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                      DECEMBER 2015
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 26 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 8230-8563)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below 

 1,700  1,701  1,702  1,703  1,704  1,705  1,706  1,707  1,708  1,709  1,710  1,711  1,712  1,713  1,714  1,715  1,716  1,717  1,718  1,719  1,720  1,721  1,722  1,723  1,724  1,725


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,700

  Tuesday, 1 December 2015

 

• NZ ask ICC to explain Lyon UDRS decision making [1700-8392].

• ’Specialist’ television umpire concept gets another airing [1700-8393].

• London jury clears Cairns of perjury, perverting justice [1700-8394].

• Pink ball Test convinces broadcaster to screen more [1700-8395].

• ICC bans Windies’ spinner Narine from bowling [1700-8396].

• Mumbai withdraws spinners after 'suspect action' reports [1700-8397].

• 'Result-orientated' pitches leave Ranji Trophy in a spin [1700-8398].

 

Headline: NZ ask ICC to explain Lyon UDRS decision making.

Article from:  Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 1 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1700-8392.

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and team management are reported to have asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) for an explanation as to just how information from Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) technology was used in making the call which spared Australian batsman Nathan Lyon at a critical time in the two sides' third Test at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday.  Lyon was given 'not out' after the ball was caught at slip, and after a long review television umpire Nigel Llong found no evidence to overturn the original decision, an assessment that attracted widespread criticism, particularly because he judged that a ‘Hot Spot' mark on Lyon's bat could have "come from anywhere” (PTG 1699-8384, 29 November 2015).

 

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson told journalists on Monday that he had made contact with match referee Roshan Mahanama and the ICC over the contentious call.  He was at pains to point out his team didn’t have any qualms over the technology, rather just how it was used by Llong.  "Technology has got a bit of a bad rap, I don't think there's anything wrong with the technology”.  "There is a process that needs to be followed with these decisions and we need to make sure that process was followed correctly”, said Hesson.  

 

ICC general manager cricket Geoff Allardice said when explaining the introduction of Real-time Snicko (RTS) in 2013: "If there's a [bat] mark on Hot Spot that's conclusive evidence straight away and the only time [RTS] will be used is if there's no mark on Hot Spot” (PTG 1238-5974, 21 November 2013).  In Lyons case the mark on his bat was not accompanied by a RTS signature.

 

An ICC spokesman acknowledged correspondence had been received from NZC and team management, saying: "Communication is ongoing and we need to wait until we receive a report from officials who were at the match”.   Mahanama will file his report from the Test, as is standard practice, and the umpires involved will undergo the standard performance review that follows every Test and One Day International. 

 

ICC chief executive David Richardson, who was in Adelaide for the Test, is said by reports from there to have indicated Llong followed the correct UDRS “process” in reaching his recommendation to on-field colleague Sundarum Ravi to stay with his original decision, describing Llong’s assessment had been a “judgement call”.  However, he refused to say whether Llong made the correct decision, saying only: “That’s not appropriate for me to comment on. I’m sure people have already made their mind up about that already”.   

 

New Zealand reports claim Llong has been “pencilled" in to officiate in New Zealand’s Test series against Sri Lanka series which starts in Dunedin on Thursday week.  An ICC spokesman said appointments had yet to be confirmed for that tour, and that they are usually announced a week before a series begins.  The reports say it is understood the controversy currently surrounding Llong - a member of the ICC’s top Elite Umpires Panel - won't influence any decision to appoint him in New Zealand.  

 

Headline: ’Specialist’ television umpire concept gets another airing.

Article from:  Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 1 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1700-8393.

 

International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson has again raised the use of specialist television umpires, doing so when answering questions about Saturday’s controversial Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) assessment by umpire Nigel Llong during the third Australia-New Zealand Test in Adelaide (PTG 1700-8292 above).  Richardson is said to have conceded that having what reports describe as "part-time third umpires" was far from ideal, and the game had to continue to strive towards making the post a specialist position, an issue he first talked about publicly over seven years ago. 

 

Richardson is quoted as saying: “I know that Geoff Allardice [the ICC’s general manager cricket] is speaking about moving towards more specialisation [and] I think slowly but surely we are finding umpires that are specialising to a greater degree in being the third umpire.  The more you do it the better you will get at it and I think we will find greater consistency going forward”.  The ICC chief executive said it was important to note that third umpiring had "improved markedly" from the difficulties experienced during the 2013 Ashes in England, a series that was marred by inconsistent calls.  Since then the world body has increased the sophistication of its television umpire training.  

 

The issue of specialist third umpires is far from new for in 2008, just prior to the first UDRS trial in a Test match getting underway Richardson, who then occupied Allardice’s current position, said that there may be a case for "recalling" some "more experienced umpires" to be specialist television officials (E-News 284-1507, 24 July 2008).  In 2009, the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC) recommended a "specialist TV umpire panel" be created to work in matches covered by UDRS so as to ensure those involved "are comfortable in using the required technology” as the skills required by the third umpire "are not necessarily the same as those of the on-field umpires” (PTG 457-2374, 16 July 2009)

 

The ’Specialist’ television umpires issues surfaced again in that 2013 Ashes series.  London ‘Daily Telegraph’ journalist Nick Hoult wrote then that "the introduction of dedicated television umpires will be proposed to the ICC”, and "the belief is growing among cricket boards that the [television umpire] job requires specialist training (PTG 1147-5555, 14 July 2013).  Others wrote along similar lines and Hoult claimed that "Simon Taufel who [was then] in charge of training the next generation of officials, was believed to be in support of [such a] proposal”.   

 

Reports since indicate Taufel has been a key figure behind the ICC’s current television umpires training package.  “The training involves simulation training … that’s a requirement”, said Richardson on Monday.  In addition trials, which Llong was involved in (PTG 1160-5614, 2 August 2013), have also been conducted of what is called the Officiating Review System, that was shown to provide television umpires with UDRS sensor data more comprehensively, and in a much faster time frame.  While positively received, the costs involved are believed to have sidelined its introduction into regular use (PTG 1371-6629, 7 June 2014).

 

Whether there is a structured, strategic response behind Richardson’s comment that the ICC is “slowly but surely finding umpires that are specialising to a greater degree in being the third umpire” is not possible to determine.  However, data available indicates that over the last five years current Elite Umpires Panel have received a range of third umpire appointments across the three formats: Tests, One Day Internationals (ODI) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20I). 

 

Marais Erasmus has had 47 such international appointments across all formats, then comes Rod Tucker with 42, Llong 39, Bruce Oxenford 33, Kumar Dharmasena and Ian Gould both 32, Sundarum Ravi 31, Aleem Dar and Richard Illingworth each 30, Richard Kettleborough 28, Paul Reiffel 24, and Chris Gaffney 19.  In Tests, Erasmus has had 15, Reiffel 12, Ravi 11, Dar and Tucker both 10, Oxenford 8, Gould, Kettleborough and Llong all 7, Gaffney and Illingworth each 5, and Dharmasena 4.   Erasmus again leads the way in ODIs with 27, the same number as Llong, Tucker having 25, Illingworth 23, Dharmasena 21, Oxenford 20, Gould and Ravi 18, Kettleborough 16, Dar 15, Gaffney 10 and Reiffel 7; while T20I figures are much more even with Dharmasena, Gould and Tucker on 7, Dar, Erasmus, Kettleborough, Llong, Oxenford and Reiffel all 5, Gaffney 4 and Illingworth and Ravi both 2.

 

Such figures are however only a generally indicative assessment for the range of UDRS technologies in use across all of the matches involved varies widely.  That is because some had the full suite of then currently available systems available to the third umpire, while others, either because of the costs involved or in the case of India because authorities there do not support UDRS use, had only minimal technical support. 

 

Headline: London jury clears Cairns of perjury, perverting justice.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jesse Hogan.                          

Published: Sunday, 29 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1700-8394.

 

Former New Zealand player Chris Cairns has been found not guilty of perjury, and he and his co -accused Andrew Fitch-Holland cleared of perverting the course of justice, by a London jury on Monday (PTG 1698-8376, 28 November 2015).  In a trial which began eight weeks ago, Cairns was accused of lying under oath in his 2012 libel trial win against Indian businessman Lalit Modi, an action he initiated.  He and former legal adviser Andrew Fitch-Holland were both charged with trying to get former New Zealand player Lou Vincent, a self-confessed match-fixer, to provide a false statement to the Modi hearing.

 

Cairns has been dogged by allegations he was a cheat and a fixer since 2008.  On emerging from the court after the findings were announced he said the British legal system had vindicated him.  "It's a pretty robust system, and the jury today came back with a not guilty verdict, and I couldn't be more happy. My legal team have been superb throughout and I can't thank them enough, there's been a lot of people behind the scenes who have helped out.  He said he had been damaged by that, and for now his only plan, in the words of his lawyer Colin Nott, was to move "onwards and upwards".

 

Modi responded to Monday's verdict by saying:  "As you know, I am limited in what I can say as I am restricted by the injunction put in place following the 2012 libel trial [but] I will consider how this affects my own civil claim against Mr Cairns in due course”.  Cairns told media he would think about Modi "next week”.  "I will just deal with this one at the moment, and get through today”.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) released a statement acknowledging the verdict, saying it had the "utmost respect for the process that has been followed”.  It continued: "The ICC and its [Anti-Corruption Unit] will continue to work closely with, and provide all possible support to, players in order that the fight against corruption can be tackled effectively and collectively”.

 

Headline: Pink ball Test convinces broadcaster to screen more.

Article from:  Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jesse Hogan.                          

Published: Sunday, 29 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1700-8395.

 

Australian television broadcaster Channel Nine has hailed the debut of the pink ball in international cricket, especially once the sun went down, and is adamant it wants more day-night Test cricket in future.  The average metropolitan TV audience for the final session of day one of the Australia-New Zealand Test was 1.46 million, while it peaked about 1.84 million.  "I feel sorry for the people who didn't watch it," said Steve Crawley, Nine's head of sport. "It was something ... that was just a beautiful thing”.

 

Crawley said in almost three decades of sports broadcasting he had never experienced such an overwhelmingly positive response from viewers to something new as what occurred with its coverage on day one.  "I like to be involved in something that works, and I think it was [Shane Warne] who said yesterday 'This works’”, Crawley said. "The best thing was when the lights went on and when the sun went down - because that was new, that was history.  And it was here [in Adelaide where] there's a statue of Don Bradman outside, and the people walked down from the town. I don't know if it would fit this well elsewhere, but I know other venues will [want to] take on day-night Test cricket ... and that's exciting”.

 

The Nine cricket chief said the significance of the occasion was appreciated by its commentary team laden with retired international players.  "I called the commentators up last night and we just sat around for a while [discussing it]. We didn't make speeches or anything. We just wanted to celebrate the day”, he said.  "I see the local paper said yesterday that it might be the saviour of Test cricket. That's positive for all of us. It's good for you [in the media] because it's what you do for a living, it's what I do for a living”.

 

Crawley did not dispute that the pink ball looked better on TV that it did live at the venue - he said it was "incredibly visible" under floodlights - but stressed that was not uncommon when it came to major sporting events played at night.  "State of Origin [Rugby League] and [Australian Rules Football], the great games, some things are made for television”, he said. "I think the white clothes at night with the pink ball is really good on the eye ... a really good mix”.

 

Crawley was relieved that testing Nine had done during last month's day-night Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and NSW had been enough to calibrate the Eagle-Eye ball-tracking technology used for the decision review system (PTG 1680-8246, 4 November 2015). "Alarm bells were going out about it, that it wouldn't track. But it did”, he said.

 

The first day of day-night Test broadcasting was enough to cement Nine's desire to do more of it beyond this season.  "Oh, absolutely. They [Cricket Australia] have been terrific”, Crawley said. "All governing bodies are criticised, but if there's a world leader in governing bodies in cricket it's this one. None of us sing their praises, or certainly make a habit of it, but it [preparedness to trial day-night Tests] is pretty cool”.

 

Headline: ICC bans Windies’ spinner Narine from bowling.

Article from:  ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 30 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1700-8396.

 

West Indian spinner Sunil Narine, the world’s top-ranked bowler in both forms of limited-overs cricket, has been suspended from bowling in internationals after his action was ruled to be illegal.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement on Sunday that an independent assessment found his bowling action was illegal because his elbow extended beyond the maximum limit of 15 degrees.  The ICC said the suspension would take place with immediate effect but Narine could reapply for a reassessment after modifying his action.

 

Narine, 27, is currently rated as the number one bowler in the ICC’s rankings for 50-over One Day Internationals (ODI) and Twenty20s, but he is not a member of the Windies squad that is currently in Australia for a Test series. His action was reported last month during the ODI series against Sri Lanka (PTG 1684-8273, 10 November 2015), a series marking his return to internationals after more than a year when he was first reported during the 2014 Champions League Twenty20 tournament (PTG 1440-6940, 3 October 2014).

 

Richard Pybus, the West Indies Cricket Board Director of Cricket, said" “It will be a blow to Sunil to have failed the ICC biomechanics assessment of his action and be suspended from bowling”.  "We will be offering our support to him as he does the remedial work on his bowling action. I know the time and effort he has put in to do this work previously and I am sure this will just deepen his resolve to come back a better bowler”.

 

Headline: Mumbai withdraws spinners after 'suspect action' reports.

Article from: Indian media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 30 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1700-8397.

 

Around the time that West Indian spinner Sunil Narine’s bowling suspension was announced by the International Cricket Council (PTG 1700-8396 above), the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) withdrew two of its players from the squad to face Gujarat in their final Ranji Trophy match of the season. The two, Vishal Dabholkar and Ankush Jaiswal, are both spinners who were reported by umpires Krishnaraj Srinath and Krishnamachari Srinivasan for having suspect bowling actions in Mumbai's win over Madhya Pradesh a week ago

 

Despite the umpires’  report being of only a 'precautionary nature', Mumbai want to take no chance and run the risk of the players' potential suspension and are said to be planning to take the pair to the International Cricket Council accredited testing centre in Chenna.  Such a swift action is said by some to be testament to the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) new stance against illegal bowling actions. The board has emphasised in recent years that it wants to weed out all "improper actions” at both senior domestic, club and junior levels.

 

BCCI umpires are required to report any instance of what appears to be an illegal flexion of the bowling arm.  One media story said they "now note down specific moments of indiscretion - say ball 36.4 - and make additional notes about it - if the delivery was a doosra, a faster one etc. These observations are then sent to the match referee and to the testing centre in Chennai, where the video clips from the match offer further validation”.  The "BCCI is monitoring the issue of chucking very closely”, says Chandrakant Pandit, Mumbai’s head coach, who is to accompany Dabholkar and Jaiswal to Chennai.

 

Headline: 'Result-orientated' pitches leave Ranji Trophy in a spin.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Arun Venugopal and Bharath Seervi.                          

Published: Monday, 30 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1700-8398.

 

'Result-oriented' pitches have left the current season's Ranji Trophy first class series in a spin, for an obsession with outright wins has state associations desperate, and rank turners have been their weapon of choice.  Spinner-friendly tracks are one thing, but those provided this season have led to an imbalance between bat and ball.  Seven matches have finished in two days, which is more than the last four seasons put together.  

 

Teams have been bowled out for 100 or less 14 times, the lowest being Odisha's 37 against Bengal in Kalyani (PTG 1695-8354, 25 November 2015). Spinners have taken 1,209 wickets in eight rounds. That count was only 1,157 and 1,187 over the entire seasons in 2014-15 and 2013-14.  Seamers have had their share struck down accordingly: from 2,064, 1,964 and 1,942 in the last three seasons, to just 1,440 wickets in 2015-16. Spinners have taken 14 ten-fors to the fast bowlers' three. Those numbers tended to be more evenly distributed - 8 and 7, and 9 and 11 in the last two seasons. 

 

To some this sudden reversal is spin reclaiming its place of pride in India after the obsession with preparing the players to face fast bowlers on green tracks abroad. Admirable as the intentions were, it led to what they believe was unfair advantage for the quicks. To others - and former captain Rahul Dravid is one of them - this is a false dawn and has more to do with the poor quality of pitches. To the more practical, this is a season when state associations have lost sight of the balance between wanting to win and wanting to provide a breeding ground for international cricketers. When they need a win they stop watering the pitch in the lead up to a game.

 

Dravid, coach of the India Under-19 and A sides, feels this is an unhealthy trend. "All around in the Ranji Trophy this year teams are producing poor wickets - square turners where matches are finishing in two or three days," he says. "I don't think it's good for the health of Indian cricket”.

 

Assam coach Sanath Kumar remembers the Ranji captains and coaches meeting at the start of the season. "A lot of guys were saying that green-top wickets were not helping the spinners”, he says. "Their reasoning was that even a lot of line-and-length bowlers, who bowled at speeds of around 110 or 120 [kph], were beginning to look threatening on a green wicket.  Many captains asked why they couldn't play on a turner, which would challenge everybody. Even someone like [Harbhajan Singh] felt as a captain he couldn't even bowl himself on the pitches we had last year, and he had to keep bowling the seamers if Punjab had to win”.

 

Andhra captain Mohammad Kaif feels the compensation has gone too far. "You get either completely seaming pitches or rank turners. You want to be in the middle”, he says. "Too much contrast this. You see the number of overs bowled by spinners and the matches are getting over in two-and-a-half days. Is it good for Indian cricket? I don't want to complain or anything but this has been different from last year". 

 

The defence of these pitches is the same as the ones at Test level in India, which at least are going into three days. 'We want result-oriented pitches’, is the refrain everywhere but according to Sanath that is too simplistic a view. "The team [facing relegation] will prepare those [underprepared] wickets, and some teams which want to qualify for the knockouts will also prepare pitches like that”, he says. "There is so much pressure on coaches to perform, and they will take a call”.

 

Dravid raises the bigger question. "At the Ranji Trophy level, we are looking to prepare the players for the international stage. The reason for the Ranji Trophy is not only to decide the winner in the end. And if we keep playing on bad wickets like these, we are not going to develop and produce good cricketers”.

 

The Ranji points system provides added incentive to outright wins now, six as opposed to the earlier five. That's double the three points for a first-innings lead. Not to mention when there is a tie between two teams at the end of the group stages, qualification hinges on the number of victories. So perhaps some sides have been moved into producing rank turners to sweeten their chances. 

 

"Take a scenario where one team consistently takes the first-innings lead in seven games but lose the eighth, and they end with 21 points”, Sanath says. "Whereas another team that loses five games outright might win three with bonus points, and they will finish on 21, too. So, they will qualify by virtue of the outright wins.  If you reduce the points for a win, people will at least think of playing well and getting the lead in a few games apart from the one or two outright wins. Here, there is too much of emphasis on outright wins and as a result they resort to preparing poor pitches.  The BCCI's idea to have result-oriented pitches is good, but the way the teams are achieving it is not good. It should be streamlined and monitored well”.

 

That though is the tightrope the Ranji Trophy has to walk but monitoring of pitchers doesn't seem to have happened this season. Umpires and match referees tend to play it safe. It isn't often that a centre is banned because of poor pitch conditions; the most recent example was that of the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi more than three years ago. Other factors at play are that it's mostly the presidents of the respective state associations who influence the appointments of match officials. "The referee doesn't want to get involved in controversies”, claims a senior player and a captain of one of the teams this season. "He wants to officiate in the future as well, the same situation that applies to umpires”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,701

  Wednesday, 2 December 2015

 

• Aussie umpire in ‘stable’ condition after head strike [1701-8399].

• ICC admits crucial UDRS decision was wrong [1701-8400].

• Nagpur Test pitch officially rated as ‘poor' [1701-8401].

• Day-night Test decided by green, not pink [1701-8402].

• Initial day-night Test statistics debunk pink ball theories [1701-8403].

• My experiences as a Scorer [1701-8404].

• ‘Greater police involvement’ needed in corruption flight [1701-8405].

• The game is a long way from defeating match-fixing [1701-8406].

• Manohar has little time to put his stamp on ICC [1701-8407].

• ICC in talks on return of cricket to the Commonwealth Games [1701-8408].

 

Headline:  Aussie umpire in ‘stable’ condition after head strike.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Arun Venugopal.                          

Published: Wednesday, 2 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1701-8399.

 

Australian umpire John Ward has been declared stable after being struck on the head by a shot played by Punjab's Brainder Sran on the first day of their Ranji Trophy match against Tamil Nadu in Dindigul on Tuesday.  A Wisden India report says Sran smashed a full delivery from DT Chandrasekar past the bowler, which pinged Ward's head causing the umpire to drop to the ground. Ward was immediately rushed to the local medical centre before being moved to Apollo Hospital in Madurai, which is about 40 km away from the venue.

 

While some reports suggested Ward became unconscious following the impact, Dindigul District Cricket Association secretary N Venkataraman denied that was the case. "He wasn't unconscious. After he got hit he fell to the ground, but he stood up and walked up to the ambulance by himself”, said Venkataraman.  "He is completely normal. He has a tiny bulge behind the right ear which was identified in the scan”. 

 

"The medical observation has to be done in a big hospital, so we have shifted him to Apollo Hospitals in Madurai.  There also we took scans. He is completely alright. Normally, in the event of a head injury, a patient is advised to be under observation for a day or two. He has been advised rest for a minimum of one day"   Venkataraman said Ward would be replaced by Mohammad Raffik, an umpire in the Ranji Trophy panel, for the remainder of the match. "While senior Tamil Nadu Cricket Association umpire Gururajan stood in after Ward's injury, Raffik officiated today immediately on his arrival from Madurai.  

 

Ward has been officiating in India as part of the umpires exchange program between Board of Control for Cricket in India and Cricket Australia (PTG 1695-8351, 25 November 2015).  His injury comes after renewed discussion and debate about the need for umpires to wear helmets and other protection (PTG 1697-8368, 27 November 2015).  It also comes a year and two days after Israeli umpire Hillel Awasker who was struck by a ball in a match and died of what a hospital spokesman described as a "catastrophic head wound” (PTG 1472-7119, 1 December 2014).

 

Headline:  ICC admits crucial UDRS decision was wrong.

Article from:  ICC twitter feed.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 1 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1701-8400.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed umpire Nigel Llong made the wrong call on the match-critical Nathan Lyon Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) incident during last Saturday’s play in the inaugural day-night Test in Adelaide, however, it is yet to give an in-depth explanation as to just where he erred.  The ICC's media Twitter account announced the news on Tuesday, saying Llong made an incorrect judgement, but that the former English first-class player had followed the correct protocol.  

 

In conducting the Lyon review, Llong said he found no evidence to overturn the original on-field ‘not out’ decision despite 'Hot Spot’ evidence that showed a mark on Lyon's bat (PTG 1699-8384, 29 November 2015).  That assessment attracted widespread criticism and led to New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and its team asking the ICC for an explanation (PTG 1700-8392, 1 December 2015).   

 

Llong employed the full suite of technology available to him while making his decision, including 'Hot Spot', super slow-motion, ball-tracking in case of LBW and Real-Time Snicko (RTS), the latter appearing to be what spared Lyon. RTS, often the most reliable tool for detecting an edge, showed no sign of contact as the ball passed bat, and despite Hot Spot showing a mark on the batsman's blade, Llong said on audio that spot "could come from anywhere”.

 

The ICC’s comments on the issue were contained in three closely spaced Tweets.  The first read: 'ICC has replied to correspondence from NZC relating to the Nathan Lyon DRS review in the 3rd Test’, the second 'ICC has reviewed the decision and acknowledged that it was incorrect’, and the third 'ICC confirms the umpire followed the correct protocol, but made an incorrect judgment'. 

 

Fairfax Media’s Andrew Wu wrote on Tuesday that what he called “an insider familiar with the workings of TV referrals”, described the Lyon episode as a "cluster f---“.  He goes on to say that while Llong is one of the most accomplished umpires in world cricket, the last time before Adelaide he was appointed as TV umpire when some semblance of UDRS technology was in use was six months ago for a One Day International in Bangladesh, and his last Test appearance in that role was in October last year.   That "may give weight to calls for the TV umpire to be a specialist role”, wrote Wu (PTG 1700-8393, 1 December 2015). 

Headline:  Nagpur Test pitch officially rated as ‘poor'.

Article from:  Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 1 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1701-8401.

 

The Vidarbha cricket ground pitch provided for last week's third Test between India and South Africa last week has officially been rated as “poor” by the International Cricket Council (ICC).  Match referee Jeff Crowe is reported to have included concerns raised by umpires Ian Gould and Bruce Oxenford in his post-match report that has been submitted it to the ICC.  Under ICC regulations the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has 14 days to provide its response to the issues Crowe has raised. 

 

During the Test India scored 215 and 173, and South Africa 79 and 185, ample turn being present from the start which contributed to the game being over within three days. The pitch was criticised by many former cricketers, including Australia’s Matthew Hayden and England’s Michael Vaughan. However, Indian captain Virat Kohli and team director Ravi Shastri strongly defended the pitch, saying that there was nothing wrong with it. Shastri asked: “Which rule tells me that a ball can’t turn on day one? Where does it tell me in the rule book it can only swing and seam?”  The South Africans have not lodged any complaints about, nor made any critical comments on, the pitch.

After the BCCI submits its response, the ICC’s General Manager Cricket, Geoff Allardice, and its Chief Match Referee, Ranjan Madugalle, will consider all the evidence, including studying video footage of the match, before reaching their decision on whether or not the pitch was poor and if so, whether a penalty should be imposed.  The Vidarbha cricket ground in Nagpur, Maharashtra, is located in BCCI president, and ICC chairman, Shashank Manohar’s home association

 

Headline:  Day-night Test decided by green, not pink.

Article from:  CA web site.

Journalist: Andrew Ramsey.                          

Published: Monday, 30 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1701-8402.

 

If there was to be a consensus on the introduction of day-night Test cricket after months of suspicion and scrutiny of the pink ball among those most directly impacted by its introduction, it was that the changed ground conditions were the concept's most problematic.  The historic first Test under floodlights finished around 45 minutes shy of three days but drew a match aggregate crowd of more than 123,000 – bigger numbers than five days in Brisbane and Perth attracted – and the thumbs-up from all involved.

 

No concerns were aired publicly by players about the ball being impossible to see, even harder to bowl with and not technologically sound enough to withstand the rigours of Test match cricket.  Instead, it was the additional mat of "lively" grass on a usually docile Adelaide Oval pitch that was cited as the reason why the aggregate score was the lowest in a completed Test match at the traditionally batter-friendly ground since 1993.

 

As former NZ skipper Ross Taylor pointed out during a media conference at the end of the second (and as it turned out, penultimate) day, a salient point to keep in mind was that the entire triumphant fixture had been tailor-made to nurse and nurture the pink ball concept.  The additional 8 mm of grass sprouting from the pitch prevented the ugly wear and tear the pink ball had suffered in its debut 'international' outing in Canberra last month (PTG 1669-8178, 24 October 2015). The absence of prepared or recently-sued pitches alongside the Test strip on the wicket block meant it was similarly preserved as it flew off the bat or was hurled back on the bounce from the outfield.

 

That outfield itself was more lush than has been seen at an Australia Test venue for many a summer, which meant boundaries were tough to earn for those battsmen who did find the middle and the gaps in the field.  And as Taylor noted, that in turn prevented the pink ball from suffering damage as had befallen it during other matches where the innovation was trialled – as well as its not-so-lovingly tended red cousin – as it hurtled into and ricocheted off advertising boards beyond the boundary rope.

 

Which is why NZ captain Brendon McCullum took the opportunity, amid singing the praises of the format that had caused its share of pre-emptive angst, to caution that it might be timely if the ball was adapted to suit the game rather than the other way around.  "To me, it’s a great concept”, said McCullum when asked how he assessed the Test game revolution that is already being considered by other Test match nations, New Zealand included (PTG 1697-8369, 27 November 2015).  "As pink-ball cricket evolves, as I am sure it will, into a global game I think we will see the pitches probably won’t have quite as much grass on (them). The thing about day-night Test cricket is it is meant to allow Test match cricket to be played at night time”.

 

Headline:  Initial day-night Test statistics debunk pink ball theories.

