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                     MAY 2015
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 5 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 7456-7491)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below

1,553  1,554  1,555  1,556  1,557

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,553

   Thursday, 21 May 2015

 

Stories for Thursday, 21 May:

• Village cricketer falls foul of rare Law.

• BCCI to pay Rs.70 lakh to Simon Taufel for training Indian umpires.

• Cricket Australia announces elite group of officials for upcoming summer.

 

Headline:  Village cricketer falls foul of rare Law.

Article from:  ‘Agency France Presse'.

Journalist: Not stated

Published:  London, 21 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,456. 

 

An amateur cricketer from England is believed to be the first batsman to have been given out for handling a no-ball, British newspaper The Times reported on Wednesday.Bryn Darbyshire, 35, was batting for Lymington in Hampshire, southern England when the bowler overstepped the crease and the umpire declared a no-ball.  In attempting a shot, Darbyshire only clipped the ball, but when he then picked it up and threw it to a fielder, the fielding team appealed and he was given out.

 

According to Law 33 of rule-making body the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) Laws of Cricket, Darbyshire should have asked a fielder for permission to handle the ball.  While a batsman cannot be bowled, caught or given leg before wicket on a no-ball, he can be dismissed for handling the ball, hitting the ball twice, obstructing the field or being run out.

 

Mark Williams, the MCC's laws of cricket adviser, told The Times that it was possibly the first time that a player had fallen victim to clause 16 of Law 24 (No-ball)."The law is there so that a batsman can't touch the ball deliberately while the fielding team is trying to run him out," Williams said. "The fielding team were perfectly justified in appealing.  

 

Darbyshire complained: "I don't think the umpire did anything wrong, but I think it was bad sportsmanship on the part of our opponents."I had hit the same bowler for six off my second ball and was taking him apart. They probably wanted to see the back of me”.  Darbyshire's side went on to lose the match by 58 runs.

 

Headline:  BCCI to pay Rs.70 lakh to Simon Taufel for training Indian umpires.

Article from:  'India Today’.

Journalist: Qaiser Mohammad Ali 

Published:  New Delhi, 20 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,457. 

 

Australian Simon Taufel was adjudged the best umpire in the world by the International Cricket Council for five consecutive years, from 2004 to 2008. He was highly respected by the top players.  On the one hand the new BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] set of office-bearers are taking steps to curtail unnecessary expenditure, and on the other the Board has been spending a fortune on educating its umpires.

 

It is a fact that no Indian has made it to the ICC [International Cricket Council] Elite Panel - the highest level umpires can reach - for more than 11 years, since S. Venkataraghavan officiated in a Test match in January 2004.

 

As if to set that wrong right, the BCCI in 2013 decided to import experts to educate Indian umpires. Retired Australian Simon Taufel, currently ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager, was chosen to educate 100 Indian umpires before the 2013-14 season.

 

Taufel's services, however, have come at a big cost as the BCCI has paid a total of $US110,000 as fee for 2014 and 2015, says a source in the BCCI. At the current rate of exchange of Rs.63.81 per dollar, it amounts to more than Rupees 70 lakh [7,000,000 Indian Rupees = $US110,000 = UK70,800 = $A140,000].

 

"Taufel was hired to educate Indian umpires ahead of the 2013-14 home season. In 2014, the Board paid him a total of $55,000 as fee and for 2015 he would be paid the same amount again," the source told Mail Today.

 

"Mind you, this is only his fee. This amount doesn't take into account the other services that he has availed during his visits, like hotel accommodation etc.," he pointed out. "If the BCCI is out to check excess expenditure, maybe they could take a look in this area too."

 

One of the most respected umpires till he retired after the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 - he won the ICC's Best Umpire Award for five successive years, from 2004-2008 - Taufel is said to have prepared a "improvement-oriented curriculum" for Indian umpires. His other responsibilities in India include conducting workshops and seminars, giving lectures, and conducting examinations etc.

 

The previous BCCI set-up, led by N. Srinivasan, contracted Taufel for three years, till this season. The Jagmohan Dalmiya-Anurag Thakur combine came to power in March, and it remains to be seen if they persist with the existing policy with regard to umpires or bring in a new one.

 

According to a senior BCCI official, the outcome of Taufel's involvement with Indian umpires so far has been "positive" as he has helped them raise their standards.

 

"How many umpires [familiar with modern methods] do we have [for this job]? Only Venkataraghavan - or V.K. Ramaswamy or Piloo Reporter. There's none beyond them. Taufel is an expert in his field, that's why he has been given this contract," he told Mail Today.

 

"But, at the same time, it is unfortunate and shameful on our part that after Venkataraghavan, no Indian has made it to the ICC Elite Panel. What I personally feel is that our umpires can be good in the practical aspects of the job, but when it comes to writing in the English language they are found wanting," he said. That was why the BCCI told them a few years ago to learn the language, even if they have to join coaching classes.

 

This year, Taufel, 44, took charge of the Umpires' Training and Performance Management Programme before the 2015 IPL started and is back to watch the business end of the tournament.

 

The Australian, who officiated in 74 Tests, 174 One-Day Internationals and 34 Twenty20 Internationals between 1999 and 2012, will now conduct the viva-voce and practical exams of the Level-II aspirants from May 26-29.

 

No examination for Level-II aspirants has been held for more than one-and-a-half years. To get rid of the rust, the BCCI held a refresher course for them on May 16 and 17 at the National Academy of Umpires in Nagpur. A total of 57 young umpires, who had passed the written Level-II test and had been patiently waiting for the viva and practical examination, turned up for the course.

 

Headline:  Cricket Australia announces elite group of officials for upcoming summer.

Article from:  Cricket Australia

Journalist: Not stated

Published:  Melbourne, 19 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,458. 

 

Australian umpire Phillip Gillespie is set to cement his position among the country’s elite umpires this summer after Cricket Australia (CA) today announced the 2015-16 National Umpire Panel to officiate in all Australian domestic matches for the upcoming season.The umpires have been selected by CA’s Umpire High Performance Panel, with Victorian Premier umpire Gillespie joining the panel in place of Queensland’s Damien Mealey (QLD). 

 

The 2015-16 National Umpire Panel: Gerard Abood NSW; Ashley Barrow VIC; Shawn Craig VIC; Gregory Davidson NSW; Simon Fry SA (20 ODIs, 8 T20 Internationals); Phillip Gillespie VIC (debut); Michael Graham-Smith TAS; Geoffrey Joshua VIC; Michael Martell WA (3 ODIs, 2 T20 Internationals); Samuel Nogajski TAS; John Ward VIC (6 ODIs, 6 T20 Internationals); Paul Wilson NSW (3 ODIs, 2 T20 Internationals).

 

Gillespie, 39, has stood in 102 Victorian Premier Cricket matches, including 54 First XI matches, and is also on a development scholarship with the Australian Sports Commission for 2015. He made his first-class debut in February this year in a match between New South Wales and Victoria in which NSW quick Doug Bollinger took a hat-trick from Gillespie’s end.

 

CA Match Officials Manager Sean Easey said this 12-umpire panel continues to set a high benchmark for the game’s adjudicators.  “Our 2015-16 National Umpire Panel was selected following a series of strong performances last season, which made selection of the panel very tough,” Easey said.“What the selection process showed was the pleasing depth of high-quality umpiring talent in Australia that contributes to making our elite domestic competitions world-class.“Australian cricket remains a leader in producing and developing international-standard officials and we believe this group has the potential to continue Australia’s proud history of progressing umpires to international honours.

 

“Australia also has four umpires contracted to the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires, and our 12 selected umpires for 2015-16 have a wonderful opportunity to follow in their footsteps.”Fry, Martell, Ward and Wilson have again been nominated as CA’s International Panel umpires who are subsequently eligible to officiate in international matches as appointed by the ICC (for matches overseas) or Cricket Australia (when appropriate). Last season the ICC appointed Fry to the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and the Sri Lanka v England One-Day International Series at the end of 2014. Wilson made his ODI debut in November last year, while Martell made his T20 International debut.

 

The ICC Elite Panel of Umpires are the 12 umpires contracted to the ICC who officiate in international cricket around the world. The panel includes four Australian representatives: Steve Davis, Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker.CA’s National Umpire Panel members are selected by the Umpire High Performance Panel whose members are Steve Bernard, Daryl Harper, Peter Marshall, Bob Stratford, David Talalla and CA’s Match Officials Manager Sean Easey.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,554

   Friday, 22 May 2015

 

Stories for Friday, 22 May:

• Black Caps could still get pink balls.

