses of the [CSA] board back in 2010, then [improved] management has been our saving grace [for] we have moved from crisis to normality”. Audited financial statements showed revenue of 810.6 million Rand ($A82.1 million) with expenses being 634.1 million ($A64.2 million), the resulting profit coming in less than 20 million Rand ($A2 million) short of the board’s target.
Louis von Zeuner, an independent director and chairman of the audit and risk sub-committee, praised CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat and chief financial officer Naasei Appiah for their efforts. "We really must applaud management for the way they have dealt with such curtailed income, stabilising cricket in this time of changing financial models”. "We have a balance on the board between business people and those with the cricket knowledge, so it's the best of both worlds. If you look at the [South African] economy, the exchange rate, the impacts of changes in the international body and sponsors, it's a totally different environment nowadays,”.said Von Zeuner.
Lorgat said the outcome was due to CSA implementing more efficient financial systems. "We had to re-engineer our operating model”, said Lorgat, and "had to understand exactly how everything worked through a far more detailed process of measuring and managing”. "We're confident we can control the growth and sustenance of the game because we went into great detail to come up with the numbers”. "Funds are now allocated exactly according to activity, whereas in the past we used to just divide up the cake”, he said.
The CSA chief executive also indicated that the Future Tours Program (FTP) for the next eight years would see a forty-four percent increase in the amount of international cricket hosted by South Africa, with CSA’s national side being in action at home for an average of forty-six days per year compared with the thirty-two days under previous FTP arrangements. What one report called “the money men” are particularly looking forward to the 2017-18 season when four international teams, including India, are scheduled to tour South Africa and between them play an unprecedented total of thirteen Tests. "We're fortunate to have the world's best team, so we're in a good space to be able to work out a profitable FTP, plus South Africa is an attractive destination”, said Lorgat.
LACK OF BLACK AFRICANS IN TEST SIDE
AN ‘EMBARRASSMENT’, SAYS CSA PRESIDENT
The absence of a black African player from South Africa's Test side is an “embarrassment which is costing" Cricket South Africa (CSA), according to its president Chris Nenzani. Speaking at CSA’s Annual General Meeting last week, Nenzani said that players from a group that makes up by far the largest sector of South African society are “the vital role-models we need to make cricket the sport of choice among the majority of our population"
CSA have sought to address those shortcomings by establishing quotas for the six first class franchises this season that enforce the inclusion of two black African players in the starting eleven (PTG 1380-6679, 24 June 2014). Reports say the participation of those players will be closely monitored, to ensure they are getting proper opportunities to display their talents. CSA chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat said in his report: “It is crucial that we tackle the challenges presented in our pipeline so that we can benefit from the vast human potential we are blessed with but have not unlocked to date”. He added though that selection at senior national level will continued to be based “strictly [on] merit and performance”.
A special focus will be made on black African ‘targets’ at regional junior weeks, but it is the phase after that level, between school and university, where some major problems lay, says CSA, and it hopes that establishing cricket academies alongside tertiary institutions will help to offset that. While the fact that South Africa won the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year suggests schools cricket is thriving, CSA are pushing to make the game a major sport at “township schools”, and that’s one area where CSA’s annual operating profit of 199 million Rand ($A20 million) is "so important” (PTG 1430-6818 above).
FLOOD TRAGEDY HITS BAT
The supply of cricket bats from India may be at risk because major floods in Kashmir have washed away so much of the willow wood they're made from, according to a 'Hindustan Times’ report on Tuesday. The problem, which pales into insignificance given that the region’s worst floods in half a century have claimed over 400 lives, may not affect elite players, but it could cause more of a problem for those of lesser calibre around the world who use the more affordable Kashmiri-made bats.
COLOUR BLIND OPENER RULES
HIMSELF OUT OF DAY-NIGHT TESTS
Australian opening batsman Chris Rogers says he will be forced to rule himself out of any day-night match that uses a pink ball as he is colour blind, according to a story posted on the news page of Cricket Australia’s (CA) web site on Friday. CA, together with Cricket New Zealand, are keen to play the inaugural Test match in such a format in either Adelaide or Hobart in November next year (PTG 1383-6688, 1 July 2014), but while Rogers understands “the strong push for it”, as a colour blind batsman he sees "no future” for him in such a concept.
The key stumbling block for day-night Tests has been finding a suitable replacement for the traditional red ball that can be seen clearly under floodlights and on television. A red ball under lights ‘flares’ and creates a comet-like tail, while white balls can’t be used in matches that feature white clothing, leaving the pink ball as the optimal choice. CA chief executive officer James Sutherland believes CA has found the right balance with the pink ball, but players surveyed after last March’s first day-night Sheffield Shield trial were not so positive (PTG 1388-6711, 8 July 2014).
Rogers told journalist Sam Ferris that “Night Test cricket would be amazing in many respects [for] we still have to look at ways to make sure the popularity of the sport stays the way it is or improves”. However, "from a personal point of view it’s not viable because I can’t see the ball” and "if I was available for [the 2014-15 season’s] round of day-night Sheffield Shield matches, I’d have to rule myself out”. “That’s disappointing and I’ve spoken to other colour blind cricketers and they feel the same way”. Round two of the coming Shield season will trial a new, harder pink ball than the one used earlier this year (PTG 1389-6718, 11 July 2014), with matches in Adelaide, Hobart and Perth to be played in early November (PTG 1380-6680, 24 June 2014) .
Despite Rogers’ concern, CA said last February that it had sought advice from optometrists about the visibility of the pink balls and that it was "confident" colour blind people can pick up their flight. Advice at that stage was that there isn't any reason why a player with normal colour blindness would have any more difficulty seeing a pink ball compared to a red ball given its lighter colour and higher luminosity (PTG 1299-6265, 26 February 2014).
RAJASTHAN ASKS COURT TO
OVERTURN BCCI BAN
The Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) has asked the Rajasthan High Court to order the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to allow its players to participate in BCCI tournaments during the coming domestic season on the sub-continent. Last month the BCCI banned the RCA’s first class and other teams from playing in its national competitions after former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi, who is currently serving a life-time BCCI ban for "committing acts of serious misconduct and indiscipline", was elected RCA president (PTG 1423-6880, 1 September 2014).
The RCA’s petition to the Court is reported to have been made on behalf of seventy-five RCA players who come from its first class, one-day, Under-23, Under-19 and women’s squads. It is said to have indicated that the players were suffering "only for one reason, which is the grudge between the BCCI and RCA”. However, not all players are said to have signed up to the case, some being “confused” about what is going on, and others who are reported to be “scared” of taking up a case against the BCCI and what that could mean to their careers. After hearing the submission, the Court issued notices to the BCCI and the RCA and asked for responses from them on the issues raised by early this week.
In a separate case the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) has filed a writ in the Bombay High Court seeking appointment of an independent "Governance Review Committee" to look into the BCCI’s rules and regulations. CAB’s submission claims those rules have been "tampered with in a manner to further advance the causes” of board members and also pointed to IPL corruption allegations (PTG 1430-6814, 18 September 2014).
CA CHIEF EXECUTIVE GIVEN
UNLIMITED TENURE IN THAT ROLE
Long-serving Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland, a former Victorian first class player, has been reappointed to his position by CA’s board and given unlimited tenure in that role. Sutherland, who said he is “very grateful to the board for the confidence and faith it has showed in me to continue as chief executive beyond next year”, joined the CA’s predecessor the Australian Cricket Board in 1998 as general manager of commercial operations, then three years later, at the age of just 35, moved up to the position he has held for the past thirteen years.
