1,438 - 1 October [6960-6961]
• Shah ban not lifted says BCB, ‘miscommunication’ involved (1438-6960).
• Vandals target Perth pitch for a second time (1438-6961).
1,439 - 2 October [6962-6968]
• ICC move on bowling actions ’20 years too late’, claims CA coach (1439-6962).
• Test, ODI, T20I Playing Conditions ’tweaked' (1439-6963).
• Article points to inconsistencies in CL ’Suspect Action’ approach (1439-6964).
• Asia Games series includes ‘Zero-0’ match (1439-6965).
• Dar to draw level with Shepherd on 92 Tests (1439-6966).
• ECB names 2014 grass roots ‘OSCA’ nominees (1439-6967).
• Tendulkar pushing again for youth fifteen-a-side matches (1439-6968).
1,440 - 3 October [6969-6978]
• Second ’suspect action’ report sees bowler banned from CL final (1440-6970).
• Australian domestic scene to be covered by ICC suspect action protocols (1440-6971).
• PCB Bowling Review Committee reported facing significant challenges (1440-6972).
• BCCI invests in iPads for State Association scorers (1440-6973).
• Rajasthan players get ‘all clear’, but association still under BCCI ban (1440-6974).
• Twelve scorers named for CA domestic one-day series (1440-6975).
• Second ‘coin toss’ result in Asian Games (1440-6976).
• Yorkshire’s Gale ’not racist’, ’simply name calling’, claims Hollioake (1440-6977).
• Cairns' perjury trial commences (1440-6978).
1,441 - 4 October [6979-6980]
• Captain accepts extra two-match ban, but racism charge dropped (1441-6979).
• ‘Suspect action' concern leads WICB to withdraw spinner from Indian tour (1441-6980).
1,442 - 5 October [6981-6984]
• Coach suggests banned spinner cost his side promotion (1442-6981).
• Yorkshire ‘unhappy’ about Gale decision, seeks disciplinary procedure review (1442-6982).
• Fifth CL off-spinner reported for ’suspect action' (1442-6983).
• Asian Games chief criticises India’s cricket absence (1442-6984).
1,443 - 6 October [6985-6988]
• Calls for increase in bowler’s allowable degree of arm flex (1443-6985).
• CL umpires ’targeted’ Narine claims WICB director (1443-6986).
• Day-night matches not listed in revamped Caribbean first class season (1442-6987).
• No ‘Real-Time Snickometer’ for Pakistan-Australia series (1443-6988).
1,444 - 8 October [6989-6996]
• Hertfordshire scorer wins 2014 ECB ‘Officiating’ OSCA (1444-6989).
• Keeper’s ‘Fire in the Belly’ ignores ’Spirit’ tenents (1444-6990).
• Strauss ’seriously concerned’ about Test cricket’s future (1444-6991).
• PCB targeting ICC accreditation for Lahore bowling laboratory (1444-6992).
• Murray ‘uncertain’ about new Caribbean franchise system (1444-6993).
• CA continuing with interstate Futures League exchanges (1444-6994).
• Cricket match officials missing from Aussie Sports ‘Hall of Fame' (1444-6995).
• Police disrupt cricket betting operations in two Indian cities (1444-6996).
1,445 - 9 October [6997-7004]
• Sixty per cent fail rate in ‘first-ever’ BCCI match referee exams (1445-6997).
• Two more bowling actions declared ‘illegal' (1445-6998).
• Debutants named for CA Futures League matches (1445-6999).
• ‘I’m not a racist’, says Yorkshire captain (1445-7000).
• WDCA looking at hat cameras to aid umpire training, development (1445-7001).
• Clubs face fine for ‘bringing beer’ without permission (1445-7002).
• Chingoka made ZC ‘Honorary Life President' (1445-7003).
• Vandals set fire to Birkenhead club house (1445-7004).
1,446 - 10 October [7005-7007]
• Umpires should call suspect actions, says Gavaskar (1446-7005).
• Eight debutants named for opening CA womens’ fixtures (1446-7006).
• Circus ousts major club final from Test ground (1446-7007).
1,447 - 12 October [7008-7013]
• ICC introduces new on-field signals for umpire self referrals (1446-7008).
• Nine Indian U-19 bowlers reported for suspect actions (1446-7009).
• Suspension due to video footage, not laboratory tests, claims Gazi (1446-7010).
• Haddin ‘confused’ about batsman’s catch, still ignorant of ’Spirit’ break (1446-7011).
• Hurricane to stop play? (1446-7012).
• Proposed change to fielder’s movement Law surfaces unexpectedly (1448-7014).
• ICC announces its 'biggest-ever global broadcast deal' (1448-7015).
• Mahanama named for 200th ODI as a match referee (1448-7016).
• Two EUP contenders given further Tests (1448-7017).
• Bowling action crackdown ’twenty years too late’, says Hair (1448-7018).
• ‘Remodelling’ of Gazi’s action to take place in Malaysia? (1448-7019).
• Three Aussies to stand in NZ women’s U21 tournament (1448-7020).
• West Indies fined for slow over-rate in Delhi ODI (1448-7021).
1,449 - 15 October [7022-7025]
• Supreme Court holds off on Srinivasan BCCI AGM ban (1449-7022).
• Fourth-straight UK PCA ‘Umpire of the Year’ award to Gough (1449-7023).
• CA looking for improvements to player recruitment pathway (1449-7024).
• Ground’s ten-metre high fence not needed, say residents (1449-7025).
1,450 - 16 October [7026-7027]
• MCC approached ‘last month’ on ’Smith catch’ philosophy (1450-7026).
• Ajmal ready for ‘informal’ testing of bowling action (1450-7027).
1,451 - 18 October [7028-7033]
• Eight officials named to manage WCL-3 tournament (1451-7029).
• Victorian skipper suspended, fined, for dressing room break (1451-7030).
• Bangladesh fast bowler’s action to be tested in Chennai (1451-7031).
• Ebola checks for arriving Zimbabweans (1451-7032).
• Busy playing schedule delays Cairns trial for twelve months (1451-7033).
1,452 - 22 October [7034-7040]
• BCB-ICC take BPL appeal decisions to Swiss-based court (1452-7034).
• Match abandoned because of unsafe pitch (1452-7035).
• CA opens amnesty on corruption reporting (1452-7036).
• No umpires report but club lodges complaint against opponent (1452-7037).
• ‘Real-Time Snickometer’ absent from Bangladesh, UAE, Tests (1452-7038).
• Kashmir floods to affect ‘affordable’ bat supply, claims manufacturer (1452-7039).
• Drug test result leads to player ban (1452-7040).
1,453 - 23 October [7041-7046]
• ICC ‘powerless’ to help as BCCI-WICB go ‘head-to-head' (1453-7041).
• ACC supporting exchange for Nepalese, Hong Kong, umpires (1453-7042).
• Fourth bowler testing centre accredited by ICC (1453-7043).
• Dar to now equal Shepherd’s Test record in Chittagong (1453-7044).
• Reports suggest four interviewed for new MCC Laws position (1453-7045).
• Recruitment of ‘1,500’ World Cup net bowlers to begin (1453-7046).
1,454 - 24 October [7047-7054]
• Bowler’s pause now under the ICC microscope (1454-7047).
• BPL franchise chairman files case against BCB, ICC officials (1454-7048).
• Aussie, PNG female umpires for NZ domestic women’s series (1454-7049).
• Cook Islands-born umpire appears on track for top NZ domestic panel (1454-7050).
• NZC ’Tournament Scorers’ Program’ part of development activities (1454-7051).
• Fry, Ward to stand in CA one-day final (1454-7052).
• PNG to play their first ODI (1454-7053).
• Umpire’s job ‘more complicated’ than a player’s, says Willey (1454-7054).
1,455 - 26 October [7055-7059]
• Shoaib Malik’s action under close scrutiny by match officials (1455-7055).
• CA NUP candidates named for womens’ ODI series (1455-7056).
• Old faces return for key tournament on CA’s umpire pathway (1455-7057).
• Second EAP umpire member for NZ tournament (1455-7058).
• High Court Judge bowled over by cricket terms (1455-7059).
1,456 - 27 October [7060-7061]
• CA 2013-14 earnings reportedly close to a record $A300 million (1456-7061).
1,457 - 28 October [7062-7064]
• Crackdown on bowling actions not World Cup related, says ICC CEO (1457-7062).
• CSA, NZC umpires named for Aussie first class exchanges (1457-7063).
• Windies’ groups in ‘cordial, positive, fruitful’ meeting, but not results announced (1457-7064).
1,458 - 29 October [7065-7068]
• Cricket Victoria to review game’s health in country regions (1458-7065).
• County players reprimanded for late season offences (1458-7066).
• SLC investigating ’sexual bribery’ claims (1458-7067).
• ‘Massive changes’ claimed for suspended NZ off-spinner’s action (1458-7068).
SHAH BAN NOT LIFTED SAYS BCB,
Bangladesh umpire Nadir Shah’s ten-year ban still stands and a “miscommunication” led to his being appointed to a domestic First Division Twenty20 semi-final match in Dhaka last Sunday, according to Nazmul Hassan, the president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) (PTG 1436-6946, 29 September 2014). Hassan told reporters yesterday that it was not the BCB’s decision to allow Shah to stand in the match, rather the selection was made by the BCB’s umpires committee whose task it was to arrange appointments to such games.
Hassan said that he "was surprised to see the report” about Shah and that his board has not yet taken any decision to reduce the umpire’s suspension. Earlier this week Sailab Hossain Tutul, the umpires committee secretary and member of that group, said that the decision to ban Shah was the BCB’s and “we informed [the ICC] in February-March this year that we are allowing him to umpire in domestic [cricket] but they didn't reply”.
When contacted yesterday Shah said he stood in the semi-final because the BCB’s umpire’s committee invited him. "I obtained the permission from [them] to officiate in the match although I did not get any letter from the BCB about the withdrawal of my suspension”. Tutul is said to have held umpires committee chairman Nazmul Karim Tenku responsible for what Dhaka’s ’New Age’ newspaper called “the farce”, telling journalists: "Our chairman told me to give the permission to Nadir Shah to conduct the match”. Nazmul is reported to have "not been available for comment" yesterday.
VANDALS TARGET PERTH PITCH
FOR A SECOND TIME
Members of the Bedford-Morley Cricket Club in Western Australia believe they are being deliberately targeted by vandals after their pitch was doused in diesel for a second time in twelve months, says a report from Perth this morning. Club president Travis Rawlins told Radio 6PR that a "significant" amount of diesel fuel had been poured on the square sometime between Sunday and Monday afternoons this week.
Rawlins said the grass had been killed and the club was now in the process of obtaining advice from the Western Australia Cricket Association on how to deal with the pitch. The damage caused in the previous incident, which cost "around $A3,000 to fix” plus a lot of volunteer labour from club members, was not as severe as in the latest event. Rawlins estimated "about two jerry cans full of diesel” were used, "visible trolley marks" indicating there was too much diesel involved for it to be hand carried out on to the ground.
The situation means that Bedford-Morley will be forced to play its home games at other locations until after Christmas. Rawlins said that means the club will lose income from the takings usually made from the bar facilities at home games. Club members door-knocked homes in the area yesterday to talk to residents who might have CCTV cameras pointing towards the ground. A Police spokeswoman said a report of the incident has been received and that officers are investigating.
ICC MOVE ON BOWLING ACTIONS ’20
YEARS TOO LATE’, CLAIMS CA COACH
World cricket's "delayed action" on illegal bowling actions has given rise to a generation of spinners from the sub-continent who can't bowl legally, according to John Davison, a Cricket Australia (CA) spin coach. Davison was quoted by journalist Chloe Saltau from the Melbourne newspaper ’The Age’ yesterday as expressing the view that "the crackdown [by the International Cricket Council (ICC)] has come too late for many young spinners from [south-west Asia] who have grown up trying to emulate the actions of bowlers who were allowed to get away with too much”.
In Davison’s assessment the majority of international spinners "going around at the moment [have actions that] are definitely what you would call suspect”. During a visit to Sri Lanka in June with a CA national performance squad that worked under former international spinner Muthiah Muralidaran, Davison says he found "ninety per cent of the bowlers over there bowl spin, [and ninety per cent of] kids coming through would have what I would call an illegal action”.
The CA coach says the current situation justifies CA’s decision not to teach the ‘doosra’, the off-spinner's delivery that turns the other way, to emerging spinners with conventional actions. As a result he doesn’t “think [the global crackdown] is going to affect Australian cricket as much as it will countries on the subcontinent”. "It would have been much better [globally] if there had been [such] a stance twenty years ago”, he says. Saltau quotes Muralidaran as saying he does not believe the ICC's recent moves will spell the death of the ‘doosra', nor that it should change the way spin bowling is coached. "Some people can bowl a ‘doosra', some can’t [as] everyone is different so you can't take it as the final decision”, he says.
Speaking around the same time as Davison, South Australian coach Darren Berry said “it's pretty clear to to us that the ICC have cracked down because there's more and more players [with questionable actions]”. Asked about South Australia’s on-going first class and one-day captain, and off-spinner Johan Botha, who was reported as having a suspect action last October but was subsequently cleared after testing (PTG 1217-5855, 25 October 2013), Berry pointed out Botha had been "tested three times and was cleared three times” over the past five years and he is therefore confident there will no problems during the forthcoming season.
Meanwhile, Pakistan coach Waqar Younis has questioned the timing of the crackdown on bowling actions, coming as it does, just months away from the World Cup, and suggested that rules on bowling actions be relaxed for spinners. In an interview with Agence France-Presse, Younis asked "Is this the right time in the lead up to the World Cup to enforce the protocols and the technology?” “Every team plans ahead for the World Cup, and the suspensions will badly hit [those] whose bowlers [have been] suspended or questioned”. In his view "The protocols and the technology should have been enforced after the World Cup”.
Former Sri Lankan cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga echoed Younis by expressing in a separate interview his "serious doubts" over bowlers from the sub-continent being targeted for “illegal bowling actions” ahead of the World Cup. “It is not an easy task for Sri Lanka to find a replacement for Sachithra Senanayake in its short run up to the World Cup [and its] also the case with Pakistan in the absence of Saeed Ajmal”, said Ranatunga. He pointed out that “no bowler from the so called ‘big three’ countries – namely India, Australia and England – has been banned from international cricket due to suspected bowling actions”.
TEST, ODI, T20I PLAYING
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has introduced a number of new Playing Conditions for Tests, One Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), that will come into effect in ICC games when the series between Pakistan and Australia starts in Dubai on Sunday (PTG 1439-6966 below). The changes which are relatively minor and may in addition to internationals be applied by some countries to domestic first class and similar senior levels, are not amendments to the Laws of Cricket, and will not therefore apply to the majority of games played around the world.
A protocol the ICC introduced last year for ODIs and T20Is that covers the suspension of play "in dangerous or unreasonable conditions" and required umpires to consult with the match referee before making any decision to abandon play, has now been formalised. It has, however, been further amended to deal with the effects dew has on "the potential to affect the contest", particularly in night T20Is and day-night ODIs, and presumably also if day-night Tests become a reality (PTG 1431-6921, 21 September 2014).
In that regard words have been added that say: “If circumstances are warranted, the umpires shall stop play and instruct the ground staff to take whatever action they can and use whatever equipment is necessary to remove as much dew as possible from the outfield when conditions become unreasonable or dangerous”, and “the umpires may also instruct the ground staff to take such action during scheduled and unscheduled breaks in play”.
Captains in all three international formats are now required to nominate in writing, eleven players "plus a maximum of four substitute fielders", to a match referee before the toss. Only those nominated as substitutes are entitled to act in that capacity during the match, unless the match referee, "in exceptional circumstances", allows it. A "player or player support personnel” who is suspended cannot, "from the toss of the coin and for the remainder of the match”, be nominated as, or carry out any of the duties or responsibilities of, a substitute fielder, nor enter any part of the playing area or the players' dressing room, a rule that applies to scheduled or unscheduled breaks in play.
In Tests and ODIs a player is now not be permitted to bowl in the match until he has either been able to field, or his team has subsequently been batting, for the total length of playing time for which he was absent, a period that is referred to as "penance time", but that is limited "to a maximum cumulative penance time of 120 minutes". If any unexpired penance time remains at the end of an innings it is to be carried forward to the next and subsequent innings of the match, however, once a player's side has lost five wickets in its batting innings, he or she may bat immediately.
In another move, the trial regulation allowing an eighty-over top-up of unsuccessful Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) player reviews has been extended for another twelve months, while 'Real-Time Snickometer' has been included in the ICC’s UDRS 'Approved Technology' list. Also, the allowable length of a T20I innings has been increased from 80 to 85 minutes and minimum over-rate to be achieved will now be “14.11” per hour, well below the rate required in most Twenty20s played at club level.
ARTICLE POINTS TO INCONSISTENCIES
IN CL ‘SUSPECT ACTION’ APPROACH
The rules and arrangements that have been formally set down by Champions League (CL) organisers to cover ’Suspect Action’ issues would appear to be inconsistent or at least incomplete, if an article posted on the ‘Cricinfo’ web site by Indian journalist Amol Karhadkar on Tuesday is a fair summary of the situation. Over the last ten days four off-spinners, Adnan Rasool, Mohammad Hafeez, Prenelan Subrayen, and Sunil Narine have been cited by CL umpires (PTG 1437-6955, 30 September 2014); International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel member Kumar Dharmasena who is believed to be working under a CL contract, being involved in all four cases.
Karhadkar writes that the pre-tournament handbook given to teams which details the event’s Playing Conditions makes no mention of an “illegal actions" policy. CL media releases that outlined the suspect action reports of Rasool, Hafeez, Subrayen and Narine talk of a 'Suspected Illegal Bowling Action policy’, and say a player reported will be placed on a ‘warning list’, and that a second such report means he "shall be suspended from bowling for the remainder of the tournament”. That suspension will remain until "he is cleared” by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The tournament is in fact owned by Cricket Australia (CA), Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the BCCI.
However, the CL’s website provides different information on suspect actions to that outlined in press releases, points out Karhadkar. It says: "The on-field umpire will take action in the case of suspect bowling action [and] once he has reported the matter, the player will be referred to the technical committee [made up of eminent members of the various boards that organise the CL] for corrective action”. ‘Cricinfo' says that is the only reference to the procedure for dealing with suspect bowling actions on the official website.
Karhadkar says that during this year's CL pre-tournament briefing, umpires and match officials were told "they were free to report bowlers if they were convinced about the need to examine their bowling actions". The bowlers so warned can continue to play elsewhere in the world except India. According to what is said to be a new CL policy, "of which a detailed text is so far unavailable", the bowler will only be allowed to play again in BCCI-conducted matches after undergoing corrective procedures at the new centre in Chennai”. Karhadkar says "it is not yet clear whether the participating teams were briefed specifically about the issue".
The tournament’s website also says the event’s technical committee will include members of various boards, but in fact, on the information currently available, only appears to be made up of three BCCI representatives, the organisation's secretary Sanjay Patel, its general manager cricket operations Maturi Sridhar, and the Indian Premier League's (IPL) chief operating officer Sundar Raman. Karhadkar says none of them were willing to go on record about the CL illegal actions policy, but what he calls a CL “official" said while the "intention" is to extend the policy to other countries to bring in uniformity, they can implement it only in India for, despite CA and CSA being stakeholders, the CL series "is a domestic tournament governed by [the] BCCI”.
The “crackdown” on bowling actions is in line with ICC's recent push on the matter (PTG 1439-6962 above), but "BCCI officials” are said to insist they are following their own rules, "and say, off the record", that over the last three years the BCCI has in Karhadkar’s words "given a free hand to all umpires and match referees to eliminate chuckers from the game”. So far in BCCI's other big Twenty20 event, the IPL, there have been four cases of bowlers reported for suspect actions. The IPL announced that it had a four-member illegal bowling action committee in 2011, and its own suspect action policy came into place prior to IPL-7 in February this year.
ASIA GAMES SERIES INCLUDES
‘ZERO-0’ FORMAT MATCH
Kuwait defeated the Maldives in a Twenty20 match in the Asian Games in South Korea on Monday in what could be described as a ‘Zero-0’ game of cricket. Steady rain made play impossible in the two side's group match, and with no rest days allocated in the fourteen-match, seven-day long tournament, the result of the game, and a spot in the competition’s quarter finals, came down to a toss of the coin.
Umpires Irfan Ghafoor of South Korea and Buddhi Pradan of Nepal looked on as Kuwait captain Mahmoud Bastaki correctly called "heads" at the Yeonhui Cricket Ground in Incheon to give his side their first win of the competition. One media report said the coin toss "made for an unusual score sheet after the game, with all twenty-two batsmen finishing on nought not out”. Another indicated that the way the match was decided "may further bemuse South Koreans who have little awareness of cricket”. Score sheets available on line state only that the “match was abandoned without a ball being bowled” and that “Kuwait won by the toss of a coin”.
A separate report by Reuters says that South Korea's side in the series was made up of “a collection of baseball players and weekend enthusiasts” and that the game in that country "has a minuscule following”, with only "foreign workers from South Asia showing any real interest in it”. “Having to build a national team basically from scratch, Korea's cricket association put a nationwide call for volunteers and had the biggest response from athletes who had failed to [break into] professional baseball”, says Reuters. “Several batsmen” in the men’s team are said to take their stance during games with their bats over their shoulders, baseball-style.
Match officials for the Asian Games men’s event have been the same as were used in last week’s women’s tournament (PTG 1435-6941, 26 September 2014).
DAR TO DRAW LEVEL WITH
SHEPHERD ON 92 TESTS
Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar’s Test match officiating record will have moved on to ninety-two games, equal to that of the late David Shepherd of England and fourth overall in the all-time record, by the time the three-match India-West Indies ends next month. Dar, along with David Boon and Steve Davis of Australia, Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and Ian Gould of England, have been named for Tests that are to be played in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad.
Boon will oversee all three games, with Dar and Gould on ground in Hyderabad, Dar and Dharmasena in Bengaluru and Dharmasena and Davis in Ahmedabad. Third and fourth umpires for those games will come from India’s members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, Sundarum Ravi, Vineet Kulkarni, Chettihody Shamshuddin and Anil Chaudhary. Just which of those four will fill those roles has not yet been announced.
Prior to the Tests Gould, along with Jeff Crowe of New Zealand, will be the neutral umpire and match referee respectively in all five One Day Internationals (ODI) in Kocki, Vishakhapatnam, Cuttack, Kolkata and Dharamshala, the first of which is to be played next Tuesday. Ravi, Kulkarni, Shamshuddin and Chaudhary are expected to work in the second on-field spot in those games, as well as the third and fourth umpire positions. They are also expected to fill all umpiring positions, with Crowe the referee, in the single Twenty20 International (T20I) that slots between the ODIs and Tests.
New ICC Playing Conditions will come into force for Tests, ODIs and T20Is at the start of the series this Sunday will apply to the series (PTG 1439-6963 above).
ECB NAMES 2014 GRASS
ROOTS ‘OSCA’ NOMINEES
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has short-listed twenty-two people from grass roots level across England and Wales for its eight 'Outstanding Service to Cricket Awards’ (OSCA) that are to be presented at a ceremony at Lord’s next Monday. The OSCAs, which were first awarded in 2003 and this year will see nominees from across nineteen Counties at Lord’s who have been chosen from “hundreds of nominations", are part of the ECB’s efforts to recognise the volunteers who play such a key role in support and developing club level cricket .
