1,472 – 1 December [7119-7122]
• ‘Catastrophic head wound’ killed umpire, says hospital (1472-7119).
• Bouncer ‘rules’ ‘unlikely to change’, suggests ICC CEO (1472-7120).
• Lankan pair on World Cup umpire panel, claim reports (1472-7121).
• Slow over-rate fine for Zimbabwe (1472-7122).
1,473 - 2 December [7123-7125]
• Carry on but ‘calm down’, says former NZ captain (1473-7123).
• Changing shed decision sees match result altered (1473-7124).
• MCC Laws sub-committee to consider new bat grip system (1473-7125).
1,474 - 4 December [7126-7127]
• ICC names World Cup referee, umpire panels (1474-7126).
• Two UAE bowlers reported for suspect bowling actions (1474-7127).
1,475 - 5 December [7128-7137]
• Facial injuries fall, but back-of-the-head rate unchanged, says NZ data (1475-7128).
• Test captain calls for better helmets (1475-7129).
• England skipper suspended for second over-rate offence (1475-7130).
• Match officials confirmed for Australia-India Test series (1475-7131).
• Reports suggests appointment of 2015 ECB panels on track (1475-71 32 ).
• Bowler suspended for delivery style to return to domestic game? (1475-7133).
• Bermudan’s bowling action found to be ‘illegal' (1475-7134).
• ‘Likely’ early lifting of player’s ban now in doubt? (14755-7135).
• ICC rejects Kaneria’s request for life ban review (14755-7136).
• Professional players 'more likely' to have gambling ‘problems’ (14755-7137).
1,476 - 6 December [7138-7141]
• Twenty-six NZ scorers to support 2015 World Cup (1476-7138).
• Umpire appointments ‘manipulated’ to ensure team looses, alleges owner (1476-7139).
• BCB lifts player’s ban early, latest misbehaviour ‘his club’s fault' (1476-7140).
• New NZ law makes match fixing a criminal offence (1476-7141).
1,477 - 8 December [7142-7146]
• Make helmets for umpires ‘compulsory’, says former Test umpire (1477-7142).
• Doctors clear Batsman after back-of-head strike (1477-7143).
• Third Australian in exchange visit to India (1477-7144).
• Another off-spinner suspended after laboratory tests (1477-7145).
• Banned Pakistan umpire seeks early domestic return (1477-7146).
1,478 - 9 December [7147-7151]
• BCCI bans use of national gear in domestic games (1478-7147).
• Another slow over-rate fine for England (1478-7148).
• No news yet of early declaration investigation (1478-7149).
• Bee swarm stops play (1478-7150).
• Pitch problems result in closure of ground (1478-7151).
1,479 - 10 December [7152-7158]
• Research shows ‘wearables’ wrist sensor provides accurate data (1479-7152).
• Coach blames umpires’ ‘misplacement’ of ball for match loss (1479-7153).
• ‘Hawk Eye’ officials acknowledge system error, claims report (1479-7154).
• Remodelled bowling actions declared ‘legal' (1479-7155).
• Batsman unconscious for six minutes following ball strike (1479-7156).
• Cricket low on Australian sports injuries list (1479-7157).
• Padded helmet flap design would protect neck, claims gear designer (1480-7159).
• Young player dies after mid-match heart attack (1480-7160).
• Umpire ‘manipulation’ comments result in life ban (1480-7161).
• Sharp, Willey missing from 2015 ECB Full List (1480-7162).
• Utseya’s slow medium action cleared, but off-spinners still ‘illegal' (1480-7163).
• Helmet strike denies debutant his first wicket (1480-7164).
• PCB reassures Kenyans about tour security (1480-7165).
1,481 - 12 December [7166-7172]
• Broad to become second referee to reach 250 ODI mark (1481-7166).
• Batsman’s vision wobbly five months after face strike (1481-7167).
• Dar moves to head of T2OI umpires’ list (1481-7168).
• Pretoria accredited as ICC bowling testing centre (1481-7169).
• Appropriateness of disciplinary process, life ban, queried (1481-7170).
• Hafeez set for remedial work in Chennai (1481-7171).
• Blind leading the blind? (1481-7172).
1,482 - 13 December [7173-7177]
• ‘Contentious’ end to 2014 CPL final ‘resolved’, say organisers (1482-7173).
• ‘Respect for opponents’ again goes missing (1482-7174).
• Report awaited on alleged ‘misplacement’ of ball (1482-7175).
• Four named to manage South Africa, Windies, Test series (1482-7176).
• PNG bowler’s action declared ‘legal' (1482-7177).
1,483 - 14 December [7178-7179]
• Five internationals censured for on-field misdemeanours (1483-7178).
• Second player dies of heart attack (1483-7179).
1,484 - 15 December [7180-7181]
• Dissent after late Power Play request results in fine (1484-7180).
• Second Indian exchange match for Australian (1484-7181).
1,485 - 17 December [7182-7183]
• Eton maths teacher selected for new MCC Laws position (1485-7182).
• CA survey seeks ‘grass roots’ feedback from clubs, associations (1485-7183).
1,486 - 20 December [7184-7187]
• Home umpires in Tests show LBW ‘bias’, says statistical analysis (1486-7184).
• Ball strike leaves Test umpire with bruised wrist (1486-7185).
• Call for ‘massive lift’ in Bangladesh umpiring standards (1486-7186).
• Hoarding strike costs player quarter of his match fee (1486-7187).
1,487 - 22 December [7188-7191]
• Out ‘hit wicket’ thanks to loose mobile phone (1487-7188).
• ‘Inappropriate words’, slow over-rate, lead to fines (1487-7189).
• Baldwin promotion shows AAIUP members the way, says ICC manager (1487-7190).
• More umpires needed in northern NSW (1487-7191).
1,488 - 23 December [7192-7195]
• Srinath to become sixth referee to reach 150 ODI mark (1488-7192).
• ‘Unhappy’ with LBW decisions, team refuses to play (1488-7193).
• ’Sometimes we say stupid things’, says fast bowler (1488-7194).
• Live betting suspect again evicted from grounds (1488-7195).
1,489 - 24 December [7196-7198]
• Three umpiring ‘mentors’ appointed to WCL-2 series in Namibia (1489-7196).
• Hadlee queries day-night Test concept, player aggression (1489-7197).
• Suspended off-spinners opt for testing in Chennai, another suspended (1489-7198).
1,490 - 27 December [7199-7202]
• Public react to ‘overpaid’ player’s Christmas gripe (1490-7199).
• No need for bouncers in the game, says former Test umpire (1490-7200).
• Rajasthan peanuts result in anti-corruption stir (1490-7201).
• CA-BCCI reported in talks on curator exchange program (1490-7202).
1,491 - 28 December [7203-7206]
• Harassment manager suspended for confrontation, umpire harassment (1491-7203).
• Ajmal concedes on World cup attempt, action still ‘illegal' (1491-7204).
• Walk-off regretted thirty years on (1491-7205).
• Fund raiser helps tsunami hit village recover (1491-7206).
1,492 - 30 December [7202-7210]
• Administrators need to ‘clamp down’ on sledging, says ‘Chapelli' (1492-7207).
• Don’t ban bouncer, change Playing Conditions, says former Test umpire (1492-7208).
• ACO collating responses from match officials survey (1492-7209).
• Alleged ‘pitchsider’ ejected again, faces trespass charges (1492-7210).
‘CATASTROPHIC HEAD WOUND' KILLED
UMPIRE, SAYS HOSPITAL
Israeli umpire Hillel Awasker who was struck by a ball in a match in Ashdod on Saturday, died of a "catastrophic head wound”, according to a quote attributed to a Ashdod hospital spokesman yesterday. Media reports vary but most say he was hit in the jaw and neck area, and others that he also suffered a heart attack after being hit, an incident that occurred soon after a pre-match minute's silence was held for Australian Phillip Hughes who died in Sydney on Thursday after also being struck on the neck (PTG 1470-7116, 29 November 2014) .
Awasker, whose name was originally given in news reports as Hillel Oscar (PTG 1471-7117, 30 November 2014), represented Israel in six editions of the ICC Trophy, the precursor to the now Cricket World Cup Qualifier series, in 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1997 and 2001; captaining the side in both 1982 and 1997. All up he played 39 ICC Trophy matches, the third-highest amount in ICC Cricket World Cup qualifying tournament history, and scored 355 runs, claimed 21 wickets and took 10 catches. He most recently represented Israel in European Championship Division 2 series of 2006, and was still playing domestic cricket when he qualified to become an umpire, after which he went on to stand in lower-level European tournaments.
Reports say Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland plans to contact the Israeli Cricket Association later today to extend his sympathies to the cricket community there, and the International Cricket Council (ICC) offered its condolences to Awasker's family and friends in a statement issued early this morning.
BOUNCER ‘RULES' ‘UNLIKELY TO
CHANGE’, SUGGESTS ICC CEO
David Richardson, a former Test player and now he chief executive officer (CEO) of the International Cricket Council (ICC), told the BBC yesterday it is "unlikely" rules on the bowling of bouncers would be tightened as a result of the death of Australian player Phillip Hughes last week (PTG 1470-7116, 29 November 2014). Current international Playing Conditions for Tests and One Day Internationals allow bowlers to deliver two short pitched ball that travel over the shoulder and one per over in Twenty20 Internationals, similar rules that apply in most senior domestic cricket played around the world.
Richardson said that despite Hughes’ death “we need to try and keep our perspective [as] people have died by being struck on the heart before and I don't think cricket needs to over-react” (PTG 1468-7112, 26 November 2014). Former Australian player Adam Gilchrist told the BBC he regarded bouncers as "part and parcel of the challenge between bat and ball”, instead suggested that changing the design of the standard batting helmet so that it covered more of the neck area, would be a more practical change worth considering” (PTG 1469-7114, 27 November 2014). "We've always thought it is maybe the temple, the cheekbones, the skull itself that we needed to protect, and that still remains, but now we are going to [have to] look at any ways of curtailing blows to the neck”.
Last week former West Indies batsman Brian Lara and former Australians Matthew Hayden and Shane Warne indicated they don't believe the bouncer should be eradicated from the sport. "If you take that away from the game, it takes away that combative nature of cricket”, said Hayden, while Warne called Hughes death “one of those terrible freak accidents” and his injury was "not the result of poorly designed helmets” (PTG 1469-7114, 27 November 2014).
The opening Test between Australia and India in Brisbane, which was due to start this Thursday, has been postponed until a yet-to-be-decided time. With the Australian cricket calendar is particularly crowded this austral summer that may prove a challenge, however, there is speculation it will now take place sometime after the New Years’ Test in Sydney. What that will do to current match official appointments for what is supposed to be a four-Test series is not yet clear (PTG 1469-7115, 27 November 2014).
LANKAN PAIR ON WORLD CUP
UMPIRE PANEL, CLAIM REPORTS
Sri Lankan umpires Ranmore Martinesz and Ruchira Palliyaguruge, who are both members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), have been selected as members of a “15-20” man panel that will officiate in the World Cup next February-March, according to news reports from Colombo yesterday.
There have been indications previously that Martinecz plus Indian, New Zealand and West Indian IUP members Sundarum Ravi, Chris Gaffaney (PTG 1435-6942, 26 September 2014) and Joel Wilson respectively (PTG 1462-7083, 18 November 2014), will join the twelve members of the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel for the World Cup. If those reports are correct it takes to sixteen the number of umpires selected and it would appear therefore that the likes of Australia, England and South African IUP members Simon Fry, Michael Gough and Johannes Cloete are also likely to be in contention for the “15-20” reportedly needed for the World Cup panel.
SLOW OVER-RATE FINE
CARRY ON BUT ‘CALM DOWN’,
SAYS FORMER NZ CAPTAIN
Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe hopes the reflection that has followed the death of Australian Phillip Hughes will see the "negative intent” and "angst and hate” taken out of the game. In his column posted on the ‘Cricinfo’ web site yesterday, Crowe says one lesson as cricket reflects in the aftermath of Hughes' tragic death is that "the game needs to calm down” and it will gradually become less critical to win at all costs (PTG 1470-7116, 29 November 2014).
In Crowe’s assessment cricket has become "too lippy, too edgy”. "Let's chill a bit in general, as a good lesson and reminder, to keep the game authentic”. "By all means bowl bouncers with skill and precision, but take out the angst and hate, the sledging and the media barbs, and just go out and express your version of your courage and skill for your team”. "We should smile when stumps are drawn and be grateful for the day's cricket, the genuine sharing of camaraderie between two teams”, he said. "We can calm this game down by playing with more joy within, the kind [of approach] Phillip Hughes showed”.
Crowe’s column makes no mention of Israeli umpire Hillel Awasker who died last Saturday after being hit in the head by a ball (PTG 1472-7119, 1 December 2014), however, his article may have been written prior to that event.
Cricket Australia has indicated they will conduct their own investigation into player safety, but England captain Alistair Cook said he believed the sport had "never been safer" and added that bouncers should not be outlawed from the game (PTG 1472-7120, 1 December 2014). In England, Lancashire cricket director and head coach Ashley Giles has ordered new helmets for his team, telling the BBC his players have "all got helmets but have they got the up-to-date, the best, which could make the difference?”. The ’New Zealand Herald’ says in a story today that sports shops and specialist cricket stores there have reported a doubling in sales of helmets. Rod Duke, group managing director of Briscoes Group which owns the 'Rebel Sport' chain, told journalist Kurt Bayer the increase in sales was mainly to parents of young players.
CHANGING SHED DECISION SEES
MATCH RESULT ALTERED
A match between two sides in Rotorua on Saturday ended in a controversy with a last wicket dismissal in the final over that the ‘Rotorua Daily Post' yesterday described as "against the spirit of the game”. The taking of the wicket meant that Central won the game against the Bay of Plenty Indians, however, discussions soon afterwards saw the captains agree that the match should be recorded as a draw, the score sheet available on the Rotorua Cricket Association now recording the last two batsmen as ‘not out’.
Central batted first but their opponents were unable to chase down the score and would have drawn the match if they batted out the day. With three balls remaining and one wicket left, Indians' batsman Amit Singh played a defensive stroke back to bowler Mark Chapman who picked up the ball and "started walking back to his run-up mark".
However, non-striker Himesh Gosai is said to have then downed his bat and "thinking the ball was dead”, walked out of his crease to talk to his batting partner. Chapman then removed the bails with the ball and appealed, arguing Gosai had walked out of his crease. After "a conversation with the [unnamed] umpire, Gosai was given out, handing Central a win”, says the Post’s report.
Indians' player Sanjay Unka said he had been playing cricket for decades and had never seen someone do that before. “Technically within the letter of the law [the dismissal] was out ... but it was against the spirit of the game”, claimed Unka. Central’s captain Jason Trembath said once his players were in the changing sheds, and had a chance to talk about what happened, they decided to call it a draw.
Trembath said they had "left it up to the umpire on the field to make a decision" and that was why they only discussed it fully when they were back in the changing sheds. It is not clear if the players themselves or official umpires were managing the match, and no mention of what the umpires concerned thought of that decision was provided in the newspaper’s report.
MCC LAWS SUB-COMMITTEE TO
CONSIDER NEW BAT GRIP SYSTEM
Former New Zealand player Rob Hart, along with two business partners with the ‘2mm sports’ company, say they have invented a way of helping young players learning the game grip their bats "in the correct manner”. Images available show bat handles with contoured ridges built in that are designed to provide a "player with more chance of consistently executing a perfect grip”, an arrangement they say "is not only a great training aid, but also suitable for use during game time”.
Initial research into the issue "began in a shed with a lump of plasticine” placed at "the technically correct contact points" which work as a gauge when setting up the stance. Over the five years since, time and money has been spent in perfecting the design, it has been patented in most cricket-playing countries, and ‘2mm sports’ say the product has now been endorsed by a number of New Zealand players. "Players with a correct grip are more likely to play the ball late and hit it cleanly”, says Hart, and the new system means "players don't have to think about their grip in the heat of competition”.
ICC NAMES WORLD CUP
REFEREE, UMPIRING PANELS
The International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday named twenty-five match officials, twenty umpires and five match referees, from eight nations, to manage the forty-nine match, fourteen team, World Cup event in Australia and New Zealand early next year. Australia and England each have six individuals on the panel, five are from Sri Lanka, three New Zealand, two South Africa and one each from India, Pakistan and the West Indies; however, no one from either Bangladesh or Zimbabwe was appointed.
As expected all twelve members of the ICC’s Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) were named, they being: Aleem Dar (Pakistan), ‘Billy' Bowden (New Zealand), Steve Davis, Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker (all Australia), Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong (England), Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), and Marais Erasmus (South Africa). Also named were five of its senior match referees: David Boon (Australia), Chris Broad (England), Jeff Crowe (New Zealand), and Ranjan Madugalle and Roshan Mahanama who are both from Sri Lanka; those missing being Javagal Srinath and Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe.
Eight umpires from the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, who the ICC says "have been identified as emerging and talented match officials, who have already officiated at international level”, will also take part. They are: Johan Cloete (South Africa), Simon Fry (Australia), Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand), Michael Gough (England), Ranmore Martinesz, Ruchira Palliyaguru (both Sri Lanka), Sundaram Ravi (India) and Joel Wilson (West Indies) (PTG 1472-7121, 1 December 2014). Gaffaney, Martinesz and Ravi have all been given their first Test matches this year and appear to be in content to replace Davis on the EUP next year.
