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                      SEPTEMBER 2015
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 21 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 7984-8085)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below
 

   

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,633

  Tuesday, 1 September 2015

 

• Alleged ‘very good friends’ face censure after ugly exchanges  [1633-7984].

• ICC adds one word to deal with 'Finn-Mankad' combinations [1633-7985].

• Test debutant’s dropped catch attracts penalty [1633-7986].

• Senior ICC staff meet with USA cricket community members [1633-7987].

• Cricket helping Indian immigrants settle into German life [1633-7988].

• To toss or not to toss, that is the question [1633-7989].

• BCCI mess to delay AGM for second year running? [1633-7990].

Headline: Alleged ‘very good friends’ face censure after ugly exchanges.

Article from: ‘Cricinfo'.

Journalist:  Sharda Ugra and Andrew Fidel Fernando.                           

Published: Monday, 31 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,984.

The Sri Lanka-India Test series witnessed its first major boil-over on its penultimate day on Monday following a spat between India’s Ishant Sharma and the home side’s Dhammika Prasad towards the end of India's second innings in Colombo. Umpires Nigel Llong and Rod Tucker spoke to both captains following the incident, but the bad blood didn't end there; it spilled over into Ishant's celebrations at the fall of Sri Lanka's third wicket, the bowler smacking his own head repeatedly.

The drama began when Ishant, the last man in, ducked under a Prasad bouncer in the 76th over of India's innings, and grinned back at the bowler. It had been a long and hot day for the bowlers, and from that moment things got out of hand. Prasad and Ishant exchanged glares, and faced off. Dinesh Chandimal walked over from slip, his shoulder brushing past Ishant's. Non-striker Ashwin then joined the discussion before the umpires stepped in. 

Things got more heated when Ishant pushed the next ball for a single and smacked his helmet repeatedly while running down the pitch and past Prasad, as if goading him to bowl more bouncers. Prasad took the invitation when Ishant next came on strike, the batsman swaying out of the line. Prasad, who had overstepped by a big margin, treated Ishant to a glare. 

Towards the end of the over, the umpires had a word with the Sri Lanka captain Angelo Matthews. Next ball, Prasad dismissed Ashwin to end India's innings. A bizarre sight followed. Ishant sprinted towards the dressing room, in order to get changed and ready to return to bowl. Dhammika followed him in what looked like a full sprint.

The two players were headed for different rooms and television footage showed Ishant turning right after getting to the top of a flight of stairs; when Prasad reached the top of the stairs, it is learnt, he was pushed towards his own dressing room by members of the Sri Lankan support staff, to avoid any further confrontation. 

Before the Sri Lankan second innings began, Llong and Tucker had a long conversation with India's captain Virat Kohli. It didn't subdue Ishant, who once again gave a departing batsman a send-off - he had been fined 65 per cent of his match fee for committing the same offence, twice, during the second Test - when he dismissed opener Upul Tharanga. Kohli joined in. 

When Ishant took the wicket of Chandimal, he marked the moment by striking the side of his head. Mathews, who walked in at this point, sought to cool the rising tempers, talking to both Ishant and Kohli. 

At the press conference at the end of the day's play, Rohit Sharma said he hadn't seen the initial incident since he was getting a massage. But he didn't think there was any bad blood between Ishant and Prasad. "All this keeps happening”, he said. "They are very good friends. I just saw them having a cup of tea after the game, which is good”.

In a series that had been played without any major incident, the first simmering was sighted on the third evening of the third Test on Sunday, but had been sorted out by the players themselves.  Rangana Herath and Ishant got into an eyeball-for-eyeball situation after Herath ducked under an Ishant bouncer. They were separated by when Ajinkya Rahane stepped between them.

After Perera was demised Kohli, who had taken the catch, kicked the ball and swore under his breath (unfortunately, not out of the sight of TV cameras), the departing batsman and Ishant exchanging words. Ishant later said he had only "asked him about our dinner plans”. 

Headline: ICC adds one word to deal with 'Finn-Mankad' combinations.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 31 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,985.

In a move that wasn’t noticed by many at the time, the International Cricket Council (ICC) added a single word to its Playing Conditions for Test, One Day International and Twenty20 Internationals in July in regards to what is generally referred to unofficially as the ‘Mankad’ section of the Laws.  The word added to the ICC’s version of Law 42.15, an important part of which already differed from the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) official version, was “deliberate”

The ICC is believed to have made the change, which came into force ahead of the Ashes series, to ensure a bowler could not appeal for a so-called ‘Mankad’ wicket by running out the non-striker if he accidentally produced a ‘Finn’ ‘no ball’ via Law 24.6 - ‘Bowler breaking wicket in delivering ball - in his follow through. 

Adding “deliberate” makes it clear to bowlers, batsmen and umpires that a bowler has to make a conscious decision to try and take the batsman’s wicket, a type of dismissal the MCC has emphasised on more than one occasion, despite those watching usually regarding that action “unfair” (PTG 987-4793, 3 September 2012), is not an abrogation of ‘Spirit of Cricket’ tenents (PTG 1392-6735, 17 July 2014).

The ICC modified Law 42.15 for games played under its auspices three years ago because its thought batsmen were getting too much of a head-start while backing up (PTG 905-4398, 22 February 2012).  Instead of what is still the MCC’s official version which reads "The bowler is permitted, before entering his delivery stride, to attempt to run out the non-striker”, the ICC changed that to "before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing to attempt to run out the non-striker".  

The full version of the latter sentence in ICC Playing Conditions, but not in the MCC’s Law, now reads:  "The bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to deliberately attempt to run out the non-striker".   

Headline: Test debutant’s dropped catch attracts penalty.

Article from: Match commentary.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 31 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,986.

Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kusal Perera gave the opposition five runs less than eight overs into his Test career in the third match of his team's current series against India in Colombo on Friday.  With India having lost 2/28 Perera, who was on debut, dived in an attempt to catch Indian captain Virat Kohli off Nuwan Pradeep but he dropped the chance.

Perera’s glove deflected the ball on to the helmet which was on the ground behind him, which led English umpire Nigel Llong to call ‘dead ball’ and signal five penalty runs to the scorers.  Sixteen overs later though Perera got a second chance to take his first wicket, this time catching Kohli off his skipper Angelo Matthews.

Headline: Senior ICC staff meet with USA cricket community members.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 31 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,987.

Two senior International Cricket Council (ICC) staff members conducted what the ICC says was a “successful” 'Town Hall’ type meeting in Chicago on Saturday with stakeholders from the United States of America's cricket community.  In late June the ICC board agreed “unanimously” to suspended the United States Cricket Association (USACA) from the world body’s membership with immediate effect because of “significant concerns about [its] governance, finance, reputation and cricketing activities” (PTG 1579-7956, 28 June 2015).  

 

The Chicago meeting was attended by 85 people, most of whom says the ICC, represented "many of the approximately 100 cricket leagues across the country”.  The day was hosted by ICC chief executive David Richardson and its head of Global Development Tim Anderson, members of the ICC’s USA Local Advisory Group (LAG) also being in attendance.

 

According to the ICC, the current status of cricket in the USA, including the ICC Board’s recent suspension of the USACA, was discussed during the meeting, however, most time was spent considering the future strategic priorities for the game in the US.  The development of a meaningful strategy aimed at assisting the future promotion and development of cricket in the country will now continue over the coming months.

Richardson said via a press release: “We came [to the US] to learn earlier this year that although lots of cricket was being played in the USA, and lots of passionate people were supporting the game, these efforts were largely disconnected”.  “A focus on bringing people together to share information, discuss common issues and, importantly, start talking about how exciting the future of cricket in the USA could be was therefore needed, and that’s what was achieved during this meeting”.

 

The chief executive went on to say: “There remains much work to do, however, judging by the attitude of those in attendance who are keen for cricket in the USA to move forward with greater purpose, this has certainly been a very positive step in the right direction”.  The ICC says that over the coming months the LAG will continue to engage with the community as part of the strategy development process. 

The Advisory Group includes individuals drawn from the international cricket community, US cricket community and the US sports industry and is being coordinated by the ICC, including Anderson and members of his staff.

Headline: Cricket helping Indian immigrants settle into German life.

Article from: Deutsche Welle.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Monday, 31 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,988.

Amid the migration crisis in Europe, it's worth reminding ourselves that there are lots of examples of successful integration in Germany. Case in point: Raghu Chaliganti, Shahnawaz Ahmad and Gajanan Revankar, all originally from India.  Chaliganti is an Associate Professor of Bioenergy at the Free University in Berlin, Shahnawaz is a computer scientist and Revankar is a research scientist at the Centre of Stroke Research in Berlin.

Yet although these men have fitted in well, once a week they travel to the town of Werder (Havel) near Berlin and don pristine whites to play India's national game. Cricket is an aspect of their original homeland these immigrants would like to import to Germany. But it's not always an easy sell.  "It's hard because German kids all want to play soccer”, says Chaliganti.

Ironically, cricket has deep roots in Berlin. Axel Sass, the chairman of Havelländischer Cricket Club Werder (HCCW), says that in the 19th century the sport occupied a position in German society comparable to the one soccer has today.  "Cricket, for example, was widespread in Berlin around 1850. Back then it was fashionable to play the sport and many Berlin football clubs were founded as cricket clubs in the 1850s, 60s, and 70s. That means cricket doesn't need to be introduced, but rather revived in Germany”, said Sass.

There are no bus connections from Werder's main train station on weekends. It takes around 40 minutes to get there from Berlin by car. But the commutes don't deter Chaliganti and his teammates from making the trek every week. Chaliganti says that initially they were hesitant about the location outside of Berlin.  “We had heard that Werder isn't too friendly to foreigners, that it was a dangerous place to set up a cricket field". "But so far we have not experienced any racism. In fact, they've been very welcoming”.

While that's one less headache, the main battle for these cricket lovers is how to grow the sport in their adopted country. Ahmad, who not only plays for HCCW but also the German national team, says the development of the sport depends largely on the participation of locals.  "As long as only we Asians or Australians or the English are playing it's not going to become part of German culture”.

But for Ahmad triggering the interest of Germans in cricket goes beyond just playing. He understands that sport is more than just about teamwork and friendship. Germans learn these traits through football, and cricket offers a cultural exchange. "They'll learn about different cultures”, he says. "Open their minds. They will no longer have preconceived notions about Indians or Pakistanis or the English”. 

Ahmad and his teammates are positive examples of integration. They have successful careers and have learned the language. But identities and integration are complex matters. Ahmad has now spent 13 years in Germany but still feels torn between two cultures.  “When you stay here for so long it's not easy to go back”, he says. "There are certain things you like about Germany and certain things about India. So you're kind of stuck in the middle”.

Revankar has only been in Germany for three years, but his experiences are similar.  "When I visited India, it was a reverse culture shock for me”, he says.  He quickly mastered the basics of German, but he jokingly adds that some of his German colleagues don't want him to speak German so that they can improve their English.

Playing cricket revives memories of all three men's original home countries while offering an avenue for further integration into German society. It's also an illustration that sport has the power both to bring different people and anchor cultural identity.

Headline: To toss or not to toss, that is the question. 

Article from: Fox Sports.

Journalist:  Jacob Kuriype and Antony Pinshaw.                           

Published: Monday, 31 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,989.

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting made a lot of incisive comments during the recent Ashes series, but one of them caught almost everyone off guard.  He argued that, contrary to more than a century of tradition, there should no longer be a coin toss at the start of a Test match.  Rather, the captain of the visiting team should simply be given the option of batting or bowling first.

It’s a radical idea and one that is open to ridicule given Ponting’s infamous decision to bowl first in the classic 2005 Ashes Test at Edgbaston, but the idea is not without prominent backers.  West Indies legend Michael Holding penned two columns for Wisden India where he explained why Ponting’s suggestion is such a good one.

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Although the importance of who bats first is less pronounced in baseball, that sport has a similar rule enshrined in its law book with the away team always batting at the top of the inning.  We decided to delve deeper and look at the pros and cons of getting rid of the coin toss in Test cricket.

Holding and Ponting aren’t saying the toss is the be all and end all. There’s still a lot that has to happen between the coin being flipped and the match wrapping up for a team to win in Test cricket.  What they are saying, though, is the toss plays a disproportionately large role in the outcome of the match.  The primary reason for this, according to Holding, is because pitches are now prepared almost exclusively for the benefit of the home team.

This much was evident during the recent Ashes series, where England tried using flat tracks to nullify Mitchell Johnson before landing on green, seam-friendly wickets as the best method of beating Australia.  If English authorities knew there was a better than 50-50 chance Australia would end up bowling first, they may have thought twice before ordering a green top.

Getting rid of the toss, wrote Holding, would: “ensure better pitches throughout the world, because no one will look to build a pitch whose features are obvious, and which will give an immediate advantage to the visiting captain”.  “They will try and prepare good quality surfaces that give no obvious advantage to anyone, which is what you want in Test matches”.

Holding’s theory is helped by some statistics. Almost every top team in world cricket – apart from South Africa - is increasingly reliant on winning the toss. In the past two years, Australia has won 70 per cent of the matches in which it has won the toss.

When the Aussies have lost the toss, they’ve won the match just 44 per cent of the time. That record gets even worse in away Ashes Tests, with Ponting and Michael Clarke combining to lose 10 of the 15 tosses in England over the last three series. Australia has lost all of those series.

Holding and Ponting’s suggestion is also in response to an alarming trend of international teams finding it increasingly difficult to win matches overseas.  Australia is the number two ranked side in Test cricket but has been humbled in England, India and the United Arab Emirates in recent times.  India’s win over Sri Lanka last week was the first time the Indians had tasted victory overseas in 10 attempts.  England’s last three trips overseas have yielded a 1-1 draw against a mediocre West Indies side, a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Australia, and a 0-0 drawn series in New Zealand.

Holding believes by eliminating tosses, this trend will decrease slightly – but still allow the host nation to have some kind of advantage.  In his assessment: “You will still see a bit of ‘hometown’ pitches which suit the qualities of the home team more than the opposition, but the slant won’t be as dramatic as we tend to see in some countries now”.

However, while Ponting and Holding are both ardently against the toss of the coin, one man who believes it has little impact on the game is former Australia captain Steve Waugh, wrote in his book ‘The Meaning of Luck’: “One thing I was never able to do during my cricket career was comprehend why so much importance was often placed upon the toss of a coin”.  “All the toss at the start of a game decides is which captains gets the choice of batting or bowling first. No matter which way the coin falls, both teams still have to complete the tasks in front of them".

Did the toss really shape the Ashes? In many ways, the importance of the toss in England has been overstated, with the winner of the flip of the coin losing twice in the five Ashes Tests this year.  Following Australia’s collapse at Edgbaston, there was plenty of talk about England preparing a ‘doctored’ pitch, but there was less talk about the fact both captains believed it was a bat first wicket.

At The Oval England captain Alistair Cook was confident he’d made the right call sending Australia in to bat and Michael Clarke would have done the same, having tipped the match to last less than three days in the lead-up to the game. Yet, despite losing the toss Australia won comfortably on day four.  That’s two instances where the captains have agreed on what the best call would be on a wicket, and two instances where it hasn’t determined the match result.

While critics have used Australia’s collapse at Trent Bridge as proof the toss matters too much, the fact is on the same day that Australia was dismissed for 60, England reached stumps on 4-274.  “The wicket didn’t change out there in 10 minutes from one innings to the next and it certainly didn’t change in an hour and a half at Trent Bridge either”, said England coach Trevor Bayliss following his side’s loss at The Oval.

Over the history of the game there has always been an advantage in winning the toss. After 2178 Tests, the winner of the toss has gone on to win 35 per cent of the time, losing 31 per cent of the time.  The chance of winning after making the right call at the coin flip has gone up to 36 per cent since the start of 2014. But so too has the chance of losing.

Incredibly in the 66 Tests that have been played since January 2014, the winner of the toss has lost more games than he has won; 24 wins to 28 losses. That means since 2014, the winner of the toss has lost 42 per cent of the time.

It should be said that these numbers are skewed by the fact that the West Indies have lost four Tests and drawn two from the six instances in which they have won the toss since the start of 2014. But even if we ignore the West Indies, the stats still show that teams have fared just as well no matter how the coin lands.  Incredibly in 2015, the winner of the toss has only won four times, losing five and drawing five, making it a strange time for the current debate to rear its head.

All this seems to back up Waugh’s assertion that far too much emphasis is placed on whether heads or tails is facing up at the start of a match.

Editor’s note:  Fox Sports is currently giving the readers of its web site a chance to vote yes or no on the question: 'Should authorities get rid of the coin toss in Test cricket?’  It doesn’t say how many people have taken the opportunity to ‘vote’, but the results that are presented show 57 per cent of those who expressed their basic view said ‘Yes’ they should, while 43 per cent ticked the ‘no’ box.  Mike Selvey of ‘The Guardian’ gave his assessment of the toss issue late last week (PTG 1631-7973, 30 August 2015).

Headline: BCCI mess to delay AGM for second year running?

Article from: Variety of media reports.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 31 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,990.

The 2015 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), whose constitution requires be held by the end of September, may be delayed for a second year in a row as the organisation waits for a response from the Indian Supreme Court on former president Narayanaswami Srinivasan's attendance. Last year’s AGM was five months late (PTG 1531-7370, 1 March 2015), and the timetable is very tight if the 2015 version is to be held on the last Sunday of this month, the currently informally scheduled date. 

The first thing the BCCI has to do is file an "interim application” with the Supreme Court seeking a Srinivasan-specific clarification.  Once that is accepted the legal process requires that Srinivasan’s lawyers be given an appropriate amount of time to respond, after which the date of the hearing proper would be set.  The judges could provide their assessment at the hearing, or they could delay formulating their decision for days or more.

 

Once the Supreme Court bench involved actually hands down its decision, the BCCI Working Committee would have to meet to formally decide the date of the AGM, after which the BCCI constitution requires its members be given, in writing, 21 days notice of the date, a communication that also has to be accompanied by a meeting agenda.  That effectively means that if the AGM is to be held four Sundays from now, the Working Committee will have to, one way or the other, get clearance for its meeting from the Court and meet formally by this Saturday.

  

Various media reports from the sub-continent are suggesting that prior to last Friday’s abandoned Working Committee meeting (PTG 1630-7956, 29 August 2015), Srinivasan and BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya had negotiated a "compromise” that would have allowed the meeting to proceed.  “It seems that a person very close to Dalmiya persuaded him not to move forward with the compromise”, said one report, "so the [alleged] deal, therefore, became a non-starter".

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,634

  Wednesday, 2 September 2015

 

• Two players suspended, two fined, following Test incidents [1634-7991].

• New record for NZ scorer appointments, match data downloads [1634-7992].

• Spotting no-balls is not necessarily simple [1634-7993].

• If the cricket is boring, it’s difficult to be in the game: Taufel [1634-7994].

• Club hopeful of survival after court case success [1634-7995].

• Indecisive BCCI pours money down the drain [1634-7996].

• Five meet BPL-3 franchise deadline, talks with others continue [1634-7997].

• Zimbabwe Cricket signs new eight-year broadcast deal [1634-7998].

Headline: Two players suspended, two fined, following Test incidents.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist:  PTG editor.                           

Published: Wednesday, 2 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,991.

Three Sri Lanka players, Dinesh Chandima, Dhammika Prasad and Lahiru Thirimanne, plus India’s Ishant Sharma, have been found guilty of Code of Conduct breaches across two separate incidents during Monday’s play in the third and final Test in Colombo (PTG 1633-7984, 1 September 2015).  Chandima and Sharma received suspensions, while Thirimanne and Prasad were fined half of their match fees for “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game”. 

Commenting on his decisions, match referee Andy Pycroft said: “Monday’s incidents were not good advertisements for international cricket. These experienced cricketers forgot their fundamental responsibilities of respecting their opponents as well as the umpires, and got involved in incidents which were [totally inappropriate]. Their actions cannot be condoned and must be discouraged".

 

Pycroft said Sharma "had been put on notice after being charged twice for send-offs in the previous Test (PTG 1626-7941, 24 August 2015). "Any repeat of this action within the next 12 months will potentially see him suspended for a much longer period".  “Chandimal was not directly involved in the incident between Prasad and Sharma, but came into the conflict and made deliberate physical contact with Sharma and, had umpires [Nigel Llong and Rod Tucker] not intervened the situation could have escalated”.

Sharma was suspended for his next match and as a result will miss India’s first Test against South Africa in Mohali in November.  Chandimal  will miss Sri Lanka’s next One-Day International, which will be against the West Indies in in Colombo around the same time.  All four admitted the offences following the conclusion of the Test on Tuesday and accepted the sanctions handed to them by Pycroft.  As such, there was no need for formal hearings.

Headline: New record for NZ scorer appointments, match data downloads.

Article from: New Zealand Cricket.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Tuesday, 1 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,992.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) made more than 730 scorer appointments, a record, during what was a particularly busy and demanding 2014-15 season, says Peter Mayell, NZC's National Scoring Manager.  The major contribution to that figure was the World Cup, half of the games for which were played in New Zealand, and to which NZC made 54 official scorer, 35 media scorer, and 27 replay screen scorer, appointments.

Four NZ scorers made their debuts at international level in 2014-15, Gail McGowan of Canterbury, and Braedon Makgill from Northern Districts in men’s One Day Internationals (ODI), and Julie Theobold and Northern District’s Richard Baggs in women’s ODIs, the latter also debuting at first class level.

NZC’s Tournament Scorers Program (TSP) continued for a fifth-straight year, a total of 30 scorers from around the country, filling the 24 positions needed to recorded the details of matches played across the Provincial A, men’s Under-19 and Under-17, and women’s Under-21 tournaments. Six of those who took part were working in their first national event.  

Mayell says that ‘mix-and-match’ scenario whereby some scorers were unable to attend a whole tournament, was mostly due to the volume of cricket played around the country at the height of the 2014-15 summer.   He believes the “upside” of that was the involvement of more scorers than normal in the TSP, but anticipates the situation should return closer to normal in the forthcoming 2015-16 austral summer.

On the internet front, a record 390 matches were live scored, 22 more than in any pervious season.  Key traffic indicators for live on-line scoring showed there was a 20 per cent increase in interest from the public in accessing match data, and that was not just for the World Cup for one of the biggest growth areas was a thirst for information about match details in NZC’s domestic Twenty20 competition.

NZC’s ‘Live Scoring User Manual, which was completed and distributed in the lead-up to the 2014-15 season, is sid to have been ”well received”.  A ‘Stadium Scoring User Manual was completed during the summer and is currently being distributed to those venues around the country that use the software to run their scoreboards.

All-up Mayell attributes the “successful” outcomes of the season to long-term planning in the scorers area, most patricianly the four-year ‘Strategic Plan for Scoring and Scorers', that NZC established in 2011 with World Cup and other needs in mind.

Headline: Spotting no-balls is not necessarily simple.

Article from: ‘Cricinfo'.

Journalist:  Osman Samiuddin.                           

Published: Monday, 31 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,993.

Spotting a no-ball should be the simpler of the many tasks of an on-field umpire, right? There's a line and either part of the foot lands behind it or it doesn't. It doesn't have anything to do with assessing trajectory and swing. It's not about gauging how high the ball bounced and where it struck the pad; or whether that sound was bat on ball or bat on ground; or whether the fielder got his fingers underneath the ball. It's just a line that has either been crossed or not.

However, the reality is that for some international bowlers, and no doubt those at lower levels of the game also, it’s not just difficult but actually impossible to know - to any degree of certainty - whether the deliveries they are bowling are legal or not.

But because it is generally considered to be the most minionly of an umpire's many minion tasks, checking no-balls is mistakenly assumed to be an easy job. So when they go unnoticed, as a fair few did in the recent Ashes series (PTG 1632-7974, 31 August 2015), there is that general bewilderment and slightly forced outraged that humans express when they feel other humans are not doing their job. What are the umpires doing? Have they stopped looking at no-balls?

They haven't. It's just that from side-on, with ultra-motion cameras and endless replays, a no-ball is unmissable. From where umpires are standing, it really isn’t always so.

It isn't restricted to just a few bowlers either. One international umpire reckons there is at least one bowler in every side has a delivery style that makes it difficult to spot a no-ball. A couple of years ago, a spate of transgressions by Pakistan's Mohammad Irfan went uncalled in a Test in Abu Dhabi. One umpire believes it is impossible to assess Irfan's landing with certainty. His countryman Wasim Akram, a serial no-baller, was, historically, another, while another umpire rates Australia’s Peter Siddle in the very difficult basket.

It is more difficult with the more open-chested, front-on bowlers - of which there are many - where the back leg obscures the front. Those who bowl from closer to the stumps, like England’s Steven Finn, are also problematic. Finn lost a wicket because of a no-ball spotted retrospectively in the recent Ashes series, and in absolving the umpires, admitted: "I know, from a personal point of view, that the umpire can't see my front foot when I land because of the way my hip and back knee rotate through” (PTG 1625-7928, 22 August 2015). There are bowlers whose front foot slides forward after landing. There are others who deliver with the heel raised but behind the line.