Article from:  CA web site.

Journalist: Sam Ferris.                          

Published: Monday, 30 November 2015.  

PTG listing: 1701-8403.

 

Among the myriad of unknowns heading into the inaugural day-night Test, one of the most talked about factors was how the pink ball would behave under lights once the setting sun had retired beyond the horizon.  Early warnings were sounded from the opening round of the Sheffield Shield season in which the latest version of the pink Kookaburra was used to expose Australia's Test players to the unique projectile a month out from the historic event.

 

The word on the street was the pink ball was difficult to pick up between overs 60 to 80, while a newish ball swung appreciably more under lights, causing batsmen all sorts of problems in conditions alien to first-class cricket.  Mitchell Starc proved that theory on day one of the NSW's Shield match against South Australia at Adelaide Oval, ripping out two top-order batsmen as he and fellow Test quick Josh Hazlewood reduced the home side to 3/3 from six floodlit overs after skipper Steve Smith had declared late in the day.

 

So when Brendon McCullum won the toss this past Friday afternoon and opted to bat first in the Test game's first plunge into pink ball cricket, thoughts fast forwarded five hours to the night session and how New Zealand's batsmen would counter Australia's speedsters on a lush wicket under the towering spotlights.  While the Black Caps could only manage 10 overs after the dinner break before their innings ended at 202, they contributed three wickets and Australia two to the night session tally of five, which was followed by another five wickets on night two and four on night three.

 

Those numbers would suggest the third session under lights is difficult to bat in, but a closer examination of the bowling performances throughout the match reveals little difference between batting at the start of the day's play and at the end.  With 14 victims over three days, the night session yielded only one more wicket than the afternoon session (13), while the cost of each dismissal was exactly the same at 18 runs apiece.  Bowlers were slightly more penetrating after dinner than they were before tea, striking at 36.57 balls per wicket at night compared to 38.62 in the opening stanza of play where batsmen scored slightly more freely (2.95 runs per over compared to 2.8).

 

During the darkest period of the night, from the final drinks break until stumps, the numbers suggest batting is no harder than when the sun's presence is known.  In that period, generally the last hour to hour and a half, wickets cost 21 runs each and were taken every 46 deliveries, while the scoring rate (2.74) was at its lowest.  In contrast, the numbers from the evening session - sandwiched between tea and dinner - indicate this period was ripe for batting. A total of ten wickets fell in that session across the three days at a strike rate of 49.40 and an average of 33.50, with runs coming at 4.07 runs per over.

 

With such a small sample size, whether or not batting against the pink ball is harder at night than in the day is yet to be completely determined.  But one thing is certain; cricket has been played in daylight hours for 138 years and batsmen have always found a way to be dismissed in the sunshine. 

 

Headline:  My experiences as a Scorer.

Article from:  Notchers' News .

Journalist: Clare Noakes.                          

Published: December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1701-8404.

 

Various articles in the September issue of ’Notchers’ News' seem to reflect on the woes of the scorer so I thought that I'd like to submit some thoughts on my own more positive experience as a scorer.

 

I came late to cricket by today's standards - girls didn't play cricket when I was at school and it wasn't until I went to university that I had the opportunity to get involved in a game I'd watched enthusiastically for as long as I could remember.  After graduating I didn't play for a good five years until I moved from London to Birmingham and found that Moseley Cricket Club had an active ladies' section; I joined the squad.

 

I've never been a very good player - I do it purely for enjoyment - but when I took a few years out to have my children I wanted to remain involved; I brushed up on my scoring skills from many, many years ago and helped out. That was five years ago.  Now I'm back playing again for the ladies' team this season, but having taken my Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) Level 1 scoring qualification over the winter, I really wanted to keep it up.

 

This year has been my first season scoring for Warwickshire’s Moseley Cricket Club Men's 2nd XI and what a fantastic experience it's been. The team's a great group and they've been incredibly welcoming. I’ve had lifts to every away match.  I’ve been provided with a decent book.  I’ve had clear lists of players (some with descriptions!) so that in the early days I could have a fighting chance of identifying people.  I’vebeenpaid(!!).  The captain keeps me informed of what’s going on between matches.  I’ve been included in team socials I’ve basically been made to feel a part of the team and not ‘just’ a match official!

 

Yes, I've often found myself as the only scorer, even at away matches, and grappling with a book and an unfamiliar electronic system.  Yes, I've had umpires shouting "score board" at me just as two quick wickets have fallen and I couldn't identify the away team's bowler.  Yes, I've stood outside the dressing room, attempting to have a conversation about batting orders while averting my eyes from the half-clad team (not, if I'm honest, always a hardship…).  Yes, I've discovered that as soon as I don my official ACO T-shirt, I suddenly gain the respect of umpires that was perhaps previously a little lacking.

 

But it's been great and I can't wait for next season! 

 

Headline:  ‘Greater police involvement’ needed in corruption flight.

Article from:  Dominion Post.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 1 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1701-8405.

 

New Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZCPA) chief executive Heath Mills has called for greater police involvement in the fight to stop match-fixing in the sport.  Mills, who was speaking following the not guilty verdict in the Chris Cairns perjury trial (PTG 1700-8394, 1 December 2015), said the case had had a "terrible impact on the game in New Zealand".  

 

Mills said he didn't think cricket, the only sport that has its own anti-corruption unit, could do any more.  "Across the board this is the biggest issue in sport”, he said. "I don't think people understand how big gambling is in sports particularly in illegal markets”.  In his view  one of the areas where there could be greater improvement is with more assistance from government and police.  

 

Mills said the NZCPA was relieved the perjury trial had finally come to an end.  "It has been a really difficult few years for a range of people and it has a had a terrible impact on the game here. We are pleased that the process has come to an end and reached a conclusion so we can move forward”.  Mills said there were "no winners" in this trial, but if there was a positive it was the increased awareness of match-fixing.

 

The NZCPA has run an anti-corruption education program for the past three years which includes an education session with each of the 22 teams in New Zealand followed up with an online testing process.  

 

Mills describes it as the most comprehensive available in sport in New Zealand.  "We need to understand that we are in a global environment now and our people are going to foreign environments”, he says, and “the biggest tool in fighting match-fixing is the education of the athletes and that is our focus”. 

 

Headline:  The game is a long way from defeating match-fixing.

Article from:  London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Scyld Berry.                          

Published: Tuesday, 1 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1701-8406.

 

It’s the same as usual. Once again the lid has been lifted, giving us a tantalising glimpse of the corruption in cricket, before being slammed shut. The not-guilty verdict in the Cairns trial allows us to think that the sport is pretty clean: Chris Cairns had not perjured himself when saying he was innocent of match-fixing.  But there is too much smoke, if no outright fire, to be complacent about match-fixing and spot-fixing, as some of the testimony given during the trial in London’s Southwark Crown Court pointed up. 

 

And again it has been left to the law to do the hard yards. Whatever good work is done by the International Cricket Council’s Anti Corruption Unit is nothing by comparison with catching a big fish. One international cricketer of repute who is banned for life would do more than any amount of player-education behind the scenes.  In September Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the ICC's anti-corruption chief, admitted that corruption will never be totally driven out of the game, though that those who love the game should be reassured that administrators are doing “everything they can to stop illegal practices such as match-fixing” (PTG 1650-8071, 24 September 2015). 

 

What was significant about the Cairns trial was not so much what it revealed about the Indian Cricket League (ICL). The rumours were rife from the moment it was set up in 2007 by an Indian company, the Essel Group, who owned Zee TV, after they had missed out on the broadcasting contracts for official Indian cricket.  All the matches in the inaugural competition were staged in a town in Haryana, called Panchkula, as the Indian board would not allow their stadiums to be used. Some big names were signed from overseas, including four English county captains, but most notably Brian Lara and Chris Cairns, to beef up the Indian has-beens and no-hopers. 

 

The ICL introduced the spider-cam to cricket, hovering over the field as commentators like the late Tony Greig hammed up the quality of the matches. But not even the spider-cam could pick up what was being concocted below.   Nobody cared about the games played by Chandirgarh Lions, the outfit captained by Cairns, or the five other teams in the ICL. Nobody above board, that is. They might have been important to certain individuals in downtown Dubai, Karachi and Mumbai, but that was all. 

 

What was significant about the trial was what it suggested about the goings-on in official cricket at the time of the ICL and, by extension, now. And if you give any credence to any of the testimonies, some were truly alarming.  New Zealand’s captain Brendon McCullum testified that Cairns had told him that “everyone else was doing it in world cricket”. Even if we take them with many grains of salt, these words suggest that fixing has been, and probably is, frequent in certain parts of the cricket world. 

 

The sums involved began at $US50,000 per fixed game, plus the services of a prostitute, according to the testimony of the New Zealand batsman, Lou Vincent, who played under Cairns for Chandigarh Lions. In return he would score a few runs before getting himself out relatively cheaply.  It would be a bold, and probably credulous, person who said the corruption in the ICL was confined to that competition and quarantined there. “Everyone” would be overstating the case, one hopes, but that could still leave “plenty”. 

 

Headline:  Manohar has little time to put his stamp on ICC.

Article from:  The Hindu.

Journalist: G. Viswanath.                          

Published: Tuesday, 1 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1701-8407.

 

New International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman Shashank Manohar has three key ICC meetings, in February, April and the annual conference in June, to bring around all 10 full ICC members, including the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA), to his idea of ICC governance structure and values, and the revenue-sharing formula.  A week ago Manohar, who recently took up the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) presidency, called last years’ BCCI-ECB-CA driven ICC structural revamp “bullying”, and that there were several faults in the ICC that he hoped to rectify during his term as chairman (PTG 1697-8370, 27 November 2015).  

 

Under the ICC's constitution Manohar, who took over the ICC position from countryman Narayanaswami soon after he was elected BCCI president, will have to vacate the ICC job when the annual conference ends in June.  His successor has already been decided and it will be Giles Clarke, who served as ECB chairman from 2007-15 after which he became that organisation’s first president.  Clarke was a key driver in the ICC revamp Manohar has concerns about.

 

Headline:  ICC in talks on return of cricket to the Commonwealth Games.

Article from:  Agence France Presse (AFP).

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 1 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1701-8408.

 

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), which controls the second-biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics, is in talks with the International Cricket Council (ICC) about bringing the sport back into the four-yearly event.  Cricket has only featured once at the Commonwealth Games, that being in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur, and the CGF said it was keen to get cricket back on its bill, with the Twenty20 shortest format of the game a particularly "exciting" prospect.

 

CGF chief executive David Grevemberg told AFP at the Commonwealth summit in Malta” “We've had some fantastic conversations with the ICC. It's very much exploratory”.  It’s one of the priorities of the movement: all 71 nations and territories unanimously agreed that it would be great to have cricket as part of the sports program.  "It's not out of the question and, working with the ICC, we could come up with a really relevant and exciting format”.

 

At the 1998 Games, 16 teams competed in 50-over matches. Caribbean countries competed separately rather than as West Indies, while a Northern Ireland team also took part.  England refused to send a squad as it clashed with the end of its domestic championship season.  Cricket is not on the agenda for the 2018 Games in the Gold Coast, Australia, but could potentially feature at the 2022 Games in Durban, South Africa; and talks are also underway about the possibility of making it an Olympic event for the first time since 1900 (PTG 1694-8346, 24 November 2015).

 

CGF president Louise Martin stressed discussions with the ICC were still in the initial phases. "We'd like to have it back in again. The Twenty20 format makes its so much more exciting and you can do it in a shorter period of time, but at this moment it's still in discussion stage”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,702

  Thursday, 3 December 2015

 

• ‘Extra security’ possible for Llong in NZ [1702-8409].

• All-female umpire panel for main WWT20Q semi finals [1702-8410].

• ICC names match officials for Australia-Windies series [1702-8411].

• CA silent on Ward head strike [1702-8412].

• Third exchange in two years for young South African umpire [1702-8413].

• ICC starts to drip feed annual award information [1702-8414].

• Scrapping of mandatory toss labelled ‘against the spirit of cricket' [1702-8415].

• BBL on corruption alert with billions of dollars bet on matches [1702-8416].

• Age-fudging in cricket is 'toxic and dangerous', says Dravid [1702-8417].

• Mahanama stands down from match referee role [1702-8418].

• Lyon UDRS decision puts the focus back on human error [1702-8419].

• Cricket battles credibility problem [1702-8420].

 

Headline:  ‘Extra security’ possible for Llong in NZ.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 3 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1702-8409.

 

English umpire Nigel Llong, whose “incorrect judgement” in Adelaide last week has been acknowledged by the International Cricket Council (ICC) (PTG 1701-8400, 2 December 2015), "could be provided with extra security” when he officiates in the opening Test of the series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Dunedin next week, according to a Radio New Zealand (RNZ) report.  On Wednesday, the ICC confirmed that Long, together with countryman Richard Kettleborough and Australians David Boon and Paul Reiffel, will be managing play in the two-Test series.

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) operations manager Lindsay Crocker is quoted by RNZ as saying: "New Zealand sports fans are likely to give [Llong] a reasonably 'warm welcome'. We've got prior form for this sort of thing in rugby, so the International Cricket Council [ICC] are aware of that and Nigel is aware of that himself, but he knows he needs to get back on the horse and is likely to be greeted by New Zealand crowds which will add a little bit of spice to the occasion”.

 

Crocker said NZC, which asked the ICC for an explanation regarding the Llong decision, are happy with the response they received, although he did not provide any information of just what the world body’s advice canvassed.  The "[ICC] reviewed their system and the decision and came back pretty quickly. They held up their hands, so fair play to them really”.  "We've had [Llong] a lot of the years, he's been a good umpire for some time. He made a mistake.  I don't think there is an awful lot more we can ask. Nigel has no intention of running away and hiding”, and Crocker said he doesn't expect him to be demoted.  

 

NZC’s operations manager went on to say that any extra security would be low key but was hopeful there wouldn't be a need for it.  He said its unfortunate one decision seemingly had such a large impact on the game.  "You never know what might have unfolded...but in a low scoring game it meant it did put a higher focus on the decision and ended up being material. Whether [the result] would have panned out being any different if [Lyon] had been given out we'll never know”.  “We move on”, said Crocker, who wouldn't be surprised if Llong's error was used as the catalyst for the ICC to establish a specialist TV umpire panel (PTG 1700-8393, 1 December 2015). 

 

During the forthcoming series Boon will be the match referee, Kettleborough and Llong being on-field for the match in Dunedin with Reiffel the television official, then for the second game in Hamilton it will be Kettleborough-Reiffel on-field, Llong being back in the television suite for the first time since Adelaide.  By the time the series ends, Boon will have taken his match referee record in Tests to 30, Llong to 34 on-field and 20 in the television spot (34/20), Kettleborough to 34/11 and Reiffel 22/14.

 

Headline: All-female umpire panel for main WWT20Q semi finals.

Article from:  ICC appointments

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 3 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1702-8410.

 

Kathy Cross, Claire Polosak and Jacqueline Williams have been named to manage the two main semi finals of the womens’ World Twenty20 Qualifying (WWT20Q) event in Bangkok today.  Cross and Polosak will be on-field for the match between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, with Williams the reserve, Polosak also being on field for the second game between Ireland and Scotland, this time with Williams, Cross being the reserve.  

 

The winners of the two semi finals will play each other in the main final on Saturday and also qualify for the womens’ World Twenty20 series in India next year (PTG 1696-8359, 26 November 2015).

 

Across in the lower half of the finals, Sue Redfern will stand with Nigel Morrison when Papua New Guineau plays the Netherlands, Alan Haggo being the reserve, then Haggo will be on-field with Morrison in the second semi final between China and Thailand, with Redfern their reserve.  During the opening or group stage of the WWT20Q, all six umpires each stood in four matches and served as the reserve in another two.

 

Headline:  ICC names match officials for Australia-Windies series.

Article from: ICC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 2 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1702-8411.

 

Chris Gaffney of New Zealand, one of two new members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) this year, will be standing in his first Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) during the three-match series Australia and New Zealand will play over the next month.  Gaffney, along with match referee Chris Broad and fellow umpires Marais Erasmus and Ian Gould, were named as the match officials for the Tests on Wednesday.  

 

Gould will be on-field for the opening Test in Hobart next week, Gaffney being the television umpire, then it will be Erasmus-Gaffney on the ground at the MCG and Gould the third official, while early in the new year in Sydney Gould-Gaffney will be on-field with Erasmus working in the television suite.   For Broad it will be his third Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, Gould his second but first as the third umpire there, and Erasmus also his second, but first on-field.  Gaffney will be experiencing the stadium for the second time, his first visit there being while on exchange in a Cricket Australia Sheffield Shield match four years ago this month, his on-field partner then being now fellow EUP member Paul Reiffel (PTG 869-4248, 6 December 2011).

 

The Australia-Windies’ series will take Broad’s record as a match referee in Tests to 75 matches, Gould to 49 on-field and 17 as a third umpire (49/17), Erasmus to 35/25, and Gaffney 6/6.

 

Headline:  CA silent on Ward head strike.

Article from: Pakistan Observer.

Journalist: Bipin Dani.                          

Published: Thursday, 3 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1702-8412.

 

Australian umpire John Ward, who was struck in the head by a ball in a Ranji Trophy match in Dindigul on Tuesday (PTG 1701-8399, 2 December 2015), is expected to fly home to Melbourne on the weekend after being discharged from the hospital.  Neurosurgeon Dr. S. Sundarrajan, said on Wednesday that Ward "had some micro vessel bleeding and is under medication and advised rest [but] no surgery is required and we plan to discharge him on Thursday”. 

 

Sundarrajan, a keen follower of cricket, has not advised the umpire to wear helmet while officiating on field but Karl Wentzel, another umpire from his country, may suggest him to do so.  Speaking exclusively from Australia, Wentzel said, “my wearing a helmet is as a result of a freak accident which took place in 2001 when I was umpiring a cricket match. I was umpiring at the bowler’s end when a batsman hit the ball hard, straight at me. Whilst I moved away it unfortunately ricochet off the bowler’s hand and struck me in the mouth” (PTG 1685-8283, 11 November 2015) 

 

“My wearing a helmet during umpiring is as a result of an accident. Accidents do happen (whether they are freak or not) and with the hard hitting batsmen today like David Warner, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers and the like, and the more powerful bats the chances of accidents have substantially increased”.  "I feel totally safe when umpiring and feel that I have taken precautions to prevent any severe or fatal injuries if struck by a hard hitting ball on the head”, Wentzel concluded.

 

So far Cricket Australia (CA) has made no public comment on Ward, although a news wire story was run on its web site on Wednesday.  ‘PTG’ understands there has been some communication about it within senior umpiring circles in Australia, however, if information available is correct that was limited to general advice about the incident.  “Most of us found out about it first via ‘PTG’”, said a source.

 

Headline:  Third exchange in two years for young South African umpire.

Article from: Match score sheets.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 2 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1702-8413.

 

South African umpire Bongami Jele, who will not turn 30 until next April, is currently on exchange in India, his third such visit overseas in the last 22 months.  Jeles’ first match in India’s Ranji Trophy first class series was the fixture between Uttar Pradesh and Punjab in Kanpur, his on-field partner for that game being Anil Dandekar, and the second, which will end later today, is in Mumbai with Abhijit Deshmukh where the home side is playing Gujarat.

 

Jele, who made his first class debut six years ago last month at the age of 23, was selected by Cricket South Africa for an exchange visit to New Zealand in February 2014 where he stood in two Plunket Shield games, the first with Gary Baxter in Rangoira, and then with Derek Walker in Dunedin (PTG 1290-6221, 12 February 2014).  Nine months after that he was in Australia for two Sheffield Shield games, the first in Hobart with Paul Wilson as his partner, and the second in Brisbane with Gerard Abood (PTG 1457-7063, 28 October 2014).

 

Headline:  ICC starts to drip feed annual award information.

Article from: ICC press releases.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 2 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1702-8414.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced its Test and One Day International teams of the year for 2015 on Wednesday, the first of a series of announcements of its Annual Awards, including the ‘Umpire of the Year’ and ’Spirit of Cricket’ trophies, that are expect ted to be released in drip-feed fashion over the next few days.  The Awards, which were first presented in 2004, were made at a gala dinner each year from then until 2012, while those in 2013 and 2014 were television affairs, but now they have simply become a media release event (PTG 1665-8157, 19 October 2015).

 

In addition to the umpire and spirit awards, others to be announced include: the best players from Tests, One Day Internationals, Twenty20 Internationals, Women’s cricketer of the year, Emerging player of the year, and captain of the year.  Selections for most of them are made via panels made up of former players, cricket-writers and journalists who cast votes, while the winner of the umpires’ award has, in the past, been decided by a mixture of vote of the ten Test captains for the year and statistics of on-field performances.

 

Past ‘Umpire of the Year’ awards have been won by just four men, Australian Simon Taufel five times from 2004-08 (PTG 310-1619, 11 September 2008), Pakistan’s Aleem Dar over the three years from 2009-11 (PTG 831-4058, 13 September 2011), Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka in 2012 (PTG 991-4812, 16 September 2012), and Richard Kettleborough of England for the last two years (PTG 1460-7072, 15 November 2014).

 

From 2004-10 the ‘Spirit’ award went to teams, New Zealand winning it three times (2004, 2009 and 2010), England twice (2005 and 2006), and Sri Lanka also twice (2007 and 2008).  In 2011 the ICC changed it to an individual award when Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the recipients (PTG 831-4059, 13 September 2011), in 2012 it was New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori (PTG 991-4813, 16 September 2012), and in 2013 Sri Lankan batsman Mahela Jayawardena PTG 1253-6050, 14 December 2013) who had accepted the 2008 award on behalf of his team.  England seamer Katherine Brunt won it last year.

 

Headline:  Scrapping of mandatory toss labelled ‘against the spirit of cricket'.

Article from: BBC Leicestershire.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 2 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1702-8415.

 

Scrapping the mandatory coin toss in county cricket is "against the spirit of the game", according to Leicestershire all-rounder Ben Raine.  The change has been made in both divisions of the County Championship in 2016 by the England and Wales Cricket Board and is aimed to encouraging better pitches for four-day cricket (PTG 1698-8376, 28 November 2015).  Raine told BBC Radio Leicester: "It is a bit of a rubbish rule [and] opefully it doesn't last too long. I'm not sure why the rule has been brought in.  It's against the spirit of cricket and against the rules of the game”.

 

The rule change means that Leicestershire skipper Mark Cosgrove will have the chance to decide if his side will bowl first in their opening County Championship match of the season against Glamorgan in Cardiff in mid-April.  Raine argues that the toss had little bearing on any of Leicestershire's County Championship results during the 2015 season.  "I don't think there were too many pitches last year where the toss did really affect the outcomes”.  "The two games we did win, we did bowl first but there are plenty of times where we bowled first and lost”.

 

Headline:  BBL on corruption alert with billions of dollars bet on matches.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Chris Barrett.                          

Published: Wednesday, 2 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1702-8416.

 

Players and officials involved in Cricket Australia’s (CA) Big Bash League (BBL) have been warned about the perils of corruption with news that an astounding $A2.2 billion (£UK107.5 billion) was bet on last season's series.  The new edition of the city-based Twenty20 tournament begins in a fortnight with the Sydney derby between the Thunder and Sixers and it is anticipated that it will receive even more attention than a year ago with fears the touring West Indians will be feeble opposition in the Test arena for Australia.

 

The feverish interest of punters in the BBL needs no further injection, though, if last season's figures are anything to go by. The game's stakeholders around the country, from BBL franchises to venues, have been told by CA that a total of $A2.2 billion was wagered on the 2014-15 version on the regulated market alone, a lofty figure that averages out to more than $A60 m( £UK29.3 m) each across the 35 matches played last December-January. 

 

The significant share of the betting was undertaken through global exchange Betfair, which reported a 28.6 per cent lift in BBL revenue from the previous season and a 70 per cent rise at ‘Betfair' UK.  The pre-BBL briefing, a fixture of CA's anti-corruption measures, comes as the national body, intent on trying to ensure the integrity of its competitions, reaches out for the first time to prominent offshore betting operators in an effort to establish lines of communication and request exchange of information about betting patterns on the sport.

 

On the advice of the Australian Federal Police and the Victorian Sports Integrity Intelligence Unit, an arm of Victoria Police, CA has attempted to make contact with two companies they have been told are major players in the cricket market - ‘SBOBet' in the Philippines, and the Curacao-based organisation 'Pinnacle Sports'. They have heard nothing back. And the chances of a response, let alone a degree of cooperation are not exactly bright - unlike corporate bookmakers in Australia the offshore agencies are not bound by information-sharing integrity agreements with the sports.

 

It is why cricket, in conjunction with the four football codes, tennis and netball, are supporting corporates such as ‘Betfair', 'William Hill' and ‘Bet365' in their push to introduce online in-play betting in Australian sports markets, wagers which under the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act can presently only be made over the phone. The argument is that if punters are able to bet that way through operators here they won't use accounts with unregulated offshore entities not restricted by Australian law or integrity agreements.

 

Cricket's attempts to strike up a relationship with overseas bodies are contained in the submission by the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports to the federal government commissioned review into the impact of offshore betting being led by former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell.  "Australian cricket has a long-standing, proactive approach to sports integrity management”, a CA spokesman said. "While betting on sport is not new to our community, the increase in its popularity in recent years has seen us take significant steps to ensure we safeguard the integrity of our competitions."

 

Unlike the Indian Premier League, the Bangladesh Premier League and the defunct Indian Cricket League T20 competitions, there have been no players or officials reported for any corruption-related offences since the revamp of the BBL four years ago. 

 

Headline:  Age-fudging in cricket is toxic and dangerous, says Dravid.

Article from: Indian News Service.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 2 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1702-8417.

 

Former India captain Rahul Dravid, who is now his country’s Under-19 and List A coach, has called on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to formulate a blueprint for junior cricket in India and said that it was imperative to remove age fudging and illegal bowling action from that level for the development of the game.  Dravid made his comments while delivering the fourth Manoor Pataudi Memorial Lecture in Delhi on Tuesday.

 

Dravid said: "When I hear of an Under-19 bowler reported for suspected bowling action, it upsets me deeply. What were the coaches doing until he reached that age?  Did his faulty action begin at 10 years old? Did the next bunch of coaches just let it go because he was getting wickets and winning them matches?”  These short term goals achieved through short cuts hurt the child because we as adults turn a blind eye” (PTG 1691-8323, 21 November 2015).

 

The now coach went on to say: "It is a similar emphasis on short term results that has led to the issue of overage players in junior matches. The entire exercise begins when a coach alters a player's date of birth to allow him to play at a local event”. The truth is a player who fakes his age, might make it to the junior level not necessarily because he is better but because physically he is stronger and bigger. We all know how much of a difference a couple of years can make at that age.  It will have a ripple effect and an honest and talented player will be deprived of a place and we run the risk of losing him forever. Overaging is toxic and dangerous”, said Dravid.

 

On broader issues, Dravid believes India is "not doing enough to attract youngsters [to the game] and [is] thus losing out on talent”.  "Cricket is not the number one sport for youngsters anymore”.  "A top sports equipment company told me that the sales of cricket equipment have gone down [and] I think we need to have a blueprint for junior cricket in India. We need to find a way to guide out coaches”.  "There has to be well explained guidelines”. "We need to invest time and energy on junior cricket," he said. Dravid also talked about the trend of young cricketers giving up the sport too early and also how parents put pressure on them.  He also stressed on the need to continue a player’s education so that they can become well-rounded adults.

 

"The BCCI must publish a minimum standards guideline which our vast network of academies must adhere to.  If they fail, they must be pulled up. We could get the most out of the academies network if they are brought into the formalised structures of the game, and made responsible and answerable to the governors of the game at our highest level".

 

Dravid said not many young players have a support system like Sachin Tendulkar had during his formative years.  "Sachin was different. Talent-wise, he was a freak. Everything about his rise to the Indian team, the inevitability of his success was beyond the ordinary. It was phenomenal and to us who were his age, it was almost scary”.  But “what people tend to forget is that Sachin had a great support system. His family were supportive and caring, his elder brother was always there to guide him, his coach Ramakant Achrekar was more than a coach, a mentor – in life and on the pitch, teaching him how to hold the bat, driving him to games.

