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                      AUGUST 2015
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 26 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 7804-7983)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below
 

   

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,607

  Saturday, 1 August 2015


• Umpiring experience not mandatory for CA umpire coach applicants [1607-7805]

• Too many on leg side costs Derbyshire the match [1607-7806]

• Ashes umpires having a ’terrific series’, says ICC selector [1607-7807]

• Counties hit out at Sky-backed city-based Twenty20 league [1607-7808]

• CSA walking tight rope on ’transformational’ selection policies [1607-7809]

• Female appointed to CA ‘emerging umpires’ panel [1607-7810]

• Associations move on IPL pair’s request to resume playing [1607-7811]

• Cricket in Britain is under threat from its own success [1607-7812]

• CA Prime Minister's XI match moved to October [1607-7813]

• Cricket during Bangladesh’s Monsoon season a challenge [1607-7814]

Headline: Umpiring experience not mandatory for CA umpire coach applicants.

Article from: CA job description.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Saturday, 1 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,805.

Those applying to join Cricket Australia (CA) as its new National Umpire Coach (NUC) will need the skills to "motivate, develop and support” Australia representative-level umpires and "raise their performance standards”, but they will not have to demonstrate they’ve had any 'hands on' umpiring experience, according to the official NUC job description released on Friday.  News of the new position surfaced publicly earlier this week, the aim apparently being to have the role filled prior to the start of the forthcoming 2015-16 austral summer, however, it is understood work to formally establish the new role began four months ago, apparently having been on the agenda for sometime before that (PTG 1606-7798, 30 July 2015). 

CA says its new position will be "responsible for driving the ongoing improvement of high performance" umpires by providing them with dedicated coaching, mentoring and training”, and to lead the national approach to umpiring.  The paperwork indicates the appointee will work with those on CA’s ‘high performance pathway’, including the 12-man National Umpires Panel (NUP), its 5-person ‘Emerging Umpires Panel’  (PTG 1607-7810 below), and in conjunction with State Directors of Umpiring (SDU), State Umpire Panels around the country.  

There is a also a need “to ensure” NUP members on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) International Umpires Panel "are sufficiently trained and compliant with the ICC umpire accreditation criteria for international cricket”, and to "work with Australia’s top female cricket umpires to provide them with the support and development required to enable them to officiate in professional men’s competitions”.  

Once appointed, some of the tasks for the successful applicant will engage in are: to implement and monitor each umpire’s "tailored development plan"; take part in pre-match or series preparation and post reviews; attend "specific matches" to observe and provide coaching assistance; review match self-assessments; ensure umpires are "fully versed with the current Laws of Cricket, playing conditions, interpretations and policies”; attend state and national umpiring workshops; assist CA's Umpire Educator in the development of umpire training materials; and liaising “regularly" with the SDUs "to foster a national approach”.  

There is also the requirement "to ensure that the umpires perform well in every match, and to help ensure that Australia continues to produce the best and most respected match officials in the world”.  The successful applicant will be expected to communicate regularly with CA's Match Officials Manager and its five-member Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP) with regard "to trends in the game, activities, development programs, and progress with individual umpires”.

To apply NUC applicants, who should be "keen and enthusiastic about cricket, umpiring and developing people”, must have had “coaching experience in a related field”, be able to demonstrate "the ability to tailor coaching methods for different individuals and personalities", and have “a positive and enthusiastic attitude to coaching and personal development”.  It is “desirable” they have “high performance coaching experience, and/or knowledge of the laws of cricket and playing conditions”, a "very strong work ethic”, the “ability to build strong personal relationships”, “empathy for the demands on match officials in elite sport”, “excellent communication skills”, and “be well organised and be able to work remotely”.

CA says the job, applications for which close on Sunday week, is of a “fixed-term contract” nature, although it doesn’t state how long the fixed term is, nor does it indicate just what remuneration is involved.  The lack of mention of umpiring experience in the selection criteria is not surprising given that at present, only three of the eight who currently make up CA’s Match Officials’ office and part-time UHPP group, have actual on-ground experience in actually applying the skills and knowledge needed to manage a game of cricket as an umpire.

CA’s positions vacant web page shows this morning that there are currently five positions open for applications, three in marketing plus ones for a business analyst and another dealing with multicultural administration, however, as yet details of the NUC job has not been posted on line for general consumption.

Headline: Too many on leg side costs Derbyshire the match.

Article from: Derby Telegraph.

Journalist:  Mark Eklid.

Published: Friday, 31 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,806.

The buck stops with all 11 players for the mistake that cost Derbyshire a one-day cup victory against Gloucestershire at Bristol on Wednesday.  In a match curtailed by rain, Gloucestershire needed a Duckworth-Lewis adjusted one run with a ball to be bowled to win the match, however, the delivery was called a ‘no ball’ because Derbyshire had one more than the five fielders allowed on the leg side. 

Top order batsman Wayne Madsen says everyone has to share the blame for the blunder in setting a field with six on the leg side that allowed Gloucestershire to win.  Former captain Madsen said skipper Wes Durston, for whom it was his first match in charge, should not feel full responsibility for the error.

"I cannot believe no-one spotted that”, said Madsen.   "It was not just down to Wes – everyone out there has to take responsibility for what happened. We all know the [Playing Condition] and someone has got to spot that but I genuinely don't know how we didn’t".  "When you get in the heat of the battle, sometimes things can get a bit clouded and that's the only thing I can think of to explain it".

Madsen said that “when the no-ball was called, I sprinted in and said 'we had four in the ring' but when [umpire Alex Wharf] said we only had three on the off-side I knew there was no arguing”.  "The whole team was gutted – not just because we didn't pick up that mistake but also because we let them get 68 off the last four overs”.

Headline: Ashes umpires having a ’terrific series’, says ICC selector.

Article from: Daily Mail.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Friday, 31 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,807.

Umpires in the Ashes series are having "a terrific series” as by the close of day two of the Edgbaston Test there’d been 22 reviews, only one of which was overturned, wrote commentator David Lloyd in the ‘Daily Mail’ on Friday.  Lloyd, who is one of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) umpire selection panel, said that the only surprise was Jos Buttler’s LBW in England first innings at Edgbaston. 

"As an umpire you’re thinking ‘it’s pitched in line, straightened and hit him below the knee-roll. Out! But ball-tracking technology said it was going over the top”, said Lloyd. "No blame attached to Buttler there and it was certainly not a howler from umpire [Aleem Dar]”.

The on-field umpires who have stood in the three Ashes Test to date have been Marais Erasmus of South Africa, Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka, Pakistan’s Aleem Dar and Chris Gaffaney of New Zealand.

Headline: Counties hit out at Sky-backed city-based Twenty20 league.

Article from: Daily Mail.

Journalist:  Charles Sale.

Published: Friday, 31 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,808.

England's cricket counties have voiced their strong opposition to plans for a city-based T20 tournament featuring eight teams that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) would like to start in 2017.  The proposals would see the new competition, bankrolled by Sky’s extra TV rights funding, staged at the height of summer and attracting the world’s best players (PTG 1603-7779, 27 July 2015). 

The proposed English city-based franchise arrangement would see matches played at the eight Test venues.  Counties would merge to form the city sides with two in London plus others in Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Durham, Cardiff and Birmingham.  But the shires are fearful the new format, played in addition to the current T20 county competition that has attracted increased crowds this season (PTG 1606-7800, 30 July 2015), will eventually lead to the end of County cricket with its 100-year history.

The chief executives of the 18 first-class counties held a telephone conference call this week to discuss their objections, with Warwickshire's chief executive Colin Povey sending an e-mail afterwards to the ECB in which it was made clear that at least 13 counties had strong reservations.

Headline: CSA walking tight rope on ’transformational’ selection policies.

Article from: Cape Times.

Journalist:  Telford Vice

Published: Friday, 31 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,809.

The rift that developed between Cricket South Africa (CSA) and that nation's professional Cricketers’ Association (SACA) over the selection controversy that clouded South Africa's exit from the World Cup in March has been repaired.  However, the player’s union is anxious that the situation should not arise again as it could complicate CSA’s implementation of their policy of “aggressive transformation” in regards to the ethnicity mix of its players.

Last September, CSA president Chris Nenzani described the absence of a black African players in South Africa's Test side an “embarrassment” as that group makes up by far the largest sector of South African society. He described them as “the vital role-models we need to make cricket the sport of choice among the majority of our population” (PTG 1430-6919, 18 September 2014).

Early last month Willie Basson‚ a member of the South African government's 'Eminent Persons Group’ whose remit is to  make participation in sport there more in line with the country’s racial mix, and who also sits on CSA’s transformation committee to achieve that‚ told Parliament’s Sport and Recreation committee that CSA had made “mistakes” when they “sent a note to the team management on the eve of the [World Cup] semi final‚ reminding them about CSA’s policy on demographic representation”.

The “note” led to Vernon Philander‚ who had bowled just 20.3 of a possible 70 overs in the tournament due to a hamstring injury‚ being included in the team for the match against New Zealand‚ who won a tight contest.  The Parliamentary committee’s minutes record that Basson said a consequence of the issue was that “the administrators of CSA had allowed a wide distance to develop between themselves and the players’ association”.  He said “CSA would rectify that challenge by consulting players regularly to make them understand the purpose of the Transformation Charter”.

SACA chief executive Tony Irish confirmed Basson’s version of events.  “I don’t believe that there is currently a ‘wide distance’ between CSA and SACA”, Irish said as “We have moved past the (World Cup) episode".  “It is correct that there was unhappiness amongst many of the players at the time. The most important thing in putting all of that behind the players and the team is for this type of thing not to be repeated”.

But CSA’s policy that at least four players of colour should play in CSA’s teams raises the distinct possibility of more selection strife.  That would again unravel ties between CSA and SACA‚ which fulfils the role of a trade union for players and could‚ in theory‚ declare a labour dispute or even call a strike. 

Headline: Female appointed to CA ‘emerging umpires’ panel.

Article from: Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Saturday, 1 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,810.

Reports indicate that New South Wales umpire Claire Polosak has been appointed as a member of Cricket Australia’s (CA) Emerging Umpires Panel (EUP), the first female to ever be selected for that group.  Polosak joins her NSW colleagues Simon Lightbody and Anthony Wilds, plus Queensland’s Damier Mealey and Victoria’s David Shepard, as EUP members for the 2015-16 austral summer.

Mealey was dropped as a member of CA’s National Umpire Panel (NUP) earlier this year after three seasons, while Wilds, who had been a prospective NUP member, was pipped for promotion to fill the vacancy that opened with Mealey’s demotion by Victorian Phillip Gillespie (PTG  1553-7458, 21 May 2015).  Lightbody has been either in or around the fringes of the EUP for the last five years.  

Both Polosak and Shepard, who played one first class game for Victoria 17 years ago, are relative newcomers on the national umpiring scene.  Shepard has stood in the top level of club cricket in his home state, but Polosak has to date only had minimal exposure at the senior club game in Sydney.  They were selected as members of CA’s fast-track ‘Project Panel’ last year, which comes with a financial incentive, and along with Gillespie were also awarded a year-long National Officiating Scholarship by the Australian Sports Commission six months ago (PTG 1513-7295, 3 February 2015).

News that CA’s new National Umpire Coach will be required to "work with Australia’s top female cricket umpires to provide them with the support and development required to enable them to officiate in professional men’s competitions” (PTG 1607-7805 above), could be read to suggest CA has a structured and funded plan to promote female umpires.  There has been talk of promoting female umpires in the past (PTG 1101-5359, 8 May 2013), a drive that is reported to have thwarted by senior CA management’s reluctance to release appropriate funding.  

There has been no publicity since to suggest that CA has a serious, long-term, coordinated and funded plan for female umpiring that goes beyond a few individuals.  Similarly, an initiative in regard to the development of scorers two years ago appears to have got little if any traction, both situations occurring at a time when CA has unprecedented levels of funding available to it (PTG 1117-5431, 5 June 2013). 

Headline: Associations move on IPL pair’s request to resume playing.

Article from: Daily News Analysis.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Thursday, 30 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,811.

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has received a formal request from banned player Ankeet Chavan to be allowed to resume his cricket career follow the decision of a Delhi court to drop spot fixing charges against him (PTG 1602-7771, 26 July 2015).  That move came as the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to lift the ban on now exonerated former Indian pace bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.

The MCA says it will decide on the matter at its managing committee meeting on Sunday, however, the final decision will lay with the BCCI.  MCA joint secretary Dr P V Shetty said on Wednesday: "We have received a formal request from Chavan, we will put it before our President Shri Sharad Pawar and other managing committee members on Sunday”.  "We may decide to forward his letter along with our own decision to the BCCI, but we will abide by whatever the BCCI says”, he added.

KCA president and BCCI vice president T.C. Mathew said: "We have requested [the BCCI] that in the light of the court itself exonerating Sreesanth from the case, the ban imposed on him be lifted and we will wait for the response”.  Sreesanth has been given permission to practice at the KCA’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, and the Association is hoping he will be able to play for Kerala in the forthcoming Ranji Trophy first class season.

The Mumbai and Kerala Cricket Associations may have made moves in regards to bans the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) gave Sreesanth and Chavan, but the Haryana Cricket Association (HCA) has no such plans in regard to Ajit Chandila.  BCCI treasurer and HCA secretary Aniruddh Chaudhary made it clear on Thursday that his Association would not make any plea to the Board regarding Chandila.  

"There is a BCCI suspension on Ajit Chandila and until the Board decides otherwise, we are not thinking on those lines”, said Chaudhary.  Another HCA official said that “as far as our Association is concerned” Chandila “would not even be allowed to play even a district match”.

Last week the BCCI said that while the trio had been cleared by the court, their disciplinary processes and the evidence they had gathered on their activities meant that they were not planning to move on lifting any of the bans (PTG 1603-7780, 27 July 2015).  

Headline: Cricket in Britain is under threat from its own success.

Article from: New Statesman

Journalist:  David Skelton.

Published: Thursday, 30 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,812.

It’s ten years since that incredible Ashes series that captured the imagination of the nation and that enthralling Edgbaston Test. So many great memories, two evenly matched teams and even the right result. I was in a packed Regent’s Park watching the coverage of the final Test and the series really captured the public imagination. Even the footage of a clearly “tired” Andy Flintoff on the open-topped bus parade the day after victory became a national cause celebrate. 

That series reaffirmed the role that cricket has in our national life – becoming the talk of schools, pubs and workplaces.  The latest Ashes started a few weeks ago and saw the Aussies thumping us at Lords after a great England win in the first test. But who was watching? 

Compare the national feeling of ten years ago with the very muted sense of anticipation that preceded this year's series. There are potentially a few reasons for this – Ashes series have become more regular and the England team now isn’t as strong as the team in 2005. But a far more important reason is, quite simply, that much fewer people are able to watch it.

The 2005 series was broadcast free to air on Channel 4, whereas this year’s Ashes and every series over the past decade has been tucked away on Sky Sports (PTG 1591-7682, 14 July 2015). We have to acknowledge that Sky’s coverage of Test match cricket has been superb. Their commentary team is excellent, their use of technology is pioneering and they’ve broadcast coverage of overseas Tests that other broadcasters were unwilling to do (PTG 1585-7722, 19 July 2015). 

But the problem remains that tucking Test match coverage, and particularly Ashes coverage, away on Sky Sports, greatly limits the potential Test audience. And this is reflected in the viewing figures. The peak viewing figure for the 2005 series was almost 9 million. In the last home Ashes series, the peak viewing figure was a mere 1.3 million – the live audience for the Ashes has effectively been cut by over 80 per cent. The World Snooker final in Sheffield had almost three times as many live viewers as the last home Ashes series.

Cricket needs to ask itself whether it can afford to have its audience limited in this way. Over the past few years participation in our national summer game has been declining alarmingly, with a fall from 908,000 to 844,000 in one year alone (PTG 1463-7085, 20 November 2014). Despite valiant efforts by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), cricket in state schools is still an exception rather than a rule, meaning that the England team has become increasingly posh.

Indeed, Alan Milburn was even moved to include the England cricket team as an example of slow social mobility in his recent ‘Elitist Britain’ report. The decline of pits and steelworks also led to a decline in work sponsored cricket teams in many working class towns and villages.  

As Ed Smith said in the 'New Statesman' a few months ago, “cricket’s place in the wider sporting culture is under grave threat”.  Cricket needs to go out of its way to increase its appeal and to maintain its hold on national life. That should mean its greatest showcase being available to the widest possible audience.

Terrestrial TV coverage brings many advantages beyond larger audience share. The joy of cricket when it was on free to air TV was its ability to trap and beguile the ‘accidental’ viewer. If somebody has to actively buy a satellite dish and take out a Sky Sports subscription, the accidental viewer effectively becomes an endangered species and only confirmed cricket fans will be watching the action. It’s much less likely that kids will aspire to be like the new cricketing role models they find if they’re much less likely to watch cricket. 

BBC’s coverage of the FA Cup and the Six Nations and Channel 4’s Cheltenham and Grand National coverage also shows the power of cross-promotion that comes with terrestrial coverage, with plugs being thrown in on everything from Breakfast to the 'One Show'.

The ECB would probably counter that the BBC or Channel 4 have shown little interest in bidding for Test match rights since 2005, but there’s also little sign that the ECB have done much to encourage them. It’s all well and good for the ECB and the counties to take the big cheque from Sky, but what is limiting the audience doing to the long-term vitality of the game?

If there is a solution that allows Sky to maintain its grip on most of the coverage but also allows terrestrial TV to be a shop window for the sport, then it should surely be considered? Cricket can no longer ignore the impact of declining viewing figures, falling participation rates and a gradual dwindling of interest in the sport. The game is one of our greatest gifts to the world and the ECB needs to take steps to ensure that cricket doesn't become a minority interest in the land of its birth.

Headline: CA Prime Minister's XI match moved to October.

Article from: The Canberra Times.

Journalist:  Jon Tuxworth.

Published: Friday, 31 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,813.

The Australian Prime Minister's XI concept will receive a big shot in the arm with its move to October expected to solve the issue of under-strength teams playing in the fixture.  The match has been played in early January in recent years, meaning a host of quality players who could be eligible for the fixture were unavailable due to Big Bash League duties.  But with this year's clash against New Zealand to kick start the international calendar on Friday, 23 October, the Prime Minister's XI line-up should be the strongest for some time. 

Last year the fixture against England copped a blow when former Australian player Michael Hussey was forced to withdraw late through injury, and Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins were the only big names in the squad.   Chairman of the Australian Capital Territory Cricket Association Ian McNamee admitted the unavailability of star players had been a concern and was pleased to avoid the situation. 

"It has been [a factor] and Cricket Australia had that in mind at the time, they're very conscious of the PM's team being strong and that would have been one of the considerations of having the game at that particular time”, McNamee said. "The favoured time has always up before the first or second week in December when so many people start to leave Canberra.  "In the past [when it was played] in the new year it wasn't quite as popular as when we had it in December.  "We're more than happy”, with the change, said McNamee.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he looks forward to "welcoming the New Zealand team to Canberra to add another chapter to the strong friendship between our two countries”.  CA chief executive James Sutherland was pleased the Prime Minister's XI would signal the beginning of international cricket against "one of the most competitive teams on the international stage”.  The Prime Minister's XI team will be selected by CA's national selection panel with input from Abbott and announced closer to the match.

Editor’s note: The PM’s XI one-day match will be the New Zealand tourist’s "first official match" before the first Test match in Brisbane some two weeks.  Whether the Canberra match will be played in a day-night pink ball format as suggested it might be last week is not clear at this time (PTG 1600-7762, 24 July 2015).  New Zealand Cricket 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.   

Headline: Cricket during Bangladesh’s Monsoon season a challenge.

Article from: Match reports.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Friday, 31 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,814.

While it was the monsoon showers that disrupted the first Test between Bangladesh and South Africa in Chittagong last week, something much more fierce interfered in the second Test at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Thursday. Cyclone ‘Komen' caused day two of the second Test to be called off without a single delivery being bowled.  It is the third time in the two-match Test series that a day has had to be called off due to incessant rainfall. 

Editor’s note:  Playing cricket during Bangladesh’s Monsoon season is fraught with challenges.  Climate data for Mirpur where the current Test is being played shows that July and August are by far the wettest months, both averaging 260-280 mm, almost three times the amount normally recorded in the other ten months.  Chittagong where the first Test was played has an average of 585 mm in the month of July, with June and August the months alongside it averaging over 500 mm.  Rain is recorded in Chittagong on an average of 25 days in July. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,608

  Sunday, 2 August 2015


• Banned player seeks help to pay ECB fine, costs [1608-7815]

• Anderson injury saves Warwickshire money [1608-7816]

• CA ‘Roadshow’ reality differs from ‘Roadshow’ PR [1608-7817]

• Bird to unveil new players’ balcony at Headingley [1608-7818]

• BCB sets the next BPL ball rolling [1608-7819]

• Cricketers all in on drug fight [1608-7820]

• ODI ‘Diamond Ducks’ that were not run outs [1608-7821]

• Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published [1608-7822]

Headline: Banned player seeks help to pay ECB fine, costs.

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Saturday, 1 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,815.

Former Pakistan leg spinner Danish Kaneria is hoping against hope that Pakistan's cricket authorities and cricket community will come to his rescue after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) stepped up its efforts to recover the the £100,000 ($A165,000) they are owed by him as a result of his activities and the cost of related hearings (PTG 1089-5308, 14 april 2013).

The ECB fined Kaneria and banned him for life in June 2012 for spot-fixing related activities in County matches (PTG 954-4627, 26 June 2012), and despite a number of appeals in the time since, including to the International Cricket Council, he has failed to have that censure overturned (PTG 1475-7136, 5 December 2014).

Headline: Anderson injury saves Warwickshire money.

Article from: UK Daily Telegraph.

Journalist:  Nick Hoult.

Published: Friday, 31 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,816.

Warwickshire County Cricket Club would have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds had England wrapped up victory over Australia inside two days in the third Test. Such a dramatic result looked very much on the cards at Edgbaston just after 5 pm on Thursday as the tourists collapsed to 6/111 in their second innings and faced an embarrassing innings defeat, but the injury to James Anderson blunted England's pace assault in the final hour. 

Anderson's injury may have been a blessing in disguise  for Warwickshire.  Had England secured their win on Thursday, Warwickshire would have had to refund all tickets for day three and lost substantial bar takings and income from sold-out hospitality, for which they were not insured.  The club was insured for the match ending after three days -.which is likely to happen on Friday as England look to claim the last three Australian wickets and overturn what is likely to be a modest run target. 

The reason clubs do not take out costly insurance for two-day finishes is that they are so rare in Test cricket. The last one in England was 15 years ago at Headingley when England beat West Indies by an innings and 39 runs in a match that saw only 156.5 overs bowled. 

Headline: CA ‘Roadshow’ reality differs from ‘Roadshow’ PR.

Article from: Reports, documentation.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Saturday, 1 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,817.

Cricket Australia's (CA) recent claims that 'Australian Cricket’ is to "reach out" to the hundreds of thousands of participants involved in the game "from grass roots to elite level” over the next six weeks via visits of its ‘Roadshow’ team around the country, apparently does not include match officials.   CA specifically mentioned umpires. but nor scorers, in publicity it released ahead of the first ‘Roadshow’ in Brisbane last week (PTG 1604-7788, 28 July 2015).

News from last weekend’s first Roadshow in Brisbane, and more recent publicity distributed by a number of State cricket associations, talks about the 'National Player Pathway Roadshow; and says its aim "is to communicate directly with Australian Cricket’s key stakeholders”.  There is mention of talent pathways, new coaching resources available to support clubs, associations and schools, funding opportunities and facilities - but apparently nothing in regard to match officials.

CA’s match officials unit has over many years, and under a range of managers, had the identification, training, development and management of umpires for the domestic first class game and above as its key focus; while scorers drift to the top via years of service with their respective state associations, their promotions in general terms not being part of CA’s match officials focus.  

While the need to find appropriate umpires, and allocate the resources necessary, for higher-level work is obvious, CA have yet to succeed in widening its umpiring and scoring work into a coordinated national effort that provides modern, up-to-date training materials and a range of other initiatives needed to recruit and retain those match officials who support the game at club level. 

A year ago a range of promotional materials prepared by CA strategists to support the launch of its 2014-15 national 'PlayCricket Week’ and player 'National Sign Up Campaign’ initiatives, contained no mention of the need for, or opportunities available to, scorers and umpires. 

Headline: Bird to unveil new players’ balcony at Headingley.

Article from: Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Friday, 31 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,818.

Former English umpire ‘Dickie’ Bird is to officially open the new player’s balcony at Headingley on Monday during the interval in the one-day game between Yorkshire and Leicestershire.  Bird, 82, who is currently serving his second term in office as Yorkshire president, has funded the project to the tune of £135,000 ($A290,000), a move that means the players will now benefit from being outside watching play rather than behind glass in the current viewing area (PTG 1548-7443, 5 April 2015). 

Bird will officially cut the ribbon, of an area that has been named for him, alongside Yorkshire’s director of cricket Martyn Moxon, captain Andrew Gale and chief executive Mark Arthur.  “This is going to be one of the proudest days of my life”, said Bird, who played for both Yorkshire and Leicestershire over an eight year period from 1956-64 before taking up umpiring.

“Yorkshire cricket is my life. I watch every match and the team gives me so much pleasure. It is going to be wonderful seeing the players using the new balcony and enhancing their experience of watching the game.  I do hope my little bit of giving something back will increase their chances of winning back-to-back County Championships and the possibility of progressing in the 50-over competition”.

The balcony has been developed above the sightscreen at the Kirkstall Lane end of the ground directly behind the bowlers arm offering an key vantage point of the playing area.

Headline: BCB sets the next BPL ball rolling.

Article from: Daily Star.

Journalist:  Not stated.

Published: Saturday, 1 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,819.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has started work to stage the third edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) by advertising for expressions of interest (EOI) from interested corporate houses or organisations to buy franchise ownership rights for a period of four years from 2015-18.  The BPL governing council's member secretary IH Mallick, who is also a director of the BCB, said that they decided to go for a fresh tender process because the contracts with the previous franchise owners had been terminated.

The BCB is planning to start what will be the third edition of the trouble-hit Twenty20 competition in the last week of November, an event that in the past has seen players found guilty of, and banned for, match-fixing activities (PTG 1454-7048, 24 October 2014).  The BCB is inviting new franchises from the regional teams of Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Rangpur and Sylhet, next Friday being the closing date for interested parties to lodge their EOIs.  Mallick indicated that old franchise owners would only be able to stay in the tournament if they clear the monies they owe from previous series.

Headline: Cricketers all in on drug fight.

Article from: Sunraysia Daily.

Journalist:  Toni Brient.

Published: Friday, 31 July 2015.

PTG listing: 7,820.

Cricket clubs in Australia's Sunraysia region of northwestern Victoria and southwestern New South Wales agree that tackling drugs in sport is a task for players, coaches, club leaders and leagues alike.  The Sunraysia Cricket Association had a brush with the issue in recent months with former Merbein South Cricket Club captain-coach Adam Thomson ­admitting he had undergone rehabilitation to recover from heavy use of ‘ice’, a serious man-made drug.

Red Cliffs Cricket Association president Dom Leach said no clubs had come forward expressing concerns about drug use among players, but avenues such as attending workshops or counselling would be encouraged for those affected if the issue arose.  “I think the responsibility would lie not with one sole person or entity, but with everyone involved in that sort of thing”, he said.  “We would encourage anyone who is experiencing these troubles or undergoing issues with drugs such as ‘ice' is to come forward and seek support for the betterment of themselves and others around them”.

Headline: ODI ‘Diamond Ducks’ that were not run outs.

Article from: Research.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.

Published: Saturday, 1 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,821.

Imagine getting out without ‘Diamond Duck’ fashion and a run-out not being involved. There have been only two such instances in One Day Internationals (ODI), the first being Canadian Henry Osinde who was stumped off a leg side ‘wide’ delivered’ by Australian-born Irish player Alex Cusack in a 2009 World Cup Qualifier in South Africa.  India’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar became the second such victim in February last year, the ‘wide’ being delivered by Sri Lanka’s Ajantha Mendis in an Asia Cup match in Fatullah. 

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

Article from:  The Guardian. 

Journalist:  John Holder and Paul Trevillion. 

Published: Friday, 31 July 2015. 

PTG listing: 7,822. 

A batsman who hands the ball back to the bowler after it becomes lodged between the stumps, a ball that becomes stuck in the spikes of a fielder who wants to throw down the stumps, and the deliberate deflection of a ball that could have been caught in order to dismiss the non-striker who is the better batsman, 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 1,609

  Monday, 3 August 2015

 

• 'Code of Ethics' for officials next on BCCI agenda [1609-7823]

• Cardiff match abandoned due to ‘unplayable’ pitch [1609-7824]

• Announcement of 2015-16 NZ panels awaited [1609-7825]

• No Association challenge planned on Mumbai player’s life ban [1609-7826]

• CA select 10 umpires for key national pathway series [1609-7827]

Headline: 'Code of Ethics' for officials next on BCCI agenda.

Article from: Wisden India.

Journalist:  Wisden Staff.                             

Published: Sunday, 2 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,823

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have started the process of preparing a Code of Ethics for all board officials, adding to the steps they have taken in recent times to try and clean up the game (PTG 1602-7774, 26 July 2015).  “To ensure transparency, BCCI would get the draft ethics code vetted and finalised by an eminent senior lawyer with impeccable credibility and reputation”, explained BCCI secretary Anurag Thakurin in a statement.

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya said that when finalised the Code of Ethics, which will "define important core values for behaviour and conduct within the BCCI", would "be a good way to ensure that administrators and other officials stick to the straight and narrow” so that "administrators and officials refrain from anything that could be harmful to BCCI’s aims and objectives".

The BCCI had earlier sent a letter to all their officials, including in the state associations, asking them to sign an undertaking declaring that they do not have conflict of interest while holding functionary posts, whether at the BCCI or at the associations they represent.  The ‘no conflict of interest’ clause would encompass direct business links with any cricketing affairs in BCCI, including stakes in IPL teams, sponsorship or player benefits.

Along with the proposed Code of Ethics, the BCCI have also decided to put in place a system of accrediting player agents to ensure that those handling cricketers’ commercial interests are also bound by a code of conduct.  “In order to make the structure thorough enough and to ensure that player agents are bound by the set of laws and the code of conduct, a thorough and extensive Player Agent Accreditation System would be in place soon”, said Dalmiya.

Details regarding the Code of Ethics and the agent accreditation system are to be discussed in the next working committee meeting of the BCCI.

Headline: Cardiff match abandoned due to ‘unplayable’ pitch.

Article from: ‘Cricinfo’ web site.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Sunday, 2 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,824.

The one-day match between Glamorgan and Hampshire at Cardiff on Sunday was abandoned after umpires Paul Baldwin and Neil Mallender deemed the pitch unplayable. Michael Carberry and Jimmy Adams, the Hampshire openers, were both struck by rising deliveries and the game was called off after 6.4 overs of the second innings of the match.

Baldwin and Mallender consulted with the captains after Adams was struck on the side of the head when playing forward to a good length delivery from Glamorgan seamer Michael Hogan. Hampshire were 0/26 at the time chasing 183 to win, with Carberry having received treatment after also been hit on the helmet in Hogan's second over.  Glamorgan had managed to get through their 50 overs, although at one stage there were 7/102 in their innings. 

The match was being televised by ‘Sky’ due to the third Ashes Test finishing early, and cricket liaison officer Tony Pigott explained the decision. "The situation is the two umpires have decided that the pitch is unplayable, it's unfit and have called the game off”, Pigott said. "It's very dry and it's turned in the first innings, it's unpredictable bounce”.

Hugh Morris, Glamorgan's chief executive and director of cricket, called it "a dark day for the club" and promised an inquiry into what had happened.  The England and Wales Cricket Board is expected to carry out an investigation that could result in sanctions. Glamorgan started this year’s one-day competition with a two-point deduction after being punished for producing a poor pitch in last season's competition - the pitch used on this occasion being the same one (PTG 1414-6829, 16 August 2014) .

Jacques Rudolph, Glamorgan's captain, had been unwilling to take off Hogan in favour of a slow bowler and said the umpires had made the "right decision". Hampshire captain James Vince consulted with Adams and Carberry before agreeing to the abandonment.  "The whole situation isn't ideal, it's a real shame for both teams and the crowd”, Adams said. 

Cardiff was the venue for the opening Test of the current Ashes when variable bounce was a feature of the surface as England won inside four days.

Headline: Announcement of 2015-16 NZ panels awaited.

Article from: Analysis.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Sunday, 2 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,825.

With long-serving New Zealand umpire Gary Baxter having retired from the game, a spot has opened up on New Zealand Cricket’s nine-man domestic Elite Umpires Panel for the 2015-16 season.  An announcement on just who will replace him is expected sometime this month, together with whether ‘Billy’ Bowden, who was dropped by the International Cricket Council (ICC) from its Elite Umpires Panel in June (PTG 1561-7505, 5 June 2015), will again rejoin the New Zealand section of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) and NZC’s top domestic panel.

Bowden could replace compatriot Chris Gaffaney, who was promoted by the ICC, on both the IUP and NZC’s top panel, while if past appointments are a guide former first class player Chris Brown will take Baxter’s position (PTG 1454-7050, 24 October 2014).  Cook Islands-born Brown made his umpiring debut at first class level early in 2013, and was the only non-NZC elite panel member to be allocated such games last austral summer.  He was selected to stand in four domestic first class games by NZC in each of the past two seasons as well as two and three List A fixtures and one and two Twenty20 games respectively.

Headline: No Association challenge planned on Mumbai player’s life ban.

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Sunday, 2 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,826.

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has decided not to challenge the ban imposed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on player Ankeet Chavan, who is the subject of a lifetime ban in relation to the 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing case (PTG 1607-7811, 1 August 2015).  Chavan had requested MCA for support and be allowed to resume his cricket career after a court in Delhi dismissed the IPL case against him (PTG 1602-7771, 26 July 2015).

Of Chavan’s two fellow banned players, the Haryana Cricket Association (HCA) has no such plans to have Ajit Chandila’s case looked at by the BCCI, while the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) has urged the national body to lift the ban on former Indian pace bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.  The BCCI itself has indicated it has no plans to consider allowing any of the three to return to the game (PTG 1603-7780, 27 July 2015).

Headline: CA select 10 umpires for key national pathway series.

Article from: Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Monday, 3 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,827.

Information collated from a number of Victoria-based sources indicates that Cricket Australia (CA) has selected 10 umpires to stand in its expanded 2015-16 men’s Under-19 tournament in Brisbane.  CA has added two extra teams to the coming tournament and hence needed to name an additional two umpires this year (PTG 1604-7788, 28 July 2015), the event being a key milestone on CA’s umpire’s pathway that leads to potential selection to its Emerging Umpires Panel (EUP) and beyond that the National Umpires Panel (NUP).  

Those selected for the event are understood to be: Murray Branch and Donovan Koch (Queensland); Stephen Brne, Dale Ireland and David Shepard (Victoria); Anthony Hobson, Ben Treloar and David Taylor (New South Wales); and James Hewitt and Nathan Johnstone (Western Australia).  Shepard, who is currently on CA’s EUP and Project Panel (PTG 1607-7810, 1 August 2015), has played first class cricket for Victoria, as has Koch who played for Boland and Western Province in South Africa.

Johnstone is the umpiring veteran of the group having been on the fringes of NUP selection for most of the last decade.  He was on-field in a total of 5 List A games earlier 3-4 years ago before being dropped from CA’s EUP group.  The coming Under-19 series will be his fourth in seven years, the national body also selecting him for two Emerging Players Tournaments and a total of 19 state second XI games during that time.  CA does not normally hold umpires at that level for so long, either promoting or demoting them in fairly short order.

Others who have stood in the Under-19 event previously are: Branch, Hewitt, Shepard and Taylor once each and Treloar twice.  Brne, Hewitt, Koch, Ireland, Shepard, Taylor have one CA men’s Under-17 Championship on their resume, and Johnstone and Treloar two each.  Koch’s previous experience includes standing in Minor Counties, and England and Wales Cricket Board second XI Championship fixtures.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,610

  Tuesday, 4 August 2015

 

• Batsman vows to wear helmet after ‘sickening’ head strike [1610-7828]

• Investigation underway after player, official 'attacked' during match [1610-7829]

• International schedule pushed Bangladesh Tests into monsoon season [1610-7830]

• Accounts for running Hyderabad league operations queried [1610-7831]

Headline: Batsman vows to wear helmet after ‘sickening’ head strike.

Article from: News Letter.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Sunday, 2 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,828.

Instonian Cricket Club captain Neil Russell has pledged to bat with a helmet from now on against pace after suffering a sickening blow to the side of his head in Saturday’s Northern Cricket Union Challenge Cup final at Comber in Northern Ireland.  Russell was fortunate he was not more seriously hurt after he was struck on the head attempting a hook shot off CIYMS bowler John Thompson. 

Russell was forced to retire hurt before later returning to the crease in an heroic or perhaps reckless fashion.  However, he is adamant his previous refusal to wear a helmet was not bravado. “Johnny and I have had some great competition over the years, I have pulled him and hooked him for plenty of fours and sixes, but it’s not any form of bravado on my part or anything, I literally hate wearing helmets”, said Russell. 

He says that he “struggles to see the ball when wearing a helmet and it was a decision I took years ago. I never grew up wearing helmets and it was something I wasn’t accustomed to. But going forward against pacemen I will be wearing a helmet for it has scared both me and a lot of people who were watching”. 

Headline: Investigation underway after player, official 'attacked' during match.

Article from: South Wales Evening Post.

Journalist:  Chris Peregrine                            

Published: Monday, 3 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,829.

An investigation is under way after a player and an official from the Bronwydd Cricket Club in Wales were allegedly attacked during their team's National Village Cup quarter final match in Walsall on Sunday.  The Carmarthen club lost the fixture at the Pelsall Cricket and Sports Club, a game that was marred by crowd disturbances which included someone setting fire to a Welsh flag.

Bronwydd chairman Matthew Jones said: "There was a football match next door and supporters from that came into the ground. We had a Welsh flag tied to the railing and one of them, for some reason, lit the flag. It burned a four or five inch hole in it. I managed to put it out. An altercation took place and another supporter came towards me with a head butt. He made contact, but I was okay".

"Then he struck one of the Bronwydd players in the eye. People were pulled apart and it all fizzled out. I told our players after the match to get showered and we would go. That is unusual for us as we always socialise with the other team. But we have got no problem with Pelsall. We would play them anytime again. Their players and supporters were just as disgusted as us”.

Pelsall secretary Simon Thomas apologised to Brownydd and said an investigation was under way.  "I can confirm that an incident did take place yesterday which rather spoilt what was an otherwise great day where both sets of players were a credit to the game and 99 per cent of the supporters and watchers enjoyed each other's company with a bit of friendly banter thrown in”, he said.

"Unfortunately I was on the other side of the ground when the incident took place and we are in the process of investigating it. However from some witnesses I spoke to yesterday it would appear that a scuffle broke out between some representatives of Bronwydd and a small group of individuals with no link to the club. There had been a football match on the adjacent ground. However it is unclear if this is where they had come from".

George Fitzmaurice, business development executive of 'The Cricketer' magazine which runs the competition, confirmed the matter was under investigation, although he would not be drawn on any possible action.  "We are currently fact-finding to get an understanding of what happened”, he said. "Once we have got the information we will let people know."

Rain forced the abandonment of the original tie at Bronwydd on the last Sunday of July after just two overs, meaning Bronwydd lost home advantage for the replay on Sunday.

 

Headline: International schedule pushed Bangladesh Tests into monsoon season.

Article from: Agence France Presse.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Monday, 3 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,830.

Senior Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) chiefs on Monday defended the decision to host South Africa for a Test series during the monsoon months of July and August, saying no other dates were available.  BCB officials were queried on the matter after the fifth day of the second Test between the two sides in Dhaka was abandoned due to a waterlogged ground, the fourth-straight day play in the game was not possible.  Before that the last two days of the first Test in Chittagong had also been washed out.

South African captain Hashim Amla said he was frustrated at being part of what he called a "bizarre" series.  "This is one of the most bizarre Test series I have been involved in”, the usually unflappable Amla said. "I don't think I have played a series where out of 10 days, six days have been rained off”.  Bangladesh's one-off Test against India in Chittagong in June was also abandoned after rain washed out nearly nine of the 15 sessions of play.

The monsoon season, which usually starts in mid-June and runs into August-September, accounts for 80 per cent of Bangladesh's annual rainfall  (PTG 1607-7814, 1 August 2015).  Last year the Bangladesh Meteorological Department recorded over 45,000 millimetres of rain across the country from June to August.  Unfortunately, the Dhaka Test also coincided with what some reports say was cyclonic storm ‘Komen' in the Bay of Bengal, which made landfall on the country's east coast on Friday and brought heavy rain.

BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said the tight international schedule of both India and South Africa forced his board to hold the Test series against them during the monsoon for the first time.  "This was the only available slot we got from the South African board”, said Chowdhury.  "We had communicated to them the rain factor but there was no alternative [as] if we did not host them now we would have had to wait till 2023”.

As for India, Chowdhury added that arranging to host them was the toughest job for any country.  "We all know how busy the Indian team is”, he said, “so we had no choice but to play them in June."

Bangladesh Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim appealed to teams to visit his country between October and May.  "We always want to play the big teams during our cricket season”, he said. "But they are usually busy then”.  "The more we play them, the more we will learn”, he said.

Headline: Accounts for running Hyderabad league operations queried.

Article from: The Hindu.

Journalist:  V V Subrahmanyam                             

Published: Monday, 3 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,831.

Is the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) hosting the costliest league in India? Well, it seems so if the copy of accounts circulated to some of its Executive Committee members are any indication.  They suggest that 9,300,000 Rupees ($A200,000, £UK93,000) was spent between last September and March to run matches in the 11 leagues that come under the HCA’s aegis. 

