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                      JULY 2015
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 26 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 7608-7804)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below
 
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PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,581

  Wednesday, 1 July 2015

 

• No surprise as day-night Test gets the green light [1581-7608].

• Day-night revolution keeps Tests relevant [1581-7609].

• MCC welcomes day-night Test decision [1581-7610].

• Deal with CA ‘outstanding’, says NZC [1581-7611].

• Match officials for World T20 Qualifier announced [1581-7612].

• Indian exchangee for Southampton, Chelmsford first class fixtures [1581-7613].

• Sri Lanka fined for slow over-rate [1581-7614].

• Match in Essex abandoned after fight breaks out [1581-7615].

Headline: No surprise as day-night Test gets the green light.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Jon Pierik.

Published: Tuesday, 30 June 2015.

PTG listing: 7,608.

Australia and New Zealand will contest the inaugural day-night Test in Adelaide in November despite the "uncertainty and apprehension" of the Black Caps players (PTG 1575-7570, 24 June 2015 and PTG 1576-7574, 25 June 2015).  Cricket Australia (CA) chief James Sutherland and his New Zealand Cricket (NZC) counterpart David White have confirmed the two countries had agreed to embrace the pink-ball clash, from November 27 to December 1. It could take on even greater prominence as the Test will be the third in what shapes as an intriguing three-match series.

The boards believe the format will boost attendances and television ratings, with broadcaster Channel Nine's boss David Gyngell declaring: "Evolution is everything in elite sport and its coverage, and it's up to us all to think outside the square and meet these challenges”.  Sutherland first flagged the day-night concept in 2007 but the stumbling block for so long had been finding a suitable ball.  ‘Kookaburra' chief Brett Elliot told Fairfax Media earlier this month that issue had now been resolved, with a pink ball "identical" to the red and white balls in terms of hardness and bounce (PTG 1569-7545, 17 June 2015).

While NZC had been in favour of the match, its players had expressed concerns over the uncertainty of the coloured ball, especially as there were issues among Australian players, particularly through the twilight period, during trials at first-class level over the past two summers (PTG 1461-7079, 17 November 2014).  However, New Zealand Players Association chief Heath Mills said the players had agreed to take part for the good of the sport.  "It's fair to say our players are nervous about the day-night Test. It's uncharted territory and because of that there will be uncertainty and apprehension”," he said. "However, whilst the players have reservations about the concept, they can see the bigger picture in the new agreement, and the greater good it brings to all levels of the game”.

Australian coach Darren Lehmann, who was part of the day-night Test talks at the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee meeting in Mumbai last month, said he was delighted his team would have the opportunity to be involved.  "It's going to be history, isn't it? It's a great Test match traditionally and now the day-night Test match adds something special to it”, he said (PTG 1580-7601, 29 June 2015).  In what already is a crowded summer schedule, Sutherland said players from both teams would be given enough warm-up matches to prepare for the pink ball.

The day-night Test comes as CA agreed to improve its business relationship with its trans-Tasman rival who do not boast anywhere near the financial might of CA (PTG 1574-7563, 23 June 2015). This means battle for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy will become more prominent, with six One Day International series over the next four years, and with the Black Caps to host four series.  The relationship had soured as the Black Caps struggled on the field, but they have since emerged as a world force.  Former Australian captain Greg Chappell said CA "have a responsibility as the senior partner, if you like, to make sure New Zealand cricket is healthy", and floodlit Tests would add "another level of the game to adapt to”.

Sutherland said day-night Tests could re-energise the sport's traditional format in other countries.  "One of the global challenges with Test cricket is that most of the matches outside holiday periods are played on week days, in the middle of the day when people are at work and kids are at school”, Sutherland said.  "By shifting the playing times each day's play can go into the evening and allow people to come in after work or after school to attend the last few hours of play, but also when they get home in other parts of the world or other parts of the country, they can watch the game on TV”.  "The Perth Test match is a great illustration of that. It's fanatically watched on the eastern seaboard of Australia every year because of the three-hour time difference. Our television ratings are something like forty per cent more for the whole country”.

ICC chief David Richardson said CA and NZC were taking a "bold step”.  "Day-night first-class cricket has been trialled in a number of countries – Pakistan, England, Australia, South Africa [and the West Indies] – but I think it's true that most Test cricketers are still a little bit sceptical that conditions are not really suited batting in the twilight time”, he said.  "I think that the fact that New Zealand and Australia are taking the step now, quite a bold step, in staging a match, the first of its kind”.  "I think will at least in the long run show to players that, 'Hold on, it's not as bad as we might imagine, that the pink ball is pretty similar to any other cricket balls that we have to play with' and the scepticism will go away”.

Headline: Day-night revolution keeps Tests relevant.

Article from:  CA web site.

Journalist:  Andrew Ramsey.

Published: Tuesday, 30 June 2015.

PTG listing: 7,609.

If Test cricket was unable or unwilling to evolve, it would doubtless have faded into obscurity when the combatants in the first 'international' match played 171 years ago – the USA and Canada – lost interest in the sport in the fall-out from the American Civil War.  Or it might still be played with curved bats, bowlers might employ underarm deliveries, overs could consist of five deliveries (or as many as eight), a six would only be awarded if the ball went out of the ground, Bodyline would be legal, declarations wouldn't be, and players could not be paid.

The next evolution to move the game ever forward will be born at the suitably historic Adelaide Oval later this year when Australia hosts New Zealand in the first day-night Test match played under lights.  The unprecedented event forms a centrepiece of the 2015-16 Test schedule released today by Cricket Australia, and comes following years of trials to find the optimum venue, lighting and ball and after lengthy consultation between CA, New Zealand Cricket and the player representative bodies the Australian Cricketers' Association and New Zealand Cricket Players' Association.

It also comes in the wake of the International Cricket Council's influential Cricket Committee, of which former Australia captain Mark Taylor and current Australia coach Darren Lehmann are members, recommending that day-night Test opportunities be pursued to address dwindling Test match attendances worldwide.  "The recommendation to the ICC from our committee was to make sure we're pushing the boundaries and trying to get day-night Test matches … (and) get people to come and watch it in different parts of the world”, Lehmann said in England on Monday.  "We think it's an important way to go, but only time will tell if it's right or if it's wrong, and at the end of the day we have to give it a crack and I think it's important for the game”.

The Chappell-Hadlee rivalry resumes In confirming the dates for the historic match, to be played using standard Test match breakdown of three two-hour sessions each day with play expected to begin at 2.30 pm and conclude at 9.30 pm South Australia time.  CA Chief Executive James Sutherland claimed it was an idea whose time has come.  Sutherland said the fact that, by their very nature, the balance of most Test matches are played at times during the day and on week days when adults are at work and children at school meant the game was depriving itself of maximising its exposure to its fans."To be brutally honest, if you look at the way that Test cricket is supported around the world it is challenged”, said Sutherland

“It is challenged in modern-day society by two other formats of the game (fifty and twenty over games), so if we reflect on some of the attendances and even some declining (television) ratings for cricket around the world we believe this is an opportunity that can breathe new life into Test cricket.  "By time shifting two or three hours, each day's play can go into the evening, it can allow people to come in after work or after school to attend the last few hours play but also when they get home in other parts of the world or other parts of the country they can watch the game on TV”.

At the end of the day, Adelaide was just the right fit. "It's a traditional Test ground, one of the most beautiful grounds in the world but with the recent developments there it really is fit for purpose."We're really confident that the community will get behind this Test match, but we also know that Adelaide is a bit of pilgrimage for cricket fans all over the world and we hope that New Zealand fans as well will come to this first-ever day-night match”.  "We had some interest from other parts of the country and there's nothing to preclude them from hosting day-night Test cricket in the future assuming that things progress from here and it's a really positive occasion”.  

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said his organisation's Cricket Committee had made its recommendation to explore the viability of day-night Tests in order to increase the game's sustainability in the face of dwindling crowds."To do that it (Test cricket) has to remain relevant, (so) we have to play Test cricket at times when it is convenient for people to come and watch”, Richardson said.  "You can't put on a stage show in the middle of the day when people are all at work, and I think it is the same principle as far as Test cricket is concerned.  "Let's schedule Test in holiday periods (and) after work in the evenings when people can go and catch a bit of the Test cricket in a relaxed atmosphere”.

Editor’s note:  Sunset in Adelaide around the time the day-night Test is to be played is 8.10 pm local time.  If the playing times referred to above are correct, with the last session getting underway at 7.30 p.m., full darkness will only apply to the last session.  Importantly for broadcaster Channel Nine that means the last session will end at 10 pm for viewers in most eastern states where the bulk of their audience is, but in Queensland it will be 9 pm there as they do not have daylight saving in summer.  

Headline: MCC welcomes day-night Test decision.

Article from:  MCC web site

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Tuesday, 30 June 2015.

PTG listing: 7,610.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has voiced its support for Cricket Australia and Cricket New Zealand's decision to host the first ever day-night Test match in Adelaide this winter.  And a poll on the Cricket Australia website suggested that the majority of fans supported the concept of playing during the afternoon and evening, in an effort to boost attendances at Test matches.  MCC has led the development of the day-night Test concept since it first used the pink ball in April 2008, playing the first ever first-class match under lights in Abu Dhabi in 2010 against then County Champions Durham.

The Club's Head of Cricket John Stephenson said: "This announcement is a very positive step for Test cricket and everyone at MCC is pleased with the news”.  "The Club has conducted a lot of research over the years into the possibilities of day-night Test cricket using pink cricket balls, and it will be exciting to see this in action”.  "This is a very positive step for Test cricket"

"The quality of the Champion County matches, which have been played under these conditions since 2010, has demonstrated that day-night, long-form cricket played with a pink ball is a viable proposition". "This, combined with the successful Sheffield Shield trials of the pink ball late last year, make it clear that the time is right for a day-night Test match to be played with a pink ball”.

The day-night Test idea was first discussed by MCC's World Cricket committee, who made the decision to relocate the Champion County match to Abu Dhabi to trial the pink ball in 2010.  With attendances for Test matches falling in certain parts of the world, the World Cricket committee took the decision to attempt to maintain the primacy of the longest format, in the hope that Tests might one day be played under lights.  "It’s all about trying to help Test cricket thrive and prosper. At the right venue and with the right conditions, day-night Test match cricket can address the sharp decrease in attendances seen in certain countries around the world," Stephenson added.

 

"The Club is very grateful to Cricket Australia for helping to develop this concept through the Sheffield Shield trials, culminating in the confirmation of the first ever day-night Test match".   "MCC believes that Test cricket played under these conditions can be very popular and help revitalise the longest form of the game”.

Editor’s note:  The Cricket Australia survey referred to above is showing this morning that 68 per cent of the 10,500 who voted on line were in support the day-night concept, 21 per cent said they were not, and 11 per cent were undecided.

Headline: Deal with CA ‘outstanding’, says NZC.

Article from:  NZ City.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Tuesday, 30 June 2015.

PTG listing: 7,611.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) boss David White has played down an upcoming five-year gap in Tests with Australia, saying the Black Caps are about to get more trans-Tasman clashes than they've ever had.  The two countries have agreed to a seven-year playing schedule which contains 10 Tests, 28 One Day Internationals for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy and a Twenty20 international.  Five of the Tests will be held during the 2015-16 summer, including an historic day-nighter in Adelaide (PTG 1571-7608 above), but the next trans-Tasman Test after that will be in early 2021.

White says the overall schedule represents "an outstanding deal" for cricket in this country.  "We've got 28 Chappell-Hadlee games - that's eight series in seven years”, he said.  "We haven't had a Chappell-Hadlee series against Australia for five years”.  "We haven't had a Test match for four years”.  "I'm very comfortable with the content. It's a lot more cricket with Australia, more than we've ever had before."

NZ Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills hailed the agreement, saying the importance to the Black Caps players of one-dayers against Australia shouldn't be underestimated.  "Whilst they value Test cricket as the ultimate form of the game - there's no question about that - the fact that NZC has been able to secure an annual programme of Chappell-Hadlee matches is huge”, said Mills.  "Nothing excites players more than having regular contact and regular matches against our friends over the Tasman”.

Headline: Match officials for World T20 Qualifier announced.

Article from:  ICC release.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Tuesday, 30 June 2015.

PTG listing: 7,612.

Match officials from ten countries have been selected to manage the 51 games  in the fourteen team World T20 Qualifier event that is to be played in Ireland and Scotland later this month.  The top six sides from the 18-day tournament will join the 10 Test playing countries in the World Twenty20 Championship series in India next March-April.  The three match referees come from the International Cricket Council’s second-tier Regional Referees Panel (RRP), and the is one, nine and three umpires respectively from the ICC’s top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), its second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and third-tier Associate and Affiliates International Umpires Panel (AAIUP).

Those from the RRP are:  Steve Bernard (Australia),  David Jukes (England) and Graeme La Brooy (Sri Lanka).  Nigel Llong of England is the EUP member, those from the IUP Paul Wilson (Australia), Tim Robinson (England), Anil Chaudhary and Vineet Kulkarni (both India), Ahsan Raza (Pakistan), Ruchira Palliyaguruge (Sri Lanka), Johan Cloete and Shaun George (both South Africa) and Gregory Brathwaite (West Indies), and from the AAIUP Mark Hawthorne (Ireland), David Odhiambo (Kenya) and Ian Ramage (Scotland).  No match officials from Bangladesh, New Zealand and Zimbabwe were selected for the Qualifier series.  

Teams taking part in this month’s event are: Afghanistan, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jersey, Kenya, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Headline: Indian exchangee for Southampton, Chelmsford first class fixtures.

Article from:  ICC release.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Tuesday, 30 June 2015.

PTG listing: 7,613.

Indian umpire C K Nandan is to stand in two County first class matches this month as part of an exchange program between the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (PTG 1557-7479, 27 May 2015).  His first game will be in Southhampton with ECB umpire Nick Cook when Hampshire play Durham, and the second a week later with Peter Hartley in Chelmsford when Essex play Glamorgan.  The fixtures will be his 51st and 52nd first class games, his last two being on exchange on South Africa last February (PTG 1531-7371, 1 March 2015).

Headline: Sri Lanka fined for slow over-rate.

Article from:  ICC release.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Tuesday, 30 June 2015.

PTG listing: 7,614.

Sri Lanka have been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the second test against Pakistan in Colombo.  Match referee Chris Broad of England imposed the fines after the hosts were found to be one over short of the target during the game which ended on Monday.  Skipper Angelo Mathews was fined 20 percent of his undisclosed match fees and the rest of the team 10 percent according to regulations governing Test cricket.  Broad said: "Mathews pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the proposed sanction, so there was no need for a formal hearing".

Headline: Match in Essex abandoned after fight breaks out.

Article from:  BBC.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Tuesday, 30 June 2015.

PTG listing: 7,615.

A match between two Essex League fourth XI teams had to be abandoned in the thirteenth over last Saturday after players ended up in a fight.  The altercation involved players from the Basildon and Pitsea and  Stanford-le-Hope sides and led to a man in his sixties being taken to hospital with a cut to his head, and another in his forties arrested after what the Essex League called "a serious incident”.  Essex Police said the arrested man was later released without charge.  Essex League chairman Andrew Kennedy said the two clubs would be carrying out their own investigations into the matter.

A joint statement issued by both clubs said that after an investigation they will be applying what they believe to be appropriate sanctions as soon as possible. After this, both clubs will forward their findings onto the Essex League's Disciplinary Officer for his review, and action as necessary. When all three investigations have been completed, further information will be made available.  The statement said “both Management Committees would like to stress that this episode is totally uncharacteristic for either club; however it is something that we cannot tolerate happening on the field of play. It will leave an indelible imprint on the players that were playing for our sides at Laindon on that day".

Editor’s note:  This is the second game in England in a week where play had to be abandoned because of a fight, a Wiltshire County League fixture going the same way two Saturday’s ago (PTG 1578-7589, 27 June 2015).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,582

  Thursday, 2 July 2015

 

• Australian quick not convinced about pink ball [1582-7616].

• Million dollar Test prize pool ’sweetener’ in day-night deal [1582-7617].

• Does Test cricket need to become more attractive to the masses? [1582-7618].

• Haddin puzzled by outbreak of pre-Ashes civility [1582-7619].

• Australia and New Zealand reap significant World Cup dividend [1582-7620].

• Moves of other sports shows up cricket's poverty of ambition [1582-7621].

• Hard to see rebel leagues succeeding, says Srinivasan [1582-7622].

Headline: Australian quick not convinced about pink ball.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Chris Barrett.

Published: Wednesday, 1 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,616.

Australian Mitchell Starc might be the best bowler on the planet with the white ball and a rising star on the world stage with the red but he is no fan of the pink, claiming he "couldn't see the thing" when he played in Cricket Australia’s (CA) most recent round of trial in a Sheffield Shield game at the Adelaide Oval last November (PTG 1462-7082,  18 November 2014).  On the day that CA confirmed the day-night Test against New Zealand in Adelaide this summer (PTG 1581-7608, 1 July 2015), Australia's player of the World Cup gave voice to the discontent that exists among players about the landmark change to the format.

In a stinging takedown of the pink-ball concept, Starc left no confusion about his position, protesting that the balls used last November didn't swing and would upset the balance between batsman and bowler, that they couldn't be seen from the boundary, and agreeing that a separate set of Test records may need to be established due to the vastly different conditions under which the format will be played at Adelaide Oval this November.  

His review of the pink ball used in the Shield trial was not favourable.  "It's definitely not a red ball," he said. "It doesn't react anything like the red ball, in terms of swing and the hardness of it anyway. It goes soft pretty quickly, I didn't see a huge amount of reverse swing in that game and I don't think it swung from memory too much until the artificial light took over. It definitely reacts very, very differently to the red ball”.  "The other thing as well is, personally, I couldn't see the thing at night on the boundary. I couldn't see the ball. So I'm not sure how the crowd are going to see it”.

"I'm yet to be convinced”, said Starc, the only member of the Australian bowling contingent currently in England who played in CA’s most recent Shield trial.  "I can understand why it's happening, and how we're trying to progress the game and evolve the game, but I guess time will tell to see whether it works or not".  "Guys like Chris Rogers - whether he is available or not - the fact that he can't see the pink ball (Rogers is colour blind) means he can't play (PTG 1431-6921, 21 September 2014).  He's not the only player out there who is going to be affected by seeing the ball.  "I guess it throws up a huge number of questions and theories about where the game is going”, he said.

There was a mixed reception to the day-night Test announcement at a media event in Essex in which several of the Australians spoke.  Starc's fellow left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson was reluctant to weigh in until after the Ashes. “But”, he added deliberately, "one thing is I love the tradition of Test cricket, things like the baggy green and little things like wearing the woollen jumper – we had an option to change that, but we wanted to keep that as a tradition". "I think tradition in the game is very important.”

Like Johnson, Shane Watson has never played with the pink ball — "I've actually never even seen one”, the all-rounder said — but as an executive member of the Australian Cricketer’s Association or player’s union he has been across the talks leading to the CA deal with New Zealand.  He said he had spoken to Rajasthan Royals teammate Tim Southee during the Indian Premier League about the Kiwis' concerns. "Most of us haven't played a game with the pink ball so that's a big unknown how that's going to play but also how the conditions might change when the sun goes down and how that could really affect the Test match especially against two high quality sides as well with some very good fast bowlers”, Watson said. "Those unknowns are something that we players have talked about quite a lot but until we actually play it we don't know exactly the impact what those things could have”.

On the other hand Test vice-captain Steve Smith and veteran wicketkeeper Brad Haddin were more positive. "Hopefully it will bring in the crowds”, Smith said. "It's going to be a big challenge playing against them, and to be able to do it against the pink ball is going to be good”.  Said Haddin: "We're playing with a pink ball – my daughter will like it”.

Editor’s note.  CA said in February last year that it had sought advice from optometrists about the visibility of the pink balls and that it was "confident" colour blind people can pick up their flight.  Advice at that stage was that there isn't any reason why a player with normal colour blindness would have any more difficulty seeing a pink ball compared to a red ball given its lighter colour and higher luminosity (PTG 1299-6265, 26 February 2014).

Headline: Million dollar Test prize pool ’sweetener’ in day-night deal.

Article from:  New Zealand Herald.

Journalist:  Dylan Cleaver.

Published: Wednesday, 1 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,617.

A blockbuster trans-Tasman seven-year deal and prize money of $A1 million (£UK433,000) has convinced New Zealand Cricket to bow to Australia's wishes for a day-night Test.  The deal, which includes this year's five-Test home-and-away summer, will reinvigorate the dormant Chappell-Hadlee Trophy and capitalise on New Zealand's new-found respect on the international scene.

New Zealand was initially opposed to the Test, not wanting to be pink-ball guinea pigs, but the lure of guaranteed contact with the best team in the world over multiple years was too enticing to take a trenchant position.  In a sweetener to players who have been cynical to the point of hostile about toying with the purity of Test cricket, a $A1 million prize pool will be put up for the three-Test series in Australia.  "While the players have reservations about playing Test cricket at night, they see the bigger picture in the new agreement, and the greater good it brings to all levels of the game in New Zealand”, said players' association boss Heath Mills.

The day-night concept has been top of Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland's agenda for some time.  While attendances at grounds might not initially improve substantially, broadcast partner Channel Nine is expected to reap the benefits of more eyeballs tuning in during prime time.  New Zealand are expected to play at least two warm-up games under lights using a pink ball before the Adelaide Test.

Former Australian captain Greg Chappell has experienced day-night long-form cricket during the Packer revolution and was confident it can work.  "Having played under lights in Super Test cricket many years ago, it was a great challenge; a little bit different from normal red ball cricket”, Chappell said.  "It created some challenges for the players, obviously”.  "You're playing during the sunlight in the first session of the day, and then progressively it gets darker and then the last session is definitely played in night conditions”.

Headline: Does Test cricket need to become more attractive to the masses?

Article from:  New Zealand Herald.

Journalist:  Dylan Cleaver.

Published: Wednesday, 1 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,618.

To open with a philosophical question: Does Test cricket actually need to become more attractive to the masses? The answer to that probably depends on which side of the commercial imperative divide you stand on.  The recent crowds for the England-New Zealand Test series and the anticipated crowds for the upcoming Ashes suggest the long-form is in rude health in Blighty, but it is not the case everywhere.  

Take away one-off events, such as Brendon McCullum approaching a triple century or Tests returning to Christchurch after a long, earthquake-enforced absence, and it remains a struggle to get more than a couple of thousand folk through the gates of a Test match here in New Zealand.  So maybe it's worth having a wee look-see at how a day-night Test could alter the Test experience. If the Adelaide experiment - the wet dream of Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland - is a success, then New Zealand Cricket could look at doing something here, as long as dew is not too much of an issue.

Test cricket really is an anachronism. If somebody was now to approach a sports marketing firm to suggest a game that took 35 hours to complete over five days without the guarantee of a winner and loser, they'd be laughed out of the room by people wearing skateboarding sneakers and caps on backwards.  So the reinvigoration of Tests should not be seen as a light-and-dark issue. Already the style and attitude of the players has changed. Test cricket is so-o-o-o much more attractive than it was last century. What the players now need is a set of playing conditions to maximise the new-found aggression.

Here are some suggestions:  Reduce tests to four 100-over days. That would reduce the length of Tests by 50 overs but, crucially, 24 hours.  Have four 25-over sessions per day with three 20-minute breaks. Honestly, there is no bigger mood killer in cricket than the 40-minute 'lunch' break. You talk about anachronisms, well that's one that can disappear immediately. Some would argue that puts bowlers who bowl long spells in danger of injury if they haven't time to properly recover over lunch, but it will be up to captains and coaches to manage loads.

Put in genuine penalties for slow over rates, like the loss of a fielder for a session. The match referee could determine whether the fault is that of the fielding team. This would further encourage the use of spinners.  Have a 30m circle that comes into play after the loss of the eighth wicket and legislate that only five fielders can be outside the circle. There is nothing more boring in Tests right now than the sight of fields spreading for the recognised batsman as fielding captains try to force the tailenders on strike.

Now, I have to tell you I've run a few of these ideas past Sir Richard Hadlee and his enthusiasm for my game-changers would best be described as tepid. Over the course of our illustrious cricket careers, Hadlee accrued 431 more test wickets than I, and 3124 more runs. So I bow to his superior onfield talent, but I'm prepared to debate him on this.  Hadlee feels the spreading of fields when the tail comes in is an important part of the tactics of cricket. I feel it has become an anti-tactic; the default position of lazy captains. Under my proposal, tactics will be just as much to the fore, except they will be positive.

There might even be scope for different batting order paradigms, with genuine hard-hitting all-rounders being played at number 10 to make use of the fielding restrictions.  The players have given Test cricket a shot in the arm by the way they approach the game. I don't blame administrators for trying to keep pace, but they should look beyond merely trying to shed a little more artificial light on the situation.

Headline: Haddin puzzled by outbreak of pre-Ashes civility.

Article from:  Cricket Australia web article.

Journalist:  Andrew Ramsey.

Published: Wednesday, 1 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,619.

The all-smiling, ever-entertaining Blackcaps have left town and James Anderson, England’s principal trash talker, has called for the Ashes to played in a more convivial manner, but still sledging remains the favoured talking point for the upcoming Test series.  Either side of perennial provocateur Anderson’s call for the coming five Tests to be played in the same “positive” spirit as the enthralling recent Test and One Day International series against New Zealand (PTG 1576-7575, 25 June 2015), the UK media has been punctuated with past and current England players taking their turn for a pot shot.

The ‘let’s take the gamesmanship out of the game and put it in the press’ approach has bemused the Australians, none more so than wicketkeeper Brad Haddin the man who most demonstrably sneered in the face of NZ’s charm offensive during a sometimes prickly World Cup final earlier this year (PTG 1544-7422, 31 March 2015).  Haddin, as hard-nosed a competitor as international cricket has known, concedes he has been genuinely mystified by a few issues since arriving in England a fortnight ago from Australia’s fleeting tour of the West Indies.

Topping that list is the apparently sudden switch away from the uncompromising, combative nature of Ashes contests of recent decades to the caring, sharing ambience that has settled over the game since practiced by the New Zealanders.  “I don't understand where they're coming from with this”, Haddin said yesterday about the outpouring of niceness, struggling to form his incredulity into words.  “I don't understand this pleasant … I don't know what it is".  “I don't know what I'm meant to say to it – if you could explain to me what it is …”.  His voice trails off as he seemingly ponders how the game could have reached this point. 

Part of Haddin’s bewilderment is driven by his view that the five Ashes campaigns of which he’s been a part – including the famous 2005 series in the UK where he did not play a Test – have been fiercely fought on the field but that relations between the teams have remained civil.  Consequently, he’s not sure what the new ‘friendlier than thou’ approach will demonstrably alter other than perceptions from afar.    

“In every series I've played against England they've been highly competitive (matches) and it's a different brand of cricket you do play".  “The pressures that you're under in an Ashes campaign, from my point of view, is totally different to any other series you play”.  “You can only really compare it to a World Cup”.  “But at the end of every series I've played - win, lose or draw - the doors to the opposition team have always been open at the end of the series". “Both teams have gone in and enjoyed a beer together”.

A message scrawled on a whiteboard in the Australian dressing rooms by coach Darren Lehmann has left his players in little doubt about what he thinks of England’s new soft attitude to sledging.  It reads: “Remember, no sledging on this tour!”  And in case there is any confusion over its context he signed off with the recognised symbol for blowing kisses:  XXXXX.

Editor’s note:  Haddin, like a number of his team mates and those from other international sides around the world such as England and India, continue to ignore that part of the Laws of the game titled ‘Spirit of Cricket’, the tenants of which appear fundamentally clear.  The International Cricket Council and their respective national boards, in Haddin’s case Cricket Australia, often ’talk the talk' about the importance of ‘Spirit’ issues, but their track record of ensuring players, and in CA’s case their national coach also, actually ‘walk the walk’ in earnest in regard to those requirements is somewhat limited.  

Headline: Australia and New Zealand reap significant World Cup dividend.

Article from:  Reuters.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Tuesday, 30 2015.

PTG listing: 7,620.

The economies of Australia and New Zealand benefited from $A1.1 billion (£UK539 m) in direct spending as a result of co-hosting the World Cup earlier this year, according to a report released on Tuesday.  PricewaterhouseCoopers’ study found the tournament created the equivalent of 8,320 full time jobs across the two economies and attracted 145,000 unique visitors to the host countries, mostly from Asia.

"This was the biggest event in Australia since the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and it has changed cricket in New Zealand forever”, tournament chief executive John Harnden said in a news release.  "The World Cup generated two million bed nights across the two countries and around $A855 m (£UK421 m) in visitor spending, which is great for the tourism industries of both countries”.  The February-March tournament attracted more than a million spectators to the 49 matches played in 14 cities, of which 20, not all involving the host nations, were sell-outs.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers report pointed out the benefits to the host nations of the funding model, under which the International Cricket Council (ICC) and its sponsorship partners "contribute significant foreign investment" towards the delivery of the event.  "This is a point of difference when compared to other international sporting events, such as the Olympic Games, rugby World Cup and the Asian Cup, where host nations must self-fund a significant portion of their events”, it read.  The approach used: "allowed Australia and New Zealand to benefit from capital inflows and lowered the level of upfront investment that would otherwise be required”.

Headline: Moves of other sports shows up cricket's poverty of ambition.

Article from:  London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist:  Jonathan Liew.

Published: Wednesday, 1 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,621.

While other sports feverishly court emerging markets and dream greedily of new territories to conquer, cricket has counter-intuitively gone in the opposite direction: a sport that looks like it actually wants to be smaller.  Whereas the onset of an Ashes series once crackled with the thrill of the unknown, this year’s iteration brings virtually none. These are, after all, many of the same players who were here in 2013, and before that in 2012, and 2010, and 2009. All of which is the product of a sport increasingly looking inwards for its kicks, settling for the lucrative old rather than the speculative new. 

The reduction of the 2019 World Cup to 10 teams versus the 14 of this year guarantees more of the prime games between bigger nations, and most importantly of all keeps India in the tournament for as long as possible. Indeed, it is hard to shake off the suspicion that the ICC’s ideal World Cup – or indeed any form of cricket – would simply involve India playing over and over again for the rest of finite time, chop-sockying the other countries in world cricket one by one like faceless extras in a Bruce Lee movie, before finishing with some sort of mass-participation dance routine. 

The change will hit – brace yourself for a shock! – the smaller nations hardest. Ireland, who as recently as 2001 were so short of talented cricketers they were forced to field a visiting journalist as a substitute fielder, will now have to fight tooth and nail to reach a competition at which they have over‑performed three times running. As for smaller countries like Holland, Nepal, Canada? Forget it. With the World Cup out of reach, they will be forced to divert their meagre funds towards developing Twenty20 specialists. 

You can almost forgive the avarice – everybody likes money, right? – but never the sheer poverty of ambition. Establishing a sport in a new country takes time, skill and effort. It does not generate a quick profit, but if you do it right, it repays you handsomely. The expansion of darts, which attracted a total of three nations at the world championship in 1994, proves as much.  So does football’s generation-long infiltration into the United States, cycling’s in Britain, mixed martial arts everywhere. 

Cricket once possessed that pioneering spirit. Two centuries ago, it set sail from these shores, with the misguided but heartfelt belief that those disgusting savages could be schooled in the ways of civilisation if only they could be taught the late cut. Now, it has turned into that rarest of things: a game that has grown tired of evangelising, a sport that glimpses the world through its window, and simply draws the curtains. 

Headline: Hard to see rebel leagues succeeding, says Srinivasan.

Article from:  GeoSuperTV.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Wednesday, 1 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,622.

International Cricket Council chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan believes there will be great difficulty in setting up and sustaining rebel cricket leagues despite the amount of money they might offer players (PTG 1576-7579, 25 June 2015).  His statement comes on the back of indications from the Essel Group, who were behind the Indian Cricket League in 2007, outlining the possibility of another rebel tournament two months ago. Reports said they had approached players like David Warner and Australia captain Michael Clarke with hefty contracts (PTG 1575-7572, 24 June 2015).

But Srinivasan said the current system is prevalent in too many places and has existed for too long to be shaken.  He told ‘The Hindu’: “Any attempt to form such a rebel league will not easy succeed”.  "Cricket as we know has been established over a long period of time in various countries. It is based on domestic structures that have been put in place for centuries as in the case of England and Australia, and 80 to 90 years in India”.

“Just because ICC events are popular and receive broadcasting rights, it doesn’t mean they can be duplicated overnight. The assumption that a substantial chunk of players will go away and be part of a league that will sustain itself over time... it is hard to see that happening”. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,583

  Friday, 3 July 2015

 

• Umpire amongst Tunisian attack dead [1583-7623].

• ‘Its not sledging, its entertainment’, says Warner [1583-7624].

• NZ umpire to use police experience in Ashes [1583-7625].

• Brawl sparked by disputed umpiring decision [1583-7626].

• Team has an extra fielder but still lose [1583-7627].

• South African team apologises to Bangladesh for drone use [1583-7628].

• Pakistan-India day-night Tests would pump life into cricket: Latif [1583-7629].

• Discontent growing in Pakistan over planned domestic restructure [1583-7630].

• BCCI looking at performance-based incentives for players [1583-7631].

Headline: Umpire amongst Tunisian attack dead.

Article from:  Daily Gazette.

Journalist:  Andrea Collitt.

Published: Thursday, 2 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,623.

Members of the Essex cricket community are in mourning after the death of a senior league figure who was among the Britons murdered in Tunisia last week.  Philip Heathcote, 52, a member of the Two Counties Cricket League’s (TCCL) umpire’s panel, was shot dead during the Sousse beach massacre, while his wife Allison the TCCL’s secretary, who was shot five times, is fighting for her life in hospital.  

A total of 38 people, including up to 30 Britons, died after a gunman opened fire on the beach crowded with sunbathers during the resort’s peak tourism season.  A middle eastern terrorist group later claimed responsibility for the atrocity.  The TCCL, which covers Essex and Norfolk, is a feeder league into the England and Wales Cricket Board’s East Anglian Premier League.  It has asked clubs to hold a minute’s silence in Mr Heathcote’s memory prior to the start of play this weekend.  

Headline: ‘Its not sledging, its entertainment’, says Warner.

Article from:  Sydney Morning Herald.

Journalist:  Chris Barrett.

Published: Friday, 3 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,624.

Australian opening batsman David Warner believes there is a danger of over-sanitising Test cricket if the International Cricket Council (ICC) goes overboard with its crackdown on on-field behaviour, saying viewers love the sport's combativeness and authorities were "taking that away from the game a little bit”.  Warner has previously forecast a more considered role for himself in the field during the Ashes series with the threat of suspension hanging over his head after he was twice sanctioned during an often fiery summer campaign against India (PTG 1573-7560, 22 June 2015).  

The Australian has revealed a broader view of what he believes should and should not be permitted by umpires.  He sees himself and other players as entertainers as much as simply cricketers. "I'm on my last warning from the ICC”.  (PTG 1504-7523, 20 January 2015).  "These rules are being clamped down now”, said Warner said.  "They're really honing in on players celebrating wickets and obviously a bit of banter on the field”.  "If you walk towards a player the umpires are going to fine you, you've got to be smart with what you do".

"But, you know, when you talk to people off the field and you talk to people in the game - the other day I was talking to a few of the County players - you want to see that aggression, you want to see that banter out there. You want the play-and-miss, and the bowler comes down the wicket and gives you a stare. You love that as a batsman, it's a challenge".

"I feel that sometimes it could be taking away from the viewers, that the viewers love that”.  "You know that when you get out there the crowd gets into it, they enjoy that stuff”.  "There wasn't many people in the West Indies [for the series against Australia last month] but every time somebody bowled a bouncer they just loved it, they cheered. I think at the moment they're taking that away from the game a little bit”. 

Warner knows he has to be particularly careful during the Ashes. Being fined half your match fee is one thing; missing an Ashes test is another. The fact that one of the umpires likely to be presiding over the series is Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena (PTG 1580-7600, 29 June 2015), who has come down hard on him before, including when he clashed with India's Rohit Sharma during the tri-series this year, is probably another factor (PTG 1494-7215, 4 January 2015).

"Obviously I put my hand up myself ... I've crossed the line here and there and we've got to try and make sure we don't get into confrontations”, said Warner.  "You've got to be very smart and wise around those umpires because no doubt they're out to get you if you stuff up”.  "We've got to be very, very careful with what we do and when we're out there we've got to say the right things and not just get into confrontations out there".

"I wouldn't call it sledging ... everyone does it in their own way, to get underneath the batters' skin. I think everyone that is sitting behind the TV screens has to realise that ... it's not serious”.  "There are no threats or anything out there. It's actually what we do for the game, and I think it's about producing entertainment for people that are at home watching”.

Headline: NZ umpire to use police experience in Ashes.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  David long.

Published: Friday, 3 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,625.

New Zealand umpire Chris Gaffaney is ready to use his police expertise to deal with sledging in the Ashes series.  The 39-year-old, a former policeman who played 83 first class matches for Otago, will be the third umpire in the first two Tests of the series between England and Australia, which begins next week in Cardiff (PTG 1580-7600, 29 June 2015).  The rivalry between the two teams has never been higher, with both countries feeling they have a good chance to win the tiny trophy and in David Warner and Stuart Broad there are fiery characters in both sides (PTG 1582-7619, 2 July 2015).

Unlike the recent series between England and New Zealand, there is expected to be plenty of niggle between the two sides and Gaffaney, who joined the International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel last month, says the lessons learnt in his previous career will help him deal with that.  "The skills picked up in police work correlate to umpiring, it helps in terms of managing the game”, Gaffaney said.  "It can get heated, it's just like going to a domestic on a police job. You need to know when to listen, when to speak and when to watch them and let them play.

After being the third umpire for the first two Tests, Gaffaney will be one of the two men in the middle for the third test, in Birmingham.  "In terms of managing the game it can be a challenge”.  "They can get very competitive and it can get heated".  "I'm very fortunate to have had that training in the police which I can take to umpiring”.

Headline: Brawl sparked by disputed umpiring decision.

Journalist:  Echo.

Published: Friday, 3 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,626.

The brawl that broke out in an Essex Cricket League (ECL) match between a Basildon and Pitsea batsman and the Stanford-le-Hope fielder last Saturday started because of a disputed umpire decision (PTG 1581-7615, 1 July 2015).  No details are available about the decision involved, however, the batsman is believed to have waved his bat at his opponent in self-defence and although he was arrested and questioned, he was later released without charge.  The fielder was “conscious, but not alert” when he was taken to Basildon Hospital, an ambulance spokesman confirmed.

A joint statement by the two clubs said: “Both management committees would like to stress this episode is totally uncharacteristic for either club".  “However, it is something we cannot tolerate happening on the field of play”.  “It will leave an indelible imprint on the players who were playing for our sides on that day”.  “Both our clubs have worked hard to forge a good relationship and will co-operate with each other and the various agencies to ensure the appropriate outcome is achieved”.  The ECL has confirmed it will decide what action to take against the clubs and players after the internal investigations have taken place.

Headline: Team has an extra fielder but still lose.

Article from:  Todmorden News.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Thursday, 2 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,627.

Halifax Cricket League (HCL) officials have decided that no further action is necessary after Blackley seconds had twelve fielders on the ground for part of a match last Saturday.  It happened in a Premier Division second team game at SBCI, who went on to win by 152 runs.  HCL fixture secretary Peter Taylor said Blackley had been ringing around for players at the last minute and hadn’t realised they had one too many.

Taylor said: “The umpire counted the number of players and when he turned around ready for the first ball a young lad ran on”.  “They played eleven overs before they realised Blackley had twelve fielders”.  Taylor said the umpires could have started the match again but it was mutually agreed to carry on.  The apologetic Blackley captain had even suggested SBCI have twelve fielders for their first eleven overs of their reply, however, SBCI declined that offer and ran out easy winners.  Taylor added: “It was all sorted out in a decent and sporting manner and the league has decided that no action is required”. 

Headline: South African team apologises to Bangladesh for drone use.

Article from:  BBC.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Thursday, 2 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,628.

South Africa's cricket team has apologised to the Bangladesh military for using a drone at a practice session in Dhaka.  The home cricket authorities ordered a halt to the use of the device, which was flying overhead taking photos during the visitor’s first practice session.  "The TV crew brought the drone over to try to obtain creative views and images to use for our ‘YouTube' channel”, team manager Mohammed Moosajee said.  "We do apologise to the Bangladesh military and security forces”.

Bangladesh Cricket Board officials said last December the country's civil aviation authority had banned all unmanned aerial vehicles in its airspace, without prior permission, for national security as well as general safety reasons.  South Africa arrived in Bangladesh this week to play two Twenty20 internationals, three One Day Internationals and two Tests.  The International cricket Council is yet to announce who the match officials for the series will be.

Headline: Pakistan-India day-night Tests would pump life into cricket: Latif.

Article from:  Dawn News.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Thursday, 2 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,629.

Pakistan’s former wicketkeeper Rashid Latif has called on India and Pakistan to consider playing their scheduled Test series in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December under lights to revive the fortunes of the five-day format.  Teams have been unwilling to travel to UAE, Pakistan's 'home' venue, for Test matches in the summer and Latif believes day-night games may address that issue as well.  

Latif told the Press Trust of India following the announcement the first day-night Test has been scheduled for November (PTG 1581-7608, 1 July 2015): “The South Asian region should seriously think about staging day-night Test matches for the survival of the format”.  “It is an issue on which cricket authorities in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh should have taken the lead, especially Pakistan”.  "But even now it is not too late and they should follow it up earnestly,” he said.

The 46-year-old former captain expressed the view that “Test matches are dying in the cricket world and it is good that Australia and New Zealand have realised this”.  Latif said it was a step in the right direction to revive the fortunes of cricket's traditional format.  “There are only a handful of countries now where still a sizeable number of people come to watch Test matches like in India or England. “But otherwise it is getting tougher to attract crowds for the five-day game with the increasing popularity of T20 cricket and changes to ODI rules”.

Latif said when Pakistan play England or India later this year in the UAE, the boards should discuss the possibility of a day-night Test.  He was surprised the PCB did not move first on day-night Tests despite experimenting it in its domestic circuit.  “Playing day-night Test was not a bad idea at all”.  "It is not difficult to play with the pink ball and it is clearly visible under lights”.

Editor’s note:  The Pakistan Cricket Board discussed the possibility of playing a day-night Test with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) during the their side's three Test match series in the UAE in December 2013 (PTG 1170-5652, 15 August 2013).  SLC said ‘no’, however, citing its players' lack of practice with the pink ball as the source of their reluctance to accept the suggestion.  It said in a press release at the time: "Since [our] players have not practiced under lights and with the new pink ball, the executive committee decided to stand by the decision taken by the national team management [not] to play a day-night Test match” (PTG 1172-5662, 18 August 2013).  Evening dew can also be an issue for day-night games in the UAE.  Prior to that, in January 2011, the final of Pakistan’s Quaid Azam first class competition was played in a day-night format in Karachi using an orange ball (E-News 716-3504, 17 January 2011).

Headline: Discontent growing in Pakistan over planned domestic restructure.

Article from:  Press Trust of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Wednesday, 1 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,630.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is facing stiff resistance from players and its affiliated departments and regions over a proposed domestic restructure which is likely to be implemented this year.  The resistance has come in the form of dozens of players presently playing in the United Kingdom for clubs in different leagues, protesting the timing of the new domestic season, and some Departments are even pondering going to court against the new structure.

At its last general meeting the PCB announced a new domestic structure and schedule that focusses on less teams in the premier first class competition, the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.  According to the schedule, the qualifying tournament will begin from the first day of August , something unheard of in Pakistan's domestic season as it normally starts in mid September.  Many of the players presently employed on contracts in England have complained if they are forced to return home to play in the qualifying event their employers/clubs will not offer them contracts next year.

One player said: “If we return midway during a season obviously these clubs in the UK are not going to be happy and they will look for overseas professionals from other countries which will badly affect our livelihood”.  He said the English season ended around mid-September.  Another player said: "If we lose this chance to earn abroad how will we manage because there is no real money for domestic players in Pakistan”.  

A senior official of a department said: "Last year when the [PCB] implemented a new structure they said it would be tried out for three years now all of a sudden they have decided to change it this year. If our teams can't play in the main first class event how will we justify employing top players to our institutions and spending so much funds on the cricket team. 

PCB sources say the national body’s chairman Shaharyar Khan was convinced there is a need to reduce the number of teams in the domestic first class season. Former players and experts often blame Pakistan's domestic structure for the inconsistencies of the national squad, and even Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq broached on the issue at the end of the second Test in Sri Lanka last week.

Headline: BCCI looking at performance-based incentives for players.

Article from:  The Hindu.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Thursday, 2 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,631.

The financial model followed by Cricket Australia (CA) and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has encouraged Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to introduce a performance-based incentive system for the Indian team for every home and away series. During the Indian Cricket Board's financial committee meeting, that took place in the capital on Wednesday, an initial blueprint was drawn for the concept.

The BCCI's finance committee has agreed to the change whereby profit sharing will be directly proportional to the board's revenue. According to BCCI sources, it was Indian Premier League (IPL) chief operating officer, Sundar Raman, who provided a presentation to the finance committee members, where it was intimated that CA and ECB, as well as BCCI's next door neighbours Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), also follow an incentive-based model. While Raman gave an initial presentation, an elaborate blueprint is likely to be chalked when the committee meets again later this month.

"Till now, BCCI normally gave handsome incentives to cricketers during triumphs in big tournaments like the World Cup, World T20 or Champions Trophy events, but from now on, the BCCI is planning to have incentives for each and every series played at home and away”, said a source.

For example, if India win a Test series at home against a particular opposition, the players will be entitled to a specific amount of incentive from the board apart from their match fees. Similarly, the amount will shoot up when they are playing on foreign soil. Even the best performers during a particular series will get special performance-based incentives. The amount will depend on the nature of opposition, conditions, home and away and impact of the performance.