Nineteen of the twenty-five match officials chosen played at first class level, and nine in Tests, prior to becoming match officials. Nine have played in World Cup events in the past: Mahanama four (1987, 1992, 1996, 1999), Boon two (1987, 1992), Crowe two (1983, 1987), Illingworth two (1992, 1996), Madugalle two (1983, 1987), Reiffel two (1996, 1999), Broad one (1987), Dharmasena one (1996), and Gould one (1983).
As match officials though the forthcoming World Cup will be Madugalle's sixth as a match official, Broad, Crowe, Gould and Mahanama their third, and Boon, Illingworth and Reiffel their first. Of those who haven’t played in a World Cup, the 2015 version will be Dar and Bowden's fourth, and the second for Dharmasena, Erasmus, Kettleborough, Llong, Oxenford and Tucker.
The ICC says that umpires were chosen by a selection panel made up of Geoff Allardice, its General Manager Cricket), Madugalle who is its Chief Match Referee, Englishman David Lloyd a former player, coach, umpire and now television commentator, and Srinivas Venkataraghavan of India who is a former EUP member.
TWO UAE BOWLERS REPORTED
FOR SUSPECT ACTIONS
United Arab Emirates (UAE) off-spinner Salman Farooq and medium pacer Mohammad Shahzad have both been reported as having suspected illegal bowling actions during their side's second One-Day International of the current series against Afghanistan in Dubai last week. As a result their actions will now be tested in one of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) four testing centres, but both are permitted to continue bowling in international cricket until the results of the testing are known sometime early next year.
FACIAL INJURIES FALL, BUT BACK-OF-THE-HEAD
RATE UNCHANGED, SAYS NZ DATA
Data released by the New Zealand government's Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) indicates that damage to the neck and vertebrae area at the back of the head, the general area where Australian batsman Hughes was fatally struck last week, is as common in that country as it was five years ago, says a report in the ’New Zealand Herald’ yesterday. ACC statistics indicate new claims lodged with it that relate to facial injuries have fallen by a third this decade, however, those involving strikes to the back of the head remained almost identical in that time, being 236 in 2009-10, 238 in 2012-13 and 237 in 2013-14.
ACC chief executive Peter Clinton is quoted as saying that improvements in the manufacture and availability of helmets and a move to play more games on artificial pitches, where the bounce of the ball is more reliable than turf, is probably behind the fall in facial injuries. He told the ‘Herald’ that "down in Wellington there was a program about six or seven years ago where we actually installed quite a number [of artificial pitches] and I know Canterbury Cricket has done something similar over the years”. Such moves around the country "will be a factor in the decline” in facial injuries, he says.
Auckland Cricket chief executive Mark Cameron told the ‘Herald' that while "helmets [have] improved so has access and availability [over the last few years for] we are all conscious of the risks around playing sport and continue to look for opportunities to ensure we don't put our patrons or players at risk”. Helmets are "strongly recommended" for primary aged players and compulsory in youth cricket in Auckland, he says, and further south, Cricket Wellington are said to have made the use of helmets by all young batsmen, and helmets and mouth guards for wicketkeepers, compulsory as far back as 2001.
ACC's records are said to show there have been no cricket-related fatalities in the past five years in New Zealand, while administrators and “identities" spoken to by the ‘Herald’ could not recall any on-field fatalities in that country ever occurring in the history of the game there.
TEST CAPTAIN CALLS FOR
West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin has appealed to helmets manufacturers to improve on their products following the death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes after being hit in the neck by a bouncer in Sydney early last week (PTG 1470-7116, 29 November 2014). Ramdin made the call in Trinidad on Sunday as the West Indies squad left the Caribbean for South Africa where they are scheduled play in a series that involves three Tests, three Twenty20 Internationals and five One Day Internationals over the next two months.
Ramdin reportedly told journalists: “The helmets that we have need to be improved because when you get a lash on it, you really feel the pain” for its "basically just a piece of fibreglass and this is not adequate protection” The International Cricket Council’s Medical Committee has been looking at helmet issues over at least the last three years with the aim of establishing an international benchmark for standards for them. Reports say that work is likely to be fast-tracked in light of Hughes’ death, while Cricket Australia has said it plans to conduct its own inquiry into player safety issues (PTG 1473-7123, 2 December 2014).
A report earlier this week said there has been a rush on the purchase of helmets in New Zealand, primarily by parents of young players, since Hughes was hit). Yesterday, Fairfax Media in Australia said that sports stores in that country say they have experienced an increase of up to seventy per cent in sales of helmets in the past week "as amateur and weekend cricketers have decided to opt for added protection”. Sean Neary, from the Greg Chappell Cricket Centre stores, said many customers had been pressured by mothers, wives and girlfriends to do the "right thing”. "Some people weren't wearing helmets, now they are, [while] some are getting updated version[s]". Nathan Willoughby, a salesman at another sports store said: "I hadn't sold a helmet all week until Friday and then I sold three in the one day”.
Hughes injury, which involved a blow to the base of the skull, caused his vertebral artery to split causing blood to pour into his brain, and is said by medical experts to be "incredibly rare”, but statistics released by New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation suggest the area remains exposed, despite improvements in safety equipment and pitches leading to a reduction in head injuries (PTG 1475-7128 above). The Australian's' death was the second in just over twelve months of a batsman who was struck in the head area whilst at the crease, Darryn Randall, a South African player, succumming in October last year (PTG 1220-5868, 29 October 2013). Soon after Hughes died an umpire in Israel was also killed when struck by a ball while standing in a match (PTG 1472-7119, 1 December 2014).
Helmet maker ‘Masuri' has developed a model that was designed to provide extra protection near the area Hughes was struck, but the company has stopped well short of claiming its product could have saved his life. Some experts believe complete protection in that area is not possible if batsmen are to have full and proper movement (PTG 1469-7114, 27 November 2014).
ENGLAND SKIPPER SUSPENDED FOR
SECOND OVER-RATE OFFENCE
England captain Alastair Cook has been suspended for a single One Day International (ODI) and fined twenty per cent of his match fee, and his team mates each ten per cent, for maintaining a slow over-rate in the third ODI of the series against Sri Lanka in Hambantota on Wednesday. Match referee David Boon from Australia imposed the suspension on Cook after England were ruled to be one over short of its target at the end of the Hambantota match when time allowances were taken into consideration.
Cook was also fined twenty per cent of his match fee for a slow over-rate in an ODI against India in Cardiff last August and was warned then that a similar offence in the subsequent twelve months would result in a one-match suspension (PTG 1421-6869, 29 August 2014). Cook, who will now miss Sunday’s fourth ODI in Colombo, pleaded guilty to the latest offence and accepted the proposed sanction and as such there was no need for Boon to conduct a formal hearing.
The charge against Cook was laid by on-field umpires Simon Fry and Ruchira Palliyaguruge, third umpire Steve Davis and fourth official Raveendra Wimalasiri (PTG 1463-7086, 20 November 2014).
MATCH OFFICIALS CONFIRMED FOR
AUSTRALIA-INIDA TEST SERIES
Match officials for the four Test series Australia and India are to play over the next four weeks, arrangements for which had to be revised following the recent death of former Australia player Phillip Hughes last week, remain basically the same as announced by the International Cricket Council (ICC) seven days ago (PTG 1469-7115, 27 November 2014).
South African Marais Erasmus and Englishman Ian Gould will still stand in the first and second Tests, the first now in Adelaide and the second in Brisbane, Jeff Crowe of New Zealand being the match referee, with umpires Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and Richard Kettleborough of England plus match referee Roshan Mahanama another Sri Lankan, coming in for the games in Melbourne and Sydney.
Three of Australia's four members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel, Simon Fry, Mick Martell and John Ward, will occupy the television umpire positions as planned, but only two members of Cricket Australia’s (CA) National Umpires Panel, Gerard Abood and Geoff Joshua will now work as fourth umpires. The eight scorers originally named by CA for the series remain unchanged.
REPORTS SUGGESTS APPOINTMENT
OF 2015 ECB PANELS ON TRACK
All four inaugural members of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) third-tier Emerging Umpires Panel, Ian Blackwell, Tom Lungley, Russell Warren and Chris Watts, have been promoted to the ECB’s Reserve List for the 2015 season there, according to newspaper reports from central England this week. The ECB set up the Emerging group for the first time twelve months ago, reportedly in order to provide a focus for umpires who are considered to have the potential to move on to its second-tier Reserve and top-tier Full Lists in the years ahead (PTG 1272-6133, 19 January 2014).
If news of the promotion of the four is correct it would suggest appointments to the three ECB umpiring panels for the 2015 season are close to the organisation’s normal appointments time-line. The situation is complicated this year by the reported challenge of Full List members Peter Willey and George Sharp to the ECB’s long-standing requirement that umpires on its panel retire at the age of sixty-five (PTG 1421-6866, 29 August 2014). There has been no indication publicly as yet that issue has been resolved one way or another, but if Blackwell, Lungley, Warren and Watts have indeed been moved up a level, perhaps the matter has been sorted to everyone’s satisfaction?
Should Willey and Sharp depart, that would leave open two vacancies on the Full Panel which could be expected to be filled by one of the 2014 members of the Reserve Panel: Paul Baldwin, Mike Burns, Ismail Dawood, Ben Debenham, Russell Evans, Paul Pollard or Billy Taylor. The promotion of the four ‘emergers’ and two Reserve members to the top panel suggests the Reserve panel could increase to nine members in 2015. In 2013 the second-tier group was made up of ten members (PTG 1062-5165, 20 February 2013).
Reports indicate a new Emerging Panel has been appointed, Anthony Harris, who was voted as the Birmingham League’s 2014 'Umpire of the Year’, apparently being one of them. Records available indicate that Harris, 40, who has been standing in Minor Counties and County Second XI fixtures over the last three years, has not played the game at first class level.
BOWLER SUSPENDED FOR DELIVERY STYLE
TO RETURN TO ‘DOMESTIC’ GAME?
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to recall off-spinner Saeed Ajmal to “domestic”6896, 10 September 2014 games there before asking the International Cricket Council (ICC) for an official review of his bowling action at one its four accredited testing centres, say reports from Lahore earlier this week. Despite the use of the tern “domestic”, those reports go on to claim Ajmal, who was suspended from bowling in internationals after a bio-mechanical analysis of his action in August (PTG 1427-6896, 10 September 2014), will now be part of the Pakistan 'A' side in the five-match forty-five-over format series against Kenya which is due to be played in Lahore over seven days starting on Saturday week.
The PCB is said to have submitted an action re-test request to the ICC earlier this week but have now withdrawn the it in order to conduct an internal review of their own. Ajmal had been working on re-modelling his action at the Loughborough University in England, one of the ICC’s testing centres, where an “unofficial” test found he had modified his bowling action “substantially” (PTG 1462-7084, 18 November 2014). Just where he is at will now be subject to "internal tests by experts in Pakistan after which the PCB plans to approach the ICC with a request for an “official” test.
Under the ICC rules, a suspended bowler's re-modelled action will be compared with the action employed in the match in which he was reported. If the re-assessment concludes that the action is no longer illegal, his suspension can be lifted and he shall be allowed to bowl at international level straight-away. However, if the bowler is found again in breach of the legal limit inside two years of the first report, he risks a one-year ban.
BERMUDAN’S BOWLING ACTION
FOUND TO BE ‘ILLEGAL'
Bermuda’s Allan Douglas junior, who the International Cricket Council (ICC) said yesterday was reported for a suspected illegal bowling action during a match in the World Cricket League Division 3 series against Singapore in Kuala Lumpur in late October, has been found to employ a legal bowling action following tests carried out by the Bermuda Cricket Board.
The ICC says that under its regulations Douglas is "permitted to continue bowling in international cricket", but should he be reported again within a period of two years of the date of the first report, he will be required to submit to an analysis conducted by one of its four accredited testing centres. The match officials for the game against Singapore were Johannes Cloete of South Africa and Kathy Cross of New Zealand, with Cloete’s countryman Devdas Govindjee being the match referee.
‘LIKELY’ EARLY LIFTING OF
PLAYER’S BAN NOW IN DOUBT?
Bangladesh all-rounder and former national captain Shakib Al Hasan, who was banned for six months by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) because of a "severe attitude problem” in July (PTG 1388-6716, 8 July 2014), looks “likely” to have the “foreign leagues" section of the ban lifted several weeks early so that he can compete in Cricket Australia’s (CA) Twenty20 competition later this month, say news reports from Dhaka on Tuesday. The issue has became more complicated though after Hasan was fined 10,000 Takka ($A153) for his behaviour in a Dhaka Premier League (DPL) match on Wednesday.
After an appeal in August, Hasan's ban as it applied to matches played in Bangladesh was lifted, thus making him available for selection for the recent home series against Zimbabwe, however, the restriction on playing in foreign leagues remains in force until the end of this month. BCB president Nazmul Hasan indicated on Tuesday that he expected his organisation to lift the foreign leagues embargo in time for CA’s T20 tournament which begins two weeks from today. Hasan had a brief stint with CA's Adelaide T20 franchise last austral summer.
However, Hasan is said to have been “unhappy” after umpire Mizanur Rahman turned down a "loud leg-before appeal” in Wednesday’s DPL fixture. According to an unnamed official who was at the ground, Hasan “charged” at Rahman to dispute the decision and match referee Obidul Haque fined him following a hearing held immediately after the match. The incident happened at a time when the all-rounder was "repeatedly being praised by [BCB] high-ups over his improved behaviour”, states an article in Dhaka's ’New Age’ newspaper yesterday.
The BCB's president had said on Tuesday: “There is no reason why the BCB should not lift his foreign leagues embargo in the next board meeting”, however, no such gathering is currently scheduled. "If it was my decision [alone] I would have lifted his ban straightway”, "but since it was a collective decision, I [must take the views] of all of my colleagues” into consideration. Media reports from Dhaka claim that the BCB is "under pressure to lift the embargo after Hasan starred against Zimbabwe”. During the second Test in Khulna last month he scored a century and claimed ten wickets to become only the third player, after Ian Botham and Imran Khan, to achieve such a feat.
Meanwhile, on the same day Hasan was fined, off-spinner Sohag Gazi was suspended for one match and also fined 10,000 Takka for his "unsporting behaviour” in a match in Mirpur. Sohag, who is currently working on remodelling his bowling action after being banned from international cricket (PTG 1464-7093, 21 November 2014), is said to have "stayed a few minutes at the crease after being given out leg-before by umpire Sharafuddola Ibne Saikat”. Gazi is said to have "verbally abused the umpire”, an action that prompted match referee Neeeyamur Rashid to issue the fine.
ICC REJECTS KANERIA'S REQUEST
FOR LIFE BAN REVIEW
Former Pakistan leg spinner Danish Kaneria, who was banned for life by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in June 2012 for spot-fixing related activities, has lost another bid to have his life ban reviewed. Having failed in a number of appeals to have the ban overturned (PTG 1412-6821, 13 August 2014), Kaneria approached the International Cricket Council (ICC) to take up his case, however, they are said to have formally refused his request.
Kaneria has told the Press Trust of India that he had sent a letter to the ICC with his case documents and asked "whether the [Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the ECB] had acted with integrity and for a review my case”. According to Kaneria, the world body has indicated that as the ban was imposed on him by the ECB for matches under its jurisdiction, it is a "domestic matter" and as such the ICC can't interfere in it. Under agreements between ICC members, bans applied to individuals by any of its national boards, in this case the ECB, also apply world-wide across all competitions run by ICC-affiliated bodies.
Kaneria says he “finds it strange that the ICC is treating my case as a domestic issue of the ECB when at the same time other member boards of the ICC have been forced to ratify the life ban on me and also ban me from playing anywhere in the world”. He questioned whether it is an ECB domestic and internal matter, otherwise why was the ECB's decision to ban him for life also ratified by the ICC and its member boards. "The ECB didn't ban me for spot-fixing they banned me on grounds that I was encouraging other players to do spot-fixing in county cricket something about which they have no concrete evidence”, he says.
Also questioned was why the PCB has asked the ICC to allow Mohammad Aamer an early return to domestic cricket from his current ban from spot-fixing in a Test match in 2010 (PTG 1464-7091, 21 November 2014), while at the same time they having, in Kaneria’s words, "totally ignored me". "Maybe the fact that the alleged bookmaker from India with whom I am said to have contrived to spot-fix [in ECB] county matches was introduced to me by some officials of the PCB is one reason for trying to ignore me”, he said.
PROFESSIONAL PLAYERS 'MORE
LIKELY' TO HAVE GAMBLING ‘PROBLEMS’
Professional cricketers and footballers in England are three times more likely to have gambling problems than other young men, according to research highlighted in a BBC report yesterday. A study conducted for the Professional Players’ Federation (PPF), which involved confidential questionnaires filled out by 170 professional footballers and 176 professional cricketers, indicates that 6.1 per cent of them could be classed as problem gamblers compared with 1.9 per cent in the general population of young men.
PPF chairman Brendon Batson described the findings as "worrying" for sport and that “sportsmen are a clear 'at risk' group and sport has a duty of care”. "We all need to work together to expand and improve the good practice that exists on education and treatment for problem gambling”. Heather Wardle, research director at NatCen Social Research which carried out the study, added: "It is interesting to question why this might be”. "Is it due to a betting culture?” "Is it something about athletes' personalities or perhaps a combination of these two?"
TWENTY-SIX NZ SCORERS TO
SUPPORT 2015 WORLD CUP
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) yesterday named an official scorers panel of 21 to record the details of the 6 warm-up and 23 World Cup matches proper that are be played in that country early next year, another 5 scorers supporting the prime group in media liaison roles. Those selected will work across seven venues alongside those members of the recently announced 25-strong, World Cup match referee and umpire panel who will eventually be assigned to manage games in New Zealand (PTG 1474-7126, 4 December 2014).