Current CA chairman Wally Edwards said in announcing the appointment that the game in that country had reached “unprecedented" levels under Sutherland’s guidance. “The numbers speak for themselves with grassroots participation, attendances, television and digital audiences at all-time highs”, said Edwards. “Throughout James’s tenure annual participation has grown from 436,000 Australians playing the game to more than 1.1 million (PTG 1411-6815, 12 August 2014), while [annual] revenue has leapt from $A56.5 million to a forecast of more than $A300 million”. “Further to that, Australian sides are either sitting at, or challenging, for the world’s number one ranking”.
Edwards said that as a not-for-profit, community-based game, cricket faces "the challenging need to reinvest more in the game's future”. According to him recent financial gains ”allow us to pay record dividends to our members and to reward international, state and [domestic Twenty20] players appropriately for the commercial value they bring to the sport”.
‘RACIST COMMENTS’ HEARING
LIKELY IN EARLY OCTOBER
The hearing into ‘racist comments’ allegedly made by Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale during an on-field confrontation with Lancashire’s black South African batsman Ashwell Prince in a first class match two weeks ago looks likely to be held in early October (PTG 1430-6809, 18 September 2014). Originally mooted for next Tuesday, the hearing has been delayed as at that time key witnesses will be involved in the final round of domestic first class games for the season, those from Yorkshire being in Leeds and Lancashire in Manchester.
Gale, with the strong support of his county, plans to defend himself against the accusations levelled against him by the England and Wales Cricket Board whose Cricket Disciplinary Commission will provide a panel to consider the matter. Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of cricket, told the ‘Yorkshire Post' that his club "will help Andrew in any way possible”. The case against Gale is reported to hinge on his alleged use of the word ‘Kolpak’ in relation to Prince and whether or not it can be construed as a racist term.
Prince indicated on a South African internet-based radio station that it did not cross his mind during the heat of the argument with Gale that Kolpak was a racial slur. "I took offence at the way he spoke to me”, said Prince, who insist he did not start the confrontation as has been suggested. However, he admitted he was trying to waste time towards the end of the third day’s play in the match at Old Trafford in which the incident occurred. "The guy walked towards me and had a go and I defended myself”, he said.
The name Kolpak comes from Maros Kolpak, a Slovakian handball player who won a landmark case at the European Court of Justice in 2003 that upheld the right to freedom of work and movement within the European Union (EU) for citizens from countries that have signed agreements with the EU. ‘Kolpak' players such as Prince are those born outside England who are able to play in that country due to the EU law.
PUT TEAM BEFORE MONEY, SAYS
WINDIES CHAIRMAN OF SELECTORS
Clive Lloyd, the new chairman of the West Indies selection panel, believes loyalty should be the order of the day as players contemplate decisions to either represent the West Indies against England in Tests next April-May, or play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) which will be underway at the same time. The West Indies are currently ranked eighth out of ten in Test rankings and its board wants to see the team re-establish itself at the top of the world game, but the IPL, which is arguably the most lucrative cricket domestic tournament in the world, attracts several of the Caribbean's leading cricketers each year.
Lloyd told the ‘Jamaica Star’ newspaper: "What we are asking the players to do [ahead of the England series] is to show loyalty, and that West Indies cricket comes first”. "I know some people may not like how that sounds, but our cricket has got to be first”. The ‘Star’ report says such an approach is expected to put the players "in a spot of bother given that [some of them] earn three of more times less via a West Indies contract than what they would playing for their IPL teams". “We can understand the [player’s] situation, however, it is not about earning all the money”, said Lloyd.
BILLIONAIRE SIGNS ON
TO IRISH CRICKET
Irish cricket has been handed a seven-figure cash boost via a ten-year sponsorship deal with a group of companies owned by Ireland’s, and the world’s sixty-second ranked, richest man, Indian-born Pallonji Mistry, who is reported to have a personal fortune of around £9.55 billion ($A17.5 billion). The deal, believed to be in the region of £2 million ($A3.7 million), will see the country's cricket academy renamed the Shapoorji Pallonji Cricket Ireland Academy, the title coming from one of the billionaire's group of companies.
HONESTY ABOUT ‘CATCH’ WINS 2014
MCC ‘SPIRIT OF CRICKET’ AWARD
Sussex all-rounder Luke Wright has won the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) Christopher Martin-Jenkins 'Spirit of Cricket' Elite Award for 2014. Wright was chosen as a result of an incident in a first class match against Lancashire a month ago when he took a catch on the boundary but signalled to umpires Peter Hartley and Graham Lloyd that his foot had crossed the boundary and that six runs should be awarded.
The judges also mentioned BBC commentator Dave Callaghan, who commentated on Yorkshire's title-winning season in what was a traumatic summer for him. He returned to the commentary box ten days after the death of his daughter, and the players held a minute's silence at Scarborough during a Yorkshire-Middlesex match and wore black armbands.
Yorkshire’s Yapham Under-13 side were awarded the boys' award after their captain Sam Noble informed the umpire, who had just given a Sheriff Hutton Bridge batsman out caught, that the ball had bounced fractionally before he had completed the catch. The girls' award went to fifteen-year-old Amy Freeman, who, whilst recovering from a knee injury, dislocated her other knee during a match but continued to turn out for Banbury Under-15s in Oxfordshire throughout a season when they were continually short of players.
The awards were introduced last year in honour of the long-serving broadcaster and journalist Martin-Jenkins who died of cancer in January 2013. Wayne Madsen of Derbyshire was the inaugural winner of the top award, a side from Hampshire the 'Youth Award’, and an academy in Bristol the 'Schools Award’ (PTG 1194-5753, 25 September 2013).
DISCIPLINARY PROCESS WAS TOO
DRAWN OUT, SAYS ANDERSON
England bowler James Anderson told 'Sky Sports’ on the weekend that the drawn out disciplinary process involved after an incident involving him and India’s Ravindra Jadeja during a Test at Trent Bridge in mid-July “was too much”. Anderson, who was charged after the game but not cleared until two further Tests and three weeks had passed (PTG 1405-6788, 4 August 2014), said in an interview that the case "could have been dealt with on the day, it could have been dealt with after the game, but unfortunately it turned into a long, drawn out process but thankfully common sense prevailed in the end”.
Anderson was charged with a Level Three offence and called the intervening period "probably one of the most stressful periods that I've been through whilst I've been in the England team”. "It was constantly there, whether it was talking to solicitors, whether it was 'we've got meetings here’, whatever it was, it was a constant thing”. "I just wanted it to go away so I could concentrate on the cricket”, but the England and Wales Cricket Board "were great, they backed me all the way and I'm very grateful for that”.
The fast bowler insisted he does not go too far with his aggression on the field, reiterating it as an important part of his game even though he appeared to do so less as the India series went on. "When we're on the field out in the middle, the umpires are there to oversee that - if they think we overstep the mark they step in and take over; if it's serious enough they'll report it to the match referee and it gets dealt with like that”.
"I feel like I need to be aggressive on the field because I'm not a big presence on the field, like Chris Tremlett or Stuart Broad [and] being aggressive has helped me do my job for the team”. "But I'm very aware of the boundaries and of overstepping the mark - and if I've ever been close the umpires are straight on it; there are stump microphones there. I'm very aware of everything there and I don't overstep the mark”.