Meanwhile, the finance committee on Wednesday decided that India's women cricketers will be divided into two groups A and B for the gradation payment system that the BCCI is planning to introduce. Sources said that the ones in Grade A like captain Mithali Raj, pace spearhead Jhulan Goswami, top batsman Harmanpreet Kaur will be getting an annual retainership fee of one million Rupees ($A21,000, £UK10,000) while those in grade B will be getting 500,000 Rupees ($A10,500, £UK5,000).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,584

  Sunday, 5 July 2015


• Cricket Tests at night like a light going on [1584-7632].

• ECB chairman calls for sledging-free Ashes series [1584-7633].

• No nonsense Gould needed for Ashes Tests [1584-7634].

• Yorkshire league looses umpires, seeks to recruit more [1584-7635].

• Indecent exposure fear after council closes changing rooms early [1584-7636].

• Made-for-TV cricket plans upset English County clubs [1584-7637].

• Hafeez’s latest bowling action test set for Monday [1584-7638].

• Champions League T20 ‘is history’, says BCCI insider [1584-7639].

• Hampshire and Surrey considering Women's Super League bids [1584-7640].

Headline: Cricket Tests at night like a light going on.

Article from:  New Zealand Herald.

Journalist:  Editorial comment.

Published: Sunday, 5 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,632.

Cricket purists were struck by another bouncer this week when it was announced the Black Caps will play Australia in the first ever day-night test at the Adelaide Oval in November (PTG 1581-7608, 1 July 2015). They were not the only ones reeling from the blow. An unlikely ally emerged in the form of tearaway Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson, who spoke of the importance of the tradition of the game (PTG 1582-7616, 2 July 2015).  Yet there was always an inevitability about this development. So much so that there can be little doubt it will be an outstanding success in terms of both ground attendance and television ratings.

The initiative, which has been pursued for some time by Cricket Australia's (CA) James Sutherland, needs to be seen in the context of Test cricket's appeal. It is, and always will be, the truest and fairest examination of players' prowess with the bat and ball. But in most countries, attendances at Tests have been dwindling for many years. Attempts to foster greater interest, most notably through a Test Championship, never got off the ground (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014).  And the roaring success of Twenty20 cricket drew further attention from the five-day game.

Using day-night matches to revitalise interest has a strong logic. Sitting in the sun watching Test cricket is wonderfully relaxing for those who have the time and aptitude for it. But on the basis of time alone, a large percentage of the population are excluded. CA reckons attendances will swell in the early evening as children arrive from school and their parents come in after work. Television audiences will multiply for the same reason. The latter has certainly proved the case when Australians on the east coast have got to watch Tests at Perth in their evening because of the there-hour time difference that applies in summer.

The players seem less enamoured of the concept than the administrators. Mitchell Starc, who played for New South Wales in a day-night Sheffield Shield match last summer, spoke disparagingly of the pink Kookaburra balls that will be used (PTG 1582-7616, 2 July 2015). They did not, he said, swing like the red ball and they went soft quickly. For fielders, they were also difficult to pick up at night. No New Zealand player stepped forward to offer similar criticisms but Heath Mills, of the Players' Association, indicated there were concerns. These were being surmounted, he said, by a focus on "the bigger picture". This sees the Black Caps playing Australia far more regularly as part of a seven-year deal (PTG 1582-7616, 2 July 2015).

It is understandable that players may be apprehensive about the unknown. But their predecessors were much the same when one-day matches first became day-night fixtures. There was all sorts of talk about problems with the ball and the lights, and the complications raised by day passing into night, not least the onset of dew. But all these concerns were dwarfed by the spectacle of crowds flocking to stadiums and television sets. Teams, recognising the success of the concept, were quick to adapt their tactics to the conditions.

The same will surely happen with Test cricket. Even while retaining its status as the game's purest form, it has continued to evolve. Most recently, Australia, and now New Zealand, have accelerated the run rate to make it more entertaining. Playing Test cricket at night is a natural progression. In years to come, the match in Adelaide will be recognised as the time test cricket saw the light. Traditions are important, but the move to boost interest in Test matches after dwindling crowds is a natural change in the game.

Headline: ECB chairman calls for sledging-free Ashes series.

Article from:  Sky News.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Saturday, 4 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,633.

Colin Graves, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), has called for a sledging-free Ashes series between England and Australia.  Players from both teams have said it is inevitable that sledging will occur during the five-match series, which gets under way in Cardiff on Wednesday, but Graves thinks that verbal abuse of opponents is unnecessary.  

Graves told Sky Sports News: “It would be nice to see it without sledging. I don’t think it’s needed, I don’t think it’s required. At the end of the day, everybody plays it hard and everybody plays to win, but it’s a game of cricket, it’s not life or death, so let’s play in a good spirit.  It’s down to the umpires on the pitch to make sure they control it properly to be honest and I’m sure they will”.

Meanwhile, England all-rounder Ben Stokes claims he is ready for whatever Australia has in store for him during the Ashes.  Stokes says he is not about to shy away from any confrontations and said: "I'm definitely expecting some feuds out on the pitch”.  "I don't go looking for it and I don't go out of my way to cause an argument, but if someone comes at you on the pitch in the heat of the moment and the adrenaline is going then no one in this squad is one to shy away from it”.

"We all have different ways of handling it. Some guys walk away from it and don't get involved but I'll look them in the eye and probably say something.  I think it's a strength of mine. Being in a battle, you don't want to be the loser. I don't want to take a backward step and let them know they are on top of me, or that they can say what they want and get away with it”.

Headline: No nonsense Gould needed for Ashes Tests.

Article from:  London Evening Standard.

Journalist:  Bob Willis.

Published: Friday, 3 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,634.

I have always believed sledging to be both immature and stupid and it surprises me that international cricketers can be affected by it.  It has always formed more of a part of the Australian game than the English game. I remember our tour of Australia in 1970-71 — the Chappell brothers, Ian and Greg, were never backward in coming forward and Dennis Lillee would motivate himself by geeing up the opposition.  But the levels of verbal abuse then were nothing like they are now. To me it seems a waste of breath and energy. If you say what you are going to do, either during a game or beforehand, then cricket has an unfortunate habit of coming back to bite you on the backside.

A lot of sledging seems to happen because of peer pressure, as much as anything else. There appears to be a sense among some players that if all their team-mates are doing it, they have to join in as well, regardless of whether it is in their nature.  I hope there is no repeat in this Ashes series of what happened at times during the last one. We all remember the First Test in Brisbane, when Michael Clarke used an obscenity towards James Anderson when Australia were on the brink of victory.

I am sure Clarke regrets it, but it is vital that you have firm umpiring in these situations. Because the International Cricket Council insist on neutral umpires, it’s a shame that a man like Ian Gould cannot stand in the series.  He is the type of guy who would be able to have a laugh and a joke with the players but as soon as anyone stepped over the line, he would stamp down on it. I just hope that the umpires who do stand are able to follow that example. They need to make a firm statement.

Headline: Yorkshire league looses umpires, seeks to recruit more.

Article from:  Rotherham Advertiser.

Journalist:  David Beddows.

Published: Saturday, 4 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,635.

South Yorkshire Senior League (SYSL) officials are upping their search for new umpires after losing several of them this season.  The league has seen 15 officials step down for health and other reasons, a situation that means some 25 games a week are being covered by only one umpire.  While revealing the news, SYSL chairman and chief executive Terry Bentham, who himself umpires, said that penalties might have to be introduced for clubs who didn't supply umpires.

Bentham emphasised that keeping numbers buoyant should be a united effort, the recruitment drive was a 365-days-a-year job, and that umpires remained an important part of the league's family, irrespective of age or ability.  All new umpires were presented with 'Welcome Packs' of heavy balls, bowler's marker and official league overs record cards.  All are mentored for the first three of four games, standing with the same carefully selected umpire, and get a call on Sunday morning to ascertain how their game went. There is also help towards fees.

Headline: Indecent exposure fear after council closes changing rooms early.

Article from:  South Wales Evening Post.

Journalist:  Chris Peregrine.

Published: Saturday, 4 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,636.

Cricketers involved in midweek matches in Swansea have had the plug pulled on them when it comes to post-match showers with changing rooms at council grounds being closed at 8 pm because of new work shifts handed to council attendants.  It means that the players, who start their games around 6 pm, can use the rooms to change into their playing clothes, but cannot return to them at around 9.15 pm when matches end for a shower.  The clampdown comes at a time when cricket in Swansea has been hit by the recent demise of two long established leagues.

Last April, stumps were drawn on the Swansea Central Cricket League (SCCL) after 82 years, the same month the Swansea Industrial Welfare Cricket League, which started in 1946, followed suite. A dwindling number of teams forced the officials in both leagues to call it a day, but now changing rooms for teams still operating in the evening game have been ruled out of bounds.  Swansea Uplands captain Nigel Jones said: "It is like going out for a three course meal, but being turfed out of the restaurant before the dessert course”.  "It is not just about the pitch, it is about the overall package. We are not getting the value for money for the £UK55 ($A115) ground permit we had a couple of weeks ago and it looks like we are not going to get it again. That should be reflected in the cost. We had no warning about this”.

Evening Post skipper Robin Wood said: "It's just not cricket. It's not all about the pitch. Whilst we appreciate the rights of workers and the local authority's responsibility as an employer in ensuring staff are protected from overworking, there must be a solution to this. The game is under pressure as it is and there is a a social side to cricket. Players do not want to socialise afterwards in a sweaty state”.

A spokesman for the City and Council of Swansea (CCS) said: "We'd like to apologise to the cricketers for what happened on Thursday. We're in the process of writing to all sports clubs to inform them that our outdoor changing rooms will not be open beyond 8 pm on weekday evenings because of changes to staff shift patterns”.  "This change will be introduced across all our outdoor changing rooms from August. We're open to any ideas clubs may have on how these facilities could be kept open for longer in future”.

John Hunt, the secretary of the recently-disbanded SCCL and well known for over 30 years on the South Wales umpiring circuit and a former policeman, called the situation “disgusting".  "What about the question of indecent exposure when players are getting dressed after a game?  “There are women and children about so what if the police turn up - is it indecent exposure?”  "I was told it was down to health and safety [with council] employees needed a 12 hour gap between shifts. What are we coming to? I think it's appalling”.

Headline: Made-for-TV cricket plans upset English County clubs.

Article from: Financial Times.

Journalist:  Malcolm Moore.

Published: Friday, 3 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,637.

A plan to shake up English cricket and emulate the success of Australia and India in creating an entertaining spectacle for television audiences is already under attack from some of the sport’s traditional powers. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is in the middle of a wide-ranging review of the English game under its new chairman and chief executive and is aiming to produce draft proposals after September (PTG 1528-7355, 28 February 2015 and PTG 1545-7427, 1 April 2015). 

One plan under consideration is a version of the successful made-for-television tournaments in India and Australia, with new franchises starring some of the sport’s best players. The Big Bash in Australia, for example, attracted average crowds of 22,000 in 2014, roughly four times as many fans as watched the ECB’s domestic Twenty20 competition in the UK.   The fact that Twenty20s take around three hours to play makes them attractive to television broadcasters and fans who might not have the stamina or time to watch a whole day’s play or a five-day Test match. 

But in a sign of how worried some counties are, lobbying against any radical changes has already begun.  “The worst thing for us would be for the ECB to create a franchise-based tournament over a short-term period, said Richard Gould, the chief executive of Surrey Cricket Club.  He pointed out that tournament designed for television over just six to eight weeks could more than halve his overall ticket sales at Surrey from their current level of £3.5 m ($A7.3 m). 

“Attendances are doing extremely well”,” said Gould. “Television money that we get from the ECB is only 6 per cent of our revenues”.  Surrey is about to launch a retail bond, hoping to raise £3-5 m ($A6.2-10.4 m) to build a 6,500 seat stand at The Oval but investors may be concerned over a possible fall in match day revenues. 

Derek Bowden, the chief executive of Essex County cricket club, said he was concerned that teams outside cities may not be given a franchise for the new competition, or be put in a second division. Essex has done well at the current Twenty20 series and is filling up its ground at Chelmsford. Somerset is another club in a similar position. Lancashire County Cricket Club said the current system was proving a success and it had seen a 67 per cent year-on-year increase for its Twenty20 matches. It added that matches on Monday or Tuesday night do not suit counties with large stadiums. 

The ECB’s Twenty20 series is played on a Friday night, which helps counties sell out their grounds, but has fewer stars, because counties find it uneconomic to employ them for a whole season on a one match per week basis. That in turn has lowered its sponsorship and television rights revenues. 

Other counties were more sanguine about change. David Harker, the chief executive of Durham County Cricket Club said: “It is whatever works for the public. But all of us are concerned that if you are going to have a limited number of franchises, let us say 10, then what happens to the other teams?”  Colin Povey, the chief executive of Warwickshire County Cricket Club, said: “A lot of people are running scared about what it will mean for them. What we know is Twenty20 is a strong growth format. You need to have a sensible schedule of fixtures for whatever format”.

Eight years ago, the ECB rejected a franchise Twenty20 competition proposed by Keith Bradshaw, the then chief executive of the Marylebone Cricket Club.  But English cricket’s ruling body the ECB has resurrected the idea under its new chairman, Colin Graves, and chief executive, Tom Harrison.  In a sign of its ambition, the ECB has hired Mike Fordham, a vice-president at the sports agency IMG who helped launch the Indian Premier League in 2008 and the Caribbean Premier League in 2013.  The ECB said: “It’s right that we all look to improve things, where we can, to give cricket the best future. No decisions have been made and there would be broad consultation on any recommendations for change”.

Headline: Hafeez’s latest bowling action test set for Monday.

Article from:  ‘Cricinfo' web site.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Thursday, 2 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,638.

Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez will undergo an official test on his bowling action in Chennai on Monday (PTG 1578-7592, 27 June 2015). The International Cricket Council (ICC) had earlier set a deadline of Saturday for the reassessment but the Pakistan Cricket Board requested an extension on the grounds that the issuing of his Indian visa, which he needs to travel to the ICC-accredited testing centre in Chennai, was delayed. The all-rounder was finally granted a visa on Wednesday afternoon.

Hafeez, whose action was reported late last month following a Test in Galle (PTG 1574-7592, 23 June 2015), faces a one-year suspension from bowling if his elbow flex is found to be over the ICC’s permissible 15-degree limit because it would be the second time his action was declared illegal in the last two years.  He was reported last November and then banned from bowling in December because his elbow extension was as high as 31 degrees. After a delay due to injury, Hafeez was cleared to bowl in April following tests in Chennai.

Headline: Champions League T20 ‘is history’, says BCCI insider.

Article from:  ‘Cricinfo' web site.

Journalist:  Amol Karhadkar.

Published: Thursday, 2 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,639.

The Indian Premier League’s (IPL) governing council is set to discuss an alternative to the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) in a meeting which is likely to be held in Delhi on Wednesday.  Although the CLT20 has still not officially been scrapped, it is believed that the three boards governing the multinational tournament have signed an exit clause with the broadcaster involved.  As a result, according to an insider at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI): “It's a given that CLT20 is history and it's time to look ahead".

The BCCI is understood to have plenty of options to fill in the three-week void created in the fixtures by the CLT20 cancellation. At the moment, there are three major options being discussed in the BCCI corridors: play a mini-IPL comprising the top four teams in IPL 2015 that is ikely to be a seven-match tournament with a league stage of six matches, followed by a final; play a baby-IPL with all eight teams participating in a total of 15 matches, with eight teams divided into two groups of four, followed by two semi-finals and a final; or  instead of playing a mini/baby-IPL, respond to the West Indian Cricket Board's informal proposal of playing a short series in India to make up for the losses arising out of West Indies' pullout from last year's tour of India. 

The IPL governing council is likely to discuss the first two options threadbare. If either of those two options is considered financially and logistically viable, then the governing council is set to forward it to the BCCI working committee, likely to be held in the latter half of July, for ratification.  The most critical aspect of playing a mini-IPL is to consider the ramifications of it on the broadcaster for the IPL. If any other broadcaster is awarded rights for a miniature version of the IPL, Multi Screen Media Pvt Ltd, owners of Max and Six who broadcast the IPL, may appeal to the Competition Commission of India.

However, the BCCI at the moment is not looking that far. The issue of broadcasting, according to an IPL insider, will arise only if a mini-IPL is formalised. The BCCI hierarchy is also confident that the issue can be dealt with by following a transparent method to award broadcast rights.  While the BCCI's coffers are richer due to the settlement with the CLT20 broadcaster, a mini-IPL will help the IPL cricketers and franchises oblige their contractual commitments. Ten per cent of every player's IPL contract is set aside as his match-fees for the CLT20, provided his team qualifies for the tournament. Similarly, a portion of every franchise's sponsorship deal is understood to have been provisionally based on its qualification for the CLT20.

Only if the governing council decides against filling in the CLT20 slot with a franchise-based league will it let the working committee discuss the possibility of playing a series at home against West Indies.

Headline: Hampshire and Surrey considering Women's Super League bids

Article from:  BBC.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Thursday, 2 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,640.

Hampshire and Surrey are to explore the possibility of hosting one of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) six new Women's Super League franchises.  Last month the ECB pledged £3m ($A6.1 m) for a new professional competition from 2016 with the process to determine the hosts of each franchise under way (PTG 1571-7551, 19 June 2015).  Successful franchise bids will be confirmed at the end of the year.

Surrey have told BBC Sport they will definitely submit a bid and are looking to use The Oval as the focus of its bid.  "Our vision is this team will share the same resources and facilities available to the Surrey players and the international teams that currently play at The Oval”, a club spokesman said.

Hampshire are to look into using the Ageas Bowl as a venue for a franchise. "It's very early days, but something we're looking in to”, Hampshire commercial director Stuart Robertson told BBC Radio Solent.  "It looks like an exciting project and something that could fit in well with the unique facilities we have at the Ageas Bowl, as well as complement our existing programs for women and girls”.  Former Surrey and England player Ebony Rainford-Brent was recently appointed the County's first director of women's cricket.  

The Women's Super League will be a T20 competition only for its first year before branching out to both T20 and 50-over formats from 2017.  The plan is to attract the world's best players to compete alongside England's leading female cricketers.  Expressions of interests for franchises must be submitted by the first Monday of August and interviews with prospective hosts are set to take place in November. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,585

  Monday, 6 July 2015

 

• Windies’ Wilson named for Test debut [1585-7641].

• New men’s international Playing Conditions come into effect [1585-7642].

• Former Australian coach queries day-night Test experiment [1585-7643].

• Hampshire’s suspended points deduction threat eased on appeal [1585-7644].

• Butt to meet ICC anti-corruption officials about his comeback efforts [1585-7645].

Headline: Windies’ Wilson named for Test debut.

Article from:  ICC appointments sheet.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Sunday, 5 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,641.

Joel Wilson of Trinidad and Tobago will become the 51st West Indian to stand in a Test match, and the 489th in Test history, when he takes the field in the first Test between Bangladesh and South Africa in Chittagong in just over two weeks.  Wilson, 48,  who will be on-field in that game with Richard Kettleborough, is the first West Indian to debut in a Test since Billy Doctrove of Dominica fifteen years ago in May 2000.  Another Englishman, Chris Broad will be the match referee for the two-Test series, while Australian Paul Reiffel will be the third umpire in the first Test and then swap with Wilson for the second game in Dhaka.

Wilson, a West Indian member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), will be standing in his 31st first class game in Chittagong having made his debut at that level in January 2009.  The ICC first selected him as a neutral umpire for its qualifying event for the 2012 World Twenty20 Championship series that was held in Dubai in March that year, then in February 2014 he was appointed to a similar qualifying series (WCQ) in New Zealand for this year’s World Cup. Last December saw his first senior One Day Internationals (ODI) as a neutral in the Pakistan-New Zealand series, his latest being in the World Cup in February-March of this year.

The two-Test series will take Broad’s record as a referee in such games to 71, Kettleborough to 30 on-field and 11 in the television spot (30/11), Reiffel to 18/12 and Wilson, who has been the third umpire in only one Test previously way back in July 2011, to 1/2.  

Prior to the Tests the two teams will play two Twenty20 Internationals and three ODIs which will all be overseen by Australian David Boon as the match referee and thus take his record in those formats of the game to 27 and 73 respectively.  The neutral umpires for the ODIs are Englishmen Michael Gough and Richard Illingworth, the former being on-field in the first and third games and Illingworth the second, the pair each working as the television umpire when not out on the ground.  The series will take Illingworth’s ODI record to 39/27 and Gough's to 18/5.

Like Wilson, Gough, 35, is an IUP member who was also appointed to this year’s World Cup, prior to that standing with Wilson in the WCQ final in New Zealand.  His first appointment as a neutral in a senior ODI series came last January in New Zealand for their series against Pakistan.  Gough, who is though by many observers to be in contention for a Test in the near future, played the game at first class level before turning to umpiring whereas Wilson did not.  Wilson’s Test appointment comes ahead of another contender, South Africa's Johan Cloete, 43, and Gough himself.  Just where it leaves Sri Lankan Ranmore Martinecz, who has been appointed to 7 Tests over the last two years and missed out on promotion to the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel last month remains to be seen (PTG 1574-7564, 23 June 2014).

Headline: New men’s international Playing Conditions come into effect.

Article from:  ICC appointments sheet.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Sunday, 5 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,642.

 

New Playing Conditions for men’s Tests, One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) came into effect with the series between Bangladesh and South Africa which started in Mirpur on Sunday, while a revised International Cricket Council Code of Conduct will come into effect on Wednesday.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) says though that there have been no changes to the Women’s Test, ODI or T20I Playing Conditions at this time.

ODI and T20I matches will see a 'Free Hit' awarded for any mode of No ball (PTG 1579-7594, 28 June 2015).  If the No ball was called for having too many fielders outside the circle, the field can be changed for the 'Free Hit' even if there is no change in striker, but only to the extent of correcting the breach.

 

In ODIs, compulsory catchers will now not be required in the first ten overs, batting Powerplays will not apply and 5 fielders will be allowed outside the circle in overs 41-50.  Also in ODIs if the team batting second is in such a position that a match is close to conclusion at the time the scheduled interval is reached, either captain can make a request to the umpires to extend play by an extra 15 minutes or a minimum 4 overs to obtain a result.  Once the interval is taken, the referee has also been given discretion to reduce the interval time if he feels a result is imminent.

 

For Tests and ODIs, teams must still request a Player Review within 15 seconds of the ball becoming dead, but one exception has now been added.  If the umpires themselves use an Umpire Review to answer an appeal for a Caught decision, for either a fair catch or a bump ball, "the request for a Player Review of that Caught decision may be made by either team within 15 seconds of the result of the Umpire Review being communicated".

In Tests, ODIs and T20Is the requirement relating to defining significant movement of a fielder or a wicket keeper has been amended to allow movement before the batsman has played the ball, as long as it is in response to a movement by the striker to play the ball (PTG 1450-7026, 16 October 2014).  The ICC says that in addition, the bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to deliberately attempt to run out the non-striker, a slight variation on what the Laws of the game say but one that has been on ICC statutes for some time.

Also across all three formats, umpires reporting breaches of Law 42 now have the discretion as to whether they report breaches of: a bowler repeatedly bowling more than the allowed number of bouncers above shoulder height in an over; bowler repeatedly bowling full tosses above waist height that are likely to inflict injury; a bowler repeatedly running on the Protected Area; and batsmen stealing a run.

Should a ball come into contact with 'SpiderCam’ in a Test, ODI or T20I, a new arrangement applies as the on-field umpires can now use the TV umpire to assist in detecting whether the ball has been in contact with any part of the device - the camera, its apparatus or its cables above the playing area.

 

Headline: Former Australia coach queries day-night Test experiment.

Article from:  The Courier Mail.

Journalist:  Robert Craddock.

Published: Saturday, 4 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,643.

Former Australian coach John Buchanan believes cricket’s pink ball experiment could leave administrators with red faces.  After years of experimentation, Australia and New Zealand will play each other in the first pink ball Test at the Adelaide Oval next November (PTG 1581-7608, 1 July 2015).  Though well known as a coaching pioneer and boundary pusher in areas such as computer use and player preparation, Buchanan has reservations about the project and believes a number of unanswered questions are hanging in the air, although others differ (PTG 1584-7632, 5 May 2015)

Buchanan said he thinks “there are a lot more questions that need to be asked of the proponents of it’’.  “Are the proponents of pink ball cricket more concerned with the entertainment factor than preserving the integrity of the game?”  “I am an advocate of keeping Test cricket separate to other forms of the game, to clearly differentiate Test cricket from one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket; to differentiate what it offers as a spectacle, and preserve some very important historical traditions which are the cornerstones of the game".  

“Test cricket is fundamentally a long form of cricket. It is fundamentally a red ball game, played by people wearing white clothing, using a white sight screen”.  “The game's marketers are saying that spectator numbers are dwindling as is the interest in Test cricket and there is a need to reach new audiences, or provide the same audience with a new product”.  “But is there any real evidence to suggest that a pink ball played under day-night conditions on a few grounds around the world for only certain Test matches will help solve the numbers coming to a ground to watch?”  "Or help the broadcast right deals?"

“As I understand it, virtually all venues around the world are unsuitable to host day-night Test cricket with a pink ball due to insufficient brightness of lighting”.  "What is being proposed by authorities to deal with this situation?”  "And will this be another cost hike to those audiences to whom the ‘pink ball pushers’ are intending to attract?”  “As a coach, I was always aware that changing from red ball game to white ball game, or vice versa, took players time to adjust”.  "How will this occur in Australia this summer?”  “Do they want to eliminate the red ball altogether, so that there is consistency across all long formats of the game to ensure questions already raised are no longer an issue?”  “If so, how far does this go, to domestic cricket, to club cricket, to junior cricket?’’

Headline: Hampshire’s suspended points deduction threat eased on appeal.

Article from:  ECB press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Saturday, 4 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,644.

Hampshire have succeeded in partially easing the points deduction threat imposed upon them by an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) disciplinary panel last month (PTG 1572-7557, 21 June 2015).  Five fixed-penalty disciplinary offences in a 12-month period had left Hampshire facing the threat of penalties if they transgressed once more in a 12-month period, but a Cricket Discipline Commission Appeal Panel (CDCAP) has decided the county will be allowed two further fixed-penalty instances before the points penalty is considered further (PTG 1578-7591, 27 June 2015).

CDCAP, which was made up of Gerard Elias QC (Chair), HH Edward Slinger and Christopher Tickle, decided that the original suspended points penalty, namely a points deduction of 16 points in the County Championship, and 2 points in either the ECB’s Twenty20 or one-day series, will stand.  The ECB took the matter to the disciplinary panel because five Hampshire players committed fixed penalty offences in a 12-month period contrary to its Directive 3.5.17. 

The essential purpose of ECB Directive 3.5.17 is to ensure that all players and coaches at county clubs are aware of the importance of maintaining high standards of discipline. The appeal panel accepted that the systems for the induction of all players at Hampshire and the inculcation of the importance of good discipline were at the level expected of a first class county. However, Directive 3.5.17 aims to ensure that counties take action when a number of disciplinary incidents have occurred involving their players.

CDCAP emphasised the importance of addressing disciplinary issues with the individual player and the playing squad as a whole after each fixed penalty breach and expects that a record of such action be made and retained.  The appeal against the £4,000 ($A8,170) fine and original hearing cost contribution of £500 ($A1,020) handed down against Hampshire was not pursued. No order was made as to the costs of the appeal.

Headline: Butt to meet ICC anti-corruption officials about his comeback efforts.

Article from:  Press Trust of India (PTI).

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Sunday, 5 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,645.

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt is expected to meet officials of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) “soon" regarding his efforts to make a comeback to domestic cricket after his ban ends in September.  A well-placed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) source told PTI that the ACU had contacted Butt after he submitted a written statement to the PCB admitting his involvement and guilt in the spot-fixing scandal in England in 2010 (PTG 669-3286, 17 September 2010).  "Indications are that the ICC ACU officials will meet with Butt soon to discuss his statement and future course of action”, the source said.

The source went on to indicate that PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan had not raised the issue of giving some relaxation to Butt after his ban ends in September at the recent ICC executive board meeting in Barbados.  After being pressurised by the PCB, Butt finally gave a statement prepared after taking legal advice in which he admitted his guilt in the spot-fixing scandal that saw Butt, Muhammad Aamer and Muhammad Asif all banned for a minimum five years in early 2011 (PTG 1525-7343, 19 February 2015).  While Aamer is now free to resume international cricket once his ban ends in September (PTG 1513-7297, 3 February 2015), the story is different with Butt (PTG 1508-7273, 25 January 2015).

In 2011 an ICC anti-corruption tribunal imposed a five-year ban on Butt plus a five-year suspended ban (PTG 726-3574, 14 February 2011). If Butt is unable to convince the ICC and PCB when his ban ends in September that he has undergone rehabilitation and is reformed and willing to work with them, his suspended ban can also be evoked.  "Butt is desperate to resolve this issue before the five-year ban ends in September and he is also eager to resume playing domestic cricket”, the source said.  The ICC granted Aamer special relaxation late last year to resume playing domestic cricket despite his ban also ending in September.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,586

  Tuesday, 7 July 2015

 

• England, Australia face sledging warning [1586-7646].

• Sledging is out of control and a cancer on the game [1586-7647].

• Sri Lankan ACU in action against pitch-siders [1586-7648].

• CPL match officials group remains unchanged [1586-7649].

• Ball seekers find child's body [1586-7650].

Headline: England, Australia face sledging warning.

Article from:  London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist:  Nick Hoult.

Published: Sunday, 5 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,646.

England and Australian captains Alastair Cook and Michael Clarke will be warned to stamp out "send-offs" for dismissed batsmen during the Ashes series when they meet match referee on Tuesday.  Ranjan Madugalle, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) most senior referee who has managed over 150 Tests to date (PTG 1580-7600, 29 June 2015), will hold obligatory pre-series meetings with both captains in Cardiff on the eve of the match and will warn of heavy punishments for abuse aimed at a departing batsman by a bowler or fielder.  It is part of the ICC's campaign to control sledging and abuse between players.

Send-offs have increased in international cricket. Australia's wicketkeeper Brad Haddin was criticised for abusing Martin Guptill and Grant Elliott during the World Cup final (PTG 1544-7422, 31 March 2015). The ICC's cricket committee, in its post World Cup report, urged match referees to come down hard and apply suspensions rather than fines for repeat sledging offenders.  The ICC confirmed that no specific instructions have been sent out for the Ashes series but send-offs will be punished as part of the governing body's overall clampdown on player behaviour. A spokesman said: "These are going to be taken seriously by match referees because we have seen these incidents snowball into a bigger issue”.

Dave Richardson, the ICC's chief executive, revealed before the World Cup that he had ordered match referees to get tough on sledging and it worked with few examples of bad behaviour at the tournament (PTG 1505-7257, 21 January 2015), however, the type of behaviour displayed by Haddin in the World Cup final went unpunished (PTG 1546-7429, 2 April 2015).

One player treading a very fine line is Australian batsman David Warner, who reopened his 2013 feud with Joe Root at the weekend to add a layer of tension to proceedings before the Ashes series begins. Warner is on a last warning from the ICC and said last week that the crackdown on sledging had taken the excitement out of the game.  Warner has been fined twice by the ICC in the past 18 months and with the ICC cricket committee urging referees to start issuing suspensions as a stronger deterrent, he will have to avoid confrontations this summer or face missing Tests.

Warner said last week: "I'm on my last warning from the ICC”.  "These rules are being clamped down now, they're really honing in on players celebrating wickets and obviously a bit of banter on the field. If you walk towards a player the umpires are going to fine you, you've got to be smart with what you do” (PTG 1583-7624, 3 July 2015).

Meanwhile, Andrew Strauss, England's director of cricket, says being aggressive does not have to mean being overly confrontational, though, according to Strauss, who is well aware of how the huge attention surrounding matches between England and Australia could affect players in different ways.  "I think we can over-hype an Ashes series, which maybe puts the players under more pressure to be really aggressive. You can be very aggressive with the way you play, you don't necessarily need to do it with the way you speak to the opposition and all that sort of stuff” (PTG 1584-7633, 5 July 2015).

Headline: Sledging is out of control and a cancer on the game.

Article from:  London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist:  Simon Heffer.

Published: Monday, 6 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,647.

The traditional rivalry between England and Australia may have suffered overkill – we seem to play Australia annually now – but a new series, such as that starting in Cardiff on Wednesday, is always exciting. It even grips those of us in middle age who have become jaded by a game so obsessive about money, and which seems with each year to depart further from what Marylebone Cricket Club still optimistically calls “the spirit of cricket”. 

Ashes series are one of the few that can guarantee a crowd for the five-day game. One only has to switch on Sky Sports’ coverage during the winter to note the acreage of empty seats at Test grounds in the West Indies, South Africa, New Zealand and even – depending on the opposition – in Australia and India. Different nations adduce different reasons for this decline. 

Here, we say it is because there are only highlights, not full coverage, on terrestrial television. In the West Indies – whose team for most of my cricket-watching life was the one to see – they say it is because young men want to imitate their American brothers and play basketball. In South Africa it is football, coupled with a lingering (and I think unfair) belief that the legacy of apartheid has left a game more accommodating to those from the white culture than the ethnic majority’s. 

What is common to every Test‑playing nation, including Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, is that alternative ways for people of both genders and all ages to spend their time are multiplying. When I played or watched cricket as a schoolboy 40 years ago the other options were to watch a geriatric film on television, or to read an improving book: it was an easy decision. Most alternative recreations today require a short attention span, and it is to the minds they help shape that Twenty20, for example, is aimed. 

But there is one other factor in Test cricket’s decline, relevant to the series about to start – and that is professional cricket is becoming a more unpleasant game. This is partly because traditional systems of authority have decayed through cultural change. We no longer live in a world where the patrician attitudes of an administrator such as Lord Hawke, or a captain such as Douglas Jardine, would be tolerated.  However, we do live in one where administrators and captains condone and even encourage bad behaviour on the field. In truth, it would be hypocritical of them not to, because such conduct has gone on for so long that they have all been guilty of it themselves. 

Cricket has always been aggressively competitive – the Bodyline series, in which Jardine minted his notoriety, was 83 years ago, and W G Grace, the centenary of whose death we mark this year, was not above cheating. “Play on”, he once said when being given out LBW early on in an innings. “They’ve come here to see me bat, not you umpire”. But the level to which the aggression is now taken has started to border on the idiotic. 

An excellent piece in The Daily Telegraph last week by my colleague Nick Hoult about Brad Haddin, the Australian wicketkeeper, exposed Haddin’s main priority in preparing for the series: it was to calibrate, in his own mind, just how much the Australian side should “sledge” (PTG 1582-7619, 2 July 2015).  As far as Haddin is concerned there will be a measure of puerile, gratuitous abuse in the five matches ahead. And rather than worrying about maintaining a high standard of wicketkeeping, or holding his batting together, he is applying a large part of his mental energy to working out how abusive he, and perhaps those team-mates whom he influences, should be. 

Some Australians seem to associate this conduct with strength and manliness: most intelligent people, forking out considerable sums to watch England v Australia over the next six weeks will, by contrast, find it pathetic and preposterous.  It is both of those things because it is so unnecessary. The Test series against New Zealand earlier this year, and particularly the superb match at Lord’s at the end of May, was so memorable and uplifting an experience for those of us who watched it because of the spirit in which it was played. 

The New Zealanders, who fresh from the final of the World Cup showed just how good they were at first-class cricket too, were civilised to their opponents. It won them friends and admiration and redeemed the increasingly toxic moral climate around cricket. If Haddin is to have his way, that good work is about to be comprehensively undone. 

Sledging has been a problem for more than 40 years. I recall being told by old hands from the 1960s and ’70s that what had been the occasional barbed comment or joke turned into a form of systematic bullying under the tutelage of Ian and Greg Chappell. All sports have a psychological element, but many cricket lovers will be far from convinced that learning to tolerate and ignore vicious verbal abuse should be part of any game, least of all theirs. 

In last year’s Wisden a magnificent essay by Martin Crowe, the former New Zealand captain, confronted the sheer loathsomeness of what is happening. Under the headline “Mental Disintegration”, Crowe pointed out that dismally low over rates mean there is about 45 minutes of action in a day’s play: leaving more than five hours for verbal abuse. He singled out the Australians as the worst offenders, especially when they are losing, describing their talk as “crudely personal” – no one ever accused sledgers of having the intelligence to be genuinely funny or brilliant – and said that when a game turned ugly in that way it was “when cricket’s spirit and integrity are lost”.  

 

Crowe described the Australians’ behaviour during the Brisbane and Adelaide Tests against England in late 2013 as “appalling”. The match referee, Crowe’s brother Jeff, felt unable to voice his disgust in public, but did so in private, apparently, in full measure. Martin Crowe pointed the finger at the Australian coach, Darren Lehmann, for wanting to continue the hostilities. Michael Clarke, Australia’s captain, set a fine example by telling Jimmy Anderson, as he came into bat, “get ready for a f---ing broken arm”.  Crowe told cricket to “calm down”, and he was right. He said players wore a “mask” of unpleasantness on the field because they felt it was the way to assert themselves for victory. Crowe made similar sledging-related comments after the death of Phillip Hughes (PTG 1473-7123, 2 December 2014).  

What he can clearly see as a distinguished ex-player is that this sort of thing is no longer under control, and is injecting a cancer into the game. A captain can send a player off – it last happened in 1973 in a match between Derbyshire and Yorkshire, but it can be done. Match referees need to be able to express their disgust at shocking behaviour, and cricket boards need to punish players – however talented they may be – for bringing the game into further disrepute.

The alternative is to drive even more people away from a game that many still regard with some idealism, but which at times is becoming a moral sink. Australia have New Zealand’s fine example before them. Are they man enough to follow it, or will they insist, once more, on being naughty boys? 

Headline: Sri Lankan ACU in action against pitch-siders.

Article from:  Pakistan News Service.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Monday, 6 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,648.

Sri Lanka Cricket’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) cracked down on an Indo-Pakistan betting operations in Colombo last week during the second Test.  But the culprits were later released as there were no local laws to prosecute them.  The unit’s head, retired Senior Police Superintendent Lakshman de Silva said they questioned two Pakistanis and three Indians who were supplying match commentaries to bookies in India and Pakistan while the second Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan was in progress.

De Silva, a former Director of the National Intelligence Bureau told the Sunday Times: “While we were on the prowl during the match, we happened to notice three individuals [the Indians] who were operating a clandestine commentary service via their mobile phones. Later, we also apprehended two Pakistanis who were involved in giving commentaries via their mobile phones”.  “On interrogation, we discovered that the commentaries were relayed direct to bookies in India and Pakistan for spot betting purposes. We also tried to ascertain if they had any local agents, cricket officials or players involved in this operation”, he said.

De Silva, a retired Senior Superintendent of Police, explained that the ACU wanted to find out whether these individuals had any local connection and if so who they were, but there were no leads.  He said: “Betting is illegal in Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, laws against betting are weak in this country. We have printed the relevant clause at the rear of the tickets informing such ticket holders of the ban on betting while at the grounds. So all that we could do is to get their personal details, eject them from the venue and ban them from entering the playing venues during the rest of this particular series”.

The SLC’s Anti-Corruption head said they also had learned about a betting operation where the names of local cricketers were being used during horse and dog races.  “We are keeping a close vigil on this and we are ready to swoop on any operation that tries to get players or officials involved in their activities”, said de Silva, whose anti-corruption unit is working closely with the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption Unit (PTG 1580-7602, 29 June 2015).

Headline: CPL match officials group remains unchanged.

Article from:  PTG.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Monday, 6 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,649.

Half way through the thirty-match round robin section of this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL), the same group of six umpires and two match referees have been looking after games (PTG 1576-7577, 25 June 2015), although that should change at least prior to the finals when Trinidad and Tobago’s Joel Wilson travels to Bangladesh to stand in his first Test (PTG 1585-7641, 6 July 2015).  

As of today West Indian Nigel Duguid has stood in six matches and worked as the television umpire in another two (6/2), his countryman Peter Nero and Australian Mike Martell both 5/3, Patrick Gustard and Wilson each 5/2 and the second Australian John Ward 4/3.  South African match referee Devdas Govindjee has overseen eight matches and the Caribbean’s Hayden Bruce seven.

Headline: Ball seekers find child's body.

Article from:  The Times of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Sunday, 5 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,650.

A group of youths playing cricket who entered an abandoned house in search of their ball in Bengaluru on Saturday, found a partially buried body of a child with lots of flies hovering around it.  The body of the child was covered with some clothes in a small pit in a room. The boys removed the cloth only to find the body partially buried in mud and debris. There was no foul smell. The child looked like more than a year old.  "We pulled out the body and sent it for postmortem to the hospital”, said police who attended the scene.  Neighbours said the house has been unused for the past two years. 


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,587

  Wednesday, 8 July 2015

 

• Another batsman dies after strike to chest [1587-7651].

• Australia ‘will not cross the line’, says skipper [1587-7652].

• Third senior ODI neutral appointment for Fry [1587-7653].

• Umpire Wilson hailed for first Test pick [1587-7654].

• Team canters to a win despite horse play [1587-7655].

• Five teams compete in Brazil championship series [1587-7656].

• Tennis champion continues to have problems with ‘Hawk Eye’ [1587-7657].

Headline: Another batsman dies after strike to chest.

Article from:  The Guardian.

Journalist:  Agencies.

Published: Tuesday, 7 2015.

PTG listing: 7,651.

A British Tamil batsman has died after being struck in the chest by a ball while playing in a residential suburb in Surrey over the weekend.  Bavalan Pathmanathan turned out for the Manipay Parish Sports Club’s division three side in the British Tamil League on Sunday at Long Ditton recreation grounds, where he received the blow.  A spokesman from South East Coast Ambulance Service confirmed they had attended the ground at around 7 pm.   “We were called to Windmill Lane, Long Ditton, to reports that a man in his 20s had been injured by a cricket ball striking his chest”, said the spokesman.

An ambulance and two cars were sent to the scene along with an ambulance from the London Ambulance Service as well as the air ambulance. The man was treated at the scene and then taken to Kingston hospital "in a life-threatening condition”.  Pathmanathan was given CPR and treated by ambulance as well as air ambulance doctors but the 24-year-old subsequently died from his injuries.  A statement on his club's Facebook page said: “Our cricketer Bavalan Pathmanathan is no longer with us. He was hit by the ball on his chest while batting. Our club was totally shocked by his death at this young age”.

Surrey chief executive Richard Gould said: “Everyone at the club has been deeply saddened to learn of Bavalan’s death and would like to extend their sympathies to his family, friends and everyone who knew him from within the community of cricket”.  “Batsmen’s safety on the field of play has been a topic of conversation in recent months following the death of former Australia international Phillip Hughes, who was struck in the neck by a bouncer last November”.

Editor’s note: Pathmanathan is the latest batsman to die after being hit in the chest by a ball over the last decade.  Last January saw Zeeshan Mohammed, 18, died almost immediately during a game being played in the Karachi suburb of Orangi Town (PTG 1510-7279, 27 January 2015).  Similar chest strikes saw Mudasir Ahmad Matoo, 20, killed in 2013 whilst batting in a game in Kashmir, Zulfiqar Bhatti, 22, in Pakistan around the same time when he attempted to pull a rising ball and missed (PTG 1258-6070, 21 December 2013).  Before that in 2010 in Lydenburg, South Africa, grade seven student Matthew Prior, 13, when hit on the chest by a full toss while batting in a school match, and in 2005 Tim Melville, 18, a player with the Wallasey Cricket Club in Merseyside, died after being struck on the chest.  Last month the world’s top player’s union released a paper that talked of the risks faced by professionals playing the game (PTG 1570-7547, 18 June 2015).  

  

Headline: Australia ‘wil not cross the line’, says skipper.

Article from:  Agence France Presse.

Journalist:  Callum Mulvihill.

Published: Tuesday, 7 2015.

PTG listing: 7,652.

Australia captain Michael Clarke has insisted that his side will not cross the line in on-field confrontations ahead of the first Ashes Test in Cardiff. Much of the build-up has been dominated by the subject of sledging following a number of clashes in the 2013/14 series, but former England batsman Kevin Pietersenclaims that it remains a crucial part of cricket (see editor’s note below).

Clarke promises that his players will not change their approach due to the debate, and he believes that players rarely go too far with their attempts to interact with rivals.  "I know we play a tough brand of cricket but we're also respectful towards the players we play against, and to the game of cricket”, Clarke told reporters. "A lot of it sells newspapers and it builds the series as well, so I'm more than happy for there to be a lot of talk about it. It's entertaining for the people who are going to be at home watching or come to the ground to watch".

The Australian captain continued: "I think everyone knows where the line is”.  "In the last Ashes series if anyone overstepped it, it was me so I have to make sure I set my standard and have the discipline to stay there as well, which I know I will”.  "You definitely need to respect the laws of the game, you can play hard but play fair. You don't have to sledge to play tough cricket. It's as much about body language and intent and attitude as it is about verbal stuff that comes out of your mouth”.

Editor’s note: At the end of a long article published yesterday that talked about each team’s prospects for the Ashes series Pietersen said: "The Ashes is sporting war and sledging is good for the game.  I want more of it and I want there to be fire in the series.  I do not want to see people laughing and joking with each other. It is Ashes cricket. You do not test people mentally by smiling at the opposition on the field. Do not cross the line or be personal. But stand up and take them on”.  Late last month England bowler James Anderson said that wanted to see an end to Ashes sledging (PTG 1576-7575, 25 June 2015), and he followed up on Monday by saying his sledging days “were over”.

Headline: Third senior ODI neutral appointment for Fry.

Article from:  ICC appointments list.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Tuesday, 7 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,653.

Australian umpire Simon Fry has been selected to stand as the neutral umpire in the three-match One Day International (ODI) series between Zimbabwe and India in Harare over the next week, Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka being the match referee.  Fry, who turns 49 late this month and has been standing at first class level for the last thirteen-and-a-half years, made his senior international debut in January 2011, was given his first senior ODI neutral appointments by the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) last November (PTG 1463-7086, 20 November 2014), and second in this year’s World Cup (PTG 1511-7283, 31 January 2015).  