World Cup fixtures on the eastern side of the Tasman Sea are to be played at grounds in seven cities: Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson and Wellington. Most of the scorers involved, all of whom have considerable experience in that role (PTG 1454-7050, 24 October 2014), will work in their home areas, only a few looking after games in more than one World Cup venue.
Auckland’s scorers’ panel for the One Day International format series is made up of Annette Campbell, Chris McQuaid and Erica Knights. In Nelson those named are Duncan Mitchell, Jane Silvester, Jeff Stuart and Euan West, in Napier Bev Baker, Dean Plummer, and Silvester again, while Hamilton will see Bill Andersson, Phil Rice and Braedon Makgill involved, and Wellington’s are Ian Smith, Cheryl Styles, and Stuart.
Down in Christchurch those who will be scoring are West, Tony Feely, Karen Fleet, Gordon McFarlane and Gail McGowan, and further south again in Dunedin panel members are: Malcolm Jones, McFarlane again, plus Nicola Armstrong and Helen Simpson.
Twelve of the 21 official scorers will also work in a media support capacity in a number of games. Five others, Richard Baggs and Simon Friend (Hamilton), Cathy Shields (Wellington), and Robyn Dixon and Michael Anderson (Auckland), will also be deployed to provide scoring-related support for the media.
The World Cup Quarter Final listed for Wellington will be looked after by Smith and Styles with Shields and Stuart assisting the media, and the Semi Final in Auckland by Campbell and McQuaid, with Anderson and Knights in media roles.
UMPIRE APPOINTMENTS ‘MANIPULATED' TO
ENSURE TEAM LOOSES, ALLEGES OWNER
Lutfur Rahman Badal, the owner of the 'Legends of Rupganj’ side in the Dhaka Premier League (DPL), has claimed publicly that the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is “manipulating" the appointment of umpires to his team’s matches in order to ensure it does not win the competition for a fourth year in a row. Badal told journalists in Dhaka on Thursday the situation is such that he is "honestly thinking about withdrawing [his side] from this year’s [DPL] series”.
Badal said that umpires Jahangir Alam and Mizanur Rahman Milon had been appointed to consecutive matches of Abahani Limited, another DPL side, in order to give it what the ’New Age’ newspaper yesterday termed "certain privileges”. The Legends owner went on to allege Alam and Milon were also selected to stand in his side’s “crucial” matches against Abahani, the officials' "special assignment” then being to make sure Legends lost those games. To Badal’s chagrin his side did loose those fixtures, he like many others before him apparently blaming umpiring alone for the result.
Nazmul Karim Tinku, the chairman of the BCB Umpires' Committee, has denied Badal's allegations but admitted a mistake had been made in appointing umpires to consecutive DPL matches "of a particular team”. Tinku said he had no prior knowledge of such selections but that in future “we will see that the same umpire does not get three or four consecutive matches of a team”. A shortage of umpires available to cover all DPL games over the last month was one of the factors involved, claimed Tinku.
BCB LIFTS PLAYER’S BAN EARLY, LATEST
MISDEMEANOUR 'HIS CLUB’S FAULT'
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has formally lifted the six-month ban it handed to all-rounder Sakib Al Hasan that prevented him from playing in leagues in other countries until the New Year. Reports say the BCB removed the ban on Wednesday, the same day he was fined 10,000 Takka ($A193) for abusing an umpire during a Dhaka Premier League (DPL) (PTG 1475-7135, 5 December 2014).
BCB president Nazmul is reported to have held the management of Hasan’s DPL club, the 'Legends of Rupganj’ (PTG 1476-7139 above), responsible for his latest misdemeanour, as they had "encouraged him in relation to such behaviour”. Withdrawal of overseas league bar means Hasan could take part in Cricket Australia’s domestic Twenty20 competition which is due to start in twelve days time.
NEW NZ LAW MAKES MATCH
FIXING A CRIMINAL OFFENCE
New Zealand's lawmakers passed legislation this week that will give police there increased powers to tackle match-fixing ahead of next year's World Cup which is to be played both there and in Australia. The bill, which is expected to receive “royal assent” on Monday week, makes match fixing a criminal offence in New Zealand for the first time, and under it offenders found guilty could face prison terms of up to seven years.
In welcoming the passing of the bill, Sports minister Jonathan Coleman said "match-fixing is a growing problem internationally and it is the number one threat to the integrity, value and growth of sport. Coleman said the World Cup was at the forefront of the government's mind, saying "we certainly don't want it marred by the specter of match-fixing”.
Opposition lawmakers though expressed some concerns that the bill had been "drafted in haste" because the World Cup is drawing close. In its original form it outlawed match fixing "otherwise than for tactical or strategic sporting reasons”, a phraseology that was intended to recognise the possibility a team might deliberately lose a match to gain an advantageous draw in the later rounds of a tournament. However, that clause was removed during the legislative process.
A study published by the Doha-based International Centre for Sport Security and Sorbonne University in Paris earlier this year estimated criminals launder an amount in excess of $A142 billion from illegal betting on sport around the world annually. Football and cricket were said to be the sports most under threat (PTG 1356-6545, 19 May 2014).
MAKE HELMETS FOR UMPIRES ‘COMPULSORY’,
SAYS FORMER TEST UMPIRE
Former Indian umpire Shyam Bansal, who officiated in six Tests and thirty One Day Internationals over the final two decades of last century, told the Press Trust of India on Friday that helmets should be made compulsory for on-field umpires. Speaking following the death of an umpire in Israel (PTG 1472-7119, 1 December 2014), Bansal, now 75, claimed he has made the suggestion "in many of my lectures and seminars but the authorities have not paid attention to it”, and “perhaps they may be waiting for the proposal to come from western countries first”.
In Bansal’s assessment: “the game of cricket has become very dangerous for thirty to forty years ago we didn’t find so many sixes being hit by the batsmen”. "Now the bats have improved with the result so many sixes are being easily hit and the power of the bat is so enormous and it has become very difficult for close-in fielders and umpires to officiate without helmets”. He thinks “the wearing of helmet will not cause any discomfort to the umpires [who] should not be ashamed of wearing [them], and the "day will not be far when it is made compulsory for the umpires”.
Just how long Bansal has been pushing the issue is not clear, but five-and-a-half-years ago then Australian umpire Daryl Harper said that he believed that "its just a matter of time before umpires in higher-level Twenty20 matches wear baseball helmets which cover the face with a grill for protection” (PTG 423-2233, 14 May 2009).
Former West Indian captain Chris Gayle has expressed a similar view in the time since then (PTG 932-4532, 26 April 2012), and English journalist Scyld Berry has written that "increasingly powerful batsmen with increasingly powerful bats" who consistently hit the ball harder than ever before, could seriously injure or even kill someone on the field of play (PTG 930-4523, 19 April 2012).
DOCTORS CLEAR BATSMAN
AFTER BACK-OF-HEAD STRIKE
Barbados batsman Omar Phillips escaped serious injury on Friday when he was struck on the back of the head by a ball whilst batting in a Caribbean first class ‘domestic' match against the Windward Islands on the island of St Vincent. The incident again highlights the inability of modern-day helmets to protect the full area of a batsman or fielder’s head, an issue that has been highlighted of late by a death in Australia and long-term health statistics from New Zealand (PTG 1475-7128, 5 December 2014).
Phillips, 28, was on 38 not out and at the non-striker’s end at the Amos Vale Ground in Kingstownwhen a full-blooded shot from batting partner Shai Hope ricocheted off his own bat and struck him on the back of the head. Reports say he immediately fell to the ground unconscious, and while few details are available, he later recovered and a subsequent computer tomography (CT) scan "came up negative for any damage”, said the West Indies Cricket Board in a statement.
THIRD AUSTRALIAN IN EXCHANGE
VISIT TO INDIA
Australian Paul Wilson is currently on an umpiring exchange visit to India that is expected to see him stand in two Ranji Trophy first class matches there over the next two weeks. Wilson, the second Australian exchange to the sub-continent over the last month, and third overall since the program commenced between the two countries, is in Bangalore at the moment for the match between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, his on-field colleague being Rajesh Deshpande.
The Bangalore match is part of the first round of this season’s Ranji Trophy series, and Wilson is believed to be scheduled to stand in a game in the second round of the competition that starts next Sunday. As yet just which Indian umpire will visit Australia on exchange during the current season has not been made public. The first to do so was Vineet Kularni in late 2012 and the second Anil Chaudary last February (PTG 1284-6187, 5 February 2014).
Simon Fry was the first Australian exchangee (PTG 1023-4971, 27 November 2012), but no one travelled to India from Australia in the subsequent season (PTG 1264-6099, 6 January 2014). However, the exchange visit of Mick Martell to the sub-continent last month (PTG 1465-7096, 23 November 2014), and now Wilson, means the Australia side of the ledger has now caught up.
ANOTHER OFF-SPINNER SUSPENDED
AFTER LABORATORY TESTS
Pakistan off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez’s bowling action has been found to be illegal in tests carried out at the International Cricket Council (ICC) accredited laboratory at the UK's National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough late last month (PTG 1463-7088, 20 November 2014). The analysis showed that Hafeez, who was reported for a suspect bowling action during a Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi last month (PTG 1459-7071, 14 November 2014), had an arm flex in excess of the ICC’s limit of fifteen degrees regardless of the type of delivery he bowled.
Hafeez, who was also reported for a suspect action in this year’s Champions League series (PTG 1436-6947, 29 September 2014), has been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect. However, he can apply for a re-assessment after he has modified his bowling action in accordance the ICC’s Regulations for the Review of Bowlers Reported with Suspected Illegal Bowling Actions, but that is not likely to occur until after next year’s World Cup.
BANNED PAKISTANI UMPIRE
SEEKS EARLY DOMESTIC RETURN
Banned Pakistan umpire Nadeem Ghauri has asked the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to reconsider the ban on him and that he be allow him to resume umpiring in domestic games in that country. Ghauri, a former member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), was caught up in a ‘sting’ operation conducted by an Indian television station in October 2012 (PTG 1002-4865, 11 October 2012), and subsequently banned for four years by the PCB (PTG 1078-5242, 22 March 2013).
Pakistan’s 'Dunya News” quotes Ghauri as saying that "several countries including Bangladesh" have removed the bans on their umpires or are preparing to do so. The ‘sting operation also caught Ghauri's countryman Anees Siddiqui, who was banned for three years by the PCB, as well as Nadir Shah of Bangladesh who was suspended for ten years by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), while Sri Lanka Cricket handed Sagara Gallage a ten year ban, Maurice Winston three years, and gave Gamini Dissanayake a demotion and a “severe warning” (PTG 1144-5553, 10 July 2013).
Ghauri’s reported claim that other nations have removed any of those bans appears to be far from correct. Bangladesh’s Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid was also caught up in the ban and suspended whilst an enquiry was conducted, however, he was found to be not involved in any inappropriate activity, allowed to return, and is now an IUP on-field member. Shah was at the centre of a controversy this September when he was appointed to a league match in Bangladesh, news that was accompanied by suggestions his ban had been lifted. It later transpired that move was a “mistake” and the BCB made clear he was still suspended from umpiring its matches (PTG 1438-6960, 1 October 2014).
BCCI BANS USE OF NATIONAL
GEAR IN DOMESTIC GAMES
The Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) has instructed its international players not to wear Indian team clothes or equipment when they are representing their state sides in domestic competitions on the sub-continent. Reports say the rule has been on the books for sometime, however, it is only recently that moves have been made to ensure its requirements are adhered to.
What the Press Trust of India calls "a BCCI official in the know of things”, was quoted as saying: "The clear instruction given to the match referees is to tell team officials that the players are not permitted to use India jerseys, caps or helmets”. "If the players inadvertently wear India stuff, there should be taping on the helmet crest or caps”. "Even if you have played for India when you are playing for your state you should respect the state cap and the jersey”, he said.
The issue came to the surface in the opening round of the Ranji Trophy on Sunday with Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Unmukt Chand were all asked to put tape over the BCCI logos on their helmets. "I agree not all states provide helmets with association logos”, said the BCCI source, "but you can always try to be a part of a team rather than be portrayed as superior player”.
ANOTHER SLOW OVER-RATE
FINE FOR ENGLAND
England were fined for maintaining a slow over-rate for the second time in two consecutive One-Day Internationals (ODI) in the fourth match of the series against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Sunday. The team had also been fined four days earlier in Hambantota, but on that occasion regular skipper Alastair Cook was also suspended because it was England's second such offence in the last twelve months under his captaincy (PTG 1475-7130, 5 December 2014).
Stand in captain Eoin Morgan’s side were ruled by match referee David Boon to be one over short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration. In accordance with the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to minor over-rate offences, players are fined ten per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, while their captain looses double that amount.
As such, Morgan was fined twenty per cent of his match fee and his tam mates ten per cent. Should Morgan be found guilty of one more minor over-rate offence in ODIs over the next twelve months while acting as captain, he will receive an automatic one-match suspension.
NO NEWS YET OF EARLY
News is yet to surface of an investigation Cricket New South Wales’ (CNSW) indicated it planned to conduct into an unusual early declaration in a Sydney Cricket Association (SCA) game seventeen days ago, however, the matter is likely to have been overtaken by the death of Phillip Hughes four days later. Western Suburbs elected to end their first innings on day one of a two-day Saturday-Saturday game at 0/17 as part of a plan to enable then injured Australian captain Michael Clarke to bat on day two and demonstrate his fitness ahead of the first Test against India (PTG 1465-7094, 23 November 2014).
Parramatta captain Michael Castle was said to have been “furious” about the manoeuvre and described it as “disrespectful to club cricket’ (PTG 1466-7100, 24 November 2014), while Australian vice captain Brad Haddin somewhat exaggeratingly called it “akin to match fixing" (PTG 1467-7102, 25 November 2014). CNSW chief executive Andrew Jones said while his organisation understood Western Suburbs may have taken the action it did to increase the probability of Clarke batting on day two, and that while the thinking behind the gesture “was appreciated, we are also conscious of the need to maintain the integrity of the Sydney Grade competition”.
Castle said the investigation would be undertaken "at the conclusion of the round”, or after day two’s play had been completed. However, Hughes death resulted in no play in all five SCA divisions on the second Saturday, all matches being declared a draw with no points awarded in any match, including where a first innings win had already been achieved on the first Saturday.
Under Sydney Cricket Association (SCA) Playing Conditions the association has the power to investigate the circumstances of any match in such manner as in it thinks fit. If after any investigation it is determined any move could have influenced the outcome of the match such that it was “unfair" to any teams in the competition or the context of the Club Championship, the SCA can act in a range of ways up to a fine or the suspension of a player or club.
BEE SWARM STOPS PLAY
Play in a Manawatu Cricket Association match on the North Island of New Zealand had to be suspended for five minutes last Saturday when those on the field found themselves in the path of a “massive swarm of bees”. Manawatu-Foxton Cricket Club captain Brydon Broadley told the ‘Manawatu Standard' that "players couldn't run away and got down as low as they could to avoid what was easily a couple of thousand bees”.
Broadley’s theory was said to be that the swarm had resulted from the bees being disturbed by “a couple of sixes over the boundary", however, local beekeepers said it would have come from an established hive where the queen bee was getting old and due for replacement such that it was time for her to leave with an army of helpers. No bee stings were reported amongst the players which suggests the bees had filled up on honey before they left their hive and as a result they were docile and unable to sting.
There have been a number of reports of insects stopping play over the last decade. The fourth day of the first Test between Sri Lanka and England in Kandy seven years ago this month was stopped for several minutes until a swarm of bees moved on (PTG 148-812, 5 December 2007). In 2009 in Johannesburg a swarm of locusts descended on the Champions Trophy semi-final between Australia and England in Johannesburg delaying play (PTG 502-2600, 6 October 2009)
Last year bees stopped play in the opening hour of a One Day International between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Hambantota (PTG 1081-5260, 26 March 2013), then in August this year a one-day Berkshire Cricket League fixture had to be abandoned at the thirty-fourth over mark of the second innings because of an invasion of flying ants (PTG 1404-6787, 1 August 2014).
PITCH PROBLEMS RESULT
IN CLOSURE OF GROUND
The Sheffield club in north-west Tasmania has been forced to abandon playing fixtures at home before the New Year because their pitch is regarded as unsafe. Low scores have been a common theme at the Sheffield Recreation Ground (SRG) over the first ten weeks of the current season, the a lack of consistent grass coverage across the whole square creating uneven bounce and plenty of indecision for batsmen, says a story in the ‘Advocate’ newspaper.
Sheffield president Rick O'Toole said while the decision will hurt the club financially, player safety was paramount. "We had issues after the football season [both sports being played on the SRG] trying to establish a good and consistent coverage of grass, and we've been playing catch-up all the way along”.
"It got to a stage where we thought that in the best interests of the club and the competition, that we give the pitch a bit of a break and allow us to do extra work and get more grass coverage on the pitch block itself”. "Cricket is a hard enough game as it is on reasonable pitches, but when you have a patchy surface, it causes problems”, said O'Toole.
Cricket North West president Sam Samec told ‘Advocate’ journalist Brad Cole the club had already planned maintenance work over the Christmas break, but "the extra time leading up until then will give them further time to seek some professional advice and establish healthy grass before the season resumed on the tenth of January". "It's a case of the weather being kind to us, but that is the plan,”, said Samec.
