1,529 – 1 March [7358-7365]
• ‘Gorget’ latest entrant in moves to improve helmet safety (1529-7358).
• Batsman survives after bails lift from stumps (1529-7359).
• Mumbai captain reprimanded for umpire criticism (1529-7360).
• Melbourne associations mull proposed major restructure (1529-7361).
• Supreme Court chides Srinivasan for chairing BCCI meeting (1529-7362).
• Pay inequities recipe for trouble, claims long-time cricket writer (1529-7363).
• Vandals doing ‘doughnuts’ wreck ground (1529-7364).
• Local rule to depart with loss of 300-year-old tree? (1529-7365).
1,530 - 2 March [7366-7369]
• Higher scores and run rate trends lead to Duckworth-Lewis up-grade (1530-7366).
• Four bowlers needed to deliver two overs (1530-7367).
• Friday game sparks confrontation (1530-7368).
• Results of CA ‘grass roots’ survey awaited (1530-7369).
1,531 - 3 March [7370-7373]
• Back to the future for BCCI Presidency (1531-7370).
• Umpires from three countries complete South African exchanges (1531-7371).
• Match officials for final Sheffield Shield rounds announced (1531-7372).
• MCG food prices to fall, but not until after World Cup final (1531-7373).
1,532 - 5 March [7374-7378]
• CA-NZC discussions on November day-night Test continuing, says report (1532-7374).
• Nine father-child combinations gets team on to the field (1532-7375).
• Call to name St Kitts ground after island’s first Test umpire (1532-7376).
• Bird funding construction of player’s balcony at Headingley (1532-7377).
• Ninth man evicted over World Cup ‘pitch-siding’ concerns (1532-7378).
1,533 - 6 March [7379-7383]
• Lankan, NZ, Windies umpires start exchange visits (1533-7379).
• Solid response to CA ‘grass roots’ survey (1533-7380).
• Tamil Nadu fined for ’serious’ slow over-rate in Ranji semi final (1533-7381).
• Bowler takes 6/0, opponents all-out for 3 (1533-7382).
• Watching the World Cup judged a ‘fundamental right' (1533-7383).
1,534 - 9 March [7384-7389]
• Helmets, other protective gear, likely for umpires, says Taufel (1534-7384).
• Former batsman: modern game is ’stacked in batsman’s favour' (1534-7385).
• Praise for Gould on his ODI Century (1534-7386).
• CSA congratulates Cloete on 50th ODI (1534-7387).
• Pair appointed to their second Ranji Trophy final (1534-7388).
• Umpire should be candidate for Canada’s sport ‘Hall of Fame’, says journalist (1534-7389).
1,535 - 14 March [7390-7394]
• Sharp, Willey lose age discrimination case (1535-7390).
• Baseball-type face mask better than helmets, says Harper (1535-7391).
• Batsman claims extra fielder outside ODI circle would limited big scores (1535-7392).
• Aussies test new ‘Masuri’ helmet attachment in nets (1535-7393).
• Slow over-rate fine for Bangladesh (1535-7394).
1,536 - 17 March [7395-7399]
• Match officials named for World Cup quarter finals (1536-7395).
• Investigation underway after team ‘refuses to play' (1536-7396).
• Umpire standards, pitches, concern for Ranji captains, coaches (1536-7397).
• Father-son, brother combinations feature in Association's finals (1536-7398).
• 2015 ICC conference week for Barbados (1536-7399).
1,537 - 18 March [7400-7401]
• CA Shield final selections suggest change in NUP rankings (1537-7401).
1,538 - 19 March [7402-7403]
• Lightning kills six players in Orissa (1538-7402).
• Refusal to play ‘a stand against bullying’, says club (1538-7403).
1,539 - 21 March [7404-7409]
• ICC President queries umpires’ integrity, CEO defends it (1539-7404).
• Australian, Pakistani facing code of conduct charge (1539-7405).
• Captain suspended, fined, after second slow over-rate offence (1539-7406).
• CA ’Spirit of Cricket’ awards to NSW women, Queensland men (1539-7407).
• Team cleared for final after ‘ineligible’ player helps win semi (1539-7408).
• ‘Zing’ bail lights up, but batsman again ’not out' (1539-7409).
1,540 - 22 March [7410-7413]
• ICC names match officials for World Cup semi finals (1540-7410).
• Aussie, Pakistan pair fined for on-field confrontation (1540-7411).
• Batsman facing fine, suspension, for on-field rant (1540-7412).
• Association issues behaviour reminder after ’spike’ in umpire abuse (1540-7413).
1,541 - 23 March [7414-7415]
• ‘We lost because of umpires’, says Bangladesh PM (1541-7414).
• Bodenham’s 100th first class match starts his retirement season (1541-7415).
1,542 - 26 March [7416-7418]
• Second CA umpire award for Fry (1542-7416).
• Umpire rant leads to one-match suspension (1542-7417).
• South African coach questions Duckworth-Lewis figures (1542-7418).
1,543 - 28 March [7419-7421]
• Dharmasena first to play and umpire in a World Cup final (1543-7420).
• Ill-timed top-dressing tips balance of competition final (1543-7421).
1,544 - 31 March [7422-7423]
• ‘Infantile’ send offs, sledging, mar Aussie WC victory (1544-7422).
• Council rules against club’s advertising signs (1544-7423).
‘GORGET’ LATEST ENTRANT IN MOVES
TO IMPROVE HELMET SAFETY
Ireland all-rounder John Mooney became the first player to wear a helmet in an international match that offers additional protection for the back of the head and neck during his side's World Cup fixture against the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday. Mooney, who developed the new arrangement in conjunction with his architect father-in-law, had been concerned about the need for better head and neck protection before Australian Phillip Hughes died three months ago, but after that tragedy he decided to do something to reduce risk in that area.
Mooney first started thinking about the issue after his cousin was struck near the same place as Hughes in a club match during the 2014 northern summer. He told the ‘Cricinfo’ web site that when he "saw Phil getting hit [on the news] I was adamant I was going to do something". "I bat quite low down in the Irish team and have to take on the short ball pretty much every time and get hit on the head quite a lot” and its an issue "that worries me and as a cricketer and a father”.
As a result he and his father-in-law "got talking and with a few coat hangers one evening we designed the guard”, after which "we got a local bloke who works with steel to make us up a couple of prototypes and basically that's where it came from”. “It took us about a month to get a working product made that fitted the helmet perfectly and was comfortable to wear while training”. “[Ireland] had a tour to Dubai in January where I first started using it”, he says, "and from the first day I put it on there was no impingement on any shot I played, and I haven't taken it off my helmet since”.
Mooney is calling the new feature, which is basically an extension of the front of face grill, the "gorget", a term for the part of medieval suits of armour that protected the neck and throat of its wearer. "It's exactly the same as the grille of the helmet, you don't notice it much”, he said”, and while it adds a bit of weight “you could pick up two helmets, one without and one with and it wouldn't make any difference to the feel really”. He says it is designed so that it can be adjusted "how far up your neck or the helmet that you'd like it [for] so some people might have different shaped necks and shoulders”, and "can be put on pretty much any helmet [currently] on the market".
The ‘gorget’ arrangement has not yet been fully tested or certified for use, however, the certification process is said to be in motion and Moonie is hopeful it will be ready in time for the 2015 English season in April although in reality it is more likely to be "to take between three and six months” to achieve formal approval. Because it is a piece of protective equipment "we can't get it into the shops until it is certified”, says Mooney, who is currently looking for investors or equipment manufacturers to aid its development.
Shortly after Hughes’ death Steve Remfry, an Adelaide-based designer of protective gear, said he had “blueprints" for a padded helmet flap he believed would protect players from receiving fatal blows to the neck (PTG 1480-7159, 11 December 2014). Three weeks ago Hampshire-based company ‘Masuri’ announced it had manufactured a prototype helmet which features extra protection around the back of the neck that it is calling a “stem guard”, an arrangement it believes could better protect batsmen who are struck by balls in that region (PTG 1519-7313, 12 February 2015). Cricket Australia's high performance chief Pat Howard said this week that Australian players will be given the chance to try out the new 'Mansuri’ model (PTG 1527-7349, 27 February 2015).
BATSMAN SURVIVES AFTER
BAILS LIFT FROM STUMPS
Ireland’s Ed Joyce survived being dismissed ‘bowled' after the ball hit the stumps but a bail was not permanently dislodged in the World Cup game against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday. Joyce missed a ball from UAE’s Amjad Javed, it grazed his off-stump and the off ‘Zing' bail rose and lit up before settling back down securely on the stump, while the leg bail also lit up and dropped into its grooves, however, it did not rise as far as its companion.
The ‘Zing’ system, which was first used in Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic Twenty20 three years ago, uses LED lights powered by hidden batteries that light-up less than "1/1,00th of a second" after the wicket is broken. The International Cricket Council approved the use of the stump-bail system for international cricket in July 2013 (PTG 1136-5510, 1 July 2013), Playing Conditions for the World Cup including ‘Zing’ wickets as part of the technology package that can be used by third umpires in reviews.
A similar ‘Zing’ incident occurred fourteen months ago in a CA Twenty20 match between Melbourne and Sydney franchise teams when the former side's David Hussey survived a run-out attempt because the bails stayed on. On the occasion Hodge drove a ball from Tillakaratne Dilshan straight to the bowler who gathered and hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end with a solid throw. The ‘Zing' bails lit up with Hussey short of his ground, however they settled back into their grooves and thus the run-out was null and void. The competition’s organisers said on their ‘Twitter' account at the time: “Zing bail is slightly heavier than standard wooden bail, but lighter than the heavy bails used in windy matches”.
The ‘Zing’ system requires that the white lines on the two bails point directly upwards in order to prevent the underpart from getting wet and shorting out the circuit should rain fall. In addition each set of bails must be paired with the stumps they were "networked" to by a technician before the start of play. Before a game with them commences a spare bail, electronically paired to the stumps at a specific end, are provided to the respective on-field umpires, and a spare ‘Zinger' stump is also allocated to the fourth umpire to cover a situation where one breaks or fails to light up.
MUMBAI CAPTAIN REPRIMANDED
FOR UMPIRE CRITICISM
Mumbai captain Aditya Tare has been reprimanded by match referee Vengalil Kutty for complaining about a number of decisions made by umpire Vineet Kulkarni, including one against himself, on the opening day of his side’s Ranji Trophy semi final match against Karnataka on Wednesday. Mumbai was dismissed for just 44 in their first innings that day, and eventually lost the match outright by 112 runs yesterday, Tare claiming publicly Kulkarni’s calls on day one were a key factor in his side’s defeat.
The situation led Mumbai coach Pravin Amre to urge the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to ensure highest quality of umpiring in domestic cricket. "As a coach, I don't want to give this as an excuse, but everybody has got evidence”, and "I think the BCCI should also think about keeping quality umpires in big games”. Kulkari, 35, who is currently rated as one of India’s top two umpires being one of two on-field members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, was standing in his thirtieth first class game in the semi final.
MELBOURNE ASSOCIATIONS MULL
PROPOSED MAJOR RESTRUCTURE
Six associations that play cricket in the Melbourne area and their combined 192 clubs are currently considering an eighty-page document prepared by Cricket Victoria (CV) that recommends they be restructured into five regional zones. Under proposals now on the table the six, who sit below the top level of Victorian club cricket, the Victorian Sub-District, Turf, Eastern, Mercantile, Dandenong and Williamstown District Associations, would be replaced by five "Metro Zone” competitions covering the North, South, East, West and South East of Melbourne’s ever sprawling metropolitan area, says Peter Hanlon of ‘The Age’ newspaper.
Opponents to the move have told Hanlon that a century and more of history, rivalries and the competitive advantage built by hard-working clubs in strong competitions would disappear if the proposed shift takes place. However, Rohan O’Neill, who spent spent two years working on a CV task force that produced the document concerned, which is titled "A Changing Game”, says the recommendations that are now on the table are designed to make the game easier to play and govern for all.
O'Neill told Hanlon "it's [CV’s] role to offer these types of reforms” and ask questions such as “how do we ensure boys and girls [in ten, fifteen, twenty year’s time] are playing the game with a clear path of progression [no matter how] they want to consume the game?” He emphasised that while CV would provide an executive officer to manage each of the new league systems on behalf of the clubs, current board members would fill the new executive seats involved and thus still be able to look after the interests of their clubs.
Phil O'Meara, the chairman of the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association (VSDCA), says his twenty-three clubs have rejected the proposed model and the Mercantile and Victorian Turf associations will "also take some convincing", while the Eastern, Dandenong and Williamstown District Associations have reportedly offered in-principle support. "You've got 108 years of history," O'Meara says of the VSDCA, and “some blokes have been around [his association] for a long time are saying 'Why should we be pushed back into community cricket?’ Another concern is the feeling that the proposed 2016-17 season introduction of the new arrangement is unrealistic with so much information to digest and consider.
Tony Kirsch, the secretary of the Mercantile-affiliated Barnawartha North club, suspects a disconnect between where his club sits "and a governance organisation like CV”. "Anything from our perspective that takes away from park cricket in Melbourne as it's been played for the past 150 years is going to be a challenge”, says Kirsch. O'Neill says though that the lower levels of the game will be held in greater esteem, their concerns will be one layer closer to the CV boardroom table and, if they choose, they can challenge themselves to go higher under a promotion and relegation system. O'Meara acknowledges it won't be easy for “when you're trying to break 100 years or more of history, it's bloody difficult to change people's thinking, that's for sure”.