 

Headline:  Mahanama stands down from match referee role.

Article from: Sunday Times.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 1 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1702-8418.

 

Roshan Mahanama stood down as an International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee on Sunday after the day-night Test match between New Zealand and Australia in Adelaide.  Mahanama, 49, who joined the ICC as a match official in 2004, finished his career having overseen 58 Tests, 222 One Day Internationals (ODI) and 35 Twenty20s Internationals.  Mahanama is to be replaced on the main ICC referee’s panel by former West Indian captain Richie Richardson (PTG 1649-8066, 22 September 2015).

 

Mahanama told journalists the decision to retire from the position "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”.  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”.

 

Colombo-born Mahanama said: “The journey for almost 12 years as an ICC match 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,” he had stated.  Before turning to refereeing, Mahanama represented Sri Lanka in 52 Tests and 213 ODIs from 1986-99, the latter including four World Cups.  He was a member of the Sri Lanka side won the World Cup in 1996. 

 

Headline:  Lyon UDRS decision puts the focus back on human error.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist: Mike Selvey.                          

Published: Wednesday, 2 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1702-8419.

 

First, a spoiler alert for anyone following 'The London Spy' on television, the dark drama currently playing out on the BBC, and who has yet to see episode four: do not read to the end. So. Buried somewhere deep in the vaults of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), if they have such things, there may still be a piece of equipment that is the forerunner of what we now know as the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS).  Getting on for four decades ago, the Test and County Cricket Board, as the ECB was then known, asked Sir Bernard Lovell – the esteemed radio astronomer, first head boffin of Jodrell Bank and a president of Lancashire – if he would be able to develop a device that would help umpires when it came to arbitrating on catches to the wicketkeeper.

 

Lovell had already designed the prototype cricket light meter, the dial of which, resembling the speedometer on an old car, some may remember placed in front of the upper tier of the stand opposite the Old Trafford Pavilion, and, as now requested, he produced something that did indeed do the specified job, accurately, detecting even the faintest kiss of a cricket ball on the edge of the bat. The only problem was that it needed to be attached to the bat, the difficulties of which are readily obvious, and the project was left to gather dust, never to see the light of day again.

 

Fast forward then to Adelaide last Saturday, in the era now of ball tracking, super slow motion, 'Hot Spot’, ‘Snicko', multiple television angles, and third umpires. The Australian team were in trouble against New Zealand on the second day of the inaugural day-night Test match, struggling at 8/118 in reply to the Black Caps’ 202, when the number ten Nathan Lyon attempted to sweep the left-arm spin of Mitchell Santner and appeared to get a thin top edge which then ricocheted from his shoulder to slip, whence it was caught.

 

The appeal was turned down by the umpire Sundaram Ravi, whereupon the Kiwis sought a review and the game came to a grinding halt, precipitating what became known as the 'Night of the Llong Knife' for the 'Land of the Llong White Cloud'. For the best part of six minutes TV umpire Nigel Llong, deliberated, mused, sought replays, asked for frames to be wound back, asked and asked again. The crowd became understandably restless.

 

From two different angles, 'Hot Spot' showed a clear mark on the top edge of the bat but Llong (“there is a mark, Ravi”) remained unconvinced that it might not have come from an outside agency. “It could have come from anywhere”, said Llong, which again seemed contrary to the visual evidence which suggested that never mind “anywhere”, actually it could only have come from one source. Snicko flatlined, but then it did so too when the ball struck Lyon’s shoulder. However, the umpires protocol says that in any case Real-time Snicko should only be used if nothing shows on 'Hot Spot'.

 

The batsman was already on his way back to the pavilion when Llong announced, to general astonishment, that he could find no grounds to overturn the original decision.

 

A fundamental plank of the British criminal justice system, amply demonstrated over the past nine weeks at Southwark Crown Court in the Chris Cairns’ case, is the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt, and so it seems with Llong’s interpretation of this aspect of the URDS.

 

That in itself is a big mistake in cricket, where the basis of law in this regard, as any bowler will tell you, is diametrically opposite so that all batsmen should be presumed guilty unless proven otherwise. So Lyon, who had yet to score, survived, went on to make 34 as the last two wickets added 108, Australia gained a slender lead of 22 and went on to win a low-scoring match by three wickets.

 

It is absurd to hypothesise and say that Llong’s decision cost New Zealand the Test, but it is not unreasonable to say that it wasn’t especially helpful to them. Now, following the Kiwi’s coded no-comment interview objections and an official one to the ICC asking for clarification of what was a pretty transparent process – with Llong’s interaction with Ravi and the television production team audible for all to hear – the ICC has decided that while he followed the correct protocols as set down in its instructions, Llong got it wrong, which sort of appears contradictory, doesn’t it? 

 

Even Sir Bernard’s primitive device would surely have sent Lyon packing. So, quite possibly, would ‘UltraEdge', a new technology developed by Hawk-Eye as an advancement on Snicko, already tested and ratified by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and approved now for use as part of UDRS forthwith.  It is said to be able to differentiate more clearly the difference in noises made by bat, pad, clothing or ground, the “could have come from anywhere” that Llong postulated.  As ever, though, this has cost implications, and will not be rolled out universally.

 

My own solution, winding back the years, and offered only partly tongue in cheek, was to have batsmen somehow attached to a polygraph and ask them if they hit it. “Nick it, Nathan? You’re lying, off you tootle”. Still pretty primitive, though.

 

But in 'The London Spy', the algorithm discovered in the cylinder by Danny, which uses sophisticated word-analysis developed by GCHQ – “a fingerprint for our truths and our lies” – as a definitive lie-detector, thus bringing an end to lying, would be heading straight for International Cricket Council headquarters in Dubai. Not even Stuart Broad or Brad Haddin could bare-face that one.

 

Headline: Cricket battles credibility problem.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                          

Published: Wednesday, 2 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1702-8420.

 

The criminal justice system shares a characteristic with the Umpire Decision Review System: generally speaking, the longer the deliberations, the less likely a conviction. Just as Nigel Llong steadily painted himself into a corner in Adelaide, so after a certain point in the jury’s long seclusion did a ‘not guilty’ verdict in the criminal case for perjury and perverting the course against Chris Cairns become the likeliest outcome.

 

Cairns seems rather unlucky to be reviled by a host of independently deluded former friends and teammates for no apparent reason. But there was, as Lizzy Ammon points out in ‘The Guardian', no smoking bank transfer to substantiate allegations against him, and this was a criminal case demanding a higher burden of proof than in a civil action.  The Crown had to establish Cairns’ guilt; Cairns did not have to demonstrate his innocence.

 

It did not help the Crown that in Lou Vincent they had a star witness with all the credibility of a disgraced televangelist. As Kevin Norquay summarises for Stuff: “Having a key witness who is a self-confessed cheat and admitted liar is a weakness. Vincent may well have turned over a new leaf, and wanted to come clean for the good of cricket. But before now, the jury was told he cheated at cricket, he cheated on his wife with a prostitute, he lied to anti-corruption investigators, he lied to his wife, and admitted mental health problems. He had told his ex-wife Ellie Riley he needed a “big name” to give the authorities, so he would be treated more kindly.

 

Then there was New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, with his three belated and blurry testimonies, desultorily collected by the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit’s (ACSU) John Rhodes. The prosecution spoke of a ‘wall of evidence’; it was more like a fence, and built at some awkward angles with rumour and innuendo. As Jared Savage of the New Zealand Herald reports: “In some cases, the facts contradicted the words. One example was an umpire who had suspicions about Cairns’ final game in the Indian Cricket League. 

 

The unnamed umpire, who was due to be a witness but was not called, said Cairns bowled terribly, was stumped after rushing up the pitch, and Dinesh Mongia offered up a “silly catch”. The reality was Cairns did not bowl because of an ankle injury, was not stumped during the entire tournament, and Mongia was the top run-scorer in that particular match (PTG       1690-8315, 17 November 2015). Apart from that, as they say, it was rock solid…..

 

McCullum now has the full support of New Zealand Cricket. Who supports the ACSU? It had a credibility problem before the Cairns trial. When its workings were last reviewed, former Hong Kong corruption commissioner Bertrand de Speville recommended that it be more proactive in explaining its work and methods.  While it is essential that much of the unit’s work should be confidential, it is equally important that its existence, its objectives and its achievements should be as widely known as possible, especially within the game itself. 

 

The right balance between openness and confidentiality must be found, a balance that meets the expectation of the times. It is always the tendency for such a body to develop its secretive side rather than its transparent side. That tendency should be actively counteracted.’ Has that ‘tendency’ been ‘actively counteracted’? Has it heck. After the collapse of the three Indian Premier League's spot-fixing cases, the game’s anti-corruption ramparts, where they exist at all, appear decidedly porous. And where they don’t exist……

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,703

  Friday, 4 December 2015

 

• CA’s WBBL aims to get more women, playing cricket [1703-8421].

• Oxenford named Queensland ‘Sports Officiator of the Year’ [1703-8422].

• Indian exchange visit for England’s Wharf [1703-8423].

• ‘Spartan' aiming to replace ‘Kookaburra' as CA's ball supplier [1703-8424].

• Australian coach backs scrapping of mandatory toss [1703-8425].

• Suspected bookmakers thrown out of BPL games [1703-8426].

• CA umpire video leaves many bemused [1703-8427].

• Modi to launch $A3.1 m civil claim against Cairns for fraud [1703-8428].

 

Headline: CA’s WBBL aims to get more women, playing cricket.

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 3 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1703-8421.

 

While history was made in the men’s game last week with the first day-night Test, women’s cricket has taken its own giant step — a Twenty20 competition that has attracted the world’s best players, with eight matches to be televised live on free-to-air TV.  Cricket Australia’s (CA) Womens’ Big Bash League (WBBL) boss Mike McKenna said the competition, which starts this weekend, is a long-term investment in the women’s game.

 

“To be perfectly honest”, said McKenna, "we’re not that concerned about attendance figures.  We’re pretty keen to see how the broadcast goes and what it looks like on television but the most important thing is that it’s inspiring girls to play cricket.  If we see recruitment numbers going up at clubs and school or girls playing at the park or the beach, that’s what we’re looking to see, and that’s what would constitute a successful first season”.  McKenna said female involvement was the fastest-growing sector of the game in Australia.  Like its fraternal counterpart, the WBBL has eight teams who will play a total of 58 matches over 51 days.

 

A total of exactly 50 match officials, 25 umpires, 19 scorers and 6 match referees have been allocated to manage the first 25 matches of the series up until Christmas.  Seven of those games will be played in Sydney, another seven in Brisbane, five in Perth, four in Launceston, and two in Melbourne.  All the referees are male, eleven of the scorers female, and just one of the umpires, CA Development Panel (DP) member Claire Polosak, female.  Some reports indicate more women are likely to fill more of the umpiring spots available in the series in the new year.  

 

Two other DP members, Damien Mealey and Tony Wilds will also take part in the WBBL series before Christmas, but not their and Polosak's colleagues Simon Lightbody or David Shepard.  Also amongst the umpire group are Murray Branch and Donovan Koch, Anthony Hobson, Ben Treloar and David Taylor, James Hewitt and Nathan Johnstone who are currently standing in CA’s Under-19 national Championship series (PTG 1609-7827, 3 August 2015).  Amongst the WBBL referees is former international umpire Steve Davis.

 

Headline: Oxenford named Queensland ‘Sports Officiator of the Year’.

Article from: Gold Coast Bulletin.

Journalist: Terry Wilson.                          

Published: Thursday, 3 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1703-8422.

 

Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford’s standing among the sport’s elite umpires has been confirmed at the Queensland Sports Awards night.  During the evening Oxenford, who played junior and senior cricket on the Gold Coast, then represented Queensland at Sheffield Shield level, was named sports officiator of the year.  The 55-year-old, who is currently officiating in India, was unable to attend the function so wife Jo and daughter Kristen accepted the award on his behalf.

 

Queensland Cricket chief executive Geoff Cockerill said Oxenford, 55, was regarded as one of the leading umpires in the world.  “His achievements have probably not received the credit they deserve due to him standing in matches away from Australia under the International Cricket Council's’s neutral umpires policy”.  "We’re delighted he has been recognised in a year when he became the most-capped Test umpire from Queensland”.  “He has been a wonderful mentor along the way for local umpires and his award highlights the outstanding efforts of the many officials who officiate in our game”.

 

Daughter Kristen said: "Dad told me that it was about the fourth or fifth time that he had been nominated for the award and that he was thrilled to have finally been recognised”.

 

Headline: Indian exchange visit for England’s Wharf.

Article from: Score sheets, Wisden India.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 3 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1703-8423.

 

English umpire Alex Wharf has just completed a two-match stint in India’s Ranji Trophy first class series, presumably as part of umpire exchange agreements between the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).  Wharf, 40, stood with C K Nandan in Haryana’s game again Rajasthan in Rohtak late last month, then in Indore with Vineet Kulkarni when Madhya Pradesh took on Andhra, the Englishman’s 42nd and 43rd first class matches as an umpire.

 

Wharf, 40, was selected for the ECB’s Full List ahead of the 2014 northern summer after a fifteen year playing career with Glamorgan, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, a period in which he featured in thirteen One Day Internationals for England (PTG 1259-6032, 7 December 2013). 

 

Wharf told 'Wisden India' that his interest in umpiring began when he was still an active player, which is why, when he retired in 2009, he could immediately take up umpiring in 2010.  “I retired from playing in 2009 and started umpiring the year after. When I was playing international cricket, I got talking to a couple of umpires when I was on tour in Zimbabwe and South Africa in 2004-05, and just thought that is going to be a great career. Hopefully see the world, develop my skills – and I’ve obviously got an ambition to go on and try and be an International Cricket Council's Elite Umpires Panel. 

 

Headline: ‘Spartan' aiming to replace ‘Kookaburra' as CA's ball supplier.

Article from: Fairfax News.

Journalist:  Andrew Wu.                          

Published: Thursday, 3 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1703-8424.

 

Sports manufacturer ‘Spartan' has hatched an ambitious plan to topple iconic homegrown brand ‘Kookaburra' in the next two years as the ball supplier used by Cricket Australia (CA) for Tests played in this country.  The company, better known for its bat production, say it is in the "testing mode" for a new red ball which it claims is more durable, can be produced cheaper and offer more assistance to the bowlers than Kookaburra's version. 

 

Spartan is aiming to meet CA in the next six to eight weeks to showcase its product.  The difference between its ball and Kookaburra's, Spartan says, is the technology it is using on the leather and core of the ball to prolong its life span. The company's goal is to "get them to last 100 overs minimum and stay hard".

 

Spartan's ball, which is made in India, is comprised of Portuguese cork and Australian leather. It says it will have a higher seam than the Kookaburra, therefore providing fast bowlers with more movement off the pitch.  "We are developing a new technology, we can't say how we are doing it, it's like a recipe we are coming out with”, Spartan's managing director Kunal Sharma said.  "It's a recipe which we will come up with a ball that will sustain being hit on harder grounds and keep its shape”.

 

Kookaburra came under fire last month after the Australia-New Zealand Test in Perth in which more than a dozen balls were used due to it falling out of shape on the hard track. It prompted former Australian player Shane Warne to urge CA to end their relationship with Kookaburra in favour of the Dukes ball used in England. Kookaburra, however, won plaudits for its revolutionary pink ball used in the historic day-night Test in Adelaide.  "We're very confident of our ball," Sharma said. "We believe we have a very good chance with the technology we'll bring out that it can have an impact on CA, to at least be used at clubs and associations. Who knows in 2017 if we have a our main ball in the main matches”.

 

But Spartan will have to present a very persuasive case to CA if the body is to walk away from Kookaburra, which has been the ball supplier to Australian cricket since it was founded as A.G. Thompson in 1890. Many manufacturers have tried and failed over the years to displace Kookaburra.  CA likes having a local manufacturer not only for its strong understanding of Australian conditions but so it can be in regular contact for initiatives such as the pink ball.  "Kookaburra are a long standing provider”, a CA spokesman said. "There's been no consideration to changing supplier.”

 

Even if Spartan cannot break through at the elite level though they believe they can make an impact at club level by lowering the cost for balls. It is not uncommon for balls to be the second highest financial drain on cricket clubs. Spartan have declared "our match ball will not be over $A50 [£UK24]", compared to the Kookaburra ball which retails at $A75 [£UK36].

"I'll be very upfront to you and say Kookaburra is still the best ball in the world”, Sharma said. "At the moment there's nothing which is an alternative. They're a good ball, the only thinG I'm saying as a company and lover of cricket is you need to have an alternative with a better pricing and clubs can want to buy a cheaper ball”.

 

Headline: Australian coach backs scrapping of mandatory toss.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist:  Brydon Coverdale.                          

Published: Thursday, 3 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1703-8425.

 

Australia's coach Darren Lehmann has thrown his support behind the idea of making the toss mandatory, while he is also open-minded about the concept of four-day Test cricket. While Australia and New Zealand pioneered day-night Test cricket in Adelaide last week, other suggestions have also been made in the debate around making Test cricket more competitive and more attractive to spectators (PTG 1698-8376, 28 November 2015).

 

One idea is to abolish the coin toss before matches and instead allow the visiting team the choice of whether to bat or bowl, which proponents argue would encourage the host country to produce a fair pitch.  Former internationals Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh and Michael Holding have all expressed support for the idea, while the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will next year trial a similar concept in county cricket.

 

Under the ECB's trial, the visiting County will automatically be given the option of fielding first and only if they decline will the coin toss go ahead as usual.   "That is one that should definitely come in to cricket, where the opposition gets the right to choose what they want to do”, Lehmann told reporters in Adelaide on Thursday.   "I reckon it will stop all the wickets suiting the home team”.  "As you saw in Perth [during the recent Australia-New Zealand series], the wickets don't suit how we want to play sometimes and in Australia in general the wickets have been fantastic for years, it doesn't really matter on the toss, who wins or not. But in some other places it certainly has a big bearing on the game”.

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee also expressed its concerns about pitch preparation last week and said in a statement that home advantage had become too significant in Test cricket, and it would monitor with interest the ECB trial next year (PTG 1699-8386, 29 November 2015).  It was the MCC World Cricket Committee that pushed for day-night Tests six years ago and Lehmann said he loved the roll-out of the inaugural pink-ball Test.

 

"I thought it was a great concept”, he said. "It was probably over a little bit quick for my liking in terms of the game but it was exciting for three days and it could have gone either way. Maybe a little less grass [on the pitch] and maybe get the ball a little bit darker in the seam, but it's only a little bit of tweaking. I was quite impressed by it. I know the fans loved it ... we have just got to make it better”.

 

Four-day Test cricket has also been floated as a possible way of keeping fans interested in the longest format. Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has an open mind about the concept, with the possibility that the four days could be extended so that little play was lost overall (PTG 1699-8388, 29 November 2015). Lehmann said he did not mind the idea, but was unsure whether the extra overs could be easily fitted in.  "We don't bowl our 90 overs in a day as it is, so that is probably the only thing”, he said. "But I'm open to all those sorts of things. Whatever makes the game better for the fans is pretty important”.

 

Headline: Suspected bookmakers thrown out of BPL games.

Article from: Agence France Presse.

Journalist:  Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 3 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1703-8426.

 

At least four suspected bookmakers have been thrown out of cricket stadiums during the ongoing scandal-tainted Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), in efforts to ensure the tournament is graft free, an official said Thursday.  BPL secretary Ismail Haider Mallick said anti-corruption officials had spotted the four whom they suspected of placing bets on behalf of clients during Twenty20 league matches, which is illegal in Bangladesh.  "We don't have the law to put them behind bars so we opted to throw them out of the grounds”, said Mallick, without revealing the nationalities of those identified.

 

The BPL, which is modelled on the Indian Cricket League (IPL), resumed in November after its 2013 edition was blighted by a match-fixing scandal involving players and team owners.  An embarrassed Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) cancelled last year's edition but now believes its house is in order.  However local media this week labelled a match last Monday between the Barisal Bulls and the Chittagong Vikings "dubious" after several incidents, including a bowler conceding numerous runs in a single over, including a no-ball and wides.

 

Mallick said: "We cannot investigate a match simply based on media reports”.  "Our anti-corruption officials are active in every ground and hotel. If they find anything fishy only then we will investigate”.  Nearly 50 foreign cricketers, including Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara and West Indies' Chris Gayle, are taking part in the six-franchise side tournament.

 

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board has sold five franchise rights for its new Twenty20 league for $US93 million ($A126.6 m, £UK61.4 m) for a period of 10 years.  Five companies bought the Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Islamabad, and Quetta teams. 

 

Headline: CA umpire video leaves many bemused.

Article from: CA web site.

Journalist:  PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 3 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1703-8427.

 

A two-minute video titled ‘Get to know Australia’s umpires’ which appears to have been aired for the first time via Cricket Australia's’s web site on Wednesday, has left observers around the country somewhat bemused.  Serious parts of the video, which is believed to have been filmed during CA’s pre-season umpire seminar in late September (PTG 1654-8088, 1 October 2015), briefly mention the probable future need for specialist television umpires and the potential for an umpire to be hit by the ball, subjects that have again been topical this week, but the majority appears to be a very limited value and has no clear objective.

 

All twelve of CA’s current National Umpires Panel (NUP) members, Gerard Abood, Ash Barrow, Shawn Craig, Greg Davidson, Simon Fry, Phil Gillespie, Mike Graham-Smith, Geoff Joshua,  Mick Martell, Sam Nogajksi, John Ward and Paul Wilson, appear in the video, along with two of the five on CA’s second-tier Development Panel, Damien Mealey and Tony Wilds.  For Craig, Davidson, Graham-Smith, Joshua, and Wilds their appearance is limited to stating their name, Abood, Barrow, Fry, Martell, Mealey, Nogajski all having a little more to say.  

 

Each umpire appears to be answering questions from an unseen interviewer, but just what those questions actually were can only be guessed at as they are not included in the video.  The most coherent part of the video is when Fry, speaking two months before the issue was raised in public last week, says: "the game is changing and there probably be a need for a highly skilled third umpire that can use the technology”.  

 

Nogajksi talks about it being "inevitable at some stage I’m going to get hit, I’ve been really lucky I’ve been hit once and fortunately that was in a women’s game”, then Barrow is featured saying, for reasons that can only be guessed at: "you bring pizza, and you bring the six pack well turn up on a Friday night or a Wednesday night to a tribunal”.  The majority of the rest of the video appears to be an ‘in joke’ about Abood’s tendency to look in the mirror to practice his signals so they look good on television. 

 

One well-placed observer queried “what’s the point of all this?”, and another expressed the view that CA had wasted "a golden opportunity" to have its senior domestic umpires discuss many of the series issues that surround their craft”, thoughts he said were of considerable interest to their more junior colleagues "around the country and for that matter [given the technology involved] around the world”.   “I feel embarrassed for our senior umpires that their contribution to the video has been mismanaged in such a way", said another.  The video can been seen embedded in a story on CA’s web site.

 

Headline: Modi to launch $A3.1 m civil claim against Cairns for fraud.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist:  Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 3 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1703-8428.

 

Former New Zealand player Chris Cairns is set to face a further legal battle next year, with the former Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Lalit Modi launching a £UK1.5 m ($A3.1 m) claim in the High Court inin London  light of evidence heard during the cricketer’s recently concluded perjury trial.  

 

On Monday the former New Zealand captain was found not guilty of lying under oath when he told a court in 2012, during a libel victory over the Indian businessman Modi, that he had “never cheated at cricket and would never contemplate doing so”.

 

Modi, who tweeted two years earlier that he had excluded Cairns from the IPL auction due to a previous history of match-mixing while playing in the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League, was forced to pay £90,000 ($A185,500) in damages to Cairns as part of a £1.5 m ($A3.1 m) settlement.  That case, however, did not hear from either the former batsman Lou Vincent or the current New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, both of whom gave evidence against Cairns’ during his recent criminal case in London, in which he was acquitted by a majority verdict following an eight-week trial.

 

According to a report in the London 'Daily Telegraph', Modi’s lawyers have now lodged a case to have the libel verdict set aside and sue him for fraud in a bid to reclaim the payout, with a civil suit having a lower standard of proof than a criminal case.  Cairns would be forced to return to the UK to defend the claim, although neither Vincent nor McCullum would be legally obliged to appear as it would be a civil trial, with both living outside the jurisdiction of the court.

 

Asked about the prospect of a further legal battle with Modi, Cairns on Monday told Newstalk ZB radio in New Zealand: “In the words of [Winston] Churchill, it is not the end. It is not the beginning of the end but the end of the beginning.  I think a man with his means and his power, he lurks out there and I have to be very, very conscious of that. I will take stock and deal with that situation and, if it does come about, I will take it in my stride”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,704

  Saturday, 5 December 2015

 

• No news of ‘wearables’ project progress [1704-8429].

• Kiwi, Aussie women to stand in main WWT20Q final [1704-8430].

• Netherlands’ medium pacer’s bowling action questioned [1704-8431].

• Mumbai match abandoned after brawl breaks out [1704-8432].

• Cruel game can leave players at mercy of mental illness [1704-8433].

• The more things change, the more they stay the same [1704-8434].

 

Headline: No news of ‘wearables’ project progress.

Article from: PTG.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 4 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1704-8429.

 

Lack of news about a research project that aims to produce a “cheap, readily available, wearable, real-time electronic sensor” the size of a cigarette packet, that can determine in near real-time the extent of a bowler’s arm flex, and thus the legality of their action, suggests it may not meet the 2016 “in shops" time-line forecast two years ago.  

 

The project, which is being funded by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the International Cricket Council (ICC), and conducted in the main at the Centre for Wireless Monitoring and Applications at Griffith University in Queensland, has now been underway for seven years  (PTG 377-2012, 25 February 2009).

 

Marc Portus, the lead researcher at Griffith University’, has talked about the finished product as "disposable, lightweight and relatively cheap”, being for example "available in your local sports store for $A19.95 (£UK10), if you like".  That way "if it's damaged on the field it can be quickly replaced”.  He indicated the final product "would be fitted in the elbow or the sleeve or held by a couple of sweat bands”.  Such a system is expected to streamline the process of identifying bowlers seen to have suspect actions (PTG 1704-8431 below).   

 

In January 2014, the ICC's General Manager Cricket Geoff Allardice, told the MCC's World Cricket Committee (WCC), which was meeting on that occasion in Abu Dhabi, that "excellent progress" was being made with the project and that barring unforeseen problems, such devices are currently expected to be widely available in 2016 (PTG 1270-6126, 16 January 2014).  

 

The end of 2015 time-line target was confirmed by the researchers involved twelve months ago this week (PTG 1479-7152, 10 December 2014), however the press release issued after this month’s latest WCC meeting in Adelaide made no mention of the wearables project (PTG 1699-8383, 29 November 2015). It would be a surprise though, given the high profile the suspect actions issue has had over the last 18 months, if the project was not discussed during the WCC's two days of deliberations . 

 

Headline: Kiwi, Aussie women to stand in main WWT20Q final.

Article from: ICC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 4 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1704-8430.

 

New Zealander Kathy Cross and Australian Claire Polosak have been appointed to stand in the main final of the womens’ World Twenty20 Qualifying (WWT20Q) event between Bangladesh and Ireland in Bangkok on Saturday.  Polosak stood in both the main semi finals matches, Cross and the West Indies’ Jacqueline Williams, sharing the other two on-field spots in those games (PTG 1702-8410, 3 December 2015).

 

Cross, 58, who is currently the world’s most experienced female umpire, is on New Zealand Cricket’s Reserve Panel as well as the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) third-tier Associate and Affiliate Umpires Panel (PTG 1280-6164,  31 January 2014), while Polosak, 27, a member of Cricket Australia’s (CA )senior Development Panel (PTG 1617-7871, 12 August 2015), is the youngest official at the tournament.  Polkas has been chosen ahead of Williams who when she returns to the Caribbean next week will become only the second woman to stand in a first class match (PTG 1678-8236, 2 November 2015).