To think, one, that they are easy to spot, and two, that umpires have stopped checking on-field is wrong. Checking the line at delivery with the eyes down and then flicking them up to watch what happens at the other end is a routine built into umpires from whenever they begin umpiring - it is ingrained as much as the technical habits of players are. It does not just stop, even with the safety net of technology.

There was a reaffirmation in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) cricket committee meeting in May this year of the protocols of an incorrect on-field no-ball call (PTG 1628-7947, 26 August 2015). In wanting to minimise the effects of an incorrect call, the committee has told on-field umpires to call no-balls only when they are certain no part of the foot has landed behind the line. That is, umpires would rather not call a no-ball and have it checked, than call one and be proven wrong, because that decision can't be undone.

Would it help if they stood closer to the stumps? Umpires used to stand closer years ago, crouching down to look at the crease before straightening up to look down the pitch. But like batting, bowling and fielding, umpiring has also evolved, to become as efficient as possible. Umpires began moving back when the aim became to keeping the head as still as possible and aligned to the centre of the pitch. Instead of moving the head down to look at the crease and then moving it back up quickly, it made more sense to move back and broaden the field of vision. So only the eyes and not the entire head need move down and then up again.

In truth, there is probably not much that can be done to change the situation. In greater truth, it is hardly one of cricket's pressing issues. Instituting the kind of electronic line-calling system there is in tennis, or football's goal-line technology, would be complex: creases get blurry; there is the movement of the non-striker across the line to consider; what of the heel that is behind the line at delivery but raised? It would also be expensive. In any case, modern umpiring is a skirmish for space with technology and the ICC does not want to cede more.

From instinct, it feels as if no-balls aren't missed as often in limited-overs games, where a no-ball has greater implications. And it is worth wondering whether umpires, at some subconscious level, operate differently there. It's as likely that bowlers operate differently as well and are tighter with their run-ups than they might be in Tests. 

The ICC is working on ways to speed up the time it takes for a no-ball to be checked. Until then cricket would do well to accept this as collateral for the immeasurable improvements in its broadcast; after all, it's impossible to know whether umpires are missing more no-balls than before but it is definitely the case that they - and we - are able to see more on TV.

Editor’s note:  Geoff Allardice, the ICC's general manger of cricket, was reported to have said late last month that 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).  

One  very experienced, long-serving umpire trainer, who contacted ‘PTG’ regarding that report said: "when the evidence suggests eight balls in a three over spell (all maidens) were indeed no-balls” in the recent Test at The Oval, "what about the eight extra deliveries, not to mention the minimum of eight extra runs”?  He described Allardice’s reported comment as “astonishing” and that if such a situation "is acceptable from the umpires, then the Laws need to be changed to reflect it”.

Headline: If the cricket is boring, it’s difficult to be in the game: Taufel.

Article from: Wisden India.

Sub-editor:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Sunday, 30 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,994.

Former Australian umpire Simon Taufel, who is now the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Umpire Performance and Training Manager, says umpires can get bored in the middle in one-sided or slow matches, but “that’s when you have to pull yourself up and focus even harder and ensure you don’t lose concentration”.  Taufel talked about umpiring issues in a wide ranging interview he gave the ‘Wisden India’ journalist Karthik Lakshmanan a few days ago.

Taufel, 44, who was in Chennai where he was running a series on umpire workshops for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (PTG 1624-7921, 21 August 2015), said a major part of umpiring is what Lakshmanan described as 'soft skills’.  According to the Australian such things are "life skills”, and “some of the activities we are doing in the [Chennai] workshops do not involve cricket and decision-making, but a lot of the process to get to a right decision is based around soft skills”.  

He said he "can tell a lot about an umpire and how successful he will be on the field by seeing those skills because at the end of the day, the decisions take care of themselves”. "Players accept mistakes [and while maybe they] won’t accept two or three mistakes, what they generally want is consistency and calmness, reliability, effective communication and so on”.

Team work and communication both on and off-field is critical for umpires, according to the ICC man.  "It’s all about knowing your colleague and having regular eye-contact with him”.  "We should be together in reading the game and we should be able to help each other if there’s a problem”.  "I won’t necessarily be looking for an out/not out decision from square-leg, but could be looking for a height judgment or a clue about field restrictions or so on”.

Another aspect is about complementing each other’s skills. "You might have some strengths that I may not be good at. It might be communication, for example. If we have to deal with a strong player or captain, or increase the pace of the game, your communication skills might be more suited and thus you’ll talk to the captain”.  In some situations where weather is involved someone who knows local conditions can suggest a lead, and “together, we’ll combine and do the best we can.  "It’s like a cricket team – you have to trust your partners”.

Asked about role models as he moved up through umpiring ranks, Taufel said there was "no one in particular” for him.  Rather he "looked at the qualities of a number of umpires that I respected and saw how I could apply those skills in my game”.  "The best advice I can give for anyone who wants to be an umpire is – you should be yourself. You must be the best umpire that you can be and the only way to do that is by being you”.  

He goes on to say though that he regards umpires like Rudi Koertzen, Ian Gould and Peter Willey "with a lot of respect”.  "Darrell Hair was incredibly strong, knowledgeable and supportive. He was the type of the guy I knew I could rely on if I needed some help about my game, because he knew my game inside out and also understood the Laws and Playing Conditions very well”.  "I felt safe and he was a good man to be with”.

In reply to a question from Widen’s Lakshmanan as to whether he sees himself as "one of the best in [the umpiring] profession?”, the Sydney-born match official who won the ICC’s ‘Umpire of the Year’ five times in a row (PTG 310-1819, 11 September 2008), said that he didn’t.  "If I reflect on my career at any stage, I’ll see myself as lucky and fortunate to have been able to participate at the highest level”.  

"Last weekend, I was at New South Wales’ 2015 umpires weekend pre-season convention which is my introductory association – that’s where I started umpiring in 1991”.  "It seems like a long time ago now, but I’m very grounded and very much aware of where I came from and the fortune that was given to me to grow up with that association”.  Rather than "think I’m one of the best, I look back with humility, respect and a degree of being grateful".

In regards to boring games Taufel warned that when "team A has scored 500 and team B is 3/400” and “nothing is happening” you have to refocus for "suddenly, bang!” something particularly important happens.  "If it’s boring cricket, it’s difficult to be in the game and I’d rather do a match where there is action as it keeps me in the moment”. 

Headline: Club hopeful of survival after court case success.

Article from: Liverpool Echo.

Journalist:  Joe Thomas.                           

Published: Friday, 26 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,995.

The short term future of the 127-year-old Aigburth Cricket Club in Liverpool looks likely to have been secured following a legal battle waged by its trustees after it was last year served with an eviction notice by landlords PR Investments, who want to turn the ground into a housing estate.  At a two day hearing at the Liverpool county and civic courts, the fate of the club was decided with Judge David Hodge ruling they had the right to pursue their application for the grant of a new tenancy.

Set up in 1888, Aigburth Cricket Club has become a community hub by hosting, in addition to cricket, bowls and other sports, drama groups and community organisations.  In the 16 months since the eviction notice was sent to the club a huge effort to protect its future has seen locals get be hid the club, more than 7,000 people signing petitions calling on planning chiefs to refuse any future application to develop the land.

The decision takes the club one step closer to official survival after more than a year of uncertainty. As the ruling is subject to any appeal, and with any new deal on the ground relying on the agreement of a host of technical issues, members accept there is still some way to go before they can celebrate guaranteed security.

The result does give the club optimism though and officials hope a new deal can now be reached that will confirm Aigburth Cricket Club’s survival for years to come.  Club secretary Pete Pearcey said: “We are very pleased to have got as far as we have but we realise there are more obstacles to overcome”.  Another said "the sale of this land would be a true loss to the community and future generations”.

Headline: Indecisive BCCI pours money down the drain.

Article from: Cricbuzz.

Journalist:  Sumit Mukherjee.                           

Published: Sunday, 30 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,996.

Three meetings of three committees, involving 60 heads, over two days. Total expenditure incurred around 700-800,000 Rupees ($A15-17,000, £UK7-8,000), business transacted, none (PTG 1630-7956, 29 August 2015).  This more or less sums up the state of affairs in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which has done precious little to get its act together under a 'new' team headed by president Jagmohan Dalmiya and secretary Anurag Thakur that was voted to power in March earlier this year.

A typical meeting of the BCCI’s Working Committee which includes 24 members plus invitees and half-a-dozen BCCI staff, costs the BCCI approximately 500,000 Rupees ($A10,600, £UK4,900). If one includes the Finance Committee (7 members) and Indian Premier League  (IPL) Governing Council (17 members) meetings held over two days last week, the BCCI would have spent a considerable amount of money on return business class air tickets, two nights of five-star hotel accommodation, and meal allowances, without having taken a single important decision.

The amount spent may be peanuts for the cash-rich BCCI but it sure calls into question its administrative efficacy at a time when Indian cricket is in dire need of decisive and effective leadership off the field.  The fact that Narayanaswami Srinivasan's larger-than-life shadow continues to loom over the BCCI was amply clear when Dalmiya adjourned Friday's Working Committee meeting over the former's participation as the Tamil Nadu Cricket  representative.

Srinivasan had made it known well in advance that he intended to attend last Friday’s Working Committee in Kolkata, yet BCCI officials failed to seek legal opinion on the issue and ended up with an unsavoury stalemate, thereby wasting lakhs of rupees and precious time before why is supposed to be the BCCI's Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the end of this month (PTG 1633-7990, 1 September 2015).

The fact that the BCCI has failed to act on Lodha committee's order that was passed six weeks back, highlights the indecisiveness of the cricket Board which has also been dragging its feet on appointing a suitable coach for Team India following the inglorious exit of Duncan Fletcher in the aftermath of the World Cup.

The adjournment of the Working Committee meeting also meant that the IPL Governing Council's recommendation to invite fresh tender for two new teams (either for two or 10 years) has not been taken forward, reflecting the BCCI's reluctance to address the issues plaguing the money-spinning T20 league.

Another example of BCCI's unprofessionalism came to the fore in the finance committee meeting which lasted barely a few minutes as the chairman, Jyotiraditya Scindia, was absent. With Scindia away in the United States, the members could only pass the annual accounts --a must before the AGM.  The second and final part of Lodha Committee's order, which involves an assessment of the way the BCCI operates and the appropriateness of its administrative structures and is due by the year-end, could see the organisation slide further into the mess that has been its own creation.

A week ago Thakur told journalists that the BCCI, an organisation that is commonly perceived as one that uses it’s power to bully smaller cricket boards, was looking to change it’s public image.  He said then the BCCI’s positive initiatives are often ignored and they get a bad name. "I think it is very important to change the perception”, for the “BCCI has done a lot of things”.  

"We are the only cricket board to organise 900 matches a season with 2,100 playing days (PTG 1611-7833, 5 August 2015), and provide close to 50,000 Rupees ($A1,070, £UK492) to 900 cricketers, something no other board does.  “We have provided a platform like IPL for upcoming cricketers to play with the iconic cricketers of the world. We’ve helped ex-cricketers to become commentators, members of the coaching staff or to be associated with the game in any form". 

Despite such successes that "have never been put across to the world”.  “Everyone knows we are a very well run cricket body. We may have gone wrong in a couple of points, but it is time to learn from that and move ahead. We will bring in more transparency and accountability to the system”..

Headline: Five meet BPL-3 franchise deadline, talks with others continue.

Article from: Dhaka Tribune.

Journalist:  Minhaz Uddin Khan .                           

Published: Monday, 31 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,997.

Five companies completed the basic requirements set down by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) to run a franchise in the forthcoming third edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL-3) series by the time the deadline for submissions was reached on the weekend.  

The five: DBL Group, Beximco Pharmaceuticals, Axiom Technologies, I Sports Ltd and Royal Sporting Ltd, submitted an Expression of Interest to run a BPL side last month, and more recently provided the BCB with a bank guarantee worth Tk 45 million Taka ($A813,000, £U376,000), and pay-order of 10 million Taka ($A180,700, £UK83,600).

BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury yesterday confirmed that the that five organisations had provided the necessary documents, however, a few eyebrows were raised when the BCB high-up declared that Beximco would take control of the Dhaka Dynamites franchise.  The published franchise allocation process states that the allotment of franchises to eligible companies is the last step of the procedure.

In spite of the expiration of the deadline yesterday, Nizamuddin stated that the board is still in talks with a few interested companies as  the target is apparently to have a seven-team BPL-3 . “I think the companies are still trying to understand the financial module and the tournament itself. That might be the reason why they are being late with their offers”.  When asked if those talks have a set timeline he indicated they might continue up until this week's BCB board meeting.

In related news two previous BPL franchises, Rangpur Riders and Sylhet Royals have cleared their outstanding dues and the latter have also submitted a new financial guarantee. 

Headline: Zimbabwe Cricket signs new eight-year broadcast deal.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist:  Enock Muchinjo.                           

Published: Friday, 27 August 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,998.

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has signed an eight-year deal with Total Sports Marketing (TSM), a Bangladesh sports marketing agency, for the marketing rights and live television coverage of all of Zimbabwe's home international matches. 

The agreement, which both parties claim to be a "zero-cost deal" as of now, was signed in July and effectively ends ZC's partnership with Indian firm Ten Sports. Due to their association with Essel Group, an Indian conglomerate company said to be eyeing a takeover of world cricket, Ten Sports have fallen out of favour with cricket authorities (PTG 1602-7773, 26 July 2015). 

India's tour of Zimbabwe in July was initially called off due to the unresolved issues between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Ten Sports, though the tour eventually took place after crunch talks in which the two boards worked out a deal. It seems now that those talks with the BCCI might have resolved that ZC terminate its partnership with Ten Sports.

Moinul Chowdury, TSM's chief executive, told ‘Cricinfo' that his company was ready to operate at a loss until Zimbabwe started attracting significant corporate interest. Chowdury claims ZC saved at least $US2.5 million ($A3.5 m, £UK1.6 m ) in television production costs when the country hosted India and New Zealand over the last two months. He added that the board retained the $US3.8 million ($A5.3 m, £UK2.5 m) in revenue generated from the India series alone.   

"The ZC leadership convinced me to invest and I'm confident that around 2016-2017 we will start operating at a profit," Chowdury said. "Zimbabwe was the only Test nation that was meeting its own television production costs and it took a huge toll on the board. They've shown us a good blueprint, and we are happy to be in business with them”.

ZC interim chairman Wilson Manase said under the deal, Zimbabwe are guaranteed at least 50 days of home international cricket in all three versions of the game until the 2023 World Cup. "Under the [Future Tours Program], we were supposed to play just 58 One Day Internationals outside International Cricket Council tournaments. That was going to decrease our chances of improving rankings. The onus is now on us to make ourselves marketable and repay the confidence and faith shown in us by TSM”, Manase said.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,635

  Thursday, 3 September 2015

 

• Cricket umpires risking death, warns MCC lecturer [1635-7999].

• Bowler attack sees Shropshire batsman banned for 10 weeks [1635-8000].

• Jayawardene questions day-night Tests [1635-8001].

• Off-spinner’s bowling action reported as ’suspect' [1635-8002].

Headline: Cricket umpires risking death, warns MCC lecturer.

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Wednesday, 2 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 7,999.

Australian chairman of selectors Rod Marsh fears it's a matter of time before an umpire is killed or seriously injured, unless the ‘no ball” law is changed.  The former Test wicketkeeper says reverting to the back-foot no-ball rule, which was abandoned in the early 1960s, could save lives.

Speaking while delivering the annual Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) 'Spirit of Cricket' Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s on Tuesday, Marsh said: "It's only a matter of time before an umpire in an international or first-class match is seriously hurt, if not killed”.  "This appears most likely to occur in Twenty20 cricket, but looking at the World Cup earlier this year, it could happen at any time"

Marsh said if he was umpiring he would wear a baseball catcher's helmet, chest pad and shin guards, issues senior umpires in England are currently looking into (PTG 1631-7965, 30 August 2015).  "Maybe we have to make this safety gear for umpires compulsory for all international and first class games”.  He suggested though that reverting to the back-foot law would give umpires a chance to stand at least two metres further back.

"I can't see why we ever went to the front-foot law and just quietly I can reveal there are a few umpires out there beginning to wish it would revert back to the back-foot law”, he said.  "You put yourself in their position when a batsman with a massive weapon runs at the bowler and smashes a straight drive at about chest height”.

Marsh's comments come after former Israel cricket captain Hillel Oscar died after being struck by a ball hit by a batsman while umpiring a national league game in Israel last year (PTG 1472-7119, 1 December 2014).  The Australian added that cricket should follow the lead of golf and restrict the size of bats at the elite level: "I'd put a restriction on the width of the edges because I'll never condone a player being beaten, yet the ball still travelling 70 or 80 metres for a four or a six off the fat edge”.  

In July, the MCC’s World Cricket Committee, not for the first time, could not agree on whether to limit the thickness of bats via a Laws amendment.  Instead the committee decided, as it has over the last three years, to conduct "further research" into bat issues, as well as on the size of cricket ball seams (PTG 1592-7691, 15 July 2015).  

Marsh also called for cricket's global funding to be overseen by an independent "elite group" to determine whether administrators are making the right decisions about the game's future. In addition, he pushed for scrapping ball tracking technology saying he has "little faith” in such systems and prefers that umpires make all LBW decisions "unless it was an absolute howler”, for “the batsman knows if he's hit the ball and will ask for a review if given out".

The former wicketkeeper stressed that: "What remains vitally important is the players are educated at an early age that above all they must respect the game, the umpires, their opposition and their own team mates". "I was fortunate enough to be involved in three National Academies in Australia, India and England and the message of respect was very much part of my non-negotiables for these young tyros”.  

Marsh said he: “completely understands how players can get hot under the collar during the contest, but I will never understand how personal abuse can make the situation any better. This should not and cannot be tolerated in our game".

Editor’s note: Former Australian Test umpire Lou Rowan called for a return to the back-foot rule 18 months ago, saying: "It's a physical impossibility to watch the front foot and lift your eyes to give yourself a chance to see what's going on at the other end”.  He said that with the back foot rule "you could make the no-ball call before the bowler had even let the ball go” (PTG 1251-6041, 10 December 2013).  

A year before that former Australian captain Ian Chappell expressed the view that a return to the back foot rule "would reduce the number of illegal deliveries bowled, improve over-rates, and give umpires more time to spend on the important decisions" (PTG 1033-5016, 27 December 2012).  

Headline: Bowler attack sees Shropshire batsman banned for 10 weeks.

Article from: Shropshire Star.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Tuesday, 1 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,000.

A batsman who attacked a bowler during a Shropshire Cricket League (SCL) Division 2 match two weeks ago has been banned for 10 matches for a Level Four offence.  In addition to the Prees club’s batsman Nick Ball’s ban, the SCL disciplinary committee also deducted 10 championship points from the opposing Church Stretton side because they made the incident public via the ’Shropshire Post’ (PTG 1622-7909, 19 August 2015).   

It is understood Prees, who were also carrying out their own investigation, will not appeal the decision.  Prees secretary Philip Richards said: “We have been asked by the league not to make any comment”.  “They have dealt with the matter as far as we are concerned.”

Church Stretton players left the field of play in protest after the incident and the game was subsequently abandoned.  SCL spokesman Nick Broadbent said: “Stretton have been deducted points for making the incident public via the press, against the specific advice of both the league chairman and secretary, before the issue could be discussed between the league management and the parties involved”.

Headline: Jayawardene questions day-night Tests.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Wednesday, 2 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8.001.

Former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene believes Test cricket should not be subject to day-night experiments with a pink ball as he fears it will further erode the traditions that have long caused players to rank the game's longest form as the best and truest measure of their skills.  In a panel discussion following Tuesday’s Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s (PTG 1635-7999 above), Jayawardene said the variation in conditions created by the new format would be too great to be a fair test.

Jayawardene said Test matches are "the only thing we've got with a bit of tradition now. Everything else is changing, but I think we should stick to day Test matches. Dew factor will come into play in a lot of other countries, especially in the subcontinent. I agree with trying to promote the game ... there are a lot of other things people can do, but the only thing we have in cricket going for nearly 200 years is Test cricket with white clothing and the red ball. Why do you take it away from that?"

Despite numerous players still expressing reservations, Australia are set to host New Zealand in Adelaide for the first day-night Test in November this year.

Headline: Off-spinner’s bowling action reported as ’suspect'.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Wednesday, 2 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,002.

Sri Lankan off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal has been reported for bowling with a suspected illegal action following his team's third Test against India in Colombo.  Kaushal, 22, was cited by the on-field umpires Nigel Llong and Rod Tucker and third umpire Raveendra Wimalasiri, and a detailed report on his action has been provided the Sri Lankan team management. 

Kaushal will now undergo an independent analysis of his bowling action within 14 days at an International Cricket Council accredited testing centre..  He will be allowed to continue bowling in international cricket until the results of his analysis are produced.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,636

  Friday, 4 September 2015

 

• Getting rid of the toss in Tests 'not such a bad thing’: Waugh [1636-8003].

• Batsman dismissed after ‘wilfully’ blocking throw [1636-8004].

• Ishant’s behaviour a pathetic display of aggression, says Bedi [1636-8005].

• Two Aussie franchises to share $A1.4m for CLT20 cancellation [1636-8006].

• Sub-continental politics, poor leadership, puts tour in doubt [1636-8007].

• ECB risking backlash with plan to cut championship matches [1636-8008].

• Delhi Police appeal against court decision to clear IPL accused [1636-8009].

• The tragic end of cricket in Lewisham [1636-8010].

• ‘Events of the past’ sees club reject eight-year-old’s registration [1636-8011].

Headline: Getting rid of the toss in Tests 'not such a bad thing’: Waugh.

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Thursday, 3 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,003.

Former Australian captain Steve Waugh says he is open to a push from Ricky Ponting and Michael Holding to get rid of the toss from Test cricket (PTG 1633-7989, 1 September 2015).  Under Ponting's proposal, the away side would choose who bats first in order to counteract any advantage the hosts could gain from preparing a favourable pitch.

Waugh told a Melbourne radio station: "I don't mind that, I think that's not such a bad thing”.  "At the end of the day I think there's probably too much emphasis placed on the toss and the conditions away from home”.  "I don't mind the authorities looking at some other options."

Waugh said Australia's failure to adapt to English conditions had cost them the Ashes rather than anything to do with the toss (PTG 1631-7973, 30 August 2015).  "They played poorly. Their batting technique was astray from players of that calibre”.  In his view "modern cricketers should be able to perform in any conditions".

Headline: Batsman dismissed after ‘wilfully’ blocking throw.

Article from: Express Tribune.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Thursday, 3 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,004.

Pakistan Test batsman Adnan Akmal’s was given out 'Obstructing the Field' during a domestic Twenty20 match played in Rawalpindi on Wednesday.   Akmal was playing for the Lahore Blues against Quetta Region in the qualifying round of the Haier Cup when he got between a throw from Quetta’s Sher Hassan and the stumps in the sixth over of the innings.  Initially, it seemed as might have been protecting himself, however, after reviewing video footage third-umpire, Sajid Afridi, judged him to have “wilfully” intercepted the throw.

Akmal, who played 12 Tests for Pakistan between 2010 and 2014, became only the sixth batsman in the twelve-year, so far 5,135 match, history of senior level T20 cricket to be ruled out in this unusual fashion. The other five against whom such dismissals include Ahmed Hayat of Pakistan in 2005, Chinthaka Perera of Sri Lanka (2009), India’s Yusuf Pathan (2013) and West Indians Adrian Barath (2012) and Devon Thomas (2013).  All the dismissals occurred in domestic T20 competitions.

Headline: Ishant’s behaviour a pathetic display of aggression, says Bedi.

Article from: The Hindu.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Thursday, 3 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,005.

Indian bowler Ishant Sharma’s verbal duels with the Sri Lankans in their recent Test series was a “pathetic display of aggression”, according to former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi (PTG 1634-7991, 2 September 2015).  He also expressed the view that Indian skipper Virat Kohli needs to control his own belligerence and be a role model for his players.

Ishant played a vital role in India’s series clinching win in Colombo, bagging eight wickets in the match to join the 200 wicket-takers club. But his continuous verbal duels on the field not only cost him 65 per cent of his match fee in the second Test (PTG 1626-7941, 24 August 2015), but also a one match ban as a result of his behaviour in the third and last match of the series.

Bedi pointed to Kohli’s pre-series call for the Indian side to play more aggressively.  “They talked about aggression and then Ishant gets banned for a match”, he said, before asking: "Is this what you want on a cricket field?  [Kohli] did a very good job in the context of this series but he needs to control his aggro. There is always one camera which is focused on the captain, so he has to be an exceptionally good role model”.

"You can be aggressive with your bat, ball and fielding but not with your mouth”, continued Bedi.  “These are very early days as far as his captaincy is concerned and there is so much more to be done. There are far too many people missing in the Indian team. We would be absolutely blind if we don’t see the shortcomings now".

Headline: Two Aussie franchises to share $A1.4m for CLT20 cancellation.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Jesse Hogan.                           

Published: Thursday, 3 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,006.