• Policeman loses sight in one eye after being struck by six hit at IPL match.

• Following umpire incident, captains told to submit match official reports direct to BCCI.

• Playing in the rain is proving a grey area as war of words erupts.

• Zimbabwe cricketers land in Lahore  [umpire Tiffin in tour party].

• Match officials for Pakistan-Zimbabwe series announced. 

• Shot twice in terror attack, Pakistan cricket umpire Raza wants to forget 2009 assault.

• Match officials for England-New Zealand series announced. 

• Dhoni fined after calling umpire's decision ‘horrible’.

• Dar to move to equal third on all-time Test umpires list. 

 

Headline:  Black Caps could still get pink balls.

Article from:  Radio New Zealand.

Journalist: Not stated

Published:  Friday, 22 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,459. 

 

Cricket Australia is yet to finalise plans for an inaugural day-night Test using a pink ball, but remain confident it will go ahead during this summer's three-match series against New Zealand.  New Zealand and Australian cricket officials remain committed with Adelaide Oval considered the venue most likely to host the innovative fixture.  Details are expected to be ironed out when officials meet on the sidelines of the International Cricket Council's annual conference in Barbados on June 22-26.

 

New Zealand players' association boss Heath Mills suggested last week that top players here are "overwhelmingly not supportive of playing day-night Test cricket”.  Either side of the Tasman, match practice is a concern.  "A number of players in the Australian Test squad have had limited or no experience in match conditions with the pink balls so we'd obviously be keen to get their feedback whenever they have the opportunity to take part in a proper trial”, Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) chief Alistair Nicholson said.  "Ultimately the decision on the format of the series rests with the respective cricket boards. Our focus is on player safety and ensuring that their views are given appropriate consideration in any decision”.

 

Cricket Australia conducted two rounds of pink-ball trials last year, but few Test players were involved.  It is understood Cricket Australia will schedule a pink-ball round early in the 2015-16 Shield season, ensuring its top players have a hit out under lights.  The Black Caps have also been assured of a tour game using the pink ball.  The ICC gave the green light to day-night Tests in 2012, leaving it up to nations to mutually agree on playing conditions.

 

Headline:  Policeman loses sight in one eye after being struck by six hit at IPL match.

Article from:  Reuters.

Journalist: Not stated.

Published:  Sunday, 17 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,460. 

 

A policeman has been left blind in one eye after being struck by a six hit by South Africa's David Miller in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match, local media says.  Aloke Aich, 53, was struck in the right eye in the game between Kolkata and Punjab at Eden Gardens on 9 May.

 

A shocked Miller tweeted: "I am still in a state of shock and deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Mr Aich's eye. A freak accident! My prayers are with u”.  Miller later released a statement saying his thoughts were with Mr Aich. "I wish this was not true. The incident and the ramifications have been terrible”, he said.  "I am sorry for Mr Aich's irreversible loss and wish him the best recovery possible”.

 

Mr Aich's son said Kolkata police were paying the medical expenses but feared the accident might cost his father, the sole earning member in the family, his job as well.  He told the Indian Express newspaper: "I don't know what will happen. With his right eye gone, I don't think he would be able to sit behind the wheel again”.   "Will they keep him in the job or will he be asked to take voluntary retirement?   "How will we survive if he loses his job? We are a lower middle-class family, dependent solely on his income”, he added. 

 

Headline:  Following umpire incident, captains told to submit match official reports direct to BCCI.

Article from:  Mumbai Mirror.

Journalist: Vijay Tagore

Published:  Wednesday, 20 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,461. 

 

The captains' report on umpiring [in Indian] domestic matches will, henceforth, go directly to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) office. It was one of the key decisions taken by the technical committee which met [in Mumbai] on Tuesday.   The decision follows a complaint from a captain who had made a startling disclosure during the captains and coaches meeting held some time back. 

 

The captain from a West Zone state had told the meeting that a few minutes after he had submitted a report against umpiring to the match referee last season, one umpire asked him to withdraw the complaint. This captain had further revealed that the umpire in question went to the extent of dangling a carrot before him saying if the complaint was withdrawn, he would take care of him. The captain was obviously not too amused by the umpire's offer. 

 

A source in the know of the decisions said: "Asking the captains to send reports directly to the BCCI office, instead to the match referee, has something to do with this incident. We have not been told the reason but this incident could be the trigger”.

 

Headline:  Playing in the rain is proving a grey area as war of words erupts.

Article from:  Bradford Telegraph and Argus.

Journalist: Bill Marshall.

Published:  Saturday, 16 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,462. 

 

North Yorkshire League Craven District League (CDL) fixture secretary Trevor Coe's strong thoughts about playing matches in the rain a fortnight ago has provoked an equally strong response.  Play was only possible in four matches in the top two divisions, which were under the control of panel umpires, producing one result.  However, in the other three divisions, which were under the control of club umpires, there were nine matches that started and five results were forthcoming.

 

Coe said: “It would appear that ‘we don’t play cricket in the rain’ has not percolated down to the umpires of divisions Three, Four and Five.  “When only two games finished in the Bradford League, and they have covers, it is hard to believe that the games that produced results were not played in the rain”.

 

However, a leading club official, who prefers to remain anonymous, says there is nothing in the Craven League rules to say that play must not take place in the rain.  He cites playing rules seven and eight, which state: "If at any time the umpire(s) considers the ground unfit for further play, the match shall be considered a draw.  "If the captains cannot agree, the umpires(s) shall decide whether conditions are favourable for play to commence".  "If the umpires also cannot agree, the game shall be abandoned, this disagreement to be recorded on the scoresheet”.

 

The club official added: "I find it very interesting that at a time when playing numbers are falling and the ECB has launched the "Get The Game On" initiative, we have one man seeming to dictate to an entire league, it's players and umpires when they can and can't play a game of cricket which, if he is successful, might see games not take place when, with a bit of goodwill, a game could take place."

 

The MCC's Laws of Cricket's answer to whether a match can start in the rain or resume while it is still raining is: "The major consideration for the umpires will be the condition of the surface, especially for the bowlers' run-ups and the batsmen's footholds, but also in the outfield".  "Whatever their judgment of that, it is unlikely that they would regard playing in the rain as suitable conditions.  "If, however, both umpires consider that the conditions of the ground, of the weather or of the light are neither unreasonable nor dangerous, there is no reason in Law to forbid play, even in light rain, if both captains agree that they wish to resume or to commence”.

 

Obviously, the safety of players and umpires has to be taken into consideration and the whole question of how heavy rain has to be to bring the players off or delay a start is a grey area, but to argue no cricket can take place when it is raining – such as when it is spotting or even in light drizzle – also seems wrong.  There was apparently heated debate during last Monday's [CDL] executive meeting at Cross Hills Social Club as to why umpires, captains and players think it's acceptable to play in the rain.  League secretary Ann Coe has written to the Umpires' Association and they will be discussing the matter at their next meeting.

 

Headline:  Zimbabwe cricketers land in Lahore [umpire Tiffin in tour party]

Article from:  Associated Press [extract only from original story]

Journalist: Not stated

Published:  Wednesday, 20 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,463. 

 

Zimbabwe arrived in Pakistan early on Tuesday in the eastern city of Lahore as the first Test playing nation to visit the country for international matches since an attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus six years ago. The visitors’ two team buses were surrounded by a fleet of security vans with armed guards as they drove to the team hotel amid tight security.  

 

Zimbabwe umpire Russel Tiffin also accompanied the team to supervise matches along with local umpires after the ICC declined to send its match officials due to security concerns. Pakistan has promised VIP security for Zimbabwe to avoid a repeat of 2009 when gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus, killing six police officers, a van driver and wounding several visiting cricketers. 

 

Around 4,000 policemen and security officials have been deployed for the protection of the Zimbabwe team, which begins the series with the first Twenty20 [later today]. [The visitors] will play two Twenty20 [Internationals] and three one-day internationals [whilst in Pakistan].

 

Editor’s note: Just what “supervision” Tiffin, a former member of the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel, will be involved in during the tour was not spelt out in the Associated Press story.  The ICC has indicated the actual match officials for the series will be as indicated in the story directly below.