The changes proposed for the Melbourne area follow last July’s radical revamp of the way CV’s top club competition in that state is administered (PTG 1391-6730, 16 July 2014). In addition in October David Richards, who spent eight years as the chief executive officer International Cricket Council from 1993-2001, was asked by CV to conduct "a wide-ranging review" of the health of the game in country areas of that state. Original planning call for Richards to submit his findings to CV’s board sometime this month (PTG 1458-7065, 29 October 2014).
SUPREME COURT CHIDES SRINIVASAN
FOR CHAIRING BCCI MEETING
International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan tendered an "unconditional apology" to India’s Supreme Court on Friday for having chaired a meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) working committee three weeks ago. The court called his action in chairing the meeting "a breach of the spirit" of its order under which no one who is in a conflict of interest situation can undertake an administrative role in the BCCI (PTG 1508-7270, 25 January 2015).
Srinivasan, whose conflict of interest is his company’s ownership of a BCCI Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise team, will not be able to contest the election to any position at the BCCI's Annual General Meeting (AGM), which is scheduled to take place in Chennai tomorrow after two previous attempts to convene it were deferred (PTG 1465-7095, 23 November 2014). The Court ruled that his only direct role at the AGM will be as a nominee of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) who will be able to cast that organisation’s vote in the case of an election, and that he could not preside over any BCCI meeting in the future.
Srinivasan and what Indian media reports describe as a "rival faction" are said to be keeping their cards close to their chest in manourverings related to just who they will nominate to be the next BCCI president, a position the Supreme Court stood him down from almost a year ago (PTG 1323-6378, 29 March 2014). In the time since he has asked the Court to be allowed to return to the BCCI’s top position several times but was rebuffed, and is reported to be "busy trying to find a suitable candidate who will be acceptable to all his loyalists” to stand for president in his stead.
On the other hand the anti-Srinivasan group is said to be supporting Sharad Pawar, the president and founder of India's Nationalist Congress Party, as a candidate although he is still to decide whether he will stand. Pawar reportedly met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently to seek his support in the BCCI elections, media reports from the sub-continent suggesting Pawar’s track record shows he will not venture into any election "unless he is assured of victory”. Pawar, 74, previously served as BCCI president from 2005-08 and as the ICC's president from 2010-12.
PAY INEQUITIES RECIPE FOR TROUBLE,
CLAIMS LONG-TIME CRICKET WRITER
The publication of the ‘Business Review Weekly’ (BRW) list of top fifty earners in Australian sport has highlighted the concentration of wealth amongst the top echelon of cricketers in that country in recent years, says ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ journalist Malcolm Knox (PTG 1524-7336, 18 February 2015). In Knox’s view that trend is disturbing for over the eighteen years since players in Australia, led by those at Test level, went to the brink of striking for a more favourable distribution of the game's income, the pay of State players "has risen by a multiple of three to five”, however, for the top earners the remuneration has risen by a "multiple of twelve to fifteen”.
Knox wrote that of the "200-plus cricketers in Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup, only a handful are setting themselves up for life, and the rest, while on the same field, are on the outside looking in”. "Cricketers have grown rich on television rights deals, but with radical inequality”, he says. In 1997 "a fifty-Test player who averaged 36 with the bat and took 1.5 wickets per match might have earned $A120,000 [a year] if the selectors [kept] picking him”, wrote Knox, who doubts players at that time "put their necks on the block so that a player such as [Australia’s] Shane Watson could earn $A4.5 million” in comparison to others.
According to Knox: "A lot of international cricketers have been reading the [BRW] lists”, and while “they know they don't warrant the same income as a Watson or a [Mitchell] Johnson”, they must query why "they are worth one-fortiethth, one-hundreth of [such] players”? Those outside the big earners "are part of the same entertainment package [helping raise] the same overall revenue, as the big earners”, he continues, and material envy and resentment are not far beneath the surface”. “Look at what [a similar situation] has done to West Indies cricket”, he writes, and “a few years ago inequality across the same pitch was enough to drive [former South African captain] Hansie Cronje to sell his soul for American dollars and a leather jacket".
Cricket has, says Knox, concentrated wealth at the top “and that's not even to get started on [Australia’s] women, who are grateful to be able to quit their jobs and play full-time now they are being guaranteed a primary school teacher's salary”.
VANDALS DOING ‘DOUGHNUTS’
A ground at Coutts Crossing, a rural town in the Clarence River area if northern New South Wales, was significantly damaged by vandals two Friday evenings ago. A car was used for a significant series of ‘doughnuts’ across the playing surface at McIntosh Park, the burnout marks ripping up the grass over a large section of the ground, according to a ‘Daily Examiner’ report.
Clarence River Cricket Association grounds representative Terry Brien told the ‘Examiner' a nearby resident witnessed the incident and gave a description of the vehicle which is said to have spent around half-an-hour just after midnight doing the burnouts on the field, a smaller sedan also being involved. Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson, who was to play at McIntosh Park the following day as Coutts Crossing's wicket-keeper in a third Grade match, said “vandalism of any type is extremely frustrating for the facility users and in this case for the cricket fraternity"
Williamson said repairs to the ground were a responsibility of his council and that “again the community will have to pick up the tab because of a couple of bloody idiots who have no sense of belonging to a community”. Coutts Crossing Cricket Club vice-president Dean Clark said: "It is sad people would wantonly damage a community area like this”.
LOCAL RULE TO DEPART WITH
LOSS OF 300-YEAR-OLD TREE?
A 300-year-old horse chestnut tree which has been a constant feature within the boundary rope at Barkby United’s Cricket Club’s ground Leicestershire since the club was formed in 1850 has been cut down, says an article in the ‘Melton Times’ yesterday. The club, which plays in the Leicestershire and Rutland Cricket League, said the tree had come to the end of its natural lifespan and had been a safety hazard for fielders for sometime, the northern summer of 2013 seeing several rotten branches falling from it.
Long-serving Barkby player Kevin Flowers told the ’Times’ the tree “has stopped many of my fours and sixes over the years, but on the plus side it has also stopped boundaries when I have bowled loose deliveries”. That suggests that under local rules the tree did not constitute a boundary and that balls striking it and rebounding back into the field of play were still ‘live’. "It will seem strange playing without the tree being there”, said Flowers.
The health of horse chestnuts, or ‘conked’ trees, has been put in peril by leaf minor caterpillars which attack the species and cause chestnut canker and it is feared such trees could disappear totally within twenty years unless a cure is found. Landowner John Pochin decided to fell the tree, which was suffering from the disease, to avert any further spread of the problem, and the club says it will plant two replacement hardwood trees later this summer, but whether or not they will also be placed inside the boundary rope was not stated.
HIGHER SCORES AND RUN RATE TRENDS
LEAD TO DUCKWORTH-LEWIS UP-GRADE
The Duckworth-Lewis (D-L) system that has been used to set targets in rain affected one-day matches since 1997, has been modified to take into account the higher run rates and scores of the current era. Fourteen of the forty-six innings played in the current World Cup to date have, for example, produced scores in excess of 300, while very high run-rates have been achieved by some batsmen, results that illustrate just why what should now be called the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (D-L-S) system has been developed.
The third name in the new title, Stern, recognises the work of Professor Steven Stern, a statistician at Queensland’s University of Technology (QUT), who is behind changes made in the lead up to the World Cup, says a recent ‘Sunshine Coast Daily’ report. He told the newspaper that: "Basically [D-L-S] does the exact same thing as the original [D-L] if the scores are moderate, but it essentially starts adjusting things away from what [D-L] would have said if the scoring rates get really high”. "That means it works a bit better for the Twenty20 game because T20 [scoring] rates are very high, and it also works a bit better in those one-day matches where there are a lot of high scores”.
Stern, who was born in the United States and has a Doctorate in statistics from Stanford University, indicated that the up-graded formula was developed after studying how thousands of teams have performed under different situations. He first made contact with Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis in the mid-1990s, before the International Cricket Council (ICC) adopted the system, and soon after he took up a Professorship at the Australian National University in Canberra, telling the ‘Daily’: "I emailed [Duckworth and Lewis] and luckily they didn't think I was a crackpot, so they heard me out”.
After some discussion Stern says "They convinced me my formula probably wasn't as practical” as theirs at the time, however, the trio continued to communicate regularly on statistical issues and when Duckworth, now 75, and Lewis, now 73, retired, the by now QUT Professor became a consultant to the ICC in order to ensure the system the world body uses for its matches remained relevant to the game’s ever changing statistics.
Stern told the ‘Cricinfo’ web site recently: "The system isn't designed to be a substitute for a full game but, if part of a game is interrupted, it's preferable to have some kind of game”. He said he “is trying to educate more people in the game about the method and get it more into the standard parlance of cricket” and thinks "it's incredible that even international players don't know the basic underpinnings of the rule - imagine saying the same thing about the LBW law!"
FOUR BOWLERS NEEDED
TO DELIVER TWO OVERS
The last two overs of England’s innings in the World Cup match in Wellington yesterday were delivered by four bowlers. Rangana Herath delivered five balls of the second last over before succumbing to a hand injury and that led to Thisara Perera bowling the last ball, before fast bowler Suranga Lakmal came on for the final over. Lakmal sent down a ‘beamer’ with his first delivery, and was given a first and final warning by umpire Rod Tucker, then a second which led to Tucker remove him from the attack, a situation that brought Tillakaratne Dilshan to the crease for the final two balls of the innings.
Following the match Lakmal was fined a thirty per cent of his match fee in relation to his beamers. He pleaded guilty to a charge of "conduct contrary to the spirit of the game”, match referee David Boon saying via an International Cricket Council (ICC) media release that in making his decision regarding the fine, he "took into account that it is was dangerous and unfair bowling, there were no mitigating circumstances, and there was no remorse from the bowler”.
Last week, Zimbabwe fast bowler Tendai Chatara was reprimanded for bowling two ’beamers’ during his side’s World Cup match against the West Indies (PTG 1527-7351, 27 February 2015). He too was charged with conduct that is "contrary to the spirit of the game”, however, on that occasion the ICC said match referee Roshan Mahanama took into account "the mitigating factor” that the ball Chatara was bowling with was wet "which could have resulted in the bowler not being able to have complete control of the deliveries”.
The charge against Lakmal was made by on-field umpires Tucker and Bruce Oxenford, third umpire Chris Gaffaney and fourth umpire Simon Fry. All ICC Level One breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand up to a maximum loss of half a player’s match fee.
FRIDAY GAME SPARKS
Five people were injured in a clash between two groups of villagers over the playing a match near the village of Khoksa, 100 km west of Dhaka, on Friday afternoon. Some locals are believed to have objected to a game being played on what is normally a ‘day of rest’ in Bangladesh, a concern that led to one group to attack their opponent’s houses, only to have their’s attacked in return. Police were eventually able to restore order but not before the five had been taken to hospital.
RESULTS OF CA ‘GRASS ROOTS’
The results of Cricket Australia's (CA) on-line survey of clubs and associations whose aim was to identify the “challenges” those at the ‘grass roots’ level of the sport in that country believe they face, have yet to be released (PTG 1485-7183, 17 December 2014). 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 over the four years to 2017 (PTG 1456-7061, 27 October 2014), will enable it to better support the game at that level.
In launching the new survey in an e-mail sent to club and association administrators ten weeks ago, Andrew Ingleton, CA’s General Manager Game and Market Development, said his organisation wants to know how clubs and others at that level 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”.
The survey asked 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 was 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 were also requested.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
FOR BCCI PRESIDENCY
Veteran cricket administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya was elected as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at that organisations long-delayed 2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Chennai yesterday. Dalmiya, a businessman from Kolkata who replaces Narayanaswami Srinivasan, first joined the BCCI board in 1979, became its treasurer in 1983 and served as its president from 2001-04 and for an short period in 2013 due to Srinivasan’s troubles, and he also had a term as the president of the International Cricket Council from 1997-2000.
Dalmiya, 74, is widely credited for turning India into cricket's financial powerhouse and the most influential member of the sport's global governing body. Reports say that over the weekend in the lead up to yesterday’s vote, he held meetings with Srinivasan and Sharad Pawar, the men who head the BCCI’s two rival factions. Last month, India's Supreme Court barred Srinivasan from standing again as a candidate for the BCCI’s presidency chief while he owns the Indian Premier League's Chennai franchise side, a situation it ruled is a conflict of interest (PTG 1529-7362, 1 March 2015).
While Dalmiya was elected unanimously the contest for other positions on the board was tight. Anurag Thakur, a nominee from the Pawar group, defeated Sanjay Patel by one vote to become secretary, while Amitabh Chaudhary from the Srinivasan camp became joint secretary only after a tie was broken by a casting vote from interim president Shivlal Yadav who chaired the AGM. The treasurer's post was secured by Anirudh Chaudhary after he defeated Rajiv Shukla 16-13, however, in somewhat of a surprise, CK Khanna from Delhi defeated Pawar candidate Jyotiraditya Scindia from the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association for the treasurer’s position, but only by one vote
Chaudhary told reporters after the AGM that Srinivasan would remain the BCCI's nominee to the ICC while Thakur will represent India at the world body’s chief executives’ committee meetings.