The two Australian franchise sides who qualified for this year's now cancelled lucrative Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) series, Perth and Sydney Sixers, will share around $A1.4 million (£UK644,000) in compensation from Cricket Australia (CA), who along with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) are the competitions owners.  In the first four years of CA's Big Bash League (BBL), teams' recruitment decisions were influenced by the lure of them reaching the tournament if made the BBL final.  

In addition to the potential prize money in prize money of $US2.5 million ($A3.56 m, £1.6 m) should they win the CLT20 series, each team would also have been due $US150,000 ($A214,000, £98,300) if any of their Australian players were called up by their Indian Premier League (IPL) team to play in the tournament.

While they were rumblings about the CLT20’s future throughout the 2014-15 austral summer, as recently as a few months ago Perth and Sixers players were told to keep a block in September free for this year’s CLT20. It was not until mid-July that majority shareholder BCCI confirmed, with the approval of minor shareholders CA and CSA, that the series would not go ahead (PTG 1593-7702, 16 July 2015).

Both Perth and the Sixers lamented the cancellation (PTG 1595-7720, 19 July 2015), Perth hinting at a possible compensation request by confirming they would "work through any administration issues with the appropriate tournament representatives”.  With CA owning 30 per cent of the tournament, it is believed these negotiations were undertaken by CA chief executive James Sutherland and high-level counterparts from the BCCI.

While CA is yet to secure a settlement its board has nevertheless decided Perth and Sixers should, and will, be paid that participation fees that had been due to them for the tournament, once that financial settlement is sorted.  A CA spokesman said:  "As a founding partner of the Champions League, [CA] will receive compensation for foregone revenue [and] the CA board has decided that once we receive these funds, we will provide the two qualifying BBL teams with the participation fees that they would have received if the 2015 CLT20 event had gone ahead as planned”.

CA did not disclose the size of those prospective compensation pay-outs, but it is believed that each team will receive $US500,000 ($A712,500, £328,000).

That is nowhere near what each could have earned had the tournament gone ahead and they had succeeded - Perth was particularly confident as they were set to have a full squad available, with no players drafted to IPL teams - but it does provide a hefty pay-out without the team having to travel overseas for the tournament.

In the six years of CLT20 it was customary for dividends from the event were split equally between the state associations and the players. If that policy is continued for the compensation payouts, as is expected, it will result in Perth and the Sixers each receiving $US250,000 ($A356,000, £164,000) with the same to be shared among each of the playing squads.

Editor’s note: A report late last month stated that Indian media and entertainment company 'Star India' paid $US420 million ($A556 m, £272 m) to the three CLT20 owners in compensation for its decision to scrap the series (PTG 1630-7961, 29 August 2015).  

Headline: Sub-continental politics, poor leadership, puts tour in doubt.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Thursday, 3 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,007.

Political tensions between India and Pakistan have put in doubt the Test and one-day series the two country’s teams are scheduled to play in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December.  Earlier this year the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to play Pakistan in six series from 2015-23, but clouds are already hovering over the first of them late this year.

Hints from the BCCI in recent weeks that "cross-border terrorism” could jeopardise the UAE series, has led the PCB to write to their their Indian counterparts to enquire whether December's bilateral series will be played or not.  Pakistan and India have not played a full bilateral Test series since 2007, although Pakistan did tour India in 2012-13, playing three One Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals.  That was Pakistan's first cricket tour of India after the infamous Mumbai terror attacks of 2008 which stalled all bilateral ties between the two countries.

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, who is also a member of Parliament, did not help the situation when he made a comment via twitter after reports emerged that Dawood Ibrahim, who is wanted in India in regard to alleged Indian Premier League irregularities, was in Karachi and that Pakistan authorities were "shielding him". Thakur's tweet read: "Dawood in Karachi. Are you really serious about peace and you expect we'll play cricket with you?”  

PCB chairman Shahryar Khan, a former career diplomat, said the two boards should use the game as a tool to formulate peace between the two nations.  "Politics is vulnerable to highs and lows and the sport of cricket should be kept away from such matters”, but he couldn’t help adding fuel to the fire with: "It's not that we can't survive without playing [India]”. “We are trying to get the series revived based on the MOU they have signed with us. They have to honour it and if they don't it's their responsibility”.

Kahan also referred to an the issue that BCCI has with Indian broadcaster Ten Sports which is part of the Essel group; a conglomerate said to be eyeing a takeover of world cricket (PTG 1602-7773, 26 July 2015).  “We have given the broadcasting rights to Ten Sports and the International Cricket Council (ICC) accepts the channel’s bid”, an indication the BCCI may not be happy with the PCB’s choice.

The PCB has reportedly ruled out playing December’s series in India as suggested by Zaheer Abbas, the president of the International Cricket Council, earlier this week.  As things stand now, the Indian Home Ministry's clearance will be the clinching factor if the series is to go ahead in December.

Editor’s note: A report earlier this week suggested the BCCI initially called off its team’s tour of Zimbabwe in July due to issues related to Zimbabwe Cricket’s (ZC) link with Ten Sports.  That tour eventually took place after the BCCI and ZC worked out a compromise, however, ZC’s new broadcast rights contract with the African country’s Total Sports Marketing announced this week came about, suggested several reports, after ZC terminate its partnership with Ten Sports (PTG 1634-7998, 2 September 2015).

Morgan Stanley, an American multinational financial services corporation reported on Wednesday that all-up Star India, which is part of United State’s businessman Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox’s investments, is worth $US11.2 billion ($A16 bn, £UK 7.3 bn), or almost twice that of Zee Entertainment, which Ten Sports is part of, it coming in at $US5.6 billion ($A8 bn, £UK 7.3 bn, £UK 3.7 bn),  The bank estimates that Star India’s profits contributed to just over ten per cent of Fox’s overall fair market value.  Murdoch’s company has acknowledged the role played by India in its overall performance, particularly its cricket coverage.

Headline: ECB risking backlash with plan to cut championship matches.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist:  Mike Selvey.                           

Published: Thursday, 3 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,008.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) must decide whether to press ahead with a new-look domestic program that would see the number of County Championship fixtures cut by two matches and in doing so risk the threat of a backlash (PTG 1584-7637, 5 July 2015).  ECB chief executive, Tom Harrison, and chairman Colin Graves have been working since the start of the year on a restructure of the English game (PTG 1528-7355, 28 February 2015), and proposals drawn up by their review committee have been presented to the County chief executives and chairmen over the past two days. 

While the previously mooted eight or 10-team city-based Twenty20 competition is on hold (PTG 1625-7930, 22 August 2015), an appetite remains to raise the standard of white-ball cricket played domestically as England look to create a pool of players that can compete for both the 2017 Champions Trophy and the World Cup two years later on home soil (PTG 1603-7779, 27 July 2015).

The plan, which has the backing of former England captain Andrew Strauss who is now the director of England cricket, will see the Twenty20 and 50-over tournaments played in one or two mid-summer blocks, allowing players to focus on the skills specific to these forms of the game. To make this work, however, the number of four-day fixtures per team would be cut from 16 to 14.

Gaining support from the counties appears problematic, with attendances in the ECB’s Twenty20 series, which is currently spread over the season, on the rise, and domestic 50-over cricket, the hardest ticket to sell, recently polling as the third-ranked competition among the players in a recent survey by the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) (PTG 1630-7960, 29 August 2015).

The PCA’s results also showed the County Championship to be considered the premier domestic trophy, while clubs themselves are fearful of a backlash by members who will get less red-ball cricket for their subscriptions. There is also the question of the competition’s integrity if teams do not play everyone home and away. 

Reigning champions Yorkshire last week publicly stated their intention to oppose a cut in first-class matches and claimed to have wide support from other clubs, while one chief executive, when contacted by ‘The Guardian', described the mood in their meeting to be “polite, but negative”.

An ECB spokesperson said: “There was rounded discussion on the domestic and international game and we listened to views and valuable insights from across all the first-class Counties. Today brought a consensus of opinion which allows us to further develop strong plans”.

Both Harrison, who was appointed at the start of the year, and Graves, elected in May, were given a mandate for change, and structural change to competitions are made by the ECB management board, which has just four County chairmen among its 14 directors. To do so without the Counties in agreement would represent a high-risk approach.

Headline: Delhi Police appeal against decision to clear IPL accused.

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Thursday, 3 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,008.

Delhi Police have filed an appeal in the Delhi High Court against a trial court's decision in July to clear former Test fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and two teammates of spot-fixing activities during the Indian Premier League series of 2013 (PTG 1620-7894, 17 August 2015). That verdict said investigators had failed to gather "all necessary ingredients to establish a prima facie case” against the trio (PTG 1602-7771, 26 July 2015).

The day the court handed down its decision in July, 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 "shall remain unaltered” (PTG 1603-7780, 27 July 2015).  

Headline: The tragic end of cricket in Lewisham.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist:  Barney Ronay (edited version).                           

Published: Thursday, 3 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,010.

There is perhaps no reason why anyone outside of a specific pocket of south-east London should care about this, but as of last month the London borough of Lewisham, population 26,000, no longer has a cricket team.  Lewisham District, as the club was known, has ceased to exist, shuffled out of existence by a reorganisation of the Kent junior system into a mega-district model from which the County’s age group teams, and ultimately its academy players, are creamed off.

There is no reason, perhaps, to care about this. But it does seem to fit with a wider trend. On a micro level, and for hundreds of players and parents who have come into contact with him down the years, the death of Lewisham means the de facto retirement (enforced, but also, in fairness, overdue) of John Palmer, one of the great men of south London inner city sport development.

Most districts and clubs across the country have someone similar, the volunteer professional coach without whom the whole shebang simply wouldn’t function. John is one of ours. For the last few years, as the sport has retreated from view, John has basically been cricket in Lewisham, a London borough deprived of green space, its primary schools stuffed and stretched, its spaces effectively de-cricketised.

John is one of those people who fight against this tide without really seeming to notice they’re doing it. Reports of his actual age vary, but somewhere in his mid-70s seems to be the consensus. He played football to a semi-professional level. He bowled wiry left-arm pace in the Kent leagues.  Beyond that he has been a teacher, a development officer and now a roving coach, going into schools, spreading the word, talking to parents, coaching in the nets and drumming up a working team out of a bunch of kids who quite often wouldn’t ever come into contact with cricket in any other way.

These days he does all this for free. A few years back he was honoured by the BBC, nominated for one of those people’s award types. Other than that, this is a man who has simply refused to retire, despite the patient promptings of his wife, Lynn, who rolls her eyes at times but still keeps on quietly turning up with the orange squash on match-days.

This year Lewisham’s under-10 development group even won a match, the famous last-over taking-down of Greenwich Borough in front of a rapt gallery of parents and grandparents. They tied another against the powerhouse that is Bexley, cue for wild, shrieking scenes of jubilation (from some of the players too) that brought a corrective 10-minute post-match bollocking on respecting the opposition, meeting triumph and disaster just the same, and, oh well, go on then.

The best part of Lewisham, though, is the spirit. Everyone who comes, improves, shows some heart – and quite a few of these kids come blinking and uncertain, unused to any kind of organised sport – gets a game. Everyone bowls, everyone bats, which is not the way with some other boroughs, the ones who want to win just a bit too much.  The kid who gets it suddenly, who does something different, plays forward, cocks his wrist, swings the ball, finally takes a catch: that’s what gets our team going. 

But now, for Lewisham District, it's all over. Not that anyone is really to blame. As ever, the system is under strain. Budgets are tight, resources stretched. Kent County Cricket Club, which ultimately runs all this, remain the poor relation of the London Counties, without a Test ground or a base in town to hoover up all that corporate hospitality cash, the after-work pint crew that has help turn The Oval into such a raging financial powerhouse.

Of course, Lewisham’s kids will be welcome in the new mega-borough. But this is now a vast, dense, London sprawl measuring 10 miles across. Greenwich has three times as many private schools, with well-stocked playing fields and well-resourced kids with all the right kit, parents with cars, pay TV, tickets to the The Oval and Lord’s in the summer.

Lewisham, poor old fragile Lewisham, with its mission to tempt out those primary school kids for whom cricket is simply a rumour, a folk memory, a game for someone else, doesn’t really stand a chance here. And cricket will vanish a little more as a result, just as it has already from other parts of inner London.  A few committed exceptions aside, there is simply no regular cricket in London primary schools. There isn’t room, or time or equipment and teachers are horribly overstretched.

The kids who come into Lewisham cricket aren’t going to play professionally. But they are cricket’s future consumers, the carriers of the torch. The sport will be good to them if they keep playing, and they will be good to it in return. It is a healthy, low-friction, mutually beneficial relationship. And it will now die as the sport retreats back behind the TV veil, a rumour, a game played by the kids in the big houses up the hill. Lewisham no longer has a cricket team. And there is a fair chance it will never have one again.

This isn’t really anybody’s fault, perhaps. But it is definitely a little sad. “It is the next generation who, as ever in those deals, will be the losers”, ‘Wisden' said in 2006 of the “catastrophe” of cricket’s move to cut the wider public loose and wall itself up as a sport for the pre-converted via Pay TV. And here we are now. Another tranche of ground conceded, another staged retreat on the map.

Editor’s note:  In February last year, in anticipation of “increased revenues” from “future International Cricket Council events", the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced, amongst other initiatives, it was committed to reviving "inner-city" or urban cricket "over the next ten years”.  A "portion of the increased revenues” were to be directed to those areas of the game, a move it “hoped” would see “thousands of new players” attracted to the game there as a result" (PTG 1292-15 February 2014).

Headline: ‘Events of the past’ sees club reject eight-year-old’s registration.

Article from: Mosman Daily.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Thursday, 3 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,011.

Eight-year-old Harry Farquharson’s application to join Sydney's Mosman Cricket Club (MCC) has been rejected because of a simmering dispute between the club and his father.  In July, Farquharson was registered by his mother, Sally, to play Friday night Twenty20 cricket, but a month later the club e-mailed her to say his application for membership had been rejected by the club’s management committee.  

The family took the issue to Cricket NSW and days later received a response from the club via another e-mail.  The attached letter, which has been seen by the 'Mosman Daily', said that under its constitution the club did not have to provide a reason for rejecting the registration, but then detailed concerns stemming from when the boy's father was president of the club.  

The letter read in part: "The events of the past, which are known to [the father] when he was president, have left many people both within the club and in the local community disillusioned, hurt and angry,” the letter stated.  “His actions, which are known to him, took place following his resignation from the position of president have also caused anger among members of the club"

The club declined to comment on the issue and indicated it was disappointed the family had raised the issue with the Mosman Daily.  “Due to a long, outstanding, unresolved dispute with one of the parents, the club’s not prepared to respond,” club president Andrew Frank said.

Farquharson senior said he could not elaborate on what the dispute was over.  “As far as I’m concerned there is no unresolved issue”, he said.  “It’s just a figment of their imagination”.  “I resigned [as president] in disgust four years ago because of the attitudes and actions of some people at the club. It’s really sad — it looks like nothing has changed".

“Why was one eight-year-old boy’s name singled out to go to the club’s full cricket committee?  They made no attempt to talk to him, they just banned him for no specific reason. He’s a heartbroken little eight-year-old boy”.  Farquharson’s mother said she saw no point in registering her son with another club.  “For sure, he could go to another club but why should he?” “We live just three minutes from Allan Border Oval”.

Cricket NSW is hoping the issue can be resolved.  A spokesman said: “This is a unique set of circumstances between the [MCC] and the parents of the child. Cricket NSW is keen for those circumstances to be resolved so that an eight-year-old can join thousands of other young cricketers”. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,637

  Saturday, 5 September 2015

 

• Budget shortfall sees NZC scrap match referees [1637-8012].

• BCCI asks Supreme Court to rule on Srinivasan issue [1637-8013].

• Dissent attracts reprimand [1637-8014].

• Ground's neighbours complain of flying balls ‘misery' [1637-8015].

Headline: Budget shortfall sees NZC scrap match referees.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Liam Hyslop.                           

Published: Friday, 4 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,012.

Senior level games in New Zealand will be without match referees this austral summer because New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has to tighten its belt.  NZC expects to incur a multi-million dollar loss in 2015-16 and is likely to cut a number of programs, the biggest being to axe the referees who have overseen every top-level domestic match there over the past two seasons; however, it also suggests its umpire and scorers’ initiative, which relies on increased resources, faces strong headwinds (PTG 1632-7976, 31 August 2015). 

News of the move on referees came exactly three weeks after applications closed for the positions to cover all three formats of the domestic game over the 2015-16 austral summer (PTG 1614-7849, 8 August 2015), an opportunity that several reports have suggested attracted interest from around half-a-dozen individuals.  

Over the last two seasons three former Test umpires, Doug Cowie, David Quested and George Morris, worked in the three spots (PTG 1221-5879, 30 October 2013), at a cost thought to be around $NZ150,000-200,000 a year ($A137,000-182,000, £UK62,700-83,600).  The fact the spots were advertised so soon before they were scrapped suggests a degree of management uncertainty at NZC headquarters, which may go part way to explaining why it is yet to make public it’s 2015-16 umpire lists.    

The referees’ primary responsibilities has been to assess umpire performance, oversee  match disciplinary matters and ensure all grounds are up to playing standard, but NZC head of cricket Lindsay Crocker said there is no room for them in this year's budget. 

According to Crocker: "It wasn't a cheap program as we had to pay them, travel them round and pay for accommodation.  This year we're under pretty restrictive budgets and it was really disappointing but it was a program we are simply unable to afford.  It's just the nature of running a business and trying to compete on world terms with a budget smaller than our competitors” in other countries.

Coming off a bumper result from hosting the World Cup, one would expect the coffers to be full, but Crocker said that money would be used to build a legacy and the current budget situation means “there will be other internal areas [besides the refeees] that would have to be scaled back as well”.  He called the World Cup "a one-off [and] it isn't a matter of making a nest egg and then expending it [for] we've got to be prudent about such things".

As a result of the changes, NZC’s top umpires will revert back to receiving feedback via captains reports and NZC umpire coach Tony Hill when he is able to attend games, which was basically the process before match referees were first appointed.  On-field player conduct incidents will return to being policed by umpires, with no match referee to act as a buffer.  Ground conditions will go back to being assessed by umpires, with Crocker calling on the regional associations to take care of the fundamentals of the setup of the ground.

He said: "Things like the sight screen setup, boundary markings, player facilities, all the things which fall broadly under the warrant of fitness for grounds were assessed by the match referees who would arrive 24 hours before the game.  Now we'll be asking the people who host the matches, [NZC’s six major associations], to step up and take responsibility for quality again”.

There was no indication during last weekend’s New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association annual conference in Auckland that NZC planned to do away with its referee spots.

Headline: BCCI asks Supreme Court to rule on Srinivasan issue.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist:  Amol Karhadkar.                           

Published: Friday, 4 September 2015.

PTG listing: 8,013.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) formally approached India's Supreme Court on Thursday over the question as to whether Narayanaswami Srinivasan can attend the meetings of the board as the authorised representative of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association.  Earlier this year former BCCI president Srinivasan was ordered to disengaged from BCCI meetings over conflict of interest issues, the matter coming to a head last week when he attempted to attend a BCCI Working Committee meeting in Kolkata.

The BCCI cannot proceed further until it receives a directive from the Court, and after that it will require at least 24 days, three days' notice to convene an emergency Working Committee meeting and then 21 days' notice for the BCCI’s 2015 Annual General Meeting.  That suggests the AGM, which the BCCI’s constitution says must be held by the end of September, will be late for the second year running (PTG 1633-7990, 1 September 2015).

Last year, the BCCI had kept postponing its AGM, hoping for then president Srinivasan would be cleared by the court to contest the election for president. After a prolonged delay of five months, the AGM was finally held in late February, a gathering from which Srinivasan was barred (PTG 1531-7370, 1 March 2015.

Headline: Dissent attracts reprimand.

Article from: ECB.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Friday, 4 September 2015.

PTG listing: 8,014.

Former England bowler Boyd Rankin has been censured for showing dissent at an umpire's decision during the County Championship match between Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge last month.  Rankin, 31, was reported by umpires Steve Gale and Steve O'Shaugnessy and the England and Wales Cricket Board's discipline commission has now ruled he be reprimanded for the Level One offence.

Headline: Ground's neighbours complain of flying balls ‘misery'.

Article from: Daily Mail.

Journalist:  Emma Glanfield.                           

Published: Wednesday, 2 September 2015.

PTG listing: 8,015.

Homeowners living near a cricket ground in Smallthorne, Stoke-on-Trent, claim their lives are being made a misery by the flying balls and say they have to duck if they leave the house during a game.  They also claim they are "hundreds of pounds" out of pocket thanks to cricket balls smashing into their properties and cars, leaving them to pick up the tab for the damage.

Martyn Baskeyfield said his car was left needing hundreds of pounds worth of work after a ball flew into it during a match in May.  He's: "getting really fed-up of it. Ever since they've cut a line of trees down a couple of years ago we've had so many problems.  They normally come over and fetch the balls back from the street but if they go into my yard they can't get them back and we have about nine from this summer alone”.

Neighbour Ann Clarke said: 'We've had tiles knocked off our house and a few years ago a ball landed on the hood of a baby's pram.  Karen Bruce said she had to replace a window which was hit by a ball.  "Then about three weeks ago one ball almost hit me while I was sitting on the bench outside". 

Residents are now demanding the team that plays at the ground, Newcastle and Hartshill Cricket Club's thirds, erects nets on the 6 foot-high boundary wall to catch high-flying balls.  "We've fought and fought to have nets put up but nobody has done a thing about it”, said Clarke, and “it's not good enough the club saying they were here first.  

The ground used to be home to Norton Cricket Club who played there for 104 years but they left last summer after a dispute with trustees.  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,638

  Sunday, 6 September 2015

 

• ‘Obstruction’ decision inappropriately passed to third umpire? [1638-8016].

• Try ’Super-Sub’ in first class game, suggests Berry [1638-8017].

• Eleven umpires named for 2015 WCL-6 tournament [1638-8018].

• Player banned for four weeks over umpire abuse [1638-8019].

Headline: ‘Obstruction’ decision inappropriately passed to third umpire?

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Sunday, 6 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,016.

England batsman Ben Stokes was given out ‘Obstructing the Field' after having been judged to have stopped a ball thrown at his stumps by Australian bowler Mitchell Starc during their side’s One Day International (ODI) at Lord’s on Saturday.  Media reports later quoted England captain Eoin Morgan, who was at the other end, as saying on-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Tim Robinson "didn't think it was out [but] third umpire [Joel Wilson] disagreed”.

Stokes was outside his crease after blocking a delivery from Starc back down the pitch. As the bowler picked up the ball and threw it at the stumps the batsman, who was holding his bat in his right hand, swivelled to his right stretching for safety.  As he did so, however, he lifted his left hand, and in the process blocked the ball from hitting the stumps.

Australian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade immediately appealed from behind the wicket, and was gradually joined by Starc and other teammates.  After getting together with Robinson, Dharmasena, who was at the bowler’s end, referred the matter to Wilson, the footage showing that while Stokes had little time to react as Starc threw the ball from mid-pitch, he was well outside the trajectory of the ball and was not in danger of being struck .  The question Wilson had to answer was whether the batsman’s action was ‘wilful’, and he judged it was.  

The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ‘Standard [ODI] match Playing Conditions’ say in regards to 'Obstructing the Field’ that “Law 37 should apply”, but go on to say: "For the avoidance of doubt, if an umpire feels that a batsman, in running between the wickets, has significantly changed his direction without probable cause and thereby obstructed a fielder’s attempt to effect a run out, the batsman should, on appeal, be given out, obstructing the field. It shall not be relevant whether a run out would have occurred or not".

The ICC’s instructions to umpires on how they handle such situations states: "The on-field umpire shall be entitled to consult with the third umpire if he feels that the batsman has obstructed the field. The bowler’s end umpire shall firstly take a decision on-field after consulting with the other umpire (if necessary), then he shall consult by two-way radio with the third umpire". The bracketed section ‘if necessary’ is part of the instruction, therefore Dharmasena and Robinson were entitled to reject the appeal themselves if they didn’t think Stokes had contravened the Playing Condition.

Without criticising Wilson personally, Australian journalist Gideon Haig said on television there this morning that in his view the third umpire’s role had become somewhat of a ‘demigod’ in cricket, and the decision to refer it was inappropriate.  “Dharmasena is a poor umpire”, said Haig, and “I would expect him to pass the matter on the [the third umpire]". 

Morgan said after the game he would not have allowed such a review to proceed had England been in the field, but his Australian counterpart Steve Smith labelled not only Morgan's stance disappointing, but also that of the Lord's spectators, who booed Starc and other Australians throughout the match.  "The umpires are there to do a job and when it went upstairs to Joel Wilson the third umpire he made the same decision as we saw”, said Smith.

The dismissal meant Stokes became only the seventh player in the history of international cricket to be adjudged out for ‘Obstructing the Field’, Len Hutton of England in a 1951 Test being the first.  The subsequent six have all been in ODIs: Rameez Raja (Pakistan) in1987, Monhinder Amarnath (India) in 1989, Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pakistan ) in 2006, Mohammed Hafeez (Pakistan) in 2013, Anwar Ali (Pakistan) also in 2013 (PTG 1244-6007, 29 November 2013), and now Stokes.