RESEARCH SHOWS ‘WEARABLES’ WRIST
SENSOR PROVIDES ACCURATE DATA
Researchers involved in the development of so-called ‘wearable' technology say their prototype sensor unit has now matured to the extent it can determine exactly when a bowler releases a ball, a factor they state is “a critical element in assessing illegal [bowling] actions". The wearables project, which began six years ago and is being funded by both the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), aims to develop sensors that can measure, in near real time during matches, the degree to which a bowler flexes their arm whilst delivering a ball (PTG 377-2012, 25 February 2009).
Writing in this month's edition of the 'Journal of Sports Sciences' (JSS), lead author Wayne Spratford, a Biomechanist at the Australian Institute of Sport, and four of his colleagues, indicate that their match-box size inertial sensor worn on a bowler's wrist can provide ball release data very close to that determined simultaneously by high speed camera footage, which until now was the “established method” for collecting such data. They describe the breakthrough as "very exciting”, not just because of the ease of wearing the sensors that have been developed, but also because its an "automated method" that quickly generates arm flex measurements.
Data reported in the ‘JSS' article was acquired from twenty-one finger-spin and fast bowlers from nine countries who were taking part in last February’s Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. The work there involved the bowlers delivering "a cross section of their standard deliveries while wearing an inertial sensor placed on their wrists”, all-up 146 deliveries making up the analysis presented in the research paper. Sensor and film data are said to have provided very similar data regardless of the bowling style and delivery type involved.
Reports last year suggested that in addition to a sensor on the wrist, the total wearables package is likely to also involve sweat-type bands on the elbow or sleeve, the latter two elements helping to determine just how much arm flex is involved.
Three months ago the MCC said that the ICC was “optimistic” wearable technology” for monitoring illegal actions could be ready for trials in matches in 2015 (PTG 1429-6903, 16 September 2014), a time line that, given the contents of the research paper, appears achievable. Current work is believed to be focussing on the process of attaching sensors on match days, ensuring that the data received is not compromised and that the sensors remain in position, and establishing just how quickly after a delivery data will be available off the ground.
A year ago a newspaper report stated that it was expected then that a "functioning, cheap and readily available [wearable sensor] package" could be available in sports stores for use in all levels of the game by the end of 2015 (PTG 1241-5988, 25 November 2013). Just what such an achievement would mean for the four laboratories in Australia, England and India the ICC has accredited to test bowling actions is not entirely clear (PTG 1453-7043, 23 October 2014).
Apart from Spratford, the other authors of the paper were: Marc Portus the Managing Director of the Praxis Sport Science company who was the manager of Cricket Australia's Sport Science Sport Medicine Unit from 2005-2010, Daniel James who heads the Sport and Biomedical program at the Centre for Wireless Monitoring and Applications at Griffith University in Queensland, and his senior research colleagues there, Andrew Wixted and Raymond Leadbetter.
COACH BLAMES UMPIRES' ‘MISPLACEMENT’
OF BALL FOR MATCH LOSS
Leeward Islands coach Ridley Jacobs has claimed the umpires “misplaced” the ball during tea on the third day of his side's first class game against Jamaica in Kingstown on Sunday, and "the ball they came out with” at the end of that break cost his side the match. Jacobs, a former West Indies wicketkeeper, said in a story published in the ‘Jamaican Gleaner’ yesterday that his team intended to make an official complaint to the West Indies Cricket Board about the matter.
Jacobs is quoted as saying: "the ball we were bowling with before tea was sixteen overs old, but the ball the umpires came out with after tea was thirty-four overs old [which is] a big difference”. He said “such a thing should not be happening in any cricket game”. "The ball that we had first was doing a lot”, Jamaica being 3/42 at the tea interval, “but the ball they gave us did not do anything [and] that is the reason why we lost the game”. The home side eventually won the match by four wickets.
The umpires for the match were Danesh Ramdhanie of Trinidad and Tobago and Christopher Taylor of Jamaica, his countryman Michael Hylton being the match referee. Ramdhanie, 48, made his first class debut in February last year and was standing in his eighth first class fixture, while for Taylor, 34, it was his fourth since his debut in February this year. Hylton has been working as a referee in his eighth first class match since his first in March 2011. What the match officials think about Jacob’s claim has not been made public.
‘HAWK-EYE’ OFFICIALS ACKNOWLEDGE
SYSTEM ERROR, CLAIMS REPORT
'Hawk-Eye' officials conceded that their review technology erred in a decision in which Pakistan opener Shan Masood was dismissed on the final day of the second Test against New Zealand in Dubai last month, says a report in the Pakistan newspaper ’The Nation’ this morning. Masood was given out leg-before by on-field umpire Paul Reiffel and asked for a review by third umpire Rod Tucker, but after a long delay delay, Hawk-Eye’s ball-tracking technology backed the decision.
’The Nation’ says the projected path of the ball shown by 'Hawk-Eye’ was significantly different to that seen in television replays. Both Pakistan and New Zealand are said to have been “baffled” by the apparent difference, claims the report. The hosts subsequently asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) whether they could meet with 'Hawk-Eye' officials to discuss the inconsistency in ball-tracking as well as the decision.
During a meeting at the ICC’s offices in Dubai last week, 'Hawk-Eye' "acknowledged to the ICC, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq and manager Moin Khan that the projection used in the broadcast was incorrect". However, they insisted that had the projection been right, it still would have shown the ball clipping leg-stump and not hitting it full, as shown at the time, and so the on-field decision would have been upheld.
Hawk-Eye officials apparently explained that the incident brought together a unique set of circumstances which led to an operator making an input error, which subsequently led to what television viewers saw. Pakistan officials were told that the reduced number of cameras, four were being used rather than the normal six, as well as the fact that Masood’s bat and umpire Ranmore Martinecz at square-leg obscured a crucial couple of frames in the ball’s flight, all contributed to the projected path of the ball being wrong.
Pakistan have been happy to use technology in decision-making in cricket and the error is said to be unlikely to change their view. ‘Hawk-Eye 'issued a statement that said the incident represented a rare error, and the first since September 2011 when a tracking error led to the dismissal of the late Phil Hughes in a Test in Sri Lanka (PTG 826-4039, 7 September 2014). The company estimates that since then their system has accurately tracked around 500,000 deliveries in international cricket.
ACTIONS DECLARED ‘LEGAL'
Sri Lankan Sachitra Senanayake and Kane Williamson of New Zealand were both cleared to resume bowling in internationals yesterday after their modified bowling actions were found by laboratory testing to be satisfactory. Off-spinner Senanayake was reported for a suspect action in June during his side's tour of England and was suspended from bowling in July (PTG 1390-6724, 14 July 2014), part-time off-spinner Williamson being excluded around the same time after being reported in a series in the Caribbean the same month (PTG 1398-6767, 25 July 2014).
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement yesterday: "Since being reported earlier in the year, both bowlers have remodelled their bowling actions prior to applying to have their actions re-tested”. "The results showed that the level of elbow extension measured for all deliveries bowled was now within the fifteen-degree level of tolerance permitted under the ICC regulations”. Despite the clearance the ICC warned that umpires could still report both bowlers if they believe they are again using a "suspicious action". Should they be reported within two years of their respective first cases they could face a ban of up to twelve months.
Senanayake is expected to return today and on Saturday in Sri Lanka’s One Day Internationals (ODI) against England in Palleke, and New Zealand will have Williamson available to bowl when his side plays Pakistan in an ODI in Sharjah on Friday.
Since the ICC launched a crackdown on bowling actions in June, ten bowlers have been reported and six of them suspended. Pakistan has been the worst hit in that time with both Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez both suspended from bowling in international cricket. Hafeez’s action was declared illegal last week (PTG 1477-7145, 8 December 2014), and Ajmal's in August (PTG 1427-6896, 10 September 2014). The Pakistan Cricket Board is currently working up to ask the ICC for an official retest of Ajmal prior to next year’s World Cup (PTG 1475-7133, 5 December 2014).
A report in the ‘India Express’ newspaper yesterday claimed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had decided not to include spinners Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha in its preliminary squad of thirty for the World Cup partly because of bowling action issues. According to the story BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel "was briefed by the ICC technical committee at a board meeting in Dubai [last month] that those two bowlers will be closely scrutinised by umpires if they play international cricket”.
BATSMAN UNCONSCIOUS FOR SIX
MINUTES FOLLOWING BALL STRIKE
Barbados batsman Omar Phillips was unconscious for six minutes after being hit on the back of the head by a ball during a first class match against the Windward Islands last Friday, says a ‘Cricinfo’ report. Phillips was at the non-striker’s end at the Amos Vale Ground in Kingstown when a full-blooded shot from batting partner Shai Hope ricocheted off his own bat and struck him (PTG 1477-7143, 8 December 2014).
Phillips is said to have raised his right hand as the shot from Hope came towards him, but he withdrew it a fraction later because he had injured it in a previous game. "The ball was heading for the helmet, but I turned my face to my left at the last moment”, he said, and it ended up striking the bottom right of the rear of his helmet. After he was hit his first instinct was to get back to his crease but then his "legs gave up" and he fell to the ground unconscious, after which he was rushed to hospital six kilometres away.
Kept in hospital overnight, and cleared of serious injury following a CT scan, but still suffering from concussion, Phillips took no further part in the match. Doctors have prescribed a rehabilitation period of at least a couple of weeks before he returns to the game. Barbados’ next match is a one-day fixture in mid-January, while it does not have a first class game scheduled until early February.
CRICKET LOW ON AUSTRALIAN
SPORTS INJURIES LIST
A year-long Australian Institute of Health and Welfare study of sports injuries in that country has found that cricket ranks a lowly thirteenth place in terms of hospital-related incidents. The comprehensive study, which looked at data from the 2011-12 ‘year’ in Australia, focused on injuries that required hospitalisation, Australian Rules Football (AFL) making up the largest proportion, and nearly a third overall being associated with one or other of the football codes.
During 2011-12, around 36,000 people aged 15 and over were hospitalised in Australia due to an injury sustained while playing sport and spent a total of 79,000 days in hospital. The report also shows clear demographic trends; around two‑thirds of those admitted to hospital were aged under 35 and over three‑quarters were men, according AIHW spokesperson Professor James Harrison.
After AFL with 3,186 incidents (8.8 per cent of the total), comes football 2,962 (8.2), cycling 2,017 (8.0), wheeled motor sports 2,737 (7.4), water sports 2,143 (5.9), rugby 1,650 (4.6), roller sports 1,632 (4.5), equestrian activities 1,588 (4.3), basketball 1,322 (3.5), ice and snow sports 1,114 (3.1). The next after that is cricket with 913 incidents (2.5 per cent), 98 per cent of those involved being men.
The data presented for cricket “does not differentiate between playing team cricket and backyard cricket during the course of a social event such as a barbecue”. The report shows most common injury in the game was a fracture of the wrist or hand (38 per cent), the knee and lower leg (22 per cent), the head (18 per cent), and muscle and tendon injuries and dislocations (10 per cent). In almost half of the cases (47 per cent), "contact with sports equipment was the mechanism of injury”, however, precisely what that means was not made clear. Overall, hospitalisation for those with cricket injuries in 2011-12 totalled 1,263 bed days, but no deaths were reported.
Across the total AIHW study for all sports in the country the most commonly affected body region was the knee and lower leg with close on 10,000 cases, then came head injuries came with around 5,500 incidents, while those of the neck were seventh overall with about 1,800 hospitalisations.
UMPIRE ‘MANIPULATION’ CLAIM
RESULTS IN STREET PROTEST
Sailab Hossain Tutul, an official with the Umpires and Scorers Association of Bangladesh, has accused Lutfur Rahman Badal, the owner of the Dhaka Premier League’s (DPL) 'Legends of Rupganj’ club, of undermining umpires by "unnecessarily accusing them of favouritism” last week. Badal claimed publicly the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is “manipulating" the appointment of umpires to his team’s matches in order to ensure it does not win the DPL for a fourth year in a row (PTG 1476-7139, 6 December 2014).
Speaking at a press conference on Monday alongside representatives of the DPL club association and the Cricketers Welfare Association of Bangladesh, Tutul is said to have “demanded” his members "be given proper respect while performing their duties”. The press conference followed a gathering of “hundreds” of people in the street outside the BCB’s office, those involved "chanting slogans against the Legends owner” and hanging a banner outside the office that "derided Lutfar for his derogatory remarks".
PADDED HELMET FLAP DESIGN WOULD
PROTECT NECK, CLAIMS GEAR DESIGNER
Steve Remfry, an Adelaide-based designer of protective gear, says he has “blueprints" for a padded helmet flap he believes would protect players from receiving fatal blows to the neck. ‘Adelaide Now’ journalist Scott Walsh reported yesterday that Remfry, who has been designing made-to-measure arm guards, thigh, chest and shin protectors since 1987, thinks the new arrangement "could be available for players before the [current] Adelaide Test finishes", but was more likely to be "road-tested" in the lead-up to next week’s second Test in Brisbane.
Remfry, a former orthotist for Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital, a profession that involves providing advice to patients on external body aids such as callipers to help improve their mobility, said the death of Phillip Hughes two weeks ago had prompted a rush of orders to him for chest guards from players at all levels. He told Walsh he is yet to receive a specific request for extra helmet protection, but “There’s a solution, there’s always a solution”. “Every part of the body can be protected somehow and with the helmet, I’ve come up with a solution that I think can fix that problem [and] I’m just waiting on Australian and Indian [team] management to get back to me regarding [development of a ] prototype”.
According to Remfry a flap of "thirteen millimetre thick foam" used in his protective products would prevent serious neck injuries. The helmet insert proposed could be "a solid contoured flap, or fitted with breathable air holes, or divided into movable strips to ensure maximum mobility”, he says. “Depending on the shape of the players head, it could extend twenty-five, fifty or sixty millimetres out from the helmet”, depending on what "size and shape the player is comfortable with".
Even with the protection Remfry is suggesting, a player who is hit in the head “would still feel it if they got hit [as] it’s no different to getting hit in a thigh guard by a ball going at 150 clicks [km/hr], but it would absorb the impact and protect them, rather than thumping straight into their neck”. “There’s no rocket science involved here”. "This is just another part of the body that needs protection, it’s just that it’s never been done before”, says Remfry.
The ‘Mansuri’ company, which designed and makes the helmet Hughes was wearing when he was struck, as well as a more advanced design beyond that, has indicated there are areas of the head and neck that cannot be protected without compromising a player’s mobility (PTG 1469-7114, 27 November 2014). Whether a concept like that proposed by Remfry, which is yet to be studied via a working prototype, has been part of the International Cricket Council’s Medical Committee consideration of helmet safety issues for over the last three years, is not known.
YOUNG PLAYER DIES AFTER
MID-MATCH HEART ATTACK
A twenty-nine year-old player in Mumbai died of a heart attack while taking part in a local tournament there yesterday. Wicketkeeper Ratnakar More, is said to have complained of chest pains and was taken to Bombay Hospital, where he quickly succumbed. Reports say all matches in the series were cancelled as a mark of respect. More is survived by his wife who is said to be seven months pregnant with their first child.
UMPIRE ‘MANIPULATION’ COMMENTS
RESULT IN LIFE BAN
Lutfur Rahman Badal, the owner of the Dhaka Premier Leagues (DPL) 'Legends of Rupganj’ side, has been banned for life from participating in any activity that falls under the auspices of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). The BCB's disciplinary committee took the decision five days after Badal made derogatory comments about the BCB after his side lost a crucial DPL match, his claims including suggestions its officials had “manipulated” umpires in a way that influenced the result of games (PTG 1476-7139, 6 December 2014).
The BCB said in a statement that the ban, which was handed down with comparatively remarkable speed late on Wednesday night, was because Badal's comments had "hurt and embarrassed" the country's cricketing fraternity. Two other Legends’ officials were also given bans, team manager Tariqul Islam Titu for five years and another official, Sabbir Ahmed Rubel, for three.
Badal said publicly on Wednesday morning, after public disorder about the matter the previous evening (PTG 1479-7158, 10 December 2014), that he was 'sorry' for his comments. He read out a statement at a press conference at his business office that said: “I felt that my team was treated unfairly in that match and as a result I had an emotional outburst in front of the media”. "I apologise if my comments on that day hurt anybody in the cricketing fraternity”. "This does not go with the spirit of cricket and hopefully this apology will bring an end to the series of events”. The statement was also e-mailed to BCB president Nazmul Hassan Papon.
Despite Badal’s act of contrition the DPL’s governing body decided to refer the issue to the BCB's disciplinary committee, which met on Wednesday evening and announced its decision just before midnight local time that day. While Badal has been banned, his team can continue playing in the DPL, and it played a scheduled match yesterday. Dense fog limited that match to thirty-one overs a side fixture that Legends won, thus ending the four-match losing streak that had so upset Badal.
SHARP, WILLEY MISSING FROM
2015 ECB FULL LIST
Long-serving English umpires George Sharp and Peter Willey, who were reported to have been challenging the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) compulsory retirement age of sixty-five (PTG 1421-6866, 29 August 2014), are not amongst the twenty-five umpires the ECB named as members of its Full List for the 2015 northern summer. The ECB yesterday appointed two members of its 2014 Reserve List, Russell Evans and Paul Baldwin, in place of Sharp and Willey, elevated four members of this year’s Emerging panel, Ian Blackwell, Russell Warren, Tom Lungley and Chris Watts, to the Reserve group for 2015, and dropped Ismail Dawood from its second-tier panel.