Eight individual awards will be presented on Monday in front of “400 invited guests” in categories that cover the areas titled: 'Behind the Scenes’; 'Building Partnerships’; ‘Leagues and Boards’; ‘Lifetime Achievers’; ‘CricketForce’; ‘Young Volunteer’; and 'Umpires and Scorers’. Those nominated for the latter OCSA are: Avril Acres of Berkshire; Keith Parsons from Northamptonshire; and Anne Vine of Hertfordshire.
Former England captain Mike Gatting, who is the ECB’s Managing Director for Cricket Partnerships, said via a press release that the awards "provide the perfect opportunity to recognise the outstanding contribution volunteers make to our sport". "The nominees all play an important role in ensuring grass roots cricket continues to flourish and everyone at the ECB is looking forward to seeing these volunteers rewarded”, he said.
TENDULKAR PUSHING AGAIN FOR
YOUTH FIFTEEN-A-SIDE MATCHES
A suggestion by former Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar that fifteen-a-side games be played in Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) inter-school and collegiate level competitions is to again go the the MCA’s management committee despite having previously been rejected twice, said a ‘Times of India’ (TOI) report yesterday.
BRISBANE, CHENNAI JOIN CARDIFF AS
ICC-ACCREDITED BOWLING TESTING CENTRES
Cricket Australia’s National Cricket Centre in Brisbane and the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai, have been accredited by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as official testing centres for bowlers who are suspected of having illegal actions. The accreditation of the two centres, who join Cardiff Metropolitan University in the testing role, is part of an ICC effort to address the issue of illegal bowling actions "in a number of ways, including the location of accredited testing facilities in each [ICC] region” that came to light, along with a crackdown on bowling actions, three months ago (PTG 1371-6630, 7 June 2014).
The ICC says that the accreditation process for the two facilities involved assessing their technology and support against a range of criteria, including: having an indoor area large enough to allow a player to bowl off his or her normal full run-up; a motion analysis system with a minimum of twelve high speed cameras capable of producing three-dimensional data; suitably qualified personnel who are experienced in using such systems; and that they implement the ICC's testing protocol. The world body has provided that protocol, which includes a suite of testing equipment and software, to all three centres so that "a consistent assessment of bowlers [is obtained] across the different facilities and countries” (PTG 1440-6971 below).
ICC General Manager Cricket, Geoff Allardice said via an ICC press release: “We are pleased to announce the accreditation of these two new testing centres, which will help us better manage the issue of illegal bowling actions in cricket”. Their “accreditation will make testing more accessible for elite cricketers, while also providing a more consistent assessment of bowlers’ actions through the common use of the ICC protocols, equipment and processes”. They "also allow for bowlers in domestic competitions and in under-age squads to be tested against the ICC standard before they represent their country”, said Allardice (PTG 1429-6903, 16 September 2014).
“Several other countries [are] showing interest in hosting testing centres to help them assess bowlers in their domestic competitions”, says the ICC, who expects to assess and accredit a select range of additional facilities over the coming years. The ICC’s Cricket Committee said after its meeting last June, at which time the Cardiff facility was already operational, that "other facilities in India, Australia, England and South Africa" were likely to be accredited over coming months”.
Nothing has appeared in the media about plans for a South African facility, and the laboratory at the University of Western Australia is no longer accredited (PTG 1414-6825, 16 August 2014). However, over the last few weeks reports from Pakistan have indicated that the Pakistan Cricket Board "has ordered” that the refurbishment of its abandoned biomechanics laboratory at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore be completed “within three or four months” (PTG 1440-6972 below). The equipment it currently has was installed in 2008, but that project was later shelved due to the cost of operations. A PCB “source” has been quoted as saying a "separate building" is being constructed at [the NCA] and it is expected the laboratory will then become operational with "around twenty-one cameras" and "use ICC protocols” (PTG 1429-6908, 16 September 2014).
SECOND ’SUSPECT ACTION’ REPORT SEES
BOWLER BANNED FROM CL FINAL
West Indian off-spinner Sunil Narine has been barred from bowling for the Kolkata side in tomorrow's Champions League (CL) final in Bangalore after being reported for a second time in the series for a suspect action. Narine was reported by umpires Sundarum Ravi of India and Rod Tucker of Australia, plus third umpire Vineet Kulkarni, a second Indian, after last night’s semi-final against Hobart, his first report being after a match played last Monday (PTG 1437-6955, 30 September 2014).
Monday’s report, by umpires Anil Chaudhary, Chettihody Shamshuddin and Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena, expressed concerns about Narine’s quicker delivery. CL organisers said in a press release that Ravi, Tucker and Kulkarni looked at video footage of the semi-final and "felt that there was a flex action in Narine's elbow beyond the acceptable limit when bowling [his four overs] during the match”. Details available about CL rules that apply to a bowler who receives a second suspect action report say he "shall be suspended from bowling for the remainder of the tournament” and will remain so until such time he is “cleared” by the competition’s organisers (PTG 1439-6964, 2 October 2014).
Whether Kolkata plan to appeal about Narine’s situation is not yet clear, however, even if he does not play he will still be eligible to turn out for the West Indies in their forthcoming tour of India which gets underway Mumbai today, with the first One Day International set for Kochi next Wednesday (PTG 1439-6966, 2 October 2014).
AUSTRALIAN DOMESTIC SCENE TO BE COVERED
BY ICC SUSPECT ACTION PROTOCOLS
Cricket Australia (CA) is to introduce a "watertight testing regime" for bowlers in its domestic competitions who are considered to have suspect actions, a move that will bring its system into line with International Cricket Council (ICC) standards in that area of the game, says a report in the Melbourne newspaper ’The Age’. Journalist Chloe Saltau says that the approach adopted means that like last year a bowler who is mentioned "by three umpires in a match" will be reported, however, they will then have to be tested in detail at the National Cricket Centre (NCC) in Brisbane, which this week acquired ICC accreditation for such analysis (PTG 1440-6969 above), “within fourteen days”.
According to Saltau, who does not mention the NCC’s ICC accreditation in her article, the key difference in CA’s new arrangement from those of previous seasons (PTG 1205-5801, 8 October 2013), is that the testing will be watched by an "independent expert" who will compare the bowler's action in the laboratory with match footage to ensure they are using the same action and intensity as he would in a game. Bowlers whose testing finds they flex their elbow by more than fifteen degrees will be suspended from bowling in all CA domestic competitions, and in such cases they will face a “ninety-day window" before they can ask to be tested again.
A CA spokesman is said to have confirmed the national body had adopted the ICC’s "newly developed global policy and testing protocol for the analysis of doubtful bowling actions for domestic competitions in Australia. "We have advised state associations and [Twenty20 competition] clubs of this amendment’, a move that "ensures CA's domestic competitions are in line with international standards [such that] all players [are examined] under one common process [that] ensures consistency”.
Stuart Coventry, the chief executive of one of CA’s two Melbourne-based Twenty20 franchises, welcomed the introduction of ICC doubtful bowling action standards as long as "it's one rule for all and particular players aren't singled out because of media hype”. "The testing protocols have improved and so umpires feel a lot more comfortable that if they make a report it's not going to go into a black hole”, said Coventry. Saltau says “it is expected" that the Champions League Twenty20 series, in which CA is a shareholder along with the Board of Control for Cricket in India and Cricket South Africa, will also fall into line with the ICC in future seasons (PTG 1440-6970 above and PTG 1439-6964, 2 October 2014).
PCB BOWLING REVIEW COMMITTEE REPORTED
FACING SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES
Rehabilitation of bowlers in Pakistan who have been reported in domestic cricket for suspect actions has begun at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore, however, only two members of the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) Bowling Review Committee (BRC) are currently available to work with them on their actions, says a ‘Dawn’ report from there yesterday. Late last month news broke that the PCB had a total of twenty-nine bowlers, some at Under-19 level, who had been reported for their actions, and that sixteen of them had been suspended and not allowed to play in domestic fixtures there until they attend the NCA "to get their actions altered” (PTG 1435-6939, 26 September 2014).
In late August, the PCB established the BRC to oversee the rehabilitation of bowlers, those involved being named at that time as Pakistan’s former chief selector Iqbal Qasim, NCA head coach Mohammad Akram, national spin-bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed, PCB sports medicine specialist Sohail Saleem, and International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel member Aleem Dar; the latter’s alternate being Pakistan ICC second-tier International Umpires Panel member Ahsan Raza. Yesterday’s report states however, that Dar “is not interested in being a member of the committee" because of his ICC link, and that Raza faces a similar “conflict of interest”.
With Dar, Raza and Qasim unavailable, only Akram and Ahmed are said to be working with the first six bowlers to arrive at the NCA. A PCB official told ‘Dawn’, "on the condition of anonymity”, that Akram and Ahmed have "a gigantic task” to complete the work on all the suspect bowlers before the start of the new first class season on Sunday week. In regard to banned international off-spinner Saeed Ajmal’s rehabilitation, the official said Saqlain Mushtaq, who has been hired to work with Ajmal, "has given an encouraging initial report and has hopes for a successful return of the bowler in international cricket”. “Ajmal is working very hard with Saqlain”, said the official.
Meanwhile Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez, whose bowling was reported in a Champions League match this week (PTG 1436-6947, 29 September 2014), told reporters in Lahore yesterday that he had “been bowling like this for the last eleven years” and that he had no plans to modify his action. “I have played several major world events, two World Cups and three World Twenty20s, and nobody had ever questioned my action, [so] this is a big surprise for me”, he said, however, some at the Pakistan Cricket Board apparently aren’t so confident (PTG 1429-6908, 16 September 2014). Hafeez, who said he “doesn't bowl the doosra, I bowl simple offbreaks and they don't [involve] chucking”, will be part of Pakistan’s attack in their series against Australia which starts with a Twenty20 International in Dubai on Sunday (PTG 1439-6966, 2 October 2014).
BCCI INVESTS IN iPADS FOR
STATE ASSOCIATION SCORERS
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has provided its twenty-two state cricket association affiliates with six iPads each for use by their scorers in recording the details of domestic first class fixtures and up-dating match information on the internet, says a report published in ‘The Hindu’ yesterday. The newspaper says that each computer has been provided with an internet data card that will "ensure speedy transmission" of up-to-date match details to "cricket lovers across the world”.
Penumarthi Durga Chandrasekhar, the Hyderabad Cricket Association's (HCA) official scorer, told ’The Hindu’ that: “During [a recent] three-day BCCI workshop in Chennai, [he and scorers from other states] were given training on iPad systems”. "The whole idea is to get rid of the regular problem of [intermittent] non-availability of the internet at some grounds [in India], for with the iPad we can do our job even if there is a connectivity problem”. “That is because once the net is restored scoring data is automatically synchronised to ensure that everything is on time and in tune with the ball-by-ball action on the field”, said Chandrasekhar who is also a qualified umpire.
The HCA scorer called the BCCI’s move “a wonderful gesture” that will allow on-line scorers to "work in coordination with the zonal coordinators who in turn will be in touch with BCCI headquarters in Mumbai". Asked what the key challenge he faced with the new system, Chandrasekhar mentioned the iPad's touch screen and its sensitivity, and the fact that the “software [currently] provided has no ‘undo’ option that can deal with any on-the-spot corrections that crop up, such as if an umpire alters his decision from say a six to a four". “So we have to pause for a few seconds or more before the start of the next ball to be clear” what the result of a delivery is before entering new data into the iPads.
RAJASTHAN PLAYERS GET 'ALL CLEAR’,
BUT ASSOCIATION STILL UNDER BCCI BAN
The Rajasthan High Court (RHC) cleared the way for players from that state to participate in all the domestic tournaments run by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in 2014-15 on Wednesday by naming selection committees for senior, junior and women's cricket, groups which both the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) and BCCI accepted. In August, 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).
After the court handed down its decision, both the RCA and BCCI claimed moral victory by sending out separate press releases stating that the Court has accepted their respective pleas, however, while the move is a positive one for the players, the BCCI made it clear its ban on RCA still stands. A BCCI media release issued by its secretary Sanjay Patel said: "Today, the initiative of the BCCI to normalise the situation in Rajasthan on account of the impasse created by [a] Section of the Rajasthan Sports Act was recognised by the [RHC] taking control over participation of the players”. Patel also stated that his board "would always stand in support of the players of the state, and that all the costs of the players, officials, staff, ground rent, selectors etc [during the forthcoming season] would be borne by the BCCI.
The RCA explained its views on the Court’s findings at a media conference which was attended by its deputy president and key Modi aide Mahmood Abdi, secretary Sumendra Tiwary and treasurer Pawan Goel.
TWELVE SCORERS NAMED FOR CA
DOMESTIC ONE-DAY SERIES
Twelve scorers, seven from New South Wales and five from Queensland, have been named to support the twenty-three matches in this season’s Cricket Australia (CA) domestic List A competition, the first of which are due to get underway in Brisbane tomorrow. Those selected will work with the five members of CA’s Umpire High Performance Panel, who will oversee games as match referees, plus the twelve members of CA’s National Umpires Panel, and two from its emerging umpires’ group, who are to stand in games (PTG 1430-6816, 18 September 2014).
Scorers from Queensland who will record the details of the nine games that are to be played at two grounds in Brisbane are: James Bazzo, Gail Cartwright, Cliff Howard, Rodd Palmer and Ted Williams. In Sydney, where New South Wales scorers will officiate, those for the fourteen matches there will be: Christine Bennison, Toni Lorraine, Darren Mattison, Chris McLeod, Robyn Sanday, Kay Wilcoxon and Ian Wright.
Despite what reports say is considerable confusion in scoring circles about just how CA plans to deal with scoring issues during the coming austral summer, the national body has the scoring ‘app’ it developed for iPads and Android tablets, and contrary to a previous ‘PTG’ report (PTG 1414-6826, 16 August 2014), also the 'StatsMaster' system that has been developed over the last two years by Melbourne company Prowess Sports.
While it has apparently organised the provision of technical support for those using the ‘Statsmaster’ program, CA is believed to have acknowledged the problems experienced with that system in the recent past for one report received yesterday suggests it will be up to individual scorers to choose their preferred system to record match details, however, paper copies of all games will have to be produced. At club level in some states though, information available suggests the ‘Total Cricket Scorer’ program could well be used for games, however, obtaining clear information on what is going on in the scoring world in Australia is somewhat of a challenge.
SECOND 'COIN TOSS' RESULT
IN ASIAN GAMES
Bangladesh’s hopes of retaining the Gold Medal in Asian Games cricket was dashed yesterday when torrential rain forced the abandonment of its semi final match against Sri Lanka and the result was decided by the toss of a coin, the second time tournament organisers used that method to decide a game this week (PTG 1439-6965, 2 October 2014). The rain came as Bangladesh was facing the eleventh over of the first innings of the match, and eventually umpires Ramani Batumalai of Malaysia and Sarika Prasad of Singapore had to revert to the use of a coin to decided which team would go into today’s Gold Medal decider against Afghanistan.
The Gold Medal final will see Buddhi Pradan of Nepal and Prasad, who are both members of the International Cricket Council’s third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel, on-field, the match referee being Rumesh Ratnayake from Sri Lanka and the reserve umpire Liu Jingmin of China. The game before it between Bangladesh and Hong Kong to decide the Bronze Medal will be overseen by Iqbal Sikander of Pakistan as the match referee, while Batumalai and Riaz Chaudhry of Kuwait will be the on-field umpires and Muhammad Kamruzzman from Thailand the reserve official.
YORKSHIRE’S GALE ‘NOT RACIST’, ‘SIMPLY
NAME CALLING’, CLAIMS HOLLIOAKE
Former England one-day captain Adam Hollioake does not believe Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale, the first player to be charged with using racist language under the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) disciplinary code (PTG 1430-6809, 18 September 2014), is guilty of racism but rather “simply name calling”. Gale is currently facing a disciplinary hearing over the use of the word ‘Kolpak’, which is shorthand for an overseas player who utilises European employment law to play in England without restriction, during a confrontation with Lancashire’s Ashwell Prince in a first class match a month ago; however, Prince himself has since said he did not regard Gale’s comments racist (PTG 1431-6924, 21 September 2014).
In a blog on his personal website, Hollioake wrote: "Firstly I don't know Andrew Gale and am in no way qualified to tell you that he isn't a racist, but I am also telling you that no one is qualified to call this man a racist based on this on field sledge [as] it is simply name calling”. "It is so often semi-intelligent white people who have never suffered racism who want to acknowledge their so called understanding of racism by mimicking that which they hear in the media”. "I think Andrew Gale's comments are simply more likely due to a lack of something better to come back with, or a heat of the moment comment that hasn't been thought out clearly”.
Hollioake continued by saying he understands "it is easy for everyone to label Andrew Gale a racist but I am willing to wager that as the captain of Yorkshire he is very unlikely a racist!” "To hold such a respected position would take years of people analysing your personality and ability to lead a side that includes non-white players”. "Labelling him a racist is unfair and I feel satisfies people desire to prove that they are not racist and to air their political view”. "I think it is important that the game polices itself somewhat and I think that Andrew Gale’s comment should be met with a frown from within the cricketing community…[but] I don't think that his comment defines him and when I look up ‘Google' the first thing that pops up is that he has been suspended for a racist comment”.
There has been no indication as yet as to when, or some say whether, Gale will actually face a disciplinary hearing, although reports suggest that if it is in fact held it is expected to be sometime in the next week.
CAIRNS' PERJURY TRIAL COMMENCES
Former New Zealand Test cricket captain Chris Cairns appeared in court in London yesterday accused of perjury (PTG 1435-6944, 26 September 2014). The former all-rounder, faces one count of perverting the course of justice alongside his former barrister, Andrew Fitch-Holland, in a 2012 libel case brought against Indian Premier League founder Lalit Modi who had accused Cairns via a ‘Tweet’ of match-fixing activities in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League.
Describing the charge against Cairns a court clerk is reported to have said: "Mr Cairns, the allegation against you is that between 1 October and 31 March 2012, having been a witness in the libel trial, you wilfully made a statement that you knew to be false when you said you never cheated at cricket and would never contemplate it”. Of Fitch-Holland the clerk said: “On 23 March 2011, he perverted the course of public justice in asking [former New Zealand and now banned player] Lou Vincent to provide a false witness statement in the libel case between Chris Cairns and Lalit Modi” (PTG 1425-6887, 5 September 2014).
CAPTAIN ACCEPTS EXTRA TWO-MATCH BAN,
BUT RACISM CHARGE DROPPED
A charge of racism laid against Yorkshire cricket captain Andrew Gale by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has been waved (PTG 1430-6909, 18 September 2014), however, he has been banned for two more first class games and ordered to attend an anger management course as a result of a volley of abuse he directed at Lancashire’s South Africa batsman Ashwell Prince in a county match last month. Gale, who was suspended for two games at the end of the 2014 season because of his comments to Prince (PTG 1425-6889, 5 September 2014), including calling him a “Kolpak”, will now miss Yorkshire's opening first class matches of the 2015 season.
A report in the London ‘Daily Telegraph’ yesterday said the ECB decided not to take Gale to a full disciplinary hearing to determine whether his comments to Prince, who is of mixed race, could be interpreted as racist. Instead it allowed Gale to accept additional punishment and an agreement to attend the anger management course. That arrangement "effectively clears Gale of racism and allows him to emerge with his reputation intact after becoming the first county cricketer to be charged with racism", says the ’Telegraph’. The ECB had charged the Yorkshireman with “failing to conduct himself fairly and properly on the field” and bringing the game in to disrepute by using language that “may be perceived as discriminatory as a result of the reference to the nationality of the person to whom they were made”.
However, the ECB’s case was badly undermined when Prince said publicly that he did not believe that Gale’s comments were racist (PTG 1431-6924, 21 September 2014), and a fellow Lancashire player Usman Khawaja, also appeared reluctant to be drawn into the controversy, the Pakistan-born Australian distancing himself from suggestions that he had reported Gale’s comments. ‘Telegragh’ journalist Paul Bolton says that without their key witness it became clear that the ECB might have difficulty in substantiating the racism claim so the matter was settled ‘out-of-court’ after a week of protracted negotiations.
The ECB said in a statement on Friday that Gale "acknowledges and deeply regrets that the words he used caused any offence and, in particular, that they could have caused offence as a result of the reference to the nationality of the person to whom they were made”. Yorkshire have declined to comment on Gale’s latest punishment but they are said to have agreed to work with their captain to ensure that there are no future disciplinary breaches.
‘SUSPECT ACTION’ CONCERN LEADS WICB TO
WITHDRAW SPINNER FROM INDIAN TOUR
The West Indies have withdrawn off-spinner Sunil Narine from its side's to tour India and he will not take part in the Test and One day International series which begins in Kochi on Wednesday (PTG 1439-6966, 2 October 2014). Narine was banned from bowling for the Kolkata franchise side in yesterday’s Champions League (CL) final after he was reported for suspect bowling action for a second time in two CL matches on Thursday (PTG 1440-6970, 3 October 2014).
Despite his CL suspension, Narine has not been suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and is free to play in the series against India, however, West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) officials appear to be concerned he’ll be called for a suspect action during the forthcoming internationals. West Indies chairman of selectors Clive Lloyd said the WICB had been told that Narine's action would come under "heavy scrutiny" if he played in the matches against India.
Lloyd, who expressed his frustration at the timing of the ICC's crackdown on suspect bowling actions, was quoted as saying that "we were told that they were going to call Narine [for throwing] before we came [to India], so it's quite obvious that something must have been said somewhere”. "I really can't tell you [who it was that told us that] but I can tell you it's a highly reliable source, because we have to make contingency plans for things like that just in case it happens”. Narine is the third West Indian off-spinner, after Dominica’s shane Shillingford and Jamaica’s Marlon Samuels, whose action as been queried in the last nine months.
Echoing the comments of Pakistan coach Waqar Younis and former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga (PTG 1439-6962, 2 October 2014), Lloyd said the increased focus on Narine has severely hampered the West Indies' preparations for the World Cup early next year. "I am not happy, I would like to strongly say that, [as Narine] has been bowling over the years with the same sort of action”. "Now all of a sudden it has changed”. "This guy has been doing well playing for [Kolkata] for the last three years [and] I don't know what has changed now”. "You can't just ban him from bowling just before an important tour like this [against India] and with the World Cup coming up".
Lloyd has also criticised CL officials and that the WICB had "received little explanation from them” about Narine. "Nobody has told us anything. Nobody has written a letter”, Lloyd said. "Something should be said to us but all of a sudden we are left high and dry”. "What does that say about the [CL] then?” Is it “that the tournament has probably previously allowed people who have got bad actions to play?” Reports say that the WICB has named two left arm orthodox spinners, Nikita Miller of Jamaica and Suleiman Benn of Barbados, to replace Narine in its playing squad for the Indian tour.
COACH SUGGESTS BANNED SPINNER
COST HIS SIDE PROMOTION
Essex head coach Paul Grayson has told the BBC he believes his side would have won promotion to the top-tier of County cricket next season had County umpires been "brave" enough to report Worcestershire's Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal who was subsequently suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) because he was found to have an illegal bowling action (PTG 1427-6896, 10 September 2014). Worcestershire edged out Essex for promotion by just eight championship points, Ajmal taking sixty-three wickets in just nine County Championship games for them in the first half of the 2014 season before he left on international duty; thirteen of those wickets coming in a game against Essex in late May at the expense of ninety-four runs.
