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                    APRIL 2015
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 8 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 7324-7455)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below

1,545  1,546  1,547  1,548  1,549  1,550  1,551  1,552

 

1,545 – 1 April [7424-7428]

• Bowlers allowed to throw in planned T20 revamp  (1545-7424).

• Legal notice seeks ‘punishment’ of umpires for ‘wrong decisions'  (1545-7425).

• Ravi next for EUP, claims BCCI official  (1545-7426).

• New ECB chair confirms four-day Test idea  (1545-7427).

• Attempt to retrieve ball leads to child’s death  (1545-7428).

1,546 - 2 April [7429-7431]

• No reports so WC sledging OK, claims Aussie coach  (1546-7429).

• ICC President signs following umpire criticism  (1546-7430).

• Another bowling action test for Hafeez  (1546-7431).

1,547 - 4 April [7432-7436]

• IPL match officials attending pre-event workshop  (1547-7432).

• BCCI sidelines Loughborough bowling action report  (1547-7433).

• Pakistan off-spinner for bowling action test five years on  (1547-7434).

• Investigators looking at MCG drone crash  (1547-7435).

• New ‘app’ promises better injury management, says developer  (1547-7436).

1,548 - 5 April [7437-7443]

• Four-day, 105 overs a day Tests ‘impossible’, claims former player  (1548-7437).

• CA NUP members stand in state club finals  (1548-7438).

• Poll favours five out in ODI non Power Play overs  (1548-7439).

• Top Aussie players for $A2m plus CA contracts?  (1548-7440).

• NZC hands out trophies, but not to umpires, scorers  (1548-7441).

• Commonwealth Games to include T20 event in 2024?  (1548-7442).

• Construction of player’s balcony costs Bird £135,000  (1548-7443).

1,549 - 6 April [7444-7445]

 • Give IPL players ‘a little more leeway’ on banter, suggests captain  (1549-7444).

• Chennai bowling test clears Narine for IPL-8  (1549-7445).
 

1,550 - 7 April [7446-7447]
• USCA scrambles as T20 tournament ends in shambles  (1550-7446).

• Poor match management, administration, leaves teams in the dark  (1550-7447).

1,551 - 23 April [7447-7450]

• Player dies following on-field collision   (1551-7447).

• Victorian umpire alleging age-related discrimination   (1551-7448).

• Two more Tests for EUP contender   (1551-7449).

• CA reported mulling WNCL changes   (1551-7450).

1,552 - 27 April [7451-7455]

• Deaths again mar games on the sub-continent  (1552-7451).

• Non-neutral match officials for proposed Pakistan-Zimbabwe series?   (1552-7452).

• Twice cleared bowler’s action again queried  (1552-7453).

• ICC up-dates 'suspect action' procedures  (1552-7454).

• Umpire badly injured by on-field assault   (1552-7455).

 
 
 
 PLAYING THE GAME
 NUMBER 1,545
Wednesday, 1 April 2015

BOWLERS ALLOWED TO THROW 

IN PLANNED T20 REVAMP 

[1545-7424]

 

One of cricket's great taboos is set to be broken in Cricket Australia's (CA) next revamp of its domestic Twenty20 competition, say CA sources.  Under plans that are expected to be announced next week, a bowler will be permitted to stand at the bowling crease and throw the ball overarm to the batsman who himself will use a narrower, round bat, to score runs.

 

A source in CA's Marketing Department, who has been involved in, in his words, “sharpening further" the presentation of T20 cricket, told PTG yesterday that part of the revamp should mean that umpires will never have a problem with batsman running up the pitch.  He explained that the new format will see small mounds of earth established at the cover and short mid wicket fielding positions, and that batsmen will have to run to the bowler’s end, or in the other direction, via those mounds, "not beside the pitch".  

 

When it was pointed out that this was a very significant change to the traditional game, PTG's source said that "our sponsors love it" for "we want to do away with ones and twos being run" as they are "somewhat boring" and "we find them hard to market". "We want only home r.... eh sixes" as the scoring mechanism" he says, but when asked what the plans were regarding fours, the spokesman said he didn't know, "but we'll think of something by the time this gets off the ground next season". 

 

Another "innovation" is said to be allowing spectators to wear wicket keeping gloves to grounds, so that if they catch sixes hit by batsmen they will win a prize and be able to keep the ball just like they do in Major League Baseball in the States where many people wear catching mitts to stadiums.  "They'll be able to keep the balls they catch", says the marketing man, and "we'll throw people out of the ground if they send the balls back on the field".  

 

Such an approach will require umpires to wear large bags on their backs to hold all the balls that will be required for a game, but "the increased area should provide great opportunities for advertising".  However, "we'll also have to come up with a new gizmo to go with the wicketkeeper gloves that will enable spectators to still eat and drink all the wonderful products our sponsors will have available at grounds without taking them off", otherwise they might miss balls skyed in their direction as they struggle to get their gloves on.

 

PTG's source spoke enthusiastically about the way the T20 format will move next season.  "The change in format's the easy bit", he says, for "we can sell that", and he is "convinced umpires will be able to handle the increased complexity", but "its deciding all the money things and keeping the player's happy that's the hard part", said the recent marketing graduate, who went on to point out the date on which this article has been published.

 

LEGAL NOTICE SEEKS ‘PUNISHMENT’ OF 

UMPIRES ‘FOR WRONG DECISIONS'

[1545-7425]

 

A Supreme Court lawyer in Bangladesh yesterday served the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) with a legal notice that requests the International Cricket Council (ICC) be approached to "punish the umpires for their wrong decisions" in Bangladesh’s World Cup quarter-final match against India two weeks ago.  After that game ICC President Mustafa Kamal, a Bangladesh national, as well as the country’s Prime Minister and the country in general, questioned the integrity of umpires Ian Gould and Aleem Dar, who in turn were defended by ICC chief executive David Richardson (PTG 1541-7414, 23 March 2015).

 

Lawyer Eunus Ali Akond told Dhaka’s ‘Daily Star' that Gould and Dar "had given three wrong decisions”, those being the dismissals of Bangladesh batsmen Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah Riyad, as well as the 'no ball' call for a ball above the waist delivery when Indian batsman Rohit Sharma was caught in the outfield.  In his assessment: “Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah were not actually out and Rubel Hossain’s delivery to Sharma was not actually a no-ball”.  Richardson described the latter decision as a “50-50 call”.  

 

The legal notice, which was served on the BCB, its president and secretary, Bangladesh's sports ministry, and the national side’s team manager, also asks that adequate financial compensation be sought for the Bangladesh’s “early exit’ from the World Cup, and that the appeal be submitted to the ICC "within 24 hours”.  Eunus Ali told the 'Star' that should the BCB not appeal to the ICC he would file a class action petition with Bangladesh's High Court seeking an order that requires them to do so.

 

Nizamuddin Chowdhury, the BCB’s chief executive, indicated yesterday that his organisation wrote to Richardson to complain and "raise a couple of issues one of which was about poor umpiring” within twenty-four hours of the quarter final ending.  