Baldwin, 41, was as a German resident a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) third-tier Associate and Affiliates International Umpires Panel (AAIUP) for four years from its inception in 2005. He moved back to England for the 2009 season there and the ECB appointed him to the Reserve list ahead of the 2010 summer (PTG 538-2757, 23 December 2009). Whilst on the AAIUP he stood in eighteen One Day Internationals, most involving second-tier nations, and ten first class games at that level, including two finals of the ICC's Inter-continental Cup.
Evans, 49 played first class cricket with Nottinghamshire from 1987-90, a period in which he played seven first class and sixteen List A games. An umpire for the last six years, he was appointed to the Reserve list the year after Baldwin (PTG 701-3438, 15 December 2010). ECB Chief Operating Officer Gordon Hollins said in a statement: “We are delighted to welcome Russell and Paul onto the Full List for 2015”. "These promotions are richly deserved and reflect the quality of [their] performances over the last few seasons domestic competitions as well as their high levels of commitment and professionalism overall”. Sharp and Willey were not mentioned by Hollins and it not yet known just what happened regarding their retirement age challenge.
Baldwin and Evans join twenty-three members of the 2014 Full List group on the 2015 Full panel: Rob Bailey, Neil Bainton, Mark Benson, Martin Bodenham, Nick Cook, Nigel Cowley, Jeff Evans, Steve Gale, Steve Garratt, Michael Gough, Ian Gould, Peter Hartley, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Graham Lloyd, Jeremy Lloyds, Neil Mallender, David Millns, Steve O’Shaughnessy, Tim Robinson, Martin Saggers and Alex Wharf.
As previously reported the ECB Reserve List for 2015 includes former England player Blackwell, plus Warren and Lungley, who played for Northamptonshire and Derbyshire respectfully, and Watts (PTG 1272-6133, 19 January 2014). They join 2014 members Mike Burns, Ben Debenham, Paul Pollard and Billy Taylor in what is now an eight-man panel, one more than the group selected for 2014. One 2014 member, former Glamorgan, Northamptonshire and Worcestershire player Ismail Dawood, who joined the Reserve panel ahead of the 2009 season, is not included in the list released by the ECB yesterday. No mention was made of his departure in yesterday’s ECB announcement.
Similarly, no details of the ECB’s Emerging panel for 2015, which was established twelve months ago, were provided yesterday. Reports last week indicated that Birmingham umpire Anthony Harris had won promotion to that group for 2015 (PTG 1475-7132, 5 December 2014).
UTSEYA’S SLOW MEDIUM ACTION CLEARED,
BUT OFF-SPINNERS STILL ‘ILLEGAL'
The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced yesterday that following remedial work and a re-test, the slow medium bowling action of Zimbabwe’s Prosper Utseya now meets its fifteen degree arm flex limit, and he can now resume bowling in international cricket, however, his off-spinners remain “illegal". That news came a day after the ICC similarly cleared Sri Lankan Sachitra Senanayake and Kane Williamson of New Zealand to resume bowling in internationals after they successfully modified their bowling actions (PTG 1479-7155, 10 December 2014).
Utseya was reported as having a suspect action following a One Day International (ODI) against South Africa in Bulawayo four months ago (PTG 1418-6846, 23 August 2014), laboratory tests conducted at Cardiff Metropolitan University in mid-September showing his arm flex exceeded the fifteen degrees permitted in "all [types] of their deliveries” (PTG 1445-6998, 9 October 2014). It is not clear where and just when, the retest that cleared him was conducted.
The ICC emphasised yesterday that despite the latest results, umpires are "still at liberty to report Utseya in the future if they believe he is displaying a suspect action and is not reproducing the legal action that was analysed during the re-test”. In an approach the ICC has not mentioned previously, "umpires have been provided with images and video footage of Utseya’s remodeled legal bowling action” in order to "assist in comparing [the] action [he] used in the laboratory to the action [he uses] in upcoming matches.
HELMET STRIKE DENIES
DEBUTANT HIS FIRST WICKET
New South Wales batsman Will Somerville was recalled by umpires Greg Davidson and John Ward after he was caught at cover from a ball delivered by Queensland spinner Cameron Brimblecombe in a Sheffield Shield match at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday. Davidson ad Ward are said to have ruled that the ball reached cover via the the helmet worn by a fielder at silly mid-off, a situation that thus denied debutant Brimblecombe from claiming his first wicket in first class cricket.
PCB REASSURES KENYANS
ABOUT TOUR SECURITY
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan has reassured Kenyan cricket authorities that "full security measures will be in place for their team's five-match one-day format series against Pakistan ‘A’ in Lahore over the next week. Khan told reporters yesterday that he had informed the Kenyans, who arrived in Lahore yesterday, that the current unrest in Pakistan, with protests being directed against the government in a number of cities, was “political" and not related to terrorism.
BROAD TO BECOME SECOND
REFEREE TO REACH 250 ODI MARK
English match referee Chris Broad will become the second man to oversee 250 One Day Internationals (ODI) when he takes the field for the toss in the second game of the five-match series South Africa and the West Indies are to play in Johannesburg next month. India’s Sundarum Ravi and Australian Steve Davis have been named as the two neutral umpires for the series, South African members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) filling the second on-field and reserve umpire positions in each game.
Ravi and Davis will alternate between on-field and television roles during the ODIs scheduled for Durban, Johannesburg, East London, Port Elizabeth and Centurion. Ravi will be on-field in the first, third and fifth ODIs and Davis in matches two and four, appointments that will take their ODI records to 130/60 and 21/14 for the Australian and Indian respectively. Just which of South Africa’s three IUP members will work in the five on-field and reserve umpire positions has not yet been made public.
The now 57-year-old Broad made his match referee debut in an ODI at Eden Park, Auckland, in January 2004, and in the eleven years since then he has managed close to a sixth of the nearly 1,500 ODIs that have played around the globe in that time. During his playing career as an opener for England, Gloucestershire, Nottinghamshire and Orange Free State, he played in a total of 340 first-class matches, 25 of them Tests, plus 319 List A fixtures, 34 of which were ODIs.
Match referee records in ODIs currently stand as follows: Broad’s predecessor to 250, Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka, 288 games (1993-present); Broad 248 (2004-present); Jeff Crowe, New Zealand 207 (2004–present), Roshan Mahanama, Sri Lanka 203 (2008–present); Mike Procter, South Africa 162 (2002-2008); Javagal Srinath, India 147 (2006-present); Clive Lloyd, West Indies 133 (1992-2007); Raman Subba Row, England 119 (1992-2001); Cammie Smith, West Indies 118 (1993-2002); Andy Pycroft, Zimbabwe 105 (2009-present); and Alan Hurst, Australia 102 (2004-2011).
BATSMAN’S VISION WOBBLY FIVE
MONTHS AFTER FACE STRIKE
Somerset and England wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter could miss the whole of the 2015 season after suffering a setback in his recovery from a severe eye injury he received whilst batting against Northamptonshire in a first class match in July. Kieswetter’s nose was broken and his eye socket fractured when a ball went through his helmet grille, and he has since struggled to regain the level of vision he had prior to the incident, said a BBC report yesterday.
Somerset indicated that five months on Kieswetter's long-term prognosis is “unknown" but he is "unlikely" to be fit for next year. The South Africa-born keeper said in a statement this week: "It is really disappointing but my eye is not 100 per cent and this of course is critical in maintaining the levels of performance that I expect of myself, [and] I need to make every effort to resolve the matter and have the best specialist help in that regard”.
Kieswetter, who has played 46 One Day Internationals, had been named in England’s thirty-man squad for next year's World Cup. He recently appeared for Warriors in Cricket South Africa's domestic T20 competition, and last week he was announced as a new signing for Sydney Thunder in Cricket Australia's equivalent league, but has since been forced to withdraw from that arrangement.
After Kieswetter was hit in July, Somerset’s director of cricket Dave Nosworthy told journalists: "These freak cricketing accidents happen from time to time and I am confident with the right care that he will come through this setback”.
DAR MOVES TO HEAD OF
T20I UMPIRES’ LIST
Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar moved to the top of the all-time list for Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) late last week when he stood in the second game of the series between Pakistan and New Zealand in Dubai. Dar stood in his first T20I in May 2009, and drew level with previous leader Simon Taufel of Australia on 34 games last March, but then had to wait for nine months to set the new record.
The majority, 29, of Dar’s T20Is have been during the World Championship series played in England, the West Indies, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014. He stood in the 2010 final in Barbados and the following one in Colombo in 2012, Taufel being his on-field partner for the latter game. All-up Dar has so far stood in 9 matches in Sri Lanka, 8 each in Bangladesh and the West Indies, and 5 each in England and the United Arab Emirates.
A total of 88 umpires from 19 countries have filled the 826 on-field spots in the 413 T20Is played over the ten years since the first at Eden Park in Auckland in February 2005. In contrast just 17 match referees from 9 of the 10 Test playing members, the exception being Bangladesh, have overseen those fixtures, Ranjan Mudugalle of Sri Lanka topping the referees list with 71 games followed by Chris Broad of England with 54.
Of the 88 umpires, 13 were Australians, 10 Englishmen, 9 Indians, 8 South Africans, 7 each from New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, 4 from Bangladesh and 3 Zimbabwean. Outside the Test playing nations 4 were Kenyan, 2 from Ireland, and one each from Canada, Denmark, Germany, Namibia, Nepal, Scotland and Singapore. Of the referees 4 were Australians, 3 Sri Lankan, 2 each from England, South Africa and the West Indies, and one each from India, New Zealand, Pakistan and Zimbabwe.
Australian umpires occupied 118 of the 826 on-field spots, Pakistanis 99, South Africans 91, New Zealanders 79, West Indians 69, Sri Lankans 67, Indians 32, Zimbabweans 22 and Bangladeshis 15. Of the nine countries outside the Test sphere, Kenyans topped the list with 20, then comes Singapore 14, Ireland 12, Germany 9, Canada 8, Nepal 7, Denmark and Scotland each 5, and Namibia 3. Of the referees, Sri Lankans managed 116 matches, Englishmen 73, Australians 54, Kiwis 47, Indians 46, South Africans and Zimbabweans both 35, and Pakistani and West Indians each 3.
PRETORIA ACCREDITED AS
ICC BOWLING TESTING CENTRE
The University of Pretoria has become the fifth suspected illegal bowling action testing centre accredited by the International Cricket Council, joining those in Australasia, Asia and Europe. Establishment of the new facility is part of an ICC effort to tackle the issue of illegal bowling actions, a push that has seen a dozen bowlers reported for suspect actions this year.
The Pretoria facility has an indoor area large enough to allow a player to bowl off their normal full run-up, a motion analysis system with high speed cameras capable of producing three-dimensional data, suitably qualified personnel and experience in using such systems. The ICC has provided its testing protocol, which includes a suite of testing equipment and software, to it and the other centres, to allow for a consistent assessment of bowlers across all of the accredited centres.
The ICC announced earlier this year the Cricket Australia’s National Cricket Centre in Brisbane, the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai, Loughborough University in England, and Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales had been accredited, but it did not mention the latter facility in yesterday’s press release. Whether that is an oversight is not known, but the ICC says "several other countries” are showing interest in hosting testing centres and it hopes to assess and accredit "a select range of additional facilities over the coming years”.
The ICC, together with the Marylebone Cricket Club, is also supporting the development of ‘wearable’ technology that aims to provide details of bowler’s actions on a near real time basis during matches (PTG 1479-7152, 10 December 2014).
APPROPRIATENESS OF DISCIPLINARY
PROCESS, LIFE BAN, QUERIED
Numerous observers in Bangladesh are reported to have queried the approach taken by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) in banning Lutfar Rahman, a team owner in the Dhaka Premier League, for life earlier this week (PTG 1480-7161, 11 December 2014). The BCB's disciplinary committee took what many called a “hasty" decision to censure Badal and two others over a range of comments he made about the BCB, his claims including suggestions its officials had “manipulated” umpires in a way that influenced the result of games (PTG 1476-7139, 6 December 2014).
An article in yesterday’s Dhaka-based 'New Age’ newspaper said the "entire episode was completed hurriedly by the disciplinary committee”, its brief meeting to decide the issue being held close to midnight on Tuesday. It also pointed out Badal and his colleagues were not given any chance to defend themselves, "a privilege even given to perpetrators of most heinous of the crimes”. Luftar had earlier offered an unconditional apology for his comments and hoped it would end the controversy.
Disciplinary committee chairman Sheikh Sohel was quoted as telling journalists: “If you commit a murder and ask for an apology it is not acceptable”. Asked why the decision was taken unilaterally without giving Lutfar a chance to defend himself, Sohel said that Badal's remarks "hit the BCB’s prestige and had tarnished the image of the organisation worldwide".
The ‘New Age’ report says that “many in cricket fraternity question the enormity of the punishment and have argued the BCB simply overreacted to his comments”. "In a country where a cricketer gets effectively a three-year ban for admitting his involvement in match-fixing, a life ban on a councillor for a mere comment is simply ridiculous”, said an unnamed former player. He also pointed out that in similar instances in the past the disciplinary committee forwarded its recommendation to the BCB’s Board of Directors, who made the final decision; something in this case they do not appear to have done.
HAFEEZ SET FOR REMEDIAL
WORK IN CHENNAI
Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez, who was suspended from bowling in international cricket last week because of his delivery action (PTG 1477-7145, 8 December 2014), will be sent to Chennai in India for remedial work and on-going “unofficial” tests. Hafeez, who was reported for a suspect bowling action during a Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi last month (PTG 1459-7071, 14 November 2014), was found in tests conducted in England last month to have an arm flex in excess of the fifteen degree limit for all types of deliveries he bowled.
BLIND LEADING THE BLIND?
Zeeshan Abbassi, the captain of Pakistan's blind cricket team, told the media after returning to Lahore from South Africa on Wednesday, that “wrong umpiring decisions" caused his team's defeat in the blind world cup final played in Cape Town last Sunday.
‘CONTENTIOUS’ END TO 2014 CPL FINAL
‘RESOLVED’, SAY ORGANISERS
Caribbean Premier League (CPL) organisers say they have resolved matters surrounding the “contentious” end to the competition’s 2014 final between the Barbados and Guyanese franchise sides in August, and pointed indirectly to the mishandling of Playing Conditions by match officials as the cause. The Guyanese side, which lost the game by eight runs via Duckworth-Lewis, expressed serious concerns about the way the rain affected match was managed and particularly the “unorthodox” way it ended (PTG 1415-6830, 19 August 2014).
Close to the end of the August final on the island of St Kitts with Guyana at the crease and 4.1 overs to bowl, heavy rain stopped play and after it ended and mopping-up operations were completed, the stumps were again set-up. However, after initial indications the game would then resume, a delay ensued during which there was general confusion, before it was suddenly announced time available had elapsed and the Barbados franchise side was declared the winner. Analysis of what occurred suggested match officials lost control of the game.
The CPL said in a press release yesterday that it and the Guyana franchise, which in loosing the final missed out on the $US250,000 ($A320,000) winner-take-all prize and the opportunity for further monies via the Champions League, "are pleased to announce that the issue has now been resolved and brought to a closure”. That has been done said the CPL “after various consultations in the interest of the great game of cricket and in order to maintain the excellent reputation of the CPL”. Whether or not the Guyanese group received any monies in compensation as part of the “closure” was not mentioned.
Damien O’ Donohoe, the CPL’s chief executive, who expressed the view that "CPL 2014 set new standards on and off the field”, said: “We are pleased that [his organisation and the Guyanese franchise] have reached an amicable conclusion and all parties concerned can now move forward to the planning and implementing of a bigger, better and more exciting CPL [in 2015]”.
Somewhat tellingly though, O'Donohoe indicated that "CPL officials, franchise owners and their partners, plus the tournament committee, are currently reviewing the [Playing Conditions] for the  semi-finals and final with a view to using international umpires and match referees and extending the match playing time to midnight”. During the 2014 series only West Indian umpires were use (PTG 1415-6834, 19 August 2014), a change from the CPL’s inaugural season the year before when former International Cricket Council match referee Mike Proctor, and umpire ‘Billy’ Bowden (PTG 1179-5692, 26 August 2013), were employed (PTG 1179-5692, 26 August 2013).
Denovan Hayles of Jamaica was the match referee for the 2014 final, Joel Wilson of Trinidad and Tobago and Gregory Brathwaite of Barbados the on-field umpires, another Barbadian, Leslie Reifer the television umpire, and Carl Tuckett of the Leeward Islands the fourth. The end of the match was not dissimilar to that which occurred during the 2007 World Cup final in Barbados (PTG 34-193, 30 April 2007). The very senior international match officials involved in that game were later censured for their lack of knowledge of the Playing Conditions that applied (PTG 59-324, 24 June 2007).
‘RESPECT FOR OPPONENTS’
AGAIN GOES MISSING
The ‘Spirit of Cricket’ requirement that players respect their opponents, which came to the fore recently following the death of Phillip Hughes two weeks ago, went missing again yesterday just four days into the opening Test between Australia and India. During the day there were a number of flare ups that saw team members from both sides engage in heated, close order, conversations and finger pointing, activities that required umpires Ian Gould and Marais Erasmus to step in and express their displeasure.