Grayson said that when Ajmal was away in the second half of the season Worcestershire "struggled”. He said he doesn’t "want to sound like we're being bitter, but I do believe we should have gone up this year”. He wished "one of our English umpires had the bravery to call [Ajmal] early [in the County] season”. "Speaking to a lot of umpires on the [County] circuit, they all talk about him chucking it”, continued Grayson, and "I'm not sure why they weren't prepared to call him”, but it could be ”they [didn’t have the necessary] support from the [England and Wales Cricket Board]".
Records available show that seventeen ECB umpires were on-field when Ajmal bowled during his nine County games in 2014. Fifteen were from the ECB's Full list, including two current members of the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong, five of the others having previously stood at Test level, plus two from the ECB’s second-tier Reserve List. Since June, Kettleborough has been involved in one ’suspect’ action report in an international, and his ECB Full List countrymen on the EUP, Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth, three each. A former Pakistani Test umpire claimed last month that a report he submitted to authorities there in 2006 about Ajmal’s action had been”ignored” (PTG 1430-6913, 18 September 2014).
YORKSHIRE ‘UNHAPPY’ ABOUT GALE DECISION,
SEEKS DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE REVIEW
Yorkshire are reported to be “unhappy" with the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) decision to ban their captain Andrew Gale for a further two games and order that he attend an anger management course, after he was cleared of using racist language (PTG 1441-6979, 4 October 2014). Gale’s latest two-game suspension means he will miss the season-starter champion county match against the Marylebone Cricket Club in Abu Dhabi next March, as well as the opening game of the 2015 County Championship season soon after that.
A ‘Yorkshire Post’ report yesterday says that Yorkshire will now seek meetings with the ECB "in an attempt to review and improve the sport’s disciplinary procedure after an episode that has undermined the credibility of the ECB, whose decision to further sanction Gale will be widely perceived as an unsuccessful attempt to save face as opposed to any warranted punishment”. Journalist Chris Waters wrote that in announcing its decision on Gale, "the ECB did not have the good grace to clear Gale of racism explicitly, but instead did so tacitly when they said that the matter had been resolved without recourse to a formal hearing of their own Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC), to whom his case was referred”.
Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur said in regard to the ECB-CDC ruling: “Yorkshire County Cricket Club are not happy with the outcome of the [CDC]” process. “We will be seeking meetings with both the ECB and the CDC in the future to discuss the process of what has happened over the last month and the interpretation of the regulations going forward in an effort to have greater clarity and consistency”. Arthur said that other than that Yorkshire will not make any further comment.
FIFTH CL OFF-SPINNER REPORTED
FOR ‘SUSPECT ACTION'
The Kolkata Twenty20 franchise side’s Suryakumar Yadav, who is primarily a batsman, became the fifth off-spinner to be reported for a suspect bowling action in this year’s Champions League (CL) series yesterday. Yadav from India, who is yet to play at senior international level, was cited by on-field umpires Rod Tucker from Australia and Kumar Dharmasena from Sri Lanka, plus third umpire Sundarum Ravi, as a result of the three overs he bowled in the final of the competition in Banglaore in place of team mate Sunil Narine; who himself was banned from the game because of suspect action issues (PTG 1440-6970, 3 October 2014).
Meanwhile, part-time Pakistan off-spinner Sohaib Maqsood, who is in the squad to play in the Twenty20 International against Australia in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) later today, was one of nine bowlers the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) says was reported during its recent domestic Twenty20 Championship in Kararchi. The PCB said in a statement yesterday that medium pacer Ataullah had already had his action tested, while Maqsood’s will be looked at in detail "when he returns from the UAE". Of the others who have been directed by the PCB to undergo tests at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore next week are Junaid Zia a medium-fast bowler, plus spinners Nayyar Abbas, Usman Malik, Khurrum Shahzad, Faraz Ahmed Khan, Jahanzaib Khan, Muzammal Tehseen and Nadeem Javed.
ASIAN GAMES CHIEF CRITICISES
INDIA’S CRICKET ABSENCE
The head of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, criticised Indian cricket authorities on Saturday over their refusal to enter a cricket team at the Asian Games, saying the approach being taken by the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) in that regard was "killing" the sport and stopping it spreading to more counties. Twenty20 cricket was added to the Asian Games program four years ago in an effort to promote the sport in the region, however, the BCCI, the world's richest and most influential cricketing nation, has not sent a men's or women's team to either the 2010 Asian Games in China of the recently completed 2014 event in South Korea (PTG 1439-6965, 2 October 2014).
Sheikh Ahmad, a Kuwaiti politician who is said to be one of the most powerful men in the Olympic movement, described India's stance at a news conference as "short-sighted and damaging to the game”. He said his organisation could not force India to compete at the Asian Games but he was disappointed by its stance. "When we put a sport in a program, we always wish to have the top athletes here [and] "I'm sorry that the Indian delegate did not attend, but the people in charge [in that country] want money”.
“Those people are looking to be business people and they want money more than promotion for the game”, the Sheikh told reporters, “they want to control the market, they want to control the game, they want to keep the big athletes for their own”. "This is not sport, this is business", said the OCA chief, and "it's the people's game and you have to deliver it for the people”. "You can get rich by the game but you have to cover the other sector”, he added
A Reuters news agency report yesterday indicated that the BCCI has blamed the absence of its players on the fact that they too busy with their commitments, the latest Asian Games event which ended on Saturday running simultaneously with the Champions League series which this year was held in India. Reuters journalist Julian Linden writes that India has also opposed the inclusion of cricket at other multi-sports events, including the Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games, "a stance that has put them at odds with other cricketing nations and players”. Sri Lanka, the current Twenty20 world champions, sent a team to the Asian Games and won the men's Gold Medal, beating Afghanistan in the final, while Pakistan won the women's Gold Medal for the second time in a row, however, it did not send a men's team to the games as their players were “busy elsewhere”, said Linden.
CALLS FOR INCREASE IN BOWLER’S
ALLOWABLE DEGREE OF ARM FLEX
Two former internationals, retired Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja a leg break bowler, and South African and now South Australian off-spinner Johan Botha, have suggested that the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) current fifteen degree limit of flex allowed in a bowler’s action be increased. Both believe bowlers need to be supported in a game that they see as currently dominated by batsmen, Raja suggesting the flex figure be raised to “eighteen to twenty degrees”, while Botha goes higher and mentions that an allowable figure of “twenty to twenty-five degrees”.
Raja, now a commentator, told ‘Cricinfo’ last week that something had to be done to "safeguard this phenomena called the doosra”, for if what he called "unorthodoxy” in the game was penalised, cricket would soon become a "robotic sport”. "I have always felt that the [‘doosra’ is the] most exciting delivery” to emerge in recent years, and “you have got to make room somehow to legalise it, even if you have to ‘tweak' the [arm flex] limit because: it is not threatening the batsman physically; and it is a great ball to describe and you need skills to play it”.
He disagrees strongly with suggestions by some the ‘doosra' is a form of cheating such as that when players alter the condition of the ball. "I've played with some of the greats who reversed it and I can vouch for the fact that you can’t possibly get a natural reverse swing [unless] you tinker with the ball”, he said. "That's been looked at as a great art and we look the other way, even though we have Laws in place to detect a roughed-up delivery, we know in commentary that this can't happen without somebody playing foul”. Raja, who played fifty-seven Tests and 197 One Day Internationals, said bowlers "need tricks such as the ‘doosra' to survive in the modern game” as the balance of bat and ball “is not fifty-fifty".
Botha, whose own action has been queried in the past (PTG 1221-5883, 30 October 2013, told Brisbane’s ‘Courier Mail’ that “In a game where batters are dominating it is exciting to see guys with different actions". He “understands the ICC move [on bowling actions] but the fifteen degrees [figure] might have to be shifted up a bit, twenty to twenty-five degrees degrees even, I am not sure”. However, former Australian off-spinner Ashley Mallett responded in an article for the ‘Adelaide Advertiser’ that in suggesting the arm flex limit be increased, Botha is "calling for a licence to throw".
Now South Australian Botha says the "variations of Muralitharan and Warne made people excited and come through the turnstiles, [and while the] ‘doosras' needs to be looked at, for normal spin I don’t think a few degrees makes a lot of difference”. In his view "You don’t want it [to be] blatant [throwing], however, with all these guys going down and a World Cup around the corner, I, as a spectator, want to see batters working hard through the fifteen to forty over period when the game can die out”.
The Pakistani also suggested the ICC "had to understand how street and club-level cricket was played in countries such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka before imposing bans on bowlers with suspect actions". "The world body needs to understand the structure of Pakistan cricket, how the spinners are brought up, and how unorthodox actions are legalised because there has been a history”. "Are players being screened”, he asked, "or are they being allowed to go ahead and be another Saeed Ajmal?”
Mallett’s view is though that the ICC’s push on bowling actions means "it is perfect timing for Cricket Australia to call in Darrell Hair to advise our umpires”. "There was a time when [Hair] led the world in a moral crusade to oust the ‘chuckers' from international cricket, but he was often not backed by his umpiring colleagues, who appeared reluctant to "rock the boat”, claimed the former Australian spinner.
CL UMPIRES ‘TARGETED’ NARINE,
CLAIMS WICB DIRECTOR
Azim Bassarath, the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board and a West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) director, has criticised the standard of umpiring during this year’s Champions League (CL) tournament and suggested that match officials were “targeting” spinner Sunil Narine in twice reporting him for having a suspect action (PTG 1440-6970, 3 October 2014). Narine plays for Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean’s domestic tournaments, and Bassarath is quoted in an article posted on the WICB’s web site yesterday as being "very disappointed” and “shocked" with the turn of events “given he has been bowling successfully in international cricket for quite a while and has never been reported to the International Cricket Council".
Bassarath called Narine “a big asset to the West Indies team, especially in India where he has developed a reputation as one of the best bowlers in the world”. "He knows the conditions in India quite well and it is a major loss to the West Indies team”. Given that India was "thrashed by England recently I know India will be looking to rebound and not having Sunil there is a massive blow”. “What is even more disturbing”, continued Bassarath, "is that Clive Lloyd heard Sunil would get called for his action and this cannot be taken lightly [for it] suggests Sunil was being targeted and I think the decision to bring him home [from the Indian tour] was a good one”. Lloyd, the chairman of West Indies’ selection committee, had earlier expressed disappointment with the lack of clarity around the events that led to Narine being banned (PTG 1441-6980, 4 October 2014).
DAY-NIGHT MATCHES NOT LISTED IN REVAMPED
CARIBBEAN FIRST CLASS SEASON
Day-night matches have not been included in this season’s six team ‘domestic’ first class season in the Caribbean, according to the schedule of fixtures released on the weekend. The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) have led the world in the amount of day-night first class cricket that has been played over the past five years, a total of fourteen such fixtures being played over three seasons in that time (PTG 1315-6344, 18 March 2014); but it would appear that the experiment will not continue in the next series which is to be run on a ten round home-and-away basis over the four months from mid-November to March.
What used to be called the ‘Regional Four-Day League’ has, however, had a significant shakeup and is now titled the Professional Cricket League (PCL) and operates on a franchise basis with teams each having fifteen players who will be employed year-round, plus baseball-type names so loved by today’s marketeers, one such being the Windmill Island ‘Volcanoes’. A ‘draft ceremony’ is to be held today in Barbados to decide the five additional players each franchise will employ in addition to the core of ten each retained from last season’s set up (PTG 1402-6780, 30 July 2014). The six franchises will continue to be based in Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and the Windward Islands, a seventh team, Combined Campuses and Colleges, being axed earlier this year (PTG 1395-6751, 20 July 2014)
WICB director Don Wehby said recently that the new “professional structure and environment is geared towards, and certainly will, revolutionise cricket in the region and contribute significantly to the repositioning of the West Indies team in the upper echelons of international cricket”. He said he is "excited by the prospects for the success of this professional structure and I urge that it receive the support of regional governments, corporate Caribbean, fans, the tourism sector and all the facets of our society which hold cricket dear”.
While the Caribbean has moved to restructure its domestic first class arrangements, Bangladesh is reported to also be considering a significant revamp of its system. As yet though no announcement has been made by the Bangladesh Cricket Board in that regard.
NO ‘REAL-TIME SNICKOMETER’ FOR
The International Cricket Council (ICC) may have agreed to making 'Real-Time Snickometer’ part of its official Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) package (PTG 1439-6963, 2 October 2014), however, reports say it won’t be in used during the forthcoming One Day International and Test series between Pakistan and Australia in the United Arab Emirates.
HERTFORDSHIRE SCORER WINS
2014 ECB ‘OFFICIATING’ OSCA
Anne Vine, a scorer for the Welwyn Garden City Cricket Club’s First XI in the Hertfordshire Cricket League, and also the club’s secretary, was named as the winner of the ‘Umpire and Scorers’ section of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) 'Outstanding Service to Cricket Awards’ (OCSAs) at Lord’s on Monday. The OSCAs, which involve awards in eight separate categories, were inaugurated in 2003 as part of the ECB’s efforts to recognise the volunteers who play such a key role in support and developing club level cricket (PTG 1439-6967, 2 October 2014).
Vine is said to be "an integral part of [her] club and is renowned for her attention to detail, the scoring courses she runs for parents who look after junior matches, and as an organiser for Hertfordshire County Cricket Association". She won the award from two other nominees for the ‘Officiating’ category, they being Avril Acres a scorer from Berkshire, and Keith Parsons from Northamptonshire. Acres, 47, has scored at Under-19 One Day International level (ODI), while Parsons, 68, who is with the Irthlingborough Town Cricket Club, has stood in a women’s ODI, County Second XI, and Northamptonshire Premier League games.
Other OSCAs presented on Monday were in areas titled: 'Behind the Scenes’; 'Building Partnerships’; ‘Leagues and Boards’; ‘Lifetime Achievers’; ‘CricketForce’; ‘Young Volunteer’ and ‘Outstanding Contribution to Disability Cricket'. The Lifetime Achievement award went to Maurice Vaughan, 90, of Derbyshire, a life-long servant of the recreational game. He has been associated with the Etwall cricket club for more than eighty years in roles that include twenty years as the club’s First XI captain and a forty-year stint as its president.
Mike Gatting, the ECB’s Managing Director Cricket Partnerships said that the: "OSCAs provide the perfect opportunity to recognise the outstanding contribution volunteers make to our sport". "The winners all play an important role in ensuring grassroots cricket continues to flourish and these awards are a fantastic way of recognising their contribution”. "Congratulations to all the winners - you are the unsung heroes of the game and your awards are richly deserved”.
KEEPER’S ‘FIRE IN THE BELLY’
IGNORES ‘SPIRIT’ TENENTS
Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin exhibited a lack of appreciation of the ‘Spirit’ Preamble to the ‘Laws of Cricket’ on Sunday evening during his side’s Twenty20 International against Pakistan in Dubai. Early in the Pakistan innings batsman Ahmed Shehzad, who was standing in front of his stumps, caught a ball thrown in from an Australian fielder, and Haddin’s reaction, which was picked up by the stump microphone was: “Hey! What are you doing here?” “Move out of the f---ing way!”, but he did not appeal for ‘Obstructing the Field’.
Shehzad didn’t appear to take too kindly to the advice, walking towards the square leg umpire to let him know what had happened. However, on-field umpires Ahsan Raza and Shozab Raza did not react in an obvious way, and if Haddin has been sanctioned, even with a basic reprimand, the matter would normally have been made public by the International Cricket Council by now. A report from Fox Sports, a broadcaster who has a tendency towards jingoism at times, said that Haddin’s reaction "proved he still has plenty of fire in the belly”.
In July, during an interview with the PakPassion.net web site, Pakistan's then new batting coach Grant Flower said that his batsmen have been told to "brace themselves for a verbal barrage" from Australia's players during October's series in the United Arab Emirates” for "Against Australia, you need to be more worried about a verbal attack rather than a physical one”. "But I am sure most of the players, if not all, are aware of it and if they aren't, then they have to be made aware of it”, added Flower, something the Australians sometimes acknowledge (PTG 1420-6863, 27 August 2014).
STRAUSS ‘SERIOUSLY CONCERNED’
ABOUT TEST CRICKET’S FUTURE
Former England captain Andrew Strauss is seriously concerned about the future of Test cricket and predicts that the Twenty20 (T20) format could dominate the game in the next two decades. Strauss, now a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee and its Marylebone Cricket Club counterpart the World Cricket Committee, says in an up-dated edition of his autobiography 'Driving Ambition’ published late last week, that the game’s highest format is in danger in part because of the recent restructuring of the ICC and the focus on returns from television broadcast rights.
Strauss writes that "India can argue that they bring the most money into the game, and thus deserve more out of the precious ICC broadcasting rights, but skewing the distribution of the three boards that are already the most financially secure [Australia, England and India] can only create a situation in which the rich get richer and the poor poorer”. "With only ten teams playing Test cricket and four of those already struggling to stay competitive, the risk of the game degenerating to the extent that the result of many Test series is a foregone conclusion is both high and real”.
He suggests that in the future the ICC will not have the power to prevent control of the game moving towards T20 franchises. "It is not a huge stretch of the imagination to see a situation in which most players will be contracted to franchises and play the majority of their cricket in the [T20] format”, he says. In his view though that “will not happen for a while , as the international boards will do everything in their power to prevent it, but market forces are likely to win the battle in the long term and in twenty years, the game of cricket will look very different” to that of today.
Strauss welcomes the ICC’s move to set up a Test fund so that some of the smaller nations can play each other in a Test series even though they aren't financially viable, but "can't help feeling that we have already reached the tipping point as far as Test cricket is concerned”. However, “it's too late to turn the tide, especially with the glitz and glamour of [T20] cricket managing to gain more and more traction every year”.
PCB TARGETING ICC ACCREDITATION
FOR LAHORE BOWLING LABORATORY
Work to re-establish the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) the bio-mechanics laboratory at its National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore is "progressing at full speed now” and is “a top priority”, according to Haroon Rasheed the PCB’s director of game development. A large number of bowlers in Pakistan have been reported for suspect actions (PTG 1442-6983, 5 October 2014), and Rasheed told reporters on Sunday that the equipment needed was being "upgraded" in line with the International Cricket Council’s new protocols, and once that work has been completed, the aim is to have the laboratory accredited in the same way as the facilities that now exist in Brisbane, Cardiff and Chennai (PTG 1440-6969, 3 October 2014).
In a separate report from Karachi on Sunday, the Press Trust of India (PTI) says that the PCB believes spinner Saeed Ajmal’s bowling action, which was found to be well outside ICC arm flex limits (PTG 1427-6896, 10 September 2014), “has improved”, and there is hope he will be able to be retested and return for the World Cup early next year. The PCB has employed Saqlain Mushtaq, who was probably the first bowler to master the ‘doosra’, to lead “a team of experts” who are working with Ajmal on his action. PCB medical and sports sciences general manager Dr Sohail Saleem told PTI “Saqlain’s presence and advice has helped Saeed a lot and the target is to make him ready for a bowling action test before the World Cup”.
MURRAY ‘UNCERTAIN’ ABOUT NEW
CARIBBEAN FRANCHISE SYSTEM
Deryck Murray, the former West Indies wicket-keeper and a previous president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board, is uncertain about the new franchise system that the West Indies Cricket Board has introduced for its first class and List A format Professional Cricket League (PCL). The PCL replaces the former ‘Regional Four-Day League’ that operates with franchises taking over the six regional, and in some cases, national sides with commercial organisations that each have fifteen players who will be employed year-round (PTG 1443-6987, 6 October 2014).
Murray told the ’Trinidad and Tobago News Day’ on the weekend that "having 90 or 100 players under contract and professionalising the game and giving players the wherewithal to be able to concentrate on their own performance, their own fitness and strive to be the best they can”, is a positive thing. However, he is not so certain about the franchise system as he "would have preferred [as in the past that the six individual] cricket boards themselves be responsible for the players”. "I’m not sure yet that cricket boards can control franchises in terms of rules, regulations, match fixing, spot fixing, proper governance, procedures”, he said.
CA CONTINUING WITH INTERSTATE
FUTURES LEAGUE EXCHANGES
Cricket Australia (CA) is to continue to give individuals from its six state associations and the Australian Capital Territory who rank in the upper echelons of its wider emerging umpires group, opportunities to stand away from home in state Second XI, or Future League, matches during the coming austral summer. CA, which funds the exchanges, introduced the practice in the fourteen-match competition twelve months ago as part of an effort to test and develop umpires and improve the quality of individuals on the respective State Umpire Panels (PTG 1207-5811, 10 October 2013).
During the 2013-14 summer six umpires, who were nominated by their respective CA State Umpire Directors (SDU), stood in a four-day Futures League fixture played away from their home bases. They were: Greg Davidson of New South Wales who stood in Perth, Shawn Craig of Victoria visited Hobart, Queensland’s Craig Hoffmann went to Sydney, Nathan Johnstone of Western Australia travelled to Canberra, Jamie Mitchell of Tasmania to Brisbane, and South Australian Craig Thomas to Melbourne. Such travel exposed them to four-day game formats, enables them to work with different colleagues, captains and teams, and be seen in action by members of CA’s Umpire High Performance Panel.
Craig, Hoffmann and Thomas, plus Murray Branch of Queensland, Phillip Gillespie and Ange Sammartino of Victoria, and Ben Treloar and Tony Wilds of New South Wales, also took part in last season’s CA national Under-19 series (PTG 1227-5913, 7 November 2013), which like the Futures League is a key competition on CA's pathway to potential appointment to its National Umpires Panel (NUP). Craig and Davidson have been elevated to the NUP in the time since (PTG 1352-6535, 14 May 2014), while Gillespie and Wilds are making their List A debuts this month and are thus in contention for possible appointment to the NUP next year (PTG 1430-6915, 18 September 2014).
CRICKET MATCH OFFICIALS MISSING
FROM AUSSIE SPORTS ‘HALL OF FAME'
Former Australian captain and now broadcaster Bill Lawry’s induction into the 'Sport Australia Hall of Fame’ at a dinner in Melbourne tomorrow night again highlights the absence of cricket’s match officials on the organisation’s current all-sports list. Established in the mid-1970s, the aim of the ‘Hall of Fame’, which is a not for profit organisation that relies on sponsorships to operate, is to "recognise and acknowledge [Australia’s] greatest sporting heroes” across all sports.
Lawry becomes the forty-first cricketer appointed as an ‘Athlete Member’ of the ‘Hall of Fame’, and there are also seven ‘General Members’ from cricket, either administrators or broadcasters, while two, Don Bradman and Keith Miller, have been further elevated to ‘Legends’ status, The list is a whose-who of the game, with names such as: Charles Bannerman, Richie Benaud, David Boon, Bradman, Ian Chappell, George Giffen, Adam Gilchrist, Clarrie Grimmett, Lindsey Hassett, Fred Spofforth, Don Tallon and Victor Trumper and others, plus three women, Belinda Clark, Lynette Larsen and Elizabeth Wilson. The ‘General Members list includes: broadcaster Alan McGilvray, and administrators Malcolm Speed and Bob Parish.