 

Cross’ next appointment will be in NZC’s women’s Under-21 tournament in Auckland in ten days time, while Sydney-based Polosak will work as the third umpire in a CA’s Womens’ Big Bash League match in Brisbane (PTG 1703-8421, 4 December 2015).  

 

In other WWT20Q games today Williams, Englishwoman Sue Redfern, Allan Haggo of Scotland and Nigel Morrison of Vanuatut have been appointed to look after the playoff match for third-fourth places between Scotland and Zimbabwe, the game to decided fifth-sixth between China and Papua New Guinea, and the Thailand-Netherlands match to determine seventh and eighth positions.  Graeme Labrooy of Sri Lanka will manage all the games as match referee (PTG 1696-8359, 26 November 2015).

 

Headline: Netherlands’ medium pacer’s bowling action questioned.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 4 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1704-8431.

 

Netherlands’ medium pacer Christine Erkelens has been reported with a suspect bowling action during the Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament against China in Bangkok on Tuesday.  The report by umpires Kathy Cross and Allan Haggo, which was handed to her team management, cited concerns about the legality of the 24-year-old’s deliveries.

 

Under the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) suspect action regulations, the Netherlands cricket board is now required to film Erkelens bowling action in an upcoming match and submit the video footage to the ICC’s Expert Panel for review.  After that the panel will determine whether or not her bowling action is legal or not.

 

Headline: Mumbai match abandoned after brawl breaks out.

Article from: Mumbai Mirror.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 4 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1704-8432.

 

The second day of a Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) ‘B’ Division game between Indian Navy and Accountant General turned ugly on Thursday after players resorted to violence at Cross Maidan in Mumbai.  Members of both teams were involved in sledging which an hour into the match escalated into a brawl, several players uprooting the stumps in order to either cause physical harm or protect themselves.  

 

The two umpires eventually managed to separated the waring factions but the tension in both camps refused to die down, a situation that prompted the umpires to call off the day's play.  MCA joint honorary secretary Unmesh Khanwilkar said: "We have called for an umpire's committee meeting on Monday at which a detailed report will be submitted by the umpires that will allow the Managing Committee to decide what action needs to be taken.

 

Headline: Cruel game can leave players at mercy of mental illness.

Article from: The Times.

Journalist: Mike Atherton.                          

Published: Friday, 4 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1704-8433.

 

When former England batsman Marcus Trescothick finally retires, he will be seen ultimately as one of the most significant English cricketers of recent times. This is not because of his undisputed excellence as a player, but because he became the first big name to speak openly and honestly about the mental illness that affected him and cut short his international career. 

 

Former England spinner Monty Panesar took the first steps yesterday of speaking out about his own problems — the feelings of intense paranoia that came to the surface whenever things were going badly for him on the field — and he was able to do so in confidence that the reaction from the game would be sympathetic.  Largely because of Trescothick’s bravery, there is no stigma attached to mental illness and there is much more widespread acknowledgement of its existence in professional cricket. 

 

It is worthwhile recalling for a moment the tortuous process by which Trescothick came to reveal his illness. The passages in his autobiography that detailed his anxiety before his first interview, and then the process by which he came to tell, initially, a tale of, in his own words, “blag and bulls***” are some of the most gut-wrenching you can read. Eventually, he felt able to tell the truth but it took some courage and a second go. It was less than a decade ago, but feels like a different age. 

 

Thanks to Trescothick’s eventual openness and honesty, it is much easier for others. Panesar has taken his time to reveal his illness, not because of any wariness of what the reaction might be but because he was in denial about his problems for a long time and needed to be ready in his own mind to come forward to talk. As Trescothick articulated, that is a necessary first step. 

 

Cricket’s authorities have come a long way, too. The Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) is an excellent first stop for players, with confidential helplines and a website with contributions from a number of former players who have struggled with various aspects of mental illness. The PCA has helped Panesar, as it does many others. The message is that a player is not alone. 

 

That, of course, is a vital message.  David Frith’s ground-breaking work on cricketing suicides, 'By His own Hand', updated in 2001 as 'Silence of the Heart', might not have been such weighty volumes had more players of the past had such help. Jonny Bairstow, who lost his father, David, in these circumstances, is one modern player who knows all too well of the possible tragic outcome for someone who feels unable to talk or share his problems. 

 

Frith’s initial impetus was to wonder what effects the loss of being able to play had on former players, but those he asked to contribute to the introductions took a more complex route.  Peter Roebuck, tragically to take his own life later on, wrote the introduction to the first book and suggested that cricket attracted vulnerable types; Mike Brearley, a practising psychotherapist, wondered in the introduction to the second to what extent cricket damages people. 

 

This last train of thought is a troubling one for the game. There are many aspects that make it a difficult game to cope with mentally.  As Brearley has noted, what other game do you get the kind of daily “symbolic death” that affects batsmen every time they are dismissed? The loneliness, the difficulties of the team environment over a period of time; the long, lonely hours away from home in sterile hotel environments certainly did for Trescothick. Cricket is a particularly cruel game to cope with at times. 

 

Of late, and I have no evidence for this other than close observation, the challenges might have become more difficult. As the game has become more “professional” it has become more time consuming. Most Counties have already asked their players to start training for the new season.  Players are physically fitter, but what of their inner fitness? Focus has narrowed. There are fewer players who come to cricket with outside perspectives. Balance, so essential, is sometimes lacking. I felt very strongly listening to Panesar that this was a significant part of his problems. 

 

One further thought. The predominant coaching philosophy of the past few years has been inspired by the success of many individual Olympic sports. What has been called the “marginal gains” revolution, which has been so successful with sports where improvements can be measured every step of the way, has been transported elsewhere. I remain convinced that for less predictable and more complex team sports, such as cricket and rugby, the inevitable micro-managing needed to establish such marginal gains has had an entirely negative impact. 

 

International cricket is a highly pressurised environment, played over long days and long months, in a complex team environment. The last thing a player needs is added scrutiny and pressure.  At the moment, cricket environments look after the physical fitness of their players superbly; the very suffocating nature of the modern professional game means that a player’s inner fitness remains a challenge. 

 

Headline: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Article from: Melbourne ‘Sporting Globe’ (February 1927).

Courtesy: Russell Turner, ’The Bird'.                          

Published: Friday, 4 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1704-8434.

 

Because it has proved to be such a grand game in which are the essentials of sportsmanship, “playing cricket” became applicable to other things apart from the actual game.  How often will you hear the remark, ‘That is not cricket’, made by a businessman or sporting enthusiast when something underhand or suspicious has been performed!  Cricket is possibly the grandest of games because it teaches its participants and followers that the word of the umpire in law.  A player who contradicts the umpire in his interpretation is a poor sportsman.

 

In these times of keen competitive cricket, when individual players have to fight so hard to show form sufficient to win them the highest honours in the game, umpires are placed in an invidious position.  The 1926-27 season in Australia has furnished some remarkable cricket, but it must be regretted that there has been a louder outcry than usual against the umpires.

 

First class players have forgotten themselves so far as to openly flout the umpires on the field.  There is far too much freedom exercised by some players in their dealings with cricket umpires.  It is not right for a batsman, when given out LBW, run out or caught behind, to stand at the crease in amazement, stare at the umpire, and mumble words of discontents when leaving the field.  Some first class players when given out have acted like spoilt children deservedly admonished by their parents.

 

All captains should impress on players that, notwithstanding how prominent in the cricket world they may be, the umpire is not the be criticised openly.  Some bowlers when appealing for LBW express disgust if a batsman rules in favour of the batsman.  Many spectators are not fair in their attitude towards the officials.   Often one will hear dissent from spectators when an umpire has made his decision.  Do they believe that they are in a better position to judge, from outside the ground, than the men right on the spot?

 

In Victoria, laudable efforts have been made by the Umpire’s Council to bring umpiring up to the highest standard.  It does not matter how much practice and instruction umpires receive they will make mistakes sometimes.  That is only natural.  Players should do well to remember that the officials are there to do their best. Often incorrect decisions against bowler’s appeals have been counterbalanced by incorrect rulings against batsmen.  A batsman will never complain if he is given not out.  Sometimes he knows he is really out but he is generally too cunning to indicate that the umpire has made a mistake.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,705

  Monday, 7 December 2015

 

• Ward thinks ‘its time to wear helmets’, claims report [1705-8435].

• Taxi disrupts game in protest after a six smashes windscreen [1705-8436].

• Indian opener fined for dissent but skipper escapes [1705-8437].

• Lyon returned to crease despite ‘new’ pink mark on bat [1705-8438].

• BCCI, the ‘invoice’ of cricket, is a ‘bully’ and ‘incorrigible' [1705-8439].

 

Headline: Ward thinks ‘its time to wear helmets’, claims report.

Article from: Various Indian media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 6 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1705-8435.

 

Australian umpire John Ward, who was hit in the head by a ball on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy match between Punjab and Tamil Nadu in Dindigul last Tuesday and spent three days in hospital (PTG 1701-8399, 2 December 2015), has been quoted in a local news report as saying “it's time for umpires to wear helmets”.  Clarification of that report is awaited, with Ward, 54, being discharged from hospital on Friday morning, travelling to Bangalore that evening, then starting the journey to his home in Melbourne on Saturday .

 

Reports from the hospital say that whilst there, Ward received at least one call from an unnamed Cricket Australia (CA) official enquiring about his health. A medical spokesman told a journalist the Australian had “totally recovered” from the blow and that "he was cheerful” when he left the hospital.  The same local news report quotes Ward as mentioning Sydney umpire Karl Wentzel an "umpire from Australia who [has been wearing] a helmet on the field of play” since 2001, and who last month said the International Cricket Council (ICC) should address the need for umpires to wear protective gear in order to prevent a fatality (PTG 1685-8283, 11 November 2015).

 

The incident in Dindigul occurred when Punjab batsman Brainder Sran hit a ball straight back down the pitch.  Match referee Prakash Bhatt, who talked to Ward in hospital that evening, said the Australian "thought he could stop the ball with his hand, so he put [it] up. Unfortunately, he lost sight of [the ball] and then had no choice but to duck, however, it slammed into the back of his head. If the ball was hit slower, he might have been able to get out of the way but it was too fast”.  On being hit Ward clutched the back of his head and dropped to the ground where he was motionless for a few minutes.

 

Bhatt, who played 51 first class matches for Saurashtra in the decade for 1995 and has been refereeing at that level since 2009, called the incident "one of the most horrific sights I have seen on a cricket field". “I could hear the sickening noise from where I was sitting in the stand”, he said, and “I don’t think I have ever been that afraid”.  The incident came at a time when talk of umpires donning baseball face masks or helmets is again under consideration, including by the England and Wales Cricket Board (PTG 1697-8368, 27 November 2015).  “I think that’s something we should consider here [in India] too”, said Bhatt. “It’s hard for anyone to be safe on the cricket field nowadays”.

 

Just what Ward’s view is on wearing helmets is yet to be clarified, as is CA’s position on such matters, particularly with its Big Bash League Twenty20 series due to start in ten days time.  In August, CA called for responses from umpires around that country to a survey of their views about the extent of their vulnerability to ball strikes and to understand the "optimum level of protective gear" they believe they should wear (PTG 1613-7840, 7 August 2015).  To date, no details of the survey's findings, or CA’s response to them, have been made available to the wider umpiring community.

 

Headline: Taxi disrupts game in protest after a six smashes windscreen.

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 6 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1705-8436.

 

 

Cricketers everywhere can appreciate a good straight drive, but nobody was left laughing when a cab driver drove straight on to a ground in Brisbane on Saturday and parked his vehicle mid-pitch.  During Queensland's Warehouse Cricket Association B1 one-day fixture between Macgregor and Griffith University, a straight hit from Macgregor's Nigel Sherborne went sailing over the rope - and smashed the windscreen of the parked cab.

 

The unhappy cabbie decided to vent his anger and between innings drove his vehicle onto the field at DM Henderson Park in the suburb of Macgregor.  He parked it right in the centre of the artificial pitch before Griffith could start their innings.  Macgregor secretary Troy Burns wrote on the club's Facebook page: "Nigel hit a straight drive off Tom English for six smashing into a parked cabbi”.  "Not happy and in protest he then drove onto the field and parked right on pitch”.  "Queensland Police had to be called to get the driver to move his vehicle, and the game had lost eight overs before play could resume”.

 

Worse was to come for Macgregor, however, for seven overs into the delayed second innings their wicketkeeper Brett Bednarski was hit by a follow through from a hook shot. That situation had a happy ending however, with Bednarski cleared of any serious damage.  "News on [Brett] is positive with nothing broken, just stitches to his face”, Burns wrote, adding the player had "just stitches to the deep gash and one sore head”.  With plenty of time lost in the second innings and all players concerned for the injured wicketkeeper, Macgregor conceded the match. "Hopefully next week against Everton is drama free”, wrote Burns. 

 

Editor’s note: In 2010, a man whose house was adjacent to a village ground on the Isle of Wight in England, parked his car on the pitch in protest over a smashed window, the fifth ball to be hit into his garden that afternoon.  House-holder Neil Cutts refused to move his car until he got an apology, however, the match had to be abandoned before he got it (PTG 630-3143, 8 July 2010).

 

 

Headline: Indian opener fined for dissent but skipper escapes.

Article from:  ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 6 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1705-8437.

 

India opener Murali Vijay has been fined 30 per cent of his match fee for showing dissent towards umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Bruce Oxenford when he was given out by the former during the second innings of the fourth Test between India and South Africa in Delhi on Saturday.  Vijay was judged to have been caught behind off a ball from South African paceman Morne Morkel and left the field protesting and pointing to his arm guard as he walked off, subsequently being charged with a Level one offence.

 

The same day saw Indian captain Virat Kohli given out caught behind by Oxenford off the bowling of Imran Tahir.  Kohli angrily stood his ground, hands on hips, glaring at Oxenford, to show his displeasure at the decision, however, he was given a reprieve after the umpires checked replays to see if the South African spinner had overstepped, which he had.  Apparently though, Kohli's actions have not, like Vijay, attract a censure from match referee Jeff Crowe.

 

Headline: Lyon returned to crease despite ‘new’ pink mark on bat.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Daniel Brettig.                          

Published: Friday, 4 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1705-8438.

 

Australian player Nathan Lyon has revealed the 'Hot Spot’ mark viewed by television viewers around the world was mirrored by a bright pink cherry on the edge of his bat, further heightening the sense of disbelief that surrounded his reprieve in the inaugural day-night Test against New Zealand at Adelaide Oval (PTG 1701-8400, 2 December 2015).  When New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum referred the decision, Lyon noticed a new mark on his bat that confirmed his suspicions he had hit the ball. When he saw ‘Hot Spot' appear on the replay screen on Adelaide's scoreboard hill, Lyon thought “I’m gone”, and started walking.

 

However, he returned to the pitch during the long wait for the review and before the decision was final, judging, when Llong asked for the use of ball tracking to determine if there was any possibility of an LBW decision, that he was going to be given 'not out’.  He noted that the screen had also showed the wrong ball, a result of Llong not giving the television personnel enough time to cue up the correct delivery.  "What are you doing”, his batting partner Peter Nevill had asked Lyon when he returned to middle of the ground. "They're not going to give this out”, Lyon replied.

 

There is a concern, well established among the contractors hired by broadcasters such as Australia’s Channel Nine, that they do not have the best possible relationship with the umpires. Most of them are cricket lovers, but they come to the game through the lens of highly trained and skilled technical operators. They have a deep understanding of the devices they use to enhance the broadcast, and by extension, help the match officials make decisions.

 

Simon Taufel, the former umpire and umpire training manager, has always said that the relationship between the decision-makers and those who provide their pictures is absolutely critical. He said in 2012: "Now that we have got [the review system], it has opened up a new challenge to the role of the third umpire and how the on-field umpire deals with it". "It is almost becoming a different skill in itself". 

 

"Some would also argue that being a third umpire in [the review] environment is almost the most important umpiring role. So to be able to interpret, communicate and work with [TV] directors to get those decisions right is super-challenging.  Part of what I am looking at doing is developing accreditation material to help umpires prepare and develop their skills to be able to work within an environment that involves the cooperation of broadcasters, that involves the cooperation of the providers of technology”, said Taufel, who went on to develop what those who have seen it is a high-quality third umpire training package.

 

Yet umpires are seldom seen downstairs among the television trucks, monitors, control rooms and technology operators. They are also seldom seen when those operators are doing the critical task of setting up their cameras and microphones on the day before a match, attempting to calibrate their devices in order to get accurate decisions. Few, if any, technology operators feel they are permitted to put their gadgetry in its optimal positions for results. 

 

As such, those responsible for 'Hot Spot', ‘Snicko' and 'Eagle Eye' or 'Hawk-Eye' are often left debating the positions of their cameras with the ground staff, who have no official requirement to cooperate with them. A third umpire who works more closely in this set-up process would spend time with the technology operators and establish better relationships, leading to greater understanding. 

 

He would also be able to speak more authoritatively to the ground staff, who must work with umpires on playing conditions and accede to requests about boundary ropes, sightscreens and crease lines, among other things. There has been talk, as well, about the creation of a Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) team accreditation course that all umpires and operators alike must take, so every person involved with a UDRS judgement has undergone the same training.

 

Headline: BCCI, the ‘invoice’ of cricket, is a ‘bully’ and ‘incorrigible'.

Article from:Hindustan Times.

Journalist: Staff writer.                          

Published: Sunday, 6 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1705-8439.

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is a place for the “sharing of spoils”, a retired judge entrusted with the job of cleaning up the sport said on Saturday.  The stinging comment by retired judge Mukul Mudgal was supported by three former international players during a session at the 'Hindustan Times' Leadership Summit in New Delhi.

 

Mudgal is leading a four-member panel probing corruption in the world’s richest cricket body following allegations of spot fixing in the 2013 Indian Premier League series . The scandal had forced Narayanaswami Srinivasan to step down as BCCI president after his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was found guilty of betting.

 

“Total monopoly sometimes brings in evil”, Mudgal said in reference to the BCCI’s dominance in the cricketing world because of its rich coffers.  Former India skipper Bishan Singh Bedi said the first word that comes to mind when BCCI is mentioned is “incorrigible” while former Australia captain Ian Chappell called the cricket body a “bully”.  They and former India international Gautam Gambhir agreed that new BCCI regime has shown signs of cleaning up the tainted board (PTG 1699-8390, 29 November 2015).

 

However, each had their own view when asked about the one key quality they wanted administrators should have. While Bedi and Gambhir were for accountability and honesty respectively, Mudgal said it had be capability.  Chappel, considered one of the sharpest cricketing brains, however had more than one word. “Just do their job.”

 

Amid calls from the audience for de-linking politics from sports, Mudgal said: “A cap on age and tenure for administrators as envisaged in the sports bill should be implemented in all sports bodies including the BCCI”.  The BCCI needs to be fixed and only then the International Cricket Council (ICC), the game’s world governing body, can function properly, said Bedi about the current scenario where ICC is called the “voice” while BCCI is referred to as the “invoice” of cricket.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,706

  Tuesday, 8 December 2015

 

• Player handed 14-month ban for 'umpire contact' [1706-8440].

• Positive drug test sees Sri Lankan dismissed from NZ tour [1706-8441].

• Williams a beacon for female umpires [1706-8442].

• Parking meter top-ups stopping play [1706-8443].

• NZC working through Plunket day-night round issues [1706-8444].

• Day-night Test not what it seams for batsmen [1706-8445].

• Aussie vice-captain questions the need to change Test cricket [1706-8446].

• West Indies could be gone by 2025, says former WICB director [1706-8447].

• WICB, CARICOM, hold ‘preliminary meeting' [1706-8448].

 

Headline: Player handed 14-month ban for 'umpire contact'.

Article from: Moorabbin Glen Eira Leader.

Journalist: Paul Amy.                          

Published: Monday, 7 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1706-8440.

 

Danny Evans, a former English first class cricketer playing club cricket in Melbourne, has been suspended for 14 months for making contact with an umpire in a Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association (VSDCA) first XI match in late November.  Fast bowler Evans, who was playing for the VSDCA's Moorabbin club at the time of the incident but is no longer with them, has appealed the ban handed to him by a tribunal last week.  

 

VSDA secretary Ken Hilton said he understood Evans became irate when he had an LBW shout turned down, after which "his behaviour went downhill from there”.  “There was some contact made with an umpire, probably at the lower end of the scale” and overall “it was a very unpleasant set of circumstances that transpired on the day.  He was reported on multiple charges …. based around dissent, abusive language, that sort of thing … and found guilty of all of them based on the evidence umpires [Neil Daly and John Doig] presented”.  “As we all know making contact with an umpire is a no-go, whatever the sport”, said Hilton, who indicated the 14-month penalty was one of the most severe he had seen in his time in cricket.  

 

Moorabbin president Steve Smith has confirmed his club had parted way with Evans.  “Moorabbin appreciates the time and effort put in by Danny Evans in his short stint at the club, and we wish him all the best in his future cricket endeavours”, Smith said.  “Both the club and Danny had decided prior to the handing down of the tribunal decision that he would explore cricket opportunities elsewhere”.  Evans, 28, who joined Moorabbin in October at the start of the current 2015-16 season, did not attend the tribunal hearing to answer the string of charges tabled against him.  

 

Records available show that in the three seasons from 2004-06, Evans played for Durham Academy in the North East Premier League, as well as that County’s second XI, a time during which he played one Under-19 Test for England.  He went on to feature in 19 first class games for Middlesex in the period from 2007-10, also turning out for Brondesbury in the Middlesex Premier League during that time.  He returned to the Durham Academy for the 2013 season, and during the last two northern summers played with the Seaton Carew club in the North Yorkshire and South Durham Premier League.

 

Headline: Positive drug test sees Sri Lankan dismissed from NZ tour.

Article from: Agence France Presse.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Monday, 7 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1706-8441.

 

Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman Kusal Perera has tested positive for a banned steroid and has been recalled from the tour of New Zealand.  Perera's sample was provided for a random test conducted by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in the recent home series against Pakistan.  The 25-year-old, who will be replaced by Kaushal Silva in New Zealand, played five One Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals during the Pakistan tour.  Sri Lanka Cricket said it would test Perera's B sample in line with anti-doping regulations and would "make every endeavour" to enable Perera to resume his career "at the earliest opportunity in compliance with the ICC regulations”.

 

Headline: Williams a beacon for female umpires.

Article from: The Jamaica Star.

Journalist: Jermaine Lannaman.                          

Published: Monday, 7 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1706-8442.

 

Jamaica Cricket Umpires Association (JCUA) chief, Norman Malcolm, has intimated that the rise of umpire Jacqueline Williams is a plus to the efforts of the association to attract more women to the profession.  Currently in Thailand officiating at the International Cricket Council's Women's World Twenty20 Qualifiers (WWT20Q), Williams is the first Jamaican, and West Indian female umpire, to take part in an international tournament (PTG 1704-8430, 5 December 2015).

Malcolm said Williams’ "accomplishment is a big plus, especially for female umpires, who can now see that there are real possibilities for them to excel at the highest level.  There are several female umpires in our system at the moment. Last year we recruited quite a few, and then did so again this year.  They are all promising, and following on the heels of Jacqui, we expect other females to make it as well".

Currently serving his eleventh one-year term as JCUA president, former first class umpire Malcolm expressed hope that following the [WWT20Q event], Williams will be selected to officiate at the Women's World Twenty20 tournament, which will be held in India early next year.  "Since she arrived in Thailand, I spoke with her, and the feedback on her performances so far has been positive.  If she continues to do well I would not be surprised if she is selected. She is focused, and has a tremendous attitude. She responds well to positive criticism”.

 

Williams, made her international umpiring debut during Pakistan Women's tour of the West Indies in October, and is set to make her West Indies first-class debut next Friday when Jamaica plays Guyana at Sabina Park (PTG 1678-8236, 2 November 2015).

 

Headline: Parking meter top-ups stopping play.

Article from: Auckland Now.

Journalist: Catrin Owen.                          

Published: Tuesday, 8 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1706-8443.

 

People who flout parking rules are disrupting sports clubs at Auckland's Victoria Park.  The park has been home to Grafton Cricket Club since the 1950s but club chairman Nicholas Albrecht says builders and city commuters are taking up the parking spots.  Finding parking has always been a problem but players are now missing matches because of it, and in some instances games have had to stop so that players can top-up their parking meters. 

 

Spaces at Victoria Park are meant for park users only but are being taken by commuters and tradesmen. Parking there is restricted to 120 minutes from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Sunday.   Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan says on average 60 infringement notices are being issued daily at the park.  Waitemata Local Board chair Shale Chambers says there needs to be a long-term solution for the parking problems.  

 

Victoria Park is also home to the Ponsonby Ponies during the rugby league season. Premier coach Tevita Solomona echoes Albrecht's concerns.  "It's horrendous at times. Even when we go to park in the evenings, city workers are staying there for lengthy periods of time”, he says.  

 

A large building being built nearby is thought to be the main culprit with tradesmen using the free spaces on Saturday mornings.   "As soon as we found out it was a problem we sent all our employees including sub-contractors a very clear message telling them not to park in the Victoria Park carpark”, said a spokesman for the construction company.

 

Waitemata Local Board chair Shale Chambers says there also needs to be a short-term solution.  "The problem is the identification of non-park users such as the commuters and the tradies - it's as much an enforcement issue”.  Auckland Council and Auckland Transport have been in discussion with the cricket club about the problem and will be reviewing the parking in 2016.  They are working to find a long-term solution but say they've already stepped up enforcement.

 

Albrecht says despite the parking problem they've seen an increase of about 30 per cent in junior members this season.  However, Grafton club manager Adrian Smith says the parking issue discourages parents from coming to watch the games.

 

Headline: NZC working through Plunket day-night round issues.

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: David Leggat.                          

Published: Tuesday, 8 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1706-8444.

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) are currently undertaking due diligence on a range of aspects, including light strength, resource management and ground capacity, ahead of a possible pink ball, day-night round of Plunket Shield first class matches in late February.  NZC chief executive David White first aired the idea in Adelaide two weeks ago ahead of the inaugural day-night Test (PTG 1697-8369, 27 November 2015).

 

NZC manager of cricket Lindsay Crocker says a final decision on whether the day-night proposal will go ahead is a week to ten days away.  "If we can do it we will, but we want to do it properly”, he said, as “we want to make sure the grounds are well able to hold a pink ball game before we embark on it”.  

 

The round under consideration has Auckland facing Otago at Eden Park in Auckland, Northern Districts hosting Canterbury at Hamilton's Seddon Park, and Central Districts playing Wellington at McLean Park in Napier.  All three grounds host day-night One Day Internationals with the white ball, which would suggest switching to pink balls should not be a major obstacle. However, one problem to be sorted would be if, say, one or two of the grounds are deemed suitable, but the other(s) are not.  Wellington Regional Stadium is the only other ground in NZ that has appropriate floodlighting, however, first class matches have, to date, never been played there. 

 

Looking further ahead, a Test against Bangladesh in Hamilton has been identified as a possible venue, and opponent, for the first pink ball Test in New Zealand next December.  But there's a pile of work to be done before that is any more than an idea.  Crocker, who was in Adelaide for the day-night Test, was impressed with commercial aspects around the occasion; player visibility issues received a pass; now playability is the issue under investigation. That includes how successfully players were able to focus on the ball, and whether, because the conditions were set up for the match to succeed, it became too bowler friendly.

 

Headline: Day-night Test not what it seams for batsmen.

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: Andrew Alderson .                          

Published: Sunday, 6 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1706-8445.

 

Pivotal to a first-class batsman's livelihood is the ability to watch for the seam position in a bowler's hand.  The average see-ball, hit-ball club cricketer might have a better chance of understanding Einstein's theory of relativity than computing whether an off-cutter or outswinger is imminent but, to a professional, this is sacred intellectual property.  The key lesson to be drawn from the pink ball's debut in the three-day Adelaide test was simple: the seam needs to be more prominent in a batsman's vision as the ball is delivered.