The break-up of that money shows that almost half of it, 4,229,750 Rupees ($A90,670, £42,300), went to umpire fees.  Normally umpires earn either 500, 800 or 1,000 Rupees a day ($A10, $A17 and $A21.50, or £5, £8 and £10) depending on which HCA league they are standing in.  Therefore if the highest fee level is used, the figure of some 4,229 umpire days were involved seems very high.  

Scorers on the other hand are said to have cost the HCA a total of 571,000 Rupees ($A12,240, £5,716).  If you meet any scorer they will always complain of not being paid adequately which is contrary to this huge sum. 

Next on the list is a whopping 682,000 Rupees ($A14,600, £6,827) towards the purchase of pitch matting for HCA games even though each quality mat costs about 15,000 Rupees ($A321, £150).  Those figures mean a total of 43 pitch matts were purchased in just one season.  Then there is a total of 189,000 Rupees ($A4,049, £1,891) that was spent towards league match catering.   

So, amidst this backdrop it was not a surprise that the accounts, which have been send it to the HCA Executive Committee for approval, were not audited by a certified agency or even cleared by the HCA Finance Sub-committee headed by Surender Agarwal, 

Meanwhile, after disconnecting the power supply to the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium on Saturday evening because of the alleged pilfering of power, the Hyderabad Electricity Department fined the HCA 12,000,000 Rupees ($A257,100, £120,100).  “Electricity officials were misled”, said HCA Secretary K. John Manoj, as “we have been regularly paying the monthly bill of around 350,000 Rupees [$A7,500, £3,502] without fail”.  “What is surprising”, continued Manoj, "is the charge of pilferage when a senior electricity official visits the stadium every month and seals the meter after each reading”. 

Amidst this backdrop, the focus shifts to the HCA’s Annual General Meeting scheduled for the last Sunday of this month. Ironically, all this was happening right under the nose of the Justice R.M. Lodha panel which was in the city for the weekend seeking suggestions to restructure the Board of Control for Cricket in India (PTG 1597-7732, 21 July 2015), of which the HCA is an affiliated unit.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,611

  Wednesday, 5 August 2015


• Aussie survey shows continued game growth, but questions remain [1611-7832]

• BCCI concerned about state of pitches [1611-7833]

Headline: Aussie survey shows continued game growth, but questions remain.

Article from: Australian Cricket Census.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Wednesday, 5 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,832.

Cricket Australia’s (CA) thirteenth 'Australian Cricket Census' (ACC) shows that "a record" 1.2 million Australians participated in the game there in 2014-15, an "almost 10 per cent jump" on the previous year when the one million mark was first passed (PTG 1411-6815, 12 August 2014).  The new survey, data from which were released on Tuesday, shows positive trends in female, schools, junior, indigenous and multicultural programs, something CA says “shows cricket’s changing face” and “diversity", but progress being made in other areas, including that of match officials, is far less clear. 

According to the census there were 1,208,360 total “participants” in cricket in Australia in 2014-15, a rise of 9 per cent, which was less than the 16 per cent reported for 2013-14 and more like the 8.2 per cent rise for the 2012-13 year (PTG 1189-7534, 16 September 2013).  The ACC defines a ‘participant’ as someone who "participates in at least four sessions of a formal cricket program”. 

Female, schools (628,826 participants) and junior (73,686 aged 9-12 years) programs experienced the highest rates of growth last year.  Nearly one in four of cricket’s participants are now either “women or girls”, the number being up an overall 18 per cent on the previous year to 290,566.  Participation among indigenous Australians and multicultural populations is also said to have grown, reaching 26,427 and 146,658, respectively, while 10,292 people with a disability were involved.

Overall a total of "24,961 teams" are said to have been involved in 2014-15, 23,111 of them being "traditional 11-a-side teams”, and the other 1,850 what are described as "modified teams”, although just what that means is not explained.   "Club and community” participants are put at 415,104, and indoor participants at 164,430.

It is difficult to compare this year’s team numbers with data provided last year for on that occasion CA talked about the number of clubs who operated in 2013-14.  Last year club numbers were said to be 3,995 and the number of associations 477.  What the figures for clubs and associations were for the last 12 months is not stated in CA’s report of census data published on its web site news page yesterday.   

The only reference to match officials in 2014-15 data is to "4,353 umpires" being involved, that statistic being mentioned in a graphic that summarised survey data and not in the accompanying text.  Just what it means in not clear, especially as last year the only reference to match officials was to “1,611 umpires trained”, again with no explanation.  As in the past this year's ACC made no reference to scoring or scorer numbers.

Commenting on the survey, CA’s chief executive James Sutherland is quoted as saying: “We are very pleased with the nine per cent overall increase to 1.2 million", and he went on to point to the "increased number of females in the game”.  “Whilst [female] growth is something that we are particularly proud of, diversity will continue to be an area of strong focus, including the desire to see significant increases in Indigenous and multicultural participant numbers”, said the chief executive. 

Sutherland went on to say that the results demonstrate that cricket is a sport of choice across Australia and his organisation's approach to attracting, developing and keeping people in the game is continuing to improve.  He paid tribute to the "volunteers right across the country" who had helped grow the sport, saying: “We are incredibly grateful for the work of cricket’s 50,000 plus volunteers who contribute millions of hours each year to meet the day-to-day challenges of supporting and growing our participant base”. 

CA’s web site story on the latest census describes its findings as being from “new independent figures" that were compiled by specialist research company Street Ryan and Associates.  Just how accurate the independence claim is is open to question though, for the basic figures on which Street Ryan worked were provided by the eight states and territory cricket associations who "are responsible for recording the number of programs, teams and registered players within their [ambit]”.

Headline: BCCI concerned about state of pitches.

Article from: Cricbuzz.

Journalist:  Arani Basu.                             

Published: Tuesday, 4 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,833.

When it comes to high-profile cricket in India, the nature of pitches almost always finds place in the list of concerns. Now, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) staring at a busy international calendar which will clash with the premier domestic tournaments, it has developed a plan to ensure that the pitches for international matches aren’t affected by the deluge of domestic matches (PTG 1597-7736, 21 July 2015).

For one, the board is worried about captains of state teams tinkering with the nature of the pitch to gain home advantage. A top BCCI official said: "It is certainly a matter of concern. The board has set a guideline for the local curators. The pitches for domestic four-day matches have to be seamer-friendly for the first two days before taking sufficient amount of turn. It can't be overtly grassy or a rank turner. It's up to the state associations, especially the major international centres, to ensure the home teams don't tamper with the nature of the pitch".

According to the official, amongst India’s major Test playing centres, a lot of complaints have come from Delhi and Chennai in the last two years. Both venues are slated to host crucial international matches starting with the South Africa series leading to the World Twenty20 Championship early next year. The official also said that special emphasis has been put on providing enough rest to the venues hosting international games during a domestic season that will see around 900 matches being played. Under BCCI guidelines, a ground for an international match has to be shut for preparations for 20-30 days.

The BCCI official said: "This guideline has been there for some years now. But it's good to see that the board has finally managed to set out an itinerary that adheres to the guideline. Most centres now have more than 15 days time to prepare pitches for international matches. From now, they have enough time to pick the strip they want to play the international match on so a majority of domestic games can be played on other strips”.

The official added: "The curators have been briefed about technologically-advanced fertilisers which are now available in India. They should carry out the renovation of the pitches during the off-season”.  There is also a proposal to expand the BCCI pitch committee to bring in younger curators. "There needs to be a next line of curators ready to deal with greater responsibilities once the veterans are phased out. Delhi and Kolkata are two centres who have young boys already working on the pitches”, said the official. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,612

  Thursday, 6 August 2015

 

• ECB delays decision on Cardiff points [1612-7834]

• Neutral officials for Lanka-India Tests named [1612-7835]

• BCCI Planning to make IPL-9 ‘a grand success' [1612-7836]

• Kaneria summoned by High Court on ECB petition [1612-7837]

• Bermudan team loses appeal against match result [1612-7838]

• Upgrading of Queenstown ground could cost $NZ350,000 [1612-7839]

Headline: ECB delays decision on Cardiff points.

Article from: Southern Daily Echo.

Journalist:  Simon Walter.                             

Published: Wednesday, 5 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,834.

Hampshire will have to wait until next week before the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) decides whether to award them both points from Sunday's abandoned one-day match against Glamorgan.  The game was stopped 6.4 overs into the second innings after umpires Paul Baldwin and Neil Mallender deemed the pitch unplayable, both Hampshire openers having been struck by rising deliveries (PTG 1609-7824, 3 August 2015).

As it stands, Hampshire and Glamorgan have been awarded a point apiece from the Cardiff debacle, the standard allocation following a ‘no-result’.  Not until the ECB's Cricket Discipline Commission meets next week, when Hampshire will have played six of their eight one-day group games, will the side know whether common sense has prevailed.

An ECB spokesman said: “The ECB Cricket Liaison Officer for the match has filed a report and the ECB sent a pitch consultant to [Cardiff] on Monday to take a closer look”.  “These findings and the reports from the match umpires will be presented to the Cricket Discipline Commission to decide on the appropriate steps”.

Hampshire will feel very hard done by if they are not given both points. They were well ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis calculation used to determine rained-off matches when at least ten overs of both innings have been bowled.  The County’s director of cricket Giles White said: “It was an unfortunate day for everyone, mostly for Glamorgan - I wouldn’t wish that on anyone”.  

“[Glamorgan chief executive] Hugh Morris handled it very well from their perspective and so did Tony Pigott, the ECB’s pitch liaison officer”, continued White, for: “Player safety is of paramount importance so the right decision was made but it’s frustrating because of the points situation”.  “There’s a strong case for us having [the points]”  "We’ve contacted the ECB, who understand our position”.

Headline: Neutral officials for Lanka-India Tests named.

Article from: ICC.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Thursday, 6 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,835.

Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, Nigel Llong of England, and Australians Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucket of Australia have been named as the neutral officials for the three Tests Sri Lanka and India are to play later this month.  Pycroft will oversee all three games as the match referee, Oxenford will be on-ground with Llong in Galle and Tucker in Tamil Union, before Llong and Tucker stand together in the final match in Colombo.

With no Umpire Decision Review System in operation, Sri Lankan members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, Ranmore Martinez, Ruchira Palliyaguru and Ravindra Wimalasiri, are the candidates for third and fourth umpire positions during the Test series.  Martinez and Palliyaguru have worked in the third umpire's role in a Test 7 and 3 times previously respectively, however, Wimalasiri is yet to debut as a third umpire in a Test match.

Headline: BCCI Planning to make IPL-9 ‘a grand success'.

Article from: International Business Times.

Journalist:  Rajarshi Majumdar.                             

Published: Tuesday, 4 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,836.

Despite taking a hit last month when Justice RM Lodha-led Committee announced the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot fixing scandal, IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla has promised that next year’s event, the ninth, will go ahead better than ever.  The BCCI’s four-man Working Group, which Shukla leads, met for the first time on Monday to study the 59-page Lodha Committee report and develop a road map for IPL-9.

To no one's surprise, the sponsors are backing Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the next edition of IPL.  Shukla told the reporters on Monday in New Delhi: "We have started meeting all the stakeholders from today. Today the representatives of 'Yes Bank’, one of our sponsors, came and met Working Group members”.  "Similarly we will meet other sponsors and also speak to them about how to make IPL-9 a success". 

Shukla also indicated that his Working Group "plans to meet at least four franchise owners in Mumbai". "We have set the ball rolling [and will] discuss all the possibilities about new teams and future of players”.  However, representatives of the two banned franchises, the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, were not invited to the discussions. 

Headline: Kaneria summoned by High Court on ECB petition.

Article from: Zee News.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Tuesday, 4 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,837.

Pakistan's banned leg-spinner Danish Kaneria has been summoned for a hearing by the Sindh High Court on Tuesday week in connection with a petition filed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for the recovery of £UK100,000 ($A165,000) from him as fine in the spot-fixing case (PTG 1608-7815, 2 August 2015).  The ECB has hired a well-known Pakistani lawyer, Khawaja Naveed to fight the case after its disciplinary panel banned Kaneria in June 2012. The ECB found Kaneria guilty of inciting other players to spot-fix while playing for Essex.

Kaneria lost his appeals in the appellate tribunal of the ECB and a commercial bench of the High Court in London and has been living in Karachi since last year.  Naveed told the Press Trust of India: "The petition has been filed on behalf of the ECB who want Kaneria to pay the fines and costs of the spot-fixing case”.  "The court has summoned him and if he can't pay the [monies] demanded by the ECB than the court can order his property and other assets to be sold to recover the money”, he added.

For his part Kaneria, says he will consult his lawyers on the case and was not available for comment today.  He has also said that he would like the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to support and advise him in the case.  

PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan said that he would look into the details of the Kaneria case and consult the Board lawyers before seeing what can be done for the banned player.  "But from what we know Kaneria landed himself in big trouble during the spot-fixing case and did not do himself any favours by challenging the evidence against him presented by the ECB”, Khan said.  "The ECB told us that they were upset that Kaneria's attitude was not right when the hearings took place and he was not remorseful so we can understand why the ECB is pushing this case now".

Headline: Bermudan team loses appeal against match result.

Article from: Royal Gazette.

Journalist:  Colin Thompson.                             

Published: Tuesday, 4 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,838.

Bermuda’s Southampton Rangers have lost their appeal against the Western Counties’ decision to award their opponents Willow Cuts a cup match because of Rangers' refusal to play, according to acting association official Kim Jackson.  The match in question is different to the recent Eastern Counties game between Cleveland and Bailey’s Bay, which was awarded to the latter (PTG 1601-7768, 25 July 2015), the results of an appeal hearing 10 days ago still being awaited.  

Rangers, last year’s Western Counties cup holders, refused to play last month’s second round of the competition against Willow Cuts who were declared winners of the match "by default”.  The two teams were at odds over the eligibility of two guest players who had been included on Cuts’ team sheet.  As a result Western Counties will now face Somerset Bridge in the next round this Saturday.

In other news, George O’Brien, the vice-captain of the St Georges club, accepted an official reprimand after he showed dissent towards the umpires on the first day of another cup match.  The seam bowler was not impressed when his appeal for an LBW was turned down, and was reported by on-field umpires Kent Gibbons and Emmerson Carrington for breaching the Bermuda Cricket Board’s Code of Conduct.  O’Brien admitted the offence, and accepted the sanction handed down by Roger Dill, the match referee.

Headline: Upgrading of Queenstown ground could cost $NZ350,000.

Article from: Southland Times.

Journalist:  John Edens.                             

Published: Tuesday, 4 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,839.

International matches at the Queenstown Events Centre (QEC) in New Zealand might be a thing of the past because an up-grade could cost a prohibitive $NZ350,000 ($A310,500, £UK147,000).  A Queenstown Lakes District Council meeting has discussed liaising with New Zealand Cricket (NZC) to program games at the ground during the next three years, but the question of the potential cost to upgrade facilities was raised.  Mayor Vanessa van Uden said her authority was "a country mile" from committing funding, if any.

Councillor Craig Ferguson said a NZC decision on the location for games during summer was expected soon. The question for the Queenstown cricketing fraternity was the type of games people would like to see there.  Since 2002, 9 One-day Internationals and 19 first class games, 15 of them domestic and 4 tour fixtures, have been played in the resort but, increasingly, warm up games have been played at the ground.

Ferguson asked: "Where do we sit? What is council's view?”  "In terms of a warrant of fitness for internationals it struggles. There are no cast iron answers but they expect us to be part of the mix but we won't know until the end of August then out comes the next plan for three years”.  "We need to have a discussion around funding. We might just want warm up games”, Ferguson said.

Queenstown cricketing representatives are scheduled to meet in mid-August to discuss the application process to host games at the QEC.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,613

  Friday, 7 August 2015

 

• CA seeking umpires feedback on ball strike issues [1613-7840]

• Team looses match points after bowler exceeds over limit [1613-7841]

• Club hit by match day sneak thief two days running [1613-7842]

• Indian court issues arrest warrant for former IPL chief [1613-7843]

• Lack of sledging in Ashes is a pleasant sight [1613-7844]

• Cricket-based advertising in India poised to grow 15-20 per cent [1613-7845]

• Runs, wickets come at a cost for Aussies [1613-7846]

• Storm-damaged boundary tree carved into giant 5 metre bat [1613-7847]

Headline: CA seeking umpires feedback on ball strike issues.

Article from: Cricket Australia.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Thursday, 6 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,840.

Cricket Australia (CA) is calling for responses from umpires in that country to a survey of their views about the extent of their vulnerability to ball strikes and to understand the "optimum level of protective gear" they believe they should wear.  CA’s match officials manager Sean Easy says the survey is part of a broader piece of research that involves umpires from other countries, a description which suggests the International Cricket Council (ICC) is involved.

CA's ‘Survey Monkey’ based questionnaire has as its key focus the umpire at the bowler’s end but it "also applies to the square leg umpire”.  There are nine questions overall in the survey, some of which have sub-sections of ‘tick boxes’ to tease out the details, while others have room for comments, and there is also space at the end for respondents to amplify any additional thoughts they might have.

The questions asked include: How serious do you think the risk of ball strike is for umpires?;  What part of the body do you feel is most at risk of being hit by the ball?; Have you ever been hit by the ball?; Do you currently wear any protective gear?; Do you feel you should be wearing extra protective gear?; and Do you feel any other players/positions are at significant risk of ball strike?

A number of batsmen in a range of countries have died as a result of ball strikes to the head and chest in recent years, and last November Israeli umpire Hillel Oscar died after he was struck in the face by a ball that ricocheted off the stumps from a shot hit straight down the pitch (PTG 1471-7117, 30 November 2014).  Other umpires have been seriously injured, although reports suggest many incident resulted from poor on-field technique in that they did not maintain a sufficient level of awareness of where the ball was in the field.

ICC Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel said in March that umpires are likely to wear helmets or other protective gear in the future to combat the danger posed by the proliferation of more powerful bats and hard-hitting batsmen (PTG 1534-7384, 9 March 2015).  Two months ago former Indian player Gautam Gambhir said that “it’s about time” umpires wore a helmet or at least a facial grill while officiating at the bowler's end (PTG 1559-7496, 2 June 2015). 

The issue is not new, however, for six years before that, now former Australian umpire Daryl Harper said "its just a matter of time before umpires in higher-level Twenty20 matches wear baseball helmets which cover the face with a grill for protection” (PTG 423-2233, 14 May 2009).  Sydney umpire Karl Wentzel is ahead of the pack though for he has worn a helmet since 2001 after he had five teeth knocked out whilst standing at the bowler's end (PTG 1515-7299, 5 February 2015).

CA's survey, which will remain open for until the end of this month, can be accessed on line and takes around 10 minutes to complete.  No details are available at this time as to whether the findings of the survey will be made public.

Headline: Team loses match points after bowler exceeds over limit.

Article from: Oxford Mail.

Journalist:  Not stated.                            

Published: Wednesday, 5 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,841.

Horley were forced to forfeit the Championship points they earned from their Cherwell League Division 3 match against Banbury last Saturday after one of their bowlers exceeded his over limit.  Horley scored 7/272 in their innings then bowled Banbury out for just 79, however, it was the last over delivered by Horley that was the problem for them.

Cherwell League rules state bowlers are restricted to delivering only 15 overs, however, with Banbury 9 wickets down Peter Papenfus took the ball for what was his 16th over.  Banbury captain, and last man, James Risbridger, faced three balls of Papenfus’s extra over before alerting umpires Roger Berryman and Mark McLoughlin to the situation.  

Berryman and McLoughlin ruled that the match should continue with a different bowler and the matter would be resolved afterwards.  Risbridger was subsequently trapped LBW on the next ball which was delivered by a different bowler.

Risbridger said later: “We got the rule book out and that was it for as captain you are meant to ask the umpire how many overs a bowler has got”.  The league have since ruled Horley must forfeit the game, Banbury being awarded all 25 Championship points.  Their chairman David Beck said it was just a “mistake” by captain Dave Clark.  “It is the captain's responsibility to keep on top of it and clearly we didn’t – it is very disappointing”, said Beck.

Headline: Club hit by match day sneak thief two days running.

Article from: Manchester Evening News.

Journalist:  Alex Scapens.                           

Published: Thursday, 6 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,842.

Mobile phones were stolen at the Stockport Cricket Club (SCC) on Saturday when a sneak thief slipped into the changing rooms while players were on the ground in a first XI Chesire County Cricket League match against Bollington.  The following day cash and a watch were taken whilst the SCC's third XI were playing Hyde.  Both incidents have been reported to the police, who are investigating and have appealed for witnesses.

Inspector Stephen Gilbertson, from Stockport police, said: “We urge people to ensure valuables are locked away or kept in a safe place not left in a changing room”.  “But it is pretty low stealing from people while they are enjoying themselves participating in sport”.  A SCC spokesman said: “We have not had trouble with this for a long time but we had two incidents in one weekend [apparently] by the same person”.  “It is in the police’s hands now”.

Editor’s note: A serial thief was reported to have taken a total of £155 ($A275) from the wallets of five members of the Scalby Cricket Club in the Scarborough League in August last year (PTG 1418-6854, 23 August 2014).  The culprit was believed to been involved in a wave of cricket club thefts in northern England during the 2014 northern summer (PTG 1393-6743, 18 July 2014).  

In a separate incident players taking part in a match at the Blackpool Cricket Club had six smartphones, £200 ($A360) in cash, and an “expensive” watch, stolen from their bags during play (PTG 1402-6781, 30 July 2014).  Not long before £350 ($A640) went missing from a dressing room during a Ribblesdale League match (PTG 1393-6743, 18 July 2014), and a dozen mobile phones were taken during a Lancashire League fixture (PTG 1377-6665, 19 June 2014).

Headline: Indian court issues arrest warrant for former IPL chief.

Article from: Agence France Presse.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Wednesday, 5 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,843.

A special court in India issued an arrest warrant on Wednesday for exiled former cricket boss Lalit Modi over allegations of money laundering linked to a lucrative television deal.  The court in India's financial capital Mumbai granted the non-bailable warrant after ex-Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Modi failed to answer a summons ordering his return from London to face corruption allegations.

A senior Enforcement Directorate officer confirmed to AFP via text message that the warrant for Modi's arrest had been issued by the court, which hears money laundering cases.  "Yes, we have received the warrant for Lalit Modi's arrest”, the official from India's financial crimes investigating agency said on condition of anonymity.

Modi was instrumental in founding and overseeing the money-spinning IPL in 2008 before fleeing to London two years later when tax and financial crime authorities raided his premises.  Enforcement Directorate officers now want to speak to him in connection with allegations that proceeds from the TV deal were funnelled to unauthorised beneficiaries in Singapore and Mauritius.

The Multi Screen Media (MSM) of Sony Entertainment paid a facilitation fee of 4.25 billion Rupees ($A90.8 m, £UK43 m) to the Mauritius arm of World Sports Group (WSG) as part of a contract for taking over IPL broadcast rights.  The Enforcement Directorate is probing if part of this fee was allegedly siphoned off to unknown individuals, at the behest of Modi who was then IPL chairman.

Modi has more recently been embroiled in controversy with Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj who is under pressure to resign over her role in helping him gain a passport in Britain (PTG 1598-7740, 22 July 2015).

 

Headline: Lack of sledging in Ashes is a pleasant sight.

Article from: The Roar.

Journalist:  'Roar Guru'                            

Published: Thursday, 6 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,844.

Sledging? No. Send Offs? No. Altercations? No. Umpiring controversies? No. Press conference pot shots at the opposition? No. On-field behaviour? Good. Cricket? Very good.

What we have seen over the past month is not what we expected when the Ashes started in Cardiff. Both teams have rarely whispered a word to each other. England had promised they were looking to follow in the footsteps of New Zealand and stick to a ‘gentleman’s game’ approach and eradicate the banter on the field.  Have they stuck to it? Well almost. 

On the second afternoon at Edgbaston, England bowler Jimmy Anderson started a barrage of verbals against Steve Smith and David Warner. Smith might have said a word but Warner refused to cave in. The umpires stepped in and that was it. Anderson had wavered from the pre-Test strategy of ‘not sledging’ and the minute he stepped out of line it was clear he needed to be punished.  The cricketing gods must have been watching because within a couple of days his series was over with a side strain.

In midst of all the balls that have beaten the bat there is bound to be frustration and fast bowlers on both sides have released it all by saying a few words. But it has been nothing like the ‘broken arm’ incident. At times Mitchell Johnson has given advice on how to hook his bouncer to the English batsmen. But led by Joe Root, they have retaliated with a cheeky smile or simply turned their backs.  

Even a mischievous tactic of trying to disturb Ben Stokes habitual sliding of the bat over the crease at end of each over by Lyon has been dismissed with ‘it was something stupid’. The Aussies even smiled about it and left it at that.

Warner, normally the chief instigator has acted like a choir boy. He has never trespassed into the opposition’s space physically or verbally. Even when his integrity was questioned in the press over not applauding Joe Root’s hundred in the first Test he responded in a pleasant manner with a logical reason. There was nothing submissive or aggressive in the response.

Stuart Broad, the non-walker, even trusted the word of a fielder on a catch. Yes, he was called back but only on at the umpire’s direction. Broad, the villain, has smiled even while facing the thunderbolts from Johnson.

After the summer of cricket that has passed, it is a nice change to read and focus only on the cricket. Last summer, there was more written and discussed on the verbal banters than the actual game. It was ridiculous. People had forgotten about the contest with bat and ball.  Perhaps other teams can follow New Zealand’s heavenly path. Perhaps one team has to shy away from it for the sake of cricket.

Apart from Anderson, the only other man opposed to such path was Brad Haddin. Before the series he had stated ‘we will play our way’.  Just like Anderson, the cricket gods seem to have ended his Ashes campaign. Or perhaps that is core reason why majority of the current team members have opposed Haddin’s axing.  

Whatever the reasons it is simply nice to have engrossing cricket without all the baggage that we have become accustomed to in the recent times.  Behave boys and let the bat and the ball do all the talking. It is what we all want to see.

Headline: Cricket-based advertising in India poised to grow 15-20 per cent.

Article from: Times of India.

Journalist:  Pritha Mitra Dasgupta.                           

Published: Wednesday, 5 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,845.

Advertising based on the cricket product in India is poised to grow 15-20 per cent in the next three years, overcoming a slowdown over the past two years, as new-age e-commerce and technology companies seek to enhance their visibility by reaching out to millions of the game's fans, according to media agencies. 

Three deals have already set the stage for the increased spending: ‘MRF' as the global partner for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, 'Ceat Tyres' as the strategic time-out partner for the Indian Premier League, and Paytm's contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on title sponsorship for 84 matches for the next four years.

Vinit Karnik, national director for entertainment, sports and live events at GroupM, who was instrumental in stitching the Paytm-BCCI deal, said: "Cricket advertising grew 9 per cent in 2013, however, the growth slowed down in 2014 by returning to the 5 per cent level of 2012, but we expect 8-10 per cent growth for 2015”.  “Then I think cricket advertising will grow by at least 15-20 per cent in the next three years”. 

According to Karnik: "A new set of advertisers from e-commerce, digital and tech companies have come in to build their brands on the back of the new Indian cricket team”.  “The first big players were the tobacco and liquor companies, followed by 'the Pepsis and Heros of the world’, followed by telecommunications.

Ousep Joseph of PMG, the sports marketing unit of Madison World, agreed with Karnik's growth forecast, adding that the Paytm deal will open the doors for a new set of advertisers. While newcomers are getting involved, he is of the view that "the traditional big cricket spenders" won't entirely exit the game because of its "sheer reach”. 

Headline: Runs, wickets come at a cost for Aussies.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Thursday, 6 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,846.

An Australian personal finance company, finder.com.au, has crunched the numbers and worked out which Aussie's stocks are booming and those who are bust, in relation to their $A14,000 (£UK6,614) fee each player receives for a Test match appearance.  Alarmingly the oldest member of the Ashes squad, opening batsman Chris Rogers, is also the most valuable, at least in the lead up to the fourth Test at Trent Bridge.

An analysis has found Rogers' series total of 385 has cost $A109 (£UK51.50) per run. His value would be even higher if he had not been forced to retire hurt after suffering dizzy spells during the second innings of the Lord's Test. It is of little comfort that the 37-year-old opener will soon be retiring.

Boom NSW batsman Steve Smith is in second place with his 354 coming in at $A119 (£UK55.18) per run, 273 of those runs came in the second Test.  David Warner is third at $A156 (£UK73.65), while the much maligned Shane Watson comes in at fourth at $A286 (£UK135) despite being dropped after the first Test in Cardiff. 

Perhaps more embarrassing for several Australian top order batsman is that Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc come in at sixth and seventh ahead of skipper Michael Clarke, Adam Voges and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh.  Marsh has been the most expensive of the recognised batsmen at $A622 (£UK293.65) per run after being bowled out for a duck and six in the disastrous third Test at Edgbaston.

NSW paceman Josh Hazlewood is the most industrious member of the bowling attack, with his series tally of 14 wickets so far costing $A3,000 (£UK1,416) per scalp while feared pace ace Mitchell Johnson has been the most expensive at a cost of $A4,200 (£UK1,983) per wicket for his 10 wickets over the first three Tests.  

The analysis does not take into account the yearly contracts awarded by Cricket Australia to the top 20 players for the 2015-16 season. Rogers' value would increase significantly if it did as his base contract is believed to be somewhat less than that of his peers. The opener is considered a Test player only while others, such as Smith and Warner, are paid more because of their suitably to the limited-overs forms of the game. 

Editor’s note:  The above article appeared before the first day’s play in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge overnight Australian time.

Headline: Storm-damaged boundary tree carved into giant 5 metre bat.

Article from: Daily Mail.

Journalist:  Anthony Joseph.                           

Published: Thursday, 6 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,847.

A pine tree, which has stood on the boundary of the Shobrooke Park Cricket Club in Crediton, Devon, for 125 years, has been carved into a huge bat after it was damaged in a storm.  The tree, which was planted on the eastern edge of the ground in 1890, was hit by severe gales two years ago leaving just a 10 metre high trunk that was set to be chopped down.

However, cricketers Steve Jones and Bruce Kerry decided the iconic pine shouldn't go to waste and came up with a plan to save it.  It took Kerry, a tree surgeon, and Jones, who is skilled in woodwork, 18 months to carve the 5 metre high, 60 cm wide, cricket bat out of the Scots pine.  They spent every spare weekend using chainsaws and electric planers to carve the trunk to the exact proportions of a standard bat.

Jones said: "It seemed a shame to turn such an iconic tree into firewood so we came up with the idea to carve it into a cricket bat”.  “We used an old 'Duncan Fearnley' bat to get the proportions right”.  "It was initially carved with chainsaws, using chalk lines to guide our actions, and we finished it with electric planers”.  "The base and the bat have been coated in a wood preservative and the handle was wrapped with polypropylene rope”.  "Amazingly it required 110 m of rope to wrap the handle and the top has a lead capping to keep the rain off".

Although a traditional cricket bat is made from willow wood rather than pine, that isn't putting off visitors from admiring.  A business in the area has also offered the prize of a fine bottle of Scotch whisky to the first batsman who hits the bat with a six.  

Roger Jones, Shobrooke Park's fixtures secretary, said: 'We've got the bottle in the clubhouse ready for the first person that does it, but so far nobody has managed it”.  'It's very popular though as visitors to the ground all want their photograph taken with it”. "It's a great thing for the club because the tree would have just been chopped down otherwise”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,614

  Saturday, 8 August 2015

 

• Bangladesh umpire to retire, take up national team role? [1614-7848]

• NZ calls for domestic match referee applications [1614-7849]

• Deadline approaches for CA National Umpire Coach applications [1614-7850]

• Association reverses stripped title decision [1614-7851]

• Rare India-Pakistan Test umpire double [1614-7852]

• Power brokers fail their big screen test [1614-7853]

Headline: Bangladesh umpire to retire, take up national team role?

Article from: Dhaka Tribune.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Friday, 7 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,848.

Former Bangladesh player Enamul Haque Moni is likely to relinquish his career as an international umpire to take up the post of manager of the Bangladesh team.  Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) director and former national captain Khaled Mahmud has been performing the role since the World Cup earlier this year, however, his contract as manager ended at the conclusion of the recent home series against South Africa. 

Mahmud told the 'Dhaka Tribune' yesterday: "There has been no discussion with the board with regards to any extension”, but “I have heard that Moni is being considered for the role”.  It is understood that Mahmud had shown reluctance to continue with the job and made the BCB’s cricket operations committee look for someone else. At the same time, the board is also looking to appoint a national manager on a long-term basis, as opposed to the temporary roles performed by Mahmud.

According to sources, Moni is at the top of the BCB’s preference list for the manager’s job.  BCB cricket operations committee chairman Naimur Rahman Durjoy has notified Moni of their intention to appoint him as manager.  Moni said on Thursday that he has "heard that the BCB is thinking of me, as far as the new manager’s post is concerned, but I am yet to have a formal discussion with anyone regarding this issue”.  "The media will be informed accordingly if there is any progress”. 

If Moni were to take the job, it will bring the curtain down on his career as an international umpire. Following his retirement as an international cricketer, Moni made his debut as an umpire in December 2006. Since then the now 49-year old has officiated in one Test, 53 One Day Internationals and six Twenty20 internationals.  Reports say that Moni, a left-arm spinner and a lower-order batsman in his playing days, was upset with his slow development as an international umpire and was mulling a career-switch. 

The BCB’s umpires committee manager Sharif Mahmud said his group had not yet been notified regarding the matter.  "I learnt about this from certain quarters but we are yet to get anything official, either from the board or Moni”, said Sharif.  He went on to state that Moni would be able to return as an umpire after a stint as manager if he wishes but will, however, lose his place in the BCB’s nominated umpires list that has to be submitted to the International Cricket Council (ICC).

“He will be able to come back. We will keep him in the highest level among the Bangladesh umpires, given his experience as an international umpire and as a former Test cricketer. But, he will lose his [ICC] nomination. In order to reclaim his nomination, he would have to compete with the top seven Bangladesh umpires. If his performance is good and if he is able to finish among the best three, only then can he recover his previous status”, concluded Sharif.

Headline: NZ calls for domestic match referee applications.

Article from: NZC web site.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Saturday, 8 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,849.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) is currently looking to appoint three match referees to manage its first class, one-day and Twenty20 fixtures during the 2015-16 season, according to a request for applications posted in the careers section of its web site.  NZC established the three positions in 2013, and in the two seasons played since Doug Cowie, David Quested and George Morris, all of whom are former Test umpires, have filled the positions (PTG 1221-5879, 30 October 2013).   

While that trio have been there for two years, the current advertisement talks about "a one year term commencing October 2015”.  NZC says the referee’s role "ensures that venues used for [top level] cricket matches in NZ are compliant with our venue warrant of fitness, liaises with other officials at-ground to ensure that matches are controlled professionally and consistently, provides reporting and support to umpires, and monitors any code of conduct incidents".

Outside of the cricket season the successful applicants will be involved in professional umpire selections and reviews, and attend periodic umpire and match referee forums.   They will operate from their home city, but candidates must be free to travel extensively throughout New Zealand to various cricketing venues as appointed.

To be considered for one of these roles applicants: "need a good understanding of the structure and operations of cricket in New Zealand; experience as a player or umpire at first class level; to have held roles where administrative accuracy, timeliness, and firm but fair leadership is required; show empathy for the umpiring role; and an ability to work with and interpret cricket’s laws, playing conditions and code of conduct”.

Applications close next Friday.  Whether Cowie, Quested and Morris will be candidates is not known.  Former first class and One Day International (ODI) umpire Gary Baxter, who retired at the end of last season, is potentially a possibility.  Last February he worked as the match referee in the three-match ODI, and two-match Twenty20, women’s series between New Zealand and England.

Headline: Deadline approaches for CA National Umpire Coach applications. 

Article from: Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Saturday, 8 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,850.

A week after details of Cricket Australia’s (CA) new National Umpire Coach position became public, and a day before applications close, the availability of the job has still not appeared on the careers page of CA’s web site, although it has been circulated amongst state and territory associations (PTG 1607-7805, 1 August 2015).  

That approach suggests CA sees the position being filled from within the current cricket community, potentially either one of two retired Australian members of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel, a former member of its National Umpires Panel, one of 2-3 of its current state umpire coaches around the country, or a retired first class player with coaching qualifications who is looking for a CA opening.

No details have emerged as yet as to what length the proposed “fixed-term” appointment will run, whether it will be full or part-time over the course of a year, or whether the position will be based at CA’s headquarters in Melbourne or in the successful applicant’s home state.

Headline: Rare India-Pakistan Test umpire double. 

Article from: Research.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Friday, 7 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,851.

Pakistani Aleem Dar and Indian Sundarum Ravi, who are currently on-field in the fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, are only the fifth Pakistan-Indian pair to stand together in a Test.  The last time it occurred was in the 2009 Boxing Day Test in Durban when Dar and Amiesh Saheba officiated, England being the visitors on that occasion.  That match was Saheba’s third, and as it turned out, last Test.

Headline: Association reverses stripped title decision. 

Article from: Royal Gazette.

Journalist:  Josh Ball.                             

Published: Thursday, 6 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,852.

Bermudan club Bailey’s Bay have announced their intention to withdraw from the Eastern Counties Cricket Association (ECCA) after the Cleveland side was reinstalled as cup holders at a meeting on Wednesday night.   The ECCA stripped Cleveland of their 2014 cup title two weeks ago, and also censured five of their players, one of them being banned for 14 matches for committing several Level Three offences that involved "threatening the umpires” (PTG 1601-7768, 25 July 2015).

According to sources at Wednesday's meeting, the ECCA made an about-turn because “the umpires did not feel threatened” by the behaviour of the Cleveland players.  The ECCA itself is yet to publicly explain its reasoning for the decision.  In response, Bay posted a tweet that said: “BBCC has today officially withdrawn from any further participation in Eastern Counties both senior and junior teams indefinitely”.

Club sources said that Bay were now considering hosting games in direct competition to the Eastern Counties, and that the St David’s club, who are also unhappy with the decision, may join them.  “We will see what happens”, a Bay spokesman said. “We have 80 per cent of the area’s fan base anyway”.

Headline: Power brokers fail their big screen test.

Article from: The Times.

Journalist:  Mike Atherton.                             

Published: Thursday, 6 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,853.

The Caribbean three months ago: a nostalgic trip to the old Recreation Ground in St John’s, the capital of Antigua. The outfield looked rough, used as it is for football now, the goalposts at either end camouflaging what had been once a beating heart of cricket on the island.

The “Rec” was a wonderful place to play cricket. The pitch could be docile, but the ground hummed and swelled at a capacity of a few thousand, and being in the heart of the town meant that it was accessible to the working population. The prison, where Viv Richards’s father worked, was right next door. It felt connected.

As modern cricket stadiums go, it was ramshackle and decrepit, but it was a great place to watch Test cricket. You can’t any more, though, because the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the new home in Antigua, has been constructed in the bush, miles from anywhere, inaccessible and unloved. It is not a bad ground, but it has none of the character and history enjoyed by the Rec.

I was thinking of this nostalgic trip watching 'Death of a Gentleman’ recently, a film about — wait for it — cricket administration, which has been given its national airing this week. Made by two young cricket journalists, Sam Collins and Jarrod Kimber, over a four-year period, it began as an investigation into the health of Test cricket but ended by querying the governance of the game and the harnessing of complete financial and administrative power by cricket’s most influential countries, India, England and Australia.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is an easy target, for sure, and no one who has watched the decline of West Indies cricket could deny there have been self-inflicted wounds. But think for a moment about the old Rec, and indeed the Bourda ground in Guyana, a similar vibrant ground in the capital, Georgetown, now empty when Test cricket is played in Guyana because of the building of the new Providence ground on the outskirts of the city.

These new grounds were built by Chinese and Indian money and were a stipulation for the World Cup to be staged in the Caribbean in 2007. The old grounds did not fit the criteria imposed by the ICC: the need for security, for space around the perimeters, for practice facilities. So far so good, but one of the decisions made recently in the wake of the extraordinary consolidation of power in the hands of India, England and Australia has been to award all the global events over the next eight-year cycle to those three countries.

The most recent television deal for 2015-23 includes two World T20 tournaments (India 2016, Australia 2020), two Champions Trophies (England 2017, India 2021) and two World Cups (England 2019, India 2023). At least the Caribbean got this year’s ICC annual conference, which, Dave Cameron, the WICB president, noted without a hint of irony, showed the “significant role West Indies cricket continues to play in the global game”.

One way of inspiring the next generation in any country is the ability to watch heroes, not a gathering of cricket administrators. Not only that, it means that the new grounds built for the 2007 World Cup will have no global events in future to sustain them and, given the tiny populations of these islands, these giant stadiums are now out of sync with the requirements for Test cricket, which needs boutique grounds such as the Rec and the Bourda. Decisions made by the ICC have actually made the watching experience of Test cricket in the Caribbean worse.

This is just one small, practical example of how the ICC’s imbalanced governance and greed has impacted negatively upon a region. 'Death of a Gentleman' seeks to highlight many more: the way the Woolf report on good governance was completely ignored; the lack of transparency or accountability in decision-making and the naked self-interest of those running the game; the contracting of the next World Cup from 14 to ten teams, and the lack of vision for growing the game globally.

The film is not altogether successful. It is too diffuse in its aims; too self-indulgent at times; slightly ridiculous at others (there is a brief appearance of a Fake Sheikh in Dubai for no apparent reason). It makes Giles Clarke, the president of the ECB, look pompous and Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the chairman of the ICC, inscrutable and evasive, but it lands few blows on these administrators. Lalit Modi, the filmmakers suggest, “knows where the bodies are buried”, but these are never uncovered. Plainly this is not the biggest scandal in sport.

The film’s heart is in the right place, though. It is on the side of fairness, accountability, transparency, independence and good governance. It is on the side of the little guy against the bully. It is on the side of Test cricket against the forces of the market. In it, Gideon Haigh asks the central question: “Does cricket make money in order to exist, or does it exist to make money?” The filmmakers, rightly, believe in the ideal of the former, rather than the reality of the latter.

Most of all, having spent four years of their lives charting some of these iniquities, they care. “Nobody cares about cricket administrators”, Clarke says at one point, and given the lack of exposure when the changes to the governance of the ICC were agreed last February, he is undoubtedly right.