BANGLADESH SPINNER COMPLETES
CARDIFF LABORATORY TESTS
Bangladeshi off-spinner Sohag Gazi returned to Dhaka on Saturday after completing bio-mechanical testing of his bowling action at the Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales and told reporters he is "confident of a positive result”. Gazi was reported for suspect bowling action during his side's second One Day International against the West Indies in the Caribbean late last month (PTG 1419-6857, 25 August 2014).
Gazi is reported to have bowled six overs during tests in Cardiff last Friday, the results of which are expected to be announced by the International Cricket Council (ICC) within the next two or three weeks (PTG 1423-6882, 1 September 2014). The all-rounder told journalists those who were involved in the testing had asked him whether he "had any congenital defect” and “at the end it seemed they were satisfied and asked me not to worry”.
As yet there has been no public indication and to where and when Gazi’s national team mate, medium pace bowler Al-Amin Hossain, will be tested. Al-Amin, 24, was cited after his side’s first Test against the West Indies in St Vincent two weeks ago and is required by ICC regulations to undergo laboratory testing by early October (PTG 1426-6901, 11 September 2014).
SYDNEY CLUB’S DONATIONS HELPING
THE GAME IN UGANDA
The Bankstown District Cricket Club (BDCC) in New South Wales has donated a total of 650 cricket bats, 1,200 pads, 600 batting gloves, 200 wicketkeeping gloves, 100 helmets and clothing to the cricket community in Uganda over the last seven years, says a report in yesterday’s Sydney ‘Sunday Telegraph’. Each year during that time, the Bankstown Sports Club has financed and shipped a seven metre container to Mombasa via Singapore from where it has been road-freighted across country to Kampala for distribution to the African nation’s cricketers.
The idea started when BDCC president Brian Freedman, who held that position for twenty-four years and was a director of Cricket Australia for seven, went to Bangladesh in 2004 as manager of the Australian Under-19 team for the youth World Cup. Freedman told the Telegraph’s Terry Smith that he "couldn’t believe it when I saw the Uganda players swapping bats and helmets at the gate after a wicket fell”. “They needed help”, he said, and after returning home following the tour, former BDCC player and Australian captain Steve Waugh, and others, decided to donate their old cricketing gear.
Since the program first started close to 3,000 bats and 3,500 pairs of pads have been accepted by Ugandan cricketers "of all ages, shapes and sizes". When the program began some 15,000 people were involved in cricket in Uganda, but statistics compiled by the International Cricket Council suggest the number has grown beyond 47,000. Davis Arinaitwe, who stepped down recently as Uganda’s national cricket captain, said: “Cricket is easily our best performing sport. Out of a population of thirty-four million, at least a million are associated with cricket”.
Freedman would like to see a cricket club in each Australian State adopt an African area as Bankstown have done, adding: “Look in your garage or shed. I’ll bet you’d find some long-forgotten piece of cricket gear that would be treasured over there”. “A year ago I used my frequent flyer points to see what was happening in Uganda and everybody kept saying they were "grateful for the help”’.
BCCI-RAJASTHAN DISPUTE GRINDS ON
A meeting between members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) disciplinary committee and officials from the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) on Saturday failed to find a solution to the impasse between the two organisations. RCA teams have been suspended from taking part in BCCI domestic competitions for the forthcoming season on the sub-continent because the RCA is now headed by banned former BCCI member Latit Modi.
Reports say that the prime focus of Saturday’s “long” meeting was not on finding a way for Rajasthan players to participate in BCCI run series, but rather on whether the national body’s disciplinary committee was properly constituted under BCCI statutes. BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel, a member of the disciplinary committee, told journalists that the meeting that his committee was formed and operating according to the rules, but that no decisions had been taken on Saturday and that no date has yet been set for a follow-up.
MORE LAWYERS AT FORTY PACES
Victoria's work-safety watchdog wants people to stop playing sport at a Melbourne city park because it deems lamp posts and benches too dangerous, says a News Limited report published yesterday. The Victorian Work Cover Authority (VWCA) has launched legal action against the Melbourne City Council (MCC) for allowing a 2008 Australia Day cricket match on the Southbank reserve, where George Anestopoulos claims he broke his collar bone when he stumbled over the bench catching a ball during the match organised by the State Emergency Service (SES) in January 2008, to take place there (PTG 1384-6694, 2 July 2014).
Anestopoulos, who believes the SES should have done a risk assessment of the Southbank site and drawn up a Work Safety Plan before putting on the friendly game, took his employer to Victoria's County Court for exposing him to the “hazard”. He claims that his "onset of carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve injury, headaches and chronic pain, anxiety and depression" were as a result of the accident and the SES shouldn’t have allowed the game to be played on the reserve, down the street from its headquarters, because it was uneven and bound by a “busy highway”.
Yesterday’s News Limited report says that a successful case could lead to other councils banning sport or restricting access to some parks to avoid costly litigation. In County Court documents filed last week the VWCA claimed the MCC was to blame for Anestopoulos’s injuries. It accused the council of being negligent for “failing to discourage or prohibit attendees at the reserve from participating in sporting or recreational activities” when the area was uneven, not big enough for playing cricket, and contained hazards “such as lamp posts and park benches”.
VWCA spokesman Peter Flaherty said the writ was lodged solely as a measure to protect the VWCA’s compensation rights in relation to an incident that took place more than six years ago. The VWCA, which is claiming an indemnity from the council from any compensation Anestopoulos might pursue. is "yet to determine if it will proceed with any further action against the City of Melbourne”, he said. MCC spokesman Sam Bishop declined to comment on the issue because legal proceedings were afoot.
Lawyer Dimi Ioannou said the case should send a warning to all councils “to make sure that they do the right thing, so that the public can enjoy the use of free facilities without the risk of getting hurt”.
PLAYING THE GAME
LAHORE OFF-SPINNER REPORTED
FOR SUSPECT ACTION
Adnan Rasool, an off-spinner with Pakistan’s Lahore Lions Twenty20 side, has been reported for a suspected illegal bowling action during his side's opening Champions League (CL) match against Kolkata in Hyderabad on Sunday. The event’s organisers say Rasool has been placed on "the warning list and may continue to be selected to play and bowl for his team in [on-going] matches in the series”, however, if he is reported again during the tournament he will be suspended from bowling until such time as he is appropriately cleared by testing.
The off-spinner was reported by on-field umpires Kumar Dharamsena of Sri Lanka and Chettithody Shamshuddin of India, together with the latter’s countryman third umpire Anil Chaudhary. In the week prior to the Kolkata match Rasool played three games in the CL’s Qualifying tournament, Chaudhary and Shamshuddin each umpiring him once over that period without report. Under the CL's 'Suspected Illegal bowling action policy', Rasool may request an official assessment from the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s suspect bowling action committee. Should he be suspended from bowling he may continue to be selected to play in matches but not be entitled to bowl, however, his batting average is not inspirational.
Rasool has taken 142 wickets in forty first class matches to date, and has also appeared in thirty-three List A and twenty-six Twenty20s games, in a higher level playing career that commenced in 2001. He was the professional with Burnley in the Lancashire League in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons. When he first signed for that club its chairman Michael Brown said fellow Pakistan spinner "Saeed Ajmal, has publicly said on TV, that he considers [him] the second best off spinner in Pakistan” and while "he has not played at international level he has attended numerous Pakistan training camps at the behest of the likes of Mohammad Yousaf, Younus Khan and Misbah ul Haq”.