None of the forty-one were appointed because of their work as match officials, although after they retired Bannerman, Boon, Giffen and Wilson are known to have gone on to serve in that capacity, Bannerman as a first class umpire, Boon as an International Cricket Council match referee, Giffen as an umpire in lower-level games, and Wilson as a scorer during Australian tour matches. Missing from the current list are the likes of former and current umpires Steve Davis, Daryl Harper and Simon Taufel and others who have served the game at international level for many decades now.
POLICE DISRUPT CRICKET BETTING
OPERATIONS IN TWO INDIAN CITIES
Police in the Indian states of Punjab and Karnataka broke up separate cricket betting operations on the weekend, the first who were fielding bets on Saturday’s Champions League final in Bengaluru, and the second Sunday’s Twenty20 International between Pakistan and Australia in Dubai. Police in Punjab arrested seven men and their equipment, including “twenty-nine mobile phones and a laptop” plus money, while in Karnataka an on-line cricket betting business that was dealing with sums of around 100,000,000 Rupees ($A1.9 million) was disrupted, two people being arrested and “forty mobile phones, a television set and cash” seized.
SIXTY PER CENT FAIL RATE IN ‘FIRST-EVER’
BCCI MATCH REFEREE EXAMS
Only 50 of 129 Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) domestic match referees who attended a recent multi-day seminar on the Laws of the Game, BCCI Playing Conditions, and match management issues, passed the examinations set for them during the course, says a report in yesterday’s ‘Indian News’. The BCCI organised the gathering in Bangalore, which was conducted by now International Cricket Council Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel, in order to "bring in more professionalism” to its match referees area as it was concerned with "the way those who have worked in those positions have functioned over the years”.
‘News’ journalist Devendra Pandey says that in the lead up to the seminar the BCCI provided "all aspiring match referees" with a copy of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s Laws of the Game, the BCCI's Playing Conditions and its Code of Conduct, and "everyone was told to come fully prepared for four sets of exams”.
Presentations on the Laws, Playing Conditions, disciplinary issues, venue inspections, umpire reporting and evaluation and other issues, were followed by a series of what are said to be detailed exams that dealt with real-world match scenarios of various kinds. Taufel is also said to have given a "mock-demo of chucking and asked referees to write their views on it”, there were sessions on general match report writing, and each candidate was asked to "make a small presentation about themselves and why they want to be a match referee”.
According to Pandey’s report, “many” who took part in the workshops "lacked knowledge of the game”, with “aspirants from well-known [entities] like the Mumbai Cricket Association seeing all their candidates fail". BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told Pandey what came as a particular surprise to his organisation was that "even well-known veteran match referees failed to pass these tests [and] there were many who backed out when they saw such a detailed seminar and exams happening”.
The poor result is being blamed on the unstructured way the BCCI has approached the appointment of match referees in the past. Patel said that previously "each [BCCI-affiliated] association would submit two names and we would then allot games to them without questioning their knowledge”. Last year in the BCCI’s premier Ranji Trophy first class competition for example, a total of forty-six match referees, all of them former first class players, were used across the 114 games played.
Patel indicated though that "this year we asked each association to send the names of five referee candidates for the coming season, [and advised them] that before any appointments were handed out they has to pass the exams [set by Taufel]”. Despite the problems that have been highlighted in the referees area though, Patel believes the right steps are now being taken, including a soon-to-be-introduced on-line reporting system for referees, that will "bring things into order", and while "we might have fewer referees, at least we will have the best quality”.
TWO MORE BOWLING ACTIONS
The bowling actions of Bangladesh’s Sohag Gazi and Zimbabwe’s Prosper Utseya have both been found to be illegal and, as such, both have been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect. The two off-spinners were tested by a group of International Cricket Council (ICC) accredited Human Movement Specialists at Cardiff Metropolitan University three weeks ago.
The pair were both reported in August, Utseya following a One Day International (ODI) against South Africa in Bulawayo (PTG 1418-6846, 23 August 2014), and Gazi after an ODI against the West Indies in St. George’s (PTG 1419-6857, 25 August 214). Tests in Cardiff showed that the arm flex of each man exceeded the fifteen degrees permitted in "all [types] of their deliveries”. Under ICC regulations both can apply for a re-assessment after modifying their bowling actions.
Akram Khan, the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s cricket operations committee chairman, told ‘Cricinfo’ after the result of Gazi’s test was announced that while he can bowl in the domestic game at home, the "sensible thing to do" would be to keep him away from such fixtures until he has worked on his action with a Bowling Review Group (BRG). "We will do everything that is necessary since he is an important player”, said Khan, the first step being "to get him working with a [BRG] which has to be formed as soon as possible”.
The ICC’s assessment of Gazi and Utseya brings to five the number of off-spinners who are currently under suspension because their bowling actions were found to be “illegal", the others being Sri Lanka’s Sachithra Senanayake, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal. The results of laboratory tests on Bangladesh seamer Al-Amin Hossain, who was reported following a Test against the West Indies last month, are still awaited (PTG 1428-6901, 11 September 2014).
Meanwhile, former West Indies captain Vivian Richards has become the latest person to complain about the current crackdown on bowling actions, saying it "should have taken place some time ago and on a wider basis because these guys have been there for quite some time” (PTG 1441-6980, 4 October 2014). "With the next World Cup around the corner this is not the correct time to take such measures”, he said.
DEBUTANTS NAMED FOR CA
FUTURES LEAGUE MATCHES
Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday named thirty match officials from seven jurisdictions around the country to look after the nine Future League State Second XI matches that are scheduled to be played around the country over the next six weeks. Amongst the umpires, scorers, and referees appointed are a number of match officials who will be working in their respective roles in a senior representative game for the first time.
The umpires named are: Canberra-based Chris Cassin, Mark Ferris and Yoham Ramasundara, Tasmanians Glenn Quinlan and Jamie Mitchell, Western Australia’s Nathan Johnstone and James Hewitt, Queensland's Murray Branch and Donovan Koch, and South Australians Craig Thomas and Luke Uthenwoldt. Most will be standing on home soil, except Mitchell who is to stand in Perth and Johnstone in Hobart as part of CA’s interstate exchange program (PTG 1444-6994, 8 October 2014), while Cassin, Donovan and Quinlan will be making their debuts at Second XI level.
The details of those games will be recorded by scorers Cameron Allen, Liam Baker and Rammanee Shivakkumar in Canberra, Nathan Bester, David Gainsford and Steve Jewell in Hobart, Lance Catchpole and Sandy Wheeler in Perth, Cliff Howard and John Olding in Brisbane, and Mike Harper and John Tregloan in Adelaide.
Two members of CA’s Umpire High Performance Panel, Stephen Bernard and Peter Marshall will oversee matches in Hobart and Perth, which suggests CA wants to have a particularly close look at umpires in those games, while Craig Hoffman, Terry Keel, Kim Perrin, Terry Prue and Richard Widows will look after other fixtures in Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart respectively. Hoffman, who has umpired Futures League fixtures in the past, will be working in that role for the first time.
‘I’M NOT A RACIST’,
SAYS YORKSHIRE CAPTAIN
Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale expressed remorse over his abuse of Lancashire batsman Ashwell Prince in an interview published in the ‘Yorkshire Post’ on Tuesday, but insisted that he is not a racist. Gale was banned for the last two matches of the County Championship season after reportedly calling South African Prince a “f****** Kolpak” during a first class fixture last month (PTG 1425-6889, 5 September 2014).
Prince has said publicly that he did not believe use of the word ‘Kolpak’ was racist (PTG 1431-6924, 21 September 2014), and Gale told the ‘Post’ that he "regrets the way in which I reacted that day and I have always prided myself on being a role model to my fellow pros and all young cricketers I coach”. "I am still immensely proud of what we have achieved this season and I hope the whole situation hasn’t detracted from Yorkshire’s success”, added Gale, whose side won the County Championship.
Last week the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) suspended the Yorkshire-born captain for two more games and directed he attend an anger management course (PTG 1441-6979, 4 October 2013). Yorkshire has indicated that it is “unhappy” about that and is reported to be seeking a review of the ECB’s disciplinary procedures (PTG 1442-6982, 5 October 2014).
WDCA LOOKING AT HAT CAMERAS TO
AID UMPIRE TRAINING, DEVELOPMENT
Officials in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) in south-west Victoria say that have committed themselves to buying ‘GoPro’ and digital cameras as part of efforts to improve umpiring standards in the region, says an article in yesterday’s ‘Warrnambool Standard’. The move, which journalist Aidan Fawkes describes as "a landmark for a cricket association in the region", comes as a result of WDCA chairman Nick Frampton's attendance at a convention conducted by Cricket Victoria (CV) last month.
Frampton told the ‘Standard’ that the plan is for the ‘GoPro’ to be attached to an umpire’s hat, while the digital camera will be stationed on the boundary to record the umpire's movements. “We’re looking at getting one camera to start with to get some in-game footage for training and development”, said Frampton. “Eventually the idea over the course of the season is that every umpire would get at least some footage of themselves in a match”.
The technology, which it is hoped will be in operation late next month, is expected to help develop "grassroots umpires", particularly members of WDCA umpiring academy “starting out in their journey”. “It [will enable] us to go back and work with them one-on-one [such that we can show them] - here’s some scenarios, how’s your positioning, are you getting to the right spots”, but “it’s certainly not there to be used as a third umpire [and] won’t be appearing in tribunal hearings”.
Frampton said the CV convention highlighted the need to have a 21st Century approach to development, as opposed to a “dry presentation of the Laws” of the game. The camera initiative was “not something we’ve really spoken to the clubs or the umpires’ association about”, rather “it’s something that’s been pushed down from Cricket Australia and [CV and has] their recommendation as something we should consider”.
The WDCA is reported to have a total of twenty-four umpires available to cover its games this season, a figure Fawkes says "comes after months of conflict with the Warrnambool Cricket Umpires’ Association (PTG 1374-6645, 12 June 2014). “That’ll mean on a good week, when we’ve got everyone there, we’ll be able to cover all three divisions and most games in Division one will have two umpires”, said Frampton.
CLUBS FACE FINE FOR BRINGING
BEER ‘WITHOUT PERMISSION'
Visiting teams in the Adelaide Turf Cricket Association (ATCA) who take alcohol into a home side’s dressing room in a bid to "revive the tradition of post-game beers”, could be fined up to $A50 by the ATCA, says a report in Adelaide's ‘Messenger Community News’ on Tuesday. ATCA chief executive David Heyzer told journalist Matt Turner that clubs had made “quite a few” complaints over losing bar takings and having to clean up empty bottles because opponents were drinking beer among themselves in the visitors’ rooms.
Heyzer made it clear that the ATCA does not encourage excessive drinking but wanted opposing teams to mingle more after games. “The old tradition of having a beer after the game with the opposition doesn’t seem to happen these days”, for “like a lot of traditions, it seems to be dying off”. “A lot of stuff that happens on the field can be sorted out over a beer”, he said, and “we think it’s important we go back to some of the traditions of cricket”.
Under the rule, which Heyzer described as a “suck and see”, an away team would need the permission of the home club’s secretary to bring alcohol to an opponent’s ground. “If they’re playing in the middle of the parklands somewhere I’m not trying to stop that but if the licensed premises is there, I expect it to be used”, said the chief executive.
Payneham president Wayne Margitich estimated his club was losing $A3,000-$A5,000 in bar revenue each season because opponents drank in the change rooms and believes the ATCA's $A50 fine is “too soft” and "should be $A100 or more”. Fulham captain and chairman Tristan Glover said bringing alcohol into an away change rooms was “a bit rude [as] the camaraderie that exists between the teams over the years is something we love and it’s best done with a cold beer in our clubrooms after the game”. Pembroke president Michael Wilson said his club agreed with the principle of the new rule but was concerned about some of the practicalities.
CHINGOKA MADE ZC ‘HONORARY
Peter Chingoka, the former Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairman, was appointed as the ‘Honorary Life President' of the board on Tuesday. ZC said the decision had been unanimously approved by the board’s affiliates at the 2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Harare in late August, a month after Chingoka stepped down as the organisation’s chairman (PTG 1398-6765, 25 July 2014).
As an honorary life member, Chingoka "can attend AGMs and consultative forums, and will be issued invitations to matches and other events of note". “The approval by the affiliates of the invitation for you to become an Honorary Life President of ZC is testimony of your impeccable record of service to Zimbabwe cricket”, said Wilson Manase, the current ZC chairman, who took over that role after Chingoka stepped down.
Chingoka’s twenty-two-year stint as ZC chairman was marred by financial mismanagement and player strikes over non-payment of dues as a result of the board’s significant financial difficulties (PTG 1327-6402, 4 April 2014).
VANDALS SET FIRE TO
UMPIRES SHOULD CALL SUSPECT
ACTIONS, SAYS GAVASKAR
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar says instead of reporting a bowler they think has a suspect action, umpires should call the offender and where the Laws are transgressed, direct his captain to take him out of the attack. Gavaskar outlined his views about the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) recent focus on suspect bowling action issues during an interview on NDTV on Wednesday, saying such an approach would not allow the bowler to have "an impact on the outcome" on the result of a match.
“There is no point in reporting a bowler after he has won a game for his team with a suspect action”, said Gavaskar. "That is no good [for] if umpires are unhappy with the action they have the right to remove him from the game”. Gavaskar suggested, even though at least one bowler’s arm flex exceeded forty degrees (PTG 1430-6812, 18 September 2014), it's "when bowlers are a little tired, or when they are putting in a little bit more effort", that their arm flex extends more than fifteen degrees allowed "and the naked eye certainly catches it”. "I think that's what has happened with all the bowlers [reported so far] and that's why they are being reported”.
In Gavaskar’s judgement there are no bowlers with suspect action in the current Indian national squad, although there “are probably a few” on the domestic circuit there that need corrective action”.
Meanwhile, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting told Cricket Australia’s news web site yesterday that he thoroughly endorses the ICC’s crackdown on bowling actions over the last few months. Ponting said the issue had been prevalent in the international game for a generation, allowing bowlers to go unpunished despite some actions being clearly well beyond the fifteen degree limit set by the world body.
EIGHT DEBUTANTS NAMED FOR
OPENING CA WOMENS' FIXTURES
Cricket Australia (CA) has named eight umpires, one of whom is female, to make their debuts in the nine Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) fifty over games and eighteen women's Twenty20 (WT20) matches that are to be played across seven Australian cities over the next six weeks. Those eight will join twenty-one other umpires, eighteen scorers and eight match referees in managing two WNCL and four WT20 fixtures each in Melbourne and Perth, and the single WNCL and twin WT20 games listed for Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Launceston and Sydney.
Umpires who will debut are Perth-based Mark Hooper, Melbourne’s Dale Ireland, Sydney-based Anthony Hobson, Clair Polosak and Muhammad Qureshi, Brisbane’s Donovan Koch, Hobart-based Sudhakar Balreddygari, and from South Australia Cory Black. Polosak, joins Canberra’s Deanne Young, who debuted last season, as the second female on CA’s womens’ representative roster (PTG 1275-6144, 22 January 2014), seven of the eighteen scorers also being female.
In addition to Hooper, the other Perth-based umpires assigned games are: Wayne Barron, Matthew Hall, James Hewitt, Todd Rann and Trent Steenboldt, who will be supported by scorers Lance Catchpole and Sandy Wheeler across all games, former first class umpires Ian Lock and Terry Prue being the match referees; the former working in that role for the first time.
Ireland, Ange Sammartino and David Shepard, a former first class player who is a potential candidate for CA’s Project Panel (PTG 1428-6902, 11 September 2014), have been named as umpires for games in Melbourne, Shelley Baulch and Natasha Noblett being the scorers and Daryl Cox the match referee, in all games there. Graham Reed will be the referee for matches in Sydney, Geoff Rogers, Kay Wilcoxon, Sue Woodhouse and Ian Wright the scorers, the umpires in addition to Polosak and Qureshi being Andrew Hamilton, Anthony Hobson and Keiran Knight.
In Brisbane, Koch’s colleagues will be Ben Farrell, Murray Branch and Jayvan Ruddick-Collons, the scorers Doug O’Neill and Ted Williams, and the match referee Craig Hoffman who in previous years has umpired women’s interstate games. Six umpires have been named for six on-field spots in Canberra, Chris Cassin, Andrew Crozier, Mark Ferris, Andrew Shelley, Yohan Ramasundara and Young. Liam Baker, Rammanee Shivakkumar and Darren Mattison, a Test scorer, will be the scorers there and former List A umpire Terry Keel the match referee.
Indian-born Balreddygari is to stand with Wade Stewart in Launceston with Nathan Bester and Graeme Hamley the scorers and Richard Widows the match referee. Kim Perrin will work in the latter role in Adelaide, John Tregloan and Rita Artis the scorers and Black, Lyn Donisthorpe and Cain Kemp the umpires.
Branch, Cassin, Ferris, Hewitt, Koch and Ramasundara have also been named to stand in Futures League State Second XI games over the next six weeks, Cassin and Donovan being on debut at that level (PTG 1445-6999, 9 October 2014).
CIRCUS OUSTS MAJOR CLUB
FINAL FROM TEST VENUE
Cricket Tasmania (CT) has been accused of putting the accumulation of revenue ahead of its own sport because of its decision to rent out Bellerive Oval, a Test venue, to a motor cycle “extreme sports” show at a time when the final of its Premier League club competition would normally be played there next March. Local city Alderman Richard James, who is up for reelection at local council elections next week, told the Hobart ‘Mercury’ on Wednesday that playing such a key fixture at the headquarters of the Tasmania game “should be a higher priority than a commercial undertaking or venture”.
Journalist Brett Stubbs pointed out to James that venues such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Sydney Cricket Ground, the ‘Gabba’ and other Test grounds do not normally host club games, however, the councillor said it was a different set up in Hobart. Stubbs writes that three other suitable grounds are available around the city for the season deciding match whose prize pool money has been increased from $A16,000 to $A18,000, and that the club that ends up hosting the final will be compensation with an additional $A2,000.
ICC INTRODUCES NEW ON-FIELD SIGNALS
FOR UMPIRE SELF REFERRALS
On-field umpires in international matches who decide themselves there is a need to seek a decision assessment from their television colleague, now have additional visual signals to make for certain types of appeals as part of the referral process. Previously the bowler’s end umpire, after where necessary consulting his on-field colleague, simply made the shape of a television screen with his hands to request a review, but now they also have to indicate visually whether they think the batsman was ‘out’ or ‘not out’ in three appeal areas.
The new arrangement is limited to decisions regarding whether a catch has been taken cleanly, a bump ball was involved, or a batsman is guilty of Obstructing the Field. If the on-field assessment is that a batsman was ‘out’ in those situations, the bowler’s end umpire is now required, after the ’TV screen’ shape, to immediately afterwards place their hand with their forefinger pointed, close to and in the middle of their chest. On the other hand if the thought is the batsman was 'not out’ the umpire, again keeping his hands tight on his chest, is to make the ‘dead ball’ signal.
A report in the ‘Hindustan Times’ yesterday says the new signals, which were introduced without fan fare at the start of this month as part of the International Cricket Council’s 2014-15 Playing Conditions for Tests, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals (PTG 1439-6963, 2 October 2014), “encourages umpires to be pro-active and give spectators a better idea of their thought process during referrals”. Former Indian Test umpire Shyam Bansal told the ‘Times’: "Now, there will be more transparency from the spectators' point of view, and you [will also be able to] assess the ground umpires' decision-making abilities”.
If that is the case just why appeals for run outs, stumpings and hit wicket do not require an ‘out’ or ‘not out’ signal to accompany the ‘TV screen’ signal, is not clear. In recent years some observers have suggested the availability of technology has reduced an umpire’s need to be able to make their own judgements in such cases, words such as “making them lazy” being used to describe such claims.
Cricket Australia’s domestic Playing Conditions for the current season available on-line make no reference to anything other than the ‘TV screen’ signal. It would appear unlikely any of the other nine ICC Full Members have any different arrangements for their domestic series at this time.
NINE INDIAN U-19 BOWLERS REPORTED
FOR SUSPECT ACTIONS
Nine bowlers were reported for having suspect actions in the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) Vinoo Mankad Trophy Under-19 fifty over format tournament over the last week, according to an article published in ’The Hindu’ newspaper on Friday. That plethora of reports follows instructions that are said to have been given by the BCCI to its umpires "to be more active and take firm steps to deal with the issue at the junior level itself”.
’The Hindu’ quotes what is calls “a former umpire” as saying: “It is not that the umpires were not competent of detecting a flawed action but lack of support from the administration had held them back”. However, “with new technology supporting the umpires’ contentions on the illegal bowling actions of some players [on the international scene], the umpires’ fraternity appears to be in an overdrive to cleanse the circuit”, something he described as “better late than never".
Long-serving Delhi area coach Tarak Sinha, whose club has produced eleven Indian internationals over the last three decades, said questionable bowling actions have "become a disturbing trend in recent times”. "I had a difficult time in convincing some young and talented bowlers not to ape the likes of Muralitharan and Ajmal”. As a result "there were some who were getting away with their [bowling] style in domestic cricket because umpires were not prepared to ‘call’ them for want of support from the [BCCI]”. "I am sure things will improve now because steps are being taken at the right stage as you have to catch them at the young age”, said Sinha.
SUSPENSION DUE TO VIDEO FOOTAGE, NOT
LABORATORY TESTS, CLAIMS GAZI
Bangladesh off-spinner Sohag Gazi is reported to have told the ‘Dhaka Tribune' on Friday that laboratory testing of his bowling action at Cardiff Metropolitan University (CMU) last month showed that his elbow flex was only “around five to six degrees”, less than half the fifteen degree limit set by the International Cricket Council (ICC). As a result Gazi felt confident that he would pass the examination, however, according to him the ICC “later cancelled the test result" and made their decision to ban him on the basis of video footage of his action taken during matches (PTG 1445-6998, 9 October 2014).
Gazi, who has played ten Tests and twenty One Day Internationals, told the ‘Tribune’ that CMU staff "asked me to bowl like I do in a match and I did what they asked and they appeared satisfied”. “I asked them if they wanted me to bowl more but they said its was OK”. Despite that the ICC subsequently informed him via e-mail his elbow flex "exceeded twenty-five degrees while bowling, and the contradiction in numbers [as opposed to laboratory data] was due to the fact that they observed match footage instead of the test result”.
That situation has led Gazi to publicly query the use of having a bowling test at all if match footage was to be used to assess his action, although despite his claim precisely how the ICC made its final judgement has not been made public. “When a bowler bowls the forty-eighth over of a match his body movement and action may change slightly and the same happened with me”, however, “when [CMU] asked me to bowl my body was fresh and my body movement was much better”, said Gazi. Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar pointed to such differences earlier this week (PTG 1446-7005, 10 October 2014).
Gazi’s situation has led the BCB to reactivate its Bowling Action Review Committee. It formed such a group in 2008 after left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak was banned from bowling, a three-member committee comprising former first class players Azhar Hossain, Wahidul Gani and Omar Khaled Rumi identifying problems in the bowling actions of players such as Waskurini Palash, Arafat Sunny, Farhad Hossain, Faisal Hosain and Yasir Arafat, and helping them rectify their problem. Dhaka’s ‘New Age’ newspaper says their activities were closed down in 2010 "for various reasons, which included pressure from [Bangladesh’s] top clubs”.