 

RAVI NEXT FOR EUP, 

CLAIMS BCCI OFFICIAL

[1545-7426]

 

The performance of Indian umpire Sundarum Ravi in international games over the past six months, including the recently concluded World Cup, has been such that he will “soon join” the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), according to a report published in ‘The Hindu’ newspaper.  ICC appointments over the last twelve months clearly suggest that Ravi, Sri Lanka’s Ranmore Martinecz and New Zealand’s Chris Gaffaney are the candidates being considered for elevation to the EUP in mid-year when Australian Steve Davis retires.

 

A person who ’The Hindu’ calls a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) “official familiar with umpires-related developments” is quoted as saying: “We have received excellent reports from Simon Taufel [the ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager] about Ravi’s performance in the international matches leading to the World Cup and especially during the [Group] stage of the World Cup”. 

 

Taufel, who has emphasised in the past that he is not involved in the selection of umpires, looks after the development and coaching of India’s top flight umpires as part of his ICC role, a situation different to the three umpire coaches who work under him who each have three separate countries to look after.

 

Should he be promoted to the EUP, Ravi would become only the second Indian on the panel after Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan (Venkat) was one of the initial eight members when the panel was formed in 2002, however, he retired in 2004 after two years with the group.  Since then the BCCI has lamented the lack of one of its umpires on the world’s top umpiring panel and in 2007 introduced a range of initiatives that had the specific aim of ensuring umpiring standards in the country were raised, and a spot on the EUP was regained (PTG 101-552, 19 September 2007).

 

NEW ECB CHAIR CONFIRMS 

FOUR-DAY TEST IDEA

[1545-7427]

 

Incoming England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Colin Graves confirmed yesterday that he is considering tabling proposals to shorten Test matches from five days to four.  News of such a concept first surfaced five weeks ago when a ‘blue sky' planning paper prepared by new ECB chief executive Tom Harrison was leaked to the media, but at the time Graves cautioned against reading too much into the range of ideas that were canvassed in that document (PTG 1528-7255, 28 February 2015). 

 

Graves, who takes up his role next month, told the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) website: “Personally, I think we should look at four-day Test cricket and play 105 overs a day starting at 10.30 a.m. and finish when you finish as all the grounds now have lights”.  His vision is that: “Every Test match would start on a Thursday, with Thursday and Friday being corporate days and then Saturday and Sunday the family days”.  “You’d lose that fifth day [but it] would save a hell of a lot of money from the ground’s point of view and the broadcasters”.  

 

Graves emphasised though that the ECB could not itself introduce four-day Test matches, however, it could push for changes to the Test format in international negotiations.

 

ATTEMPT TO RETRIEVE BALL 

LEADS TO CHILD’S DEATH

[1545-7428]

 

A children’s game turned fatal for twelve-year-old boy on the outskirts of Bengaluru on Sunday when he was electrocuted on coming into contact with a power line whilst trying to retrieve a ball that had been hit out of the playing area.  Police told local media yesterday that the site owner had filled the area with soil to such a degree that the power line is just one metre above the ground, but the ‘Bangalore Mirror’ says that the company concerned is claiming a fall into the gorge that lies beyond the line caused Puneeth Kumar’s death.

 

A year ago this month two boys were electrocuted and died within an hours of each other in separate cricket-related incidents in Bengaluru (PTG 1330-6422, 7 April 2014).  Eight-year-old Bharath Narasimhappa went on to a roof at his school in Seegehalli to retrieve a ball but came into contact with a high voltage power line that lay a metre above the school building.  A short time later some fifteen kilometres away, thirteen-year-old Dinesh Ramesh came into contact with power lines when the branch he was on while trying to reach a ball lodged high in a tree broke and fell on to the wires.

PLAYING THE GAME
 NUMBER 1,546
Thursday, 2 April 2015

NO REPORTS SO WC SLEDGING 

OK, CLAIMS AUSSIE COACH

[1546-7429]

 

Australian coach Darren Lehmann says that because there were no Code of Conduct reports following last Sunday’s World Cup final his team “must have played it fair”.  The win by Lehmann’s side was soured for many by the open contempt of ‘Spirit of Cricket’ principles shown by some of their players on the dismissals of three New Zealanders, plus general on-going sledging of a somewhat disagreeable nature (PTG 1544-7422, 31 March 2015). 

 

Speaking to an Adelaide radio station yesterday, Lehmann stated that the “really aggressive" tactics displayed by his side in the final were in accordance with the team's pre-match tactical planning which had the aim of throwing the New Zealanders off their rhythm. "We're happy with the way we played obviously, we knew we wanted to be really aggressive against them, and look, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t”, said the coach.

 

Lehmann went on to specifically defend the role of his vice captain Brad Haddin who is regarded by many as the Australian team’s sledger-in-chief.  "He's copped a bit [of criticism], hasn't he?”, said Lehmann of Haddin, "but people are entitled to their opinions and you're going to have good and bad times”.  "You're supposed to enjoy it, enjoy it in the right way and look after yourself and look after everyone else, that's the main thing [and] everyone's entitled to their opinions”, concluded the coach.

 

Whether the on-field umpires for the final, Richard Kettleborough of England and Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka, plus the latter’s countryman and match referee Ranjan Mudugalle, considered laying a Code of Conduct charge against any of the Australian players is not known.  Prior to the tournament getting underway player discipline was one of three key issues all match officials for the event were asked to focus on.

 

ICC PRESIDENT RESIGNS 

FOLLOWING UMPIRE CRITICISM

[1546-7430]

 

International Cricket Council (ICC) president Mustafa Kamal has resigned after claiming he was snubbed at the trophy presentation ceremony at Sunday's World Cup final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.  Kamal, a Bangladesh national and senior politician there, called umpiring standards in his side’s quarter final lost to India “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).   

 

Kamal says it was his right as the head of the governing body to present the World Cup trophy, however, it was ICC chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan who handed it to the winning Australian side.  Media reports this morning say though that many believe it was a price Kamal paid for his umpiring outburst, plus comments he made on return home suggesting that "people with ugly mindset" were running the ICC.

 

The ICC confirmed Kamal's departure in a media statement, saying that his resignation letter stated he was leaving "on personal grounds" and that "he had no complaints to make against anyone”.  "Let the game of cricket under the leadership of ICC touch the hearts and minds of every cricket lover”, wrote Kamal.  The ICC says its board will look at filling the now vacant, largely ceremonial, president's position at its next quarterly meeting which is scheduled for Dubai in two weeks.

 

ANOTHER BOWLING ACTION 

TEST FOR HAFEEZ

[1546-7431]

 

Pakistan allrounder Mohammad Hafeez is to undergo official testing of his off-spin bowling action at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai next Thursday, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said yesterday.  Hafeez was suspended from bowling after he was reported during a Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi last November, subsequent laboratory examination in Loughborough showing his elbow flex exceeded the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) fifteen-degree limit (PTG 1477-7145, 6 December 2014).