Fry will be on-field in each ODI with Zimbabwean members of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) Russell Tiffin and Jerry Matibiri, plus their countryman Langton Rusere who will be making his senior international on-field debut in the final ODI after serving as the third umpire in matches one and two.  Rusere, who turned 30 yesterday, made his first class debut in March 2009 aged 24 and has since gone on to stand in 55 such games. The ICC’s web site continues to show Owen Chirombie as an IUP member, however, he is not mentioned in the appointments list for the Indian tour.  

The ODI series will take Mahanama’s record as a referee in that format of the international game to 219 matches, Tiffin to 140 on-field and 34 as the third umpire (140/34), Matibiri to 8/18 and Rusere to 1/2.  Following the ODIs the two sides will play two Twenty20 Internationals, Tiffin being on-field in both with Rusere and Matibiri one each on-field and as the third umpire.

Fry is one of eight IUP members who have been given a number of senior neutral umpire appointments in ODI matches over the last eight months, the others being Johan Cloete of South Africa, Michael Gough of England, Chris Gaffaney of New Zealand, Ranmore Martinecz and Ruchira Palliyaguruge of Sri Lanka, Sundarum Ravi of India, and Joel Wilson of the West Indies.  Gaffaney and Ravi have since gone on the be promoted to the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel, and more recently Wilson to a Test match (PTG 1585-7641, 6 July 2015).

Headline: Umpire Wilson hailed for first Test pick.

Article from:  Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Tuesday, 7 2015.

PTG listing: 7,654.

Umpire Joel Wilson has been congratulated on his appointment to officiate in the First Test between Bangladesh and South Africa in Chittagong later this month. It will be the first time that Wilson, 48, will be standing in a Test match and marks another exciting chapter in his career as a worthy representative of the West Indies Cricket Board (PTG 1585-7641, 6 July 2015).

Leading the accolades was Azim Bassarath, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB), himself a former president of the Cricket Umpires and Scorers Council who said yesterday he was very pleased at the latest development.  Bassarath said that he was elated that Wilson’s time had arrived on the world cricket stage and was rich reward for hard work, commitment and sacrifice which he has demonstrated over the course of his career so far.

“Joel serves as an inspiration to the new generation of umpires coming through the ranks who will now have someone to look up to and become motivated to emulate him which we think is a powerful symbol of what can be achieved when one puts their mind to achieving their desired goals,” said Bassarath.  The local cricket chief said that it had been a roller-coaster experience for Wilson as he gradually climbed up the ladder leading to the recognition by the International Cricket Council (ICC) that he possesses the qualities needed for a Test appointment.

“We have always known that Joel has the capability to rise up the ranks in umpiring as he has always strove for the highest professional standards. He must also be commended for devoting time to enhance the capabilities of other umpires through mentoring and training programmes in his native country”, said Bassarath.  The TTCB president said he was confident Wilson would do Trinidad and Tobago and the entire Caribbean proud when he strides out on the field to share umpiring duties in what is expected to be a very competitive encounter between a resurgent Bangladesh playing on their home turf against the world’s number one ranked Test side, South Africa.

Headline: Team canters to a win despite horse play.

Article from:  Leicester Mercury.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Tuesday, 7 2015.

PTG listing: 7,655.

The Kibworth team won their Leicester Senior League’s Premier Division match against Rothley Park by five wickets last Saturday despite one of the most bizarre stoppages of play imaginable.  The game was played on the picturesque Rothley ground where the straight boundaries are short, and as a result the double sight screens at one end are beyond the perimeter fence and slightly into the adjoining field in which animals graze.

Midway through the Rothley innings, a horse stood at the side of the sightscreens munching grass – and then walked slowly between the fence and the screens and stopped, right in the middle of them, broadside on to the action. As a result the batsman pulled away and the game stopped, but fortunately, the horse eventually moved on, thus allowing the umpires to resume play.     

Headline: Five teams compete in Brazil championship series.

Article from:  The Rio Times.

Journalist:  Chesney Hearst.

Published: Tuesday, 7 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,656.

Rio de Janeiro's Carioca Cricket Club (CCC) put in a brave performance in Brazil’s National Cricket Championships played the national capital Brasília this past weekend, playing four matches in the first round of the competition for the John Landers Shield.  The other clubs who took part were from São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Brasília and newcomers, Amazonas.  

CCC president, Craig Allison praised his team and said that they were to credit to Rio both on and off the field. “It was a fantastic tournament with players from all over the world, including an ever increasing number of Brazilians”, he said, and "shows the strength and increasing popularity of cricket in Brazil”.  The second stage of the Nationals which will be held in Rio in late November. “It promises to be a fantastic weekend of cricket and fun for all the family”, added Allison.   Brazil is a third-tier or Affiliate member of the International Cricket Council since 2002.

Headline: Tennis champion continues to have problems with ‘Hawk Eye'.

Article from:  Associated Press.

Journalist:  Siddharth Vishwanathan.

Published: Monday, 6 2015.

PTG listing: 7,657.

When ‘Hawk Eye' was first introduced to Tennis during Wimbledon in 2007, Roger Federer was not a big fan of it. During that year's final against Rafael Nadal, he had huge issues with the technology, so much so that after the end of a particular point, Federer stormed towards the chair umpire and requested that the device be turned off.  Eight years later, Federer, who now has 17 Grand Slam titles behind him, is still not convinced about the technology and has stated that matches should stop when it is too dark for ‘Hawk Eye'. 

"What I don't understand, on the other hand, is like if we have ‘Hawk Eye', why do we keep playing in the nighttime when ‘Hawk Eye' is not available anymore? That's where I disagree with supervisors or tournaments, that they push it too far every single time. We've seen it happen every single night in the last few days when I've been watching tennis. ‘Hawk Eye' is not available, but the players keep playing”, he said.  However, Federer did not want the technology to go away totally. "But it's fine to have it... because you ... don't want to lose at Wimbledon because of one bad call or a missed call by someone”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,588

  Thursday, 9 July 2015

 

• Sheffield Shield going overseas for the first time [1588-7658].

• Player’s collapse leads club to acquire defibrillators [1588-7659].

• Sledging will be key to Ashes success, claims Psychologist [1588-7660].

• Breakthrough in contract dispute allows players to join Women's BBL teams [1588-7661].

• Winner calls on ECB to tackle ‘result’ pitches [1588-7662].

• TTCB wants $TT31m to run cricket [1588-7663].

• Club seeks apology after League ejects them from cup competition [1588-7664].

Headline: Sheffield Shield going overseas for the first time.

Article from:  Australian Associated Press.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Thursday, 9 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,658.

Cricket Australia (CA) will take the unprecedented step of playing a Sheffield Shield game overseas early next year to help its Test side prepare for a series in New Zealand.  Dates for Australia's three-Test series against New Zealand and the West Indies have already been locked in, but the full domestic 2015-16 schedule will be announced on Thursday.  However, the South Island town of Lincoln, near Christchurch, will host a first-class match between New South Wales and Western Australia starting on 3 February.  

CA shifted the fixture overseas instead of scheduling a tour game prior to the two-Test series in New Zealand which starts on 12 February .The majority of Test players not involved in the one-day series against the Blackcaps are likely to feature in the Shield game.  "If we were to schedule a warm-up game, it would have to happen in parallel with the Chappell-Hadlee ... and Sheffield Shield”, high-performance manager Pat Howard said.  "That would obviously have a negative impact on the Shield because we'd have to pull extra players out of that competition”.

"Therefore we thought bringing a Shield match, involving a number of international players, to New Zealand was a different option that gives us some strong preparation in local conditions.  The other two Shield games in round six will be played on the east coast of Australia.  Obviously we can't cater for everyone in that scenario, and a number of our Test players will be playing in the Chappell-Hadlee series”, Howard said.  The Sheffield Shield has been running since 1892-93 and there has never been a fixture played outside Australia.

Headline: Player’s collapse leads club to acquire defibrillators.

Article from:  Burton Mail.

Journalist:  Rob Helliwell.

Published: Wednesday, 8 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,659.

A year after he collapsed on a cricket field, Ian Wakefield is back in action, and grateful to all those who helped save his life that day.  Wakefield, 51, from Stretton, was playing for Staffordshire club Rolleston's second team last June like he does most Saturday afternoons during the summer.  However, during the game he suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed and was saved by fellow players from Rolleston and the team from Sawley and Long Eaton who leap into action.  

Now recovered, Wakefield says: "I can't praise enough what a fantastic job the players did that day”.  "Steve Yates from our club and three of the Sawley players saved my life that day".

"Without them I wouldn't be here”.  "The ambulance staff were fantastic too, and then the quality of care at Royal Derby Hospital too. It was the aftercare too, they soon had me back on my feet”.  “Basically I've been very lucky and it's been a full recovery".

The incident "really puts things into perspective”, says Wakefield, for “now on the cricket field if something goes wrong you remind yourself that it's only a game”.  His return to health has had a hugely positively effect on his cricket club. Many of the members gathered for a charity walk recently to raise money so they could install defibrillators at the club’s ground.  The club, which now has three, did not have a defibrillator on site when Wakefield collapsed and he hopes his story showed how important the devices were.

Wakefield says "defibrillators  can be expensive but it's something every club should have, and it would be great if it was something the England and Wales Cricket Board could support and get fully behind”. 

Headline: Sledging will be key to Ashes success, claims Psychologist.

Article from:  Sky Sports.

Journalist:  Rob Dorsett.

Published: Wednesday, 8 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,660.

“You may be playing in a packed stadium in front of 30,000 people, with millions watching at home on TV, but the loudest voice for a batsman is the one in his head”.  So says Jeremy Snape, a man who, when it comes to sledging, has been there and heard it all.  Snape was an able off-spinner who won 10 One Day International caps for England and played in 121 first-class matches.  Since retiring from the game seven years ago, he completed a masters degree in Sports Psychology, and in recent years has worked as a performance coach with South Africa and twice with Sri Lanka – most recently, during the World Cup in the spring.

Snape is adamant that sledging will play a huge part in the upcoming Ashes series.  “Sledging is a key tactic”, he admits. “The idea is to provide a verbal distraction to another player – usually a batsman – and it can be hugely effective. Something can be said early in a Test match or even in the warm-up, that stays with that player for the rest of the series”.  “I liken it to the memories we all have of our teachers”, he explains. “If a teacher said to you when you were young and impressionable that you can or cannot do something, that comment stays with you for the rest of your adult life. It’s the same idea when it comes to sledging".

“The temperature in a player’s mind is key: if you’re too ‘cold' and detached, you can become complacent and make mistakes. The ideal temperature to play in, I describe as ‘warm' – that’s when you’re in the zone, in a bubble almost – immune to what’s going on around you in the field. You’re in control. That leads to optimum performance”.  “But if you are affected by sledging, you can become too ‘hot' in your mind – angry, wound up – and that can lead you to be overly aggressive, overly emotional in your response, and this can be dangerous for a batsman if it means you’re out of control, or that your decision-making isn’t at its best”.  "And the Ashes is a series unlike any other”. 

"The highs and lows, the personal battles will be fascinating. And it feels like every emotion is heightened when it comes to the Ashes. It encapsulates the battle within cricket, which is such a psychological sport. For example, if the captain moves in a short gully or silly point, you can interpret that positively as a batsman, and think ‘he can’t get me out, so he’s becoming desperate’. Or, if you’re mindset isn’t so strong, you can interpret it negatively, and think ‘does he know I’m vulnerable to the short ball, or that I’ve been out like that in the past?’ All of a sudden, you’re thinking about what NOT to do, rather than thinking positively about what you’re intending to do”.  “That’s how sledging works. If you listen to what your opponent is saying to you, it can lead you to self-doubt, and ultimately to self-destruct”.

When it comes to the differences between the two squads, Snape doesn’t see any significant weaknesses for either group, and he believes both will be sledging to their best advantage”. “The stereotypes would suggest that the Aussies are far more brash and arrogant – that they’re brimming with confidence – whilst the English are more gentlemanly, classical stroke players. Don’t believe a bit of it”, he says.  “You only need to look at Ben Stokes, who is archetypically aggressive, or Steve Smith, who is much more quiet and reserved, to see that stereotypes don’t stick".

“However, the Australians are significantly more experienced than England, and whilst that might lead to some English sledging about 'Dad’s Army' and their physical prowess, the Aussies will be able to draw on that huge experience in developing a thick skin to whatever is said to them. Likewise, the Aussies might feel that they can exploit the relative inexperience of some of the England youngsters – as you mature in cricket, you are more able to make yourself impenetrable to chirping and sledging".

Headline: Breakthrough in contract dispute allows players to join Women's BBL teams.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Jesse Hogan.

Published: Wednesday, 8 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,661.

Australia's elite female cricketers have been cleared by their union to start negotiating and signing with fledgling Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) teams after Cricket Australia (CA) agreed to formally consider moving them onto a collective pay agreement.  CA announced in February the women's Twenty20 competition would shift from a state-based competition to one with eight city-based teams, replicating the structure of the men's BBL, and announced initial contract terms. In May the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) told players to hold off joining teams until contract disagreements with CA had been resolved.

The ACA, which represents both elite male and female players, was unhappy with the lack of detail in contracts and WBBL competition guidelines, and arguably more so with CA's refusal to countenance a formal agreement with its female players, just as its male players have long boasted. The men's Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) mandates not only minimum contract terms and standards but also gives the union a say in issues such as scheduling.

Over the past month the gap between CA, which is investing $A600,000 (£UK290,000) in the WBBL to fund pay increases, and the ACA has closed significantly. One reason for this is CA's agreement to begin a process, in conjunction with the ACA, through the next home summer that will formally consider the introduction of a women's MoU.  As a result of the breakthrough players have, for about the past fortnight, had the blessing of the union to sign with whichever WBBL team they chose, having been granted free agency from their states. They will be signed on retainers of between $A3,000 and $A10,000 (£UK1,450-4,800).

ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson commended CA on its new stance.  "Obviously it was a slightly protracted process but that was basically because there's a lot of new things here, in regards to the guidelines and the contracts”, Nicholson said.  "It was important for the group that while there is no collective agreement we were able to at least consult Cricket Australia on some of these changes. Now we can get on with looking forward to the competition towards the end of the year”.

Nicholson said he expected many players would sign for teams outside their home cities, despite the contract terms currently being below what their male counterparts, most of them full-time professionals, receive for BBL.  "It's different . . . you've got girls who have full-time work or study, things like that . . . but I think we will see player movements. Some girls will be for opportunity, some will be just for a change of lifestyle”, he said.  

"Many players don't have management but they still have lives that they're moving interstate and it's not always on the same monetary levels as the men. I think there will be some things that come up, and we've tried to call them out as best we can. Some of them have gone into the guidelines, some of them haven't, but we'll wait and see [how it progresses] through the summer”.  "That feeds into that broader discussion around a collective agreement and being able to work through getting to a similar stage to the men, where a lot of those things are covered off in black and white so there's no grey”.

With the initial hurdle cleared, Nicholson said the ACA and the players were pleased to be able to focus on Friday's launch of the WBBL, at which teams' marquee players will be unveiled, and next week's departure of the Australian women’s side for their Ashes campaign in England.  "It's good we've now got some clarity around contracts for the national side, so the girls go to the Ashes in good shape, and state training starts and there's a lot more comfort around things like that in the interim”, he said.  

"We'll be continue be working and rights and conditions for players throughout, but I think now the focus is cricket and winning the Ashes, and the players getting into their states and starting to build their training and culture around what should hopefully be a really exciting season for female cricket”, concluded Nicholson.

Headline: Winner calls on ECB to tackle ‘result’ pitches.

Article from:  The Guardian.

Journalist:  Richard Rae.

Published: Wednesday, 8 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,662.

Criticism, however politely expressed, carries more weight when you have won a match at a canter, so Sam Northeast should surely be taken seriously after his Kent side beat Leicestershire by eight wickets, lifting themselves off the bottom of the County Championship Division Two.  The game was concluded in well under two and a half days and, despite leaving with 20 championship points, Northeast made it clear he had been unimpressed by the condition of the Grace Road pitch.

“We have to take it as it comes but we do seem to be going from place to place and playing on this type of ‘result’ wicket and I don’t think it’s great for cricket in general, and producing England players and producing good cricket”, said Northeast, who was at the still distinctly green wicket when Joe Denly hit the winning runs.  “We’ve taken away the points, so I guess people will say: ‘Just be happy,’, but I think it’s a common theme, people want results because they want to play in Division One, and I think someone higher up than myself probably needs to look at what is happening at the moment with Division Two wickets”, he continued.

It was an unselfish comment, given the excellent use Kent made of the pitch, bowling out Leicestershire twice in short order, despite losing one of the quartet of seamers, Ivan Thomas, early in the match to a side strain.

Headline: TTCB wants $TT31m to run cricket.

Article from:  Trinidad Daily Express.

Journalist:  Roger Seepersad.

Published: Wednesday, 8 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,663.

Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) president Azim Bassarath says that cricket is now the number one sport in T&T and feels they are not asking for too much when they submitted a budget of $TT31 million ($A6.6 m, £UK3.2 m) to the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago, an arm of the country's Ministry of Sport, earlier this week.  The Sports Company provides government funding, oversight and guidance to T&T’s 15 National Governing Bodies, who are responsible for the sustainable growth and development of their respective sport. 

A TTCB media release yesterday stated that the Board, meeting in an executive retreat over the weekend in Couva, approved and submitted a budget of $TT31,351,275 to the Sport Company to cover their developmental program for the current fiscal year.  According to Bassarath, local cricket deserves every penny.  He said yesterday: “We feel that cricket right now is the number one sport in the country and should be given more attention because of the work we have been doing and because we are regarded very highly as one of the best run sporting organisations in the Trinidad and Tobago”.  

“In previous years the budget would have been $TT12 million ($A2.6 m, £UK1.2 m) but [the increase is] because of the amount of work we feel we have to do now, and because of the fact that our youth team did not do well last year and the previous year”.  “We feel that because of the starving of funds which we suffered over the past three years, that we have to focus a lot more on development and team preparation and you will see where we catered to spend over $TT2.1 million ($A447,000, £UK215,000) on team preparation for both the senior team and the youth teams because we feel it is important to prepare these teams properly”, Bassarath added.

The funds requested represent proposals for the upgrade of the TTCB's sprawling 17-acre training and administrative facility at Balmain in Couva, and the undertaking of several important projects to enhance the preparedness of its national teams, increase assistance to clubs, and provide specialist training for curators, umpires and scorers.  One of the biggest chunks of the budget targets the National Cricket Centre (NCC), which is wholly owned by the TTCB, with proposals to outfit it with a state-of-the art electronic scoreboard costing in the region of $TT2 million ($A425,000, £UK205,000).

There is also a proposal for the laying of a sand-based outfield at the NCC, which is estimated to set the board back approximately $TT3 million, but will bring the venue on par with internationally accepted standards.  “Although we sent this budget, we don't really expect that we will get all of it, but if we get 75 per cent of that, we will be happy. We know if we get that money, a lot of work can be done for cricket in the country”, the TTCB boss explained.

“We must not forget that the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) was given a substantial amount of funding and we feel if we get half or even three-quarters of what CPL got, it will go a long way for the further development of T&T cricket”, Bassarath added.  The TTCB is also planning to allocate approximately $TT9 million ($A1.9 m, £UK923,000) in grants to clubs to help alleviate the burgeoning costs associated with club administration and community development which are intrinsically linked.  The TTCB also intends to improve its development model to meet the changing requirements of the game and has placed additional emphasis on this.

For preparation of the national teams under its purview, the TTCB has budgeted $TT2,371,250 ($A505,000, £UK243,000) for the Under-13, Under-15, Under-17, Under-19 and senior teams, to be supported by island-wide coaching programs costing $TT750,000 ($A160,000, £UK77,000).  These initiatives involve 3,000 children instructed by 120 coaches.  Specialist coaching programmes are also listed for batting, bowling and fielding ($TT 300,000, $A64,000, £UK31,000) while the board's Cricket Academy, has also been allocated $TT300,000 for the training of 20 elite cricketers.

In addition to the $TT120,000 ($A25,500, £UK12,300) for development seminars, the total budget for club development is $TT1,892,000 ($A403,000, £UK194,100) of which the TTCB will cough up $TT180,000 ($A38,300, £UK18,500) to be supplemented by $TT1,712,000 ($A364,400, £UK175,700), which will be raised from external sources.

Headline: Club seeks apology after League ejects them from cup competition.

Article from:  Exeter Express and Echo.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Monday, 6 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,664.

The organisers of the Devon Senior Cup, a Devon League (DL) knock-out competition, are refusing to apologise to Exeter for throwing them out of the competition.  Exeter have blasted the organisers for kicking them out of the cup despite them asking for their first-round tie against Cornwood to be moved.  Cup rules allow teams to ask for a postponement when they have two players on county duty – and Exeter ended up with three players in the Devon side on the day they were due to face Cornwood.

Exeter chairman Bob Price wants an unreserved apology from the DL, which runs the competition on behalf of the Devon Cricket Board.  However, the league are standing firm and say Exeter left it too late to try and rearrange the match.  Ed Leverton, DL's secretary, said: “On the evening of Friday, 19 June the league were approached by Pat Steward [Exeter’s league representative] asking whether they could play a number of younger players in their cup fixture with Cornwood to be played on the following Sunday.

Leverton said: “The league advised Exeter that, to be eligible to play in this competition, players must be registered with the Devon Cricket League (DCL)”.  “This communication concluded at approximately 10 pm that Friday evening and the information was acknowledged by Pat Steward”.  “At approximately 7.30 pm on the following day, Saturday, Exeter contacted the league seeking agreement to postpone Sunday’s match on the basis that they were now unable to raise a team as three players had been selected to play for Devon".

“The league maintains that, with the county team being selected for the away game with Cornwall at least a week previously, Exeter had every opportunity to contact Cornwood in good time to seek a rearrangement under the competition rules”, said Leverton.  However, Steward said the league’s response ignores Exeter’s claim, substantiated by e-mails, that they were told by cup administrator Nigel Piddock the game could be rearranged.  “On Saturday evening, having just lost a third key player  to the Devon side, I immediately e-mailed Nigel Piddock to ask whether the fixture could be postponed< said Steward.  “An e-mail response from Nigel confirmed that the game could be postponed, in accordance with league rules".

“The following Monday, Exter's secretary (Derek Taylor) received an e-mail from Ed Leverton advising that the game had been awarded to Cornwood”.  “This came as a complete surprise, as no contact had been made by the league with us”.  “I immediately contacted Nigel Piddock, who confirmed no one within the league had contacted him. Had the DCL known about Nigel’s written confirmation that the game could be postponed, we very much doubt a decision would have been made on Monday to award the game to Cornwood”.  “Exeter Cricket Club remains astonished by the league’s decision. We will be asking the league for an apology”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,589

  Friday, 10 July 2015

 

• Abuse of colleague leads to six week ban for umpire [1589-7665].

• Development Program helps boost world playing numbers, says ICC [1589-7666].

• Three more day-night Shield games in CA 2015-16 fixture list [1589-7667].

• CA domestic one-day series to feature seventh side [1589-7668].

• WNCL restructure raises match official appointments questions [1589-7669].

• Football to ask CA to move Sheffield Shield final date [1589-7670].

• New ECB board member to promote game to British-Asian communities [1589-7671].

• Draw blamed on umpires light decision [1589-7672].

Headline: Abuse of colleague leads to six week ban for umpire.

Article from:  Oldham Evening Chronicle.

Journalist:  Kevin Richardson.

Published: Thursday, 9 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,665.

An umpire from the Saddleworth and District Cricket League (SDCL) in northern England has been banned for six games for verbally abusing one of his colleagues who was standing in a match.  The incident took place at the end of the SDCL fixture between Moorside and Glodwick last month when Asif Lohdi, who was at the time a spectator, “reacted” from the club rooms to a decision made by umpire Steve Holt out on the ground.

A report was sent to the SDCL’s umpires association, who said Lohdi’s behaviour was “totally out of order” and banned him from taking the field again until mid-August.  Although Lohdi isn’t appealing the length of the suspension, he reckons it should take into account cup semi-finals and Twenty20 matches, not just league fixtures.  “It was a bit of banter”, said Lohdi, “there was no swearing and at the end of the game I waved at him and he appeared to wave back, then I went straight home”.

The SDCL has been in operation for over 100 years and it is believed Lohdi’s suspension is the first time in the league’s long history that an umpire has been stood down for disciplinary reasons.

Headline: Development Program helps boost world playing numbers, says ICC.

Article from:  PTG.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Thursday, 9 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,666.

The number of males and females living outside the ten “traditional” Test playing countries who play the game has increased three-fold to 1.4 million in just the past six years, says the International Cricket Council (ICC).  The world body says, in its own words, "that is due, in no small part, to the phenomenal financial investment" that flows from it to its Members, "both in terms of direct funding and also opportunities afforded through high-performance programs and tournaments".

The ICC says there has been a substantial increase to the funding of the ICC Development Program (DP) over most of the last decade.  Between 1998-2007, $US65 million ($A87.2 m, £UK42.2 m) was invested in the program, and from 2008-15 the figure was $US250million ($A335 m, £UK162.2 m), while in the forthcoming planning period, from 2016-23, "approximately $US300 million [$A402 m, £UK195 m] will be invested”. The latter is an average of $US37 m a year ($A49.6 m, £UK24.1 m), not much more than that reportedly earned by the world’s highest paid player last year (PTG 1567-7542, 15 June 2015), and the same as Cricket Australia has indicated it earned last year (PTG 1456-7061, 27 October 2014).

According to an ICC press release, “the results of this investment are evident” for in 2005 there were approximately 277,637 participants in countries outside those who play Test cricket.  This number climbed to 410,248 at the end of 2008 and by December 2014 the figure stood at 1.4 million.  In 1997 when the DP was launched, the ICC had 26 Associate, or second-tier member nations, and 10 Affiliate or third-tier members.  It now has 95 Associate and Affiliate members, 57 of the former, an increase of 31, and 38 of the latter, 28 more than in 1997.  

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson says in the release: “Cricket around the world is in rude health with more people playing the game outside the Full Members than ever before. This is a tribute to the hard work, passion and dedication of people within the Associate and Affiliate Members as well as the significant financial and other resources passed on from the ICC”.  Richardson added: “The ICC is committed to growing the game beyond the historical heartlands and our Development Program is reaping the rewards of its investment. All over the world, people are taking up cricket for the first time and, through the game’s unique spirit, lives are being changed for the better”.

Late last month the ICC said that its “new” strategic plan for the period from 2016-19 involves building the game "around a vision of cricket becoming the ‘world’s favourite sport’”.  That strategy was said to cover four broad areas: making sure men's and women's international cricket is attractive to play and watch; protecting the integrity of the game; delivering successful major events and building their value; and improving the quality and reach of international cricket via development and marketing programs (PTG 1580-7604, 29 June 2015).

Headline: Three more day-night Shield games in CA 2015-16 fixture list.

Article from:  PTG.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Thursday, 9 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,667.

Australia's 2015-16 domestic first-class competition will open with a three-match day-night round using a pink ball, the third time in three seasons such a format has been featured in Cricket Australia’s (CA) first class series (PTG .  The three games are to be played in Hobart, between Tasmania and Western Australia (WA), Melbourne where Victoria will play Queensland, and Adelaide, where South Australia (SA) will take on New South Wales (NSW).

Adelaide was confirmed as the venue for the first ever day-night Test match earlier this month (PTG 1581-7608, 1 July 2015), and CA’s web site says the SA-NSW match will give “the large New South Wales contingent in the Australia squad a taste of the conditions in the build-up to the [day-night Test].  That Shield fixture is to start at 2.30 p.m. local time, a time that means a finish at around 9.30 p.m.  Official sunset during the time the match is to be played ranges from 7.40-7.50 p.m. local time, so the last session will basically all be played under lights.  In Hobart in Melbourne, where the day’s play will run from 2-9 p.m., with the last session underway from 7-9 p.m., local time sunset will be between 7.50 and 7.55 p.m.

What is not clear is just when the New Zealand tourists will have the opportunity to play a day-night, pink ball game prior to the day-night third Test against Australia in Adelaide.  New Zealand Cricket has asked for, and CA has indicated it would provide, such an opportunity but as yet, apart from the three Tests, the tourists full program of games has not been released.

Between round one of the Sheffield Shield, when all six state sides will be in action, and the first Test in Brisbane when Shield round two will also be underway, there is a very tight 3-4 day period where a short day-night tour game could be slotted, however, between Tests one, in Brisbane, and two, in Perth, there are only three days therefore such a game is unlikely then.  What looks the obvious time is during the 9 days between the Perth and Adelaide Tests when all six Shield sides would be available for a day-night fixture, or alternatively players could be drawn from them to form an Australian XI for a match that seems likely in Adelaide.  As for the day-night Test itself, CA is yet to commit to a start time each day, rather its web site current indicates that it is "to be confirmed”.  

In addition to the day-night Sheffield Shield games in round one, the round six match between NSW and WA in early February is to be played in Lincoln, just outside of Christchurch in New Zealand, the first-ever Shield match played outside Australia (PTG 1588-7658, 9 July 2015).  The Sheffield Shield final will be played in late March at the home ground of the side that finishes top of the table.  Should that side be Victoria as was the case last year the match would most likely be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, however, a separate report suggests CA is under pressure to alter the date should that be so (PTG 1589-7670 below). 

Headline: CA domestic one-day series to feature seventh side.

Article from:  PTG.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Thursday, 9 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,668.

Cricket Australia’s (CA) 2015-16 domestic fifty over one-day competition is to be played tournament-style for the third year in a row, but this time all games will take place in the Sydney area at grounds in Bankstown, Drummoyne,  Hurstville, North Sydney and Rooty Hill.  Previous years have seen the six state sides either play all of the series in Brisbane, or a mixture of Brisbane and Sydney locations.  This year seven teams will compete, the six states plus for the first time a 'Cricket Australia XI’.

The 23-match series, 21 round-robin, and elimination final and a final, will be completed in just 21 days, two matches being underway on a single day on four occasions.  There are indications that at least two of the games, two at Rooty Hill, two and possibly three at Drummoyne, will be day-night affairs, while 15 of the 23 matches are to be shown on television.

A CA web site story says that the "CA XI outfit” will be "a composite side assembled from uncontracted state players and national youth squad members” and that it is to run over the next two-years in the one-day series as “a trial”.  The web site also says that “over the last three seasons, on average one state contracted player and three rookies failed to play a single game of domestic cricket” and that the new arrangement is designed to “fill a hole" in its "talent pathway". 

Headline: WNCL restructure raises match official appointments questions.

Article from:  PTG.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Thursday, 9 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,669.

Cricket Australia's (CA) 2015-16 Womens National Cricket League (WNCL) fifty-over one-day competition, which involves a total of 22 matches, is to be played in three distinct segments in a semi-tournament type arrangement.  Brisbane and Perth will host 9 games between them on the weekend of 9-12 October, Adelaide and Canberra 4 and 2 each respectively on 21-22 November, and Melbourne 4 over the weekend of 31 October and 1 November; leaving Hobart and Sydney to each host just one game.  Each of the seven teams, one from each state plus the Australian Capital Territory, will play six matches in the lead up to the final on 28 November at an as yet to be announced location. 

In the past, WNCL scheduling has involved each state hosting all the other teams once during the home-and-away part of the competition, an arrangement that meant the home state or territory could nominate the umpires, scorers and often the referees to CA they recommended to run games.  Selection and performance in WNCL games has in the past been key ‘first step’ for umpires aiming to attain national ratings and promotion.   

However, just what the new fixtures structure means in that regard is yet to be spelt out by CA’s Match Officials’ management area.  One option of course is to again use only local officials for matches in each city to the disadvantage of those states where fewer games are to be played; the alternative being to even out opportunities across the series by transporting officials to other cities.  News that CA was looking to a tournament-style system for the WNCL broke in April (PTG 1551-7450, 23 April 2015), so presumably CA has already thought through its policy options and the costs involved.  

Headline: Football to ask CA to move Sheffield Shield final date.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Daniel Cherny.

Published: Thursday, 9 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,670.

Cricket Australia (CA) is adamant the dates of the Sheffield Shield final are set in stone despite the Australian Football League’s (AFL) request to have it changed to avoid a potential 2016 Easter weekend collision course should the final be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).  CA released its fixtures for next summer's domestic and international seasons on Thursday, with the Shield final set to begin on Easter Saturday and run to the following Wednesday.  The AFL is planning to move back to a late March season start after last year's late round one due to the cricket World Cup.

AFL general manager of broadcasting, scheduling and major events Simon Lethlean says the league remained hopeful of gaining access to the MCG for a March round one.  "We are continuing discussions with Cricket Australia in relation to them moving the Shield final to an earlier date to enable the AFL to commence its season at the usual time and therefore allowing the AFL access to the MCG for round one matches [on] Easter Thursday and Easter Monday”, Lethlean said.  "We are also working towards ensuring AFL access to other AFL venues around Australia for round one. We are hopeful that these discussions will lead to these outcomes for the commencement of our season”.

Fairfax Media understands that CA will not be budged on the date.  However, Cricket Victoria (CV) chief executive Tony Dodemaide said his organisation would talk to the AFL about finding another solution.  "Cricket Victoria continue to be in positive discussions with the Melbourne Cricket Club, AFL and Cricket Australia in relation to cricket's contractual lease on the MCG until [the last day of March]”, Dodemaide said.  "These discussions are being undertaken in good faith and we are confident of an outcome that will serve the interests of all the stakeholders, in particular Victorian sports fans”.

Last year's announcement of Melbourne’s Junction Oval at St Kilda as a year-round base for CV means that this will likely be the last summer where this will be an issue.  However, while the redevelopment of the St Kilda venue is being undertaken, there remains no alternative ground capable of hosting the Shield final should Victoria win the right to host the game, as it did last summer.  That final had to be played at Bellerive Oval in Hobart because of the World Cup.

The situation is less of an issue in South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, all of which have secondary cricket venues which can hosting first-class matches should they be required.  Cricket has contractual control of the MCG from October to March, however the sport has traditionally granted the AFL access to the ground once the Shield season finishes.

Headline: New ECB board member to promote game to British-Asian communities.

Article from:  The Guardian.

Journalist:  Owen Gibson.

Published: Wednesday, 8 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,671.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has appointed Kamlesh Patel, a British politician and member of the House of Lords, to its board of directors.  The Labour peer is expected to assist with a renewed push to better connect the governing body with British-Asian communities and promote the game.  Under new chief executive Tom Harrison and the chairman Colin Graves, there is an acceptance the ECB needs to better understand and support the sport within British-Asian communities – a move which could reap benefits in terms of participation figures and talent development.

There is also a belief that if it is to arrest declining participation figures (PTG 1463-7085, 20 November 2014), it will have to promote more informal forms of the sport in playgrounds, parks, streets and on beaches in order to better appeal to young players and fit into hectic modern lifestyles.  Patel, a lifelong recreational cricketer who worked for the Yorkshire Cricket Academy as a part-time coach, is among the country’s most respected spokesmen on health, social care and equality. The first British-Asian to be appointed to the 14-strong ECB board, he will replace John Morris, another British Lord.

The drive to better connect the ECB with new players and teams, including those who might not naturally support England, will form part of Harrison’s strategic review of all areas of the elite and recreational game.  In order to get people playing cricket more often, there will be continued investment into the successful 'Chance to Shine' charity that seeks to expand the sport in schools. It is aiming to raise £UK25 m ($A51.6 m) over the next five years to invest in schools and community cricket.

But there is also expected to be more emphasis on ways to increase interest in the sport outside the established club structure, with an emphasis on parks, street cricket and – in particular – beach cricket. Since 2005-6, Sport England figures show that the number of adults playing cricket at least once a month has declined from 380,300 to 259,200.  Even more than other team sports, cricket faces challenges in terms of facilities and attracting young players at a time when the amount of cricket played in state schools has historically been in decline.

Matt Dwyer, the ECB’s new director of participation and growth who was recruited from Cricket Australia, is expected to take up his new role later this month.  Dwyer will have full overall responsibility for increasing participation in all aspects of the recreational game and is also expected to be involved in a drive to better connect sponsors and commercial partners with the grassroots game. In Australia he also led sales and marketing teams for a range of brands including ‘Mars', ‘Diageo' and ‘Nestle'.

Like other sports, cricket has also been disproportionately hit by cuts to local-authority budgets that have affected the maintenance of park pitches during the summer. When the former chairman Giles Clarke, now the ECB president, and the former chief executive, David Collier, initially signed an exclusive deal with Sky in 2005 to televise international and domestic cricket, they promised to use the riches to grow participation and the recreational game. But as numbers continue to decline, there is an appetite among the new ECB hierarchy for a fresh approach.

Headline: Draw blamed on umpires’ light decision.

Article from:  BBC.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Thursday, 9 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,672.

The manager of Cornwall's cricket team says a decision over bad light could cost his side the chance to win the Minor Counties Western Division.  Despite what the Laws now say about umpires’ sole responsibility regarding light (PTG 675-3312, 1 October 2010), Godfrey Furse says the decision by Tim Boston and Steve Lavis to take the players off for bad light during the second day of his side's match against Wiltshire on Monday, ended any chance of a win for either side in a game that was drawn.  

Wiltshire ended the three-day match at St Austell on 338-9, needing just 14 more runs for an outright win and Cornwall just one more wicket to achieve the same result.  Furse told BBC Radio Cornwall: "They brought us off for bad light for no reason when you had 22 players wanting to play”.  "If we'd have played the extra time, one of us would have won the match”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,590

  Saturday, 11 July 2015

 

• Latest WCC meeting to continue ‘bat-ball’ balance discussions [1590-7673].

• Call for ‘serious conversation’ about cricket safety measures [1590-7674].

• Ashes pitch slammed as 'very, very poor' [1590-7675].

• When cricket is at its most inspirational [1590-7676].

• U-turn in Swansea cricket changing rooms row [1590-7677].

Headline: Latest WCC meeting to continue ‘bat-ball’ balance discussions.

Article from:  MCC.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Friday, 10 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,673.

The balance between bat and ball, Test cricket, Laws issues and the women’s game are amongst the items on the agenda of the latest meeting of the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) which is to be held at Lord’s on Monday and Tuesday.  The WCC, which was formed in 2006 and for many years met every six months, however, it last got together twelve months ago, again at Lord's (PTG 1392-6734, 17 July 2014). 

At what is its sixteenth meeting, the WCC will continue to discuss whether the way the game is played today "has swung too far in the batsman’s favour”.  Two-and-a-half years ago in Auckland, it recommended the size of bats, particularly the thickness of their edges, be investigated because it considered the bat-ball balance an issue of "paramount importance” (PTG 1068-5192, 28 February 2013).  

Twelve months ago, apparently in somewhat of a ‘split’ decision, the committee decided that “for now” modern bat design has not yet tipped the balance sufficiently far in favour of the batsman so as to warrant a change to the Laws.  Since then there have been several calls for a maximum thickness of bats to be added to Law 6 (PTG 1495-7222, 5 January 2015), including by International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief executive David Richardson, an WCC member, who thinks the balance has gone to far in favour of the bat (PTG 1515-7299, 5 February 2015), although others have a different perspective (PTG 1516-7302, 6 February 2015). 

Test cricket, which has long featured in WCC discussions, will be looked at again, particularly in regard to the decision by Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket to contest the first day-night Test Match in Adelaide, and the overall context of the Test match game.  The WCC has been pushing the need for day-night Tests for the last six years.

Discussions on women’s cricket are likely to centre on the ICC's women’s international championship, Cricket Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League, and the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Women’s Super League.  There will be a session on ICC Associate nations and their development, including the world body' decision that the World Cups of 2019 and 2023 will be contested by only 10 teams.  What is simply called “ICC issues” will also be on the table, and the group is to be addressed by ICC Chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan, after which the committee will have the opportunity to ask him questions.

The MCC describes the WCC as an "independent body” which is comprised of current and former international players and officials from around the world.  Those who are to attend the meeting next week are: Mike Brearley (Chairman), Steve Bucknor, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Rod Marsh, Tim May, Shaun Pollock, Ricky Ponting, Ramiz Raja, David Richardson and Michael Vaughan.  WCC members who won’t be there are: Jimmy Adams, Charlotte Edwards, and Kumar Sangakkara.  

This will be the last meeting for Dravid and Bucknor who complete their current cycles on the committee in October, and Andrew Strauss, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s new Director of Cricket, who is standing down from the group effective immediately.  Bucknor’s departure means there will be no one with direct experience as a match official when the committee meets again early next year.  The meeting is the first for new members Ganguly, Ponting and Raja.  

Headline: Call for ‘serious conversation’ about cricket safety measures.

Article from:  Eagle Radio News.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Friday, 10 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,674.

Jeyaraj Kulasekaram, the chairman of the British Tamils Cricket League (BTCL), has called for an “across the board” reassessment of safety measures following the death of Bavalan Pathmanathan after he was struck in the chest by a ball in a game last Saturday (PTG 1587-7651, 8 July 2015).  The BTCL has appointed a panel to look at what happened to the 24-year-old and what safety measures can be taken in future, a report from that group being expected by the end of the month.

Doctors at Kingston Hospital, where Pathmanathan was rushed after he was struck, said he died "within six minutes" of the blow.  Fundraising is currently underway to raise funds to enable his coffin to be flown back to his home in Sri Lanka.

Kulasekaram said: "We want to create a serious conversation about safety measures in the world of cricket”.  "All cricket bodies and boards should take more measures to make sure cricket safety and cricket pitches are of a satisfactory standard”, and “we've already informed our member clubs to try to and ensure their players wear helmets and chest pads where possible”.  If fact “we should make it mandatory so everyone wears them”.  “We don't want to see anymore cricketer's die like Bavalan, we don't want to see anyone in the world”.

Last month the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA), or player’s union, released a report that identified what it sees as the main risks to its members in playing the game, and finding that significant health, safety and security inconsistencies exist (PTG 1570-7547, 18 June 2015).  FICA asked the International Cricket Council to respond to the findings but as yet no response has appeared in public at least.

Headline: Ashes pitch slammed as 'very, very poor'.

Article from:  Associated Press.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Friday, 10 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,675.

The pitch for the first Ashes Test at Cardiff's Sophia Gardens has been heavily criticised for its lack of pace by England and Australia.  Cricket Australia's senior writer Andrew Ramsey described it as "Mitch-proof" with both Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson seeing deliveries struggle to carry through to the keeper in the first innings.  Former England captain Michael Vaughan described the pitch as "very, very poor" on Twitter and Geoffrey Boycott - blunt as ever - said: "it's bottom of the Test grounds we have - it doesn't give anything for anybody”.

Cardiff hosted the first Test of the 2009 series, where James Anderson and Monty Panesar batted for hours on the final day to salvage a draw for England.  Before the current Test, Glamorgan groundsman Keith Exton told Wales Online: "We hope this one will have a little more pace but we hope that we see an equally good game of cricket”.  "It's natural to be nervous and excited at the same time but watch me after three overs - I'll either be beaming with delight or hiding.  "It's the pinnacle of any groundsman's career to produce a Test match pitch and if the game is as finely balanced as the one we hosted here in 2009, I'll be very happy”.

Headline: When cricket is at its most inspirational.

Article from:  The Times.

Journalist:  Matthew Syed.

Published: Wednesday, 8 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,676.

You may have noticed that a Test series gets under way today. Two teams, two groups of fine cricketers, will go at each other over the course of five matches, each match consisting of up to five days, the series itself representing merely the latest staging post of a duel extending over the course of more than a century. The Ashes was effectively conceived in 1882.

The Ashes is more than a cricket contest, more even than a sporting event. It is a cultural reference point. It is about two nations, one young, the other old, vying on an oval expanse of turf in one of the most wonderful and idiosyncratic games on the planet.  It is about batting, bowling and fielding, but it is also about national pride, anxiety and the various neuroses that inevitably attach to the relationship between a motherland and a former colony.

But this year, perhaps more even than in previous incarnations of this duel, the Ashes series represents an opportunity to explore the true nature of competitiveness. Sport is about competition, and competition is about being tough, implacable, what our Australian cousins, rather admiringly, describe as being a “hard bastard”.  I do not have a problem with this conception, or this terminology. 

I have been at Wimbledon these past few days, and I have been struck, as if anew, at just how brutal sport can be.  Weaknesses are exposed. Frailties are revealed. The process is Darwinian and, for precisely this reason, compelling. This is how evolution happens, how we find meaning, and how we ultimately create beauty. Competition is in our blood: Aussies, Brits and all nations in between.

What worries me, however, is that the notion of competitiveness, of toughness, has undergone a distortion in recent times, and it saddens me deeply that cricket, a game that has long prided itself on a humane interpretation of the meaning of sport, has been at the forefront of this process.  I am talking not merely about aggressive sledging, but about a wider malaise that all too often disfigures the game.

It is about refusing to clap an incoming batsman. It is about shaping to throw a ball at the stumps when a batsman is in his ground, just for the dubious pleasure of seeing him recoil. It is about squaring up to opponents in and around the dressing room, as happens on a regular basis in international cricket. It is about making insinuations about the sexual fidelity of an opponent’s mother as a bowler is beginning his run-up.

Many cricketers, at the top level and in village teams too, equate this kind of behaviour with competitiveness. They think that it shows that they want to win, that they are not effete. They look at those who refuse to indulge in these antics as a bit soft and those who wish to see it eradicated from the game as weaklings. But they are wrong. This kind of behaviour is not evidence of competitiveness, still less mental toughness, and it is time to expose this lie once and for all.

Let me convey what I mean by focusing on Roger Federer. “Rodge” has been in sparkling form at Wimbledon. I have watched every one of his matches and noted that he is, in an almost literal sense, a predator. As he glides around the court, not unlike Rudolf Nureyev, he is on constant alert for the scent of blood. If an opponent has an iffy backhand, he finds it. If he has a weak service, Federer steps in to take it early. If the opponent wants to establish a rhythm, Federer finishes the point as early as possible.

This, to me, is competitiveness. Federer, in every important sense, is a hard bastard. This is what sport ought to be about: the mutual exploration of each other’s technical and tactical weaknesses. The psychological difficulty of sport consists in facing up to these searching questions. It is about finding answers, rebutting challenges, even as the pressure is ratcheting up.