 

Headline:  Match officials for Pakistan-Zimbabwe series announced 

Article from:  ICC web site 

Journalist: Notes by PTG editor.

Published:  Tuesday, 19 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,464. 

 

T20I 22/0515  Lahore  Match referee: Azhar Khan; Umpires Ahmed Shahab, Khalid Mahmood.

T20I 24/0515 Lahore Match referee: Azhar Khan; Umpires Shozab Raza, Khalid Mahmood.

ODI 26/0515 Lahore Match referee: Azhar Khan; Umpires Ahmed Shahab, Shozab Raza.

ODI 29/0515 Lahore Match referee: Azhar Khan; Umpires Ahmed Shahab, Ahsan Raza.

ODI 31/0515 Lahore Match referee: Azhar Khan; Umpires Ahmed Shahab, Shozab Raza.

 

The above listings are as per the ICC web site.  Presumably the two umpires will be on-field, although information posted on the ICC’s match officials web site cannot always be relied upon as accurate.

 

The two Razas and Shahab are Pakistan members of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel.  Records available show that Azhar Khan, 59, played one Test for his country in March 1989, his playing career totalling 159 first class games.  He has worked as a match referee at first class level since 1995 and currently has 76 such games under his belt. His previous international experience was in overseeing four women’s One Day Internationals (ODI) in the Asia Cup of 2005.   Khalid Mahmood, 46, has been on-field as an umpire in first class matches since 1999 his currently tally being 60 games.  He has umpired in both women’s ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals.

 

Editor’s note:  Ashan Raza has commented on his appointment to the series as indicated in the article below.

 

Headline:  Shot twice in terror attack, Pakistan cricket umpire Raza wants to forget 2009 assault.

Article from:  Pakistan Today 

Journalist: Not stated

Published:  Thursday, 21 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,465. 

 

Ahsan Raza is looking forward to umpiring Pakistan’s match against Zimbabwe, putting behind him the morning when he was shot twice in an attack that slammed the door closed on international cricket in Pakistan.  The 2009 ambush by gunmen on Sri Lanka’s team and match officials on their way to Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium killed six people and one of the bullets left Raza with a damaged lung.

 

“I don’t want to look back and recall what happened six years ago, it was dreadful,” Raza told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “It was not easy (to recover) with so many stitches all around my stomach and one of the bullets even damaged my right lung.”The attack in this eastern Pakistani city killed six police officers and brought a sudden stop to international cricket in the country, one of the world’s leading cricketing nations.

 

Raza was travelling in a small bus behind the bus carrying Sri Lanka’s team. That bus was bravely driven through intense gunfire to the protection of the Gaddafi Stadium.  The smaller bus also came under intense fire. It was carrying international umpires Simon Taufel, Steve Davis and match referee Chris Broad, as well as Raza.

 

Six years on and 40-year-old Raza wants to forget that dreadful morning. It took him nearly a year to recover completely but he was back on the field as umpire in 2010.  He has officiated in a number of Pakistan’s international matches in the United Arab Emirates over the last five years after the Gulf country became Pakistan’s ‘home’ venue.  But Zimbabwe will revive international cricket in Pakistan [later today] when the limited-overs series begin with the first Twenty20 game.

 

The ICC has declined to send its match officials for the series in Pakistan on the security advice of its own experts, although the games will have formal international status.  Raza has been chosen by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to officiate as an onfield umpire in two Twenty20s and in one of the three one-day internationals.  “It’s never easy to convince people [to come to Pakistan], but I am happy to live with my family in my own country,” Raza said. “I’m really feeling proud to be part of the series and the credit goes to the PCB, which worked hard to convince Zimbabwe”.

 

Raza hopes Pakistan will succeed in showing the world that his country is once again safe to organise international matches, despite fears that terrorists will seek to take advantage of attacking a foreign sports team again.  “We have waited for this event for six years and I hope many more teams will come after this series”, he said.

 

Headline:  Match officials for England-New Zealand series announced 

Article from:  ICC web site 

Journalist: Notes by PTG editor.

Published:  Tuesday, 19 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,466. 

 

Test 21/05/15 Lord’s Referee: David Boon; Umpires Sundarum Ravi, Maraise Erasmus, Rod Tucker (third).

Test 29/05/15 Leeds Referee: David Boon; Umpires Sundarum Ravi, Rod Tucker, Maraise Erasmus (third).

ODI 09/06/15 Birmingham Referee: Javagal Srinath; Umpires Bruce Oxenford, ECB IUP member, Steve Davis (third).  

ODI 12/06/15 The Oval Referee: Javagal Srinath; Umpires Steve Davis, ECB IUP member, Bruce Oxenford (third). 

ODI 14/06/15 Southampton Referee: Javagal Srinath; Umpires Bruce Oxenford, ECB IUP member, Steve Davis (third)  

ODI 17/06/15 Nottingham Referee: Javagal Srinath; Umpires Steve Davis, ECB IUP member, Bruce Oxenford (third)  

ODI 20/06/15 Chester-le-Street Referee: Javagal Srinath; Umpires Bruce Oxenford, ECB IUP member, Steve Davis (third)  

T20I 23/06/15 Manchester Referee: Javagal Srinath; Umpires ECB appointments.  

 

Ravi’s appointment to the two Tests (his fifth and sixth, the first being his first at Lord’s) could well be his final audition before the ICC decides on EUP membership for 2015-16 with Australian Steve Davis expected by most pundits to retire at the end of June.  As such the ODIs could be Davis’ last international appointments.  The series will take Srinath’s ODI record as a referee to 160 games, Davis to 137 on-field and 67 as a third umpire (137/67) and Oxenford to 72/37.

 

Headline:  Dhoni fined after calling umpire's decision 'horrible'

Article from:  Press Trust of India 

Journalist: Not stated

Published:  Wednesday, 20 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,467. 

 

Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was fined 10 per cent of his match fee [on Wednesday] for "inappropriate public comments" about an umpire's decision during the first qualifier of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament against Mumbai Indians.  Following his side's 25-run defeat to Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium, Dhoni lamented a "horrible" decision by umpire Richard Illingworth that resulted in Dwayne Smith being given out lbw for a duck in the first over of Chennai's unsuccessful chase.

 

Smith was adjudged LBW after being struck on the pads off a full-toss from Lasith Malinga in the first over. Replays showed that ball would have gone down the leg side by some margin.  Dhoni admitted the level 1 offence (Article 2.1.7 of the IPL Code of Conduct for Players and Team Officials) and accepted the sanction.  Chennai will meet the winner of the eliminator between Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore, in the second qualifier in Ranchi [later today].

 

Headline:  Dar to move to equal third on all-time Test umpires list. 

Article from:  ICC web site 

Journalist: Notes by PTG editor.

Published:  Tuesday, 19 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,468. 

 

West Indies v Australia

Test 03/06/15 Dominica   Referee: Roshan Mahanama; Umpires Aleem Dar, Richard Kettleborough, Ian Gould (third).

Test 11/06/15 Jamaica     Referee: Roshan Mahanama; Umpires Ian Gould, Richard Kettleborough, Aleem Dar (third).

 

The series will see Dar move to 95 Tests, the same number as now retired Daryl Harper of Australia.  That pair are behind two other retirees, Rudi Koertzen of South Africa with 108 (1992-2010) and Steve Bucknor of the West Indies on 128 Tests (1989-2009).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,555

   Monday, 25 May 2015

 

Stories in this edition:

• Michael Holding says sledging could lead to on-field fight if cricket authorities don't step in [1555-7469].

• Tiffin, Dar to stand in Pakistan-Zimbabwe ODs [1555-7470].

• Cricket umpire taken to hospital after on-field accident  [1555-7471].

• IPL teams gave IPL ‘integrity officers’ expensive gifts [1555-7472].

• Sri Lankan probe finds evidence of sex bribes in women's cricket for a place in team [1555-7473].

• Senior Aussie umpire managers attend annual post season meeting [1555-7474].

 

Headline: Michael Holding says sledging could lead to on-field fight if cricket authorities don't step in.

Article from:  Sydney Morning Herald.

Journalist: Daniel Lane

Published:  Sunday, 23 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,469. 