Headline: Try ’Super-Sub’ in first class game, suggests Berry.

Article from: Cricket Australia web site.

Journalist:  Martin Smith.                           

Published: Saturday, 5 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,017.

Remember the 'Super Sub', that short-lived innovation in One Day International (ODI) cricket that was scrapped in 2006 just nine months after its introduction?  It's not coming back to the 50-over game anytime soon, but former Victoria wicketkeeper and South Australia coach Darren Berry says a similar idea should be introduced to the longer forms of the game.

Berry says the injection of a substitute player - the 12th man - at the completion of both teams' first innings in first-class and Test cricket could add an exciting new element to the game. "This concept could be trialled at Sheffield Shield level and could prove to be hugely beneficial for a team to interchange a fast bowler with a spin bowler as the pitch wears during a game”, Berry wrote in a column for News Corporation.

In his view: "It would add some unpredictability to Sheffield Shield and Test cricket plus create more opportunity for young spinners who rarely get exposed at domestic level in our country.  "Alternatively, an extra bowler could be injected at the expense of a batsman and vice versa.  "Teams don’t have to change their make up after the first innings, but this provides them the option to make a strategic change if they wish”.

Substitutes in red-ball cricket would not be expected to create the same issue that befell the Super Sub in the white ball game; that it unfairly favoured the team that won the toss.  The Super Sub was introduced in July 2005 in a bid to shake-up ODI cricket, but was discarded by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in March the following year.

Teams were required to name their substitute player before the toss, which was designed to encourage the selection of versatile all-rounders in the role of Super Sub.  But teams often selected a specialist bowler or batsman as their substitute, meaning the player often went unused if a team completed their sub's specialist discipline first.  That meant the outcome of the toss carried greater importance, with the losing captain often left with an unusable substitute against a team that could call on 12 players over the course of the match.

Australia's captain Ricky Ponting was a vocal critic of the rule and after being asked to field first in a match against Sri Lanka in January 2006 said of his substitute Brett Dorey: "He goes out of the game and you're playing 11 against 12”.  He later added: "I don't think there's anything lost by going back (to the old rule). We'll keep trying and making the best of it but I'd like to see us going back to 11 against 11 for the (2007) World Cup”.

Just three weeks later, the ICC signalled its plans to discontinue the rule. "The intention ... was to encourage teams to make greater use of all-rounders in the ODI game”, said then ICC General Manager-Cricket David Richardson.  "In practice, teams have elected to nominate a specialist player as the substitute and this is placing undue importance on winning the toss.  "There is no desire to create a situation where 12 players are used to do the job of 11 so we did not support the alternate view of allowing substitutes to be nominated after the toss”.

Headline: Eleven umpires named for 2015 WCL-6 tournament.

Article from: ICC information.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Sunday, 6 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,018.

Eleven umpires, most of them from Europe, have been selected to stand in the 8-team, 15-match World Cricket League (WCL) Division 6 tournament in England over the coming week.  During the tournament which gets underway on Monday, Botswana, Fiji, Guernsey, Suriname, Cayman Islands, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Vanuatu will compete for the top two positions that will earn them promotion to WCL Division 5. 

The umpires who will work under match referee Graeme Le Brooy of Sri Lanka are: Buddhi Pradan (Nepal); Sarika Prasad (Singapore); Samantha Ketipe (Italy); Martin Gray (Guernsey); Azam Baig and Alan Neill (Ireland); Roland Black (Northern Ireland); Ifthika Ali (United Arab Emirates); Heath Keams (Jersey); Alexander Dowdalls (Scotland); and Jesper Jensen (Denmark).

 

Headline: Player banned for four weeks over umpire abuse.

Article from: Huddersfield Examiner.

Journalist:  Mel Booth.                           

Published: Friday, 4 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,019.

The Huddersfield Cricket League’s Cartworth Moor player Andy Bissett has been handed a four-week ban by the league for showing serious dissent at an umpire’s decision by using foul language towards the official.  The incident occurred during his side's home match against Denby Dale in mid-August.

It is a second such offence for Bissett, who is banned from playing in any other league or competition operating under the Yorkshire Cricket Board (YCB) or the England and Wales Cricket Board.  Under YCB  showing disciplinary measures showing "serious dissent at an umpires decision, by word or action" is a Level Two offence.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,639

  Monday, 7 September 2015

 

• MIT engineers looking at sounds bat edges generate [1639-8020].

• ‘Obstruction’ dismissal sparks widespread media comment [1639-8021].

• Narrow escape for players as lightening strikes ground [1639-8022].

• ’The toss’ is 'an integral part of the game', says MCC [1639-8023].

• Kiwi tourists for two-day, pink ball, day-night game [1639-8024].

• Windian, Indian umpires for Netherlands-Scotland fixtures [1639-8025].

• Batting partners' brawl leads to lengthy suspensions [1639-8026].

• Another suspect fire claims club pavilion [1639-8027].

Headline: MIT engineers looking at sounds bat edges generate.

Article from: Wisden India.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 7 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,020.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States are focusing on determining the precise sound generated when balls touch bats in a range of edges that vary from “thick to really fine” types.  Geoff Allardice, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) general manager cricket, says in a ‘Wisden India’ interview the work is the first step of a research program designed to "give all people involved in cricket greater confidence in the [Umpire Decision Review System]” (PTG 1594-7709, 17 July 2015). 

Allardice said MIT engineers have produced a "bat that is instrumented with sensors so that the smallest vibration [produced] by contact with the ball is registered in [recording devices]”.  The bat is used together with an MIT-developed "swinging arm system” that allows a fine range of bat contact types to occur”.  Associated work is looking at glove and pad sounds.

"One of the difficulties with edge-detection is to produce a fine edge”, says Allardice. "To run a testing session, you need to be able to generate these very fine edges frequently and this is what the swinging arm is able to do, just make very fine contact of ball on bat and give plenty of data samples for us to work with and to be able to assess the performance of the technology". 

The combined system allows an analysis to be made of "how well the technology used in games, compares with what their testing system shows”, as the noise generated by the ball on bat goes into ball tracking systems.  “We will be comparing the results of the two to make sure that the noise detected on the bat itself is also detected by the stump microphone and the UDRS product”, said Allardice. 

The findings from the MIT study are to go "the guys from 'Hawk-Eye’ [who will make sure] that the sound they get from their stump-microphones marries up to the exact moment when the ball passes the bat”.  The objective is for the third umpire to be able to look at the images on the screen with the sound represented in a visual way that can be interpreted consistently. 

Allardice said the work "is the first of a number of testing sessions that we will conduct over the next several months to try to understand the performance of the UDRS”.  "It is good to have the engineers from the MIT involved because they bring a fresh set of eyes to the problem.  Their independence is a big factor and we have some very smart engineers working on this project and if we are able to get the results we are after” it will make a key difference.

No information is available, or given the ICC’s reticence on such matters ever likely to be available, on just what the research and testing program is costing.

Headline: ‘Obstruction’ dismissal sparks widespread media comment.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 7 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,021.

The ‘Obstructing the Field’ dismissal of England batsman Ben Stokes in a One Day International at Lord’s on Saturday has seen a flood of ‘for and against’ articles in a wide range of media outlets around the cricket playing world over the last two days.  Not all of the commentary has been parochial, examples being an Australian journalist who castigated his national side for continuing with the appeal, and English writers who took the opposite view.

Writing in ‘The Australian’ today Patrick Smith, who is well known for his blunt columns on a range of sporting issues, says the 'Spirit of Cricket’ "was stretched to snapping point when Australia appealed” against Stokes, "whose action seemed instinctive to stop the ball hitting him [and] under the Laws Stokes’ action had to be deliberate to be given out” (PTG 1638-8016, 16 September 2015).

Smith asks: "why for heaven’s sake was the issue referred to the third umpire — and he ruled Stokes out. It was a poor decision because Stokes was allowed to protect himself and that’s what he was doing. He could not be said to be deliberately protecting his wicket”.  Smith then went on to criticise Australian captain Steve Smith for continuing with the appeal.

Writing in the London 'Daily Telegraph’ former England captain Michael Vaughan thought though captain Smith was right to appeal for the decision, however, said "the incident has set a precedent and I would now be telling my bowlers to throw it back at the batsman if they get a chance [for] if the ball strikes a hand, glove or bat then it will have to be out.  I think we will see it happening more and more, particularly in an era when players are being aggressive and trying to advance down the pitch or throw the ball at a batsman to try and intimidate him". 

Vaughan described Smith as "a young captain desperate to win his first series as well as look tough and hard.  A more experienced captain five years into the job would probably have called Stokes back but when you first start you do not want to show any sign of weakness, and after losing the Ashes, Australia want to give England a good hiding in the one-dayers”. 

However, continued Vaughan, "The one thing I felt Smith did wrong was go up to the umpires and pester them while they were trying to make a decision. Once you have appealed, just leave it up to them to do their job. But he tried to pressurise them into making a decision in his favour.  Only Stokes knows for sure whether or not it was deliberate. My view is that for it to have been a deliberate act then he must have an incredibly quick mind and set of reflexes”. 

Another former England player, Mike Atherton writing in ’The Times’ agreed Smith "was within his rights to let umpires make the final call on Stokes”.  “Just as Stuart Broad was entitled to stand his ground at Trent Bridge in the 2013 Ashes, so Smith was entitled to appeal against Stokes at Lord’s on Saturday”.  

He says that “of the many thousands [in the Lord’s crowd] who booed Smith, during and after the game, it is likely only a small percentage actually knew the relevant Law”.  "You can probably add to that number the players of both sides, and indeed many in the press box who were scrabbling around for the booklet pertaining to the Laws shortly after Stokes was given out”.  Neither would the two captains said Atheron who claimed: “Smith was briefed [on the Law] by the team’s media manager prior to the post-match press conference".

Atherton said that "third umpire Joel Wilson interpreted Stokes’s action as wilful [and] it is certainly possible to argue against his interpretation. He looked at only the slow-motion replays, in which Stokes’s actions looked worse than in real time, and you could argue that Stokes’s action was an instinctive self-protective response. However, Stokes did stop the ball well away from his face. The ball would not have hit him and may have hit the stumps, the basis, presumably, of Wilson’s judgment and Smith’s appeal”. 

"Either way”, continued Atherton, "the third umpire’s knowledge of the Law was not in question: television viewers heard Wilson say that Stokes had wilfully stopped the ball. Given that the Law requires interpretation from the umpire, you cannot say he was wrong, only that he interpreted Stokes’s actions harshly”.  

As for the crowd’s belief that Smith ought to have withdrawn the appeal under the “Spirit of Cricket”, Atherton asks: “How could Smith, fielding at square leg, possibly know if Stokes was wilfully trying to prevent a run-out or not?  He did what any reasonable captain would have done in that situation: he let the umpires decide”.  "Quite where the “Spirit of Cricket” comes into this is anybody’s guess”, concludes Atherton. 

Headline: Narrow escape for players as lightening strikes ground.

Article from: The Hindu.

Journalist:  Samuel Jonathan.                           

Published: Monday, 7 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,022.

A match between women teams from Andhra and Tripura being played in the town of Perecharla in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, was abandoned on Sunday after lightening struck, and set fire to, a palm tree located 10 metres from the pavilion. 

A witness at the ground said "It started raining and as the umpires called off play we heard a loud and thundering sound that left the players, umpires and the selectors scurrying for cover.   After some time, we realised that lightning had struck a palm tree just next the building and we could see the tree was in flames. We all came rushing out of the building and the women players ran to the buses”.  

Despite the pouring rain the fire is said to have continued for about 30 minutes.  Parts of the district experienced heavy downpours that afternoon following a tragedy on Saturday when lightening claimed three lives in the region.

Headline: ’The toss’ is 'an integral part of the game', says MCC.

Article from: Pakistan Observer.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Sunday, 6 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,023.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) believes that ‘the toss’ is an integral part of a game of cricket, and that, since the Laws of Cricket apply to every game at every level throughout the world, the Club is most unlikely to change the Law in dispensing with the toss, according to Mark Williams, the Laws of Cricket Advisor at the MCC.  

Williams was responding to a query from the 'Pakistan Observer’ as a result of recent suggestions by well known players that the toss be dropped from Test matches (PTG 1636-8003, 2 September 2015).  Speaking by telephone from Lord’s, he said: “Law 12.4 (the toss) includes: ‘The captains shall toss for the choice of innings’. Therefore, under Law, a toss must take place to determine the choice of innings, and the captains may not dispense with it”. 

“The idea of allowing the visiting captain the choice of innings in international cricket is a novel one, and seems to be in response to suggestions that home authorities are specifically asking the groundsmen to produce pitches which favour the home side”, said Williams.   “The argument follows that, if the visiting captain automatically has choice of innings, such pitches would be less likely to occur, leading to closer and more even matches”.

However, while the MCC, which has been the custodianship of the Laws of cricket since its formation in 1787 may not think the idea appropriate, that wouldn’t necessarily prevent the International Cricket Council from modifying it via a Playing Conditions change, something it has done in relation to how a number of the Laws are applied in its games.  

Headline: Kiwi tourists for two-day, pink ball, day-night game.

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Sunday, 6 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,024.

New Zealand’s touring side will play a two-day, pink ball match under lights in Perth ahead of the November’s inaugural day-night Test, according to an article in yesterday’s 'New Zealand Herald’ (PTG 1624-7919, 21 August 2015).  The side’s first experience of such a format is expected to be its opening match of the tour, a one-day fixture against a Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra late next month (PTG 1607-7813, 1 August 2015).

‘NZH’ journalist Andrew Alderson writes that "questions remain over how use of the pink ball might affect colourblind players, whether the role of spinners will be depowered with less sun on the pitch, and how best to adapt to Australia's advantage of playing pink ball matches in the Sheffield Shield over the past two seasons”.

Alderson reports that after opposing the concept, New Zealand pace bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee "have vowed to embrace the floodlit opportunity”.  He says their change of heart represents a U-turn for players in general after 17 of last year's 20 contracted players answered 'no' to a survey question on whether they supported the introduction of day-night Tests (PTG 1575-7570, 24 June 2015 and PTG 1576-7574, 25 June 2015).  

"It's tough because none of our grounds have lights in the nets but it's a chance to be part of history. We need to seize the initiative”, said Southee.  Boult said: "We are going into the unknown as to how much it will swing and seam but, now it's happening, I want to look forward to it. It could be a hit. The warm-up games are the most important part to get confidence”.

An incentive for New Zealand Cricket (NZC) to play a day-night Test has been the seven-year deal with Cricket Australia. There is also a purse of $A1 million (£UK456,00) for the Test series, which is understood to be split 60:40 in a winning:losing ratio.

NZC's head of cricket Lindsay Crocker addressed the scepticism.  "Most pink ball games will be two-thirds in daylight. The key thing is practising at the change of light. We don't have any suitable net facilities [for night pink ball practice] but I believe there are some in Queensland to practice under lights.  However, we want to concentrate on the red ball until the end of the second Test so we're not blurring things”.   The day-night Test is the third and final game of the series.

Headline: Windian, Indian umpires for Netherlands-Scotland fixtures.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Sunday, 6 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,025.

West Indian umpire Peter Nero and Chettihody Shamshuddin of India are to stand in three games between the Netherlands and Scotland in The Hague over the next week, David Jukes of England being the match referee.  The fixtures are a four-day, first class Intercontinental Cup fixture, and two, 50-over format World Cricket League Championship game.

Both umpires are members of their respective International Cricket Council second-tier International Umpires Panel.  Nero has previously stood in two previous Intercontinental Cup fixtures played in Canada and Scotland over the last four years, while Shamshuddin stood in his first in Ireland three months ago.

The four-day match is due to get underway on Tuesday, while the ODIs are to be played in Amstelveen on Monday and Wednesday next week.

Headline: Batting partners' brawl leads to lengthy suspensions.

Article from: Daily Star.

Journalist:  Tom Parfitt.                           

Published: Sunday, 6 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,026.

Two players from the Bournemouthians Cricket Club have been banned for a total of 25 games after they fought each other whilst batting in a Hampshire League match.  Malick Kudmany and his batting partner Peter Kritzinger fought during a game against Hordle Green after a dispute over a run.  As a result of the incident Kritzinger, who was playing his first match after a previous ban, was banned for 17 games for striking his captain Kudmany who was suspended for eight for racial abuse.

Ed Baker, who was bowling for opponents Hordle Green, was shocked by the fight.  He said: "I have never seen anything like that in almost 30 years playing club cricket – especially at this level.  They ran a single then another was declined and then it kicked off. We never found out what was behind it all.  This is a gentle league which has young children playing in it as well as veterans, and the fight was a dreadful example to them and those watching from the boundary”.

Headline: Another suspect fire claims club pavilion.

Article from: Louth Leader.

Journalist:  James Silcocks.                           

Published: Sunday, 6 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,027.

A fire that caused “devastating” damage to the Holton le Clay Cricket Club’s pavilion in Lincolnshire on Saturday evening is being treated by police as a suspected arson.  Fire crews from four stations attended but nobody was injured in the blaze, however, there was severe damage to the property due to the fire, smoke and heat.  The fire follows that half way across the world in Christchurch where the burning down of the 106-year-old New Brighton Cricket Club’s pavilion two weeks ago is also being looked at as arson (PTG 1625-7929, 22 August 2015).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,640

  Tuesday, 8 September 2015

 

• Bowden returns to IUP ranks, 200th ODI beckons [1640-8028].

• No sign of rumoured Plunket Shield day-nighters [1637-8029].

• Book digs up the dirt on fixing, foul play in cricket [1640-8030].

• WACA to shift ‘top tier’ Test matches to new Perth Stadium [1640-8031].

Headline: Bowden returns to IUP ranks, 200th ODI beckons.

Article from: NZC.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Tuesday, 8 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,028.

New Zealand umpire ‘Billy’ Bowden, who was dropped from the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) for the second time in two years in June (PTG 1561-7505, 5 June 2015), has once again been appointed as a member of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  Bowden also returns as a member of New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) domestic Elite Umpires Panel (NZEUP), a group former first class player Chris Brown will also join following his promotion from NZC's Reserve Umpires Panel.

Brown, who was born in the Cook Islands when his parents worked there, replaces long-serving Gary Baxter who has retired (PTG 1,609-7825, 3 August 2015). Brown, who featured in 19 first class and 25 List A during his playing career with Auckland from 1993-98, joins fellow Aucklanders Bowden, Barry Frost, Tony Gillies, Phil Jones and Wayne Knights, Northern Districts' Ashley Mehrotra, Otago’s Derek Walker, and Tim Parlane of Canterbury, on the NZEUP.  

NZC has retained Walker as an IUP on-field member alongside Bowden, with Jones remaining in the third umpire spot.  NZC Umpires Manager Rodger McHarg has expressed the view that Bowden, 52, “has enough time” left in his career to make another bid for the ICC’s top panel (PTG 1562-7510, 6 June 2015)

Of the nine NZP members, Bowden made his first class debut in January 1993 and will be standing at that level for the 24th season, Frost his seventieth, Jones fifteenth, Parlane thirteenth, Walker eleventh, Knights seventh, Gillies fifth, Methorta and Brown both fourth.  In age the group runs from Frost, whose first class debut was in 1999, and Parlane (2004) who are both 57, Jones (2003) and Walker (2005) 55, Bowden 52, Mehrotra (2013) 46, Gillies (2013) 45, Knights (2008) 44, and Brown (2013) 42.   Brown and Walker are the only ones who played at first class level prior to taking up umpiring.

NZC has named 19 as members of its Reserve Panel, two less that the size of the group as last year.  Seven of those are from Central Districts, John Bromley, Mark Elliott, Mike George, Richard Hooper, Dave Paterson, Shaun Ryan and Glen Walklin, four from Auckland, Raoul Allen, Jayeth Batuwangala, John Dempsey, and Hiran Perera, three from Wellington, Aaron Hardie, Kathy Cross and Garth Stirrat, two from Northern Districts, Damian Morrow and David Tidmarsh, two from Otago, Shaun Haig and Peter Pasco, plus Eugene Sanders from Canterbury.   

Cross remains a member of the ICC's third-tier third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel (AAIUP) for a third year, having been appointed to it in early 2014 (PTG 1280-6164, 31 January 2014).  Of the other Reserve Panel members, Pasco, Morrow and Batuwangala are the newcomers, who NZC Umpires Manager Rodger McHarg says have performed well at club and district representative level. Those no longer listed with the group are: Phil Agent from Northern Districts, Johann Fourie of Central Districts, David Reid from Canterbury and Peter Gasston of Auckland, and of course Brown who has been promoted.

The Reserve group will officiate mainly in the NZC Tournament events: the Secondary Schools, males Under-19, Under-17 and the Womens one day and Twenty20 Championships plus three-day Hawke Cup Challenge matches.

Bowden starts the season having stood in a total of 195 One Day Internationals (ODI), and with 8 ODIs scheduled to be played in New Zealand in 2015-16, five against Sri Lanka and three in which Australia are the opponents, he could become the second umpire to reach the 200 ODI mark by the time February comes around.  The Aucklander is currently second on the all-time ODI list behind present record holder Rudi Koertzen on 208.

Headline: No sign of rumoured Plunket Shield day-nighters.

Article from: NZC.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 7 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,029.

Reports that New Zealand’s 2015-16 Plunket Shield first class season could feature day-night, pink ball matches appear to be incorrect if the match schedule announced last Friday is actually adhered to (PTG 1632-7978,  31 August 2015).  

All of the games in what is a 30 match series, which will be played across 14 grounds in October, December, February and March, have been listed by New Zealand Cricket as starting at 10.30 a.m. local time.  NZC chief executive David White has suggested several times over the last three years that a day-night, pink ball match would be conducted in his country, however, such a fixture is yet to materialise.

Headline: Book digs up the dirt on fixing, foul play in cricket.

Article from: Business Day.

Journalist:  Luke Alfred.                           

Published: Monday, 7 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,030.

Former Cricket South Africa (CSA) president Mtutuzeli Nyoka’s newly launched book 'Deliberate Concealment' lifts the lid on the shenanigans at CSA during Gerald Majola’s reign as chief executive from 2000-12.  Nyoka, president from 2008-11, grew up in the Eastern Cape with Majola, the man who became his nemesis, but their paths diverged until they were reunited when he sat on the interview panel that selected Majola as Ali Bacher’s successor as CSA chief executive.

Majola was at the heart of a scandal over unauthorised bonuses that brought the CSA’s structure into question. He and other staff members received a collective 4.7 million Rand ($A486,000, £UK221,000) in bonuses after the hosting of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Champions Trophy in 2009, but those payments were not disclosed to CSA's remunerations committee and were picked up in a subsequent audit report as irregularities. 

Nyoka writes, with palpable schadenfreude, that Majola was neither the best qualified candidate nor gave the most impressive interview for the chief executive position. Given the demands of the times, he was nevertheless pressed into service as cricket’s first black chief executive.  Nyoka and Majola’s story is backlit by the fact that Majola’s older brother, Khaya, was widely expected to take over from Bacher, but he died tragically of cancer in August 2000, aged 47.

During Majola’s early reign, CSA was characterised by unity and a smoothly functioning system, but as his tenure progressed, he entered entitlement’s castle and hauled up the drawbridge. He hired poorly and became increasingly paranoid, falling out with his chief financial officer Don McIntosh, who was one of the most efficient administrators cricket has had.

Matters reached a head when, after marginalising the players’ union, Majola manoeuvred to have Norman Arendse removed as CSA president, opening the way for Nyoka, who was to become deeply suspicious of Majola’s behaviour in the years to follow.  The IPL swung into town a few years later and so began cricket’s descent into idiocy, cover-ups and bloodletting.

First, Majola alienated his colleagues, then his constituency and then the public. In graft-obsessed times, his errors were easy to understand and easier to condemn, and he handled it with spectacular ineptitude — by hiding.  Majola, the tragic hero never meant for the job, had come face to face with his hubris by paying himself commissions without board oversight. 

No one cared to understand the factors that created him because it got in the way of a good story.  But as the Pan McMillan publication 'Deliberate Concealment' reveals, the truth has a way of eventually leaking.

Headline: WACA to shift ‘top tier’ Test matches to new Perth Stadium.

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Monday, 7 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,031.

“Tier-one” Test matches Australia hosts in Perth will move from the WACA Ground to the new 60,000 capacity Perth Stadium from the 2018-19 austral summer and the long-time home of cricket in Western Australia is to open its doors to football.  In releasing its 'Vision 2030' blueprint, the Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) announced a strategy that will see Test matches against tier one countries – currently England, South Africa and India – plus One Day Internationals and Big Bash League games played at the new Burswood venue.

Under the new plan the WACA Ground, which to date has hosted 451 first class games since 1899, 41 of those Tests since the first in 1970, is set to be redeveloped into a boutique stadium with a capacity of 15,000 people and will include a cricket high performance training facility.  It will continue to host Test matches against the lower tiered nations, as well as Sheffield Shield games.