The reporting of Rasool brings to ten the number of spinners around the world whose reporting for suspect actions have been announced over the last ten months, eight in international fixtures, one in the Indian Premier League and now one in the Champions League. New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson, an occasional right arm off-spinner who has been banned from bowling because of an illegal action (PTG 1398-6767, 25 July 2014), is reported to have started bowling left handed in training. Williamson is currently playing with the Northern District’s Twenty20 side in the Champions League series, but as yet his participation has been limited to batting.
BODENHAM’S CAREER TO END
ON 99 FIRST CLASS GAMES?
Former Test umpires George Sharp and Peter Willey are currently standing together in a County Championship match at Northampton, a game that will be their last at first class level if they are unable to have the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) compulsory retirement age of sixty-five overturned in the next few months (PTG 1421-6866, 29 August 2014). Sharp, Willey and Martin Bodenham, a third member of this year’s ECB Full List, all turn sixty-five before the next northern hemisphere summer gets underway, and under the board’s current policy they are required to retire.
Both Sharp and Willey played first class cricket before taking up umpiring, the majority of their playing careers being with Northamptonshire and on the ground where they are currently standing in a match where Sussex are the visitors. For Sharp its his 327th first class fixture as an umpire and Willey his 311th, however, Bodenham, who has not been assigned to a match in what is the last round of domestic first class games in England for the 2014 season, has finished the summer and possibly his total umpiring career on ninety-nine first class games.
SECURITY CONCERNS SEES WCL
EVENT MOVED FROM UGANDA
The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced yesterday that next month's week long World Cricket League (WCL) Division 3 tournament has been moved from Uganda to Malaysia for security reasons. Uganda was to have hosted the six-team competition, which features national sides from Bermuda, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Uganda and the United States of America, however, "due to a recent elevation in the ICC’s ongoing safety and security assessment level, it has been decided to relocate the event to the Malaysian capital” Kuala Lumpur.
DERBYSHIRE BATSMAN DISMISSED
‘HANDLED THE BALL'
India Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was given out for ‘Handled the Ball' on the opening day of Derbyshire's final County Championship match of the season against Leicestershire at the County Ground in Derby on Tuesday. The 26-year-old right-hander, who was the International Cricket Council's 'Emerging Player of the Year’ in 2013, became the first player to be given out in that fashion at the ground since 1996, when Derbyshire batsman Karl Krikken committed a similar offence whilst playing against that year's touring Indians.
Derbyshire’s official ‘Twitter' account says that Pujara, 26, who was playing in his 101st first class match and was on six, “swatted” away a ball from left-arm medium pace bowler Atif Sheikh with his hand as it appeared to be going on to hit his wicket. Umpires Jeff Evans and Martin Saggers are said to have conferred, after which Pujara was given out, it being only the 59th time it has occurred in the history of first-class cricket. Derbyshire’s Krikken, the first batsman from that County to be dismissed in that fashion, used a hand to "waft the ball clear" after chopping a delivery from Javagal Srinath towards his stumps.
Reports from the sub-continent say its is only the second instance of an Indian international batsman losing his wicket to that mode of dismissal, the only previous occurrence being when Mohinder Amarnath was adjudged to have handled the ball in a One Day International (ODI) against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1986. That was the first such dismissal in an ODI and occurred when he pushed away a ball from spinner Greg Matthews that spun back towards his wicket.
Only seven batsmen have been dismissed in that manner in the history of Test cricket: South African Russell Endean in 1957; Australia’s Andrew Hilditch in 1979; Mohsin Khan of Pakistan in 1982; Desmond Haynes of the West Indies in 1983; Englishman Graham Gooch in 1993; Steve Waugh of Australia in 2001; and England's Michael Vaughan again in 2001. With the exception of Hilditch, who picked up the ball without permission and returned it to the bowler after a wayward throw from a fielder, all the others used their hand to defend balls that were bouncing or spinning towards their stumps.
Apart from Amarnath the only other batsman given out ‘Handled the Ball’ in an ODI is New Zealand's Daryll Cullinan in 1999. Facing West Indian spinner Keith Arthurton, Cullinan fended the ball off into the ground, it bounced high in the air, and Cullinan removed his right hand from his bat to catch it as it fell again. Media reports say it was unlikely that the ball would have landed near the stumps, however, then West Indies captain Brian Lara appealed, and Cullinan was given out.
In October last year the Marylebone Cricket Club amended the Laws such that the ‘Handled the Ball’ dismissal now applies only to the period up until the batsman has “finished playing the ball”, after which a decision of 'Obstructing the Field’ applies. Under that change Hilditch’s 1979 dismissal would today have been recorded as out ‘Obstructing the Field’ (PTG 1199-5771, 1 October 2013).
NO STRANDING ON 99
English umpire Martin Bodenham will not be stranded on ninety-nine first class games due to retirement next April as previously suggested (PTG 1433-6934, 24 September 2014), but rather is to work on as a member of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Full List in 2015. ‘PTG’ has learnt that unlike most work place retirement requirements, which apply on or near the day of an employee’s 65th birthday, the ECB’s current policy as to when their umpiring staff have to stand down permanently is not quite so precise.
Bodenham will turn 65 late next April, three weeks after the 2015 season gets underway in England, and that apparently is enough for him to be able to continue on the Full List for a further five months until the end of the ECB’s 2015 season in September. In recent years, now former Full List member Trevor Jesty retired last September three months after his 65th (PTG 1196-5759, 28 September 2013), while in 2011 John Steele continued on two months past his birthday, as did Barry Dudleston in 2010, and there are other similar cases in the decades before that.
In contrast, current Full List members Peter Willey and George Sharp, who are reported to be challenging the basic concept of a retirement age (PTG 1424-6885, 3 September 2014), reach 65 on 6 December 2014 and 12 March 2015 respectively, and therefore are ineligible under current ECB policy initiatives to continue next year. Just when their case, which is reported to be being brought under changes to UK employment laws that came into force in 2011, will go before a government administrative tribunal has not yet been made public.
NORTHERN DISTRICTS TO CONTINUE WITH FOOTBALL-STYLE
APPROACH TO ON-FIELD MISBEHAVIOUR
New Zealand’s Northern Districts Cricket Association (NDCA) is to continue with its player ‘sin bin’ and ‘sent off’ approaches to player discipline during the 2013-14 season. Under the arrangement, “any player who uses abusive or offensive language or gestures to any player, umpire or spectator during the course of a match”, could be subjected to instant disciplinary action by official umpires controlling a match, a move that would mean their side would be forced to continue play one person short.
Should a player be deemed to have transgressed whilst their side is in the field, he or she will be reported to their captain and may, where considered appropriate by the umpires, be sent from the ground, rugby ‘sin bin’ fashion, for a period that "does not exceed" one hour of playing time. Should the fielder be a bowler, they will not be able to bowl again on their return until they have been back on the field for the same length of time they have been off. If a bowler is suspended during the course of an over, someone else from their side has to complete that over.
Batsmen or women who offend are subject to being retired “immediately” and the rules say they are not allowed to return until the fall of their side's ninth wicket. If the offence occurs on the batter's dismissal they may be suspended from later play “in the same manner as if [they] offended whilst bowling or fielding”, although what happens if it is the second innings of a one-day match is not clear.