 

Hafeez, who was also reported for a suspect action during last year’s Champions League Twenty20 event (PTG 1436-6947, 29 September 2014), failed an unofficial test of his bowling action in Chennai three months ago (PTG 1495-7223, 5 January 2015).  He was to undergo a retest during the World Cup, where he was picked as a batsman, but returned home before that tournament began because of a foot injury.  Since then he has worked with coaches at the PCB's National Cricket Academy in Lahore to bring his elbow extension within the permissible limit.

PLAYING THE GAME
 NUMBER 1,547
Saturday, 4 April 2015

IPL MATCH OFFICIALS ATTENDING 

PRE-EVENT WORKSHOP

[1547-7432]

 

Match officials contracted for this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) series are participating in a two-day workshop in Mumbai this weekend ahead of the opening game of the 2015 series in Kolkata on Wednesday.  The gathering, which has been organised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is being conducted by Simon Taufel, a former IPL umpire and now the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training manager who has special responsibilities for umpire development in India, and who "will travel with the match officials' team during the initial part of the tournament”.

 

The IPL says in a press release that during the workshop, which is in its third year, “a wide range of topics” are to be covered, including "clothing regulations, on-field player behaviour and the overall playing conditions”.   The release goes on say that "26 match officials, 13 of them Indian umpires and four match referees” will be working in either on-field of third umpire roles during the tournament, however, no details as to just who those officials will be have been released.  While it is difficult to be sure given the obscure wording used, it does imply though that nine ICC umpires from other countries could be involved.

 

For last year’s IPL its organisers contracted nine of the twelve members of the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), the exceptions being Australians Steve Davis and Paul Reiffel, and Ian Gould of England, and ten Indian first class umpires, four of whom were members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (PTG 1364-6587, 28 May 2014).  ICC match referees were also contracted for the 2014 series, they being Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, Sri Lankan’s Roshan Mahanama, Ranjan Madugalle and Graeme Labrooy, plus Javagal Srinath of India.  Labrooy is a member of the ICC's second-tier match referee's panel.

 

In related news, the seven IPL matches scheduled for Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu will not feature Sri Lankan players or match officials due to political tension that relates the ethnic Tamils who live in Sri Lanka, a similar situation to that which occurred in the 2013 series (PTG 1082-5271, 29 March 2013).  In Kolkata authorities there asked that no matches be played in the city for two weeks later this month because municipal elections there are scheduled for that period.

 

BCCI SIDELINES LOUGHBOROUGH 

BOWLING ACTION REPORT

[1547-7433]

 

West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine had his bowling action checked at the International Cricket Council (ICC) accredited Sri Ramachandra University laboratory in Chennai on Thursday, an examination he must pass before the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) allows him to take part in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) series.  Narine, who is with the IPL’s Kolkata franchise, had his action cleared as a result of tests carried out at the parallel ICC bowling actions facility at the University of Loughborough a month ago.  

 

Narine's action was twice reported as “suspect” during last year’s Champions League Twenty20 series, the first being in a match against the South African team the Dolphins, three of his deliveries, all quicker balls, being the focus of concerns on that occasion (PTG 1437-6955, 30 September 2014).  The second report lodged by umpires came in a semi-final of that competition a few days later when all twenty-four deliveries of his spell were cited as suspect and he was subsequently banned from playing in the final of the event (PTG 1440-6970, 3 October 2014).

 

Kolkata is reported to have asked the BCCI just why a report from Loughborough has not been accepted, but as yet the Indian administration has given no clear indication as to just why further testing is required even though that the five ICC-accredited bowling laboratories are supposed to examine actions using standardised practices.  What ‘Cricinfo’ calls a "BCCI insider”, indicated the Loughborough report was not being discredited, rather they are "merely making their own assessment to be entirely convinced". "It is just a safeguard”, he said, as another suspect action report would “not be good for the [2015 IPL] tournament”.

 

A ‘Cricinfo’ report says that Thursday saw Narine appear before the BCCI's suspect bowling actions sub-committee which is headed by former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath, who is a ICC match referee, plus former India captain and Test umpire Srinivas Venkataraghavan, the BCCI’s director of umpires, and former Test umpire Arani Jayaprakash.  

 

They are said to have “observed" Narine in real time and put him through various tests over a session that lasted around two hours, but reportedly they "did not study” his Loughborough results.  Presumably he was also subjected to a full laboratory test, but whether he actually was is not entirely clear.  ‘Cricinfo’ says a decision on whether the West Indian can play for Kolkata this IPL season is expected on Monday, two day's ahead of the team’s first match of the series on Wednesday.

 

The ICC currently has five centres around the world that have been accredited to test bowling actions using a standardised approach: the Sri Ramachandra University centre and Cricket Australia’s National Cricket Centre in Brisbane (PTG 1440-6969, 3 October 2014), the University of Pretoria in South Africa (PTG 1481-7169, 12 December 2014), and Cardiff Metropolitan University and Loughborough in the UK (PTG 1453-7043, 23 October 2014). 

 

PAKISTAN OFF-SPINNER FOR BOWLING 

ACTION TEST FIVE YEARS ON

[1547-7434]

 

Pakistan women’s off-spinner, Javeria Khan, who was reported for a suspect bowling action in a Women's World Twenty20 match in the West Indies almost five years ago, is to have her action tested at the International Cricket Council (ICC) accredited centre in Chennai next Wednesday, say reports from Lahore yesterday.  At the time she was reported the umpires concerned, Rod Tucker of Australia, Marais Erasmus of South Africa and Shahvir Tarapore from India, said in their report that their visual assessment was that her deliveries involved "straightening her arm more than the allowable fifteen degrees”.

 

Javeria was required to undergo an independent analysis of her action by a member of the ICC panel of human movement specialists, appointed in consultation with the PCB, within seven days of being reported.  However, while she has played for Pakistan in the time since she has only done so as a specialised batswoman.  The Pakistan Cricket Board said in a press release this week that Javeria, who will be tested on the same day as her countryman Mohammad Hafeez (PTG 1546-7431, 2 April 2015), had "done a decent bit of work in remodelling her bowling action with the help of experts”.

 

INVESTIGATORS LOOKING AT 

MCG DRONE CRASH

[1547-7435]

 

Air safety investigators in Australia are investigating the crash of a remotely piloted vehicle outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) during last Sunday’s World Cup final.  According to the Air Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), a 'SkyJib 3’ drone which is made by a German company, "collided with terrain during aerial photography operations”, and while “there were no injuries or damage to property" the vehicle "was substantially damaged”.

 

‘SkyJib’ drones are said to be "heavy duty, potent devices”, and if they come down out of control within a sporting ground they could cause serious injuries to either spectators or players.  It is not clear whether the drone was being used as part of the television coverage of the final and the ATSB says it will seek additional information from the vehicle's operator and a report will be released "within several months".

 

Last year a triathlon runner was knocked over by a drone while competing in an event in Western Australia in what is believed to have been the first such injury caused by drone in that country.  That incident was investigated by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the regulator, rather than the ATSB, the safety investigator, because it involved a breach of regulations, and it resulted in a private individual being fined $A850.