UMPIRES FROM THREE COUNTRIES
COMPLETE SOUTH AFRICAN EXCHANGES
Six of the twelve on-field positions in the last two rounds of Cricket South Africa’s domestic first class competition were filled by exchange umpires from Australia, India and New Zealand, Gerard Abood, CK Nandan and Ashley Mehrotra respectively (PTG 1457-7063, 28 October 2014) Abood, 43, stood in matches in Johannesburg then in Paarl near Cape Town, Nandan, 51, in Port Elizabeth and Durban, and Mehrota, 45, in Kimberly and East London; the last of each of the trio's games ending on Sunday.
Abood’s on-field colleagues in the two games were Adrian Holdstock and Bongami Jele, the latter who was in Australia on exchange in November, while Nandan was with Shaun George and then Holdstock, and Methorta with Jele and George. The last of Nandan’s two matches was his fiftieth at first class level since his debut in 1999, for Abood it was number thirty-five and thirty-six since 2008, and for Mehrota his eighth and nineth, his debut being two years ago.
Uttar Pradesh-born Mehrota's exchange visit occurred in his first season on New Zealand Cricket’s domestic Elite Umpires Panel (PTG 1398-6766, 25 July 2014).
MATCH OFFICIALS FOR FINAL SHEFFIELD
SHIELD ROUNDS ANNOUNCED
Cricket Australia has named seven umpires, five match referees and ten scorers to manage the last six home-and-away matches of the 2014-15 Sheffield Shield season that are to be played at grounds in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney over the next two weeks. Three of the umpires Geoff Joshua, Sam Nogajski and Paul Wilson have two matches each, and Gerard Abood, Ash Barrow, Mike Graham-Smith and Mick Martell all single games.
All five members of Cricket Australia’s Umpire High Performance Panel will also be in action as match referees, Daryl Harper twice, and Steve Bernard, Peter Marshall, Bob Stratford and David Tallala all once. The ten scorers named were Gail Cartwright, Cliff Howard and Rodd Palmer for the two Brisbane games, Rita Artis and Neil Ricketts for the match in Adelaide, Toni Lorraine and Kay Wilcoxon in Sydney, Lance Catchpole and Sandy Wheeler in Perth, while Melbourne-based Jim Hamilton and a second yet-to-be-named person will record match details in Alice Springs.
MCG FOOD PRICES TO FALL, BUT NOT
UNTIL AFTER WORLD CUP FINAL
The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) has responded to the concerns of spectators about the cost of food available to them at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) by announcing reductions as part of what it calls an “affordable, family-friendly food and beverage offering”. Admitting that those attending games were unhappy at having to pay $A5 for a bottle of water and more than $A11 for a salad, the MCC has reduced prices on a number of items, but not for the stadium’s mid-strength beer.
Cost reductions that are to come into force, but not until after the World Cup final in twenty-six days time, include hot chips being available at $A4 instead of $A5.60, while a meat pie will drop from $A4.80 to $A4, meaning a pie and chips can be procured for under $A10. A hot dog will also be $A4, down from $A6.50, while a chicken schnitzel burger will fall from $a10 to $A7.50 and sushi from $A6.80 to $A5. Drinks prices will also drop with a soft drink dropping a dollar to $4 and bottled water down a whopping forty per cent to $A3.
CA-NZC DISCUSSIONS ON NOVEMBER
DAY-NIGHT TEST CONTINUING, SAYS REPORT
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) is yet to give “final approval” for its team to play a day-night Test against Australia in November, according to an article in the Hobart newspaper ‘The Mercury’ yesterday (PTG 1461-7079, 17 November 2014). The story, which focussed on Cricket Tasmania chairman Tony Harrison’s view that Hobart “deserves” to be given the right to host what could be the first ever day-night Test, also indicated that senior NZC and Cricket Australia (CA) officials had further discussions in Auckland last weekend on CA’s push for such a match (PTG 1500-7239, 13 January 2015).
Harrison, who thinks his home city should be given the nod before the two other candidates Adelaide and Brisbane, is quoted by journalist Adam Smith as saying he believes allocation of the Test to Hobart would be compensate the city for not being given a Test by CA every austral summer. “Its OK for Brisbane and Adelaide as they get a Test each year”, said Harrison, but “we offer a unique venue, we have [with the help of $A30 million in government funds] just done a major development here, [and Bellerive Oval] is the best boutique cricket ground not only in Australia but probably the world”.
Tasmania’s Premier, Will Hodgman, told ‘The Mercury’ that he is confident of a “positive outcome” for Hobart, following a recent meeting with CA chairman Wally Edwards and his deputy David Peever who is to take on Edwards role in October (PTG 1346-6505, 5 May 2014). “I was encouraged by that meeting and am confident Hobart is in the running to be the venue for what will be a historic cricket event”, said Hodgman. According to Harrison CA is expected to announce details of Australia’s 2015-16 home Test season against New Zealand and the West Indies in April.
Last month International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson described described day-night Tests as "not necessarily the way of the future" but that "in some markets it makes sense commercially” (PTG 1520-7318, 14 February 2015).
NINE FATHER-CHILD COMBINATIONS
GETS TEAM ON TO THE FIELD
The Port Sorell Cricket Club in north-west Tasmania have no problems calling themselves a “family club” with no fewer than eight father-son and one father-daughter combinations having played for the club's B-grade team during the 2014-2015 season, one match in particular featuring five such pairs, says an article in the regional newspaper ’The Advocate'. After struggling for numbers at the start of the season last October, the Mersey Valley Cricket Association team finished the roster season in third position and will play in a finals match this Saturday.
Captain Ian Davies told journalist Brad Cole the unique situation came about more as a result of necessity. "On the Thursday before the first roster game we only had four players and we were going to forfeit”, he said. "I rang around a few contacts and got some kids to play who also play junior cricket at Devonport and Latrobe and their fathers wanted to have a game with them as well”. "None of the fathers were actually playing as they all competed a long time ago, but their kids have got to the age where they're playing competitively and it's a good opportunity to have a game with them before we all start to drop off".
Davies hopes the trend can continue in future years and help shore up the futures of not just Port Sorell but all clubs in the area. "We're a very family orientated club and it would be good next season if we could get more players and families down there to increase our numbers going forward, and it also improves the kids cricket when they play juniors on Sunday”.
CALL TO NAME ST KITTS GROUND
AFTER ISLAND’S FIRST TEST UMPIRE
A call has been made to rename the new Sandy Point Recreation Ground on the West Indian island of St Kitts in honour of the late Andrew Weekes, to date the only person from there to stand at Test level. Weekes, who died two years ago aged 72, stood in four Tests and three One Day Internationals (ODI) in the period from 1983-90, and was the first umpire not only from St. Kitts, but also from the West Indies Cricket Board’s Leeward Islands region, to work in a Test.
Weekes started umpiring in Leeward Islands tournament matches in 1979, made his first class debut in 1980, and stood in his first international, an ODI in Trinidad in 1983, a year in which he featured in a Test for the first time. During his career he was on ground in matches in every Caribbean country except Guyana before retiring from umpiring in 2001 after fifty first class and fourteen List A games. Off field he served as president of the St. Kitts Cricket Umpires Association and was heavily involved in umpire recruitment and training.
Local Glenville Mills told a radio station that: “St. Kitts has never produced a Test player but it has produced one Test umpire to date”, and “now that [the Sandy Point] ground is headed to be an international venue with the installation of lights, we strongly believe [Weeks] should be honoured by naming the ground after him”.
BIRD FUNDING CONSTRUCTION OF
PLAYER’S BALCONY AT HEADINGLEY
Former English international umpire and now Yorkshire President ‘Dickie’ Bird is funding the construction of a players’ balcony in front of the dressing rooms in the Carnegie Pavilion at Headingley. Bird, 81, who was nominated by the club’s board to stand for a second term as President at its recent Annual General Meeting, played three first class games at Headingly, stood in the first of his sixty-six Tests there in 1973, as well as the last of his 503 first class games as an umpire in 1998.
Work on the balcony is to start in the next couple of weeks, say local media reports, and it is expected to be in use by the time of Yorkshire plays its first home game in the 2015 County Championship season at the ground against Warwickshire late next month. Bird said he wanted to invest in the team and give something back as the players have "given me so much pleasure over the past twelve months with their magnificent performances in [winning] the  Championship and I wanted to reward them for their efforts”.
"When [Yorkshire director of cricket] Martyn Moxon and [chief executive] Mark Arthur said that the players need to have their own external balcony, located directly behind the bowler’s arm, I had no hesitation in making it happen”, continued Bird. “They will benefit from being outside watching the cricket rather than being behind glass in the current viewing area and it will also enhance the Carnegie Pavilion and create a focal point at that side of the ground”. As yet no details have been released as to just what the cost of construction of the new facility will be.
Moxon told journalists: “I can’t thank Dickie enough for his efforts in funding a new balcony for the team”. “The players’ are delighted and it will add to their comfort in preparation for performing on the field [as] our current viewing gallery can get a little claustrophobic, particularly on warm days”. “When I told the team it was happening they were very pleased and even more so that ‘Dickie' is funding the project”. "He is well respected in the dressing room and the fact he never misses a game is testament to his passion and love for Yorkshire cricket”, said Moxon.
NINTH MAN EVICTED OVER WORLD
CUP ‘PITCH-SIDING’ CONCERNS
Another man was expelled from Manuka Oval in Canberra for alleged ‘pitch-siding’ and issued with a ban during the World Cup match between South Africa and Ireland on Tuesday. The unnamed person became the ninth person to be evicted from World Cup grounds over the last two-and-a-half weeks over ‘pitch-siding’ concerns, a practice whereby spectators take advantage of sometimes just seconds-long broadcasting time delays to manipulate betting by feeding match information abroad via phone.
Prior to Tuesday, three men were caught at the West Indies and Zimbabwe match in Canberra ten days ago, and another when Afghanistan played Bangladesh there before that. In New Zealand three men were evicted from the Sri Lanka and New Zealand match at Christchurch's Hagley Oval on the competition’s first day (PTG 1521-7352, 15 February 2015), and another in Nelson when Ireland and the West Indies met. Prior to the World Cup a man was ejected from a New Zealand-Pakistan One Day International and another from a Cricket Australia domestic Twenty20 game (PTG 1516-7306, 6 February 2015)
LANKAN, NZ, WINDIES UMPIRES
START EXCHANGE VISITS
New Zealander Derek Walker and West Indian Patrick Gustard are currently standing in the first of their exchange games in Sri Lanka, while Lankan umpire Rohitha Kottahachchi is in New Zealand and his countryman RavIndra Wimalasiri in the Caribbean. Walker’s opening game is a four-day first class fixture in Hambantota between the Moors and Badureliya Sports Clubs, his partner being Deepal Gunawardene, while Gustard is in Pallekele with Prageeth Rambukwella for a similar game between the Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club and Sri Lanka Ports Authority Cricket Club.
The first of Kottahachchi’s two games in New Zealand was in Queenstown last week for a first class game between Otago and Wellington, his on-field colleague being Gary Baxter, while the second between Canterbury and Northern Districts starts in Christchurch next Monday, his partner then being Ashley Mehrotra who himself was in South Africa on exchange last month (PTG 1531-7371, 1 March 2015). Wimalasiri’s first game in the Caribbean will be with Peter Nero when Trinidad and Tobago play the Windwards starts today, Leslie Reifer when the Leewards play Jamaica next week, and Danesh Ramdhanie in the game between Trinidad and Tobago and the Leewards after that.
Of the four, Walker, WimalasirI and Rambukwella all played first class cricket before taking up umpiring, the Kiwi having previously travelled on exchange to South Africa in February-March 2009 and Australia in November 2012 (PTG 1014-4931, 12 November 2012), and Rambukwella to South Africa in October 2010, but for Gustard and WimalasirI its their first international exchange. Walker, 55, will be standing in his sixty-ninth and seventieth first class whilst he is in Sri Lanka, WimalasirI, 45, will take his first class match tally to sixty in the West Indies, Rambukwella, 39, to fifty-six in New Zealand, and Gustad, 43, to seventeen in Sri Lanka.
SOLID RESPONSE TO CA
‘GRASS ROOTS’ SURVEY
Cricket Australia (CA) says it received comments from over 800 clubs in response to its on-line survey aimed at identifying the “challenges” those at the ‘grass roots’ level of the sport in that country believe they face (PTG 1485-7183, 17 December 2014). CA said today that the feedback received is being collated and that the findings that result will be provided to clubs and associations “in the lead up to the 2015-16 [austral summer] season".
In launching the survey in early December, Andrew Ingleton, CA’s General Manager Game and Market Development, told clubs and associations his organisation wants to know how they and others at that level 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”.