Federer might find an altogether different kind of advantage by abusing an opponent’s mother during changeovers. He might put an adversary off his stride by making to hit a ball at him between points or threatening him in the locker room, but he could also gain an advantage by tampering with his opponent’s racket or spiking his drink. But would this show how much he wanted to win? Or would it merely show that he didn’t know what winning means?

I am not comparing sledging to straightforward cheating, here; I am merely arguing that neither reveals true competitiveness. Threatening James Anderson with a “broken f...... arm” did not show that Michael Clarke wanted to win the first Ashes Test in 2013 more than everyone else. Nasty behaviour is not evidence of competitiveness, it is evidence of one thing and one thing only. Nastiness.

This is not to single out Clarke, because this is not his problem, or Australia’s problem alone, because England, as long-time observers know, have often been on the wrong side of the line. Indeed, it is alleged that Clarke was responding in that match to a threat made against one of his team-mates by Anderson. No, this is a problem with an ugly interpretation of what it means to be tough and competitive, one that has travelled well beyond cricket.

But it does not have to be like this. When England played New Zealand recently, it was not just cricket that was elevated, it was everyone who watched the matches. The contests showed that it is possible to be tough and honourable at the same time. That it is possible to strive to expose every weakness in an opponent’s game while clapping him to the crease and not feeling an urge to insult his mother. This is Federer-style ruthlessness. It is ruthlessness not merely within the letter of the law, but within the spirit of the game. And it was glorious, life-affirming stuff.

This is not just relevant to cricket, but to life. You could almost argue that civilisation was made possible by the recognition that rules, on their own, are never sufficient to create meaningful institutions and rituals. You also need a spirit, an unwritten set of rules that govern the way we act, the way we behave and interact. This spirit may not be easy to codify, but that is precisely why it is so precious. The most valuable things in life are those that you cannot define.

So, I hope this series is ruthless. I hope that both teams want to win so badly it hurts. I want to see bouncers, wicked off cutters, leg breaks, sharp catching, and implacable batting. But all these things can exist, and at their best do exist, within an ethos of mutual respect. This is when cricket is at its most inspirational.

Headline: U-turn in Swansea cricket changing rooms row.

Article from:  South Wales Evening Post.

Journalist:  Chris Peregrine.

Published: Friday, 10 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,677.

An unpopular new council policy of shutting down cricket changing rooms in the middle of evening matches in Swansea has been ditched for the season.  The U-turn comes less than a month after the decision to deprive players there of post-match showers was introduced by locking up changing rooms at council-run grounds at 8 pm when most matches run on to 8.30 pm and later. The new policy, introduced without warning, was prompted by changes to staff shift patterns (PTG 1584-7636, 5 July 2015).

The change was condemned by clubs and one senior official suggested it might raise the spectre of indecent exposure with players forced to change on the outfield in view of passers-by.  A City and Council of Swansea spokesman said yesterday: "Initial plans to close some changing facilities earlier in the evening have been put on hold until the season has finished. This will give us the chance to talk through proposals properly with clubs before making any decisions".

"Ongoing budget pressures mean that we are having to look at how we manage sporting and recreational facilities. This will give us the best chance of maintaining the wide range of sports that take place throughout Swansea. We are talking to clubs with a view to them either self managing or leasing sports fields and facilities. This could potentially reduce costs for sports clubs as well as address the budget issues the council is dealing with”.

Swansea Uplands captain Nigel Jones said: "Obviously I am pleased and relieved that they have done a U-turn for this season, however, this issue is going to return for next year, judging by what they are saying”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,591

  Tuesday, 14 July 2015


• Inquiry finds Mumbai player 'corruptly approached’ IPL player [1591-7678].

• One dead after argument over a wide leads to a brawl [1591-7679].

• Court to announce findings on IPL teams, officials, today [1591-7680].

• South African fined over shoulder barge on batsman [1591-7681].

• Fall in Ashes TV viewing leaves English cricket facing stark choices [1591-7682].

• Club cricket needs careful nurturing, says Hoggard [1591-7683].

• Wilson’s appointment ‘incentive for other Caribbean umpires, says WICB [1591-7684].

• Bowling action concerns results in Dutch bowler’s suspension [1591-7685].

• Three Bermudans censured over match behaviour [1591-7686].

• £UK6.5m deal proposed to wipe Yorkshire debt to local council [1591-7687].

Headline: Inquiry finds Mumbai player 'corruptly approached’ IPL player.

Article from:  Various sources.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Monday, 13 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,678.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has suspended Mumbai player Hiken Shah "with immediate effect” after he was found guilty of “making a corrupt approach" to "one of his colleagues from first-class cricket” by offering money to him to influence aspects of a game or games played in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) series.  The BCCI has referred the matter to its disciplinary committee to assess what longer-term action against Shah it considers appropriate.  News of the suspension came the day before India’s Supreme Court is expected to announces its decision on potential censures for two teams and two individuals who were involved in the 2014 IPL series (PTG 1591-7680 below). 

Shah, who has been playing in the Ribblesdale Cricket League in Lancashire since May, told the television news channel 'Times Now' that he is “innocent” and the he had met “ he player concerned" for coaching-related activities. "I have no idea what is happening. I had just met him for a coaching thing and not any irregular activity”, he said.  Reports say he is expected to return to India in the next few days in a bid to clear his name.  That will involve an appearance before a BCCI disciplinary committee headed by that organisation’s president Jagmohan Dalmiya.  Mumbai's chief selector, Milind Rege, told journalists there yesterday that the allegations against Shah were a “complete shock”.

The player approached, reportedly Mumbai leg-spinner Pravin Tambe who plays in the IPL with the Rajasthan franchise, is said to have immediately informed Rajasthan management of the approach and they in turn passed on the details to the BCCI's Anti Corruption Unit (ACU). On receiving details of the allegations Dalmiya instructed the ACU to conduct an immediate enquiry into the matter.  One report says that Tambe also revealed that another IPL player, Iqbal Abdullah, who turned out with Bangalore in 2015, was also approached by Shah.  

Shah played 37 first-class matches for Mumbai as a batsman and part time bowler over the eight years until December last year, but then lost his place in the side.  He said at the time: "I don't know why I was dropped. They said I didn't perform, but I just got two games [during the 2014-15 Ranji Trophy season], that's it”.  He complained that "both matches were played in the toughest of conditions”.

After "a detailed inquiry" into the reported incident, the inquiry found Shah, 30, who has not played in the IPL, guilty of “committing a breach of the BCCI's Anti-Corruption Code".  Dalmiya said: “BCCI has zero tolerance for corruption in the game of cricket”.  "We have and we will take swift action against such incidents to set a precedent and control the menace of corruption in the game”.  "While placing the player under suspension, I have referred the matter to the disciplinary committee of the BCCI to take further action against the player involved”.

 

BCCI Honorary Secretary Anurag Thakur, said: “This particular incident demonstrates that BCCI’s education policy against corruption is showing results, as the player approached was vigilant enough to report the matter to the ACU”.  "Having said that, the fight against corruption is an ongoing battle and we will not leave any stone unturned.  The BCCI is committed to keep cricket corruption-free”.

Rajasthan is not unfamiliar with IPL spot-fixing issues as three of their players, former Indian fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and his colleagues Ankeet Chavan and Siddharth Trivedi, were arrested in 2013 on suspicion of taking money to concede a fixed number of runs in IPL games.  Sreesanth, who denied any wrongdoing, and Chavan, were subsequently banned for life by the BCCI, and Trivedi for one year (PTG 1188-5731, 15 September 2015).  Trivedi returned to play first class cricket with Saurashtra last December, . 

Headline: One dead after argument over a wide leads to a brawl.

Article from:  Press Trust Of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Sunday, 12 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,679.

A 20-year-old youth was beaten to death during a cricket match in the Andhra Pradesh town of Srikakulam after an argument erupted over a wide ball on Saturday.  The incident occurred at Bondilipuram village and the initial quarrel took a violent turn when one of the players, Patta Ajay Kumar, a second-year university student who was batting at the time, was allegedly attacked by Pamula Kishore and other members of the opposing side.  Police allege Kishore, an engineering student, struck Kumar repeatedly with the batsman’s bat before fleeing from the ground.

Kumar, who was hit in the head, chest and groin, collapsed on the field.  Despite being rushed to hospital by ambulance doctors declared him dead on arrival.  Tension prevailed at Bondilipuram when the families of the two men arrived at the ground. Srikakulam Superintendent of Police A.S. Khan said his officers had collected details of the incident and are seeking Kishore.  A post-mortem of Kumar’s body is to be undertaken on Monday.

Headline: Court to announce findings on IPL teams, officials, today.

Article from:  Mumbai Mirror.

Journalist:  Vijay Tagore.

Published: Tuesday, 14 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,680.

Today is the D-Day for the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) franchises, and individuals Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra. The three-man investigative committee set up by India’s Supreme Court to look into the IPL’s 2014 tournament, which is headed by Retired Justice RM Lodha, is to submit its report to the Court on the punishment that it recommends be handed out to the two IPL teams and their alleged principals.  The verdicts involved are expected to be made public later in the day. 

The two individuals, Meiyappan and Kundra, were found guilty by the Court but the fate of the two teams has been a matter of suspense. While pronouncing the verdict on the scandal in January this year, the Supreme Court refrained from handing down a verdict on the teams and authorised the Lodha Committee to decide on the level of punishment it considered appropriate. However, the Supreme Court made clear their views on the culpability of those involved. 

More than the decision on the two individuals, the committee's verdict on the teams will have far-reaching consequences. Whether CSK and RR can continue playing in the IPL is the key point.  A ban on the teams will have serious ramifications on the IPL, one being that it is currently limited to eight teams. The two teams could be fined and there could be suspension as well.  "But it is not wise to hazard a guess on the nature of punishment”, said a lawyer who is involved with one of the teams. As for Meiyappan and Kundra, the lawyer’s assessment is that they face both a fine and a ban. 

Headline: South African fined over shoulder barge on batsman.

Article from:  ICC press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Monday, 13 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,681.

South Africa's Rilee Rossouw has been fined half of his match fee for shoulder-barging Bangladesh batsman Tamim Iqbal during the two side’s second One Day International in Mirpur on Sunday.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a press release the incident involved happened in the second over of the Bangladesh innings after Iqbal was dismissed and was walking off the field of play.  Rossouw is said to have "made inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with his shoulder against the departing batsman".  Reports say the Bangladeshi immediately pointed this out to umpires Enamul Haque and Richard Illingworth. 

The ICC said that Rossouw was found to have breached Article 2.2.7 of its Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to “Inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with a Player, Player Support Personnel, Umpire, Match Referee or any other Person (including a spectator) in the course of play during an International Match”.  The South African pleaded guilty to the charge laid by match referee David Boon and the subsequent penalty was accepted without the need for a formal hearing.  

Boon said: “Rilee was very mature in discussions relating to the charge. He felt it was inappropriate but not deliberate, an explanation to which I agreed. However, there is no place for any form of physical contact in our game and such actions should be punished”.  The charge had been laid by both on-field umpires as well as third umpire Michael Gough and fourth umpire Anisur Rahman.  Under ICC regulations all Level Two breaches carry a minimum penalty of a minimum fine of fifty per cent of a player’s match fee and/or up to two Suspension Points. 

Headline: Fall in Ashes TV viewing leaves English cricket facing stark choices.

Article from:  The Guardian.

Journalist:  Sean Ingle.

Published: Monday, 13 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,682.

Across the majority of Sunday’s newspapers in the UK, front and back, there were pictures of trippy smiles and clenched fists following England’s first Test victory over Australia – a recognition of the Ashes’ pre-eminence over even Wimbledon in the sporting summer. Yet one thing was missing amid the exhilaration and joy at England’s win: the wider audience the contest deserved.

Pay TV channel 'Sky Sports' guards its viewing figures closely, but I have discovered that Saturday’s enthralling final day had a TV audience of 467,000. To put that into context, a 1974 'Columbo film’, featuring a fictional Los Angeles based homicide detective that was shown on ITV3 at the same time as Joe Root took the winning catch, attracted just under 400,000 viewers.  Disturbingly Friday’s Sky ratings were lower still, with only 340,000 watching.

You could argue the Wimbledon ladies’ final dented those numbers, and possibly the fine weather too. Perhaps, but it doesn’t alter the broader point. Cricket in England is viewed on TV by less eyeballs than it once was. Remember the light-headedness after England went 'mano a mano' against New Zealand on a staggering, swaggering final day of their first Test in May? Some even talked of it revitalising Test cricket.  But Sky’s audience was 577,000 – fewer than the one-sided football Championship play-off final between Norwich City and Middlesbrough which attracted 757,000 viewers. Given that about a million tuned in to Channel 5’s Ashes highlights, there is still an audience for Test cricket. But it appears to be declining.

Babatunde Buraimo, a senior lecturer of sports management at Liverpool University, says the average free-to-air Channel 4 ratings for live coverage of the Ashes in 2001 was 1.11 million. In 2005 that rose to 2.5 million, with an astonishing 8.4 million people transfixed by the climax of the fourth Test at Trent Bridge when England won to take a 2-1 lead with one match to play. Cricket really did grip the nation then: at one point 48.4 per cent of those watching TV were watching the Ashes.

We know what happened next. Home Tests moved to pay-TV’s Sky. And while the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) swelled its coffers, viewing figures tumbled. That was not surprising – in 2005 all cricket’s planets aligned. A year later you could have put Test matches on prime time BBC1 hosted by [comedians] Ant and Dec, with national lottery numbers drawn during tea, and ratings would probably have suffered an Ashes hangover.  Even so, and while the data is incomplete for Buraimo does not have all the figures for the 2009 and 2013 Ashes series because Sky do not make them public, there is a worrying pattern based on Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) numbers.

BARB data indicates that in 2009 there were 14 occasions on which Sky’s live Ashes coverage made the top 30 weekly ratings for non-terrestrial stations. The figures, of between 670,000 and 1.1 million viewers, were healthy too. Yet in 2013 only two sessions attracted more than 650,000 viewers and made BARB’s top 30. We may only have had one Test in the current Ashes series, but to date is not bucking the trend. That is not a reflection of Sky’s excellent coverage, rather simple economics – more people watch stuff when it is free – and the slow unshackling of the public’s devotion to the sport.

It is hardly encouraging either that fewer adults also appear to be playing cricket. Other team sports’ participation levels are declining too, including football and rugby union, but cricket’s have fallen harder (PTG 1591-7683 below).  So what can be done? To some there is a simple answer. Move the clock back to when home Tests had to be shown on terrestrial TV. I am not so sure. Would the BBC, ITV or Channel 4 really free up their daytime schedules for cricket on 35 days each summer? Sky’s deal is also worth £UK65 m ($A136 m) a year to the ECB.  Lose a significant chunk of that and the sport would suffer.

But wider exposure is critical. How many of us over the past 50 years have become fans by osmosis, watching Test matches on television because there was little else to do during the summer holidays, before becoming drawn in by its nuances and peculiarities? And while the ECB argues that organisations such as 'Chance to Shine' attract youngsters in different ways by running taster sessions in primary schools, if kids don’t know Joe Root from Joe Bloggs then the chances of them persevering with the sport are surely less.

So something needs to happen. And the questions the ECB should be asking are not difficult ones. What works? What doesn’t? Do young people really identify with County sides in the 21st century? And can the ECB strike TV deals that enable more people to watch cricket without a slump in its revenues?

It is surely not beyond the ECB’s wit to devise a domestic Twenty20 tournament with more glamour and spice. Why not borrow some of the tricks of Australia’s Big Bash, and show one game a night only split between BBC and Sky? Why not find a way to include England’s players and the world’s best stars – you know, the players fans actually want to watch – even if it means blocking off the calendar for three weeks so that no England matches are played during that time? It’s radical, yes, but the status quo is hardly working.

As things stand English cricket is in danger of becoming a sporting version of the Church of England, with an ageing demographic who attend because they always attend, and believe because they have always believed. Meanwhile younger generations will barely notice its slow and graceful slide into irrelevance.

Headline: Club cricket needs careful nurturing, says Hoggard.

Article from:  Cricket World.

Journalist:  John Pennington.

Published: Sunday, 12 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,683.

We asked former Yorkshire and England player Matthew Hoggard for his thoughts on club cricket in the UK, and he admits that fewer people playing the game is worrying, although he hopes things will improve in the future.  Surveys have shown that fewer people are playing the game, but Hoggard says it is wrong to focus solely on cricket because other team sports are also having the same problem.  He attributes some of this to the impact of the 2012 Olympics, held in London.

"If you look across the whole board, the participation in team sport is going down anyway”, he said.  “]After] the Olympics, everybody now wants to do individual sports because you can determine when you want to do cycling, when you want to go running or swimming whereas in a team sport you get told what time the kick off is, what time you have to be there so it's not just cricket that's suffering”.  "It's not just a sport-specific problem and it's one that is worrying”.

What then, needs to be done, and are there still places where club cricket is thriving?  Hoggard says there is, telling us about an event he attended in Henley where there was lots of interest in the game among youngsters.  "I rocked up to Henley recently and you couldn't see the cricket field for kids”.  "There's still a lot of interest and enjoyment out there but it takes a lot of people to put on coaching and to make sure things are run”, but Hoggard believes there is plenty of work still to do to try to arrest the decline in playing numbers.

For him, it is absolutely vital to maintain the fun element to the game, particularly at a young age.  "There will be a 'bedrock' and there will be places that are very strong in grass roots cricket but again it needs nurturing”.  "It needs a lot of money spent on it, it needs people volunteering to make the game fun because that's why you want to play sport isn't it?”

Editor’s note:  The England and Wales Cricket Board’s 2015 player’s survey period is scheduled to close on Friday (PTG 1575-7569, 24 June 2015).  Last year more than 37,000 current and former players nationwide responded to the initial survey, giving the ECB a fresh insight into how best to improve and support the grassroots game (PTG 1493-7212, 1 January 2015). 

Headline: Wilson’s appointment ‘incentive for other Caribbean umpires, says WICB.

Article from:  Can-India News.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Saturday, 11 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,684.

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has hailed the imminent Test debut of Trinidadian umpire Joel Wilson and said his elevation to the highest level should act as an inspiration for other regional officials.  Wilson, 48, was recently named by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to stand in the first Test between Bangladesh and South Africa which starts in Chittagong on Tuesday week. He is the first umpire from West Indies in 15 years to make his Test debut (PTG 1585-7641, 6 July 2015).

Rawl Lewis, the WICB’s project officer for cricket operations, said: “Joel has worked very hard to create this opportunity for himself and we’re delighted that he has been given the chance to show what he has developed over the last six years. There’s nothing more rewarding for players – or match officials for that matter – than being given the opportunity to perform at the highest level in any sport and we are confident that Joel will make the most of this opportunity”.   “Joel’s appointment to appear in a Test is also an incentive for the current umpires on the regional panel and others to follow that there are opportunities for them to advance in this profession with commitment to the role and consistency in their field work.”

Wilson, who described his Test appointment as one of the major goals in his umpiring career, got his breakthrough earlier this year when he was named to stand in the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.  He praised both the ICC and the WICB for aiding his progress, saying: “One of the best things happening in West Indies cricket right now is our umpiring. It was put under a particular structure under the previous WICB Director of Cricket Tony Howard about five years ago and that allowed us to see a pathway to the top”.

“When I started umpiring 20 years ago to stand in a Test was obviously one of my goals and to see it come true is really amazing. Over the last 12-18 months, the ICC has put a system in place where there is an umpires’ coach, a number of mentors and access to elite umpires and a group of us in the Caribbean have been utilising these facilities and it has benefited us as it has helped us to prepare better for matches”.

Headline: Bowling action concerns results in Dutch bowler’s suspension.

Article from:  ICC press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Monday, 13 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,685.

The action of Netherlands’ fast-medium bowler Ahsan Malik has been found to be “illegal” and he has been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect.  Malik’s action was labelled as ’suspect' by match officials following his side’s World Twenty20 Championship Qualifier event match against Scotland in Edinburgh last Saturday.  What the International Cricket Council (ICC) calls an "event bowling action review panel”, or in short the ‘Event Panel’, then conducted an analysis of match video on Sunday and handed down its assessment.  

The ICC says the assessment was carried out in accordance with its 'Regulations for the Review of Bowlers Reported with Suspected Illegal Actions’.  They require that "where the Event Panel concludes that the player employs an illegal bowling action, the player shall be immediately suspended from bowling in any international cricket until such time as the player submits himself to an independent assessment of his bowling action”.  That has to be "conducted by an appointed specialist at an ICC Accredited Testing Centre pursuant to the ICC Standard Action Protocols which concludes that he has remedied his action.

The on-field umpires in Saturday’s match were Vineet Kulkarni of India and David Odhiambo from Kenya, the television official being Nigel Llong of England, the fourth umpire Gregory Brathwaite of the West Indies, the match referee another Englishman, David Jukes.

Headline: Three Bermudans censured over match behaviour.

Article from:  Various reports.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Monday, 13 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,686.

The Bermuda Cricket Board has suspended Malachi Jones for two matches for “showing serious dissent at an umpire’s decision” in a match late last month.  The BCB said in a statement that Jones pleaded guilty to the offence.  A few weeks before another Bermudan, Deunte Darrell, was suspended for two games for a similar offence, and Kamal Bashir for one game after he pleaded guilty to "conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game”.

In other disciplinary news, Durham captain Paul Collingwood was called into the umpire’s room after the first day’s play in the first class match against Warwickshire at Chester-le-Street on Sunday.  Collingwood, who was dismissed LBW that day, is reported to have shown dissent to umpire David Millns on his departure.  News of his punishment is expected once the game ends on Wednesday, say local media outlets. 

Headline: £UK6.5m deal proposed to wipe Yorkshire debt to local council.

Article from:  Yorkshire Post.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Friday, 10 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,687.

Leeds City Council (LCC) is set to write off almost £UK1m ($A2.1 m) in debt it is owed by Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC), in a move to help streamline the club’s finances and safeguard the long-term future of Test match cricket in Leeds.  The club borrowed £UK9 m ($A18.8 m) from the LCC in 2005 to help buy Headingley stadium, and still owes £UK7.4 m ($A15.5 m). However it has now made an offer to pay a £UK 6.5 m ($A13.6 m) lump sum in full settlement of the loan, 10 years early but £UK900,000 ($A1.9 m) less than the full amount owed.

A new report, which is expected to be approved by the LCC's decision-making executive board next week, recommends that the authority accepts the offer.  It stresses that despite the seemingly cut-price deal, the city’s taxpayers will not be left footing the bill.  “The club, as part of a major financial restructuring which is designed to improve the financial viability of the club, has approached the council offering a payment of £UK6.5m in full settlement of the council’s loan”, the document says.  “The repayment offer from the club provides an opportunity for the council to withdraw now from the current arrangement, 10 years earlier than otherwise".

According to the report: “While the offer from the club is less than the current principal outstanding, taking account of the actual costs of interest that the council has incurred to date in servicing the debt...it can be shown that the cost to the council of the loan has been fully met”.  The report by the council’s Deputy Chief Executive Doug Meeson, adds that “accepting the offer would also remove the risk of the loan not being repaid in the future” and it would help the club to be “more financially sustainable, which will be crucial if the club and indeed the city is to retain test and international cricket beyond 2019”.

The move comes two months after Headingley cricket bosses signed a new funding package to help pay for their £UK1.25 m ($A2.6 m) floodlight scheme, which are required in order to meet new international standards.  Previously, complex funding arrangements with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and LCC, with grants staggered in blocks, had meant that alternative means had to be found to pay for the major scheme.  But the new £UK700,000 ($A1.5 m)deal with Test cricket sponsor Investec helped plug the temporary funding gaps, with the club leasing the equipment rather than borrow the money or use an overdraft.  The agreement effectively rubber-stamped the future of Test cricket at the venue and opened the door to evening Twenty20 matches.

The new report to the executive board - to be heard on Wednesday at Leeds Civic Hall, explains the loans agreement between the parties had been changed a number of times in response to “the club’s continuing cash flow difficulties”, adding that “it is clear from the various requests and consents that have been granted under the loan agreement that the club’s finances are not strong”. However it points out there has been an “improved trading performance”.

The report concludes: “The council, in making its loan to the club in December 2005, did so with the clear objective of enabling the club to purchase Headingley cricket ground, thus enabling them to meet one of the requirements of their staging agreement with the ECB which provides for Test match cricket to be played at Headingley up to and including 2019, but also with the aim of ensuring that the loan did not result in a cost to council tax payers. The recommendation in this report is consistent with the council’s...duty to its council tax payers.”  Figures laid out in the report show that as of the start of 2015 the YCCC had debts of almost £UK22 m ($A46.4 m).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,592

  Wednesday, 15 July 2015

 

• IPL teams face two year bans, senior franchise officials life [1592-7688].

• Laws governing a fielder’s movement expected to change in September [1592-7689].

• On-field assault sees Wiltshire League player banned for 18 matches [1592-7690]. 

• WCC has ‘no appetite’ for changes to bat sizes [1592-7691]. 

• Test cricket needs a boost, but four-day matches not the answer, says WCC [1592-7692].

• WCC again pushes case for UDRS usage [1592-7693].

• ICC labels black arm band protest plan ‘a political statement' [1592-7694].

• Cricket should be an Olympic sport, says WCC [1592-7695].

• WICB chiefs holding 'town hall' meetings with cricket public [1592-7696].

• MCC interested in co-hosting ECB Women’s Super League team [1592-7697].

• Player banned for four matches over drink driving incident [1592-7698].

• Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published [1592-7699].

Headline: IPL teams face two year bans, senior franchise officials life.

Article from:  Various sources.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Wednesday, 15 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,688.

In a landmark judgement, a panel appointed by India’s Supreme Court yesterday suspended Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise sides the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) from playing in the next two IPL tournaments as a result of a long-running investigation into corruption in the competition in 2013.  In addition, the Royals co-owner Raj Kundra and CSK's Gurunath Meiyappan, who were found guilty last January of betting on the outcome of the IPL’s 2013 matches (PTG 1508-7270, 25 January 2015), were both handed life bans.  What looks like the loss of the two sides for the IPL’s 2016 and 2017 seasons is a huge blow to what was an eight-team Twenty20 tournament, the world’s richest such event.

Former chief justice Rajendra Mal Lodha was appointed head of the three-man sentencing panel in January after the Supreme Court had found Kundra and Meiyappan guilty of betting.  In doing so it rejected Meiyappan's claims that he was merely an enthusiast but was as had been described, CSK's team principal.  At that time the court also ruled that Meiyappan's father-in-law, Narayanaswami Srinivasan, would be banned from holding any post on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), where he served as the president for three years from 2011.  Srinivasan has since gone on to become the chairman of the International Cricket Council.

News reports from the sub-continent overnight say the outcome could have major financial consequences for some of cricket's biggest names as CSK are captained by India's One Day International skipper, and the world’s highest paid player, MS Dhoni (PTG 1567-7542, 15 June 2015), while Australian batsman Steve Smith is at the helm of the Royals which is coached by former Indian captain Rahul Dravid.  Shares of the India Cements company, which owns CSK, fell 6.5 per cent after the announcement of the franchise’s suspension.

While the two franchises have been suspended for two years by the Court, under IPL rules the franchise of a team can be cancelled altogether if a team official is found to indulge in any act that brings the game to disrepute.  Justice Mukul Mudgul, the leader of the investigatory panel on whose findings the Lodha committee based their judgement, said that while the punishment handed out may appear to be harsh on other IPL stakeholders, cricket and the IPL in particular, would emerge cleaner.  

Lodha made it clear that franchise players affected, except two from CSK that are already serving life bans for spot-fixing (PTG 1188-5731, 15 September 2013), are "free to play for any other franchise other than the suspended ones”.  It would appear likely though that the issue of the team bans will be in the headlines for sometime to come, and that Indian courts could well be petitioned by individuals and groups aggrieved at loss of income and other employment opportunities.  However, it is how the so far silent BCCI itself reacts is likely to have the biggest impact on the situation.

The announcement of the suspensions and bans came one day after the BCCI suspended “with immediate effect” a Mumbai player for “making a corrupt approach” an IPL player (PTG 1591-7678, 14 July 2015).  The player, Hiken Shah, has denied the allegations laid against him. 

Headline: Laws governing a fielder’s movement expected to change in September.

Article from:  MCC press release.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Tuesday, 14 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,689.

Subject to final ratification from the main committee of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), changes to Laws 40 and 41 that relate to the movement of fielders are expected to come into effect on 1 September.  News of the MCC’s in-principle approval for the changes surfaced unexpectedly in a One Day International (ODI) last October (PTG 1450-7026, 16 October 2014).  In that game Australian slip fielder Steve Smith anticipated a shot by Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam and ran to catch him wide of leg slip in an action that surprised the batsman as well as many observers (PTG 1448-7014, 14 October 2014).   

The first change, which is to Law 41.7, will allow fielders to move in reaction to the shot that the striker is playing.  For instance, slip will now be able to move towards leg-slip as a batsman starts to play a fine sweep. Thus ‘intelligent’ movement in response to the actions of the batsman will be allowed, whilst ‘deceptive’ movement, such as running backwards before the ball is released will continue to be prohibited.  The International Cricket Council has already introduced the change via its latest set of Playing Conditions for Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals (PTG 1585-7642, 6 July 2015).

The second change involves Law 40.4 and will allow the wicket-keeper to move in a similar way, provided that he remains behind the stumps, but will no longer allow him to move laterally before the ball is delivered, nor allow him to move up a couple of paces to within reach of the stumps in response to a slower delivery.

Headline: On-field assault sees Wiltshire League player banned for 18 matches.

Article from:  Devizes Gazette and Herald.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Tuesday, 14 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,690.

The Wiltshire County League’s (WCL) Swindon Civil Service club have had a player banned for 18 league matches, 4 of which were suspended, after he allegedly assaulted and knocked-out a player from an opposing team.  A WCL Division One match had to be abandoned after the altercation late last month that saw a 41-year-old man from the Swindon team arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm to a Beanacre and Melksham team’s player (PTG 1578-7589, 27 June 2015).  

The ban, which was announced following a WCL investigation into what was a Level Four offence, effectively bans the unnamed player from all Saturday league cricket played under the jurisdiction of the England and Wales Cricket Board until June next year.  The Beanacre player involved in the fracas has also had a ban imposed for his part in the build-up to the incident , being suspended for four games after being found guilty of a Level Two offence.

Lastly, the WCL’s Disciplinary Panel also decided that both teams will loose 10 championship points a they deemed their respective actions effectively forfeited the game.

Headline: WCC has ‘no appetite’ for changes to bat sizes.

Article from:  MCC press release.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Tuesday, 14 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,691.

Concerns were again expressed by some members of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) this week that the bat-ball balance may have shifted in the batsman's favour.  A "variety of thoughts" were put forward as to why more sixes are being hit in cricket today, be it the size of the bats themselves, the size of boundaries prevalent in grounds around the world and the use of two white balls in one day cricket, which has resulted in "the ball hardly moving off the straight after approximately 15 overs". 

WCC members also discussed the "excitement that big hitting" provides the spectator and that today's cricketers are generally stronger athletes than previous generations of players.  There was, however, "no appetite” amongst the group for going back and reversing the clock as to the size of the cricket bat.  Equally, it was felt that bat sizes should not get larger than is presently the case, and the committee undertook to conduct further research on this matter, including consulting bat manufacturers. 

In addition, the MCC is to work with International Cricket Council on a research project to look at the size of the seam on cricket balls, and will present that research at a future WCC meeting. 

The WCC is funded and administered by MCC and reports to the MCC committee. However, the MCC stresses it is, and was set up to be, an independent body. Its members, all of whom have been involved in international cricket at the top level, come from many different countries. Each person is there in his or her own right, not as a representative of other bodies.

Headline: Test cricket needs a boost, but four-day matches not the answer, says WCC.

Article from:  MCC press release.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Tuesday, 14 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,692.

The introduction of four-day Test matches as a means to better market and schedule Test cricket is not the answer to current problems, says the Marylebone Cricket Club’s World Cricket Committee (WCC).  The WCC, which met at Lord’s on Monday-Tuesday, has long been concerned for the future of Test cricket and fears that, left as it is, the longest form of the game will not survive. In its view there are too many incidences of bilateral Test series that lack context and are played in almost empty stadiums.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Colin Graves put forward the idea of cutting Test matches to four days, rather than the current five, in a discussion paper that came to light in February (PTG 1528-7355, 28 February 2015), and the idea was discussed by the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee last month.

During its discussions the WCC weighed up the benefits and drawbacks of playing four-day Test matches.  In its assessment, while it would greatly aid cricket administrators to schedule four-day Tests, to guarantee a Thursday start with sufficient breaks in between matches, and may encourage the playing of positive, attacking cricket, there was concern that such a formula could not be applied universally, with match conditions and hours of daylight varying greatly between Test-playing nations. The committee was also concerned about the extra strain on players’ bodies.

A long-time advocate of day-night Test cricket, as it believes such a format helps countries to better market the game and to try to arrest the decline in attendances seen in some areas of the world, the WCC praised Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket’s recent decision to schedule the first pink ball Test n Adelaide in November (PTG 1581-7608, 1 July 2015).  Calling it “a very welcome boost to the game”, the committee plans to be in Adelaide to witness proceedings as its next meeting will take place in that city just prior to that match. 

The committee further believes that the ICC should create a specific working group to investigate the problems surrounding the lack of context in the wider international game, away from icon series such as The Ashes. It believes that with the international schedule largely confirmed until 2019, the ICC has an opportunity in the coming months to debate and decide what the context of international cricket looks like post 2019. A World Test League should be a major part of that debate, so that there would be something at stake for every future Test Series. Such a league might also be extended to One Day Internationals and International T20s, so that a top cricketing nation could emerge across all forms of the game.

With Test match attendances varying across the world, the WCC urged the ICC, through its chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan who was present for part of the meeting, to conduct a "comprehensive survey" as to why people are not watching Tests in certain countries, and where needed to consider subsidising tickets to encourage more people to come into the ground.

Headline: WCC again pushes case for UDRS usage.

Article from:  MCC press release.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Tuesday, 14 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,693.

According to the Marylebone Cricket Club’s World Cricket Committee (WCC), which met at Lord’s on Monday-Tuesday, “it was clear that International Cricket Council chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan Srinivasan, who attended part of the meeting, "still has reservations” about the use of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in the game, for "amongst other things he doesn’t feel [the technology involved] was 100 per cent accurate”.   

An early advocate of the UDRS, the committee confirmed its previous assessment that the system is more accurate than the umpire's decision alone, that the spirit of the game is favourably affected by its implementation, and that its use should be universal in the international game. The committee asked Srinivasan to implement UDRS in all internationals should research currently being conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology prove the scientific argument beyond a reasonable doubt (PTG 1580-7606, 29 June 2015). 

Headline: ICC labels black arm band protest plan ‘a political statement'.

Article from:  The Guardian.

Journalist:  Andy Bull.

Published: Tuesday, 14 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,694.

Irish all-rounder John Mooney announced prior to the World Twenty20 Championship Qualifier (WT20Q) series getting underway last week that he was going to wear a black armband during Ireland’s opening match against Namibia, “to highlight the death of Associate cricket”, a reference to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier member countries.  Mooney’s plan came two months after some 21,000 people signed a petition calling for the ICC to reverse its decision to cut the World Cup down to 10 teams from the 14, four of whom were Associate nation teams, earlier this year.   

At the time of the petition the ICC, as is its way, made a few placatory noises, waited for the outcry to die down and then went ahead and did what it wanted to do all along.  Mooney contacted the ICC to tell it about his black arm band plans.  According to reports, the world body responded by warning managers of all 14 WT20Q teams that anyone wearing a black armband would be construed as making “a political statement”, and as such would be “charged with a code violation”. So Mooney was forced to backtrack. It was astonishingly petty, precious and officious of the ICC to stop him. Sad thing is, we should expect nothing less.

Restricting the World Cups of 2019 and 2023 to just 10 teams as opposed to the 14 that took part in this years event is, in the assessment of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s World Cricket Committee (WCC), a retrograde step that damages the potential for growth in cricket’s developing nations.  During discussions on Monday-Tuesday, the WCC noted the opportunity provided to four of its Associate Members to play alongside world’s best, and described the ICC’s decision to limit the next two tournaments to 10 teams "a handbrake for the development of the sport".

The WCC suggested that a preliminary qualification round could be held for the lower ranked Full Member teams and the top Associate Nations, a move that wouldn’t lengthen the tournament and would give more teams a chance to compete in the sport’s best 50-over competition.  The committee has asked the ICC to reconsider its decision to limit the numbers to only ten teams. 

Headline: Cricket should be an Olympic sport, says WCC.

Article from:  MCC press release.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Tuesday, 14 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,695.

The Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC), which met at Lord’s on Monday-Tuesday (PTG 1590-7673, 11 July 2015), was unanimous in its belief that every effort should be made to make cricket an Olympic sport, and urges all governing bodies around the world to get behind such a bid.  The WCC believes the Olympics is a fundamental opportunity for cricket, in both the men’s and women’s game, and with a global reach such a presence would expose the game positively to new markets.

With three International Cricket Council (ICC) events taking place in every four-year cycle, the committee says the opportunity exists for cricket to be included in sport’s ultimate global showpiece without detracting from its successful tournaments in traditional cricketing markets. It believes that competing in an Olympic Games would be a huge opportunity for players, a massive boost to developing cricket nations and give much greater exposure for the sport to a new audience, its says.

The WCC points to the fact that government funding in many countries is specifically linked to a sport’s Olympic status, and cricket’s inclusion would unlock investment to cricket’s governing bodies in ICC Associate and Affiliate countries (see PTG 1592-7694 above). The committee urged the ICC Board to reconsider its position and take a decision that it believes is in the best interests of the global game. This would need to be done in the next twelve months for cricket to have a chance of being included in the 2024 Olympics.

During its meeting the committee heard from Colin Graves, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, and Tom Harrison its chief executive, and "were encouraged by their openness to the idea of Olympics cricket and their commitment towards the game as a whole across the world, rather than just in England and Wales”.  "They clearly believe that if cricket thrives worldwide, this is good for cricket in the UK".

Headline: WICB chiefs holding 'town hall' meetings with cricket public.

Article from:  Indo-Asian News Service.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Tuesday, 14 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,696.

West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron has said his board will continue to stage town hall meetings across the Caribbean as it tries to integrate the public into its decision making process.  The latest such operation, which was hosted and conducted by Cameron and WICB vice-president, Emmanuel Nanthan, took place in Kingston, Jamaica, this week following similar gatherings held in Barbados in May, and Dominica in June.

Cameron said on Monday: "We want to re-engage our major stakeholders. We want the public to become part of the decision-making and their inputs can prove to be valuable”.  "We're enthusiastic about continuing to use these sessions to listen to concerns and share information about where West Indies cricket is now, our strategic goals for the future and how the fans can impact upon the way we progress”.

 

Topics covered during the meetings have been wide-ranging. They have included selection matters, the operation of the WICB Professional Cricket League, player relations, player development, pitch preparation and governance issues.

 

Two more meetings have been scheduled for later this month, the first taking place in St. Lucia this Friday and the second, today week, at the Georgetown Cricket Club in Guyana.

Headline: MCC interested in co-hosting ECB Women’s Super League team.

Article from:  MCC press release.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Tuesday, 14 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,697.

The growth of the women’s game around the world was discussed by the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) during its meeting at Lord’s on Monday-Tuesday.  The group also heard about plans for the Women’s Big Bash in Australia, and was pleased to learn that MCC has expressed an interest in becoming a co-host of one of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) planned Women’s Super League sides along with the Middlesex County Cricket Club (PTG 1584-7640, 5 July 2015).  

Whilst specific details of the ECB competition are emerging, the MCC plans to work in conjunction with Middlesex with the aim of hosting a team in the women’s competition, and sees it as an exciting opportunity for MCC to support the women’s game as it develops and grows.

Headline: Player banned for four matches over drink driving incident.

Article from:  ‘Cricinfo’ web site.

Journalist:  Daniel Brettig.

Published: Tuesday, 14 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,698.

James Faulkner, Australia's man of the match in this year's World Cup final, has been suspended for four international matches and will not be considered for the limited overs matches against England that follow the Ashes Tests.  Earlier this month while playing for Lancashire, Faulkner crashed his car after a night out drinking with his Tasmania teammate Tim Paine and was found to have been more than twice over the legal blood alcohol limit.  He spent the night in police custody and will face court next Wednesday, however, Cricket Australia (CA) have acted swiftly under its Code of Conduct to suspend the all-rounder.

Team performance manager Pat Howard said Faulkner had accepted his penalty.  "James has acknowledged the seriousness of his actions and has accepted the penalties handed down today". "He has cooperated fully with the disciplinary procedure and is deeply remorseful”.  "We have reminded James that his actions had serious potential to cause harm to him and others. Aside from the suspension handed down, he has been formally reprimanded for his behaviour”.  "In saying that, we do acknowledge that James has been a player with a good track record and we would like to think that this episode is very much out of character”.  Howard and CA also expressed disappointment in Paine, a former Test player, who was also in the car with Faulkner at the time.

Headline: Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published.

Article from:  The Guardian.

Journalist:  John Holder and Paul Trevillion.

Published: Sunday, 12 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,699.

Balls hit high into the air that fall to break a batsman’s stumps, a batsman who is found to have received coaching during a game thanks to a helmet-mounted microphone, and a red handkerchief in a fielder’s pocket that confuses batsmen, are the latest edition of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper’s cartoon strip ’You are the Umpire’.  The cartoons that make you think are drawn by Paul Trevillion from questions submitted by readers, and the answers are provided by former Test umpire John Holder.  Back editions are also available.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,593

  Thursday, 16 July 2015


• BCCI to ‘carefully consider’ Lodha findings before responding [1593-7700].

• Options for a continuing eight-team IPL being explored [1593-7701].

• ‘Lack of interest’ sees Champions League Twenty20 series cancelled [1593-7702].

• ECB disciplines nine players, concerned about number of offences  [1593-7703].

Headline: BCCI to ‘carefully consider’ Lodha findings before responding.

Article from:  BCCI press release.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Wednesday, 15 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,700.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) plans to “carefully consider” the content of the Indian Supreme Court's Lodha committee’s findings on Indian Premier League (IPL) issues before responding publicly.  On Tuesday, the three-man Lodha group said IPL franchise sides the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) should be suspended from playing in the next two IPL tournaments, and a senior official from each of those organisations banned from involvement in cricket for life over “corrupt [IPL-related] activities” (PTG 1592-7688, 15 July 2015).

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya said in a press release that his organisation: "is committed to honour and respect judicial decisions and it would give its observations after the entire report is read and a collective decision is taken”.  He stressed that BCCI is "committed to ensuring transparency, accountability and cleansing the sport in order to restore the faith and confidence of millions of cricket loving people in the glorious game of cricket in general and IPL in particular”.  The board’s secretary Anurag Thakur said: “We respect the verdict and would undertake a collective decision in a transparent manner, in the right direction and in the larger interest of the game after the verdict is received and analysed”.

Headline: Options for a continuing eight-team IPL being explored.

Article from:  The Times of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Wednesday, 15 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,701.

Stung by the suspension of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) sides from the Indian Premier League's (IPL) 2016 and 2017 events, the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) top officials are now working out a contingency plan to ensure that the high-profile league remains an eight-team affair (PTG 1593-7700 above).   Officials have already started informal discussion on the way forward before the IPL Governing Council meets for an emergency session in Mumbai on Sunday. 

IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla is scheduled to meet BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya late this evening and tomorrow morning in Kolkata to discuss the implications of the Supreme Court-appointed Justice R M Lodha committee's verdict (PTG 1592-7688, 15 July 2015).  The BCCI is keen to ensure that the cash-rich league remains an eight-team tournament as its contract with the broadcasters -- Multi Screen Media -- envisages a 60-match schedule.   

A top BCCI official told the Press Trust of India: "We have started discussions on the way forward. We have studied the Justice Lodha committee report, the Governing Council will discuss all aspects of this verdict and decide the future course of action”.  The official said that the Board could possibly explore two options to ensure that the IPL remains an eight-team event.   "The BCCI can run two new alternate teams for two years and the original owners can then come back after the ban period is over. The other option is to invite fresh bids for two new teams since many corporates have expressed an interest in buying an IPL team”, he said. 

The problem that BCCI might face if it invites bids for two new teams is that it could mean the number of IPL teams would be 10 after CSK and RR complete their ban period. Drawing up a home-and-away basis schedule for 10 teams could drag the league well beyond its stipulated window of about six weeks.  There are few members of the BCCI who are keen to invite fresh bids since it will generate more money for the league. 

However, the BCCI running two teams may not be economically viable since the entire cost of managing the team and paying salaries will have to be borne by the Board.  They would though have all the players of CSK and RR to choose from as they will go back to the auction pool.  A fresh player auction was supposed to be held before the 2017 IPL but the current situation may drive the BCCI to have one before that time. 

Shocked by the Lodha panel’s findings, the owners of CSK have held discussions with their lawyers and are reported to be examining a possible challenge. RR are also said to be considering similar moves.  Experts feel though that given Lodha’s group is a Supreme Court appointed committee entrusted with the task of making judgements on appropriate punishments, the franchises may not get the relief they might expect. 

Headline: ‘Lack of interest’ sees Champions League Twenty20 series cancelled.

Article from:  Associated Press.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Wednesday, 15 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,702.

The Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) has been canceled due to a lack of public interest, a major setback for cricket's newest and shortest format (PTG 1584-7639, 5 July 2015).  The annual tournament, launched in 2009 and featuring the world's leading domestic T20 teams, was jointly run by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Cricket Australia (CA), and Cricket South Africa (CSA), and was due to be staged again this September-October.  The BCCI said in a statement today that the "discontinuation of the league was the most appropriate decision due to the tournament's limited public following".

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said the CLT20 event: "provided added context to a number of domestic Twenty20 competitions around the world such as the Indian Premier League (IPL), Big Bash League in Australia, and CSA's Ram Slam T20, but unfortunately, off the field, [CLT20] wasn't sustaining the interest of the fans as we had hoped”.  