Any player, whether fielding or batting, who has been suspended from play is required to “remain in view of the umpires during his suspension”. If a player commits a second ‘sin bin’ offence during a match the umpires are required to send them from the field for the remainder of the game, and any player suspended twice in a season will automatically appear before a NDCA disciplinary commissioner.
NDCA rules in this area also tell scorers how to handed such situations. All suspensions are to be recorded on the official score sheet and a suspended player who does not recommence their innings is to be listed as ‘suspended’, but for statistical purposes their absence is to be handled in the same manner as a ‘not out’.
BANNED INTERNATIONAL TO BOWL
IN LANKAN DOMESTIC SERIES
Sri Lankan off spinner Sachithra Senanayake, who is currently banned from bowling in the international game because of an illegal action that involved a reported arm flex of 36-40 degrees (PTG 1390-6724, 14 July 2014), is to take part in a forthcoming Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) fifty over domestic series. Less than three weeks ago, Sri Lanka’s ’Sunday Times’ reported that biomechanical experts at the University of Western Australia (UWA), where Senanayake underwent initial rehabilitation following his ban, believe it is too early for him to be retested by the International Cricket Council (ICC) (PTG 1427-6896, 10 September 2014).
SLC officials are said to have talked about the "tremendous improvement” in the spinner’s action following the week he spent at the UWA, however, the ‘Times’ indicated that an official from the laboratory there had told the SLC "it would be very unwise to be sending ‘Sachi’ for retesting just yet as he is still too close to the [arm flex] limit” of fifteen degrees. ICC guidelines on such matters state that "a player that has been suspended from international cricket… shall be permitted to continue playing domestic cricket [under the supervision and consent of his home board]".
Carlton Bernardus, SLC's cricket operations manager called Senanayake "one of our assets, so we need to get him back fast” and that he will be "monitored and recorded” during the domestic games. Since his return from Perth, Senanayake’s remedial work has been conducted under the supervision of local coaches, and Bernardus stressed the need "to be confident” before submitting the spinner to an ICC re-test. SLC said in a press release though that it "will coordinate with ICC on the date of his retesting in the near future”.
Should Senanayake be cleared to return to the international scene and be reported and found guilty of contravening the legal limits of flexion within two years of his original suspension, he could be suspended from bowling by the ICC for a minimum of one year.
Meanwhile, a report from Karachi yesterday says that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has suspended “sixteen domestic bowlers with suspect actions”. Inthikab Alam, the PCB’s director of domestic cricket, told reporters: “We have had twenty-nine bowlers reported for suspect bowling actions in the current home cricket season and half of them were reported twice, so we have banned sixteen [of them] from domestic matches”. They "will not be allowed to play in domestic matches and will [be sent] to the national cricket academy to get their actions altered”, runs the quote attributed to Alam, a former Pakistan captain and leg-spinner.
NEW SYSTEM IMPROVES COLLATION
OF UMPIRE PERFORMANCE DATA
Western Australia based Information Technology company Cortana Design has developed a new Match Official System (MOS) which umpires there are using to record, review, and obtain integrated feedback from others, on their match-day performances. Developed by Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) State Umpire Panel member Trent Steenholdt, who is Cortana’s Creative Director, the system has been designed for use by umpires from ‘grass roots’ to international level, and for more sports than just cricket.
Steenholt told ‘PTG’ that development of the MOS package commenced last year. It was used by a number of umpires who stand in WACA Premier League games during the 2013-14 austral summer and he says feedback about its usefulness was “very positive”. Since then officials from other sports, including several football codes, have tried it out and they have had a similar reaction such that current plans call for it to be rolled out commercially early next year.
At a basic level, MOS provides match officials with a web-based diary system that allows them to set down and keep their own self-analysis of their performance in each match they are assigned to in their particular sport. That self-analysis can either be kept confidential, or as is more common, made available for an observer, such as an umpire’s coach or mentor, to log in and provide their own comments of how they saw the game, or how particular issues that might be raised by the umpire could be dealt with.
In addition to comments, the system gives those who have permission to access an umpire’s page the ability to post images, videos, fitness, dietary or other general reports and season reviews for the official to consider; a much more efficient way of providing such data than via USB sticks, as is currently done by many, which are often lost or not returned after use. Importantly though, overall control of an individual’s MOS page lies solely with the official concerned, and it is of course up to them as to whether they take the comments provided to them by others on board or not.
Cortana Design's work lies alongside what reports say is a similar system that is being developed in Adelaide by the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) for use by both its players and match officials, while at a national level in Australia, Cricket Australia (CA) has for a number of years now utilised another system with a similar structure, the ‘Athlete Management System‘, for umpires who stand in first class and other matches that come under its purview.
While those three systems stand alone, the Cotana Design and SACA packages provide a tool for officials who manage sport at ‘grass roots’ level, a facility that in the past has generally only been available in a cumbersome, mostly paper-based form. It also allows those who have aspirations to move on to higher-level appointments, such as those that are CA’s responsibility, to better coordinate their development in a way that with the right attributes and application, can contribute to their advancement.
TEST SCORERS, FORMER PLAYERS, SUPPORTING
ASIAN GAMES TOURNAMENT
New Zealand Test scorers Bill Andersson and Annette Campbell, and former international players Aminul Islam from Bangladesh, Venkatapathy Raju of India, Rumesh Ratnayake from Sri Lanka, and Iqbal Sikander of Pakistan, are amongst match officials from twelve countries who have supported the women’s cricket section of this year’s Asian Games in South Korea this week.
The umpires who have been named to look after the womens tournament’s fourteen Twenty20 format matches have been: Ramani Batumalai (Malaysia); Riaz Chaudhry (Kuwait); Irfan Ghafoor (South Korea); Liu Jingmin (China); Muhammad Kamruzzman (Thailand); Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal); and Sarika Prasad (Singapore). Pradhan and Prasad are members of the International Cricket Council’s third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel.
Chaudhry and Kamruzzaman will be on-field for today’s China-Sri Lanka match to decide the Bronze medal with Raju and Ghafoor the referee and reserve umpire reespectively, while the Gold and Silver medal decider between Bangladesh and Pakistan will see Batumalai and Prasad on the ground, Ratnayake the match referee, and Pradhan the reserve official.
Islam, Raju and Ratnayake played Test and One Day International (ODI) cricket for their respective countries during their playing careers, while Sikander represented his at ODI level. Records available indicate Andersson has been scoring at first class level since the turn of the Century, and Campbell for at least the last decade.
Teams from Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand took part in this week’s womens event. The men’s series, which is due to get underway tomorrow and run until next Friday, will feature sides from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Malaysia, the Maldives, Nepal, South Korea and Sri Lanka. Match officials for their games have not yet been announced.
ICC MATCH OFFICIALS SEMINAR
COVERS ‘WIDE RANGE' OF ISSUES
Three candidates for the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), Chris Gaffaney of New Zealand, Ranmore Martinez from Sri Lanka, and India's Sundarum Ravi, took part in three-day ICC workshop in Dubai earlier this week that looked at a “wide range" of match management issues. The three joined all twelve current EUP members, the seven on the ICC’s top match referees panel, and four staff from the world body’s umpire performance and training unit, in sessions to prepare for the forthcoming international season, including next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The ICC said in a press release issued last night that “amongst the topics” that were covered during the workshop were: player behaviour; the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) and television umpire training; illegal bowling actions; Test, one-day and Twenty20 playing conditions; general planning for the World Cup; and the exchange of information and sharing their experiences over the last year. Attendees are also said to have participated "in a series of team-building exercises" at the Cabin Crew Training Centre of a Dubai-based airline, the overall workshop being overseen by ICC Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel.