This newspaper detailed at length these changes, but there was precious little comment in the mainstream media elsewhere in this country.  Sporting administration is a dull topic, but important. The two key committees at the ICC are the Executive Committee (Ex-Co) and the Financial and Commercial Affairs committee. Between them they control the administrative and financial direction of the game. Each committee has five members. 

Of those five on each committee, three are Clarke (England), Srinivasan (India) and Wally Edwards (Australia) — a controlling interest in each. In the film, Clarke says: “I am perfectly entitled to put the interests of my board first”. Nothing happens at the ICC that is contrary to the interests of England, India and Australia.

The flow of money heads their way. Before the changes made last year, the surplus of revenues from ICC events was split, 75 per cent evenly to Full members and 25 per cent to Associate members. Now, that has been redesigned through a “distribution fund” to compensate full-member countries for playing in ICC events, a contribution cost based essentially and arbitrarily on the size of their respective markets.

On revenues of $US2.5 billion ($A337 b, £UK1.6 b) for next rights’ cycle 2015-23 (a reasonable assumption when television and sponsorship revenues are accounted for), the ICC Full-member countries would share $US630 million  ($A849 m, £UK407 m); the “distribution fund” would be $US800 million  ($A1.1 b, £UK516 m), of which India would receive well over half, England and Australia just under a quarter with the remainder split between the other full-member countries. This, of course, is money only from ICC global events regardless of the benefits the bigger markets get from their bilateral agreements, such as the Ashes.

At the heart of this argument is the fundamental vision for the game. India, England and Australia see the ICC as simply an organisation to leverage rights from global events on behalf of its members. Those who agree with the thrust of 'Death of a Gentleman' would like to see the ICC as a truly independent governing body, with the interests of the entire game at heart. The film is on the right side of the debate. 

Editor’s note:  The locations of currently planned screening of the film in the UK are available on line.  It is not known at this stage if there are any plans to screen it anywhere else in the world.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,615

  Monday, 10 August 2015

 

• Most IPL stakeholders favour eight-team league in 2016 [1615-7854]

• Lodha panel's term extended until year's end [1615-7855]

• Australia must use ‘Dukes’ ball at home, says Ponting [1615-7856]

• Only two ’neutral’ officials named for South Africa, NZ ODIs [1615-7857]

• Second IPL 2015 player reported ’suspect aproach' [1615-7858]

• Illness sees opposition 12th man help out in the field [1615-7859]

• Arrogance at heart of Australian cricket meltdown [1615-7860]

• Aussie purchases of UK-made cricket gear topped $A2 m in 2014 [1615-7861]

• Technology gets the better of club vandals [1615-7862]

• Player's celebration of win comes at a cost [1615-7863]

• Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published [1615-7864]

Headline: Most IPL stakeholders favour eight-team league in 2016.

Article from: Cricbuzz.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Sunday, 9 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,854.

The Indian Premier League’s (IPL) governing council is to meet on in Mumbai on the last Saturday of this month to receive and study the report submitted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) appointed five-member working group.  That panel has been studying the 59-page report produced by the Justice RM Lodha committee into the 2013 IPL betting scandal, and has the task of making recommendations on how best to proceed (PTG 1597-7733, 21 July 2015).

The working group met on Saturday at a suburban hotel in Mumbai. The BCCI is working on the possible scenario of: terminating its Indian Premier League (IPL) contracts with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR); bringing out a tender for two new franchises; appealing in court against the Kochi Tuskers arbitration (PTG 1602-7774, 26 July 2015); and ruling out all other options like hosting a six-team IPL or inviting foreign teams to participate in the 2016 version of the tournament.

The BCCI's biggest apprehension is facing a legal backlash from CSK and RR should their franchise agreements be terminated. "Termination is a very much an option, as much as auctioning two new teams is”, said BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur yesterday.  Curiously though, while Thakur insisted that the termination of CSK and RR was a possibility, IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla, who is heading the working group which includes Thakur, wasn't very vocal about sacking the teams. "We haven't formed an opinion on that. It can have legal ramifications, even the Lodha Committee hasn't recommended that”, Shukla said.

Highly placed sources said the BCCI is extremely wary of the legal tussles it can get into if CSK and RR, who the Lodha Committee banned from the IPL for two years, have their franchise agreements terminated. While the Lodha report is final and binding on the BCCI, if sacked, CSK and RR will be free to go to court. 

Thakur and Shukla were, however, convinced that the BCCI, as well as all concerned stakeholders, were of the view that there should be eight IPL franchises for the 2016 season.  The general feeling coming out of yesterday's meetings was that if BCCI does sack CSK and RR, and in time should courts allow the two franchises to return, the Board can always accommodate 10 IPL franchises.

Yesterday the working group met three franchise owners, central sponsors, broadcasters and all other stakeholders in the IPL. Mumbai Indians were represented by Nikhil Meswani from Reliance Industries Limited, Kings XI Punjab co-owners Ness Wadia and Preity Zinta showed up, Royal Challengers Bangalore owner Vijay Mallya participated through a videoconference, while Harsh Goenka of the RPG Group (a central sponsor), broadcasters MSM India and Star TV also met with the working group.

Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils owners and executives had met the five-member working group in Delhi on Wednesday (PTG 1612-7836, 6 August 2015), while title sponsors ‘Pepsi' and central sponsors ‘Vodafone' will be meeting the group in Delhi on Monda .

Only two of the existing IPL franchises are currently not in favour of bringing in new franchises through an auction. These two teams strongly believe that letting go of CSK and RR, two established IPL franchises, will erode the overall value of the league as well as the other teams.

After all stakeholders concluded their individual meetings with the working group, adman Piyush Pandey, chairman and creative director and O&M India, walked in for a separate meeting with the IPL and BCCI officials in which IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman also participated. While the working group has been busy meeting all stakeholders, its legal team has been simultaneously busy charting out the future course of action in case termination of franchises is the next step forward.

Almost all IPL stakeholders are now of the view that foreign teams should not be invited to play in the IPL next year, nor there can there be a six-team league.  "There won't be value erosion. In fact, we strongly believe there'll be value realisation if two new teams are auctioned”, Kings XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia said after meeting the working group.

Meanwhile, the Board has decided to challenge the Kochi Tuskers arbitration in a higher court on the grounds that  in giving the verdict on Kochi the arbitrator went beyond the scope of the franchise agreement.  Sources say that or now  at least the BCCI is not including Kochi as part of its attempts to chart a way forward.

Headline: Lodha panel's term extended until year's end.

Article from: Cricbuzz.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Saturday, 8 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,855.

India's Supreme Court has accepted Justice R M Lodha Committee's request and extended its term until the end of the year, a move which will help the panel to provide a comprehensive report on reforms needed in the administration arrangements for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (PTG 1597-7732, 21 July 2015).  Lodha’s group handed down its initial findings last month, banning two Indian Premier League franchise sides for two years, and two administrators for life (PTG 1592-7688, 15 July 2015). 

At the same time it accepted the extension, it  was less precise about the request made by the Cricket Association of Bihar, which wanted the secret report given by the Justice Mukul Mudgal panel on allegations against 12 individuals, including some cricketers, to be handed over to the Justice Lodha panel to help it in formulating recommendations.

Headline: Australia must use ‘Dukes’ ball at home, says Ponting.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Jesse Hogan.                             

Published: Sunday, 9 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,856.

Former Test captain Ricky Ponting says Australia must confront their weakness against swing-bowling by embracing the English ‘Dukes’ brand of ball, which has been so deftly used by England's pacemen in the Ashes, in a bid to overcome it.  Australia's crumbling within three days to England for a second successive match has cemented Ponting's resolved to ask Cricket Australia (CA) to change the balls they use at the expense of current Australian supplier ‘Kookaburra’.

Ponting also questioned the CA-led decision in recent years to create Sheffield Shield pitches conducive to batsmen crafting longer innings more easily (PTG 1210-5826, 14 October 2013), arguing those who played in tougher conditions were forced to make technical adjustments to counter that, adjustments which would serve them well if given a chance at Test level.  

“It's been highlighted enough times that we struggle when the ball swings and seams”, continued Ponting. "You go back two or three years ago when I was still playing Shield cricket, Hobart got heavily criticised for doing too much but I batted there, you could still make runs” (PTG 1016-4940, 7 November 2012).  "You just have to change your game and work out how you're going to get runs in those conditions”. Inaddition: "The Gabba's been the same for as long as I can remember in Shield cricket”.

"We have to look at these conditions, I think, because it just looks like this generation of Australian players just haven't got the technique to survive the best-quality bowling in difficult conditions.”

Ponting argued it was beneficial for batsman to play on difficult pitches, such as those sometimes presented in Brisbane and Hobart.  He said while it was was healthy to have a range of pitch types in Australia he predicted a switch to the ‘Dukes' ball could give bowlers more a chance on the drop-in pitches in Adelaide and Melbourne, which generally favour batting.  

Editor’s note: Earlier this year former Australian bowler Mike Whitney and retired West Indies all-rounder Phil Simmons called for the focus of recent years on batting technology to be accompanied by an investigation into the "virtual disappearance" of the seam on ‘Kookaburra’ balls (PTG 1517-7306, 10 February 2015).  Such balls are used in most Test-playing countries, the ‘Dukes’ brand in England and ’SG’ in India, being the notable exceptions.     

Whitney was quoted by 'The Australian’ then as saying: "there’s not much of a seam on ‘Kookaburra’ balls at all anymore””.  “The seam’s not proud enough whereas ‘Dukes' and ‘Readers’ [balls] have a much more [prominent] seam, [something] bowlers need to be [able] to get it going off the deck”.   Simmons agreed saying: “the thing people don’t realise is that they’ve cut down the size of the seam on the ball”.  “The ‘Kookaburra' doesn’t really have a prominent seam now, or the seam goes away very early”.  

Long-time England-based manufacturer ‘Dukes’, whose balls are hand-stiched, has been attempting to make inroads into an Australian market that is dominated by local manufacturer ‘Kookaburra', whose balls are machine-stitched, for at least the last three years (PTG 1265-6101, 7 January 2014).   

CA has used 'Dukes' balls in under-age championships and some state second XI fixtures over the last two seasons.  CA senior cricket operations manager Sean indicated in 2012 that that move was part of an approach aimed at eventually giving Australian teams a competitive advantage in series overseas where balls other that the 'Kookaburra' brand are used, a rationale that was queried by some observers at the time (PTG 1008-4899, 25 October 2012). 

Cary also talked about bringing the 'SG' variety to Australia when a national team visit to the sub-continent looms.  He also acknowledged there is an economic rationale in introducing a competitor to the Australian market as 'Dukes' are less expensive than those produced by ‘Kookaburra’ (PTG 1052-5117, 4 February 2013).   

On one occasion 18 months ago, what was scheduled as a four-day second XI match between the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia, ended in just two days.  A total of 685 runs were scored and forty wickets fell in an hour less than two days in what a report at the time described as "the experiment of using the English Duke ball combined with a below-par pitch producing variable bounce resulting in a nightmare for batsmen” (PTG 1300-6273, 27 February 2014). 

There has been talk of using ‘Dukes’ in some late-season Sheffield Shield games, but as far as can be ascertained that does not yet appear to have occurred.

Headline: Only two ’neutral’ officials named for South Africa, NZ ODIs.

Article from: ICC web site.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Sunday, 9 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,857.

Roshan Mahanama of Sri Lanka and Ian Gould of England have been named as the two neutral officials for the three-match One Day International (ODI) series between South Africa and New Zealand this month at Centurion, Potchefstroom and Durban.  Mahanama will oversee the three games, plus the two Twenty20 Internationals that proceed them, while Gould will apparently be on-field in each ODI.

Series between the two national teams are usually conducted with the Umpire Decision Review System in operation such that two neutral umpires are appointed, the pair alternating between on-field and television positions with a home member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) filling the second on-field and fourth umpire spots.

The umpire appointments page on the ICC web site only lists Mahanama and Gould.  An ICC spokesman indicated in response to a query from ‘PTG’ that the that details provided on the web site was correct.

If that is so, South African IUP members Johan Cloete, Shaun George and Adrian Holdstock are candidates to fill the second on-field spot alongside Gould plus the third and fourth umpire positions in each game.  Cloete goes into the series having stood in 50 ODIs, been the third umpire in 11 and the fourth in 25 (50/11/25), George 11/3/16 and Holdstock 4/1/5.

Headline: Second IPL 2015 player reported ’suspect aproach'.

Article from: Dhaka Tribune.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Sunday, 9 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,858.

Iqbal Abdulla, a spinner with the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) franchise, reported a suspect approach by an individual posing as a fan during this year’s IPL.  The incident, which is understood to have taken place in his team's hotel in Bangalore during the early stages of the event, came to light when it was reported by the 'Indian Express 'newspaper.  An insider at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed the approach.

According to the insider, Abdulla was being flooded with text messages from an anonymous number for some time. The person, introducing himself as a fan, was constantly requesting to be photographed with the player. After reading multiple texts that the supposed fan was waiting for him in the hotel lobby, Abdulla relented and acceded to the request of being photographed with him. 

Soon after, the person asked Abdulla if he would be able to pass on inside information about team composition and other matters. Abdulla is then understood to have shoved him away and immediately reported the incident to the RCB’s integrity officer. 

Last month the BCCI 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”, allegedly in order to influence aspects of a game or games played in this year’s IPL series (PTG 1591-7678, 14 July 2015).  

Headline: Illness sees opposition 12th man help out in the field.

Article from: Reports.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Sunday, 9 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,859.

Mandeep Singh, the Indian ‘A’ side’s 12th man, fielded for the South African ‘A’ side during yesterday’s 50-over match in Chennai after the visitors had four players indisposed with stomach bugs and cramps during the match.  South Africa already had their video analyst Hendrikus Coertzen fielding for them when Mandeep was brought on, sporting the name of Eddie Leie on the back of his South African jersey.

The ‘A’ sides of Australia, India and South Africa are currently engaged in a three-team tournament.  South Africa A's problems with illness has become so bad it has forced a change in the schedule, with India ‘A' and not them taking on Australia ‘A’ in another 50-over match on Monday.

Headline: Arrogance at heart of Australian cricket meltdown.

Article from: Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Journalist:  Rebecca Wilson.                             

Published: Saturday, 8 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,860.

A culture of acute tension, lack of cohesion and overpaid individuals placing themselves above the team has created a perfect storm within Australian cricket that could take a decade to fix.  Thursday’s atrocity was the result of a preparation that smacked of arrogance, a team run by managers and coaches who have suffered four series losses in a row on English wickets but who refuse to teach batsmen how to bat in the conditions.

There is no patience, no grit in the top order. This lot have never been told to leave a ball or to have a genuine dig in trying circumstances. According to those who know (former Test players), not one of them has the right stance, the correct posture or his head in the right spot ready to cop the swinging ball.

At the same time, each one of them earns a king’s ransom to play cricket for Australia, negotiated when the memories of big, slashing innings on Australian soil were fresh.  The salary ledger in itself is enough to raise some serious questions about whether lunatics are running the asylum (PTG 1529-7363, 1 March 2015).

Let’s go off the field of endeavour, for a minute. The cricket tour used to be the domain of men, of bonding after a day at the crease or in the field, and of seeing families once the job was done.  Before you jump on the iPad and tell me I am a dinosaur, consider the fact that the cricketers’ families, their wives, girlfriends and kids, all travel with them the entire time they are away.  Very few of us live and work with our partners, or spend every waking hour with them on work days.

In a team sport, where the chemistry is vital for success, the spell has been broken by tours dominated by family time. I wake each morning to an ‘Instagram' file of photographs — cricketers with their kids at training, the wives having dinner with brothers and sisters (and the player). There is never a shot of the team dining together, having breakfast before the bus departs for the ground.

Captain Michael Clarke travels on his own to each game. He arrives an hour or so earlier than the bus, trains like a demon with his personal trainer and only catches up with his team once they canter on to the wicket for last-minute preparations.

One cricket legend commented on his return from this tour that things have changed dramatically within Australian cricket since his relatively recent retirement, and not for the best.  Like all of us, he wonders out loud about the wisdom of telling Test players if they are in or out of the side just 30 minutes before a game starts?  It is a lesson in how to mess with a player’s head.

The axing of Brad Haddin and Shane Watson reflects an absurdity in the selection process unmatched anywhere in sport. Why take the players for a single Test only to drop them? You either take blokes like these and stick with them or tap them on the shoulder before Qantas flight 1 leaves Sydney for London.

Clarke seems to have no affinity with his players or the coach, Darren Lehmann.  He is blindly supported by Shane Warne and commentators who are reluctant to point out he is an out of form batsman not seeing the ball at all, and a captain who doesn’t enjoy the company of his teammates.  Apart from his exemplary behaviour during the Phillip Hughes tragedy, Clarke’s remoteness and inability to create a genuine team environment has cost Australian cricket dearly.

Where to from here?  It is back to basics time — no more family holidays tied in with a cricket trip, no more unconditional fat pay packets, and no more arrogance that says once you are in this team you don’t need to work hard to stay there.

Headline: Aussie purchases of UK-made cricket gear topped $A2 m in 2014.

Article from: UK Trade and Investment release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Sunday, 9 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,861.

Australians are the biggest buyers of British-made cricketing equipment, and they're buying more than ever before, according to the UK Trade and Investment ministry.  New figures reveal Australians bought 13 per cent more equipment in 2014 than the previous year, exports of UK-made goods to the opposite side of the world running at £1.1 m ($A2.3 m).

One company taking advantage of the Australian demand is 'Hawk Cricket'. Established in 1996, the independent family company handcrafts bats in its Worcestershire workshop and also sells a range of cricketing apparel. The company has seen its business grow 40 per cent in the last three years.  Its exports of bats to Australia and New Zealand now account for 10 per cent of its entire business.

Somewhat surprisingly, the United States was the second biggest export market for UK cricket equipment in 2014, followed by Norway and then the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  Trade and Investment Minister Lord Francis Maude said that: "The UK and Australia are both cricket-mad nations and it’s great to see the Aussies continue to be bowled over by the excellent standard of our sporting equipment”.

After Australia’s purchases, £0.6 m ($A1.3) worth was sold to the United States, Norway £0.5 m ($1 m), the UAE £0.4 m ($A836,000), India and South Africa both £0.3 m ($A627,000), while China, New Zealand, South Korea and Russia each bought £0.2 m ($A418,000) worth of cricket items, according to UK Revenue and Customs Department overseas trade statistics.

Headline: Technology gets the better of club vandals.

Article from: Daily Mirror.

Journalist:  Barry Smyth and Simon Carr.                             

Published: Friday, 7 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,862.

A group of drunken teenagers who trashed a cricket club in Yorkshire may have put themselves in the picture for the callous crime after sending images of the break-in to players via ‘Snapchat’.  Players arrived at the Scalby Cricket Club last Saturday to find the scoring hut smashed, the practice nets ruined and a sea of spent bottles and cans spread around the area, damage that police estimate at around £800 ($A1,670).

‘Snapchat' is a video messaging application with which users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients. Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their ‘Snaps', currently from 1-10 seconds, after which they will be hidden from the recipient's device but not deleted from Snapchat's servers.

However, on this occasion the pictures had been uploaded into text, meaning they were available to recipients for 24 hours, and one quick-thinking person was able to take screenshots and pass them to police.  A club member said: "They put pictures of themselves all having a drink inside the hut on ‘Snapchat', so it didn't take much to work out who had done it”.  A police spokesperson said they were investigating the matter.

Headline: Player's celebration of win comes at a cost.

Article from: Teesside Gazette.

Journalist:  Laura Love.                             

Published: Saturday, 8 August 2015.

PTG listing: 7,863.

A North Yorkshire and South Durham Premier League player flipped his car upside down after drinking pints to celebrate a win, according to evidence given in the Teesside Magistrates’ Court on Friday.  Bank manager Brett Roberts, who plays for the Marske Cricket Club, drove his car over a roundabout near Guisborough and ended up upside down in a bush in the early hours of Sunday morning after a match played late last month.

Roberts, 30, took five wickets and scored four not out as Marske won the game at Scoresby by four wickets, and he was planning on having “just one pint” after the game but that plan changed.  “He had more than one pint and was going to leave his vehicle and get it the next day”, said his lawyer Brett Wildridge.  “But he had difficulty in securing transport home and then made an attempt to drive”.  “Fortunately no other vehicle was involved and he accepts his wrongdoing. He is very remorseful”.

Prosecutor Philip Morley said: “Police responded to a report of a vehicle having crashed at the roundabout”.  “When they arrived a silver Vauxhall Insignia was lying in the bushes on its roof”.  “There was an amount of debris on the road and it appeared to officers that the vehicle had gone straight over the roundabout”. “The defendant was still in the vehicle at the time - suspended upside down”.  “The officers could smell alcohol on his breath and his speech was slurred”.

Roberts provided a positive roadside breath test - blowing 83 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, which equates to just over twice the drink-drive limit.  He pleaded guilty to drink driving, was disqualified from driving for 20 months, fined £360 ($A750) and ordered to pay £121 ($A250) costs.

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

Article from:  The Guardian. 

Journalist:  John Holder and Paul Trevillion. 

Published: Sunday, 9 August 2015. 

PTG listing: 7,864. 

A bowler who returns after a “short break” and an umpire who “assumes” he will be bowling with the same action, a fielder’s hat that accidentally falls off and then ‘catches’ a ball that has been fumbled by the fielder, and a mix up of bats between batsmen, 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 1,616

  Tuesday, 11 August 2015


• Glamorgan fined, lose points, over ‘unfit’ pitch [1616-7865]

• ECB receives 28 expression of interest to run WCSL teams [1616-7866]

• Start made to player union's ‘Premier Cricket Program' [1616-7867]

• Jamaica president to face WICB’s ethics committee [1616-7868]

Headline: Glamorgan fined, lose points, over ‘unfit’ pitch.

Article from:  ECB release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Monday, 10 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,865.

Glamorgan have been fined £9,000 ($A19,000) and docked two tournament points after their one-day match against Hampshire two Sunday’s ago was abandoned due to the state of the pitch. The fixture was stopped 6.4 overs into the second innings after umpires Paul Baldwin and Neil Mallender deemed the pitch unplayable, both Hampshire openers having been struck by rising deliveries (PTG 1609-7824, 3 August 2015).

Initially, the game was declared a 'no-result’ and both sides received one point each.  However, an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) investigation has now decided that the game’s two points will go to Hampshire, and the Welsh County will lose two of the points they had previously earned from this season's competition.  £5,000 ($A10,500) of the fine has been suspended, and the other £4,000 ($A8,500) has to be paid to Hampshire to compensate their travelling supporters. 

The ECB also gave Glamorgan a suspended two-point penalty which will only come into play if the County provides a pitch that is rated as ‘unfit' next season. Glamorgan chief executive Hugh Morris said: "Our internal investigation is ongoing and we are committed to taking whatever action is necessary to ensure that we produce the best possible pitches for the rest of this season and beyond. "We will provide a further update when we are in a position to draw firm conclusions”. 

Glamorgan started this year’s one-day competition with a two-point deduction after being punished for producing a poor pitch in last season's series (PTG 1414-6829, 16 August 2014).  The pitch used in this month’s game was the same one involved on that occasion .

Headline: ECB receives 28 expression of interest to run WCSL teams.

Article from: Sky Sports.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Monday, 10 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,866.

The England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Women Cricket Super League (WCSL) initiative has attracted 'remarkable' interest, according to ECB director of England Women’s Cricket Clare Connor.  The ECB, who will plough £3 m ($A6.3 m) of investment into the new competition over the next four years, say they have already received 28 expressions of interest from a "diverse variety of organisations", including all 18 first-class counties, to run teams in what is mooted as a six-team competition.

When it launches in the 2016 northern summer, the WCSL will be comprised solely of Twenty20 cricket, but from 2017 onwards plans call for the structure to develop to encompass both the T20 and 50-over formats.  Connor insists the competition will boost the increased popularity in women’s cricket and will help improve the quality in the England team in years to come.

She said: "The level of interest shown in becoming a [WCSL] team host through the initial 'expression of interest' process has been remarkable and reflects a strong, national appetite for a new and dynamic competition”. "Despite levels of participation in sport and exercise being a concern across the UK (PTG 1463-7085, 20 November 2014), participation in women’s and girls’ cricket has seen pleasing growth in recent years. 

Connor said: "We now look forward to exploring each different approach that has been submitted to us, finding out who the six eventual hosts will be, and then working with them to create the high performance environments which are best placed to secure England’s success on the international stage for years to come”.

ECB WCSL general manager Jo Kirk, who was appointed last month, added: "The variety of the organisations involved and the extent of collaborative work outlined within the ‘expressions of interest’ received is really exciting”.  "We are now looking forward to seeing how each of the 28 plans develop through the invitation-to-tender window".

According to Kirk: "Internal ECB assessments of responses and interviews of prospective hosts will take place during October-November”.  "It is anticipated that the final confirmation of the hosts for the six teams will be announced in December”.

Headline: Start made to player union's ‘Premier Cricket Program' .

Article from:  Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Tuesday, 11 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,867.

Sydney's Manly Cricket Club has received an Australian Cricketers’ Association's (ACA) ‘Premier Cricket Program’ (PCP) grant as part of a program designed to keep former first-class, or non-contracted players, in club-level coaching, mentoring and development roles (PTG 1566-7531, 12 June 2015.  Under the player’s union PCP, Australia’s 87 Premier League clubs, from whom the country’s first class players are drawn, can apply for up to $A10,000 per year for three years to engage an individual, but what the total take-up has been to date is difficult to determine.

Local media reports say that Manly, which plays in the top level of the club game in Sydney, received a PCP grant to secure the services of Tim Cruickshank, 33, who played six first class and eight List A games for New South Wales, plus three Twenty20s for Sydney Thunder, in the two seasons from 2011-13.  Cruickshank is reported to be working as Manly’s Under-21 coach and is said to be "looking to instil first grade principles into young cricketers”.   

Whether other clubs have been successful in attracting players under the PCP initiative is not known at this time, but with a total of $A1 million (£475,000) available for the grants it would appear potentially around 30-35 spots could be funded over the next three years, although precisely how many is not clear.  ‘PTG’ approached the ACA with a request to obtain details of just how the program was going, but as yet no information has been forthcoming.

The ACA’s web site currently lists 10 slots being available across New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia on its PCP positions vacant page.  Premier League clubs who are at present seeking applicants are: North Sydney and Sydney University in NSW; Casey-South Melbourne, Frankston Peninsula and Greenvale in Victoria; Wynnum Manly and Ipswich Logan in Queensland; Glenorchy in Tasmania; and Bayswater-Morley and Wanneroo in Western Australia.

Eight of the clubs, North Sydney, Sydney University, Casey-South Melbourne, Greenvale, Ipswich Logan, Glenorchy, Bayswater Morley and Wanneroo are looking for a ‘player-mentor’, while Frankston’s interest covers a range of positions  including player, assistant coach and Chairman of Selectors, and Wynnum Manly a senior club coach.

ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said in June that PCP funding came from his members and underlines their commitment to the game at club level.  ACA Executive member, and current Australian all-rounder, Shane Watson also said at that time: "As current players, we're passionate about strengthening Premier Cricket and remember the influence that many former first-class players had on our careers as we came through”.

In March last year there was a report that the ACA had negotiated an arrangement with CA whereby $A10.75 m (£5.1 m) would be set aside to finance an ACA initiative "that sees past players employed to further develop and promote the game” (PTG 1324-6385, 31 March 2014).  Five months before that the ACA expressed their concern about the state of the Australian game and questioned whether CA’s Argus review of 2011 had done its job (PTG 1214-5843, 20 October 2013).  

Whether CA has any concrete plans for a parallel strengthening of match officials support and standards at Premier Cricket level across the country is not known at this time.   

Headline: Jamaica president to face WICB’s ethics committee.

Article from: Jamaica Observer.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Monday, 10 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,868.

Wilford Heaven, the president of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA),  is expected to appear before an ethics committee to answer charges of a code violation, according to West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president David Cameron.  Media reports indicate Heaven is to be asked to answer charges of leaking a confidential document pertaining to West Indies' abandoned tour of India last year, however, Heavan denied any such matter is pending.

Cameron said in a Television Jamaica interview that there "is a matter against Mr Heaven and the committee will meet shortly on the way forward”.  The release of the information without the consent of the WICB is a breach of clause six of the WICB's Code of Ethics for the board of directors.  That clause refers to the way information should be treated by its members, including the dissemination of sensitive information and the only instances where its release is permitted.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,617

  Wednesday, 12 August 2015

 

• Aussie TV documentary looks at ‘The Great Cricket Coup' [1617-7869].

• ‘Limited’ use of ‘Duke’ balls in Sheffield Shield a possibility [1617-7870].

• ‘Rejuvenated’ CA umpire ‘pathway’ has a familiar feel [1617-7871]

• Banned player seeks High Court intervention [1617-7872]

• BCCI abandons bone scan age verification for U-19 players [1617-7873]

• Mumbai association drops two ‘conflicted’ members [1617-7874]

• Interpol notice sought against Modi [1617-7875]

• Deer dies after entanglement in rope protecting square [1617-7876]

Headline: Aussie TV documentary looks at the ‘Great Cricket Coup'.

Article from:  ABC documentaries.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Tuesday, 11 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,869.

Monday’s edition of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) ‘Four Corners’ program, the equivalent of ‘Panorama’ in the UK, looked at what the ABC describes as "the backroom power plays of the cricket elite where an audacious coup has delivered extraordinary power to India, at the expense of smaller cricketing nations”.  The program provides its assessment of how India, with the co-operation of Australia and England, "forged a deal to control the future of cricket and the lion's share of the billions in revenue cricket generates". 

Those interviewed by journalist Quentin McDermott for the program include: Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards, former Australian Cricket Captain Ian Chappell, former West Indian bowler Michael Holding, International Cricket Council chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan, former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi, and cricket journalists Ed Hawkins and Gideon Haigh. 

The 45 minute program, which is titled ’The Great Cricket Coup’, covers a very similar range of issues to those of the recently released UK-produced ‘Death of a Gentleman’ documentary which focused on the current state of international cricket administration and the issues surrounding it (PTG 1614-7853, 8 August 2015).   The ABC's version of such matters is available on line for the next two weeks to viewers in Australia, however, access to it via the internet may be more limited in some other counties due to standard copyright-related issues.

Headline: ‘Limited’ use of ‘Duke’ balls in Sheffield Shield a possibility.

Article from: Various media.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Tuesday, 11 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,870.

“Limited" use of balls produced by English manufacturer ‘Duke' in Sheffield Shield cricket has some merit and will be looked into leading into the 2019 Ashes series in England, according to Pat Howard, Cricket Australia’s (CA) team performance head.  Following the recent Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, former Test captain Ricky Ponting said Australia must confront their weakness against swing-bowling by embracing the ‘Dukes’ ball at home (PTG 1615-7856, 10 August 2015). 

CA has been trialling ‘Duke’ balls in under age tournaments and some Futures League state second XI fixtures in recent years, but not as yet at domestic first class level.  "We may give consideration to using a Dukes ball in Shield competition in the two seasons leading up to the next UK Ashes series”.  "That could involve using a ‘Kookaburra' ball for the first half of the season and a Dukes ball for remainder”, said Howard.

Dilip Jagodia, the managing director of London-based Dukes Cricket said: "We would easily cope with [any ball] order for first-class cricket” in Australia.  "What would be a bit more worrying is if suddenly all the grades wanted to change”.  

Jagodia argues that what sets the ‘Dukes' ball apart from the ‘Kookaburra' is that all six rows of stitching for each of its ball were done by hand, and because there was no need for the ball to fit into a machine that does some of the stitching the seam was able to be more prominent, "like a rudder" for bowlers skilful enough to make it swing.  "There's a fundamental difference in the shape of the ball. They're all red and round but if you look at it, and you talk to the bowlers, our ball sits in the hand better because of that shape".

Jagodia conceded the type of ball they use in England, including the current Ashes series, would not cope with the typically less lush and more abrasive wicket blocks and outfields in Australia. As such, they have been tinkering with their tanning and coating processes in a bid to make the ball resilient.  

He said the first model they used three Australian seasons ago was too resilient, the gold lettering staying intact in some balls. Dukes pared back the coating for year two and there was an improvement, but it was not until last austral summer that they produced a ball with the combination of tanning, coating and thicker stitching that was "ready to go" for Australian conditions.

"It roughs up a bit more. That's what [CA officials] want, because they're talking about wanting it to reverse-swing and so on so they didn't want it to be in such good condition”, said Jagodia. "The shape retention is the key. Our balls do hold their shape. If they [bowlers] have got the skill and the weather's right you can get it to go”.

Howard also indicated CA will investigate "greening up" practice pitches and maybe getting batsmen up to [the National Cricket Centre in] Brisbane to practice on fresh pitches during the wet season”. 

There has been criticism over the last two years over CA's apparent edict to curators to prepare flat pitches in domestic cricket (PTG 1220-5871, 29 October 2013).  However, Howard insists that was never the case and curators have simply been told to prepare the same Shield pitches as they would for Test cricket.  He said that at a curator’s conference scheduled for Hobart next month, he will personally reinforce the message that he has no issue with lively Australian pitches.

'If Australian curators want to prepare spicy pitches, I have no issue as long as they prepare the same Shield and Test pitches”, said Howard.  “The edict wasn’t to make Shield pitches flatter. It you are going to play Test cricket at the Gabba or the MCG, the Shield pitch should replicate whatever the Test pitch is”.

Howard said Australia will increasingly encourage emerging cricketers to play as much as possible in County or league cricket in England so they can experience the unique UK conditions.  “We are particularly supportive of the batsmen playing in England whenever they can”, Howard said.  “Our bowlers also have to get better at performing in English conditions, but sometimes the bowlers’ workloads are an issue and that might sometimes prevent them from playing in different conditions”.

Headline: ‘Rejuvenated’ CA umpire ‘pathway’ has a familiar feel.

Article from:  CA information release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Tuesday, 11 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,871.

CA yesterday “unveiled” what it called "a rejuvenised umpire pathway” it says will provide additional opportunities for umpires associated with the "new competition formats” that are being introduced to representative cricket for the 2015-16 austral summer.  A news release points to opportunities in the new Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), an upgraded version of the long-standing women’s interstate Twenty20 series, additional Futures League state second XI fixtures, and expanded men’s youth tournaments (PTG 1604-7788, 28 July 2015).

For the first time yesterday’s announcement refers to, and names, the five members of CA's emerging umpire group, which the national body now refers to as its Development Panel (DP): Simon Lightbody, Damien Mealey, Claire Polosak, David Shepard and Tony Wilds (PTG1607-7810, 1 August 2015).  It also points out that two DP members, Polosak and Shepard, also make up its new Project Panel, and are amongst the 2015 recipients of an Australian Sports Commission National Officiating Scholarships (NOS) (PTG 1513-7295, 3 February 2015).

DP members are to take part in the national body’s annual pre-season umpiring seminar for the first time.  That gathering is usually limited to the twelve members of CA’s top domestic group, the National Umpire Panel (NUP) plus support staff (PTG 1553-7458, 21 May 2015).  This year’s seminar is to be held at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane in late September.

CA planning calls for DP members, plus “locally selected State Umpire Panel members”, to be appointed to WBBL and Futures League fixtures across the country, competitions it clearly rates highest on its appointments scale underneath senior interstate men’s first class, one-day and T20 games.  That appointments arrangement does not appear too dissimilar to the selections approach that has applied in the past.  Just how appointments to the now near-tournament style women’s 50-over one-day series will be handled is still not clear.   

As the first female cricket umpire to be appointed to a DP-level group, the Project Panel, and receive a NOS in Australian cricket history, Polosak is referred to as "a trailblazer for females in cricket officiating” in Australia. She took up umpiring at age 15 ten years ago and her experience as an umpire is said to "highlight the transferable skills within umpiring that assists her in day-to-day life, including communication skills, decision making, person management and conflict resolution”.  CA’s long-term aim is said to be to "enable [females] to officiate in professional men’s competitions” (PTG 1607-7805, 1 August 2015).

The CA news release also names of the ten umpires for November-December’s Under-19 male National Championship series in Adelaide in early December were confirmed as those previously reported (PTG 1609-7827, 3 August 2015).  Appointments are yet to be confirmed for the male Under-17 tournament in Brisbane in September-October, the Under-15 female national series in Hobart in late November, and the female Under-18 series in Canberra in January.  State umpire managers normally nominate umpire candidates for the non-U19 tournaments, selections that are then subject to CA ratification.

Headline: Banned player seeks High Court intervention.

Article from:  NDTV.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Tuesday, 11 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,872.

Mumbai cricketer Hiken Shah has approached the Bombay High Court seeking relief against the suspension given to him by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for allegedly flouting its anti-corruption code (PTG 1591-7678, 14 July 2015).  The BCCI suspended Shah, a batsman who was a part of Mumbai Ranji Trophy squad, in mid-July after he was found guilty of making "corrupt approach" to a team-mate who was also a member of Rajasthan Royals Indian Premier League franchise. Shah's petition to the court claims that he was not given a hearing before the order was passed and it should be set aside.

Headline: BCCI abandons bone scan age verification for U-19 players.

Article from:  Bangalore Mirror.

Journalist:  Vijay Tagore.                             

Published: Tuesday, 11 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,873.

The Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) has decided to abandon the practice of verifying the age of players at the Under-19 level by using medical technology.  The decision means U-19 players can now play in tournaments by producing birth-certificates that show their age, pieces of paper that have in the past been forged in Indian so that individuals can play in younger age group tournaments (PTG 1325-6393, 1 April 2014).

Use of the 'TW3 testing system’, which involved bone scans of the wrist, will now only be applied to boys Under-16 players as what is sometimes called the 'fool-proof testing’ scanning method has not worked well for the Under-19s.  A BCCI meeting involving officials from state associations took the decision because of the questionable accuracy involved, and also because the BCCI is facing over 2,000 legal cases on the matter from U-19 players.

A BCCI official said: "The protocol for U-19 players is valid certification —school-leaving and birth certificates”, but at the same time he admitted that statistics from India's sports ministry show that perhaps as many as half of those certificates are fake.  "The point is testing at U-19 level is a futile exercise and the players are questioning the accuracy of the results and filing suits if they are found to be overaged”, said the official. 

The BCCI official went on to point out that the ministry of sports had directed that testing at both U-16 and U-19 levels occur.  "The ministry has sent us a directive to verify height, weight, dental age, physical and physiological state of the players and do X-rays and MRI scans. It would cost a lot and there is no guarantee over its accuracy, particularly at under-19 level”, he explained.  The BCCI has, however, advised state associations to stick to 'TW3 testing' at U-16 level.

Headline: Mumbai association drops two ‘conflicted’ members.

Article from:  Mumbai Mirror.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Tuesday, 11 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,874.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) 'No Conflict of Interest' declaration has taken its first scalp. The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has decided to drop two members from its finance committee because in its assessment they come under the no conflict clause (PTG 1602-7774, 26 July 2015). 

Mayank Parekh and Jayant Jhaveri, both BCCI employees, have been dropped from the finance group as a result of the recent directive from BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur to state associations to declare that none of their members have any conflict of interest. 

A top MCA official said: "We thought [Parekh and Jhaveri] are in a conflicted position because of their job in the BCCI and we have decided to drop them from the fiancé committee”.  However, Parekh said he "attended the last finance committee meeting after receiving the invite” and in the time since has had no communication from the association regarding the matter. 

Another well-placed MCA administrator said, however, that he does not see any conflict being involved. "If they are in a conflicted position, then what about the selectors who run academies”, he asked. 

Headline: Interpol notice sought against Modi.

Article from:  Chandigarh Tribune.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Tuesday, 11 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,875.

India's Enforcement Directorate has asked the Interpol to issue a notice against former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi in a bid to extradite him for his suspected role in alleged irregularities in an IPL media rights deal.  Officials said the Directorate's Mumbai office has sought a 'Red Interpol notice’, which is issued to locate and arrest people for extradition in a criminal investigation from the Interpol wing of India's Central Bureau of Investigation after repeated calls for his cooperation has yielded little result (PTG 11613-7843, 7 August 2015).  Modi has resided in the United Kingdom for a number of years.

Headline: Deer dies after entanglement in rope protecting square.

Article from:  Romford Recorder.

Journalist:  Laura Burnip.                             

Published: Tuesday, 11 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,876.

Calls have been made for ropes around a cricket square to be permanently removed after a badly injured deer was found trapped in them.  The animal was discovered early on Sunday morning by passers-by at a ground in Harold Hill in East London, who cut it free from the ropes.  Despite attempts to revive it, the deer, which had broken its antlers during the ordeal, did not survive.

Martin Cason, secretary of Ardleigh Green Cricket Club which is based at the ground, said the club would not be removing the ropes permanently following the deer’s death, calling the incident “an unfortunate thing” but also "a total freak accident”.  “We’ve had the rope around that square for years – it’s the most important part of the ground”.

Cason said wildlife officers estimated there were around 1,800 deer in the Harold Hill area.  He indicated his club had recently changed from wire to rope, and made sure poles were not too far in the ground, to make it safer.  “If anything did happen, we thought it would be easy to pull out”, he said.

However, one neighbour to the ground, who asked not to be named, said: “The poles are there to protect the pitch but I think it’s dangerous".  “The deer was so tangled up in it, he was bleeding, he was so distressed. It was terrible”.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,618

  Thursday, 13 August 2015

 

• ICC cricket helmet stance 'increases tragedy risk', claims player’s union [1618-7877].

• Lankan batsman’s dismissal adds to UDRS debate [1618-7878].

• The WICB: Over-managed and under-led [1618-7879].

• Banning WAGs could lead to divorces, says Aussie selector [1618-7880].

• USACA blames ICC for non-payment of WT20Q players [1618-7881].

• Details of PCL franchise player planning sought by WICB  [1618-7882].

• Bombay High Court dismisses player’s appeal against ban [1618-7883].

• TV cricket drone didn’t breach privacy rules, says NZ Commission [1618-7884].

• Maasai warriors take to cricket to save the northern white rhino [1618-7885].