Thakur said the decision to scrap the CLT20 was made after consultation with commercial partners.  However, CA general manager of operations Mike McKenna foreshadowed a possible return of the event, saying: "We are committed to exploring new opportunities to deliver on the original objective of the Champions League". "There is an established period of time to stage an event of this nature in September and October each year, and it is about identifying a model that works for the long-term”.

The cancellation was announced a day after an Indian Supreme Court-appointed committee issued two-year bans for two IPL clubs and life bans for two officials in the wake of a corruption scandal triggered by a spot-fixing investigation in 2013.

Headline: ECB disciplines nine players, concerned about number of offences.

Article from:  ECB press release.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Wednesday, 15 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,7030.

Nine players have been given disciplinary penalties by the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) as a result of incidents in games over the last few weeks.  The ECB's Disciplinary Commission has noted the increased number of fixed penalty offences during the 2015 season to date and has written to all Counties reminding them of the importance of maintaining high disciplinary standards.

The nine censured on this occasion were: James Fuller (Gloucestershire), Ben Duckett and Adam Rossington (both Northamptonshire), Steven Croft (Lancashire), Ben Slater (Derbyshire), Colin Munro (Worcestershire), Paul Collingwood (Durham), Glen Maxwell (Yorkshire) and Laurie Evans (Warwickshire).  Their offences included the bowling of beamers, dissent at decisions, the abuse of fixtures or fittings, or using offensive language or actions.

Fuller was reports by umpires Nick Cook and Russell Evans during his side’s Twenty20 match against Sussex three weeks ago after he was removed from the attack for bowling beamers, a Level One offence.  He was similarly reported in May and the ECB penalty for the second breach within two years is three disciplinary penalty points.

Duckett, Rossington and Croft were reported by umpires Evans and Billy Taylor in a first class game between Lancashire and Northamptonshire  two weeks ago for Level One offences of showing dissent at an umpire’s decision.  The first two received reprimand for their actions, whilst as Croft had another Level One breach recorded against him less than a year ago, he received three disciplinary penalty points.

Umpires Steve Gale and Alan Payne reported Slater, who the Disciplinary Commission reprimanded, for "abusing fixtures or fittings” during Derbyshire’s Second XI Championship match against Nottingham.  Maxwell showed dissent at an umpires decision and was reprimanded after umpires Ben Debenham and Alistair Davies reported him during Yorkshire’s Second XI fixture against Lancashire.

Munro was found guilty of showing serious dissent at a decision, a Level Two breach, in Worcestershire’s Twenty20 game against Warwickshire a week ago when Peter Hartley and Gale were the umpires, and as a result was docked three penalty points.  Collingwood was cited for the same offence last Sunday in the Durham-Warwickshire first class match and he too was given three disciplinary points (PTG 1591-7686, 14 July 2015).  Evans was reported in the same game by umpires David Millns and Graham Lloyd for using “language that is obscene, offensive or insulting and/or making an obscene gesture".

The penalties recorded against each of the players will remain on the ECB’s disciplinary record for the next two years.  Should anyone of them accumulate nine or more points in that time they will receive an automatic suspension.  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,594

  Friday, 17 July 2015

 

• Public apology shows English cricket politics are as sensitive as ever [1594-7704].

• Former Australian first class umpire dies [1594-7705].

• ‘Tempestuous' match results in bans totalling 21 games [1594-7706].

• WICUA members prepare for 27th Biennial Convention [1594-7707].

• Guyana’s Shivsankar joins CPL umpire panel [1594-7708].

• MIT ball tracking tester device ‘very impressive’, says Kumble [1594-7709].

• Conglomerate shelves cricket plans due to IPL’s 'negative aura' [1594-7710].

• County ground first for Premier League clubs? [1594-7711].

• CPL and the future of West Indies cricket [1594-7712].

Headline: Public apology shows English cricket politics are as sensitive as ever.

Article from:  London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist:  Nick Hoult.

Published: Thursday, 16 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,704.

There may be a freedom of expression about the way the England team play their cricket at the moment but the world of English cricket politics is as sensitive as ever, judging by Mike Brearley’s public apology to Giles Clarke for calling him an employee of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).  Brearley, the chairman of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) ‘independent' World Cricket Committee (WCC), said on Tuesday that Clarke, who was recently appointed the ECB’s first president, would have to “do what he’s told” if the governing body’s view on cricket as an Olympic sport changed. 

It was a throwaway comment by Brearley under questioning at a press conference following this week's two‑day meeting of the WCC oat Lord's (PTG 1592, 15 July 2015).  That meeting heard a presentation from Colin Graves and Tom Harrison, the new chairman and chief executive respectively of the ECB, during which they said they would be open to looking into backing cricket becoming an Olympic sport, an apparent change of policy from when Clarke led the board as its chairman up until March this year (PTG 1592-7695, 15 July 2015). 

Former England captain Brearley said:  “Colin and Tom acknowledged that the view of the ECB has [in the past] been strongly anti [cricket at the Olympics], but they say they are open to rethinking”.  “The president of the ECB is an employee of the board and has to report to the board [so] he has to do what he’s told”.  Clarke reports to Graves but is not an ECB employee.  

Brearley said the following day: "I have apologised to Giles Clarke”.  "What I should have said was that if the ECB changes its policy regarding cricket in the Olympics, then it would of course be Giles's job to present that policy to ICC [International Cricket Council]”.  "Giles is not an employee of the ECB board and I did not intend to imply that he was”.

Sensitivities around this issue are high presently with Derek Brewer, the chief executive of the MCC, refusing to screen to the club's members a film which is critical of Clarke and the ICC for failing to grow the sport.  At one stage in 'Death of a Gentleman’ (PTG 1569-7546, 17 June 2015), Clarke explains that he will not back cricket as an Olympic sport due to its potential impact on the ECB, saying: “I have every right to put my board’s interests first”. 

Sam Collins, the film’s co-producer, offered to show the film for free to MCC members but Brewer declined, not wanting to jeopardise the club’s fragile relationship with the ECB. MCC sources say the club felt it could not be seen to be endorsing a film critical of the ECB.  Brearley and two senior MCC officials watched the film before this week's WCC meeting which highlighted some of the issues it raised. 

Editor’s note:  The film referred to, 'Death of a Gentleman - the biggest scandal in sport?’, runs for 96 minutes and is reported to be scheduled for general release on 7 August.  Its two minute long official trailer can be viewed on line.

Headline: Former Australian first class umpire dies.

Article from:  PTG sources.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Thursday, 16 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,705.

Former Tasmanian first class umpire Paul Mulcahy, a Life Member of the Northern Tasmanian Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NTCUSA) and its Patron, died aged 64 earlier this month after a short illness.  Around 300 people attending his funeral in Launceston, members of the NTCUSA and the North West Tasmania Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, forming a guard of honour following the service.

Mulchay's umpiring career commenced in the 1980s in Tasmania’s north-west until early in the following decade he relocated to Launceston.  In a career of over 20 years he stood in games at local, state and first class level.  His debut in a first class game was in 2000 in a match between Tasmania and the touring Indians, then went on to stand in Sheffield Shield cricket over the ensuing two years.  As well as his on-filed achievements he held executive positions in the two umpiring associations of which he was a practising umpire.

A school teacher, his vocation took him to many schools around Tasmania.  He was also an accomplished radio announcer, his collection and knowledge of music and musicians being legendary.  His greatest legacy though is the significant support and encouragement that he gave his umpiring colleagues over the last 30 years.  Those who know him say he had an innate ability to involve, encourage and enthuse people, skills that contributed greatly to the game in northern Tasmania.

Headline: ‘Tempestuous' match results in bans totalling 21 games.

Article from:  Oldham Chronicle.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Thursday, 16 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,706.

A tempestuous Saddleworth and District Cricket League (SDCL) Tanner Cup quarter-final match between Saddleworth and Whalley Range has resulted in the league’s disciplinary committee handing out player bans totalling 21 matches.  Six Whalley Range and two Saddleworth players, including the captains of both sides, were given spells away from the crease, and both clubs were also fined for the actions of their players. 

Of the incidents, Whalley Range’s Sulman Malik was found to have hit opposition player Darren Shadford with his bat, an offence that saw Malik banned for six games.  In the committee’s judgement Shadford provoked Malik so he was served with a two-match ban, plus another two suspended until the end of the season.  As a former county professional, with Lancashire, the committee felt Shadford should have set a better example.

Jangai Abbas, again of Whalley Range, was also handed a six-game ban for using foul and abusive language, the disciplinary committee saying: “There can be no place in life never mind on a cricket field for the language that Abbas used that day”.  He was given an additional one-game ban, along with team-mates Janaid and Faizan, for entering the field of play without permission of the umpires.  A fifth Whalley Range player, Paul Davies, was found guilty of hitting his stumps with his bat for which he was handed a two-match ban.

Whalley Range’s captain, Waqas Malik, and his Saddleworth counterpart Brian Lord, were censured for failing to control their players and each received two-game bans, of which one was suspended until the end of the season.  “The captains are responsible for their players’ actions at all times”, said the committee’s report, and “given the number offences listed we were left with no alternative but to ban both captains”.

In addition, because of the number of offences in the match and their serious nature, both Saddleworth and Whalley Range clubs were found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute.  Each was  fined £UK100 ($A210) and warned of their future conduct for the “lack of respect shown to the umpires, the SDCL and the game of cricket”.  If either club are reported again this season, the committee said, they would suffer a further fine, have championship points deducted, or both.

The umpires claimed that “Saddleworth players” used racial and abusive language, but the alleged perpetrators could not be identified, which led the disciplinary committee to state: “The behaviour of both clubs will not be tolerated by the SDCL” and “both clubs must speak to their players as their future conduct is going to be under close scrutiny for the rest of the season”.  The players and clubs have until Friday to lodge appeals and if none are forthcoming the bans will start on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Danny Harrop, of the SDCL’s Friarmere club, has accepted an eight-match ban for using foul and abusive language towards an umpire during the Twenty20 game against Stayley.  Harrop had served a four-match ban earlier in the 2015 season. Earlier this month an SDCL umpire was banned for six weeks for using abusive language towards one of his umpiring colleagues (PTG 1589-7665, 10 July 2015).

Headline: WICUA members prepare for 27th Biennial Convention.

Article from:  PTG sources.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Thursday, 16 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,707.

Over 120 delegates from all ten of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association's (WICU) 'territories’ are gathering in New York this weekend ahead of the organisation’s five-day, 27th Biennial Convention, which is scheduled to get underway in earnest on Monday (PTG 1411-6819, 12 August 2014).  Apart from the normal range of reports on on-going operational and administrative matters, including those from each of the WICUA’s four regional areas, there will be discussions on the organisation’s strategic planning initiative, and elections for WICUA executive positions.

Included in the strategic planning part of the agenda are such issues as: the raising of funds to better finance WICUA activities and make it less reliant on support from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB); the setting up of an intra-Caribbean umpire exchange program; the provision of improved training systems and resources; and moves to improve Biennial Convention planning arrangements.

WICUA affiliates come from a very wide geographic area that stretches from Canada and the United States in the north, to Bermuda in the mid-Atlantic to the east, and in the Carribean and its environs in the south; the latter including: Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands (Antigua, Anguilla, Montserrrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the British Virgin Islands), Trinidad and Tobago, and the Windward Islands (Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent.  

Those expected to be present in New York include 30 from Jamaica and around the same number from the United States, Guyana and the Leeward Islands both 10, Windward Islands 9, Barbados 7, Trinidad and Tobago 6, Cayman islands 5, Canada 4 and Bermuda 2, plus 10 from the WICUA’s executive itself. 

It's the second time the WICUA has met in New York, and outside the Caribbean proper, in the 53 years since the first Biennial gathering in Trinidad and Tobago in 1962, the nineteenth convention being held in the ‘Big Apple' in June 1999.  Trinidad and Tobago has to date hosted five conventions, Barbados and Guyana four each, Bermuda and Jamaica both three, St Luca two, and Antigua, Montserrat, St. Kitts and St. Vincent all one each. 

Headline: Guyana’s Shivsankar joins CPL umpire panel.

Article from:  PTG sources.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Thursday, 16 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,708.

Guyanese umpire Nandkumar Shivsankar stepped into Joel Wilson’s spot in the Caribbean Premier League’s (CPL) six-man umpiring group for the' 24th match of the 2015 season at the Providence Stadium outside of Georgetown, Guyana, on Wednesday night.  Wilson has left the Caribbean bound for Chittagong in Bangladesh where he will make his on-field Test debut in the opening match of the series between the home side and South Africa next Tuesday (PTG 1585-7641, 6 July 2015).  

Unfortunately for Shivsankar, 42, who was to stand in a CPL fixture for the first time, and his on ground partner John Ward of Australia, the match was washed out without a ball being bowled.  The Guyanese has been standing in first class cricket in the Caribbean since February 2013 and currently has 10 such games to his credit.  Six round-robin matches remain in the current CPL series, three each in Providence and Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, after which the three-match finals segment will be played in the latter city late next week. 

Headline: MIT ball tracking tester device ‘very impressive’, says Kumble.

Article from:  Business Standard.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Thursday, 16 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,709.

Former India captain and current International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket Committee chairman Anil Kumble says that engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the north-eastern United States are working on a device that is expected to demonstrate just how accurate current Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) ball tracking technology is.  Sanjay Sarma, an MIT professor of mechanical engineering, is an expert on the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects (PTG 1580-7606, 29 June 2015). 

Kumble, a qualified mechanical engineer, recently visited MIT to look at the work in progress (PTG 1574-7562, 23 June 2015), saying during an event in New Delhi today: "The MIT is assisting ICC to develop tools for analysing ball tracker”.  “A device is being prepared which will test results of the ball tracking device independently". “I saw the apparatus [the MIT laboratory] have prepared [for the testing and it] is very impressive”.  “It will help us check the range of inaccuracies rather than other way round, then we can take a call on just how good or not current ball tracking technology is". 

Asked about his stance on UDRS issues in the light of opposition to it by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (PTG 1592-7693, 15 July 2015), Kumble said:  "It is not right for me to take a stance. As a captain [in 2008 in Sri Lanka when UDRS was first used], I was not convinced with the tools used and the accuracy of it” (PTG 288-1526, 1 August 2008).  On a lighter note, Kumble said as an engineer: "Actually, every engineer at some point in time thinks about going to MIT for studies and research. I never thought cricket will take me to MIT”. 

Headline: Conglomerate shelves cricket plans due to IPL’s 'negative aura'.

Article from:  Reuters.

Journalist:  Clara Ferreira Marques.

Published: Thursday, 16 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,710.

India's JSW Group, a $US11 billion ($A14.9 b, £UK7 b) conglomerate with interests ranging from steel to power, is shelving plans to buy a cricket team in the highly profitable Indian Premier League (IPL), blaming the "negative aura" of the corruption-hit competition (PTG 1593-7700, 16 July 2015).  Some of India's biggest corporate names are investors in teams competing in what is the world's most lucrative cricket league -- including Reliance Industries Ltd, builder GMR Infrastructure Ltd, and United Spirits Ltd, owned by British beverages group Diageo.

Local media had reported that JSW, controlled by billionaire Sajjan Jindal, was in talks with Diageo to buy United Spirits' stake in Royal Challengers Bangalore in a $US100 million ($A135 m, £UK64 m) deal. The holding is a relic of the time United Spirits was run by flamboyant liquor baron Vijay Mallya.  "I think it's a no at this point of time, purely based on the whole negative aura that has been generated”, said Parth Jindal, son of Sajjan Jindal and the family member who oversees JSW's sports interests. "We don't want our brand to be associated with a league that is so tainted at the moment”, he said.

Headline: County ground first for Premier League clubs?

Article from:  NEPL press release

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Thursday, 16 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,711.

The England and Wales Cricket Board’s North East Premier League may have created a first for club cricket in the UK with the finals of its Twenty20 competition to be played partly under lights at the Durham County Cricket Club's Chester-le-Street home ground on Sunday.  Four clubs will contest the two semi finals, Chester-le-Street, their arch rivals South Northumberland, Eppleton and a Durham Cricket Board XI, the winners of those games featuring in the final.  Umpires appointed to manage game are Chris Stonehouse, Paul Haley and Scott Hanson.

Headline: CPL and the future of West Indies cricket.

Article from:  Jamaica Observer.

Journalist:  Kevin Chang .

Published: Thursday, 16 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,712.

'The greatest party in sports' -- as the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) bills itself -- really is the greatest party in sports. As anyone who has been there can attest, there is no 'vibesier' experience than a Jamaica Tallawahs match at Sabina Park. It's a simply wonderful combination of music, laughter, conversation, and cricket lovely cricket, although a few nitpickers have complained about the almost constant noise. And kudos to the stadium shuttle bus system that made getting to Sabina such a breeze.

I've been a diehard cricket fan from the days of Sobers and Khanai, and watched in despair as my beloved sport dwindled away almost to the point of death. So the packed stands at Sabina for Tallawah games brings joy to my heart. Moreover, there are as many women and children there as men. A new and wider generation of cricket lovers is being created.

Twenty20 is not Test cricket and will never create such lasting memories as Brian Lara's 153 not out one-wicket win at Kensington in 1999. Yet you either move with the times or the times leave you behind. In this fast-moving age, even life-long aficionados, like myself, can no longer spare five days to watch a game. My young children would quickly get restless at a Test match, but they had a ball watching the Tallawahs.

That's why there were less than a thousand spectators watching West Indies versus Australia last month, and approaching 20,000 for the CPL’s Tallawahs-Tridents  fixture. Those 'back in my day' folks who deride the CPL as 'curry goat cricket' must realise that it's not a choice between T20 and Test cricket, but between T20 and no cricket at all.

If the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) does not get its act together though, the very term 'West Indies' will soon be meaningless to those youngsters who were chanting "Ta la wahs! Ta la wahs!" On Sunday I wore a West Indies jersey to the match and my puzzled daughter asked, "What does West Indies mean daddy?" I explained that it is the best players from CPL countries, playing against places like England and Australia. And it was what real cricket was all about. She nodded, rather unconvinced.

My strong recommendation for the WICB is to arrange, as quickly as possible, a T20 international tour -- maybe against Pakistan or Sri Lanka -- around the region, so all these young CPL fans can imbibe the West Indies spirit. It would be a sad thing indeed if this unique 'country yet more than a country' cricketing dynamic, which means so much to so many, were to wither away.

The CPL has some inimitable competitive advantages. Our time zone allows matches to hit Indian, British and North American prime time in one day.  Yet the TV coverage still leaves a bit to be desired. An Indian friend who came to Sabina on the weekend said that, while the Indian Premier League seemed more exciting on TV, he found the actual, at the match CPL experience, much more enjoyable. 

In short though, the CPL can only be as strong as West Indies cricket. Hopefully the owners realise this and start to work with the WICB and invest in strengthening the game across the region from the grass roots up.  This will require a revamp of the WICB, currently one of the world's worst-run and most dysfunctional entities, for unless we start producing more high quality players, the brilliant future the CPL promises will prove a false dawn.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,595

  Sunday, 19 July 2015


• IPL Governing Council meeting Sunday 'to take stock of things' [1595-7713].

• What do the IPL suspensions mean for cricket? [1595-7714].

• Time to enact India’s 'Prevention of Sports Fraud Bill' [1595-7715].

• ’Stem guard’ limits injury in batsman’s head strike [1595-7716].

• Hafeez again fails lab test, banned from bowling for 12 months [1595-7717].

• Second WT20Q bowler suspended because of ’suspect’ action [1595-7718].

• ICC chief executive hints at further Olympic talks [1595-7719].

• Non-Indian domestic teams hurt most by CLT20 cancellation [1595-7720].

• CLT20 loss not a major problem for Central Districts [1595-7721].

• Ashes TV coverage involves over 100, 25 km of cable [1595-7722].

• Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published [1595-7723].

Headline: IPL Governing Council meeting Sunday 'to take stock of things'.

Article from:  India Today.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Saturday, 18 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,713.

The Governing Council of the popular but troubled Indian Premier League (IPL) will meet in Mumbai on Sunday to discuss the repercussions of the suspension of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR), and also to chalk out a new roadmap for the Twenty20 format event.  The governing group headed by Rajeev Shukla, is expected to delve deep into the finer points of the strong judgment issued a few days ago by three-member Supreme Court-appointed panel headed by former Chief Justice of India, RM Lodha (PTG 1595-7688, 15 July 2015).

Star-studded CSK, two-time IPL champions and owned by 'India Cements Ltd', and the 'Jaipur IPL’ company’s RR, the inaugural winners, were both suspended from the T20 League for two years as punishment for betting activities of their key officials Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra during the IPL’s 2013 season.  Meiyappan, the former Team Principal of CSK, and Kundra, RR’s co-owner, were suspended for life for indulging in betting and bringing the IPL and the game into disrepute.

The IPL governing body urgently needs to chart out a smooth road map for the cash-rich but controversy-ridden T20 League, which is owned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), that has teetered on the edge for quite some time.  The governing council has to negotiate a very tricky and rock-strewn path full of legal hurdles such as conflict of interest issues, which had brought it to its knees in the first place.  It has quite a few options in front of it to resurrect the falling reputation and credibility of the league which has taken one hit after another over the years since it started with a bang in 2008 (PTG 1593-7701, 16 July 2015).

Putting on a brave face, Shukla had commented after the judgment that the controversy-ridden IPL remained a "robust" product, insisting that the event will come back stronger with a minimum of eight teams, however, at least one large corporate entity is less than convinced (PTG 1594-7710, 17 July 2015).  "We are always concerned about IPL and let me assure you the next edition will be a bigger success”.  “The IPL is a robust product and this judgement [suspension of teams] should not affect IPL as a product”.  "The idea is to have the tournament in full format with a minimum of eight teams". "We can't hold the event with six teams”, Shukla had said.

Justice Lodha said a day after delivering the judgment that the BCCI was free to terminate the IPL franchises.  His clarification came in the wake of some confusion over the committee's proposal, specifically over the extent to which the BCCI can act against the two franchises as follow-up to the committee's decision.  "It is for the BCCI to consider terminating the teams and the Supreme Court judgment is clear on that - the BCCI can do that”, he said in a television interview.

Meanwhile, former BCCI president, and now International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan, who heads the 'India Cements Ltd’ company, says he is no longer associated withe the CSK franchise and the findings of an Indian Supreme Court committee “are not about me” and do not concern him, however, despite that his aides say he plans to appeal.  

Clearly rattled by the verdict of the Lodha Committee, the former BCCI president who was in London when the findings were announced, did not want to be quizzed before analysing the verdict and is weighing his options.  Srinivasan had a brief contact with the RR’s Rahul Dravid about the two-year ban handed to CSK and RR. "They both are shocked by the judgement”, said a CSK official.  

Meanwhile, PR Raman, Srinivasan's personal lawyer who represented the BCCI before the Supreme Court, criticised the verdict. "The order is disproportionate”, he remarked. "They have found a method by robbing Peter to pay Paul. Instead of punishing the management, the committee has punished the players, support staff, the BCCI and every other stakeholder. They have punished the spectator and fans as well”.

Editor’s note:  Its probably the least of the BCCI’s problems at the moment but another competitions issue on its plate is what to do with the ‘void’ left by the cancellation of the Champions League T20 series in September-October.  A report two weeks ago laid down what were said to be the options available to the BCCI in that regard (PTG 1584-7639, 5 July 2015).

Headline: What do the IPL suspensions mean for cricket?

Article from:  BBC.

Journalist:  Suresh Menon.

Published: Saturday, 18 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,714.

Tuesday's landmark ruling by a panel appointed by India's Supreme Court to ban two Indian Premier League (IPL) teams, and suspend for life two senior franchise officials (PTG 1595-7688, 15 July 2015), is in many ways, a severe indictment of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which runs the IPL - the world's richest cricket league.  

One of the officials banned, Gurunath Meiyappan, is the son-in-law of former BCCI chief Narayanaswami Srinivasan, who earlier this year was banned from holding any BCCI post in India's cricket board (PTG 1508-7270, 25 January 2015), but continues as the chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC).  That makes him the most powerful cricket administrator in the world, a fact many believe says as much about the state of world cricket as its administration.

That the rot in the BCCI’s eight-team IPL ran deep has been long known. Conflict of interest was rife. Due diligence was ignored in the matter of awarding TV contracts, auctions and team responsibilities. Rules were made in a hurry. The BCCI ignored the corruption in the league, leaving it to the Supreme Court.  Tuesday's ruling though has left the BCCI with some room to manoeuvre.  It can decide to find replacements to fill the two empty places or change the ownership of the suspended teams so that they can participate under different names and owners.  

But something even more significant could be in the offing: the court-appointed panel is also looking into the workings of the BCCI and restructuring it.  If that happens, the board which runs India's most popular game will be finally accountable and transparent.   Until then, Tuesday's ruling will remain a welcome - but incomplete - effort to clean up the game.

Headline: Time to enact India’s 'Prevention of Sports Fraud Bill'.

Article from:  New India Express.

Journalist:  Mukul Mudgal.

Published: Friday, 17 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,715.

This week's judgments against two Indian Premier League (IPL) teams and senior officials may spur the Government of India to take steps to bring into Law the 'Prevention of Sports Fraud Bill' that was drafted in 2013.  The legislation has been designed to punish a person, whether Indian or a foreigner, who has been involved in manipulation of a sports or abets or encourages such offences, for an event in India or involving an Indian team or player. 

The Bill, which the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has released for public perusal, prescribes a maximum punishment of five years and a fine of either one million Rupees ($A21,000, £UK10,000), or five times the economic benefits derived by the person from sporting fraud, whichever is greater. 

Recently an IPL player reported an approach from a Mumbai player (PTG 1591-7678, 14 July 2015).  That shows that the players, and the franchise involved, have understood the seriousness of protecting the integrity of the game.  The principal foundation of any integrity operation is that the identity of the person who is reporting the incident is protected and kept confidential with disclosure only as per established guidelines.

In this case, the authority to whom this was reported seems to have discussed this with a number of people, in such a manner, that the incident has been widely reported along with the name of the complainant. The proposed draft Bill not only imposes a duty on players and team officials but also on the authorities who have been designated with the charge of integrity program and receiving information. If the draft Bill had been enacted, a person leaking information could have been prosecuted for a crime for failing to perform his fiduciary duty of keeping the information and identity of the person confidential.

The entire saga of IPL has highlighted the integrity issues in sports in India and the lack of proper coordinated investigation, procedure for handling a complaint, independent adjudication and fixing of responsibilities amongst others. This also shows the imperative need for revamping the procedure for protecting the integrity of sports in India. 

Editor’s note: The author of the above article is a former chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court. He was the head of the Indian Supreme Court-appointed panel that investigated allegations of IPL betting and spot fixing.

In May 2013, India’s then Law Minister said that the government planned to enact the legislation referred to above "as soon as possible” to deal with "dishonest practices” in sport such as those arose in that year’s IPL series (PTG 1111-5405, 27 May 2013).  The plan was to revamp the 'Prevention of Dishonesty in Sports Bill' of 2001, legislation that was drafted after cricketers found guilty by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CIB) in the match-fixing case of 2000, escaped punishment as there was no law relating to match-fixing or betting in the country. 

Former India cricket captain Rahul Dravid indicated six months after that that he was in favour of legalising betting in India if such a step helped reduce corruption in sports (PTG 1232-5943, 14 November 2013).  Before that Dravid, who captained the IPL’s RR franchise side, called for the fixing of matches to be made a criminal offence in order to deter potential offenders (PTG 1164-5633, 8 August 2013). He pointed to "four integrity issues in Indian sport that require legal intervention", they being in his view: “age fraud; doping; deliberate under-performance; and player involvement in the betting industry”.

In April last year, India's CIB set up a dedicated Sports Frauds Investigation Unit to tackle corruption in sports including match-fixing (PTG 1333-6437, 14 April 2014).  Around the same time the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports wrote to the BCCI to point out the responsibility the cricket body has to deal with betting and match-fixing during the IPL, and asked that the board provide it with details of the "mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure [such] unethical practices" were not repeated in [2014]" (PTG 1329-6413, 6 April 2014).

Headline: ’Stem guard’ limits injury in batsman’s head strike.

Article from:  Australian Associated Press.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Saturday, 18 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,716.

Australian opener Chris Rogers received a nasty blow to his helmet on the second day of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s on Friday, but it would appear a new feature added since the death of Phillip Hughes last year significantly limited the damage that was done.  Rogers was struck the side of his helmet by a ball from England fast bowler James Anderson as he attempted to weave out of the way by turning his head, however, the ball appeared to hit the helmet’s ‘stem guard’ that provides extra piece of protection around the back of the neck (PTG 1519-7313, 12 February 2015).

Rogers stayed on his feet and removed the helmet as support staff rushed on to the ground to check him out.  He was treated for a cut behind the ear, but allowed to stay on after it was decided that a concussion assessment was not required.  The opener admitted in the lead-up to the Ashes he was concerned about the symptoms he experienced when hit in the head in the Caribbean last month (PTG 1561-7,507, 5 June 2015).  "I've been hit in the head plenty of times and we do have to be a little bit concerned about it”.   "You have to look after yourself with head injuries”.

Headline: Hafeez again fails lab test, banned from bowling for 12 months.

Article from:  ICC press release.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Friday, 17 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,717.

All-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has become the second Pakistan cricketer to be banned from bowling for 12 months after his delivery action was deemed to be unlawful by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the second time in nine months.  In December 2005, fast bowler Shabbir Ahmed was the first player from his country to be banned from bowling for a year by the ICC after his action was found to be unlawful for the second time in a two-year period.  

Hafeez was initially reported after a Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi in November, and was subsequently banned after laboratory tests led to his initial ban (PTG 1477-7145, 8 December 2014).  Six weeks prior to that he was reported for a suspect action in the Champions League Twenty20 series (PTG 1436-6947, 29 September 2014).  After remedial work on his action he was cleared in April, but was cited again earlier this month in a Test against Sri Lanka in Galle (PTG 1574-7592, 23 June 2015).

Measurements conducted at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai two Tuesdays ago (PTG 1584-7638, 5 July 2015), have confirmed his action does not meet ICC requirements.  The ICC said that data collected showed Hafeez’s elbow extension while bowling exceeded 15 degrees.  Under ICC regulations he is entitled to appeal any procedural aspect of the independent assessment that has led to this automatic suspension, however, he will have to wait for a year before he will be able to approach the ICC for a re-assessment of his bowling action. 

Headline: Second WT20Q bowler suspended because of ’suspect’ action.

Article from:  ICC press release.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Sunday, 19 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,718.

Hong Kong leg-spinner Nizakat Khan has been suspended from bowling in international cricket after his action was found to be illegal by an International Cricket Council (ICC) panel at the World Twenty20 Qualifier (WT20Q) in Belfast.   Umpires Johan Cloete of South Africa and Ruchira Palliyaguruge of Sri Lanka reported his action after Hong Kong's match against Nepal on Wednesday.  An "event bowling action review panel" analysis subsequently found his elbow to flex beyond the permitted 15 degrees. 

The score sheet for the match shows that Nizakat, 23, bowled three overs in the game.  The ICC says he will now have to undergo an independent assessment at an ICC accredited testing facility and cannot bowl until he is cleared.   His suspension follows that of Netherlands’ fast-medium bowler Ahsan Malik earlier in the qualifying event (PTG 1591-7685, 14 July 2015). 

Headline: ICC chief executive hints at further Olympic talks.

Article from:  Cricinfo web site.

Journalist:  David Hopps.

Published: Thursday, 16 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,719.

David Richardson, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), has indicated that the ICC will hold further discussions on the possibility of cricket taking its place in the Olympics sometime in the future.  "Everybody accepts from a development point of view it would probably be a good thing if cricket was in the Olympics”, Richardson said on Test Match Special during the opening day of the second Ashes Test on Thursday.

Richardson's comments come amid considerable tension over the issue in the hierarchy of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).  Mike Brearley, the chairman of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s ‘independent' World Cricket Committee, which last week reiterated its support for Olympic cricket (PTG 1592-7695, 15 July 2015), suggested that the ECB stance had softened since its new chairman Colin Graves and chief executive, Tom Harrison, were appointed earlier this year.

Less than a day later Brearley found himself officially apologising to ECB president Giles Clarke, an implacable opponent of cricket in the Olympics, after initially calling him an employee of the ECB who has to "do what he is told", clarifying that he was not an employee and would merely have to present any paper on the Olympics at the ICC.  If Graves and Richardson really do want a change, they should perhaps be careful not to allow Clarke any last-minute editing rights (PTG 1594-7704, 17 July 2015).

Richardson acknowledged that "Certain members feel we have World T20 and do not need another T20 game to develop the game”.  "There are difficulties”.  "It would take place in mid of an England season, and England and the West Indies would not play in the Olympics as England and the West Indies, but I am sure we will be speaking about this again”.

The ICC chief executive made no such assertion regarding any further examination of a 10-team World Cup in England in 2019 - another imperative as far as Clarke, and indeed much of the ICC, is concerned, yet bitterly opposed by the game's expansionists (PTG 1592-7694, 15 July 2015).  "The decision to go to 10 teams for the 2019 World Cup was made before the 2015 World Cup”, Richardson said. "At that stage we had no proper qualification pathway for associate members to qualify for the World Cup. Now we do”.

"For T20 though - and for the vast majority of Associate teams that is the format they are concentrating on - we are up to 16 teams. The World Championship and the Inter-Continental Cup also offer Associate nations a pathway to full membership. We have broken the glass ceiling” (PTG 1558-7492, 1 June 2015).

Editor’s note: Three months ago there was a report that 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 in Auckland in September.  A new Commonwealth Games seven-year strategic plan has been drawn up that is said to include T20 cricket added as an 'optional sport' (PTG 1548-7442, 5 April 2015).  The only time the game has featured in the Olympics was in 1900 (PTG 1069-5202, 1 March 2013).  

Headline: Non-Indian domestic teams hurt most by CLT20 cancellation.

Article from:  Cricinfo web site.

Journalist:  Firdose Moonda.

Published: Friday, 17 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,720.

The biggest impact from this week's cancellation of the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) tournament will be felt by non-Indian domestic teams who have lost out on a three-way income stream.   What was an annual series was dropped because of the lack of viability from a broadcaster's perspective (PTG 1593-7702, 16 July 2015), an insider at the Indian Premier League (IPL) revealing that the tournament was worth almost a billion dollars over ten years, but the broadcasters failed to recover even a tenth of that.

Non-Indian teams in the tournament received participation fees of $US500,000 ($A678,000, £UK320,000) per team, plus prize money and $US150,000 ($A203,000, £UK96,000) for each player who chose to turn out for his IPL team instead of his home domestic side if both sides qualified for the event. 

A source at the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), which together with Cricket Australlia (CA) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) operated the CLT20 series, described it as "a cash cow for international teams".  "For a team like Trinidad and Tobago, when a Samuel Badree or Dwayne Bravo is playing for other teams, the money they receive from them would change things immediately”.  “As such, given the sheer amount of money involved [CLT20] was a game-changer for other teams around the world”. 

Of the three stakeholders, the BCCI, CA and CSA, the Indian board and its teams are the best off.  It will receive $US190 million ($A258 m, £UK122 m), more than half the $US330 million ($A448 m, £U212 m) settlement between the three boards and broadcaster Star India, and the IPL teams will no longer have to spend thousands of dollars for retaining overseas players for the CLT20.  "For Indian franchises, most of the amount would be spent towards retaining the services of a Pollard or de Villiers”, the source said. 

CA is the next biggest beneficiary.  It will receive $US80 million ($A108 m, £UK51 m) following the closure of CLT20 and has last year’s domestic television rights deal to cushion it against other loss.  The Australian board made somewhere in the region of $US25 million ($A34 m, £UK16 m) in each edition of the Champions League, and in the early seasons of the Big Bash League (BBL) it was this money that allowed the BBL project head Mike McKenna to say CA’s "domestic Twenty20 operations" were running at a profit.

The Australian broadcast networks, Channel Nine and Channel Ten, alleviated CA's reliance on this revenue in 2013 (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013). The deal with Channel Ten for the BBL alone is worth $US20 million ($A27 m, £UK12.8 m) per season, while Nine's investment of $US500 million ($A678 m, £UK320 m) over five years also strengthened the board's position and the funds that could be doled out to the states and their BBL teams.

The South African board will receive $US60 million ($A81 m, £UK38 m) from the CLT20 settlement but its franchises, who operate as separate companies to the national body, are concerned about their own affairs. CSA will split the participation fees of the two teams who took part in the tournament between all six of their franchises, who received around $US29,000 a year ($A39,300, £UK19,000). 

Several South African franchise chief executives described the funds coming in from CLT20 as "essential", because the income-earning opportunities for South African franchises are limited. "The participation money from the CLT20 is worth more than we get in prize money for winning a domestic tournament”, Nabeal Dien, the head of the Cobras, said. In comparison, South Africa's first-class competition carries a total prize money close to $US167,000 ($A226,000, £UK107,000 m).

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) loses between $US300-400,000 ($A407-542,000, £UK192-256,000) as a whole from the tournament being cancelled. A major portion, over 65 per cent of the money they would earn from the CLT20 was channelled towards development across the Caribbean with the remainder retained by the board.

The WICB was also concerned about the impact on domestic teams. "It's what funds the region will be devoid of, not the board. Everything does not just go in the WICB coffers as that money has to be shared”, said Michael Muirhead the WICB’s chief executive. "You can't just say what money the board will be missing out on”. He estimated that the funds that "the region" would no longer be privy to could be around "a couple hundreds of thousands of United States Dollars”. 

In Sri Lanka, where the board owns all the domestic T20 franchises the effect will be felt at national level. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) received the $US500,000 ($A678,000, £UK320,000) participation fee plus the amounts from players retained by IPL franchises. Around 5 per cent of this money went into operational costs, a similar amount to the players, and the remaining 90 per cent into SLC coffers. 

Headline: CLT20 loss not a major problem for Central Districts. 

Article from:  Manawatu Standard. 

Journalist:  Not stated. 

Published: Friday, 17 July 2015. 

PTG listing: 7,721. 

Cancellation of the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) series hasn't sent waves of panic through New Zealand’s Central Districts (CD).  The league was canned this week due to declining fan interest (PTG 1593-7702, 16 July 2015), in what is a financial blow for all New Zealand's major associations, but CD chief executive Chris Lander said it's not something they're overly stressing about.

Lander, whose side went to the tournament in 2010 but didn't win a game, said its "an opportunity lost for our domestic players to be able to compete on that stage”, but "It's not a surprise to us as we were aware it's something that's been coming for a little while now”.  

The Wellington Firebirds had qualified for  this year’s CLT20 tournament in September-October by winning New Zealand Cricket's domestic Twenty20 competition last December.  Qualifying is worth about $NZ650,000 ($A575,000, £UK272,000), where half goes into the players' fund and the other half is split into seven, with two-sevenths going to Cricket Wellington and the rest to the other five major associations.  Lander said each share is worth $NZ40-50,000 ($A35-44,000, £UK17-21,000) to the major associations.

Lander said it was the harsh reality that the TV audience hasn't been there to warrant the league.  There are murmurs of another competition to replace the Champions League (PTG 1584-7639, 5 July 2015).  "I think there's still an appetite for something, but it's hard to know what without being inside the room”.  He said the biggest disappointment is for the Wellington players missing the experience of a lifetime.  "It's a bit like stealing Christmas”.

 

Meanwhile, CD were meeting this weekend to discuss changes to its constitution before deciding when to have a special general meeting, where they will actually make a decision about any organisational changes (PTG 1579-7598, 28 June 2015).  Changes to the constitution are understood to have been mooted by New Zealand Cricket, which could include allowing board members to be elected from anywhere (PTG 1567-7540, 15 June 2015).  

Headline: Ashes TV coverage involves over 100, 25 km of cable

Article from:  Daily Mirror. 

Journalist:  Mark Jefferies. 

Published: Thursday, 16 July 2015. 

PTG listing: 7,722. 

Live television is never easy, even in a studio for a relatively short space of time. But Sky Sports, which in May won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award for their coverage of live Ashes cricket in 2013, produces five days of non stop live TV totalling around 50 hours on air.  Unsurprisingly, each game is a mammoth effort to film and broadcast with some 120 people directly involved, around 40 cameras on-site, over 30 microphones, 25 km of cabling, and 20 trucks for the director, graphics, Hawk-Eye, storage, catering and security.

Many of the crew involved arrive two or three days before the match starts to set up and prepare.  As I’m shown into a production suite set up in a car park at Lords, I am amazed to see a dozen people crammed inside live editing. There are 78 TV screens in the director’s truck which show what’s being transmitted, a preview screen, every camera angle, replays and more.  All that is a far cry from how Test matches were broadcast on the BBC a few decades ago using basic replays and a lot less cameras and gizmos.  

Sky’s Ashes Production manager Roger Chambers tells me: “The biggest changes we have seen are in the technology, there is now so much of it and every year there is something different”.  “We have got Hawk-Eye, the ‘Hot Spot' cameras, and we add on a bit every year”.  “The thing that makes our coverage better is this, we still use a lot of the same cameramen but the technology does get better”.  So what is next for Test cricket in term of innovation? Roger has one idea.  “We have got cameras on the umpires in Twenty20 matches and we would like that in Test matches.  "Every time you say ‘that is it’ something comes around the corner".

 

And then there are the pundits who put the words to the action. They are housed in two TV commentary suites, which at Lords these are in the media centre, a brilliant resource for journalists with an incredible view down onto the pitch.  Taking a brief break one of the commentators, former England captain David Gower, tells me he aims to be at the ground by 8.30 am which gives him 90 minutes to get up to speed on any overnight news from both teams and also to read the day’s papers. He and the team will then have a meeting before working out how to open the show at 10 am.  

Ian Ward has his 'Ashes Zone' for analysis and then interviews players at the end of the day and uses what looks like a massive iPad on wheels to show them their best bits for discussion. I can vouch for the fact the touchscreen does work on it, and I’m told it costs a six figure fortune because the one used on the pitch needs to be visible in strong sunlight.  But that big screen is helping millions of fans be glued to their TV screens this summer, and ‘Sky' remain on the front foot when it comes to coverage (PTG 1591-7682, 14 July 2015).

Headline: Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published

Article from:  The Guardian. 

Journalist:  John Holder and Paul Trevillion. 

Published: Friday, 17 July 2015. 

PTG listing: 7,723. 

A commercial sponsor who wants to have batsmen driven to the crease in the car they are promoting, a fieldsman who stops a six by catching the ball with his hat, and a captain who challenges a ‘no ball’ call when a batsman is bowled, form the latest edition of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper’s cartoon strip ’You are the Umpire’.  The cartoons that make you think are drawn by Paul Trevillion from questions submitted by readers, and the answers are provided by former Test umpire John Holder.   

  

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,596

  Monday, 20 July 2015

 

• ‘Working group’ given six weeks to formulate way through IPL ‘mess’ [1596-7724]

• Opener retires hurt two days after blow to head [1596-7725]

• Crowd trouble holds up Lanka-Pakistan ODI [1596-7726]

• Commentators lack of knowledge leads them to criticise umpire [1596-7727].

• Trio to manage women’s ‘Ashes’ ODIs named [1596-7728].

• CA announces ‘grass roots’ marketing campaign; survey results awaited [1596-7729].

• There's good odds T20's days may be numbered [1596-7730].

• Ashes tickets chance if your umpiring skills are ‘up to standard' [1596-7731].

Headline: ‘Working group’ given six weeks to formulate way through IPL ‘mess’. 

Article from:  Times News Network.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Sunday, 19 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,724.

Rajeev Shukla, the chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL), has announced that the competition's Governing Council meeting in Mumbai today had authorised him to set up a working group to study Justice Lodha committee’s report and come up with recommendations as to how to move forward within six weeks (PTG 1595-7713, 19 July 2015).  If sources are to be believed, Governing Council members are far from a consensus regarding the current hiatus, as there is a massive tug-of-war raging among powerful lobbies inside the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), owners of the IPL (PTG 1593-7700, 16 July 2015).

One lobby strongly feels that the contracts with the two banned franchises need to be terminated with immediate effect.  Lodha's committee report, which operated under the auspices of the Indian Supreme Court. makes a provision for such an action (PTG 1592-7688, 15 July 2015).  Another lobby feels their two-year suspension is punishment enough and terminating their contracts will be harmful for 'brand IPL' and unfair on CSK and RR, who have both put in an eight-year investment into the tournament.

Former BCCI president Shashank Manohar, a prominent Indian lawyer who left that post in 2011 and was succeeded by Narayanaswami Srinivasan, feels the national body should float new tenders for two IPL teams. Manohar said it is time for them to clean up the mess and that the BCCI has been relatively quiet regarding the 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal, which brought down the image of the IPL (PTG 1595-7714, 19 July 2015 and 1595-7728 below).  In his view "Srinivasan should have stepped down in 2013”.

Manohar, who met BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya Friday night to discuss the issue, also said that IPL's Chief Operating Officer Sundar Raman should be removed.  “The IPL is a fine product and it needs to go on, but it should be a clean tournament and the mess will have to be cleaned up".

Meanwhile, reports from Bengaluru say moves are being made to have the 'Prevention of Sports Fraud Bill’, which was drafted two years ago to tackle illegal betting and corruption in sports, introduced in the current session of the Indian Parliament (PTG 1595-7715, 19 July 2015).  The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports said on Friday it would “seriously" push for it in the coming days. 

Headline: Opener retires hurt two days after blow to head. 

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Chris Barrett.

Published: Monday, 20 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,725.

There were concerns on Sunday for the health and immediate playing future of Australian opener Chris Rogers after he retired hurt due to a sudden dizzy spell during the second Ashes Test, but Australian captain Michael Clarke says he is confident the veteran will be fit to feature in next week's third Test.  The opener, who missed two Tests against the West Indies last month as a result of concussion, was on 49 and standing at the non-striker's end as the second over of the fourth day came to an end when he suddenly lost his balance.