The first incident came when Indian fast bowler Varun Aaron yelled “Come on! Come on!” in a send-off when he bowled Australian opener David Warner, only for the latter to be recalled after replays showed a significant over-stepping ’no ball’ had been missed by Gould. As he was returning to the crease to resume Warner, with an angry stare, aggressively repeated Aaron's words back to him, a situation that saw several members of the Indian team, including captain Virat Kohli, have words with the Australian. Non-striker Shane Watson also got involved in the verbals.
Gould and Erasmus stepped in to quell that exchange, and again later on when Steve Smith, another Australian batsman, and spinner Rohit Sharma, got into an argument that saw an agitated bowler walked towards the batsman; Kohli again coming forward to support his teammate, a situation that also saw the umpires set in to try and calm things down.
At a press conference after play ended for the day, Warner admitted he shouldn't have retaliated, but said Aaron's celebration got his "juices flowing". "The world knows how I like to get involved and how I like to play my cricket”, continued Warner, but "That's how it is, I try and take it to him, if I have to be a bit verbal I will”. "Sometimes I do cross that line, I've got to try not to”, said the Australian. The press conference also saw Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane claim that what happened between the players was "good for cricket", however, Indian team management later said that what he meant to say was that such confrontations were "part of the game".
Writing for Fairfax media, journalist Chloe Saltau, said “the eruption of spotfires did nothing to suggest the umpires had control of the situation”. Those events also prompted Channel Nine commentator Shane Warne, who was not always known for his on-field grace during his playing career, to suggest the umpires should report someone rather than allow the arguments to continue. Other media observers at the ground felt though that Gould and Erasmus had handled the situation well.
REPORT AWAITED ON ALLEGED
‘MISPLACEMENT' OF BALL
West Indies Cricket Umpires Association president, Cecil Fletcher, has described as “unfortunate" this week's reported “misplacement” of the match ball during a first class match between Jamaica and the Leewards Islands at Sabina Park last Sunday. Leeward's coach Ridley Jacobs claimed umpires Danesh Ramdhanie of Trinidad and Tobago and Christopher Taylor of Jamaica took the wrong ball on to the field after tea on day three, a situation Jacobs has suggested cost his side the match (PTG 1479-7153, 10 December 2014).
Needing 194 in what was the last innings of the match, Jamaica were 3/42 at the third day tea break, the ball being sixteen overs old at that point. Jacob says though his side was handed a thirty-four overs old ball after the interval, Jamaica recovered and did not loose its next wicket until its score was 184, eventually winning the match outright by four wickets.
A report in Guyana’s ‘Stabroek News’ yesterday has Jacobs also saying: "After tea, the bowlers were complaining to the umpires that they had the wrong ball and that it was not the original ball”. "The umpires basically were saying it was the right ball, [but after play ended] we had a brief conference with them and they showed us the right ball and said it was lost [at tea] and was replaced”. Just what the circumstances of the loss were was not mentioned.
While he didn’t "want to discuss the situation at this time”, Fletcher, a former Jamaican first class umpire, who is also a member of the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) Umpires and Match Referees Committee which evaluates match officials in the Caribbean, told the ‘Jamaican Gleaner’ newspaper: "The normal procedure [at an interval in a game] is that the person who is going to be the standing umpire [on resumption] retains the ball”.
Which of the two umpires were due to take the first over after tea is not known, but Fletcher said: "The fact that it is alleged that there may have been a mishap is cause for concern, and, we await the reports from the various stakeholders”. The WICB is said to be awaiting a report from match referee Michael Hylton, a Jamaican, and Fletcher told the ‘Gleaner’ that after that document is examined by the board a decision on what, if any, action to take will be made.
FOUR NAMED TO MANAGE SOUTH
AFRICA, WINDIES, TEST SERIES
Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) chief match referee, is to oversee the three Test series between South Africa and the West Indies, the first match of which is due to get underway in Centurion next Thursday. Madugalle will work with umpires ‘Billy’ Bowden of New Zealand, Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Paul Reiffel of Australia, who will each stand in two games and serve as the television umpire in another.
Bowden and Dar will be on-field in Centurion with Reiffel the television umpire, in the Boxing Day Test in Port Elizabeth it will be Bowden-Reiffel and Dar, and the New Year’s match in Cape Town Dar-Reiffel and Bowden. South African members of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel are expected to be appointed to fourth umpire roles.
The series will take Madugalle’s record as a referee in Tests to 155, nearly 90 more than Jeff Crowe of New Zealand the next on that list. Dar, who drew equal on 92 Tests with the late David Shepherd in a match in Chittagong last month, will have taken his tally to 94 by the end of the forthcoming series, one less on the all-time Test umpire list than Daryl Harper of Australia, 14 behind Rudi Koertzen of South Africa, and 34 less that Steve Bucknor of the West Indies whose all-time record of 128 Tests will take some beating. For Bowden the series will take his Test tally to 80 games and Reiffel to 15 as an umpire.
PNG BOWLER’S ACTION
Papua New Guinea (PNG) fast bowler Nosaina Pokana’s delivery action has been found to be “legal" and he can now resume bowling in international cricket as a result of tests carried out recently at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane. The International Cricket Council (ICC) said yesterday Pokana’s action was reported as suspect during the Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates last February, something it did not publicise at the time. While he has now been cleared, the ICC pointed out that umpires "are still at liberty to report Pokana in the future if they believe he is displaying a suspect action and not reproducing the legal action that was analysed during the re-test".
FIVE INTERNATIONALS CENSURED
FOR ON-FIELD MISDEMEANOURS
Five players, two of them captains, have been found guilty of breaching Code of Conduct regulations whilst play was underway during two international fixtures on Friday, one a Test match in Adelaide and the other a One Day International (ODI) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Charges laid against the five, four of whom were fined and the other reprimanded, included conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game or brings the game into disrepute, showing dissent at an umpire’s decision, or using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting.
In the Australia-India Test, Indian captain Virat Kohli was fined thirty per cent of his match fee, and his team mate Shikhar Dhawan plus Australia’s David Warner each fifteen per cent, for ‘sprit’ and ‘disrepute’ offences. Kohli’s involved him stopping play to approach Australian batsman Steven Smith and remonstrate with him after an LBW appeal off the bowling of Rohit Sharma had been turned down. Dhawan and Warner were involved in an aggressive, close-up exchange, after the latter had been bowled off what turned out to be a ‘no ball’ (PTG 1482-7174, 13 December 2014).
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said yesterday the three players admitted to the offences and accepted the sanctions proposed by match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand. Crowe is said to have spoken to Kohli and Michael Clarke his Australian counterpart "and reminded them of their responsibilities” as captains. In words that have been heard in the past, the ICC said: “Both captains agreed that they will take the lead and the responsibility for setting the example, in particular to stop any unacceptable aggression of any kind towards opposing players”, said Crowe.
Half way around the world in the UAE, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq was fined fifteen per cent of his match fee for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision. The ICC says he "expressed his displeasure" after television umpire Joel Wilson upheld on-field umpire Richard Illingworth’s decision to give him out caught behind. Adam Milne of New Zealand wasn’t fined but he was reprimanded for "using an inappropriate word” in a end off after dismissing batsman Shahid Afridi.
SECOND PLAYER DIES
OF HEART ATTACK
Two players have now died of heart attacks whilst playing the game in the past few days, the latest being thirty-two-year-old Pramod Therayil, an Indian national who was taking part in a club match in the Gulf state of Qatar on Thursday. Therayil’s death came the day after twenty-nine year-old Ratnakar More died in Mumbai during a local tournament in that city (PTG 1480-7160, 11 December 2014).
DISSENT AFTER LATE POWER PLAY
REQUEST RESULTS IN FINE
Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara has been fined fifteen per cent of his match fee for a “prolonged discussion” with, and “an inappropriate comment” to, Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford during his side's sixth One-Day International (ODI) of the series against England in Pallekele on Saturday. Sangakkara was found by match referee David Boon, another Australian, of having “shown dissent at an umpire’s decision during an international match”.
The incident happened at the beginning of the thirty-fourth over of Sri Lanka’s innings when Sangakkara sought to take his side’s five-over batting Power Play. It appears though that Oxenford refused the request because, as required by ODI Playing Conditions, it was made after "the moment at which the umpire reaches the stumps at the bowler’s end for the start of the next over”.
The refusal led Sangakkara to become involved in a prolonged discussion with Oxenford about his refusal. Two balls after that, following the dismissal of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sangakkara turned to Oxenford and made what the International Cricket Council (ICC) described as "another inappropriate comment”. Sangakkara asked again prior to the thirty-five over and the Power Play then commenced.
After the match ended Sangakkara admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by Boon. In fining the Sri Lankan for what was a Level one offence, Boon is said to have taken into account Sangakkara’s "previous good record and the fact that he apologised to [Oxenford] at the change of innings”. Under ICC regulations all Level one breaches carry penalties that range from an official reprimand up to a maximum of half a player’s match fee.
Sangakkara became the sixth international player in two days to be sanctioned by the ICC, three in the Australia-India Test in Adelaide, and two in a Pakistan-New Zealand ODI in Sharjah (PTG 1483-7178, 14 December 2014).
SECOND INDIAN EXCHANGE
MATCH FOR AUSTRALIAN
Australian umpire Paul Wilson is standing in the Ranji Trophy match in Delhi between Railways and Mumbai, the second and final game of his exchange visit to India, his on-field partner being Nand Kishore. Wilson, the second Australian to visit the sub-continent on exchange in the last month, stood in his first match in Bangalore last week (PTG 1477-7143, 8 December 2014), is due to return home on Friday, and will be in action again in a Cricket Australia (CA) domestic Twenty20 match in Sydney this Sunday.
Two other Australian umpires are scheduled to travel overseas on exchange this austral summer. Sam Nogajski will be in Invercargill in early February to stand, at the world’s southern-most first class cricket ground, with Wayne Knights in a Plunket Shield match between Otago and Central Districts. Knights stood in a Sheffield Shield match in Perth in November last year, and another in Adelaide last month (PTG 1457-7063, 28 October 2014).
Soon after Nogajski returns home his CA National Umpires Panel colleague Gerard Abood is to travel to South Africa to stand in two first class matches there. Abood visited New Zealand last December to stand in a Plunket Shield match in Christchurch (PTG 1245-6013, 1 December 2013).
ETON MATHS TEACHER SELECTED FOR
FOR NEW MCC LAWS POSITION
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has appointed Mark Williams, a mathematics teacher at Eton and an active umpire at Premier League level in south-east England, to take up the newly created ‘Laws of Cricket Advisor’ position it advertised four months ago. 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 (PTG 1409-6802, 8 August 2014).
Williams, who turns 60 next month, played one first class game for Cambridge University whilst studying there in 1976, and went on to represent Shropshire at Minor Counties level in the 1980s. Since taking up umpiring around the turn of the century, he has stood in matches in the Minor Counties, County Second XI Championship, and Middlesex Premier League competitions, as well as in county-level women’s matches, the national club tournament, plus a wide range of other fixtures.
The MCC has indicated that a key part of William’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. Details of the latter system have not yet been released.
In addition he 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”.
Williams 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 MCC's Annual Report.
CA SURVEY SEEKS ‘GRASS ROOTS’
FEEDBACK FROM CLUBS, ASSOCIATIONS
Cricket Australia’s (CA) Game and Market Development (GMD) group has launched an on-line survey of clubs and associations with the aim of identifying the “challenges” those at the ‘grass roots’ level of the sport in that country believe they face. CA has made numerous references to the importance of ‘grass roots’ cricket over the last three years and indicated its steep increase in annual revenues, which are expected to top $A1 billion across the four years to 2017 (PTG 1456-7061, 27 October 2014), will enable it to better support the game at that level; but many are still waiting for concrete action on the club-level front.
In launching the new survey in an e-mail sent to club and association administrators yesterday, GMD head Andrew Ingleton says CA wants to know what they feel "about what matters to you at a local level, what challenges you face, what opportunities you see and what you need from us to help us achieve our collective vision for cricket” such that "the game remains healthy and prosperous for many years to come”. He has in the past has called volunteers "from the coach, to the umpire, to the canteen manager”, "the lifeblood of community cricket” and an integral part of Australian Cricket”.
The survey asks its target audience to indicate, in less then 300 words, the "two or three biggest challenges” they face and how such issues are currently being addressed. Feedback is also requested on the "biggest opportunities for the game in your local area", how CA and their respective state or territory peak bodies can provide "better support”, and, if “you were [CA’s] chief executive for a day, what is the one thing you would do to assist Club Cricket?” Details of the growth or otherwise of team and player numbers in their club and/or association over the last five years are also requested.
The new survey is the latest mention by CA of ‘grass roots’ cricket over the three years since the release of the ‘Argus’ report. Eighteen months ago, after indicating CA would receive record earnings via of a new television deal, chief executive James Sutherland said the jump in revenue would provide an "enhanced ability to invest in cricket development from the grassroots up”. He went on to say a key target was "to improve the support available to grass roots cricket at a community club level" (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013).
A few weeks after Sutherland’s comments, a report in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' said CA planned to outlay "nearly $A30 million" of its "record television-rights windfall" on the "grass roots" game and that the key question then was "where the cash will be spent”, the same basic query CA seems to be asking in its newest survey. A "CA strategic investment fund" was said to have been established that "includes a sum of around $A7.5m over each of the next four years" for "grass roots cricket and development across the country” (PTG 1129-5482, 25 June 2013).
Subsequently there were indications the administrators of CA's eight main cricket jurisdictions, rather than clubs or associations, had been asked to submit proposals for 'Round 1" from the then coming year's reported $A7.5m, that a number of projects have been approved, and that 'Round 2' bids were underway (PTG 1202-5792, 4 October 2013). It has not been possible to obtain information as to just which projects the reported monies were actually directed as CA, which is quick to publicise funding allocations, has been noticeably silent in that regard.
In the match officials area, CA has twice initiated surveys of Level 2 qualified umpires in order to develop strategies to improve the recruitment and retention of personnel in that facet of the game. Both of those initiatives went no where though and the provision of modern, up-to-date training support for match officials below senior representative level still lags badly (PTG 931-4529, 22 April 2012). Many observers say, rightly or wrongly, their perception is that in terms of ensuring the game is, in Ingleton’s words "healthy and prosperous”, CA looks upon the ‘grass roots’ area only in terms of a feeder of players and officials for first class and other senior representative cricket.
HOME UMPIRES IN TESTS SHOW LBW
‘BIAS’, SAYS STATISTICAL ANALYSIS
The number of LBW decisions given in favour of home teams in Tests has dropped significantly since neutral umpires were first introduced a quarter of a century ago, says a study published by the 'Journal of the Royal Statistical Society'. The peer-reviewed research paper by economists from Nottingham and Sheffield Universities analysed LBW decisions in exactly 1,000 Tests in the period from 1986-2012, nearly half of those played in the history of the game to date.
Economists Dr Abhinav Sacheti and Professor David Paton from Nottingham University Business School plus Dr Ian Gregory-Smith from the University of Sheffield, say their study found "clear evidence" of fewer LBW decisions being given in favour of home teams when neutral umpires are involved. Their analysis indicated the “bias" of home umpires towards home teams had been particularly strong in Tests played in Australia, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Sacheti, the study’s lead author, said the results obtained suggest that when two home umpires officiated in Test matches, "away teams were likely to suffer on average sixteen per cent more LBW decisions than home teams”. The one neutral umpire policy reduced that to ten per cent and since two neutral umpires have been appointed the advantage to home teams disappeared; a result Sacheti says holds "even when we control for the quality of teams, the ground where the match was played and so on".
Until 1994 both on-field umpires in a Test were appointed by the home country, then from 1994-2002 one came from a neutral nation, but since 2002 both on-field officials have been neutral, and in more recent years when the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is operational, the third umpire too.
A possible explanation for the statistical findings is said to be that home umpires were unduly influenced by pressure from local crowds, the authors pointing to a similar bias towards home teams noted amongst football referees. “Home bias" in Tests was found to be strongest towards the end of the game but Paton warns that: "The results do not necessarily mean that [home] umpires deliberately favoured their home teams [as] the bias may have been unconscious, but the fact remains that the introduction of neutral umpires seemed to get rid of the problem”.
It has been argued, particularly in regard to Ashes Tests when the number of appropriately experienced neutral umpires available has been limited, that home umpires should be appointed to Tests as UDRS technology would quickly show up any bias (PTG 1151-5575, 19 July 2013). Gregory-Smith believes though that such an approach would be a mistake. “Whatever the reasons behind the bias”, he says, "our results suggest that cricketing authorities should be very cautious before returning to a system whereby umpires can officiate in Test matches involving their own country”.
BALL STRIKE LEAVES TEST
UMPIRE WITH BRUISED WRIST
South African umpire Marais Erasmus had to be treated on-field by Australian Team Doctor Peter Brukner after being hit in the wrist by the ball whilst standing at the bowler’s end during the third day of the Australia-India Test match in Brisbane yesterday. Batsman Mitchell Starc hit a ball from India’s Umesh Yadav hard back at the bowler, but it ricochet off Yadav and hit the umpire hard on his right wrist. Considerable swelling was evident and Brukner applied an ice pack to the bruised area during a the ensuing drinks break.
CALL FOR ‘MASSIVE PROGRAM’ TO LIFT
BANGLADESH UMPIRING STANDARDS
Bangladeshi umpires are "not good enough to conduct matches at the highest level", according to Nizamuddin Chowdhury the chief executive of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). Dhaka’s ‘New Age’ newspaper says in a report this morning that the standard of local umpires has also questioned by some Dhaka Premier League (DPL) teams, including the holder of the current championship trophy which publicly expressing their reservations about certain umpires (PTG 1480-7161, 11 December 2014).