 

West Indies great Michael Holding fears sledging could lead to the ugly spectacle of top-flight cricket's first fight on the pitch and admitted he would never have accepted the verbal abuse dished out by players such as David Warner during the last Australian summer.  Holding, 61, said the amount of aggression in matches was unacceptable and he grinned when asked if he was ever sledged by an opponent when he was a member of the West Indies pace attacks of the 1970s and 1980s.

 

"Not if they wanted to survive”, he said. "When I played I cannot remember any sledging. Obviously one or two people would pass a remark or two but what I see now, whenever people are walking off the cricket field, people are in their face saying whatever they're saying.  "If that happened to me ... I was a little bit hot-blooded when I was a young man bowling fast and if that happened on the cricket field then it wouldn't have ended there.  "This idea once you get off the cricket field everything is fine. No, you don't get personal with me and then get off the field and we'll be friends. No. No, no. no”.

 

The paceman, who was nicknamed 'Whispering Death' by English umpire ‘Dickie' Bird because he couldn't hear the Jamaican speedster as he ran in to bowl, fears the world will soon witness the unthinkable, two opponents in the so-called gentleman's game trading punches over a sledge that cut too close to the bone.  "One day someone will do it”, he replied when asked about the possibility of an on-field fight. 

 

"When you are on the cricket field you're supposed to be batting and bowling, [but] there's nothing wrong with talking to people and having a joke and even passing a sarcastic remark during a game, because I've seen that, I've heard it.  "But you don't get personal with people. Something is going to happen one day and then they'll realise they've gone too far”.

 

As Australia prepare for a two-Test tour of the Caribbean, Holding, who was renowned for refusing to bowl bouncers at tail-enders, said he believed it was a bowler's right to intimidate batsmen, but he did not like to see batsmen get hit.  "You don't want to be hitting people”, he said. "People will get hit, that's the nature of the game and a result of the fact you can bowl [145km/h].  "If I hit someone, it didn't get a wicket unless the ball fell on the stumps, and I wanted to get wickets. Intimidation is part of the game; whether players want to believe it or not, fast bowlers and intimidation is a part of the game, it has been since the game was invented and it continues to be.  "If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen, it's as simple as that. That's what cricket and fast bowling is all about”.

 

Headline: Tiffin, Dar to stand in Pakistan-Zimbabwe ODs.

Article from:  Pakistan Observer.

Journalist: Bipin Dani .

Published: Sunday, May 24, 2015 

PTG listing: 7,470. 

 

Pakistan’s Aleem Dar and Zimbabwe's Russel Tiffin will be in action from Tuesday for the three ODIs’ their respective national sides are to play over the next week.   According to [Virinchirpuram] Ramaswamy, Tiffin will not find it difficult to officiate in Pakistan. “He is a senior ICC umpire and has officiated in many countries. I don’t think he needs any advice”, said the former Indian [Test umpire] from Hyderabad. 

 

At the request of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), V.K.Ramaswamy and Piloo Reporter were sent to Pakistan by the BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] to officiate their series against West Indies in 1986. “It was absolutely fine to tour Pakistan then. There were no security issues and we were free to roam around”, he recalled.  Imran Khan insisted on neutral umpires and the TCCB then (now the England and Wales Cricket Board) was approached to send the England umpires for the series against India in 1989 and two Johns - Holder and Hampshire - officiated.

 

“We did not encounter any difficulty during our stay in Pakistan. Everything was done to make sure our stay was a good one and at no time did we feel unsafe or threatened. We had a great time, so much so that my colleague said it was one of the best cricket tours he had ever been on”, Holder recalls exclusively.   “There should be no problem for any umpire in giving any batsman out, whether he is Pakistani or not. You make a judgement in response to an appeal, then make your decision". 

 

"No thought should be given to who either batsman or bowler is. In that series in 1989 I gave Shoaib Mohamed out LBW to Kapil Dev on 99. Shoaib had been moving across in front the wicket and glancing the ball to fine leg repeatedly. Kapil was almost on the verge of pulling his hair out in frustration. Eventually Shoaib missed a straight ball which struck his pad in front the wicket. I gave him out LBW and he cried as he left the field”, Holder added further. 

 

“The security situation in Pakistan in 1989 when we were there is totally different from what it has been in recent years. Remember what happened to the Sri Lankans, the umpires and referee not long ago. The people I feel sorry for are the genuine cricket lovers and players in that country and I hope that the indiscriminate bombings and shootings of recent years cease soon and stability returns”. 

 

Editor’s note:  The match official’s appointments page on the ICC web site makes no mention of either Dar or Tiffin’s involvement in the series (PTG 1534-7464, 22 May 2015), however, that is not unusual as information provided via that source has of late been somewhat unreliable.  Tiffin, a former member of the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel, has been on-field in a total of 136 ODIs since his debut in October 1992.  The last time he stood outside Zimbabwe in an ODI between two Test playing countries was in November 2008 when India played England in Kanpur.  Dar’s on-field ODI record currently stands at 171 games, one behind the late Englishman David Shepard who is sixth on the all-time ODI list.  Dar's last ODI on home soil was in April 2008.

 

Headline: Cricket umpire taken to hospital after on-field accident.

Article from:  Scunthorpe Telegraph.

Journalist: Not stated

Published:  Sunday, 10 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,471. 

 

A Lincolnshire County Cricket League Division 3 game between Brigg Town and Normanby Park had to be abandoned [two weeks ago] when one of the umpires was injured in an on-field accident.  A batsman running at full speed accidentally ran into the umpire after taking a quick single.  The unnamed umpire is said to have fallen backwards, his head struck the ground and he was unconscious for a few minutes.  An ambulance subsequently took him to hospital.

 

Editor’s note:  The story is a little dated, however, it is yet another reminder of what can happen during a game.  There appear to have been no further reports of the umpire’s condition in the media since the original report so presumably he made a full recovery.

 

Headline: IPL teams gave IPL ‘integrity officers’ expensive gifts.

Article from:  Mumbai Mirror.

Journalist: Devendra Pandey.

Published:  Saturday, 23 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,472. 

 

Anti-corruption officials connected with Chennai Super Kings and Sun Risers Hyderabad had informed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) chief Ravi Sawani that they were given expensive gifts by the two franchises, a watch and a Mac Air laptop, last year.  After the IPL spot-fixing scandal of 2013, an integrity official was attached with each IPL team.  In a letter to the BCCI during IPL-7, Sawani informed that two integrity officers had reported receiving gifts.

 

“Major I C Yadav, who was with Sun Risers Hyderabad was given a Mac Air Laptop as a gift whereas Brigadier (retd) Vijay Singh, who was attached with the Chennai Super Kings team as an Integrity Officer during IPL-7, had reported the receipt of a Titan Xylys Watch from the Franchise as a gift”, writes Sawani.  According to him, the ACU appreciated the gesture for the spirit in which the gift was given, but as a matter of principle the Integrity Officers cannot accept such expensive gifts. “We in the ACU have to follow the highest standards of integrity ourselves before we ask anyone else to keep clean. I hope you will appreciate our stand in this regard,” he added.  CSK and Sun Risers Hyderabad did not respond to emails seeking comment.

 

In another communication by Sawani to the BCCI, a well-known domestic umpire Sanjay Hazare also features in the report. The issue is related to a Rajasthan Royals vs Delhi Daredevils game in Delhi on 3 May last year in which Hazare was a field umpire.  Match referee Andy Pycroft brought to notice the on-field conduct of umpire Hazare in not referring a close run-out appeal in the DD innings for Kevin Pietersen and another similar stumping appeal against Sanju Samson during the RR innings. Both the decisions went in favor of DD.

 

“Andy stated that the norm is to refer all such close appeals to the third umpire who should advise the on-field umpire after reviewing the TV footage of the specific ball from different angles. At least in the first instance, clearly the decision of Sanjay Hazare was erroneous. Even in the second decision, perhaps the benefit of doubt should have gone to the batsman. While the ICC’s ACSU and BCCI’s ACU will be investigating this further the matter is brought to your notice for such action as deemed fit”, Sawani wrote.

 

Interestingly, Hazare was dropped after he officiated in the next game as third umpire between Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore. He was then removed from the panel of umpires during IPL-7. Back in domestic games, Hazare didn’t earn any elite games and officiated mostly Group B and C games.

 

Editor’s note:  Hazare continued to be appointed to Indian domestic first class games during the 2014-15 season.