His opening partner David Warner got him to sit down on the grass beside the Lord's pitch and called for assistance, Australia's team doctor Peter Brukner and physiotherapist Alex Kountouris making their way onto to the ground and promptly accompanied the 37-year-old off it.  Rogers appeared to be signalling that he had blurred vision by gesturing with Brukner with a moving hand in front of his face.  An Australian team spokeswoman said he had had a sudden dizzy spell but had felt fine on Sunday morning.

Rogers had been allowed to continue in the first innings on Friday after, resuming unbeaten on 158, he had turned his head and been struck behind the ear with the first delivery of that day, bowled by James Anderson (PTG 1595-7716, 19 July 2015).  The left-hander, whose ear was cut and and had blood wiped away by Kountouris, went on to score 173 before being dismissed in the first innings. On Sunday, he had faced five balls, from Anderson's first over, when he was unable to go on. 

Rogers was still being assessed by team medicos on Sunday evening but Clarke said he was of the belief that the fourth-day episode was not connected to his previous head knocks.  The opener had been ruled out of the first Test against the West Indies by Brukner under Cricket Australia's new concussion policy and did not recover in time to feature in the second Test in Jamaica (PTG 1561-7507, 5 June 2015).  Rogers also was left upset and contemplating his future last summer when he was hit on the head while fielding at short-leg in Brisbane during the second Test against India.

Headline: Crowd trouble holds up Lanka-Pakistan ODI. 

Article from:  Agence France Presse.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Monday, 20 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,726.

The day-night One Day International (ODI) between Sri Lankan and Pakistan at the Premadasa stadium in Colombo last night was interrupted for 30 minutes when stones landed on the playing area near a Pakistani fielder.  Players huddled in the middle for a few minutes before they were ordered to the dressing rooms by match referee Javagal Srinath as anti-riot police squads evacuated spectators from two blocks of stands near the giant scoreboard.

Sri Lanka were in the 34th over of their innings in the third ODI of the five-match series and in trouble at 7/158 chasing Pakistan’s 4/316 when the trouble started at 9.35 pm local time.  There were no immediate reports of arrests, but dozens of vehicles at the stadium were damaged due to the stone throwing, witnesses said.  Some reports say that “a small group of spectators” were involved in the stone throwing.  The on-field umpires for the match were local Raveendra Wimalasiri and Ian Gould of England (PTG 1574-7564, 23 June 2015).

Headline: Commentators lack of knowledge leads them to criticise umpire. 

Article from:  Cricket Australia web site.

Journalist:  Sam Ferris.

Published: Saturday, 18 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,727.

Former Australian spin bowler Shane Warne has slammed the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) and umpire Kumar Dharmaseena’s 'not out' decision for England batsman Moeen Ali during day three of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s on Saturday.  Ali was struck on the front pad by off-spinner Nathan Lyon in the 78th over and was given 'not out' by Dharmaseena.  Fielding captain Michael Clarke asked for a review, but the call remained with the on-field decision after ball tracking technology predicted Lyon’s delivery was clipping leg-stump.

Warne was livid with the outcome, believing the ball was hitting enough of leg-stump to be deemed as ‘out' and he was critical of Dharmaseena’s verdict. “Well for me, that’s a bad decision live”, Warne said, while commentating for Australia’s Channel Nine.  “That should have been out”.  "That was going on to hit the stumps and [it was] umpire’s call”.

Technology should be backed regardless of what the on-field decision is, said Warne. “I’ve said this a few times, we’ve got to take away what the umpire says when we’re talking about these referral decisions”, he said.  “If the umpire had have given that out, that’s out”.  “You can’t see the same dismissal being given out or not out depending on what the umpire says". “It’s a bad on-field decision and that causes inconsistency with the review process". “If you take away that, and half the ball is hitting the stumps, it’s out irrelevant of what the on-field decision was”.

Warne was referring to Australian batsman Steve Smith request to review his LBW dismissal in his side's first innings, but that decision was upheld when the ball tracking system ruled with the umpire as to where the ball struck the batsman, only fractionally in line with the batsman’s off-stump.  If the decision was given 'not out' and England requested a review, the 'not out' ruling would remain. 

Former Australia captain and fellow Nine commentator Mark Taylor agreed with Warne, but says umpires need to consider the playing conditions when making decisions.  “I sense with Kumar Dharmaseena [his decision regarding Ali] was a defensive decision”, Taylor said. “I think sometimes you’ve got to analyse the pitch as an umpire”.  “To me, this is a very flat pitch. The only time we’ve seen wickets fall it’s been with the new ball". “If you don’t give that out for a spinner, what are you ever going to give out?" 

Such a situation "requires the fielding side to review it and then they get disappointed with that review". “I’m not so much against the system of the review, I think it’s a poor on-field decision because on a pitch that’s not turning, not bouncing a lot, you should give that out every time".  “If the batsman feels aggrieved, then he should review it, and he would have been proven to be out". “That’s where I think the problem stems from that decision”.

Editor’s note:  ICC Test match Playing Conditions (Appendix 1) require, because of question marks that hang over the accuracy of ball-tracking, that when LBW decisions are being reviewed "a high degree of confidence” is needed in decision making.   The degree of precision involved is far greater than the ‘prevent the howler’ philosophy that underpinned the UDRS when it was first introduced seven years ago. 

The Playing Conditions say that in the Ali decision, "in order [for the third umpire] to report that the ball is hitting the stumps, the evidence provided by technology should show that the centre of the ball would have hit the stumps within an area demarcated by a line drawn below the lower edge of the bails and down the middle of the outer stumps.  Channel Nine’s graphic with regard to Ali’s ball clearly did not meet those criteria, the centre of the ball hitting fractionally outside the stump proper and wide of the “middle of the outer stump” line, but neither Warne and Taylor appear to have been aware of, or noticed, that.

When Smith reviewed the LBW decision given against him, the key question was whether the ball struck him in the line with the ‘stumps-to-stumps’ strip.  The technology in fact showed the ball struck him "by the width of a seam inside the line”.  Test match Playing Conditions say when an ‘out’ decision is being reviewed, as was the case here, "in order to report that the point of impact is not between wicket and wicket, the evidence provided by technology should show that no part of the ball at the moment of interception is between wicket and wicket.  

As such the umpires involved appear to have carried out the ICC’s review requirements on both occasions, however, it is unlikely many listening to Warne and Taylor’s comments will be aware of that.  Had the pair known what the UDRS requirements actually state, they may have been able to provide a better understanding to their audience of what the umpires were required to work with.  On the other hand Channel Nine probably thought their comments were ‘good television’.

Headline: Trio to manage women’s ‘Ashes’ ODIs named.

Article from:  ECB appointments.

Journalist:  PTG editor.

Published: Monday, 20 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,728.

Three members of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Full List, Steve O’Shaughnessy, Martin Saggers and Alex Wharf, are to share on-field and third umpire duties in the three women’s One Day Internationals (ODI) England and Australia are to play this week in Taunton, Bristol and Leicester.  The three matches are part of the inaugural edition of the International Cricket Council's Women‘s Championship that started in August last year (PTG 1390-6722, 14 July 2014).  

The trio, all of them former first class cricketers, O’Shaughnessy having played Under-19 Tests, Wharf ODIs and Saggers at Test level, the three having stood in a total of 185 first class matches to date.  This week’s women’s series will take their records in such games to 7, 4 and 3 respectively.  Wharf, who will be on-field at the Taunton Vale Sports Club in the first ODI tomorrow, has been working as the fourth umpire in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.  With that game ending early he will now time for a more leisurely journey from London to Taunton later today.   

The Women’s Championship involves the top eight women’s sides, Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, playing three-ODI home-and-away series against each other.  It was developed in order to create "a more extensive and meaningful bilateral playing program for women's cricket”.  The top four sides will gain automatic qualification to the 2017 Women‘s World Cup in England. The bottom four sides will have a second chance to qualify for the World Cup via a Qualifier series in 2017 alongside six regional qualifiers from second-tier nations.

Over the last ten years England women have played a total of 194 international matches, Australian 174, the West Indies 170, New Zealand 167, Pakistan and South Africa both 132, India 129 and Sri Lanka 123.  

Headline: CA announces ‘grass roots’ marketing campaign; survey results awaited.

Article from:  CA release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Sunday, 19 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,729.

Cricket Australia (CA) has developed what its General Manager Game and Market Development Andrew Ingleton says are "wide-ranging plans" to help clubs around the country drive recruitment for the coming  2015-16 season.  The objective of the marketing campaign, which Ingleton describes as “comprehensive”, is to encourage new and returning players to sign up.  

CA’s campaign is said to include: a TV Commercial, Radio advertisements, a Social Media initiative, Digital Marketing and “PR”.  In addition its ‘PlayCricket’ website has been redeveloped, its "new, more user-friendly design” being set for launch in the coming week.  No other details of those initiatives, which do not appear to include a scorer or umpire focus, have been released to date.

Last March, Ingleton said CA had received comments from over 800 clubs in response to its on-line survey which was aimed at identifying the “challenges” those at the ‘grass roots’ level of the sport in Australia believe they face (PTG 1485-7183, 17 December 2014).  CA indicated then that findings from the survey would be provided to clubs and associations “in the lead up to the 2015-16 [austral summer] season” (PTG 1533-7380, 6 March 2015).  As yet no details have been released. 

Headline: There's good odds T20's days may be numbered.

Article from:  New Zealand Herald.

Journalist:  Paul Lewis.

Published: Sunday, 19 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,730.

Maybe cricket should give the Indian Premier League (IPL) the boot and Twenty20 as a whole. Both are becoming increasingly irrelevant.  It won't happen, of course; Indian cricket power and money will see to that. The IPL is said to be worth $US4 billion ($A5.2 b, £UK2.56 b) as a business.  Invented partly to gain cricket a younger audience, T20 has led many to say it has changed the game forever.

Yes, but maybe like ‘Viagra' changed heart disease; not in the way intended. Devised to help treat symptoms of heart disease, ‘Viagra' did little in the ticker territory but produced significant upheavals in the trouser department of patients trialling the little blue pill.

History may look back on T20 the same way. This week's suspension of two IPL teams for two years, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and the Rajasthan Royals (RR), for illegal betting is proof yet again that this is a dodgy competition, the point of which appears not to be cricket but money (PTG 1595-7714, 19 July 2015). It has thrown the IPL into uncertainty — though most are betting (sorry, bad word ...) that the circus will continue with six teams instead of eight this year (PTG 1596-7724 above).

It will also continue without the involvement of CSK team principal Gurunath Meiyappan and RR co-owner Raj Kundra, both banned for life.  The future of the IPL would not have a large question mark over it if this was an isolated incident or controversy. But the IPL's been full of them.

To summarise: In May 2012, five players were suspended for spot-fixing.  A year later three RR players, including Indian World Cup winner Sreesanth, were arrested and charged with spot fixing in a case still not yet decided.  Lalit Modi, the man who set up the original IPL, lives in London and will not return to India as he says the underworld will kill him.

Over-dramatic? Consider then the case of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of India's junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor who was forced to resign in 2010 after he was accused of using his position to gain a free stake in one of the IPL teams, using Pushkar as an intermediary. Everyone denied everything but Tharoor resigned and Pushkar was found dead in a Delhi hotel last year — poisoned, with a murder investigation ongoing.

Sundar Raman, IPL's chief operating officer, is also facing corruption charges being considered by the same judicial committee that passed judgement on the two franchises and officials.  Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the current chairman of the International Cricket Council whose company owns CSK, seems to have done his dash as one of cricket's most powerful men. He was forced to stand down as president of India's cricket body, the Board of Control for Cricket in India to ensure a fair investigation but tried to ensure he still had fingers in the power pie by getting a proxy to stand instead. 

It's pretty difficult not to conclude from all this that corruption in Indian cricket has filled more trousers than Viagra ever did — and some pretty high-ranking trousers at that. But if you can look past the skulduggery, the T20 game itself is healthy, right?  Not really. Almost unnoticed in the wake of the IPL suspensions, the T20 Champions League has been ditched because of lack of interest (PTG 1593-7703, 16 July 2015).  

The IPL may be facing a bleaker time of it outside India. True, in the UK about 500,000 people watched last year's final on television — up by about 100,000 over the previous year. But that was for the final and we don't know what ratings were like for earlier rounds.  People like me tuned in early on, curious to watch Brendon McCullum go nuts with the bat (he plays for Chennai, with Tim Southee of Rajasthan also unsure about his future with that franchise). Now? Couldn't care less.

The IPL seems only a way of allowing players to make truckloads of money (and national associations in the case of the Champions League) and it's become a bit like pornography (PTG 1595-7720, 19 July 2015). The six, cricket's batting jewel, becomes a lot less exciting when executed constantly — just like pornography where the first sight of people in sexual acts might be interesting but as a steady diet is a turn-off and proof of the old saying that less is more.

Certainly one-day cricket (400 is the new 300) and Test cricket (where four-day Tests are now being advocated by some), have benefited because of the T20-inspired faster scoring. But it has also given cricket a headache — how to balance the game so that bowlers are not mere fodder for the blazing bats (PTG 1595-7691, 15 July 2015). In today's low-attention-span, instant gratification society, T20's gimmickry may be palling and its time may be nigh even as the corruption reduces credibility.  Want to bet? 

Headline: Ashes tickets chance if your umpiring skills are ‘up to standard'.

Article from:  London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Sunday, 19 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,731.

Those who can give what are regarded as the correct answers to six LBW appeals presented in an on line competition being run by the London 'Daily Telegraph’, have chance to go in the draw for tickets to the last three Ashes Tests.   After the video of each ball is bowled, viewers have five seconds to decide whether the batsman is out or not out, and at the end of the over an entrant's scores are added up to find out, in the Telegraph’s words, "if your umpiring skills are up to standard”. 

  

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,597

  Tuesday, 21 July 2015

 

• Lodha panel asks for 5 months to submit BCCI operational reforms [1597-7732]

• IPL Lodha working group members named [1597-7733]

• Players disagree with umpire's decision, hold up game for 40 minutes [1597-7734].

• BCCI will use the Lodha report to settle old scores and little else [1597-7735]

• 2015-16 Indian domestic season involves almost 900 games [1597-7736]

• Mid-pitch confrontation leads to reports [1597-7737]

Headline: Lodha panel asks for 5 months to submit BCCI operational reforms. 

Article from:  One India.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Monday, 20 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,732.

THE Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is likely to get some breathing space as the RM Lodha Committee has asked the Indian Supreme Court for another five months to submit its second report which it is expected to recommend reforms to the way the BCCI functions.  While the BCCI is scheduled to host its annual general meeting on schedule in September, the much-awaited reforms will not be made public until the end of the year, therefore the board can continue to run its affairs based using its present rule-book for some time yet.

A sense of anxiety has gripped the BCCI’s corridors of power ever since the Supreme Court asked the Lodha committee earlier this year to recommend reforms to the board’s 'Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations'.  The committee has already dealt with their primary objective, which was to decide upon and deliver the censures to two Indian Premier League teams and two officials (PTG 1592-7688, 15 July 2015).

Headline: IPL Lodha working group members named.

Article from:  Zee Media Bureau.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Monday, 20 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,733.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has named the four-member working group who have six weeks to study the Justice RM Lodha committee verdict on the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting scandal and make recommendations on how best to proceed (PTG 1596-7724, 20 July 2015).  Those appointed are: the BCCI's secretary Anurag Thakur and treasurer Aniruddh Chaudhary, IPL commissioner Rajeev Shukla and IPL Governing Council member Sourav Ganguly, the four being assisted by UN Banerjee, the BCCI's head of legal affairs.

Thakur, 40, who was elected to the BCCI’s secretary position last March, is a politician, being a member of India’s lower house since 2008.  Shukla, 55, is also a politician having been a member of the parliament’s upper house since 2000, plus a journalist, political commentator and television host; while Chaudhary, a criminal lawyer, is the son of former BCCI president Ranbir Singh Mahendra.  

Ganguly, 43, a former Indian captain, is currently the Joint Secretary of the Cricket Association of Bengal, President of the Editorial Board of ‘Wisden’ India, and member of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s World Cricket Committee (PTG 1374-6644,  12 June 2014).   He was part of the Supreme Court of India appointed Justice Mudgal Committee which last year probed details of just what happened during the IPL’s 2013 season, work that led directly to Lodha’s verdict last week (PTG 1592-7688, 15 July 2015). 

Once the IPL working group consolidates its ideas in six weeks time, it will provide its findings and recommendations to the IPL’s Governing Council which in turn will forward the report to the BCCI's working committee, which is made up of the senior-most board members, to decide on just what the board’s on-going approach will be.

Those at the IPL Governing Council’s meeting on Sunday are said to have recognised that there is an urgent need to understand in detail the impact those decisions have for the wider BCCI community, thus the formation of the working group.  According to Shulka: "We took the opinion of all the members on what to do and what not to do. We also took advice from BCCI's legal adviser". 

Shukla, who refused to reveal the details of what was discussed in the meeting, said: “The working group will talk to IPL stakeholders, broadcasters, sponsors, state associations and also the legal experts and come up with a report within six weeks”.  "I can say that everybody has the opinion that the show must go on, the value of league should be enhanced”.  "So IPL-9 is going to be better that the previous edition”. 

Shukla said in response to a journalist’s question that there is nothing wrong in politicians running the BCCI.  "Politicians are not from a different planet. If they are doing a good job by contributing to the board they should stay with the board”, he said, indicating that the BCCI’s senior ranks had a "healthy mix" of former players and politicians. 

Headline: Players disagree with umpire's decision, hold up game for 40 minutes.

Article from:  The Royal Gazette.

Journalist:  Lawrence Trott.

Published: Monday, 20 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,734.

Players from Bermuda’s Cleveland club held up their Eastern Counties 50 over cup match against Bailey’s Bay for 40 minutes on Saturday when they walked off the field because they disagreed with a decision by umpire James McKirdy.  McKirdy turned down a caught-and-bowled appeal by Treadwell Gibbons against Azende Furbert because he believed the ball had hit the ground first.  

Clay Smith, the Cleveland coach, has apologised for his team’s behaviour saying: “As a coach I wasn’t pleased at all with some of the things that went on, I don’t condone some of the stuff that transpired”.  Even when they were on the field Cleveland’s behaviour left a lot to be desired, and their reaction to some umpiring decisions that went against them is likely to lead to some form of punishment. 

While Smith is sorry for his players’ actions, he said they had been "pushed to the brink" by umpires McKirdy and Oscar Andrade.  That pair were allegedly threatened by some Cleveland players and it is expected a number will face a range of disciplinary charges once the referee’s report is received by the Eastern Counties Cricket Association, which has scheduled an emergency meeting to look into the incidents which tarnished the match. 

The Cleveland side wasted a considerable amount of time by deliberately bowling slowly during the Bay innings, getting through just 40 overs in three-and-a-half hours, an average of over 5 minutes per over.  "That was purely down to the players on the field of play during what they felt they needed to do to hold on to the cup” that they won last year, said their coach. “I was surprised myself how slow the umpires allowed us to bowl our overs”, said Smith.  

The time Cleveland wasted by walking off the field was not taken into consideration by the officials, stumps being pulled at 7.20 pm with the two scores level.  Cleveland were bowled out for 126 and in reply Bailey’s Bay reached 8/126 when time ran out after 40 overs.  A league spokesperson said the game ended according to the rules of the Eastern County Cricket Association.  

Headline: BCCI will use the Lodha report to settle old scores and little else. 

Article from:  Firstpost.com

Journalist:  Tariq Engineer.

Published: Monday, 20 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,735.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) currently resembles a blind man throwing darts at a board and hoping some of them hit the target and stick.  That the board has no idea how to respond to the findings of the Lodha Committee is clear from their decision to set up a sub-committee of a sub-committee to spend six weeks considering the report and deciding what to do about it (PTG 1597-7733 above and PTG 1596-7724, 20 July 2015).  

More worryingly for fans of Indian cricket, some of the suggestions that have leaked to the media show the board continues to be a divided house. And a divided house cannot stand.  The board has been split ever since Narayanaswami Srinivasan took over in 2011 and set about consolidating power in his hands. The current standoff appears to be between those who wish to deal him a grievous blow by getting rid of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and those who wish to prevent that from happening.

Let’s consider some of the proposals that have emerged in public. Among them is the idea that the board will run CSK and Rajasthan Royals (RR) for two years. Those who proposed it already appear to have forgotten the Supreme Court’s ruling on conflict of interest that led to the removal of Srinivasan as BCCI president last year (PTG 1320-6365, 26 March 2014).  If Srinivasan couldn’t be involved with a team even indirectly, for the board to directly run two teams would likely be in contempt of the Supreme Court.

Another suggestion was to offload the teams to a firm such business management consultants as ‘KMPG' or ‘Deloitte' and let them run it.  Why an accounting and management consultancy firm with no expertise in running sports franchises would want to take the teams over is the obvious question. The second is how would they pay the players and other team expenses? They aren’t going spend their own money out of the goodness of their hearts. 

Supposedly the BCCI would pay them but then under whose authority would they make decisions? What if KPMG decided Dhoni was too expensive and should be traded from CSK? Or not retained for the auction? Would the BCCI stand by and let them take such a decision?  And how would either firm prevent conflict of interest allegations if it was running both teams?

The cause of the players that Ravi Shastri and Rajiv Shukla are championing is another example of the hyprocisy that runs rampant in the BCCI.  As Ajay Shirke, a former BCCI treasurer, pointedly asked, according to the 'Indian Express', why did they not protest when Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Pune Warriors were sent to the scrap heap?  Neither Shukla or Shastri uttered one word in support of the players then. 

Going further back, not a cheap was heard when the BCCI decided to terminate Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab in 2010 (though they failed to do so)? In those cases, it appears the players were expendable (after all, none of them were named Mahendra Singh Dhoni).

To finish what Lodha panel initiated, BCCI should force the sale of both CSK and RR.  What Shirke and board secretary Anurag Thakur want is for CSK and RR to be terminated and fresh auctions held for two new teams. The advantage of this course of action would be to remove Srinivasan completely from the IPL and render him, temporarily at least, a non-entity within the board.

Then there’s the curious case of Sundar Raman, the IPL’s chief operating officer. Raman is under invesigation by the Lodha committee but the BCCI still saw fit to include him at the IPL Governing Counci meeting on Sunday. That Raman has not been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation tells you how seriously the board takes the investigaton and the demands that it needs to clean up its act. Such details have always only mattered when it comes to players, never officials.

It appears this situation will be used as another attempt to settle scores under the guise of doing what’s best for the game rather than a genuine interest in bringing the sordid saga to an end. It seems no matter what threats the BCCI faces, its response is business as usual.

Headline: 2015-16 Indian domestic season involves almost 900 games.

Article from:  BCCI press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Monday, 20 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,736.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will conduct almost 900 matches in its six month long 2015-16 domestic season which will run from late September to March next year, including fixtures in two new women’s tournaments that "will provide more opportunities” for females to develop their game.  

The overall program, which leads into the World Twenty20 Championship series in March-April, translates into around 2,100 days of cricket that includes senior and junior domestic tournaments for both men and women.  September will see 51 BCCI games played, October 175, November 193, December 185, January 186, February 94 and March 8.

The BCCI’s domestic roster features a total of 249 senior mens' first class, List A and T20 games as well as 143 senior women’s three-day, one-day and T20 fixtures.  Men’s Under-23 games total 70, Under-19s 153, and Under-16s 64, and there will be 93 women’s Under-23 and 84 Under-19 matches. 

Releasing the program, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said: “This year we have re structured the domestic schedule based on our international commitments and ensure that all our players will get an opportunity to participate and perform, thereby improving their chances of being selected for our national teams”.  

"We are releasing the schedule well in advance so that our state associations and teams have enough time to plan and prepare for the forthcoming season”.  "We do recognise that domestic cricket is of paramount importance and BCCI will continuously strive to improve the standards and ensure that the foundations of Indian cricket are further strengthened”. 

Headline: Mid-pitch confrontation leads to reports.

Article from:  Belfast Telegraph.

Journalist:  Ian Callender.

Published: Monday, 20 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,737.

Two players in a Northern Cricket Union Premier League match between CIYMS and Carrickfergus in Belfast were reported by match officials on Saturday after they became engaged a mid-pitch confrontation.  CIYMS batsman Stevie Dunn apparently believed he had been bowled a deliberate ‘beamer’ by bowler Arvind Shetty, who quickly apologised.

However, Carrickfergus’ fieldsman Jamie Holmes joined in the argument and he and Dunn came face-to-face and had to be pulled apart by the umpires.  With Dunn already serving a suspended sentence for a previous offence he could face a two-match ban.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,598

  Wednesday, 22 July 2015

 

• CA expected to make clip-on helmet guard mandatory [1598-7738]

• Australian womens' opener sidelined after blow to head [1598-7739]

• India's opposition disrupts Parliament over cricket scandal [1598-7740]

• Unsavoury scenes betray lack of respect [1598-7741]

• Match officials prepare for CPL finals [1598-7742]

• CPL should implement a review system, says veteran commentator [1598-7743]

• Players opt for CPL contact over international duty [1598-7744]

• ECB announces £450,000 drive to encourage women and minorities [1598-7745] 

• 2015-16 Cricket NSW Grants Program bids open [1598-7746]

• News of new WA SDU appointee awaited [1598-7747]

• Not ‘the’ MCC left red-faced after trees planted close to pitch [1598-7748]

Headline: CA expected to make clip-on helmet guard mandatory. 

Article from:  Fairfax News

Journalist:  Chris Barrett.

Published: Wednesday, 22 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,738.

Cricket Australia (CA) are set to make all first-class players in that country wear the newly designed clip-on helmet guards that better protect the back of a batsman's neck.  Australian opener Chris Rogers had the ‘Stem Guard', developed by British manufacturer ‘Masuri’ (PTG 1519-7313, 12 February 2015), attached to his helmet during the second Test at Lord's last Friday when he was struck behind the ear just where the device, which is made of plastic and foam, sits (PTG 1595-7716, 19 July 2015).

The dizzy spell the 37-year-old experienced on the ground while batting two days later (PTG 1596-7725, 20 July 2015), was not a result of concussion from that head knock said Australia's team doctor Peter Brukner after Rogers underwent initial scans in London, but more likely to be a delayed problem with the strike to his ear.  That fact that the left-hander, who was concussed by a blow to the head in the Caribbean last month, was wearing the latest safety device on his helmet, may though have served him well in absorbing the impact.

According to Buckner: "We are confident that [Roger’s case] something we can manage in the lead up to the third Test at Edgbaston, [but] as a precaution he'll be reviewed by the specialist in London again on Wednesday morning before re-joining the touring party”.

What has also being reviewed behind the scenes are the guidelines around what level of helmets must be worn in elite cricket.  Having already commissioned a review into the circumstances of Phillip Hughes' death last November, which is being run by leading Victorian lawyer David Curtain QC, CA are also planning to make the higher helmet standards set by the British Standards Institute compulsory for all players in first-class cricket by the start of the upcoming domestic season.

The recently produced ‘Stem Guard' does not currently fall within those standards, which were last updated in December 2013 and, in the case of ‘Masuri', are met by their 'Vision Series' helmet range that went on the market last year. The clip-on attachment was only made available to international players during the World Cup, having been designed after Hughes' death - but CA are also set to introduce rules ensuring it is worn by batsmen at first-class and Australian level starting this summer.

Australia's players have had the opportunity to test the new guards but they are not yet being universally worn (PTG 1527-7349, 27 February 2015 and PTG 1535-7393, 14 March 2015). Expect Rogers to have them clipped on again, though, if he is given the all-clear to join the Australian squad in Derby, where they are playing a three-day tour match from Thursday, and resume his role in the Ashes series when the third Test begins at Edgbaston next Wednesday.

Editor’s note: In mid-May, six months after Hughes death, CA chief executive James Sutherland announced that a review of the events that culminated in his loss, would be led by Curtain, a Melbourne-based barrister, who is a former Chairman of the Victorian Bar Council and President of the Australian Bar Association.  

CA said then that the review would lead to recommendations being made for future tournaments, competitions, matches and official training sessions conducted under its auspices, and was expected its findings would be delivered prior to the start of the 2015-16 Australian season in September.  “This is not an exercise designed to apportion blame on any individual for what took place”, said Sutherland at the time, rather: “It is about making sure that as a sport we are doing everything in our power to prevent an accident of this nature happening again”.

Headline: Australian womens' opener sidelined after blow to head. 

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Jesse Hogan

Published: Tuesday, 21 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,739.

Australia's meticulous planning for the women's Ashes series was undermined by a training accident which sidelined opening batswomen Nicole Bolton and forced the elevation of Jess Jonassen to opener for the first time in Tuesday's One Day International series opener against England (PTG 1596-7728, 20 July 2015).  Bolton's absence from the first one-dayer in Taunton was due to concussion that resulted from a blow the head in the nets by a ball from teammate Rene Farrell on Monday.

Bolton was wearing a helmet when she was struck on the back of the head. The 26-year-old was immediately attended to by team medical staff, and their suspicions of concussion were later confirmed after monitoring her overnight and she was ruled out on the morning of the match.  "She is recovering well and will continue to be monitored by medical staff," a team spokeswoman said.

Headline: India's opposition disrupts Parliament over cricket scandal. 

Article from:  Associated Press.

Journalist:  Ashok Sharma.

Published: Tuesday, 21 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,740.

Indian opposition parties disrupted Parliament in New Delhi on Tuesday to demand the resignation of two key ruling party leaders for allegedly helping former Indian cricket official Lalit Modi, the ‘founder’ of the Indian Premier League (IPL), who is facing investigation for financial irregularities.  The Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is not related to his namesake, denies any wrong doing by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj or the chief minister of the state of Rajasthan, Vasundhararaje Scindia. 

The upper house of Parliament was adjourned without conducting any business Tuesday, the opening day of its three-week monsoon session, with the government rejecting the resignation demand by the Congress Party and others.  "There can be no resignation. If you want discussion, we can have it”, said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.  The confrontation over the issue is expected to delay the passage of key legislative proposals crucial to Prime Minister Modi's economic agenda, including a land acquisition bill and a new sales tax bill.

Lalit Modi was removed as IPL chairman in 2010 and later banned for life from holding any positions in the sport by the powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India.  He denied allegations of financial wrongdoing and moved to London in 2010 as Indian authorities launched an investigation against him.  The current scandal began six weeks ago, when Britain's 'Sunday Times' reported that Indian-born British Labor lawmaker Keith Vaz had used Swaraj's name to put pressure on the top British immigration official to grant Modi British travel papers.

According to Lalit Modi and his attorney, chief minister Scindia gave an affidavit to British authorities in 2011 supporting Modi's immigration application seeking resident status in the United Kingdom.  Scindia's son, Dushyant Singh, who is a member of the lower house in New Delhi, received 113.6 million Rupees ($A2.4 m, £UK1.15 m) from Lalit Modi in 2008 as an investment in his company. 

Headline: Unsavoury scenes betray lack of respect. 

Article from:  The Royal Gazette.

Journalist:  Al Seymour.

Published: Tuesday, 21 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,741.

Cricket has always been called the gentleman’s game — and for good reason, but last Saturday’s game between the Cleveland and Bailey’s Bay clubs shows a less savoury side of the game as it is today (PTG 1597-7734, 21 July 2015).  Cricket, many believe, basically teaches discipline, patience, perseverance and respect for rules.  But respect for rules has come under attack in recent times in many areas of sport, especially in football, where fans have been known in some countries to kill each other over a particular outcome.

While nothing of that extreme has happened in Bermuda, there have been ugly incidents in recent years on the football pitch that led to some matches having to be abandoned by officials in efforts to avoid escalation. The signs of changing behaviour in the sports arena have been brewing for years, and it would appear that officials have been reluctant to bring the hammer down in a way that would send a message to all — that rebel behaviour by anyone would not be tolerated.

Much of the Island is aghast over the eruption of emotion that tarnished the closing stages of Saturday's Eastern Counties cricket match, to a degree where potential chaos was only seconds away. It is good that the matter was contained by club officials with police assisting. The mere fact that there was a threat to an event known for celebrating as families and friends is a huge disappointment to all who take pride in the competition’s history and cultural significance.

It could be said that the real culprit in this affair was overheated emotions by some players when things did not appear to be going their way. Everyone knows in any sport, someone loses and someone wins, unless of course depending on the event, there is a draw.

The unfortunate incident at the East End brought to mind the importance of respecting rules when it comes to any sport, especially cricket, with two umpires required to make tough decisions based on what they see. Unless there is sophisticated technology often used in world-class matches, when a third umpire could be called into service, the standing umpire has the final word no matter what. 

Respect for rules on the field of play resulted in the West Indies Test team being hailed as heros by the Australians after their 1960-61 visit there, with a sportswriter saying one would have thought they had won the series, the way the people expressed admiration for the team as they left for home.  They may have lost that series, but they won the hearts of cricket fans there and around the world. It is worth pointing out here that the team captain made it very clear to his players that he did not wish to see any signs of dissent if a decision seemed questionable by the umpire. 

It is that type of respect for rules of the game that has slipped away in recent times, as behavioural problems continue to haunt this great game of cricket. Sadly, overall good conduct by most players is something to highlight, and build on, if we wish to preserve standards that the public will not only admire, but would be willing to support.

There will probably be a full investigation into Saturday’s match to determine what steps to take to avoid such a dilemma that is a negative for cricket in Bermuda. Tempers need to cool for this to be worked out properly because the public are entitled to be safe while attending such events. There are always children present with their families, and no stone should be left unturned in restoring dignity and stability to this cricket classic. 

Most of all, no sporting event should be allowed to drift into the win-at-any-cost mode, with abuse of the golden rule. As far as cricket is concerned, the umpire’s decision, like it or not, must be accepted as law. Any complaint should be made via proper channels — after a match, not on the field of play. Umpires are not perfect and neither are the cricketers. 

Officials of the game must pull up their socks in taking firm action to assure sports fans that their highest priority will be to keep this wonderful sport of cricket the gentleman’s game it is supposed to be.  The annual Cup Match is just around the corner and hopefully much has been learnt from the unfortunate East End incident, with officials from both clubs determined to ensure that this great classic remains just that — a great classic for all to enjoy.

Editor’s note: A ‘PTG’ contact in Bermuda who was at the game, said by phone yesterday that during the 40 minutes the Cleveland side held up play, the Eastern Counties Cricket Association president Steven Douglas, plus Carlton Smith the president of the Cleveland club, assisted by a police officer, had to intervene to get the side back on the field.  

When ‘time’ was eventually called by the umpires later in the day with both sides on the same score, players and spectators "vented their frustration", and as a result umpires James McKirdy and Oscar Andrade had to be escorted from the ground by police.  Whether the umpires reminded Cleveland players of Law 21.3 - Umpires awarding a match - is not known.

Headline: Match officials prepare for CPL finals. 

Article from:  PTG.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Wednesday, 22 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,742.

The thirtieth and last of the round-robin games of this year’s Caribbean Premier League was being played as ‘PTG’ was distributed this morning, and only the two semi finals and the final itself remain the be played.  Over the last five weeks, two match referees, Hayden Bruce of Trinidad and Devdas Govindjee of South Africa, plus seven umpires who have worked on-field and television positions and six fourth umpires, have been involved in the management of games.

Bruce and Govindjee oversaw 15 matches each, umpires Nigel Duguid, Patrick Gustard, Mick Martell, Peter Nero and John Ward all standing in 10 games and working in as the television in another five (10/5), with Joel Wilson, who left two-thirds through to stand in a Test in Bangladesh 7/4 and his replacement Nandkumar Shivsankar 3/1.  West Indian first class umpires Colin Alfred of Guyana, Jonathan Blades of Barbados, Kellman Kowlessar of Trinidad and Tobago, Francis Maurice from St Lucia and Chris Wright of Jamaica were each the fourth umpire in four games, and Wyclffe Mitchum of St Kitts in ten.

Bruce, Duguid, Govindjee, Gustard, Martell, Nero and Ward are possibilities to look after the CPL semi finals and final in Port of Spain tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday.  Duguid, Govindjee, Martell and Nero are already in that city while Bruce, who lives there, is currently in Guyana, as are Gustard and Ward.  Details of finals appointments are yet to be announced. 

Headline: CPL should implement a review system, says veteran commentator. 

Article from:  Guyana Chronicle.

Journalist:  Stephan Sookram.

Published: Tuesday, 21 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,743.

In light of several glaring mistakes by match officials, Guyanese commentator Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira has suggested that the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) implement a review system for the next edition of the tournament. Speaking exclusively to the 'Guyana Chronicle', the veteran commentator was firm in citing that the job of the standing officials in a Twenty20 game is not easy. 

Perreira, the patron of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association, said: “The umpires need as much support as possible. Umpiring T20 cricket is not easy with that kind of noise that is going on. Their concentration has got to be at the highest. I think that the line calls are being looked after fine, but maybe the CPL can consider two reviews. There were one or two crucial decisions that the general public has been talking about that didn’t go the way of the side bowling and maybe didn’t go the way of the side batting”.

However, he warned that any reviews must be short in terms of the length of time spent reviewing, adding that fans should not be kept waiting for periods while deliberating is on-going.  “Maybe two appeals allowed which have got to be very tight and it can’t last more than a minute. One of the criticisms of replays at international level is that it takes too long. I think that there could be a little bit of help there for the umpires because it’s awfully noisy. I think if you do an interview with any of the umpires, they’d tell you that T20 is the hardest game to do because you have to be thinking of so many things as the ball is being bowled”.

The most recent major blunder on the part of the standing officials, both of whom were West Indians, was the decision last Friday evening to give Pakistani and Warriors batsman Umar Akmal out LBW when it was very obvious that there was an inside edge off the bat onto the pads. Several calls have been made by officials as well as fans of the game for the CPL to put corrective measures in place in an attempt to stop these bad decisions.

Headline: Players opt for CPL contact over international duty. 

Article from:  Trinidad News.

Journalist:  Renaldo Matadeen.

Published: Tuesday, 21 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,744.

Caribbean cricket fans have become all too familiar with their stars opting for Twenty20 contracts with international franchises, such as the Indian Premier League or the Big Bash League, as opposed to taking up West Indies ’national', regional or Caribbean franchise duty.  However, few anticipated this year's Caribbean Premier League (CPL) series acting as a platform for player-versus-country rows, as has popped up in the cases of St Kitts and Nevis Patriots off-spinning all-rounder, Canadian Nikhil Dutta, and Barbados Tridents’ wicketkeeper-batsman Steven Taylor, who is from the United States. 

Last December, Dutta, 20, and Taylor, 21, were chosen to attend a development camp organised in Barbados by the International Cricket Council's Americas region.  Following the camp they, Bermuda wicketkeeper Christian Burgess, three other Canadians and four West Indies Under-19 players, were selected to try out to join one of the six CPL franchise squads last month.  Dutta and Taylor were subsequently awarded CPL franchise contracts for the 2015 season. 

However, Kuwait-born Dutta was withdrawn from the CPL after playing his side’s first three matches when Cricket Canada revoked his No Objection Certificate (NOC) which allowed him to partake in the tournament.   The NOC was rescinded after Dutta, initially selected before the CPL as part of Canada’s squad to play in the ongoing World Twenty20 Qualifier (WT20Q) in Scotland, refused to join the national team and chose instead to stay with his franchise. He was Canada’s leading wicket-taker at the Americas Division One T20 tournament in May, and made an impression in his CPL debut last month by bowling Zouks’ Kevin Pietersen as he grabbed 2/32. 

The CPL’s Patriots coach, Eric Simons, said: “You probably know that Canada are playing in the [WT20Q] and they withdrew his NOC so he wasn’t allowed to stay with us”.  “That was unfortunate because coming into our setup he’d been very successful as a bowler and we knew that he’d grow in terms of his influence, and as the wickets got older and older in the tournament his confidence grew”.   "He arrived here as a very inexperienced cricketer in terms of this level of attention and profile". 

Dutta indicated that he was initially given a choice by his administrative body to remain in the Caribbean. “[Cricket Canada] sent a mail saying my NOC has been revoked, even though they told me before coming here [to the CPL] that I will have a choice whether to play CPL or go [to the] Qualifier”, revealed the spinner.   However, Cricket Canada president Vimal Hardat said: "The purpose of sending players [to the Americas camp in Barbados] was to not only showcase our talent pool to the CPL but also prepare players for the Qualifier". 

Taylor, who has played 16 international Twenty20 matches for the United States, also chose to drop out of the WT20Q after obtaining a CPL contract.  He made his CPL debut, so far the only game he has played, as an opening batsman wicketkeeper in Guyana last Saturday.  Dutta, who has played a single One Day International for Canada to date, missed the last seven games his CPL side played in this year’s series.  He has not featured in any of Canada’s WT20Q games in Scotland over the last three weeks. 

Headline: ECB announces £450,000 drive to encourage women and minorities. 

Article from:  BBC.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Tuesday, 21 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,745.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a £450,000 ($A950,000) initiative to promote diversity within the game.  The scheme, funded by the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) hopes to encourage more women, girls, and black and ethnic minority participants and to improve access for disabled people.  It aims to recruit 450 new coaches from black and ethnic minority communities and also provide 175 coaches and mentors to improve the experience for women and girls playing cricket.

Other targets in the initiative include: offering 2,000 members of the South Asian community the opportunity to play indoor cricket (PTG 1589-7671, 10 July 2015); creating opportunities for 7,500 women and girls to play cricket across 1,000 cricket clubs nationwide; training 700 people in understanding the values and behaviours of women and girls in sport; and conducting accessibility audits for disabled access at 16 of the 18 first-class county grounds.

British Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said: "This is a fantastic initiative that will encourage thousands more women to participate in cricket and increase the number of coaches from ethnic minority backgrounds to help grow the game at the grassroots”.  ECB chief executive Tom Harrison added: "Cricket is an inclusive sport and today's announcement provides us with a fantastic opportunity to encourage even more people to take up the game”.  "The additional funding from EHRC will help us to do more to tap into the enthusiasm for cricket within South Asian communities, who make up nearly one third of our overall participation base” (PTG 1463-7085, 20 November 2014).

Headline: 2015-16 Cricket NSW Grants Program bids open. 

Article from:  The Inverell Times.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Tuesday, 21 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,746.

Adam Marshall, the member for Northern Tablelands in New South Wales’ lower house of parliament, is encouraging local councils, clubs, schools and organisations to apply for funding from the Cricket NSW 2015-16 Grants Program for projects designed to provide opportunities for people to play cricket.  

Marshall, himself a cricketer and umpire (PTG 1111-5410, 27 May 2013), said the main aim of the program was to improve playing and practice facilities available to cricketers of all ages across NSW, including the development and expansion of training nets, the establishment and repair of synthetic and turf wickets, as well as improvements to amenities.

“Funding is available for up to a maximum of 25 per cent of the total cost of the project, capped at $A25,000 (£UK11,900)”, said Marshall, but “to be eligible, projects must have commenced after the first day of 2015 and before the end of December next year.  Applications close at the end of September with successful bidders to be notified by the end of October.  

Organisations in NSW who are interested in applying for the grants program should contact Cricket NSW by phone on (02) 8302 6000 or e-mail gamedevelopment@cricketnsw.com.au, to obtain a copy of the guidelines and application forms.

Headline: News of new WA SDU appointee awaited. 

Article from:  Sources

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Wednesday, 22 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,747.

An announcement is expected soon as to who the new State Director of Umpires (SDU) in Western Australia will be.  Barrie Rennie, the long-term incumbent in the position and a former first class umpire, went on leave three weeks ago pending his official retirement on Friday week, the date of his 66th birthday.  ‘PTG’ understands that interviews have been completed but as yet no announcement of the successful applicant has been made. 

Headline: Not ‘the’ MCC left red-faced after trees planted around pitch. 

Article from:  Radio 3AW.

Journalist:  Renaldo Matadeen.

Published: Tuesday, 21 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,748.

The Maroondah City Council (MCC) on the outskirts of Melbourne has conceded it got it wrong after making what's been dubbed one of the stupidest council mistakes ever.  The MCC was left red-faced after a young gum tree was planted at one end of a “small, informal” artificial cricket pitch, such that bowlers could deliver a ball, while several others were placed either side of the pitch, as well as others right in front of the football goal posts, at a Ringwood oval last week.

Ringwood resident Mike Barclay discovered the clanger when he took his children down to the park last Friday and said that while most trees had been planted in more predictable, appropriate, locations, others had been put in the ground somewhat randomly.  The MCC later issued a statement, admitting their mistake and saying the situation "was quickly rectified later the same day [Barclay advised them] at no cost with the trees replanted in more suitable locations”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,599

  Thursday, 23 July 2015

 

• ICC women’s Championship falls well short on female officials [1599-7749]

• Bangladesh opener involved in second shoulder-barging incident [1599-7750]

• Chittagong spectators removed after racial abuse claims [1599-7751]

• Third WT20Q bowler suspended from bowling [1599-7752]

• British Council to help enhance Indian umpires’ English language skills [1599-7753]

• Influx of men into top Aussie women’s coaching spots defended [1599-7754]

• Irony as cricket says ’no’ to football [1599-7755]

• Play stopped so air ambulance can land, treat injured player [1599-7756]

• Bowler takes hat-trick across three overs and three innings [1599-7757]

Headline: ICC women’s Championship falls well short on female officials. 

Article from:  Various source.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Thursday, 23 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,749.

The thirty-four matches in the inaugural edition of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Women‘s Championship played to date have been supported by a total of 7 referees, plus 46 umpires in on-field, third and fourth officials spots, however, only two of the latter group have been female.  New Zealand’s Kathy Cross, a member of the ICC’s third-tier Associates and Affiliates International Umpires Panel, stood in the three games played so far in that country, and this week saw a second women, former England international Suzanne Redfern, working as the fourth umpire in the opening match between England and Australia in Taunton (PTG 1596-7728, 20 July 2015).

Redfern, 37, an all-rounder who is currently the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) 'Inclusion and Diversity Manager’, played six women’s Tests and 15 One Day Internationals (ODI) for her country in the period from 1995-99; four of the ODIs being in India during the World Cup of 1997.  Reports suggest that she took up umpiring three years ago, standing first in the men’s Warwickshire Cricket League, then at lower levels of the ECB’s Birmingham and District Premier League, making her debut at first team level last May.  Appointments this year have included a number of games in the Marylebone Cricket Club’s men’s Universities Championship series.