 

In the MCG incident the remotely piloted aircraft is believed to have been flown in accordance with the regulations, and the issues the ATSB is likely to focus on are ones that relate to such things as a loss of control, or competency questions, or equipment reliability and upkeep rather than legality of operation.  While these incidents may seem minor, their resolution could prove very important as the use of drones becomes much more widespread, says Australia’s ‘Crickey’ web site.

 

NEW ‘APP’ PROMISES BETTER INJURY 

MANAGEMENT, SAYS DEVELOPER

[1547-7436]

 

Coaches and players are expected to be able to be able to "monitor injuries and optimise team performance” because of a smartphone app developed by the University of Sydney's Faculty of Health Sciences that is currently being trialled.  A report in ‘The Australian’ newspaper says that researchers have designed the ‘CricketPredict’ app to replace "paper-based and complex computer software" currently used for injury surveillance in cricket and that it will enable a coach and a player to calculate loss of time due to injury and help formulate treatment plans.

 

Details of the app, which is being trialled by the University of Sydney's cricket team, were provided to participants at the 5th World Congress of Science and Medicine in Cricket held in Sydney last week.  Researcher Najeebullah Soomro said the system enables a coach to record an injury and training status conveniently and immediately.  “Whenever there is an injury you can just log into the application and then put down what types of injuries you had and it goes on to a centralised system”, he said. “The coach or the doctor can access it at any time so injuries won’t go unnoticed and it is an easier way of doing it”.

 

Soomro says similar technology had been tested in rugby and in american football and had been shown to predict injuries with a success rate of up to sixty per cent.  “We are using the same model in cricket and we think that even if we are able to predict ten per cent of the injuries we will still be able to save one out of every ten people getting injured”.  He expects that following the validation and trial phase the app to be released for general purchase later this year.

 

A total of 91 presentations were made during the three-day Congress, some of the other papers listed on the program being: 'Trials and Tribulations of Designing and Implementing Improved Cricket Helmet Safety Standards’; 'Extending the Duckworth-Lewis Method to Deal with Modern Scoring Rates’; 'Injury surveillance in Pakistan cricket and the impact of 2009 terrorist attack’; 'The Chucking Controversy in Cricket’; 'Emotion, Psychological Skills, And Resilience In Australian Professional Cricketers’, and 'Cricketers - are they a pain in the back? Can dry needling help them?'
PLAYING THE GAME
 NUMBER 1,548
Sunday, 5 April 2015

FOUR-DAY, 105 OVERS A DAY TESTS 

‘IMPOSSIBLE’, CLAIMS FORMER PLAYER  

[1548-7437]

 

Experience gained when County first class matches required 110 overs to be bowled in a day suggests there are a number of challenges ahead if Tests are reduced from five to four-day games, says former England batsman Mark Butcher.  A planning paper prepared by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) includes a suggestion that shorter Test matches could benefit the overall game in England and Wales, however, such a proposal is yet to be formalised by the ECB, and even if it is it would require approval from the International Cricket Council before the concept could proceed (PTG 1528-7255, 28 February 2015).

 

In an interview with ‘the ‘Cricinfo’ web site Butcher, who played 71 Tests in the period from 1997-2005 against every other Test playing country except Pakistan, points  to the inability of Test teams of the current era to bowl 90 overs in six hours of play, a number at least an hours' playing time short of the 105 suggested by incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves last Tuesday (PTG 1545-7427, 1 April 2015).  Graves talked of starting a four-day Test on Thursdays, with play commencing at 10.30 a.m. each day "and finishing when you finish as all the grounds now have lights”.  

 

Butcher states though says that when County first class Playing Conditions required 110 overs to be delivered in a day in the 1990s, playing standards often dropped in the last session as “bowlers you would not normally bowl were thrown the ball so that you could get through the overs”.  He acknowledged the desire stated in the ECB’s  planning paper to open up the County season so that more short-format matches can be accommodated, but believes reducing the number of Tests from the seven that are normally played each northern summer is a better approach than shortening the Tests themselves.  The ECB paper is also reported to talk of reducing the number of Tests played.

 

In Butcher’s assessment player’s will not be in favour of reducing the length of Tests by a day, and that should any decision to do so be taken in the future it will be based primarily on the financial considerations involved.

 

CA NUP MEMBERS STAND 

IN STATE CLUB FINALS 

[1548-7438]

 

Four members of Cricket Australia’s National Umpires Panel (NUP), Ashley Barrow, Shawn Craig, Greg Davidson and Damien Mealey, were amongst the twelve umpires who have stood in the top finals of Australian club cricket across six states over the last month.  Others involved were former NUP member Ian Lock, NUP aspirants Nathan Johnstone, Donovan Koch, Jamie Mitchell, Craig Thomas, Luke Uthenwoldt and Anthony Wilds, plus Wade Stewart.

 

Lock and Johnstone stood in the Western Australian final, Barrow and Craig were on ground in Melbourne, Thomas and Uthenwoldt in Adelaide, Davidson and Wilds, who made his first class debut during the season, in Sydney, Koch and Mealey in Brisbane, and Mitchell and Stewart in Hobart.  In addition the Australian Capital Territory final was managed by Terry Keel, another long-serving umpire, and Yohan Ramasundara.

 

CA’s current Project Panel members, Claire Polosak of Sydney and David Shepard of Melbourne (PTG 1513-7295, 3 February 2015), did not feature in a first grade final in their respective states.   Polosak though stood in the final of Sydney's Metropolitan Cup competition while Shepard featured in a Victorian first grade semi final with Craig.  Phillip Gillespie, who like Wilds made his first class debut in the season just ended and appears in contention for an NUP spot later this year (PTG 1512-7288, 1 February 2015), was allocated a first grade semi final and was the reserve to NUP members Barrow and Craig in the Melbourne final.

 

Craig and New South Wales umpire Simon Lightbody are to stand in the single Under-19 Test between Australia and England which is due to start in Perth tomorrow, CA Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP) member Bob Stratford being the match referee.  Gillespie and Wilds will be on-field for the first three of five U-19 One Day Internationals that are to be played between the two sides following the Test, before Davidson and Mealey take over the the final two.  Stratford will be the referee for the first two ODIs and his UHPP colleague Daryl Harper the remaining three.  

 

For Craig and Lightbody its their U-19 Test debut and Gillespie and Mealey their first in an U-19 ODI, while Davidson has stood in four ODIs in the past and Wilds three.

 

POLL FAVOURS FIVE OUT IN ODI 

NON POWER PLAY OVERS 

[1548-7439]

 

A poll conducted by the ‘Cricinfo’ web site suggests that almost half of those members of the general public who felt the need to responded are in favour of returning to allowing five players outside the circle during One Day International non Power Play overs, rather than four as at present.  Of the 39,539 people who have responded to date, 19,590 or 49.5 per cent, voted for five, while 15,552 of them or 39.3 per cent went for the ‘no restrictions, let the captain decide’ option, and 4,397 or 11.1 per cent favoured the current four players out limit. 