 

Much has been made about the ball's excellent visibility to the crowd and on television, but that is too myopic when it comes to judging overall cricketing vision. If top batsmen can't see the seam, it takes away the split-second of competitive advantage and muscle memory which enabled them to scale so high on the sport's ladder. The fan experience is a cornerstone on which cricket is built, but it risks being diluted if players consider their working conditions unreasonable.

 

It is understood several New Zealand players held significant concerns about the pink ball which weren't voiced publicly in the Test aftermath. Coach Mike Hesson played the role of diplomatic envoy instead. He heaped praise on the day-night concept but tempered that with his ball critique.  "It does need a bit of tweaking ... both sides struggled to see the seam at night. We all enjoyed the fact the ball swung but it's something we need to look at because it's a bit more hazy than a normal ball so that needs to be worked on”.

 

Of the six lines of stitching around the ball, the inner two are white and the outer four are green. A simple solution might mean changing them all to green to contrast against the pink leather.  Hesson believed a similar spectacle could translate to New Zealand, despite the prospect of dew ruining the ball for bowlers.  "There's anti-dew spray these days so that's not as big of an issue as in the past. It's certainly a concept that could work with a bit of fine tuning like taking a bit more grass off the wicket to even the balance up [between bat and ball]”.

 

Lush outfields which protected the ball's condition could also be further trimmed so the ball weathered more to stymie swing.  Bowlers would be within their rights to baulk, given the punishment they've been subjected to in recent years with bigger bats and benign pitches, but balance is the ultimate aim.

 

It's worth remembering too that what the crowd of 123,736 brought in revenue for Cricket Australia, it also lost over two potential days because, after bat had bullied ball in Brisbane and Perth, the reversal of fortune was so sudden and extreme.  Kane Williamson and David Warner were prime examples. The pair made a combined 1020 runs across the series but could muster only 67 from their combined four innings in Adelaide.

 

Overseas broadcast markets might also be wary if day-night Tests are prone to fizzle and revenue cannot be recouped through strong enough subcontinent advertising commitments.  Regardless, the concept shapes as a permanent tenant with New Zealand also putting in place plans to host a replica (PTG 1706-8443 above).  The simplest improvement solution might come down to two rows of green stitching.

 

Headline: Aussie vice-captain questions the need to change Test cricket.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Tom Decent.                          

Published: Monday, 7 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1706-8446.

 

Australian Test vice-captain David Warner understands why the pink ball concept is good for Test cricket but has questioned whether administrators are making unnecessary changes to the game just for the sake of it.  There were largely positive reviews for the recent day-night Test at the Adelaide from spectators, commentators and players, but reservations remain over the pink ball, which despite showing up well on television was not easy to pick up for players fielding square of the wicket. 

Speaking on Sydney radio station 2KY's breakfast program on Monday, Warner said that while he was a fan of the pink ball concept, the Australian playing group were still coming to terms with the fact commercial interests would always be prioritised.   "Back in the day what would you guys have said?" Warner asked host Michael Slater, the former Australian opener.  "Why are we changing a game that has been around for a long, long time? At the end of the day, we know what it's about; we know why they're trying to achieve this.  I don't understand why we're changing the game. It's something as players we're going to have to embrace. We have to be [fine with it] at the end of the day”. 

 

Warner also echoed the sentiments of other players, saying the pink ball needs further development (PTG 1706-8444 above).  "We've got to tinker with that ball a bit more”, he said. "The only disappointing thing from our point of view is that you've got to get the product right and if the product's not right, it's hard to go out there and play the game”. 

 

Headline: West Indies could be gone by 2025, says former WICB director.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Andrew Wu.                          

Published: Tuesday, 8 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1706-8447.

 

A recent West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) director fears the once great West Indies could disband within 10 years as a result of their continued failure on the international stage.  Baldath Mahabir, who slammed the WICB as "unprofessional, tardy or lax in many instances" after quitting the board last month, is worried things will get so bad the West Indies will split into the 16 individual nations which make up the regional side.  And Mahabir has put heat on the management team run by WICB chief executive Michael Muirhead, saying it had "serious management issues".

 

Cricket in the Caribbean is in a state of disarray after 20 years of under-achievement. There is now a generation of West Indies cricket followers who have grown accustomed to their side as one of the easybeats of world cricket rather than one of the most feared teams the game has seen.  The Windies are ranked eighth of ten in Tests, a lowly ninth in One Day Internationals, which resulted in them missing qualification for the Champions Trophy, however, they are second in the Twenty20 arena.

 

"We have a passion for West Indies cricket, we have this emotional attachment to the West Indies brand”, Mahabir, who served on the Trinidad and Tobago board in the 1980s before becoming a West Indies board member in 2009, told Fairfax Media. "I really don't know where that will go with the younger people, whether they will see West Indies as a force or if they would want to see the individual countries play. That is something that could change dramatically with the younger people coming into the game”.

 

"Anybody who is under 20 years of age would not have the same emotive connect with West Indies cricket that we had because we knew we were beating the world. These people would have no idea of Greendige, Richards, Lloyd and how good they were.  They would know a team that has taken a battering the last two decades. Let us move 10 years from now - do you think you would want to be associated with a brand like that? And branding is becoming much more important in the world of marketing and sport".

 

Cricket, unlike football and athletics, is the only major sport in the Caribbean which plays under the West Indies banner. Disbanding, which Mahabir said was not discussed during his time with the board, would result in the West Indies losing their Test status and the separate nations becoming second-tier associate members of the International Cricket Council.

 

Next Saturday, the West Indies' board of directors will meet in St Lucia to discuss a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) report recommending the immediate dissolution of the board (PTG 1681-8254, 5 November 2015). But few in the Caribbean are expecting the board to fall on its sword.  Mahabir believes all boards from the previous 20 years must take responsibility for what has happened, not just the current regime led by Dave Cameron, who has come under fire from current and former players and politicians for his handling of the debacle in India where the team abandoned its tour during a one-day series. Mahabir was on a ticket with former player Joel Garner to topple Cameron in the March elections but lost 8-4.

 

Instead, Mahabir wants the management of the organisation put under the microscope though stopped short of calling for the removal of the chief. "We have serious management issues”, Mahabir said. "As a board and directors, we make decisions and go back to our respective territories. We are not full time, we do it on a voluntary basis, you go back to your respective jobs and you leave the running of the operation to management and I think there is a weakness there.  I wouldn't be prescriptive in saying who should go and who shouldn't go but we must improve the efficiency of the operation”.

 

Headline: WICB, CARICOM, hold ‘preliminary meeting'.

Article from: Caribbean media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 8 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1706-8448.

 

The controversial proposal to dissolve the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) was not discussed when Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) leaders and the WICB top officials held a three-hour “preliminary meeting" in Grenada on Sunday.  Last month a CARICOM-commissioned Cricket Governance Review (CGR) recommended a number of changes, including an "immediate dissolution of the current board and appointment of an interim [management arrangement]” (PTG 1681-8254, 5 November 2015).

 

Those present in Grenada on the weekend said publicly that the meeting provided the opportunity for a "frank, open and healthy” dialogue, and there was agreement to continue their discussions sometime after the WICB’s next board meeting which is scheduled for St Lucia this Saturday.

 

Despite the public comments, reports from inside the meeting say WICB officials remained adamant about their position while the CARICOM leaders continued to insist on changes.  "All of us are very clear, the issue of the governance and structure of West Indies cricket, this is the fundamental issue”, declared Grenada’s Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, the CGR chair, after the meeting, for “the leadership of the region will not be able to duck away from that fundamental issue. That has to be the front burner issue for us”.

 

The WICB says it is expecting feedback from its members on the way forward for the governance of West Indies cricket during Saturday’s board meeting. Carole Beckford, the WICB’s head of marketing, said: “Once we get that feedback it will be funneled through that channel. It is important that the stakeholders who are most important in this factor have an opportunity to decide on the future of West Indies cricket”.

 

CARICOM’s delegation at Sunday’s meeting included Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley, Barbados sports minister Stephen Lashley, Antigua and Barbuda’s sports minister Paul Greene and the foreign minister of the Bahamas Fred Mitchell.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,707

  Wednesday, 9 December 2015

 

• Llong no longer in Hamilton Test television umpire spot [1707-8449].

• BCCI to focus on semantics of Nagpur pitch's ‘poor’ rating? [1707-8450].

• Melbourne association calls for girls, women, to become umpires [1707-8451].

• Antipodean MCC criticised over membership policy [1707-8452].

• How dangerous is cricket? [1707-8453].

 

Headline: Llong no longer in Hamilton Test television umpire spot.

Article from: ICC appointments

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 8 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1707-8449.

 

English umpire Nigel Llong, who was last week made what the International Cricket Council (ICC) called an “incorrect judgement” when conducting a review as the television official (PTG 1701-8400, 2 December 2015), is to work on-field in the two Tests New Zealand and Sri Lanka are to play over the next fortnight, a change from the ICC’s original appointments for the series.  A week ago the ICC announced that Llong would be on-field for the first Test in Dunedin tomorrow and then work as the third umpire in the second game in Hamilton next week (PTG 1702-8409,  3 December 2015).

 

The implication is of course that Llong has been moved away from the television role because of what happened in Adelaide.  ‘PTG’ asked the ICC on Tuesday whether the change was because of an error in the original posting on the appointments page of its web site, something that happens at times, or whether "other reasons led to the change”.  A spokesman replied simply that “changes to umpire appointments are not unusual”, and also pointed out that Llong “is still part of the Playing Control Team for the series”.  

 

However, while changes do sometimes occur as suggested, it is rare for such a ‘television umpire to on-field umpire’ move to occur at such short notice.  Given the circumstances involved, the spokesman’s comment leaves open the question as to whether or not the reshuffle of match officials for the Tests is Adelaide connected.  Before Adelaide Llong last worked as a television umpire in a Test in October 2014, and in a One Day International in April this year.

 

Originally Llong’s countryman Richard Kettleborough was to have stood in both New Zealand-Sri Lanka Tests, firstly with Llong and then with Australian Paul Reiffel, the latter two being the television umpires in Tests two and one respectively.  Now it will be Llong-Kettleborough on-field in Dunedin with Reiffel the third umpire, then in Hamilton Reiffel-Llong with Kettleborough in the television suite. 

 

Headline: BCCI to focus on semantics of Nagpur pitch's ‘poor’ rating?

Article from: The Indian Express.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 9 December 2015..  

PTG listing: 1707-8450.

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will point to the alleged inconsistencies in the match referee Jeff Crowe’s report which rated the Nagpur pitch used for the third Test between India and South Africa, as “poor” (PTG 1701-8401, 2 December 2015).  According to a top BCCI official, Crowe’s report states that the ball spun from Day One, while going on to add that there was excessive turn on Day Three.  “There are inconsistencies in the match referee’s report. Something like ‘excessive turn’ is subjective. It is not that the report is saying there was ‘excessive turn’ on the first day itself. I don’t think there was anything wrong with the surface”, said the official.

 

The Nagpur Test finished inside three days with the highest score being a first innings 40 made by opener Murali Vijay in India's first innings. Moreover, South Africa collapsed for 79 in the first innings, the lowest score against India in Test cricket.  The ICC match referee’s rating was received last week and the BCCI had a fortnight to reply to it. While the Indian team, including director Ravi Shastri and skipper Virat Kohli defended the pitch, the ICC match referee’s rating proved to be a dampener on the victory.

 

Kohli said at the time: “I have said this before, wherever you go to play in the world, you’ve got to be prepared to face those conditions and tune your game accordingly. I don’t know why is there so much hype created around the issue”.  Shastri had gone to the extent to state that he would have liked to see a similar pitch in Delhi too.  According to him there was “Nothing wrong with it” and "It just goes to show that with the amount of one-day cricket being played, the tendency to graft, the tendency to spend long hours at the crease is diminishing”.

 

Headline: Melbourne association calls for girls, women, to become umpires.

Article from: Bayside Leader.

Journalist: Jon Andrews.                          

Published: Tuesday, 8 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1707-8451.

 

There are no female umpires standing in the Victoria’s South East Cricket Association (SECA) in outer Melbourne and its committee is calling for women and girls to take on the job of officiating games.   As part of our 'Grass Ceiling' campaign, the 'Bayside Leader' is backing calls for females to get involved in all aspects of all sports, not just playing but also umpiring and as back room and support staff.

 

SECA committee member Steve Laffan said community clubs and organisations needed to offer opportunities to both genders.  “Unlike local football competitions, we have no female cricket umpires in our organisation currently.  I hope that we can correct that anomaly. We want to provide an open door opportunity for girls and women who choose to be engaged within a local community sport. As a community-based organisation we are constantly looking to be a positive, productive, and inclusive group for all members of the community”.

 

The association has around 300 junior and senior teams under its umbrella but does not yet run a female competition, although a few member clubs field teams in other leagues, however, it is planning to do so within the next season or two, said Laffan, who believes: “Female umpires would definitely aid the establishment of a SECA women’s cricket competition”.

 

Two years ago the Mornington Peninsula Cricket Umpires Association, which supplies umpires to local games in the region further out in south-east of Melbourne than SECA, launched a recruiting drive to attract female match officials (PTG 1220-5875, 29 October 2015).  ‘PTG’ understands though that little progress has been made in that regard.

 

Headline: Antipodean MCC criticised over membership policy.

Article from: ABC News.

Journalist: Daniel O'Keefe.                          

Published: Tuesday, 8 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1707-8452.

 

The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) is facing a large social media backlash for refusing to suspend the membership of a man who has been missing for more than four years.  The club said the rules do not allow memberships to be put on hold, but that decision has been labelled "archaic" and "pathetic".

 

Daniel O'Keeffe went missing from his Geelong home four-and-a-half years ago, and every year since the O'Keefe family has paid his MCC membership renewal hoping he would soon return.  This year the family applied to suspend his membership and they received this response from the club: "Suspension isn't something we can do, and we would need to speak with Daniel about this request because he's the account holder”.  The O'Keeffe family was then charged a late fee.

 

The MCC defended its position in a statement on its Facebook page. It read: "Unfortunately, the club's rules do not allow for an individual's membership to be placed on hold, regardless of the circumstances”.  "The committee can restore a membership if it decides there are exceptional circumstances, and can also waive fees for unused years at that time.  This option remains open to the O'Keeffe family”.

 

The backlash to the MCC statement was virtually unanimous.  "This is absolutely appalling. The 'old boys club' at its best”, a Niccola Follet wrote.  "One word - Shameful” said a Vanessa Trundle.  "Your statement is pretty embarrassing frankly. You've clearly missed the point!”, Cathy Toze told the club.  While Fiona Merrin wrote "Have you thought that cancelling the membership for this family might mean the end of their connection to their son?"

 

In contrast the Geelong Football Club offered the O'Keeffe family a free family membership for life.  "Hi guys, whilst we can't help in changing the MCC's policy in this situation we would like to offer the family a perpetual membership under Dan's name at no charge”, said the football club.  "We hope Dan can one day join the rest of the family at a game cheering us on”.  O'Keeffe's family have set up a website and launched the 'Dan Come Home' social media campaign as part of high-profile efforts to find the 28-year-old.  

 

Headline: How dangerous is cricket?

Article from: Cricinfo Editorial.

Journalist: Sambit Bal.                          

Published: December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1707-8453.

 

Just a year ago, a ball spat off a cricket pitch to claim a young life, in the presence of television cameras, and we feared our game would never be the same again. Phillip Hughes was 25, scored back-to-back hundreds in his first two Tests, lost his game, rebuilt it, and was on the verge of an international comeback. By all accounts, he was also a hugely likeable character, oozing country-boy charm, and full of love for his life in cricket. 

 

And when it was cut short by a ball that found its way around a tangled front-foot pull to a soft spot on the back of the neck, the shock in the cricket community equalled the grief. A broken finger or arm, or a smashed jaw or nose, had always been considered part of the deal, but how were players, and fans, to deal with the chilling reality that the ball had killed? 

 

The physical threat of the cricket ball has never been open to question, and the bouncer has always been a legitimate part of a bowler's arsenal. But when Douglas Jardine used it ruthlessly and bloody-mindedly as an offensive strategy to neutralise Don Bradman, it caused moral outrage, and led to changes to the laws of game. In hindsight, it now seems a miracle Bodyline didn't maim or claim a life, and it can be argued that cricket is better off with legislation that makes a bowling plan designed to target the body less effective. But Hughes' death made cricketers look inwards, at both their masculine posturing and their vulnerabilities. 

 

A couple of weeks after Hughes' death, Mitchell Johnson hit Virat Kohli flush on his helmet and looked stricken, and after he retired this November he spoke of how the tragedy had made him question his methods and approach to the game. A few months earlier Stuart Broad confessed to his recurring nightmares about the cricket ball after he had his nose broken by a bouncer from Varun Aaron last year. When Eoin Morgan was hit on the head during a One Day International this September, there were no second thoughts about him retiring hurt immediately, and Mitchell Starc, the bowler who delivered the blow, admitted that he was shaken by the sight. 

 

If anything, Hughes' death has made cricketers uncomfortably aware of their mortality. Cricket will never be a blood sport, but there is no pussyfooting around the truth about the bouncer. It claims a wicket once in a while, but it is bowled with the express purpose of intimidation, of softening up, and while not all fast bowlers relish hitting batsmen, they certainly like making them hop, squirm and do everything else that falls under the broad category of making them uncomfortable. 

 

For us viewers, the bouncer is cricket's nod to our primal instincts: a seriously fast bowler intent on targeting the body on a responsive pitch turns cricket into a gladiatorial contest where for the batsman survival doesn't merely mean keeping his wicket intact. There is no sight more thrilling on a cricket field than when a courageous and skilful batsman decides to take the bouncer on. Metaphorically, every ball is a life-and-death event for the batsman, but it's the physical threat of the bouncer that heightens the rush. 

 

Even Johnson would find it impossible to judge to what extent, if at all, Hughes' death contributed to his decline as a bowler, but cricket will lose something integral and vital if fast bowlers lose their edge. As if to emphasise the point, Johnson signed off from Test cricket with two bouncer-induced wickets. The final one - a nasty, scorching climber so wickedly angled that it left Martin Guptill with no other option but to fend it with his gloves - was the most appropriate reminder of what Johnson brought to the game. 

 

In their blockbuster piece to mark Hughes' death anniversary, Sharda Ugra and Nagraj Gollapudi explore the landscape: the danger posed by the cricket ball, the legitimacy of the short delivery, the moral dilemma that confronts bowlers, the adequacy of protective equipment, and whether the reliance on helmets and such has made batsmen technically less equipped to deal with the bouncer. Hughes' death was a tragedy, and the harshest of reminders that nothing in life, and indeed life itself, must never be taken for granted. The best way to honour him would be to make every effort to make the game safe but not sterile. His batting, after all, was based on adventure.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,708

  Thursday, 10 December 2015

 

• No grudge against Llong, says McCullum [1708-8454].

• Part-time Indian off-spinner’s action queried [1708-8455].

• Insect bite blamed for failed drug test [1708-8456].

• Light thrown on umpire rankings in key CA pathway series [1708-8457].

• Player quiz designed to aid concussion assessment [1708-8458].

• Fresh concerns raised over pink ball [1708-8459].

• CA marketing chief calls for more day-night Tests [1708-8460].

• Key witness stands by Cairns trial evidence [1708-8461].

• Bonuses beckon for Aussie players [1708-8462].

• Nelson umpires looking for new recruits [1708-8463].

 

Headline: No grudge against Llong, says McCullum.

Article from: Otago Daily Times.

Journalist: David Leggart.                          

Published: Thursday, 10 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1708-8454.

 

No hard feelings; that sums up New Zealand's attitude towards English umpire Nigel Llong as he prepares to officiate in the two Tests against Sri Lanka, the first of which starts in Dunedin on Thursday.  Llong's so-called “incorrect judgement" as third umpire in the inaugural day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide last month (PTG 1701-8400, 2 December 2015), is in the past, according to skipper Brendon McCullum.

 

Llong will officiate in both Tests aainst the Sri Lankans, in the middle, having been shifted off TV umpire duties for the second test in Hamilton later this month (ptg 1707-8449, 9 December 2015).  "He made a couple of mistakes [in Australia] and whilst it's frustrating at the time, we've moved on and the good thing for Nigel is he's able to get back on the horse and get out there”, McCullum said.  "At the moment we do have outstanding umpires and we have a couple operating here”.

 

McCullum exchanged pleasantries with Llong at breakfast yesterday and said he is "100 per cent confident" in him, calling the Englishman "a world class umpire”.  "There's no hard feelings. Everyone's trying to do their best and they're going to make occasional mistakes. That doesn't change that they are good people and excellent umpires”.  Last week New Zealand Cricket (NZC) operations manager Lindsay Crocker was quoted as saying that Llong could be provided with additional, “low key” security cover during the Sri Lanka series (PTG 1702-8409, 3 December 2015).

 

Llong’s Test debut in January 2008 was in fact in a match played in Dunedin and the forthcoming games there and Hamilton will be his seventh and eighth in New Zealand, two of them being as the television umpire.  So far in the 54 Tests he has supported, 33 on-field, 19 in the television suite and 3 as the fourth official (33/19/3), 18 (12/5/1) have involved a New Zealand team.

 

Headline: Part-time Indian off-spinner’s action queried.

Article from: ICC media release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 9 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1708-8455.

 

Part-time Indian spinner Shikhar Dhawan has been reported for a suspect action following the fourth Test against South Africa in Delhi.  The match officials’ report provided to Indian team management cited concerns about the legality of Dhawan's off-spin deliveries. Dhawan has bowled a total of 54 balls in the 19 Tests he has played to date, but it appears the 18 he delivered in this week’s Delhi Test were a cause for concern.  

 

Under International Cricket Council regulations Dhawan will have to undergo tests within the next 14 days and can continue to bowl in international cricket until the results of that examination are known. Apart from him, international players reported for suspect actions in 2015 include West Indies' Sunil Narine and Marlon Samuels, Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez and Bilal Asif, Sri Lanka's Tharindu Kaushal and Zimbabwe's Malcom Waller; all of whom are off-break bowlers.  Narine and Hafeez were subsequently banned after their actions were found to be illegal.

 

Headline: Insect bite blamed for failed drug test.

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: David Leggat.                          

Published: Thursday, 10 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1708-8456.

 

Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kusal Perera, who recently returned a positive test for a banned substance (PTG 1706-8441, 8 December 2015), says medicine he took for an insect bite on a foot may have been involved and that he's "not taken any form of drugs", according to Sri Lankan coach Jerome Jayaratne.  Perera’s B sample hasn't been checked yet but Jayaratne is preparing for the worst as “he's our main wicketkeeper and, at number seven, is a dashing batsman who can turn things around [and as such] it's a massive dent”.  The coach said the his players were well informed regarding drugs issues and know they have to talk with the team physiotherapist before taking any medication - "even if it's a ‘Panadol’".

 

Headline: Light thrown on umpire rankings in key CA pathway series

Article from: Score sheets.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 10December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1708-8457.

 

Three New South Wales and one Queensland umpire appear to have headed the rankings in Cricket Australia’s (CA) national men’s Under-19 Championships in Adelaide over the last two weeks, if semi final appointments on Wednesday are any guide.  The four, Queensland’s Donovan Koch and NSW’s Anthony Hobson, Ben Treloar and David Taylor, were selected as a result of their performances in the seven lead-up games in the tournament from the ten-man group of umpires, who stood in the 35 one-day games played over the past ten days.

 

The Under-19 series is a competition that in CA’s words is "an integral step in the umpire pathway”, the next rungs of which are potential appointment to Australia's second-tier Development Panel and then the National Umpires Panel itself.  The semi finalists were chosen ahead of their colleagues  Murray Branch (Queensland), Stephen Brne, Dale Ireland and David Shepard (Victoria), and James Hewitt and Nathan Johnstone (Western Australia).  

 

Shepard’s ommission from the semi finals is interesting as he is currently a member of both CA’s Development Panel and its Project Panel (PTG 1607-7810, 1 August 2015).  He played a single first class game for Victoria in 1998, while Koch featured in 21 such matches for Boland and Western Province in South Africa from 1997 to 2002.  

 

The finals of the 2015 Under-19 series are due to be played on Thursday but as yet appointments for the games have not been released.  Reports from Adelaide suggest that two CA Umpire High Performance Panel members, Bob Stratford and David Tallala, have been observing umpires during the last two weeks, as have Bob Parry, CA’s Umpire Educator,  and Kim Perrin. Stratford, Parry and Perrin are all former first class umpires.

 

 

Headline: Player quiz designed to aid concussion assessment.

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Nick Hoult.                          

Published: Wednesday, 9 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1708-8458.

 

Players suspected of sustaining concussion in County cricket will be asked a series of questions including the name of the venue, which team is bowling and the session of the day being played to help gauge the seriousness of their condition. The questions are revealed in a 27-page report setting out how to deal with concussion and head injuries that has been agreed between the Professional Cricketers’ Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).  The report follows a consultation process between the ECB medical panel, first-class Counties and the neurosurgical and neurosciences concussion research team from the UK’s National Institute for Health Research in Birmingham. 

 

The report borrows from work already done in rugby and other contact sports but has been adapted especially for cricket as the game continues to react to the death of Phillip Hughes last year. The questions are cricket’s version of ‘Maddocks Questions’, a qualitative test to measure brain function that originated from a study of Australian Rules Football in 1995. Cricketers struck on the head will be asked either on the field of play or in the dressing room: What venue are we at today? Which session of the game are we in? Who is bowling/batting at the moment in this game? What team did you play last week/game? What was the score/your score in the last game? 

 

If concussion is confirmed ­players will now be immediately withdrawn from the remainder of the match, irrespective of whether it is a ­Twenty20 or a five-day Test. They will also face a minimum of six days out of action before undertaking a “graduated return to play”. What the ECB’s position is on replacing such a player mid-match is not known.

 

The report states that head injuries are rare in cricket with only 37 in the last five years in England, of which 14 involved concussion, and as a whole cricketers are 100 times less likely to suffer such a problem when compared to rugby players. But there were a spate of incidents last northern summer. England’s one day captain Eoin Morgan was struck a nasty blow on the helmet batting against Australia in September (PTG 1649-8070, 22 September 2015), Alex Gidman suffered concussion after being hit by a bouncer playing for Worcestershire in the County Championship, and Australia’s Chris Rogers collapsed at the crease in the Lord’s Test after encountering a delayed reaction to a blow to the head (PTG 1596-7731, 20 July 2015). 

 

“The main reason that the rate appears so low is likely to be related to use of helmets but may also be related to underreporting”, the report says.  "This is being further evaluated through injury surveillance, a research pilot and also a retired cricketers survey”.  “The risk of concussion in cricket appears relatively low compared to some sports but carries significant risk in that the cricket ball can be projected at a high velocity directly at someone’s head within the laws of the game”.

 

"Although protective headgear is usually worn it is not failsafe, not worn in all situations, and uncommonly by fielders and umpires” (PTG 1705-8435, 7 December 2015), continues the report.  "Furthermore the design of helmets does not routinely cover the occipital region [the lower part of the back of the head] well, as illustrated by the recent fatality in Australian cricket of Phillip Hughes”. 

 

Headline: Fresh concerns raised over pink ball.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Daniel Brettig.                          

Published: Tuesday, 8 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1708-8459.

 

An overwhelming majority of players in the inaugural day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide believe the concept of floodlit Test cricket needs considerable work before being broadened beyond the highly tailored environment concocted by Cricket Australia last week.  A survey conducted by the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA), or players' union, has found that 20 of the 22 players showed strong support for the general concept, however they had significant concerns about the various issues - particularly that the pink ball needs further refinement (PTG 1706-8445, 8 December 2015).

 

Eighty per cent of the players think the pink ball did not show similar signs of wear and tear to the red ball, and that it swung more than the red, especially at night.  Seventy per cent said the ball was not easy to see when batting or fielding at dusk, while eighty-five per cent believe day-night conditions affected the length of the match.