Records available on-line clearly suggest that Redfern is being groomed to stand at women’s international level, Cross being to only female in the world at the moment who does so.  Current indications are that there only around 3-5 other females across the whole of the ICC world, two of them being Kiwis, who appear to be in the pipe line as potential internationals (PTG 1454-7049, 24 October 2014).  

Australian Claire Polosak, was awarded a year-long, $A20,000 (£UK9.500), National Officiating Scholarship (NOS) by the Australian Sports Commission last February. The aim of NOS awards is to support and encourage the professional development of emerging "high performance" match officials by helping them progress through recognised pathways to the highest levels of their chosen sport (PTG 1513-7295, 3 February 2015).  

However, while a number of countries, particularly Australia (PTG 1101-5359, 8 May 2013) and England (PTG 1463-7087, 20 November 2014), have talked of moves to bring more females into match official ranks around their respective countries by providing them with training programs and a clear pathway and opportunities to progress, establishing a core group who can stand in internationals has been slow.  In contrast, all referees who worked in the recent 52-match women’s football World Cup in Canada were female.

Headline: Bangladesh opener involved in second shoulder-barging incident. 

Article from:  Various reports.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Wednesday, 22 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,750.

Ten days after South Africa's Rilee Rossouw was fined half of his match fee for shoulder-barging Bangladesh opening batsman Tamim Iqbal in a One Day International (PTG 1591-7681, 14 July 2015), the Bangladeshi has again found himself in the middle of another shoulder-barging incident, this time in the first Test between the two sides in Chittagong yesterday.  Iqbal’s opponent on this occasion was South African wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock.

.

The incident occurred after the last ball of the morning session as soon as umpires Richard Kettleborough and Joel Wilson called ‘time’ for lunch. After blocking that delivery, Iqbal turned around to walk towards the dressing room, but got into an argument with de Kock.  The conversation between the pair turned ugly as they shoulder-barged each other, moves that led South African skipper Hashim Amla to step in to diffused the situation by stepping between them.

South African bowler Dale Steyn further calmed the tension between the players by talking to the batsman as the players walked towards the dressing room. The incident was not broadcasted live by the host broadcaster Gazi TV, but a little of it was shown on the big screen inside the stadium.  Match referee Chris Broad is expected to view video footage of the incident and decide what course of action is appropriate in the circumstances involved. 

Headline: Chittagong spectators removed after racial abuse claims. 

Article from:  The Daily Star

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Thursday, 23 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,751.

A number of spectators who allegedly racially abused South Africa players whilst they were on the field on the second day of the first Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong yesterday were removed from the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium by security staff.  The players concerned brought the issue to the notice of umpires Richard Kettleborough and Joel Wilson who advised match referee Chris Broad. He in turn asked stadium security to deal with the issue.  Following the incident, several announcements were made in the stadium that cautioned spectators against making comments that may hurt the sentiments of the players.  

Headline: Third WT20Q bowler suspended from bowling. 

Article from:  ‘Cricinfo' web site

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Wednesday, 22 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,752.

Namibia's Jason Davidson has become the third bowler to be suspended from bowling during the World Twenty20 Qualifier after an 'event panel' ruled his bowling action to be illegal. Fast bowler Davidson was reported by umpires Johan Cloete, Vineet Kulkarni and Nigel Llong after his side’s match against the Netherlands on Tuesday. 

Under International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations Davidson can't bowl in any international game until he submits himself to, and passes, an independent assessment of his action conducted by an appointed specialist at one of the world body's testing centres.   As a result of the suspension, Davidson will not be allowed to bowl during Namibia's key match against Oman in Ireland on Thursday, the winner of which will be guaranteed a spot in next year's World Twenty20 Championship in India.

Hong Kong leg-spinner Nizakat Khan (PTG 1595-7718, 19 July 2015), and the Netherlands’ fast-medium bowler Ahsan Malik, were suspended from bowling because of their delivery actions earlier in the qualifying event (PTG 1591-7685, 14 July 2015). 

Headline: British Council to help enhance Indian umpires’ English language skills. 

Article from:  Indian-Asia News Service

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Wednesday, 22 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,753.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is to work with the British Council, the UK government’s organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations, to enhance the English language communication skills of its umpires.  What the BCCI calls the first of its ten-day "upskilling courses”, which will involve 20 umpires, is to start in Mumbai on Thursday and be led by trainer Richard Cox.  

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said in a statement on Wednesday that: "The BCCI recognises that a command on the English language is needed for umpires to communicate effectively with players of different nationalities. This is important in the overall development of our umpires and will go a long way in ensuring that the players and the umpires will understand each other and build a healthy relationship”.  

Thakur indicated that "There will be an initial assessment of each of the participants before the course starts and another one at the end of the year to measure the success of the program”.  Indications are that the course is an initiative of former Australian umpire Simon Taufel,  the International Cricket Council’s Umpire Performance and Training Manager, who has special responsibility for Indian umpire development.

Last August, Taufel was reported to have approached the British Council to seek their assistance in developing a communication skills program for senior umpires in country’s such as Bangladesh, Indian, Pakistan and Sri Lanka where English is not the first language (PTG 1409-6804, 8 August 2014).  A key focus of the program appeared then to be in regard to the quality of the liaison that occurs between third umpires and television production personnel, most of whom normally converse in English, when reviews are requested by the umpires on the field of play.  

In September 2012, the BCCI requested its senior umpires "who can’t converse in English" to attend English classes at good institutes and produce the certificate after completing the course" (PTG 988-4799, 4 September 2012).  A few months later, Sri Lanka's Southern Province Cricket Umpires Association (SPCA) asked Sri Lanka Cricket for its support to conduct a six-month training course in spoken English (PTG 1013-4930, 1 November 2012).  Just how far either initiative got is not known.

  

Last December the Bangladesh Cricket Board said “a few selected” umpires” there were attending British Council language courses to help improve their English (PTG 1486-7186, 20 December 2014).

Headline: Influx of men into top Aussie women’s coaching spots defended. 

Article from:  Fairfax News

Journalist:  Jesse Hogan.

Published: Wednesday, 22 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,754.

One of Australia's most decorated female cricketers, Belinda Clark, says the change in the hierarchy of the Australian women’s side that has men dominating coaching and selection positions is irrelevant because of the experience they bring to the roles.  Since the 2013-14 women's Ashes series 18 months ago, Cathryn Fitzpatrick has departed as coach and Julie Savage as chief selector, that pair having been succeeded by men with first-class playing experience: Matthew Mott as coach and Shawn Flegler as chairman of selectors. 

Mott's assistant is Tim Coyle, a Sheffield Shield-winning coach with Tasmania, while Joe Dawes, a former bowling coach for Queensland, South Australia and India, is in a short-term role before he shifts focus to a male Under-19 tour.  Clark, the manager of Cricket Australia’s (CA) National Cricket Centre in Brisbane where the national women’s team did the bulk of their Ashes preparation, said the changes were primarily done as part of a strategy to appoint coaches with more first-class experience, and definitely not because they were male.

According to Clark: "We're trying to create a pathway for male and female coaches that operate as part of both the male and female game. What you're seeing now is the start of that," she said. "We're trying to strip away gender”.  "When we ran a process this time to appoint a national coach we had a strong field, which was really exciting, and Matthew was the one who was decided to be the best fit for the group”.

Joanne Broadbent, Julia Price and Karen Rolton are among the retired national players who now have domestic coaching roles in Australia, while Lisa Keightley is in charge of England's women's academy. Clark said there were many women involved in coaching development courses, and predicted they would progressively earn positions in both the men's and women's game.

In terms of selection, Clark said the change from Savage, who juggled her role with her full-time job as a dentist, to former spinner Flegler, came as part of their decision to expand the role to encompass running the women's high-performance program, in line with the growing status of women's cricket.  "The girls are now playing so regularly that the way we were structured was based on the amount of cricket they had been playing [previously] . . . so we were having a bit of trouble with people that were in those roles [part-timer being able to fit everything in]”, she said.

Current national team batswomen Jess Cameron said she did not think there was any difference, beyond personalities, of having two men as coach and chief selector rather than two women.  "Obviously 'Fitz' (Cathryn Fitzpatrick) did a fabulous job with this team, so having a male come into it I don't see it as a disadvantage or an advantage in any way”, Cameron said. "Matt has obviously played a lot of cricket and so has Tim Coyle, so I don't think it matters whether they're male or female”.

Headline: Irony as cricket says ’no’ to football. 

Article from:  Herald Sun

Journalist:  Ron Reed and Greg Buckle.

Published: Thursday, 23 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,755.

A row has erupted between Cricket Victoria (CV) and the amateur Australian Rules Football (AFL) club Old Melburnians after CV denied the footballers that chance to play the last-ever AFL game at the Junction Oval whose official name is the St Kilda Cricket Ground.  Government funding to the tune of $A40m (£UK18.9 m) has been obtained by CV to redevelop the oval such that from the 2017–18 season it will be the home ground of Victoria's Sheffield Shield side, as well as CV's administrative headquarters.

CV chief Tony Dodemaide said project-related works would be undertaken in August when the footballers want to use it and that “we certainly understand the emotion about losing the ground”.  In a pointed remark, given that cricket has been evicted permanently from a score of grounds across Melbourne by what some call an “AFL take over”, Dodemaide said: “It’s something we’re well used to unfortunately over the years [as] many of the historical cricket grounds have been overtaken by AFL".

Old Melburnians secretary Paul Mishura described the situation as “pretty poor” but said the club would continue to lobby CV and the AFL in the hope “common sense might prevail”.  Old Melburnians, and Fitzroy the club there hoped to play, were said to be "deeply disappointed" about the early eviction, believing work on the redevelopment project is highly unlikely to start before the end of the football season in late September. The ground has a history of high-level AFL being played there going back to the 1890s.

Headline: Play stopped so air ambulance can land, treat injured player. 

Article from:  Rutland Mercury.

Journalist:  Alex Moore.

Published: Tuesday, 21 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,756.

A match being played at the Bourne Cricket Club in South Linccolnshire was stopped on Monday to allow an air ambulance to land and look after a player who had been hit in the head by a ball.  Jamie Bones was fielding in a local fixture when he dived to stop a square drive, however, the ball bounced on a part of an old adjacent pitch that had been made rough by footmarks and hit Bones in the head, just above the right eye, causing a deep cut.

Bourne Cricket Club chairman Hedley Stroud said: “He came off with blood streaming and passed out soon after, which resulted in a call being made for an ambulance to attend".  Not long afterwards a Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance helicopter landed on the ground, paramedics treating him with medication and giving him oxygen.  Stround said Bones had come around and was talking when the ambulance departed.  Reports indicate he has since recovered.

Headline: Bowler takes hat-trick across three overs and three innings. 

Article from:  The Times.

Journalist:  Glenn Ebrey.

Published: Wednesday, 22 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,757.

When Chris Rushworth, the Durham bowler, dismissed Michael Carberry with the first ball of Hampshire’s second innings in Southampton on Wednesday, he joined Merv Hughes, the former Australia fast bowler, in an exclusive club.  Rushworth and Hughes are now part of a short, two-man list of bowlers to have taken a hat-trick spread across three overs and three innings in first-class cricket. 

Rushworth  clean bowled James Tomlinson with the final ball of an over during Hampshire first innings on Tuesday, before having Gareth Berg, the last man out, caught off the first ball of his next over.   In the home side’s second innings he completed his unusual hat-trick by dismissing Carberry, the former England opener, with the first ball he delivered. 

Previously, Hughes had been the only man to achieve such a hat-trick; that being in the second Test against the West Indies, in Perth, in December 1988.   He dismissed Curtly Ambrose with the last ball of an over at the WACA, before removing Patrick Patterson with the opening ball of his next to finish the innings. Then, with the first delivery of the West Indies’ second innings, Hughes had Gordon Greenidge leg-before. The feat was so unusual that Hughes did not realise he had taken a hat-trick until he was told after play had finished. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,600

  Friday, 24 July 2015

 

• De Kock looses 75 per cent of match fee after ‘brush’ with opponent [1600-7758]

• ’Stem Guard' prevented more serious damage, believes Rogers [1600-7759]

• Aussie pair on-field for first CPL semi final [1600-7760]

• Second women umpire supporting England-Australia ODI series [1600-7761]

• CA working to provide NZ tourists with pre-Test, pink ball action [1600-7762]

• Non-MCG Shield final should Victoria win hosting rights [1600-7763]

• Rogers should not play, says NZ concussion expert [1600-7764]

• TV money 'the reason' for smaller World Cup, says ICC CEO [1600-7765]

Headline: De Kock looses 75 per cent of match fee after ‘brush’ with opponent .

Article from:  ICC press release .

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Thursday, 23 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,758.

South Africa wicketkeeper batsman Quinton de Kock has been fined 75 per cent of his match fee after being found guilty of “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact" with Bangladesh batsman Tamim Iqbal on the second day of the first Test between in Chittagong on Wednesday (PTG 1599-7750, 23 July 2015).  De Kock, 22, pleaded guilty to the Level Two charge laid by match referee Chris Broad and on-field umpires Richard Kettleborough and Joel Wilson, third umpire Paul Reiffel and fourth umpire Sharfuddoula. 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed earlier reports that the incident between de Kock and Iqbal occurred just before the lunch break. Broad said in a press statement that the South African "walked in front of the stumps to confront Tamim Iqbal” and in doing “he deliberately brushed the batsman’s shoulder and rib area". "That resulted in a heated exchange between the two, initiated by the contact made by de Kock”, continued Broad, and is the type of incident that "has no place on a cricket field”.

Under ICC regulations all Level Two breaches carry a minimum penalty of a fine of 50 per cent of a player’s applicable match fee and/or up to two Suspension Points. 

Headline: ’Stem Guard' prevented more serious damage, believes Rogers. 

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Chris Barrett.

Published: Thursday, 23 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,759.

Chris Rogers believes the clip-on foam ‘Stem Guard' he had attached to his helmet during the second Test helped him avoid more serious damage from a blow that continues to leave questions about his availability for next week's third Ashes Test at Edgbaston.  The Australian opener is awaiting results on Friday from tests undertaken with a professor in London who specialises in vestibular and balance problems, before he can be cleared to return from an ear injury acquired when he was struck by a James Anderson delivery at Lord's a week ago (PTG 1595-7716, 19 July 2015).

Rogers was wearing the ‘Stem Guard', a helmet attachment developed by manufacturer ‘Masuri’ earlier this year that provides more protection to the back of the neck (PTG 1519-7313, 12 February 2015). As reported by Fairfax Media this week, Cricket Australia will highly recommend to all first-class players from this summer that they use the guard, as part of sweeping changes to the domestic helmet guidelines (PTG 1598-7738, 22 July 2015). 

Australia's team doctor Peter Brukner said Rogers thought the device may have spared him from a more serious issue, such as another concussion.  "I think so. We'll never know how much damage would have been done if it wasn't there, but he certainly believes it helped”. Brukner said. "It's reasonable to think it certainly softened the blow. [The ball] hit him more or less at the junction of the foam guard and the helmet”.  "I think you will find over the next year or two that more and more players will start wearing the foam guard. Certainly now they're all wearing the much stronger and thicker helmets”.

 

Brukner, who ruled Rogers out of both Tests against the West Indies last month when he was concussed by a ball from a net bowler (PTG 1561-7507, 5 June 2015), said he had asked the veteran a series of questions, including about recent memory, in the minutes after he was struck by the Anderson delivery last Friday, and that "he was absolutely fine".   It was two days later that the 37-year-old had a dizzy spell while batting in Australia's second innings and retired hurt (PTG 1596-7725, 20 July 2015). 

 

"Obviously you'd love to be able to have more time out there, but I'm cognisant of the fact it's not football and we can't put a substitute on” (PTG 1465-7099, 23 November 2014), said Brukner, a staunch advocate for precautionary measures around concussion in sport.  "But certainly if I'm at all concerned, as you saw in the West Indies, if you're at all concerned about someone, well, their brain is more important than any Test match”.

Brukner was right. It was not a concussion but rather a vestibular and balance problem (PTG 1600-7764 below). Rogers is not the first high-profile athlete to suffer those, but his case, caused by a blow to the head, is a rare one.  The ears are “a pretty important part of the body. It's not commonly damaged. The most usual thing is a virus, where you just feel horrible and you have to lie down for a week, and you see that occasionally”, Brukner said.

He’s "certainly not seen a traumatic one before due to a blow in my football and cricket time. But they obviously do happen, and Chris has been a bit unlucky. But he's very positive and wants to get out there and keep going again.  "He's just much relieved that it's not a concussion. We've just got to wait and see."

Rogers has been given positive feedback from the London professor, but whether her optimism is enough for him to play at Edgbaston next week, he is yet to find out.  "She said this will get better quickly. But I think her quickly is a bit different to our quickly”, Brukner said of the expert Rogers visited.  "She said it would certainly be within a couple of weeks. She said she can't tell whether it's going to be tomorrow or later. But from her experience, these get better reasonably quickly. We'll just have to see how he is over the next couple of days”.

Headline: Aussie pair on-field for first CPL semi final. 

Article from:  Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Friday, 24 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,760.

Caribbean Premier League (CPL) organisers have selected Australian pair Mick Martell and John Ward as the on-field umpires for the competition’s first semi final at Queen Park in Port of Spain, Trinidad, this morning Australian time.  Martell and Ward plus five West Indians made up the CPL’s on-field and television umpire group for what is the tournament’s third season (PTG 1598-7742, 22 July 2015).  

Trinidadian Peter Nero has been named as the television umpire for the semi  final between the CPL's Jamaican and Trinidad-based franchises, South African Devdad Govindjee being the match referee, and another umpire from Trinidad, Kellman Kowlessar, the fourth official.

Headline: Second women umpire supporting England-Australia ODI series. 

Article from:  Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Friday, 24 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,761.

Alison Smith, an umpire with the Home Counties Premier League, worked as the fourth umpire in the second One Day International (ODI) between England and Australia in Bristol overnight.  The first game of the series in Taunton on Tuesday, which is part of the inaugural International Cricket Council Women’s Championship (WC), saw former England international Suzanne Redfern selected for the same role.  

Those two Englishwomen and Kiwi Kathy Cross, who was on-field in three WC matches in her country earlier this year, are the only female umpires appointed to WC fixtures so far (PTG 1599-7749, 23 July 2015).  Two of the three-match Championship series have been played in Australia, England, India, Pakistan (United Arab Emirates) and Sri Lanka, and one each in New Zealand and the West Indies.  

Cross plus male Pakistani umpires Farooq Ali Khan and Rashid Riaz are the only non first class umpires to stand in Women’s Championship games to this time, while male umpires who have stood at first class level have filled all reserve official spots in Australia, India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.  

Headline: CA working to provide NZ tourists with pre-Test, pink ball action. 

Article from:  The Canberra Times.

Journalist:  Lee Gaskin and PTG Editor.

Published: Thursday, 23 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,762.

Cricket Australia (CA) is considering using a pink ball for the first time in the traditional, fifty over format, Prime Minister's XI game against tourists New Zealand ahead of the historic day-night Test match.  The fixture is normally played in mid-January after the season’s Test series has been completed, but in the forthcoming austral summer it will be moved much earlier and is likely to be one of the first of New Zealand's Australian tour and occur before the opening Test of the three-match series that starts in Brisbane on 5 November.

CA acting chief executive Mike McKenna said there was a chance the pink ‘Kookaburra' ball would be used in the PM's XI game.  "The conversation we will have in New Zealand Cricket (NZC) is about what's best about their entire preparation for their Test campaign”, said McKenna.  "They're taking this very seriously, this is their Ashes”.  "They are bringing a very good side and they'll be very competitive”.  "They're not just thinking about the pink ball, they're thinking about what the summer as a whole looks like, so getting the right preparation is the key”.

Moving the PM's XI game to earlier in the summer also avoids clashing with the CA’s Twenty20 Big Bash League (BBL) as would occur in mid-January.  In recent years, the quality of the PM's XI team has been affected by who is available, with BBL franchises reluctant to lose their best players for key games.  

McKenna said: "The time of year we play [the PM game] is about spreading the season out [and] also about providing playing opportunities for New Zealand as well as we lead into their Test series”.  According to him: "We think everybody who pulls on the Prime Minister's XI shirt is doing their very best for the team and for the country and to make it very difficult for the opposition for their series ahead.”

The PM's XI game will be the start of a summer for Canberra that will include the Australian team in either a one-day or Twenty20 International for each of the next four years as part of an agreement between CA and the government of the Australian Capital Territory.  It comes after Canberra responded strongly to three World Cup games, an Australian One Day International and the BBL final.  

"The question is what other content can we bring to Canberra?" McKenna said.  "We had six matches here last summer which is a lot more content than we've had here before".  "Three of those games were sold out [and] that tells us there's a population here with an appetite for cricket”.

Editor’s note:  As is to be expected, NZC and its players have made it clear how important they see the opportunity to play day-night, pink ball cricket in the lead up to the day-night Test in Adelaide in late November.  

Whether a one-day, day-night pink ball PM XI game would be seen by them as adequate on its own remains to be seen.  The Test and domestic Sheffield Shield schedule released earlier this month suggests the most likely time for a multi-day day-night pink ball tour game, should it be seen as desirable, would be during the 9 days between the second Test in Perth and immediately prior to the day-night third Test in Adelaide (PTG 1590-7667, 10 July 2015).  

Another issue of course is whether the International Cricket Council requires the match officials it appoints to the Adelaide Test to be exposed to pink ball, day-night conditions ahead of that match.  While the group of neutral umpires who could stand in that Test, Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus, Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong and Sunduram Ravi, have plenty of experience standing in day-night white ball fixtures, none has previously stood in a first class, day-night match that used pink balls.

Headline: Non-MCG Shield final should Victoria win hosting rights. 

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Caroline Wilson.

Published: Thursday, 23 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,763.

Should Victoria win the right to host the Sheffield Shield final next March the game would be relocated away from the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) under what Fairfax Media understands a tripartite agreement between the Australian Football League (AFL), the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) and Cricket Australia (CA).  A report last week indicated CA was adamant about not changing the dates it has set for the final but there was comment about ‘finding another solution’ (PTG 1589-7670, 10 July 2015).  

The AFL wants the change to avoid a potential collision over Easter between cricket and the opening of the 2016 football season that weekend, the MCG being a key venue.  CA chief executive James Sutherland returned to Melbourne following the Lord's Test and immediately advised AFL boss Gillon McLachlan that his organisation can schedule its now traditional MCG Easter blockbusters over the same weekend as the Sheffield Shield final.  

The deal is yet to be reached but will involve a multimillion dollar financial settlement between the AFL and CA.  Talks will continue on Friday with the return from the UK of MCC chief executive Stephen Gough.  Sutherland said that: "In good faith I've said to Gill that the AFL should go ahead with its filtering”, adding that the MCG's availability to the AFL over the Easter weekend had never been in doubt "as far as I'm concerned”.

While cricket has been prepared to sell off its contractual hold on the MCG for the last two weekends of March, the AFL and the MCG has to date resisted a financial settlement. Cricket is facing a $A5 million (£2.4 m) shortfall for the Junction Oval redevelopment which will see Cricket Victoria based at a new state-of-the art training and playing facility (PTG 1599-7755, 23 July 2015).  The Junction Oval will host its last game of AFL this Saturday when the amateur club Old Melburnians host Old Caulfield Grammarians. 

The cricket facility should be complete in time for the 2017, but not the 2016, Sheffield Shield Final.  With no other first class rated ground apart from the MCG available in the Melbourne area, it would mean Victoria would play any ‘home’ final it might earn in another State.  That happened earlier the year when the game was played in Hobart because of the unavailability of the MCG because of the then looming World Cup (PTG 1537-7401, 18 March 2015).

McLachlan said he was hopeful of reaching an agreement with CA and the MCC but refused to comment further.  But it is understood he has indicated a preparedness to negotiate a multimillion dollar settlement to ensure a permanent AFL hold on the ground for the last two weekends in March. 

Permanent access to the MCG in March would benefit the AFL in its next negotiations with the players' association which is pushing for two byes over future seasons. Cricket also has in the past relinquished its hold on the MCG in the first weekend of October in the event of a drawn AFL Grand Final. This year the MCG has remained available for an extra weekend.

"There's broader issues involved here," said Sutherland. "I'm not prepared to go into all the detail but this goes back 15 years. The 2016 programing issue is a very minor point. Of greater significance to us is an in perpetuity agreement ensuring the removal of any doubt in the future”.

Headline: Rogers should not play, says NZ concussion expert. 

Article from:  New Zealand Herald.

Journalist:  Sam Peters.

Published: Thursday, 23 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,764.

Australia have been warned of the 'potentially devastating' consequences of allowing head-injury victim Chris Rogers to play in next week's third Ashes Test.  The 37-year-old Australia opener slumped to the ground while batting in the second Test at Lord's on Sunday before retiring ill just 48 hours after suffering a sickening blow to the head from a James Anderson bouncer (PTG 1596-7725, 20 July 2015).  He will have further medical assessment on Friday, and some reports say he is in doubt for the Edgbaston Test which starts on Wednesday (PTG 1600-7759 above).

Peter McCabe, chief executive of New Zealand brain injury charity ‘Headway', warns: "The risk of exacerbating the damage - with potentially devastating consequences - by continuing to play on while the brain's function is distorted is simply too great to ignore”.  Australia team doctor Peter Australia team doctor Peter Bruckner said on Monday that Rogers's collapse was unrelated to his previous concussions - he missed both Tests against the West Indies last month after suffering concussion in a practice accident - and was actually caused by an ear problem (PTG 1600-7759 above).

McCabe urged Australia to show extreme caution. 'Concussion is an evolving injury”, he said. "Often, there may be delay in the presentation of symptoms, such as dizziness, blurred vision or nausea”.  "If concussion is suspected, it is vital that players are removed from the field of play”.

Editor’s note:  Cricket Australia’s chief medical officer John Orchard, who cared for Phillip Hughes immediately after he was hit last November (PTG 1468-7109, 26 November 2014), called for a tightening of then current concussion protocols some nineteen months ago (PTG 1244-6010, 29 November 2013).  A few days before Hughes was struck he also spoke about allowing players to be substituted and take a full role in Tests when a person on a team list suffers a substantive injury during a game (PTG 1465-7099, 23 November 2014).

Headline: TV money 'the reason' for smaller World Cup, says ICC CEO. 

Article from:  The Guardian.

Journalist:  Tim Wigmore.

Published: Thursday, 23 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,765.

At Heathrow a few weeks ago, David Richardson the chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), bumped into a director of cricket of a leading ICC Associate [second-tier] nation. The director was en route to a meeting that would be discussing how to improve the performance of Associates. “Not much point with the World Cup reduced to 10 teams”, he said, to which Richardson laughed.

This is the backdrop to the World Twenty20 qualifying event currently being played in Ireland and Scotland, which will determine the six associates who progress to the World T20 Championship series in India next year – the only realistic chance for most Associates to reach a world event in the rest of the decade.   Add in the $US250,000 ($A337,000, £160,000) available to the six qualifiers – the difference between many getting a contract and remaining amateur – and teams are imbued with a palpable desperation to progress.

In an age when professionalisation and globalisation have lent many sporting teams an identikit feel, there is a refreshing distinctiveness about the sides in the qualifiers, from the well drilled Ireland and Scotland units to the beguilingly erratic Hong Kong and the intoxicating energy of Papua New Guinea in the field.  Despite occasional intrusions from the weather, it has made for a tournament to be celebrated and enjoyed in its own right, not merely as an addendum to cricket between Test nations.  A full 20 matches are being broadcast, a record for an all-Associate tournament.

So this three-week tournament should feel like a landmark in the development of cricket in the 95 Associate and Affiliate members of the ICC. Yet to those involved it has instead taken on a different role: as an extended lament to the talent they believe the ICC has such apparent disregard for (PTG 1582-7621, 2 July 2015 and PTG 1589-7666, 10 July 2015).

After the unprecedented interest in their fate during this year's World Cup, the Associates arrived at the ICC annual conference last month expecting the issue of the 10-team World Cup would be debated. It was not. The issue was not even formally raised by the board, it simply reiterating an earlier decision to restrict team number to 10 (PTG 1579-7594, 29 June 2015). 

Cricket Ireland’s chief executive, Warren Deutrom, hopes the debate “isn’t dead yet”. Richardson says: “There will be an opportunity to discuss it at the next round of meetings but I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes unduly raised. The bottom line is we have sold the [television] rights based on 10 teams”.  He adds that guaranteeing India nine games is “one of the factors, yes, as the increase in the revenue is significant and everyone gets the benefit of that”.

Tim Anderson, the ICC’s head of global development and an ally of the Associate cause in ICC corridors of Dubai, argues that “given the environment we operate in and given all the good things that are also happening, I do think we’re better off”. The ICC will spend $US7.4 million ($A10 m, £4.7 m) on this World T20 Qualifying tournament, compared with $US250,000 ($A337,000, £160,000) in 2010, when it had 17 games rather than 51; though the 2012 and 2013 qualifying tournaments were 72 game affairs.

Anderson also cites the introduction of Afghanistan and Ireland to a 12-team One Day International (ODI) structure from this year as progress. There are now tentative signs of Ireland getting more ODIs, with Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe touring next summer; an ODI fund being mooted to help pay for the games. The 'Test Challenge' in 2018 will allow the winner of the Intercontinental Cup to gain Test status if they defeat the lowest-ranked full member (PTG 1558-7492, 1 June 2015), though any new Test team, the eleventh, would still only receive around one-eighth of the ICC funding of Zimbabwe and no guaranteed fixtures.

It is instructive to compare opportunities for Associates now with five years ago. The number of guaranteed spots for Associates in the World Cup has gone from four to none. Largely to create more time for the self-proclaimed “Big Three” to play each other, the World T20 has moved from a two-year cycle to a four-year cycle, depriving qualifiers of a $US250,000 participation fee; the number of games Associates are guaranteed against top-eight ranked sides every four years in the World T20 has gone from eight to none.

The restructuring of the ICC last year led to Associate funding over the eight-year TV rights cycle beginning this year being $US365 million ($A493 m, £234 m) less than had the rights been sold for the same amount under the old distribution model.  In effect the money now goes to Australia, England and India instead – the three countries who least need it – who together receive half of all ICC revenue. While the total value of the ICC’s broadcasting deal has risen from $US1.1 billion ($A1.5 b, £705 m) to nearly $US2.5 billion ($A3.4 b, £1.6 b), Associates get only $US55 m ($A7.4 m, £35 m) more; even that gain is virtually eroded by inflation. The Scotland captain, Preston Mommsen, expresses the sentiments of many when he says: “There are far fewer opportunities for Associates. It is going to continue to dwindle.”

In what appears an act of self-protection for the weaker full members, the qualifiers for the next two World Cups have been awarded to Bangladesh and then Zimbabwe. After Bangladesh’s emergence as a powerful ODI side this year, Zimbabwe could now host the next qualifier instead. If it turned out that Bangladesh qualified automatically for the World Cup would that lead to that decision being reconsidered? "Possibly”, Anderson says.

Little wonder that Ireland’s John Mooney wanted to wear a black armband to commemorate the death of Associate cricket. When news of his idea broke, the ICC promptly warned all teams that wearing one would be deemed a political statement and players would be charged with violating the code of conduct (PTG 1592-7694, 15 July 2015).  Asked about the black armbands, Richardson, citing the ICC’s spending on Associate cricket, says: “I don’t think that correctly reflects the situation.”

The ICC’s Anderson believes the world body’s investment has moulded Associates that are not only better teams on the field but also better managed off it – and the increase in the quality of cricket has led to Associates getting more attention. “In the past Associate cricket almost sat on the side of the mainstream. We did our thing and lots of people didn’t take any notice”.

Yet the fear remains that unless the attitude of cricket’s ruling elite changes, Associate cricket will primarily exist in the shadows. In the opinion of one Associate representative, the apparent resistance of Board of Control for Cricket in India and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to expansionism is “because they don’t want someone to challenge their power”. Giles Clarke, the president of the ECB, is adamant that the World Cup in England will comprise only 10 teams, and staunchly opposes the notion that a pre-qualifying tournament for the final two spots in the main event should be held in England just before the tournament and cricket at the Olympics (PTG 1594-7704,  17 July 2015).

In the clubhouse at Clontarf, Ireland, one of the host grounds for the current World T20 qualifiers, proudly sits a photo of the World Cup match played there in 1999. For some the picture has taken on a rather elegiac quality, a reminder of a time when cricket was committed to growing beyond its traditional confines: the World Cup was expanded to 16 teams and games taken to the Netherlands, Scotland, Ireland and Kenya. Now cricket is unique among world sports in wilfully contracting its flagship event (PTG 1582-7621, 2 July 2015). Perhaps Richardson should not be laughing.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,601

  Saturday, 25 July 2015

 

• Gaffaney grabs on-field time ahead of Ashes Test [1601-7766]

• WA names new state Umpire Manager [1601-7767]

• Players handed bans, reprimands, club stripped of cup win [1601-7768]

• Dissent charge sees player’s 2013 suspended ban activated [1601-7769]

• Players and coaches hailed for changed attitude on concussion [1601-7770]

Headline: Gaffaney grabs on-field time ahead of Ashes Test.

Article from:  Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Saturday, 25 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,766.

New Zealand umpire Chris Gaffaney, who was promoted to the International Cricket Council’s top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) last month, is currently catching up on on-field time in England ahead of his first Ashes Test on-field at Edgbaston next week, a game that is the biggest of his career to date (PTG 1580-7601, 29 June 2015).   Gaffaney has been standing in the three-day match between Derbyshire and the Australian tourists at the County Ground in Derby, seven months after his last on-field stint in a multi-day match, that being his second Test which was played in Chittagong in mid-November (PTG 1453-7044, 23 October 2014). 

Over the seven months since then the New Zealander's on-field match record has been limited to one-day fixtures, 13 One Day Internationals, three in the World Cup in mid-March, plus 11 Indian Premier League Twenty20 games, the last one of which was played 9 weeks ago.  He then worked as the television umpire in the first two Ashes Tests in Cardiff and at Lord’s in the lead up to his appearance at Edgbaston, his thirty-fourth first class game and third Test, with Pakistan’s Aleem Dar.   

It is not unusual, although it hasn’t happened for a few years now, for an umpire from another country who has been appointed to a Test in England to take the opportunity to ‘get a sight’ in a County, tour or second XI match in the lead up to the five-day international.  In this case Gaffaney’s appointment to the Derby tour matchseems to have come relatively recently for when promulgated late last month the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) July match officials list showed, and still shows, former EUP member Mark Benson on-field in the match with newcomer Tom Lungley.

Lungley was appointed to the ECB's ‘emerging umpires panel’ eighteen months ago (PTG 1272-6133, 19 January 2014, then a year later to its second-tier Reserve List (PTG 1480-7162, 11 December 2014).  Born in Derby, he turns 36 today the last day of the tour match, and spent his playing career from 2000-10 with Derbyshire and Lancashire, all-up featuring in 55 first class, 81 List A and 30 T20 matches.  Records available suggest he commenced umpiring the year after his playing retirement in 2010, making his debut at County second XI level and also internationally in women's one-day and Twenty20 games, in 2013.  The match at Derby is his third as an umpire at first class level, the previous two being in University matches three months ago. 

Headline: WA names new state Umpire Manager.

Article from:  Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Saturday, 25 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,767.

The Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) has appointed Matthew Hall, a long-serving Perth umpire and the current President of the Western Australia Umpires Association (WAUA), as its Umpire Manager.  Hall takes over in a role that was formally called the State Director of Umpires, a position that was held for many years by Barrie Rennie, a former first class umpire who formally retires next Friday (PTG 1598-7747, 22 July 2015).

 

Reports indicate that Hall, a WACAUA member for the last ten years, attended Leeds Metropolitan University in the 1980s, graduating with a Bachelor of Management Administration and a Diploma of Marketing.  He is currently a bank manager in Perth having worked in the banking industry in both Australia and the UK over the last few decades.  

A current WACA Premier League first grade umpire, Hall has been a member of Western Australia’s State Representative Group (SRG) that supports fixtures in such competitions as Cricket Australia's (CA) state second XI Future’s League, Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) and women’s interstate Twenty20 series.  Since 2009 he has stood in 12 WNCL and 11 women’s T20 fixtures, plus CA’s 2011 male Under-17 Championship series in Hobart, and in September last year a 50-over tour match between Western Australia and the United Arab Emirates

While Hall will continue to stand at Premier Grade level he is to leave the SRG now that he has been appointed Umpire Manager.  Indications are that while Rennie is retiring next week, he will assist over the next few months with accreditation and Laws courses in the lead up to the start of the WACA's 2015-16 club season in Perth in September.

Headline: Players handed bans, reprimands, club stripped of cup win.

Article from:  The Royal Gazette.

Journalist:  Josh Ball.

Published: Friday, 24 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,768.

Players from Bermuda’s Cleveland club have been either banned from the Eastern Counties Cricket Association (ECCA) competition for set periods or reprimanded as a result of the fracas the occurred during last Saturday’s 50-over cup final match against Bailey’s Bay.  Cleveland players held up the game for 40 minutes when they walked off the field because they disagreed with an umpiring decision (PTG 1597-7734, 21 July 2015), then at the end of the match which saw the two side’s scores equal, trouble again erupted and police had to escort the umpires from the ground (PTG 1598-7741, 22 July 2015).   

An ECCA disciplinary hearing held on Thursday night saw five Cleveland players punished, or reprimanded, for offences ranging from the lowest level of showing “dissent" at an umpire’s decision, to "showing serious dissent", and in the case of Shaki Darrell, "making threats”.  Darrell was charged with two counts of threatening an umpire, Level Three offences, one of which was reduced from a Level four charge, all of which earned him a 14 match ban.

Allan Douglas Jr, the Cleveland captain was banned for the remainder of this year’s competition, two matches, after he was found guilty of showing serious dissent.  He was also officially reprimanded for failing to control his players.  Dennis Musson was given a one-match ban after being found guilty of showing serious dissent, a Level Two offence, while, Dion Stovell and Jason Anderson were reprimanded for showing dissent, a Level One offence.

While Cleveland in theory retained the cup they won last year because of the tied scores, they were stripped of their title on Sunday night at an ECCA emergency meeting, those present voting 9-5 to award the cup to Bailey’s Bay.  Cleveland have appealed against that decision and a hearing into the matter has been scheduled for Monday evening.

Headline: Dissent charge sees player’s 2013 suspended ban activated.

Article from:  ECB press release

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Saturday, 25 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,769.

Warwickshire batsman Freddie Coleman must serve a two-match ban for showing dissent to umpires in a County second XI match this week, his second breach of England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Code of Conduct regulations in two years.  The ban means that Coleman missed Warwickshire’s Twenty20 game at Headingley against Yorkshire last night as well as today's one-day Cup game against Nottinghamshire at Nettleworth.     

Coleman, 23, was reported for dissent by umpires Steve Garratt and Ian Marland during Warwickshire’s Second XI Championship match against Yorkshire, a Level One breach.  However, as he had a two-game suspended sentence hanging over him from August 2013 for attempting to alter the condition of the ball after sucking a 'Murray Mint’, a Level Two offence that also cost him £UK5,000 ($A10,700) at the time, that suspension now comes into effect (PTG 1174-5672, 20 August 2013).  

The 2013 breach also involved him being handed a three disciplinary points penalty, and this week's Level One offence within 24 months also attracts three penalty points.  They will remain on his record for a period of two years and should he accumulate of nine or more points in any two-year period it will result in an automatic suspension.

Headline: Players and coaches hailed for changed attitude on concussion.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Jesse Hogan.

Published: Friday, 24 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,770.

Cricket Australia (CA) performance boss Pat Howard says the considered response of players and coaches to the blows to the heads of Chris Rogers and Nicole Bolton is indicative of the now universal acceptance of concussion as a serious health issue.  He also confirmed a Fairfax Media report that CA would progressively recommend, and eventually demand, players wear helmets that offer extra protection to lessen the prospect of a ball striking a player under the back rim of their helmet (PTG 1598-7728, 22 July 2015).

Rogers was ruled out of both Tests in May's series in the West Indies due to concussion, and has this week been battling dizziness after a blow to the head in the second Test. Fellow opening batter Bolton was ruled out of the opening women's Ashes match due to concern she had been concussed when struck in the back of the helmet in training the day before the match (PTG 1598-7739, 22 Ju;y 2015). She made her return in Thursday's second one-dayer.

CA introduced more stringent medical supervision at matches in its domestic one-day tournament last season. The issue became even more significant in the aftermath of Phillip Hughes' death, which is the subject of an independent review commissioned by CA.

Howard said he expected the medical response to Rogers and Bolton this week was no different to what it would have been a year ago, but reckoned the attitudes of others in the team environment had shifted since Hughes' death.  "Everyone is on board here and really taking the medical advice really well”, said Howard, CA's executive general manager of team performance.  "Coaches, selectors, captains have been absolutely fantastic, going 'We get it, we understand'. The seriousness of the injury is well understood by everybody ... that if they're not right they're not right”.

Howard said he "was in Dominica when Chris was pulled out from the first Test there ... I thought it was well received and well handled, and even Chris would say that now”.  "Of course [affected players] want to play, and you could see the disappointment in Chris' eyes when he first heard the news. But, funnily enough, three days into the Test match he's going 'It was the right decision’.”  Howard said Bolton had passed a concussion test on Wednesday with "flying colours", and he was at the County Ground in Bristol on Thursday to witness her return.

CA's plan for the 2015-16 home season is to introduce a recommendation that all players wear the new-model ‘Masuri' helmet that offers additional rear protection, as well as the foam clip-on stem guards that Rogers' credits with lessening the effect of the blow to his head at Lord’s (PTG 1600-7759, 24 July 2015). That recommendation will, after a transition period, become an edict.  "It's been received very well. I know the manufacturer is having trouble keeping up with demand at the moment, so there's a real interest and a real want. It is really encouraging”, Howard said. "There'll be a deadline [after which players must wear the newer helmets], but we need to work with the manufacturer to know when that's actually physically possible to get those in time”.

Under CA's plan the edict will not only ensuring all top-level domestic men's and women's matches are subject to the new helmet standards, but also those involved in its under-age carnivals.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,602

  Sunday, 26 July 2015

 

• Yet another IPL twist as case against banned players is dismissed [1602-7771]

• Same five match officials for second CPL semi final [1602-7772]

• ‘Rebel’ league questions delay tour announcement [1602-7773]

• Senior BCCI members asked to rule out ‘conflicts of interest' [1602-7774]

• Another IPL-related legal finding adds to BCCI’s woes [1602-7775]

• Players disgruntled about County fixture mix [1602-7776]

• Under-13 bowler takes six wickets off six successive balls [1602-7777]

• Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published [1602-7778]

Headline: Yet another IPL twist as case against banned players is dismissed.

Article from:  Various new sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Saturday, 25 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,771.

The Delhi High Court today dropped all charges against former Indian Premier League (IPL) Rajasthan Royals players Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan. All three were arrested and charged in May 2013 for alleged spot-fixing activities soon after the IPL spot-fixing scandal first broke (PTG 1106-5388, 18 May 2013), however, the court has now found there is "no concrete evidence” against them so the entire case has now been dropped. 

Delhi police initially conducted raids, arrested and jailed the trio and pressed charges on the basis of telephone conversations they were alleged to have had with book makers.  A total 42 people were accused at the time but all of them have now been discharged.  The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) handed life bans to Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan two years ago while the cricket charges against Chavan are still on-going (PTG 1188-5731, 15 September 2013).  As yet the Board has not reacted to the court’s findings. 

On hearing the Court’s verdict Sreesanth, now 32, who has always pleaded his innocence, said he has "no regrets and no complaints against anybody [and] God-willing, I will return to cricket”.  "I hope to get permission from the BCCI to start using the training facilities soon, so that I can get fit and get into the selection process”.  Chavan and Chandila both said that they cannot wait to return to the field as soon as possible.

Headline: Same five match officials for second CPL semi final.

Article from:  Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Sunday, 26 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,772.

Australian Mick Martell and Peter Nero of Trinidad and Tobago are to stand the second semi final of this year's Caribbean Premier League (CPL) which is to be played at the Queens Park Oval in Port of Spain this morning Australian time.  South African Devdas Govindjee will be the match referee for the game between the CPL’s Guyanese and Trinidad franchises, a second Australian John Ward the television umpire, and Nero’s countryman Kellman Kowlessar the fourth umpire.

The same five match officials looked after the first semi final of the series at the same location on Thursday evening Caribbean time, but then the two Australians were on-field and Nero was the television umpire (PTG 1600-7760, 24 July 2015).  As such the five are expected to be involved in the final on Monday morning Australian time with, as previously reported, Govindjee being the referee (PTG 1576-7577, 25 June 2015), but which of Martell, Nero and Ward will be the on-field and television umpires is not known at this time.   

Headline: ‘Rebel’ league questions delay tour announcement.

Article from:  London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist:  Jonathan Lieu.

Published: Friday, 24 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,773.

The draft itinerary for England’s tour of the United Arab Emirates to play Pakistan in October-November was agreed to by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) some weeks ago, but the announcement was delayed until today because the International Cricket Council (ICC) was seeking an explanation from host broadcaster 'Ten Sports' over its potential involvement in a break-away global cricket organisation (PTG 1576-7579, 25 June 2015). 

India’s 'Ten Sports' network is owned by that country’s 'Zee Entertainment’ company which in turn is part of the ‘Essel Group’ conglomerate fronted by business tycoon Subhash Chandra.  That organisation established and ran the Indian Cricket League, a Twenty20-based competition that proceeded the Indian Premier League and was effectively chased out of cricket by the Board of Control for Cricket in India with the help of some of its international equivalents.  