Chowdhury pointed out yesterday that the International Cricket Council (ICC) recently selected twenty umpires and five match referees for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand early next year, and that no Bangladeshi members on its second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) were amongst the group (PTG 1474-7126, 4 December 2014). Bangladesh, Pakistan and Zimbabwe were the only Test playing countries not to have an IUP member appointed to the World Cup,
In Chowdhury’s assessment: ‘Our umpires are not considered [by the ICC] for World Cup and Champions Trophy [events] mainly because of their on-field performances, [but] also because they lack communication skill [in English], which is a major hindrance at international level”. He went on to indicate that "a massive program is needed" to lift the standard of umpires” in his country, and that ICC umpires manager Vince van der Bijl is to spend three days in Bangladesh in mid-January "to oversee recent umpire development work".
The BCB is said to currently have four on its ‘elite’ umpires panel, eleven on the ‘nationa'l panel, twenty-three the ‘regional' panel, and sixty-four on its ‘district' panel, 121 others being described as “trainees”. ‘New Age’ says that at the present time BCB match referees evaluate the umpires in an "old fashioned 'good, bad or poor’ style", but the umpires themselves are said to want to be evaluated in a more comprehensive, precise, way.
Former national captain and match referee Roquibul Hassan believes “there should be video footage of our domestic cricket [for without it] it is very difficult to show the local umpires their shortcomings”. BCB umpires committee chairman Nazmul Karim says active thought was being given to using video cameras in some DPL fixtures in order to help the umpires improve.
Chowdhury said his organisation is taking "a number of steps" targeted at improving umpiring standards. “A few selected" umpires are attending British Council language courses to help them improve their English. According to a BCB official only one Bangaldeshi IUP member, Sharfuddoula, “who is expected to conduct some matches in Dubai in an upcoming One Day International tournament", “[has enough English] to [appropriately] communicate with international players”.
The BCB official also indicated that former Test player turned umpire, Sharfuddoula’s IUP on-field colleague Enamul Haq, “was rated last in a recent ICC assessment of its [twenty IUP on-field members] which reduced his chances of getting matches in ICC events”. The ICC appointed him to a Test in January 2012 but he has not stood at that level since (PTG 888-4331, 16 January 2012).
HOARDING STRIKE COSTS PLAYER
QUARTER OF HIS MATCH FEE
Glenn Maxwell, a member of the Melbourne Stars side in Cricket Australia’s (CA) domestic Twenty20 series, has been fined a quarter of his match fee for hitting an advertising hoarding at the Adelaide Oval with his bat after being dismissed in the competition’s first game of the season on Thursday. Maxwell was given out caught behind for seven off the bowling of Adam Zampa despite, media reports, claiming that he appeared to have missed the ball.
OUT ‘HIT WICKET’ THANKS
TO LOOSE MOBILE PHONE
A player in a Grampians Cricket Association (GCA) Under-16 match in western Victoria was given out ‘hit wicket’ in a match in late November after his mobile phone fell from his pocket and dislodged the bails. Playing for Pomonal , batsman Marcus Elliott, who had forgotten about his phone when he went to the crease, played two balls from Youth Club bowler Jarli Blackmore and managed to defend the third, however, in doing so his phone fell on to the stumps.
Law 35 says that a batsman’s "wicket is put down either by the striker’s bat or by his person”, the latter which in this case included the phone, leaving the GCA umpire no option but to give him out.
‘INAPPROPRIATE WORDS’, SLOW
OVER-RATE, LEAD TO FINES
Fines have been handed to Indian fast bowler Ishant Sharma for using “inappropriate language”, and the Australian side as a whole for maintaining a slow over-rate, during the second Test of the series in Brisbane last week. Match referee Jeff Crowe’s rulings mean that new Australian captain Steve Smith faces missing a Test over the next twelve months should his side again be found to have transgressed International Cricket Council (ICC) over-rate regulations.
Sharma lost fifteen per cent of his match fee for a Level One offence which relates to “language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an International match”. The ICC said in a statement yesterday that "Sharma was seen on television screens using inappropriate words after dismissing Smith” in the home side’s first innings. Sharma is said to have admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by Crowe.
Sharma is the third Indian to be fined in the two Tests played to date, joining Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, who, along with Australian David Warner, were punished for indiscretions in Adelaide (PTG 1483-7178, 14 December 2014). Kohli, whose celebrations at the dismissal of Australia’s Shane Watson in the side's first innings in Brisbane were described by a number of reports as “provocative”, escaped censure on that occasion. Level One breaches in internationals carry a minimum penalty that ranges from an official reprimand up to a maximum penalty of half a player’s match fee.
Crowe judged that Australia were three overs short of its over-rate after time allowances were taken into account. Under ICC regulations relating to ‘minor’ over-rate offences, captain Smith was fined sixty per cent of his match fee, an amount of around $A8,600, and his players thirty per cent, or some $A4,200 each; a total of around $A50,000 altogether. Should Smith be found guilty of one more minor over-rate offence whilst captaining in Tests over the next twelve months he will receive an automatic one-match suspension.
Media reports say Smith had been hoping officials would take into consideration the oppressive heat and humidity on the first day of the game, although the Australians apparently believed they had been square with the over rate on that day. That means they may have been punished for their tardiness on the fourth and final day when they bowled only twenty-three overs in the first session, ninety overs being the required number each day.
Australian coach Darren Lehmann is said to have expressed his frustration with slow over-rates after play on the first day though he said guests in corporate boxes and ground officials walking in front of sightscreens were also to blame along with players. "There's time-wasting going on everywhere. We've got to get better at that as a side”, said Lehmann.
BALDWIN PROMOTION SHOWS AAIUP
MEMBERS THE WAY, SAYS ICC MANAGER
Vince van der Bijl, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Umpires and Referees Manager, would like to see other members of the ICC’s third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel (AAIUP) follow Paul Baldwin into full-time professional umpiring ranks. Baldwin, 41, who was as a German resident a member of the AAIUP for four years from its inception in 2005, was appointed to the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Full List two weeks ago (PTG 1480-7162, 11 December 2014), and hopes to eventually move up to the ICC’s top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP).
England-born Baldwin "was considered one of the best [AAIUP] umpires” during his time on the panel, said van der Bijl recently, and his "selection to the ECB is significant for the [AAIUP] fraternity as it demonstrates the possibilities and opportunities that can be taken by [any of them] who is keen to make a professional career from umpiring and have their sights set on the [EUP]”. The AAIUP panel was created principally to provide match officials for first class Intercontinental Cup, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals played between ICC Associate member countries, as well as other ICC divisional tournaments.
According to van der Bijl "it is possible in [ICC] regulations [for umpires] to move from the [AAIUP] to the [EUP], in practice it is highly unlikely as an umpire will need to umpire professionally in a highly competitive cricket environment to gain the requisite experience and show his skills”. Such a route would, he says, "in reality need to be through a Full Member country, which Paul realised and his move to England from Germany precipitated just that".
“The global match officiating community opens its arms to all those dedicated to match refereeing or umpiring”, continued van der Bijl, "and in this case the ECB who gave Paul the opportunity to join the ranks of the ECB Reserve Umpire panel, recognising his skills and dedication (PTG . Now Paul has been promoted to the top first class panel we are delighted with his selection and wish him well as he begins the next phase of his umpiring career.”
Baldwin described his path onto the ECB’s Full List "an unconventional one”. "I have been asked whether it has been a disadvantage not having a playing career behind me, but I take the view that I have gained an awful lot of experience working at many local levels”. "Like so many umpires I would one day love to make the [EUP], but I’m more focused on my short-term and achievable goals; to work hard and consolidate my position with the ECB”. After that the next goal in his EUP quest is to be nominated by the ECB as a member of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel.
MORE UMPIRES NEEDED
IN NORTHERN NSW
The Far North Coast Cricket Umpires and Scorers’ Association in New South Wales is short of umpires and is keen to recruit more, says an article in the ’Northern Rivers Echo’ on Friday. Association president Mark Templeman told the newspaper that his group is "looking for more umpires, especially for matches across the Lismore, Tweed, Ballina and Casino District Cricket Associations.
Templeman said that “anyone with a passion for cricket can become an umpire”, and “the people we are looking for should be willing to make themselves available most Saturday afternoons and occasionally Sundays”. "There are also sometimes mid-week matches for schools or junior carnivals”, he says. Match payments locally are usually $A80 a day and, across a season, umpires could be appointed to anywhere from ten to forty matches, depending on their availability.
Beyond that Templeton, who emphasised both “men and women are encouraged to take it up, and there is no age limit”, said "There are opportunities to take part in representative matches as you gain further experience and get on to the NSW Umpires pathway, but most people should just have a solid love of cricket”. "If players are thinking of retiring they can still play a very important part in the game by officiating for many years after their playing days are over”.
News has also resurfaced of the problems Cricket Wellington (CW) in New Zealand is having with the lack of umpires for its Premier League fixtures, an issue that first came to light six weeks ago (PTG 1460-7077, 15 November 2014).
SRINATH TO BECOME SIXTH REFEREE
TO REACH 150 ODI MARK
Nine match officials from three countries, Australia, England and India, have been appointed as the neutrals for the two Test, nine One Day International (ODI) series New Zealand and Sri Lanka are to play over the next six weeks beginning with the first Test in Christchurch this Friday. During the ODI’s, Javagal Srinath of India will oversee his 150th such game as a match referee, the sixth person to do so after Sri Lankan Ranjan Madgugalle (2004), South African Mike Procter (2008), Chris Broad, England (2009), another Sri Lankan Roshan Mahanama (2010), and Jeff Crowe, New Zealand (2011).
Two Englishmen and two Australians have been appointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as the neutrals for the two Tests. Broad will oversee both games as the match referee while his countryman and umpire Richard Illingworth will be on-field in both Christchurch and Wellington, Australians Steve Davis and Bruce Oxenford each have one game on-field and the other in the television suite.
Srinath’s 150th ODI will, if the games run to schedule, come in the fourth match in Nelson. During the series he will work with four neutral umpires, Englishmen Ian Gould, Michael Gough and Nigel Long, and Australian Rod Tucker, plus New Zealand members of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), Chris Gaffaney, Derek Walker and Phil Jones. Llong will be on-field on three matches and the television umpire in two (3/2), Gould 2/3, and Gough and Tucker each 2/2, but just which matches the three Kiwis have been appointed to has not yet been made public.
Gould will have reached 96 ODIs by the time the series ends, and is thus expected to become the fifteenth umpire to pass the ODI century during the World Cup early next year. The seventh game of the NZ-Lanka series in Wellington will be Tucker’s fiftieth ODI, and he will become the fortieth person and eleventh Australia, after Davis, Oxenford, Tony Crafter, Dick French, Darrell Hair, Daryl Harper, Peter McConnell, Peter Parker, Steve Randall and Simon Taufel, to reach that milestone. Of the other Test playing entities, six South Africans have reached 50 ODIs to date, there have been five Englishmen, while New Zealand and Sri Lanka have four each, Pakistan and Zimbabwea each three, and India and the West Indians both two.
Gough’s appointment is his first by the ICC as a neutral in an ODI involving two Test playing nations, an opportunity it has also given for the first time over the last two months to Australian Simon Fry in the recent Sri Lanka-England series (PTG 1463-7086, 20 November 2014), and West Indian Joel Wilson for Pakistan’s ‘home’ series against New Zealand (PTG 1462-7083, 18 November 2014). That trio plus their IUP colleagues Gaffaney, Johannes Cloete (South Africa), Sundarum Ravi (India), and Ranmore Martinecz and Ruchira Palliyaguru (both Sri Lanka), are part of the twenty-man umpires panel for the World Cup early next year (PTG 1474-7126, 4 December 2014).
ICC appointments indicate that Gaffaney, Martinecz and Sundarum are in contention for appointment to the ICC’s top Elite Umpires Panel next year as each has been given a range of Tests and ODI neutral appointments over the last two years, while Cloete has been selected by the ICC for a number of senior ODI series as a neutral. However, while Palliyaguru has been given second-tier ODIs as a neutral by the ICC, it has not yet appointed him in that role to an ODI involving two Test playing teams.
‘UNHAPPY’ WITH LBW DECISIONS,
TEAM REFUSES TO PLAY
Partex Sporting Club have been relegated from the Dhaka Premier League (DPL) after their team decided to walk out twenty-two overs into a match against Kalabagan Cricket Academy yesterday. Their departure, which saw Academy awarded the match, is reported to have been because “team management” were “unhappy” about LBW decisions given against two of their batsmen.
After Partex batsmen Rajin Saleh and Daniel Housego were given out, “management” refused to go on, and while discussions with the match referee ensued, the latter reportedly trying to convince the team to resume, the team confirmed their decision. Rajin criticised the umpire's decision and claimed that "certain officials" in the league were not able to take the right decisions due to "lack of freedom” (PTG 1480-7161, 11 December 2014). “It's just because of a few umpires that the competition's reputation is falling”, claimed Rajin.
Umpiring decisions in DPL matches have come under criticism a number of times during the current season, and Bangladesh Cricket Board chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury has called for improvements in overall umpiring standards in that country (PTG 1486-7186, 20 December 2014).
‘SOMETIMES WE SAY STUPID
THINGS’, SAYS FAST BOWLER
Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson says in a new DVD titled 'Mitchell Johnson: Bouncing Back’ that it "might look as if we're going a bit too hard at each other” out on the ground, and "sometimes it could be a bit over the top", "but we're always trying to stay inside the guidelines”.
Johnson, who did not define just which guidelines he is working to, admits “sometimes we say stupid things when we’re out there [and] hopefully get into the batsmen’s heads a little bit”. “I love that part of the game, it’s great and I don’t think it’s ever going to stop”, he says.
LIVE BETTING SUSPECT AGAIN
EVICTED FROM GROUNDS
A person media reports in Australia are this morning calling a "British citizen” has been escorted from stadiums in Sydney over the last four days after he was suspected to have been involved in illegal ‘live betting’ activities during a Cricket Australia (CA) Twenty20 game. The latest ejection of Rajiv Mulchandani on Sunday, follow those of last year when he was evicted from a similar T20 match and a One Day International in the same city (PTG 1276-6150, 23 January 2014).
Mulchandani, who was seated in the stand behind the bowler with a laptop computer and a phone, is alleged to have been taking advantage of the slight delay between the live action on the ground and the television broadcast of matches overseas to place bets or pass information on to others before the odds are adjusted. He is believed to have been betting with ‘Betfair' in the UK on Sunday, and and CA is said to be planning to evict him from games if he turns up with his laptop.
A CA spokesman said yesterday: "We do everything we can to protect the integrity of the game [and that Mulchandani] was identified and promptly evicted from the last two matches in Sydney for breaching our terms of entry”. "He is known to police and the [International Cricket Council]”, continued the spokesman, having been detained by police during an India-England Test in Mohali eight years ago
THREE UMPIRING ‘MENTORS' APPOINTED
TO WCL-2 SERIES IN NAMIBIA
An unprecedented three of the seven umpires appointed to the six-team World Cricket League Division 2 (WCL-2) tournament in Namibia next month are described by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as taking part as “mentors”. The three, Shaun George (South Africa), Ian Ramage (Scotland) and Tim Robinson (England), are to "help to educate and guide” colleagues Mark Hawthorne (Ireland), Anil Chaudhary (India), David Odhiambo (Kenya) and Buddhi Pradhan (Nepal), all under the guidance of the event’s match referee Devdas Govindjee of South Africa.
Canada, Kenya, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands and Uganda are to take part in the eight-day, fifty-over format, round robin tournament. The two teams that finish top in the event will progress to the ICC's Intercontinental Cup series of 2015-2017, a four-day first-class competition for the world body’s Associate and Affiliate Members, as well as the fifty-over format World Cricket League Championship.
Of the umpires, George, Robinson and Chaudhary are first class umpires in their respective countries as well as members of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), while Hawthorne, Odhiambo, Pradhan and Ramage are on the ICC’s third-tier Associates and Affiliates International Umpires Panel (AAIUP). Just why Ramage as an AAIUP member with six first class games involving second-tier nations to his credit is to mentor Chaudhary from the IUP with forty-seven, including six across Australia, England and South Africa, is not clear.
The ICC has appointed mentors to WCL events over the last two years as part of its ongoing initiative for umpire development outside its Full Member countries, however, the appointment of three to a single tournament is unprecedented. Those who have acted in that role over the last twelve months include IUP members Johannes Cloete of South Africa (PTG 1451-7029, 18 October 2014), Ruchira Pallyaguru from Sri Lanka (PTG 1367-6607, 3 June 2014), as well as former Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) member Tony Hill of New Zealand (PTG 1293-6238, 17 February 2014), and current EUP member Steve Davis from Australia (PTG 1223-5890, 1 November 2013).
HADLEE QUERIES DAY-NIGHT
TEST CONCEPT, PLAYER AGGRESSION
Former New Zealand player Richard Hadlee is not in favour of day-night Tests and believes the game’s decision-makers have “a lot to consider” before such a game in played. Speaking at the inaugural 'Walter Hadlee Spirit of Cricket Oration' in Christchurch last night, which was named for his late father, Hadlee said he has "grave concerns" about a concept Cricket Australia, New Zealand Cricket, and possibly the West Indies Cricket Board, are working to bring to reality late next year (PTG 1461-7079, 17 November 2014).