 

Headline: Sri Lankan probe finds evidence of sex bribes in women's cricket for a place in team.

Article from:  Hindustan Times, Reuters.

Journalist: Not stated

Published:  Saturday, 23 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,473. 

 

Sri Lanka's sports ministry said on Friday that an investigation had found evidence that members of the national women's cricket team had been forced to perform sexual favours for officials in order to earn or keep their places in the squad.  Sri Lanka Cricket, the controlling body for the island nation's most popular sport, ordered an investigation in November after reports emerged alleging officials had asked female cricketers for sex in exchange for being on the team.  A three-member committee, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Nimal Dissanayake, submitted its findings in a report to the sport's ministry on Wednesday.

 

The sports ministry said in a statement: "The committee report found evidence of sexual harassment by members of the Sri Lanka cricket women's management team against several members of the Sri Lanka cricket women's team”.  "The [sports] minister intends to take disciplinary actions against those members where evidence has been found”.  The statement did not give any details of what evidence had been found, which officials were involved, or what kind of action would be taken. 

 

Local media reports in late October quoted an unnamed senior female cricketer, who claimed that team management and officials selecting players had asked women cricketers to have sex with them if they wanted to make the team (PTG 1458-7067, 29 October 2014).  The allegations, which first appeared in the Sinhala-language newspaper ‘Divaina', said the senior player was dropped from the squad after she refused to perform sexual favours.

 

Sri Lanka's women cricket team is ranked sixth in the world in one-day international games after Australia, South Africa, West Indies, Pakistan and England by the International Cricket Council.

 

Headline: Senior Aussie umpire managers attend annual post season meeting.

Article from:  Sources.

Journalist: Notes by PTG editor.

Published:  Monday, 25 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,474. 

 

Members of Cricket Australia’s (CA) match officials office and State Director of Umpires (SDU) around the country are believed to have taken part in their annual post season meeting in Adelaide over the last few days.  Such gatherings are usually held at CA headquarters in Melbourne.  Details of just what was on the agenda have not been made public.  Reports from Perth say that Barrie Rennie, Western Australia’s SDU and a former first class umpire who worked as the third official in a Test match between Australia and Sri Lanka in 1995, was attending his last meeting as he is to retire later this year.  Rennie will celebrate his 66th birthday at the end of July. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,556

   Wednesday, 27 May 2015

 

• New Zealand umpiring ’needs a shot in the arm’ [1556-7475].

• Senior MCC manager delighted with day-night Test outcome [1556-7476].

• Concern about alleged inconsistency on light decisions [1556-7477].

• Windies exchange umpire limited to County Second XI matches [1556-7478].

• BCCI selects 2015 England exchange umpire [1556-7479].

 

Headline: New Zealand umpiring ’needs a shot in the arm'.

Article from:  New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association paper.

Journalist: Not stated.

Published:  Monday, 25 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,475. 

 

Umpiring in New Zealand is "in need of a shot in the arm", according to a discussion paper released recently by the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NZCUSA).  It recommends New Zealand Cricket (NZC) "leads, resources and manages umpire development at all levels, in collaboration with the country’s six Major Associations (MA) and NZCUSA”.   

 

Possible reasons for “the low number of umpires interested in standing in the community game” in that country are said to include: Conservative image of umpiring and umpire organisations; Player behaviour towards umpires; Time required and other modern demands; Law knowledge required; Education processes; How to get started?; Clear identified pathways; and Sufficient appreciation of their work.   

 

It goes on to state that there is a need to ensure: People are attracted into community levels of the game; The image and respect in which umpires are held is raised; Education at all levels is easy to access and user-friendly; Umpires are communicated with and appropriately acknowledged; and that Elite umpires continue to be identified, developed and career-pathed.  The paper, which has been endorsed by NZC and the MAs, is available on line.  

 

Former Test umpire and now NZC match referee George Morris, the NZCUSA's current chairman, is now looking for feedback on the document which is to be discussed at the organisation’s 59th Annual General Meeting and Conference weekend in Auckland over the last weekend of August. The Registration Form and draft Conference Program are now available on line.

 

Headline: Senior MCC manager delighted with day-night Test outcome.

Article from:  MCC web site.

Journalist: Not stated.

Published:  Wednesday, 20 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,476. 

 

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) Head of Cricket John Stephenson says he is hugely encouraged by the ICC Cricket Committee's "strong recommendation" that countries explore possibilities for day-night Test matches.  Stephenson presented a report on MCC's Champion County clash with Yorkshire in Abu Dhabi this March to the ICC Cricket Committee during their two-day meeting in Mumbai earlier this month.

 

After lengthy discussions on the pink-ball match and the day-night Test concept, the committee said: "there will be a strong recommendation from the Cricket Committee to Member countries that they should identify opportunities to play Test matches that extend into the evening hours”.  MCC pioneered the day-night first-class format, played with a pink ‘ ookaburrra' ball, playing its first Champion County match in Abu Dhabi in 2010.  

 

Since then similar experiments have taken place in countries around the world, and Australia could host the first ever day-night Test later this year in Adelaide, Brisbane or Hobart (PTG 1554-7459, 22 May 2015).  Stephenson hopes to see the format embraced by countries where attendances for Test matches are in decline.  He said: "I'm delighted that our six years of hard work and research into this area is being recognised around the world and that there is a growing feeling within the game that day-night Test cricket should be pursued.  "I look forward to seeing the first day-night Test match in the near future, and hope that the format proves to be a long-term success”.

 

Headline: Concern about alleged inconsistency on light decisions.

Article from:  Northampton Chronicle.

Journalist: Phil Ellis (opinion piece).

Published:  Friday, 22 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,477. 

 

There is a rule of thumb in professional cricket that the fewer paid punters left in the ground after long rain breaks, the more chance the umpires can call the game off, regardless of the playing conditions.  On day one of Northamptonshire's Championship Division Two match with Surrey this week, there were just ten people on the ground as stumps were pulled at 4 p.m. on Monday after heavy morning rain.   I felt it was perfectly playable conditions in drying wind and sunshine, but it seems as there was no one around, then the attitude was ‘why not pack up?’

 

Apparently the umpires asked the two captains if they wanted to play in the conditions and they agreed not to.  To contrast that, on the previous Friday night, the umpires played on in grey, cold and dank conditions at a Durham ground without floodlights for the Twenty20 game as the Steelbacks [Northamptonshire] slipped to a disappointing opening defeat to the Jets [Durham].  

 

The light was not fair on the Steelbacks, and you would have thought it’s about time the ECB set a universal light limit across all formats to protect the guys and not allow seam bowlers in that Twenty20 gloom to keep bowling fast to get cheap wickets.  They also need to protect the fans from the clubs’ play in all conditions approach to stop refunds. The hypocrisy is easy to see as the umpires refuse to allow play in championship games when the conditions are ten times better than those murky one-day affairs. 

 

What I’m trying to say that Health and Safety and fairness appears to have nothing to do with these decisions on play. Okay, Northants would have probably lost at Durham anyway as the home side looked on for a big score, but at least make it playable umpires.

 

Headline: Windies exchange umpire limited to County Second XI matches.

Article from:  MCC web site.

Journalist: Not stated.

Published:  Wednesday, 20 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,478. 

 

West Indian umpire Zahid Bassarath, a member of the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) twelve-man Senior Umpires Panel (SUP), completed his six-match exchange visit to England last Thursday.  Bassarath, 32, who is from Trinidad and has stood in nine WICB domestic first class games since his debut in February 2013, was allocated County Second XI matches by the England and Wales Cricket Board (WICB) over a period of seventeen days, three being three-day games, and the other three Twenty20s. 

 

Bassarath is the seventh SUP member to take part in the WICB-ECB exchange program since the agreement was organised six years ago, the others being: Peter Nero (2009), Joel Wilson (2010), Gregory Braithwaite (2011), Nigel Duguid (2012) and Leslie Reifer Junior (2013) and Patrick Gustard (2014).  To date none of them have been appointed to an ECB top-level first class County match, the best being University games that are considered by most observers as second-tier first class games.

 

Earlier this year Steve O’Shaughnessy became the seventh ECB umpire to travel to the West Indies as part of an exchange program (PTG 1516-7303, 6 February 2015).  Like his six predecessors he stood in three WICB domestic first class games whilst in the Caribbean.