 

TOP AUSSIE PLAYERS FOR 

$A2M PLUS CA CONTRACTS? 

[1548-7440]

 

Australian players Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc could receive Cricket Australia (CA) contracts for the year ahead worth in excessive of $A2 million, according to an article in Melbourne’s ‘Herald Sun’ newspaper.  Australia’s ‘Business Review Weekly’ (BRW) magazine estimated two months ago that Smith and Starc were Australian cricket’s fifth and ninth highest earners in 2014, the former receiving a total for his cricket-related activities of around $A3.1m, and Strac $A2.2 m (PTG 1524-7336, 18 February 2015); however, the pair’s recent performances with bat and ball are likely to see them in higher spots when BRW’s 2015 list in published early next year.

 

CA pay rates are believed to be determined via a weighted ranking system that is calculated according to a player's contribution in Test, one-day and Twenty20 international matches.  The salary provided by CA via that arrangement is, however, separate from addition monies players can earn from general endorsements and  International Cricket Council “approved” events such as the Indian Premier League, although this year those involved in the Australian World Cup squad will also get a reported $A340,000 because of the recent World Cup win.  As such Smith’s total earnings in 2015 could top $A4 m and Stac’s $A3 m.

 

NZC HANDS OUT TROPHIES, BUT 

NOT TO UMPIRES, SCORERS 

[1548-7441]

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) announced eight men’s and two women’s awards for the 2014-15 year at a ceremony in Auckland last Wednesday, however, they did not include ones that recognise the country's umpire and scoring community.  Trophies awarded at the event were for the best overall men’s and women’s players, batting and bowling averages, plus players of the year in Test, One Day International, Twenty20 Internationals and the domestic game.  The New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association has awards for both areas (PTG 1423-6881, 1 September 2014), and there was an indication late last year NZC itself planned to introduce a trophy for its umpires, but as yet those reports have proved to be false.

 

COMMONWEALTH GAMES TO 

INCLUDE T20 EVENT IN 2024?

[1548-7442]

 

The Commonwealth Games could feature Twenty20 cricket from as early as 2022 under a new plan that is to be considered at the movement’s general assembly scheduled for Auckland in September, say reports.  A new seven-year strategic plan has been drawn up for the games that is said to include changes that would see sixteen sports as part of a compulsory program, while optional sports from an agreed pool, including T20 cricket, could also be added.

 

There was a fifty-over format cricket tournament at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia, now-retired international umpires Steve Bucknor of the West Indies and Kandiah Francis of Sri Lanka standing in the final.  The possibility that a T20 event be part of the 2018 event on Australia's Gold Coast was under discussion in the past, but there have been reports that India in particular opposes the inclusion of cricket in the Commonwealth, Asian or Olympic Games, although just why is not entirely clear (PTG 1442-6984, 5 October 2014)

 

Despite that there have been vague reports that T20 cricket could be on the program for the 2024 Olympic Games, which if it eventuates would be the first time the game has featured in such an event since its so far only appearance in 1900 (PTG 1069-5202, 1 March 2013).  Great Britain won cricket’s only Gold Medal on that occasion when they defeated France outright over two days in a match they saw twelve players bat and field for both sides.

 

CONSTRUCTION OF HEADINGLEY PLAYER'S 

BALCONY COSTS BIRD £135,000 

[1548-7443]

 

Former English international umpire ‘Dickie’ Bird, who is now president of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, is reported to have paid £135,000 ($A264,000) for the construction of a players’ balcony in front of the dressing rooms in the Carnegie Pavilion at Headingley (PTG 1532-7377, 5 March 2015).  Bird said on Thursday that the new facility, which is to be named after him, cost "a lot of money but its worth it” and that he is “extremely proud” Yorkshire has decided to give it his name.

PLAYING THE GAME
 NUMBER 1,549
Monday, 6 April 2015

GIVE IPL PLAYERS ‘A LITTLE MORE LEEWAY’ 

ON BANTER, SUGGESTS CAPTAIN

[1549-7444]

 

Rohit Sharma, the captain if the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Mumbai franchise, says he hopes umpires will allow players "a little more leeway for on-field banter" during the sixty-match 2015 IPL season that starts in Kolkata on Wednesday.  Sharma, who wants players to be allowed to "express themselves on the field, as long as they don't cross” what he apparently called without definition "the limits”, is reported to have outlined his views during discussions with the IPL’s seventeen Indian match officials on the first day of their two-day meeting in Mumbai on Saturday (PTG 1547-7432, 4 April 2015).

 

The Board off Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is said to have to invited one of its IPL captains to the match officials meeting for a “unique interaction" in order to help the umpires understand the players’ perspective, especially given "the increased involvement of Indian match officials” in the event.  It says: “For the first time since the IPL's inception in 2008, Indian officials will considerably outnumber their overseas counterparts [this season], for of the twenty-six match officials recruited thirteen umpires and four match referees are Indian”.  In contrast ten Indian first class umpires filled on-field and third umpire roles, plus one Indian match referee, were contracted for the IPL’s 2014 season (PTG 1364-6587, 28 May 2014).  No details of just who the match officials are have been made public.

 

Umpires attending the Mumbai meeting are said to have "welcomed the initiative and were delighted to have heard the players' views in an informal situation", one being quoted as saying the initiative would "definitely be helpful for the umpires as well as players”.  For himself Rohit said was the first time he had an open discussion with match officials and called it a "valuable experience”.   "It was good to share thoughts with the umpires from the player and captain's perspective”.  "This is a very good initiative from the BCCI because it is for the betterment of the game”, he said. 

 

The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager, Simon Taufel, who has special responsibility for Indian umpiring and organised the pre-IPL meeting, is said to believe Indian umpires are close to being appointed to the ICC Elite Umpires Panel (PTG 1545-7426, 1 April 2015). "It takes a long time to produce Test level and elite umpires”.  "It takes a lot of investment, support program and development, just like it takes to produce top-level cricketers”, said Taufel added.  “I am pleased to see that the BCCI is producing a really, really strong pool of first-class umpires”.

 

"There is no doubt that more and more Indian umpires are getting opportunities at the highest level”, continued Taufel.  "We have undertaken exchange programs with them, they are getting opportunities at World T20 events and we have had them [actually one] in the World Cup as well”.  "Last year we had an Indian umpire officiating in the IPL final for the first time”, runs the quote attributed to Taufel, however, while there was improvement, six of the eight on-field positions available across the four final matches still went to non-Indians (PTG 1364-6587, 28 May 2014). "We are making progress [and] all the work we are putting in is producing results, and that is important”, he said.

 

CHENNAI BOWLING TEST 

CLEARS NARINE FOR IPL-8

[1549-7445]

 

Sunil Narine, the West Indian off-spinner and Kolkata Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise member whose bowling action was cleared at the International Cricket Council's accredited centre at the University of Loughborough last month, will be allowed to take part in this year’s IPL series by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).  The BCCI, which insisted Narine be tested in India despite the Loughborough result, announced yesterday that Narine had been cleared as a result of “a biomechanics assessment” conducted at the ICC’s accreditation centre at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai last Thursday (PTG 1547-7433, 4 April 2015).