Earlier this year Essel was reported to be looking to get back into cricketing operations and there were suggestions hefty contracts would be available to senior players (PTG 1575-7572, 24 June 2015).  ICC chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan though has expressed the view that anyone would have great difficulty in setting up and sustaining rebel cricket leagues despite the amount of money they might offer players (PTG 1582-7622, 2 July 2015)  

Indications are that the issues the ICC raised with ’Ten Sports' have been resolved for the time being, and the ECB and PCB have also reached an imperfect compromise on the number of matches to be played, and the order in which to play them.  The fixtures agreed to, which will be played in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, involve three Tests, four One Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals.

Headline: Another IPL-related finding adds to BCCI’s woes

Article from:  Times of India.

Journalist:  K Shriniwas Rao.

Published: Friday, 24 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,774.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) could resort to an out of court settlement to ward off the possibility of having to pay Kochi Cricket Pty Ltd (KCPL), the owners the 2011 Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Kerala-based Kochi Tuskers’, a nine billion Rupee ($A192 m, £UK91 m) settlement.  The BCCI terminated KCPL’s franchise in 2011 after just one season for allegedly breaching its IPL terms of agreement, however, former Chief Justice of India RC Lahoti last week ruled against the BCCI and ordered it to compensate the franchise company.

KCPL owners have indicated though that instead of the money they want their franchise to be reinstated to the IPL in 2016. That move comes as the BCCI is dealing with the complicated legal and operational ramifications that have flowed from its IPL’s 2013 season, specifically the banning for two years of the Chennai and Rajastan franchises (PTG 1596-7724, 20 July 2015).  Reports indicate though that the majority of senior BCCI officials are of the opinion that the BCCI should appeal against Lahoti’s decision in the Bombay High Court.

Lahoti's ruling requires the BCCI to pay the franchise a total sum of 3.8 billion Rupees ($A82 m, £U38 m) in lieu of special and general damages incurred along with 18 per cent annual interest for the last four years, return the 1.5 billion Rupees ($A33 m, £UK15.48 m) bank guarantee to Rendezvous Sports World (RSW), and pay an additional 7.2 m Rupees ($A154,200, £UK72,400) for the legal fees incurred.  

 

RSW said that it had made its 15.3 billion Rupee bid ($A328 m, £UK154 m) in 2010 and planned its receipts and expenses on the basis that there would be 94 matches per season, but the reduction of matches to 75 had resulted in a loss of revenue of at least by 25 per cent.   The BCCI has until late September to respond to Justice Lahoti, a time that is around the period its Annual General Meeting is expected to be held.

Headline: Senior BCCI members asked to rule out ‘conflicts of interest'.  

Article from:  Press Trust of India.

Journalist:  Not stated..

Published: Friday, 24 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,775.

In its bid to clean the image of the sport, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is to ask all Board and sub-committee members to sign an undertaking declaring that they have no 'conflict of interest' while holding administrative posts in their respective cricket associations.  A couple of state associations have already received a letter from BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur instructing all office bearers to declare their business interests and sign the undertaking.

The 'no conflict of interest' clause covers having "no direct business links" with any cricketing affairs including an interest or stake in Indian Premier League teams, sponsorships or looking after specific players' interests.  A senior state association who asked not to be named confirmed a letter had been received from Thakur today in which he "categorically states" that the image of the BCCI in the wake of recent scandals “has taken a hit” and every effort needs to be made to turn that around. 

Thakur’s letter says that from now on, no BCCI official will be allowed to continue in their position "if there is even a slightest hint of conflict of interest."  A deadline for replies has been set but the official declined to reveal anything about when that might be.

The conflict of interest issue came into prominence back in 2008 when Narayanaswami Srinivasan, then the treasurer of the board, went on to successfully bid for the IPL’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK) franchise.  CSK hasbeen embroiled in controversy after Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested for indulging in betting activities and subsequently banned for life by the Supreme Committee-appointed Justice Lodha Committee (PTG 1592-7688, 15 July 2015).

Another notable conflict of interest case was when a former India captain ran a parallel players' management firm while he was the president of state association and also part of IPL franchise. Questions about his conflict of interest were raised then.

Editor’s note:  Since the above story was published news has surfaced that all BCCI contracted players have been asked to declare their business interests and assure the Board that they are not involved in any case of conflict of interest.  The Board wants those involved to provide their assurances soon after their return from their forthcoming three Test tour of Sri Lanka in early September.

Headline: Players disgruntled about County fixture mix.  

Article from:  Press Association.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Saturday, 25 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,776.

 

England batsman Alex Hales feels the structure of the domestic game in England is harming skill levels in cricket there.  Hales, who has played in 15 One Day International (ODI) and 34 Twenty20 International (T20I) matches, spoke out on ‘Twitter’ on Friday following the end of the group stage of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s domestic Twenty20 series.

That tournament started on 15 May and will not reach its conclusion until 29 August and Hales, who suggested it should be played "in a block", said he would be "amazed if one cricketer in the country enjoys this schedule”.  Hales' County Nottinghamshire were eliminated from the competition after their final group game at Leicester was washed out, but Hales insisted that had nothing to do with his attack on the structure of English cricket.

"Very disappointing way to get knocked out, but only ourselves to blame. Haven't been consistently good enough”, Hales said on his official Twitter account.  He believes changing formats every week is detrimental to skill level.  "Imagine the next Ashes series consisted of a Test match followed by an ODI two days after then a T20I the day after that. Then repeat!”

Hales' comments found support from his fellow England internationals Jason Roy and Tim Bresnan on Twitter.  Surrey batsman Roy retweeted Hales' remark about being "amazed if one cricketer in the country enjoys this schedule" and said on his own account: "Couldn't agree more".  Yorkshire fast bowler Bresnan responded to Hales' comments by tweeting: "That's the most intelligent thing I've ever read from you [Alex] agree with you too”.

Headline: Under-13 bowler takes six wickets off six successive balls.  

Article from:  Huddersfield Examiner.

Journalist:  Mel Booth.

Published: Thursday, 23 July 2015

PTG listing: 7,777.

Aaron Moore of the Huddersfield Junior League’s Skelmanthorpe side took six successive wickets over two matches in Under-13 cricket - four with his final four balls against Hoylandswaine and two with his first two against Thurstonland the following weekend.  The first four wickets taken by the right-arm seamer were clean bowled, as was the first in the next game before the sixth was caught behind.

Headline: Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published

Article from:  The Guardian. 

Journalist:  John Holder and Paul Trevillion. 

Published: Friday, 24 July 2015. 

PTG listing: 7,778. 

A batsman who hits away a ball that is headed for his stumps and is caught after it had first hit him on the leg, an umpire ‘who has made ‘several dubious decisions’ who appears under the influence of alcohol, and a ball that is intercepted inside the boundary by a spectator, form the latest edition of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper’s cartoon strip ’You are the Umpire’.  The cartoons that make you think are drawn by Paul Trevillion from questions submitted by readers, and the answers are provided by former Test umpire John Holder.   

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,603

  Monday, 27 July 2015

 

• UK ‘Sky' bids £40m for city-based ECB T20 rights [1603-7779]

• BCCI view of banned trio ‘unaltered’ by court decision [1603-7780]

• South African pair top WT20Q umpire rankings [1603-7781]

• Non-Caribbean match officials fill most CPL final sports [1603-7782]

• CA wants to replicate England women’s fixtures crowds [1603-7783]

• Night duty ‘game’ lands policewomen in trouble [1603-7784]

Headline: UK ‘Sky' bids £40m for city-based ECB T20 rights.

Article from:  The Guardian.

Journalist:  Elizabeth Ammon.

Published: Sunday, 26 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,779.

Pay television provider ‘Sky' has offered to pay the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) around £40 m ($A85 m) a year in broadcasting rights for a Twenty20 tournament with teams billed as UK cities rather than Counties when the new domestic format gets under way in 2017.  Both the ECB and ‘Sky' declined to comment on the matter, however, the ECB has been considering the idea of a ten team league for most of this year (PTG 1528-7355, 28 February 2015).

ECB chairman, Colin Graves and chief executive Tom Harrison are known to be set on introducing a city-based T20 series (PTG 1584-7637, 5 July 2015) as the additional revenue from ‘Sky' would allow each team to pay big wages to lure international stars similar to those in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL).  Such an arrangement would enable ‘Sky' to market the broadcasting rights globally.

Indications are that the ECB and ’Sky' are close to final proposals that would see a revamp of the domestic T20 competition based around eight city-based teams.  ‘Sky' is keen for the tournament to be played in a three- or four-week block at the height of summer in July, with matches in the evenings so they can be broadcast after the end of any international matches taking place at that time [see editor’s note below].

There is real opposition among the Counties to the cities idea, though Warwickshire have played in the ECB’s current T20 series as the Birmingham Bears.  It is understood that some of Sky’s additional money will be offered as a sweetener to accept a cut in the number of Championship first class matches a County plays down to 12 from 16 at the moment as a way of making room for the competition. The ECB is exploring whether the franchise tournament could run in addition to a Twenty20 competition played by all 18 counties.

It is likely that city-based teams would be owned by either the ECB or the County doing the hosting rather than by private companies as is the case with IPL franchises. The success of the BBL and the increased viewing figures it has attracted has prompted both the ECB and ‘Sky' to consider the merits of a similar tournament in England.

Those two bodies have recently recruited Mike Fordham, one of the leading figures involved in launching both the IPL and the Caribbean Premier League. Fordham, who is a vice-president at IMG, a New York headquartered global sports and media business with offices on all continents except Antarctica, was involved in drawing up IMG’s proposals for how franchise cricket might work in England and which suggested any such tournament could end up being worth over £1 billion ($A2.1 b).

Eight years ago, the ECB rejected a franchise Twenty20 competition proposed by Keith Bradshaw, the then chief executive of the Marylebone Cricket Club, and Surrey chief executive David Stewart.  

Their proposal did not specifically talk of city-based franchises but the wording used in their proposal made it clear they had no objection to such an approach.  "The New T20", as Bradshaw and Stewart called their brainchild, was to be "a partnership between the new owner/investors and the owners of the nine Category A grounds".  Those "nine grounds” were said to be: Lord's, The Oval, Old Trafford, Edgbaston, Headingley, Trent Bridge, Chester-le-Street, the Swalec Stadium and the Rose Bowl.

Editor’s note:  Other media reports state that for ‘Sky' to purchase the rights, England international players would need to be made available for the tournament, meaning Test cricket would not be played in the UK in July, international red-ball cricket instead being limited to May, June and August, and possibly as late as September.  They also say that eight Test venues in Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Manchester, Durham, either Bristol or Cardiff, Lord’s and The Oval, would be used by the city teams the proposed series, most of which were included in the Bradshaw-Stewart proposal.

 

In June 2013 Australia’s Channel Ten agreed to pay Cricket Australia $A100 million (£47 m) for the rights to broadcast the BBL for five years, or an average of $A20 m (£9.4 m) a year (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013).  Sky’s reported £40 m ($A85 m) a year for an ECB competition is therefore double that amount.  On the other hand television rights for the IPL's first ten years have been reported as around $US1.026 billion ($A1.4 b,  £661 m), equivalent to either $A140 m or  £66 m per year.

Headline: BCCI view of banned trio ‘unaltered’ by court decision.

Article from:  Various new sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Sunday, 26 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,780.

The Delhi High Court may have dropped all charges against former Indian Premier League (IPL) Rajasthan Royals players Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila, however, the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) has no interest in allowing the trio to return to the game.   On hearing of the Court’s decision to drop all charges against them on Saturday, all three made clear how keen they were to start playing again (PTG 1602-7771, 26 July 2015).

The BCCI’s response to the decision, which was promulgated via a brief press release, was to say: “Any disciplinary proceeding or decision taken by the BCCI is independent to any criminal proceeding and has no bearing”, and as such the decisions taken against Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila and "shall remain unaltered”.  The first two were banned for life in 2013 while Chandila is yet to be questioned by the Board and remains suspended.  

An article published in the ‘Mumbai Mirror’ and written by Vijay Tagore, says: "The reason why the Board acted with such uncharacteristic alacrity is rooted in its firm belief that the Delhi police bungled the case and that its own internal...investigation was much more robust and left no doubt that Sreesanth and Ankeet were involved in spot fixing”.

 

Tagore quotes Ravi Sawani, the former head of the BCCI’S Anti-Corruption Unit and the man who investigated the case for the BCCI, as saying the police made a number of key errors.  So flawed was the Delhi police's approach and so flimsy the evidence produced that the trial court judge threw the case out even before the trial could begin. Sawani said the Delhi police were also handicapped by the fact that there is no law against match fixing in the country (PTG 1595-7715, 19 July 2015). 

"In the BCCI code, there is a specific offence of match-fixing and in the Indian law, there is no such specific provision”, continued Sawani.  "I can tell you that there was sufficient evidence which was considered by the disciplinary committee [before they banned] the three players”.  Both Sreesanth and Chandila filed signed confessions which was enough to find them guilty under the BCCI code, although “those confessions may not be acceptable in a court of law” as the standard of proof is different. 

Delhi police have indicated they plan to appeal the Delhi Court’s decision to a higher court.  "We stand by our investigation”, runs quote attributed to a "highly-placed" Delhi police source.  

Meanwhile, former India captain Sourav Ganguly told reporters at the Cricket Association of Bengal's annual prize distribution in Kolkata on Saturday that he was happy the three cricketers had been cleared by the Court and expressed the view that the BCCI should not have a problem with the order.   

Ganguly would appear to be in a better position than most to comment on the matter.  He was part of the Supreme Court of India appointed Justice Mudgal Committee which last year probed details of just what happened during the IPL’s 2013 season, work that led directly to Lodha’s verdict two weeks ago (PTG 1592-7688, 15 July 2015).  Last week Ganguly was named as a member of the BCCI working group who have six weeks to study the Lodha committee verdict and make recommendations on how best to proceed (PTG 1597-7733, 21 July 2015).  

Headline: South African pair top WT20Q umpire rankings.

Article from:  Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Sunday, 26 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,781.

South African umpiring pair Johan Cloete and Shaun George were selected to stand in the final of the qualifying series for the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20Q) between the Netherlands and Scotland in Dublin yesterday, appointments that suggest they topped the umpire rankings over the 51-match tournament.  Englishman David Jukes was to oversaw the washed out final as match referee, while Indian Vineet Kulkarni and Ruchira Palliyaguruge of Sri Lanka were to be the television umpire and fourth official respectively.  

On Saturday, George and Palliyaguruge stood in the first semi final and Cloete and Kulkarni the second, Dukes being the referee for both games; while the match for third place between Ireland and Hong Kong which proceeded the final, which was also washed out, would have had Kulkarni and Palliyaguruge on-field, George the television umpire, Cloete the fourth and Steve Barnard the referee.  That suggests the Indian and Sri Lankan were rated three and four by competition organisers.  All four umpires are members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) and Bernard, like Dukes, the ICC’s second-tier Regional Referees Panel (RRP). 

Of the 13 umpires who took part in the event over the last 18 days across Ireland and Scotland, 8 were retained for the 9-match finals, all of which were played in Ireland.  Those selected for the finals in addition to Cloete, George, Kulkarni and Palliyaguruge were Gregory Brathwaite (West Indies), Anil Chaudhary (India), Nigel Llong (England) and Ian Ramage (Scotland), all except Ramage being IUP members, the Scot being from the world body’s third-tier Associates and Affiliates International Umpires Panel (AAIUP).

Brathwaite, Dukes, George, Kulkarni, Llong and Ramage spent to early part of the tournament in Scotland, travelling to Dublin for the closing stages of the event. 

Umpires who took part in the first stage of the qualifier but did not feature in the final stages were: Mark Hawthorne (Ireland), David Odhiambo (Kenya), Ashan Raza (Pakistan), Tim Robinson (England) and Paul Wilson (Australia).  All of Odhiambo’s games were played in Scotland while the other three’s matches were in Ireland.  Hawthorne and Odhiambo are members of the AAIUP and Raza, Robinson and Wilson the IUP. 

During the 42 game opening phase of the tournament those four, and the others who featured in the finals, stood in either 6 or 7 games, most working in the television spot one or two times and as fourth umpires on 3-5 occasions.  Scottish umpires Andrew Baird, Neil Davidson, Allan Haggo and Eric Young provided support as fourth umpires in five games played in Scotland.

Of the referees, Dukes was named to look after both semi finals and the final and 24 games overall, Australian Bernard a total of 14 and another RRP member Graeme La Brooy of Sri Lanka 13.  After the Scottish section of the event finished Dukes appears to have had a few days in south-west England where he was the match referee for the first two England-Australia women’s One Day Internationals in Taunton and Bristol (PTG 1600-7761, 24 July 2015).  

Headline: Non-Caribbean match officials fill most CPL final sports.

Article from:  Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Monday, 27 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,782.

Three of the five match officials appointed to the final of the Caribbean Premier League this morning Australian time are from outside the West Indies.  Peter Nero of Trinidad and Tobago and John Ward of Australia will be on-field in the match between the CPL’s Barbados and Trinidad franchises, Ward’s countryman Mick Martell the television umpire, Devdas Govindjee of South Africa the referee, and a second Trinidadian, Kellman Kowlessar, the fourth umpire.  The five looked after both semi finals of the event on Thursday and Saturday (PTG 1602-7772, 26 July 2015).

Headline: CA wants to replicate England women’s fixtures crowds.

Article from:  Fairfax Press.

Journalist: Jesse Hogan.

Published: Sunday, 26 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,783.

England's success at attracting healthy crowds to women's Ashes matches, and bolstering the atmosphere of them by playing at small venues, is strengthening Australia's aim to do the same next time they host the series.  Crowds in excess of 3,000 attended the first two matches of the series, in Taunton and Bristol.  Australian veteran Alex Blackwell, who is nearing her 200-match milestone for Australia, said the former was the best crowd atmosphere she had played in front of, while England's Georgia Elwiss said in Taunton it felt like they had been playing in front of a 20,000-strong crowd.

The last time Australia hosted the women's Ashes, in 2013-14, the one-dayers were played in front of sparse crowds at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Bellerive Oval in Hobart, with the three Twenty20s played as part of double-headers before the men's matches, in Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney, while the Test was played at the WACA Ground in Perth.

Cricket Australia (CA) executive general manager for team performance Pat Howard attended the second match at Bristol's County Ground. He said while CA remained keen to host Twenty20s in conjunction with men's international matches, in the hope crowds will arrive early to watch the women play.  Howard highlighted North Sydney, Hurstville and Canberra as the type of venues which could provide great atmosphere for one-day internationals, especially women's Ashes matches.   Melbourne's Junction Oval is also likely to be refurbished in time to be in hosting contention for the 2017-18 women's Ashes series.

While elite women's cricket is more widely popular in England than it is in Australia, the Aussies’ success at major tournaments has bolstered the latter.  Howard said it was "absolutely" possible to attract the kind of crowds England have been attracting in this series.  "For us to be able to get those is going to be a really positive part of how we grow the game”. he said.

Headline: Night duty ‘game’ lands policewomen in trouble.

Article from:  Press Trust of India.

Journalist: No stated.

Published: Sunday, 26 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,784.

A woman police inspector who played cricket in front of her station in the city of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu during night duty has landed in trouble after a video of the 'match' went viral on the internet.  Police said Inspector Amudha Selvi saw her driver with a new bat that he had purchased for his son and enquired about it, after which the game with him and a youth brigade member got underway.

The video footage shows the three uniformed staff members playing, the Inspector both batting and bowling. A police officer who did not wish to be named said it was common for people to try out a new bat or any other piece sports equipment and this been blown out of proportion by the person who recorded the event. A departmental enquiry has been ordered into Inspector Selvi’s conduct.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,604

  Tuesday, 28 July 2015

 

• Edgbaston cashes in on Ashes fever [1604-7785]

• Zimbabwe to play Aotearoa on Sunday [1604-7786]

• Third female umpire supports women’s ODI series [1604-7787]

• ‘Australian Cricket Pathway’ targeting all participants [1604-7788]

• CPL: Not All That Glistens Is Gold [1604-7789]

Headline: Edgbaston cashes in on Ashes fever.

Article from: The Times.

Journalist:  Richard Hobson

Published: Monday, 27 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,785.

Warwickshire will establish ground attendance records for Edgbaston this week as evidence that the appeal of Ashes cricket is not just strong, but growing. The third Test between England and Australia beginning on Wednesday will be watched by the biggest crowd, generating the greatest receipts, for a game in Birmingham, England's second city. 

Day two sold out late last week and even with a few tickets left for the first day, plus just under two-thirds remaining for the final day, the number of sales is beyond the previous high of 101,538 for the Ashes Test of 2009.  The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) refuses these days to divulge match receipts, citing commercial sensitivity, but Warwickshire have acknowledged that sales in this case have already topped £UK6 million ($A12.8 m). That is more than double the £UK2.97 million ($A6.3 m) recorded for the 2005 match, which was watched by 81,870 spectators, in the days when takings were published in ‘Wisden’.

 

Warwickshire are due to establish a seventh successive crowd increase for Ashes Tests with the figure roughly twice that of the 51,550 attendance of 30 years ago. By comparison, takings this time may be as much as 20 times higher than the £UK318,500 ($A678,000) in 1985, a huge rise even when inflation is factored in. 

Tickets this time are up to £UK81 ($A172) for the first four days, dropping to £UK26 ($A55) for day five, when full refunds will apply if the contest follows those in Cardiff and at Lord’s by finishing a day early. Warwickshire, like Glamorgan, have insured for that event, but the Marylebone Cricket Club opted not to do so, believing that anything made on a fifth day would be a bonus. 

“Clearly people still see an Ashes Test as a huge occasion”, a Warwickshire spokesman said. “We think our ticket prices are fair, there is research putting us second best of the grounds for value after Cardiff for this series. We are very happy with the way things have gone up to now”. 

This will be the first Ashes Test at the ground since redevelopment of the South and West stands in 2011 stretched capacity to about 25,000. Some of those seats are lost to accommodate bigger sightscreens for internationals, but Warwickshire have responded this time by erecting a temporary stand, adding an extra 850 seats. 

India remain the most lucrative draw to the ECB because of the greater potential in broadcasting rights. Their visit for the five-match series last year, with one-day fixtures on top, helped to generate record profits for the board of £UK28 million  ($A59.6 m) and expand the reserve fund to £UK70 million ($A149 m), three times its size in 2010. 

To the Counties, though, the allure of Australia remains unrivalled. Businesses and local authorities have also begun to understand the true value of association with the Ashes, estimated at more than £UK20 million per time ($A42.6 m), £UK26 million ($A55.3 m) in the case of this week. Those who get to play host must feel they are winning the equivalent of one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets. 

Thus, while the 2019 Ashes will incorporate the traditional venues of Old Trafford, Headingley, Lord’s, Edgbaston and the Oval, Glamorgan, Hampshire and Nottinghamshire have pledged to bid for the subsequent series in the next rights package from 2020-23. 

Counties are also awaiting proposals for a revamped domestic Twenty20 competition amid fresh suggestions of a glamorous eight-team event backed by heavy 'Sky Sports’ investment (PTG 1603-7779, 27 July 2015). The challenge for the ECB would be to convince the non-hosting Counties that they would not be left behind financially. 

Headline: Zimbabwe to play Aotearoa on Sunday.

Article from: NZC press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Monday, 27 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,786.

New Zealand will adopt a temporary name change during their tour of Africa, playing under the name Aotearoa, Maori for New Zealand, in the first One Day International against Zimbabwe in Harare on Sunday. What is at this stage a one-off move will help celebrate Maori Language Week, the name being featured prominently on the front of the team's playing shirts during the match.

"New Zealand Cricket (NZC) want to extend cricket's reach and make it more welcoming to communities not always closely aligned with the game”, said NZC chief executive David White. "It's something we haven't done particularly well in the past”.  "We've been too one dimensional in our approach and especially in regard to addressing under-representation in certain communities. But we have to start somewhere”.

White said NZC would also soon be launching a range of new cricket-playing programs aimed at helping spread the game in various communities.  "Cricket is a wonderful game that anyone can play, irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity or culture”, he said. "We just need to make sure everyone feels it's accessible and welcoming - which is part of the reason for reaching out this week”.

Headline: Third female umpire supports women’s ODI series.

Article from: Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Monday, 27 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,787.

Dutch-born umpire Ingeborg Bevers, who now resides in Ireland, worked as the fourth umpire in the England-Australia women’s One Day International (ODI) at Worcester yesterday, the third female appointed in that role to the two side’s three-match ODI series (PTG 1600-7761, 24 July 2015).  

Bevers, 50, who has been the Education Officer at the Leinster Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, has stood in 7 women’s ODIs since 2003, also supporting another such match as a scorer.  Records available list her as having stood in a women’s four-day Test between her country’s women and their South African counterparts at Rotterdam in 2007.  

She has also been a scorer in three first class games, Ireland home intercontinental Cup fixtures against Afghanistan and Scotland, and a tour match against South Africa A.

Headline: ‘Australian Cricket Pathway’ targeting all participants.

Article from: CA press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Friday, 17 July 2015 (received 27 July).

PTG listing: 7,788.

Cricket Australia (CA) says that 'Australian Cricket' will "reach out" to the hundreds of thousands of participants involved in the game there this year as it targets the development of an "improved and enhanced" pathway for participants, a strategy it calls the Australian Cricket Pathway (ACP).  CA says the ACP aims to provide “clear directions” to all on the "pathways for players, coaches and umpires from grass roots to elite level", and thus help "strengthen the bonds between grass roots cricket and the elite format".    

In order to make all of its “key stakeholders” aware of the ACP initiative, CA is to run more than 20 ‘Roadshow’ events around the country between now and September to outline the strategy.  James Sutherland, CA's chief executive, describes the Roadshows as "a great opportunity for Australian Cricket to all get together to talk about broadening, deepening and aligning the pathways for umpires, administrators, coaches and volunteers .  “We want the game of cricket to be as accessible as possible to all, and participation is a key part of that, but so too is the success of the Australian teams and this alignment with the pathway is critically important”.

According to CA, the ACP has a strong focus on talent identification and development, with several initiatives announced recently.  CA and School Sport Australia partnered to host the School Sport Australia boys 15 and Under championships in Darwin in June and have since agreed to increase the number of teams competing in that event in 2016 to 10.  An Australian Under-16 team was selected from the Darwin championships and it will compete as a distinct team in the National Under-17 championships in Brisbane later this year, as well as play international cricket against a Pakistan Under-16 Team in November in Bowral.

 

In order to identify and stretch the best young talent, the number of teams competing in the male CA National Under-17 and Under-19 Championships will increase this season from 8 to 10 with the additional two teams coming from Victoria and a CA XI team.  In addition to the Australian Under-16 team competing in the Under-17 National Championships, a CA XI will be selected following the National Under-17 championships to play in the National Under-19 titles. There has also been an expansion of the Futures League state second XI competition, and a CA XI will compete as the seventh team in the one-day cup in October (PTG 1589-7668, 10 July 2015).

The female Under-15 and Under-18 National Championships will include CA XI Teams as an eighth team in an expanded competition. It will primarily include players that are identified by National Talent System in conjunction with State and Territory coaches and who will benefit from being stretched at a high level of competition.

 

Roadshow dates are:  Queensland 25-27 July; New South Wales 2 and 22 August; Australian Capital Territory 9 August; South Australia 10-12 August; Western Australia 23-25 August; Victoria 3, 10, 12, 19, 26 August and 5 September; Tasmania 17-19 August; while the date for the Northern Territory has not yet been set.  CA announced a ‘grass roots’ marketing program last week (PTG 1596-7729, 20 July 2015)

Editor’s note: Last March, CA indicated it had received comments from over 800 clubs in response to its on-line survey which was aimed at identifying the “challenges” those at the ‘grass roots’ level of the sport in Australia believe they face (PTG 1485-7183, 17 December 2014).  CA indicated then that findings from the survey would be provided to clubs and associations “in the lead up to the 2015-16 [austral summer] season” (PTG 1533-7380, 6 March 2015).  As yet no details have been released.  Whether details will be provided during ‘Roadshow’ events is not known at this stage. 

Headline: CPL: Not All That Glistens Is Gold.

Article from: Jamaica Gleaner.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Sunday, 26 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,789.

The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 tournament has been going the rounds in the region for the past three years attracting huge crowds on its way. It has been almost like the Pied Piper.  However, a few weeks ago the highly respected cricket journalist, Tony Cozier, wrote that CPL may not return to Barbados next year, and a week ago, an Australian director of the CPL implored the people and the private sector of Jamaica to support it.

The reason the event may not return to Barbados, according to Cozier, is that despite the full houses at Kensington Oval, the tournament has been losing money.  CPL chief executive Damien O'Donohue, and chief operating officer Pete Russell, say unless the government of Barbados comes up with at least $US1 million ($A1.4 m, £UK645,000) it probably will not be back should another Caribbean territory come up with the money.  The director's plea for help from Jamaica is along the same lines, in spite of the full houses at Sabina Park ever since the start of the CPL in 2013.

 

As popular as it is, the CPL is not making the sort of money its backers anticipated.  Organisers say they spent some $US166 million ($A228 m, £UK107 m) around the region last year, the money going to things like players' fees, grounds, hotel, air and ground transport, entertainers - music, dancing girls, and fire-eaters, officials, and promotion.  However, while it attracted 220,000 spectators to matches in 2014, its television rights earnings from beaming its games to 65 million people around the world totalled just $US47 million ($A64.5 m, £UK30.3 m).  

Those behind the league point to the impact it had on the promoting of tourism around the Caribbean region (PTG 1303-6294, 2 March 2014).  As such they believe it’s only fair that since television revenue and the live audiences cannot pay the bills, countries who benefit from the event’s presence, through visitors and the international exposure each place receives, should pay their share of the costs, hence the requests to Barbados and Jamaica.

The problem, however, is this: cricket, it is said, is a business, and in a business, it is not wise to spend more than it is possible to earn.  It would seem that the people and governments of the West Indies, even if they could, would not rescue the CPL, a privately-owned endeavour, and not their own regional, West Indies Cricket Board cricket which they themselves have described as the only unifying force in the West Indies region (PTG 1594-7712, 17 July 2015).  

According to the CPL, every territory that hosts the event pays $US7 million ($A9.6 m, £UK4.5 m) for the privilege.  Seven million dollars for four matches each year is quite a lot of money, especially for poor countries like Jamaica and Barbados where the important needs are things like education, health, housing, food and security.

While the CPL is an exciting tournament with all its attractions and good intentions and it is good for cricket, it may, however, be too big for the West Indies as its people simply cannot afford it as a cricket attraction.  The West Indies cannot hang its hat where it cannot reach it, and as Thomas Gray wrote back in the 18th Century: "Not all that tempts your wandering eyes and heedless hearts is lawful prize, nor all that glistens, gold”.

Editor’s note: A study of the economic impact of the inaugural CPL series of 2013 conducted by the University of the West Indies' School of Business and Management, estimated that it generated close to $A120 million (£UK56.4 m) across the region and boosted each host country's Gross Domestic Product "by as much as 0.7 percent” (PTG 1303-6294, 2 March 2014).  “The CPL has been a real shot in the arm for the Caribbean", said Professor Densil Williams at the time.  He found the total economic benefits for the host countries in 2013 were: Antigua $A8.2 m (£UK3.9 m); Barbados $A10.2 m (£UK4.8 m); Guyana $A4.5 m (£UK2.1 m); Jamaica $A12 m (£UK5.6 m); Trinidad, $A14.4 m (£UK6.8 m); and Saint Lucia $8.2 m (£UK3.9 m).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,605

  Wednesday, 29 July 2015

 

• Test skipper opts for upgraded helmet [1605-7790]

• Neutrals named for Zim-NZ (Aotearoa) ODI series [1605-7791]

• Umpires for Ashes women’s Test announced [1605-7792]

• ODI format now for WT20Q match officials [1605-7793]

• ‘Grass’ gear helping Edgbaston grass to grow [1605-7794]

• ECB Reserve Panel umpire still in the runs, wickets [1605-7795]

• Nigerian seminar ’trains journalists’ on game’s fundamentals [1605-7796]

• Bowler takes all ten wickets in Premier League match [1605-7797]

Headline: Test skipper opts for upgraded helmet.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Chris Barrett.

Published: Tuesday, 28 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,790.

Watching Chris Rogers get hit behind the ear at Lord's led Australian captain Michael Clarke to toss away his old helmet for good and wear a newer version with more protection, he has revealed on the eve of the third Ashes Test.  The Australian captain has had the issue of safety at the crease on his mind since the death of his close friend and former national teammate Phillip Hughes last November. He said he had been gradually making the switch to a more updated model ever since but the Rogers incident during the second Test was the final straw.

Clarke walked out during the second innings in north London wearing the newer ‘Masuri’ Vision Series helmet, with the same foam guards attached to it around the back of the head that Rogers had been wearing. After speaking with Cricket Australia's head of sports science and sports medicine, Alex Kountouris, he won't be turning back.

The newer model, which complies with the British safety standard that as reported by Fairfax Media will be made the benchmark for all first-class players in Australia from this austral summer (PTG 1598-7738, 22 July 2015), provides extra protection with its grill, the area through which balls travelled to hurt England players Stuart Broad and Craig Kieswetter in the past year. The resulting eye injury ended the latter's career (PTG 1562-7511, 6 June 2015).

"I sat down with Alex the other day and we were talking about helmets and he has done a study on it and he showed me where Broad got hit and Kieswetter and where 'Bucky' [Rogers] got hit [in the West Indies last month] and obviously the Hughesy stuff is still in the front of my mind”, Clarke said.  "And then next morning 'Bucky' came out and got hit right on the same spot [as Hughes] (PTG 1596-7725, 20 July 2015) and that made my mind up for me. I got rid of my old helmet there and then and made up my mind I am using the new one”.

Clarke said it had taken him time to adjust to wearing the new lid, as well as the clip-on guards that can be attached to it to further protect the back of the neck. Rogers believes they softened the blow for him at Lord’s (PTG 1600-7759, 24 July 2015), where he had a dizzy spell two days later but was cleared of a second bout of concussion in the space of six weeks. 

"I played the first Test with my old ‘Masur'i on because I wasn't completely comfortable, but there's just been a number of things that have happened over the last month that have made my mind up for me”, Clarke said. "Obviously what happened to Hughesy ... as soon as those new helmets and ear pieces came out I thought 'I am going to try this'. The grill sits a little bit higher than my old [helmet], so it's taken a little bit of time to get used to seeing the ball and having the grill in the peripheral [view]”.

Headline: Neutrals named for Zim-NZ (Aotearoa) ODI series.

Article from: ICC.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Tuesday, 28 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,791.

Australian David Boon and Englishman Richard Illingworth will be the neutral officials in the three-match One Day International (ODI) series between Zimbabwe and New Zealand next week; the latter taking part in the first game on Sunday as Aotearoa, the Maori name for that country (PTG 1604-7786, 28 July 2015).  The games, all of which will be played in Harare, will take Boon’s ODI record as a match referee to 76 and Illingworth's as an umpire to 42.

The International Cricket Council says that Illingworth, who late last month was working in a Test series in Sri Lanka then  earlier this month in ODIs in Bangladesh with Boon, is to stand in the first match with Zimbabwe’s Russell Tiffin, and in both the second and third with Tiffin's countryman Jerry Matibiri; games that will take their respective ODI on-field records to 141 and 11 respectively.  Langton Rusere will be the television umpire in the first two game and Tiffin in the third.

Boon will stay on for the single Twenty20 International on Sunday week when Tiffen and Rusere will be on-field and Matibiri the third umpire.

Headline: Umpires for Ashes women’s Test announced.

Article from: sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor

Published: Tuesday, 28 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,792.

Three umpires who have stood in almost 450 first class games, and played in another 796, are to be on-field for the single Test match England and Australia are to play at Canterbury in two weeks time.  Former England player Neil Mallender, who has also stood at Test level, is to work on-field with Peter Hartley in the four-day game, Martin Saggers, another former England Test player, being the third official.

Mallender, who to date has stood in 225 first class games, 3 of them Tests, has previously stood in two women’s Tests, one of them an Ashes encounter and the other an England-India match.  Hartley, who has worked as the television umpire in 9 men’s Tests, has to date notched up 158 first class games as an umpire, plus an England-South Africa women’s Test, while Saggers, who stood in the England-Australia ODI series last week, has 67 first class games to his credit.   

Headline: ODI format now for WT20Q match officials.

Article from: ICC.

Journalist:  PTG Editor

Published: Tuesday, 28 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,793.

South African umpire Shaun George and Scotsman Ian Ramage are to stand in the two Scotland-Nepal One Day Internationals (ODI) scheduled for Ayr today and on Friday, David Jukes of England being the match referee.  The two fixtures are the latest matches in the 2015-17 World Cricket League Championship (WCLC), which the International Cricket Council (ICC) describes as an "elite 50-over competition played between leading ICC Associate [second-tier] and Affiliate [third-tier] member countries”.   

Teams involved in the current two-year long WCLC are, in addition to Nepal and Scotland: Hong Kong, Kenya, Namibia, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  Dukes and George plus David Odhiambo of Kenya managed the two Kenya-UAE WCL ODIs played in Southampton in late June just before the World Twenty20 Championship Qualifier (WT20Q), which ended on Sunday, a series in which those three and Ramage took part (PTG 1603-7781, 27 July 2015).  

Its been a busy 12 months for Dukes, a member of the ICC’s second-tier Regional Referees Panel, for by the end of this week he will have managed in that time: one women’s Test, 9 women’s ODIs, 8 women’s Twenty20 Internationals (T20I), one first class men’s game, 9 men’s ODIs and in the last six weeks, 17 men’s T20Is.  Those matches have been played across 6 countries, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, UAE, the West Indies, some of which he visited more than once.  The last match of the England-Australia women’s ODI series in Worcester earlier this week was the 100th in which he has overseen women’s ODIs. 

The Scotland-Nepal ODIs will take Ramage’s record in that international format to 29 since his debut in 2008, and George to 13 since his first in 2011.

Headline: ‘Grass’ gear helping Edgbaston grass to grow.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Chris Barrett

Published: Tuesday, 28 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,794.

The Edgbaston groundsman charged with preparing the pitch for the third Ashes Test is using hot lamps normally associated with the growing of marijuana in an endeavour to produce a wicket that has more pace and bounce in it than the surfaces on which the first two matches of the series were played.  

The lamps have been loaned by West Midlands Police after being confiscated in raids on cannabis farms, and Warwickshire curator Gary Barwell is hopeful that they will also assist in drying an outfield drenched by consistent rain in the lead-up to Wednesday's first day. 

"We have done this a few times and after a month's worth of rain on Friday, we decided we could do with them again”, a Warwickshire club spokesman said (PTG 1301-6282, 1 March 2014). Notts County football club, who are in England's fourth tier, use similar devices to help grow grass at their home ground, Meadow Lane. 

Headline: ECB Reserve Panel umpire still in the runs, wickets.

Article from: Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Tuesday, 28 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,795.

Former Somerset and England all-rounder Ian Blackwell may be a new member of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) second-tier umpire Reserve List (PTG 1480-7162, 11 December 2014), but that didn’t stop him playing a key role with bat and ball in the North Petherton-Staplegrove West of England Premier League (WEPL) Somerset Division 50 over match in Taunton last Saturday.  

Blackwell, who has been a regular member of the North Petherton side during the current English summer, scored 56 and took 5/17 in a match his team won by 236 runs.  He stood in a number of WEPL matches in 2013 but does not appear to have done so this year.  

The ECB has, however, kept him active as since April he has been on the ground for 31 days in ECB fixtures.  They include two 3-day first class games, Minor Counties one-day and Twenty20 fixtures, 5 County second XI three-day, 4 one-day and 10 T20 matches, plus earlier this month a full County T20.  

Indications are that he has at least another 21 days of appointments from the ECB between now and the end of the season.  However, the timings and locations of those matches suggest he probably won’t miss joining his North Petherton colleagues in Saturday WEPL games.

Headline: Nigerian seminar ’trains journalists’ on game’s fundamentals.

Article from: Daily Trust.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Monday, 27 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,796.

The Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) staged a one-day media orientation seminar for sports writers at the Abuja National Stadium last weekend to teach them the rudiments of the game.  NCF board member Kayode Adeniyi, said: “Sometimes when cricket is discussed on the news, people do not understand it and that is probably because the journalist concerned well may not have understood what was going on”.  

Adeniyi said that because go that "we saw it necessary to organise this seminar, which is also an indirect way of making the game popular because we cannot do without the media”.  The 30 participants, drawn from media organisations all over the country, were provided with presentations on both the theoretical and practical aspects of the sport.

Headline: Bowler takes all ten wickets in Premier League match.

Article from: BBC.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Tuesday, 28 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,797.

Joe Dawborn, a seam bowler with Peterborough Town in the Northamptonshire Premier League (NPL), took all ten wickets in a First XI match against Brixworth last weekend.  His teammate Jamie Smith told BBC Sport: "I was trying my best to ruin it. It was magical. I was bowling at the other end and every time he delivered a ball it looked like he'd get a wicket”.  Dawborn's figures of 10/22 are the best in the NPL since 1968.  The 21-year-old is looking to make it into first-class cricket, Leicestershire reportedly “tracking” his development.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,606

  Thursday, 30 July 2015

 

• CA to establish National Umpire Coach position [1606-7798]

• Pembrokeshire match abandoned after fighting breaks out [1606-7799]

• Second ECB Twenty20 competition may ease County fears [1606-7800]

• Indoor ‘bowl-out’ decides Premier League T20 competition [1606-7801]

• Lancashire keen for Women's Super League team [1606-7802]

• Cairns an ‘accidental' no-show for UK perjury pre-hearing [1606-7803]

• 'Travellers’ visit stops play in two matches [1606-7804]

Headline: CA to establish National Umpire Coach position.

Article from: Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Wednesday, 29 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,798.

Cricket Australia (CA) is reported to be planning to establish the new position of National Umpire Coach (NUC), the aim apparently being to have the role filled prior to the start of the forthcoming 2015-16 austral summer.  While details are sketchy, indications are that the job will sit to the side of CA’s current match officials structure and work directly with members of CA’s 12-man National Umpire Panel, observing their performance and advising them on development and training needs.

It would appear that the new arrangement will be similar to the way the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) four-man Umpire Performance and Training Unit (UPTU) of Umpire Coaches operate with international umpires.  Like them, CA's NUC is not expected to be involved in umpire selection processes, a separation UPTU head Simon Taufel has stressed is the key to his group’s ability to work openly and honestly with the umpires they support.  

Headline: Pembrokeshire match abandoned after fighting breaks out.

Article from: Western Telegraph.

Journalist:  Fraser Watson.

Published: Wednesday, 29 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,799.

Pembroke County Cricket Club (PCCC) in south west Wales is investigating after a Pembrokeshire Division Two league match had to be abandoned after fighting broke out.  The remarkable scenes happened at Saundersfoot Cricket Club on Saturday as the home team took on Kilgetty.  Kilgetty had made 8/257, and the home side were 4/122 in their reply, when umpires Martin Jones and Rob Cousins called a halt to proceedings following a serious altercation involving both sets of players.

The incident is understood to have occurred following an exchange of words between Saundersfoot’s Phil Jones, who was batting at the time, and Kilgetty fielder Toby Poole.  A physical exchange was then said to have occurred, with players from both sides and supporters from the sidelines getting involved.  The umpires then consulted with both captains, and all were in agreement that the game should be called off with immediate effect.

By Saturday night, rumours were circulating on social media that a bat was used during the melee, but the 'Western Telegraph' understands this was not correct.  However, the match was the subject of much debate, and former Glamorgan and England international Robert Croft, replying to a ‘tweet' informing him of the incident on ‘Twitter', said it was "very very disappointing for the game”.

PCCC chairman Tony Scourfield said his organisation had received reports from both umpires and had contacted both clubs to seek their version of events.  He added the County Cricket Club would be meeting on Wednesday night, and would be setting up a disciplinary committee to deal with the incident.  “We will be looking to make a decision on the issue as quickly as possible”, he said.

As it stands, both sides have been awarded five additional points, the same as a tied game, on top of the seven bonus points each they both had when the game was called off.  However, that could be subject to change, pending the outcome of the County Cricket Club investigation.  Dyfed-Powys Police say they have not received any complaints about the incident.

Editor’s note:  This is the third game in the UK in the past six weeks that is reported to have been abandoned because of an on-field fracas.   The first was in a Wiltshire County League fixture that subsequently saw a player banned for 18 games (PTG 1592-7690, 15 July 2015), and the second the Essex League (PTG 1581-7615, 1 July 2015). 

Headline: Second ECB Twenty20 competition may ease County fears.

Article from: The Times.

Journalist:  Richard Hobson.

Published: Wednesday, 29 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,800.


Proposals to introduce a new eight-team 20-over tournament in England are likely to sit alongside a second competition embracing all 18 first-class counties in an attempt to ease concerns of a financial split in the game (PTG 1603-7779, 27 July 2015).  The full England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) met yesterday to hear updates from Tom Harrison, the chief executive, who is leading a working group that is examining a fresh competition along the lines of Australia’s Big Bash. County chairmen anticipate having detailed ideas to discuss in September before restructuring for the 2017 season.

Reducing the number of first class championship from 16 to 12 four-day games would create space in the calendar for the event, which is likely to run for about four weeks and get under way before the start of the football season when the weather is usually set fair and interest in cricket is at its greatest.

Whether the event involves franchises or, more likely, teams managed centrally through host Test-match counties, it is clear that smaller grounds such as Leicester, Canterbury and Chelmsford would not be required.  Worries over income at those Counties could be assuaged by a mix of compensation and another event designed broadly along the lines of the present model. This, however, would inevitably have the feel of a second-rate competition and appearances by England players would be scarce.

Having leading players is considered essential — even if it means moving Tests or One Day Internationals — to ensure that a new tournament sits on a par with the Big Bash. Teams would include three or four overseas stars with the rest from county cricket.

Options include producing composite sides from two or more counties — Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire playing home games at Trent Bridge, for example — or allowing a free-for-all and risk creating teams with little local identity.

Opinion is no longer polarised along Test/non-Test lines because Chris Grant, the Derbyshire chairman, has offered broad support for a shorter, sharper event contested by fewer teams while Surrey are against the idea of a city-based tournament. They would prefer to push their own brand.