Headline: ICC cricket helmet stance 'increases tragedy risk', claims player’s union.

Article from:  London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist:  Tim Wigmore.                             

Published: Wednesday, 12 August 2015.     .

PTG listing: 7,877.

Nine months after the tragic death of Phillip Hughes, Angus Porter, the chief executive of the UK Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA), or players union, has warned that the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) lack of leadership in enforcing world-wide minimum safety standards on helmets “seems bound to increase the chances of avoidable tragedy”. 

Porter said: “Issues like health and safety are ones where there is a huge benefit in international co-ordination. If we don’t have the ICC playing that role then it’s hard to see who can – and we’ll end up with each national board going its own way”. 

At its annual conference in June, all members of the ICC agreed to implement the 2013 version of British Safety Standard for helmets for international cricketers. 

However, the new helmet safety standard does not mandate the need for additional protection to the back of the neck, where Hughes was fatally struck last November.  Some new helmet designs do, and apparently have, provided extra protection in this area (PTG 1600-7759, 24 July 2015). 

After the restructuring of the ICC last year, its medical committee was abolished, with the ICC instead dealing with medical matters on a consultancy basis. Porter described the disbanding of the committee as “an illustration of the confusion” of the ICC’s role today. 

Tony Irish, the executive chairman of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA), the player union’s world body, praised the ICC’s work in advocating the safety standards, but fears it will mean little if regulation of the standards is left to each individual nation.  “If you leave it country to country you’re going to get a variation in the minimum standards and how they’re applied – that’s our issue. That needs to be centrally applied”, he said. “Application in different countries is the issue in our experience – you sign up but what does that mean?”

 

“There is no uniform requirement across countries for wearing of helmets, not only when batting but for wicketkeepers, certain close fielders and when batting in training. We feel that this should be addressed centrally. The ICC hasn’t been particularly receptive to this approach, believing that most of these safety issues should be dealt with at a country level. “If everyone accepts the safety standards I don’t understand why there’s a problem in regulating it? It’s the same with a number of other safety issues – not just on helmets”. 

Irish cited different approaches to team security as another concern stemming from the lack of enforcement of minimum standards from the ICC. 

FICA is to meet the ICC to discuss safety issues after the world body sent a response to FICA’s mid-year document on player health, safety and security last month (PTG 1570-7547, 18 June 2015).  An ICC spokesman said: “The ICC agrees that there are benefits from international co-ordination of some player health and safety issues, and the ICC has a strong focus and a strong track record of providing leadership in this area”.

The PCA’s Porter is encouraged by improvements in player safety in England – it is now mandatory for all helmets given by first-class counties to players to meet the new British standard – but accepts that progress has been slow. “It has taken much longer for manufacturers to get helmets credited to the new design than any of us thought that it would”, he said, at the same time admitting: “We will never completely eliminate tragic accidents”. 

Headline: Lankan batsman’s dismissal adds to UDRS debate.

Article from:  One India .

Journalist:  C Aprameya.                             

Published: Wednesday, 12 August 2015.     .

PTG listing: 7,878.

When India play a bilateral series it is a foregone conclusion that there will be no place for the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS). And it is due to that that an on-field umpiring error early on the opening day of the first Test between Sri Lankan and India in Galle on Wednesday that the UDRS debate is back.

Sri Lankan opening batsman Kaushal Silva wrongly given out by English umpire Nigel Llong off paceman Varun Aaron, the batsman shaking his head a number of times as he headed back to the pavilion.  A short ball from Aaron saw Silva trying to hook.  Replays available to viewers indicate the ball hit him on the arm guard and it is not clear at all bat involved.

Headline: The WICB: Over-managed and under-led.

Article from:  Trinidad Daily Express.

Journalist:  Rudi Webster.                             

Published: Wednesday, 12 August 2015.     .

PTG listing: 7,879.

Soon, the Committee appointed by Caricom [the Caribbean Community and Common Market] to examine the structure of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) will complete its mission and deliver its report and recommendations to the Caribbean Prime Ministers’ cricket sub-committee.  Will the WICB welcome this report and embrace its recommendations, or will it treat it like similar previous reports? Who knows? Only time will tell.  One wonders if the WICB really understands the impact of design and structure on organisational performance. 

No matter how good people are they will not perform well if the organisation in which they are working is badly designed.  Organisations usually get the behaviour that they design. If an organisation is not doing well its leaders should look closely at its processes, systems and structure. If people in the organisation repeatedly resist change, they are working in an environment that undervalues learning, growth and development. And if members are not good team players, they are working in a structure designed for individual performance.

Whatever the WICB’s response to the Caricom sub-committee's report, let us hope that commonsense prevails. We must remember though that in general, when we are dealing with human beings we are not dealing with creatures of logic; we are dealing with creatures of habit, emotions and self-interest; creatures who crave status, recognition and power.

Restructuring the Board is absolutely necessary but that alone will not change its fortunes. Other important change factors will be required. For years, the WICB has just been a management organisation, hence the Board’s poor performance and its adversarial relationship with its players. 

To manage is to control, manipulate and seek obedience. To lead is to guide, influence, inspire and motivate. Successful sports organisations balance these two entities. They manage things — systems and processes — but lead and motivate their people. Running a Board with only management skills is like trying to cut a piece of paper with half a pair of scissors. 

Looking at the performance of the WICB over the years, one can only conclude that it has been badly over-managed and dangerously under-led.  Good leadership starts with self-leadership. The first step in improving your organisation is improving yourself. Too many people who aspire to lead and develop others have not learned how to lead and develop themselves. Changes in the organisation begin when leaders walk the talk and transform themselves. 

Leaders in the WICB must now embrace change and development and design a new future for itself and its players. They must become dealers of hope and help their people to see beyond where they are at the moment to what they can become in the future.  Performing better is often more about unlearning bad habits, poor attitudes, limiting beliefs and outmoded traditions than about learning or adding new ones. There are two bad habits the WICB must immediately unlearn. 

The first is its tendency to blame other people and other things for its performance problems. In unsuccessful companies, members are always blaming other people or circumstances for what they are. But the people who get on in the world are the ones who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they can’t find them they make them

The second bad habit is the Board’s sensitivity to criticism and its inclination to have it in for anyone who dares to give negative feedback. This is depressing because constructive criticism is feedback about what needs to be questioned, improved or changed. Without measurement and feedback organisations stagnate and fail. What gets measured gets handled. 

What are the odds of WICB making significant changes? Not very high because 73 per cent of organisational change efforts usually fail. According to the experts this often happens because some leaders try to change other people without first changing themselves; without focusing on and implementing the basics and first important priorities of their business; and without eliminating bad habits, corrupt practices, and outmoded beliefs and traditions. 

If the Caricom and Prime Ministers’ sub-committees on cricket advocate change, they of course will be convinced of the importance and benefits of that change. But the people in the Board who have to accept and implement the change might not see its value because it might challenge their status, interests, personal goals and aspirations. Even if members accept the need for change they might disagree about the method, extent and pace of change.  A commitment to the status quo is no longer a viable option. It is a prescription for further failure or worse. 

Headline: Banning WAGs could lead to divorces, says Aussie selector.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Jesse Hogan                            

Published: Thursday, 13 August 2015.     .

PTG listing: 7,880.

Head Australian selector Rod Marsh is the embodiment of old-school cricket, playing hard on the field and often living hard off it, too, in regards to celebrating performances.  Even with that background he has a simple message for anyone damning the policy that allows players to have wives, girlfriends and families (WAGs) with them on tour: what would make the banishment of them so worthwhile?  "Well, what do you want? Do you want divorces? Do you want players unhappy?" asked Marsh.

Given his position in the current Australian hierarchy it is to be expected Marsh would be a staunch defender of current Cricket Australia (CA) policy. Nevertheless there did not seem to be a skerrick of anything forced, made exclusively for public solidarity purposes, in his sentiments. There was bewilderment that players' spouses were being made to share culpability for the team's on-field inadequacies against England in the Ashes (PTG 1615-7860, 10 August 2015).

"In this day and age the scheduling is such that you can't play cricket unless you see your family. You're going to be less happy as a person and they all say it. All the players say it. You're going to be less happy if you don't see your family”, Marsh said.  "All the families were there [when Australia thrashed England] at Lord's, as [CA executive] Pat Howard quite rightly said”.  "I just think it's codswallop. Individuals can do what they want to do and Darren [Lehmann, coach] endorses that. And as far as I'm concerned it's fine”.

Lehmann says in a Cricket Australia column that he will not stop players' families travelling with the squad.  He indicated that some of his players had not been home for more than three or four days since December and he "can't think of any other sport in which the players are away for such long stretches of time”.  

"There is no way, as coach of the Australian cricket team, that I am going to oversee a set-up that doesn't welcome wives, girlfriends, children and other family members when our players and staff are spending that length of time travelling”.  "Their presence also helps to provide a bit of normality during a long stint of travel, and I find it strange that this has only surfaced as an issue now when it's been like this for the two years that I've been coach”.

Headline: USACA blames ICC for non-payment of WT20Q players.

Article from:  ‘Cricinfo'.

Journalist:  Peter Della Penna.                             

Published: Tuesday, 11 August 2015 .     .

PTG listing: 7,881.

Three weeks after returning home from the World Twenty20 Qualifier (WT20Q) event in Ireland, each player from USA's 15-man squad is yet to receive nearly $US2,000 ($A2,700, £UK1,280) in stipend payments that were promised to them ahead of the tour.  The USA Cricket Association (USACA) is laying blame on the International Cricket Council (ICC) for what it says was a broken promise to take care of the players while the board is under ICC suspension. 

USACA officials were due to meet with ICC chief executive David Richardson and ICC general counsel Iain Higgins in New York on Tuesday to discuss a variety of issues related to US body's suspension from the ICC, including finances (PTG 1579-7596, 28 June 2015), but the world body claims it never agreed to pay the players. 

However, USACA vice-president Owen Grey has pointed the finger squarely back at the ICC. "Ask the ICC why they refuse to pay the players”, Grey told ‘Cricinfo' on Monday. "You suspend a nation and you said the players must not suffer. You're supposed to pay the players and you decided that yes you're going to pay the players and then you renege. So go ask [the ICC’s] Ben Kavenagh, David Richardson and Tim Anderson. You hear that a nation is suspended and the ICC wants it both ways".

"The ICC told US team manager John Wilson in Dublin that they sent the money to USACA to pay the players which is a bloody lie. The ICC got the request about the stipend for the players through [USACA liaison] Vincent [Adams] to Tim Anderson, Ben Kavanagh, Faisal Hasnain and David Richardson. They were supposed to pay the players. They didn't do it. They said they sent the money to USACA which is a lie”.

An ICC spokesperson said that though USACA did make a request, no agreement was ever made by the ICC to provide a supplemental stipend beyond the $US60 ($A81, £38) a day that all players from each of the 14 [WT20Q] teams received from the ICC as meal money during the tournament.   "The ICC didn't agree, and is not in a position to pay the USA players”, emphasised the spokesman.

Last Sunday the USACA announced a national $US100,000 ($A135,433, £64,000) tournament in Florida to be played by the best clubs of USACA member leagues, but it did not indicate just where that money would come from.  However, Grey was adamant that the tour stipend payments for the 15 USA players should come from the ICC and not from any other funding sources. 

Grey said: “[US] players are out $US27,000 ($A36,699, £17,290) as we speak, which should have been paid before they left Dublin last month”.  "The pay scale was $US60 per day for dinner and a $US100 ($A135, £64) stipend.  In 2013, when we weren't suspended, USACA paid the players $US120 ($A162, £76.80) a day plus they got $US50 ($A68, £32) dinner money from the ICC for the same tournament in Dubai. The meal money was increased $US10 a day this year so we said fair is fair, pay them $US100. So the players are out $US100 per day which is $1,800 ($A2,437, £1,152) per player”.

Headline: Details of PCL franchise player planning sought by WICB.

Article from:  The Antigua Observer

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Wednesday, 12 August 2015.     .

PTG listing: 7,882.

Michael Muirhead, the chief executive officer of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), says that plans to improve its Professional Cricket League (PCL), the region’s ‘domestic’ first class competition, will be revealed within the next two weeks.  Speaking on Observer Radio in Antigua, Muirhead said that the WICB has asked the regional franchises to ensure "certain measures are in place" ahead of the new season and he is awaiting the outcome.

“We have made some demands of the six PCL franchises and are insisting that when those things are accomplished, within the next week or two, they be made public”, he said.  The Caribbean region needs “to be clear on what their plans are, because it is WICB who is, in large part, funding what is going forward”.  "It is in [the franchises’] hands to make sure they deliver to the WICB the good cricketers so that we can have a pool of players to choose from to improve our own standings in the rankings”.

Muirhead also mentioned on the ongoing dialogue between the WICB and the government of Guyana concerning the issues that have plagued the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) in recent years.  "Nothing has been formalised with the new government as yet, but they will be looking at revising the position or taking a re-look at the position that was taken by the former government”, said Muirhead   

In February 2012, the then Guyanan government locked the GCB out of its offices at the Bourda Ground and appointed its own interim management committee headed by former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd.  Those moves followed a Guyana High Court ruling that the GCB was "a legal nonentity” because of disputes over the results of a mid-2011 board election,  The government said it wanted to administer cricket in the country in order to fight corruption and help end years of bickering between rival factions. 

Headline: Bombay High Court dismisses player’s appeal against ban.

Article from:  Indian Express.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Thursday, 13 August 2015.     .

PTG listing: 7,883.

The Bombay High Court yesterday dismissed Mumbai first-class cricketer Hiken Shah’s petition against the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) decision to ban him from playing professional cricket over allegations of corruption (PTG 1591-7678, 14 July 2015).  The court said the BCCI’s disciplinary committee will look into the issue and if Shah is aggrieved at the end of six months he can approach the court again, but that until then his ban will remain. 

The 30-year-old middle-order batsman, who insists he is innocent, was playing in England when the ban was announced and rushed back home to try and deal with the situation.  Shah's petition to the court claimed that he was not given a hearing before the ban was handed to him and on that basis asked the court to set it aside (PTG 1617-7872, 12 August 2015).

Headline: TV cricket drone didn’t breach privacy rules, says NZ Commission.

Article from:  Otago Daily Times.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Wednesday, 12 August 2015.     .

PTG listing: 7,884.

A drone used in Sky TV's coverage at Wellington's Basin Reserve last austral summer did not breach an apartment-dweller's privacy when it flew within metres of his property, according to a New Zealand Privacy Commission ruling following its first investigation into the unmanned flying craft.  In a decision released today, the commission said in its statement that the drone flew within 10 metres of an apartment, “the complainant was irritated by that and gave the drone 'the fingers’.

During last summer's series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, Sky TV used a drone for the first time to capture aerial footage of the grounds and surrounding areas.  Sky TV spokeswoman Kirsty Way told journalists that use of the drones stopped for a time after an incident in Dunedin when its drone was competing for air-space with a privately-owned craft.  They returned for the World Cup after the television company increased its health and safety procedures.

Chris Neves, who operates the drone for Sky, said that in future he won't be flying over private dwellings during sports events.   Neves also works for production companies and when filming programs or advertisements, permission for drone use is sought from local councils as part of the consent process. If he needed to film over private houses the production company would do a letter drop and give people time to oppose.

Sky’s Way said: "It's our intention to use them [this summer] and we have got no problem operating within whatever rules there are”.  "We have to take it ground by ground. Some are suitable and some aren’t”.  She couldn't say if the drone would return to the Basin Reserve and said she wasn't aware of any other privacy complaints over drone use by the network.  "It's quite a new technology, so people have quite a close eye on it. It's not our intention to push any boundaries. We just want to get the best sport coverage we can”.

New New Zealand rules have come into effect this month that require drone users to have consent of people and property owners before flying over them.  The man who laid the Privacy Commission complaint thought the drone might have captured "highly sensitive information in an unreasonably intrusive manner”.  He was unsure if the drone was filming or if anyone saw the footage of him, which he said he had not given consent to.

The complaint to the commission said the drone used breached parts of NZ's Privacy Act dealing with the collection of personal information.  These principles specify when personal information can be collected and for what purpose, what someone should be told when their information is collected, and how information should be collected.

Sky TV told the commission when the cricket producer wanted to look at footage from the drone he would radio the craft's operator and tell him pictures were being recorded.  "Sky TV said that despite how it appeared, the drone was not recording footage the entire time it was in the air”, says the commission's decision.  "Sky TV accepted that its drone may have flown past the complainant's property, but said the drone had not recorded or broadcast images of the complainant, or the inside of his property”.  "Sky TV also said the TV control room did not view any footage of the complainant or his property”.

The commission found no breaches of the Privacy Act and said a separate investigation by the Broadcasting Standards Authority found no breaches of the Broadcasting Act.  Footage of two women on the balcony of another apartment was broadcast. In that case the drone operator sought their consent through a hand gesture and they indicated they were fine with that.  "This was the only footage that was broadcast of identifiable individuals”, the commission decision says.  Since the new drone regulations came out the Privacy Commissioner's office has had one inquiry about the flying craft, but no complaints.

Headline: Maasai warriors take to cricket to save the northern white rhino.

Article from:  Deutsche Welle

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Wednesday, 12 August 2015.     .

PTG listing: 7,885.

For Kenya's Maasai warriors hunting has been a tradition, but now they have dropped their spears and picking up cricket bats to raise awareness of the plight of a species whose future hangs by a thread.  Deep in the heart of the Ol Pejetea Conservancy area in Kenya, a crowd of spectators from around the world have gathered to watch a cricket match on what might well be the most remote and beautiful cricket field in the world.

The Maasai in Kenya are known as fearsome warriors who hunt lions as a traditional rite of passage to adulthood. But this group of warriors has a different agenda. They have gathered on the foothills of the snow-capped Mount Kenya, dressed in traditional Maasai attire of checkered blankets and beaded ornaments, to raise awareness of the existential threat to northern white rhinos.

These two-ton giants are on the brink of extinction. Poaching has reduced their global population to just five animals. Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia currently hosts three of the last northern whites in the world - the only surviving male of his species, Sudan and two females, Najin and Fatou.  The remaining two northern white rhinos are at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in California, and the Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic.

The Warriors are competing against a British Army Training Unit cricket team to raise funds to help curb the menace of poaching in Kenya.  Captain Sonyanga Ole Ngais says that through the sport they hope to help save the endangered rhinos.  "We are trying to make sure that everyone has that awareness of conservation”.  "We are trying to tell the people to assist with funding and bring their energy and ideas and try to actually preserve the environment”.  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,619

  Saturday, 15 August 2015

 

• Leicestershire docked 16 Championship points for disciplinary breaches [1619-7886].

• ECB censures five players for on-field offences [1619-7887].

• CA puts 2016-21 UK television rights up for sale [1619-7888].

• New edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published [1619-7869]. 

Headline: Leicestershire docked 16 Championship points for disciplinary breaches.

Article from:  Sky Sports.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Friday, 14 August 2015.     .

PTG listing: 7,886.

Leicestershire have been deducted 16 County Championship points and fined £5,000 following a Disciplinary Panel hearing at Lord’s.  The England and Wales Cricket Board’s Disciplinary Panel punished the club for having five players penalised for incidents of dissent to either the umpire or opposition players in a 12-month period.  The points penalty is a huge blow to Leicestershire’s hopes of avoiding finishing bottom of Division Two again.

The Grace Road team, who have described the penalty as "severe" and "bitterly disappointing”, were already bottom of the table on 98 points, 16 behind Kent, but now the gap is 32.  The points deduction is immediate, but the fine has been suspended for 12 months.  Leicestershire, who won their first home match since 2012 earlier this week, pleaded guilty to the charge at Friday's hearing.

An ECB statement read: “The Panel took into account the guilty plea and the changes that have taken place at the club within the past year as well as the club’s stated intention to improve their disciplinary situation”.  “However they noted the overall seriousness of the five offences and felt that more substantial action should have been taken to address these issues at an earlier stage.”

The club’s chief executive, Wasim Khan, said: “We believe that the sanction imposed is severe…[coach] Andrew [McDonald] and I have worked hard, and continue to do so, to improve the expected standards and levels of discipline expected of Leicestershire cricketers”.  “It is unfortunate that two of the highest level indiscretions happened last year that we had no control over and we believe that the latest low level incident reported was particularly harsh".

“Unfortunately there is no platform for us as a club to appeal any of the reported incidents”.  "We have already put in place procedures relating to player education and will be talking to the Professional Cricketers Association as to what further programs we can put into place".

“The players have a duty to behave on the field as well as off the field in a manner that the club expects and so this is simply not acceptable to us”.  "Further discussions with regards to future behaviour and the repercussions will be outlined to players within the next 24 hours”, concluded Khan.

Headline: ECB censures five players for on-field offences.

Article from:  ECB press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                             

Published: Friday, 14 August 2015.     .

PTG listing: 7,887.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) today confirmed that Ryan Sidebottom (Yorkshire), James Fuller (Gloucestershire), Aadil Ali (Leicestershire), Nick Gubbins (Middlesex) and Michael Richardson (Durham) have received penalties for a range of actions in recent matches.  Sidebottom was censured for a Level Two offence and the others Level One, four of the five incident involving dissent and the other being removed from the attack for bowling ‘beamers’.

The latest offences bring to 13 the number of County players who have been given disciplinary penalties in the last month.  In mid-July the ECB said that its Disciplinary Commission had noted the increased number of fixed penalty offences during the 2015 season and that it had written to all Counties reminding them of the importance of maintaining high disciplinary standards (PTG 1593-7703, 16 July 2015).   

In the latest set of reports, Sidebottom was given three disciplinary points after umpires David Millns and Russell Evans reported him for showing "serious dissent at an umpire’s decision by word or action" during a first class match against Worcestershire in late last month.   

Umpires Michael Gough and Steve O’Shaughnessy cited Ali for showing dissent at a decision during a one day match against Gloucestershire on the last day of July, and Gubbins by umpires Martin Bodenham and Martin Saggers for the same offence in a first class fixture against Sussex last week.  Richardson’s offence involved ’showing dissent at an umpire’s decision by word or action/abuse of cricket ground, equipment or fixtures/fittings’ in a first class against Yorkshire, umpires Jeremy Lloyds and Nick Cook laying the charge against hime.  All three were handed reprimands for their actions.

Fuller was removed from the attack by Gough and O’Shaughnessy in the same match in which Ali was reported for delivering too many balls above the waist.  It is the third time this season that he has been removed from the attack for delivering accidental beamers, the first being in May and the second a month ago in a Twenty20 fixture against Sussex.  He was docked three penalty points for the last occurrence and a further three for the latest indiscretion which means he now has six points against his name.

The penalties handed down will remain on each player’s record for a period of two years, the accumulation of nine or more penalty points in any two-year period resulting in an automatic suspension.

Headline: CA puts 2016-21 UK television rights up for sale.

Article from:  Financial Times.

Journalist:  Jamie Smyth.                             

Published: Friday, 14 August 2015.     .

PTG listing: 7,888.

Australia’s cricketers may have suffered a crushing defeat in the 2015 Ashes series, but Cricket Australia (CA) is aiming to capitalise on a surge of English enthusiasm for the game with the sale of its domestic media rights in the UK.  Australia’s existing four-year UK deal with Sky Sports is estimated to be worth about £50 million ($A106 m) , but the country’s cricket governing body for the sport is hopeful of surpassing that figure given the fixtures on offer.

Highlights of the forthcoming five-year media rights package include the Ashes tour of 2017-18, which is part of a package of 32 Test matches as Australia will also be taking on India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Pakistan at home in that time.  There are also 40 One Day Internationals and 10 Twenty20 Internationals and the popular domestic Twenty20 Big Bash League.  CA’s deal offers companies the right to broadcast in the UK and Republic of Ireland over five seasons from 2016-21. They have been invited to bid for one or both of the free to air TV and pay TV media rights packages on offer.

A letter CA sent to prospective bidders for the rights said: “We regard Cricket Australia’s strong digital presence as vital to our engagement with Australian cricket fans in the UK and around the world”.  It is understood at least six media companies in the UK have requested tender documents from CA, including rivals Sky Sports and BT Sports.

The growing global popularity of cricket has led to a jump in the value of its already lucrative television rights packages over the past decade. In 2006, the International Cricket Council (ICC) sold eight years of broadcasting rights to international cricket to a joint venture of ESPN-Star Sports, reportedly for $US1.1 billion ($A1.5 b, £703 m).  That was trumped last year when the ICC awarded its next eight-year TV rights deal jointly to Star India and Star Middle East — a deal reportedly worth as much as $US2.5 billion ($A3.4 b, £1,6 b).

Julian Moore, an expert on sports rights at law firm PinsentMasons, said that although competition between BT and Sky was fierce, there was limited appetite for cricket.  “The only cricket BT Sport has is Caribbean Cricket League. Everything else of note is on Sky. My guess is this will go to Sky again and the process won't be massively competitive”, he said.

CA’s letter also said it was placing an increasing emphasis on its digital assets and would be looking to broadcast partners to co-operate and collaborate in the development of new digital platforms. These will aim to maximise fan engagement, build brand presence and promote participation in cricket around the world.

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

Article from:  The Guardian. 

Journalist:  John Holder and Paul Trevillion. 

Published: Friday, 14 August 2015. 

PTG listing: 7,889. 

A scenario in which of two batsmen are out when both are in the same ground, what an umpire should do after he notices a bail on the ground after he has just given a batsman has been given out LBW, and the decision that needs to be made after a batsman is bowled just as a “loud clap of thunder and vivid lightning flash” occur, 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 1,620

  Monday, 17 August 2015

 

• We need to think about DRS after Lankan series, says Kohli [1620-7890].

• Broken nose leads to ‘bad light’ decision [1620-7891].

• UDRS or not, elite players deserve better from elite umpires [1620-7892].

• PCB drops day-night Test plans [1620-7893].

• Delhi police to appeal IPL fix acquittal [1620-7894].

• IPL Lodha working committee to report to BCCI [1620-7895].

• Australian bowler backs use of ‘Dukes’ ball [1620-7896].

• Two Bermudan players suspended for Code of Conduct breaches [1620-7897].

Headline: We need to think about UDRS after Lankan series, says Kohli.

Article from:  Press Trust of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Sunday, 16 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,890. 

Indian Test captain Virat Kohli said on Saturday that use of the Umpire Decision Review System (DRS) needs to be considered, but not until after the end of the current three-Test series against Sri Lanka.  India lost the first Test from a winning position, being bowled out for 112 in the fourth innings, 63 short of the target set for them.  Had UDRS been in operation it is possible they would have won the game (PTG 1620-7892 below).

The debate about India’s policy of not using the UDRS surfaced after the Test’s Man of the Match, Sri Lankan Dinesh Chandimal, was adjudged 'not out' off a bat-pad catch in his side’s second innings.  Replays showed a thick inside edge onto pads before the ball was caught at forward short leg.  Chandimal's 162 proved to be a game-changer.  Another decision was also shown by replays to have been incorrect.

Kohli was honest enough to admit that there is no point debating on UDRS when they have not batted well.  He said at the post-match presentation ceremony: "We are not using it in this series. It is not an issue that I would want to debate on at the moment. Once the series is over, we will sit down and think how important is it and how much do we want to use it”.  "We only have ourselves to blame for the way we played at the moment and I think we should focus on how badly we played today".

Interestingly, Kohli had said after the one-off Test against Bangladesh in Fatullah in June that he was "open to discussions on UDRS with the team” (PTG 1567-7536, 15 June 2015).  His stance was then seen as a marked departure from India’s One Day International skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's stance of not having UDRS unless the technology is "100 percent foolproof".

After Kohli's comment in Fatullah, Board of Control for Cricket in India president Jagmohan Dalmiya issued a statement making it clear that the status quo persisted as far as UDRS was concerned (PTG 1579-7595, 28 June 2015).  However, Dalmiya's statement also indicated that the BCCI is open to “discussions internally" on whether the UDRS could be used "partially or in a modified version during bilateral series”. 

Headline: Broken nose leads to ‘bad light’ decision.

Article from:  Associated Press.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Saturday, 15 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,891. 

Hampshire have won a place in England’s domestic Twenty20 finals after umpires called off play in their quarter-final against Worcestershire when fielder Chris Wood suffered a broken nose.  Their decision to end the match due to poor light and "dangerous conditions" came after Hampshire’s Wood was hit on the nose while attempting to take a catch on the mid-wicket boundary.

Struggling to pick up the ball in the fading light, Wood was struck in the face and although he was able to make the return throw, he immediately needed attention from medical staff.  The incident occurred when Worcestershire were 2/58 after 8.1 overs chasing 197 and prompted umpires Rob Bailey and Tim Robinson to call off the match - with Worcestershire’s New Road ground in semi-darkness due to the overcast conditions - handing Hampshire a 17-run win under the Duckworth-Lewis method.

Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell said it was “just one of those things”.  "Batting out there (in the bad light) wasn't too bad, but I guess in the field it's a bit more difficult”.  "Maybe it was a tactical drop onto his nose by [Wood]".  "It's just one of those things”.  "The umpires are there to make a decision, they're two experienced guys and I wouldn't question what they did”.

Headline: UDRS or not, elite players deserve better from elite umpires.

Article from:  Wisden India.

Journalist:  R Kaushik.                             

Published: Saturday, 15 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,892. 

A good umpire, like a good wicketkeeper, is someone who goes through a session, a day, a game without making an obvious mistake. Good umpires aren’t easy to find, which is why the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) top group of umpires is referred to as the Elite Umpires Panel (EUP).  But umpires today are so accustomed to officiating with the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in place that when it's not available to them, as is the case in the current Sri Lanka-India series, the howlers that might otherwise have been corrected lie exposed threadbare.

As anyone who has been associated with the sport at any level will acknowledge, umpiring is as demanding a task as batting, bowling or catching. If anything, the demands on the umpires are even more, because unlike the players, they have to be on the field for every second of action spread over five days in a Test match, and being as human as the next person, they are prone to mistakes.

It was to avoid obvious mistakes, or howlers, that the ICC introduced the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS).   It was first trialled, coincidentally here in Sri Lanka when India came calling in 2008; by the end of that trial run, India had decided that they wanted no part of it. Anil Kumble, now the chairman of the ICC’s Cricket Committee, and his team got nearly every review wrong, while Mahela Jayawardene’s men got nearly every review right in a series that was dominated by the UDRS (PTG  288-1526, 1 August 2008).

India’s steadfast reluctance to accept the UDRS in its current shape and form has been one of the major talking points of the cricket world for a while now. Every time the Indian team is at the receiving end of an umpiring error, the general feeling is: Serves them right.

That is a sarcastic, maybe even spiteful, response, which by its very intent takes the focus away from the core problem. Why is it that the umpires are making so many mistakes? If the mistakes are so obvious, do we just condone them by using the UDRS? And can the admittedly hardheaded and stubborn reluctance of a team to allow the UDRS to be employed in a series involving it be justified by the commonplace mistakes made by men belonging to the EUP?

Take Day 3 of the first Sri Lanka-India Test in Galle this week. Sri Lanka, trailing by 192 on the first count, were reeling at 5/95 when, in the space of six deliveries, Bruce Oxenford and Nigel Llong dealt India unkind cuts. First, R Ashwin defeated Dinesh Chandimal’s sweep, the ball catching the edge of the bat and the grill of the batsman’s helmet on its way to leg-slip. 

The appeal was spontaneous and loud – not that that means anything these days – and the bat was well in front of the body, so there was no clutter to confuse the umpire. Oxenford said a firm no from about 25 yards, convinced that there was no contact between ball and either bat or glove. Replays clearly indicated otherwise. Chandimal was then on 5 out of 5/99.

Llong’s howler came in the following over as Amit Mishra found the thick inside edge – thick inside edge, mind – of Lahiru Thirimanne’s bat and the ball popped to silly point. Big shout, firm no. End of story. Thirimanne 0, Sri Lanka 5/103.

Just as the UDRS debate was starting to rage, third umpire Ranmore Martinesz added another dimension to it. Chandimal drove at Mishra, the ball struck Rohit Sharma’s right boot at silly point and lobbed up in the air, and Mishra ran in to take the dolly. A hobbling Rohit and the close catchers all claimed the catch and, as is the norm, Llong and Oxenford conferred and threw the decision to the TV umpire. 

Martinesz painstakingly reviewed the decision from various angles numerous times, and no angle showed even a suggestion of a puff of dust emanating from the ball hitting the ground. The stump cam conclusively showed the ball hitting the toe of the boot on the full, while the square camera was slightly less conclusive only because the pitch was slightly elevated than where Rohit was stationed. When ‘not out’ flashed in green on the giant screens at the ground, there was dismay on the park, gasps elsewhere. Chandimal 10 and Sri Lanka 5/108. 

As things transpired, Chandimal made a truly sensational 162 not out and added 125 for the sixth wicket with Thirimanne. Offshoot? Sri Lanka 367 all out, India chasing 176 for victory when they should have wrapped up the game, perhaps by an innings, well before close on the third day. That’s why the umpires are in focus. Day-changing howlers, which could become game-changing ones. Surely, UDRS or no UDRS, the elite players deserve better from the elite officials?

One of the more cheeky asides when India get poor decisions is that this is one way of getting the Indians around to belatedly accepting the review process (PTG 1620-7890 above). A more rational explanation could lie in the errors stemming from the slight blunting of the cutting edge UDRS that is fashioned in such a way that the benefit of the doubt now rests entirely with the umpires.

Messrs Oxenford and Llong, like many of their other colleagues, are so accustomed to officiating with the UDRS in place that there is an understandable, and definitely subconscious, lowering of intensity stemming from the knowledge that a mistake can be overturned on review. Umpires today err so heavily on the side of caution – like asking for a TV replay for a run out even when the batsman is well past the stumps when the ball hits the wickets – that there is bound to be an unwitting and certainly unwilling dulling of the senses, which could explain why when the UDRS option is not available to them, the howlers that might otherwise have been corrected lie exposed threadbare.

The dependence on technology is nothing if not a natural progression in the process of evolution, but technology must aid and buttress, not substitute and replace. The UDRS debate can continue till the cows come home and beyond, but can that be used as an excuse to wish the obvious mistakes away?

Headline: PCB drops day-night Test plans.

Article from:  Press Trust of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Saturday, 15 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,893.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has dropped its plans to hold day-night Test matches after its proposal to use an orange ball was overruled by the International Cricket Council (ICC).  An official source at the PCB told PTI that Pakistan had "experimented a lot" with pink and orange coloured balls in domestic cricket and suggested the use of the orange ball in Tests, but after conducting its own tests the ICC "ruled that pink balls were more usable for day-night Tests”.

The source said that the ICC’s rejection of the idea was the reason why Pakistan didn’t offer to play a day-night Test against England in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in October.  He indicated the PCB was in favour of day-night Test matches as it felt the venues in UAE and in South Asia were ideal for such games "have the potential of increasing the television viewership and ground revenues and spectators for the home board". 

The source claimed Pakistan was the first to start experimenting with the idea of having day-night first class matches, pointing to two five-day finals of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy domestic first class series under lights with the orange ball”.  “We even offered to have a day-night Test match against Sri Lanka in 2013 in the UAE, however, the Sri Lankan board rejected this proposal (PTG 1171-5662, 18 August 2013), [but] after the recent ICC ruling we felt we had lost the initiative and are not planning any more experiments this season”.

"We will see how the day-night Test in Adelaide goes later this year and then start having day-night first class matches and maybe even look at a day-night Test next year”, concluded the source.

Headline: Delhi police to appeal IPL fix acquittal.

Article from:  Agence France-Presse.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Saturday, 15 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,894.

Police in Delhi announced on Friday that they plan to appeal a lower court's verdict to clear former Test fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and two teammates of spot-fixing activities during the Indian Premier League series of 2013 (PTG 1602-7771, 26 July 2015).  Special commissioner S. N. Srivastava said police had carefully studied the observations made by the trial court and decided to file an appeal before the end of this month.

Last month, the court cleared the trio of all charges, saying its hands were tied because of the existing laws of the land.  Gambling is mostly illegal in India, but betting on cricket matches thrives through underground networks of bookies.  Srivastava told reporters in the capital: "We have sufficient evidence to go for an appeal”, adding that the trio were acquitted "only because of a lack of a specific law to deal with a crime such as spot-fixing".

Sreesanth and his teammates from the Rajasthan Royals franchise, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, were arrested in May 2013 along with scores of bookies as part of a police investigation into allegations that players had underperformed in return for cash (PTG 1106-5388, 18 May 2013).  Sreesanth, who played 27 Tests for India, was alleged to have been paid tens of thousands of dollars after agreeing to deliberately bowl badly in an IPL match.

The day the lower court handed down its decision, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made clear it had no interest in allowing the trio to return to the game.  The BCCI said via a brief press release at the time: “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” (PTG 1603-7780, 27 July 2015).  

Headline: IPL Lodha working committee to report to BCCI.

Article from:  Indian Express.

Journalist:  Venkata Krishna.                             

Published: Saturday, 15 August 2015     .

PTG listing: 7,895.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has called a Working Committee meeting, the first in four months, for Kolkata next Saturday. Indications are that the five-man Indian Premier League (IPL) working group that is looking into the 59-page report produced by the Justice RM Lodha committee into the 2013 IPL betting scandal, will provide the Working Committee with recommendations on how best to proceed (PTG 1597-7733, 21 July 2015).

The IPL working group has already met six IPL franchises, barring the suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, and other stakeholders. Reports suggest it likely to recommend to the BCCI that next year’s IPL remain an eight team event and that two new teams should be included (PTG 1615-7854, 10 August 2015).

Among other issues, the Working Committee will also look into other matters before deciding on the date of its 2015 Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is due by the end of September.  The BCCI’s constitution requires it give at least three weeks notice of the AGM but sources indicated it could be held on 19 September in either Kolkata or New Delhi.

Headline: Australian bowler backs use of ‘Dukes’ ball.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Daniel Lane.                             

Published: Saturday, 15 August 2015.     .

PTG listing: 7,896.

Australian fast bowler Jackson Bird, who has completed his stint with English County team Hampshire, said he would have no problem if Cricket Australia (CA) decided to adopt the ‘Dukes’ ball for domestic first class games there.  Bird said: "It's something [CA] should consider [as] the Ashes series is one of the biggest we have and if [using the Dukes] gives us an advantage when we do go to England then it should be looked at” (PTG 1617-7870, 12 August 2015).

Bird said he needed to fine-tune the way he bowled because of the idiosyncrasies of the Duke ball.  "The seam on the Dukes is actually bigger [than a Kookaburra's] and they do swing a lot more". "I found with my bowling, because I bowl quite close to the stumps, I swung the ball really early out of the hand so blokes could basically just leave me all of the time".  "I had to bowl a little bit wider of the crease but that was the only difference I found". 

Of interest to Bird is what the Dukes ball is like on the harder wickets in Australia, and whether they hold up as well as they do in England and if they swing around as much”.  Dukes says it has invested a lot of time and resources to develop a range of machine stitched balls for the harsher Australian and South African conditions and initial testing had provided positive responses.  The company said it had formed joint-venture production companies in both Australia and Pakistan.

Headline: Two Bermudan players suspended for Code of Conduct breaches.

Article from:  Bernews.

Journalist:  Not stated.                             

Published: Friday, 14 August 2015.     .

PTG listing: 7,897.

Two players from Bermuda’s Devonshire Rec side, Steven Bremar and Lamont Brangman, have been suspended after pleading guilty to code of conduct offences during a match a week ago, says the Bermuda Cricket Board.  Bremar pleaded guilty to showing serious dissent at an umpire’s decision, a Level Two charge, and has been suspended for two 50 over games.  Brangman’s was a Level One offence of "Abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings”, for which he will miss one 50 over fixture.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,621

  Tuesday, 18 August 2015

 

• Cup returned as club censure judged ‘manifestly excessive' [1621-7898].

• Sri Lanka Cricket structure needs a revamp, says interim chairman [1621-7899].

• Queensland Cricket reaches out to far flung umpire groups [1621-7900].

• Lanka authorities catch more ‘pitchsiders' during Galle Test [1621-7901].

• BCCI looks to digital platforms to extend coaching reach [1621-7902].

• Protest planned against the state of the modern game [1621-7903].

• Bone age testing has limits but past findings concerning [1621-7904].

• Customs again foils bid to smuggle Willow clefts [1621-7905].

• Family backs four-year-old son to play for England [1621-7906].

Headline: Cup returned as club censure judged ‘manifestly excessive’.

Article from:  Various Bermudan reports.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 17 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,898. 

Players from Bermuda’s Cleveland club held up a 50 over cup match against Bailey’s Bay for 40 minutes a month ago when they walked off the field over umpiring decisions  (PTG 1597-7734, 21 July 2015), but an appeals committee has decided that the decision to strip them of the Eastern Counties cup as a result was "manifestly excessive in all circumstances”.  In addition to taking the trophy from them, the original Eastern Counties Cricket Association (ECCA) disciplinary hearing also censured five Cleveland players, one of whom was banned for 14 matches for Level Three offences that reportedly involved "threatening the umpires” (PTG 1601-7768, 25 July 2015).  

A series of Bermudan media reports over the past week indicate that the appeals committee ruled that Cleveland’s actions did not constitute bringing the game into disrepute (PTG 1614-7852, 8 August 2015).  They are said to have noted that the umpire’s report they were provided with did not suggest match officials were under "duress, couldn’t perform their duties or were rattled” during what all reports say was a heated game.

On-field umpires James McKirdy and Oscar Andrade and third official Alex Knight, were not present at the appeal hearing, and the only official’s report that was taken into account is said to be that of McKirdy who, if articles in the Bermudan media are correct, submitted an individual report on the game’s incidents.  The stories also suggest neither of those match officials was directly consulted by the appeals committee.

The appeals committee’s ruling has not been released by the ECCA, however, the 'Royal Gazette’ newspaper obtained and published a copy its findings.  The committee is said to have concluded the ECCA erred from the very start in its actions after the game between Bailey’s Bay and Cleveland ended.  Firstly the initial disciplinary hearing, which was held the day after the game, was found by the appeals group to be “unconstitutional”,  and secondly Cleveland were not given the chance to defend themselves at that meeting.