‘New Age’ has also reported that Al-Amin Hossain, another Bangladeshi bowler who was reported as having a suspect action during a Test match in the West Indies last month (PTG 1428-6901, 11 September 2014), is scheduled to undergo biomechanical testing at the new ICC-accreditated laboratory in Chennai next Saturday.
Meanwhile, Azim Bassarath, a director of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB), has indicated that off-spinner Sunil Narine, whose suspect bowling action report in the recent Champions League saw him withdrawn from the West Indies’ current tour of India (PTG 1441-6980, 4 October 2014), underwent laboratory testing in Australia in 2011. That examination, at the University of Western Australia, was carried out "to ensure his action was legal" before the third edition of the Champions League, an event in which he played for Trinidad and Tobago.
“Sunil passed the necessary testing in Australia and has gone on to forge a successful international career so I must reiterate how shocked we are by these events”, said Bassarath. “Right now the TTCB is waiting on the WICB to determine a course of action”. Bassarath also said his board would support Narine and take steps to help him return to international cricket, although he is "concerned that this incident will affect Sunil’s confidence and hurt his cricket career”.
Despite that New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori believes cricket has now passed a point of no return when it comes to dealing with bowlers who have suspect bowling actions. He said on Friday: "I think everyone’s pretty aware of what’s going on and we can’t go back from there and it’s going to be difficult for guys with slightly different actions to compete because it doesn’t seem like it’ll be allowed”. “There’s no way the Law could be relaxed to accommodate bowlers who push the legal limit”, he said.
Vettori's teammate Kane Williamson, who has been banned from bowling by the ICC (PTG1398-6767, 25 July 2014), has come out in full support of the world body’s crackdown on bowling actions. He told the Cricket Australia website: “There’s obviously a new directive there from the ICC, and (it’s) a good one as there’s been people, like myself, who have been bowling and exceeding the degree that you’re allowed”.
HADDIN ‘CONFUSED’ ABOUT BATSMAN’S CATCH,
STILL IGNORANT OF ‘SPIRIT’ BREAK
Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin confirmed his apparent lack of appreciation of how the ’Spirit of Cricket’ requires players to interact with their opponents during a press conference in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, and it would appear Cricket Australia (CA) has made to no attempt to reeducate him in that regard. Last Sunday, in a Twenty20 International, Haddin reacted very tersely and got in the face of Pakistan batsman Ahmed Shehzad, at what appeared to be Shehzad's innocuous, but in terms of the Laws of Cricket dangerous, catch of a fielder’s return throw whilst standing in his crease (PTG 1444-6990, 8 October 2014).
An article posted on CA’s web site on Thursday shows Haddin’s telling a press conference that Shehzad "should keep his hands to himself”. A video clip of the incident, complete with stump microphone feed that accompanies that article, clearly shows Haddin saying to Shehzad: “Hey! What are you doing here?” “Move out of the f---ing way!”. The CA web story describes the wicketkeeper’s comments to the batsman as "a mighty spray” for "preventing the wicketkeeper from catching [the ball] himself”, but neither Haddin or the journalist involved seem to be aware an appeal for ‘Obstructing the Field’ could have been lodged.
When asked on Thursday, three days after the game, about the confrontation, Haddin said he was still “confused" as to why Shehzad decided to field the throw. He then went on to say somewhat sarcastically: “[Pakistan] had the opportunity to bowl first [so] if he was that keen to field they should have bowled first”. "Mate, I don't know why he touched the ball, we were out there fielding”. "It's not his place to touch the ball [and] if he wants to grab the ball he can go stand at short cover or short mid-wicket, can't he?” "If he wants to go and do extra fielding with the coach to get his hands on the ball so be it, but he doesn't need to grab it when we're fielding”.
Reacting to the original ‘PTG’ story of the incident, former England Test umpire John Holder, said "Haddin should have been reprimanded and reported for his crude retort”. “No one questions the fielders' right to throw the ball to the keeper but they must avoid throwing it towards either batsman, and the batsmen have a right to stand in their ground as long as they do not intentionally move into the line where the ball has been thrown”.
A report by television broadcaster Fox Sports soon after last Sunday’s game described Haddin’s on-field response to Shehzad’s action as proving “he still has plenty of fire in the belly”. However, Holder believes "Haddin's reaction had nothing to do with playing the game hard and with passion” but rather "is another example of poor behaviour which is all too prevalent in the game” today.
HURRICANE TO STOP PLAY?
A hurricane, or tropical cyclone, called 'Hudhud’ that is currently approaching India’s east coast from the Bay of Bengal, has the potential to impact on the playing of Tuesday’s scheduled India-West Indies One Day International (ODI). This morning ‘Hudhud' was headed directly towards the port city of Visakhapatnam where the ODI is to be played.
‘Hudhud’ is currently a Category 3 storm that has maximum sustained winds of 60-70 knots, and current forecasts suggest it will strengthen further by the time it makes landfall near the city later today. News reports say that “hundreds of thousands of people were being evacuated from the city of two million people yesterday, however, the Andhra Cricket Association is still hoping the ODI will go ahead in two days time.
BERMUDA T20 FINAL DITCHED
AFTER SHOOTING INCIDENT
Last Sunday's scheduled season-ending Twenty20 (T20) final between Southampton Rangers and Willow Cuts on the island of Bermuda will not be played this season because of safety concerns after a shooting incident. Just hours after the knock-out tournament’s two semi-finals had been played on the Saturday, players in a car travelling near the ground were shot at by two men on a motor bike, after which police advised the Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) not to play the final the next day.
Tuesday, 12 October 2014
PROPOSED CHANGE TO FIELDER’S MOVEMENT
LAW SURFACES UNEXPECTEDLY
Australian player Steve Smith's significant movement in the field before Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam had received a ball bowled to him in Sunday's One Day International in Abu Dhabi, a move that led directly to the batsman's dismissal, has revealed previously unpublicised plans by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) to amend the Laws of the Game in regards to fielders’ movements, say reports. The change that the MCC apparently proposes has been taken up by the International Cricket Council (ICC), however, it is not included in the up-dated Playing Conditions for Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals made available on the world body’s web site just two weeks ago (PTG 1439-6963, 2 October 2014).
The incident happened when Alam, a left-handed batsman, shaped to lap sweep a ball from Australian spinner Xavier Doherty. The ball pitched in line with middle stump and spun to leg, but before it reached the batsman Smith, who was outside Alam’s view at slip, anticipated the shot and ran behind wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, catching the swept ball on the run when wide of the normal leg slip position. Law 41.7 currently states that “any significant movement by any fielder after the ball comes into play, and before the ball reaches the striker, is unfair”, and that “in the event of such unfair movement, either umpire shall call and signal 'Dead Ball’.
Law 41.8 defines “significant movement” for “close fielders” such as those at slip as "anything other than minor adjustments to stance or position in relation to the striker”, and the application of the two Laws as they now stand would normally have meant that Smith's catch would not have stood. However, the ICC said in a statement issued overnight that given "the recent trend of fielders moving in anticipation after a batsman had moved to play a shot, the ICC [had] consulted with the [MCC]”, the guardians of the game’s Laws, presumably sometime earlier this year, and had developed a new interpretation to 41.7 and 41.8 for use in international matches.
As such the ICC has advised its umpires to use the following interpretation, which currently only applies to internationals, that: “As long as the movement of a close catching fielder is in response to the striker’s actions (the shot he/she is about to play or shaping to play), then movement is permitted before the ball reaches the striker”. It gives the umpires some wriggle room though, for it goes on to say if they "believe any form of significant movement is unfair (in an attempt to deceive the batsman), then Law[s 41.7 and 41.8] still apply”. That interpretation is said to have been discussed during the ICC Match Officials’ Workshop in Dubai late last month, but nothing was made public at that time (PTG 1435-6942, 26 September 2014).
Australian captain George Bailey said in regard to the dismissal after the match that his team "knew exactly what they were doing”, but it would appear that the Pakistanis, like most of the rest of the cricket world, did not. On-field umpires Ahsan Raza of Pakistan and Richard Illingworth of England consulted mid-pitch after the catch was taken, then checked with third umpire Nigel Llong, another Englishman, before eventually giving the batsman out. Bailey said: "We knew the rule had changed … and to be honest, as it should [for] as a batsman you're allowed to switch-hit, you're allowed to do whatever you like, and all [Smith has] done is anticipate where the ball's going to go”.
There has been no indication from the MCC as yet that it has, as claimed by some reports, any plans to amend the actual Law in regard to player movements. However, an article posted on Cricket Australia’s web site yesterday quotes a passage in "the ICC Match Officials’ One Day International Almanac that says, as the ICC said in last night’s statement, the: "MCC has varied its position around significant movement according to the timing of when a close catching fielder can move”. Importantly though that document goes on to state: "They [the MCC] will be redrafting this Law when next a rewrite occurs, so we [the ICC] are going to apply the revised intent that is in keeping with the games’ progress".
ICC ANNOUNCES ITS ‘BIGGEST-EVER
GLOBAL BROADCAST DEAL'
The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced its "biggest-ever global broadcast deal” on Sunday, the 'Star India’ and 'Star Middle East’ companies being jointly awarded the audio-visual rights to eighteen ICC events that have been scheduled over the eight years from 2015-2023. ICC series included in the package bought by the two Indian companies, who are part of the United States based media and entertainment company 21st Century Fox, include the World Cups of 2019 and 2023, the Champions Trophy series in 2017 and 2021, and the 2016 and 2020 World Twenty20 Championships events (PTG 1385-6697, 3 July 2014).
The ICC, which chose the two companies from “seventeen competitive bids’ over “two rounds of bidding", was somewhat coy in talking about just what amount of money is involved in new arrangement, saying only that it is “significantly in excess of the ICC’s previous commercial deals”. ESPN Star Sports, who had the broadcast rights for the last eight-years period, that from 2007-2015, reportedly paid $A1.3 billion in 2006, and the London ‘Daily Telegraph’ said in a story published yesterday that it understands the new ICC-Star contract is worth "around $A2.9 billion”, or over twice the amount for the previous eight years.
Commenting on the record deal via an ICC press release, the body’s chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan said: “We are delighted that our partnership with the Star group has extended to the next cycle of ICC Events”. "This illustrates the strong relationship we have built in the current cycle and the value we have delivered since 2007”. According to him “Star has an outstanding reputation as a sports broadcaster and has played an integral role in promoting and growing the game by taking coverage of ICC Events to a truly global and record-breaking audience, and we look forward to this continuing for another eight years”.
England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke, who played a leading role in the negotiations as head of the ICC’s Financial and Commercial Affairs Committee, hailed the deal as “groundbreaking”. He said it "will benefit all the ICC members to grow the sport and that, of course, includes the [ECB], and means that there will be important increases in income for the ECB which will benefit all areas of the game in our country”. "We have witnessed a massive change in the spectator experience at our grounds and we are now in a position to underpin these exciting new developments”, he said.
Srinivasan said “This commitment for the next eight years will ensure greater stability for ICC Members as well as increased funding for developing and established countries”. "Emerging nations will have access to the largest funding resource in the history of the game and the [ICC] Board has fully endorsed this framework as the best means of safeguarding the future of the sport”. “The level of investment committed by ‘Star' shows that the game is stronger than ever before and hopefully with this financial stability for the next eight years, we can implement plans to strengthen and grow the game further, making it an even bigger and better global game”.
MAHANAMA NAMED FOR 200TH
ODI AS A MATCH REFEREE
Sri Lankan match referee Roshan Mahanama will be working in his 200th One Day International (ODI) in Mount Maunganui next Tuesday when New Zealand and South Africa play the first of the three ODIs that have been scheduled for next week. Mahanama, who becomes the fourth person after countryman Ranjan Madugalle, Chris Broad of England and Jeff Crowe of New Zealand to reach the 200 mark, will be working in the series with Australian umpires Rod Tucker and Steve Davis, plus New Zealand members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, Chris Gaffaney, Derek Walker and Phil Jones.
Mahanama’s 200th ODI will actually be the 413th he has been directly involved in for he played 213 for Sri Lanka in the period from 1985-99, plus 52 Tests during that time. He managed his first ODI as a referee in May 2004, and in addition to a range of bilateral series in the time since, has also worked in that capacity in the Asian Cup of 2004, the World Cups of 2007 and 2011, and the Champions Trophy of 2009. Referee duties have taken him to fourteen ‘national’ cricket jurisdictions world-wide: Australian, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, West Indies and Zimbabwe
Tucker will be on-field for the first and third games with Davis the television umpire, their roles being reversed in match two. Gaffaney, who continues in contention for a potential promotion to the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel (PTG 1448-7017 below), appears likely to stand in at least two matches, but whether Walker or Jones will also do so has not yet been announced. Jones is yet to debut at ODI level.
While Mahanama will have move his ODI match referees record to 202 games by the time the three-match series ends, Davis’ tally will move on to 126 on-field and 54 in the television suite (126/54), and Tucker to 47/20 and he is therefore likely to pass the 50 mark sometime in the new year and possibly prior to the World Cup getting underway. Gaffaney goes into next week’s ODIs on 26/8, Walker who debuted last January on 1/2 (PTG 1266-6109, 9 January 2014), while Jones has to date been the reserve umpire for six ODIs.
TWO EUP CONTENDERS
GIVEN FURTHER TESTS
Two potential candidates for promotion to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) next year have been allocated Tests in the three-match series Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are to play in Dhaka, Khulna and Chittagong over the next four weeks. The pair, India’s Sundarum Ravi and New Zealand’s Chris Gaffaney, will stand in the first and third Tests respectively, before Gaffaney stays on as the neutral umpire for the five One Day Internationals (ODI) the two sides will play over the last two weeks of November.
England’s Chris Broad will oversee the three Tests as the match referee, his umpires in addition to Ravi and Gaffaney, being current EUP members Bruce Oxenford of Australia, ‘Billy’ Bowden of New Zealand and Aleem Dar of Pakistan. Ravi and Oxenford will be on-field for the opening match with Bowden the television umpire, it will be Bowden-Oxenford together for the second game with Ravi the third official, then Dar and Gaffaney together in the final Test, as they did in the Kiwis Test debut two months ago (PTG 1406-6791, 5 August 2014), Oxenford being television umpire for that match.
Dar’s Test will take his overall match tally at the game’s highest level to 93, one more than the late David Shepherd of England (PTG 1439-6966, 2 October 2014), and this a clear fourth overall behind the now retired Daryl Harper of Australia, Rudi Koertzen of South Africa and Steve Bucknor of the West Indies. Broad’s referee match record in Tests will move on to 65, Bowden to 80 on-field and 18 in the television suite (80/18), Oxenford to 22/12, Ravi to 4/7 and Gaffaney 2/2.
The New Zealander, who is expected to stand in games between his national side and South Africa next week (PTG 1448-7016 above), will stand in all five Bangladesh-Zimbabwe ODIs with the ICC’s chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka looking on. The series will take Madugalle’s referee ODI record to a massive 288 games, and Gaffaney to at least 31, for he is expected to add to his tally in the series between New Zealand and South Africa next week. The second ODI will be the 350th Madugalle has been directly involved in for he played 63 ODIs for his country before retiring and taking up the match referee’s role.
BOWLING ACTION CRACKDOWN ‘TWENTY
YEARS TOO LATE’, SAYS HAIR
Former Australian umpire Darrell Hair, who was at the forefront of the throwing controversy in the 1990s, has told the ’Sydney Morning Herald’ that the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) recent crackdown on illegal bowling actions has come twenty years too late, and as such it has left the game with "a generation of chuckers”. Hair’s reference to two decades of inaction, is similar to the view expressed by John Davison, a Cricket Australia spin coach, two weeks ago, who said that world cricket's "delayed action" on illegal bowling actions has given rise to a generation of spinners from the sub-continent who can't bowl legally (PTG 1439-6862, 2 October 2014).
Journalist Chris Barrett says that Hair, who has had a difficult relationship with the ICC over some time, laid the blame for the current situation on the world body for "being soft on one of the game's most vexed issues for too long". ""They had a chance in 1995 to clean things up and it's taken them nineteen years to finally come back and say they want chuckers out of the game”. "I can't believe that [Pakistan off-spinner] Saaed Ajmal has been able to bowl as long as he has, and they say he is bending his arm by forty-five degrees or something”, the legal limit being fifteen degrees. "Well, every man and his dog would have known that”, said Hair.
Hair, who was at the centre of one of cricket's most notorious episodes in 1995 when he repeatedly no-balled then twenty-three-year-old Sri Lankan Murali Muralitharan during a Boxing Day Test between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, said that he supposes what the current situation "does show is the general weakness of the umpires over time to do anything about it”. Muralitharan had his action cleared the following May, and then again in 1999 after he was called again by Ross Emerson, another Australian umpire, during a One Day International in Adelaide.
"People say 'you should be happy with the way things turned out'...with the chuckers being weeded out, but it doesn't give me any personal satisfaction whatsoever”, said Hair. "All I was doing at any time was just doing my job and I think I did it to the best of my ability”. "The fact was that no other ICC umpires were willing to have a go”. "Ross Emerson was very adamant about his thoughts about chuckers but [the administrators] soon put him into the background”. "I suppose I was lucky I had a few games under my belt so they didn't want to target me”, continued hair, "but they certainly got [Emerson] out of the way fairly swiftly”.
Hair pointed out that: "I said in the late 1990s that if something wasn't done about it you'd have a generation of chuckers on your hands and now you have". "They try to emulate Harbajan Singh and Saqlain Mushtaq and Murali and that's the problem, for the crackdown should have happened on those players and the ICC should have let it be known that it wasn't acceptable”. Long-serving Delhi-based coach Tarak Sinha, whose club has produced eleven Indian internationals over the last three decades, said last week that he has "had a difficult time in convincing some young and talented bowlers not to ape the likes of Muralitharan and Ajmal” (PTG 1447-7009, 12 October 2014).
‘REMODELLING’ OF GAZI’S ACTION
TO TAKE PLACE IN MALAYSIA?
A claim in a section of the Bangladesh media on Sunday, that the International Cricket Council (ICC) report on Bangladesh off-spinner Shohag Gazi’s bowling action that led to him being banned from international cricket contained images of another player, was quickly rejected by the ICC that day. The ICC said that the report on Gazi’s bowling action, which had been sent to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) earlier in the week, only contained photographs of him.
Gazi reportedly told the ‘Dhaka Tribune' on Friday the decision to ban him was not made on the basis of laboratory-based tests carried out at Cardiff Metropolitan Laboratory, but rather using video footage of his action taken during matches (PTG 1447-7010, 12 October 2014). A BCB official is said to have indicated on Sunday that consideration is being given to send Gazi to Malaysia to work with fielding coach Mohammad Salahuddin on the remodelling of his action.
Salahuddin, who helped left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak rectify his action, is currently employed in Malaysia and can only help Gazi if he travels there. BCB cricket operation chairman Akram Khan told Dhaka's ’New Age’ newspaper yesterday the decision to do that has to be approved by the board”.
THREE AUSSIES TO STAND IN NZ
WOMEN’S U-21 TOURNAMENT
A report from New Zealand indicates that three Cricket Australia (CA) umpires are to stand in matches in New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) week-long national Under-21 women’s tournament in Lincoln near Christchurch in late December. That trio, whose identities are not yet known, are expected to be on-field in a total of twelve fifty-over and nine Twenty20 matches with three of the home county’s senior-most female umpires, Kim Cotton of Christchurch, Kathy Cross of Wellington, and South African born Diana Venter from Auckland.
Cotton regularly stands in Premier League club cricket in Christchurch's men's competition and is said to be rated highly by match officials there, while Venter has stood at Premier League level in Auckland and was for several years on the board of the New Zealand Cricket Umpire and Scorers Association. Cross is currently the most accomplished of the three having stood in men's List A games in New Zealand in the past. She has also been appointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to stand in three women's World Cups (PTG 1042-5065, 19 January 2013), and last January was made a member of the ICC's third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel (PTG 1280-6164, 31 January 2014).
NZC has also named six scorers from around the country for the U-21 event: Michael Anderson, Gail McGowan, Nicki McKenzie, Duane Pettet, Jane Silvester and Julie Theobald, records available indicating at least four of them, Anderson, McGowan, Pettet and Silvester, have scored at first class level.
Cotton, Cross and Venter stood in last year’s NZC Under-21 women’s event, their colleagues on that occasion being male members of NZC’s Reserve Panel. That and the fact that Australia only appears to have in comparison to the NZC trio, two female umpires of fairly limited experience at the present time (PTG 1446-7006, 10 October 2014), suggests the three exchange umpires will not necessarily be female. Whether the CA-NZC exchange agreement involves the likes of Cotton, Cross and Venter standing in CA Women’s National Cricket League and Twenty20 fixtures early in the New Year is not known.
In addition to the three umpires for the Lincoln tournament, a member of the first class umpires panels of each country are to stand in matches in each other’s national competitions this austral summer as part of a now long-standing agreement between the two boards. The names of the two exchangees have not yet been announced.
WEST INDIES FINED FOR SLOW
OVER-RATE IN DELHI ODI
The West Indies side has been fined under the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Minimum Over Rate regulations for maintaining a slow over-rate during the second One Day International (ODI) against India in Delhi on Sunday. Match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand found that Dwayne Bravo's side was two overs short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration.
The ICC's Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel requires that players are fined ten per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount. As a result Bravo was fined forty per cent of his match fee and his team mates twenty per cent each. Should Bravo be found guilty of one more minor over-rate offence in ODIs over the next twelve months he will receive an automatic one-match suspension.
Meanwhile, the third ODI between the two sides that was to have been played in Visakhapatnam today has been abandoned because of the impact Cyclone ‘Hudhud’, which came ashore near to the city from the Bay of Bengal on Sunday, has had on the surrounding region (PTG 1447-7012, 12 October 2014). The game will not be rescheduled and the series has now become a four-match contest.
Wednesday, 15 October 2014
COURT HOLDS OFF ON
SRINIVASAN BCCI AGM BAN
India's Supreme Court has refused a request from the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) to ban Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the stood down president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), from participating in next month’s BCCI Annual General Meeting (AGM), a gathering that was originally set for 30 September (PTG 1436-6950, 29 September 2014). The Court said on Monday that it would wait for the report into 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption being conducted by its Mudgal Committee before passing any order, says a Press Trust of India (PTI) report published yesterday.
PTI says that Mudgal’s group is expected to provide their final report on the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal on 10 November (PTG 1424-6884, 3 September 2014), which is ten days ahead of the date scheduled for the AGM. “Let us wait for the report of the probe committee”, the Court told a CAB representative, and "Let the decks be cleared for the elections” for “we are not concerned with the AGM at this stage”. It stressed that Srinivasan "is not yet ineligible to contest the elections” as he "could be exonerated” from any wrong doing if the Mudugal investigation so finds.
FOURTH-STRAIGHT UK PCA ‘UMPIRE
OF THE YEAR’ AWARD TO GOUGH
Former first class player Michael Gough, who is a prospective candidate for a spot on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel later this decade, has been named the UK Professional Cricket Association’s (PCA) ‘Umpire of the Year’ for the fourth year in a row. Gough, 34, was awarded the trophy and a £2,000 ($A3,700) cheque at the PCA's recent annual awards dinner in London.