TAMIL NADU FINED FOR ‘SERIOUS’ SLOW
OVER-RATE IN RANJI SEMI FINAL
Match referee Sunil Chaturvedi fined Tamil Nadu captain Abhinav Mukund forty per cent of his match fee and his team mates all twenty per cent for a “serious” slow over-rate offence in their Ranji Trophy semi final against Maharashtra at Eden Gardens this week. For Tamil Nadu’s wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik though it was a lot worse, for he lost another forty per cent of his fee for showing dissent at umpires' decisions and excessive appealing during the second last day of the five-day game that overall saw 1,022 runs scored for the loss of just twenty wickets.
BOWLER TAKES 6/0, OPPONENTS
ALL-OUT FOR 3
Ridgley’s B-Grade side in north-west Tasmania's Burnie Cricket League were dismissed for a total of just three runs in a one-day match against their West Ridgley opponents last Saturday, the whole game being over in just thirty-five minutes. West Ridgley opening bowler Dean O'Connor finished with the remarkable figures of 6 wickets for 0 runs off 3.1 overs, Ridgely’s innings lasting just 6.1 overs with one batsman scoring two runs, there was one bye, and all the other batsmen were out for no score.
In their chase, which saw them loose a wicket for another ‘duck’, West Ridgley passed their opponents to win the game in just five balls. O'Connor, 41, who notched up his 400th game with the club during the current season, told ’The Advocate’ newspaper it was one of the strangest games he has played in during his career. "It was all very odd and bizarre and you feel a bit for the opposition but it was just a matter of bowling straight”. He’s "taken six wickets before in a game, but never for so few runs”.
WATCHING THE WORLD CUP JUDGED
A ‘FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT'
“Undertrial” prisoners in the Indian state of Assam who argued it was their "fundamental right” to watch the World Cup on television have won their case. Seven yet to be convicted inmates of a prison in Guwahati had petitioned for improved access to matches being played in the event, and following a hearing the Gauhati High Court ruled: "Prisoners need recreation for a healthy mind” and ordered arrangements at the prison be up-dated.
The prisoner’s petition read in part that: "Watching television for news, sports and entertainment is a fundamental right within the purview of the Constitution of India”, and lawyers representing the prisoners argued that viewing television was part of the "right to life and personal liberty" set out by India's constitution.
HELMETS, OTHER PROTECTIVE GEAR,
LIKELY FOR UMPIRES, SAYS TAUFEL
Umpires are likely to wear helmets or other protective gear in the future to combat the danger posed by the proliferation of more powerful bats and hard-hitting batsmen, says Simon Taufel the International Cricket Council (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager. Taufel, a former Australian international umpire, told ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ journalist Chris Barrett in an article published yesterday that umpire safety is an area that needs to be closely monitored.
Barrett says the subject of umpire safety has not received a great deal of public attention despite an incident last November that saw former Israel captain Hillel Oscar killed whilst umpiring after a ball ricocheted off the stumps at the bowler's end and struck him in the neck (PTG 1472-7119, 1 December 2014). That remains at the back of many umpires' minds, continues Barrett, "as they watch the likes of [Australian batsman] David Warner and [the West Indies’] Chris Gayle blaze away at close quarters, both at matches and during training”.
According to Taufel: "The nets are the most dangerous places for us now [with the likes of Virender] Sehwag, Gayle [and] Warner probably some of the biggest hitters of the ball, and they go into the nets to actually practise those shots”. "Safety for our umpires when they come and do a net session is becoming more and more of an issue”, he said.
Barrett indicates Taufel believes that on-field safety was not an issue for umpires "for the vast majority of the time”, but that they face a similar predicament to a wicketkeeper who stands up to the stumps. "It's the deflection that's the problem". "It comes off a bowler's hand and deflects, or comes off the stumps and deflects, or the bowler is going to catch it and pulls away at the last second, that's the issue for us”.
Taufel, a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) Laws sub-committee which has been looking a bat-related issues, said he sees "more and more near misses because the bats are more powerful but also we've got two new balls [in One Day Internationals] now, which means that the balls are harder for longer”. He is of the view that “whether you're talking ICC or MCC, I think there is just a real conscious mandate to try and keep the balance between bat and ball as equal as possible”, he said.
In July last year the MCC's World Cricket Committee (WCC) said modern bat design has “for now” not tipped the balance between bat and ball sufficiently far in favour of the batsman as to warrant a change to bat-related sections of the Laws of Cricket (PTG 1392-6734, 17 July 2014). Those present at that meeting were unable to reach consensus on the issue though and the MCC said at the time it would continue to "closely monitor this aspect of the game”.
Last month ICC chief executive David Richardson, a WCC and former Laws sub-committee member, said in his view modern bats have "shifted the balance” of the game in favour of batsmen, especially in limited-overs cricket (PTG 1515-7299, 5 February 2015), and others have generally agreed (PTG 1534-7385 below) .
Six years ago then Australian umpire Daryl Harper said "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 (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). Speaking soon after Oscar's death, former Indian Test umpire Shyam Bansal said that helmets should be compulsory for on-field umpires (PTG 1477-7142, 8 December 2014).
FORMER BATSMAN: MODERN GAME
’STACKED IN BATSMAN’S FAVOUR'
Former Australian batsman Dean Jones believes there is a huge mismatch between bat and ball and it will only get worse if things don't change soon, for in his view the Playing Conditions that apply have made One Day International cricket "a joke and bowlers irrelevant”. The battle between bat and ball seems "horribly unbalanced”, says Jones, but “that’s not surprising to many given that most [members] of the [International Cricket Council’s (ICC)] Cricket Committee who decide these rules and conditions are batsmen".
Jones asks as to whether, under today's World Cup Playing Conditions, "would bowlers like Wasim Akram, Curtly Ambrose, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Waqar Younis and Dennis Lillee be as effective as they were through their careers?" He says that “flat pitches, small boundaries, modern bats, the number of fieldsmen in the circle and overall attitudes all lead to ridiculously inflated scores”. "Nine out of ten pitches are just featherbeds for batsmen”, according to Jones, for “in my day, we probably got pitches like that two out of every five games".
A few years back batsmen "complained that the white ball got soft and they couldn't hit it in the death overs”, continues Jones. That led to the introduction of two balls per innings "which no doubt has helped [the batsman’s] cause [as] now they keep wickets intact for the first twenty-five overs and launch their onslaught from that point”. "The ball goes further at the death overs when each ball is twenty overs old at the forty-over mark”. What he wants to see "is a bit of grass on the pitches to offer bowlers the chance to swing and seam it a little more".
In addition, “the bats they use today are crazy”, says Jones, "with players like Chris Gayle and David Warner using ones that are nearly 7.6 centimetres on the edge”, and “the scary thing for bowlers is [further] improvements in bat manufacturing” are in the wind. Jones points to “manufacturers studying whether they can improve the specifications of the handle and they are also looking at different designs of the splice to improve performance, an area of the bat that is quite important as it absorbs and transfers all of the energy at impact through to the handle".
Jones also mentions the Umpire Decision Review System, saying that "when a bowler has been called for a no-ball and the vision shows the ball was actually legal, the third umpire will not change the decision”. "This error can completely turn a game on its head, yet, when a batsmen is given out, the third umpire must see if the ball was legal before confirming the decision".
Yet another area of concern for Jones is that when "bowlers found how to reverse-swing the ball, the ICC was all over them”. “Fieldsmen were stopped from throwing the ball into the ground to soften and create scuff marks that might make [it] reverse-swing". Also bowlers "are only allowed to bowl ten overs”, and are "not even allowed to use their favoured brand of ball [while] batsmen get to pick their own bat”.
"Maybe it’s time bowlers can deliver as many overs as they like?”, asks Jones, for while “batsmen can bat the whole innings if they are good enough the poor old bowler is restricted”. "All I want is a level playing field”, says the former batsman, "but sadly for the game it is stacked in the batsmen's favour".
PRAISE FOR GOULD ON
HIS ODI CENTURY
Vince Van Der Bijl, the International Cricket Council’s Senior Umpires and Referees Manager, praised English umpire Ian Gould yesterday after he became the fifteen umpire to reach a Century of One Day Internationals during the Australia-Sri Lanka World Cup match in Sydney (PTG 1511-7283, 31 January 2015).
According to Van Der Bijl, "Ian’s man and match management is his umpiring hallmark [for] his feel for the game as an ex-International wicketkeeper-batsman and a first-class coach, together with his decision-making, humour and no nonsense on the field approach, makes him a popular and excellent [Elite Umpire Panel member]”.
For his part Gould, 57, said simply: “I love umpiring and really consider it a great honour to be on the field with the some of the greatest players in the world [for] cricket is just such a great game”.
CLOETE ON 50TH ODI
Cricket South Africa (CSA) has congratulated umpire Johan Cloete on standing in his 50th One-Day International (ODI) during the World Cup match between New Zealand and Afghanistan in Napier yesterday. CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat said in a press release: “The CSA Family sends its heartiest congratulations to Johan on reaching this umpiring landmark [and] the fact that he will be standing together with [fellow South African] Marais Erasmus makes it even more special, not just for the two of them but for our country [for we] can be proud of the recognition our match officials are attaining”.
Cloete, 43, said the milestone was a very special moment for him and not something he had dreamed of achieving. “Twenty-three years ago [the year before his debut at first class level] I was watching the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand as a young student”. “It was then I decided to give it my best shot to officiate at this level". “When I did my first ODI in November 2009, I decided to take it one match at a time and develop at this level [and] it never occurred to me that I would reach this magic number or achieve it at a World Cup”.
Englishman Richard Kettleborough chalked up his 50th ODI in the World Cup match between India and South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground two weeks ago (PTG 11511-7284, 31 January 2015).
PAIR APPOINTED TO THEIR
SECOND RANJI TROPHY FINAL
Anil Chaudhary and Chettithody Shamshuddin have been appointed to the final of India’s Ranji Trophy first class competition for the second year in a row. Chaudhary, who will turn 50 on the last scheduled day of the game, and Shamshuddin, 44, are standing in the five-day match between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, the third umpire being Nitin Menon, 31, and the match referee Manu Nayyar, 50.
For Chaudhary the final is his 54th first class match and Shamshuddin, whose last first class game was in Australia three weeks ago (PTG 1523-7332, 17 February 2015), is standing in his 27th. Neither played the game at first class level, however, both Menon and Nayyar did before taking up officiating roles.
UMPIRE SHOULD BE A CANDIDATE FOR CANADA’S
SPORTS ‘HALL OF FAME, SAYS JOURNALIST
No cricketers are featured in Canada’s ‘Sports Hall of Fame’ and ‘Toronto Sun’ journalist Norman Da Costa suggested in an article published on Friday that a long-serving umpire should be appointed to that group. Da Costa’s nomination is Fred Heather who was born in Surrey in 1890 and arrived in Canada in 1921 where after his playing days were over he took up umpiring, standing in matches there for over five decades.
SHARP, WILLEY, LOOSE AGE
English umpires George Sharp and Peter Willey, who were forced to retire at 65 from their positions on the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Full List, lost their age discrimination against the ECB yesterday (PTG 1526-7346, 21 February 2015). Media reports from London say that while the ECB accepted the pair had been treated less favourably because of their age, the Central London Employment Tribunal’s assessment was that the board's actions were justified because it wanted to ensure opportunities for succession planning and appointing new umpires (PTG 1513-7294, 3 February 2015).
Sharp and Willey’s union, Prospect, which represented them at the tribunal hearing last month, said it was disappointed by the judgment and will be considering it in more depth. Its national secretary Alan Leighton said though he was "not entirely surprised by the finding and hopes [the case] has not soured our relationship with the ECB”. Sharp is quoted as saying he "would like to thank Prospect for their professional help and support [for] they have been exceptional in their approach, dedication and understanding of my cause”. Willey added: "The union was great and it really shows how people need unions [as] we could not have taken the case without them”.
The ECB said in a statement: "We welcome the [tribunal’s] decision, which recognises that our current retirement policy for umpires is firmly based on sound legal principles and not discriminatory on grounds of age”. "ECB will continue to implement a retirement age of 65 in the interests of inter-generational fairness and in order to ensure that umpiring remains a viable career option for professional cricketers who are nearing the end of their playing careers”; most of the Full List traditionally being made up of former first class players. "We would also like to thank George Sharp and Peter Willey for their contribution to our first -class game and wish them well in their retirement”, said the statement.
Former England Test batsman Willey also said that he has had "a good run but I am disappointed for umpires in future [but] that's it - I won't umpire at any level now”. Instead "I'll go and watch my son, David, playing for Northamptonshire, I have a grandson to look after and I'll go on holiday in the summer with my wife for a change”. He had told the tribunal that his family felt he would suffer from depression if he did not stay in the game as it has been his life since he made his first-class debut for Northamptonshire nearly fifty years ago, but Leighton said he would be receiving support from the union as he makes the transition into retirement.
Willey told the tribunal at its hearings four weeks ago that he would only want to quit what was his £51,270 ($A99,000) a year job if he was not good enough, Sharp, who turned 65 two days ago, making a similar comment. Willey, a former ECB umpires chairman who officiated in 25 Test matches during a cricket career spanning 49 years, said that time has not yet come. Sharp, who stood in fifteen Tests, said to the tribunal: ”at the moment, my [umpiring] standards have not dropped, and at the end of the 2015 season I would know if my standards had dropped and I would go back to the board and discuss it” (PTG 1515-7300, 5 February 2015).