WACA members will get the best of both worlds, with an agreement struck for them to have access to both venues, which chief executive Christina Matthews expects will result in an increase in membership.  "We have currently 8000 members, that equates to 15,000 live cards because members can buy guest passes”, she said.  "We would look to double that at the new stadium 12,000 member’s spots are anticipated".

The WACA will prepare crucial funding submissions to the state and federal governments to help pay for the $A150-200 million (£UK68-90 m) expected to be needed for upgrades of the venue.  Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said Western Australian sporting fans should be excited about the initiative shown by the WACA and the future of cricket in the state.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,641

  Wednesday, 9 September 2015

 

• Busy five months provides opportunity for EUP aspirants [1641-8032].

• Essel drops rebel plans, safeguards TV rights ability [1641-8033]. 

• Australasian IUP members to meet in Christchurch [1641-8034].

• Cricket immensely popular during US Civil War, expert says [1641-8035].

Headline: Busy five months provides opportunity for EUP aspirants.

Article from: Analysis.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Wednesday, 9 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,032.

The international cricket calendar is particularly busy over the five months from October with 25 Tests, 33 One Day Internationals (ODI) and 21 Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) to be played across 7 countries.  That will keep members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) top referee and Elite (EUP) and second-tier International Umpires Panels (IUP) well employed over that time, and provide some in the latter group with opportunities to further press their case for eventual elevation to EUP level.

During the 159 days from the second day of October, nine of the ten Test playing countries will be involved in a total of 179 days of international cricket, 125 being Tests provided they all go for five days, 33 days of ODIs, and 21 on which T20Is will be played.  Analysis of the umpiring and referee workloads involved as well as past ICC selection processes, including ‘neutrality’ issues, suggests at least one or two IUP members will be given the opportunity to stand at Test level over that time.

Observers will be watching to see whether Joel Wilson of the West Indies, who made his Test debut in July, is currently working in the ‘Ashes’ ODI series and appears to be well regarded by ICC selectors, will be allocated further Tests and to neutral positions in a top-tier ODI bilateral series to further examine his credentials (PTG 1632-7975, 31 August 2015).  

In addition, it is likely to become clearer whether Sri Lanka’s Ranmore Martinecz, 48, who was in contention last year having been allocated seven Tests, is still in the EUP loop, and if the long Test career of New Zealand’s ‘Billy’ Bowden, 52, is finally over.  Alternatively the ICC could decide to move on from that pair and look instead at younger up-and-coming umpires for Test duty, potentials being Johan Cloete, 44, of South Africa after what to date has been a 22-year, 105 first class match, umpiring career, or the highly regarded and fast rising Michael Gough, 35, of England. 

Tests in Bangladesh are usually where the ICC first exposes umpires to Test cricket, therefore the selections for the two games scheduled for that country next month involving Australia will be awaited with particular interest.  Of the other Tests,  Australia and New Zealand are to play a total of five, India and South Africa four, South Africa and England four, Pakistan and England three, Australia and the West Indies three, Sri Lanka and the West Indies two, and New Zealand and Sri Lanka also two.

Headline: Essel drops rebel plans, safeguards TV rights ability. 

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist:  Ali Martin.                           

Published: Wednesday, 9 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,033.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is confident plans for the creation of a rebel league have been shelved following talks with Essel, the Indian conglomerate behind the project.  Owned by the billionaire Subhash Chandra, Essel were this year discovered to be drawing up a blueprint for the creation of a rival governing body for the sport and a new Twenty20 tournament, sparking alarm at the ICC headquarters in Dubai (PTG 1576-7579, 25 June 2015).

The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA), the umbrella group for seven country’s players’ unions, was sounded out about the interest of their members, with the Australia opener David Warner and then captain Michael Clarke reported to be on a list of players targeted for multi-million pound contracts (PTG 1575-7572, 24 June 2015).

Lalit Modi, the architect of the highly successful Indian Premier League, was known to have been involved in the early stages of the project, which drew comparisons to Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket in the late 1970s (PTG 1602-7773, 26 July 2015).

Exposure of their movements by the Guardian and the Sydney Morning Herald in April prompted Essel to confirm plans were being drawn up for a move back into cricket, after their attempt at a rival tournament, the Indian Cricket League (ICL), folded in 2009 after two seasons amid reports of unpaid wages and match-fixing (PTG 488-2539, 13 September 2009).

As well as prompting an ICC investigation, the news raised the question of whether the company’s broadcasting subsidiary, Ten Sports, should continue to hold the rights to show home international cricket played by West Indies, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, South Africa and Zimbabwe while working on a breakaway league (PTG 1582-7622, 2 July 2015).

But following meetings between representatives of Essel and the ICC, a truce has been agreed by which Essel remain free to continue these contracts – as well as bid for television rights in future – on the assurance their proposed breakway plans be closed down permanently.

In addition, it is understood that Essel’s longstanding legal battle for compensation from the ICC, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for refusing to sanction the ICL is close to being resolved.  An ICC source said: “Essel have given up the project. Everyone is prepared to settle and move on, while Ten Sports are entitled to bid for future cricket broadcasting rights. This is a good result for cricket”.

Editor’s note: There have been indications recently the BCCI has put pressure both the Pakistan and Zimbabwe boards not to sign broadcast rights contracts with Ten Sports because of its Essel link (PTG 1634-7998, 2 September 2015 and PTG 1636-8007, 4 September 2015).  In 2009 when the ICL was operational the international cricket community worked hard to deny the ICL of access to match officials and players for its competitions, an approach some observers at the time equated to a restraint of trade (PTG 475-2467, 18 August 2009).  Essel appears to have retreated from its latest attempt to form its own league in order to protect Ten's ability to successfully bid for on-going broadcast rights.

Headline: Australasian IUP members to meet in Christchurch.

Article from: Sources.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Tuesday, 8 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,034.

Reports indicate Australian and New Zealand members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) are to meet in Christchurch for two days next week under the leadership of David Levens, the ICC Umpire Coach for that region.  The gathering, which PTG understands is the first of its kind held in New Zealand, comes ahead of the southern hemisphere’s 2015-16 season and respective senior national domestic umpire panel events scheduled for Auckland and Brisbane soon after.

Those expected to be present in Christchurch include Australians Simon Fry, John Ward, Mick Martell and John Wilson, New Zealanders ‘Billy’ Bowden, Derek Walker and Phil Jones, all of whom are IUP members, NZ Umpire Coach Tony Hill and its Umpire Manager Rodger McHarg.  Whether the latter’s Cricket Australian equivalents will also attend is not known at this stage. 

Few details of the event are currently publicly available, however, such regional gatherings are normally busy affairs.  One report suggests that in Christchurch the group will analyse and discuss video clips provided by broadcaster ‘Sky Sports’ that cover a range of issues that have occurred in matches that are being .  Third umpire training is also believed to be on the agenda as well as discussion on ICC Playing Conditions that apply for the coming season.

Headline: Cricket immensely popular during US Civil War, expert says.

Article from: Chatham Daily News (Canada).

Journalist:  Blair Andrews.                           

Published: Tuesday, 8 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,035.

Long before World Series baseball or the Super Bowl, the most eagerly anticipated sporting event in North America was an annual cricket match between Canada and the United States.  In 1844, the U.S. and Canada sent teams to New York for what some argue was the first international match in cricket history.

Tom Melville, a 19th-century cricket aficionado from Wisconsin, said the competition was one of the biggest sporting events of the year.  “That was front-page news in a lot of papers”, noted Melville, “but the Civil War disrupted it and they had to stop it because the war broke out”.

Melville was in North Buxton for the annual Homecoming celebration during the Labour Day weekend. His 1860s cricket demonstration was part of this year’s theme that was tied to the 150th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War in 1865.

It was more of a chance for people to play cricket than a demonstration as Melville invited visitors to give the sport a try in a field behind the Buxton National Historic Site and Museum.  Melville first became involved with cricket when he was a graduate student at the University of Wales and he continued when he returned home by playing at cricket clubs in the U.S.

About 25 years ago, Melville noticed that more articles were emerging about the history of cricket in the U.S.  As the game’s history was becoming better known, he saw an opportunity to bring a cricket demonstration to various historical events.  He started locally in Wisconsin and has since travelled to more than a dozen U.S. states and to several events in Canada.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,642

  Thursday, 10 September 2015

 

• MCC canvassing Laws change ideas ahead of planned 2017 revamp [1642-8036].

• Visa issues stop play for Saudi team, opponents [1642-8037].

• Norway, Vanuatu bowlers reported for suspect bowling actions [1642-8038].

• PCB opts for ‘austerity', India series key to stabilisation [1642-8039].

• ‘Higher revenues, lower spending’, improve SLC's financial position [1642-8040].

• 'Spirit of Cricket’ is a figment of the imagination [1642-8041].

• Good storytelling makes cricket commentary more compelling [1642-8042].

Headline: MCC canvassing Laws change ideas ahead of planned 2017 revamp.

Article from: MCC.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Thursday, 10 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,036.

A range of international, domestic first-class and recreational umpires from across the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ten Full members have been providing feedback to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) as it starts work on a review of the game’s Laws ahead of the planned publication of a new Code in October 2017.  The views of the ICC's Cricket Committee and its umpires’ administrators have also been sought, as have members of various MCC committees.

Fraser Stewart, the MCC’s Cricket Academy Manager, says the Club’s Laws sub-committee felt it "particularly important" to seek opinions from recreational umpires as they generally officiate in games played under the full Laws of Cricket, whereas those overseeing international and first-class games tend to have variations set out via Playing Conditions where administrators judge their competition needs to diverge from the Laws proper.

Stewart says it was not possible, because of the work involved, the relatively limited time available, and the urgency of getting on with any redrafting of the Laws eventually agreed as needing attention, to survey every qualified umpire in each country.

Instead, the MCC decided to ask the ICC to provided the names of three umpires from each of its ten Full member entities, one international, one domestic first class and one recreational, to whom a 40 question Laws survey document could be sent. It was left to each individual provided with the survey to consult with other umpires in their category in whichever way they thought appropriate.  In England, regional workshops were held by members of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Association of Cricket Officials, the views from which were then consolidated into one response.  

Of the questions, 1-38 covered a range of issues the MCC Laws sub-committee identified as needing consideration, a typical case for example being as to whether the gloved hand holding the bat should continue to be considered as part of the bat or not.  For each of those 38 issues the sub-committee identified, it provided those surveyed with three basic accompanying statements: the first outlining why a change might be appropriate; the second an argument why alterations were not needed; and the third what the Laws sub-committee itself recommends as the way forward.

In addition to the questions raised by the sub-committee itself, there was an open-ended request to participants to identify, and provide thoughts on, "any pragmatic and realistic suggestions" about other changes they believe need considered.  Opinions were also sought on whether the MCC’s 'Tom Smith’s Cricket Umpiring and Scoring’ should be reprinted when the new Code is finalised, or if an on-line only format is satisfactory.  Stewart emphasises that "no decision on the latter issue will be taken until after the MCC receives the response from all those surveyed. 

Many of those approached have already provided their advice and Stewart told ‘PTG': "some novel, pragmatic and relevant ideas about changing the existing Laws” have been suggested".  The major task ahead now for the Laws sub-committee involves collation of responses and then, using all the information before it, to critically assess each current Law against the following TWO questions: "Is it fit for purpose in the modern game?; and, can it be explained in a clearer and less jargonistic way without any loss of rigour?”  

Once those questions are answered and policies are formulated by the sub-committee the complex, precise and time consuming task of redrafting Laws identified as in need of change will then get underway.

Headline: Visa issues stop play for Saudi team, opponents.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Wednesday, 9 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,037.

The five games the Saudi Arabian team was to play in this week’s World Cricket League Division 6 50-over series in England have been abandoned without a ball being bowled after all members of its squad were unable to obtain visas that would enable them to enter the UK for the event (PTG 1638-8018, 6 September 2015).   .  

The side was to have played Norway on Monday, the Cayman Islands on Tuesday, Vanuatu later today and two further matches in the finals on Friday and Sunday.  Given planning for the series has been underway for many months the need for visas would have been obvious.  Just what prevented them being issued has not been made public.

Headline: Norway, Vanuatu bowlers reported for suspect bowling actions.

Article from: ICC release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Wednesday, 9 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,038.

Norway off-spinner Zeeshan Siddiqui and Vanuatu pace bowler Niko Unavalu have been reported with suspected illegal bowling actions during the World Cricket League Division 6 match played between the teams in Essex on Tuesday.  Reports by umpires Alex Dowdalls of Scotland and Sarika Prasad from Singapore, which have been handed over to the respective team managements, cited concerns about the legality of both players' bowling actions.

International Cricket Council regulations now require the pair’s bowling actions be scrutinised by an “Expert Panel’ who will review match footage taken of both players and determine if their styles are legal or illegal.  Both Siddiqui and Unavalu are permitted to continue bowling in international cricket until the results are known.

Headline: PCB opts for ‘austerity', India series key to stabilisation.

Article from: Dawn

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Wednesday, 9 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,039.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has commenced what it says is the first phase of "right sizing” its staff numbers by abolishing leadership positions in its international and domestic cricket departments, merging functions across the organisation, cutting some employees older than 60, and letting go those who work with the PCB's non-functional radio station.  PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said on Monday that while his organisation had decided to move on staff numbers, changes will be made “gradually” and "not in a drastic manner". 

Khan said: “Currently the PCB has nine [heads of departments] and such an arrangement is too difficult for the chief operating officer to coordinate, so their numbers are being reduced”.  When it was pointed out that two departments that deal directly with the playing of the game are being abolished in phase one while the other seven directors dealing with non-cricketing affairs remain untouched, the chairman said it was a part of long-term planning and the "other directors’ [positions]   would be gradually assessed".

He went on to indicate that the PCB had shelved its radio station plans and all staff from that department would be axed. Also, "eight or ten" employees older than 60 who "did not have much or necessary work” to do will also have to go, “but again, we are not pushing the panic button and the process will be completed in phases”.

While acknowledging no former international player was part of the PCB Board of Governors despite a two-man quota being required, Khan said a constitutional amendment has to be made in that regard which could take time. However, he added that he may hire the services of two formerTest cricketers as advisers for the time being. 

Commenting on the financial burden the Board has to bear in the shape of payment of salaries to staff of regional cricket associations, Khan said the PCB is looking for sponsors fund regional activities but so far the response from potential sponsors was not very encouraging although the situation might improve in the near future.

Speaking about his dealings with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) regarding what is supposed to be a bilateral series this December, Khan said he has not received any response to the letter he sent to them last week (PTG 1636-8007, 4 September 2015). Although the two Boards had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to play six bilateral series in the next eight years, strained political relations between the two governments could get in the way of this year’s proposed games.

The PCB is desperate to play the series against India as it is expecting revenue of around $US50 million ($A70.9 m, £UK32.5 m) to be generated from it.  Should it not take place reports suggest even larger down-sizing and expenditure cuts at the PCB will have to be put in place, otherwise the Board is likely to have to deal with a major financial crisis.

Headline: ‘Higher revenues, lower spending’, improve SLC's financial position.

Article from: Economy Next (Sri Lanka).

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Wednesday, 9 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,040.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) says that due to "sharply higher revenues and lower spending” it had made a "book profit" of 1.5 billion Rupees ($A15.5 m, £UK 7.1 m) during the six months ending in June, a turn around from a loss of 393 million Rupees ($A4.1 m, £1.9 m) over the whole of 21014.  Total expenditure was 1.24 billion Rupees ($A12.8 m, £5.9 m) for the half year, a figure that was 41 percent of the full-year spending of 3.0 billion Rupees ($A30.9 m, £14.2 m) in 2014.

Income from international tournaments rose to 2.4 billion Rupees ($A24.7 m, £11.3 m) in the first half of 2015 compared to only 2.51 billion Rupees ($A25.9 m, £11.9 m) for the whole of 2014.  "Other income" totalled 622 million Rupees ($A6.4 m, £2.9 m) for the half year, compared to 715 million Rupees ($A7.4 m, £3.4 m) across 2014.   SLC cut spending on international tournaments from 1.12 billion ($A11.5 m, £5.3 m) to 479 million Rupees ($A4.9 m, £2.3 m).

SLC financial statements showed that 1.53 billion Rupees ($A15.8 m, £7.2 m) in accrued revenues were still not received by it by the wend of June. A term loan with the Bank of Ceylon had increased to 505 million Rupees ($A5.2 m, £2.4 m) by June 2015, up from 450 million Rupees ($A4.6 m, £2.1 m) last December.  The organisation had however settled a 413 million Rupee ($A4.3 m, £2 m) loan with the International Cricket Committee. 

Cash and cash equivalents also rose to 733 million Rupees ($A7.6 m, £3.5 m) from 243 million Rupees ($A2.5 m, £1.1 m).  However, SLC still owes 567 million Rupees ($A5.8 m, £2.7 m) for stadia upgrading and 2,219 billion Rupees ($A22.9 m, £10.5 m) to 'Other Venue creditors’. 

Headline: 'Spirit of Cricket’ is a figment of the imagination.

Article from: The Roar.

Journalist:  Alec Swann.                           

Published: Wednesday, 9 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,041.

I stopped believing in Father Christmas sometime in my younger years when, late on Christmas Eve and prior to depositing a bag of presents, my dad shone a torch into my room to check if I was asleep.  Childlike innocence was lost in a moment for the simple reason of a young boy being too excited to go to sleep.  

I’d like to say my belief in the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ disappeared on Saturday at Lord’s after a lifetime of blissful ignorance when Steve Smith decided he wasn’t going to recall Ben Stokes after he was adjudged to have ‘Obstructed the Field’ (PTG 1638-8016, 6 September 2015).  But, hang on a minute…just as it should have been all too apparent that Santa Claus was no more than a parent helping himself to the glass of whisky left out, it is very obvious that the ‘Spirit of Cricket' is also a figment of people’s imagination.  

In fact, given the overwhelming evidence, I’d go as far as saying your sanity would be questioned less by an admittance to the tune of thinking Father Christmas to be flesh and blood than it would by being a devotee of the ‘Spirit of Cricket’.  Time and again across the world incidents occur on a cricket field that inevitably result in cries of ‘it’s against the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ from all and sundry.

Stuart Broad decides not to walk, Michael Clarke threatens grievous bodily harm, Shahid Afridi scuffs the pitch, James Anderson has a spat and so on and so on and so on. All against the spirit of the game apparently.  Yet what exactly is this mysterious spirit? The Laws of the game as produced by the Marylebone Cricket Club and the Preamble states in plenty of detail what is expected of the protagonists without actually pinning down precisely what it is.   

Basically, it states that the captain of a side should make sure his charges behave themselves.  It’s more of an unwritten code that, let’s be honest now, isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, a crutch that provides the first port of call when things go against a side.  This leads in a roundabout sort of way to the events on Saturday. An argument could be formed both in favour of the decision reached and against the same thing (PTG 1639-8021, 7 September 2015).

As Michael Atherton succinctly summed up in The Times: “Quite where the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ comes into Ben Stokes’ dismissal is anybody’s guess”.  When Broad was reprieved in the Trent Bridge Test a couple of years ago, it was noticeable that the Australian players didn’t condemn his actions knowing full well they would have done the same.

Too many doing the spectating have an idealistic yet indefinable thought of how sport should be played with their ire being directed towards individuals without any recourse to the whys and wherefores.  Laws of any sport exist for a reason and is it really being overly practical to suggest those in charge of a contest should be the ones to decide how it proceeds?

When charity is shown on so rare an occasion it shouldn’t be considered a given and maybe it’s for the good of all that pragmatism usurps romanticism as the default setting.  If any blame can be directed for the Stokes incident it lies with the third official. He had the power of veto and decided not to use it and that’s the end of that.  Against the spirit? What spirit?

Headline: Good storytelling makes cricket commentary more compelling.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist:  Scott McConnell.                           

Published: Wednesday, 9 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,042.

Cricket commentary, especially on television, has lost its mind.  Had enough? Not going to take it anymore? Like me, are you tired of mindless cricket commentary and its hodge-podge of trivia, matey banter, and focus on the hosts’ antics? 

While Test cricket can be a hard game physically, its essential nature lies in its mental combat and what Greg Chappell calls the “inner game”. Cricketers have to be fit and strong but more importantly they have to be creative, confident thinkers. Five-day Test cricket is the thinking person’s game. 

What especially separates cricket from many other sports is that it is a captain’s game. As the on-field leader, a cricket captain devises strategy and tactics, inspires confidence and nerve in his team, and tries to outthink his opposing captain. Cricket, particularly in Test format, is a conceptual sport.

The key to improving cricket commentary, to make it more compelling, is for it to dramatically convey that mental side to the game, and the captains’ strategies and conflicts. One important way to do this is for commentators to use storytelling techniques that focus on the strategic and psychological aspects of play. 

The poor way to tell a story unravelling live before a viewer’s eyes is to spoon-feed them slap-dash descriptions of the action, reveal to them the consequences of these actions, and tell him what emotions to feel. Such commentary places the focus on the reporter and not on the game and the viewer’s heart and mind.

Isn’t that why we have commentators, to show and reveal a game for us? Commentators must add value to a broadcast

A good storyteller reveals events dramatically. A cricket commentator should first describe the key match events and then connect them to the strategy or mental conflict underlying them. That is, the commentator explicitly tells the audience what the captain, batsman, bowler or fielder’s purpose or problem is. 

Then the audience is prompted for what to look for in the upcoming play. For example, the expert briefly relates that Australia’s bowlers cannot dislodge batsman Vivian Richards (the problem), that the bowlers are becoming deflated and no-balling (consequent problem), but now the Australian captain has changed his field to add two extra slip fielders and have his bowler come around the wicket. The captain’s purpose, the expert reveals, is to make Richards nick the ball and give a catch in the slips (the hoped for solution).

The viewer now clearly understands the purposes and conflicts of the relevant “actors” but doesn’t know the hoped for or dreaded outcome of these purposes and so feels suspense. Will the bowlers get it right? Will Richards get out or keep smashing the ball? The viewer becomes riveted to the screen or radio because he has been intelligently given selective information that influences his thinking and emotions. That is, because the viewer makes conclusions of his own about the on-field actions he is more mentally and emotionally involved in the game. 

This method points to the following principle: the more an audience knows and understands, the more it will appreciate and enjoy something, whether it be a movie, an art work, or a sporting contest. And isn’t that why we have commentators, to show and reveal a game for us? Commentators must add value to a broadcast. 

Giving a TV cricket audience selective information to induce a strong reaction is similar to inducing suspense in a movie audience, as the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, explains to director Peter Bogdanovich:  “We come to our old analogy of the bomb. You and I sit here talking. We’re having a very innocuous conversation about nothing. Boring. Doesn’t mean a thing. Suddenly, boom! A bomb goes off and the audience is shocked – for 15 seconds". 

"Now you change it. Play the same scene, show that a bomb has been placed there, establish that it’s going to go off at 1 pm – it’s now a quarter to, then ten to one – show a clock on the wall, back to the same scene. Now our conversation becomes very vital, by its sheer nonsense. Look under the table! You fool! Now the audience is working for 10 minutes, instead of being surprised for 15 seconds”.

During game broadcasts, commentators create story angles intrinsic to that game. Physical action story angles, such as Michael Clarke limping on the field (will this force him into retirement?) or Dennis Lillee confronting Javed Miandad (will this personal conflict continue throughout the game?), are compelling stories. 

But so are conflicts focused on the mind challenges of a game: Alastair Cook is making strange field placements and bowling changes. Is he being clever or is he rattled? Why are the Australian bowlers not finding a good line and length to force the English batsmen to make errors? Will Virat Kohli, the new Indian captain, be pro-active and go for a win?

Commentators need to discuss the psychological issues relevant in a game. A perceptive commentator, Chappell for instance, can easily develop story angles from issues such as tiredness, concentration, patience, intimidation and frustration. For example, the Australians are bowling tight to Kevin Pietersen and lock him down from scoring. What could result from this tactic? How does locking down a batsman cause frustration? Can the bowlers keep their focus to apply this tactic consistently? Viewers will watch to learn the answers.

A conceptual commentator should especially focus on the one-on-one combat of cricket. For example, the expert describes English captain Douglas Jardine setting seven fielders on the leg side and ordering his bowler Harold Larwood to pepper Australian Stan McCabe with bouncers. After McCabe ducks a Larwood ball hurtling at his head, the expert explains that Larwood’s tactic is to intimidate McCabe and force him to give a catch when using his bat to protect his body. The commentator then asks rhetorically: how will McCabe get out of this trap? Will Larwood’s rockets hurt McCabe? Imagining the climax of this high stakes conflict draws the audience further into the game.

The highest form of one-on-one combat in cricket is the mental/psychological conflict between captains. A commentator needs to explain the big picture of each captain’s strategies and how during a game the captains are challenging and countering each other with new plans and tactics. This mental and physical chess match between captains is fundamental to Test cricket and mandatory for viewers to understand in order to properly enjoy a game. 

These days, Test cricket is losing popularity. That is ironic, given that, of the three cricket formats, the longest version is the most exciting – it boasts the most taxing cerebral combat as well as the greatest physical struggle and danger. But for these virtues to be properly appreciated, commentators need to better convey the mental aspects of a Test match. Commentators need to recognise that this is the most conceptual sport and the best way to sell its greatest virtues is by telling well-told stories. 