The majority of the information provided to the initial hearing came from a report compiled by Devree Hollis, however, he was not actually at the game, his observations having been "gathered from other people”.  Additonally, the "umpire’s report" was also not presented at that time and did not actually become available to the ECCA until two days later.

During the appeal hearing, Cleveland and the ECCA both made submissions.  Cleveland appealed on several grounds including that: the umpire’s report said the match ended properly; that the Bailey’s Bay coach was also delaying the game; and that punishing players is a separate matter to changing the result of a game.

In its response the ECCA argued that the original disciplinary hearing: was an appropriate response given the severity of the situation; the ECCA was within its rights to strip Cleveland of the cup; and that Cleveland benefited from the actions of its players.  It also admitted that officials could have penalised Cleveland penalty runs "under Laws 18 and 42 of cricket", Law 21.3 apparently not being mentioned, but this was “not applied because of the stress on the umpires”.

The appeals committee was of the opinion that if Cleveland were to be punished a fine, reprimand, or probation would have been more appropriate.  “Even if [Cleveland] had brought the game into disrepute, then the decision to strip it of the trophy and award it to [Baileys Bay] was manifestly excessive in all circumstances”, the appeals committee concluded.  There is no indication in any of the media reports that the appeals committee altered any of the censures handed to Cleveland players.

Allen Richardson, a former vice-president of the Bermuda Cricket Board said: “There is no excuse, none whatsoever as far as Cleveland’s behaviour, something I don’t think we’ve seen in the 111 years of the tournament”.  “I never thought I would see players not playing because of umpires’ decisions and there is no excuse for that”.  “I would have thought the umpires would have said ‘we’re going to restart this match in five minutes, if not we’re going to abandon the match’. “The umpires just have to be tougher”.

Richardson also thinks though that the initial decision to strip Cleveland of the title was made too hastily.  “It was far too quick, they should have met maybe three days after to let emotions settle and they would have been in a position to make better decisions”.  “Something should have been put in place and common sense should have prevailed”. 

Headline: Sri Lanka Cricket structure needs a revamp, says interim chairman.

Article from:  Wisden India.

Journalist:  R Kaushik.                           

Published: Sunday, 16 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,899. 

Sidath Wettimuny knows what it is to be a part of an interim committee running Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), but, for the first time, the former opening batsman is heading the committee in the capacity of chairman. Wettimuny, 58, and his team was appointed to run SLC by Sri Lankan government sports minister Navin Dissanayake in April this year after the previous committee’s term ended at the end of March.

The appointment of the interim committee forced the International Cricket Council (ICC) to threaten SLC with action if free and fair elections weren’t held for its board members by October (PTG 1579-7596, 28 June 2015). The committee has now until late January to conduct elections and the ICC has stepped back from withholding money, but until then, Sri Lanka will, despite being a Full Member, have no ICC voting rights and can only attend the world body's meetings in an observer role.

Wettimuny, for whom its the sixth SLC interim committee he’s been on over the years, said the SLC’s constitution is obviously flawed “given we have had so many interim committees, so many changes since 1996”.  He pointed out that in New Zealand a candidate needs to attract "5-6 votes to pick the presidency of the board there, in Australia its 7 or 8, England 22 if I am not mistaken, South Africa 8-9, India with its 1.2 billion people, 30 or so votes, but Sri Lanka with a population of 21 million 147 votes are involved”.  “We have 22 members in this board”.  "Now tell me, can any system run this way?"

In terms of getting money from the ICC Wettimuny said “we have got part of it”.  "They still owe us $US7 million ($A9.5 m, £4.5 m) and I am hoping that will come as we have given them a schedule [for elections etc.]”.  The three-Test series against India attracted an initial broadcast rights offer of only $US1.4 million ($A1.9 m, £895,000), when the going rate for an India Test is in the region of around $US2 million ($A2.7 m, £1.3 m)   

That "was a huge disappointment, a shock”, said Wettimuny, "but when we spoke to the broadcasters they said the series was outside the long-term structure of the Future Tours Program and the ‘short notice’ of its arrangement was behind the lower fee". Most of the broadcasters sell their rights to different countries well in advance and the time given on this occasion was too short.

On the domestic scene Wettimuny said "we need to tweak our first-class cricket a little more because I think we need to have a higher standard of cricket” at home.  "I was shocked when Mahela [Jayawardene] gave me a document of first-class cricket in this country and a few other countries including India. And when we looked at the first-innings scores and second-innings scores of all those countries, we were lower than most of them. And how many overs on an average a bowler bowled was also much lower. That is not a good sign, that is an unhealthy sign, and that is what we need to address”.

Wettimuny said the current idea is to have five franchises playing in four-day, 50-over and Twenty20 tournaments. "We are not going to run just a Twenty20 tournament [but] want all three formats as the ultimate tournament”, he says.  "That’s what we are working on right now and we want to present that to the stakeholders". "We need the four-day tournament played on better wickets at our Test venues so that we can play the longer version of the game better, with Test players playing as long as they are not touring". 

"We are also discussing the possibility of getting maybe a couple of foreign players so that we can get some commercial mileage and I am hoping we can get some television coverage on those tournaments so that we can spread the game better. We have already fitted it into our calendar from next season and we will definitely play it. There are a few management structures, which we are proposing, which we will bring forward maybe towards the end of this month".

Headline: Queensland Cricket reaches out to far flung umpire groups.

Article from:  Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 17 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,900. 

Queensland Cricket (QC) is this year taking its pre-season umpires’ information seminar to far flung parts of what is a very large state for the first time ahead of the forthcoming austral summer season.  Rob Dunbar, QC’s Umpire Development and Support Manager’ who took up his role a year ago (PTG 1401-6776, 29 July 2014), says the move has been made in order to acknowledge, train, encourage and support those who facilitate matches played outside the state capital of Brisbane where Premier League cricket in played.

What are being termed Regional Training Sessions have been scheduled at locations along almost 1,500 km of Queensland's long coast line, from Townsville in the north to Gladstone and the Brisbane area.  The Townsville meeting drew umpires from there plus the cities of Cairns and Mackay, the one in Gladstone for those from that city plus Bundaberg and Rockhampton, and at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane for those from a wide area of the state’s south-east from Hervey Bay, to Stanthorpe and out to Toowoomba. Those meetings are in addition to QC’s normal pre-season umpires’ seminar in Brisbane.   

During the meetings Dunbar, who is keen provide support to all umpires in Queensland, plus two members of Queensland’s State Umpires Panel, present a range of materials and encourage discussion of topics covering a number of aspects of the Laws, the theoretical and practical aspects of LBW, and there is also an emphasis on on ‘selling your decision’, 'fair and unfair play', player behaviour and management and report writing.

Headline: Lanka authorities catch more ‘pitchsiders' during Galle Test.

Article from:  Cricket Badger

Journalist:  Bipin Dani.                           

Published: Monday, 17 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,901. 

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) caught two young Indians who ‘pitchsiding' during the first Test between Sri Lanka and India in Galle last week by passing ‘real time’ match information to Indian gambling groups.  Bookmakers in India and Pakistan hire young people, sponsor their trips abroad to grounds so they can pass information by phone, thus taking advantage of the short delay that is part of satellite feeds of television images.

According to SLC sources the incidents happened on the second and third days in Galle.   “Both [men caught] hail from a poor families in Mumbai and Delhi, their air tickets being purchased by their sponsors”, said a SLC source. “They were not required to buy match tickets as entry to stadium was free for the spectators”.  They "were caught in the public stand and after a thorough interrogation were removed from the stadium”.  The source indicated the pair’s passport records show it was their first visit to Sri Lanka.  

The incident has not been made public because no players or support staff members from either team are involved. Officials will be more alert during the remaining matches on this tour”, said the source.

Editor’s note: Two Pakistanis and three Indians were detained during the second Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Colombo last month, however, the culprits were later released as there were no local laws under which they could be prosecuted. They were discovered providing match commentaries that were relayed direct to bookies in India and Pakistan for spot betting purposes (PTG 1586-7648, 7 July 2015). 

Headline: BCCI looks to digital platforms to extend coaching reach.

Article from:  India Asia News Service.

Journalist:  Amol Karhadkar                           

Published: Saturday, 16 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,902. 

In an attempt to reach out to a larger audience of budding players, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is drawing up plans to provide basic and advanced modules of coaching through digital platforms, however, there is no indication that the planned support will involve scoring and umpiring issues.  

Plans for the project include a cricket coaching mobile application and a customised website and it will be an extension of the programs that are managed by the BCCI’s National Cricket Academy (NCA).  The applications will cover the basics of cricket coaching methodologies and modern day requirements to enhance the strength and conditioning of an upcoming cricketer.  

Case studies to explain "various scenarios" and "master-classes from former cricketers" will be made available in the first phase.  As such, coaches from across the country will be able to standardise their teaching methodologies based on the NCA curriculum.  The BCCI says it plans to work with potential partners who will build and promote the initiative.

Headline: Protest planned against the state of the modern game.

Article from:  London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist:  Scyld Berry.                           

Published: Friday, 14 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,903. 

A protest about the direction of world cricket, featuring a three-minute silence, will be staged outside The Oval on Thursday before the start of the fifth Ashes Test.  The organisers are the makers of the film 'Death of a Gentleman', released earlier this month, raises serious issues about the health of Test cricket and the game’s governance under the restructured International Cricket Council (ICC), which is under the direction of the 'big three' nations: India, England and Australia (PTG 1614-7853, 8 August 2015). 

Sam Collins, the film’s producer, said: “We have decided on a three-minute silence". “That is one minute for each of the countries that is trying to silence the game’s ordinary supporters”.  "Now the A­shes have been decided, we feel the time is right to protest at the powerlessness of all other countries in the cricket world”.  "Nobody has any power except Narayan Srinivasan of India, Giles Clarke of England, and Wally Edwards of Australia”.

 

According to Collins and his co-director Jarrod Kimber that means cricket is therefore run with no transparency and no accountability. Srinivasan has been barred by India’s Supreme Court from being chairman of the Indian board, but nobody has dared to object to him continuing as ICC chairman. If another country did, India would never tour it again. 

The film-makers have launched a petition at their website urging fans to put pressure on governments to demand independent governance at the ICC. The time has come, says Collins, for supporters to play their part in safeguarding cricket’s future. “We ask fans of all nations to stand with us and show their dissatisfaction about the way their game is being run”.  Protest organisers will be wearing shirts from cricket-playing nations outside the 'big three', and are asking fans to gather an hour before the start of play.

Last week Australian television documentary presented similar views to those covered by the ‘Death of a Gentleman’ film (PTG 1617-7869, 12 August 2015). 

Editor’s note:  Just prior to the release of today's ‘PTG’, the film-makers’ on-line petition had attracted a total of 1,628 ’signatures’. 

Headline: Bone age testing has limits but past findings concerning.

Article from:  ‘Cricinfo'.

Journalist:  Amol Karhadkar                           

Published: Saturday, 16 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,904. 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may have backed off from using medical technology to determine the age of players in the Under-19 group (PTG 1617-7873, 12 August 2015), but such testing for younger players has thrown up a considerable number of potentially ineligible individuals.  Players, in connivance with their coaches, parents and associations, try to get their age reduced by using fake birth and other certificates in order to play longer in age-group competitions, a situation that is a malaise in Indian, as well as Asian, cricket.

In 2012, the BCCI adopted the 'Tanner-Whitehouse 3' method (TW3), which determines the age of a child based on the growth of bones in the hand, especially the wrist. The margin of error in age findings for that method is six months.  Before then the 'Greulich and Pyle’ method, which had to be conducted at a certified hospital, was used, however, its margin of error was much bigger, and could in some cases be as large as two years.  The disadvantage of the TW3 method is that it is ineffective for testing in the Under-19 group because all the bones fuse after the age of 16.

After the TW3 method was adopted, testing found almost 230 players in its 2012-13 Under-16 tournaments were older than the set limit.  That led to litigations by the may of those players’ parents. The BCCI did not ban any of those involved, however, they insisted on them competing in a higher age group. Some of the parents argued that it was unjust their child was barred from competing in a category despite producing relevant documents stating their eligibility. The reliability of those documents has often found to be flawed (PTG 1325-6393, 1 April 2014).

The TW3 method was also adopted by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) whose testing in Under-15 and Under-16 tournaments in 2007, 2010 and 2012, in Nepal, Thailand and Malaysia respectively, brought up a total of 265 cases of overage players.  While the ACC took that approach, other Asian nations like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have not made it mandatory for their junior cricketers to undergo TW3 tests. They rely instead on documentary proof of the player's date of birth registration, with Bangladesh and Pakistan conducting bone tests only in case of disputes.

The BCCI conducts national Under-16, Under-19 and Under-22 tournaments, while those at Under-14 level are conducted in each of the BCCI’s five zones.  Last month, during an India Under-19 probables' camp in Bangalore, a player's registered date of birth with his state association and BCCI did not match that stated on his passport, and as a result he was withdrawn from the camp. 

Headline: Customs again foils bid to smuggle Willow clefts.

Article from:  Press Trust of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Monday, 17 Aug 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,905. 

The Excise Department of the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir Excise has foiled a bid to smuggle “4,250" willow clefts across the state’s border to Punjab, arresting three people and impounding the truck involved in the process.  Clefts are the wooden blocks, a little larger that a finished cricket bat, that result from the basic cut of a willow tree into chunks from which a bat proper is honed to a finished product.  Their interstate transportation is banned under the state’s Forest Act.

Last Saturday, a truck drove into the Toll Tax Post at Lakhanpur for assessment of the goods it was carrying, paperwork the driver handed over showing it was loaded with Apples.  However, when the vehicle was searched by officials its actual load was discovered.  The Deputy Excise Commisioioner has lauded the role of officers and officials engaged in intercepting the smugglers and pressed them to continue to perform their duties with zeal and dedication. 

Last May, the search of another truck found “3,200” willow clefts that had been given a "fake finish” in order to prevent them being discovered.  On that occasion both the truck and its load were seized and a fine of ten-times the value of the willow clefts was imposed for the attempted violation. 

Editor’s note:  Last September, flooding along the India-Pakistan border region of Kashmir killed more than 500 people, destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses, and decimated large willow stockpiles that were waiting to be made into bats.  Some Kashmir willow suppliers forecast the loss of wood and damage to trees could equate to a shortfall of millions of cricket bats in the next few years (PTG 1452-7039, 22 October 2014).

Headline: Family backs four-year-old son to play for England.

Article from:  Daily Mail

Journalist:  Paul Byrne and Charles Yates.                           

Published: Thursday, 14 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,906. 

Billy Carroll is barely bigger than his cricket bat - but his dad has placed a 1000-1 bet that he will one day play for England.  Father Paul, 34, and Billy’s great grandad Donald, 86, have had a £25 ($A53) punt on the talented four year old and they will be laughing all the way to the bank with a £25,000 ($A53,200) windfall if the youngster ever pulls on his pads for his country.

The youngster’s head is only just above the stumps but he is already playing against boys twice his age after his batting and bowling skills won him a place in West Yorkshire’s Burtonshaw St Pauls’ Under-9’s side.  “As a parent you always think your own kids are the best at everything but Billy has left all of the coaches stunned”, said his father.  “The chance to place the bet was too good not to risk £25 as both his great grandfather and I know how dedicated Billy is to the game. 

“On a school day he’s out bright and early with his bat and asks me to bowl a few at him before he goes and then when he’s back home he’s picking up his bat again for a few more overs”.  “He’s been glued to the Ashes and is watching it with me as Joe Root is his hero and we all like to see the Aussies get hit for six”.  "“Other teams that come to play us are always gobsmacked at how good he is they just can’t believe he’s only four”.

Carroll added: “When he isn’t playing he comes along to watch me play or he watches cricket on TV”.  “He knows the rules and knows how to keep score and not many four-year-olds can do that.  “I’ve played cricket all my life but have never seen anyone as good a player as Billy is at just four, so we felt it was worth the flutter. We are all so proud of him”.  

Billy, who stands just over three feet tall, said: “ We’ve won the Ashes and when I get bigger I want to hit lots of sixes just like Joe Root”.  “I can only hit fours at present, because I need to be a bit bigger and stronger to hit a six”.

Editor’s note:  Great grandfather Donald is to be doubly applauded for his optimism given he is likely to be 100 plus years old by the time the 4-year-old debuts for England.

  

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,622

  Wednesday, 19 August 2015


• ICC sifting through match referee applications [1622-7907].

• Youth bowling limits cost us the match, claims skipper [1622-7908].

• Another UK on-field incident leads to play being abandoned [1622-7909].

• Player banned for 7 years for part in match brawl [1622-7910].

• CSA links with government to boost black player population [1622-7911].

• CA names national Under-17 Championship umpires [1622-7912].

• No, you did trouble the scorer! [1622-7913].

• How the ICC ACSU really works: Hell in a handcart [1622-7914].

• Vandals target Derbyshire club three times in two weeks [1622-7915].

Headline: ICC sifting through match referee applications.

Article from: ICC advertisement.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 17 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,907.  

International Cricket Council (ICC) Senior Umpire and Referees Manager Vince Van der Bijl is currently sifting through applications for a position on the world body’s top match referees’ panel.  A report in June claimed that Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who is about to retire from Test cricket, was in line to take over New Zealander Jeff Crowe’s position on panel in mid-2016 (PTG 1575-7567, 24 June 2015), but other reports are now suggesting it's Sangakkara’s countryman, Roshan Mahamama, a panel member since 2004, who will be retiring next year.  

The ICC’s match referees are its "independent and authoritative representative at all Test, One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) matches, and any tour or event to which they are appointed". The position is "responsible for the overall operation of an international match and ensuring such games are conducted within the spirit of the game, in accordance with the Laws of Cricket, and all applicable ICC Regulations pertaining to international matches”, including those dealing with disciplinary matters.

Match referees hold pre-series meetings with umpires, captains, coaches, team managers, ground authorities and a nominee of the host Board to discuss a wide range of issues, and during each game they log all umpire decisions and report on the performance of the umpires.  At the end of matches they provide venue and pitch and outfield assessments, file details of alleged breaches of safety and security regulations and of the ICC anti-racism code, report bowlers with suspected illegal bowling actions, and liaise with the media relating to decisions made or to clarify ICC’s position on a given issue.

The advertisement for the position said that the ICC would give preference to "a former International player, international umpire or someone with an intimate knowledge of the workings of international cricket”, but they “should have spent a minimum of three years out of playing the game”.  To date all those chosen ICC match referees have played at Test level.

Those applying needed to be “very current with their involvement in cricket”, that is “In touch”, preferably have experience in dispute resolution, a very good understanding of the Laws and playing conditions and management and leadership skills.  Other attributes needed include: “excellent administrative and report writing skills; communications/Inter-personnel/motivational skills; very good problem solving and decision making competencies; being a team player with a strong work ethic; and a high level of computer literacy especially MS Office, Excel and Outlook".

The position is rated as "a long term consultancy position” and the successful applicant will be "based in his own home town”, but "must be willing to travel about six months of the year away from his family”.  In terms of salary the ICC says “compensation offered will be commensurate with qualifications and experience”.  Just when an announcement on the successful applicant will be made is not known, however, the person who is chosen is currently expected to take up their position with the ICC on the first day of 2016.

The last time the ICC appointed a new member to its top referees panel was four years ago, when Australian David Boon got the nod (PTG 766-3756, 26 May 2011).  Since then Boon has gone on to oversee 26 Tests, 76 ODIs, 11 of which were in this year’s World Cup, one of them being a semi final,  28 T20Is, 14 in the 2014 World Championship series, 5 women’s T20Is, and 18 Under-19 one dayers in that age group's 2012 World Cup.  There have also been 14 matches in the non-ICC Champions League event of 2012, and 6 in the 2013 Indian Premier League series.

Headline: Youth bowling limits cost us the match, claims skipper.

Article from: Portsmouth News.

Journalist:  Steve Wilson.                           

Published: Monday, 17 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,908.       . 

Hambledon skipper Rob Atkins has questioned the wisdom of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) fast bowling directive, as he apparently believes it cost his side a win in their Southern Premier League's (SPL) division two match against Portsmouth on Saturday.  Portsmouth won by three-wickets after Hambledon were bowled out for just 143, however, fast bowler Prad Bains, 19, who took 6/40, helped reduce Pompey to 7/72 in reply before he had to be taken off.

Bains was forced out of the attack after his seven-over spell, a limit set by the ECB similar to that used in many countries, to protect young players from injury, and after that batsmen Vikram Dawson (33 not out) and Burns (35 not out) scored the second half of runs needed to give their team the win.

Atkins said: “[Bains] could have been in the Army for three years by now. So he can fight for his country but he can’t bowl more than seven overs in a spell in club cricket. It’s a crazy rule.  I understand why children need to bowl short spells but we’re talking about a 19-year-old man here.  I’m convinced if Prad had been allowed to bowl his 10 overs straight through, he would have bowled them out".

"Portsmouth are a good side and we wish them well but they had a slice of luck”, continued Atkins, as “Bains was unplayable at the time I had to take him off”.  "He was playing third-team cricket last summer and has now taken six wickets against a team destined for promotion to [SPL] division one”.  "But it could have been so much more”.

Headline: Another UK on-field incident leads to play being abandoned.

Article from:  Shropshire Star.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Tuesday, 18 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,909.  

A Shropshire Cricket League (SCL) Division 2 match between Church Stretton and Prees at the latter’s home ground was abandoned last Saturday after a batsman allegedly launched an attack on a bowler after he was dismissed,  The incident is the fourth of its kind in the UK this northern summer that has led to a match being discontinued (PTG 1606-7799, 30 July 2015 and PTG 1622-7910 below).

On the day, Church Stretton had lost the toss and been asked to bat on a damp wicket, Prees dismissing them for just 94.  With Prees then batting, it was in the fifth over of their innings when a batsman appeared to strike one of the “younger bowlers" with his bat. The bowler was not hurt but the game was abandoned.

Church Stretton players left the field of play in protest, blaming the “ungentlemanly behaviour” and a “serious breach of discipline” by an opposition player.  The club has filed a complaint with the SCL’s disciplinary pane citing a Level Four breach of discipline, a charge that covers such offences as physical assault of another player, umpire, official or spectator, or any act of violence on the field of play.

Skipper Peter Lee said that Church Stretton: “As a club, are committed to gentlemanly behaviour and the best interests of all members and supporters – particularly our youth players whom we always seek to nurture in sport with respect and a keen sense of fair play.  There were five teenagers in the Stretton side. I thought the Prees batsman overstepped the mark so I led the team off the field. I didn’t feel we could carry on with the game".

Lee continued: “As a club we don’t want to be seen to be not upholding the values of the game so I felt we had no option but to act as we did. The cricket board will deal with the matter, and I’m sure Prees will want to deal with it in their own way.  It was only the actions of one individual so we can’t hold Prees as a club responsible”.  He indicated the league’s disciplinary sub-committee now had to meet within five days, with both Shropshire League Division Two clubs taking part in meetings.

Speaking on behalf of Prees Cricket and Recreation Club, cricket secretary Peter Richards said: “Following the abandoned cricket game on Saturday we are holding are an internal investigation alongside discussions with Church Stretton Cricket Club [once that is available] a formal statement will be made to the league”.  SCL secretary Brian Kitson said: “We are aware of the incident and we will be carrying out an investigation [and a] disciplinary hearing will be held in the next week or so to consider the incident”.

Headline: Player banned for 7 years for part in match brawl.

Article from:  Milford and West Wales Mercury.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Tuesday, 18 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,910. 

The Pembroke County Cricket Club (PCCC) has confirmed their original decisions regarding the abandoned Division Two game between Kilgetty and Saundersfoot late last month will stand.  Umpires Martin Jones and Rob Cousins called a halt to proceedings after an exchange of words between a fielder and a batsman led to a physical exchange that escalated when players from both sides and supporters from the sidelines got involved (PTG 1606-7799, 30 July 2015).

Last week, individuals from both clubs attended a hearing and were given the opportunity to put their side of the story.  Following that Saundersfoot’s Phil Jones, who was the batsman involved, was banned from all forms of cricket for seven years until September 2022, while an additional three years until September 2025 was provisionally suspended.

In addition, Saundersfoot’s Stephen Cook was given a two match ban and his team mate Neil Powling a one match suspension.  Kilgetty’s Toby Poole and Jack Parkinson were banned from all forms of cricket for three weeks, a further two week ban being suspended until the end of August 2017, while their team mate Ian Poole was reprimanded.  The PCCC also decided that both Kilgetty and Saundersfoot will start next season on negative 30 points.

PCCC honorary secretary Stephen Blowes released a statement following an appeals meeting on Monday evening that submissions from both clubs had been dismissed and that the original penalties handed to each player and the clubs will stand.  Blowes added: "This was a very sad day for both clubs but more importantly for cricket in Pembrokeshire”.

Headline: CSA links with government to boost black player population.

Article from:  Press Trust of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Monday, 17 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,911.  

Plans by Cricket South Africa (CSA) to include more black African players, who were denied places in the national side in the apartheid era, received a huge boost today when it signed an agreement with the country’s Education and Sport Ministries. The agreement will give practical impetus to CSA’s development and transformation programs by linking schools cricket with CSA’s regional performance centres and hubs. 

In making the announcement, CSA President Chris Nenzani said: “Schools sport is the bedrock for elite sports, not only in South Africa, but around the world”.  “We warmly welcome the support of these two government departments. Overcoming more than a century of neglect of the majority of our school children is something that is beyond the resources of any individual sporting code”.  Last September, Nenzani called the absence of a black players in South Africa's Test side an “embarrassment ” (PTG 1430-6819, 18 September 2014).

South African Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said: "I want to commend CSA for committing to work closely with government to ensure that we provide opportunities to play the game to those most disadvantaged by apartheid sports policies”.  “We are particularly pleased that the initiative will target those in rural areas and townships, as well as provide opportunities to young girls to benefit from specialised coaching [at CSA facilities around the country]".

The Minister continued with: “Cricket, like other sporting codes, has the potential to build trust, tolerance and respect amongst communities kept apart in the past.  The issue of too few black players in the Proteas team has been a bugbear over the two decades since South Africa was readmitted to the international arena following decades of isolation”.

Headline: CA names national Under-17 Championship umpires

Article from:  Cricket Australia.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Wednesday, 19 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,912.   

Cricket Australia yesterday named the ten umpires who are to stand in this year’s national Under-17 Championship series in Queensland in late September and early October.  Those chosen by CA on the advice of the various state and territory directors of umpiring are: Cory Black (South Australia); Daryl Brigham (Victoria); Andrew Crozier (Australian Capital Territory); Ben Farrell (Queensland); Hennie Botes and Trent Steenholdt (Western Australia); Darren Close and Harvey Wolff (Tasmania); and Keiran Knight and Marc Nickl (New South Wales).

All of those chosen stand at senior Premier League level in their respective home competition with Close being most experienced as he was just 18 in October 1986 when he made his umpiring debut at first class level.  He went on to stand in twenty such games over the next six years, a time when each state was responsible for appointing its own officials to matches.  He was also on-field in two interstate one-day fixtures, the first being in the 1987 national final of that competition when he was still two weeks short of his nineteenth birthday, his colleague that day being then Australian Test umpire Steve Randell.  

The year after that he was on-field in four games in the Youth World Cup in South Australia, an event in which he was around the same age as the players.  Close, now 47, returned to Tasmania in 2013 after a twenty year stint in the UK and joined the umpires panel in that state’s Cricket North West competition.  In 2014-15 he stood in his first Futures League second XI fixture (PTG 1509-7277, 26 January 2015).

Black, Crozier and Farrell have stood in an Under-17 series previously.  Records available indicate that Knight played for NSW’s second XI two decades ago, as well as for NSW Country in a National Country Cricket Championship series, his representative umpiring experience, like Steenholdt and Wolff, primarily being at women’s interstate level.  Readily available information suggests Botes and Brigham are new to representative cricket.

Headline: No, you did trouble the scorer!

Article from:  'Cricinfo'.

Journalist:  Liam Cromar.                           

Published: Saturday, 15 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,913.       . 

In Mel Brooks' western farce 'Blazing Saddles', the villain, upon hearing his henchman bellow "We'll head them off at the pass", slowly turns round, grinds out, "I hate that cliché", and unloads his pistol into his foot. I haven't yet been moved to similar violence by any of the inane comments cricket frequently provokes, but there is one that might just tip me over the edge, displaying as it does a total lack of appreciation for one oft-forgotten role: the thoughtless utterance that a batsman dismissed for a duck "didn't trouble the scorers".

As any scorer knows, a duck, particularly a golden duck, is anything but no trouble for the scorers. Barely have the details of the previous wicket to have fallen been entered - how out, over when out, time out, how many balls faced, how many runs scored, partnership, bowler's name, fielder's name if applicable, current score of the not-out batsman - than the whole process has to be repeated for the fresh dismissal, perhaps even before the first has been completed. Commentators must imagine that all that scorers have to do is jot down a zero and relax.

I should say scorer rather than scorers. In the low-grade circles where I've played much of my cricket - primarily social and so-called "friendly" matches - it's often a minor triumph to locate a single person capable of bringing a pencil and scorebook together with a modicum of knowledge and accuracy. Forget about having two dedicated scorers: the best that we'll realistically be able to hope for is a single "volunteer" from the batting side.

Law 4, of course, specifies two scorers. Why? To explain this apparent wasteful redundancy to the unenlightened enquirer, the patient scorer can make use of the observation of King Solomon, who said something along the lines of "Two are better than one; if one should fall, the other can help his partner up”. (Though Solomon's taking of a septuple-century of wives suggests that perhaps he took this principle to extremes). 

With a myriad potential pitfalls for the beleaguered scorer, it's amazingly easy to miss a run, or forget to note it down in all three areas of the sheet (bowling analysis, batting analysis, and run-by-run tally), sparking, when the discrepancy is finally noticed, a frantic trawl through the sheet, looking for the error. In a tight chase, the worry is cranked up: is the scoreboard incorrectly ahead? Have the batsmen duly misjudged their pace? When the other scorer is present, errors can both be avoided and more quickly recovered from.

A second scorer remains a utopian dream in these circles, though. You're on your own. Forget being out in the middle, where at least you have a comrade at the other end. Here in the solitary confinement of the scorers' box, no one can hear you scream. Come to think of it, being left alone is preferable. Unless someone's genuinely helping you by acting as a spotter, constant intrusions to "see how we're doing" only distract you.

Gah - I make that a seven-ball over - did I miss a wide? Or has the umpire just lost count? Not 100 per cent sure he's on the ball. I'm pretty sure in the last over he didn't signal byes to a ball the batsman obviously left. Maybe he doesn't know how. Oh, what's he shouting now? "Scoreboard!" Not my job. Look at those waiting batsmen lounging on the grass. They're not doing anything. Scorers aren't supposed to do anything other than keep the score. Remember Law 4. Don't suppose anyone here knows Law 4. It's the fielding skipper now. "Are the overs right?" Yes, as a matter of fact they are. Check with the umpires: they should be keeping an account. It's not easy being me.

Let's now take this cocktail of madness and throw in the role of captaincy. It's quite possible that as the captain I'll be one of the few who knows, at least in theory, which symbols to inscribe where. Which means that not only will I be doing all of the above, but also that come my turn to bat, I'll be looking around distractedly, sizing up team-mates for their ability to take the pencil when I head out. 

Most of those with any cricket sense are already on the field. If Tim's out next, he could take over, so I could go out to bat, but if Alex's out, that won't help us. Actually, Alex knows how to umpire, so he could replace David as umpire, who can then come and score before he goes out to bat. Better get padded up then. Where's my equipment? Have to dash into the changing rooms at the end of this over and hope a wicket doesn't fall before that, or I'll have to send Louis in ahead of me.

It can be seen that by now any hope of sending the best batsman in for the match situation has long vanished. By now it's a desperate attempt to simply keep the game moving. If I've been really canny, I'll have constructed the batting order to maximise chances of a scorer and umpires being available at any one time. In reality, ten overs in, I'll most likely be strapping a pad on with one hand and scribbling frantically with the other. Not the best way to prepare mentally for an innings.

I can't bear to imagine what I'll discover on my return. Some horrible scrawl, probably in biro, with illegible squiggles in the bowling analysis and question marks all over the batting analysis. Wides will probably have been entered as Ws, and wickets as Xs. It'll be a near-miracle if the batting analysis matches the bowling, and if either corresponds to the run-by-run tally. Normally there's a tacit agreement between the captains to just accept the highest total of the three. At least in friendly matches it's not as if there's much riding on the match, aside from pride, honour, bragging rights, careers and reputations. 

Believe it or not, scoring in its pure form is a joy. Yes, it's often underappreciated and unrecognised, but it remains an absolutely vital part of the game. Umpires could theoretically be dispensed with, but no scorers means no play. It allows one the pleasure of observing intently the game in a way that few others will. And when not stressed, I can't be the only one that takes real satisfaction in a neat and correctly balanced scorebook. Just don't talk to me about "not troubling the scorers”.

Headline: How the ACSU really works: Hell in a handcart.

Article from:  2015 Wisden Almanack.

Journalist:  Ed Hawkins.                           

Published: Monday, 17 August 2015 .    .

PTG listing: 7,914.  

The Hansie Cronje fixing scandal at the turn of the millennium was supposed to have been cricket’s wake-up call. So how’s that going, a decade and a half later? The depressing answer is that the International Cricket Council (ICC) have failed to deal properly with corruption. Charged with cutting out a cancer, they have wielded the scalpel ham-fistedly. On occasion, they haven’t even tried to operate.

At first examination, the numbers appear to show the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) have been on top of their brief. Since 2011, 19 players have been banned for corruption; until then, it had been only 11 in 11 years. It is the sort of discrepancy predicted by Lord Condon, the former Metropolitan Police chief who devised the ACSU in the wake of the Cronje affair, when he described the new Twenty20 leagues as the greatest threat to cricket’s health.

The devil, however, is in the detail, and it embarrasses the ACSU, who can claim full credit for just two of those 19 convictions: in June last year, former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful was given an eight-year suspension for fixing in the 2013 Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), a censure that was later reduced (PTG 1437-6952, 30 September 2014), and former first-class cricketer Shariful Haque received an indefinite ban (PTG 1494-7216, 4 January 2015). 

But the other 17 were the result of investigations by a local police force, or of a player speaking out. And of those cases one looms large: the 42-page testimony given to the ACSU by Lou Vincent, the former New Zealand batsman, could yet prove to be a house- of-cards moment on a par with Cronje. Vincent, it should be noted, was carpeted by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) anti-fixing squad – not the ICC’s ACSU (PTG 1384-6691, 2 July 2014).

Vincent implicated Chris Cairns, the former New Zealand all-rounder scheduled this year to face a perjury trial following a libel victory in the High Court against Lalit Modi, the IPL founder, who had accused him of fixing (PTG 1606-7803, 30 July 2015). It also emerged that Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand captain, had given evidence to the ACSU as far back as February 2011 about two alleged approaches from Cairns. In both instances, Cairns has protested his innocence.

Most damaging to the ICC was that Vincent admitted to fixing the result of Sussex’s 40-over match against Kent in 2011. It was a game which the ACSU had cleared, despite overwhelming evidence from gambling exchanges of suspicious betting patterns. Vincent also admitted to fixing in the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League from 2008, as well as the BPL.

It is fair to ask, then, why the ACSU did not act earlier on the evidence provided by Vincent or McCullum. According to those close to the unit, the answer is incompetence. It is an organisation which can succeed only if all its officers are efficient. If not, the left hand loses track of the right. The ICC’s previous record of only two convictions does little to discourage the suspicion that this has happened too often.

As recently as 2013, it remained doubtful whether the ACSU had a grasp of the intricacies of the Indian gambling markets. The number of bookmakers is vast, but the market is restricted to four areas: session runs, innings runs, favourite at the innings break and the result. 

After a meeting of the anti- corruption units from the ICC member boards, one investigator revealed there was still confusion as to how bets were placed. “A phone call had to be made to check how it worked, because someone said: ‘Hold on, I don’t think it actually works like that – you can’t bet on runs off an over or on fielding positions.’ It was incredible.”

When the ECB’s own unit was formed, their first task was to study the Sussex–Kent match. Their officers were said to be surprised that the ACSU had not taken the matter further. Following the ECB’s investigation, Vincent and Sussex bowler Naved Arif were banned.

Since the Vincent case and the conviction of Ashraful, it is understood the ACSU have redrafted their standard operating procedures. These include basics, such as who should make a final decision on how to proceed with cases, and how better to use a vast database of information (since its 2000 inception, the unit has updated the database containing intelligence from gamblers, bookmakers and players, and there is a need for investigators to access it more efficiently). The role of Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the ACSU chairman, who works only five days a month, was also assessed (PTG 1512-7287, 1 February 2015).

This self-analysis might have been prompted by their botched investigation into corruption at the BPL (PTG 1454-7048, 24 October 2014). Ashraful appealed immediately, and his ban was reduced; he could be playing again in 2016. Kent’s Darren Stevens, meanwhile, a Dhaka Gladiators team-mate, was found innocent of failing to report an approach. 

Yet the charge against him had been highly questionable in the first place: Ashraful had asked Stevens to behave at one game as if he were captain – preside over the toss and conduct media interviews – but without taking any on-field decisions. Stevens said no – yet was considered complicit of fixing in the eyes of the ACSU.

So what do the ACSU actually do? Above all, they educate players about the dangers of corruption. And when they are not doing that, they are looking after the security arrangements for players, support personnel and match officials. Investigations can take a back seat. 

On one level, the ACSU deserve our sympathy: they are chronically short-staffed (there are only ten officers, who in 2012 spent a total of 1,469 nights away from home), and from day one they have been pushed around by the more powerful boards, not least the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). They can only be as effective as the ICC’s power brokers allow.

The failure to act promptly over Vincent and Cairns sparked conspiracy theories. These include ICC chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan’s feud with Modi – the accusation being that Srinivasan did not want to aid his old BCCI nemesis in his court case with Cairns – and a more prosaic claim of self- interest. Another corruption scandal could send sponsors and TV companies running for the hills. The feud scenario is surely fantasy, but it highlights the mistrust between fans and administrators.

That Vincent did not face criminal charges, when Essex fast bowler Mervyn Westfield ended up in jail for fixing a bracket during a one-day game in September 2009, also adds fuel to the conspiracy theorists’ ire. Vincent cut a deal, they say. Not so: Westfield went to prison in early 2012 because a complaint was made to police in the absence of an ECB anti-corruption unit. By the time Vincent was being prosecuted, the ECB had officers in place.

Even so, there are good reasons for doubting how serious the ICC really are about cleansing the sport. The warning was there three years ago, when the Woolf report (PTG 1278-6156, 28 January 2014), which demanded greater transparency at board level, was instantly rejected by the BCCI; no Full Member challenged them. 

A less well- known report, conducted by anti-corruption expert Bertrand de Speville, fared little better. De Speville’s task had been to review the workings of the ACSU. He completed his report in 2011, making 27 recommendations. The ICC said seven related to a policy or practice they already carried out, and had “preliminary reservations” about another seven, which seemed a polite way of saying “thanks, but no thanks”. The remaining 13 recommendations were accepted.

The de Speville report offers a fascinating insight into the arrangements of the ACSU, and an explanation for the difficulties they faced in 2014 (PTG 1380-6678, 24 June 2014). “The ACSU needs to spend more of its resources on investigations than on prevention and education”, he wrote. “It must be seen to be responsive”. The ICC countered unconvincingly that they did this already. If the number of allegations rose, said de Speville, the ICC should employ more investigators. And allegations did rise significantly – from 158 in 2010 to 281 two years later. Yet they hired just one more investigator.

De Speville advised the ICC to double the number of regional security managers to ten, so that, for example, Ron Hope would not have to be responsible for both England and West Indies at the same time. The ICC’s reaction? Two extra managers. Hope has since retired; at the time of writing, there were no immediate plans to replace him. The title “regional security manager” has now been discarded, and each team no longer have their own personal anti-corruption manager. De Speville said an accreditation system for agents was important; it is “under consideration”.

Instead the ICC commissioned another review, led by Interpol’s John Abbott. He delivered his findings in January 2015. This was in response to the BPL investigation, when senior ICC figures were reported to have “run out of patience” with their anti-corruption wing; had de Speville’s advice been heeded, the result might have been different. Abbott has already pencilled in the need for an analyst of betting patterns to join the ACSU ranks.

There was also disquiet at the ICC that the unit was ineffective during the 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL), which was marred by a spot-fixing and gambling scandal. But what chance did the ACSU have at a tournament run by the BCCI? At the time, India’s power grab at the ICC was in the offing, one which would eventually place Srinivasan at the head of the world game – including their anti-corruption unit. Could they really have investigated their own boss?

In January 2015, India’s Supreme Court, which had been examining the IPL affair for almost a year and a half, ruled that Gurunath Meiyappan, Srinivasan’s son-in-law and team manager of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) – Srinivasan’s franchise – had placed bets and discussed tactics with bookies. Sundar Raman, the league’s chief operating officer, was also revealed to have been in contact with bookmakers. 

Srinivasan was told by the court he could not be both board president and own CSK through his role as head of India Cements. And this was the heart of the matter: conflicts of interest, which undermine the credibility of the fight against corruption. Damningly, the Supreme Court called for the BCCI to “ensure institutional integrity”, and accused them of not following their own procedures while investigating the IPL scandal.

It was not encouraging that, under Srinivasan, the Indian board have had a skinflint attitude to their own anti-corruption unit: for the 2012-13 season they budgeted about £400,000 ($A846,000) (around 0.28 per cent of the revenue it earned in 2012) to cover the entire domestic season, as well as India’s matches, with a single investigating officer. If corruption cannot be taken seriously by the Indians, cricket is in serious trouble (PTG 1555-7472, 25 May 2015).

This infects the rest of the world. The backpacker cricketers who have been to the IPL and, before it, the now defunct Indian Cricket League, have picked up something nasty and passed it on. Yet anyone who suggests cricket’s problem is greater than the sum of its fears is treated with disdain, labelled a crackpot or, as Andrew Flintoff called me, a “knob”. 