ECB's umpires manager Chris Kelly told the tribunal that his organisation had taken the right decision, citing "physical and mental pressures" associated with the Full List job. Willey and his former Northamptonshire playing colleague Sharp, who has undertaken a course in scoring in an attempt to remain in the game, have been replaced on the Full List for the 2015 English season by Paul Baldwin and Russell Evans (PTG 1480-7162, 11 dECEMBER 2014).
BASEBALL-TYPE FACE MASK BETTER
THAN HELMETS, SAYS HARPER
Face masks would provide better protection for on-field umpires than helmets, according to former Australian international umpire and baseball enthusiast Daryl Harper. The ‘Pakistan Observer’ spoke to Harper this week after the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel suggested umpires are likely to wear helmets or other protective gear in the future to combat the danger posed by the proliferation of more powerful bats and hard-hitting batsmen (PTG 1534-7384, 9 March 2015).
Six years ago Harper said "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). Speaking this week with 'Observer’ journalist Bipin Dani via telephone, Harper said he believes "the use of a face mask, as a baseball umpire wears behind home plate, is becoming a genuine option for cricket umpires ahead of [helmets] because of its lighter weight” as they result in "less fatigue for the neck and shoulders than carrying the heavier and more cumbersome protective helmet”.
“During my tenure as an [ICC Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) member], the subject of wearing protection on the field was never seriously considered or discussed in official meetings”, however, “it is an indication [today] how factors have changed so quickly that protection is currently on the agenda”. "Heavier bats and far more skilful stroke play with the proliferation of twenty over cricket, means that umpires are more regularly required to ‘dodge a bullet.’, he concluded.
Harper, who spoke with the Observer’s Bipin Dani via telephone, said: “During my tenure as an [EUP member] the subject of wearing protection on the field was never seriously considered or discussed in official meetings”. Current discussions are, however, "an indication of how factors have changed so quickly that protection is currently on the agenda [with] heavier bats and far more skilful stroke play with the proliferation of twenty over cricket, means that umpires are more regularly required to ‘dodge a bullet”.
Now a member of Cricket Australia’s Umpire High Performance Panel, Harper went on to say: “It’s worth noting that umpires are usually a generation older than the players involved in most matches [and] some can be two generations older”. “Realistically [their] reaction times will be longer as the years slip by [and] that means that evading a cricket ball travelling at high speed can become a dangerous undertaking”.
Harper told Dani he was struck twice during his umpiring career, both times when he was standing at square leg and both times in the middle of my chest. "Both batsmen were Sri Lankan”, he continued, Sanath Jayasuriya nailed me in St. Lucia when I was compelled to stand at point because of limited television cameras, then Tillekeratne Dilshan pulled ferociously in Galle and I was caught unawares”. "On both occasions I was facing the batsman and didn’t have time to turn my head”. "On both occasions the batsmen were quick to inform me that I had cost them three runs by preventing the boundary [and] on both occasions, X-rays cleared me of any serious injury”.
In a comment similar to that attributed to Taufel, Harper said: “At the bowler’s end, the most dangerous situation involves the chance of a deflection from the bowler, the non-striker or most likely from the stumps, usually within two metres of the umpire’s standing position”. "The speeding ball can be deflected over that distance in a mere fraction of a second and even an elite athlete would struggle to avoid the missile”.
Harper is "sure wearing any headgear will be uncomfortable, and more importantly tiring” and he doesn’t "foresee a time when it will be compulsory for umpires to wear a form of head protection” for in his view “it should be by personal choice”. He has no doubt the experts will create more streamlined protective options in the same way that batting helmets evolved [for] they have advanced a long way since Tony Greig first paraded his helmet, looking as if he had just arrived at the ground on his Vespa motor cycle”.
BATSMAN CLAIMS EXTRA FIELDER OUTSIDE
ODI CIRLE WOULD LIMIT BIG SCORES
High scores by batsmen in One Day Internationals (ODI) will disappear if the International Cricket Council (ICC) allows an extra fielder outside the circle in non Powerplay overs, according to big hitting Australian batsmen David Warner. Since the ICC changed its ODI Playing Conditions in late 2012 by reducing the number of outfielders from five to four, three in the batting powerplay and two in the first ten overs, there has been a significant increase in scoring, points out Jesse Hogan a Sports writer for the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age’ in a recent article.
Hogan says that before the change a team scored 350 or more on average once every 57 matches, while individuals reached 150 once every 46 matches. The regularity of both has significantly increase since the Playing Conditions change, he says, with team scores of at least 350 now occurring once every 14 matches and individual scores of at least 150 featuring once every 17 matches. Three of the top four individuals scores, led by Rohit Sharma's 264, have come since the Playing Conditions change, as have five of the top 13 team scores with all of those five coming in the past four months.
While the size of bats has been cited as a major factor in the increase in scoring, Warner argues that having only four outfielders was significant, because many batsmen could successfully target the boundary gaps. He said on Thursday that: "If you look at guys like [Glenn] Maxwell and A.B. de Villiers, they do it perfectly”. "They'll identify where the player is and if mid-off is in they'll somehow try to hit it over mid-off, or 45 [degrees behind square] they'll lap sweep it over their head”.
In Warner’s assessment: "Four fielders outside the circle makes a massive difference . . . I think it adds an extra 30 to 50 runs to the totals”. "I don't know if they're making it five players outside the circle after the World Cup, but if they do I think you'll see those totals reduced a fair bit”. He thinks that if such a change occurs batsmen would struggle to score more than 200, irrespective of the size of the ground, if there was an extra outfielder permitted for most of the innings. "That extra player makes a massive difference to your individual scores and your team totals".
In October 2011 the ICC changed the rules to have a new ball from each end in ODIs and also permitted fast bowlers to deliver two bouncers in an over instead of one (PTG 840-4104, 30 September 2011). Twelve months later total powerplay overs were cut from 20 to 15 and the number of outfielders permitted outside the two Powerplays was reduced from five to four (PTG 1011-4916, 30 October 2012). Before the rule for outfielders changed 56 team scores of 350 or above from 3193 completed matches, or one in every 57, but after the rule change there were 23 scores of 350 or above, from 316 completed matches or one in every 14.
AUSSIES TEST ‘MASURI’ HELMET
ATTACHMENT IN NETS
Australian players have tested a new helmet safety attachment developed by UK manufacturer ‘Masuri’ but will not be obliged to wear it in matches, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report (PTG 1519-7313, 12 February 2015). Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell and George Bailey are all said to have worn a new clip-on made of honeycomb plastic and foam while they batted in the nets at Bellerive Oval in Hobart yesterday ahead of today's World Cup match against Scotland.
Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews have already used the device at the World Cup while Ireland all-rounder John Mooney has designed his own version (PTG 1529-7358, 1 March 2015). Cricket Australia high-performance manager Pat Howard told an AFP journalist: "Masuri has worked very hard to bring this guard to market in a very short period of time and we appreciate and commend that”. "The players have now been given the guards to trial at training before deciding whether they wear them in match conditions”. "It is very much a personal decision which we will respect."
SLOW OVER-RATE FINE
MATCH OFFICIALS NAMED FOR
WORLD CUP QUARTER FINALS
Eight of the twelve members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), three Englishmen, two Australians plus a Pakistani, South African and Sri Lankan, have been allocated on-field positions in World Cup quarter final matches this week, the other four on the EUP working in either third or fourth umpire roles. The twelve will work under four of the five match referees selected for the overall tournament, however, the eight members of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, who took part in Group Stage games, some of whom are candidates for EUP positions, have been overlooked.
The referees involved will be David Boon of Australia, Chris Broad of England and Sri Lankans Ranjan Madugalle and Roshan Mahanama, however, Jeff Crowe of New Zealand who looked after the finals of both the 2007 and 2011 World Cup events, is missing. Umpires given on-field roles are: Ian Gould, Nigel Llong and Richard Kettleborough from England, Rod Tucker and Bruce Oxenford of Australia, Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Marais Erasmus from South Africa and Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka. Tucker and Steve Davis of Australia, plus Kettleborough and Richard Illingworth of England are the third umpires, while Llong, Oxenford and his countryman Paul Reiffel, plus ‘Billy’ Bowden of New Zealand, will fill fourth umpire spots.
Tucker and Nigel Llong will be on-field for the opening quarter final in Sydney tomorrow between Sri Lanka and South Africa, with Kettleborough the third umpire and Oxenford and Boon the fourth umpire and match referee respectively. Following that match those four umpires will fly to Wellington to join Broad for the last quarter final, Saturday’s New Zealand-West Indies fixture, Kettleborough and Oxenford being on-field there, and Tucker and Llong the third and fourth umpires. Before then though, Thursday will see Bangladesh and India meet in Melbourne in quarter final three with Gould and Dar on-field, Davis and Reiffel the third and fourth umpires and Mahanama the referee. The third game on Friday in Adelaide between Australia and Pakistan will see Erasmus and Dharmasena on-field, Illingworth the third and Bowden the fourth, plus Madugalle the referee .
Those arrangements mean that Broad, Kettleborough, Llong, Oxenford and Tucker will be in New Zealand ahead of today week’s semi final in Auckland that will involve either the home side, South Africa, Sri Lanka or the West Indies, a fixture for which all of them quality in terms of meeting the ICC’s neutrality policy no matter which teams play that game. Similarly, Dar, Dharmasena, Gould, Erasmus, Madugalle and Mahanama will after the quarter finals be in Australia a one-hour flight from Sydney where the second semi final, which will feature either Australia, Bangladesh, India or Pakistan, is to be played. With the exception of Dar should Pakistan qualify for that match, all the others would be neutrals candidates for the Sydney semi final.
In terms of the final itself the Englishmen, Broad, Gould, Kettleborough, and Llong already qualify in terms of neutrality, while for Boon, Dar, Dharmasena, Erasmus, Madugalle, Mahanama, Oxenford and Tucker their chances of working in the final will depend in the first instance on whether their respective national side reaches the ultimate decider in Melbourne on Sunday week.
The current World Cup is Madugalle's sixth as a match official, Dar his fourth, Broad, Gould and Mahanama their third, Dharmasena, Erasmus, Kettleborough, Llong, Oxenford and Tucker their second, and Boon his first. Before that though Mahanama played in four World Cups (1987, 1992, 1996, 1999), Boon two (1987, 1992), Madugalle two (1983, 1987), Broad one (1987), Dharmasena one (1996), and Gould one (1983). Dar stood in the last two World Cup finals, while Boon, Dharmasena and Mahanama each featured in finals during their playing days and were part of winning teams (PTG 1474-7126, 4 December 2014).
INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY AFTER
TEAM ‘REFUSES TO PLAY'
New Zealand club side Greytown elected to remain in the changing sheds after tea in a Wairarapa Cricket Association (WCA) final on Saturday rather than continue their first innings because of what they claim was "intolerable level of personal abuse" directed at their players, says a 'Wairarapa Times-Age' report this morning. Their refusal to play led to opponents Lansdowne being declared the winners of the game, however, an investigation is now reported to be underway into the precise circumstances involved.
Greytown forwarded a formal request to the WCA board for it to investigate what happened, a move that has been supported by Lansdowne who are said to have suggested that both teams might have contributed to the situation. Board chairman Sam Rossiter-Stead confirmed yesterday a full investigation by an independent person would be held into the final and that he and WCA president Mark Elliott would liaise with that person involved but would play no part in the investigation. Other board members are said to be in potential conflict-of-interest situations and will therefore not be involved.
Rossiter-Stead said it was likely the investigation would include reports from the two umpires, representations from the Greytown and Lansdowne clubs, and people who had witnessed what had transpired. "Nothing will be swept under the carpet, that is the bottom line”, he said, as “the whole situation is a disgrace and we want everything on the table”.
The Wairarapa Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association were to have awarded two trophies at a WCA end-of-season function on Sunday night but in the circumstances decided not to do so, at least for the time being. One was the 'Spirit of Cricket Cup' for the player who "demonstrates the true spirit of cricket" during the season and the other, the 'Thursday Cup', is for the team which "best displays the spirit of cricket" over the whole of the club season. Just who were to be the recipients of those trophies has not been made public.
UMPIRING STANDARDS, PITCHES, CONCERN
FOR RANJI CAPTAINS, COACHES
The standard of umpiring and the quality of pitches provided for domestic cricket in India came in for critical assessment at the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) annual meeting with the captains and coaches of its first class sides held in New Delhi on Sunday, reports ’The Hindu’ newspaper today. Those matters, and a range of suggestions, including the scheduling of matches and quality of balls, were made to the board’s technical committee which is headed by Anil Kumble, who is also the chairman of the International Cricket Council’s Cricket Committee.
As in the past the “majority" of those at the gathering are said to have expressed concern about what they feel is the generally “poor” standard of umpiring and there was a call for increased use of technology in the domestic game. Ball quality was also discussed at length as the need to “constantly change balls" had been an “irritant” during the season just ended. The scheduling of Ranji Trophy first class matches was also an issue, one suggestion being that teams located in the BCCI's North Zone play their home matches first and then travel for the remaining encounters in order to counter the inclement weather that disrupts the schedule during the peak of India’s winter.