 

Tony Irish, the FICA executive chairman, who last month urged caution on moving too quickly into day-night Tests (PTG 1693-8335, 23 November 2015), said: "As representative body of players from seven of the 10 Test-playing nations, FICA commends the players for their adaptability with a significant change to the game". "We also recognise the amount of work that went into this game. FICA is supportive of the innovations that can improve the spectacle and spectator interest, whilst maintaining the essence of the sport".

 

"It is important to note however, that the change from the red to pink ball is significant. The players still have concerns around the ball itself, and one must take into account that Adelaide Oval conditions were tailored to suit the pink ball and help it last. This led to results that were uncharacteristic for an Adelaide Test Match.  Furthermore, questions also remain as to the suitability of day-night Test matches in other parts of the world, where conditions are not as favourable as in Adelaide”.

 

Irish said that while Adelaide had been a success beyond all argument, day-night Tests had to be viewed as just one part of a broader picture to keep the five-day game healthy in the future. "It was good to see so many fans at the Adelaide Test Match and it was successful as an event, however, the pink ball experiment must be part of a bigger picture, and it alone is not the answer to making Test cricket the best it can be.  Adelaide has historically been a well-supported Test match, and a social event". 

 

"Players enjoy playing in front of big crowds, and it was a terrific atmosphere. What we saw in Adelaide is one aspect of a significant amount of work that needs to go into making the entire game compelling for spectators, players, and commercial partners. The structure of bilateral cricket, and of the game itself need to be addressed globally” (PTG 1699-8389, 29 November 2015).

 

"In trialling day-night Test matches, we are essentially adding another new format to the international cricket structure which already lacks clear and common direction as to the best interplay between formats, and the best way for players to balance the growing conflict in club versus country commitments." Irish said.

 

"We know players' value playing for their countries, and playing in events that have meaning and context. We also know how much they value the essence of Test cricket. With the advent of domestic Twenty20 tournaments around the world, there is also now a growing alternative market to international cricket for the worlds best players”, Irish continued. "The game must address its structure as a whole, and the players should be an integral part of planning and improving it in its entirety moving forward. Cricket will be in the best position to grow if players are properly embraced as partners in the game”.

 

Headline: CA marketing chief calls for more day-night Tests.

Article from:The Australian.

Journalist: Peter Lalor.                          

Published: Thursday, 10 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1708-8460.

 

Cricket Australia’s (CA) marketing boss has called for all pre-Christmas Test matches except Perth to move to a day-night format in the clearest sign yet the organisation is determined to move away from the traditional format as it seeks bigger television ratings and crowds.  The push comes on the same day the players' union revealed considerable dissatisfaction among players with the ball in the day-night match in Adelaide (PTG 1708-8459 above).

 

Ben Armarfio, CA’s head of marketing, called for more day-night games and backed Canberra’s bid for more inter­national games, which puts the prospects of Hobart’s Bellerive Oval hosting more Test matches under pressure.  Last week CA chief executive James Sutherland placed pressure on Bellerive in the lead-up to today’s Test and was backed by his marketing boss, who was asked on radio yesterday about advance ticket sales for the opening Australia-West Indies Test.  

 

“It’s not flash”, Armarfio said on Sky Sports. “If you look back over all the years and the Tests that have been played in Hobart [advance sales] are about 21,000.  If we were to play any more Tests, regardless of whether we play them in Canberra or Hobart ... in non-school holiday time we’ve got to be serious about it.  They’ve got to be day-nighters so people can watch from a TV and crowd perspective”.

 

Headline: Key witness stands by Cairns trial evidence.

Article from: Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 10 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1708-8461.

 

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum says he stands by the evidence he gave at the recent perjury trial of former teammate Chris Cairns, although Cairns’s acquittal has raised questions over whether he was believed by a Crown Court jury in London (PTG 1700-8394, 1 December 2015).  McCullum was the prosecution’s leading witness in the trial of Cairns, the former New Zealand all-rounder who was alleged to have lied in a libel action against Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi, who had accused him of match-fixing.

 

In evidence, McCullum said he had been approached by Cairns in 2008 and encouraged to become involved in match-fixing. Cairns’s legal team sought to discredit McCullum’s evidence by pointing out he took three years to report the alleged approach, then changed elements of his story on subsequent occasions.  McCullum said he stood by the evidence he gave in London and did not believe his reputation had been damaged by the jury’s apparent rejection of the case against Cairns.

 

In a column published by a New Zealand newspaper on Sunday, Cairns said he would like to ask McCullum, “why did you bring all of this pain and suffering upon my family?”  McCullum said he had no plans to speak to Cairns or address that question. “I don’t think my reputation has been on the line, I was one of several witnesses. People have their own opinions on what unfolded but I am comfortable with it and it’s time to focus on a bit of cricket”.

 

Modi is reported to be considering a civil action against Cairns to retrieve damages and legal costs he incurred when a jury upheld Cairns’s libel action (PTG 1703-8428, 4 December 2015). If Modi ­proceeds, McCullum faces the prospect of again being called as a witness.  One of the elements of Modi’s action is likely to be that the International Cricket Council was in possession of McCullum’s statement about Cairns at the time of the original libel trial but did not make it available to Modi, even though his lawyers had asked for documents pertinent to the case.  

 

Headline: Bonuses beckon for Aussie players.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 10 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1708-8462.

 

 

Reports indicate that Australia's international playing group are potentially in line for bonuses that would top up their pay by close to $A2.6 million (£UK1.2 m) by the end of the current austral summer should results generally go their way.  To achieve that they would have to move from their current International Cricket Council (ICC) third ranked place in Tests to number one, retain their number one One Day International (ODI) ranking by defeating India in Australia in January, and win forthcoming Test series over both the West Indies and New Zealand.

 

If the $A2 m bonus is achieved, $A770,500 (£336,200) would come for topping Test rankings, $A310,300 (£147,500) for leading in ODIs, $A360,000 (£171,000) from Cricket Australia’s (CA) ICC bonus for a top Test ranking achievement, $A605,000 (£287,500) for defeating the West Indies and New Zealand in the forthcoming series, and $A600,000 (£285,100) from their recent Test win over the latter side which included the inaugural day-night Test.

 

The potential $770,500 Test prize is part of cash incentives agreed to in a five-year memorandum of understanding between the Australian Cricketers' Association and CA that was signed in 2012.  Number one Test ranking would also see CA itself collect a $US1 million cheque ($1.38 million, £56,000) from the ICC, which goes into Australia's cricket revenue, and of which the players are entitled to a share of 26 per cent - the $A360,000 figure.  The overall Test scheme was struck after the Argus report which recommended players be financially rewarded for success, though players have always maintained they are not driven by money.  

 

Players also stand to gain just over $A600,000 if they beat the Windies 3-0 and win both Tests against New Zealand in February, the sum made up of a bonus of $5,400 per Test win (£2,570) and $14,163 (£6,730) for a series victory against a team not ranked in the top four.  That money comes on top of the $A600,000 prizemoney shared on a pro rata basis among squad members for the three Tests against New Zealand last month. The latter amount was a sweetener for player support for the day-night Test (PTG 1582-7617, 2 July 2015), New Zealand players sharing the remaining $A400,000 (£190,000).     

 

Headline: Nelson umpires looking for new recruits.

Article from: Nelson Mail.

Journalist: Wayne Martin.                          

Published: Thursday, 10 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1708-8463.

 

New Zealand's Nelson Cricket Umpires Association is once again repeating it's almost annual plea for more umpires to help officiate at premier club level.  What was once a healthy stable of around ten regular umpires has now dwindled to five, four established umpires in Barry Blommaart, Neil Capstick, Damian Chapman and Trevor Garnett having been recently joined by newcomer Euan Mitchell. 

 

The association's appointments officer, Errol Millar, is currently out of action owing to a cataract in his right eye, but hopes to be back in action early next year.  Millar began the season officiating in a two-day club match between Nelson College and Wakatu but was forced to withdraw early in the game as he "couldn't see the red ball side at the bowlers end [for] once it bounced it was gone”.  "I'm hoping that when they start with the white ball [in one-day matches] after Christmas that I'll at least be able to do square leg”, he said.

 

Millar's temporary absence means there's been an inevitable strain on umpire resources and he was appealing to anyone interested in umpiring to raise their hand. He said he is intrigued by the English system where each club had its own official scorer, however, a possible solution to recruiting new umpires was to head into the schools.  "I think we should be looking at college level and having a look at whether there are some prospective 'Billy Bowdens' or Chris Gaffaneys that are going to come out of the lower grade cricket”.

 

Millar said that umpire abuse wasn't an issue in Nelson club cricket.  "There's still the odd comment made...but they just get told to get on with it, you know, you play, we umpire”.  

  

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,709

  Friday, 11 December 2015

 

• ECB denies disciplinary double standards [1709-8464].

• Queensland-NSW pair stand in CA Under-19 final [1709-8465].

• Union ‘seriously concerned’ about terrorism threats to players [1709-8466].

• BCCI to change balls for domestic one-day series [1709-8467].

 

Headline: ECB denies disciplinary double standards.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist: Ali Martin.                          

Published: Friday, 11 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1709-8464.

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has defended its disciplinary procedures after it emerged promising English seamer Craig Overton was found to have told Sussex’s Pakistan-born batsman Ashar Zaidi to “go back to your own f****** country” during a County championship match  at Hove in mid-September.  Overton was reported to have made the remark, seemingly a potential Level Three offence under ECB regulations, by both bowler’s end umpire Alex Wharf and non-striker Michael Yardy, however, it eventually went forward as a Level One misdemeanour.

 

Overton denied the claims but was charged with "using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting and/or making an obscene gesture”. Because previous disciplinary offences in 2015 on his record, the Hove incident took Overton past the ECB’s nine point disciplinary mark, therefore an automatic penalty kicked in and he missed his County’s final game of the season.

 

The decision by the ECB's Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) to pursue the lowest level of offence contrasts with its handling of the case involving Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale in 2014 (PTG 1445-7000, 9 October 2014). Gale was given a further two-match ban and had to engage in an anger management course after using the term "Kolpak" when arguing with Lancashire's Ashwell Prince, a South African, to "f*** off back to your country you Kolpak f***er”.  The incident also saw the suspended Gale barred by the ECB from lifting the 2014 County Championship trophy, a decision that continues to rankle at the club.

 

According to the ECB's regulations, a Level Three charge covers "using language or gesture that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person's race, religion or belief, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation or background”.  Zaidi told match officials he had not heard anything beyond what he called the “usual” comments and they did not upset him.

 

The ECB said in a statement: "Following the incident on-field umpires [Wharf and Ian Gould] sought advice from the ECB's Cricket Department who referred the matter directly to the Chairman of the [CDC], Mr Gerard Elias, QC”.  "After reviewing the umpires’ report [Elias] gave clear guidance that this should be reported as a Level One offence and that no further action should be taken". The governing body rejected "any suggestion of impropriety, interference or bias" in the process concerning Overton, stressing that the CDC is "an independent body which operates at arm's length”.  

 

There was no official response to the Overton case from Yorkshire but, privately, senior figures are concerned by what they perceive as double standards within the game.  Somerset have declined to comment on the Hove incident publicly, although a club official said that, in their view, it differed to that of Gale at Old Trafford as Overton had already turned away from the batsman, who did not hear it, while their player also denied the comment in his evidence.

 

Overton’s twin brother Jamie also plays for Somerset and English cricket has eagerly anticipated the possibility that they could become the first twins to represent the country at international level.

 

Headline: Queensland-NSW pair stand in CA Under-19 final.

Article from: Score sheets.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 10 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1709-8465.

 

Donovan Koch from Queensland and David Taylor from New South Wales stood in the final of Cricket Australia’s 2015-16 national men’s Under-19 tournament in Adelaide, an 11-day, 40-match series that CA considers "an integral step" in its umpire pathway to higher honours (PTG 1708-8457, 10 December 2015).  

 

South African born Koch, 39, played in 21 first class and 20 List A games there in the period from 1997-2002, after that featuring in several matches in County Second XI competitions in England.  From 2009-12 he stood in the Yorkshire Premier League and in the last two northern summers of that period in a range of Minor County and County Second XI three-day, one-day and Twenty20 fixtures.  In Australia he has been appointed to women's one-day and Twenty20 games, and also stood in CA’s men’s Under-17 national championship 12 months ago.

 

Prior to this fortnight’s series Taylor, a former captain at Sydney's Penrith Club who is in his fifth season as an umpire in the New South Wales capital’s top club competition, stood in CA’s Under-17 national series in Adelaide in January 2014, the Under-19 equivalent there in January this year, two state second XI fixtures, and matches in CA’s Womens’ National Cricket League.

 

Headline: Union ‘seriously concerned’ about terrorism threats to players.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: George Dobell.                          

Published: Wednesday, 9 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1709-8466.

 

 

The chief executive of the UK Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) has admitted he is "seriously concerned" about the threat of terrorism to professional cricketers.   Angus Porter, who runs the players' union in England and Wales, described terrorism as "the greatest risk to players" and said he considers it a greater threat than impact injuries caused by the ball.  "We have worked hard in minimising the chances of serious injury to players from impact injuries from the ball, and quite rightly”, said Porter, “but history would suggest that such incidents, thankfully, are few and far between.

 

Of particular concern to Porter at present is the welfare of players taking part in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). With the UK Foreign Office currently warning of a "high threat from terrorism" in Bangladesh and advising British citizens to maintain "a low profile in all public spaces", the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and PCA made each England-qualified player sign a disclaimer before they were provided the 'No Objection Certificate' required to participate. 

 

Porter says he is “"worried right now about those players who have gone to play in the [BPL]". "In light of the global situation and Foreign Office advice, we informed all players about the situation and asked them to confirm in writing that they understood the situation and the risks.  We will always err on the side of letting players make their own decisions, but we are very uneasy about their involvement at this time”.

 

Headline: BCCI to change balls for domestic one-day series.

Article from: India Today.

Journalist: Arani Basu                          

Published: Thursday, 10 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1709-8467.

 

For the first time, a domestic one-day tournament in India will be played using the white ‘Kookaburra’ ’Turf’ balls that are used in international limited-overs games instead of the ‘Kookaburra’ Regular' version.   The ball will be used in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, India's premier domestic one-day tournament, ahead of the World Twenty20 Championship series in March.

 

Baroda all-rounder Irfan Pathan lauded the move by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). "Batsmen will be having a lot of fun. The Kookaburra Regular ball had a pronounced seam and favoured bowlers. The ball also used to get very soft but this year the real quality of bowlers will shine through”, said Irfan.  The ‘Turf' versus ‘Regular’ difference is "almost like that between the red ‘SG' Test ball, which is used in Tests in India and Ranji Trophy matches, and the ‘SG' Tournament ball which is used at junior level”, according to Delhi coach Vijay Dahiya.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,710

  Saturday, 12 December 2015

 

• Indian umpire opts to wear a helmet [1710-8468].

• WA umpire for NZ exchange visit [1710-8469].

• Leewards’ keeper fined for showing dissent [1710-8470].

• ECB funding helmet safety research PhD student [1710-8471].

• Low flying seagull fools speed gun [1710-8472].

• Don’t blame players for lack of loyalty: T&T CEO [1710-8473].

• Next ten months' schedule is proof T20 has won [1710-8474].

 

Headline: Indian umpire opts to wear a helmet.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 11 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1709-8468.

 

Indian umpire Pashchim Pathak, who was at square leg last week when Australian umpire John Ward was struck and felled by a ball in a Ranji Trophy match in the Tamil Nadu city of Dindigul (PTG 1701-8399, 2 December 2015), opted to wear a helmet in a one-day Vijay Hazare Trophy game on Friday, a first for an umpire in India.  Having seen and heard Ward struck, Pathak has apparently decided like the Australian (PTG 1705-8435, 7 December 2015), that in a time when batsman are hitting balls so hard, he needs to improve his personal safety.

 

Images from the Kerala-Railways match, which was played in Alur, Karnataka, show Pathak wearing what appears to be a standard batsman’s helmet.  Whether that head gear includes a flap that covers the the neck back of his head, the area where Ward was struck, is not clear, although indications are that is unlikely.  As far as can be determined, Pathak was not wearing any additional protection such as chest, groin or leg protection under his clothes.

 

Pathak, 39, who debuted at first class level in 2009 and has since gone on to stand in 45 such games, was standing in his thirteenth List A match.  His decision to wear a helmet comes after renewed discussion and debate about the need for umpires to better protect themselves (PTG 1697-8368, 27 November 2015).  It also comes just over year after Israeli umpire Hillel Awasker who was struck by a ball in a match and died of what a hospital spokesman described as a "catastrophic head wound” (PTG 1472-7119, 1 December 2014).

 

Last month the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) introduced new helmet safety measures that are designed to reduce the risk of head injuries in County fixtures (PTG 1698-8377, 28 November 2015).  However, those measures do not appear to include umpires, although testing of the suitability of baseball-style masks for them has begun, but as yet no suitable solution for umpires has apparently been found (PTG 1697-8368, 27 November 2015).

 

Six-and-a-half years ago then Australian umpire Daryl Harper said "its just a matter of time before umpires in higher-level Twenty20 matches wear baseball helmets which cover the face with a grill for protection” (PTG 423-2233, 14 May 2009).  More recently a number of others have expressed similar views, amongst them being Simon Taufel, another former Australian umpire (PTG 1534-7384, 9 March 2015), and former Australian player and now national selector Rod Marsh (PTG 1635-7999, 3 September 2015).

 

Headline: WA umpire for NZ exchange visit.

Article from: CA web site.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 11 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1709-8469.

 

Ashlee Kovalevs, a member of Western Australia’s Supplementary Umpires Panel, is to stand in New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) week-long, 21-match Women’s Under-21 Tournament which gets underway in Auckland on Tuesday.  Kovalevs’ visit is part of an exchange agreement established by NZC and Cricket Australia (CA) 12 months ago, an arrangement that saw CA’s Claire Polosak and Deanne Young stand in last year’s NZC Women’s Under-21 event (PTG 1454-7049, 24 October 2014).

 

During this year’s tournament in Auckland, Kovalevs is to stand with NZC umpires Kathy Cross, Kim Cotton and Di Venter, and two other yet-to-be-announced umpires.  In January, Cotton and Venter are to travel to Canberra for CA's Under-18 Female Championships where they will work with Kovalevs and four other so far unnamed female umpires, the most number of women CA has appointed to an underage tournament. 

 

Kovalevs, who is currently in her third season as an umpire and made her debut at men’s second grade level in Western Australia’s top men’s club competition earlier this month, has been a recipient of a Female Umpire Scholarship for the past two seasons.  During the 2014-15 austral summer she was appointed, along with Polosak, to that season’s Under 18 Female Championships which were held in Ballarat  (PTG 1275-6144, 22 January 2014). 

 

Off-field Kovalevs, who in the past has won the Western Australian Cricket Association’s female competition’s ‘Umpire of the Year’ award, currently serves the game as the secretary of the Western Australian Cricket Umpires Association. 

 

Headline: Leewards’ keeper fined for showing dissent.

Article from: WICB press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 11 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1709-8470.

 

Leeward Islands wicketkeeper-batsman Jahmar Hamilton has been fined 15 per cent of his match fee for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during the first class match against Jamaica at Sabina Park last weekend.  Hamilton was reported by umpires Nigel Duguid, Verdayne Smith and Rushane Samuels for a Level One breach of the West Indies Cricket Board’s Code of Conduct, the penalty for which ranges from a reprimand to a fine of up to 50 per cent of the player’s match fee.

 

Headline: ECB funding helmet safety research PhD student.

Article from: Loughborough Echo.

Journalist: David Godsall.                          

Published: Friday, 11 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1709-8471.

 

Research by Loughborough University’s Sports Technology Institute will continue to shape the development of cricket helmet safety, following a landmark announcement by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).  The ECB have endorsed changes to regulations such that from the 2016 northern summer, all male and female cricketers playing in professional cricket matches will be required to use helmets which meet the latest British Safety Standard (PTG 1698-8377, 28 November 2015).

 

One of the key measures announced by the ECB is to collaborate with the Sports Technology Institute through the sponsorship of a PhD student to research helmet design, head injuries and safety in relation to cricket.  The Institute has previously informed the new British Safety Standard and supported the development of new-style helmets, with more rigid peaks and grills made from stronger materials, which are now commercially available.  In the most extensive and rigorous testing of its type ever to have taken place, the team simulated the impact on helmets and grills of a ball delivered at speeds that an international fast bowler would be able to achieve.

 

Dr Ben Halkon from the Sports Technology Institute said: “We are all about generating knowledge and improving safety in the sport domain, and so are delighted that the ECB will sponsor a PhD student to continue our research in cricket safety, and compare the old and new style of helmets.  “We will carry out a detailed investigation in the differences of the parameters that we can measure whether it is rotational acceleration or pressure between the helmet and head form.  Also by collaborating with people in the medical community, who can tell us what sort of physical events cause concussion, we can have a really significant impact on improving safety in the sport”.

 

The changes follow a joint review by the ECB and the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) of existing safety guidance and are designed to reduce the risk of head and facial injuries within the game (PTG 1708-8459, 10 December 2015).  ECB Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Peirce said: “We can see from our injury surveillance that cricket is not a dangerous sport in comparison to many other leisure activities. However, as we have seen in recent times, the cricket ball can cause significant injury and it is extremely important that players take the appropriate precautions when batting, keeping wicket or fielding close to the stumps".

 

Peirce said “The latest cricket helmets have made significant strides in providing protection against potentially catastrophic injury and we would strongly advise all players to make sure their helmet conforms to the latest British Safety Standard”.  Full details and amended regulations are to be published in the New Year.

 

Headline: Low flying seagull fools speed gun.

Article from: Agence France Presse.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 11 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1709-8472.

 

A low-flying seagull has been blamed for interfering with the speed gun when New Zealand's Neil Wagner bowled a ball clocked at 160 kilometres per hour, one of the fastest on record, during the first Test against Sri Lanka in Dunedin on Friday.  The surprise quicker ball from Wagner, whose normal bowling speed is in the low 130s, lit up social media before the speed radar's operators said the reading may have been affected by a passing bird.

 

The left-arm seamer's ball came on a blustery day at Dunedin's University Oval when he was bowling to Sri Lanka's Dinesh Chandimal on day two of the Test.  However, members of the television production team operating the speed radar said a bird had probably caused an inaccurate reading from one of two monitors at the ground.  The alternative reading was 133 kph, more in keeping with Wagner's usual pace.

 

If Wagner did in fact send down a ball at 160kph, he would have been just a shade off Australian Mitchell Starc's Test world record of 160.4, set last month in Perth.

 

Headline: Don’t blame players for lack of loyalty: T&T CEO.

Article from: Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

Journalist: Walter Alibey.                          

Published: Friday, 11 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1709-8473.

 

“Don’t blame or ridicule players for choosing to play Twenty20 cricket instead of country”, says Suruj Ragoonath, the chief executive officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB).  His call comes in the midst of criticisms across the cricketing fraternity that local and Caribbean regional players are chasing T20 dollars instead of showing loyalty to their country (PTG 1689-8314, 16 November 2015). 

 

Ragoonath, a former West Indies opening batsman, made it clear that the problem is not the players, but rather an administrative issue.  “We must understand that the sport of cricket now is not what it used to be many years ago and therefore we at the administrative level must find ways and means of dealing with the problem of players choosing to play for club rather than country”.

 

Because of such choices the Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) side have been minus about a dozen of their best players who are either on duty with the West Indies team, or playing T20 in either the Bangladesh Premier League or Australia's Big Bash League. Although other West Indian regional territories have also been without their key players, T&T have found themselves in a spot of bother, losing two matches and winning one and drawing the other in the four matches played to date in the current West Indies Cricket Board domestic first class competition.  

 

Ragoonath said: “I understand as a country that we may be saddened by the lost of our key players but as an organisation we have to continue our mandate of developing as many players as we can and if this is done successfully then we will have enough players to join the [T&T] team when key players leave.  Right now we are really playing with a second-string team, where most of the players are young and inexperienced. However, I have a lot of confidence in coach Gus Logie and his staff to turn things around”. 

 

According to Ragoonath the dynamics of the game have changed from what it used to be. “Today players have options to play for whoever they want. They can play for their country, the region or a club and we must not try to dictate who they should play for. The challenge is for us as administrators to develop as many players to fit in for them when they leave and we have already begun doing this". 

 

Ragoonath revealed the TTCB has embarked on a program of exposing young talented players and preparing them for top level competition.  “We have a training camp currently taking place and we will be sending players out to academies in Australia, England, South Africa and India etc to ensure they get sufficient experience to play at the top level. This means that when players leave to play in T20 leagues, we will have enough players to fill in for them and make up a strong, competitive T&T team”.

 

Headline: Next ten months' schedule is proof T20 has won.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist: Barney Ronay.                          

Published: Saturday, 12 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1709-8474.

 

One of my favourite recent cricket stories is the ballad of Atul Sharma, a hulking teenage javelin thrower plucked from obscurity and transformed briefly into a kind of slingy, right-arm Frankenstein’s monster by the maverick fast-bowling coach Ian Pont. You can still see Sharma in YouTube videos, in between lifting tyres and pumping weights, pounding in with his arm held out behind him and javelining it down in the nets at what appears to be alarming speeds. 

 

On a whim Sharma even earned a short-term Indian Premier League (IPL) contract with the Rajasthan Royals in 2009, before abruptly disappearing, a sensitive soul for whom this was all apparently just a little too much.

 

There were shades of the Sharma Identity about the news this week that a 26-year-old baseball player from Dallas called Boomer Collins is currently trawling the fringes of the global T20 leagues angling for a franchise gig (PTG 1656-8106, 5 October 2015). And why not? Hitting a ball between toe and waist height for six – base unit of Twenty20, the G-spot of the crowds – isn’t so far removed from the one-shot skill-set of baseball hitting. 

 

Kevin Pietersen effectively won a Cricket South Africa 'Ram Slam’ T20 match for the Dolphins this week by hitting 27 runs off 10 balls. Who’s to say Boomer couldn’t do the same on a flat track with a following wind?

 

New forms, new patterns: these are vital elements in any in sport, not least one as ragingly priapic and expansionist as Twenty20 cricket. And not least at a moment of near-complete saturation we might call Peak Twenty20. Because let’s face it, it is frankly everywhere right now.

 

This Saturday in South Africa, the Titans will play Dolphins in the ‘Ram Slam’ final. Don’t despair, though. The Slam, and the simultaneous New Zealand Cricket 'Georgie Pie Super Smash' and the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), are just curtain-raisers for the most densely plotted period of T20 yet devised. From 'Ram Slam’/'Pie Smash'/BPL (November-December) we head to Cricket Australia's Big Bash League (December-January), the Pakistan Super League (February), the World T20 Championship (March-April), 2016 IPL (April-May), Caribbean Premier League (June-July), and finally in May-June-July-August, the England and Wales Cricket Board's T20 Blast. 

 

So there it is. Ten months of Twenty20, the slightly disappointing magic realist novel Gabriel García Márquez never got round to writing, and above all proof if it were required that T20 has now won. It is the dominant music, the most visible, rampantly booming incarnation of its founding sport.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,711

  Sunday, 13 December 2015

 

• On-field duties not restricted by helmet use [1711-8475].

• Female stands in first class game after 25-year break [1711-8476].

• West Indies fined for slow over-rate [1711-8477].

• The curious case of Nigel Llong [1711-8478].

• Yorkshire call for answers over race row [1711-8479].

• Clubs resist Birmingham League shake-up [1711-8480].

 

Headline: On-field duties not restricted by helmet use.

Article from: Various Indian media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Saturday, 12 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1711-8475.

 

Indian umpire Pashchim Pathak, who wore a helmet on-field in two Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day games on Thursday and Friday (PTG 1710-8468, 12 December 2015), says he had no difficulty carrying out his on-field duties during the 193 overs it took to complete both matches.  That positive assessment differs from recent testing experience in England, Angus Porter, the chief executive of the UK Professional Cricketers’ Association indicating last month that at present: "There is no separate identified solution for umpires” in terms of head protection (PTG 1697-8368, 27 November 2015).  