Gough started playing cricket at the Durham County Cricket Academy at the age of twelve, before going on to play for England Under-19s as captain and with the England A side on a 1999 tour to New Zealand and Bangladesh. He retired from first class cricket aged just twenty-three at the end of the 2003 northern summer, and stood in his first game at that level two-and-a-half years later.
Appointed to the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) umpire Reserve List at the age of twenty-seven in 2006, then in late 2008 to its Full List (PTG 347-1844, 11 November 2008), his rapid rise continued when in 2012 he became a third umpire member of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, then an on-field member last year (PTG 1297-6257, 23 February 2014).
The ICC has appointed him to a number of its events over the past twelve months (PTG 1280-6165, 31 January 2014). Other opportunities that involved in him standing in first class matches in the Caribbean in 2012 and India last December, came his way courtesy of ECB umpire exchange agreements (PTG 1266-6110, 9 January 2014).
CA LOOKING AT IMPROVEMENTS TO
PLAYER RECRUITMENT PATHWAY
Pat Howard, Cricket Australia’s (CA) general manager of team performance, is to meet representatives from state associations, the Australian Cricketers’ Association, and CA board members in Sydney tomorrow to discuss ways in which the game in Australia can continue to attract the nation’s top sporting talent. One of a number of possibilities said to be on the table involves the potential for a draft system in which teams take turns selecting from a pool of eligible players, the choosing of an individual then giving that team exclusive rights to sign that player to a contract.
If adopted, such an approach, which has recently been partly introduced in the West Indies Cricket Board’s revamp of its domestic first class competition (PTG 1444-6993, 8 October 2014), would be a significant change to the state driven player system that has generally applied since first-class cricket was first played in Australia over 150 years ago; although in recent years CA’s Twenty20 series has approached player selection via a “free agency” system.
Howard, whose job is to oversee Australia's national teams and the production line of young players available to them, is reported to have been working for sometime on ideas to shake-up that pathway system. One report in the ’Sydney Morning Herald’ this week says Howard believes cricket must act to both combat the threat of Australian Rules Football and other sports and create a more level playing field between the states. "I'm open to things like drafts [but] we're going to throw a whole heap of things on the table”.
"We want the top 150-odd contracted players in the country playing and we want them spread around the nation and making sure that competitiveness is there”, continued Howard, and "we've got an opportunity to get that talent spread and make sure that competition at domestic level is very competitive”.
GROUND’S TEN-METRE HIGH FENCE
NOT NEEDED, CLAIM RESIDENTS
Ten-metre-high netting that has been designed to stop balls hit from the London suburb of Islington’s last public cricket ground, has caused considerable concern amongst nearby residents who have signed a petition to say it is "ugly, expensive and unnecessary”. Islington Council says though that they have legal advice that without the nets, adult cricket at the ground will have to stop because it is at risk of being the target of "huge compensation claims”.
Plans to erect the £60,000 ($A110,000) fence, which will be put up at the start of each cricket season and taken down at the end of it at additional cost, arose to "stop sixes causing havoc among neighbouring homes and vehicles”. The Council was forced to pay £680 ($A1,250) to the owner of a car that was damaged when a ball was hit out of the ground in 2011, however, the planned fence will not surround the whole ground.
Local resident Jonathan Ward told his local newspaper that “Even people living next to park don’t want the fence [as the park] is a little oasis in what can be quite a gritty part of Islington [and is effectively] our village green”. Peter Hollman, the secretary of the local cricket club said their “sympathies are with the residents, although we understand the need if we have to have a fence to carry on playing cricket”.
“But from our perspective it’s using a mallet to crack a nut as the kind of cricket we play really doesn’t cause many problems”, continued Hollman, as "there has only been one incident in the last four years and I don’t think that involved [our club]”. “From our point of view [the fence] will reduce the boundary size of what is already quite a small ground”. “Why can’t the council rely on users to have insurance, as they have done since the 1990s?”, he asked.
MCC APPROACHED ‘LAST MONTH' ON
‘SMITH CATCH’ PHILOSOPHY
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) said yesterday it was "approached last month" by the International Cricket Council (ICC) "for clarity and guidance" on matters related to the movement of a fielder which came to light in a One Day International last Sunday, and that it is “comfortable” with that event. In that game Australian slip fielder Steve Smith anticipated a shot by Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam and ran to catch him wide of leg slip in an action that surprised many observers (PTG 1448-7014, 14 October 2014).
The MCC indicated in a statement that it had concluded that "the game has naturally evolved and that this aspect of Law 41.7 and 41.8”, which deal with a fielder’s movement, "is worthy of review”. MCC Laws Manager Fraser Stewart said: "The Law on significant movement was written to prevent under-hand tactics, such as the square leg fielder moving backwards during the bowler’s run up”. "The skilful anticipation by the fielder, which is in reaction to the batsman’s action, is very different and deserves to be given some leeway”; however he pointed out that if the umpires believe "any form of significant movement is unfair”, the Law still applies under current ICC arrangements.
Whilst Stewart emphasised there will be no change to the Laws at present, somewhat unusually he also indicated there will also be no change to ICC Playing Conditions, but rather the world body "has communicated” details of the new approach to international "umpires, players and team management”. Just why such a change would not be formally incorporated in the Playing Conditions themselves, particularly as the ICC apparently pushed the new approach, is not clear.
Despite that, the MCC says it is "likely to incorporate this natural evolution within the next update of the Laws of Cricket, but must first thoroughly assess the impact of this change on the game over a period of time before it becomes Law”. “We will closely monitor this area over the next year or two, looking for any potential problems, which will then enable us to write a robust, fair and applicable Law”, said Stewart. In that regard the Club is comfortable with "other cricket governing bodies trialling this interpretation of the Law at all levels of the game”. As yet none has, publicly at least, indicated they plan to do just that.
AJMAL READY FOR 'INFORMAL’
TESTING OF BOWLING ACTION
Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, who was banned from bowling in internationals last month because of his delivery action involved an arm flex of over forty degrees (PTG 1427-6896, 10 September 2014), has “rectified" his style and is ready to undergo an “informal" laboratory test as part of his efforts to return prior to next year’s World Cup, said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan on Tuesday. Khan told reporters in Lahore that once Ajmal "clears the ‘informal’ examination”, the International Cricket Council (ICC) will be asked to test him on an official basis.
Ajmal has been working under former Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq who was hired by the PCB on a short-term contract to help him correct his action (PTG 1444-6992, 8 October 2014). According to Khan, "Saqlain has given a positive report that Ajmal has remodelled his action to within the permissible [fifteen degree] limits of the ICC, and he and Ajmal are both ready to go for the informal biomechanic laboratory tests”. "If we [then] find his bowling action is OK, we will then go to the ICC for a review [that] will include both his normal action and doosra."
Such scrutiny is expected to take place in either Brisbane, where tests of his bowling action in August recorded the forty plus degrees of flex led to his banning, or Chennai or Cardiff, all of whom have ICC accredited testing facilities (PTG 1440-6969, 3 October 2014). "Ajmal is vital to our chances [in the World Cup]”, said Khan, "so we will follow all the permitted routes to get him cleared by the ICC”.
While the ICC has moved to set up its own testing facilities though, the University of Western Australia, which for twenty years was the only centre for testing of bowling actions, continues to claim in the media that the ICC’s protocols for examining bowlers are being kept “secret” and have not been satisfactorily subjected to scientific scrutiny so their accuracy can be determined (PTG 1413-6822, 14 August 2014). The ICC has repeatedly rejected such claims (PTG 1414-6825, 16 August 2014).
Saturday, 18 October 2014
PAY DISPUTE SEES WEST INDIES
ABANDON TOUR OF INDIA
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said yesterday that the West Indian tourists had abandoned the current one-day series to the sub-continent because of an internal row, but the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has denied withdrawing its team. A day of confusion, claim and counter-claim began with the BCCI announcing that the visitors would fly home after yesterday’s One Day International (ODI) in Dharamsala as a result of a pay contract dispute involving the West Indian players, the WICB and the players' union.
Confusion reigned as the WICB, which had earlier conceded a players' boycott was a major issue, released a statement denying it had withdrawn the team. It said "The [WICB] advises, that, contrary to media reports, it has taken no decision to discontinue the ongoing tour to India”. However, the BCCI said Sri Lanka had stepped in to fill the void and will play a five-match ODI series in India next month, saying in yet another statement: "The BCCI wishes to thank SLC [Sri Lanka Cricket] for its swift response and for extending its support to ensure that the international cricket season is not curtailed”.
The West Indies had been scheduled to play a fifth and final ODI in Kolkata on Monday, a Twenty20 International on Wednesday, then a three-day tour match in lead up to a three-Test series next month (PTG 1439-6966, 2 October 2014).
EIGHT OFFICIALS NAMED TO
MANAGE WCL-3 TOURNAMENT
Eight match officials from seven countries have been appointed to manage the eight-day, eighteen-game World Cricket League (WCL) Division 3 tournament in Malaysia starting next Thursday. Two South Africans will play particularly key roles, Devdas Govindjee of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier Regional Referees Panel will oversee all the games, while his countryman Johanes Cloete, a potential candidate for the ICC’s top Elite Umpires Panel in a few years time, will take part in an umpire mentoring role.
Apart from Govindjee and Cloete, the other officials involved when Bermuda, Nepal, Singapore, Uganda, the United States and host Malaysia play their matches will be: Kathy Cross of New Zealand, India-born Rockie D’Mello from Kenya, Sri Ganesh Lakshminarayanan of Singapore, Wynand Louw from Namibia, Durga Nath Subedi of Nepal, and Courtney Young from the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. All have been involved in a range of international tournaments in the past.
Cloete is a member of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, Cross, Louwe and Young its third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel, D’Mello a former member, while Lakshminarayanan and Subedi are senior Asian Cricket Council panel members. Cloete is expected to stand in games with each of his umpiring colleagues, his role being, says the ICC, "to educate and guide the umpires throughout the tournament as part of the ongoing ICC initiative for umpire development outside Full Member [countries]”.
The two teams who finish top of next week’s competition, which was originally to be played in Uganda, will gain promotion to WCL Division 2 which will be played in Namibia next January. Division 2 is the final step in the qualification pathway to the ICC’s four-day, first class competition for Associate and Affiliate Members, the ICC Intercontinental Cup, as well as the fifty-over format World Cricket League Championship.
VICTORIAN SKIPPER SUSPENDED, FINED,
FOR DRESSING ROOM BREAK
Victoria was without captain Matthew Wade for yesterday’s one-day match against New South Wales because he had been suspended and fined for breaching Cricket Australia's (CA) Code of Behaviour during a game against Queensland in Sydney on Tuesday. CA says that following his dismissal and after his return to the dressing room, Wade threw a water bottle at an ice chest but it "ricocheted into a window breaking it”, a situation that led to him being charged with "Abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings during a match".
In addition to the one match ban, the former Test wicketkeeper was fined half of his match payments for the game, and is reported to have also agreed to cover the costs of repairing the dressing room damage. Tuesday’s incident is Wade's second Code of Behaviour breach in less than twelve months, as he received exactly the same penalties last November after being found guilty of tampering with the pitch during a Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania in Hobart (PTG 1244-6006, 29 November 2013). Despite his punishment then Wade maintained his innocence, saying that he believed he had only engaged in rudimentary maintenance of the pitch.
Wade was reported for Tuesday's offence by Cricket Victoria (CV) staff, CV chief executive officer Tony Dodemaide saying that: "An incident was brought to our attention following the match and we duly lodged a report with [CA] once we were satisfied a level one offence was justified”. "Player behaviour standards are paramount, and the role of captain in setting the right example is especially important”, continued Dodemaide, who believes the censure handed to Wade is the "right course of action”. "Whilst this incident is disappointing, we are confident Matthew will learn from it and become a better cricketer and leader [and] we remain convinced he has a great future in front of him for Victoria and Australia”.
Wade joins the likes of former Australian players Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden and Michael Bevan, current Victorian all-rounder Dan Christian, and England’s Matt Prior and Ben Stokes, as some who have been involved in dressing room misdemeanours in recent years. Ponting broke a television set during the 2011 World Cup, Hayden glass at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 2003, mutli-offender Christian kicked a hole in a wall and cracked a shower screen with a ball in 2012, Prior broke a dressing room window at Lord’s in 2011, showering nearby spectators with glass, while Stokes broke his hand when he punched a locker this year.
SUSPENDED BANGLADESH FAST BOWLER’S
ACTION TO BE TESTED IN CHENNAI
Bangladesh fast bowling coach Heath Streak believes that the problems suspended bowler Al-Amin Hossain has with his action are minor when compared to team-mate Sohag Gazi. Former Zimbabwe skipper Streak told reporters in Mirpur yesterday that he is "very hopeful" Hossain, who was reported for a suspect action during a Test in the West Indies last month and sidelined from the international game (PTG 1428-6901, 11 September 2014), will pass the biomechanics test he is to undergo at the International Cricket Council’s newly accredited laboratory facilities in Chennai on Monday.
The suspect actions issue arose yet again yesterday with Sri Lanka Cricket saying in a statement that it has identified eighty-five school-level bowlers, sixty spinners and twenty-five seamers, who have "suspected illegal actions”, during a campaign to "clean up the sport at grassroots level across the island nation. Sri Lanka has a strong schools cricket structure, with many players entering the national squad direct from schools.
A week ago the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) indicated that nine bowlers had been reported with similar problems during its Vinoo Mankad Trophy Under-19 tournament. Those reports were said to have come as a result of instructions from the BCCI to its umpires "to be more active and take firm steps to deal with the issue at the junior level itself” (PTG 1447-7009, 12 October 2014).
EBOLA CHECKS FOR
The Zimbabwean squad were subjected to Ebola screening when they arrived at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka yesterday in the lead up to their three-Test and five One Day Internationals series against Bangladesh. Earlier this week Bangladesh stepped up measures in country’s ports after the Ebola outbreak in West African countries, a team from the United States visiting the airport on Wednesday to look at the preparations that had been introduced there to prevent the virus from entering the country.
Bangladesh Cricket Board chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury told Dhaka’s 'New Age’ newspaper the screening was "a routine check-up for people coming from that part of the world”. "We advised Zimbabwean Cricket beforehand so that they don’t feel embarrassed”, said Chowdhury. A total of 4,493 people have died from the world’s worst Ebola outbreak on record, and the the World Health Organisation says the situation in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is deteriorating.
On the same day the Zimbabweans arrived, police in the city of Khulna promised "tight security" for the two teams when they play the second Test there early next month. Local security agencies, which included police, the Rapid Action Battalion, coastguard, fire service and volunteers, held a joint meeting to review the security plan for the game. "We are committed to give the visiting team water-tight security at the venue, hotel and transports”, said the local police commissioner.
Dhaka’s ‘Daily News’ claims "the home team's management is in a dilemma" about whether they should use Australian ‘Kookaburra' or Indian ‘SG’ balls for the three Test series. One report says that the ‘Kookaburra', when compared to its hand-crafted Indian counterpart, doesn’t have a prominent seam, and as it gets old and the seam begins to vanish, spinners find it harder to grip. Bangladesh’s new head coach Chandika Hathurusingha is said to have recommended the ‘SG’ variety, but the Australian brand is said to have been used in Bangladesh's three-day practice game at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur this week.
BUSY PLAYING SCHEDULE DELAYS
CAIRNS’ TRIAL FOR TWELVE MONTHS
Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns will not stand trial on one count of perjury until October next year after he was bailed until January at a preliminary hearing a London Crown Court on Thursday. The UK ‘Daily Telegraph’ reported yesterday that the long delay in the trial, which is expected to last up to four weeks when held, was because player witnesses who will be called to give evidence cannot guarantee their availability over such an extended period until then because of the crowded international schedule.
Cairns faces charges that stem from the testimony he gave in the 2012 libel action trial he brought against Lalit Modi, the former head of the Indian Premier League, a tussle that saw Modi being order to pay Cairns £90,000 pounds ($A165,000) in damages. Modi had alleged via ‘Twitter’ that Cairns had been involved in match-fixing in the now defunct Indian Cricket League in 2008.
BCB-ICC TAKE BPL APPEAL DECISIONS
TO SWISS-BASED COURT
The International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland against the reduced ban handed to former national captain Mohammad Ashraful for his admitted involvement in match-fixing in last year's Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) tournament. Last month a BCB disciplinary appeals panel reduced the original eight-year suspension given to Ashraful to five years, however, the last two of years of the latter were provisionally suspended which means he can resume his playing career in August 2016, five years earlier than expected (PTG 1437-6952, 30 September 2014).
The ICC-BCB action did not stop with Ashraful though for the BCB’s chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury told journalists in Dhaka yesterday that an appeal had also been lodged against the acquittal of five other individuals in March this year. The five, who include Gaurav Rawat the BPL’s Dhaka franchise's chief executive officer, its bowling coach Mohammad Rafique, and players Mosharraf Hossain Rubel and Mahbubul Alam Robin, had their original not guilty findings confirmed by last month’s BCB appeals panel.
MATCH ABANDONED BECAUSE
OF UNSAFE PITCH
Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) one-day domestic match between the Titans and Knights at Sahara Willowmoore Park in Benoni had to be abandoned on Sunday because of a dangerous pitch. After nineteen overs had been bowled, umpires Gerrie Pienaar and Dennis Smith deemed the pitch to be unplayable and called the match off with the hosts the Titans on 3/45.
The Knights won the toss and asked the home side to bat. During their time at the crease Titans’ batsmen had to deal with a two-paced pitch that in the words of one report "made stroke play a lottery” and they were struck by the ball on a number of occasions. Eventually Theunis de Bruyn received a fast delivery that he had to dig off his stumps, but the very next ball “leapt" and he could only fended it off, gloving it to second slip. That led to Pienaar and Smith to get together and they decided it was too dangerous for play to continue.
Titans coach Rob Walter called it "a sad day for cricket [for[ it's hard to get people in to watch local cricket so this is the last thing you need”. Two weeks ago, the adjacent pitch was used for a domestic four-day match between the Titans and the Warriors producing a plethora of runs, the hosts declaring at 6/539 in their first innings. "The four-day [pitch] was great, and a few days later this happens”, said Walter said.
Match referee Barry Lambson told reporters that player safety was the most important factor in the decision to call off the match. "If the umpires feel it is not safe for play, they can call the game off and, after nineteen overs the umpires met and decided this was the case”. He said the pitch did not appear to be unusual in colour but there were uneven areas which produced inconsistent bounce. "At times the ball kept low, and there were others where it jumped up”, said Lambson. "You don't want to wait for someone to get injured, so on the basis of that they had to call it off”.
Lambson said he would submit a pitch report to CSA and expected an inquiry to follow. CSA is reported to have a range of options available to deal with whatever is found by any inquiry, including the deduction of points from the home team, the imposition of a fine not exceeding 150,000 Rand ($A15,500), or both. CSA said in a statement that should it be found that the home side was at fault, the Knights could be awarded the four match points, instead of the one it and the Titans each current have for the abandonment.
CA OPENS AMNESTY ON
Cricket Australia (CA) has announced the establishment of an unprecedented amnesty period for players to report any corruption-related suspicions they may have as part of efforts to stamp out match fixing. Players face bans of up to five years if they are found to have failed to report information relating to a breach of CA's anti-corruption code, but under the amnesty, which runs until the end of November, they will be spared from any penalty should they provide any suspicions or evidence to the national body.
A Fairfax Media report says there has been "no shortage of reporting" by players since CA's Integrity Unit was formed last December. Its manager Iain Roy is quoted as saying: We've had a range of reports and it does range from stuff that has happened in Australia through to stuff that has happened outside Australia”. Roy said the impunity period offered to players had been opened in order to urge players to tell officials about "any suspicious activity that doesn't feel right" and "covering all periods”.
Under the amnesty, a new reporting ‘hotline' has been established for players, officials and administrators, a development that has been applauded by Australian Cricketers' Association cricket operations manager Graham Manou. "In the past, players have told us they've had some concerns about reporting questionable approaches”, said Manou, but “with the integrity hotline, they should have confidence that information may be reported confidentially and is being treated appropriately”.
NO UMPIRES’ REPORT BUT CLUB LODGES
COMPLAINT AGAINST OPPONENT
The Sheffield club in north-west Tasmania has sent a written complaint with the Cricket North West (CNW) association about an on-field incident that occurred in a Twenty20 match against Wynyard last Saturday, however, it would appear umpires Peter King, a Sheffield Life Member, and Lawrence McCall, have not lodged a report on the matter. Sheffield playing coach Gary Miles is said by ‘The Advocate’ newspaper to be alleging that while attempting a run during what was the opening round of the season, he had been struck on the jaw by an elbow from Wynyard fast bowler and coach Andrew Davidson.
Sheffield president Rick O'Toole did not wish to comment when contacted yesterday, however, Davidson is said to have denied any wrongdoing an that he had just been intent on fielding the ball when the clash occurred. ‘‘The ball was there, I ran in a straight line and the next thing I know, he’s run into me”, and while ‘‘Gary had plenty to say the umpires both spoke to me and said they were happy with it”, concluded Davidson. Miles, who has plates in his jaw following a football injury sustained when he was eighteen, claims he was contacted underneath the grill of his helmet, his jaw had been impacted and that he was due to have X-rays to look for any damage that may have occurred.
'The Advocate’ says that Sheffield’s complaint can be considered by the CNW board at a meeting that has been scheduled for tonight. The board has the power to decide on the outcome of Sheffield’s complaint itself or refer it to the independent tribunal.
‘REAL-TIME SNICKOMETER’ ABSENT
FROM BANGLADESH, UAE, TESTS
Media reports from Dhaka say that the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has decided to employ the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in a home series for the first time in the three-Tests against Zimbabwe, the first of which is due to begin on Saturday. While the BCB is said to have been considering the system for “a while”, board “sources” are said to have indicated that it was the view of Bangladesh's newly appointed head coach, Sri Lankan Chandika Hathurusingha, that ultimately pushed them into making the move.
Dhaka’s ‘Daily Star’ says that 'Super Zoom', 'Ultra Motion' and 'Hawk Eye' are the technologies that will be used for the Tests in Dhaka, Khulna and Chittagong, however, there is no mention of 'Real-Time Snickometer’ (RTS) which the International Cricket Council cleared for use in UDRS packages earlier this month (PTG 1439-6963, 2 October 2014). RTS will also not be part of the UDRS package for the Tests between Pakistan and Australia in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) starting today because of the costs involved (PTG 1443-6988, 6 October 2014).
KASHMIR FLOODS TO AFFECT ‘AFFORDABLE'
BAT SUPPLY, CLAIMS MANUFACTURER
Australia, England and South Africa could face a shortage of “affordable" cricket bats in the next few years as Indian producers continue to predict a large shortfall in supply following the destruction of Kashmir willow stockpiles in recent floods. Flooding in September along the India-Pakistan border region of Kashmir killed more than 500 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses, and while Kashmir willow suppliers are still assessing the damage, some estimated the loss of wood, and damage to trees, could equate to a shortfall of millions of cricket bats in coming years (PTG 1430-6920, 18 September 2014).
An Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) report yesterday quotes All India Sports Goods Manufacturing Association chairman Rakesh Mahajan as saying it was predominantly export supplies that were affected. "Australia is very big buyer from India, England is also, South Africa and all the cricket playing countries are importing from here”, said Mahajan. The ABC says that while some cut wood was damaged, existing trees may also be unusable after being submerged in water for days.
However, it will not be the production of top-of-the-line bats that are affected as they are made using high-quality willow imported from England, but rather those bought by “the ordinary club cricketer” whose normally purchase bats made using Kashmiri willow which is a significantly cheaper material. "The common man or the students or school-going boys, they can easily buy a Kashmir willow bat”, said Mahajan, whose cricket equipment factory in northern India is said to produce up to 600 bats a day,
Mahajan said there is no equivalent substitute to Kashmir willow and he may have to resort to purchasing more wood from England, however, that would push up prices. Each willow tree takes ten to fifteens years to grow in Kashmir, and while suppliers have one or two years' worth of wood in stock, Mahajan said the impact would be felt when those stores run out and the shortfall after that could last for a long time to come. "For one or two years there will be no problem, but after three years it will be a problem”, he said.
DRUG TEST RESULT LEADS
TO PLAYER BAN
Umaid Asif of Pakistan’s Khan Research Laboratories was officially banned for a year last week by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for violating its Anti-Doping Tribunal Code, however, he can return to higher-level cricket in just three months time. Urine samples provided by Asif as part of random in-competition testing conducted after a match played in last November's National Twenty20 Cup series were found to have contained “prednisolone and prednisone”, both of which are banned under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations.
While Asif’s sample was given late last November and tested by the National Dope Testing Laboratory in New Delhi, India, he was not issued with a notice of charge by the PCB until the end of March this year. It was then that he was provisionally suspended from participating in any form of cricket pending consideration of his case by the PCB’s Anti-Doping Tribunal, which has now found him guilty and indicated that his year-long ban began on “23 January 2014”. Just why that date was chosen is unclear, however, records available on-line show Asif played in the final of the PCB’s Presidents Cup one-day tournament in early February this year, a match in which he took 2/10.
Thursday, 23 October 2014
ICC ‘POWERLESS’ TO HELP AS
BCCI-WICB GO ‘HEAD-TO-HEAD'
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said yesterday that it was concerned at the standoff between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) over the latter team’s recent mid-tour walk out, but would not intervene unless asked by the two parties (PTG 1451-7028, 18 October 2014). In a statement posted on its website, the world governing body said it was “closely monitoring the developments” which would be discussed its Executive Board meeting in Dubai on Monday fortnight, but that it “hopes” the current problems can be resolved “amicably".
West Indies players pulled out from the Indian tour after the last One Day International (ODI) of the series in Dharamsala last week due to an internal pay dispute, a move that came ahead of a scheduled Twenty20 International and three Tests. India retaliated by quickly arranging for Sri Lanka to play three ODIs to at least partly fill the gap caused by the West Indies departure, and freezing all future tours to the Caribbean, starting with the one listed for February-March 2016 when three Tests, five ODIs and a T20I were planned. The BCCI also indicated it would “initiate legal proceedings” against the West Indies in order to seek financial redress for the abandoned tour, but gave no details of just what that would involve.
In turn the WICB, which is reported to have limited financial resources and is worried it could lose out heavily on television rights if India refuses to tour, has sought a meeting with the BCCI to try and resolve the matter. The Caribbean board has also establish a 'Task Force', "comprising critical stakeholders, to review the premature end of the tour to India”, and it will meet with all parties, including the West Indies Players’ Association, the players, and the West Indies Team Management Unit, before reporting its findings to the Board of Directors”. The WICB also said that it will contact Cricket South Africa where the West Indies team is due to play three Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals in the coming December-March period, "to assure them it will use its best endeavours to ensure a successful tour” ensues.
ACC SUPPORTING EXCHANGE FOR
NEPALESE, HONG KONG, UMPIRES
Umpires Durga Nath Subedi from Nepal and Pakistan-born Tabarak Dar from Hong Kong, are to travel to Sri Lanka with their respective national teams next month as part of the Asian Cricket Council’s (ACC) scholarship program. In recent years the program has enabled curators from Myanmar and Thailand to visit Sri Lanka, and "the most prominent" women cricketers from the ACC region to take part in Sri Lankan women’s league cricket.
The Nepal and Hong Kong sides are to play three Twenty20 (T20) and a single fifty over one-day match against each other, plus two three-day games each against a Sri Lankan Cricket XI during their tours. Subedi and Dar will be "shadowing International Cricket Council (ICC) match officials” in the T20s, presumably Sri Lankan members of the second-tier International Umpires Panel, and stand together in the two teams’ one-day game against each other. ACC Umpiring Resource Person Bomi Jamula described their visit as “an excellent initiative and will give our umpires an excellent experience”.
Subedi has previously umpired in several ACC and ICC tournaments in such places as Jersey, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, and is standing in the World Cricket League Division 3 tournament that starts in Malaysia today (PTG 1451-7029, 18 October 2014), while Dar is a former Hong Kong captain and coach. Also visiting at the same time as the two umpire will be video analyst Raman Shiwakoti of Nepal. ACC Development Manager Bandula Warnapura said video analysts have an important part to play in coaching and player development and that success in that area is not reliant just on software but on the way such technology is utilised.
FOURTH BOWLER TESTING CENTRE
ACCREDITED BY ICC
The England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) National Performance Centre (NPC) in Loughborough has become the fourth laboratory to be accredited by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as a testing centre for illegal bowling actions. It joins those at Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales, the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane and Chennai's Sri Ramachandra University (PTG 1440-6969, 3 October 2014).
ICC testing protocols, which are used to determine whether reported bowlers comply with current guidelines, have now been provided to each of the four approved facilities to ensure uniformity in the process, although researchers at a former ICC testing centre in Western Australia have questioned their appropriateness (PTG 1450-7027, 16 October 2014). ECB acting chief executive Brian Havill, said: "We are absolutely delighted that the [NPC] has been accredited by the ICC” and that his organisation "is committed to assisting the ICC in tackling the issue of illegal bowling actions in international cricket”. Loughborough University's Dr Mark King will act as the lead specialist in cases taken to the NPC.
Commenting on the new centre Geoff Allardice, the ICC's cricket general manager, said it "strengthens the ICC's ongoing commitment to eradicating illegal bowling actions and we look forward to continuing the good work that has been done”. Reports suggest that the ICC is looking at establishing additional testing centres in Africa and the Americas, thus ensuring a facility is available in each of its five regions, however, just why it should have two centres in Europe, Cardiff and Loughborough, which are just three hours drive away from each other, is not clear.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) indicated yesterday that banned off-spinner Saeed Ajmal would undertake a further two weeks of work on his bowling action before being "sent to England for assessment”. Last week PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said Ajmal had “rectified" his style and was ready to undergo an “informal" laboratory test as part of his efforts to return prior to next year’s World Cup. Khan told reporters in Lahore that once he"clears the ‘informal’ examination”, the ICC will be asked to test him on an official basis (PTG 1450-7027, 16 October 2014).
DAR TO NOW EQUAL SHEPHERD’S
TEST RECORD IN CHITTAGONG
Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar is now expected to draw level with the late David Shepard on ninety-two Tests during the forthcoming three-match series between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Dar, who had been named to stand in two matches in the now cancelled India-West Indies Test series and pass Shepard during the last of the three Bangladesh-Zimbabwe games (PTG 1448-7017, 14 October 2014), has now been assigned two Tests in Bangladesh, a move that follows the apparent withdrawal of Australian Bruce Oxenford from the three matches there.
Oxenford was to have stood in the opening Test in Dhaka with Indian Sundarum Ravi with New Zealand’s ‘Billy’ Bowden the third umpire, then with Bowden in the second game in Khulna when Ravi was the third umpire, before himself becoming the third umpire for the final game in Chittagong with Dar and New Zealand’s Chris Gaffaney on-field. With Oxenford now apparently unavailable, Kumar Dharmasena from Sri Lanka will stand with Ravi in the opening match, while Dar will come in to stand with Bowden in game two, and Gaffaney in Chittagong with Dharmasena the third umpire. Englishman Chris Broad remains unchanged as the match referee for the series.
REPORT SUGGESTS FOUR INTERVIEWED
FOR NEW MCC LAWS POSITION
An as yet unconfirmed report suggests that the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) interviewed four candidates for its newly established ‘Laws of Cricket Advisor’ position, however, as yet there is no news as to just when an appointment will be announced. Applications for the job, which as its name implies will play a key role in the Club's day-to-day work on the game’s Laws, closed almost ten weeks ago (PTG 1409-6802, 8 August 2014).
The MCC said in August that the need for the new role was identified as part of its 'Cricket Strategy’ review which found in part that the Club should be more proactive in promoting and guarding the Laws and the philosophy contained in them. It has indicated that a key part of the successful applicant’s work will be to oversee the production and revision of a range of on-line umpire educational materials. Such output will be made available to match officials from all levels of the game around the world and be linked to an accompanying accreditation system, the details of which have not yet been released.
In addition, the person chosen will liaise with other MCC groups "to investigate commercial opportunities that may exist in relation to the Club’s ownership of the Laws, assisting with the production of animations on the Laws of Cricket, and to search for illegal cricket equipment being sold around the world”. He or she will also handle all Laws related administration, including supporting the Club’s Laws sub-committee, answer Laws queries sent to the Club, coordinate research projects, write topical Laws-related articles for the Lord’s website, and the annual summary of the Laws sub-committee’s work for the Club’s Annual Report.
RECRUITMENT OF ‘1,500’ WORLD CUP
NET BOWLERS TO BEGIN
World Cup organisers are set to launch their official 'Net Bowler' program in Brisbane today, an operation that aims to recruit around 1,500 bowlers from across fourteen cities in Australia and New Zealand to assist with player net sessions prior to and during the tournament. Net bowlers are expected to be drawn from higher level club cricket and play an important role in helping World Cup teams practise their batting. The recruitment program over the next few weeks will screen potential candidates under the "watchful eyes" of former Australian opener Matthew Hayden, says an International Cricket Council is a press release.
Friday, 24 October 2014
BOWLER’S PAUSE NOW UNDER
THE ICC MICROSCOPE
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has asked its umpires, via its unpublished Match Officials Almanac’, to use their discretion to decide whether bowlers are pausing too long in their delivery stride, according to a report posted on the ‘Cricinfo’ web site overnight. Journalist Sidharth Monga says a pause before delivery "has not been specifically outlawed”, but should an international umpire feel a bowler is deliberately using such a tactic unfairly to distract a batsman, they can call 'dead ball' under Law 42.2, ‘Fair and Unfair Play’.
Monga specifically mentions the likes of India’s Ravichandran Ashwin and Suresh Raina, plus Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez, in his article, all of whom are off-break bowlers, a style that has been particularly prominent in suspect and illegal actions issues over the last four months. He also writes that the ICC, as was the case in the ‘Steve Smith’ fielder movement issue earlier this month (PTG 1450-7026, 16 October 2014), has chosen to not publish information on either matter because it believes neither represent a change to actual Playing Conditions. Rather it considers them “clarifications", which would have been cleared by the Marylebone Cricket Club, that will enable better and more relevant interpretations of the game’s Laws. The world body says international teams have been briefed on both issues.
An ICC spokesperson is said to have told ‘Cricinfo: "There is no stopwatch being used to measure the length of the pause”. However, Monga writes "there can be an endless debate on what significant and unfair movement is, or what constitutes a significant and long pause, which will only be accentuated by its relying on how the umpire on the day sees it". “Moreover”, he continues, "the fact that the ICC hasn't publicised [such issues] has potential to create controversy, as was evident in [the Smith catch] case”. What he does not mention is that it also has the potential to cause confusion amongst players in the club level game.
The ICC apparently thinks otherwise, its spokesman saying in relation to the Smith situation: "The Law [on a fielder’s movement] was designed to prevent a fielder intentionally deceiving a batsman [but] was silent on a fieldsman anticipating where the ball is going based on the movement of a batsman”. “Cricket [thus] did what any other sport would do: prevent a player getting an unfair advantage through deception, but encourage the skill of anticipation and reading the play”. Any change in such a situation "would have been if we had instructed the umpires to call dead ball in those circumstances”, runs the quote attributed to the ICC spokesman.
BPL FRANCHISE CHAIRMAN FILES
CASE AGAINST BCB, ICC OFFICIALS
Salim Chowdhury, the chairman of the Bangladesh Premier League’s (BPL) now defunct Dhaka Gladiators franchise, yesterday filed a legal case against six officials from the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and the International Council (ICC) that accuses them of "failing to a prevent a fixed match”, says the ‘Daily Star’ newspaper. Reports earlier this year claimed that the ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) allowed a 2013 BPL game to proceed even though they had knowledge that arrangements had been made to fix the result (PTG 1374-6643, 12 June 2014).
The ‘Star’ names the six Chowdhury has accused as: ICC Chief Executive Officer Dave Richardson, ACSU chairman Sir Ronald Flanagan, its officials Joginder Singh, Dharambir Singh Yadav, BCB Chief Executive Officer Nizam Uddin Chowdhury, and Dhaka Gladiators coach Ian Pont. Chowdhury is said to allege, in the Star’s words, "that instead of taking measures to prevent corruption and protect the audience from being cheated, ICC high-ups allowed the match to go on, which is tantamount to dishonesty with cricket fans and the paying public”. That approach has been portrayed in the past as a tactic to draw out those who were involved in match fixing.
Earlier this week the BCB and ICC filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland against the reduced ban handed to former national captain Mohammad Ashraful for his admitted involvement in BPL match fixing, and the acquittal of five other individuals (PTG 1452-7034, 22 October 2014). Another report yesterday said Ashraful is now playing club cricket in New York in a non-ICC affiliated league. Earlier this year he played in matched in Los Angeles in another competition that is not linked to the ICC.
AUSSIE, PNG FEMALE UMPIRES
FOR NZ DOMESTIC WOMEN’S SERIES
Two women umpires from Australia and a third from Papua New Guinea (PNG) have been named for New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) seven-day national Under-21 women’s tournament that is to be played in Lincoln near Christchurch in late December (PTG 1448-7020, 14 October 2014). That trio will join the NZC’s Kim Cotton of Christchurch, Kathy Cross of Wellington, and Diana Venter from Auckland, in what will be a unique all-women umpiring panel who are to be mentored by NZC Umpire Coach Tony Hill, a former member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel.
Reports from New Zealand yesterday say that the Australian umpires will be Claire Polosak of New South Wales and Deanne Young from the Australian Capital Territory, plus PNG's Helen Atai who is the top rating member of the ICC East Asia Pacific region’s second-tier 2014 Development Umpires Panel. Atai, a former PNG representative player, has travelled to Australia several times on EAP scholarships to umpire in tournaments there (PTG 1143-5541, 9 July 2013), while Polosak and Young so far have had limited experience in Cricket Australia (CA) womens’ competitions (PTG 1446-7006, 10 October 2014).
NZC Match Officials Manager Rodger McHarg is quoted in one media report yesterday as saying: "We’re delighted to be able to have a completely female umpiring panel” for the event. He is also said to have stated that “it really shows the great strides that women’s umpiring has made in recent years”, and that “the quality of umpires named is exceptional” as “alongside Kathy Cross, who has umpired at three women’s World Cups, we have three very well qualified and aspiring umpires from overseas”.
Originally, NZC appears to have been anticipating three Australian umpires for the event, but due to the limited number of female officials there the EAP, whose office is only a few hundred metres from CA’s headquarters in Melbourne, appears to have been approached with regards to the opportunity. One report says that “hopefully” the exchange will be "reciprocated with New Zealand women umpires travelling across the ditch [to Australia] in future seasons”.
COOK ISLANDS-BORN UMPIRE APPEARS ON
TRACK FOR TOP NZ DOMESTIC PANEL
Cook Islands-born former first class player Chris Brown, is being groomed to join New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) next year, if first class and other appointments for the country’s top domestic competitions in 2014-15 are any guide. Brown, 41, who made his umpiring debut at first class level early in 2013, is the only non-EUP member to be allocated such games, having been listed for four first class, three fifty-over one-day, and two Twenty20 fixtures over the next six months.
Wayne Knights tops the first class appointments with nine games, Gary Baxter, Tim Parlane and Phil Jones each have seven, Barry Frost six, Brown, Tony Gillies, new EUP member Ash Mehrotra, plus Derek Walker, each four, and Chris Gaffaney, who has a number of International Cricket Council games to look after in coming months, just one (PTG 1453-7044, 23 October 2014). For Baxter and Frost its their seventeenth season at first class level, Jones number thirteen, Parlane twelfth, Walker eleventh, Gaffaney eighth, Knights sixth, Gillies fourth, and Brown and Mehrotra their third.
NZC umpire appointments sheets show an umpire from South Africa is to stand in two first class matches, one with Gillies and the other Parlane, and an Australian in one in February with Knights, as part of long-stand exchange programs, while another from Sri Lanka has been allocated two such games in March (PTG 1423-6883, 1 September 2014), the first with Baxter and the second Mehrotra. The names of the three exchanges who will travel to New Zealand, and the three Kiwis who will travel in the opposite direction, have not yet been made public.
In NZC’s domestic one day series, Baxter and Knights each have been given seven games, Gillies and Parlane six, Mehrotra five, Frost and Jones each four, and Brown, Gaffaney and Walker all three. Parlane heads the Twenty20 appointments list with eleven, then comes Walker with eight, Baxter, Frost, Gillies, Knights and Jones all with seven, Mehrotra six and Brown two. Umpires for the finals of those two competitions have not yet been named. While thirteen umpires, ten of them locals, will look after matches in NZC’s senior four and one-day series, a total of thirty-three scorers will record the details of those games.
Of the first class scorers, all of whom have worked at that level previously, Annette Campbell and Malcolm Jones top the list with five games, Bill Andersson, Bev Baker, Tony Feely, Duncan Mitchell, Ian Smith and Euan West all have four, Chris McQuaid, Helen Simpson, Jeff Stuart and Cheryl Styles each two, while those with one are Michael Anderson, Richard Baggs, Dave Cummings, Robyn Dixon, Karen Fleet, Matt Frost, Claire Hayne, Toni Hill, Erica Knights, Thelma Luxton, Braedon Makgill, Gail McGowan, Dean Plummer, Phil Rice, Kirsty Sands, Jane Silvester, Selwyn Wakefield.
While she is from Auckland, Hill is not related to Tony Hill the former international umpire who is also from there, but Knights is the sister of first class umpire Wayne, while scorers Feely and Fleet are also brother and sister.
Matches in the three competitions will be overseen by NZC’s three match referees Doug Cowie, David Quested and George Morris, all of whom are former Test umpires (PTG 1221-5879, 30 October 2013).
NZC ‘TOURNAMENT SCORERS’ PROGRAM’
PART OF DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
What New Zealand Cricket (NZC) calls its Tournament Scorers Program (TSP), which involves the provision of support for its men’s Under-19 and women’s Under-21 national tournaments at Lincoln near Christchurch, plus their men’s Under-17 equivalent in Wellington, will again be in operation during the 2014-15 season. The program, which has been running for a number of years, enables scorers, some of whom are relatively inexperienced, to work, mingle with, and learn from, colleagues from other parts of the country, and as such it is an important part of NZC’s scorer development program.
This austral summer’s TSP selections involve a total of nineteen scorers from five of NZC's major associations across the country, Auckand, Canterbury, Northern Districts, Otago and Wellington, but on this occasion those from the sixth, Central Districts, are not available. Fourteen of the nineteen will be flown in and accommodated by NZC to join locally-based colleagues as part of what are week-long and ten-day events. Should an association not have a scorer available for a particular tournament, as is the case with Central Districts this year, then their spot is offered to any association that has more than one scorer available for each event.
Late January's ten-day, eighteen-match men’s Under-19 tournament in Lincoln near Christchurch, will see nine scorers involved, three being locals from Canterbury, Gail McGowan, Duane Pettet and Euan West, while the others will be Richard Baggs from Northern Districts, Annette Campbell, Toni Hill and Erica Knights all Auckland, and Dave Cummings and Lindsay Neilson from Otago. Campbell, a first class and Test scorer, is Auckland’s Regional Scoring Manager, while McGowan, Knights, Pettet and West, have all scored at first class and One Day International (ODI) levels, and Cummings in first class and women’s ODIs.
Scoring in NZC’s week-long, fifteen-match men’s Under-17 equivalent, which will be played around the same time in Wellington, will be conducted by three Otago scorers, Gordon McFarlane, Kirsty Sands and Brent Whear, plus Northern District’s Simon Friend, and Wellington locals Jeff Stuart and Justin Williams. Both McFarlane and Stuart have scored at first class level, the former also in women’s ODIs, and the latter in men’s.
Canterbury’s McGowan and Pettit are to also support NZC’s Under-21 event in Lincoln just before Christmas. They will be joined by Michael Anderson of Auckland, Nicki McKenzie from Otago, Wellington’s Jane Silvester and Northern District’s Julie Theobald, for a seven-day tournament that will also involve two umpires from Australia and another from Papua New Guinea (PTG 1454-7047 above). In addition to McGowan and Pettit, Anderson and Silvester have scored in first class matches.
FRY, WARD TO STAND
IN CA ONE-DAY FINAL
Simon Fry and John Ward, Cricket Australia’s (CA) two senior-most domestic umpires, are to stand in the final of CA’s one-day fifty over competition at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday, with Paul Wilson the television official. Fry and Wilson will be on-ground at Blacktown today for the match between Queensland and New South Wales to decide who will play Western Australia in Sunday’s decider, Ward being the third umpire.
CA Umpire High Performance Panel member Bob Stratford will be the match referee for both games, and Christine Bennison and Kay Wilcoxon of New South Wales the scorers. For Ward it will be his fifth domestic one-day final, he being on-ground in the last four and the third umpire in the game before that, while Fry will be standing in his third in four years, and he was also the third umpire for the 2010 fixture. Stratford will be looking after his third one-day final since 2010.
PNG TO PLAY THEIR FIRST ODI
Papua New Guinea (PNG) are to play their first One Day International (ODI) in Townsville next month, their opponents being Hong Kong. The latter regained their ODI status earlier this year after they finished fifth in the World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand, PNG earning it for the first time in their history as a result of their sixth place finish in the same event. The two teams are to play ODIs in consecutive days, then after a day’s break take on each other in a three-day game. Match officials for the three matches have not yet been announced.
UMPIRE’S JOB ‘MORE COMPLICATED’
THAN A PLAYER'S, SAYS WILLEY
Englishman Peter Willey, who played at Test level for his country, says he "didn't realise how complicated the game was” until he took up umpiring. In a wide-ranging interview with the ‘Cricinfo' web site this week first class umpire Willey, who will reach the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) current compulsory retiring age before the ECB’s 2015 season (PTG 1421-6866, 29 August 2014), stated that “when you're playing, you bowl, you bat, and you don't realise what's going on”, and that today’s game is "getting more complicated, with television replays, different competitions, and everything”.
In Willey’s assessment the County game is run very well, “its lovely to umpire in” and "the players respect the umpires 99.9 per cent of the time”. "You get the odd [player] who questions your decisions, but we stamp on them straightaway”, he said. He indicated though that players would rather be given out by former professional cricketers who have taken up umpiring "than by what you might call 'amateur” umpires”. "Having played, you can see things building up, you can have a quiet word and stop things before it gets stupid", however, he conceded "those blokes [the ‘amateurs’] have done well, because it's been twice as hard for them to reach [first class] level than any ex-professional cricketer".