My crime was to have written a book, based on close work with India’s bookmakers, detailing the anatomy of corruption. Flintoff believed I would be six feet under if I had really spent time with these shadowy figures. That merely exposed a familiar prejudice: that all bookies in India are bloodthirsty mafiosi. But when the testimonies of Vincent and McCullum were leaked in a newspaper which believed they were of public interest, threats and intimidation did come my way, not from the corruptors but from within cricket’s administration.

In 2013, the year a number of nefarious activities surfaced, I conducted my own investigation into corruption in the IPL, as part of an effort to convince the ICC of the value of an early warning system, using pre- game intelligence from the Indian gambling market (this included inside information about first-innings totals and results). Every detail was passed on to the ACSU before a game. To help identify matches worth investigating, I also factored suspect betting patterns and statistical anomalies into my system. From the first 23 matches that season, five would have required further investigation.

I sent two separate reports to the ACSU, one after the first week of games, one after the second. No one contacted me to discuss the information and, during initial discussion with ICC management about possible use of the system, there was an implication that I was doing it only to line my pocket.

Just before the 2015 World Cup, ICC chief executive David Richardson effectively gave the tournament a clean bill of health (PTG 1382-6687, 30 June 2014). It would, he said, be “very difficult” for fixing to occur, because the ICC were the “best prepared we’ve ever been”. Yet how could he be so confident about a tournament containing as many as 49 matches?

The picture is bleak. The ICC, and therefore the ACSU, have failed to provide the necessary resources to run an effective worldwide anti-corruption force, and have a history of ru nning their own unit on a shoestring. So cricket hurtles once more into the void. In 2000, when Cronje was chief goon, our sport could at least plead a jolly innocence. Now it has no such excuse.

Editor’s note:  Ed Hawkins in the author of the 2013 publication ‘Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy’, a review of which was published on the ‘Cricinfo’ web site at the time saying was: "A clear-eyed, well-researched account of the ecosystem of gambling, betting, and ‘approaching' that operates alongside professional cricket”.

Headline: Vandals target Derbyshire club three times in two weeks.

Article from:  Derby Telegraph.

Journalist:  Martin Naylor .                           

Published: Monday, 17 August 2015 .    .

PTG listing: 7,915. 

Derbyshire's Duffield Cricket Club has blamed "mindless vandals” after it was targeted three times over the past few weeks.  The club had new training nets slashed in May and advertising hoardings around the boundary of the pitch smashed in July, but now replacement hoardings have been broken, leaving the club "angry and frustrated”.

Club secretary Graham Bakel said: "We believe it is local youths who find us easy pickings because our ground, in Eyes Meadow, is off the beaten track.  They can come down here and do what they like without thinking they can get caught.  It leaves you angry and frustrated because, when you're doing what you can to bring cricket to the village and trying to attract young people to take up the sport, things like this set you back”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,623

  Thursday, 20 August 2015



• Female umpire seeking first-class call [1623-7916].

• Former Australian Test umpire dies [1623-7917].

Headline: Female umpire seeking first-class call.

Article from: Barbados Today.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Wednesday, 19 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,916.  

Now that the Caribbean’s top female umpire, Jacqueline Williams, has officiated at the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Under-19 level, the next goal, according to the Jamaican, is to officiate at the regional first-class level.  A former player, who was born in Westmoreland, umpired in five matches during the recent WICB Under-19 tournament, a first for a female umpire in the Caribbean.

Williams, 39, who is the only female umpire on the WICB’s panel of umpires, albeit on the second-tier “B” panel would, if she does get to the first-class level, be the first female Caribbean umpire to achieve the feat .  Last year she stood in the WICB’s Under-15 tournament and described the experience at Under-19 level as “good", and that it "taught me a lot, and for it I’m a much-improved umpire”.  “The next hope for me is to be selected to officiate at the regional first-class in the not- too-distant future”.

Williams, who began umpiring in 2007 at the age of 31, said that her "lifetime dream” was to be an international umpire.  “If I were to make it to the first-class level it is from there that umpires are adjudged before being given international status”.  “That’s the route I would like to take, and with God’s blessing, and further opportunities, I am optimistic”.  “I have rubbed shoulders with the best umpires in the Caribbean, and think I have stood up well”.  “I also believe I have garnered the respect of players, which for me is one of the most important things in umpiring”.

Headline: Former Australian Test umpire dies.

Article from: Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Thursday, 20 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,917.  

Former Australian Test umpire, Queenslander Peter Enright, who was involved in the Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket (WSC)  initiative in the late 1970s, has died at the age of 90.  Enright stood in a total of 22 first class games from 1969-75, three of them Tests over a 13-month period beginning in December 1972.  He returned five years later as a WSC umpire and was on-field in 16 of that series’ games from 1977-79, two of them being billed as ‘Super Tests’ 

One report said that at the time of his death was the oldest living Test cricket umpire in the world.  Fellow Test umpire Lou Rowan said of him: "I umpired a number of games with him and found him a most pleasant person who readily accepted the practices and procedures of the day. He had a presence and quick wit and powers of concentration so necessary for the role of an umpire. He was unobtrusive, possessed efficiency and was always his own man particularly at a time when there was a measure of disquiet peculiar to Queensland Cricket”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,624

  Friday, 21 August 2015

 

• Banned trio free to play 'all cricket’ in two weeks [1624-7918].

• More than one pre-Test day-night, pink ball game for Kiwis? [1624-7919].

• We have 'never closed our mind' to UDRS, says BCCI secretary [1624-7920].

• ‘Suspect actions’ a focus for BCCI umpire, referees workshops [1624-7921].

• Player out for two months after protector fails [1624-7922].

• Kaneria challenges ECB High Court petition [1624-7923].

• Don’t change current County system - celebrate it [1624-7924].

• PCB, major Association, at odds over domestic structure [1624-7925].

• BCCI mulling handing banned IPL franchises to financial, legal institutions [1624-7926].

• Why England’s Ashes winners owe credit to ball makers [1624-7927].

Headline: Banned trio free to play 'all cricket’ in two weeks.

Article from: ‘Cricinfo'.

Journalist:  Umar Farooq.                           

Published: Wednesday, 19 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,918. 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that the sanctions against Pakistan's Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt will expire on the first day of next month.  That means the trio, who were banned for their role in spot-fixing on Pakistan's tour to England in 2010 (PTG 669-3286, 17 September 2010), can return to competitive cricket,  including the international game in just under two weeks.   Butt the captain, Asif and Aamer were banned for 10 (five suspended), seven (two suspended) and five years respectively, after an ICC tribunal found them guilty of spot-fixing in a case stemming from a Test at Lord's (PTG 726-3574, 14 February 2011). 

Butt told ‘Cricinfo’: "I welcome the ICC's decision and thank everyone who supported me throughout my bad time". "It's like a new lifeline for me. It's only me who can understand what this means for me. I can't explain how excited I am about regaining my bread and butter. I have suffered enough and I am a changed man now and have learnt my lesson. I will continue to play my cricket with good spirit”.  He will now turn out for the Lahore Blues in Pakistan’s upcoming domestic Twenty20 cup, where the team will play the qualifying round.

The three players, as well as their agent Mazhar Majeed, were also convicted for their wrongdoings in a London court. They were charged with conspiracy to accept corrupt payments, and conspiracy to cheat with regard to the Lord's Test, when three pre-determined no-balls were bowled - two by Aamer and one by Asif - orchestrated by Butt and arranged by Majeed. 

While Aamer and Majeed had pleaded guilty before the trial began, Butt and Asif denied the charges (PTG 1525-7343, 19 February 2015). Butt was sentenced to two years and six months in prison, Asif got one year and Aamer six months. Butt was released seven months into his jail sentence, in June 2012, under the UK government's early release scheme for foreign nationals. Asif and Aamer served half their sentences, in keeping with the court's directive - that they serve half their sentence in custody and then be released on licence, with conditions which, if broken, would see them back in detention for the remainder of their term. 

In January this year, with the backing of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Aamer was allowed to return to domestic cricket ahead of schedule by the ICC. Explaining the concession, the ICC said then that [Ronnie Flanagan, the chairman of its Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) “had exercised the powers vested in him under Article 6.8 of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code”.  That included being satisfied Aamer had cooperated with the ACSU by fully disclosing his part in the matters that led to his disqualification, admitting his guilt, showing remorse and cooperating with the Unit's ongoing investigations and by recording messages for the ACSU education sessions” (PTG 1585-7645, 6 July 2015).

England play Pakistan in a three-Test series in the United Arab Emirates in October. Most pundits suggest that is too soon for Butt and Asif but they say they would not be surprised if Aamer returned to international cricket in that series.

Headline: More than one pre-Test day-night, pink ball game for Kiwis?

Article from: CA news web site.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                           

Published: Thursday, 20 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,919. 

A story on the news page of Cricket Australia’s (CA) web site on Thursday says New Zealand "will get a chance" to prepare for their day-night Test against Australia with a one-day, pink ball, day-night match against a Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra in late October.  New Zealand Cricket 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.   

  

The Prime Minister’s game, which is usually a 50 over affair played in January (PTG 1607-7813, 1 August 2015), will be the first the visitors will play during their tour and take place a full month ahead of what will be the inaugural day-night Test (PTG 1581-7608, 1 July 2015).  While a full tour schedule is yet to be released there are timing gaps, particularly between the second and the day-night Tests, where a full-fledged, multi-day pink ball, day-night fixture could occur (PTG 1600-7762, 24 July 2015).  

The story indicates the playing uniform the Prime Minister’s XI will wear for the New Zealand game has "moved to white in colour in line with the use of a pink ball”.

Headline: We have 'never closed our mind' to UDRS, says BCCI secretary.

Article from: One India.

Journalist: Not stated.                           

Published: Thursday, 20 Aug 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,920. 

Anurag Thakur, the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in Indias (BCCI), said today his organisation is open to having a rethink on using the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS).  In the opening match of the three Test series between India and Sri Lanka last week, the non-availability of the system appeared to cost India dearly (PTG 1620-7890,         17 August 2015).

The BCCI has been strongly opposing use of the UDRS in bilateral series following its initial experience of it the first time it was used in 2008 (PTG  288-1526, 1 August 2008).  However, Thakur told host the broadcaster during the lunch break” on the opening day of the second Sri Lanka-India Test "we have never closed our mind” but rather wants to system "improve to next level”.

When asked whether the BCCI would continue to oppose UDRS operation, Thakur said: "It is not about an individual or an association to be against a system. I think we have to see why we don't have a 100 per cent system, or we have to make our mind up that it is not going to be 100 per cent”. "I think if you look at past few months, you will see that we have lost many matches and then we come back and say 'oh we have lost this match, lets look at the UDRS’, but its not only when we lose a match we should look at the system”.

Thakur said the "BCCI's (technical committee chairman) Anil Kumble and others had gone to the United States to look at the system and see if we can improve it further (PTG 1594-7709, 17 July 2015).  I think there are areas where we can look at and improve it to next level. If that is possible, the options are never closed”.

Headline: ‘Suspect actions’ a focus for BCCI umpire, referees workshops.

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                           

Published: Thursday, 20 Aug 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,921. 

Sessions on suspect bowling action issues will be part of Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) umpires and match referees workshops which are to be held over the next few weeks.  The umpires’ workshop will be held in six batches in Chennai starting next Monday while the match referees’ will meet in two separate events in Nagpur, the first getting underway on Monday week.

 . 

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said in a press release his organisation: "is committed to eradicating suspect action bowling from Indian domestic cricket. Educational workshops regarding the same have been planned at the accredited Biomechanical Bowling Action Testing centre in Chennai, where the umpires will witness the practical testing of bowlers.  Former International Cricket Council Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) member Simon Taufel will guide the Indian umpires on what to look for with respect to a bowler’s action to ascertain if it is illegal or suspect". 

Thakur also said he hoped the elevation of Sundarum Ravi to the EUP this year will motivate other Indian umpires to achieve further excellence and progress in their careers. He promised "complete support" from the BCCI to help the Indian umpires achieve their goals.

Headline: Player out for two months after protector fails.

Article from: The Dominion Press.

Journalist: Mark Geenty.                           

Published: Thursday, 20 Aug 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,922. 

His teammates found it hilarious. New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor, meanwhile, was in agony and a few hours later went under the knife in Harare after every batsman's worst nightmare.  The Black Caps batsman can chuckle about it now as he makes a gradual recovery from testicular surgery that will sideline him from cricket for two months. Mid-October is his targeted return date, for Central Districts in the opening round of the Plunket Shield which makes its earliest start, before the three-Test series in Australia in November.

This one's not for the squeamish, and requires careful re-telling. "Feel free to laugh, because everyone else has”, Taylor says, back home with wife Victoria and two young children in Hamilton.  It all happened in the nets before the third One Day International against Zimbabwe this month, facing a gentle leg spinner from Ish Sodhi. Apparently the plastic protector wasn't sitting quite right, and the pain was instant. 

"I went to sweep Ish and just missed, and it hit me in the sore area. It was pretty sore and the boys were all laughing in the nets as I was rolling around. I would have done the same. I batted on for 5-6 balls and hit it all right but it was just too painful”, Taylor said.  A doctor at the ground recommended Taylor go to hospital. They visited two, and he was advised to go under the knife. Far from home it was a scary thought, but surgery went well. Let's just say there were a lot of stitches involved.

"When I showed my wife the photos she was only aware of NZ Cricket's release which said "minor operation". She was a bit shocked. A part of me wanted to release the photos but I thought better of it”, Taylor laughed.  Back home where he's sat idle for the past fortnight as his teammates take on South Africa, specialists advised Taylor he can finally begin running next week.  "I'm 4-6 weeks away from hitting a cricket ball again. I'll just try to get as fit as possible and get myself ready for the [first Test in Brisbane], in early November as that's the main thing”.

Headline: Kaneria challenges ECB High Court petition.

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                           

Published: Thursday, 20 Aug 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,923. 

Former Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria, who is serving a life ban for spot-fixing, has challenged the petition the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had filed in Pakistan's Sindh High Court to recover costs of the case and fines imposed on him (PTG 1612-7837, 6 August 2015). The ECB is seeking some £UK100,000 ($A165,000) from Kaneria and is asking the Court for a legal order to force him liquidate his assets and property to free up the money, according to the leg-spinner’s lawyer Faroog Naseem.

Naseem has challenged the jurisdiction of the ECB's petition as Kaneria was banned in the United Kingdom under its tribunal laws and framework.  The Court has now set 8 September as the date for hearing the ECB petition and directed both parties or their lawyers to be present.  After he was found guilty in the UK Kaneria twice filed appeals, the first before an ECB Appeals tribunal Then a commercial court in London against the the life ban. However, both appeals were rejected.

Headline: Don’t change current County system - celebrate it.

Article from: ‘Cricinfo'.

Journalist: George Dobell.                           

Published: Thursday, 20 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,924. 

It is ironic that even while England have been winning the Ashes, discussions have been underway that will threaten the foundations on which this team is built. The County structure that produced this England team - the first England team for more than a decade not to contain a player who was either born or brought up in southern Africa - has rarely faced such a fight to justify its survival.

It appears that some at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), specifically the executives employed by the board rather than the Counties whose views they are meant to represent, have been pressing ahead in their bid to establish a city-based Twenty20 model.  They are doing that despite record attendances in the current competition and impressive growth figures around the country. Only when it became apparent, about three weeks ago, that full-scale rebellion was likely if they attempted to push through the change did ECB management relent (PTG 1607-7808, 1 August 2015).

Already is has been decided - in principle at least - to drop the Championship first class schedule from 16 to 12 games to enable more recovery and preparation time, while at one stage during discussions Nottinghamshire's chairman, Peter Wright, who is also chairman of the ECB's cricket committee, suggested an eight-team, city-based, 50-over competition to replace the current 50 over series.

While that proposal was fairly swiftly dismissed, it demonstrates the pressure the counties are under to justify themselves. Alongside the proposed new-look T20 competition - another 8-10 team tournament - such a development would take several smaller counties a step closer to irrelevance; a step closer to oblivion. The fact that Nottinghamshire - a club that have benefited more than most from buying-in talent from the smaller Counties they now seem to want to put out of business - should suggest such a scenario is a painful irony.

Where were England's last world-class spinners (Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar) produced? Northants. Where was England's captain produced? Essex. Where was England's wicketkeeper (Buttler) produced? Somerset. Three non-Test hosting Counties that, if city cricket is introduced, will face an uncertain future. By contrast, make a list of all the recent Test players produced by Nottinghamshire. It is hard to avoid the impression that the wrong people may be making decisions in English cricket at present. 

In the long-term, England have plenty of the areas in which they can improve. They need to examine why the quality of spin bowling in domestic cricket is so low - it has arguably never been lower - and they need to examine the development of fast bowlers. They need to reflect on the value of money gained from the centre at Loughborough and research and invest in the quality of pitches in domestic cricket.

The point is that, as the ECB look to increase revenues, they have to be careful not to sacrifice the foundations of their success. They have to be careful not to sacrifice long term value for short term financial gain. They have to be brave enough to understand that it is not more money the game needs, but more publicity.  This England team has the talent, the style and the charm to win the game a new generation of supporters. The system that produced them doesn't need changing; it needs celebrating.

Headline: PCB, major Association, at odds over domestic structure.

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                           

Published: Wednesday, 19 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,925. 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) faced an embarrassing situation at its Board of Governors meeting in Lahore when the President of the country’s largest cricket association revolted against the new domestic structure introduced by PCB.  An official of the board played down the incident but according to eye witness accounts, Ejaz Farooqi, President of the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), at one stage walked out of the meeting on Tuesday to protest the changes in domestic cricket which have directly hit the Karachi and Lahore teams - long considered the nurseries of Pakistan cricket.

"Farooqi went out of the meeting but came back after senior officials of the board pacified him but the deadlock between the PCB and KCCA still remains over the domestic structure”, one eye witness said.  Things have come to a head between the PCB and the KCCA after the latter refused to accept the new domestic structure in which only one Karachi team has been given entry into main rounds of the National Twenty20 Championship and the first class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy while its second team has to come through a qualifying process.

The KCCA even refused to select and send the names of players for the two Karachi squads, prompting the PCB to announce the squads themselves for the T20 event which is due to start on the first day of September.  A well-placed source said that the PCB had offered an olive branch to the KCCA by agreeing to finish off the qualifying round in the national T20 championship thus allowing Karachi to field two teams in the main rounds.

However, according to the source: "Farooqi made it clear the KCCA's main concern was the premier first class tournament-Quaid-e-Azam Trophy-in which since [Pakistan’s independence] has customarily involved two teams each from Karachi and Lahore being given direct entry into the main rounds” of the event.  "Obviously the PCB wants all its affiliated units on board to enforce the new domestic cricket structure which is why they are trying their best to avoid any confrontation with the KCCA”, he said.  The KCCA Executive Council was due to meet today TO decide its future course of action.

PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan said on Monday that his organisation gave a lot of importance to Karachi association due to its position in Pakistan cricket.  "We will do our best to address their concerns and find a solution but at the end of the day the rules and regulations of the PCB cannot be compromised”, Khan said.

Headline: BCCI mulling handing banned IPL franchises to financial, legal institutions.

Article from: Zee Media Bureau.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Thursday, 20 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,926.  

The Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) Indian Premier League (IPL) working group is reported to be mulling the option of handing over the IPL’s Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings franchises to banks, “reliable" financial institutions or law firms “of repute” for the next two years.  The working group, which was formed to study the order of the Lodha Committee regarding IPL corruption issues, will discuss on the matter in a meeting in Kolkata next Friday.

The general sentiment of both BCCI and IPL teams is to continue with the two suspended teams without floating tenders for new franchises, as terminating the two existing entities could lead to significant legal complications.  The board has also got suggestions to start a second-tier T20 league before next edition of IPL, from where the top two teams could be promoted to the main league, thereby completing the quota of eight teams.

Headline: Why England’s Ashes winners owe credit to ball makers.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist:  Mike Selvey.                           

Published: Tuesday, 18 August 2015.    .

PTG listing: 7,927.  

Over recent years it has become as much a part of the precursor to a Test match as the toss. When playing, Jimmy Anderson will choose the balls with which England will bowl, this one first, this should they need another. They sit there nestled in a box, half a dozen of them, gleaming gold lettering showing the royal crest, the name Duke and Son, the Special County mark and the A grade letter: the leather is red and glistening like a new-fallen conker.

Anderson will survey them and, just by eye, reject some. Cricketers refer to the ball as “the cherry” but that is an all-embracing term. Just as a cherry can vary in appearance from the vivid fire-engine crimson of the Stella to the dark red Morello, so with the Dukes ball. Anderson will survey the box, looking for the Morello.

Swing bowlers believe that the dark ball will swing more readily than the light ones, and if there is no great evidence to show that this is the case, the mind plays a part: it just feels better. There would seem to be no reason either why one ball should differ so significantly from another.

The dye that Dukes uses is consistent and the leather of the same kind. However, there will be a variation in the hide used, and it would appear that some will take the dye better than others, absorb more, and so darken in colour. And, when the thin layer of lacquer wears off the new ball after half a dozen overs or so and the polishers in the team (this was once the domain of the bowler but no longer, it seems) get to work on it, it is this characteristic that helps them buff the ball up to a mirror shine on one side. Put simply, the darker ball polishes better.

Now he will take the chosen balls from the box and feel them in his hand, two fingers on top, thumb underneath, delicately, as he does when he bowls: Anderson is a caresser of the ball. He wants to see how it sits in his hand. A top-flight bowler such as he can detect the minute differences that others may not, just as a batsman is particular about the weight, balance and pick-up of a bat. The Dukes cricket balls are hand-stitched and all conform as near as possible to a general standard size and weight but there are tolerances so that the size can vary in circumference by up to 5 mm, and the weight by three grams: so occasionally one just feels a little smaller and lighter than the others.

He will look at the seam, the half a dozen lines of stitching that run round the equator of the ball. Over the years, various trials have been made in England either to increase or reduce the effectiveness to bowlers of this stitching. For one season, the seam was flattened by reducing the number of strands within the thread and the outcome was some astronomical scoring in the County Championship. 

Another summer saw the reverse, with strands increased, and the thread wound so tight and hard that the balls might have been stitched with piano wire, so that they were known to lacerate the hands of unfortunate slip fielders. That year, the bowlers had their revenge. There is middle ground now, but even so Anderson will be looking to see if the stitching is unusually proud of the surface. Only when he has weighed up these variables will he make his choice.

The Dukes cricket ball has played no small part in England winning the Ashes at home four times in a row now, the thought of it inducing something approaching paranoia among the opposition to the extent that it has almost attained a mythical status as some sort of secret weapon. 

The problem for Australian batsmen, though, lies not so much in the ball used in England as that which they are used to facing elsewhere. Australians use the ‘Kookaburra', as do all the Test match nations aside from England and West Indies (the latter who use a specially developed version of the Dukes suitable for more abrasive pitches) and India, where the SG ball dominates (PTG 1620-7896, 17 August 2015).

The Kookaburra is an inferior ball, which goes soft very quickly (maybe 15 to 20 overs), swells, and has a machine-stitched seam, but it has managed to dominate the market. Batsmen tend to prosper against such a ball, which does not offer the lateral movement, in the air and off the pitch, that can be obtained with the Dukes. So ingrained techniques cannot cope when they encounter something trickier with the ball dipping and darting like summer swallows.

There is less excuse for the Australian bowlers, who have simply failed to bowl the right lengths or lines consistently. Such, though, has been the level of concern about the capacity to cope with the Dukes that the former captain Ricky Ponting will recommend to Cricket Australia that the Dukes ball should be adopted in first-class cricket in that country; given that Ponting used Kookaburra bats for much of his brilliant career that is some call (PTG 1615-7856, 10 August 2015).

For now, though, England will continue to try to exploit this extra advantage that they seem to have. And when the series is finally done and dusted, and the replica urn handed over to Alastair Cook so that the team can celebrate a job well done, they might spare a thought for this instrument of Australia’s destruction. 

There may not be the euphoria that accompanied the 2005 success, with open-top buses, thousands thronging the streets, a Trafalgar Square celebration, Downing Street reception, and gongs handed out to all and sundry. But maybe there should be some recognition of the part played by the manufacturer, who first started producing cricket balls in Tonbridge in Kent in 1760. How about something from Stevie Wonder’s seminal 1976 album Songs in The Key of Life: Sir Duke?

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,625

  Saturday, 22 August 2015

 

• Top umpires relying on technology for foot fault ‘no balls’ [1625-7928].

• Historic Christchurch cricket club destroyed in fire [1625-7929].

• First class cut part of ECB executive’s County cricket shakeup [1625-7930].

• Bermudan clubs punished over umpire debts [1625-7931].

• Council top dresses cricket oval with contaminated soil [1625-7932].

• History of dissent results in ban after Level One offence [1625-7933].

• BCCI's conflict-of-interest declaration faces resistance [1625-7934].

• CSK file writ petition against Lodha order [1625-7935].

• Campaigners protest against ‘death of cricket’ [1625-7936].

• Modi documents lodged with Interpol [1625-7937].

• New edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published [1625-7938]. 

Headline: Top umpires relying on technology for foot fault ‘no balls'.

Article from: The Times .

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Saturday, 22 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,928. 

Five times now this year, and four in this Ashes series, England have lost a wicket because replays have shown a bowler overstepping the crease. Twice, at Trent Bridge and the Oval, Steven Finn thought he had his hundredth Test wicket. Twice he cursed his folly.

Only hours before Steve Smith was reprieved on 93 on Friday by what replays showed to be a big no-ball from Finn, Stuart Binny suffered the same fate in Colombo for India against Sri Lanka. In that case, Kaushal Silva survived. Binny is still awaiting his first Test wicket.

Back in London in the early evening, Mark Wood, twice a culprit himself this summer, enjoyed a second life when Mitchell Marsh overstepped, the ball having been edged to slip. At 8/97 it barely matters in the context of the game. It just looked silly, and the crowd duly laughed.

Finn is refusing to support a fashionable view that umpires are complicit through their present reluctance to call no-balls. When bowlers were penalised in the past it obviously let them know when they were overstepping. Some officials at least give a friendly word of warning these days without making a formal call.  “There are no excuses for bowlers”, Finn said. “You can see your spike marks when you walk back so you can see where you are landing. It is something for me to sort out, and I have to do so”.

Umpires feel able to focus purely on what is happening at the other end. They see that as being more important, and technology means that tight margins are checked if a wicket happens to fall. In the past they did not have that safety net.  Consequently they are happy to accede to requests from bowlers to stand well back, even though it can leave them blind to the landing. Sky Sports showed that Kumar Dharmasena was unable to see that Mitchell Johnson overstepped as many as eight times in his initial five overs yesterday.

The same holds true of Finn, hence the difficulties faced by Aleem Dar on day one of the game. “I know that the umpire cannot see my front foot when I land because of the way my hip and back knee rotate through”, Finn said. Technology, though, means that the third umpire can, and it may be that the off-field official needs to be more proactive.

Headline: Historic Christchurch cricket club destroyed in fire.

Article from: Radio New Zealand.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Saturday, 22 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,929. 

A fire that is being treated as suspicious, destroyed facilities at Christchurch’s 106-year-old New Brighton Cricket Club in the early hours of this morning.  Club president Rob Dixon says that nothing is salvageable from the building.  "It's the 100-year-old photos, it's the trophies that have got names from people from the 1950s on them.... the honours board and things like that you can't replace”, he said.  "You can start a new trophy for the best bastman, but you can't bring back the trophy from 1954 with the name of the first person who won it”.

Headline: First class cut part of ECB executive’s County cricket shakeup.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist:  Ali Martin.                           

Published: Friday, 21 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,930. 

Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), has warned struggling counties that the governing body will no longer act as a “bank of last resort” and that a reduction in the number of ECB first class Championship matches is coming.  Harrison is working with ECB chairman, Colin Graves, to produce a new structure for domestic cricket. Their six-month consultation period is close to its conclusion and proposals are to be presented to Counties starting early next month.

The ECB’s accounts for 2015 show Counties owe £7.87 million ($A16.9 m) in loans to the board. Northamptonshire, for example, are facing problems following a loss of £300,000 ($A643,000) last year and Harrison, a former player with Northants and Derbyshire who began his current role at the start of the year, insists the future makeup of the English game must see clubs be commercially viable.

Harrison told the BBC’s Test Match Special: “The ECB is committed to ensuring Counties are in a position to sustain their own business. Ultimately we are not the bank of last resort, that’s not the role the ECB should play. We are in the business of doing everything we can to put a structure in place for our county clubs to be as sustainable as possible”.

The ECB chief executive is keen to make its Twenty20 competition, which is currently played as a near season-long tournament, a rival to the Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash, but played down talk of adopting a franchise-style model, an apparent back down on his and Graves original concept (PTG 1607-7808, 1 August 2015).  He remains committed to raising the standard though, stating the tournament must “pit the best against the best” and that playing the game's three formats in blocks, rather than the current mixed schedule, is desirable. 

“Sometimes [players] are playing three different formats in a week”, Harrison said. “We are hearing from [County] directors of cricket that getting players out on to the park at this time of year is very taxing and that they are more worried about getting through the game than putting in the absolute limit of their performance”.  “The thing that is compromised is the one thing that shouldn’t be and that is the quality of cricket fans are watching. The desirable position is to have a block in the summer which is given to a particular format".

Domestic structure proposals for next year aim to create some space in the calendar – and controversially that means playing one or two first-class games fewer than this year and enabling the formats to breathe a bit.  Sixteen games is "a lot “ said Harrison and if you take that down to 14 "the implications are not significant, in fact they may enhance it and that has to be the idea”.

Harrison also said that the ECB is no longer opposed to cricket becoming an Olympic sport and will discuss a potential bid in the coming months.  It has previously been reluctant to support a bid due to a clash with the English domestic season, but Harrison believes: "A successful Olympic movement for your sport can be transformational. England was often seen as the barrier to this. That's just not the case”. 

In July, the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC) called for Twenty20 to be included in the 2024 summer Games.  David Richardson, the International Cricket Council president who sits on the WCC committee, said it would be a "huge opportunity" for players (PTG 1595-7719, 19 July 2015).  

Former ECB chairman Giles Clarke held reservations over the concept, which feature in a new documentary film 'Death of a Gentleman’.  Now in the new role of ECB president, Clarke was among those targeted in a protest outside The Oval before the opening day of the final Ashes Test match on Thursday (PTG 1625-7936 below).

Headline: Bermudan clubs punished over umpire debts.

Article from: The Royal Gazette.

Journalist:  Colin Thompson.                           

Published: Friday, 21 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,931. 

Three Premier Division clubs have been docked championship points by the Bermuda Cricket Board for failing to pay outstanding umpire fees.  Somerset, St David’s and Willow Cuts have all had thirteen points deducted for outstanding debts owed to umpires for their services.  According to league regulations, clubs must pay their dues by mid-June or risk having points deducted.

The deductions leave Somerset and Willow Cuts level on 29 points and locked in a battle to avoid the second relegation spot, alongside Cleveland, who are presently fourth on 33 points. Flatts, who are bottom and all but relegated, play Somerset on Sunday, with Cuts and Cleveland facing each other.  With the Premier Division being reduced to six teams next season, the bottom two clubs this year will be relegated, while the side that finishes fifth will face a promotion-relegation play-off against the team that finishes second in the First Division.

Somerset and St David’s are believed to have now paid off their debts, while at least two of the clubs penalised have contemplated appealing against the sanctions imposed against them.  However, the regulations on this matter have been in place for the past two seasons, and clubs were sent a letter last February reminding them of the consequences of not paying on time.  One board official questioned why it was only now that the clubs were complaining, and said that to not enforce the regulation would make a mockery of all the league’s rules.

Headline: Council top dresses cricket oval with contaminated soil.

Article from: Sunshine Coast Daily.

Journalist:  Bill Hoffman.                           

Published: Friday, 21 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,932. 

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Council has begun the clean-up of a Nambour cricket oval which its contractors top dressed with soil heavily contaminated with broken glass, metal, bottle tops and other rubbish.  Nambour Cricket Club (NCC) members arrived at their sign-on day last Saturday to find their number two oval covered in top soil that looked like it had come straight from the dump.  They then spent the afternoon walking around the outfield picking up shards of metal and glass.

NCC president John Francis said the council had used some "ordinary top dressing over the years but this was the worst”.  "We alerted the showground office staff”,' he said. "A machine was there on Wednesday sweeping it up and putting it onto a truck”.  Francis said the playing field was public space and often used by people walking their dogs.  "It would have been obvious when they were spreading it”.  "It will be interesting to see what job the machine does."

The club was due to start practice on the ground next month with 2015-16 Sunshine Coast Cricket Association fixtures due to begin on the first weekend of October.  The ground is used for two games each week involving 44 players as well as senior and junior practice throughout the week.  NCC member Ian Ellem said given the sliding done during fielding there was concern that all the dangerous material be collected.  

When asked the council failed to explain where the soil had been obtained but acknowledged it was unsuitable.  "Sunshine Coast Council staff acted immediately, with the contractor, to rectify the condition of the Nambour Showgrounds sports field once they became aware of the top soil issue”, a spokesperson said.  

"Council agrees the soil material spread is unsuitable for turf top dressing”.  "The material has been removed and the field has been cleaned with a Posi-track (loader) with a street sweeping broom to remove finer material”.  "Council will undertake on-going inspections to ensure the field is at an acceptable standard for the upcoming cricket season”.

Headline: History of dissent results in ban after Level One offence.

Article from: Caribbean Cricket.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Friday, 21 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,933. 

The West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) Disciplinary Tribunal announced today that Trinidad and Tobago batsman Jason Mohammed has been banned for two first class matches as a result of a breach of the WICB Code of Conduct earlier this year.  On that occasion Mohammed was charged with and pleaded guilty to a Level One dissent offence, however, the Tribunal took the view that as it occurred within a year of a previous offence of serious dissent, it should be automatically upgraded to Level Three.

When Mohammed pleaded guilty last year to a Level Two offence of showing serious dissent at an umpiring decision, he was fined three quarters of his match fee by the match referee.  In its decision, the Tribunal held that the purpose of the rule was to deter dissent and in particular repetitive dissent, therefore his punishment was moved up to an automatic ban.

Headline: BCCI's conflict-of-interest declaration faces resistance.

Article from: ‘Cricinfo'.

Journalist:  Amol Karhadkar and Artun Venugopal.                           

Published: Thursday, 20 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,934. 

Almost a month after receiving the no-conflict-of-interest declaration and a request to sign it from Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Anurag Thakur (PTG 1602-7774, 26 July 2015), four BCCI member associations, including that of BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, have still not signed the documentation.  As a result the issue is likely to be taken up at next Friday's BCCI working committee meeting in Kolkata.

Interestingly, the four, the Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Hyderabad Cricket Associations, are loyal supporters of former BCCI president Narayanaswami Srinivasan who now heads both the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association and the International Cricket Council, though others close to him have signed it. Two of these four associations confirmed to ‘Cricinfo' they will raise their concerns at Friday's meeting.

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 (IPL) teams, sponsorships or looking after specific players' interests.  Thakur is reported to have said in the letter to Associations about the matter that the image of the BCCI “has taken a hit” in the wake of recent scandals and every effort needs to be made to turn that around. 

Haryana hasn't yet signed because, according to an association insider, the communication is "invalid since it's not a working committee resolution".  Tamil Nadu and Karnataka will seek clarifications on the definition of business and commercial commitments of players and office-bearers. Meanwhile, Hyderabad is still deliberating the issue and will finalise its stance in an executive committee meeting later this week. 

Tamil Nadu secretary Kasi Viswanathan said they needed "a lot of clarifications at the working committee on what constituted business and commercial commitments of players as well as office-bearers" before the association can sign the document. Tamil Nadu's alleged conflicts of interest, with president Srinivasan's family business owning an IPL franchise, is considered to be the root cause of the problem. During its probe of the IPL corruption scandal, the Indian Supreme Court-appointed Justice Mukul Mudgal panel had barred individuals associated with India Cements being involved in Indian cricket.

While Karnataka secretary Brijesh Patel and president PR Ashok Anand remained unavailable for comment, an Association source elaborated on their grievances. "Even our top players are associated with a lot of IPL franchises. Some of our players are there as selectors, coaches, some of the life members are there as coaches, so the BCCI's clarification is required. No way [we will sign this before we get clarification]”, he said.

Patel, interestingly, wears plenty of hats at present. Besides being the Karnataka secretary, the former India batsman also serves as the Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL franchises’ chief executive as well as the director of the BCCI’s National Cricket Academy.

Hyderabad has an interesting tale, with president Arshad Ayub and secretary John Manoj both running renowned cricket academies in Hyderabad. Former Hyderabad president Shivlal Yadav is reported to have accused both of them for selecting players mainly from their academies in Hyderabad teams during his recent deposition before the Lodha committee.

While Thakur was unavailable for comment, a BCCI official said that the board was open to answering all doubts. When one of the four disgruntled association representatives raised the issue with the BCCI officials, he was told to "write in with all the objections so that they can be dealt with". So far, the BCCI has not received any written communication.  As for the lack of a working committee stamp on Thakur’s conflict of interest circular, the official said the BCCI rulebook authorises the secretary to initiate such actions with the permission of the president.

In addition to former players' involvement in various capacities, one of the major conflict of interest areas has been the in-stadia rights allocation for international matches. For every international match that even a small centre gets to host once every three years, it is observed that many associations award the in-stadia rights to kin of the key officials and allegedly get kickbacks.

Headline: CSK file writ petition against Lodha order.

Article from: ‘Cricinfo'.

Journalist:  Arun Venugopal, Amol Karhadkar and Nagraj Gollapudi.                           

Published: Friday, 21 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,935. 

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Cricket Limited, the owners of one of the teams suspended for two years from the Indian Premier League (IPL), has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court asking for the Lodha Committee order to be set aside in so far as it relates to Super Kings.  A CSK insider confirmed the development, terming the writ as a "substantive challenge to the punishment”.

The source said a "high-profile advocate" from Delhi, who has hitherto not appeared in cases relating to the franchise, has been engaged to pursue the matter. He also said that the affidavit, which runs to 36 pages, was different from an appeal. Legal experts say that while an interim relief is unlikely at this stage, a notice may be ordered on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), listed as first respondent, seeking its response to CSK’s court petition.

After lying low for more than a month since being suspended by the Lodha Committee, CSK have made their first move. While sources from that group had all the while suggested their appeal would be contingent to the BCCI working group's report, the affidavit seems to have taken even those close to the franchise by surprise. 

Meanwhile, the BCCI working group, studying the Lodha panel verdict, is aware of the CSK writ, but a board official said it would not put spanner in their works. He said the working group would not await the court's decision and instead go ahead with its decision which would be revealed to the BCCI working committee next Friday (PTG 1624-7926, 21 August 2015). 

The writ, a copy of which is in the possession of ‘Cricinfo', alleges the Lodha Committee order went against the "fundamental principles of natural justice and fair hearing", and had "led to grave miscarriage of justice”.  "The Justice Lodha Committee had failed to note that the very reason for appointing a high level committee comprising of former judges of apex court was that they could look into the findings of the Mudgal committee”, CSK Cricket Limited, the petitioner, stated in the affidavit.

Headline: Campaigners protest against ‘death of cricket’.

Article from: Press Association.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Friday, 21 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,936. 

UK Conservative MP Damian Collins, a member of the House of Commons select committee for culture, media and sport, joined campaigners in a silent protest against the global governance of cricket before the final Ashes Test started at The Oval in London on Thursday (PTG 1621-7903, 18 August 2015).  Journalists Jarrod Kimber and Sam Collins, whose recent film 'Death of a Gentleman' critiques the work of the International Cricket Council (ICC), led a three-minute silence outside the ground.  

The protest, which included a wreath “mourning the death of cricket as a global sport”, and a lone trumpeter playing The Last Post, took place outside the Hobbs Gates and featured a three-minute silence, one minute each for the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket Australia.

Collins said: “Thanks to the three big nations that run world cricket – England, Australia and India – who also control 52 per cent of the game’s revenues, Test cricket is being sacrificed in favour of the short forms of the game. The other 102 countries who play the game have access to only 48 per cent of the revenues”.  “And, at a time when every other sport wants to expand, the ICC is actually shrinking the Cricket World Cup and doesn’t want to participate in the Olympics (PTG 1625-7930 above).

“What’s more”, continued Collins, while FIFA shows how all sport needs to be wary of administrative corruption, cricket is being run without transparency, accountability or independence by individuals who have shown us time and time again why we cannot trust them to represent the sport’s best interests”.

Headline: Modi documents lodged with Interpol.

Article from: The Times of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Friday, 21 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,937. 

India’s Criminal Bureau of Investigation sent documents to Interpol on Thursday in a bid to extradite former Indian Premier League (IPL) chief Lalit Modi from the UK regarding his suspected role in money laundering and other irregularities associated with IPL media rights deals (PTG 1617-7875, 12 August 2015).  India's Enforcement Directorate is probing at least 16 instances of violations across the country’s money laundering and foreign exchange management Acts. Modi has resided in the United Kingdom for a number of years.

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

Article from:  The Guardian. 

Journalist:  John Holder and Paul Trevillion. 

Published: Friday, 21 August 2015. 

PTG listing: 7,938. 

A spin bowler who asks for a bandaid on his finger after it is cut whilst fielding, a fielder who throws a ball across a recognised boundary, and a recently retired player who is umpiring and takes a catch out of instinct, 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 1,626

  Monday, 24 August 2015

 

• Ashraful expected to commence corruption ‘rehab’ in December [1626-7939].

• Lankan batsman fined for delayed departure [1626-7940].

• Bowler’s twin send offs lead to censure [1626-7941].

• Sri Lankan bowling committee cracking down on illegal actions [1626-7942].

• Srinivasan tipped to attend BCCI working committee meeting [1626-7943].

• Court gives Chennai IPL franchise a potential lifeline [1626-7944].

Headline: Ashraful expected to commence corruption ‘rehab’ in December.

Article from: New Age Daily.

Journalist:  Atif Azam .                           

Published: Saturday, 22 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,939. 