 

Headline: BCCI selects 2015 England exchange umpire.

Article from:  Pakistan Observer.

Journalist: Bipin Dani.

Published:  Monday, 25 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,479. 

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to send one of country’s best umpires abroad to be trained further.  According to BCCI sources, C. K. Nandan, the 51-year-old umpire who was born in Delhi and played as a wicketkeeper for Karnataka will be sent to England to gain more experience in umpiring. 

 

This was confirmed by K. Hariharan, the former umpire and now the member of the BCCI’s umpires sub-committee who said: “Nandan will be sent to England in July and will officiate in two matches there”. 

 

The BCCI has umpires exchange arrangements with England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Cricket South Africa (CSA) and Cricket Australia (CA).  So far it has sent umpires C. Shamshuddin (Hyderabad), Anil Chaudhary (Delhi), Vineet Kulkurni (Pune) and S. Ravi (Bangalore) to England, South Africa and Australia on a rotation basis.  

 

Editor’s note:  Nandan played three first class matches for Karnataka, the first in 1983, second in 1985 and third in 1988.  He made his umpiring debut at first class level in October 1999 and currently has 50 such matches, plus 25 List A and 33 senior T20 fixtures, under his belt.  Last year he worked as the television umpire in four Asia Cup One Day Internationals.  BCCI umpires sent on exchange to England normally stand in County first class matches.  Somewhat surprisingly, records available suggest that no ECB umpire was sent to stand in BCCI domestic first class matches during the 2014-15 season in India.  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,557

   Friday, 29 May 2015

 

• Four-day Test cricket concept sparks debate [1557-7480].

• Taufel wants change in attitude to Indian umpiring [1557-7481].

• Indian on the EUP a ’nice by-product’ of BCCI umpire push, says Taufel [1557-7482].

• 'Remote referee' suspends Zimbabwe captain for slow over-rate [1557-7483].

• Lankan women’s harassment a lesson for all, says Sthalekar [1557-7484].

• Two loose their jobs over ’sexual favours' issues [1557-7485].

• Bengal man accidentally hit by cricket bat, dies [1557-7486].

• Pakistan spinner given two-year ban after failing dope test [1557-7487].

• New device helping bowlers avoid ’no balls’ in training [1557-7488].

• UAE all-rounder’s bowling action cleared after Pretoria tests [1557-7488].

• Cricket umpire proves that he really did go to Specsavers! [1557-7490].

• Attendance at son’s tournament costs dad his job [1557-7491].

 

Headline: Four-day Test cricket concept sparks debate.

Article from:  Fairfax Media (Australia).

Journalist: Jon Pierik.

Published:  Wednesday, 27 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,480. 

 

Cricket's top playing committee had a "significant debate" about the possibility of introducing four-day Test cricket in a bid to preserve the primacy of the traditional format.  At the recent meeting of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee in Mumbai, the likes of former Australian captain Mark Taylor and current coach Darren Lehmann broadly discussed whether five days had become too long to retain the interest of supporters, sponsors and broadcasters.

 

It's understood the committee, headed by chairman Anil Kumble, the former Indian captain, agreed that tradition was a major issue to overcome but that should not be a deterrent should action be required to enliven the five-day format.  While it's highly unlikely Test cricket will be cut to four days in the immediate future, concerns remain about the dwindling crowds in many Test series, particularly when they do not involve heavyweights India, Australia and England.  There is the realisation that cricket is in the entertainment business, as shown in the explosion of the Twenty20 format, which is akin to a night out for the family.

 

Amid what sources later said was "significant debate" among the Cricket Committee, it was observed most players still wanted to play the long-form format and it was felt broadcasters would have mixed feelings about any possible change.  A four-day game could provoke more aggressive cricket, although it has been noted that the skills required in Twenty20 had already helped improve the spectacle of Tests and One Day Internationals, with the recent World Cup in Australia producing several totals in the 400-run region. However, it would mean one less day of broadcasting and could affect the bottom line for all parties.

 

Brad McNamara, Australian broadcaster Channel Nine's head of cricket, said the network would be open to any changes that could enhance Test cricket but a thorough investigation of any four-day plan would be required before the network made a call.  "We haven't really had a close look at it enough for me to say one way or the other, whether it would be a good or bad thing”, he said.  "Whatever would make Test cricket more attractive and more people watch it and more successful has got to be a good thing for everyone”.

 

Any investigation could include analysis of the Sheffield Shield, in which matches run over four days.  There have been suggestions the requirement of 90 overs per day in Tests be stretched to 96 under a four-day format but, locally, that would affect television broadcaster Nine's ability to have play run into its nightly 6 pm news, where high ratings are crucial.  Cricket Australia is open to suggestions about broadening Test cricket's appeal, and is doing just that through exploring day-night Tests, which could happen as early as this summer's home series against New Zealand (PTG 1554-7459, 22 May and PTG 1556-7476, 27 May 2015).

 

Shane Warne supported the concept of four-day Test cricket when writing on his own website last month.  "A big call? Maybe – but not if 96 overs are bowled in each day's play. This could be achieved by extending the playing hours from 11 am to 6 pm, to 10 am to 6 pm and making lunch and tea breaks 30 minutes”, he said.  "The sessions would then be extended to 2 hours and 20 minutes. With the constant access to drinks and treatment during these play days, the extra time wouldn't be a problem, as teams would always bowl their overs in time and TV stations can schedule everything”.

 

The ICC reported after the Mumbai meeting: "There was also discussion on the concept of four-day Test cricket, and while the committee was not of the view that Tests should be shorter than five days, it acknowledged that the game will need to be open to considering proposals in the future that look to enhance the public appeal of cricket's oldest format.”  The cricket committee will make any recommendations to the ICC chief executives' committee and the ICC board during the sport's annual conference, in Barbados next month (PTG 1536-7399, 17 March 2015).

 

Editor’s note: The four-day Test concept surfaced three months ago in a ‘blue sky’ strategic planning paper prepared by the England and Wales Cricket Board (PTG 1528-7255, 28 February 2015).  However, prior to the ICC cricket committees meeting referred to in the story above, one former international professional quickly dismissed such an arrangement as unworkable (PTG 1548-7437, 5 April 2015).

 

Headline: Taufel wants change in attitude to Indian umpiring.

Article from:  Cricinfo.

Journalists: Nagraj Gollapudi and Gaurav Kalra.

Published:  Thursday, 28 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,481. 

 

International Cricket Council (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager (UPTM) Simon Taufel has expressed disappointment at the general perception prevalent, not just among fans but importantly also among the Indian players, that Indian umpires were not meeting global standards. Taufel said the umpires from the country have made "tremendous progression" despite there being no Indian presence on the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel.

 

Taufel, who is advisor and mentor to the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) Elite panel of umpires as part of his UPTM role, was blunt in his remarks against the Indian players who he felt did not give the required respect to the umpires.  He told ‘Cricinfo’ in an interview in Kolkata last Sunday: "We would love the players to appreciate and show equal empathy for the difficult nature of our job, appreciate that better umpires get it right, that we are human beings after all". "We do it because we love it and because we want to add value."

 

Relations between players and the umpires have always been frosty, but Taufel managed to keep his head high based on the high percentage of correct decisions he made. However, most umpires have received flak, at times in public, from the players. One prominent example occurred recently when Chennai Super Kings' captain MS Dhoni called Richard Illingworth's decision "horrible" after the England umpire had ruled Dwayne Smith LBW erroneously (PTG 1554-7476, 22 May 2015).  

 

The players, Taufel said, needed to provide constructive feedback and not just grumble about the shortcomings of the match officials. "When the umpires do well they won't get noticed. When the umpires do something wrong they stick out”, he said. "So within the cultural aspect here in India I'd love the players and the captains to realise they need to be part of the solution to improve Indian umpiring and not part of the problem. At the end of the day, you can tell a winning captain's report from a losing captain's report. Umpires either have given too many LBWs or they have not given enough”. 

 

"What we are trying to promote is transparency and integrity”, continued Taufel. "The BCCI tried to address the issue several years ago by putting in video cameras". That is important”.  But “don't tell us they missed three caught-behinds and three LBWs. Tell us he seemed to lose concentration and focus in the last session on day one. That he was not in a good frame of mind to communicate effectively. That he was in a bad position to make that run-out decision”.