Willey expressed the view in a wide-ranging interview that if a ball pitches outside leg stump and it's going to hit the stumps the batsman should be out. He also mentioned the issue of bad light, saying “if we [play] in poor light and somebody gets hurt through trying to keep 30,000 [spectators] happy, it's a bit unfortunate on the bloke whose career might be finished”. "It's all right sitting in the stands and grumbling, but they haven't got to face a bloke bowling 90 mph”. According to him “the hardest decisions to give out are bat-pad” and that “years ago, when we had the horsehair leather, the sound was very different [and] the ball hitting the pad now sounds similar to it hitting the bat".
Sunday, 26 October 2014
SHOAIB MALIK’S ACTION UNDER
CLOSE SCRUTINY BY MATCH OFFICIALS
Former Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik is reported to have come under “close scrutiny” from match officials for having a suspect bowling action during his Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited side's on-going Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first class match against the Karachi Dolphins. Media reports from Karachi yesterday state that umpires Jamil Kamran and Qaiser Waheed, who are standing in their sixty-sixth and forty-eighth first class matches respectively, expressed their concern about Malik’s action to match referee Anwar Khan, a former Pakistani Test player who is overseeing his 132nd first class game.
Kamran, Waheed and Khan are said to have viewed video of Malik’s action after day one of the current game. A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) “source” is quoted as saying the three match officials “have doubts over the legality of some of the deliveries sent down by Malik on Friday”. The PCB has issued what have been described as "strict instructions" to its umpires and match referees "to keep a close watch on the bowlers with suspect bowling actions” during the current season. That came after reports twenty-nine bowlers there had been identified as having suspect actions (PTG 1440-6972, 3 October 2014). Whether Malik has actually been reported for a suspect action is not yet clear.
Off-spinner Malik, who played thirty-two Tests, 216 One Day Internationals and fifty-nine Twenty20 Internationals in an international career that began at Under-19 level in 1996, has been reported for a suspected bowling action in the past. In 2001 the PCB’s 'group of bowling advisers' concluded that his stock off-spinner was legal, but his ‘doosra' was not, then in 2004 he was reported to the International Cricket Council (ICC) for having a "potentially flawed bowling action” by umpires Aleem Dar and Simon Taufel, third umpire Asad Rauf, and match referee Jeff Crowe. After undergoing “some remedial work”, Malik travelled to the sports institute of South Africa in April 2005 for testing that showed his arm flex was within the ICC’s allowed tolerance level of fifteen degrees.
Meanwhile, the PCB said on Friday that banned off-spinner Saeed Ajmal will be sent "to an high-quality lab in England" for testing early next month to ascertain the exact degree of improvement that has been made as a result of his remedial work (PTG 1453-7043, 23 October 2014). PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said earlier this month that Ajmal`s elbow flex has been reduced to twenty degrees after it was measured as being up to a massive forty-two degrees at an ICC accredited facility in a Brisbane in August (PTG 1430-6812, 18 September 2014).
CA NUP CANDIDATES NAMED
FOR WOMENS’ ODI SERIES
Phillip Gillespie and Tony Wilds, two umpires currently under consideration for appointment to Cricket Australia’s (CA) National Umpires Panel (NUP) next year, are to officiate in the four-match One Day International (ODI) series between the Australian and West Indian womens’ sides next month. Gillespie and Wilds, who are from Victoria and New South Wales respectively, made their List A debuts earlier this month and may well go on to stand at first class level in CA’s Sheffield Shield competition over the next few months (PTG 1430-6916, 18 September 2014).
The four ODIs, which are to be played in Sydney and at the Bradman Oval in Bowral in country New South Wales, are part of the International Cricket Council’s inaugural two-year long Women’s Championship series between the world’s top eight women’s national sides (PTG 1390-6722, 14 July 2014). Scorers for the games will be: Christine Bennison, Toni Lorraine, Darren Mattison, Adam Morehouse, Robyn Sanday and Kay Wilcoxon, while CA Umpire High Performance Panel members Steve Bernard and Daryl Harper will be the match referees, Bernard in the first and Harper for the last three fixtures.
Wilds stood in a womens’ ODI between Australian and England in Hobart last January and has also officiated in three Under-19 ODIs in the Top End series played in June-July last year (PTG 1131-5493, 26 June 2013). Gillespie stood in a tour game between England women an a CA chairman’s women’s XI in Melbourne last January.
OLD FACES RETURN FOR KEY TOURNAMENT
ON CA UMPIRES’ PATHWAY
Cricket Australia (CA) has named the eight umpires who are to stand in its 2014-15 national Under-19 Championship series in Adelaide in January, a tournament that is a key milestone on CA’s umpire development pathway (PTG 1227-5913, 7 November 2013). Those selected were judged by CA Umpire High Performance Panel members and others who have formally observed them over the past year to have the potential for promotion to a higher level, and their performances will be further scrutinised during the Adelaide series for possible entry into CA's emerging umpires group, the last step before promotion to CA’s National Umpires Panel (NUP) sometime in the next few years.
Five of the eight chosen, Nathan Johnstone of Western Australia, Simon Lightbody and Ben Treloar of New South Wales, Jamie Mitchell of Tasmania and Luke Uthenwoldt of South Australia, are no strangers to the Under-19 event, and this year they will be joined by first timers James Hewitt of Western Australia, David Taylor of New South Wales, and former first class player David Shepard of Victoria, in the two-week long series. No one from Queensland have been named for the event.
Records available indicate Lightbody will be attending his fourth U19 series in five years, Johnstone his fourth since 2008, Mitchell number three in three years, Uthenwoldt his third since 2006, and Treloar his second in two seasons. Johnstone has been around the fringes of the NUP for a number of years, having been selected for two Emerging Player’s Tournaments, an event that has since been replaced by the Under-19 series on the umpiring pathway, as well as five List A games, and an Under-19 Test. Mitchell and Treloar have also taken part in two CA Under-17 national tournaments in the past.
This austral summer’s CA national Under-17 Championships in Hobart in December will also see eight umpires take part, two each from New South Wales and Victoria, and one each from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania. The eight, who were selected following recommendations made by the respective regions’ local directors of umpiring, are: Anthony Hobson and Muhammad Qureshi of New South Wales, Stephen Brne and Dale Ireland of Victoria, Andrew Crozier (ACT), Donovan Koch (Queensland), Cain Kemp (South Australia) and Glen Quinlan (Tasmania). Missing from the list is an umpire from Western Australia.
SECOND EAP UMPIRE PANEL MEMBER
FOR NZ TOURNAMENT
A so far unnamed umpire from the International Cricket Council’s East Asia Pacific (EAP) region is to take part in New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) 2015 National Under-19 tournament which is to be played at Lincoln, near Christchurch, in January. The individual selected will work with members of NZC’s Reserve Panel, Mark Elliott, Pete Gasston, Mike George, Dave Paterson and Hiran Perera, plus nine scorers, in the ten-day, eighteen match event (PTG 1454-7051, 24 October 2014).
Currently the EAP’s top umpires’ panel is made up of, in order of ranking: Nigel Morrison (Vanuatu), Neil Harrison (Japan), Geoff Clelland (Vanuatu), Grant Johnston (Vanuatu), Alu Kapa and Lakani Oala (Papua New Guinea), Chris Thurgate (Japan), and Indonesians Suresh Subramanian and Subramonia Gopalakrishnan. Helen Atai of Papua New Guinea, the top ranking member of the EAP’s second-tier Development Umpires Panel, is to travel to Lincoln in December for NZC’s women’s Under-21 tournament (PTG 1454-7049, 24 October 2014).
Australian Claire Polosak, 25, one of two Australians who will also take part in that Under-21 event, made her debut at Sydney Cricket Association (SCA) men’s first grade level, the feeder competition to the NSW first class side, in two Twenty20 games last Sunday. The first between Blacktown and Penrith saw her stand with National Umpire Panel candidate Anthony Wilds (PTG 1455-7056 above), and the other was Blacktown’s second match of the day against the Australian Capital Territory, her colleague then being the experienced Terry Keel. Score sheets available on line show she is currently standing in a SCA second grade two-day game between Sydney University and Bankstown, Darren Goodger, New South Wales' State Director of Umpiring, standing with her.
More than a month into the 2014-15 season in Australia, CA is yet to announced just who will become the first female, or latest male, members of its Project Panel. Applications for those positions opened seven weeks ago and successful candidates were to be offered initial contracts that will be subject to review in June next year (PTG 1428-6902, 11 September 2014).
HIGH COURT JUDGE BOWLED
OVER BY CRICKET TERMS
Monday, 27 October 2014
DOCTROVE ‘CONVINCED' 2006 OVAL
TEST BALL WAS INTERFERED WITH
Former West Indian international umpire Billy Doctrove says that he is “convinced” that the Pakistan team interfered with the ball during the now infamous Test against England at The Oval in August 2006. Doctrove told the ‘Cricket Web’ site in an article published over the weekend that when "both my colleague and myself saw the way that the ball had deteriorated in quick time, we recognised that somebody was interfering with the ball", however, where he differed from “his colleague”, whose name he never mentions in the interview, was the way the matter needed to be handled in real time.
Doctrove says that despite his findings and what the Laws say, he wanted to "observe a bit more so that we could try and identify who was responsible", but “his colleague" "was adamant that we should take a decision right away and penalise the Pakistan team”. “He was a much more experienced umpire than me at that time [for it] was only my second Test match on the [International Cricket Council’s (ICC)] Elite Umpires Panel”. "Although every umpire is equal”, continued Doctrove, “sometimes because of the circumstances you will find an umpire having more authority or more influence on the other umpire”.
As a result Doctrove says he "went along with him” and then went on to state that “when one of the ICC officials”, whom he would not name, "looked at the ball for the very first time, and saw that it was interfered with only on one side, all he said was ‘Wow’”.
"That whole incident taught me a lot”, continued Doctrove, “not only about my umpiring, but about me as a person”. "It was the most difficult time, I would say, of my entire life because right after that thing happened, my colleague”. “He got support from Cricket Australia in terms of offering him legal assistance, offering him emotional help, offering a lot of advice”. However, "I had to be on my own there in a hotel".
"Fortunately, I have a brother in England who assisted me to recover”, said Doctrove, for “he came to collect me at the hotel a few days after and took me to his home”. "It helped me to recover”. "It taught me a lot about myself, how to handle adversity, how to react facing adverse conditions”. "It made me a much stronger person, much stronger individual: and “whilst it was a negative in terms of my umpiring career I transformed it into a positive”.
Doctrove was to have appeared as a witness in a case his unmentioned colleague, Darrell Hair of Australia, subsequently took against the ICC for the way he was treated in the wake of The Oval Test, but for reasons that have never been made public he failed to turn up at the hearing (PTG 110-606, 5 October 2007).
CA 2013-14 EARNINGS REPORTEDLY
CLOSE TO A RECORD $A300 MILLION
A number of news outlets in Australia are reporting this morning that Cricket Australia (CA) will announce record earnings of close to $A300 million dollars for the last financial year at its annual meeting in Melbourne this week. An article in today's ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ (‘SMH’) says CA will declare revenue of $295.9 million for a period that included the 2013-14 ‘Ashes’ summer, a seventy-six per cent rise on the previous year when South Africa and Sri Lanka toured, but that the numbers for the current austral summer are expected to be even higher "with the game's most lucrative visitors, India, due in Australia next month”.
Journalist Chris Barrett says that CA's primary income source stems from television rights, and because they make more money from overseas broadcasters its earnings vary from year-to-year, for when countries other than England and India tour Australia the financial return is not always as spectacular as over the past twelve months. Melbourne’s ‘Herald Sun’ says for example that CA made “a substantial loss when Sri Lanka toured in 2012-13” and that a similar situation is likely if as currently planned the West Indies and New Zealand tour in 2015-16. However, the Herald Sun’s Grant Baker and Mark Hayes write that the "surge in domestic television rights and huge influx in [domestic Twenty20 league] crowds last summer is beginning to insulate CA’s bottom line against the fluctuating money from overseas tours and TV deals".
According to Barrett CA's legally required 2013-14 financial report to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission reveals "payments to players and umpires rose from $A37.4 million to $A54.3 million in the period ending in June this year”. Australia's leading players, many of of whom now earn more than $A1 million a year from their central contracts alone (PTG 1283-6182, 4 February 2014), are he says among the big winners, having earned bonuses from series wins against England and then South Africa that saw the Test side return briefly to the top of the world rankings (PTG 1320-6364, 26 March 2014). Just how much the “umpires" received of he overall $A37.4 million figure mentioned was not stated, however, anecdotal evidence clearly suggests it was less than $A2 million.
CRACKDOWN ON BOWLING ACTIONS NOT
WORLD CUP RELATED, SAYS ICC CEO
International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David Richardson yesterday refused to accept the timing of the world body’s crackdown on bowlers with suspect actions had nothing to do with the World Cup in February-March next year. Talking to journalists in Dubai, Richardson said that the clampdown over the past four months came because “we reached the stage where there were just too many bowlers [with suspect actions] starting to emerge, and while its arguable that we could have taken this kind of action earlier, we realised that we must draw the line sooner [rather] than later”.
Richardson said the majority of stakeholders do not agree on bending the rule to allow off-spinners like Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal to bowl the ‘doosra’ with such a large arm flex. In an apparent reference to this year’s meeting of the ICC’s Cricket Committee, he said "We had a debate [about whether] should we allow a change in the law, to allow them to straighten their arm to bowl the ‘doosra', there were arguments but majority said ‘no’ and said stick to the law”. “There are legitimate ways you can do something special without changing the principle, so we hopefully [will] encourage the unorthodox action or deliveries but within the rules”.
The ICC chief denied Ajmal had been targeted, saying "There was no question of penalising bowlers from some countries”. "The best thing about our Cricket Committee is that there are players from around the world in it who are doing everything for the good of the game and I don’t think there was any kind of underhand motive”. "The game as a whole has a problem, bowlers have been reported from a range of countries New Zealand, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and I don’t think any country will be spared if they got bowlers with suspect actions”.
CSA, NZC UMPIRES NAMED FOR
AUSSIE FIRST CLASS EXCHANGES
Umpires from South Africa and New Zealand are to join nine members of Cricket Australia’s (CA) National Umpires Panel (NUP) for the opening twelve Sheffield Shield first class matches that are to be played across Australia’s six states over the next four weeks, games that will include the first class umpiring debut of new NUP member Shawn Craig. Three of the twelve matches will be day-night fixtures played in Adelaide, Hobart in Perth in what is the second phase of CA’s match-related efforts to perfect arrangements for what they hope will be the inaugural day-night Test against New Zealand in November next year in either Adelaide or Hobart (PTG 1383-6688, 1 July 2014).
New NUP members Craig and Greg Davidson plus their colleagues Gerard Abood, Ash Barrow, Mike Graham-Smith, Geoff Joshua, Damien Mealey, Sam Nogajksi and Paul Wilson, will be joined by Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Patrick Jele and New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) Wayne Knights in standing in the twelve games; Davidson and Knights having single matches and the others all two. Craig is to debut in Adelaide this Friday with Joshua before a second game in Brisbane in mid-month with Mealey. Jele is to stand in matches in Hobart with Wilson and Brisbane with Abood, while Knight’s game will be in the Adelaide day-nighter with Abood, a fixture NZC have a particular interest in, the other two late-day games in Perth and Hobart seeing Barrow-Joshua and Mealey-Nogajski umpiring combinations on-field respectively.
Three NUP members, Simon Fry, John Ward and Mick Martell, who also also members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), have not been given any Shield appointments in November, which indicates they will be engaged in the three Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), and five One Day Internationals (ODI) Australia and South Africa are to play over the first three weeks of that month. CA and ICC appointments for those games have not yet been made public. The two Shield matches given to Wilson, the fourth Australian IUP member, are such that he could still work in the T20I series as well as the last two ODIs if required.
Four members of CA’s five-man Umpire High Performance Panel, Daryl Harper, Peter Marshall, Bob Stratford and David Tallala will work across the twelve Shield games as match referees and umpire observers, while seventeen scorers have been assigned by CA to look after the dozen fixtures; four each in Brisbane and Melbourne, three in Hobart, and two each in Adelaide, Perth and Sydney. James Bazzo, Gail Cartwright, Cliff Howard and Rod Palmer will be in Brisbane, Jim Hamilton, Jim Higgs, Craig Reece and Mike Walsh in Melbourne, Nathan Bester, Robert Godfrey and Graeme Hamley in Hobart, Rita Artis and Neil Ricketts in Adelaide, Lance Catchpole and Sandy Wheeler in Perth and Darren Mattison and Robyn Sanday in Sydney.
Of the two international exchangees, Knights, 44, is no stranger to the Sheffield Shield having stood in a match in Perth twelve months ago (PTG 1239-5984, 22 November 2013). He made his first class debut six years ago and the coming game in Adelaide will be his thirty-third at that level, two of which were in South Africa in 2012 on a CSA-NZC exchange. In addition he has also stood in senior club matches in Sri Lanka, and his overall record also includes a total of thirty List A and twenty-six senior Twenty20s plus Womens’ and Under-19 ODIs.
Aged just twenty-eight, Jele is one of CSA’s youngest umpires in a career to date that saw him stand in two first class games in NZC’s Plunket Shield in February this year (PTG 1290-6221, 12 February 2014). A first class umpire since the age of twenty-three, he made his debut at that level in CSA’s Provincial first class series, and has since gone on the stand in thirty-four games in that competition and five in CSA’s franchise series, plus thirty-seven List A and twelve Twenty20s, a single Under-19 Test and both Womens’ and Under-19 ODIs.
Just which of the Australian NUP members will travel to New Zealand and South Africa as part of this year’s exchange program, or whether the arrangement between CA and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will continue, has not yet been announced. Wilson visited South Africa last February and Abood New Zealand last November, CSA’s Allahudien Paleker and NZC’s Knights travelling in the opposite direction, while the BCCI’s Anil Chaudary was in Australia for two first class games in February (PTG 1284-6187, 5 February 2014). However, no CA umpire went to India during the BCCI’s November-January 2013-14 domestic first class ‘window' on the sub-continent.
WINDIES' GROUPS IN ‘CORDIAL, POSITIVE, FRUITFUL’
MEETING, BUT NO RESULTS ANNOUNCED
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) , the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) and “representatives" of the West Indies playing squad on the recently abandoned tour of India held what a WICB press release issued overnight describes as an "emergency meeting" on Sunday in Kingston, Jamaica. Apart from saying meeting was "cordial, positive and fruitful” and that "discussions will continue in an effort to find a way forward following the premature end of the tour of India”, the release gave no details of any outcomes.
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
CRICKET VICTORIA TO REVIEW GAME’S
HEALTH IN COUNTRY REGIONS
Australian David Richards, who spent eight years as the chief executive officer International Cricket Council (ICC) from 1993-2001, has been asked by Cricket Victoria (CV) to conduct "a wide-ranging review" of the health of the game in country areas of that state. Richard’s report, which is due to be submitted to CV in March next year, is expected to provide administrators with a clearer picture of how well cricket operates outside of metropolitan Melbourne, and set out where appropriate any changes that may need to be made to present arrangements.
CV's chief executive officer Tony Dodemaide said in a statement that the review has three main aims: To assess the state of play in country areas, including participation levels, development of state and national players and resourcing from state and national bodies; To examine the governance structure with regard to Cricket Australia (CA) , CV, the Victorian Country Cricket League, and the eight regions and associations; and to provide recommendations about CV's overall strategy to manage the sport in country areas. “Cricket is a key element of the overall fabric of country towns across the state”, said Dodemaide, “however, there are a number of challenges for cricket in those regions and CV has commissioned the review to determine how we can overcome [them]”.
Rohan O’Neill, CV's general manager of game and market development, emphasised in an interview with the ‘Warnambool Standard' that the review did not mean "bush cricket" faced major problems. Rather “we see it as a real positive [for] it’s how can we look forward ten or fifteen years down the track to best ensure cricket is really strong”. “In certain areas it really is, in other areas it’s dropped off a bit, it varies across the state, but collectively, cricket participation has never been better”.
O’Neill said the state body was intent on ensuring the review was independent and he would not be drawn on potential recommendations when interviewed by ‘Standard’ journalist Aidan Fawkes. “We’ve been very clear with David Richards [that] we want his expert opinion and for it to be independent”. “We envisage he will go through a heavy consultation with the regions that will give him the feedback from the grassroots which is what we want”. “On top of that, our ability to implement the strategy is important”. "They’ve got to marry up”, said O’Neill.
Richards was the then equivalent of CV's secretary from 1973-80, then spent thirteen years as chief executive officer of CA’s predecessor, the Australian Cricket Board, from 1980-93, after which he took up the ICC position. Since then he has worked in sports mentoring positions.
COUNTY PLAYERS REPRIMANDED
FOR LATE SEASON OFFENCES
Leicestershire’s Charlie Shreck and Ben Raine and Derbyshire’s Billy Godleman have received penalties under the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) discipline code for incidents that occurred in County Championship matches last month. The penalties will remain on their respective records for a period of two years and the accumulation of nine or more penalty points in any twenty-four month period will result in an automatic suspension.
Shreck was reported by umpires Peter Willey and Graham Lloyd during Leicestershire’s County Championship match against Essex in mid-September for a Level Two breach of "showing serious dissent against an umpire’s decision by word or action”. He had previously received a reprimand following a Level One breach in July (PTG 1392-6740, 17 July 2014), and the fact that the subsequent Level Two offence occurred within two years of that meant he was given six disciplinary points.
Godleman and Raine were both reported by umpires Martin Saggers and Jeff Evans during the Derbyshire-Leicestershire County Championship match played late last month for Level Two breaches that involved "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play". The ECB penalty for each of these offences is three penalty points.
SLC INVESTIGATING ‘SEXUAL
Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) Executive Committee has launched an inquiry into claims members of their national women’s team management and its selectors "had to be bribed sexually" by their players in order to win selection to, and keep their places in, the side. Allegations had been made to that affect in a local media report last week, which led to SLC convening an “emergency meeting” on Monday at which they agreed to set up the investigation, however, the ‘News First’ web site quoted SLC Vice President Mohan de Silva as saying that no written or verbal complaint had been lodged with his organisation about the matter.
Vice President de Silva, SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga, Assistant Secretary Hirantha Perera and chief men’s national selector Sanath Jayasuriya, have been appointed as members of the committee that will investigate the allegations. Colombo’s ‘Daily Mirror’ says they are to conduct their inquiry over the next few days and that women’s team selectors, team officials and "all members of the national squad” will be called to give evidence.
‘MASSIVE CHANGES’ CLAIMED FOR
SUSPENDED NZ OFF-SPINNER’S ACTION
New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said yesterday that occasional off-spinner Kane Williamson has "made massive changes to his action” since he was banned from bowling in the international game three months ago. Williamson was reported after New Zealand's second Test against the West Indies in mid-June (PTG 1379-6672, 23 June 2014), and was subsequently suspended from bowling following tests conducted at Cardiff Metropolitan University (PTG 1398-6767, 25 July 2014).