 

Pathak says he had been thinking of wearing "some kind of protective gear” after first Phillip Hughes and then Isreali umpire Hillel Oscar died just over 12 months ago (PTG 1472-7119, 1 December 2014), but "wasn't too sure how wearing a helmet would feel”.  He discussed the use of head protection with umpiring colleagues but "the thought had stayed at the idea stage only”.  That was until he saw his Australian colleague John Ward hit nearly two weeks ago. "The sound of the ball hitting him was scary. I thought that his skull had opened up. The way he collapsed, it sent shivers down my spine”, recalled Pathak (PTG 1705-8435, 7 December 2015). 

 

In the lead up to last week’s one-day games, Pathak wore an unmodified batsman’s helmet during net sessions, and while he had "some apprehension” as to whether he would be able to spot a no-ball, move his neck or quickly get out from the crease, he says he experienced no such difficulties.  He did not make the decision to don a helmet out of fear, saying: "The best of batsmen wear helmets and one doesn't say that they do so because they fear the fast bowlers. They are just taking precautions [and] if a batsman and wicketkeeper can wear [a helmet] why can't an umpire?”

 

So far he has had a good response from both his fellow umpires and family. “"I sent a picture of me wearing a helmet to my wife, sister and parents and they were very happy with my call. I had shown a video of the Ward incident to them and they were very worried about me. I also spoke to a few umpires and they were supportive of my idea and said that they will also try it out. Players too have come to me and told me that I have taken a good initiative". 

 

Pathak hopes the wearing of helmets "becomes a trend" and wants sports goods manufacturers to make umpire-specific equipment. "We should look for better options like the skull cap or the baseball-style helmet. We need to innovate before coming out with a better-designed and umpire-specific helmet. The strength of the bat has increased and shots are being fired at great speed. The umpires need protection”, he says, and that’s its “better to be safe than sorry”. 

 

Headline: Female stands in first class game after 25-year break.

Article from:  Score sheets.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Saturday, 12 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1711-8476.

 

Jamaica’s Jacqueline Williams became the first women umpire in nearly 25 years, and only the second ever to stand in a first class match, when she took the field at Sabina Park on Friday for the home side’s four-day match against Guyana.  The last time a female umpire was appointed to manage a first class game was at Lancaster Park in Christchurch in February 1990, when Patricia Carrick took the field with Don McKechnie in a Plunket Shield fixture between Canterbury and Wellington (PTG 1566-7535, 12 June 2015).  

 

For Carrick, that was the last of the 15 first class matches she stood in in the period from 1987-90.  Prior to that she played seven women’s Tests for her country as a fast-medium bowler from 1968-77, three each in New Zealand and South Africa and one in Australia.  She also stood in a single women’s Test and One Day International.  The match was also the last of McKencie’s eight games at first class level.  Prior to taking up umpiring he featured in seventeen first class matches for Otago from 1975-81.

 

Headline: West Indies fined for slow over-rate.

Article from:  ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 13 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1711-8477.

 

West Indies skipper Jason Holder has been fined 60 per cent of his match fee and his players each 30 per cent for maintaining a slow over-rate during the first Test against in Australia in Hobart.  Match referee Chris Broad found Holder’s side to be three overs short of requirements,  the top of the International Cricket Council’s ‘minor' over-rate offences, which requires players be fined 10 per cent of their fee for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time and their captain double that amount.  In addition, should the side be found to have breached the over-rate regulation in Tests within the coming 12 months with Holder as captain, it will be deemed as a second offence and the skipper will face a suspension.  

 

Headline: The curious case of Nigel Llong.

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: Paul Lewis.                          

Published: Saturday, 12 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1711-8478.

 

It's a mark of where cricket has gone in recent years that virtually no one has criticised Australian batsman Nathan Lyon for not walking when he knew he was out during the inaugural day-night Test in Adelaide (PTG 1705-8438, 7 December 2015).  Instead the bile was reserved for third umpire Nigel Llong and review technology which has been used imperfectly more than a time or two now.

 

When Llong got it wrong, my initial reaction was to shrug and think that, no matter how much we use the best available technology, human fallibility will never be entirely replaced. Third umpires in cricket and video referees in rugby get it wrong often enough for there to be no other conclusion.  Technology has gone haywire from the beginning of time because of human error.

 

All those gentle musings disappeared, however, when the International Cricket Council (ICC) appointed Llong to stand in the current Test series Test Sri Lanka - after putting out a press release admitting he'd got it wrong during the review in Adelaide, a situation that came after several poor decisions earlier in the series (PTG 1701-8400, 2 December 2015). That was followed by a further decision to remove Llong from third umpire in next week's second Test in Hamilton and have him stand in the middle instead, a more prestigious role but obviously inspired by the pink ball blooper (PTG 1707-8449, 9 December 2015).

 

From error and controversy, promotion. Only the ICC could effectively reward an umpire after a Test-altering clanger. They tweeted Llong had observed the correct protocol but got the wrong result. So that's all right, then. The cake tastes awful but it was mixed correctly. God bless England.  Most other sporting bodies take officials who have made howlers and either remove them from the pressure for a while and/or subject them to lower level stuff to get their confidence/ability up again. Cricket? Nah. Instead they took the Llong view.

 

Headline: Yorkshire call for answers over race row.

Article from: The Times.

Journalist: Richard Hobson.                          

Published: Saturday, 12 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1711-8479.

 

Yorkshire are seeking clarification from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) about the disciplinary process that were applied after Somerset’s Craig Overton escaped with a ban half the size of that imposed on Andrew Gale, their own captain, for what they believe is a similar offence.  Overton, an England squad player, was given a two-match suspension under the totting-up system for telling Ashar Zaidi to “go back to your own f***ing country” while playing against Sussex at Hove in September.

 

In contrast, Gale received an additional two-match ban on top of his initial sentence for telling Ashwell Prince to “f*** off back to your own country, you Kolpak f***er” during a Roses match in 2014. On that occasion the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) sought the extra punishment, a route it chose not to pursue this time (PTG 1709-8464, 11 December 2015).

 

The ECB will tell Yorkshire that the CDC is an independent body, even though it deals with rules and regulations laid down by the board itself. The ECB has denied interfering in the process because Overton was about to be chosen for a Performance Program trip to South Africa.

 

Somerset tried to cover up Overton’s absence from the rest of the Sussex game by citing a hand injury and they have warned the bowler to improve his behaviour on the field after three infringements in a five-month period.  A source at a County not involved believes that the Overton case may prompt calls for changes to the disciplinary system. The source said: “I would not be surprised if there was a look to see whether it is fit for purpose. Maybe it is time to see how other sports do things”.

 

Headline: Clubs resist Birmingham League shake-up.

Article from: Shropshire Star.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 11 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1711-8480.

 

A radical plan to shake-up the Birmingham and District Cricket League’s structure has been opposed by its clubs.  The league's management committee had put forward a proposal which would have seen the bottom division – Division Three – scrapped at the end of the 2017 season, however, such a move has been unanimously opposed by the 12 clubs who are set to form the division in 2016.

 

Worfield skipper James Parker said: "It was a positive meeting, in the sense of how everyone was able to have their say on the matter.  No-one wants to lose their Birmingham League status, it is very important for clubs. For us it has been part of a long-term strategy in terms of retaining our young players.  It is very important we are able to offer a good standard of cricket”.

 

Under the proposals, the league would have been left with three divisions: Premier, One and Two. The 12 clubs from Division Three would have been placed in their respective feeder leagues in Staffordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.  Moves to make the change started after a National Playing Survey conducted by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2014 found growing player dissatisfaction with the amount of travel and the length of the games compared to higher divisions (PTG 1463-7085, 20 November 2014).

 

But Parker has questioned that theory, saying: “I just don’t think it is such a big issue. If you want to play at the higher level, you accept there is going to be more travelling”.  League general manager Nick Archer admitted the possible restructure was a "mammoth subject" but insisted that "doing nothing" was unlikely to be an option.  The issue will now be discussed again by the league’s management committee on Monday.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,712

  Monday, 14 December 2015

 

• ‘Joburg’ to see Dar’s 100th Test? [1712-8481].

• UDRS technicians should be part of third umpire team [1712-8482].

• Samuels handed 12-month international bowling ban [1712-8483].

• And the WT20 Championship winner is? [1712-8484].

 

Headline: ‘Joburg’ to see Dar’s 100th Test?

Article from: Wikepedia entry.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 14 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1712-8481.

 

Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar will become the third person, after Steve Bucknor of the West Indies and Rudi Koertzen of South Africa, to have stood in 100 Tests when he takes to the field in the third match of the South Africa-England series in Johannesburg in mid-January, according to a Wikipedia entry on the tour.  Dar, a three-time International Cricket Council (ICC) ‘Umpire of the Year’ (PTG 831-4058, 13 September 2011), is named together with Kumar Dharmasena, Rod Tucker, Bruce Oxenford and Sundarum Ravi as an umpire for the four-Test series between the two sides, however, the name of the match referee is not included in the report. 

 

The ICC is yet to announce match officials for the series, but according to Wikipedia, Dar and Tucker will stand in the first Test in Durban which begins on Boxing Day, possibly with Ravi as the third umpire, then early in the New Year it will be a Tucker-Ravi on-field combination in Cape Town, Dar presumably being the third umpire then.  The Wanderers Stadium Test in Johannesburg is listed as having Dar and Oxenford together for what would be the Pakistani’s 100th Test, then the last match in Centurion will see Dharmasena and Oxenford on-field.

 

Lahore-born Dar, 47, who is the longest ever serving member of the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), made his Test debut at the age of 35 in a match between Bangladesh and England in Dhaka in October 2003, and was the 30th Pakistani and 457 person overall to stand at the game’s highest level.  His elevation to Tests came less than five years, and just 29 games, after his umpiring debut in first class cricket, the Test in Johannesburg being his 133rd in a first class fixture.

 

When he reaches the Century, Dar’s Tests on field will have involved Australian sides 51 times, England 47, a total of 19 of those team’s matches being Ashes games across the last 7 consecutive series, South Africa 29, West Indies 18, Sri Lanka 16, India 15, Bangladesh 10, New Zealand 9 and Zimbabwe 5.  

 

Those Tests will have been played across a total of 46 separate cities, 23 Tests being in Australia, 22 in England, 13 South Africa, 10 Bangladesh, 9 India, 7 in both Sri Lanka and the West Indies, 6 New Zealand, and 3 in Zimbabwe.  Grounds where he has spent most time in Tests are Melbourne with 5 Boxing Day appearances, Chittagong also 5, 4 each at Lord’s, Brisbane, Centurion, Edgbaston and Colombo, and 3 each in Cape Town and Nagpur.  

 

In terms of on-field partners, of which there have been 28,  22 of his Tests have been with 3 separate New Zealand umpires, 15 with 7 from Australia, 14 with 6 from England, 13 with 2 Sri Lankans, 13 with 2 West Indians, 12 with 3 South Africans, 5 with 2 fellow Pakistanis, 3 with 1 Zimbabwean and 2 with 2 Indians, the only Test playing nation not on that particular list being Bangladesh.  The Johannesburg Test will be the first time Dar has stood with Oxenford at the game’s highest level. 

 

Dar's most frequent partner, and probably most different possible personality on the EUP, has been New Zealand’s ‘Billy’ Bowden, they having stood in 13 Tests together.  Others who have been with him in more than 4 Tests have been Si Lanka’s Dharmasena with 8, Bucknor 7, Tony Hill of New Zealand and ‘Billy’ Doctrove from the West Indies both 6, Sri Lankan Asoka de Silva and Englishman Richard Kettleborough both 5, and Australians Steve Davis and Daryl Harper plus England’s David Shepard and Asad Rauf of Pakistan, all 4.

 

Dar took 12 years and three months to reach to the 100 Test mark, doing so across 55 separate series, his two predecessors to reach the century, Bucknor and Koertzen, both taking just over 16 years to achieve that feat.  The Pakistani’s busiest years for Tests were in 2004, 2005 and 2008 when he stood in 11 matches each, there were 10 in 2006, 9 each in 2012 and 2013, and 7 and in both 2014 and 2015.

 

Given what some see as the likely reduced focus on Tests going forward, it is likely to be many years, if at all, before the next umpire reaches 100 Tests.  The nearest currently active umpire to Dar is Bowden with 84 Tests, however, he appears to have been somewhat sidelined at the moment, and after him comes Ian Gould who will reach the 50 match mark next year, but he has perhaps only another 4-5 years at the game’s highest level - which is unlikely to be enough time for him to achieve the century.  

 

Of the other EUP members Rod Tucker, 51, is on 39 Tests at the moment, Kumar Dharmasena, 44, on 35, a number both Marais Erasmus, 51, and Nigel Llong, 46, will reach by the end of this month, then comes Richard Kettleborough, 42, with 33, and Bruce Oxenford, 55 who has 30.  Therefore with EUP members normally leaving the panel in their early sixties, the next umpiring Test centurion will likely come from the three umpires who are currently in their forties.

 

Headline: UDRS technicians should be part of third umpire team.

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: David Leggat.                          

Published: Monday, 14 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1712-8482.

 

Animation Research chief executive Ian Taylor, whose company provides the ‘Virtual Eye’ ball tracking system, has implored the International Cricket Council (ICC) to allow third umpires to work alongside the technology's operators after another confusing adjudication undermined the process at University Oval in Dunedin on Sunday.  Black Caps batsman Tom Latham's first hundred on New Zealand soil was delayed on 99 after Sri Lanka reviewed English umpire Richard Kettleborough's not out LBW decision, however, the batsman was eventually correctly awarded two runs to take him to three figures.

 

Third umpire Paul Reiffel was consulted, but the 'Hot Spot' angle available to him was inconclusive as the connection between bat and ball was obscured by the downward motion of Latham's bat. The situation then became complicated when Reiffel told Kettleborough that ball-tracking technology was not available.

 

Taylor said that discussion and the criticism Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) technology copped as a consequence proved the ICC needed to amend their protocols.  He indicated Reiffel had no access to ball-tracking because the ball had hit the bat and once that occurs there is no more data.  The problem is UDRS technicians have no jurisdiction to tell Reiffel that and advise that a camera angle they have exclusive access to showed Latham hit the ball, a situation that could be addressed if the third umpire sat in the control booth alongside the technicians.  

 

Taylor said: “[The third umpire] doesn't talk to anyone in [the technical operator’s] room. No one in this room can talk to him, and that's the problem.  We think the third umpire should be part of the UDRS team. Then he can come in and check all this to make sure he's happy it's working properly.  Then he knows our guys, he calls up and goes 'give me camera three'. 'Give me Hot Spot’.  If you were in this room when there's an appeal, these guys would have a result for you within six seconds”.

 

Instead, the third umpire only has a limited number of technologies and angles to work with and if there is confusion he cannot seek clarification.  "We think the third umpire needs to be a specialist who understands the technology and who should be actually sitting in our room”, continued Taylor (PTG 1700-8393, 1 December 2015).  "We should answer to him and our operators should be ICC accredited so they're part of the umpiring team”.

 

The Latham incident was the second time the UDRS system has been under scrutiny during the Test in Dunedin. On Friday, Doug Bracewell was unable to use a review after legitimately being given out leg before wicket but while the UDRS was operational, Reiffel's television monitor was not.  

 

Headline: Samuels handed 12-month international bowling ban.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 13 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1712-8483.

 

West Indian all-rounder Marlon Samuels has been banned from bowling in international cricket for 12 months after his action was found to be illegal for the second time in a two-year period.  Samuels had been reported during the West Indies’ first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle in October (PTG 1666-8165, 20 October 2015).

 

Following that report Samuels underwent an independent assessment of his action earlier this month at the International Cricket Council (ICC) accredited testing centre in Brisbane, an examination that showed his elbow extension was beyond the permissible 15 degrees, and therefore was ruled illegal.  

 

The ICC says Samuels had the right to appeal any procedural aspect of the independent assessment leading to the suspension, but a reassessment of his action can be conducted only at the end of the 12-month ban period.  Consequently he will be ineligible to bowl at the World Twenty20 Championship in India in March-April 2016, a blow of sorts to the 2012 World T20 champions who have relied fairly heavily on his off spin, particularly in limited-overs cricket.

 

Galle was in fact the third time Samuels has been reported with a suspect action.  He was first reported after the third Test between South Africa and the West Indies in Durban in January 2008 and was subsequently suspended from bowling in international cricket, however, after remedial work to his bowling action, he was allowed to resume bowling in September 2011 (PTG 840-4105, 30 September 2011).

 

Samuels was then reported following the second Test against India in Mumbai in November 2013  (PTG 1233-5956, 17 November 2013). Following another reassessment he was allowed to continue to bowl his standard off-break delivery in international cricket, but was not permitted to bowl his quicker deliveries which were found to exceed the 15 degree level of tolerance (PTG 1255-6056, 17 December 2013).

 

Headline: And the WT20 Championship winner is?

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh                          

Published: Monday, 14 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1712-8484.

 

Whichever team hoists the 7.5 kilograms of silver and rhodium in Kolkata next April, we already know the winners of the World Twenty20 Championship. They’re the seven state associations of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) who will host the thirty-five games. Quicker than you can say Narayanaswami Srinivasan, now authority in the Indian game is entrenching.

 

Vidarbha Cricket Association in Nagpur, home of BCCI president and International Cricket Council chairman Shashank Manohar, will be hosting nine games, including the home team’s opening fixture against New Zealand.  The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association in Dharmasala, home of the BCCI’s honorary secretary Anurag Thakur, will be hosting eight matches including Australia versus New Zealand and India versus Pakistan. Why? Because it’s….errrr….cool, says Thakur.

 

The plum fixture of India versus Australia and two other big games have gone to the Punjab Cricket Association in Mohali, home of the current BCCI treasurer M. P. Pandove and former BCCI president I. S. Bindra, a long-time burr beneath Srinivasan’s saddle.  Delhi and District Cricket Association will host the first semi-final and three other matches despite being a basket case and extremely lucky to host the final South Africa Test.  Thirteen years of patronage by India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley, previously BCCI vice-president, can iron out a whole lot of problems.

 

The Mumbai Cricket Association will host the second semi-final and three other matches. Good news for the political kingmaker Sharad Pawar, former BCCI and ICC president, who still omnipotent reigns.  A final at Eden Gardens which has a capacity of almost 67,000?  Well, it was good enough for the 1987 World Cup final, when the Cricket Association of Bengal’s Jagmohan Dalmiya ruled the roost.  Should be a great moment for the BCCI’s Mr Busy, Sourav Ganguly, too. Like wily Jaggu, the venue has made a remarkable comeback.

 

The World T20’s loser is no less clear. Thirty months ago, Chennai had all the hallmarks of the capital of the cricket world given that Srinivasan was in power. Now, having almost received no game at all, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association has been favoured with just four fixtures in the Women’s World T20.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,713

  Tuesday, 15 December 2015

 

• UDRS comments not directed at umpires, says ball-tracking chief [1713-8485].

• Karnataka umpires to consider use of helmets [1713-8486].

• Call for crackdown on racist rants [1713-8487].

• WICB set up committee to review suspended bowlers [1713-8488].

• BBL prize money tripled but players miss out [1713-8489].

• ICC's ACU chief reveals 'series of ongoing investigations' [1713-8490].

• NZ government reduces cricket grant funding [1713-8491].

• Claim umpire quality contributing to playing standard decline [1713-8492].

 

Headline: UDRS comments not directed at umpires, says ball-tracking chief.

Article from: Otago Daily Times.

Journalist: Damian George.                          

Published: Tuesday, 15 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1713-8485.

 

Animation Research chief executive Ian Taylor has apologised "unreservedly'' for any confusion caused by his criticism of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), saying his comments were not aimed at individual umpires.   Taylor hit back at criticism of his ball-tracker technology on Sunday after it twice appeared to fail during the Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at the University Oval  in Dunedin (PTG 1712-8482, 14 December 2015).

 

Taylor spoke to International Cricket Council (ICC) general manager of cricket Geoff Allardice to clarify his comments.  "I said to Geoff, ‘I am happy to apologise to you - I didn't mean to offend the umpires in any way, shape or form’”.  He has though been told the ICC would be conducting a review "at the end of the season" of the way the UDRS operates.

 

ICC head of media and communications Sami Ul Hasan said it would not be practical for third umpires to communicate with those running 'Hot Spot', ‘Snicko' and ball-tracking, as Taylor had suggested.  He also rejected the idea technology developers could sit in the same room as third umpires to assist in making decisions.

 

Engineers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston would be conducting independent testing for the ICC as part of a review into UDRS technologies in the middle of next year, said Ul Hasan.

 

Taylor again defended his technology on Monday night after ball tracking showed a delivery from New Zealand bowler Neil Wagner that day to be missing the wickets when it appeared to be hitting.  He said the spot the ball appeared to hit the pad was a black circular patch, created by a logo or something similar on the pad.  Two unobstructed cameras available only to his technicians showed the position of the actual ball and he was confident the ball path was correct.

 

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum and Sri Lankan counterpart Angelo Mathews are both a little bit in the dark about the processes surrounding UDRS.  "I actually don't know how it works ... so I can't really comment on that”, Mathews responded when asked if he thought Taylor had a fair point.  "It is what it is and what we get is what we get”.  McCullum gave a similar response when asked the same question.  "I don't know how the mechanics of it work and even the implementation of it at times as well”.  "I think I'll leave that one to the people who come up with the system and also the implementation of it”.

 

Taylor says Animation Research says it is spending some $NZ500,000 ($A46,700, £UK223,600) to enhance its ball-tracking system in order to take the technology to another level and provide the third umpire with enhanced information.  "There are some areas where we think it could be improved to another level, but there's no funding from the [ICC]”.  Work on research and development has already started and the hope is it will be ready for use around the end of next year.

 

Headline: Karnataka umpires to consider use of helmets.

Article from: The New Indian Express.

Journalist: Not stated                          

Published: Monday, 14 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1713-8486.

 

Umpires in the south-western Indian state of Karnataka are to discuss the wearing of helmets at their next monthly meeting in Bengaluru.  The move follows news that Mumbai-born umpire Paschim Pathak wore a helmet while officiating in two Vijay Hazare Trophy matches last week (PTG 1711-8475, 13 December 2015), but apparently not all members of the Association of Cricket Umpires of Karnataka (ACUK) are convinced of the need for such protection to be worn.

 

ACUK president S Muralidhara said: "We will discuss this issue at our monthly meeting and see how we can take it forward”.  He advocates custom-made helmets for umpires. “Personally, I think helmets which are manufactured specifically with the umpires duties must be used. The ones batsmen wear will be more of a hindrance as it will reduce an umpire’s reflexes as he has to keep a watch on many things. From a safety point of view, yes”, wear them, said Muralidhara.

 

However, Maharashtra-based first-class umpire Vineet Kulkarni, an Indian member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, believes helmets should not be made mandatory. “Umpires have been hit and they will be hit. It is an occupational hazard and we have to cope with it. How we do it is must be left to the individual. But we cannot make it a rule to do so”, he said.

 

Kulkarni continued: “A couple of umpires were hit on their knee and had to give up umpiring. So what should an umpire do? Stand with pads on?. This is something that will always happen. How many wicket-keepers wear helmet? If you want you can. But if you are comfortable without it, it’s fine as well”.  Kulkarni is of the view the helmet will hinder an umpire's view. “We will discuss it and see what steps we can take to avoid injury. But it cannot be a rule”.

 

Headline: Call for crackdown on racist rants.

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Nick Hoult.                          

Published: Monday, 14 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1713-8487.

 

Former Sussex batsman Ashar Zaidi has called for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to crack down on future cases involving sledging with racial overtones.  Somerset’s Craig Overton was heard telling Sussex’s Zaidi to “go back to your own f------ country” in a county match at the end of last season and given a two-match, Level One punishment, for using foul and abusive language (PTG 1709-8464, 11 December 2015). 

 

Zaidi, who did not hear the abuse said: “I’m not in a position to say whether he was treated leniently but I was very surprised at his penalty and I’m sure he could have had a harsher punishment than one or two games”.  “It’s clear that Jason Gillespie [Yorkshire’s head coach] is also not happy with the punishment Overton received either compared to [Yorkshire’s] Andrew Gale [in 2014]” (PTG 1711-8479, 13 December 2015). 

 

“What needs to be done in future and what should have been done in this incident is to make sure some serious action was taken. This sort of incident in sport does a lot of harm. There is absolutely no room for it in society, in entertainment, in the media and in sport. For the sake of the game of cricket and for the spirit of the game he should apologise to me. Look at Andrew Gale. He apologised, but Overton hasn’t and he’s being selected by the ECB for overseas tours”.  He “cringes to imagine what he will say to Pakistani players at any level if he plays against them in future”.

 

Somerset though say that Overton has already apologised after being banned.  Andy Nash, the Somerset chairman, said that Overton, Matt Maynard, the Somerset director of cricket, and Guy Lavender, the chief executive, all apologised to Sussex once the ECB’s Cricket Disciplinary Commission (CDC) handed down the two-match suspension in September. 

 

"Those apologies were accepted [and] as far as the club is concerned the issue is closed”, Nash said. “The disciplinary committee are no shrinking violets.  They are led by a notorious QC [Gerard Elias], by which I mean a man with very strong opinions, and the others are qualified lawyers. They concluded this was a Level One offence, a very different matter to a Level Three that some have suggested”.

 

In May last year, Zaidi was handed a one-match ban by his club as a result of the comments he made via 'Twitter' during his side's match against Somerset (PTG 1344-6497, 3 May 2014).  Given out caught behind, Zaidi waved his bat towards umpire Nigel Llong to indicate he had not hit the ball, and soon after he reached the pavilion used 'Twitter' to make clear his view the decision.  Zaire later “apologised for his behaviour and [said he regretted] his actions deeply”.  

 

At the start of the 2014 season Elias, as CDC chairman, warned players they could be heavy punished for criticising umpires on social media.

 

Headline: WICB set up committee to review suspended bowlers.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Monday, 14 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1713-8488.

 

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has set up a review committee to assist their international players who are under the scanner for suspect bowling actions.   The move comes in the wake of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) suspension over the last two weeks of spinners Marlon Samuels (PTG 1712-8483, 14 December 2015) and Sunil Narine (PTG 1700-8396, 1 December 2015).

 

Bowlers suspended by the ICC can continue playing domestic cricket in their country with the permission of their local board, and the WICB says it has established its committee to "review, assess and make the relevant recommendations of all the international players before they are allowed to bowl in domestic competitions”.

 

Narine can ask for a re-test of his action at any time now, but Samuels will have to wait until his 12-month suspension is complete.  Shane Shillingford, another West Indian spinner had faced the same problem after a tour of India in November 2013, but he has since had success at correcting his bowling action (PTG 1320-6368, 26 March 2014).

 

Headline: BBL prize money tripled but players miss out.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Chris Barrett and Jesse Hogan.                          

Published: Tuesday, 15 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1713-8489.

 

Players who take their teams to the final of Cricket Australia’s (CA) Big Bash League next month won't be rewarded like they have been in previous years, with a hefty prize money boost for this season to go exclusively to the franchises themselves.  CA has agreed to triple the prize money on offer this season, which begins this week, to a total of $A890,000 (£UK426,000), to offset the effect of cancelling the Champions League Twenty20 tournament, and raise the overall winners' prize to a total of $A450,000 (£UK215,400). 

 

But an extra $A600,000 (£UK287,200) in the total prize pool this season will be directed to the franchises and their state owners rather than to the players involved in successful teams themselves.  It means the players have far less to play for, at least in a financial sense, in this year's BBL. Previously, there was a potential for players to receive a 50:50 split of the $US2.5 million ($A3.45 m, £UK1.65 m) winner's purse of the Champions League (CL) if they prevailed there as Sydney Sixers did in 2012, with the other half going to the team's state owners.