 

The BCCI’s bowling review committee, which is made up of former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath, who is a ICC match referee, plus former India captain and Test umpire Srinivas Venkataraghavan, the BCCI’s director of umpires, and former Test umpire Arani Jayaprakash, are said to have: "concluded that Mr Sunil Narine, who had remodelled his bowling action, was within the ICC approved limits for all types of deliveries that were assessed and that his name may be removed from the warning list of bowlers with suspect action” and he "is now allowed to bowl in all BCCI tournaments”.

 

In clearing Narine the BCCI emphasised once again that it required IPL match officials to take a tough stance, and be pro-active, in regard to suspect actions.  Reports say more than 100 bowlers were reported for suspect actions during the 2014-15 domestic season in India, while a number including Narine were cited during the Champions League series on the sub-continent (PTG 1440-6970, 3 October 2014).

PLAYING THE GAME
 NUMBER 1,550
Tuesday, 7 April 2015

USCA SCRAMBLES AS T20

TOURNAMENT ENDS IN SHAMBLES

[1550-7446]

 

The South East representative side won the United States Cricket Association’s (USCA) 2015 Twenty20 Championship by four runs after they were awarded five penalty runs in the final against the US Development XI  in Florida on Sunday.  Confusion and controversy surrounds just what happened though for at first the USCA said on its social media page the Development XI had won, then it said South East were the winners because five penalty runs had been awarded to it “because a batsman obstructed a fielder”, and then some twelve hours later because “a batsman ran on the pitch”.

 

The Development XI entered the final over needing 21 runs to win. The first two balls were hit for six, bringing the equation down to nine off four, a run out on the next ball was followed by a two, after which the bowler was unable to continue the over and had to be replaced. Another two was run off the fifth ball and that left the Development XI five to win off the final delivery. 

 

Somewhat bizarrely the replacement bowler then proceeded to send down three consecutive wides, the batsmen also running a bye on the third wide, making the scores level with one ball to come.  A single was taken off the final ball, after which USACA updated its social media page declaring the Development XI the winners, however, about forty minutes later the page was changed to indicate the Development team had been "penalised five runs for a batsman obstructing the fielder". 

 

Development XI coach Reginald Benjamin told ‘Cricinfo’ that at no point did either umpire signal five penalty runs to the scorers during his team's chase, and that the stadium's scoreboard was never adjusted to reflect the penalty.  "Our guys and their guys were celebrating after the final ball so it was very confusing”, said Benjamin, who indicated he heard “a rumour” about penalty runs three balls into the final over after the two sixes had been hit.  Despite that “nobody has officially explained anything to us” about the situation, said Benjamin.

 

Tournament director and USACA first vice-president Owen Grey told ‘Cricinfo’ he was awaiting the umpires' report on the match before making comment and deferred to USA Cricket Umpire's Association president Fitzroy Hayles.  The latter said he "was not in possession of the details of the match" and as a result could not provide a detailed explanation. 

 

The laws do not require five penalty runs to be awarded against a batsman’s team if he obstructs the field, rather the fielding side can appeal and if the umpires consider the action involved is ‘wilful’ he can give the batsman out.  On the morning after the game the USACA's Facebook page was edited, "obstructing the fielder” being replaced with an explanation that the penalty runs were awarded for "a running-on-the-pitch infraction". 

 

In 2009 during a T20 tournament in Washington, DC, the South East team needed 200 to win a match but when all overs had been bowled they were 8/198.   A few moments later it was later announced that South East had been awarded five penalty runs by the umpires after one of them claimed the fielding side's wicketkeeper "used obscene language” towards him. 

 

POOR MATCH MANAGEMENT, ADMINISTRATION, 

LEAVES TEAMS IN THE DARK

[1550-7447]

 

A match in the United States Cricket Association’s (USCA) national Twenty20 Championship series ended in unusual circumstances last Friday when floodlights at the ground in Florida were automatically turned off with three overs still to bowl because of slow over-rates and an administrative oversight. With no prospect of being able to resume the match between teams from the USCA’S Central East (CE) and North West (NW) regions, the umpires went to Duckworth-Lewis which showed the result was a tie, and that was enough, given North West’s better playing record, to put them into a semi final.

 

The playing schedule called for three T20 matches scheduled at the ground that day, the first of which was to have gotten underway at 9.30 a.m., the second at 2 p.m. and the CE-NW game at 6 p.m.  As a result the floodlights were set to go off at 10 p.m., a time organisers presumed would clearly cover any playing requirements as the final game of the day should have ended by around 8.45 p.m. if T20  innings timings had been adhere to.  However, due to delays in matches one and two the CE-NW fixture did not start until  6.45 p.m., but even so their match should have ended by 9.25 p.m. and not still have had three overs left to bowl at 10 p.m. 

 

Duncan Finch, who oversees the use of the cricket grounds in the area, told ‘Cricinfo’ the USACA had reserved the fields for a twelve-hour block and that there was no malfunction that caused the lights to go off.   "The bottom line is that there was a lack of communication between USACA and the park employee [responsible for the lights]” and he set the lights to stay on until 10:00 p.m. as “twelve and a half hours to play three games should be plenty of time to complete them”.

 

After the lights went off ground staff called the lighting company to turn them back on but with a twenty-minute cooling-off delay, the umpires had already called the game off and the teams were not still on the field so they were shut back down at 10:30 p.m., said Finch. "No T20 game should take more than three and a half hours to play at a national level and the umpire's duty is to move the game along so this not happen”.  Even so his staff would have "gladly" adjusted the timer for the lights to go off later than 10 pm had they only been made aware at the start that the games were to go on later than expected. 

PLAYING THE GAME
 NUMBER 1,551
Thursday, 23 April 2015

PLAYER DIES FOLLOWING 

ON-FIELD COLLISION

[1551-7447]

 

Ankit Keshri, a former captain of Bengal's Under-19 side, has died as a result of a freak on-field accident that occurred during a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Division 1 match last weekend.  Keshri, 20, was playing for the East Bengal club against Bhawanipore when he and teammate Sourabh Mondal collided while going for a catch, Mondal's knee striking Keshri in the head.

 

Keshri is said to have lost consciousness straight away but another teammate, Shibsagar Singh, managed to resuscitate him and he was rushed to a local hospital.  After three days of treatment, doctors reported that his condition was stabilising, however, he subsequently suffered a cardiac arrest and died.  CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey told local media outlets: "It is extremely saddening to hear the news of Keshri's demise [and it’s] a huge loss for us”.

 

VICTORIAN UMPIRE ALLEGING 

AGE-RELATED DISCRIMINATION 

[1551-7448]

 

An umpire in Victoria is taking Cricket Australia (CA) and Cricket Victoria (CV) to Victoria's Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) alleging age-related discrimination, says a report in yesterday’s edition of Melbourne’s ‘Herald Sun’ newspaper.  According to the report Mark Hanton, 59, who is described as “an aspiring Test umpire”, claims he has been overlooked for higher appointments because of his age and is reportedly seeking "up to $A500,000 damages" from the two cricketing bodies.