Speaking after the workshop the ICC's General Manager Cricket Geoff Allardice said: “We don’t get many opportunities to get all of our match officials together in the one place, so we use the forum to cover a lot of the topical issues in international cricket”. "There was a wealth of knowledge and experience in the room, and it was pleasing to see the excellent teamwork displayed during the three days [which] can only assist the ICC in sending a stronger and more consistent team of umpires and referees to international matches”.
ICC chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle said: “Workshops are where we meet and share our experiences with colleagues who we [either] haven’t met [at all or not seen] for the whole year". Such meetings are "where we get together and talk about things, the problems, the areas we need to focus on, so that we are all working on levels of consistency to achieve professional standards to the best of our abilities”. Such things are "not done during a match, it is done in the preparation stage here”, said Madugalle.
Taufel is quoted in the ICC release as saying: “We are keen to always explore opportunities where we can get better at what we do, and we’re looking for the guys to show leadership and keep raising standards”. "It was a holistic session and with UDRS being used in [the World Cup] it was an important start to our preparations here in September, and moving forward, because we’re going to be in the third most watched sporting event in the world”. "We need to deliver and be a successful fifteenth team in that competition”, he said.
EUP member Rod Tucker of Australia said: “One of the massive benefits that we get out of these conferences and seminars is that we get together to discuss what has gone on in the past and plan for the future”. Personally, I want to learn what the other guys are doing so I can improve [the direction] where I’m going”.
Apart from Tucker, the other EUP members who attended were: ‘Billy' Bowden, Aleem Dar, Steve Davis, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus, Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Bruce Oxenford and Paul Reiffel. Match referees in addition to Madugalle were: David Boon, Chris Broad, Jeff Crowe, Roshan Mahanama, Andy Pycroft and Javagal Srinath; while Taufel’s staff present were: Denis Burns, David Levens and Peter Manuel.
Pyrcoft and Dharmasena attended on the first day on Monday after looking after two games in the Champions League (CL) series in Hyderabad, three-and-a-half hours away by plane, the day before; while Javagal managed two in Mohali some six hours travel away on the Saturday, both being games in which Bowden, Ravi and Tucker also worked. Indian officials have looked after all CL matches in the intervening period, but Bowden, Ravi, Srinath and Tucker are now back in Mohli for today’s two games there.
BCCI WORKING COMMITTEE
TO MULL AGM DILEMMA
Issues surrounding this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are amongst the items expected to be discussed in Chennai today at the first formal gathering of the BCCI's working committee in five months. Arrangements for the AGM, which under the BCCI’s constitution should be held by next Tuesday, have been in limbo due to a tussle that centres on attempts by supporters of Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the organisation’s current president who was stood down by India’s Supreme Court in April, to have him serve another term in that position (PTG 1430-6814, 18 September 2014).
Amongst other issues said to be on the working committee’s agenda are matters in relation to the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) and the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association. The RCA is currently suspended from participation in BCCI matters, including playing in its tournaments, as a result of the election of Srinivasan’s rival Lalit Modi, who is currently serving a life-time BCCI ban, as RCA president. The RCA has asked the Rajasthan Supreme Court to overturn the BCCI playing ban (PTG 1431-6922, 21 September 2014), while a BCCI disciplinary committee meeting last week was unable to resolve RCA-related matters (PTG 1432-6931, 22 September 2014).
CAIRNS REPORTED CHARGED WITH
PERJURY IN 2012 LIBEL TRIAL
Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns was formally charged with perjury at a North London police station yesterday in the 2012 UK High Court libel trial in London in which he won damages of a $170,000 and costs of $A750,000 against Lalit Modi, the former Indian Premier League chief. Modi had claimed that Cairns had been expelled from the now-defunct Indian Cricket League in 2008 because of match-fixing.
Reports overnight suggest that Cairns, who could face up to seven years' jail if he is convicted of perjury, will attend a hearing in a Central London Magistrates’ Court next Thursday to enter a plea on the charge, after which he will probably be released on bail pending a trial that is “unlikely" to take place until after May next year. Cairns has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and indicated a trial would give "an opportunity to face my accusers in an open forum ... so that I can clear my name once and for all”.
A ‘New Zealand Herald’ article this morning claims that up to a dozen present and former New Zealand representatives could be called as witnesses, including Andre Adams, Nathan Astle, Shane Bond, Stephen Fleming, Chris Harris, Hamish Marshall, Brendon McCullum, Craig McMillan, Kyle Mills, Daryl Tuffey, Daniel Vettori and Lou Vincent.
Vincent was banned for life for match-fixing earlier this year by cricket authorities (PTG 1384-6691, 2 July 2014), and three weeks ago lawyers acting for Cairns were said to have reported him to the UK Metropolitan Police in a bid to have him formally prosecuted for match fixing via a criminal case (PTG 1425-6887, 5 September 2014).
TEAMS ASSEMBLE, CLIMB, IN PREPARATION
FOR ‘HIGHEST MATCH'
Players and officials who will take part in the “highest ever“ game of cricket began their ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania last weekend and are reported to be on-track to play the Twenty20 match at an elevation of 5,785 metres tomorrow, weather permitting (PTG 1391-6731, 16 July 2014). Those involved, who are playing the game in order to raise funds for a range of charities, are trying to break the previous match record height of 5,100 metres which was set at Everest Base Camp in Nepal five years ago.
BCB OVERTURNS UMPIRE’S
TEN-YEAR ‘STING’ BAN
Bangladesh umpire Nadir Shah, who was banned for ten years eighteen months ago for his allegedly corrupt reaction to what was a 2012 television ’sting’ operation (PTG 1077-5233, 18 March 2013), stood in a semi final of a Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) senior club Twenty20 competition in Dhaka yesterday, according to a ‘Cricinfo’ story posted overnight. Sailab Hossain Tutul, the BCB's umpires committee secretary is quoted by journalist Mohammad Isam as saying that "the BCB withdrew [Shah’s] ban in May” as he "wanted mercy” (PTG 1307-6302, 7 March 2014), and "he was [reprieved because of] his length of service”.
An International Cricket Council (ICC) spokesman is quoted as saying: "Nadir Shah was banned for ten years by the [BCB] and not by the ICC nor its ACSU [Anti-Corruption and Security Unit]". Sailab Hossain Tutul, the BCB's umpires committee secretary-member confirmed the ICC position saying the decision to ban Shah was the BCB’s and “we informed [the ICC] ACSU in February-March this year that we are allowing him to umpire in domestic [cricket] but they didn't reply”.
Shah, whose ban applied world-wide given the BCB’s ICC affiliation, stood in several competitions in the United States (US) earlier this year that were run by leagues who have no formal links with the ICC system (PTG 1376-6657, 16 June 2014). Tutul also said that Shah, who is reported to have been helped in getting games to stand in in the US by the Bangladesh Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (BCUSA), had been assigned the Dhaka match soon after he arrived back in Bangladesh after three months in California. "When the domestic season began here, he was abroad [and] we gave him the opportunity as soon as he arrived back in the country”, said Tutul, and “from now on, he will get more matches to officiate”.