Former Test spinners Harbhajan Singh and Sunil Joshi asked the board to pay attention to the pitches provided for first-class matches. Both pointed out the “lack of bounce” as the reason for the decline of finger-spinners in the country. A suggestion was made to involve "a player of stature from each State" to monitor the preparation of pitches. Joshi also objected to “doctored” pitches and that claimed his team had suffered on "a couple of occasions” as a result. Himachal Pradesh coach Abhay Sharma’s suggestion that Ranji Trophy matches have a minimum of 95 overs a day was received “warmly”. Kumble was also requested to help bowlers by allowing five fielders outside the circle for the last ten overs of a one-day match.
All of the suggestions made on Sunday are to be discussed by the BCCI's technical committee at its next meeting which is scheduled to he held in Kolkata before the end of this month.
FATHER-SON, BROTHER COMBINATIONS
FEATURE IN ASSOCIATION'S FINALS
Two sets of father and son pairs and two combinations of brothers umpired semi finals matches in the Southern Cricket Association (SAC) in Tasmania on the weekend, says a report in the Hobart newspaper ’The Mercury’. The senior and junior Phil Bowdens stood in a fourth grade game, and father and son Grantley and Brayden James in fifth grade, while brothers Tony and Paul Lagerewskij looked after the second fourth grade match and Hilton and Lenny Howard one in sixth grade.
Lenny Howard told journalist Adam Smith that the current finals will bring to an end of his fifty years of association with the SCA, a period that commenced in 1956 and has seen him as a player, administrator and, for the last twenty-nine years, as an umpire. “I’ve been trying to retire for about five years and my son keeps saying ‘Sure Dad, sure Dad’”, “but at 76 I think it is time to hang up the counter”.
Howard said “its a pity a few more of the old players in the association don’t [take up umpiring]”. “The senior ones finish up and give it away completely and it’s a shame a few of them don’t think ‘I can give something back’”.
2015 ICC CONFERENCE
WEEK FOR BARBADOS
The International Cricket Council's (ICC) 2015 Annual Conference is to be held in Bridgetown, Barbados from 22-26 June. It will be the first time the yearly week of meetings will have been held in the West Indies and with delegates from over fifty ICC Members expected to attend it will be the largest ever gathering of cricket administrators scheduled in the world body’s Americas region.
ICC Chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan said in a statement yesterday: “We are delighted to be taking the ICC Annual Conference to the West Indies for the first time and I am sure both the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the island of Barbados will prove to be excellent hosts for these important meetings”. WICB President Dave Cameron said: “The award of this high profile event to our region demonstrates the significant role West Indies cricket continues to play in the global game”. "We look forward to welcoming our friends from around the cricket world and highlighting our passion for cricket’s past, present and future”.
In recent years the Annual Conference week has been held in cities that have included Melbourne, London, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Dubai.
ON-FIELD, THIRD UMPIRE REVIEW
DISCUSSIONS FOR BROADCAST
Radio communications between the on-field and television umpires during reviews of decisions asked for in the seven World Cup (WC) knock-out games that are to be played over the next ten days will be available to television broadcasters to include in their match telecasts, said the International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday. The ICC conducted what it called a "successful trial” of the arrangements involved during the One Day International series between Australia and South Africa last November (PTG 1459-7069, 14 November 2014).
When it announced the trial late last year, the ICC said it was part of its "efforts to make umpiring more understandable to viewers and spectators", and if it is successful it could also feature in "select matches" during the World Cup. ICC General Manager Cricket, Geoff Allardice, said at the time that: “For years viewers have enjoyed seeing the same pictures as the TV umpire and making their own decisions during a referral or review. Now they will be even closer to the game, hearing what the umpire is saying when making those decisions”.
Had such broadcasts been available earlier in the World Cup there may well have been more clarity on how on-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Aleem Dar and television umpire ‘Billy' Bowden handled English batsman Jimmy Anderson’s run-out against Australia on the opening day of the tournament five weeks ago (PTG 1521-7323, 15 February 2015). The ICC admitted the decision was made in error, however, it did not explain how it occurred, nor do any of the officials involved appear to have been penalised (PTG 1524-7335, 18 February 2015). Discussions held during several other Group Stage review situations are likely to also have provided informative listening.
CA SHIELD FINAL SELECTIONS SUGGEST
CHANGE IN NUP RANKINGS
Western Australia umpire Mick Martell has been selected to stand in the final of this year’s Sheffield Shield competition for the first time. Martell is to stand with South Australian Simon Fry who will be on-field in Cricket Australia’s (CA) first class season decider for the sixth-straight year, while Victorian John Ward, who stood in the 2013 and 2014 finals will work as the television umpire, and Peter Marshall the match referee, when Victoria takes on Western Australia in Hobart over five days starting on Saturday.
Fry, 48, who umpired in the Group Stages of the World Cup over the last month, will be standing in his 74th first class match, and Martell, who is also 48 and was the third umpire in the Shield final two years ago, will be on-field in his 43rd. Ward, 52, has 58 first class games behind him, but just three in the television suite in a first class game, two being the Shield finals of 2011 and 2012 and the other a Test match. Marshall will be overseeing play in a Shield final for the second time having played that role in the 2012 match.
Ward was ranked second on CA’s National Umpire Panel (NUP) rankings and Martell’s elevation to an on-field final spot suggests he may have moved up the NUP listings as a result of his performances during the 2014-15 austral summer. Given Ward and Martell each come from one of the competing states neutrality does not appear to have been a factor in the selection process.
The official scorers for the final will be Tasmanians Graeme Hamley and Nathan Bester. Hamley will be recording the details of a Shield final for the fourth time, the previous three being when Tasmania were involved, while for Bester, who scored in his first One Day International in a World Cup match last week, it will be his first Shield final.
Western Australia is reported to have considered, and then abandoned, taking legal action over CA's approval for Victoria to host the Sheffield Shield final in Hobart some 600 km from home. The Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) apparently argued that the final should be played in Perth because of Victoria's inability to host a match in their state as the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is unavailable due to World Cup commitments and as such they were relinquishing hosting rights gained from finishing top of the Shield table.
LIGHTNING KILLS SIX
PLAYERS IN ORISSA
Six players, the youngest of whom was fourteen, were killed instantly yesterday when lightning struck a building they took shelter in when a sudden thunderstorm interrupted a game being played in the north-east Indian state of Orissa. Ten other players were injured and at least one of them is reported this morning to be "battling for his life”, while the others are said to be too traumatised to tell police just what happened.
Those killed or injured were amongst around fifty people, including the twenty-two players and an umpire, who were at the Jaripada village ground when the rain came. A police spokesman is quoted as saying: “As the people raced off to escape the rain, great bolts of lightning cut through the sky and around twenty of them rushed to an under-construction building that had no roof just before the lightning struck”. At least one of the dead youths was badly burnt, however, the others killed had little visible signs of injury.
Police identified the dead as Shahrukh Khan 20, Bibhuti Parida 19, Rahul Nayak 15, Satya Pradhan 15, Ajit Behera 15, and Sk Okil 14, while the condition of Bhubaneswar Mohapatra, 17, is described by doctors as being critical. Naveen Patnaik, Orissa’s chief minister, announced last night that an ex-gratis payment of 150,000 Rupees ($A3,100) will be provided to the next of the kin of those killed, and that the state government will pay for the treatment of those injured.
A Jaripada resident told a local TV channel that those involved in the match were "very excited" by the Indian national side's showing at the World Cup and were looking forward to watching the team’s quarter final match against Bangladesh in Melbourne today.
International Cricket Council (ICC) Playing Conditions for the World Cup say that "the safety of all persons within the ground is of paramount importance [and] in the event that any threatening circumstance, whether actual or perceived, comes to the attention of any umpire (including for example weather, pitch invasions, act of god, etc.), then the players and officials should immediately be asked to leave the field of play in a safe and orderly manner". However, there is no specific instructions that relate directly to lightning and its associated thunderstorms as is the case in many club-level competitions around the world.
In March last year then England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke was reported to have spoken to ICC chief executive David Richardson about lightning issues after the umpires decided to continue a World Twenty20 Championship match his side was playing in in Bangladesh whilst a thunderstorm was close by (PTG 1319-6361, 25 March 2014). The same month a cricket club pavilion in Oxfordshire was destroyed by fire after it was struck by lightning as a major storm passed across the region (PTG 1324-6389, 31 March 2014)
Two years ago in Johannesburg, several schoolboys were hospitalised after being struck by lightning during a practice session (PTG 1060-5155, 17 February 2013). In 2009 a player in New York who was struck by lightning during a match was so badly injured that he was not able to commence rehabilitation for nearly five months (PTG 533-2730, 16 December 2009).
REFUSAL TO PLAY ‘A STAND
AGAINST BULLYING’, SAYS CLUB
New Zealand's Greytown cricket club says in a letter published in the 'Wairarapa Times-Age’ yesterday that it refused to continue playing in its Wairarapa Cricket Association (WCA) finals match against Lansdowne on Saturday in order to “make a stand” against the "on-field bullying that has been present [in WCA league games] for quite some time now” (PTG 1536-7396, 17 March 2015). Reports this morning say Jonathan Hooker, the chairman of the Masterton District Council's hearing committee, a former New Zealand police officer and a member of the Institute of Directors, has been appointed as the independent investigator who will look into the matters involved.
Greytown's management committee says in its letter that the club “plays our cricket tough” and “we like to win”, therefore “the decision we made as a team [to not play on] was not taken lightly, however, our players felt so strongly on the matter that it left us with little choice [as some of them] were close to tears” because of what was happening. According to it "some teams in the past have removed themselves from the competition, citing bullying tactics from opposition teams [and] at no point on the field of play should players or officials be subjected to abuse".
The club, which is the second oldest in New Zealand, says that on Saturday “cricket lost all meaning for us as a group and, if we offended anyone in our actions, then we apologise [but] feel we made the correct decision as a team [and] will not stand for this any longer [for] we will lose players to the game and cricket will die in the region”. "We are not professionals and this region does not have a competition that is of high enough quality to have a win-at-any-cost mentality”. "At Greytown, we enjoy the on-field battle and enjoy talking about it in a social context afterwards”, however, "ugly personal attacks and abusive behaviour have no place on the cricket field in this region, or around the world”.
WCA chairman Sam Rossiter-Stead, whose association is made up of four senior clubs, said Hooker was highly experienced in dealing with these kinds of issues as he has been an independent commissioner for the past six years. "More importantly, Jonathan has a strong reputation as a man of great integrity and we know he will work hard to uncover the truth of Saturday's situation and ensure a fair result for all those concerned”.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Wairarapa Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, Chris Cogdale, said the match had been discussed at a meeting of their organisation this week and that they fully supported the actions of the two umpires standing in that game, Johann Fourie, a member of New Zealand Cricket’s Reserve Umpires Panel, and James Sprowson. He said the umpires "were aware of what was happening and on two occasions had issued official warnings to players over their behaviour [and] we are satisfied they upheld the laws”.
Comments made by players on the field are said to have “started as light-hearted banter but the more the game progressed the more provocative they became”. At the time of their refusal to play Greytown, who were chasing Lansdowne's 130, were in trouble at 6/38.
ICC PRESIDENT QUERIES UMPIRES’
INTEGRITY, CEO DEFENDS IT
International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive officer (CEO) David Richardson yesterday defended two of his umpires after ICC President Mustafa Kamal, a Bangladesh national, questioned “as a fan” a key ’no ball’ call when Bangladesh were in the field against India in Thursday’s World Cup quarter final in Adelaide. In the incident concerned, Indian batsman Rohit Sharma hooked a full toss from Rubel Hossain to deep midwicket where a catch was taken, however, both Ian Gould at the bowler’s end and Aleem Dar at square leg were quick to call 'no-ball', subsequent replays suggesting it was what Richardson labelled a “50-50 call”.
Talking to Bangladeshi television reporters outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground after the match Kamal, a national politician at home, reportedly questioned whether Gould and Dar’s call was “deliberate or not” and said it appeared as though the umpires had come to the game with “and agenda” and “something in mind”. “The umpiring was very poor”, continued Kamal, and "while umpires make mistakes the ICC has to investigate and inquire the issue to see if there's anything to it”. Other teams like Australia and South Africa would react similarly if they were also victims of poor umpiring decisions, suggested Kamal.
The decision, after which Sharma added a further 47 runs in a total innings of 137, prompted an angry response in Bangladesh and there were expressions of outrage from a number quarters. A mob burned an effigy of Dar in Dhaka and ‘Facebook' and ‘Twitter' were flooded with comments on the "biased” decisions, although their captain Mashrafe Mortaza avoided directly criticising the umpires post-match.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan, who was also in Melbourne, said he has "had discussions with ICC president Kamal as no one else among the senior [ICC] officials were here in Melbourne” and that “whatever needs to be done legally, we will do it” to protest the situation. "It won't change the result, unfortunately, [but] one wrong decision can make a huge difference in a World Cup quarter-final”, said Hassan.