Suspended former Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful is looking forward to start his rehabilitation and educational programme by December in order to pave the way of his return to competitive cricket next year (PTG 1437-6952, 30 September 2014).  Ashraful is currently serving a five-year ban for his involvement in Bangladesh Premier League’s match-fixing scam.  His five-year ban included a two-year suspended sentence provided the star batsman participates in the anti-corruption education and training programme to be organised by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Upon production of certificate of good conduct, Ashraful will be eligible to return to cricket in mid-August  next year, said BCB’s disciplinary panel that reduced his original eight-year ban to five-year on appeal.  The ICC and BCB decided against contesting the verdict at Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (PTG 1452-7034, 22 October 2014), giving Ashraful a lifeline to revive his career.  Ashraful, who is currently in United States and playing unofficial cricket, said he will return soon to start the process of his rehabilitation.

Ashraful told New Age over phone from USA: "Hopefully, I can start my rehabilitation programme from December.  I am not sure about the date but probably it will begin before the end of this year. I will return to Bangladesh in October and will start taking necessary steps to complete the process as it is vital for me in order to make a comeback to competitive cricket,”.

The ICC approved anti-corruption code allows banned players to make an early return to domestic cricket, if they are found to meet certain criteria.  These criteria include ‘the level of remorse shown by the player, his/her cooperation with the ICC’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit’s education program.  Ashraful said that he has already informed the BCB about his availability for such rehabilitation programme.

The former skipper’s confidence was raised following a recent development in Pakistan, where Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amer completed their suspension and were made eligible for return next month  (PTG  

BCB officials say they are considering Ashraful's case in a sympathetic manner and will co-operate him once he starts his rehabilitation process.  "Though the timing of the program is yet to be confirmed it will happen”, said BCB’s chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury.  "We will surely make arrangements so that he can take part in that program”.

Headline: Lankan batsman fined for delayed departure.

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Sunday, 23 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,940. 

Sri Lankan middle-order batsman Lahiru Thirimanne was fined 30 per cent of his match fee on Saturday for "showing dissent at an umpires's decision" during the third day of the second Test against India in Colombo.  Thirimanne was found to have “shown dissent at an umpire's decision during an International Match".

The incident happened in the 85th over of Sri Lanka's first innings when the left-handed batsman stood his ground for a prolonged period of time, leaning on his bat with his hand on his waist, before leaving the crease while shaking his head after being adjudged caught behind off Ishant Sharma by umpire Bruce Oxenford.  One report said the bowler gave the batsman "a bit of a send off which didn’t look pretty” (PTG 1625-7941 below).

Following the draw of stumps on the third day's play, Thirimanne admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Andy Pycroft. As such, there was no need for a formal hearing.  The charge was laid by on-field umpires Oxenford and Rod Tucker and third umpire Ruchira Palliyaguruge.  

In international cricket all Level One breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand and/or a maximum penalty of 50 per cent of a player's match fee.

Headline: Bowler’s twin send offs lead to censure.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Sunday, 23 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,941. 

Indian fast bowler Ishant Sharma was on Sunday fined 65 percent of his match fee for on-field misconduct on two occasions during the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.  Sharma was charged with breaching provisions of the players' code of conduct which relates to "using language, actions or gestures which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batsman upon his dismissal," the International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement.

The seamer was fined 15 per cent for provoking Lahiru Thirimanne after dismissing him during the third day's play on Saturday (PTG 1625-7940 above), and another 50 percent for repeating the act against Dinesh Chandimal three overs later.  Match referee Andy Pycroft said via an International Cricket Council press release that Sharma's aggressive behaviour against Chandimal "warranted a higher sanction than the first offence”.

The exact amount of fines was not disclosed as reports from Colombo say player's match fees are not made public.

Headline: Sri Lankan bowling committee cracking down on illegal actions.

Article from: The Daily Star.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Sunday, 23 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,942. 

Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) Illegal Bowling Action Committee (IBAC), headed by former double international Ishak Sahabdeen, has taken several steps to eradicate suspect actions with the immediate aim of ensuring their players are not pulled up during the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh next year.

"At the last Under-19 World Cup held in the United Arab Emirates in 2014, three of our bowlers were reported for suspect actions, this is not a good sign for us as a cricketing playing nation”, said Sahabdeen, who represented Sri Lanka at cricket and hockey. "We want to make sure that we are clean at the next World Cup”.

As a first step, Sahabdeen said seven bowlers would be sent to the International Cricket Council (ICC) accredited testing centre for suspected bowling actions in Chennai for assessment ahead of the Under-19 World Cup.  The IBAC also plans to come down firmly on school coaches, who after a period of time could have their coaching license suspended or cancelled if they fail to report or correct bowlers with suspect actions.

"With the Under-13 and Under-19 seasons commencing in the first week of September, we have requested the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association to register each certificate number of the respective coaches, like they register the players”, Sahabdeen said.  He also indicated the IBAC had decided to ban school cricketers from wearing long sleeves, elbow guards, skins and tubing while bowling so that their elbows are exposed. This rule will be implemented from September.

According to Sahabdeen, 80 per cent of the 170 bowlers reported in domestic cricket this year, from Under-13 age group to the Premier League, were off-spinners. "These bowlers try to bowl the doosra and the faster ball and eventually end up being reported for throwing because they exceed the 15-degree limit”. Only 41 of those 170 bowlers have been cleared by the IBAC, and Sahabdeen fears the other 129 will have their careers curtailed because nothing can be done about their actions.

Sahabdeen held the coaches responsible. "There are two sides to it. In most instances it is their ignorance of what constitutes an illegal delivery and the other is that they don't want to correct the bowler's action or report him as it would reduce his effectiveness and the team's performances would suffer eventually”.

In order to educate and create awareness among school and club coaches, the IBAC printed posters in three languages - Sinhala, English and Tamil - which are to be displayed at all school and club grounds and on notice boards of schools and clubs. It also brought Richard Dunne, the ICC human resources manager, to educate the coaches on suspect bowling actions - workshops being conducted in Colombo, Galle, Dambulla and Kandy with a total of 160 coaches attending.

Apart from Sahabdeen, the IBAC comprises former Sri Lanka fast bowlers Graeme Labrooy, an ICC second-tier match referee, and Eric Upashantha, along with umpires' educator Tyron Wijewardene and Head of Coaching Unit Jerome Jayaratne. Sahabdeen said the drive to eradicate illegal bowling gathered momentum after Sri Lanka off-spinner Sachitra Senanayake was reported for a suspect action during the tour of England in 2014 (PTG 1479-7155, 10 December 2014).

Headline: Srinivasan tipped to attend BCCI working committee meeting.

Article from: Times of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Sunday, 23 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,943. 

Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is reported to be planning to attend this Friday’s BCCI working committee meeting in Kolkata.  Srinivasan, who was stripped of the BCCI presidency by India’s Supreme Court and is now the chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC), will represent the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association at the meeting.

The Tamil Nadu strongman has not participated in any BCCI meeting since February whilst awaiting the verdict of the Lodha Committee into Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption.  A BCCI source said that: “Srinivasan didn't attend the earlier meetings because the Lodha committee report was pending. Now there are no legal bindings and most likely he will be there in Kolkata for the meeting".

Friday’s working committee meeting is the last scheduled before the BCCI’s 2015 Annual General Meeting next month, a gathering that is expected to see the board agree to India re-nominatiing Srinivasan as their candidate for the ICC chairman’s position.  Though the new BCCI regime has shown no signs of withdrawing support from Srinivasan as the ICC’s chair, the veteran cricket administrator will want to make is present felt and gauge the mood of his former colleagues in Kolkata.

The BCCI is expected to finalise their decision on the future of the IPL’s Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals franchises at Friday's meeting.

Headline: Court gives Chennai IPL franchise a potential lifeline.

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Saturday, 22 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,944. 

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Cricket Limited, who have challenged their side’s two-year Indian Premier League (IPL) suspension in the Madras High Court, have been given a lifeline by the Court. A petition filed by the former IPL champions was accepted by the Court and they and to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have been ordered to appear before it next Thursday.

In its petition to the Court, CSK contended that the Justice Lodha Committee’s suspension order that imposing punishment on the franchise (CSK) without going into the charges or the alleged offence committed was against the principles of natural justice and a fair hearing   (PTG 1625-7395, 22 August 2015).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,627

  Tuesday, 25 August 2015

 


• CA further enhances cash flow with UK TV deal [1627-7945].

• Quick action saves player after heart attack [1627-7946].

Headline: CA add to cash flow with UK TV deal.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 24 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,945. 

BT Sport has won the exclusive rights to broadcast matches played in Australia to the UK over the five years from 2016 under an agreement announced by Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday, winning out over long-time contract holder Sky Sports (PTG 1619-7888, 15 August 2015).  CA released details of the new contract without indicating how much it is worth, however, media reports in the UK suggest the Australian body will be paid around £80 million ($A174.2 m) over the five years.

The centrepiece of the deal will be the next Ashes series in 2017-18, but it also includes all One Day Internationals and Twenty20 matches played in Australia, including those in series against New Zealand, South Africa, India and Pakistan and CA’s Big Bash League. BT has targeted premium cricket rights as a means to attract and keep subscribers in the summer months and already broadcasts Caribbean Premier League T20.

Delia Bushell, managing Director of BT TV and BT Sport said: “BT Sport is delighted to be adding international cricket to its line-up, and to be the new home of the next Ashes tour in Australia. We will show live domestic games featuring the best players in the world during the Big Bash League and all Australian home matches for the next five years”.

Australia’s existing four-year UK deal with Sky Sports is estimated to be worth about £50 million ($A106 m), but reports earlier this month suggested CA was hopeful of surpassing that figure, something it now appears to have achieved.

The deal will mark an escalation in BT Sports competitive battle with Sky. Both companies are using sport as a means of signing up triple play customers and battle for market share.  Sky’s current exclusive deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board, for all international and domestic matches on home soil, runs until the end of 2019.

The competition between the two broadcasters saw the value of live rights to Premier League football soar to £5.1 billion ($A11.1 b) under the new deal that begins from next season, with Sky retaining the lion’s share of matches.

Headline: Quick action saves player after heart attack.

Article from: India Today.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Monday, 24 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,946. 

Rahul Sawant, a 34-year-old local league player in Mumbai had a close brush with death after suffering a heart attack whilst playing for the Dahisar Cricket Club (DCC) on Sunday.  After being dismissed for 30, Sawant complained of uneasiness and giddiness while walking back to the pavilion and it was the presence of mind shown by his teammates that saved his life.

DCC owner and captain Pravin Gogri said that Sawant "was also feeling suffocated and could not bare the pain”.  We gave him water, but it didn’t help and we could not find the doctors provided by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), so we rushed him to Bombay Hospital”. 

Gogri, a former managing committee member of the MCA, vented his frustration at that organisation's management, pointing out that the competition’s “rule book says there are doctors at various grounds, but we could not find one in the area. God knows what would have happened had we reached [the hospital] late”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,628

  Wednesday, 26 August 2015

 

• ICC defends no-ball policy as overstepping goes unpunished [1628-7947].

• Lock appointed to new CA Umpire Coach position [1628-7948].

Headline: ICC defends no-ball policy as overstepping goes unpunished.

Article from: Fairfax Media..

Journalist:  Jesse Hogan.                           

Published: Wednesday, 25 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,947. 

Wickets were overturned and a string of Mitch Johnson no-balls went unpunished in the final Ashes Test, but the International Cricket Council (ICC) stands by its decree that umpires will call no-balls only if they are certain a bowler has overstepped (PTG 1625-7928, 22 august 2015).  

On day two of the third Test at Edgbaston, Steve Smith and Mark Wood were recalled after third umpire Sundarum Ravi observed that bowlers Steve Finn and Mitch Marsh had their front foot well over the bowling crease. Two batsmen were also recalled in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge due to overstepping.  Host broadcaster Sky Sports also revealed that eight deliveries in a three-over spell by Johnson, which was officially recorded as three maidens, should have been no-balls.

The ICC's primary reaction to the umpiring in the series was delight at the record percentage of on-field decisions that were upheld after Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) challenges.  Geoff Allardice, ICC general manger of cricket, said: "Cricket fans usually judge the performance of international umpires by the correctness of their out and not-out decisions, and in this regard the umpires have had an excellent Ashes series, with 97 per cent of their decisions correct before UDRS ... the best decision-making performance the ICC has recorded for a five-Test series”.

 

Allardice said he was pleased two of the umpires involved who contributed to 32 of the 36 decisions being upheld after challenges by players, New Zealand's Chris Gaffaney and India's Ravi, were new entrants to the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel  He also said it was "incorrect" to suggest on-field umpires were no longer watching the crease for no-balls, or that they did not discuss with bowlers between deliveries where their front foot was landing.

According to Allardice the ICC's policy that umpires only call no-balls when they are convinced of overstepping was to minimise the possibility of a bowler being incorrectly called for a no-ball on a delivery with which they take a wicket, because that cannot be overturned even if the replay proves they did not overstep.

In May, the ICC's cricket committee discussed the issue and, Allardice said, reaffirmed its stance that a player could not be given out on a delivery incorrectly deemed a no-ball by the presiding umpire because "it is not fair on the batsman to play at a delivery believing it to be illegal, and for it then to be changed to a legal delivery after viewing a replay”.

Allardice continued: "It is not easy to call no-balls accurately in the split-second available, as there are times the bowler's front foot can be obscured by his back-leg at the time of landing, there are bowlers whose front foot slides forward after landing, and there are some bowlers who deliver with the heel raised, but behind the line, at the instant of delivery. All these situations can result in an incorrect call of no-ball”.  "If the umpire is uncertain that the delivery is legal and a wicket falls, the no-ball can be checked immediately on replay and the batsman recalled if the delivery was found to be illegal.

"In a perfect world the umpires would be getting all the out and not-out decisions correct, as well as calling all the no-balls correctly. During the Ashes series the umpires have done an outstanding job with the correctness of their decisions, but there were some no-balls that were not called and this is an area in which they can improve”.

Allardice said the ICC was not considering any proposal for the third umpire to constantly monitor the crease for overstepping and then notify the on-field umpire to retrospectively call no-ball. But he said, without providing any details, the world body had been "looking at new technology that allows the TV umpire to judge the legality of a delivery much faster than he has been able to in the past”.

Headline: Lock appointed to new CA Umpire Coach position.

Article from: Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Wednesday, 25 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,948. 

Former first class umpire Ian Lock has been appointed to Cricket Australia’s (CA) new National Umpire Coach position, according to multiple reports circulating in Western Australian cricket circles yesterday. England-born Lock, 56, a school teacher, was a member of CA’s National Umpires Panel (NUP) for eleven years until he was dropped from that group in 2014 (PTG 1352-6535, 14 May 2014).  

During his time on the NUP he supported a total of 86 first class, 56 List A and 28 Twenty20 matches, at one stage being a contender for a position on the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel.  News of his selection comes just over two weeks after applications for the job closed.  CA said earlier this month the person who got the job would need skills to "motivate, develop and support” Australia representative-level umpires and "raise their performance standards” (PTG 1607-7805, 1 August 2015).

Just how many people applied for, or were interviewed for the job is not known, however, given the particular skills required by CA logic suggests the pool of suitable candidates would probably have been small.  Just when Perth-based Lock will take on his new role, or for how long in what has been described as a “fixed-term” position, is not known at this stage (PTG 1606-7798, 30 July 2015). 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,629

  Friday, 28 August 2015


• Last Ashes Test saw an Asian umpire milestone [1629-7949].

• Bangladesh’s first class match cleared of match-fixing cloud [1629-7950].

• Brawling players each banned for a year [1629-7951].

• Radio signal interference likely cause of MCG television drone crash [1629-7952].

• NZCUSA annual conference to get underway today [1629-7953].

• Busy T20 season means Test likely to be dropped [1629-7954].

• Future looks bleak for 170-year-old club  [1629-7955].

Headline: Last Ashes Test saw an Asian umpire milestone.

Article from: India.com.

Journalist:  Bharath Seervi.                           

Published: Wednesday, 26 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,949. 

The final Test of the 2015 Ashes series at The Oval saw three umpires from Asia officiating in a Test involving two non-Asian teams for the first time in the history of the game. Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka were the on-field umpires in that match and India’s Sundarum Ravi the television official.  Given it was an Ashes Test, the appointment of the sub-continental trio has particular significance for the development of Asian match officials.

It is also rare for the three Test officials to come from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for the Ashes Test at The Oval is only the second time it has occurred.  The first was a Test between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in 2007, the on-field umpires then being Asad Rauf of Pakistan and Suresh Shastri from India, Tyron Wijewardene of Sri Lanka being the third official.  

This month's Oval Test is the first in eight years where three Asians have officiated together at the game’s highest level. The last was at Kandy in December 2007 when Sri Lanka played England, the on-field umpires on that occasion being Dar and Rauf, plus third umpire Wijewardene.   Since 1992 when third umpires were first introduced, there have been 27 Tests where both on-field umpires and the third umpire were from Asia, but all of those games involved at least one Asian team. 

Headline: Bangladesh’s first class match cleared of match-fixing cloud.

Article from: Cricket Country.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Thursday, 27 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,950. 

Suspicions of match-fixing in Bangladesh’s National Cricket League (NCL) first-class tournament earlier this year have been put to rest after the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) anti-corruption unit declared no proof has been found of any issues. 

The match in question was a final game of the 2015 NCL series between Rangpur Division and Dhaka Metropolis.  It was said to have been fixed as Rangpur took the last Dhaka wicket with only four minutes left before stumps were called, a dismissal that allowed them to claim their first NCL championship. 

In March, the BCB formed a committee to look into the allegations after the BCB’s Khulna Division, who would have won the Championship if Rangpur had not won the Dhaka game, lodged an official complaint.  Tournament chairman Akram Khan says there was "no tangible evidence" to cast a doubt on the match.

Headline: Brawling players each banned for a year.

Article from: BBC.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Thursday, 27 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,951. 

The Essex League has banned two players until the start of the 2017 season following a fight that broke out during a match in which punches were thrown and a fielder hit in the head with a bat.  Rival players Stuart Munday and Clive Ballard came to blows during the fourth division game between Basildon and Pitsea and Stanford-le-Hope in late June, the fracas taking place in the game’s first hour and resulted in the fixture being abandoned (PTG 1581-7615, 1 July 2015).

Munday was batting and Ballard fielding when a disputed umpiring decision led to a disagreement between the pair.  The argument escalated to the physical altercation in which Ballard was hit with a bat, apparently after he had punched the batsman several times.   An ambulance was called and Ballard was taken to hospital with cuts and bruising to his head but he was not seriously injured.  Munday was arrested by Police on suspicion of assault and questioned, however he was released without charge. 

Earlier this week the Essex League banned Munday for “using obscene and abusive language and striking a fielder with a bat” and Ballard for “using obscene and abusive language and striking a batsman”.  The suspension will prevent the duo from playing all forms of cricket until 2017.  Lee Dutton, Munday’s captain, claimed his player had waved the bat at his opponent in self-defence.

Meanwhile, a separate incident during another Essex League match last month has resulted in the Wickford club’s Lee Stace being provisionally banned until the start of the 2019 season for “repeatedly racially abusing an opponent”.  Stace, who was playing in a match against Harlow Town, had the last two years of the ban suspended, meaning he will be allowed to play again when the 2017 season gets underway.  

However, Wickford secretary Alan Moss indicated that well prior to the league’s disciplinary hearing into the matter, his club had decided to permanently ban Stace from playing in any of its teams because of what he described as "his persistent bad behaviour”.

Headline: Radio signal interference likely cause of MCG television drone crash.

Article from: ABC News.

Journalist:  Freya Michie.                           

Published: Friday, 28 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,952. 

A television drone that crashed during the final of the World Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in March is believed to have been caused by interference from mobile phones and broadcast equipment, according to an Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) report.  The Aeronavics SkyJib 8 remotely piloted aircraft, was being used to film the final between Australia and New Zealand when it crashed in the vicinity of the ground (PTG 1547-7435, 4 April 2015).

The ATSB found radio frequency interference was the most likely cause of the crash, and that the possible effects of an increased volume of radio frequency traffic from broadcasting stations and mobile phones in use at the MCG had not been considered.  Emma Penton, manager of short investigations at the ATSB, said it was lucky there were no injuries when the drone, which is just over a metre in diameter, came down.

The drone was being operated from the top of the south-western scoreboard of the MCG by a team of three people, including a flight controller who piloted the drone, a ground station controller and a camera operator who controlled the camera mounted underneath the drone.  The crash followed four uneventful flights earlier that day.

As the operators tried to film pre-match ceremonies at the MCG, the camera operator and the ground controller lost communication with the drone.  "They tried to discontinue the flight but the drone was unresponsive”, said Penton who indicated: "The accident was consistent with signal confusion. So the high volume of radio traffic at the time led to the drone being confused [as it] wasn't able to discern the signals from the ground station.

she said.

To date, the ATSB has only conducted a handful of investigations into drone accidents but that may change.  Penton said the drone operator had advised the ATSB it would carry out tests to better understand how the drone crashed.  "A better understanding of the nature of the problem may allow identification of engineering measures to reduce the risk associated with the possibility of radio frequency interference”, she said.

The ATSB report said the accident highlighted the need for careful consideration of "what might be different this time" during risk assessments.  It said that in a broader sense, the crash highlighted the ongoing importance of appropriate operational controls and procedures covering drones.  "These are particularly important where operations are intended in the vicinity of populated areas or other air traffic”, the report found.

Headline: NZCUSA annual conference to get underway today.

Article from: NZCUSA.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Friday, 28 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,953. 

Scorer and umpire members of the New Zealand Cricket Umpires’ and Scorers’ Association (NZCUSA) are preparing to attend its 59th annual conference this weekend.  The event, which is due to start in Auckland this evening and run until Sunday, will bring together members of the umpire and scorer associations from New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) six major associations: the North Island’s Auckland, Central Districts, Northern Districts and Wellington, and Canterbury and Otago from the South Island. 

 

NZC chief executive David White is to open a conference that is to feature presentations from a range of speakers that include former New Zealand international Kyle Mills, NZC Umpire Coach Tony Hill, its Umpires Manager Rodger McHarg, and National Scorers Manager Peter Mayell.  

Three separate workshops for umpires are to be led by Regional Training Officers from each of the six associations, while scorers will hold separate sessions on matters related to them.  NZCUSA executive members George Morris, Grant McAlister, John Henderson and Doug Cowie are to talk about pathways and exams, recruitment, retention, training and development.  

Discussions on player behaviour, internet resources and the use of video in training are also listed on the program, as are briefings on up-dated 2015-16 NZC Playing Conditions, reporting systems, workshops and appointments.  The weekend proper begins with the NZCUSA’s Annual General Meeting this evening, and will include the NZCUSA President’s dinner after conference sessions end on Saturday.

Headline: Busy T20 season means Test likely to be dropped.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist:  Mohammad Isam .                           

Published: Thursday, 27 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,954. 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is in discussion with Zimbabwe Cricket about cutting a Test from what is currently listed as a three Test series next January-February. Naimur Rahman, chairman of the BCB's cricket operations committee, says that the proposed reduction is due to Bangladesh's preparations for the Asia Cup Twenty20 and World T20 tournaments that follow immediately after Zimbabwe’s tour.

In addition to three Tests, the two teams also have scheduled five One Day Internationals (ODI) and three Twenty20 Internationals, but in addition to one less Test it is possible two of the ODIs will also be deleted.  Naimur insists Test cricket remains important for Bangladesh, as they are holding domestic first-class tournaments like the National Cricket League (NCL) and Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL), but they gave priority to T20s this time because the players do not have the physical ability to play an extra Test in a season dominated by T20s. 

"Because Tests are important, we are using tournaments like BCL and NCL to prepare players for the longer version”, continued Naimur. "But we also have to think what might happen to a cricketer who plays three Tests, three ODIs and three T20s. We know that our cricketers' physical condition hasn't reached that level. We have to think particularly about the pace bowlers”. Bangladesh won their last Test series against Zimbabwe a little over 12 months ago 3-0.

Headline: Future looks bleak for 170-year-old club.

Article from: Liverpool Echo.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Thursday, 27 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,955. 

The future of Liverpool's St Helens Town Cricket Club (SHTCC) is in doubt because of what members say is the “perilous” state of its finances.  SHTCC is still struggling with the legacy of its birth in 2012 as a result of the merger of the St Helens cricket club, which was formed in 1843, and St Helens Recs which came into being in 1847, a move that was made because of a shortage of both players and income.

SHTCC members say the new club is suffering the same problems and are desperate to stop one of the area's oldest sporting institutions folding altogether.  It has already had its official club status withdrawn because of its lack of junior sides, and could be forced out of the local league if it does not recruit enough young players to get its status back in the next few months.

David Platt, the club’s cricket chairman, said departure from the league would almost certainly spell the end for the club.  He said: “Our financial position today is perilous. We have to run fundraisers every month to stay afloat, like an upcoming golf day. If we lost our club mark, we’d lose our league status, then lose most of our membership and effectively the club would cease to exist.

“We really need some work done too, like an upgraded scoreboard, required by the league, and a new pavilion and roller.  But the council, which owns our ground, couldn’t do some of its planned improvements because budgets are tight. The club’s a community hub, but we lost young players after the merger and struggle to compete with rugby and football which these days are played all year round”.  

The club is now recruiting for junior players at under 9, 11, 13, 15 and 17 levels, though only needs one regular junior team to regain their official club mark at a key Lancashire Cricket Board meeting next month.  Liam Bowyer, 18, who recently organised a fundraising event for the club, said: “I’ve been playing here since I was 11, and couldn’t have been more welcomed. It let me progress when I’d never played before and we don’t want to have no clubs where there once was two”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,630

  Saturday, 29 August 2015

 

• Coroner to hold inquest into Hughes’ death [1630-7955].

• BCCI in limbo after key meeting adjourned over Srinivasan’s presence [1630-7956].

• Glamorgan's head groundsman's departure linked to 'unfit' pitch [1630-7957].

• ICC clears Zimbabwean’s remodelled bowling action [1630-7958].

• England fined for fifth Test slow over-rate [1630-7959].

• Survey suggests England's professionals yearn for 'T20 super league’ [1630-7960].

• Broadcaster paid organisers $A556 million to scrap CT20 series [1630-7961].

• Crossing a boundary: Cricket's Olympic dilemma [1630-7962].

• ICC's Richardson on Warwickshire shortlist [1630-7963].

• Tasmania makes umpire management changes [1630-7964].

Headline: Coroner to hold inquest into Hughes’ death.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Chris Barrett.                           

Published: Friday, 28 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,955.

The New South Wales Crown Solicitor's Office has begun subpoenaing documents relating to former Test batsman Phillip Hughes, who was struck in the side of the neck by a ball while batting in a Sheffield Shield match last November and died in St Vincent's hospital two days later (PTG 1470-7116, 29 November 2015).   A date for an inquest before the State Coroner's Court is yet to be set but the matter will be discussed further at an in-chambers review set down for the last Tuesday of September. 

It has been nine months since the 25-year-old's death shocked the cricket world and the sporting landscape and the delay in the circumstances surrounding it being examined more closely has come about because of the continuing inquest into Sydney's Lindt cafe siege which saw two hostages die, and which is being presided over by NSW State Coroner, Michael Barnes.

A review into the events that unfolded on the Sydney Cricket Ground on the fateful November day had already been commissioned by Cricket Australia (CA) and has commenced and is being run by Melbourne lawyer David Curtain (PTG 1598-7738, 22 July 2015). The sport's governing body has signalled it will share information with authorities ahead of the inquest.  A CA spokesman said on Friday: "We have had open dialogue with the NSW Crown Solicitor and have indicated that we will be as co-operative as possible with any coronial inquest".  

CA says it remains "absolutely determined to see if anything could be done to prevent a similar accident happening again. Never again do we want to see a tragedy of that nature happen on a cricket field.  We believe it is entirely appropriate to progress our own independent review into the incident to help determine if we need to implement any further safety measures in time for the 2015-16 season.  We will share the findings of that review with the coroner if requested”.

CA chief executive James Sutherland has said previously their review would not attempt to blame anyone for the accident but said the sport had "a deep responsibility and obligation to look into the events of that awful day". That has already resulted in increased medical presence at CA matches and led to more attention on helmet safety.

Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) Chief Executive Alistair Nicholson said retracing the tragic incident would being back some terrible memories.  "We are very conscious that revisiting the events of last year may have an impact on players. We've been in touch and reminded them that they continue to have the full support of the ACA and are able to access excellent counselling and related services at any stage”. 

As reported by Fairfax Media last month the higher helmet standards set by the British Standards Institute are likely to become compulsory for all players in first-class cricket by the start of the new domestic season and a newly developed foam guard that sits behind a batsman's ear is also being highly recommended (PTG 1600-7759, 24 July 2015).

The first anniversary of Hughes' death will fall on the first day of the third Test between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide, a fixture that will be the first ever day-night Test match.

Headline: BCCI in limbo after key meeting adjourned over Srinivasan’s presence.

Article from: Range of Indian media.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Saturday, 29 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,956.

A crucial meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s Working Committee was adjourned on Friday because of the "lack of legal clarity” as to whether it was appropriate for former BCCI president Narayanaswami Srinivasan to attend (PTG 1626-7943, 24 August 2015).  Current BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya adjourned the meeting indefinitely and is to now seek the views of India’s Supreme Court, which stood Srinivasan down from the presidency, as to whether it is appropriate for him to attend BCCI meetings as president of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA).

The meeting was postponed after the attendees argued over Srinivasan's presence.  An official who attended the meeting said that in his defence the TNCA president tabled an opinion from retired Supreme Court Justice Sri Krishna's opinion which said he was entitled to attend.  He is said to have insisted there was now no conflict of interest in his position as an administrator and as owner of Indian Cements, the company which owned one of the now banned Indian Premier League (IPL) Chennai Super Kings (CSK) franchise.  

But some BCCI members countered that argument and claimed that the Supreme Court had made it clear that he should stay away from BCCI meetings andDalmiya adjourned the meeting after the BCCI legal adviser Ushanath Banerjee said that he was "not sure about Srinivasan's legal standing as of now”.  The official said that Srinivasan had been "specifically told" not to attend the meeting by figures such as IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla and BCCI Treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary, however, Srinivasan was not dissuaded. 

Banerjee later told reporters that the matter of Srinivasan's representation in the BCCI would be dealt with after legal consultation.  "The Board has taken the opinion of two former judges who were of the view that Srinivasan’s attendance may invite contempt of court. So, on the ground of conflict of interest, the meeting was adjourned.  As [TNCA] tabled another opinion the Board decided to adjourn the meeting and approach the Supreme Court for its ruling”, said Banerjee.

Friday's Working Committee meeting was to have discussed the report of the four-member working group that is looking into IPL matters in the wake of the two-year suspension of CSK and the Rajasthan Royals (RR) by the Supreme Court-appointed Justice RM Lodha committee.  On Thursday, the IPLGoverning Council headed by BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur had recommended having two news teams for the next two editions of Indian Premier League in place of CSK and RR.

Other items that are reported to have been on the agenda include the BCCI’s position on the Madras High Court's order that it respond to a legal claim by the CSK franchise on its banning (PTG 1626-7944, 24 August 2015), whether to keep the BCCI academy in Bangalore, the affiliation status of cricket associations from Chattisgarh, Bihar and Manipur, and recommendations from its technical committee.

The BCCI has now decided to call an emergency Working Committee meeting next week of September in order to finalise the date of its 2015 Annual General Meeting which is likely to be held in Kolkata on the last Tuesday of September.

Headline: Glamorgan's head groundsman's departure linked to 'unfit' pitch.

Article from: BBC.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Friday, 28 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,957. 

Glamorgan have parted company with head groundsman Keith Exton as part of the club's investigation into an "unfit" pitch at Cardiff's Sophia Gardens ground.  A one-day Cup match with Hampshire was abandoned earlier this month after two batsmen were struck by rising deliveries (PTG 1609-7824, 3 August 2015).  Glamorgan were subsequently fined £9,000 ($A10,500) of which £5,000 ($A8,500) is suspended, and docked points by the England and Wales Cricket Board (PTG 1616-7865, 11 August 2015).

Glamorgan's investigation is continuing into the circumstances that led to the pitch being unfit for play against Hampshire.  They are still awaiting the final results of a scientific analysis of the pitch.  Hugh Morris, Glamorgan's chief executive said: "On behalf of Glamorgan County Cricket Club I would like to thank Keith for the contribution he has made to the club and wish him well in his future endeavours”.

Exton was appointed by Glamorgan in 2008, seven months before Cardiff staged the opening Test of the 2009 Ashes series.

Glamorgan were reported for a poor pitch on the same strip of turf against Durham in August 2014, resulting in the loss of two points ahead of this season's one-day Cup competition (PTG 1414-6829, 16 August 2014).

Exton's assistant, Robin Saxton, is preparing the pitches for two Twenty20 International matches that are to be played in Cardiff on Monday, the first the last of the women’s Ashes series, and the second involving the respective men’s teams

Headline: ICC clears Zimbabwean’s remodelled bowling action.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Friday, 28 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,958. 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has cleared Zimbabwean all-rounder Malcolm Waller to bowl in international cricket after a reassessment proved his action to be legal.  Waller was first reported by the umpires last November in a Test against Bangladesh in Khulna (PTG 1459-7071, 14 November 2014), after which an independent assessment found his off-spin deliveries illegal (PTG 1489-7198, 24 December 2014).   

After undergoing remedial work at the University of Pretoria, Waller underwent an official reassessment of his bowling action earlier this month.  The test proved Waller’s remodelled action to be within the allowed 15 degree regulation as permitted under the ICC Regulations for the Review of Bowlers Reported with Suspected Illegal Bowling Actions.  Nevertheless, the on-field umpires are free to report Waller once again if they suspect his bowling action to be illegal.

The ICC says that umpires will be provided images and footage of Waller’s legal bowling action as a point of reference, in case the 30-year-old is reported again. 

Headline: England fined for fifth Test slow over-rate.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 24 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,959. 

England players have been fined for maintaining a slow over rate during the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval.  Match referee Jeff Crowe imposed the fine after Alastair Cook’s side was ruled to be two overs short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration.  

International Cricket Council regulations mean that as a result Cook lost 40 per cent of his match fee and his players each 20 per cent.  Cook pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the proposed sanction, so there was no need for a formal hearing. 

Headline: Survey suggests England's professionals yearn for 'T20 super league’.

Article from: ‘Cricinfo'.

Journalist:  David Hopps.                           

Published: Wednesday, 26 August 2015 .  

PTG listing: 7,960. 

England's professional cricketers have overwhelmingly called for a reshaped domestic Twenty20 competition capable of rivalling tournaments such as Australia's Big Bash League (BBL), played in one block to raise standards and help attract the best overseas, and involving England team, players on a more regular basis.

That yearning for a T20 tournament that will gain more impact on the world stage comes only a few days before Finals Day in the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) 2015 domestic Twenty20 series and, even more importantly, shortly before County chairman are provided with the final recommendations from an ECB structure review group on Wednesday.

The survey, the full results of which are available on-line, was conducted by the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) and represents an emphatic call for change and as far as T20 is concerned will broadly find favour with the ECB's chief executive Tom Harrison, who has championed a re-examination of the domestic game in the face of strong resistance from within the 18 Counties (PTG 1625-7930, 22 August 2015).

So far 240 of roughly 400 County professionals polled have responded to the survey which has become an important annual snapshot of the views of county professionals and which, by being made public, will be viewed by many as a refreshing counterpoint to the secrecy in which ECB deliberations are being held (PTG 1528-7355, 28 February 2015 and PTG 1545-7427, 1 April 2015).

More than 80 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agrees that a BBL-style tournament would be good for English cricket - and the clamour for England players to be involved more regularly is even stronger. To do that would require a leap of faith and a slimming down of the international schedule (PTG 1603-7779, 27 July 2015).

There is also a comfortable majority of professionals who believe a better tournament worthy of comparison with the BBL can simply be achieved within the current County structure by introducing a two-division structure with promotion and relegation.

Although more than 80 per cent of professional cricketers believe the ECB’s current T20 series is a high-class competition, there is a widespread belief that playing it across much of the season, instead of in a concentrated block such as the BBL or Indian Premier League, has had a negative effect on standards. As many as 86 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed that stretching T20 over much of the season had improved standards.

One player responded: "Playing in a block would allow for better overseas players available, more England players playing and more time to practice the skills required”.

The PCA's chief executive Angus Porter, a co-signatory of the report with his assistant Jason Ratcliffe, concluded: "Whilst recognising the commercial and scheduling challenges of doing so, from a cricketing perspective, the T20 competition should revert to being played in a block - and it will significantly improve the quality of the product if England and other international players feature more regularly than currently."

Many County chief executives insist that regular T20 on Friday nights has been commercially successful - with crowds up around 20 per cent on last season and heading towards one million - although part of that rise must be down to an improved marketing campaign by the ECB and the publicity generated this season by the brief appearances of the likes of Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum.

Equally, the arguments in favour of regular T20 on Friday nights would be undermined if the effect of a concentrated schedule was more lucrative TV deals, better overseas players and, from that, a natural rise in interest that could be expected to follow.

It is also worth debating, at the very least, whether it is healthy to ignore such a groundswell of opinion from the best players in the country about the sort of cricket they most cherish.  The constant switching of formats and amount of travel involved to achieve that - as high as at any time in the past 20 years - has brought deep resentment (PTG 1624-7924, 21 August 2015). 

One County professional complained that a non-stop playing schedule left him like a "zombie" throughout June, and another asserted that the amount of cricket and travel was so onerous that the ECB - and, by association, the PCA - was failing in a duty of care towards its employees (PTG 1602-7776,26 July 2015).  The conviction that the amount of cricket played is undermining standards is held by 87 per cent of respondents. It is not in the nature of a modern sports professional to give credence to talk of compromised standards, so the admission is striking.

"We must address the playing and travel challenges inherent in the current domestic schedule”, the PCA said. "A reduction in the volume of cricket is probably necessary to achieve this”.

England's - and Wales' - professionals, however, cannot be cast as desperate revolutionaries. As many as 98 per cent regard Test cricket as the pinnacle, their faith in the County Championship remains unstinting as 83 per cent still regard it as the most important competition - and want it to remain meaningful, although they are not quite as wedded to 16 four-day games as they once were.

Last week Harrison pressed vigorously for 14 Championship matches - a reduction that could be achieved in a structure of two divisions of eight and 10 which would maintain the home-and-away symmetry that the players also prize in the top division at least (PTG 1625-7930, 22 August 2015).

There is also a belief among 83 per cent that the gap between Division One and Two is widening. But if that is a result of rising standards in Division One, then it clearly serves England's needs and it is incumbent upon all Division Two sides to improve and justify their existence rather than introduce a conference system that could result in mismatches and lazy cricket.

Amid pressure from the ECB executive to reduce the 16-match Championship, the PCA warns: "We must respect the County Championship as our premier domestic competition, and only change the format of the competition if the prize is a significantly better overall schedule”.

The competition least valued is the ECB’s one-day Cup. Staggeringly, as many as 30 per cent of professionals playing it don't even think it is important - hardly conducive to high standards - and opinion is split on whether it should be conducted over 40 or 50 overs. Its domination of the schedule throughout the summer holidays has won little favour. It looks ripe for slimming down - and the structure review group must surely see it as an easy victim. 

The PCA sums up: "We must recognize that while a key goal of domestic cricket is to create cricketers of international standard, it must also be respected as having great value in its own right. Any changes we make must consider the long-term impacts on the health of our domestic game.  "At a time when participation levels in grass roots cricket are falling, we need to be mindful of ensuring that any changes made in the structure of county cricket do not increase the disconnect between the professional and recreational game”. 

Headline: Broadcaster paid organisers $A556 million to scrap CT20 series.

Article from: Daily Post.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Friday, 28 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,961. 

Indian media and entertainment company 'Star India' paid $US420 million ($A556 m, £272 m) in compensation for scrapping what was for it the loss-making Champions League Twenty20 series (CLT20) (PTG 1595-7720, 19 July 2015).  With the event failing to draw big audiences and revenues to the broadcaster, Star wanted to exit before what was a 10-year contract, that was signed in 2008 for a whopping $US975 million ($A1.36 billion, £632 m), expired in 2018.   

CLT20 is jointly owned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa. Unlike its richer sibling, the Indian Premier League (IPL), CLT20 failed to capture the imagination of cricket fans, viewership right from the inaugural season has been less than promising. The first edition of the tournament was cancelled due to the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.   All up six editions of the tournament were been played, the final edition being held last year in India. 

Headline: Crossing a boundary: Cricket's Olympic dilemma.

Article from: The Economist.

Journalist:  T.A.W.                           

Published: Thursday, 27 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,962. 

Next year in Rio de Janeiro, 28 sports will feature in the Olympic Games. Alongside traditional Olympic sports such as athletics, rugby sevens will make its debut, while golf will appear for the first time since 1904. Yet while the number of sports in the Games has grown, cricket, reckoned by some to be the world’s second most popular sport, will not be among them. Indeed, it has featured only once: in the 1900 Games, when Devon and Somerset Wanderers, representing England, beat the French Athletic Club Union in a match only officially recognised as part of the Olympics 12 years later.

Many would like the sport to return to the fold, and see the shorter Twenty20 version of the game as an ideal format (PTG 1592-7695, 15 July 2015). The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is trying to attract more viewers in the Indian subcontinent; a cricket tournament would help enormously. The IOC officially recognised the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2010 which leaves the onus on cricket to decide whether to apply for inclusion in the Games. While it is too late for the sport feature in 2016 or even 2020, there is still time for a shot at 2024 (PTG 1069-5202, 1 March 2013), should the ICC launch a bid next year.

The 95 associate and affiliate nations of the ICC (which sit beneath the ten full-member, Test-playing countries) would benefit most from Olympic inclusion (PTG . For a start, it would give welcome exposure for countries with little cricketing heritage. It would also bring financial rewards. “Getting cricket into the Olympics, managed correctly, is critical for the sport’s development”, says Tim Cutler, the chief executive of Hong Kong Cricket Association, for “It would unlock government funding that is usually only directed towards Olympic sports.” 