According to media reports Shah was given "a standing ovation by the match referee, scorers, umpires, players and officials” when he arrived to stand in the Dhaka semi-final yesterday. Shah, who in June last year was reported to have asked the BCB to reduce his ban to “two or three years” (PTG 1134-5503, 29 June 2013), said that Tutul had informed him of the ban’s lifting three months ago, and that he has since received a letter from the BCUSA informing him of the BCB's decision.
Apart from Shah four other umpires were banned for their part in the ‘sting and a fifth was reprimanded and demoted. Sri Lanka Cricket banned Sagara Gallage and Maurice de la Zilwa for ten and three years respectively, while Gamini Dissanayake received a "severe warning" and was "demoted" to a "lower domestic league" for twelve months (PTG 1144-5553, 10 July 2013). In addition the Pakistan Cricket Board gave two of its umpires, Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui, bans of four and three years respectively (PTG 1089-5303, 14 April 2013).
BOWLING ACTIONS OF TWO MORE
OFF-SPINNERS DEEMED ‘SUSPECT'
Saturday saw Mohammad Hafeez become the second off-spinner with Pakistan’s Lahore Lions Twenty20 side to be reported for a suspect action, team mate Adnan Rasoo having been named six days before that (PTG 1433-6933, 24 September 2014). Hafeez was cited following a Champions League (CL) match in Banglaore against the South African side the Dolphins, whose own off-spinner Prenelan Subrayen was also reported by the umpires because of the same concerns about his bowling action in that game.
Under CL guidelines, both players can can continue to play for their teams without assessment, however, they have been placed on the event’s 'warning list’, and should they be reported again they will be suspended from bowling in the tournament until their actions are cleared. Being reported in the CL series has no impact on a bowler's participation in international cricket. The reporting of Hafeez and Subrayen was done umpires Kumar Dharamsena of Sri Lankan and Indian’s Vineet Kulkarni and Anil Chaudhary. Dharamsena and Chaudhary were also involved in the reporting of Rasoo a week ago.
SIX NEUTRALS NAMED TO MANAGE
Six neutral match officials from four countries, England, India, South Africa and Sri Lanka, have been named to manage games in the three-match One Day International (ODI), and two Test series, Pakistan and Australia are to play in the United Arab Emirates next month. Those who will be involved are Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka and Javagal Srinath of India as the match referees, and as the umpires Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong of England, and Marais Erasmus of South Africa.
Srinath will look after the opening fixture of the tour, a Twenty20 International in Dubai next Sunday, with Pakistan members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza and Ahmad Shahab, the umpires. The Indian will then manage all three ODIs, Illingworth being on-field in the first and third and Llong in the second along side one of the Pakistani IUP members, the two Englishmen working as the television umpire when not out on the ground.
Madugalle will be the match referee for the two Tests, Kettleborough being on-ground in both, Llong and Erasmus partnering him in one match each, and looking after third umpire tasks in the other.
SRI LANKA ANNOUNCES WEST INDIES
UMPIRE EXCHANGE PROGRAM
Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) has confirmed its plans to resume its umpiring exchange program with New Zealand (PTG 1423-6883, 1 September 2014), and also indicated that a similar, new arrangement agreed to with the West Indies Cricket Board, will come into operation in 2015. Under the two schemes, umpires from Sri Lanka will officiate in first class games in New Zealand and the West Indies while those from there will stand in similar fixtures in the island nation.
Whether the SLC’s other previous arrangements with Bangladesh and South Africa, which were put on hold in 2013-14, will be resurrected is not known. SLC first sent umpires to Bangaldesh on exchange in 2008, then to Pakistan early the next year, but the latter was abandoned following the terrorist attack in Lahore (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009). The Bangladesh Cricket Board's exchange with South Africa commenced in late 2010.
BCCI SETS AGM DATE
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which under the organisation’s constitution should have been held tomorrow, will now take place on 20 November, according to a decision taken by the BCCI's working committee during a meeting held in Chennai on Friday. By that time India’s Supreme Court should have handed down a decision on investigations being carried out into alleged corrupt activities that took place in last year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) competition.
Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the stood down president of the BCCI who is one of thirteen people under investigation and who is seeking a further term in that role, attended the working group meeting "as a representative of the TNCA [Tamil Nadu Cricket Association]”, and was, said the BCCI in a press release, "felicitated on his appointment [last June] as the Chairman of International Cricket Council for the next two years”.
‘CLOUD STOPS PLAY’ IN
ASHRAFUL'S EIGHT-YEAR BPL MATCH-FIXING
BAN REDUCED BY FIVE YEARS
A Bangladesh Cricket Board’s (BCB) disciplinary appeals panel has reduced the eight-year ban it gave to former national captain Mohammad Ashraful seven months ago for his admitted involvement in match-fixing in last year's Bangladesh Cricket League (BPL) Twenty20 series (PTG 1303-6583, 2 March 2014), and he will now be able to return to the game five years earlier than expected. The appeals panel, which held a hearing earlier this month (PTG 1429-6906, 16 September 2014), also imposed a ten-year ban on Salim Chowdhury, the owner of the BPL’s former Dhaka franchise who had originally been acquitted, but confirmed the ten-year ban given to his son Shihab Jishan Chowdhury.
Ashraful appealed against the censure handed to him and it has now been limited to five years, with the final two years suspended provided he participates in a BCB or International Cricket Council (ICC) anti-corruption education and training program; however, his one million Taka fine ($A15,000) reportedly stays. The BCB said in a statement that: "Upon production of a certificate of good conduct from ICC [Ashraful] will be eligible to return to cricket [in August 2016]”. The former captain, who played cricket in the United States earlier this year (PTG 1376-6657- 16 June 2014), said yesterday he was pleased with the result of his appeal. "I should have been punished, yes, [but] wanted a reduction in the ban similar to what has been given to me”.
Chowdhury junior, who had been found guilty of "being party to an effort to fix" a match in the BPL and handed a ten-year ban, had also appealed, but his ban was upheld, however, the fine of around $A30,000 that accompanied it was retracted. In other decisions handed down yesterday, Sri Lankan all-rounder Kaushal Lokuarachchi's eighteen-month BPL-related ban for failing to report an approach by a bookmaker was reduced to one year.
While the original acquittal of Chowdhury senior was overturned, last March's not guilty findings on Gaurav Rawat the Dhaka franchise's chief executive officer, its bowling coach Mohammad Rafique, and players Mosharraf Hossain Rubel, Mahbubul Alam Robin and Englishmen Darren Stevens appear to have been confirmed by the appeals panel. Earlier this year the latter expressed an interest in taking up umpiring when he retires (PTG 1299-6268, 26 February 2014). Former New Zealand international cricketer Lou Vincent, who was banned for life because of corruption by the England and Wales Cricket Board earlier this year (PTG 1384-6691, 2 July 2014), did not appeal his three-year BPL ban (PTG 1392-6739, 17 July 2014).
Following the disciplinary panel’s announcement yesterday the ICC and BCB, who expressed their “surprise and disappointment" about the BCB disciplinary panel’s original findings and themselves appealed, said in a joint statement: "The ICC and the BCB have received the determination and are pleased to note that Shihab Jishan Chowdury's ten-year ban has been upheld, while Salim Chowdhury has now also been found guilty and banned for ten years”.
"In respect of the other findings”, continued the ICC-BCB statement, the two organisations are in the process of "carefully reviewing" the appeals determination, following which they "will decide on their next steps, including whether or not to appeal any aspect(s) of the decision to the [Switzerland-based] Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS]”. The BCB's anti-corruption code, which governs all BPL-related issues, allows appeals to be made to the CAS but that is where the matter whole formally ends.