A good story is in essence the conflict of minds and ideas. Commentators who understand this focus on the deepest nature of cricket: that it is the great game of the mind.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,643

  Friday, 11 September 2015

 

• Now its the BCCI in a ‘cash crunch’ [1643-8043].

• Match performance data collection to go 'automatic’? [1643-8044].

• Video shows MIT bat edges ’swing arm’ test rig in action  [1643-8045].

• Long distance ‘commutes’ help with Darwin umpire shortage [1643-8046].

Headline: Now its the BCCI in a ‘cash crunch’.

Article from: Indian Express.

Journalist:  Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.                           

Published: Thursday, 10 September 2015  

PTG listing: 8,043.

Unaffected by economic meltdowns that made worldwide impact in recent years, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is now experiencing a cash crunch.  With its main source of revenue drying up due to lack of international matches on home soil for two years, the world’s richest cricket board has been forced to contemplate cost cutting measures hitherto only seen in other sectors.

After putting on hold added incentives for Indian players and pension plans for Ranji Trophy players who played 25-74 games, the administrative group who came to power at the BCCI in March is looking at curtailing expenses on staff. According to information from BCCI corridors, talks are on to indefinitely suspend the annual ex gratia of board employees. If implemented such moves will save the board close to 40 million Rupees ($A851,000, £UK391,000). Not all are sure it will be the right move.

“Discussions are on to do away with the ex gratia for employees. Depending on position, they get 30-100 per cent of their annual pay once a year like a bonus. It’s been a regular feature for several years. The BCCI employs about 80-90 in different places and holding back the ex gratia will help save 35-40 million Rupees ($A744-850,000, £342-391,000).  "But at what cost?”, asks a well-placed BCCI member.

BCCI employees at the Cricket Centre and Indian Premier League (IPL) office in Mumbai and also at the central and zonal academies in Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Nagpur and Chennai, earn from 200,000 to over 10 million Rupees per year ($A4,250-213,000, £1,950-97,460). Barring a few on top, all are entitled to ex gratia. Senior managers get 50 per cent of annual pay and the amount increases as the level gets lower. An employee says they have been getting the bonus for the last “seven years at least”.

Admitting that revenues have dipped, the BCCI member felt this step could have been avoided. “There are 27 units which got close to 200 million Rupees ($A4.3 m, £1.95 m) each even after the board’s income suffered. Reducing this allocation by a fraction would have made up for the amount we are trying to save. Banking on the ex gratia, employees take home loans and are dependent on it in other ways. The interest of people who help the BCCI achieve its objectives should have been kept in mind”.

The majority of the BCCI’s revenue comes from TV rights for matches on home soil. Just two Tests and 10 One Day Internationals (ODI) were played in India in 2013-14, and as a result gross media rights fell from 7.7 to 4.2 billion Rupees  ($A164-89 m, £76-41 m) over the previous year, reducing annual grant for units to from 320-180 Rupees  ($A6.8-3.8 m, £3.1-1.8 m). The situation is unlikely to improve this year either because in 2014-15, India played just five ODIs at home, against Sri Lanka, after the West Indies series was cancelled. It’s expected to get better from 2015-16, with more games in India.

The BCCI had earlier cut down flight entitlements by limiting business class entitlements to a select group of employees and top lawyers. By rough estimates, this can help save 10 million Rupees ($A212,000, £97,700). According to certain BCCI members, the Jagmohan Dalmiya-Anurag Thakur combination could have done better had it concentrated on more important matters.

Editor’s note: No mention is made in the article about the BCCI’s IPL earnings. The Board's reported moves in the financial area follows similar news from both New Zealand (PTG 1637-8012, 5 September 2015) and Pakistan (PTG 1642-8039, 10 September 2015) in the last week, indicate cricket authorities in those countries are also facing budgetary challenges.  An India TV story aired yesterday indicated that India’s top five players currently receive an annual retainer from the BCCI equivalent to $A215,000 (£98,500), plus $10,600 (£4,860) for a Test and $A6,400 (£2,930) for a One Day International.

Headline: Match performance data collection to go 'automatic’?

Article from: The Cricket Monthly (edited).

Journalist:  Kartikeya Date.                           

Published: Thursday, 10 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,044.

Currently, data on player batting, bowling and fielding outcomes, as well as umpiring techniques, is fed manually into specially developed data bases for later analysis and presentation to coaches.  However, the time available to record details of each delivery is limited to the period it takes for the bowler to start the next one, somewhat easier when a fast bowler is on, but tighter when a spinner is rattling through their overs.

A total of 166,006 balls were delivered in men's international cricket alone in 2014.  Collecting data for 60 or 70 variables for each delivery would take about 5,500 hours, assuming that it takes, on average, two seconds to record each variable.  As you can imagine, this is an expensive and labour-intensive proposition and cricket might go the way of Major League Baseball's (MLB) ‘Statcast', an automatic tracking technology already in use by many baseball franchises.

According to the MLB website, ‘Statcast’: "collects the data using a series of high-resolution optical cameras along with radar equipment that has been installed in all 30 Major League ballparks". The technology precisely tracks the location and movements of the ball and every player on the field at any given time.  The information and raw video data collected are mined using algorithms and hence a large amount of data is captured for every single pitch to batters. It is not only used by franchises for analysis but also in broadcasts to help fans develop a better understanding of what’s happening. 

The use of such data promises to change not only how cricket is played but also how it is watched and analysed. It is possible to foresee new types of television shows presenting data-based insights, and new types of fan engagements, like fantasy leagues, enhanced by the use of data. Perhaps conventional wisdom about risk-taking and probabilities of success will be refined. 

Today's television broadcast is littered with statistics like the Batting Index, the Bowling Index and the Pressure Index. What is missing is a critical mass of experts who are competent enough to discuss the merits of these measures and educate fans on how they work. 

Headline: Video shows MIT bat edges ’swing arm’ test rig in action.

Article from: YouTube video.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Thursday, 10 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,045.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed "swinging arm system” that, together with a instrumented bat, allows data on the precise sound signature of a full range of bat edges to be collected (PTG 1639-8020, 7 September 2015), are shown in a 19 second video posted on line by the International Cricket Council (ICC).  

Narrated by ICC general manager cricket Geoff Allardice the video, which was recorded last week at the England and Wales Cricket Board’s National Cricket Performance Centre at Loughborough University, briefly shows work underway to test how well sound detection systems that are currently part of the Umpire Decision Review System actually perform in practice.   

Headline: Long distance ‘commutes’ help with Darwin umpire shortage.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Friday, 11 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,046.

Four umpires from south-eastern Australia have each ‘commuted’ a total distance of 9,000 km over the last week to help out their Northern Territory Cricket Umpires Association (NTCUA) counterparts during the Darwin District Cricket Association’s (DDCA) semi finals and finals matches.  The transient nature of the Territory’s population, with two-to-three-year postings for work generally the norm, means NTCUA membership fluctuates from year-to-year, 2015 being one of those with a short local supply.

As a result Wolfgang Woerner, the NT’s part-time umpire’s director, put out a call a month ago for qualified umpires from around Australia to encourage them to travel north.  That led to four from the southern states, first class Greg Davidson of New South Wales a member of Cricket Australia’s National Umpires Panel, plus Premier League umpires Paul Edwards of the Australian Capital Territory, Lou Tenance from Victoria, and Tasmanian Martin Betts, responding.  Woerner says that in addition to helping provide coverage for matches, such visits also provide local umpires the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and thereby further develop their capabilities.

Despite its relatively remote location in Australia, the standard of play in the DDCA is high, a number of former first class players taking part, as well those on the fringe of their respective Australian state squads, and sometimes from international level, who play in the league to further hone their skills during what is the ‘off season’ ‘down south’.  While the season ends this weekend with two-day Grand Finals, Woerner says he welcomes enquiries from experienced umpires who might wish to stand in DDCA fixtures throughout the 2016 season.  “It doesn’t matter if its a single weekend, a month or the whole season”, he says, “if you know how to umpire you will be made welcome”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,644

  Sunday, 13 September 2015

 

• Player laments boundary catch Law [1644-8047].

• BCCI asks Supreme Court for clarity on Srinivasan [1644-8048].

• WICB Pro League under pressure [1644-8049].

• No sponsor so Hong Kong Sixes again called off [1644-8050].

• Fixing menace goes back to 1999: former Pakistan coach [1644-8051].

Headline: Player laments boundary catch Law.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist:  Jesse Hogan.                           

Published: Sunday, 13 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,047.

Australian Glenn Maxwell, the beneficiary of the Laws change that ensured an extraordinarily skilful outfield catch on Friday was upheld, remains opposed to fielders being able to claim catches while jumping from outside the boundary.  Maxwell knew what he could and could not do after he  stretched to take an overhead catch late in Friday's One Day International against England in Leeds: because earlier this year he had sounded off publicly about a comparable catch, only to discover he was in the wrong. The reason was a tweak made by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodians of the laws of the game, in 2013 (PTG 1199-5771, 1 October 2013).

Previously, any outfielder wanting to claim a catch while straddling the boundary was only allowed to touch the ball if they had jumped from within the boundary. It was for that reason Maxwell had objected when his then Melbourne Stars teammate Cameron White was given out after Sydney Thunder's Josh Lalor's final juggle of an outfield catch came after he had jumped from outside the boundary.  In the aftermath the MCC clarified it had, in a bid to reward athletic boundary-line fielding efforts, ruled that as long as a fielder's first touch for a catch came before they had stepped outside the boundary, and that their feet were never grounded outside the boundary while touching the ball, they were fine.

Maxwell was back-pedalling to mid-wicket in pursuit of a heave from England's Liam Plunkett off Pat Cummins. He took  the fine overhead chance but, sensing he was about to step over the rope and void the catch (as teammate Joe Burns had done not long before) he threw the ball up in the air before he touched the boundary. In three steps Maxwell managed not only to steady himself but propel himself back into the field of play – and as he did so, hung his left arm over the boundary to catch the ball before he hit the turf.

England captain Eoin Morgan, who himself was a victim of Maxwell's dazzling fielding earlier in the innings, hailed it as a "fantastic catch" but admitted he had been oblivious to the tweaked rule.

Maxwell reiterated he knew exactly what the rule was – but, perhaps surprisingly, also reiterated that he disagreed with it.  "Obviously I didn't really want to have to do it but ...  I lost a bit of balance on the boundary line so I thought I had to throw it up and obviously with the Law being like it's to jump from over the rope and back in and catch it in mid air. I think it makes it easier as an outfielder ... to be able to jump from back over and catch it in the air”, he said.  

"I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense. I think you should have to get back into the boundary.  I think if you look at the basketball rule, you have to jump from inside to throw it back in, you can't jump up in the air and catch it on the way back in. You've got to make sure your feet have landed inside the court – and I think it should be the same in cricket.  While we're taking catches on our side it doesn't really bother me, but I know if I was a batsman I'd be pretty upset if that was the dismissal ... you've just go to play the rules you're given”.

Editor’s note:  The MCC is currently involved in a major reassessment of the Laws ahead of a planned new Code being issue in October 2017 (PTG 1642-8036, 10 September 2015).  Whether such boundary catch issues are amongst the list of 38 matters is has suggested need examination has not been made public.

Headline: BCCI asks Supreme Court for clarity on Srinivasan.

Article from: Indian Express.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Sunday, 13 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,048.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India filed a 238-page petition in the country’s Supreme Court in New Delhi on Saturday asking for a clarification as to whether former president Narayanaswami Srinivasan can attend its meetings or not.  Late last month a key BCCI Working Committee meeting was adjourned after it was decided to seek the Supreme Court's opinion on whether Srinivasan could attend the deliberations as the representative of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (PTG 1631-7966, 30 August 2015).  Yesterday’s lodgement means that the BCCI will miss the end-of-September deadline set by its Constitution for the second year in a row (PTG 1633-7990, 1 September 2015).

Headline: WICB Pro League under pressure.

Article from: Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

Journalist:  Vinode Mamchan.                           

Published: Saturday, 12 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,049.

As the second edition of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Professional Cricket League (PCL) nears, the franchises are another year closer to their deadline of having to become sustainable or face collapse (PTG 1618-7882, 13 August 2015).  The WICB opted to financially prop up the PCL for the first four years, with the hope that the franchises work on sponsorship, so that they can stand on their own. Currently the WICB allocates a total of $US45,000 per month ($A63,450, £UK29,200) for each of the six franchises to run their business in terms of paying players’ salaries and preparing their teams.

If the franchises can’t find sponsors, then the WICB will have to continue their search for an overall sponsor to take care of the bill. Chairman of the Barbados franchise Conde Riley says that the WICB would have to be more innovative and find ways to get sponsors on board. “The world economy is in recession and this of course has affected all the Caribbean governments which we can go to for assistance". 

“The Corporate Caribbean has also been affected and those who decided to come on board with cricket, invested in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). This has made life very difficult in terms of getting sponsors to come on board. The franchises have three more years to find investors or face a collapse. We know it is very difficult to get the buy in and this is why I am saying that we have to look at innovative ways of getting people involved in terms of getting financial assistance”.

President of the WICB Dave Cameron recently called on the franchises to become more professional in their dealings and said that some could miss out on the monthly allocations, part of which comes from the PCL Fund for Development.  “We are saying that the PCL is a new business and franchises need to run a quality professional set up. Some of them haven’t done that and the board has taken a decision that if franchises do not comply with the standard, there could be penalties. And the only penalty that we could exact is the withholding of funds”.

The WICB is also not getting the revenues as before because the Champions League is no longer around to give them an annual boost. Also if the fall out with India continues and they don’t tour the Caribbean, this would result in a great loss for the West Indies because the Indian tours are always successful financially.  The PCL has been a welcomed idea by the Cameron administration as it now captures up to 120 players plus officials and gives them a sense of financial security while they ply their trade. The PCL, is hailed as one of the new programmes to re-establish the sport over the next few years.

Headline: No sponsor so Hong Kong Sixes again called off.

Article from: Sports News.

Journalist:  Bipin Dani.                           

Published: Friday, 11 September 2015  

PTG listing: 8,050.

Failure to attract a sponsor has meant the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes, a 10-12 team tournament that was first played in 1992, has been called off for the second successive year.  The event, which is played at the skyscraper-surrounded Kowloon Cricket Club and has over the years featured many of the world’s leading player, is regarded by the Hong Kong Cricket Association (HKCA) as a showcase for the sport.

HKCA honorary secretary John Cribbin says that his organisation sees the ‘Sixes' as a "significant part of its strategy for the development of the sport in Hong Kong, particularly its primary commitment to widen participation by Chinese people in cricket”.  However. “to be mounted successfully the event needs a major sponsor and this has proved difficult to secure in the past two years”.  He is though "confident that we will be able to put arrangements in place for 2016”. 

Cribben, who represents International Cricket Council (ICC) Associate, or second-tier, members on the ICC Chief Executives  Committee as well as its  Development Committee, went on to say that the HKCA "also believes that the ‘Sixes' format could be considered for the Olympics and hopes the emerging debate on the potential for cricket in the Olympics may take this into account” (PTG 1630-7962, 29 August 2015).  

The format he refers to involves two teams of six players with each match consisting of a maximum of five six-ball overs bowled by each side.  With the exception of the wicket-keeper each member of the fielding side bowls one over, wides and no-balls count as two runs, and if five wickets fall before the five overs are completed, the last remaining batsman bats on with the fifth batsman acting as a runner and always takes strike. In addition, batsmen retire not out on reaching 31 runs so the idea is to reach 36 runs by hitting 6 sixes. A retired batsman can return to the crease after lower-order batsmen either retire or are out.

Headline: Fixing menace goes back to 1999: former Pakistan coach.

Article from: The Samaya.

Journalist:  Shambhu Mishra .                           

Published: Thursday, 10 September 2015  

PTG listing: 8,051.

Former Pakistani player Javed Miandad says the reason he stepped down as the national coach in 1999 was because some members of his squad were openly involving in fixing, corruption and unethical practices.  Miandad "told Khalid Mehmood, the then Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, to take action or Pakistan cricket would suffer irreparable damage in coming times”.  

Miandad said he was forced to step down shortly before the World Cup because his "conscience didn’t allow me to continue as coach”.  “The players refused to play under me and made this clear during a reception in Islamabad for the team prior to the World Cup claiming that I had made baseless accusations against them of fixing matches during an earlier tournament in Sharjah”.

The former coach was responding to comments made by Mehmood last week who claimed Miandad "was changed as coach because he wanted more powers in selection matters”.  “What he has said is not the truth. The fact is that I had warned him than that some players were deliberately changing results and under-performing in matches,  but he didn’t believe me and today we are seeing the damage done to Pakistan cricket”.

Miandad claimed former Pakistan opening batsman Saeed Anwar subsequently apologised for being part of the campaign against him. “Anwar also admitted that senior players used to instigate the junior players against me, and later on in the World Cup, these same group of players were responsible for the shock defeat against Bangladesh, and than what happened in the final [which Australia won easily] is now part of history”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,645

  Tuesday, 15 September 2015

 

• Barrie Meyer, twice a World Cup final umpire, dies [1645-8052].

• Irish pair stand in WCL-6 final [1645-8053].

• Bat raised in yet another on-field altercation in Bermuda [1645-8054].

• Yorkshire 'driven’ to win Championship by Gale punishment, says coach [1645-8055].

• Concerns Dalmiya-Thakur combination fuelling BCCI ‘uncertainties' [1645-8056].

Headline: Barrie Meyer, twice a World Cup final umpire, dies.

Article from: Bristol Post.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Monday, 14 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,052.

Bournemouth-born former English Test umpire Barrie Meyer, who played 406 first class games for Gloucestershire from 1957-71 and football for Bristol City and Bristol Rovers, has died in Durban, South Africa, at the age of 83.  As a wicketkeeper Meyer took 707 catches and 119 stumpings before going on to stand in 464 first class and 450 List A games from 1973-97, spending a total of 40 years in the first class game.

Of those first class matches 26 were Tests in England from 1978-93, and there were also 23 One Day Internationals, including the World Cup finals at Lord's in 1979 and 1983, ‘Dickie’ Bird being his partner in both the latter games.  As a footballer he played 139 league matches for Rovers, scoring 60 goals, and he also ran out with Plymouth Argyle, Newport County, Bristol City and Hereford United.  He is reported to be the only footballer in history to score a goal against Manchester United in the FA Cup and go on to become a Test match umpire. 

Headline: Irish pair stand in WCL-6 final.

Article from: Score sheets.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 14 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,053.

Alan Neill from Ireland and Roland Black from Northern Ireland stood in the final of the World Cricket League Division 6 series between Guernsey and Suriname at Chelmsford on Sunday.  Alex Dowdalls of Scotland and Heath Keams from Jersey looked after the match to decide third place between Norway and Vanuatu at Colchester, while Guernsey’s Martin Gray and Jesper Jensen of Denmark were on-field for the game to decide fifth place at Bishop's Stortford between Botswana and Fiji.  The match for seventh place was not played due to the absence of the Saudi Arabian team (PTG 1642-8037, 10 September 2015).

Headline: Bat raised in yet another on-field altercation in Bermuda.

Article from: Royal Gazette.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Sunday, 13 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,054.

The events of last weekend have shown our society at close to our worst: savagery on the cricket field bookended by a pair of armed robberies elsewhere.  With the brand of senior cricketer we witness at present, trouble is hardly ever far away and the worst of it is that the Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) continues to play the role of ostrich with its head buried deep in the sand. 

Last Saturday’s match between Cleveland, and Willow Cuts saw a fight break out, a bat braised and a police car on the field of play. This time the repercussions are too serious for the BCB not to act and Jason Anderson of Cleveland and George O’Brien of Willow Cuts, both former Bermudan internationals, can expect bans from the game of indeterminate length. 

The video evidence, which has unfortunately become a YouTube sensation, is rather damning and gives us the closest parallel to what might have happened in September last year when a man was killed after he was hit by a baseball bat.  At St David’s County Cricket Club on Saturday a bat was also swung, the difference between that and the recently completed murder trial was that no contact was made here, but that makes the act no less inexcusable.  Add to that a kick being fired to the head, leaving an innocent with suspected concussion, and we have cricket as a sport of thugs, not the sport that is meant to build character.

After the raging Cleveland president, clearly cognisant of yet another public relations disaster, ordered Anderson off the pitch, a police Land Rover arrived to give the scene a surreal, wartime look.  That it departed with the same passengers that it came with, and that Southside Police Station does not have two new guests awaiting mention in front of a magistrate this morning, was surprising.

What happened on Saturday is little different to what happened with the murderous baseball incident last year: difference of opinion, heated words exchanged, and altercation with a hard, wooden object as weapon of choice.  

Headline: Yorkshire 'driven’ to win Championship by Gale punishment, says coach.

Article from: BBC.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Sunday, 13 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,055.

Yorkshire’s head coach Jason Gillespie says his side was driven to win the County Championship this season by captain Andrew Gale's ban from lifting the trophy in 2014.  Gale, who was involved in several on-field incidents during the last northern summer and suspended late in that season for abusing Lancashire batsman Ashwell Prince, was not allowed to formally receive the 2014 trophy as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) felt it was inappropriate while he awaited a disciplinary hearing (PTG 1429-6907, 16 September 2015).

Gillespie told BBC Radio: "When we were told that he wasn't able to go out and lift that trophy, my blood boiled.  I know it's been something that's driven Andrew, it's driven our whole squad, and it's certainly driven me as a member of the support staff.  I can't tell you how satisfying it's going to be when Andrew rightfully gets to lift that trophy at the conclusion of [the current] game” on Thursday.

Former Yorkshire batsman Michael Vaughan described the ECB’s decision to bar Gale from lifting the trophy as "petty" and "a disgrace”.  Gale eventually got his hands on the trophy after the formal presentation ceremony had ended.  A ‘Yorkshire Post’ report at the time said Yorkshire was to seek meetings with the ECB "in an attempt to review and improve the sport’s disciplinary procedure after [what it saw] an episode that [had] undermined the credibility of the ECB”.

Headline: Concerns Dalmiya-Thakur combination fuelling BCCI ‘uncertainties'.

Article from: Indian Express.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Monday, 14 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,056.

Jagmohan Dalmiya and Anurag Thakur have now been at the helm as president and secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for six months. Coming to power after much acrimony, the combination of experience and youth they brought to the organisation was expected to lift the beleaguered organisation out of turmoil, but what they have not done since seems to outnumber what they have.  A host of important questions remain unanswered, and the Narayanaswami Srinivasan case has jeopardise the BCCI’s 2015 Annual General Meeting (AGM), which been deferred for a second straight year.

Unlike last year’s AGM delay, when complications arising out of Indian Supreme Court deliberations kept pushing the meeting back, several members are holding Dalmiya and Thakur responsible for this year's uncertainties.  Even those who backed the pair's alliance at the last AGM say Dalmiya’s age-related ill-health has become a cause of serious concern, and that it, plus Thakur's political commitments as a senior parliamentarian, combine to make both inaccessible.  Dalmiya, now 75, has often missed important meetings and is a passive spectator in the few he attends due to his alleged "frequent memory losses” (PTG 1634-7996 2 September 2015). 

A BCCI member, who has held senior positions, said: “The system seems to be disintegrating. There is no clarity over crucial matters. If I have a question, I don’t know who to approach.  We don’t know when the AGM is happening, who the India coach will be or what will happen to the vacant coaching positions at the National Cricket Academy, staff pay issues are on the boil (PTG 1643-8043, 11 September 2015), and the series against Pakistan is in doubt (PTG 1636-8007, 4 September 2015).  There has also been a delay in obtaining clarification regarding Srinivasan (PTG 1644-8048, 13 September 2015).   

While there are members who point to BCCI finance and marketing committee meetings as signs of things being alright, decisions taken in these meetings are waiting to be ratified by the Board’s top Working Committee. Foremost on the agenda is the Indian Premier League (IPL) and discussion on the IPL working group’s proposal to invite two new teams in place of Chennai and Rajasthan and make it a 10-team affair from 2018 (PTG 1630-7956, 29 August 2015).

The IPL governing council is not the only body waiting for response from top officials. Apart from committees that run cricket affairs at international and domestic levels, many others are practically non-functional. Members say they have written to Dalmiya or Thakur without getting a reply and feel this breakdown in communication is aggravating problems.  With the Supreme Court’s Lodha Commission currently working on recommending, by year’s end, structural changes to the way the BCCI operates, apprehension is growing that this current indecisiveness will show the board in poor light. 

Yet most members are of the view that Dalmiya, who in a previous period as BCCI president and as president of the International Cricket Council (ICC), asserted India’s presence globally should get an honourable exit.  A former senior official, known to be close to hIm said:  “His contribution to Indian cricket and the ICC is immense. If he calls it quits at the next [BCCI] AGM, he will leave with dignity intact”.  There are others who feel he should be given a ceremonial post. “He should be made patron-in-chief. This will need a constitutional change. But for a man of his stature, the BCCI should do it”, claimed another.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,646

  Wednesday, 16 September 2015

 

• Mahanama to retire from referees' panel, news of replacement awaited [1646-8057].