 

Asked whether players taking up umpiring could change the mindset, Taufel said that could definitely prove useful. "What I would like to see more in India is players respecting how difficult umpiring is; maybe try it themselves. It would be great to see a Rahul Dravid or a Sachin Tendulkar donning a white coat”.  

 

The Australian said that historically the match officials, the third team in any match, have never been acknowledged. But people involved have to start altering that long-standing trend. "Everybody has a role to play. The media in the way it promotes positiveness of umpiring and match officiating. The players in the way respect the role and they conduct themselves on the field and the feedback that they give us. The administrators in creating an environment where people can excel and the pathways are clearly defined. And public in the way they talk about umpiring and in the way they encourage people to be involved in the game as well. We are not soft targets. We are participants in the game”.

 

Headline: Indian on the EUP a ’nice by-product’ of BCCI umpire push, says Taufel.

Article from:  Cricinfo.

Journalists: Nagraj Gollapudi and Gaurav Kalra.

Published:  Thursday, 28 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,482. 

 

Simon Taufel, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager (UPTM) says that the goal of efforts to improve the standard of Indian umpiring is "not to put an Indian umpire on the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel” (EUP), but rather that such an achievement would be "a nice by-product". "The goal here is to improve and to shift umpiring in this country and position ourselves and deliver best umpiring to people who play”.

 

As an immediate example of the progression of Indian umpires in recent years Taufel pointed out their growth in the Indian Premier League (IPL). In IPL 2015, out of 26 match officials 17 were Indians, including 14 umpires and three match referees. "When I joined the IPL in the second season (2009), there were no Indian umpires in the play-offs. Here we are six years later we have got the highest number of Indian umpires involved in the play-offs. The other night we had two Indian umpires on field in the Eliminator.

 

Taufel said: "That tells me, tells the rest of the world and tells the Indian umpires that people who are selecting them for those matches had faith and trust in the performance abilities of those umpires”.  He pointed out that the IPL was also a good yardstick to measure success because it threw various challenges in the path of an upcoming umpire. "I feel the IPL is a tremendous opportunity for the Indian umpires to work with the best in the world and learn from them”. "There's great media scrutiny, huge crowds and the top players are involved. We can see how they respond and reinforce what they are doing well. They are doing well largely and it is about giving them self belief”.

 

In it not though just in the IPL progress is being made, but also at international level Indians umpire were gaining a foothold. "There have been a lot of success stories over the last few years. We have had Indian umpires officiating at the World Cup and we have two umpires going to the World Twenty20 qualifiers. Our focus is to improve Indian domestic umpiring. We have produced four quality International Panel umpires. They are doing extremely well and one of them (Sundarum Ravi) officiating at Lord's in a Test match [last week]. It is his fifth Test match. He has been to a World Cup and put his name up for selection [to the EUP] and the rest is up to the selectors”.

 

At the time of the interview last Sunday Taufel indicated he had been been highly impressed by Ravi going through the first three days of the Lord's Test without being noticed (a measure of success in the Taufel book of umpiring). Ravi is part of the group of four Indian umpires who are overseen closely by Taufel.  Anil Chaudhary, C Shamshuddin and Vineet Kulkarni are the other three. According to Taufel, who started working with Indian umpires from 2006 when he came as part of a Cricket Australia team, one of the big changes he has noticed in the Indian umpires is they have become more honest about their work and that only helps in the assessment and growth.

 

Headline: 'Remote referee' suspends Zimbabwe captain for slow over-rate.

Article from:  ICC.

Journalist: Not stated.

Published:  Wednesday, 27 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,483.

 

Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura has been suspended for two One Day Internationals (ODI) for maintaining a “serious” slow over-rate during his side’s first ODIl against Pakistan in Lahore on Tuesday.  The Zimbabwe side was ruled to be three overs short of its target at the end of the opening match of the series when time allowances were taken into consideration.  As such ICC "remote match referee" Roshan Mahanama handed Chigumbura two suspension points, while each of his players lost forty-per-cent of their match fees.

 

Under ICC regulations : “where the actual over rate in any Test Match or any other International Match of at least four days in duration is more than five overs short of the Minimum Over Rate, or, in any [ODI], Twenty20 International Match or any other International Match of fifty (50) or twenty (20) overs per side, is more than two overs short of the Minimum Over Rate, such an offence shall be considered a “Serious Over Rate Offence”.

 

The charges were levelled by on-field umpires Aleem Dar and Russell Tiffin, third umpire Ahmed Shahab and reserve umpire Shozab Raza.  The imposition of two suspension points means that Chigumbura will now miss Zimbabwe’s final two ODIs to be played in Lahore on today and on Sunday.  Should he be found guilty of a second serious over-rate offence in an ODI over the next 12 months, he will receive a sanction of between two and eight suspension points as per the provisions of the Code.

 

Editor’s note:  The ICC says Sri Lankan Mahanama has been assigned to remotely deal with matters relating to the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Players Support Personnel, while Pakistan’s Azhar Khan (PTG 1554-7464, 22 May 23015) is performing "all other match referee-related duties”.  The ICC refused to send its officials to Pakistan for the current series on security grounds, but there has been no public indication by the ICC until now that it would be using a “remote” referee for the series (PTG 1554-7464, 22 May 2015).  The ICC often uses remote referees in its World Cricket League tournaments, however, the matches involved are generally in the same close geographic area.

 

Headline: Lankan women’s harassment a lesson for all, says Sthalekar.

Article from:  The Age.

Journalist: Jesse Hogan.

Published:  Wednesday, 27 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,484.

 

Retired Australian women's all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar hopes official vindication for the Sri Lankan cricket players who accused national team officials of demanding sex in return for selection will ensure such "extreme cases" will never again happen in women's cricket.  

 

The Sri Lankan government ordered an inquiry into allegations which surfaced late last year that male team officials were pressuring players for sex, and that one who had refused was dropped.  The appointed investigative committee of three, led by retired judge Nimal Dissanayake, last week reported its conclusion that the allegations of sexual harassment were warranted and two male officials accused of misconduct are likely to be prosecuted (PTG 1555-7473, 25 May 2015). One Sri Lankan politician described the harassment as "shameful”.

 

Sthalekar, an Australian all-rounder who retired after the national team's 2013 World Cup campaign, was recently a TV pundit for the Indian Premier League. She says the incident should serve as a reminder of the possible issues for female players beyond the "nice little bubble in Australia”.  "This has highlighted some issues, and hopefully we'll never see them again in women's cricket – especially in Sri Lanka”, Sthalekar said.  "Hopefully the people who caused the issue are never involved in women's cricket again, or [any] cricket, in the future” (see PTG 1557-7485 below).

 

Sthalekar is part of the group trying to launch the Women's International Cricket League (WICL), which is intended to be a lucrative tournament for the world's elite female players (PTG 1342-6485, 1 May 2014). WICL director Shaun Martyn argued the incident in Sri Lanka reinforced the merits, and lasting benefits, of the proposed tournament.  "This is why we have been fighting so hard to set this league up around opportunities for women; cricket is just a vehicle for that”, Martyn said.  "My whole management team is just appalled by that occurrence. It doesn't surprise us, but until we get some kind of financial independence for these women around the sport this sort of stuff will keep happening”.

 

Last year a Pakistani cricketer killed herself after she and four teammates launched sexual harassment allegations against the president and a selector at their club.  The allegations made by Halima Rafique and her teammates in mid 2013 were investigated by the Pakistan Cricket Board.  The investigation, about which Rafique declined to be interviewed, not only concluded there was no basis to the allegations but imposed a six-month ban on all five players. A week later Rafique, 17, died after drinking poison.

 

Editor’s note: The WICL is a concept that was described as women “cashing in” on the game when plans for it were made public last May (PTG 1342-6485, 1 May 2014).  However, Sthalekar and Martyn’s reported on-going enthusiasm above flies in the face of clear opposition from a number of national boards soon after (PTG 1369-6616, 5 June 2014 and PTG 1370-6622, 6 June 2014), and the subsequent announcement by the ICC of the world Women’s Championship series (PTG 1390-6722, 14 July 2014).

 

Headline: Two loose their jobs over ’sexual favours' issues.

Article from:  BBC.

Journalist: Not stated

Published:  Wednesday, 27 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,485.