News of the appeals panel’s decisions came the day after news broke that Bangladeshi umpire Nadhir Shah’s ten-year ban for his part in a 2012 television ‘sting’ operation had been completely waved by the BCB (PTG 1436-6946, 29 September 2014).
INDIAN STATE ASSOCIATIONS TO RECEIVE
LESS MONEY FROM BCCI IN 2014-15
While there has been considerable publicity about the large increases in earnings that are expected from the international game over the next eight years, especially for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), it appears that won’t apply to the BCCI’s state associations over the next twelve months. A Press Trust of India (PTI) report that appeared over the weekend states that BCCI affiliates are to get "a significantly less” money in 2014-15 due to a reduction in the sponsorship and media rights money the national body has been able to attract.
PTI says that details of funding plans for the next twelve months were provided by the BCCI’s finance group to members of the national body's working committee who attended its latest meeting in Chennai last Friday (PTG 1436-6950, 29 September 2014). “A senior BCCI office-bearer” who attended the working committee meeting, was quoted as saying that: "Last year, most of the affiliated units [share of monies earned from the BCCI was] something to the tune of 320-340 million [Indian] Rupees [$A6.0-6.3 million], a figure that varied depending upon number of international matches hosted and some other variables”. However, in the coming year “there will be decreases in the share for the associations as they will be getting something to the tune of 180-200 million Rupees [$A3.3-3.7 million]".
PTI says that “a notable incident at the finance committee meeting was the objection raised by former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah and Vidarbha Cricket Association representative Kishore Dewani”, who were concerned "a copy of annual accounts [had not been shown to committee members] beforehand”, something that “would have [allowed considered] analysis and discussions” on the numbers that were provided. When pressed, treasurer Aniruddh Chaudhary is said by PTI to have said that that the BCCI had taken that approach because it "wanted to avoid the report being leaked in the media beforehand”.
FORMER INDIAN TEST UMPIRE DIES
Former Indian international umpire Mohammad Ghouse, who stood in eight Tests and two One Day Internationals in the period from 1976-84, passed away in Chennai on Monday at the age of eighty-three. Ghouse made his first class debut in a Ranji Trophy match in December 1968, and over the next eighteen years went on to stand in forty-four first class and six List A fixtures, later returning as a match referee in first class matches in 1996 and 2000.
In 1981 his appointment to a India-England Test in Mumbai, at a time when the neutral umpire system for such games did not exist, was protested by the tourists and he subsequently did not stand in that match. The Board of Control for Cricket in India objected to English umpire David Constant's appointment for the first Test in England at Lord’s six months later, a move that many considered at the time was a payback move.
After his retirement from the field, Ghouse served as the chairman of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association's (TNCA) umpires sub-committee. TNCA president Narayanaswami Srinivasan yesterday expressed "profound sorrow and grief” on behalf of his members in regard Ghouse’s passing.
FOURTH CL OFF-SPINNER’S ACTION
REPORTED AS ‘SUSPECT'
Kolkata off-spinner Sunil Narine became the fourth bowler to be reported for a suspected illegal bowling action during the on-going Champions League (CL) Twenty20 series following his side’s match against the Dolphins in Hyderabad on Monday. On-field umpires Anil Chaudhary and Chettihody Shamshuddin plus third umpire Kumar Dharmasena lodged a report about Narine which is said to relate to his quicker ball. The three off-spinners reported in CL games over the last few weeks have been Mohammed Hafeez and Adnan Rasool of Lahore Lions, and the Dolphins Prenelan Subrayen of Dolphins.
BATSMAN REPRIMANDED FOR
GARBAGE CAN STRIKE
Punjab batsman Glenn Maxwell has been reprimanded for breaching the Champions League Twenty20 event’s Code of Behaviour during the team’s match against South Africa’s Cape Cobras in Mohali on Sunday. While walking back towards the dressing room Maxwell took the frustration of being dismissed out on a garbage can, hitting it with his bat as he passed, a Level one offence. After the game the Australian took to ‘Twitter' to apologise for the incident.
TAYLOR CLAIMS A WICKET,
SIXTEEN YEARS ON
A recent post on ‘YouTube' has former Australian captain Mark Taylor, a rarely used bowler, claiming he was wrongly disallowed a wicket in a match against an England touring side in 1998 as a ‘no ball’ was “incorrectly called” for the delivery concerned, and the umpire involved is very open in saying Taylor has a case. Playing for an Australian Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra, a Taylor delivery bowled England’s Angus Fraser after the ball bounced a second, and possibly third time, before it struck the stumps.
Law 24.7, which is titled ‘Ball bouncing more than twice or rolling along the ground’, says today as it did in 1998: "the umpire shall call and signal ‘no ball' if a ball which he considers to have been delivered, without having previously touched bat or person of the striker, either (i) bounces more than twice, or (ii) rolls along the ground, before it reaches the popping crease”.
An examination of the ‘YouTube' video indicates that the ball actually bounced just once before reaching Fraser's popping crease, and then either once or twice after that. The umpire who made the call, a then twenty-seven-year old Simon Taufel who was still a month away from his first international appointment, told ‘PTG’ yesterday that he "recalled the incident vividly”, and “in short the call of ’no ball’ [was] incorrect”. He candidly said he "was not prepared for the occurrence and learned a lesson on Law the hard way – no excuses”.
In a story related to Law 24.7, during the 2010 English summer there was an attempt to perfect a deliberate double-bouncing ball delivery for use in County Twenty20 fixtures, but that approach was quashed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) who called it "inappropriate for the image and spirit of our game” (PTG 620-3103, 11 June 2010).
The ECB issued instructions to all County coaches and umpires that such a delivery should be called a 'no-ball' even though it did not contravene the Laws. However, the Guardians of the Laws, the Marylebone Cricket Club, disagreed, its then chief executive Keith Bradshaw saying his club "see it as the same as the switch-hit and unless it changes the balance between the bat and ball we see no reason to change [the current Law]”.
ASIAN GAMES BALLS A CONCERN
FOR BANGLADESH PLAYERS
Bangladeshi players were reported to be finding it hard to adapt during practice sessions to the make of ball that is being used in the male section of the Asian Games cricket tournament in South Korea this week. The Asian Cricket Council, the organisers of the cricket section of the event, opted to use Pakistan manufactured ‘AJ' balls, however, the Bangladesh players are used to the Australian-manufactured ‘Kookaburra’ brand, particularly during their recent tour of the West Indies.
Captain Mashrafee bin Murtaza is said to have pointed out his concerns via a series of “loud complaints” he made to chief selector Faruk Ahmed during his side's first practice session of the visit to Korea, the issue apparently being that his bowlers were finding it difficult to grip the ball. Players taking part in fielding drills were also finding it "hard to pick up the ball as well as throwing it back properly” with “some of the safest hands” in the team fumbling "on a few occasions”. Bangladesh are the reigning Asian Games champions having won the event’s Gold Medal in Guangzhou, China, in November 2010.
POLICE ARREST BETTING SYNDICATE
MEMBERS IN BANGALORE
A Banglaore-based cricket betting syndicate with links to book makers in West Asia was broken up on the weekend when police arrested four men. The quartet were found with twenty-three million Rupees ($A429,000) in cash plus twenty-four mobile phones, and "other gadgets, including a cash-counting machine".