 

Documents lodged by Hanton with VCAT are said to state that he had never breached any code of conduct or been reprimanded, and had been the “highest or close to the highest performing umpire” in CV’s Premier League, the feeder competition to Victoria’s first class side.  He is quoted as saying he was “explicitly” advised that he was being overlooked for higher appointments because of his age and that apart from that no other reasons have been given as to why he had not been promoted. 

 

Hanton "wanted to umpire first-class cricket and this has never happened” and he thinks "what they did to me was wrong”, for he "was never given the opportunity to fulfil the goals that I wanted”.  His aim "for several years" had been selection to represent CV at one of CA's national under-age carnivals, and he believes because some umpires chosen were five or ten years younger than him that did not mean they were more capable.  

 

CV nominates umpires for CA’s men’s annual Under-17 tournament which sits early on on the national body's pathway to potential first class selection, however, he has not been chosen for that event.  Records available though indicate he stood in a women’s national Under-18 series two years ago, and he has also managed umpires for, and stood in, CA’s annual Imparja Cup event for indigenous players over the last decade.  

 

The 'Herald Sun' says it has seen a CV report card for Hanton "which it gives him a glowing review”, although just when that report was written is not clear .  It read in part: “Mark, yet another strong year for you which again culminated in you officiating in the finals [and] you are a well respected umpire with both players and your colleagues and this shows with remarks received from the captains”.  Records available on line suggest he did not stand in a CV final during the season just ended.  

 

Hanton is said to be claiming that he has suffered “humiliation, loss of prestige and career advancements, stress, anxiety and inconvenience” as a result of the situation he finds himself in, and: “To have my goal dismissed as impossible for the reason given, not my ability, is devastating”.  In addition to VCAT, he is also reported to be "exploring the option" of making a separate claim to FairWork Australia, a government body that oversees workplace rights and rules.  

 

TWO MORE TESTS FOR 

EUP CONTENDER 

[1551-7449]

 

Ranmore Martinecz, a contender for a position on the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) later this year, has been selected to stand in the two Test matches Bangladesh and Pakistan are to play in Khulna and Dhaka over the next few weeks.  Those games, which will see him stand with Englishman Nigel Llong, will be his seventh and eighth Tests in the last twenty-four months, versus other current EUP candidates Sundaram Ravi of India, who over the same period has had four Tests, and New Zealand’s Chris Gaffaney with two. 

 

Reports from India over the last month (PTG 1545-7426, 1 April 2015), have lauded Ravi’s performances over the last six months and suggested he will “soon join” the EUP in place of Australian Steve Davis, who turned 63 two weeks ago and who most pundits expect to retire in June after eight years on the world’s highest panel.  

 

The match referee for the Bangladesh-Pakistan Tests will be Jeff Crowe of New Zealand who will be managing his seventieth and seventy-first games at the highest level, while Llong will be standing in his twenty-seventh and eighth Tests.  

 

Prior to the Tests Crowe is working as the match referee for the three One Day Internationals (ODI) and single Twenty20 International (T20I), all of which all of which are being played in Dhaka.  Llong and Ruchira Palliyaguruge of Sri Lanka are the neutral umpires, the latter’s selection being his first appointment by the ICC as a neutral official in a bilateral top-tier ODI, his on-field appointments in this year’s World Cup all involving second-tier nations.  Bangladesh members of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel will fill the second-on-field and fourth umpire spots in the ODIs and all positions in the T20I.

 

For Crowe the one-day fixtures will take his referee record in ODIs to 218 and 48 in T20Is.  Llong, who will be on-field in the second game and third umpire in ODIs one and three, will see his ODI record move up to 93 on-field and 51 in the television suite (93/51), while Palliyaguruge’s ODI tally by series end will be 28/10. 

 

CA REPORTED MULLING 

WNCL CHANGES

[1551-7450]

 

Reports from several states suggest Cricket Australia (CA) is considering playing its 24-match Womens’ National Cricket League (WNCL) one-day interstate series in 2015-16 using a more focussed tournament-style arrangement, rather than the home-and-away, three-and-a-half months long, structure of recent years.  Discussions are said to centre on the WNCL being played in three separate cities across three distinct blocks of time, a structure that may have implications for the way umpires, some of whom the WNCL is a key first step on CA’s development pathway to first class cricket, are chosen for such games. 

 

Earlier this decade CA moved from using only those umpires who were members of state and territory panels, and seen as potential long-term candidates for its National Umpires Panel (NUP), for WNCL games, to a more inclusive structure.  It involved not only NUP possibles appointed to games but also long-serving umpires whose weekends normally involve managing men’s Premier League cricket in their respective home associations, but who were not seen as having the potential to go on to higher levels.  The arrangement was welcomed by many as offering an opportunity to stand at interstate level.

 

In 2014-15 the national body appointed a total of 35 umpires, drawn from across the six states and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), for that season’s WNCL series.  It brought in two members of the NUP, Greg Davidson and Damien Mealey, plus current NUP candidates Phil Gillespie and Tony Wilds, for the semi final and final matches in late January; however, the 21 round robin games before that saw home association umpires from the states and the ACT used for the three fixtures allocated to their respective home grounds.   

 

Those three games meant six WNCL spots were available to each cricket jurisdiction to nominate their umpires to and thus expose them to CA-level fixtures, some for the first time.  Of the 31 chosen for round robin games, analysis of a range of appointments last austral summer suggests perhaps no more than a quarter of them are seen as potential long-term NUP candidates.  In nominating umpires to their respective home games, New South Wales and Western Australia each used six separate individuals for the six spots, the ACT five, South Australia and Tasmania both four, while Queensland and Victoria were more focussed as they each chose only three.

 

Any move to a three city arrangement, which some say is likely to see up to seven games played in the first two cities and ten in the third as the finals would apparently be included in the latter segment, means CA may well have to come up with a new umpire appointments arrangement.  If the restructure proceeds it could mean three separate umpire panels drawn from around the country would be chosen for each segment of the competition, but to what extent given the expenses involved, CA would continue with the selection of non-NUP candidates as part of that process remains to be seen.  

 

Sources say that on current indications an announcement on just what arrangements will apply for the WNCL’s 2015-16 is not expected until August or possibly September.

PLAYING THE GAME
 NUMBER 1,552
Monday, 27 April 2015

DEATHS AGAIN MAR GAMES 

ON THE SUB-CONTINENT 

[1552-7451]

 

Unknown gunmen shot the captain of a team whilst he was taking part in the final of a tournament being played in what reports describe as “the lawless tribal region of Pakistan” near the border with Afghanistan earlier this month.  Local media say that the victim, Tayab Khan of the Lagarai side, whose father is a member of the Bajaur Scouts paramilitary unit of Pakistan's Frontier Corps, was seriously wounded at the Larkhaloozo Cricket ground and died before reaching hospital. 