 

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a statement on Wednesday that the men who were allegedly involve in harassing members of its national women’s team for sexual favours in return for places in the side did not have their contracts renewed when they ended in April (PTG 1557-7484 above).  However, it also said there were "no grounds to justify criminal proceedings" in the case.

 

SLC referred to "the unsatisfactory situation that prevailed in the selection... and widely prevalent perceptions of favouritism and bias”.  The body said that two of the officials concerned had committed "a few incidents of sexual harassment" but that "there was no evidence of any physical intimacy”.  A third man had committed "incidents of improper conduct... which did not amount to sexual harassment". 

 

Headline: Bengal man accidentally hit by cricket bat, dies.

Article from:  Zee News.

Journalist: Not stated.

Published:  Wednesday, 27 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,486. 

 

A 58-year-old man was killed after being accidentally hit by a cricket bat in West Bengal's East Midnapore district, some 180 km from Kolkata, on Tuesday evening.  According to police, Shahshank Manna was watching a cricket match between local children when the bat slipped out of a batsman's hand and hit him on the head.

 

An officer of Bhagwanpur police station said: "Prime facie, it appears the batsman's hands were sweaty and while he attempted a shot, the bat slipped out his hand and landed directly on Manna's head”.  "Bleeding profusely, he was taken to a hospital where the doctors declared him dead”.  "We have registered a case of unnatural death”.  

 

In April, Ankit Keshri, a former captain of Bengal's Under-19 side, died as a result of a freak on-field accident that occurred during a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Division 1 match.  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 and he died a few days later in hospital (PTG 1551-7447, 23 April 2015).

 

Headline: Pakistan spinner given two-year ban after failing dope test.

Article from:  Agence France Presse.

Journalist: Not stated.

Published:  Tuesday, 26 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,487. 

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has banned left-arm spinner Raza Hasan, who played one One Day International and 10 Twenty20 matches for the national side, for two years after he failed a drugs test in a domestic competition.  According to a PCB statement released on Monday :"Hasan will not entitled to take part in any capacity, in any cricket match or activity... authorised or organised by the PCB”, except for approved anti-doping education or rehabilitation programs.  

 

The PCB conducted random testing during a domestic tournament in January and sent Hasan's samples to a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory in India.  The PCB did not name the banned substance but Pakistani media last month reported Hasan was under investigation for using cocaine.  

 

Headline: New device helping bowlers avoid ’no balls’ in training.

Article from:  Brisbane Sunday Mail.

Journalist: Jorge Branco.

Published:  Sunday, 24 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,488. 

 

A sensor which beeps when bowlers overstep the mark is making training "a lot more perfect" for Australia's cricketers.  A Brisbane invention is being used to train future Aussie cricketers to avoid one of the sport's most painful moments.  In one-day cricket the stakes are particularly high because a front-foot no ball gives the batsman a free hit.

 

A hacked-together invention by former Cricket Australia (CA) sports science and sports medicine manager Peter Blanch, further refined by university tech development company ‘Qutbluebox', is designed to put a stop to no balls.  Based on a simple door chime, the device shines a light sensor from one side of the popping crease to a reflector strip on the other.  If the bowler crosses the line it emits an annoying beep tennis lovers will recognise immediately.

 

The first prototype didn't really work, only detecting a handful of bad deliveries and breaking easily.  So CA got in touch with ‘Qutbluebox' consultant Sam James through a business partner and asked him to refine the device.  James played down his involvement as having "sturdied it up just a little bit" and "painted them yellow" but the work made the instrument significantly more reliable.

 

Promising players at CA's National Performance Program have been training with the device for more than 18 months.  Head coach Troy Cooley said it was hard to measure how much difference the device made but he was sure it was a valuable tool.  "For us it's just making sure their practice becomes a little bit more perfect each time”, he said.  "Given the fact that we don't have umpires [during training] and if the bowler's just out there bowling on their own they don't normally look down to see if they've bowled a no ball.  "So it's a little bit of feedback for them”.

 

The device also sounds like an attractive alternative to slow and frustrating video replays after the fall of a wicket but neither Cooley nor James are particularly hopeful on that front.  They both agreed any automatic no ball detection would likely need to rely on some sort of video technology like the Hawk-Eye ball tracking system used in many sports, including cricket.

 

Headline: UAE all-rounder’s bowling action cleared after Pretoria tests.

Article from:  ICC press relase.

Journalist: Michael Vaughnton.

Published:  Wednesday, 27 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,489. 

 

United Arab Emirates (UAE) all-rounder Mohammed Shahzad has had his bowling action cleared by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after undergoing a biomechanics test in South Africa earlier this month.  The Pakistan-born player, 35, who was reported after an One Day International against Afghanistan in Dubai last November, was picked as a batsman for the four-day Intercontinental Cup against Ireland which starts next Tuesday but will now also be able to bowl. 

 

The ICC Statement said that the tests conducted in Pretoria showed the amount of elbow extension in all of Shahzad’s deliveries was within the 15-degree level of tolerance permitted under its playing regulations for the review of bowlers reported with suspected illegal bowling actions.  While cleared, umpires involved in international matches in which he takes part are still at liberty to report him again if they believe he is displaying a suspect action and not reproducing the legal action from the test.  To assist them, the ICC has provided umpires with images and video footage of the bowlers’ legal bowling action.

 

Headline: Cricket umpire proves that he really did go to Specsavers!.

Article from:  Coventry Telegraph.

Journalist: Ben Eccleston.

Published:  Wednesday, 27 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,490.

 

A Warwickshire umpire is so fed up of players questioning his eyesight that he now takes to the field with proof that he has perfect 20/20 vision.  Norman Rogers, umpire for the Leek Wootton Cricket Club which plays in the Cotswold Hills League, was told he ‘should have gone to [opticians] Specsavers’ one too many times by players when they disagreed with his rulings – so he did exactly that.

 

A regular customer to the ‘Specsavers' store in The Square, Kenilworth, Rogers knew his eyesight was up to scratch and store bosses were more than happy to lend a helping hand.  The result was a brand new umpire coat with a message on the back saying: ‘I did go to Specsavers, in Kenilworth’.

 

Store director Ambreena Ahsan Bhatti said: “When Norman approached us we were only too keen to help”.  “It’s great to see that the ‘should have gone to Specsavers’ catchphrase has become such a common place saying, particularly on the sporting field, and we hope that Norman takes delight in letting people know that his eyes are clearly on the ball”.

 

Headline: Attendance at son’s tournament costs dad his job.

Article from:  Australian Financial Review.

Journalist: Misa Han.

Published:  Monday, 25 May 2015.

PTG listing: 7,491.

 

Australia’s Fair Work Commission found an employer had a valid reason to sack a senior manager who went to his son's cricket carnival while he was supposedly working from home.  Truck company 'Isuzu Australia' dismissed fleet manager Paul Sibley after he flew from Adelaide to Melbourne to see his son, who was selected to play in a carnival there.

 

A few weeks earlier, Sibley had told his supervisor if his son was selected to play he would take time off to watch him.  However, the day before the two-day match, Sibley sent an email to his supervisor stating: "I will not be in the office on these two days however will be available on mobile and e-mail". His supervisor replied with "Cheers”.  He then flew up to Melbourne for the match without applying for leave or time off in lieu.

 

Sibley told the tribunal the decision to fly to Melbourne was a "last-minute decision associated with the tragic death of Australian cricketer Phil Hughes and the potential impact upon his son”.  He also said when he attended the cricket carnival, he was "reactively working" because he was at the cricket with the company mobile phone and responded to some emails in the same way as if working from home.

 

Fair Work Commissioner Peter Hampton found there was a good reason for Isuzu to sack Sibley, but that the dismissal was unfair because the company did not make it clear to him it was considering dismissal.  The Commissioner found that Sibley was "deliberately obtuse" and the e-mail he sent to his supervisor was "capable of multiple meanings" to try to avoid the company's time-off-in-lieu policy, which required his supervisor's approval in advance.  Hampton also found that while it was possible to work remotely in theory, his supervisor's response – "Cheers" – was not permission to conduct work from Melbourne.

 

Sibley's argument that the decision to fly to Melbourne was "last-minute” was rejected.  However, the cricketing father was found to not be aware that dismissal was being considered by the company and this impacted upon the opportunity for him to provide an explanation and to raise potential mitigation factors.  As a result Sibley was awarded $A7000 in compensation.

 

End of May 2015 news.