In his presentation Hadlee said coloured balls of the type needed for day-night Tests "aren't proven yet”, expressed concern about "a tough period of batting between day and night where the light will be transitional and the conditions vary a lot between the day and night", and pointed to problems that he feels will occur "if there is dew and the ball gets damp”. The latter "could affect bowlers trying to swing or spin the ball and there's [also] the question over whether or not someone's going to go along and watch after work for three hours or so when it might be cold”.
In other comments Hadlee was very critical of the "abusive nature of some modern-day cricketers", but "heartened by the spirit and camaraderie shown after Phil Hughes’ death”. “Over-aggressive attitudes that had seeped into cricket have to end”, he said, for “there is no place in cricket for hate and angst”. He told journalists after his presentation “the game should be played hard and with intensity, but not with this combative approach [and] there is no need for sledging and abuse of players and officials”.
While Hadlee is concerned about "the war-like mentality some cricketers took", he was pleasantly surprised at how the cricketing world came together to collectively mourn the death of the Hughes as “it exemplified the spirit of cricket to me”. He called Hughes' death a "tragic accident”, there was "no fault or blame”, and said the bouncer was an integral part of the game and must remain. "It's part of the spectacle, there are rules around it, it's not to be intimidatory or persistent and bowlers [are limited in the number they can bowl] per over”.
Hadlee went on to say that during New Zealand's "1976 tour to Pakistan in the third Test in Karachi Imran Khan bowled six bouncers in a row to me”. "That was intimidatory and he was removed from the crease [by home umpires Shakoor Rana and Shujauddin] and not allowed to bowl for the rest of the innings”. In Hadlee’s assessment though “the biggest issues for cricket at the moment" are not bouncers but rather "match-fixing, bribery and corruption” and authorities "need everyone involved to help stamp out [such activity] because its a virus on cricket and the penalties need to be severe”.
SUSPENDED OFF-SPINNERS OPT FOR
TESTING IN CHENNAI, ANOTHER SUSPENDED
Suspended off-spinners Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez are fly out to India in the next few days to have “unofficial" tests on their modified bowling actions at the International Cricket Council accredited human movement laboratory in Chennai. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan told journalists in Lahore yesterday that if the pair "get favourable results” the PCB will then ask the ICC to conduct “official" tests on their bowling actions.
Ajmal was suspended in September (PTG 1427-6896, 10 September 2014), while Hafeez was banned from bowling in international cricket earlier this month (PTG 1477-7145, 8 December 2014). Khan is said to hope that both players can still make Pakistan’s squad for the World Cup in February-March.
PUBLIC REACT TO ‘OVERPAID’
PLAYER’S CHRISTMAS GRIPE
Melbourne ‘Renegades’ Twenty20 captain Aaron Finch received a barrage of criticism on social media on Thursday when he complained about missing Christmas Day at home for the second year in a row because he had to make the four hour flight to Perth to play a match there yesterday. Finch ’Tweeted’ to his reported 274,000 followers: "Just landed in Perth for game tomorrow ... How do we get stuck spending Christmas like this two years in a row? #Joke”.
Amongst the reponses, which were overwhelmingly negative and suggested he was an overpaid sportsman who had lost his sense of perspective, were: "I didn't realise you were playing cricket for free and weren't paid for it. Tough break”; "You know there are doc[tors], nurses, police etc working as well?? On far less $$ than they deserve”; "Stop whinging and get on with it”; and "If u dont like it jump on the plane back to melbourne”.
Finch and his team mates were not the only ones who had to travel to take part in last night's game, those who were also far from home being match officials Gerard Abood from Sydney, Damien Mealey from Brisbane and Bob Stratford from Melbourne.
NO NEED FOR BOUNCERS IN THE GAME,
Former Australia Test umpire Lou Rowan, who turns 90 next May, believes cricket administrators should look at banning the bouncer, says an article in today’s 'Warwick Daily News’ in Queensland. Rowan, whose first class career ran from 1958-72 and included twenty-five Tests, is quoted as saying they "didn't bowl bouncers when the game was introduced [and] cricket would not suffer if we never saw another [one bowled]”.
Rowan, a former policeman, said he was surprised legal action had never been taken against a bowler or captain after a batsman had been hit by a bouncer and believes at minimum there is "no need to bowl bouncers to tail enders”. "Keith Miller and Ray Lindwall didn't bowl bouncers to tail enders, it was beneath their dignity to intimidate a tail ender”. He also said he is unhappy with the amount of sledging in the modern game, and that "Australian paceman [such as] Graham McKenzie never [behaved] like they do now”.
RAJASTHAN PEANUTS RESULT
IN ANTI-CORRUPTION STIR
Vijendar Yadav, the manager of the Rajasthan first class side in India’s Ranji Trophy series, filed a written complaint with the Delhi and District Cricket Association's (DDCA) anti-corruption official in New Delhi on Tuesday alleging that a DDCA official had taken a packet of peanuts from their dressing room, says a ‘Hindustan Times’ report yesterday.
Yadav asked DDCA anti-corruption official Manoj Choudhary in his letter to "look into the matter as a lot of valuable items are kept in the dressing room [and] ensure that only authorised persons are allowed in [that] area”. “We had bought peanuts for our players [to eat] during the match [against] Delhi [and] after eating some of them we kept the packet in our dressing room". “[DDCA official] Maqsood Karim came to our dressing room without permission and took the packet of peanuts”, claimed the letter.
“Yes, we filed a complaint to DDCA because this is very serious issue”, said Yadav later, for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) "is very strict about its anti-corruption code [and on this occasion] an unauthorised person was right inside our dressing room”. Earlier this month the BCCI asked states to nominate senior members of their respective organisations as anti-corruption liaison officials because "there were not enough personnel” available to fill that role.
The ‘Times’ report says that following the lodging of the complaint Maqsood and Choudhary “got involved into a major scuffle, police were called and the upheaval lasted till late in the night [until] Maqsood finally tendered an apology”.
CA-BCCI REPORTED IN TALKS
ON CURATOR EXCHANGE
Indian media reports yesterday state that Cricket Australia (CA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are in discussion about introducing what is described as "an exchange program for curators". CA is said to have invited Chennai-based BCCI south zone curator P.R. Viswanathan, the author of Board’s manual for preparing pitches, to Australia, to advise on the preparation of Indian-style pitches there for national team training purposes. Viswanathan is reported to have trained in excess of fifty groundsmen in India as the head of the BCCI’s curator training program.
HARASSMENT MANAGER SUSPENDED FOR
CONFRONTATION, UMPIRE HARASSMENT
A senior Cricket Australia (CA) executive "responsible for stamping out workplace bullying, intimidation and harassment" has been banned from captaining his suburban club in Melbourne after he abused an umpire in a recent match, says a report in News Limited newspapers this morning. Alex Wyatt, CA’s general manager for ‘Strategy, government and people', is said to have been suspended for three weeks by the Eastern Cricket Association (ECA) for confronting an opposing bowler and arguing with an umpire earlier this month.
An ECA tribunal is reported to have found that Wyatt, while captaining Deepdene Uniting Cricket Club in a match against Clifton Hill which was being umpired by Bill Mullens and Ifat Baqee, argued with at least one of them after accusing a Clifton Hill bowler of having a suspect action. As a result he was suspended for five weeks, three for confronting the fast bowler and a two for dissent towards the umpire, however, he took the matter to a tribunal where the penalty was reduced to three weeks.
Wyatt, an Oxford University graduate who is said to also be the deputy chair of Australia's Rhodes Scholarship selection panel, which each year chooses “outstanding students [who demonstrate] exceptional intellect, character, leadership, and commitment to service” to study at Oxford, is said to have defended his actions but apparently admitted he had not dealt properly with the situation. Just how he saw the matter was not covered in any other detail in the News Limited report.
AJMAL CONCEDES ON WORLD CUP
ATTEMPT, ACTION STILL ‘ILLEGAL'
Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal has given up his attempts to play in next year's World Cup after failing to fully to correct his illegal bowling action. The 37-year-old off-spinner, who was suspended three months ago, is reported to have appeared before a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) committee yesterday where the decision was reached to not to send him for an “unofficial” test of his current action at the newly accredited Chennai facility as previously planned; however, his countryman Mohammad Hafeez will still do so (PTG 1489-7198, 24 December 2014).
PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan told reporters in Lahore yesterday that "Ajmal has taken this decision all by himself as he has not been able to completely correct his action and he will hold a press conference in a couple of days to announce his decision”. Ajmal's bowling action was reported during a Test in Galle in August and his action was found illegal following a bio-mechanic assessment a month later. "On-going remedial work on his action will take some time”, said Khan.
The clamp down on bowling actions has now netted Indian spinner Pragyan Ojha who on Friday was banned from bowling in competitive cricket in his country by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after his action was found to be illegal. Ojha, who plays for Hyderabad, had his action tested tested at the now Chennai laboratory, and that examination reportedly showed his elbow flexed more than the permissible limit of fifteen degrees.
Ojha is one of the quickest Indian bowlers to reach 100 Test wickets. Former Test umpire Arani Jayaprakash, a member of the BCCI's committee whose focus is the eradication of suspect bowling actions, told the ‘Cricinfo’ web site in October that Ojha had been asked to undertake corrective measures in the past.
WALK-OFF REGRETTED THIRTY YEARS ON
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar is now regretting his walkout during a Test against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1981, and says his actions on that occasion were "a big mistake”. A ball from Australian bowler Dennis Lillee caught Gavaskar in front and umpire Rex Whitehead, who was standing in the third of his four Tests, upheld the resulting appeal, but Gavaskar, who thought that the ball had hit his bat on the way to the pad, protested by standing his ground for some time.
Gavaskar slapped his pads with the bat to let Whitehead know what he thought of the decision before he slowly started to leave. Lillee then reportedly made a comment to him and the Indian reacted by instructing fellow opener Chetan Chauhan to leave the ground with him. The batsmen were met by team manager Shahid Durrani and his assistant Bapu Nadkarni at the boundary rope, and they persuaded Chauhan to return to resume his innings, while Gavaskar walked into the pavilion.
The former Indian captain said yesterday that "as Indian captain I was not supposed to act in that manner”. He continued during a tea-time chat show with Sanjay Manjrekar and Kapil Dev by saying: "In no way I can justify my act of defiance [for] whether I was out or not, I should not have reacted that way [and] if the incident would have occurred in present times then I would have been fined".
Dev, who was part of the Indian side that day on what was just his second overseas tour, said that the team was with Gavaskar. “I was too young at that time to react but I can say one thing that we were all with the captain”. "Whether right or wrong we backed our skipper and he can now say that it was wrong but at that time we were all with him”, said the former fast bowler.
FUND RAISER HELPS TSUNAMI HIT
The proceeds from a fundraising match staged at The Oval in June 2005, six months after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that devastated coastal areas of a number of countries in south-east Asia, have been used to rebuild the village of Magonna on the far south-west coast of Sri Lanka an hour south of Colombo.
ADMINISTRATORS NEED TO ‘CLAMP DOWN’
ON SLEDGING, SAYS 'CHAPPELLI'
Personal on-field sledging will eventually result in a physical altercation unless administrators urgently clamp down on unsavoury behaviour, according to former Australian captain Ian Chappell. Writing in Mumbai’s Mid-Day newspaper yesterday after a day’s play in the third Australia-India Test in Melbourne on Sunday that was once again marked by heated exchanges between batsmen and fielders, Chappell said “The more players talk on the field the more likelihood there is something personal will be said”.
Evoking memories of the confrontation between Pakistan’s Javed Miandad and Australia's Dennis Lillee in Perth thirty-three years ago, Chappell warned another physical confrontation could be imminent. "If something personal is said at the wrong time” there will be trouble and when "that happens it will be players who are punished and as is almost always the case, the administrators will escape scot-free, despite being guilty of allowing the problem to escalate to this point”.
Chappell continued by saying that: “Apart from the danger of an altercation on the field, and if you don’t think that could be ugly, just remember one player has a bat in his hand, there is the simple matter of the batsman being entitled to peace and quite will he’s out in the middle”. “I’m surprised more batsmen don’t object to the inane chatter that regularly occurs in the guise of gamesmanship, and if I hear one more player, coach or official say this chatter is ‘part of the game’, I’ll lose my lunch”. Such issues need "to be addressed seriously and promptly”, he says.
The main confrontation on Sunday involved Indian batsman Virat Kohli and Australian bowler Mitchell Johnston. The squabbling reached its peak when Johnson fielded in his follow-through and with Kohli out of his crease threw the ball at his stumps, however, it hit the Indian in the back. Johnson quickly apologised but Kohli believed it was an attempt to hit him and an argument ensued, which needed the intervention of umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Richard Kettleborough.
At a press conference after Sunday's play Kohli, who was fined thirty per cent of his match fee for his actions in the first Test of the series in Adelaide two weeks ago (PTG 1483-7178, 14 December 2014), made clear his contempt for Australian sledging tactics.
DON’T BAN BOUNCER, CHANGE PLAYING
CONDITIONS, SAYS FORMER TEST UMPIRE
Former Australia Test umpire Lou Rowan may be amongst those who believe administrators should look at banning the bouncer (PTG 1490-7200, 27 December 2014), but John Holder a former Test umpire from England begs to disagree. Holder, who stood in eleven Tests in the period from 1998-2001, says there is "absolutely no need to outlaw bouncers in cricket” as they are “a legitimate weapon in a fast bowler's armoury”, however, in his view their use should be better controlled by the Playing Conditions that apply to such balls.
Holder, 69, says that “there is understandable concern” since the “tragic death of Phil Hughes about head injuries and the number of deliveries threatening that part of the body”. He suggests that “rather than ban bouncers [he] would restrict their height” and make “any ball which passes above shoulder height of the striker standing upright at the crease [a no ball]”. Holder says “the fast short delivery bouncing at the striker's chest can still be intimidating [but] a ball striking the chest or shoulder area is far less life threatening” than one in the head area.
Current International Cricket Council (ICC) Playing Conditions, as well as those at first class level in most countries, state if the striker does not make contact with at a bouncer going over his head a ‘wide' is to be called as opposed to ’no ball’ as required by the Laws of Cricket. That approach by the ICC, says Holder, means there is an incentive for the bowler to bowl the high bouncer as a batsman who plays a shot and gets an edge can be caught. But if 'no ball' was called bowlers "could not get a wicket with the high bouncer and so fewer deliveries would be aimed at the head area”.
Former West Indies batsman Brian Lara, ex-Australian players Matthew Hayden and Shane Warne are amongst those who don’t believe the bouncer should be eradicated from the sport (PTG 1469-7114, 27 November 2014), while ICC chief executive David Richardson, a former Test player, has said it is "unlikely" rules on the bowling of bouncers would be tightened as a result of the Hughes incident (PTG 1472-7120, 1 December 2014). Richardson said that despite Hughes’ death “we need to try and keep our perspective [as] people have died by being struck on the heart before and I don't think cricket needs to over-react” (PTG 1468-7112, 26 November 2014).
Cricket Australia has indicated they will conduct their own investigation into player safety, but England captain Alistair Cook has said he believed the sport had "never been safer" and added that bouncers should not be outlawed from the game (PTG 1473-7123, 2 December 2014). There have also been calls for helmet manufacturers to improve on their products (PTG 1475-7129, 5 December 2014).
ACO COLLATING RESPONSES
FROM MATCH OFFICIALS SURVEY
A total of 3,486 replies, three quarters of them from umpires and the others scorers, have been received to a survey of match officials conducted by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) over the last month. Information obtained from the survey, which was designed to "glean information from both existing ACO members and anyone [else] who umpires or scores within England and Wales”, is currently being collated and the results are likely to be available in the first quarter of 2015.
The ACO says its survey, which took ten minutes to complete, had two aims: the first to understand what existing ACO members value from their involvement with the organisation; and the second to gain a better understanding "of what officiating looks like at all levels of the recreational game”. The latter had as a particular focus in determining how many people umpire at each tier of the game, how many of these are qualified, that is who had undertaken some type of formal umpire or scoring education, and how many of the overall number are existing ACO members.
According to a report in this month’s edition of the ACO’s Newsletter, responses to the survey were received from 2,146 current ACO members, 1,901 umpires and 245 scorers, plus 944 non-members, 656 of them umpires and 288 scorers. All-up 1,373 of the respondents provided written comments in the ‘free speech’ section at the end of the survey.
The ACO initiative was a follow-up to the ECB's 2014 ‘National Playing Cricket Survey’ (NPCS), the results of which were announced late last month. A key finding of this year’s NPCS, which received responses from 21,500 current and former players, was that the number of people playing cricket in England and Wales dropped from 908,000 in 2013 to 844,000 in 2014, a result that one report said left the ECB "promising an increase in funding for grassroots cricket” (PTG 1463-7085, 20 November 2014).
ALLEGED ‘PITCHSIDER’ EJECTED
AGAIN, FACES TRESPASS CHARGES
Alleged ‘pitchsider’ Rajiv Mulchandani, who was escorted from two matches in Cricket Australia’s (CA) domestic Twenty20 competition last week and banned from entering stadiums in Sydney (PTG 1488-7195, 23 December 2014), was found at another game there on the weekend and evicted. Mulchandani, 30, was was charged over alleged trespass offences, was granted conditional bail and is due to appear in a Sydney court in late January.
A report in the ’Sydney Morning Herald’ yesterday says that the practice Mulchandani was involved in, whereby a spectator uses the slight time difference in international television broadcasts to place in-play bets on the match they are watching live, is not illegal. The only tool that can be used against it at the moment is ejecting spectators from grounds for breaches of the terms of entry outlined on their tickets.