• Lankan off-spinner visits Chennai for tests of delivery action [1646-8058].

Headline: Mahanama to retire from referees' panel, news of replacement awaited.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Tuesday, 15 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,057.

Sri Lankan Roshan Mahanama is to step down from the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top, seven-man match referees panel at the end of the year in what will be the first change to that group in four years (PTG 766-3756, 26 May 2011).   There was a suggestion in June now retired Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara could take over a spot that was to be vacated by New Zealand referee Jeff Crowe (PTG 1575-7567, 24 June 2015), however, last month Mahanama was identified as the retiree (PTG 1622-7907, 19 August 2015).

Mahanama, 49, joined the ICC panel in 2004 and in the time since has overseen 58 Tests, 222 One Day Internationals (ODI) and 35 Twenty20 Internationals, fixtures that include those in three World Cups and the Champions Trophy series of 2009. The ICC says he has made the decision to step down six months ahead of the expiry of his contract next June so that he can "spend more time with his family and also focus on the development of his business activities in Sri Lanka".

 

“This has been an extremely difficult decision as I am very passionate about cricket, which has been an integral part of my life for over 40 years as a cricketer, coach and ICC match referee”, said Mahanama via an ICC press release.  “However, in life a time comes when one has to keep moving forward based on obligations and priorities. My time has come to devote an uninterrupted focus and attention to my family, who made massive sacrifices over the years to enable me to pursue my career for over three decades".

 

“The journey for almost 12 years as a referee has been amazing and something for me to reflect upon with pride and satisfaction. I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some outstanding professionals, refereed at some great matches and visited some incredible places along the way.  I would like to thank the ICC and Sri Lanka Cricket [SLC] for affording me the opportunity to be involved in almost 600 internationals [as a player and referee] of the game I so passionately love!"

  

Before becoming a referee, Mahanama represented Sri Lanka in 52 Tests and 213 ODIs in the period from 1986-99. He played in four World Cups, being a member of the Sri Lanka side that won in 1996, and also captained Sri Lanka in two of the ODIs he played in.

 

ICC General Manager – Cricket, Geoff Allardice, thanked Mahanama for his contributions as a referee: “Roshan has been one of the pioneers of the elite panel and has been an integral component during the phase when the referee’s role was evolving.  [He] very efficiently and intelligently, integrated his cricketing knowledge into match management skills to earn huge respect and appreciation from the entire cricketing fraternity. Vince Van Der Bijl, the ICC’s Senior Umpires and Referees Manager, also paid tribute saying: “Roshan’s hallmark as a match referee has been his meticulous preparation and methodical approach. His efficiency and dedication to the task in serving cricket has shone through his time with the ICC”.

 

Prakash Schaffter, SLC's Honorary Secretary was quoted in a Colombo newspaper on Tuesday as indicating that interviews of those shortlisted for the vacancy created had “almost been completed” and the ICC says simply that the newcomer “will be announced in due course”.   The ICC’s current senior referees panel is currently made up of: Mahanama and Ranjan Madugalle from Sri Lanka, David Boon (Australia), Chris Broad (England), Javagal Sreenath (India), Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe), and Crowe.  

All are former Test players and the advertisement for the position Mahanama is to vacate said 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”.  

Headline: Lankan off-spinner visits Chennai for tests of delivery action.

Article from: Times of India.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Tuesday, 15 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,058.

Sri Lankan off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal, 22, who was reported for suspect action during the third Test against India two weeks ago (PTG 1635-8002, 3 September 2015), visited Chennai on Monday to undergo tests at the Sri Ramachandra Arthroscopy and Sports Sciences Centre, an International Cricket Council accredited testing centre. 

A source involved in the testing said: “Kaushal [who was accompanied by a Sri Lanka Cricket official], flew in to Chennai in the early hours on Monday morning for laboratory tests that took close to 90 minutes to complete, after which he caught the earliest flight he could back to Colombo”.  The results for the tests are expected to be available by the end of the month.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,647

  Thursday, 17 September 2015

 

• ECB put County cricket schedule changes on hold [1647-8059].

• Politics the problem for mooted India-Pakistan series [1647-8060].

• BCCI hiatus adds to pressure on WICB [1647-8061].

• No money from country Council so game off [1647-8062]. 

• NZC chief summoned as a witness in Cairns perjury trial [1647-8063].

Headline: ECB put County cricket schedule changes on hold.

Article from: The Times.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Wednesday, 16 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,059.

English domestic cricket will undergo no structural changes for the 2016 season, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed today.  ECB chief executive Tom Harrison, who has been working on potential competition revamps since February this year, said in August his organisation was considering reducing the County Championship season from 16 to 14 games - which would have meant not every team in the two divisions would have played each other twice - an issue that saw a backlash from many Counties (PTG 1636-8008, 4 September 2015).

However, those proposals would now appear to be on hold, with the ECB set for further talks over the winter about possible changes for 2017.  At present, each of the 18 first-class Counties play 16 four-day Championship fixtures, in addition to at least eight 50-over group games and 14 Twenty20 group games.  Next week’s ECB board meeting was expected to see a new format for 2016 signed off, with the number of four-day fixtures reduced and both the 50-over and Twenty20 competitions to be played in blocks with a view to helping players specialise and easing workloads.

A survey carried out by the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) last month revealed that an overwhelming majority of players felt they had to play too much domestic cricket, with calls to reduce the number of games made by cricketers who described the schedule as “ridiculous” and “unsafe” (PTG 1630-7960, 29 August 2015).  Alex Hales, the England and Nottinghamshire opener, said the packed calendar was “detrimental to skill level”. He added: “Imagine the next Ashes series playing Test match followed by a One Day International two days after then a Twenty20 the day after that. Then repeat!” (PTG 1602-7776, 26 July 2015).

But many Counties opposed the idea of playing fewer matches in the County Championship, fearing the impact of a loss of gate receipts. The idea that some teams would play each other twice, but not others, also raised concerns about the fairness of the competition.  News of the ECB backtrack has been welcomed by Counties including Sussex, who said in a statement: “Our membership has given a clear indication that they would wish to retain 16 County Championship matches”.

On the possibility of change in the future, the Sussex statement added: “Any proposals for the 2017 season should be in line an updated ECB strategy and should be agreed by the first class Counties by March next year, so that teams enter competitions in 2016 are fully aware of the consequences”.  However Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, was not so happy. He tweeted: “So the people put in charge to run English cricket present change and nothing happens!!!?? #Ridiculous".  “What is the point of having a New a Chairman/CEO and Director of English Cricket if they can’t implement change??”, he added.

Headline: Politics the problem for mooted India-Pakistan series.

Article from: Sport 360.

Journalist:  Sajid Sadiq .                           

Published: Tuesday, 15 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,060.

It was in the late summer of 1938 that the then British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, came back from Berlin to wave a piece of paper proclaiming “peace in our times”. What followed in the next few years is a matter of history but similar parallels in a cricketing sense could also have been drawn when the then Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi returned from the International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in April 2014 pledging his support for the ‘Big Three’ in return for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which would signal the resumption of cricketing ties between arch-rivals, India and Pakistan.

The deal was pretty simple. Pakistan would offer its unqualified support for proposals to revamp the ICC with the Big Three in the shape of Australia, England and India, virtually taking control of the organisation (PTG 1311-6327, 12 March 2014).  In return, Pakistan was promised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) the lucrative and mouth-watering prospect of earning millions of dollars in revenue as a result of playing against India. 

As Sethi, who was seriously concerned about the PCB’s finances (PTG 1329-6415, 6 April 2014), said at the time: “The BCCI has signed MoUs with several countries, including PCB for six series, covering the [period] from 2015-2023”. To underline the importance of such a series to Pakistan and to the region as a whole, he added: “A series against India would bring huge revenue to the PCB besides bringing peace and prosperity to the region” (PTG 1642-8039, 10 September 2015).  

Sethi and his administration as well as his successor, Shahryar Khan, thus set their stall based upon arranging this series, December 2015 being floated as the tentative date for the first of many tours between the two neighbours. The opportunity to extract revenge or inflict another humiliation on old foes and the enticing prospect of showing up the old rivals in the Test arena would have pleased many a die-hard Pakistan or Indian fan.  Nothing seems to melt the hearts of fans on both sides of the border than a good old contest of cricket. 

However, any student of the history of Indo-Pakistan relations would have realised that regardless of the niceties and platitudes on display, it would take a gargantuan effort and a leap of faith for politicians to allow the countries to enjoy a simple game of cricket together.  And so it came to pass, a pretext was created and a flurry of statements were exchanged between politicians of both sides and the flames of nationalistic pride stoked in a shameless manner to ensure that cricket was the last thing on Indian and Pakistani minds. 

In no time television anchors, various grade film stars, ex cricketers and ordinary mortals all jumped in the melee with the result that national pride became the only talking point. Perceived injustices and claims of moral supremacy became the order of the day with cricket taking a back seat to rhetoric that really should have belonged to some singing and dancing Bollywood or Lollywood movie.

As it stands today, the drama seems to be in its last few acts with the advent of the Pakistan Super League now providing possible monetary relief for Pakistan; an escape route if you will which the current PCB administration would like to accept with relief. However, the fact remains that the Indo-Pakistan series have always been kept hostage to the whims of the politicians who are able to the fan the flames of hate at the drop of a hat. Until cricket in the region is able to extricate itself from hands of such forces, the fans of cricket will suffer forever. 

Whilst statements now from the PCB suggest they can survive without playing cricket against India, the fact remains that the initial euphoria and premature statements regarding a series between Pakistan and India were misguided and misplaced.

Headline: BCCI hiatus adds to pressure on WICB.

Article from: Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

Journalist:  Vinode Mamchan.                           

Published: Wednesday, 16 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,061.

Internal problems currently facing the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are likely to inflict further woes on the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) as it seeks to find a mechanism to deal with the future relationship between the two Boards.  A lawsuit worth $US41.97 million ($A58.3 m, £UK27.1 m) over the Caribbean side’s pull out from a tour of India last year, and the possibility that all future bi-lateral ties may be severed by the BCCI, continue to haunt the WICB, and recent developments within the latter organisation are unlikely to ease the pressure (PTG 1645-8056, 15 September 2015).

The governing body for Indian cricket is currently engaged in a court battle with its former president that is preventing it from holding general elections (PTG 1644-8048, 13 September 2015).  A source close to the WICB said: "The matter was discussed by the WICB directors at last weekend’s regular quarterly meeting but at this point there is little they could do to advance the discussions with the BCCI [due to their] internal problems and as such it is difficult for the WICB to get them to sit down to discuss the matter further. 

India is due to tour the Caribbean next year to play four Test matches and if they fail to make the trip, the WICB stands to lose significant revenue from what is expected to be a very lucrative tour. The source added that the International Cricket Council become engaged in the matter and has written both bodies, asking them to meet at their earliest convenience to work out a deal moving forward.  "When their elections are held, then and only then would the WICB get an opportunity to engage these men in talks, so that cricket relations can resume”, said the source.  

Headline: No money from country Council so game off.

Article from: ABC Newcastle.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Wednesday, 16 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,062.

Newcastle's cricket association says it is stunned by a breakdown in negotiations between Cricket New South Wales (CNSW) and Newcastle Council that has seen a Big Bash League trial game planned for the city in December cancelled.  The Council was unwilling to waive ground hire and maintenance fees for the Sydney Sixers and the match, between members of the franchises' playing squad, will now be played in Sydney.

Newcastle Cricket chairman Paul Marjoribanks said he is surprised. "We thought negotiations were pretty much finalised.  There were whispers that Council and [CNSW] were having some issues but we really thought they would be resolved.  In the end I think the Sydney Sixers felt that they weren't getting the respect that they may have wanted and have moved the fixture elsewhere”.  Marjoribanks said it would have been a great opportunity for the region's young players to see such high-level action, something that rarely happens in the city.

In a statement, Newcastle Council said CNSW applied for funding under an event sponsorship program but that it was unsuccessful among a very strong field of applicants.  Council also said it does not support the proposal for an internal training game where players from the same team compete against each other.

Headline: NZC chief summoned as a witness in Cairns perjury trial.

Article from: Radio New Zealand.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Wednesday, 16 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,063.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive David White has been summoned to appear as a witness in the perjury trial of former national all-rounder Chris Cairns in relation to the now-defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL).  Cairns filed a successful defamation case against former Indian Premier League (IPL) boss Lalit Modi, but now faces charges of perjury related to that action in a case set to commence in London’s Crown Court early next month (PTG 1606-7803, 30 July 2015). Apart from White, a slew of former and present New Zealand cricketers will also stand witness in the case including the likes of current skipper Brendon McCullum and former fast bowler Shane Bond.

 

A source close to NZC confirmed the development of White’s inclusion in the case but declined to offer further comment. Former participants in the ICL, including Craig McMillan, Darryl Tuffey, Chris Harris, Andre Adams and Nathan Astle, may also be called as witnesses in the perjury trial.  Another former New Zealand player, Lou Vincent, who admitted to multiple counts of match-fixing for which he received a life-ban from playing the sport (PTG 1384-6691, 2 July 2014), will also appear.

Cairns had, in the defamation case against Modi, made a comment in court that he had “never, ever cheated in cricket” which the court now suspects to be a willful lie while under oath, and that is why Cairns has been charged for perjury.  He had sued Modi over a tweet from the latter that stated Cairns was involved in match-fixing and was awarded £UK90,000 ($A194,000) by the Court as a result.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,648

  Saturday, 19 September 2015

 

• Keeper banned for life, batsman six matches, over on-field brawl [1648-8064].

• Chest pain results in hospitalisation for BCCI president [1648-8065].

Headline: Keeper banned for life, batsman six matches, over on-field brawl.

Article from: The Royal Gazette.

Journalist:  Lawrence Trott.                           

Published: Saturday, 19 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,064.

Cleveland County Cricket Club (CCCC) wicketkeeper Jason Anderson has been banned from cricket for life in any capacity, including coaching, by the Bermuda Cricket Board as a result of his actions in a match played last Saturday (PTG 1645-8054, 15 September 2015).   The punishment was handed down at a disciplinary hearing held on Friday night after he was found guilty of a Level Four offence following his brawl with the Willow Cuts’ batsman George O’Brien, who was himself found guilty of a Level Three offence and banned for six one-day matches.

The clash with O’Brien that has ultimately ended Anderson’s career started when he was seen to run up to the batsman at the end of an over and hit him in the face. O’Brien reacted, swinging his bat at Anderson and the spat carried on to the other end of the pitch as Cleveland players tried to separate them.   

Carlton Smith, the CCCC president who was visibly upset by the incident, quickly ran onto the field and was seen speaking harshly to Anderson.  Moments later the wicketkeeper walked off after throwing his pads and gloves to the ground in what turned out to be his last performance for the side for the club subsequently banned him for life from its ranks. The club also urged him to seek help for anger management issues.

Anderson has been a key member of the Cleveland team in recent years.  The Club said in a statement it "would like to thank Mr Anderson for his contributions to the success the club has experienced over the last few years as he has been an integral part of that success”.  Despite that: “the executive and members of CCCC do not condone [his] behaviour [and] we would like to apologise to the general public for the scenes witnessed during the [match], as this is not the image of the game the [CCCC] wish to portray”.

Headline: Chest pain results in hospitalisation for BCCI president.

Article from: Mumbai Mirror.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Saturday, 19 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,065.

Jagmohan Dalmiya, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), was admitted to hospital in Kolkata on Friday after experiencing chest pain for over six hours.  Dalmiya’s age-related ill-health has become a cause of serious concern of late at a time when many observers point to concerns about the BCCI’s apparent inaction in dealing with a multitude of key issues (PTG 1645-8056, 15 September 2015). 

The BCCI chief, who underwent an angiography, is reported to be in a stable condition, however, he was not considered immediately fit for surgery and his condition is being closely monitored in the hospital’s coronary critical care unit.  Angiography is an x-ray examination which involvers release of a special dye into the coronary arteries from a catheter inserted in a blood vessel to detect any blockages. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,649

  Tuesday, 22 September 2015

 

• Former Windies’ skipper for match referees’ role [1649-8066].

• Broad, Dar neutrals for India-South Africa ODIs [1649-8067].

• Bold CA move gives new meaning to ‘fast-tracking' [1649-8068].

• Death of president further complicates BCCI quagmire [1649-8069].

• Caution the watch word for concussion management  [1649-8070].

Headline: Former Windies’ skipper for match referees’ role.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 21 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,066.

Former West Indies captain Richie Richardson, who is currently the Caribbean side's team manager, is to replace Sri Lanka's Roshan Mahanama on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) top referee’s panel early next year.  Mahanama indicated last week that he plans to step down from the seven-man panel at year’s end after to date overseeing 58 Tests, 222 One Day Internationals (ODI) and 35 Twenty20 Internationals over the last twelve years (PTG 1646-8057, 16 September 2015).  

Richardson, 53, who has been working in the team manager’s role since January 2011, represented the West Indies in 86 Tests and 224 ODIs from 1983-96, scoring 5,949 and 6,248 runs, respectively; the latter including matches in the World Cups of 1987, 1992 and 1996.  He captained the side in  a total of 24 Tests and 87 ODIs.  He is to take up the match referee's role after the three-match series against Australia ends in Sydney next January.  

Congratulating Richardson on his appointment, ICC General Manager (Cricket), Geoff Allardice, said: "Richie is one of the greats of the game, who is admired for not only his accomplishments as a batsman but also the way he captained the West Indies when he embodied traits such as integrity, leadership and sportsmanship in his dealings both on and off the field”.  "He is very familiar with the demands of international cricket through his experiences as a player, captain and now team manager, and he will bring a fresh perspective to the role. We have no doubt that he will make a strong and important contribution to ensuring the game continues to be played in the right spirit".

Richardson said he was excited and honoured to have been selected for "one of the most important jobs in cricket”.  "Having been on either side of the fence, first as a player and then as an administrator, I think I have the experience and insight to help me contribute positively alongside some of the finest and most experienced match officials”.  "Until the end of the Australia tour, I will remain fully committed and focused on my current assignment as the West Indies cricket team manager and I would like to thank the West Indies Cricket Board for its support over years as well as the encouragement it provided to me in taking up this new role”.

Richardson will join David Boon, 54 (Australia), Chris Broad, 57 (England), Jeff Crowe, 57 (New Zealand), Ranjan Madugalle, 56 (Sri Lanka), Andy Pycroft, 59 (Zimbabwe), and Javagal Srinath, 46 (India), on the ICC panel.  Between them that group featured in a total of 348 Tests and 826 ODIs during their playing careers.

Headline: Broad, Dar neutrals for India-South Africa ODIs.

Article from: ICC appointments.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 21 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,067.

English match referee Chris Broad and Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar will be the neutral officials for next month’s five-match One Day International (ODI) series between India and South Africa.  Dar will be on-field in all five games with an Indian member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, either Vineet Kulkarni, Chettithody Shamshuddin, Anil Chaudhary or C K Nandan, and possibly Dar’s colleague on the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel, Sundarum Ravi.  The series will take Broad’s record as an ODI referee to 268 games and Dar’s to 177.

In addition to the India-South Africa ODIs, four Test matches are to be played in October, two between England and South Africa in the United Arab Emirates, and two between Sri Lanka and the West Indies.  The ICC is yet to name the match officials for those fixtures, however, the absence of senior Australian umpire Simon Fry from his country’s one-day domestic series next month (PTG 1649-8068 below), suggests he may have been appointed to a Test for the first time, potentially those between Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

Headline: Bold CA move gives new meaning to ‘fast-tracking'.

Article from: CA match appointments.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 21 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,068.

Cricket Australia (CA) has appointed a female to officiate in its domestic List A one-day series in Sydney next month, the first time that has occurred in the history of the game in Australia.  Claire Polosak, 27, a member of CA’s second-tier, five-person Development Panel (DP) as well as its ‘fast track’ Project Panel (PP) (PTG 1617-7871, 12 August 2015), is to work as the television umpire in a 50-over game between Queensland and a 'Cricket Australia XI' after only a handful of games on-field at the top level of men’s cricket in Sydney; a role male umpires normally only achieve after, at minimum, several seasons at the top of the men’s club game.

Polosak, her four DP colleagues, 11 of CA’s National Umpires Panel (NUP), five match referees and six scorers, were named yesterday as the officials for the 21 round-robin games of the one-day series which will be completed tournament-style in just 19 days at 5 grounds across Sydney (PTG 1589-7668, 10 July 2015).  During the series two games will be underway on a single day on four occasions, and three on another, 4 being day-nighters, while 11 will be broadcast and thus require television umpires. 

Prior to her third umpire role, Polosak is to serve as the reserve and therefore standby umpire in one non-televised and then one televised game, the latter which has NUP member Geoff Joshua as the third umpire, the match referee in both those matches being former international umpire Daryl Harper.  Her televised match has NUP member Mick Martell as the reserve umpire and Peter Marshall the match referee. 

As well as moving aggressively to allocate Polosak games, CA has also selected all four of her DP colleagues for matches.  Tony Wilds and former NUP member Damien Mealey are both to stand in two fixtures, the former plus Polosak, Simon Lightbody and David Shepard, CA’s male PP member, all working as television and reserve umpires.  Scorers named are:Christine Bennison, Darren Mattison, Chris McLeod, Robyn Sanday, Kay Wilcoxon and Ian Wright who are all Sydney-based, plus Neil Ricketts of Adelaide.

NUP members Gerard Abood, Ash Barrow, Shawn Craig, Greg Davidson, Geoff Joshua, Mike Graham-Smith, Phillip Gillespie, Mick Martell, Sam Nogajski, John Ward, and Paul Wilson are to look after the bulk of on-field positions, while the five members of CA’s Umpire High Performance Panel, Harper, Marshall, Steve Bernard, David Tallala, and Bob Stratford, will each oversee four round-robin games.  The only NUP member not allocated games is Simon Fry which could suggest he has an appointment from the International Cricket Council in October, potentially in a Test for the first time (PTG 1649-8067 above).

CA is yet to name the umpires and referees for the single semi-final and final of the competition, however, it has listed Bennison and Wilcoxon as the scorers for the day-night semi-final, and Wilcoxon and another yet-to-be-named second scorer for the day-time final.

Headline: Death of president further complicates BCCI quagmire.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Monday, 21 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,069.

The death of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya adds further complications to that organisation’s current  inability to deal with a range of key administrative matters.  Dalmiya, 75, was admitted to hospital in Kolkata on Friday after experiencing chest pains  (PTG 1648-8065, 19 September 2015), and died there on Sunday afternoon, thus setting the scene for yet another power struggle for control of the game on the sub-continent.

A seasoned cricket administrator Dalmiya was known for his resilience, his comeback earlier this year as the head of the BCCI, which had once ignominiously thrown him out, only reinforced the notion.  He became BCCI treasurer in 1983 and is credited with recognising for the first time the huge financial potential of cricket in India.  Later, he served as BCCI secretary, before becoming the president of the International Cricket Council  for three years from 1997-2000, and then BCCI president from 2001-04.

Dalmiya lost the BCCI’s top position after giving his casting vote to successor Ranbir Singh Mahendra when the 2004 election ended in a tie.  Months later the BCCI lodged a police complaint against him for alleged misappropriation of funds related to the 1996 World Cup in which India was a co-host, eventually expelling him in 2006.  Six months later he was exonerated by the court and he returned as the BCCI’s interim head in June 2013 when sidelined president Narayanaswami Srinivasan manoeuvred him into the post after the spot-fixing scam emerged.  He was later reelected to the top spot unopposed.

Indian Premier League chairman Rajiv Shukla said on Monday that the board will appoint an interim president "if its constitution permits".  “Nobody can match Jagmohan Dalmiya's talent as well as stature. The void will be tough to fill. The BCCI will hold a meeting to see what can be done. We will have to see if somebody can be elected as the new interim president”, said Shukla.

Headline: Caution the watch word for concussion management.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist:  Andrew Miller.                           

Published: Monday, 21 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,070.

England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan has been ruled out of Middlesex's final County Championship fixture of the season against Worcestershire at New Road this week after failing to recover sufficiently from the blow to the head he took while batting against Mitchell Starc in last week's fifth One Day International against Australia.  After a lengthy period of treatment on the field Morgan was forced to retire hurt, and he did not return either to complete his innings or lead the team in the field during Australia's innings.

Angus Fraser, the Middlesex director of cricket, confirmed that the club were following the current advice from the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) medical team, which recommends that players who have shown signs of concussion need to be symptom-free for a full week prior to their next fixture.  Morgan, who was described by Trevor Bayliss, the England head coach, as "having a lump on his head and a headache" after reportedly taking an hour to come fully to his senses in the dressing room, was apparently still worse for wear a full 48 hours after the incident.

Fraser said: "To be eligible to play in the next game after suffering concussion, the ECB advice is that a player has to show no symptoms for a week”.  "Unfortunately Eoin was still a bit groggy and fuzzy when we assessed him last week. He is absolutely fine now and I'm sure he would be available to play if there was another fixture next week”.