Richardson issued a statement last night in reaction to his President's criticism, saying: “The ICC has noted Mr Mustafa Kamal’s comments, which are very unfortunate but made in his personal capacity”. “As an ICC President he should have been more considerate in his criticism of ICC match officials whose integrity cannot be questioned”. “Any suggestion the match officials had “an agenda” or did anything other than perform to the best of their ability are baseless and are refuted in the strongest possible terms”, said Richardson, who described the 'no-ball' decision "a 50-50 call”. He also pointed out: "The spirit of the game dictates that the umpire’s decision is final and must be respected”.
A report in the ’Sydney Morning Herald’ this morning claims, with what accuracy is unknown, that Dar and “privately furious, believing the remarks to be defamatory” and that “the option of whether to sue Kemal over the post-match spray was discussed”.
AUSTRALIAN, PAKISTANI FACING
CODE OF CONDUCT CHARGE
Australian batsman Shane Watson and Pakistan bowler Wahab Riaz have been charged by the International Cricket Council (ICC) with breaching its player code of conduct during yesterday’s World Cup quarter final in Adelaide. The incident involved came after Watson evaded a quick bouncer in the last half of Australia’s innings when Wahab went all the way down the pitch and the pair exchanged words, an incident that saw umpire Marias Erasmus become involved. The ICC posted a message on its Twitter account which said: "Shane Watson and Wahab Riaz charged for breaching ICC Code of Conduct” and "Details to be announced on Saturday”.
CAPTAIN SUSPENDED, FINED, AFTER
SECOND SLOW OVER-RATE OFFENCE
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza has been suspended for one One Day International (ODI) and fined forty per cent of his match fee, and his players twenty per cent, for maintaining a slow over-rate during his side's World Cup quarter-final against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday. Mortaza’s side was also fined last week for maintaining a slow over-rate during its World Cup match against England in Adelaide, the second offence in the India game automatically triggering the suspension (PTG 1535-7394, 14 March 2015).
Match referee Roshan Mahanama found that Bangladesh was two overs short of its target at the end of Thursday's match when time allowances were taken into consideration, the same number involved in the England game. The latest charge against Bangladesh was laid by on-field umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould, third umpire Steve Davis and fourth umpire Paul Reiffel. Mashrafe is said to have pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the proposed sanction, so there was no need for a formal hearing. As Bangladesh is now out of the World Cup, Mashrafe will miss the side’s next scheduled ODI, a fixture against Pakistan that is to be played late next month.
CA ‘SPIRIT OF CRICKET’ AWARDS TO
NSW WOMEN, QUEENSLAND MEN
New South Wales has won the women’s 'Spirit of Cricket' award and Queensland the men's trophy for Cricket Australia's (CA) 2014-15 season. The 'Benaud' awards are decided on a tally of votes cast by umpires and recognise State sides that have best played in the spirit of the game, a recognition CA has said on previous occasions "shows that elite cricket should be played hard but fair”.
CA is expected to announce its 2015 ‘Umpire Award' next week, a selection that is normally based on an assessment of their contributions to the game off the field of play, their performance on it, and any milestones that they achieved during that year (PTG 1078-5243, 22 March 2013). This year’s award is the twelfth, seven individuals having won it since it was inaugurated in 2004.
Previous winners have been now International Cricket Council Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) member Bruce Oxenford and retired Simon Taufel who are both three-time recipients, Oxenford in 2008, 2011 and 2013 and Taufel, in 2004, 2006 and 2012, plus Peter Parker 2005, Daryl Harper 2007, Paul Reiffel 2009, Steve Davis 2010, and Simon Fry 2014. With the exception of Fry, all the winners have stood in Test matches, although Davis, Oxenford and Reiffel are the only ones still doing so, all except Fry and Parker also attaining membership of the EUP.
TEAM CLEARED FOR FINAL AFTER
‘INELIGIBLE PLAYER’ HELPS WIN SEMI
The Australian Capital Territory's (ACT) North Canberra Gungahlin club is reported to be “furious” Wests District and University club’s third grade side have been re-instated to today's season-end grand final despite the fact that they fielded an ineligible player who scored a double century in last weekend's semi-final. Wests was handed a $A200 fine for selecting opening batsman Theo Valeri last week, but is free to face Queanbeyan today by an independent tribunal.
The Cricket ACT grade cricket committee ruled Valeri was ineligible having played more than forty per cent of his games in first grade this season. He played ten first-grade, four second-grade and one third-grade game averaging only 18.2 with the bat across all grades before scoring a match-winning knock of 211 not out in the third grade semi final a week ago; his side reaching 3/344 in reply to Norths' total of 343.
Cricket ACT chief executive Mark Vergano is quoted in this morning’s ‘Canberra Times’ as saying that the correct processes had been adhered to. "The independent panel adjucated on what the penalty should have been imposed and anything else will be reviewed in the future”, said Vergano. "Their job is to adminster what is there and they did that in an independent manner [and it shows] the processes [involved] are solid and the parties have recourse to a protest and an appeal process and that's handled in a professional and independent way”.
Norths declined to comment publicly, but the club is said to be "privately furious" at Wests kept its spot in the final given Valeri had such a huge impact on the result. Valeri himself is playing in this weekend’s three-day ACT second grade final which started yesterday and was 20 not out at stumps last night.
‘ZING’ BAIL LIGHTS UP, BUT
BATSMAN AGAIN ’NOT OUT'
A ‘Zing’ bail light up after a ball hit a stump during the World Cup quarter final match between Australia and Pakistan in Adelaide yesterday but the batsman concerned survived to bat on. A delivery from Australia's Josh Hazlewood to Pakistan skipper Misbah-Ul-Haq went down the leg side, brushed the batsman's leg and kissed the leg stump, the leg bail lit up momentarily but it was not dislodged as required as the Laws of the game have required since 1948.
ICC NAMES MATCH OFFICIALS FOR
WORLD CUP SEMI FINALS
Four Englishmen, three Australians, two Sri Lankans and a South African have been appointed to the match officials panels for the World Cup semi finals scheduled for Auckland and Sydney on Tuesday and Thursday. Australian David Boon will be the match referee for the New Zealand-South African game in two days time, his countryman Rod Tucker and Ian Gould of England being the on-field umpires, while the Australia-India match later in the week will see Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle as the referee and his compatriot Kumar Dharmasena plus England’s Richard Kettleborough on-field.
Semi final third umpire spots have gone to Nigel Llong of England for the Auckland game and South African Marais Erasmus the Sydney fixture, Bruce Oxenford of Australia and Richard Illingworth of England working as the fourth umpires in those matches respectively.
As for the final of the World Cup in Melbourne a week from today, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said yesterday that match official appointments that game "will be made in due course”. Dharmasena, Gould, Kettleborough and Madugalle already qualify in terms of neutrality whichever of the four teams play in the decider, while Boon and Tucker will only remain in the equation if India beats Australia in the Sydney semi final.
By the time the semi finals are over the two referees and four on-field umpires for those games will between them have managed a total of 647 One Day Internationals (ODI), while four of the six, Boon, Dharmasena, Gould and Madugalle, also played in a total of 403, four of those game being the actual final of World Cups played several decades ago.
AUSSIE, PAKISTAN PAIR FINED
FOR ON-FIELD CONFRONTATION
Pakistan's Wahab Riaz has been fined fifty per cent of his match fee, the maximum allowable for what was deemed a Level One offence, and Australian Shane Watson fifteen per cent, for their on-field confrontation during Friday’s World Cup semi final match in Adelaide (PTG 1539-7405, 20 March 2015). The pair had a running battle during Australia's run chase that in match referee Ranjan Madugalle’s words after the game eventually: “crossed that fine line between intense competition and unacceptable behaviour”.
Wahab followed through after his deliveries and got close to Watson on a number of occasions, eyeballing his opponent who wordlessly returned his stare, however, later in the game the Australian spoke back to the bowler after he had followed through after another bouncer. The charge laid against Wahab was for "using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting”, and that against Watson for "conduct contrary to the spirit of the game”.
Prior to the World Cup getting underway the key issues that reportedly were a key focus of the twenty-man umpiring panel were: maintaining appropriate over-rates; keeping a close eye on the condition of the match ball; and player behaviour (PTG 1518-7311, 11 February 2015).
BATSMAN FACING FINE, SUSPENSION,
FOR ON-FIELD RANT
Otago batsman Jesse Ryder faces what reports from New Zealand this morning say is "a likely multiple-match suspension and heavy fine" after an expletive-laced outburst on what was the final day of his side’s Plunket Shield first class match against Northern Districts in Hamilton yesterday. The former New Zealand player is said to have "sworn loudly and frequently” whilst leaving the field after being given out caught at first slip by umpire Gary Baxter in Otago's second innings.
A match report says that “while there was definitely a lot of pad involved, there was some bat too”. Ryder is said to have sworn four times on his walk to the boundary gate and aimed his disgust at the umpires with: "F***ing sh*t umpires” and “That's a f***ing joke”. It has also been alleged that Ryder also damaged the players' lounge facilities with his bat after he left the field.
Indications are that prior to that incident Ryder had twice during the match been in breach of New Zealand Cricket's Code of Conduct regulations as a result of foul language. His more prolonged outburst yesterday is likely to be adjudged a Level Three offence, the second most serious on the books, suggest reports, which if correct could see him face a fine of up to $NZ5,000 ($A4,900) and possible suspension from playing.
Match referee Dave Quested is believed to have discussed the matter after the match ended last night with Baxter and fellow umpire Barry Frost, and a written report is expected to be provided to Ryder and the Otago management.
ASSOCIATION ISSUES BEHAVIOUR REMINDER
AFTER ‘SPIKE’ IN UMPIRE ABUSE
Christchurch Metropolitan Cricket (CMC) issued a message to all of its clubs and schools earlier this week following what the city’s newspaper ‘The Press’ says has been "a spike in abuse of volunteer umpires over the past fortnight”. CAC general manager Mike Harvey said his organisation typically had one complaint a month but in the last two weeks five incidents had been reported and with the season there scheduled to end next week "it was a disappointing way to finish”.
Harvey’s message asked that teams highlight the issue with their captains, players, supporters and parents and remind them of the behaviour that was expected. He said volunteer umpires were giving up their time so matches could be played, which coaches and players needed to remember bad behaviour “is something we don't accept”. "People give up their time on a voluntary basis [and] they shouldn't be subjected to that sort of behaviour”.
The message continued: "We have been appalled at some of the incidents that we've had to deal with and they reflect very poorly on the clubs, players, team officials, supporters and schools involved”. All instances are said to have involved "verbal invective from coaches towards volunteer umpires”, and “that some of the parents have been part of the problem, only exacerbates the situations [that occurred].
‘WE LOST BECAUSE OF UMPIRES’,
SAYS BANGLADESH PM
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is reported to have claimed on the weekend that Bangladesh would have won its World Cup quarter final match against India on Friday “if the umpires did not give wrong decisions”. That comment came after International Cricket Council (ICC) president Mustafa Kamal, a Bangladesh national and senior politician there, called umpiring standards in the game “poor” and question the integrity of umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould, a suggestion ICC chief executive David Richardson was quick to strongly rejected (PTG 1539-7404, 21 March 2015).
Speaking at a function organised by Bangladeshi expatriates in Melbourne, Hasina is quoted as telling national team players "not to be upset” as “everyone has seen how we were made to lose [but] we will win in the future”. Her comments appear to have been made for consumption of people at home, however, they have now been published in a wide range of media outlets around the cricketing world.
In Bangladesh itself supporters of the team formed a human chain around Dhaka University in protest, while at Rajshahi University a mob who formed under a banner titled "Rajshahi University Cricket Fans”, burnt the effigies of Dar and Gould, and for good measure third umpire Steve Davis as well. They are said to have “demanded” that the trio "be punished”.
Meanwhile Anurag Thakur, the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, told reporters in New Delhi on Saturday that if Kamal has any concerns about umpiring standards he should raise such issues at ICC meetings.
BODENHAM’S 100TH FIRST CLASS MATCH
STARTS HIS RETIREMENT SEASON
English umpire Martin Bodenham started what is his retirement season in Abu Dhabi yesterday when the annual County season opener between last year’s champion Yorkshire and a Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) XI got underway, a fixture that is also his 100th first class game. Bodenham turns 65, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s compulsory retirement for umpires, late next month, however, he will be able to continue of the ECB’s Full List until the end of the 2015 northern summer season in six months time (PTG 1434-6937, 25 September 2014).
Bodenham, a former Football Association referee who officiated the 1997 League Cup final and replay in England, was appointed to the Full List ahead of the 2009 season after serving on its second-tier Reserve List for three years prior to that (PTG 347-1844, 11 November 2008). His debut at first class level in 2006 saw him become the first person to have officiated in both top-flight football and cricket. Unlike most of his colleagues on the ECB’s top panel he did not play at first class level prior to taking up umpiring.
On-field with Bodenham in what is a day-night match in Abu Dhabi that is using pink balls is Peter Hartley who is standing in his 147th first class match since his debut in April 2002. Overall though he is taking part in his 379th first class game having played a total of 232 such matches in the period from 1982-2000 with Hampshire, Warwickshire and Yorkshire.
The four-day Champion County match is being played in Abu Dhabi in a day-night format for the sixth year in a row (PTG 1508-7272, 25 January 2015). John Stephenson the MCC's head of cricket said earlier this year that the "MCC has played a big part in exploring the possibilities of day-night Test cricket played with a pink ball" and he’s "sure [this year’s] match will show, once again, that pink ball cricket can re-invigorate the longer form of the game”.