Such a move would also help increase corporate sponsorship, says Cutler, and maybe allow cricket to access facilities at the Hong Kong Sports Institute. The benefits for other countries could be even greater: based on the example of rugby sevens, the Chinese Cricket Association believes that cricket could receive up to $US20 million ($A27.8 m, £13 m) a year from the government if it became an Olympic sport; it currently receives just $US30,000 ($A41,800, £19,500) a year from the ICC. 

Test-playing countries also stand to benefit. High Performance Sport New Zealand, the government body that supports elite athletes, prioritises Olympic events; cricket currently only receives around one per cent of its annual funding. Even Australia, alongside India and England one of the “big three” cricketing nations, has released a report suggesting that Olympic status would help secure more media coverage.

For all that, complications abound. England, Scotland and Northern Ireland (which forms part of the all-Ireland cricket team) would not be allowed to compete as separate nations but as part a Great Britain team. The West Indies would face the opposite situation, and would have to participate as individual nations (although it does support an Olympic bid). 

However, the most significant obstacle lies in the opposition from the sport’s two richest countries (PTG 1141-5536, 7 July 2013). The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) says it is reluctant to cede autonomy to the IOC. It also objects to losing control over players' image rights for the duration of the Olympics. 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), meanwhile, has proved particularly intransigent. Giles Clarke, the president of the ECB, has described cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics as “a complete non-starter” because it would clash with the English domestic season (PTG 1594-7704, 17 July 2015). The ECB claims that it would lose four Test matches, worth $US160 million ($A223 m, £104 m). Ehsan Mani, a former president of the ICC, calls that figure “frankly nonsensical”; England hosted the Champions Trophy in 2013, an event lasting longer than a cricket tournament in the Olympics would, and was still able to pursue a full program of summer Test matches.

Mani thinks England is putting self-interest before the good of game. Some hope that the recent introduction of a new management team at the ECB will lead to a rethink (PTG 1625-7930, 22 August 2015 and 1595-7719, 19 July 2015). Either way, the issue is likely to be discussed at the next ICC board meeting in October. At stake, says Cutler, is whether the world's second favourite sport is happy to stay that way, or make a push for gold. 

Headline: ICC's Richardson on Warwickshire shortlist.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist:  George Dobell.                           

Published: Wednesday, 26 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,963. 

David Richardson, chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC) has been identified as a potential candidate for the role of chief executive at the Warwickshire County Cricket Club.  While the role has not been advertised, and it would therefore be incorrect to suggest the pair have applied for the job, head-hunters have been appointed to identify a short-list of candidates and both men are thought to be viable options.

Richardson is in the final 12-months of his ICC contract, where he has limited executive powers.  But when contacted by ‘Cricinfo' in connection with the news he insisted that "it was the first he had heard of it" and stated "my contract with ICC is until at least the end of June next year and I have no desire to leave prematurely”.  That fell a long way short of raising expectations that he saw his future at ICC as long term.

Colin Povey, the current Warwickshire CEO, has announced his intention to retire at the end of the year after a decade in the role.  

While Povey has overseen a successful redevelopment of Edgbaston and sustained success on the pitch, the job he leaves behind will remain challenging. While Warwickshire have an excellent allocation of major matches over the next few years including an Ashes Test and a World Cup semi-final in 2019, an India Test in 2018 and a Champions Trophy semi-final in 2017, they will also have a major debt problem long into the future.

Warwickshire borrowed around £20 million ($A43 m) to finance their ground redevelopment. They have already taken advantage of a "payment holiday" with their main creditor - Birmingham City Council - and are thought to have pre-sold their Ashes revenues from this year to generate cash flow in previous months. It would be no surprise if they approached the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2016 for financial assistance, even though ECB chief executive Tom Harrison  has warned counties that the governing body will no longer act as a “bank of last resort” (PTG 1625-7930, 22 August 2015).

Headline: Tasmania makes umpire management changes.

Article from: Cricket Tasmania release

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Friday, 28 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,964. 

The Board of Cricket Tasmania (CT) has approved changes to its umpiring department, readjustments that amongst a number of operational “realignments” the organisation says are needed in its Cricket Operations area to meet increasing administrative and operational demands.  

Long-serving State Director of Umpires Richard Widows, who has served in that position for the last 16 years, has decided to reduce his hours and as such the scope of his role and is moving in line with that state's new position of High Performance Umpire Coach, a role which will oversee the coaching and development of the state’s first class and emerging umpires, including the State Umpires Panel. 

Current CT Umpire Development and Administration Officer Roy Loh will move into what will be the new position of Match Officials Manger and as such will undertake the tasks for which Widows will no longer be responsible.  CT says it plans to seek candidates for an additional position of Match Officials Administrator to assist Loh in his work. Just when that position will be advertised is not yet known.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,631

  Sunday, 30 August 2015

 

• ECB Full List umpires examining protective gear options [1631-7965].

• Srinivasan's ICC future unclear after BCCI snub [1631-7966].

• WICB pledges support for storm ravaged Dominica [1631-7967].

• Troubled Sophia Gardens pitch to be relaid [1631-7968].

• Fourth-straight ECB T20 final for Gough [1631-7969].

• India players in demand as CA eyes diverse range of WBBL signings [1631-7970].

• PCB outlines ‘action plan’ for return of banned players [1631-7971].

• Respect cricket heritage, says Holder [1631-7972].

• Ashes statistics highlight pointlessness of arguing the toss [1631-7973].

Headline: ECB Full List umpires examining protective gear options.

Article from: The Times.

Journalist:  Ivo Tennant.                           

Published: Saturday, 29 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,965.

The England and Wales Cricket Board’s 25 Full List first-class umpires are working in an age of athleticism, modern bats and explosive hitting in Twenty20 cricket, so they are now examining protective gear, including for the head, heart and back of the neck, which could be worn in one-day and championship matches next season.

The group is due to have a second meeting next month to discuss the issue in the light of research carried out at Cardiff Metropolitan University, where non-foam material to cover the heart is being tested. Visors and a form of head protection less cumbersome than batting helmets are also being developed.

The umpires feel vulnerable when standing at square leg as well as facing the striker. The chances of not being able to duck were accentuated during a T20 quarter-final at Worcester two weeks ago which had to be abandoned in the gloam after a fielder, Chris Wood, was hit in the face (PTG 1620-7891, 17 August 2015).

Rob Bailey, the former England batsman who with his fellow umpire Tim Robinson took the players off the field that day, said that umpires were worried about a lack of protection for the heart and ribs.  “A lot of people are in danger,” he said.  “Bats are massive now and are only going to become more powerful and the ball is pinging off them. Fortunately no one has been badly hit”.  

Bailey himself has been struck once so far this season.  "Umpires are pretty mobile now but the ball followed me at square leg in a televised match and luckily hit the battery pack strapped on my back. Some umpires are wearing boxes now and chest pads in the future are a consideration”.

Umpires have voiced their concerns but former international ‘Dickie' Bird, who is now 82, said that if he were still officiating and weighed down with protective gear he would be concerned that his concentration would be affected. “I know bats are more powerful now but in my day players like Ian Botham, Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd hit the ball even harder” and in his view the potential changes mean “the umpire would not look the same if he had a helmet on”.

Editor’s note: Current Indian player Gautam Gambhir said in May that “there could be a disaster waiting in cricket” if moves are not made to look into umpire safety issues and therefore "it is about time that umpires wear a helmet or at least a facial grill while officiating at the bowler's end”.  A range of senior match officials have expressed similar views over the past five years (PTG 1559-7496, 2 June 2015).

Headline: Srinivasan's ICC future unclear after BCCI snub.

Article from: ‘Cricinfo'.

Journalist:  Amol Karhadkar and Nagraj Gollapudi.                           

Published: Friday, 28 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,966.

If the adjournment of a key Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Working Committee meeting on Friday is an indication (PTG 1630-7956, 29 August 2015), Narayanaswami Srinivasan is far from being assured to continue as the International Cricket Council's (ICC) chairman after the BCCI’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) late next month.  BCCI insiders believe Srinivasan's continuance in his international role could be scuttled if the Indian Supreme Court bars him from attending the AGM, or if he fails to acquire BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya's support. 

Not just detractors, but even supporters of Srinivasan, and there are still a handful of them among the BCCI members, admit that the former BCCI president will have his task cut out to convince the AGM and retain his post at the ICC.  In the lead-up to Friday's Working Committee meeting it was being whispered in BCCI corridors that Srinivasan had struck a deal with secretary Anurag Thakur to continue serving his full term as the chief of the world governing body.

However, a Srinivasan supporter conceded that with Dalmiya not allowing Srinivasan to attend the Working Committee pending Supreme Court advice, it would be a tough ask to seek the support on the floor of the house during the AGM. Moreover, if the Supreme Court does not allow Srinivasan to attend the AGM, then it will all but end Srinivasan's regime at the ICC next month. 

One of Srinivasan's critics all through the Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption scandal said that even if a majority of BCCI members supported his candidature, it would be difficult for them to voice their support for a motion if it was not backed by Dalmiya. The critic insisted that if the Supreme Court allows Srinivasan to attend the meeting, it would be imperative for him to patch up any differences he has with Dalmiya in order to maintain his ICC position. 

Srinivasan was the BCCI's nominee for the post of ICC chairman in June 2014 following the ICC restructuring (PTG 1380-6677, 24 June 2014). At the time of last year's ICC revamp, one of the sticking points for some ICC Full Members was that the top three positions were for the nominees of the BCCI, Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board, rather than for any specific individuals. Despite being embroiled in controversies following the aftermath of the IPL corruption scandal, Srinivasan managed to retain his ICC nomination in March this year.  

The other requisite was that it is a transitional two-year arrangement, meaning that after the first term, any member could be elected to these positions. Since a BCCI nominee is currently occupying the position, it is for them to decide who will be in the post of chairman of the ICC. In other words, the BCCI could change it if they wanted to.

Headline: WICB pledges support for storm ravaged Dominica.

Article from: WICB press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Sunday, 30 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,967.

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) says it is "very saddened" to hear of the loss of life and damage to property on the island of Dominica caused by tropical storm ‘Erika’.  The Windward Islands' country was battered by heavy rains on Thursday which caused streets to flood and rivers to overflow, and reports say as many as 20 people may have been killed.

WICB president Dave Cameron said on Friday: "It was with great distress and sadness that we received the news about ‘Erika' which has caused loss of lives, injuries and damage in Dominica”.  On behalf of the directors, management and staff of the WICB, I would like to convey our heartfelt solidarity with the people of Dominica who have suffered great loss from this natural disaster”.

Dominica is the home of WICB vice president Emmanuel Nanthan and base for the Windward Islands Volcanoes franchise, one of six such entities who make up the WICB’s first class level Professional Cricket League.  The league’s 2015-16 season is due to get underway in mid-November.  

Cameron said "the WICB fully understands the seriousness of their loss and is committed to contribute in any possible way to help them overcome the impact of this natural disaster and in alleviating the stress of the affected victims”.  Windsor Park, the international match venue in the Dominica capital of Roseau, hosted the first Test between West Indies and Australia in June, the fourth since the inaugural Test was played there in 2011.

Headline: Troubled Sophia Gardens pitch to be relaid.

Article from: Glamorgan CCC release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Saturday, 29 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,968.

Hugh Morris, Glamorgan's chief executive, says that pitch nine at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens, the surface that led to points deductions in consecutive seasons for his club, will not be used again until it has been re-laid and has had time to bed in (PTG 1609-7824, 3 August 2015).  He says an independent assessment has produced "specific recommendations for remedial work [on the strip] which we will action, and in all likelihood it will be out of action for at least two years”.

With the departure of former head groundsman Keith Exton this week (PTG 1630-7957, 29 August 2015), his assistants Robin Saxton, Andrew Noyes and Kenny Lawrence are finalising preparations for the sold-out Twenty20 International double header between England and Australia tomorrow.  Morris says they are undertaking that work “with the support of [England and Wales Cricket Board pitch consultant] Chris Woods”. 

Headline: Fourth-straight ECB T20 final for Gough.

Article from: Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Sunday, 30 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,969.

English umpire Michael Gough stood in his fourth consecutive final of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) domestic Twenty20 at Edgbaston overnight, his partner being Richard Illingworth for whom its was his third.  Tim Robinson was the third umpire for the match for second year in a row, and Rob Bailey the fourth official.

That quartet also looked after the two semi finals of the competition played earlier in the day at the same ground, all-up Illingworth and Gough being on-field in two matches, and Bailey and Robinson once each; the latter’s game being his 99th T20.  All four are members of the ECB’s Full List, Illingworth also being on the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel, and the other three the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel.

Headline: India players in demand as CA eyes diverse range of WBBL signings.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Jesse Hogan.                           

Published: Saturday, 29 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,970.

Cricket Australia (CA) is hopeful the inaugural season of the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) will feature something conspicuously missing from the men's competition – players from India.  England and New Zealand have provided the bulk of the overseas players so far announced as signings for WBBL teams and Shawn Flegler, CA's women's high performance and talent manager, says he wants "internationals from as many countries as possible” as "just having England and New Zealand [players is not] a great look”. 

Flegler is encouraged that players from the West Indies and South Africa are among those confirmed signings, and is hopeful of more to come.  "We've got to make sure all the other countries are improving. It's no good if it's just Australia and England going well and improving”.

In recent months CA canvassed the opinions of its top female players on which overseas players would suit the WBBL.  They compiled a shortlist and approached overseas cricket boards to gauge their willingness to permit their elite female players to take part in the tournament in December and January - and were rapt with the response.

According to Flegler: "All the boards have been really supportive of it. I think it's a great opportunity for not just women's cricket in Australia but women's cricket around the world. Hopefully the season goes really well”.

Elite female players wanting to play in an overseas domestic tournament are bound by similar rules to men, in that they must provide a No-Objection Certificate from their home board. While permission has yet to be given for India's male players to compete in the men’s BBL, seemingly because the Board of Control for Cricket in India wants to save its players for the Indian Premier League, Flegler said it would "absolutely" be a huge boost if the elite female Indian players could participate in the WBBL.

"If I was a GM [general manager] of a franchise I would be wanting to sign one or two of their players”, he said. "There's some discussions going on. Hopefully there'll be one or two signings”.  Among the Indian players, batter Mithali Raj and all-rounder Jhulan Goswami would be key recruitment targets for WBBL teams.

Flegler predicted there could be a "broader range" of overseas players for season two of the WBBL, based on those who impress in next year's World Twenty20. CA is also hopeful of a scheme where teams can sign a player from a developing cricket country, such as Papua New Guinea, on a development contract.

Given the support for the WBBL, CA has not only given its blessing to any Australian player approached for next year's inaugural Women's Cricket Super League Twenty20 competition in England (PTG 1616-7866, 11 August 2015), but has urged them to take part.  While CA's relations with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are good, Flegler said they are still hopeful of a shift in policy that will allow centrally contracted English players to feature for the entire WBBL tournament, rather than return home just before the finals in order to prepare for a tour of South Africa that is planned currently.

"We've encouraged them to stay right to the end, but what they do with their players is their call”, he said. "It'd be nice to have them for the whole time, for the semis and the finals”.  If the ECB is unmoved, WBBL teams will be able to sign replacement overseas players, although they must play at least one regular-season match to be eligible for the finals.

Headline: PCB outlines ‘action plan’ for return of banned players.

Article from: Dawn.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Saturday, 29 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,971.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has set out a detailed action plan to help trio of banned cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aemer reintegrate back into Pakistan cricket.  Aamer has already been allowed to play domestic cricket by the International Cricket Council (ICC), while Asif and Butt will return to competitive cricket once their five-year bans end on Tuesday.

Following the ICC’s decision that it has no objection to the players making a full return to cricket (PTG 1624-7918, 21 August 2015), the PCB after seeking further clarification from the governing body, have devised a reintegration-rehabilitation plan for the three cricketers.  

PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan said: “We had to consider the effect of an immediate induction of these players into cricket, the acceptability of these players amongst their fellow cricketers, the anticipated negative slogans at the grounds from cricket fans and its effect on the other players and the banned players’ own strength to deal with these pressures.  Having considered all these factors we have come up with an action plan that will ensure a smooth and gradual induction of these players into cricket leading up to a full integration upon completion of rehabilitation and education program”.

All three players will work with the PCB’s Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Department by delivering lectures in all of the country's 16 cricketing regions over the next two months.  From September onwards they will be required to pay regular visits to Edhi homes, a non-profit social welfare program, orphanages and schools to publicly contribute towards discussions of social responsibility obligations.

The PCB said: “All three players are to have integration sessions with bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed and members of the Pakistan squad in order to foster acceptability for a future congenial environment in the dressing room in first class and international engagements. The players should have an apologetic attitude towards their fellow players, selectors and other stakeholders as a sign of sincere remorse".

The trio will be allowed to train at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore starting on Wednesday except when Pakistan national players practice, in a bid to avoid any incident. Players will be able to use the NCA at will once the rehabilitation program is completed.  Asif and Butt must also attend sessions with a psychologist spread over two days to prepare themselves to deal with the pressure and scrutiny of their return to the sport.  They will also need to prove their "fitness, ability and acceptability in cricket". 

Headline: Respect cricket heritage, says Holder.

Article from: Barbados Today.

Journalist:  Neville Clarke .                           

Published: Saturday, 29 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,972.

Some of the current crop of West Indies cricketers are unaware of the rich cricketing heritage bequeathed to the region by such brilliant cricketers as the Three Ws, Sir Garfield Sobers, George Headley and Sir Wesley Hall, says former Hampshire County cricket professional and international umpire, John Holder.

Commenting on an observation attributed to celebrated Trinidadian author C L R James where he said any analysis of an innings by Sir Everton Weekes demonstrated the application of high intellect, Holder said: “Building an innings is like building a house. You build the foundation. Now when you begin an innings you do not know what the ball is doing or how the pitch is playing so you need to have a look and you need to build your confidence". 

"In the early stages of an innings”, continued Holder, "you do not want to play many strokes, you want the ball to strike the middle of the bat. The longer you stay at the crease the better you see the ball. For example, when Sir Vivian Richards was hungry for a big score he would play the ball from under his nose. Some players even talk to themselves when batting. You need to build an innings”.

Recalling an interview he saw some years ago with Sir Everton and an English broadcaster at The Oval, Holder said: “It was an outstanding interview. One of the things that really impressed me was Sir Everton’s command of the English language. He was able to explain himself so brilliantly. You have to have high self-esteem and a desire to be as good as you can be. If you do not have high self-esteem no matter how talented you are, you are not going to go very far. He was able to excel in his field at a period of social and economic oppression by the ruling class”.

Holder, who represented Hampshire as a fast bowler and was also a cricket coach in Western Australia during his career, had a word of advice for young players who aspire to become top fast bowlers in the international arena.  He said any player who aspires to be a fast bowler has to be physically fit, but he found that there was a tendency today for aspiring fast bowlers to spend lots of time “pumping iron” in gyms.

“Fast bowling is different in that you need strong legs. You need a lot of stamina to bowl fast. I remember speaking to Andy Roberts when he was in his prime. He told me that he used to go to the beach in Antigua and just run for hours in the surf to strengthen his legs. I spoke to Sir Wes Hall recently and he told me that when he was preparing for a Test series he used to run five miles in the morning and five miles in the evening just to build up stamina. Fast bowling is physically very demanding , but it is also hugely rewarding. If you are genuinely quick you can be intimidatory because no batsman likes genuinely quick bowling”, Holder said.

Stressing that there was no substitue for discipline and hard work in any sporting discipline, Holder cited a golf player who is reported to have said that the harder he practised the luckier he became.

Headline: Ashes statistics highlight pointlessness of arguing the toss.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist:  Mike Selvey.                           

Published: Friday, 28 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,973.

Not least among the charms of international cricket are the ceremonials contained therein. The taking of the second (and occasionally third) new ball always appears to take on a sacramental element as the umpire holds it aloft reverentially before handing it to the bowler. 

And then there is the toss. Other than cricket, is there any other sport in which the flip of a coin is such a high-profile part of the preliminaries? In football or rugby there is a toss, but the teams apart, does anyone really pay it any mind? The toss before the Boat Race has a consequence in deciding which of the Surrey or Middlesex station the crews take. But beyond that?

For international cricket, it becomes an event in its own right: a cast of thousands on the middle these days, it seems; a match referee who hands the coin to the home captain, blazered and capped, who flips it. Then the anticipation as, before the result is announced, the successful captain approaches the microphone to convey it to the television audience. Bat or field? And why? Sometimes the crowd cheer the result: occasionally they drown out the proceedings.

Before the 2011 World Cup final in Mumbai, the match referee, Jeff Crowe, instructed the Sri Lanka captain, Kumar Sangakkara, to call loudly because of the cacophonous noise from 60,000 fans (PTG 754-3706, 7 April 2011). Sangakkara offered instead a quiet, ambiguous call that sounded to Crowe something like “hedtails”. “You have just done what I asked you not to do”,said an exasperated Crowe. “We are going to have to toss again”. There was controversy before a ball was bowled.

Now, though, in the aftermath of an extraordinary Ashes, the shortest five-match series ever in terms of sessions, in which fortunes switchbacked, there are calls to do away with the toss as a means of deciding who bats first. Pitches during the series were “doctored”, apparently, which seems an emotive term for leaving a bit more grass on, and never mind the fact home advantage has always been a factor and the last thing we surely want are homogenous surfaces. 

So to avoid such things, the suggestion is always to give visiting captains choice, as if offering courtesy shots for golfers playing unfamiliar courses (or at least, in a watered down form, alternate the decision from match to match, although how this would eliminate ‘doctoring’ half the time is not explained).

But do we not make too much of the toss in any case? Pitch reading is an inexact science even by the best and all too often captains are ambivalent, sometimes conducting the toss with fingers metaphorically crossed that they might not have to make the decision and risk castigation for a possible bad outcome in the match.

Here is how inexact it can be: for each match, in a preview, I am required to offer a brief, moderately informed assessment of the pitch and what a captain might be thinking, even though it is 24 hours before the game and I might not have been close to the surface in any case. 

In the seven Tests this summer, I countenanced fielding at Lord’s (sappy May conditions), was ambivalent at Headingley depending on the weather (there was a late start and both captains were equally ambivalent), would have batted first in Cardiff, and at Lord’s, fielded first at Edgbaston, batted at Trent Bridge (“while mindful batting could be a struggle”) and batted at the Kia Oval.

Against this, Brendon McCullum fielded at Lords and lost the match; Alastair Cook fielded at Headingley and lost the match; Cook batted and won in Cardiff; Michael Clarke batted and won at Lord’s; Australia batted at Edgbaston and were bowled out for 136; England fielded at Trent Bridge (and we know what happened there); and Cook fielded at The Oval and lost by an innings. So three out of seven times the team winning the toss won the match and four times lost (using my assessment, it would have been five wins, one loss, and one ambivalent).

To me this just reinforces a point made by former England captain Ray Illingworth, who said that in any season (of maybe 35 matches or more) he perhaps wanted to win half a dozen tosses and the rest did not matter. In the most simplistic terms, this would seem to be borne out by some statistics.

Just to take England and Australia: in all Test matches, England have won toss and match 171 times and Australia 198; and they have lost the toss and won 173 and 168 times respectively. Against that England have won the toss and lost 120 times against Australia’s 102; and they have both lost toss and match 106 and 159 times respectively. So overall, England have won more times losing the toss than winning it and Australia not a significant difference between the two scenarios.

A lot of this would have been with, for example, uncovered pitches. So take the last 10 years instead. Win toss and match: England 27, Australia 34; lost toss and win, England 28, Australia 30; win toss and lose, England 20, Australia 15; lose toss and lose, England 19, Australia 17.

I would postulate that the toss is as much a part of the pageantry of the game as practical. But the fundamental point remains that for the most part it makes little if any difference to the outcome. It is the least of the game’s concerns.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,632

  Monday, 31 August 2015

 

• ‘Late’ third umpire calls solution to ’no ball’ misses, suggests Warner [1632-7974].

• ‘Ashes’ ODI appointments indicate Windies' Wilson continues on the up [1632-7975].

• Conference gives qualified support to NZC match officials initiative [1632-7976].

• ICC ‘regime’ not interested in Test cricket: Ranatunga [1632-7977].

• Plunket Shield to include pink-ball, day-night fixtures? [1632-7978].

Second straight NZCUSA ‘Umpire of the Year’ award for Jones [1632-7979].

• Qatar to host inaugural Pakistan T20 ’Super League' [1632-7980].

 CA scorer administrator in NZ talks [1632-7981].

• BT Sport outbid ‘Sky’ by $A43 million to win CA broadcast rights [1632-7982].

• Was an incident in 1478 cricket’s first on-field brawl? [1632-7983].

Headline: ‘Late’ third umpire calls solution to ’no ball’ misses, suggests Warner.

Article from: Nine News.

Journalist:  Joe Barton.                           

Published: Sunday, 30 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,974.

Australian batsman David Warner believes umpires deserve to have extra assistance in order to avoid the ‘no ball' farce which is increasingly creeping into higher-level cricket.  During Australia's One Day International match against victory Ireland on Thursday, batsman Joe Burns was recalled after replays revealed home side bowler Craig Young had overstepped the mark - following a trend exhibited during the Ashes.

The issue came to a head on day two of the final test at The Oval, when both Steve Smith and Mark Wood were given lives after the third umpire noticed bowlers Steve Finn and Mitch Marsh had their front foot well over the crease during the dismissals. A number of other such incidents occurred earlier in the series (PTG 1625-7928, 22 August 2015).

Warner says that he thinks "there was probably 30 or 40 'no balls' missed” across the five Ashes Tests and that "if the umpires start calling them a bit more [it would help bowlers]. There obviously has to be something there because if the bowlers are consistently bowling no balls they obviously might not be getting enough feedback.  The umpires do give them feedback, you do hear them say you're a bit tight, you're tight but I feel umpires should definitely keep track of what's happening in front of them”.

The now Australian Test vice captain believes "with today's camera-work ... the third umpire, even if it's a late call, [should be able to say] whether that was a no ball”.   During Test matches it's very difficult because [the crease] is worn away during a session so it's quite tough for the umpires to look down and at 150 km/h you've got 0.4 of a second to react as a batter, [so] it's quite hard for an umpire to look down and look up (in time) as well.  At the end of the day we've all got a tough job”.

Despite that Geoff Allardice, the International Cricket Council's general manger of cricket, is reported to have indicated last week the world body was not considering any proposal for the third umpire to constantly monitor the crease for overstepping and then notify the on-field umpire to retrospectively call ‘no ball' (PTG 1628-7947, 26 August 2015) .  

While Warner says third umpire intervention is the best deterrent is to punish bowlers throughout the game, he also argues the onus remains firmly on fast bowlers to not err in the first place.

Headline: ‘Ashes’ ODI appointments indicate Windies' Wilson continues on the up.

Article from: ICC information.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Sunday, 30 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,975.

Six weeks after he stood in his first Test (PTG 1585-7641, 6 July 2015), West Indian umpire Joel Wilson has continued his rise towards the top of the game, for he has now been named by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as one of the three neutral match officials for the ‘Ashes’ One Day International (ODI) series.  

Wilson, 48,  a Caribbean member of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), will work under match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand during the five ODIs, and with fellow umpires Kumar Dhamasena of Sri Lanka and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) IUP members.

Trinidadian Wilson will be on-field in three of the games, the first in Southampton on Thursday, and at Old Trafford on both Tuesday and Sunday week in matches three and five, and in the television suite for the second and fourth at Lord’s next Saturday and at Headingley in Leeds on Friday week.   Dharmasena will be on-ground in ODIs two and four and work as the third umpire in the other three fixtures.  Which of the three ECB IUP members will stand in the second spot across the five games is yet to be made public. 

The Ashes series is the fourth major assignment the ICC has given Wilson in the last nine months.  First there was the Pakistan-NZ ODI series in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December, then the World Cup at venues in Australia in February-March and the Test in Bangladesh in late July.  

Before that there were a string of second-tier fixtures including the World Twenty20 Qualified event in the UAE in March 2012 and World Cup Qualifier series in New Zealand in early 2014.  The West Indies Cricket Board also sent him to England on exchange in 2010 and Bangladesh in 2011.

The forthcoming Ashes ODI will take Crowe’s ODI tally as a match referee to 224, Dhamasena as an umpire to 67 on-field and 32 as a third official (67/32), and Wilson to 25/12.

Headline: Conference gives qualified support to NZC match officials initiative.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Sunday, 30 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,976.

Members of the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NZCUSA) have given qualified support to proposals that would see New Zealand Cricket (NZC) take over key responsibilities for match officials management, but they want details of just how such a change will be implemented and managed in the long-term.  Around 90 NZCUSA members were involved in discussions on the move at the organisation’s 59th annual conference in Auckland on the weekend (PTG 1629-7953, 28 August 2015).

The centre piece of the conference's deliberations was a paper prepared by NZC cricket operations manager Lindsay Crocker titled: ‘A review of the strategy of recruiting and retaining cricket umpires in New Zealand' (PTG 1556-7476, 27 May 2015).  As is the case in many parts of the world, the NZCUSA is grappling with how to deal with such issues in the light of a worrying fall in membership levels over the last few years.  

In presenting the paper to the conference on behalf of Crocker, former Test umpire Doug Cowie pointed out that 80 per cent of all Code of Conduct reports in the Auckland area during the 2014-15 season occurred when players were looking after match officials duties in community level games.  In his assessment “the grass roots game is heading off the rails without umpires” and as a result there is an urgent need to find real life solutions to the problems being experienced at that level of the game.

Crocker’s paper, which NZCUSA president and former Test umpire George Morris and his executive have welcomed and supported in principle, addresses issues related to the administration, education and accreditation, provision of umpire coaches, on-line education programs, and efforts to have the cricket community better appreciate the role of umpires.  In short Crocker sees umpiring at community level as needing "a shot in the arm”. 

NZC chief executive David White echoed those thoughts in opening the Auckland conference saying his organisation wants to get more people involved in umpiring and scoring as those roles are fundamental to the playing of the game.  In his view the focus on the provision of, and support for, those in that area of the game should “not only be about the elite level”.

Life style issues and an increasing level of demand mean it is no longer adequate or appropriate to reply as heavily as at present on volunteers to run umpiring recruitment, retention and training activities.  Such people are seen as still having a fundamental role in the approach outlined in the discussion paper, but to many observers in New Zealand there is a need, as has been the case in other areas of the game, for more resources that can be directed at lifting the load from part-time personnel.  

NZCUSA members present in Auckland were generally positive about the proposals, however, they queried precisely how the restructure would actually be achieved and were concerned about funding issues.  Such matters are expected to become clearer as further discussion takes place between the NZCUSA, NZC and its six major associations: Auckland, Canterbury, Central Districts, Northern Districts and Otago, Wellington.

Headline: ICC ‘regime’ not interested in Test cricket: Ranatunga.

Article from: Times of India.

Journalist:  Devadyuti Das.                           

Published: Friday, 29 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,977.

Former Sri Lanka captain and current member of parliament Arjuna Ranatunga believes the International Cricket Council (ICC) is to be blamed for the dwindling interest in Test cricket.  The on-going Sri Lanka-India Test series has been a hard-fought contest but attendance has generally been poor throughout with last week's second Test in Colombo, which saw Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara's farewell, struggling on most days to fill the ground's 7,000 seats. 

Ranatunga said on Friday: "We have two top teams in action, playing some exciting cricket, but still we don't have crowds. I have doubts whether the present ICC regime wants to do anything to save Test cricket.  It's all about making money for them, which comes through One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals.  If this attitude of ICC doesn't change very soon, I don't see a very bright future for Test cricket or the sport in general”, said the 1996 World Cup-winning captain.

Over the last decade, most teams have struggled to win matches away from home and Ranatunga believes 'curtailed' tours are a reason (PTG 1629-7954, 28 August 2015). "Most national cricket boards just want to finish tours early. As teams don't play enough practice games, they are less acclimatised to alien conditions. That's why you see so many one-sided home series".

Ranatunga was also critical of the declining technique among batsman. "The technique of batsmen has gone down substantially (PTG 1631-7972, 30 August 2015). Apart from teams like England, Australia and to some extent South Africa, most of the other teams are concentrating too much on the shorter format. Batsmen get exposed in Test cricket”, he said.

Headline: Plunket Shield to include pink-ball, day-night fixtures?

Journalist:  PTG Editor .                           

Published: Sunday, 30 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,978.

New Zealand reports are hinting that one or more pink ball, day-night first class matches could be a feature of the opening round of New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) Plunket Shield competition in late October.  If true, such a timing could enable at least some members of New Zealand’s national squad to obtain experience in such conditions in a multi-day game ahead of a tour of Australia in October-November that includes the first ever day-night Test in Adelaide.  

While NZC is not due to release its domestic playing schedules until Friday, if the timing of the opening round is as it was in 2014-15, it will be being played at the same time Cricket Australia (CA) has indicated the Kiwi tourists will play a one-day pink ball day-night game in Canberra.  CA is yet to release the tourist’s full schedule, but there appears to a gap after the second Test during which a multi-day game could be played in that format (PTG 1624-7919, 21 August 2015).

Those with knowledge of NZ grounds suggest that Northern District’s Seddon Park ground in Hamilton and Auckland’s Eden Park could support four-day pink ball day-night fixtures, but query whether the lights at Central District’s ground at Nelson Park in Napier are of a suitable standard.  The only other potential facility is the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, however, it has never hosted a first class game.

NZC chief executive David White has suggested several times publicly over the last three years that a day-night, pink ball match could be conducted in his country, however, that is yet to occur.

Headline: Second straight NZCUSA ‘Umpire of the Year’ award for Jones.

Article from: NZCUSA.

Journalist:  PTG Editor .                           

Published: Sunday, 30 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,979.

Auckland’s Phil Jones has been named the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association’s (NZCUSA) ‘Umpire of the Year’ for the second year running, while Bev Baker of Central Districts is this year's NZCUSA ’Scorer of the Year’.  The two awards are the only national-level acknowledgement available to scorers and umpires in New Zealand, although New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has been reported to be looking into its own trophies in those areas over the past few years.

Jones, 55, a long-time servant of cricket who has been a first class umpire for almost thirteen years, was promoted to a third umpire spot on the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel just over 12 months ago (PTG 1398-6766, 25 July 2014).  

He made his One Day International debut in Papua New Guinea’s inaugural ODI series, which was against Hong Kong, in Townsville last November (PTG 1454-7053, 24 October 2014).  NZCUSA says he was chosen from amongst five nominees because of his long-time and on-going contribution to the training and development of umpires at all levels in the Auckland region. 

Baker, 62, from Napier, has been a regular scorer at first class level in New Zealand over the last decade and has also worked to support One Day Internationals, including some in this year's World Cup.  New Zealand Cricket’s National Scorers’ Manager Peter Mayell says that Baker’s commitment and willingness to juggle match appointments with “significant family responsibilities”, often at short notice, across what was a particularly demanding 2014-15 season for the NZC was outstanding.  

Jones was the inaugural NZCUSA ‘Umpire of the Year' 12 months ago, while Baker is the fourth recipient of her honour since the trophy was introduced in 2012.  Helen Simpson from Otago was the awardee in its first year in 2012, Ian Smith of Wellington in 2013, and Euan West of Canterbury in 2014 (PTG 1423-6881, 1 September 2014).

Headline: Qatar to host inaugural Pakistan T20 ’Super League'.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Sunday, 30 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,980.

The Pakistan Cricket Board says 40 foreign players from all Test-playing countries except India have expressed an interest in playing in its inaugural ’Super League’ Twenty20 competition early next year.  The event has been scheduled over 21 days in February in the Qatari capital Doha and will feature five teams playing for prize money of $US 1 million ($A 1.4 m, £UK650,000).  It is being held in Qatar because of a "lack of venues" in the nearby United Arab Emirates the home of Pakistan cricket since the terrorist attack in Lahore in 2009.

Headline: CA scorer administrator in NZ talks.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Sunday, 30 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,981.

Kate Ryan, a member of Cricket Australia (CA) match officials staff, flew to Auckland on Friday for discussions with Peter Mayell, New Zealand Cricket’s National Scorers’ Manager and others in the scoring field during the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association 2015 annual conference. Ryan is reported to have been behind a push to improve the development and coordination of scorer issues in Australia two years ago (PTG 1126-5470, 20 June 2013). 

Amongst a range of discussions, Mayell and Ryan are understood to have held a ‘Skype’ call with a senior scorer in the Caribbean region, a contact that was set up for them by International Cricket Council Umpire Coach David Levens whose responsibility covers international umpires from both Australasia and the West Indies.  

Headline: BT Sport outbid ‘Sky’ by $A43 million to win CA broadcast rights [1632-7974]..

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Max Mason and Dominic White.                           

Published: Thursday, 27 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,982.

Reports suggested UK broadcaster BT Sport outbid Sky, which is 39 per cent owned by United States’ citizen Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, by £20 million ($A43 m) for the rights to screen international and some domestic games played in Australia in the UK and Ireland over the five years from 2016.  Indications are that BT Sport is to pay Cricket Australia around £80 million ($A174.2 m) over the five years, a figure thought to be some £30 million ($A64.4 m) more than Sky paid for the current five year deal with CA (PTG 1627-7945, 25 August 2015).

BT Sport’s success has led to Australia's pay television lobby group ASTRA to renew calls to scrap the Australian government’s anti-siphoning broadcast laws.  ASTRA, whose most prominent member is Foxtel, which is 50 per cent owned by Murdoch’s News Corp, is pushing to have the government reconsider the anti-siphoning list, which effectively keeps many major sporting events on free-to-air television.

ASTRA chief executive Andrew Maiden said: "This deal is evidence that technology has overtaken Australia's antiquated anti-siphoning rules”.  "There is no law preventing [interbet-based] Netflix buying the Melbourne Cup, for instance, and making Australians pay to watch it.  In a world of technology platforms, subscription television is now the only entity singled out and banned from buying key sports rights [and] 2015 would be a good time to reform the rules, with the major football codes having locked in deals for years to come”.

Sky has built its dominance of sports viewing on long-term deals for the English Premier League (EPL) and cricket. It has a deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board which ends in 2019.  BT Sports surprised many when they first snared rights to the EPL for the 2013-2014 season.  Sky was able to hold onto the lion's share of EPL games – five out of seven a week – but paid for the privilege, with the latest football rights deal between Sky and BT Sports worth more than £5.14 billion ($A11 bn) over three seasons.  BT Sports also holds the rights for the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League.

Headline: Was an incident in 1478 cricket’s first on-field brawl?

Article from: The Independent.

Journalist:  John Lichfield.                           

Published: Sunday, 30 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,983.

In 1478, at the village of Liettres in northern France, a young man called Estiavannet came across a group of disagreeable people playing an unusual game. It involved “boules” or balls and a wooden post or “criquet”.  According to a letter of grievance to the King, which survives in the French national archives, an argument broke out. One of the players said: “Why are you staring at our ball game?” There was violence. Someone was killed.

This may be the first mention anywhere of the game of cricket, almost a century before the first written record of the game in England (although there are also suggestions that an early form of the game might have been mentioned in 1300). To pursue what some might see as a heretical claim, the village of Liettres in French Flanders will stage an “international cricket tournament” next month.

This will not – or not yet – be a rival to the World Cup. A cow pasture is being prepared. There will be a series of 20-over games on the last weekend of September between the Lille Cricket Club and teams from Ghent in Belgium and Whitstable in Kent.

In the long run, however, the village and the region hope to make Liettres (population 360) a place of pilgrimage for cricket-lovers from all over the world. For the second staging of the “Liettres 1478 Challenge” in 2016, there are plans to equip the village with France’s first dedicated cricket ground, including a proper field, batting square, pavilion and scoreboard.

“Cricket is not well known in France but the interest is growing”, said Anne Debosque, director of the tourist board for the region around Liettres, the Pays de la Lys Romane. “We hope that this tournament will attract people from England and elsewhere, and draw attention to the beauty and history of an area only a few kilometres away from the Channel tunnel”.

Philippe Dethoor, 48, is president of Lille Cricket Club and describes himself as the “first wicket-keeper ever to be born in Roubaix” (an industrial town on the Franco-Belgian border). He has been playing cricket for only eight years but became a fan of the game when he lived in London as a young man.

“Cricket as we play it today is an English creation, that is undisputed – and that’s why I love it. I am a great fan of British culture”, said Dethoor. “But the mention of cricket at Liettres in the 15th century is perfectly plausible. It is believed that the game originated in Kent or possibly Flanders. Maybe by the late 15th century some form of the game had crossed the Channel from England, or maybe it was the other way around”.

From the tantalising reference in the French national archives, it is unclear precisely what game was being played at Liettres in October 1478. The old French text informs King Louis XI of a “supplication” made by a 22-year-old man called “Estiavannet” who arrived at Liettres about “one or two hours after dinner”. He came to “a place where people were playing at boules” near to something attached to a “criquet” (the wooden post). Why the violent argument broke out is unclear.

Early histories of cricket suggest that the game may have begun as a pastime for shepherds in Kent and developed from bowls using a post, which had to be defended with a sheep crook.  This is compatible with the 1478 French account of what may be the first known cricket match – and the first cricket riot.

Dethoor, one of the organisers of the Liettres tournament, admits that late September is a risky time to hold a two-day cricket event in the Pas de Calais. “The problem was fitting it into the French holiday schedule and the fixture list of the clubs”, he said. “We are praying for fine weather.” 

France has been slow to appreciate the glories of cricket in recent centuries. There are 1,000 registered cricketers and 30 clubs in a national league with three divisions, and the late Australian captain and broadcaster Richie Benaud, whose heritage was French, was the national association’s patron. France's national team players are mostly of south Asian or English origin. Dethoor points out, however, that almost half the players on his own Lille team are, as he is, French. 

There is a handy book which gives official French translations of cricket terminology, 'Les Lois du Cricket’.  Did you ever wonder what the French might be for deep backward square leg? The answer is “Barrière oblique côté fermé”.  An off-spinner is “un tricoteur” or “knitter”. A leg-spinner is a “tournicoteur” or “prowler”. And a wicket maiden is “une vierge couronnée” (a crowned virgin).


End of August 2015 news.


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