 

Last week, six-year-old T. Vamshi Krishna died after he was hit on the chest by a ball whilst playing with other children in Vanasthalipuram, a city in central India.  A police report says the boy was hit when another boy played “a powerful shot” and immediately collapsed, and despite being taken to a nearby hospital he died while undergoing treatment.   His parents are said to have "complained to the police that negligence" by the fourteen-year-old boy, who was batting, led to their son's death. Just which type of ball was involved was not reported.

 

The death was the second fatality in a game played in India last week, former Bengal Under-19 representative Ankit Keshri dying on Monday after suffering a head injury in a collision with a team mate while fielding in a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) match in Kolkata three days earlier (PTG 1551-7447, 23 April 2015).  His death was followed the next day by an injury to another Bengal cricketer, Rahul Ghosh, who was hit on the left side of his head by a ball while fielding at cover in a CAB league match in Kolkata.  He was taken to hospital where on Friday he was said to be “improving gradually” and expectations are that he will be discharged later this week.

 

NON-NEUTRAL MATCH OFFICIALS FOR 

PROPOSED PAKISTAN-ZIMBABWE SERIES?

[1552-7452]

 

Unverified reports from Karachi claim that the International Cricket Council (ICC) "is likely" to allow Pakistan to use what are called "local match officials" for what is currently the proposed, but yet to be confirmed, home series against Zimbabwe later this year.  A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) “source” is quoted as saying that due to the prevailing security situation in Pakistan it was highly unlikely the ICC would be able to send its own match officials for the planned five One Day Internationals (ODI) and two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) scheduled for Karachi and Lahore. 

 

If the series goes ahead it would be the first tour by a Test playing nation to Pakistan since March 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team and match officials in Lahore (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009).  In 2012, the ICC asked the PCB to provide it with a security plan for Bangladesh's then proposed two-match tour citing "its duty of care to match officials and other ICC staff”, however, that visit eventually did not proceed (PTG 931-4531, 22 April 2012).

 

The PCB “source” went on to indicate that “the ICC is keen to encourage the return of international cricket to Pakistan and is willing to play its part in ensuring the series is held and is given international status”.  PCB officials are said to have indicated that the ICC is likely to make an announcement about the series in the near future, however, just how reliable that report is is far from clear.  

 

Pakistan currently has four internationally accredited umpires, Aleem Dar of its Elite Umpires Panel, plus Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza and Ahmed Shahab of its second-tier International Umpires Panel.  Dar, a three time ICC ‘Umpire of the Year’ has to date stood in 94 Tests, 171 ODIs and 35 T20Is, Ashan Raza, who was shot in the Lahore attack 17 ODIs and 15 T20Is (17/15), Shozab Raza 10/9 and Ahmed Shahab 4/1.  All except Shozab Raza played at first class level before taking up umpiring.

 

Ahmed Shahab stood in matches played between Pakistan A and the visiting Kenyan side last December, and he, Ahsan Raza and Shozab Raza when Pakistan A played Afghanistan during visits in 2013 and 2014, some other Pakistan first class umpire also being involved.  Mohammad Asif of the United Arab Emirates and Ahmed Shahpakteen of Afghanistan also travelled to Pakistan and worked as match officials in those games.

 

TWICE CLEARED BOWLER’S 

ACTION AGAIN QUERIED

[1552-7453]

 

Despite having his action cleared by two separate International Cricket Council (ICC) bowling accreditation centres over the last month, West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine has again been reported for a suspected illegal bowling action, this time in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match.  Narine’s action was first called into question during last year’s Champions League Twenty20 tournament and he was banned from playing in the final following a second such report in that competition (PTG 1440-6940, 3 October 2014), and he subsequently pulled out of the West Indies’ squad for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand as a result.

 

A statement posted on the IPL website on Friday said: “A suspected illegal bowling action report has been filed by the match officials on certain deliveries bowled by Narine [for his Kolkata side] during the IPL match against Hyderabad played in Visakhapatnam [last Wednesday]”.  It continued: “As per the provisions of the IPL suspected illegal bowling action policy, Mr Narine will still be eligible to bowl in forthcoming IPL matches and may request a biomechanical analysis of the deliveries in question at the ICC accredited testing facility at the Sri Ramachandra Arthroscopy and Sports Science Centre in Chennai”.

 

The on-field umpires in last Wednesday’s IPL match, Englishman Richard Illingworth and India’s Vineet Kulkarni, the latter who was also being involved in one of last year’s Champions League reports, are said to have indicated “about four to five” of Narine’s deliveries were of concern to them.  Kolkata have decided to send Narine for another test in Chennai as soon as possible for should he be cited for a second time in the current series he will not be able to play in the IPL again this season.

 

Narine was cleared by the ICC accredited centre at the University of Loughborough last month, and was allowed to take part in this years IPL by the Board of Control for Cricket in India after he passed a second assessment a few weeks later at Chennai's Sri Ramachandra University laboratory (PTG 1549-7445, 6 April 2015).  

 

ICC UP-DATES ‘SUSPECT 

ACTION’ PROCEDURES

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The International Cricket Council (ICC) has revised its procedures for dealing with bowlers reported with suspected illegal bowling actions following discussions at its second quarterly board meeting of the year in Dubai last week. The changes, which are “effective immediately”, involve: a shortening of the turnaround time from a bowler being reported to the results of laboratory being announced from thirty-five to twenty-four days; and provide the world body with the ability to "recognise suspensions from domestic competitions" provided the bowler concerned has been assessed at an ICC-accredited testing centre using its approved testing protocol.

 

Meanwhile, the ICC has recently provided an fourteen-page document to its umpires that suggests ways they can determine whether a bowler has a suspect action.  Titled ‘Identification of suspect-illegal bowling actions’, it is said to list what to look for in regards to orthodox spin, pace and wrist spin bowlers, and how to best to assess actions with the naked eye and via video resources and related evidence. The paper describes dealing with suspect-illegal bowling actions as "a major challenge for the umpires”, and says "not only is this a difficult skill, but the issue is also a sensitive and emotive one for the players and their team”. 

 

Care in making judgements is advised and those involved have "to have a high degree of confidence when arriving at a specific conclusion” in regards to such things. Umpires are said to "require strong teamwork and communication with each other, careful observation of the available and visible facts and courage when committing to a course of action”.

 

UMPIRE ‘BADLY INJURED’ 

BY ON-FIELD ASSAULT

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An umpire is reported to have been beaten up during a Rohilkhand University inter-department match in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh after he objected to a student driving his motor bike on to the ground to congratulated a bowler friend when he took a wicket.  The umpire, who was named as Abhishek Kumar, is said to have been “thrashed” by the motor bike rider "and his friends” and badly injured, according to a ’Times of India’ report.  

 

As a result of the incident the match was abandoned and the teams were sent to their respective hostels while Kumar was taken to hospital for treatment.  Police are said to be investigating the incident while a university spokesman said that "police and additional security personnel will be posted at grounds so that future matches in the competition proceed smoothly”.


End of April 2015 News file