The management of head injuries in cricket came sharply into focus last November following the death of Phillip Hughes following a blow to the head during a Sheffield Shield fixture between South Australia and New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground. That incident was clearly on the minds of several of the Australian players at Old Trafford, not least Starc, who had been fielding for NSW when Hughes was struck, and was visibly shaken by this latest incident as he was comforted by his coach, Darren Lehmann. 

The 2015 season in England has seen several high-profile head injuries, not least the on-field collision between the Surrey fielders Rory Burns and Moises Henriques at Arundel in June  (PTG 1577-7583, 26 June 2015). Burns, who suffered cuts above his left eye as Henriques sustained a broken jaw, was back playing for Surrey within a fortnight.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,650

  Thursday, 24 September 2015

 

 ICC anti-corruption chief admits the game will never be clean [1650-8071].

 Kiwi skipper wins 2015 MCC 'Spirit of Cricket Award’ [1650-8072].

• Former Sri Lankan first class umpire dies [1650-8073].

• PCB unveils plans for T20 'Super League’ [1650-8074].

Headline: ICC anti-corruption chief admits the game will never be clean.

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Thursday, 24 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,071.

The head of worldwide cricket’s anti-fraud body has admitted that corruption will never be totally driven out of the game.  Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) anti-corruption chief, added though that those who love the game should be reassured that administrators are doing “everything humanly possible” to stop illegal practices such as match-fixing.  Others though have expressed a different view (PTG 1622-7914, 19 August 2015). 

Flanagan told icc-cricket.com: “I’ll give you the honest answer that we will never totally, utterly and absolutely eradicate corruption from the game”.  “But we can make the game a very difficult environment for those who would seek to bring corruption to bear”. Flanagan, who has been at the ICC since 2010, called those who tried to corrupt the game as “most evil”.  “These are organised criminals. These are members of organised criminal gangs across the world”, he said. 

Cricket’s reputation has been in the spotlight in recent times, most notably with the jailing of three Pakistan internationals for spot-fixing during the 2010 Test Series in England.  All three — Mohammad Aemer, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif — have now been released and are now resuming their cricket careers. 

Asked if any should be picked for international duty by Pakistan again, Flanagan said that was a matter for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PTG 1638-7971, 30 August 2015).  “They’ve been punished, they’ve met their punishment”, he said. “It’s now a matter, I think, for their home board to decide whether they should ever grace an international cricket team again”.  He added: “That’s not just a question of ability, that’s a question of their remorse, their realisation of how wrong their behaviour was”. 

Of the three, the young fast bowler Aemer  23, is most likely to represent his country again though he was omitted from the squad recently selected to play England in the upcoming Test Series in the United Arab Emirates next month.

Last week, Chris Eaton, the executive director of the Qatar-based International Centre for Sport Security, said that after football, cricket is the main sport worldwide for illegal gambling.  One estimate by an expert this year calculated that the sports betting market is worth $A3-trillion (£UK1.38 trillion) annually, the vast majority of that illegal gambling.  Cricket is thought to account for around 12 per cent of that global figure.

Headline: Kiwi skipper wins 2015 MCC 'Spirit of Cricket Award'.

Article from: MCC press release.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Tuesday, 22 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,072.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum is the winner of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) 2015 Christopher Martin-Jenkins (CMJ) 'Spirit of Cricket Award' in recognition of his conduct during his side’s  tour of England earlier this year.  McCullum was selected by a panel including BBC Test Match Special’s Jonathan Agnew and MCC President David Morgan, that group being particularly impressed with his leadership qualities and the culture of fair play that his team displayed.

Morgan said in a statement: "Brendon McCullum’s conduct throughout the New Zealand tour earlier this year embodied the ‘Play Hard, Play Fair’ message MCC champions through the 'Spirit of Cricket', and it’s fantastic to see that culture present within the boys and girls who have been recognised with the other awards. 

The winners of the Girls’ Award were  Ballinger Waggoners Cricket Club’s Under 13s in Buckinghamshire.  In a 10-a-side, 20 over match their opponents, Chesham Girls, only had six players. Ballinger let two batting pairs bat for eight overs each and one for the remaining four to ensure Chesham could use up their allotted overs.  They then loaned their opposition four fielders for the Ballinger innings – one of whom ran out her teammate with a direct hit. Chesham won the game and went on to finish top of their league, with Ballinger narrowly missing out on promotion in third place.

Oliver Steward, who plays for Burn Cricket Club Under 15s in North Yorkshire, was the winner of the Boys’ Award. After a batsman was given out caught behind off his bowling, Steward called him back after noticing it was a bump ball.  The reprieved batsman then went on to narrowly win the game for his team in last few overs.  The King Solomon Academy in Marylebone, situated in one of the poorest wards of London, won the Schools’ Award.  The MCC says the Academy "has a large majority of students from challenging backgrounds and face day to day situations that affect their academic and emotional progress”.

Headline: Former Sri Lankan first class umpire dies.

Article from: The Nation.

Journalist:  Sa'adi Thawfeeq.                           

Published: Wednesday, 23 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,073

Former Sri Lankan first class umpire Milroy Mendis passed away on Tuesday after a brief illness at the age of 69.  Mendis stood in 79 first-class, 20 List A, and Under-19 Tests and One Day Internationals for over two decades from 1979-2003. He was promoted to Sri Lanka Cricket's ‘(SLC) A’ panel in 1990 and officiated in several matches played by touring teams.  Affectionately known by his initials as “Mickey Mouse” he also served on SLC’s umpire examination panel.

Headline: PCB unveils plans for T20 'Super League’.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist:  Umar Farooq.                           

Published: Tuesday, 22 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,074.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) unveiled its preliminary plans for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 competition on Sunday, the event being scheduled for February 2016. Last week, the PCB confirmed it was in talks with the Emirates Cricket Board over the possibility of hosting the tournament in the United Arab Emirates, despite confirming earlier that Doha, Qatar would serve as a venue. 

There were, however, no announcements related to franchise names, broadcasters and the player draft.  The PSL had initially contacted top agencies handling over 100 international players to consider playing in Pakistan. The response was overwhelmingly negative, which forced the organisers to be held outside Pakistan. The PCB has promised financial packages greater or equal to those offered in the Bangladesh Premier League, Sri Lanka Premier League and the Big Bash League. 

The PSL will feature franchise-based teams from the provincial capitals - Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta and Islamabad - with prize money of $US1 million ($A1.4 m, £UK656,000) available for the 24-match event. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,651

  Friday, 25 September 2015

 

• Despair at modern cricket? Blame Jagmohan Dalmiya [1651-8075].

 Bodenham standing in final game before retirement [1651-8076].

• Little change to IUP membership for 2015-16 [1651-8077].

• NZ players for Hamilton two-day, day-night pink ball trial ‘match’ [1651-8078].

Headline: Despair at modern cricket? Blame Jagmohan Dalmiya.

Article from:  The Times.

Journalist:  Mike Atherton.                           

Published: Thursday, 24 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,075.

Ever wondered how we got here? How supporters became consumers; how interested parties became stakeholders; how players became brands; how tickets to a Lord’s Test match cost more than £100 ($A220); how every international cricket match is commoditised, sold and packaged, like meat out of a factory? How, in other words, the game became less a sport and more a global business? 

An old man died four days ago. It is no exaggeration to say that nobody came close to having the impact on all of the above than Jagmohan Dalmiya (PTG 1649-8069, 22 September 2015). Over a 20-year period from 1984-2004, this son of a wealthy Indian business family helped to transform an impoverished game, ruled by a colonial elite at Lord’s, into a multibillion-dollar business ruled nominally out of Dubai, where the International Cricket Council (ICC) operates, but in reality from Mumbai, the home of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). 

When Dalmiya died, aged 75, Lalit Modi, another Indian businessman turned cricket administrator who saw the gold in cricket’s hills, tweeted that Dalmiya was “a very worthy opponent”. The word “opponent” tells you most of what you need to know about modern sports administration where those involved see themselves not as servants of a sport, but players in a geopolitical and financial power game, where the aim is to win at all costs no matter the consequences, and drive the price of the game ever higher. 

The end game of this transformation was the hijacking of the ICC last year by India, England and Australia, who returned it to a cabal-like state and put an end to an ideal that the governance of a sport should be high-minded, independent and for the benefit of all. Dalmiya’s days of influence were largely done by the time this transformation was complete, but he helped to set in train the most profound shift in cricket’s political and economic direction since Kerry Packer bought out the game’s leading players in the late 1970s. 

Dalmiya was the mastermind behind two key developments: first, the shift of cricket’s centre of influence to the east, made possible initially by the movement of the 1987 and 1996 World Cups to the sub-continent and the monetising of the latter; and second, the destruction of the monopoly enjoyed by the Indian state broadcaster, ‘Doordarshan', and its replacement by free-market competition among a host of nascent satellite television companies who recognised cricket’s importance to the emerging Indian middle-class market and who were prepared to pay top dollar for it. 

The first three World Cups had been staged in England, the finals held at Lord’s, the spiritual home of the game. Sponsorship and ticket sales for the third of them, won by India in 1983, had raised barely a six-figure sum. As Australian writer Gideon Haigh noted in 'Sphere of Influence', India’s winning team dined out at a Wimpy bar in Piccadilly after their triumph, not spending the win bonuses they did not receive. 

A year later, Dalmiya, then secretary of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) and treasurer of the BCCI, recognised the potential of India’s triumph and of one-day cricket, which had hitherto been frowned upon in a market still taken with the traditions of Test cricket, and masterminded a joint bid for the next World Cup with Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The final was to be held, where else, but in Dalmiya’s home town of Kolkata. The shift east had begun. 

It was the next competition but one, though, in 1996, that transformed the economics of the game. Dalmiya, now secretary of the BCCI, was instrumental in winning a protracted boardroom battle at the ICC to procure the tournament for the sub-continent for a second time and then helped to sell the television rights to WorldTel for $US10 million (now about £6.5 m - $A14.2 m). The ambush marketing campaign battle between ‘Pepsi' and 'Coca-Cola' signalled that cricket’s time had come. 

What had changed in between the 1987 and the 1996 tournaments was the dismantling of Doordarshan’s monopoly over the broadcasting of cricket in India, another key plank in Dalmiya’s vision for the future wealth of the game. Until 1993, the BCCI actually had to pay Doordarshan for the production costs for televising cricket. They received nothing. Before England’s tour to India in 1992-93, Dalmiya helped to sell the television rights to TWI for the first time and Doordarshan paid TWI $US1 million ($A1.4 m, £656,000) for the right to broadcast, so procuring the BCCI a windfall of $US600,000 ($A862,000, £394,000). From small acorns and all that. 

When Dalmiya tried the same trick for the Hero Cup in November 1993, Doordarshan baulked and refused to allow any foreign broadcaster the right to televise cricket on Indian soil. Dalmiya and the CAB took Doordarshan to court and won a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court of India in 1995 that effectively declared the airwaves open for business.  As Nalin Mehta states in 'Television in India: Satellite, politics and cultural change': “that judgment, arising out of a cricket dispute, gave legal basis to the satellite revolution that was engulfing India.” The marriage of cricket and satellite television in the sub-continent advanced, never to retreat. 

After the 1996 World Cup, Dalmiya engineered himself the presidency of the ICC, so establishing the trend that businessmen and not former cricketers would become the game’s most important administrators. Before Dalmiya, the ICC had been run by former greats, in Colin Cowdrey and Clyde Walcott, but the days of former cricketers leading the way were over. Between Dalmiya and Zaheer Abbas, the former Pakistan batsman who is now the president (albeit without much power), not one former international cricketer headed the ICC. 

As president, Dalmiya transformed the ICC’s finances. The inaugural Champions Trophy was held in Dhaka in 1998, bringing in $US20 million ($A28.7 m, £13.1 m), and the World Sports Group bought the rights to the next two World Cups for an astonishing (at the time) $US550 million ($A790 m, £361 m). Recently, ICC events between 2015-23 were sold for an estimated $2 billion ($A28.7 b, £13.1 b).  In a little over three decades, cricket’s market value has soared from a six-figure to a multibillion dollar sum. 

Dalmiya, through his involvement with the BCCI and ICC, did more than anyone else to make this transformation happen. Whether that has been good or bad for the game, in itself mirroring broader questions of the free market against a regulated market, is one of the most profound questions of the age. 

Headline: Bodenham standing in final game before retirement.

Article from:  Research.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Friday, 25 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,076.

English umpire Martin Bodenham will take the field in a first class match for the last time at the County Ground in Derby today.  Bodenham, who turned 65 late last April, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) compulsory retirement age for its umpires (PTG 1434-6937, 25 September 2015), is standing in the match between between Derbyshire and Leicestershire, his 113th such fixture since his debut at that level in April 2006.  During his career he also stood in 87 County List A and 76 Twenty20 games, plus both women’s and men’s Under-19 One Day and Twenty20 Internationals.  

Bodenham, a former Football Association referee who officiated the 1997 League Cup final and replay in England, was appointed to the ECB’s Full List ahead of the 2009 season after serving on its second-tier Reserve List for three years prior to that (PTG 347-1844, 11 November 2008).   His debut at first class level in 2006 saw him become the first person to have officiated in both top-flight football and cricket.  Unlike most of his colleagues on the ECB’s top panel he did not play at first class level prior to taking up umpiring.  

With only one age-related retiree from the Full List this year the ECB will now be looking to decide which member of its Reserve List to promote, the choices being: Ian Blackwell, Mike Burns, Ben Debenham, Tom Lungley, Paul Pollard, Billy Taylor, Russell Warren, Chris Watts.

Blackwell, Lungley, Warren and Watts were only elevated to the Reserve group this year (PTG 1480-7162, 11 December 2015), thus the choice may well fall to either Burns, Debenham, Pollard, or Taylor.  Prior to taking up umpiring Debenham, 47, played County second XI cricket, Burns, 46, for Warwickshire and Somerset playing a total of 154 first class, 221 List A and 9 Twenty20 matches for them, Pollard, 47, for Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire (192/187/0), and Taylor, 38, with Sussex and Hampshire (54/142/37).

To date Burns has stood in a total of 18 first class games, 10 of them during the 2015 season (18/10), Debenham 13/8, Taylor 12/6 and Pollard 12/4.  An announcement on the successful candidate is anticipated by year’s end.

Headline: Little change to IUP membership for 2015-16.

Article from: ICC web posting.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Friday, 25 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,077.

Membership of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) has changed little for the 2015-16 year.  Thirty of the 33 spots on the panel, and eight of the ten ‘national’ groupings, those from Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, remaining exactly as they were in 2014-15.

Of the changes, New Zealand’s panel only had one, the return of ‘Billy’ Bowden from the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel following the promotion of Chris Gaffaney (PTG 1561-7505, 5 June 2015), while in Zimbabwe former on-field member Owen Chirombe has been dropped, Jerry Matibiri, who had occupied the third umpire spot, being promoted in his place.  Langton Rusere comes in as the new third umpire.  

Interestingly, Bangladesh’s Enamul Hoque Moni, who a report last month suggested was likely to relinquish his career as an international umpire to take up the post of manager of the Bangladesh national team (PTG 1614-7848, 8 August 2015), remains on the IUP for another year.

The panels for the coming year are: Australia - Simon Fry, John Ward, Mick Martell and Paul Wilson, the latter pair being third umpires; Bangladesh - Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid, Enamul Hoque Moni and Anisur Rahman (third); England - Michael Gough, Rob Bailey and Tim Robinson (third); India - Vineet Kulkarni, Chettithody Shamshuddin, Anil Chaudhary and CK Nandan; New Zealand - Bowden, Derek Walker and Phil Jones (third); Pakistan - Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza and Ahmad Shahab (third); South Africa -Johan Cloete, Shaun George and Adrian Holdstock (third); Sri Lanka - Ranmore Martinez, Ruchira Palliyaguru and Ravindra Winalasiri (third); West Indies - Joel Wilson, Peter Nero, Gregory Braithwaite, Nigel Duguid (the latter two third); and Zimbabwe - Russell Tiffin, Matibiri and Rusere (third).

Headline: NZ players for Hamilton two-day, day-night pink ball trial ‘match’.

Article from: Radio Newstalk ZB.

Journalist:  Adam Cooper.                           

Published: Wednesday, 23 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,078.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has finalised the dates and format for its Test squad's first proper hit out with the pink ball ahead of the inaugural day-night Test against Australia in Adelaide in late November.  A two-day non-competitive fixture has been arranged for Seddon Park in Hamilton at the end of the team's camp  therein two weeks time. 

NZC head of cricket Lindsay Crocker says it'll be about every player getting a go.  "It'll be run like an open week at practice. There'll be some other players which will probably make up a quorum but it won't be like two sides, eleven versus eleven”.  Crocker indicated there's a fair likelihood the fixture will be televised, as there's a high level of public interest in how the pink ball will fear.

Once in Australia the touring side will open its visit with a day-night, one-day pink ball match against an Australian Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra, then play two Tests before a two-day day-night, pink ball match against We4stern Australia the week before the Test day-nighter in Adelaide (PTG 1639-8024,7 September 2015).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,652

  Tuesday, 29 September 2015

 

• Doubts grow over Australia’s tour of Bangladesh [1652-8079].

• First top-tier series for second-tier referee [1652-8080].

 Umpire struck by ball in an unusual way [1652-8081].

• Shortlist for ECB’s 2015 OSCAs announced [1652-8082].

 

Headline: Doubts grow over Australia’s tour of Bangladesh.

Article from:  The Australian.

Journalist:  Peter Lalor.                           

Published: Tuesday, 29 September 2015  

PTG listing: 8,079.

 

Australia’s cricketers are likely to miss a second scheduled departure date for the two-Test series against Bangladesh.  The team was due to fly out on Monday but their departure put on hold after Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) contacted Cricket Australia (CA) ahead of raising the alert level for that country late last week. Players were then told to be on standby for a flight tonight but that does not look likely.

 

DFAT has information that militants were planning to attack Australian interests in the country and warned against travel to Chittagong where the first of the two Tests was due to be played.  CA has sent its security experts to Bangladesh and were hoping for reassurance that the players’ safety could be guaranteed but the situation remains fluid.  

 

The security group met with Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan, vice-president Mahbubul Anam and chief executive Nizam Uddin Chowdhury at the Australian High Commission.  “They have information that Australian interest is under threat but that is not confined to Bangladesh, it is also in other neighbouring countries”, Hassan said after the meeting.  “This is their concern. But I have told them that Bangladesh is one of the safest places for cricket, especially now”.

 

CA is also taking further advice from DFAT.  “There has been no change to the situation or our current position”, the organisation said in a release last night.  It continued: "Our head of security has had a number of meetings with Bangladeshi government and cricket officials in Dhaka [on Monday].  We are also continuing to liaise closely with the Australian government on the matter”.  

 

Headline: First top-tier series for second-tier referee.

Article from:  Score sheets.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Tuesday, 29 September 2015  

PTG listing: 8,080.

 

Englishman David Jukes, a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier Regional Referees Panel, appears to have been appointed as the match referee for a top-tier men’s series for the first time.  Jukes was the match referee for the first of two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) Zimbabwe and Pakistan played in Harare on Sunday, and would therefore appear to be there for the remaining games of the series, a second T20I later today, then three One Day Internationals (ODI) over the next week.

 

Dukes, 59, who has been an international match referee since 2004, is no stranger to international cricket but until now all of his games as a match referee in men’s fixtures have been between second-tier nations, the exception being an ODI last May when Ireland played England in Dublin.  His record as a referee includes 40 at first class level, again between the top second-tier nations in the Intercontinental Cup, and 39 ODIs, and there have also been three women’s Tests and to date exactly 100 women’s ODIs (PTG 1605-7793, 29 July 2015).  

 

Standard ICC practice is normally to appoint a match referee for the entire series such as the current Zimbabwe-Pakistan games, however, the world body’s match appointments page has not been updated for over a month therefore it is not possible to be sure Jukes will be there for the four remaining games.

 

Headline: Umpire struck by ball in an unusual way.

Article from:  ECB posting.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Friday, 25 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,081.

 

Umpires are usually focussed on balls being hit back at them down the pitch, whist standing at square leg or when players are throwing in from the field, but English umpire Nigel Llong was struck in an entirely different manner  in the Surrey-Northamptonshire match at The Oval last week.  

Northamptonshire fast bowler Maurice Chambers produced a bizarre ‘delivery’ which saw the ball land at his own feet then bounce backwards to strike Llong, who was standing a metre or so behind the stumps, in the chest.  No injury appears to have resulted, however, the strike understandably took Llong by surprise in what was his 175th first class game as an umpire, and it took him a few seconds to call and signal dead ball.

Headline: Shortlist for ECB’s 2015 OSCAs announced.

Article from:  ECB press release.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Monday, 28 September 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,082.

 

Three ‘grass roots’ match officials were on the shortlist for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) 13th annual Outstanding Service to Cricket Awards (OSCA) announced today.   Twelve OSCAs across a range of categories will be presented in front of 400 invited guests from the recreational game at an event at Lord’s scheduled for mid-October.

 

The three short;listed for the ‘Officiating’ award for either scorers or umpires were: John Golding of Berkshire, Graeme Hall from Kent, and Rob Smith of Yorkshire.  Other categories in the OSCAs ‘grass roots’  list include: 'Get the Game On', 'Heartbeat of the Club', 'Leagues and Boards', 'Lifetime Achievers', ‘Young Volunteer', 'Outstanding Contribution to Coaching', 'Coach of the Year', 'Young Coach of the Year’ and 'Outstanding Contribution to Disability Cricket’.

 

The OSCAs were established in 2003 to recognise the contributions and efforts of grassroots volunteers from all over England and Wales.  "Hundreds of volunteers" were nominated by clubs, leagues and county cricket boards this year. 

 

Matt Dwyer, the ECB’s Director of Participation and Growth said: “The OSCAs are a great way to recognise and reward the outstanding contributions volunteers make to grassroots cricket every year".  Sponsorship Manager Lee Bailey agreed saying: “This year’s winners are all truly remarkable and selfless people without whom grassroots cricket would not be the wonderful game that we all enjoy today”.

 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,653

  Wednesday, 30 September 2015

 

• Lankan spinner’s ‘doosra’ declared illegal [1653-8083].

• Palliyaguru neutral umpire for Zimbabwe-Pakistan ODIs [1653-8084].

• BCCI set to elect a new President [1653-8085].

 

Headline: Lankan spinner’s ‘doosra’ declared illegal.

Article from:  Reuters.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Wednesday Sep 30, 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,083.

 

Sri Lanka's Tharindu Kaushal has been barred from bowling the doosra after independent test results showed it was illegal, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Tuesday  (PTG 1646-8058, 16 September 2015).  The 22-year-old, who has a distinctive high-knee run-up, can continue bowling off-breaks as: "The results showed that the level of elbow extension measured for all deliveries bowled was well within the 15-degree level of tolerance permitted under the ICC regulations", however, the assessment also revealed his extension when delivering the doosra "exceed the 15-degree level of tolerance and it should no longer be bowled in international cricket”.

 

Kaushal has played six Tests for Sri Lanka and has been earmarked as the island country's spin spearhead when Rangana Herath, 37, eventually retires.  He has already taken two five-wicket hauls in his career and picked up 13 dismissals in the three Tests against India in August, after which he was reported for a suspect bowling action (PTG 1635-8002, 3 September 2015).  Next month, Sri Lanka will host West Indies in a series featuring two Tests, three One Day internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals.

 

Headline: Palliyaguru neutral umpire for Zimbabwe-Pakistan ODIs.

Article from:  ICC advice.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                           

Published: Wednesday Sep 30, 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,084.

 

Sri Lankan Ruchira Palliyaguru will be the neutral umpire for the three One Day Internationals (ODI) Zimbabwe and Pakistan are to play in Harare over the next five days, joining match referee David Jukes of England who will oversee each match (PTG 16532-8080, 29 September 2015).  Palliyaguru, a member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), will work on-field with one or more of Zimbabwea’s three IUP members, Russell Tiffin, Jerry Matibiri and Langton Rusere, during the series.  For Rusere such an appointment would mark his debut at ODI level.

 

Headline: BCCI set to elect a new President.

Article from:  Times of India.

Journalist:  Not stated.                           

Published: Wednesday Sep 30, 2015.  

PTG listing: 8,085.

 

The much-awaited Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is expected to be held this weekend or next Monday.  Notices have not yet been sent to the state associations but BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur is understood to have informed Board members via telephone and the notices are likely to be sent in a day or two.   The secrecy surrounding the meeting is because a section of the Board feels that the Narayanaswami Srinivasan group, which has been marginalised in the succession struggle for the BCCI presidency, could stall the SGM on technical grounds by going to the court. 

 

The SGM will have only one item to discuss agenda, the election of a new president.  Shashank Manohar, who served in the role from 2008-11, is understood to have emerged as the consensus candidate of the majority group in the BCCI, is expected to be formally elected at the meeting.   It was widely predicted that the meeting would take place sometime between second and third week of October as it was thought that the members would have to be given at least a two-week notice.   But those in the know of the developments say the secretary is required to hold the SGM within 15 days of the death of a president, the late Jagmohan Dalmiya who died on 20 September (PTG 1649-8069, 22 September 2015). 


End of September 2015 news.