SECOND CA UMPIRE
AWARD FOR FRY
South Australian Simon Fry has been named as the winner of Cricket Australia's (CA) 'Umpire Award' for the second year in a row. Fry, 48, a ten-year member of CA's National Umpires Panel who also holds an on-field position on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, this week stood in his sixth-straight Sheffield Shield final and seventy-fourth match at first class level (PTG 1537-7401, 18 March 2015).
Fry’s season was dominated by international cricket, the highlights being selection by the ICC for the first time as a neutral umpire for an overseas One Day International (ODI) series, that between Sri Lanka and England in November-December, as well as for matches in the World Cup. All-up during the year he was involved in two Tests as third umpire, sixteen ODIs, ten on-field, three Twenty20 Internationals, and a tri-series between national ‘A’ sides played during the austral winter. On the domestic scene the Shield final was his only domestic first class match of the 2014-15 season, but there were also three List A games including the final, his fourth in five years, and seven Twenty20 fixtures.
Two years ago CA said selection for the award was based on an assessment of potential candidates contributions to the game off the field of play, their performance on it, and any milestones that they achieved during that year (PTG 1078-5243, 22 March 2013). No details of who was considered for this year's award and just what the background to Fry's selection was have been released this year, but presumably the parameters looked at were similar and that information collated on CA's umpire performance data base also played a key part.
Fry becomes the third person in the awards twelve-year history to win the award more than once. Now ICC Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) member Bruce Oxenford and the retired Simon Taufel each won three times, and Steve Davis, Daryl Harper, Peter Parker and Paul Reiffel, all once (PTG 1539-7407, 21 March 2015).
UMPIRE RANT LEADS TO
Otago batsman Jesse Ryder has been suspended for a single first class match as a result of his behaviour in a Plunket Shield first class match against Northern Districts in Hamilton last week. Ryder "sworn loudly and frequently” whilst leaving the field after being given out caught at first slip by umpire Gary Baxter in Otago's second innings (PTG 1540-7412, 22 March 2015).
The suspension ends Ryder’s New Zealand season as the ban covers Otago's final round game against Auckland which starts next Wednesday. He was already unavailable for the match against Canterbury which got underway in Dunedin yesterday as he is engaged in promoting a celebrity boxing fight he is to feature in on Saturday.
Talking to reporters yesterday he said: "my passion, frustration and want to win got the better of me”, "I know it was the wrong thing to do, but at the time the game was in the balance and the form I was in I could have won us the game”.
SOUTH AFRICAN COACH QUESTIONS
South African coach Russell Domingo has questioned the legitimacy of the Duckworth-Lewis method after his side lost the rain-affected World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in Auckland on Tuesday. The match was reduced to 43 overs per overs, South Africa finishing on 5/281, and New Zealand's target was adjusted to 298, but Domingo believes more runs should have been added to a target that the home side successfully chased down with one ball to spare.
BOMB KILLS SIX PLAYERS
Six people playing cricket are reported to have been killed and ten others wounded when explosive materials placed in a bicycle exploded in Afghanistan’s southern Ghazni province last Monday. Five of the victims died immediately and a sixth later in hospital, according to comments attributed to Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, the province’s deputy governor.
In January last year Afghan authorities reported that a gunman shot and killed five local cricketers playing in a match in Laghman province in the east of the country close to Pakistan. A man, who was said to be riding a motorcycle, opened fire on players before fleeing the scene. No one claimed responsibility for that atrocity but there was speculation the Taliban may have been behind that incident (PTG 1278-6155, 28 January 2014), as is the case in the latest cricket-related murders.
Two weeks ago six players, the youngest of whom was fourteen, were killed instantly when lightning struck a building they took shelter in when a sudden thunderstorm interrupted a game being played in the north-east Indian state of Orissa (PTG 1538-7402, 19 March 2015).
DHARMASENA FIRST TO PLAY AND
UMPIRE IN A WORLD CUP FINAL
Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka will become the first person to both play and umpire in a World Cup final when he takes the field for tomorrow’s decider between the event’s hosts Australia and New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Dharmasena will be on-field with Englishman Richard Kettleborough, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ‘Umpire of the Year for the past two years (PTG 1469-7072, 15 November 2014), while Dharmasena’s countryman, Ranjan Mudugalle will work as the match referee in a final for the third time, South African Marais Erasmus being the television umpire and Ian Gould of England the fourth.
Dharmasena, 43, who won the ICC's ‘Umpire of the Year’ in 2012 (PTG 991-4812, 16 September 2012), played in the 1996 World Cup final, a match in which his side defeated Australia and saw him take one wicket. After a ten-year international playing career that included 31 Tests and 141 One Day Internationals (ODI), he made his umpiring debut at first class level in January 2008, in a Test just over two years later, and he goes into tomorrow’s final having stood in 29 such games, 64 ODIs, the last being Thursday’s Australia-India semi final, and 17 Twenty20 Internationals (T20I). His appointment comes despite a Playing Conditions error he was involved in on the first day of the Cup last month (PTG 1524-7335, 18 February 2015).
Kettleborough, 42, is the youngest umpire currently on the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP). Prior to taking up umpiring he played 33 first-class matches for Middlesex and Yorkshire in the period from 1994-99 then made made his first class debut as an umpire in 2002, joining the England and Wales Cricket Board's Full List in 2006. A Yorkshireman by birth, he stood in his first senior Twenty20 (T20I) and One Day Internationals (ODI) in 2009, and made his debut at Test level in 2010. He goes into Sunday’s final having been on-field in 26 Tests, 56 ODIs and 17 Twenty20 Internationals.
Madugalle, 55, another former international who played in the World Cups of 1983 and 1987, is the ICC’s chief match referee and by far the world’s most experienced match official in terms of games. To date he has overseen a record 155 Tests, 297 ODI’s, including the World Cup finals of 1999 and 2003, and 74 T20Is, two of the latter being the World Championship finals of 2007 and 2010. Prior to that as a player he featured in 21 Tests, 63 ODIs and 74 T20Is in the period from 1981-89.
Erasmus, 51, is like his colleagues a former first class player. His first class umpiring debut came in February 2003, his first senior international match coming four years later, and he was appointed to the EUP in 2010 (PTG 617-3091, 5 June 2010). The 2015 World final will be his 35th in the television chair in an ODI, and he has also worked in that role in 20 Tests and 9 T20Is. Gould, 57, featured in ODIs for England during his playing career including some in the 1983 World Cup. In a lengthy playing career that ran from 1975-96 that featured 298 first class and 315 List A games, 18 of the latter ODIs, his first class umpiring debut came in April 2001 and currently he has 43 Tests, 103 ODIs and 29 T20Is behind him.
Also part of the match officials team are Melbourne-based scorers Jan Howard and Mike Walsh, while Glenn Davey and Kevin O’Neill will provide scoring support to media present at the MCG.
ILL-TIMED TOP-DRESSING TIPS
BALANCE OF COMPETITION FINAL
Victoria’s Mercantile Cricket Association's (MCA) Youlden-Parkville side faces a difficult task on the second day of the competition’s A-grade three-day grand final today after a contractor, who was also responsible for preparing the pitch, top-dressed the outfield with soil this week in preparation for the community sport that will be played there during the coming winter. Youlden-Parkville will resume at 2/109 in pursuit of the 432 opponent Burnley’s score on day one of the match a week ago, but MCA match secretary Alec Khan estimates the changed conditions effectively added 80-100 runs to Youlden-Parkville's already challenging task.
Khan told journalist Peter Hanlon of the Melbourne newspaper ‘The Age’ that a similar situation prior to a semi-final several years ago saw barely 200 runs scored in a game that ran for a total of more than nine hours. He said the current situation was "contributed to by a certain amount of arrogance by people [at the City Council] who either don't get sport - even though they're running a section that's supposed to be providing the services for sport - and who are so driven by their own maintenance timetable that they don't care about anyone else”. Khan said it was a shame for both sides as they each wanted to win on their merits but Youlden-Parkville has now left with a virtually impossible task.
Club officials are said to have been reluctant to comment, but one indicated he became "emotional and animated" every time he simply thought about an act that was "beyond belief”. He described a grand final as the pinnacle for community sports clubs that exist solely through volunteer labour and require upwards of $A100,000 in fundraising just to get on the park each season. "Divide that by $A1.50 per sausage, that's a lot of reconstitute offal in a season mate, I tell ya”.
‘INFANTILE’ SEND OFFS, SLEDGING,
MAR AUSSIE WC VICTORY
Australia's World Cup win has been soured by the open contempt of ‘Spirit of Cricket’ principles shown by some of their players on the dismissals of three New Zealanders, plus on-going sledging, during Sunday's final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, writes long-time sports journalist Greg Baum in this morning’s edition of Melbourne’s ’The Age’ newspaper. In three of the incidents, Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin mocked Martin Guptill by clapping his gloves in the batsman's face after he was bowled, while Grant Elliott and Daniel Vettori were sent on their respective ways with what Baum describes as "volleys of words”.
Australian captain Michael Clarke adopted the "three wise monkeys defence” of the situation, says Baum, "saying he saw, heard and said nothing”. In the post-match press conference Clarke said Australians played the game of cricket with "passion, excitement, adrenalin”. "Cocooned in sycophancy, the Australians seem not to grasp nor care how poorly this behaviour sits with the other half of a cricket-following public they repeatedly and ever more deeply divide, even in their finest hours”, writes ’The Age’ journalist.
Baum says the incidents were "the sort of ugliness" the International Cricket Council (ICC) had promised to crack down on in the tournament (PTG 1518-7311, 11 February 2015), but "Australia's cricketers seemed to take the attitude that in a World Cup final, as long as they won, no punishment, no matter how stringent, could hurt them”. "They also do not seem to care or grasp how it rankles with opponents, and how insufferably arrogant it makes them look”, says Baum, who then asks: "Do they really think they are the only country that plays with passion and pride? Do they think they patented the will to win? Do they think they have cornered the market in competitiveness?”.
In Baum’s assessment: “No team in the World Cup played with more 'passion, excitement, adrenalin' than New Zealand, but the Kiwis explicitly and scrupulously refrained from parlaying that into boorishness”. Speaking before the semi-final win over South Africa last week, their captain Brendon McCullum said: "Verbals are not part of our game”. "We're not good enough to focus on that”. Baum says that "in the minds of some, the Kiwis were too polite and too deferential, and that made them losers before they began, and the final result was proof of it".
On Sydney radio yesterday, Haddin said Australia had been discomfited by New Zealand's courtesy over the week prior to when the two sides met in Auckland earlier in the tournament. "I said in the team meeting, 'I can't stand for this any more’, it was that uncomfortable [and] I said 'I'm not playing cricket like this [and] if we get another crack at these guys in the final I'm letting everything [out]’". “The mindset [those comments illustrate] was unmistakeable”, says Baum: "niceness is a failing, it’s un-Australian".
Baum writes that: "What is objectionable is the snark, the cattiness, the hissing, the goads and provocations, the infantilism” that was shown. "What is objectionable is the faux offence taken should an opponent be so impertinent as to reply”. "What is objectionable is to rub a dismissed batsman's nose in his dismissal, rather than let the wicket speak for itself”. He points to Vettori having been, over the past eighteen years, "a grand competitor in international cricket, and [the final was] his last New Zealand game in any form”. "He deserved a salute”, says Baum, but instead "he got a gobful".
After the game New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum described the send-offs as a "micro" issue, and that he did not want to say anything that might diminish Australia's achievement, for they deserved to bask in the glory of being the best one-day cricket team in the world. Baum concludes his article though by saying: "there is a difference between being the best team and being the champion team”.
To date there has been no indication from either Cricket Australia or the ICC that either of them is considering taking action in regards to any of the incidents concerned.
COUNCIL RULES AGAINST CLUB’S
An 165-year-old village club in Leicestershire says it could fold if it is forced to take down advertising signs that surround its ground in the countryside at Barkby on the northern outskirts of Leicester. Council planners have told Barkby United that its signs are "out of character" with its parkland setting and should be removed, however, the club says removing them would cost it £UK7,000 ($A13,500) a year.
Club spokesman Hugh Asher told the ‘Leicester Mercury’ that maintaining the ground costs close to £UK10,000 ($A19,100) a year alone and that “losing vital advertising income could put the future of the club in jeopardy”, especially as their club rooms need a major refurbishment. "The signs have been on the fence around the ground for eight years and we think the decision by the planning officers at Charnwood Borough Council [CBC] is unfair”, said Asher. "Their view that the signs represent an urbanisation of the area is ridiculous when you consider the council has recently approved plans for 4,500 homes not so far away”.
The CBC told the club some months ago that it had to apply for planning permission for the signs but a planning officer eventually ruled they should go. A CBC planning office report said: "It is the opinion of the local planning authority that the proposed signs, by reason of their number, design and siting, would appear as unduly incongruous and conspicuous urbanising features within the otherwise open and undeveloped rural landscape”.
A spokesman for the council, who emphasised the club has the right of appeal that decision, said: "The advertisement signs at the Barkby United Cricket Ground require consent under planning laws” and “it would be a criminal offence to display the signs without the proper permissions”.