 

The two sets of players who reached the BBL final - earlier this year it was the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers before the CL was cancelled - would previously have automatically shared in at least $US250,000 ($A345,200, £UK165,160) simply by qualifying for the lucrative event.  That incentive is not there any more after the CL was scrapped, mainly due to the indifference of its Indian broadcaster Star Sports, who had three years to run on a 10-year, $US900 million ($A1.24 billion, £UK594.6 m) contract to broadcast the tournament. 

 

The players' portion of the BBL prizemoney remains the same as last year: a total of $A290,000 (£UK138,800), with $A150,000 (£UK71,800) to the winners, $A60,000 (£UK28,700) to the runners-up, $A30,000 (£UK14,360) to the losing semi-finalists and $A20,000 for fifth (£UK9,570). Meanwhile, the franchises themselves will score all of the extra $A600,000 (£UK287,200) on offer, with $A300,000 (£UK143,600) to the head office of the winners, $A200,000 (£UK95,700) to the runners-up and $A50,000 (£UK    ) to the two losing semi-finalists. 

 

It is believed CA was willing to lift players' prizemoney by the same amount as it has for the teams. The sticking point for that is that it wanted that money to come from the overall men's player payment pool, rather than from the compensation it received from Star Sports for agreeing to cancel the CL television contract. The television giant paid a one-off settlement fee to CA and the event's other joint owners, the Board of Control for Cricket in India and Cricket South Africa that along with proceeds from the World Cup contributed to CA reporting a $A99 million (£UK47.4 m) profit last financial year (PTG 1675-8221, 30 October 2015).

 

While Australian Cricketers' Association hoped to ensure players at successful BBL teams were rewarded like they had been in previous years they rejected that plan, believing it was wrong to take money out of the player pool for the benefit of only a small number of players.

 

Meanwhile, all twelve members of CA’s National Umpires Panel have been listed for games in the opening 20 matches in the 35-game event with all five members the national body’s Umpire High Performance Panel working as match referees.  Details of the opening 20 matches, which are to be played in Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, and Sydney, will be recorded by 19 scorers from across the five cities.  Two of the five members of CA’s Development Panel have been named as fourth umpires, along with 17 others who are members of respective state umpire panels.

 

Headline: ICC's ACU chief reveals 'series of ongoing investigations'.

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Nick Hoult.                          

Published: Monday, 14 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1713-8490.

 

The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) has sifted through 450 intelligence reports so far this year and its chairman has revealed it is managing “a whole series of ongoing investigations” around the world.  It is understood that one detailed investigation is at an advanced stage and has involved agencies from several different countries, but many reports submitted to the unit do not reveal anything of major substance. 

 

In a rare interview ACU chairman Sir Ronnie Flanagan, who was previously one Britain’s most senior police officers, said his unit now has formal Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) with Australian and New Zealand police agencies and are in the final stages establishing similar MoUs with their counterparts in India, South Africa and the UK.  

 

Such links are needed as the ACU lacks in-country investigatory powers necessary to bring to justice complex fixing rings. It can only investigate those who have signed the ICC’s code of conduct and even then has limited powers beyond seizing phone records.  “It is very important that there is a recognition that we are not a police force, do not seek to be a police force and do not have the powers”, said Flanagan. "That is why it is so important to work hand in glove with colleagues in individual nations, [and also] that we keep good relationships with other sports whether it be tennis, horse racing, rugby or soccer, because I’m convinced the bad guys do not confine themselves to one sport”.

 

It is understood the ACU has assessed approximately 450 different pieces of evidence this year, some relating to the same investigation.  Around 20 percent have originated from players and umpires with the rest from ACU informants and other sources.  There has been a steady rise in reports over the past five years with the unit handling just 70 in 2009 and 281 in 2011.   It is believed though a One Day International between England and Pakistan in Sharjah last month that was linked to unusual betting patterns has been cleared (PTG 1692-8329, 22 November 2015). 

 

The ACU is the process of expanding its staff numbers with three new appointments: a head of prevention to improve its education program; a director and co-ordinator of investigations; and a senior analyst. The latter two appointments have been made to improve the gathering and analysis of information between the ACU in Dubai and the individual anti-corruption units set up by some Test playing nations as well as police forces around the world. 

 

That bolstering follows the second major review of the ACU since 2011 and after stinging criticism of its methods during an investigation into fixing in the Bangladesh Premier League, and its handling of evidence in the recent Chris Cairns case which culminated in player associations warning their members may be reluctant to come forward with information in the future (PTG 1580-7602, 29 June 2015).

 

Flanagan declined to comment on the acquittal of former New Zealand all-rounder Cairns of a charge of perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice (PTG 1700-8394, 1 December 2015).  The fact New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum’s evidence to the ACU was leaked last year has badly damaged the unit’s standing with professional players and many say in private see they see them as a powerless body capable only of delivering anti-corruption lectures (PTG 1701-8405, 2 December 2015). 

 

“I don’t feel we have to regain trust”, said Flanagan. “At the recent World Cup the relationship we had was very positive and the feedback we had from teams was very positive too. It is a question of building on that and making the players realise we are there to protect them from the predators that would want draw them in and are not there to to snoop on them.  I have not had the chance yet [to speak to McCullum] but our people have”. 

 

The ICC’s current anti-corruption education programs are to be updated and improved and the ACU is monitoring the success of new legislation in tennis that allows anti-corruption officers to download information from the smartphones of a player or official suspected of fixing, and thus assess in information in messaging apps. This will only be achieved with the agreement of player unions. 

 

“The job of the head of prevention is to look at everything that goes on with educating players, make sure we are getting the best from that and bring it up to date. I want to work with the players’ associations to make sure that our education program is world class”, said Flanagan, three months after conceding that corruption will never be totally driven out of the game (PTG 1650-8071, 24 September 2015).

 

Headline: NZ government reduces cricket grant funding.

Article from: Sport New Zealand press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 14 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1713-8491.

 

Cricket in New Zealand is one of a number of sports whose level of funding provided by the government’s Sport New Zealand (SNZ) has been reduced over the four year period from 2016-20.  New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) allocation of $NZ500,000 in 2016-17, will be reduced to $NZ400,000 in each of the three years from 2017-20, a four year total of $NZ1,705,000.

 

NZC is one of a number of organisations whose funding to the end of the decade has been cut.  Speaking generally about forward funding allocations across all sports, Geoff Barry, SNZ's general manager of community sport, pointed out that the cuts don't take effect until mid-2017 and that transitional bridge funding provided before then will allow for adjustments.  He said its: "been [a hard] decision-making process, but we have public investment responsibility to make sure we're driving the growth of participation”.

 

NZC said last month it started the 2015-16 year with significantly improved equity and long-term viability following an on-budgeted net surplus - a consequence of its successful co-hosting of the World Cup earlier this year.  It warned though it faced difficult financial challenges over the next two or three years (PTG 1691-8321, 21 November 2015).

 

Headline: Claim umpire quality contributing to playing standard decline.

Article from: Colombo Sunday Times.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 13 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1713-8492.

 

Asoka de Silva, the head of Sri Lanka’s Professional Cricket Umpires Association, claims “a huge deterioration” of umpiring standards in school matches has led to the standard of play at that level of the game in the island nation to “gradually decline”.   The former member of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel said that “at least 85 per cent of the top umpires in the country”, his members, are not involved in officiating at school matches.

 

De Silva said that most of the umpires who are standing in school games at present fail to pick out bowlers with suspect actions and because of that bowlers thrive while at school level. There have been some schoolboy bowlers who have taken over a hundred wickets in such games but, when it comes to the international call, they are picked up with illegal bowling actions and cannot operate at competitive level. 

 

In a pointed remark, de Silva said "there are instances" of a person being a teacher of a school, the master-in-charge of cricket, and also the cricket coach, plus he is an active umpire and is also the assignment and tournament secretary of the association.  He says this is an instance of conflict of interest of the highest order and if the situation is not brought under control the standard of school cricket would continue to suffer, as would eventually the game at national level.

 

De Silva said he "brought this subject up with the then [government] minister” earlier this year. "At that meeting the minister emphasised that the situation should be resolved, but, nothing constructive had occurred” in the time since.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,714

  Wednesday, 16 December 2015

 

• CA schedules another round of day-night Shield matches [1714-8493].

• Burns to replace Bodenham on ECB Full List, says report [1714-8494].

• ECB 'National Cricket Playing Survey' results awaited  [1714-8495].

 

Headline: CA schedules another round of day-night Shield matches.

Article from: CA press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 15 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1714-8493.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has scheduled another pink ball, day-night round of four-day Sheffield Shield matches in mid-February.  Round seven of the first class series will now take place under lights at the WACA in Perth, the Gabba in Brisbane and the Adelaide Oval.  They will bring to 13 the number of day-night first class games that will have been played in Australia in the last two-and-a-half years years, the latest being the inaugural Test in Adelaide two weeks ago.

 

CA Head of Cricket Operations Sean Cary said via a media release: “The public's response to the first day-night Test was overwhelmingly positive and we've now had some time to evaluate feedback from everyone involved in the match.  As we look ahead to future international seasons and the prospect of playing more Test cricket under lights (PTG 1708-8460, 10 December 2015) , we want to give our players more opportunities to play with the pink ball.  These matches will be used as part of our work to keep refining the ball in close consultation with Kookaburra” (PTG 1708-8459, 10 December 2015).

 

Australia and New Zealand players reported that there was more movement from the pink ball under lights in Adelaide, while concerns that it deteriorates more quickly than the red ball have also been expressed (PTG 1706-8445, 8 December 2015).  Such reservations look like doing nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of supporters of day-night cricket for an innovation they see as a potential saviour of the longest form of the game.  

 

Chief among those supporters are CA and its chief executive James Sutherland, who has suggested that two Tests could be played under lights when Pakistan and South Africa tour next year.  There has also been widespread support from around the world of cricket with International Cricket Council chief David Richardson and India skipper Virat Kohli among those backing the concept.

 

Next February’s Shield matches will bring to five the number of day-night, pink ball, fixtures played at the Adelaide Oval, the Gabba, the MCG, Bellerive Oval in Hobart and the WACA all having supported two matches each, while the Sydney Cricket Ground has so far missed out.  

 

The West Indies Cricket Board still lead the world in the number of day-night first class games that have been played under their jurisdiction, a total of fourteen having been completed over three seasons from 2011-14 (PTG 1315-6344, 18 March 2014).  New Zealand Cricket is currently looking at the possibility of having a day-night Plunket Shield round in February (PTG 1706-8444, 8 December 2015).   

 

Headline: Burns to replace Bodenham on ECB Full List, says report.

Article from: Western Daily Press.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 15 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1714-8494.

 

Former Somerset captain Mike Burns has been added to the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) top Full List  of first class umpires for 2016, according to a report in the ‘Western Daily Press’.  The ECB is yet to announce membership of the list for the next northern summer, however, Burns’ appointment pattern during the 2015 season when he was on the ECB’s Reserve List suggested he was first in line to replace the now retired Martin Bodenham (PTG 1651-8076, 25 September 2015)

 

Barrow-born Burns played for Warwickshire from 1992-96 then Somerset between 1997 and 2005, featuring in a total of 154 first class, 221 List A and 9 Twenty20 matches during that time.  He told the Western Daily’s Richard Walsh: “It's been a tough six years since I first started out on the road to become a first class umpire, so it has all worked out really well for me and I'm looking forward to getting started”.

 

Since he left Somerset ten years ago the 46-year-old has done a variety of jobs including working for kit suppliers North Gear and Bradbury Bats at the cricket shop at the County Ground in Taunton. From 2010 he went to work at the Globe Sports Cricket Shop in Bristol for a couple of years as well as umpiring.  "Then in 2013 I finished at Globe and I have been umpiring ever since in the summer and doing a bit of airport driving and delivering cars in the winter”.

 

Walsh writes that Burns' entry into the umpiring world started at grass roots level when along with another former Somerset player Ian Blackwell, who joined the ]Reserve List at the start of 2015 (PTG 1480-7162, 11 December 2014), he attended a Level One Umpiring course at Weston-super-Mare run by the Somerset Cricket Board.  Burns started doing Academy games for Somerset and worked his way up via County second XI matches before joining the Reserve List in 2012 (PTG 866-4232, 1 December 2011).

 

Bodenham is the only Full List member who reached the ECB’s compulsory retiring age of 65 during the 2015 season.  It would surprise if there are any other changes to the 2015 group other than him (PTG 1480-7162, 11 December 2014), as it is rare for Full List members to depart other than because they have reached the ECB's ceiling.  

 

Headline: ECB 'National Cricket Playing Survey' results awaited.

Article from: PTG.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 15 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1714-8495.

 

News is awaited of the findings of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) third 'National Cricket Playing Survey’ which was opened for feedback from the game’s participants from around England and Wales last June and closed some months ago (PTG 1575-569, 24 June 2015).  Results from the second survey 12 months ago indicated that the number of people playing the sport there dropped from 908,000 in 2013 to 844,000 in 2014 (PTG 1463-7085, 20 November 2014), a disturbing trend that many hope will not be repeated this year.

 

In launching the 2015 survey last June, the ECB said that its aim  was to generate "new and innovative ideas which will help to retain existing players and increase take-up of the sport".  They urged "every player, whether Premier League or occasional Sunday friendly player, to have their say on all aspects of the recreational game”.  The 2014 survey attracted responses from more than 37,000 current and former players.  

 

One product that has evolved is a web site titled ‘Get the Game On’ with the slogan ‘Every Ball Counts!’.  The site provides fundamental information on such issues as: ‘Game day tips and tools’ for before, during and after the game; a ‘Captain’s check list’; the need to ‘Check the weather’; ‘Water removal tools’ that can help get rain affected games underway; and the ‘Use and benefits’ of covers for pitches.  The site also has a two minute campaign video that summarises the key findings of the 2014 survey and the need to address the issues it pinpoints.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,715

  Thursday, 17 December 2015

 

• Umpires under fire over WACA ball fiasco  [1715-8496].

• Ladies stage mid-pitch ’sit in’ over umpire decision [1715-8497].

• CSA charge ‘intermediary’ with attempted T20 match-fixing [1715-8498].

• CA targeting ‘improved' T20 pitches at second-string BBL stadiums [1715-8499].

• Cape Town, not ‘Joburg’, to see Dar’s 100th Test [1715-8500].

• Player mulls appeal as 'big hot' looms [1715-8501].

• Sri Lankan, Pakistan pair stand in BPL final [1715-8502].

• Patrons likely to encounter extra security at the MCG [1715-8503].

• ‘Gabba’ lights, new pink ball, pitch, next Shield day-night focus [1715-8504].

• Lankan minister hints at conspiracy over drug suspension [1715-8505].

• Announcement of ICC ‘Umpire’, ’Spirit’, awards awaited [1715-8506].

• Claim ‘prestigious colleges’ hoovering up west Auckland talent [1715-8507].

• The love of cricket begins at home [1715-8508].

 

Headline: Umpires under fire over WACA ball fiasco.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Peter Lalor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 16 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1715-8496.

 

Some of the blame for the repeated changes to the balls during the Perth Test between Australia and New Zealand last month is being sheeted home to the umpires who did not follow standard procedure.  The quality of the Australian-produced ‘Kookaburra’ balls came under fire from all quarters when they were changed over a dozen times during the match at the WACA Ground. One ball was replaced after just three deliveries; something the ball manufacturer blamed on the pitch and hot conditions (PTG 1692-8327, 22 November 2015).

 

While nobody is completely absolving the company and there is some belief it may still have been an inferior batch of balls — only one box is used in the game — attention has turned to the match officials.   When players complain a ball is out of shape the umpires are supposed to run it through a ring to check it but they did not follow this procedure in Perth.

 

The ‘Kookaburra', according to more experienced officials, will often look a little out of shape in the early overs but plays itself back in as the game progresses.  Most umpires will tell the complaining bowlers to give the ball a few more overs and then check it again with the rings if they remain unhappy.

 

It was notable in Hobart, which was the first red ball game since Perth, that umpires Marais Erasmus and Ian Gould checked the ball using standard equipment and 'The Australian' understands this is because they were instructed by the International Cricket Council to reinstate the practice after it wasn’t used in Perth.

 

Experienced officials believe the field umpires got themselves into a difficult position in Perth after being harassed by the bowlers into changing the ball early in the game and then set a precedent that could not be changed. Nigel Llong, for whom it was his 33rd Test and Sundarum Ravi his ninth, were the onfield officials in Perth.

 

Llong is one of the most respected and likeable umpires on the circuit but did not have a good time of it in Australia.  In the following match he failed to accept that a mark on Nathan Lyon’s bat in a review was enough evidence to give the batsman out (PTG 1705-8438, 7 December 2015). The error cost the Kiwis dearly as Australia were a long way behind in the game at that stage but went on to stage an important partnership that gave the home side the lead and forced the New Zealand top order to bat under lights.

Headline: Ladies stage mid-pitch ’sit in’ over umpire’s decision.

Article from: The Indian Express.

Journalist: Devendra Pandey.                          

Published: Wednesday, 16 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1715-8497.

 

India's west zone inter-university women’s cricket tournament witnessed high drama on Tuesday when the women’s team from Kolhapur's Shivaji University protested by sitting on the pitch and interrupting a semi-final game between the Nagpur University and the University of Mumbai (UoM).  The one-day semi finals match, which was part of a series organised by the UoM and Rizvi College under the aegis of Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), was interrupted for over an hour and eventually it was only possible to play a 25 overs game. 

 

On Monday, Shivaji University slumped to 5/28 chasing the 154 set them by Nagpur University when an umpire judged one of their batswomen out LBW.  The Shivaji team wanted the umpires to over-turn the decision and when their request to recall the batsman was refused the team walked off.  The match was later abandoned and as a result Nagpur University were awarded a berth in the semi-finals.

 

Mumbai University sports director, Professor UN Kendre, confirmed the Shivaji University team filed a complaint about the umpiring, but called their behavior in staging the sit in “immature”.  “We took Shivaji University's captain and coach to the MCA office on Monday evening and told them that the umpiring decision can’t be changed for once it is made the decision is final. They listened to us patiently, but on Tuesday morning we were all surprised to see the girls sitting and protesting on the pitch where the semi-final was being played”. 

 

Headline: CSA charge ‘intermediary’ with attempted T20 match-fixing.

Article from: BBC.

Journalist: Not stated                          

Published: Wednesday, 16 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1715-8498.

 

South African cricket authorities have charged an unnamed "intermediary" with attempting to fix matches in a Cricket South Africa's (CSA) ‘Ram Slam’ domestic Twenty20 competition, however, no details have yet been provided whether any matches were under investigation or just who the individual is.  In November, CSA said it was investigating potentially fraudulent activities by an international syndicate attempting to corrupt the domestic game (PTG 1682-8255, 7 November 2015).   

 

The “intermediary”, who has been charged with "contriving to fix, or otherwise improperly influence aspects” of matches as well as with “failing to co-operate", has been "provisionally suspended" from involvement in any competition "recognised or supported in any way by CSA, the International Cricket Council, a national cricket federation or any member of a national cricket federation”.

 

CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said his organisation’s "attitude to corruption will always be one of zero tolerance and we are confident that we have the necessary structures in place to effectively deal with any corrupt activity. We will relentlessly pursue under our code and the law of the land any persons we believe to be involved in corrupting the game and, with assistance from the police, we will also seek criminal prosecution”.

 

The 32 match, six-week long 2015-16 Ram Slam T20 series ended last Saturday with the Titans winning the final against the Dolphins, 29-year-old Bengali Jele and Adrian Holdstock being the on-field umpires, Shaun George the third umpire and Abdullatief Barnes the match referee.

 

Headline: CA targeting ‘improved' T20 pitches at second-string BBL stadiums.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jesse Hogan.                          

Published: Thursday, 17 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1715-8499.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has recruited Australia's best-known curator, Les Burdett, to improve the pitches at the Big Bash League’s (BBL) non-traditional venues, Spotless Stadium in Sydney and Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.  The first test whether Burdett, the long-time Adelaide Oval curator who now works on his own, has had a positive influence will come in Thursday night's BBL season opener, when Sydney Thunder host Sydney Sixers at Spotless Stadium.

 

The two venues, which use drop-in pitches because they are primarily used for Australian Rules Football matches in winter, accounted for the four lowest first-innings scores in last season's BBL. This spurred CA to seek outside help in trying to boost scoring at those venues which led them to Burdett. In November, he was brought in to help prepare a Sheffield Shield pitch in Bankstown after a match at the Sydney Cricket Ground was abandoned due to turf problems (PTG 1686-8286, 12 November 2015).

 

Sean Cary, CA's head of cricket operations, said Burnett’s involvement is: “largely around providing expertise, knowledge and assistance to the venues that aren't the major stadiums that host international cricket... and putting some assurance around the quality of the surfaces we play on.  Given some of the issues we've had in recent times with those two stadiums, in terms of lower scores than we would like, it's about making sure the curators in there are plying their trade to the best of their ability and getting the best result out of the wicket they are preparing”.

 

Twelve months ago the two matches at Spotless featured scores of 7-77 and 8-106 on new drop-in pitches. It is hoped the change to mature drop-in pitches, purchased from the Thunder's former landlord ANZ Stadium on the other side of Sydney, will increase scoring at the venue this season.

 

Cary said Burdett's "unbelievable experience" with even drop-in pitches — he oversaw the series installation of pitches at Etihad Stadium for the winter series in 2000 against South Africa — gave CA reason to believe pitches would perform better this year.  "We want the evenness and the balance across the competition, for not only the integrity of the competition, but also to give our players the best possible opportunity to perform at the top of their game as well”.

 

Adelaide-based Burdett has regularly visited Spotless Stadium over the last few months, most recently last weeked. He is in Melbourne until the weekend overseeing the preparation of the Etihad pitch, for next Wednesday’s BBL match.  CA is prepared for the drop-in pitches to have less bounce than other venues. The main priority is that the level of bounce is consistent.

 

Renegades chief executive Stuart Coventry said he, too, was optimistic about Burdett's impact on pitch preparation.  "It's a poor Twenty20 game when sides are only batting for 12, 13 overs”, Coventry said. "I'm hoping he can make good, strong batting decks that are going to bring lots of runs for us this year”.

 

Whether Burdett is needed for the entire BBL, rather than just the period between the installation of the drop-in pitches and the first matches played on them, will be decided in the next week or so.

 

Headline: Cape Town, not ‘Joburg’, to see Dar’s 100th Test.

Article from: CA press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 15 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1715-8500.

 

Cape Town will see Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar’s 100th Test not Johannesburg, according to South Africa-England series appointments posted on the International Cricket Council’s web site on Wednesday (PTG 1712-8481, 14 December 2015).  Dar has been named, along with Ranjan Madugalle and Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka, Australia’s Rod Tucker and Bruce Oxenford, and Chris Gaffney of New Zealand, as the neutral officials for the four Tests.

 

Madugalle will oversee the series as match referee and take his Test match tally in that role to 163.  The first Test in Durban, which begins on Boxing Day will see Dar on-field with Tucker and Oxenford as the third umpire, then in Cape Town starting on the second day of 2016, it will be a Dar-Oxenford combination on the ground and Tucker in the television spot.  Dar will be afield again in Johannesburg in the third Test, again with Tucker, Gaffney coming in as the third umpire.  Tucker moves to the television position again for the fourth match, Dharmasena and Gaffaney being on-field.

 

By the end of the series Dar will have advanced to 101 Tests, Tucker to 41 on-field and 15 as a third umpire (41/15), Dharmasena to 36/9, Oxenford 31/14 and Gaffney 7/7.

 

Headline: Player mulls appeal as 'big hot' looms.

Article from: Bendigo Advertiser.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 17 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1715-8501.

 

Bendigo Cricket Club in north-west Victoria looks set to appeal the severity of a suspension handed down to batsman Marcus McKern.  After being reported in Saturday’s win over Strathfieldsaye, McKern pleaded guilty to dissent at the Bendigo District Cricket Association (BDCA) tribunal on Tuesday night and he was subsequently suspended from playing all forms of cricket until the end of January.

 

The length of the suspension means McKern will miss three one-day matches, one two-day game and at least one Twenty20 game.  Bendigo president Tony Fitzpatrick confirmed the club wasn’t happy with the penalty.  “We’re not saying he didn’t say anything, what we are saying is that we’re not happy with the severity of the suspension”.  “We have 48 hours to decide if we want to appeal and we’re looking into it”.

 

McKern’s last suspension was a two-week penalty in 2012 for disputing an umpire’s decision and making contact with an opposition player. 

 

Meanwhile, this Saturday’s round of BDCA matches remain in doubt because of the forecast hot weather.  The Bureau of Meteorology forecast for Bendigo on Saturday is for a maximum temperature of 42 degrees Celsius, two degrees above the BDCA’s cut-off on its heat policy.  Any cancellation of play would rob the association of a crucial round of one-day matches.

 

Headline: Sri Lankan, Pakistan pair stand in BPL final.

Article from: Score sheets.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 16 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1715-8502.

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) appointed Sri Lanka’s Ranmore Martinecz and Pakistan’s Ahsan Raza to stand in the final of its Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20 series on Tuesday.  Martinecz and Raza, who worked in a total of 17 and 8 matches respectively, plus eight Bangladesh umpires and five local match referees, managed games across what was a 34-match series.

 

Bangladesh umpires used were: Enamul Haque with 16 matches, 11 on-field and 5 as the third umpire (11/5); Masudur Rahman 13 (7/6); Gazi Sohel 11 (6/4 plus as the fourth umpire in the final); Sharfuddoula 10 (7/3); Anisur Rahman 10 (6/4); Tanvir Ahmed 10 (4/6); Mahfuzur Rahman 6 (6/0); and Morshed Ali Khan 2 (2/0).  All are members of the BCB’s first class umpires panel.  Martinecz’s games were split 12/5 and Raza’s 7/1.

 

Raqibul Hasan, who was the match referee for the final, looked after a total of 10 games, with Selim Shahed, Akhtar Ahmad, Neeyamur Rashid Rahul, and former Test umpire Showkatur Rahman, all managing six.

 

Headline: Patrons likely to encounter extra security at the MCG.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Richard Willingham.                          

Published: Wednesday, 16 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1715-8503.

 

Patrons heading to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for the Boxing Day Test and Cricket Australia Big Bash League (BBL) games are set to face an extra layer of security, with a new fence around the stadium mooted.  The MCG and Victoria Police have called a press event for Thursday morning about new security measures but are keeping tight-lipped about the details.   Fairfax Media understands the plan involves a new perimeter fence which will be set up around the stadium concourse.

 

On Wednesday afternoon the frames for marquees had begun to be erected outside the gates and large concrete blocks had been stacked. The new fence will serve as a first security check point as part of an effort to ensure 100 per cent screening of all patrons at the famous ground.  

 

Fans will then enter the stadium through the normal gates, which will have more security.  As they enter the precinct they will be checked with a metal-detecting security wand at some stage.  The new arrangements should be rolled out for this Sunday's BBL fixture between the Melbourne Stars host the Sydney Thunder.  The beefed up security is believed to be in response to the Paris terror attacks last month, which claimed 129 lives.

 

The co-ordinated attacks on Paris included a bomber trying to get into the Stade de France where France was hosting Germany in a football match.  Security at the gates is to believed to have stopped plans to detonate the bombs inside the packed stadium. Instead they were exploded outside reducing the casualties.  Victoria Police said the security issue was a matter for the MCG.

 

Headline: ‘Gabba’ lights, new pink ball, pitch, next Shield day-night focus.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Peter Lalor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 16 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1715-8504.

 

Cricket Australia's (CA) head of cricket operations, Sean Cary, told 'The Australian' on Tuesday that the decision to play another round of day-night, pink ball Sheffield Shield matches in February was designed to test three things: Brisbane’s ‘Gabba' as a day-night venue, an improved pink ball, and different pitch conditions at Adelaide where the first day-night Test was played.  Journalist Peter Lalor writes that Brisbane has recently upgraded its lights to meet the minimum standard set by the International Cricket Council and this will be the first opportunity for it to be tested with the pink ball.

 

When the Gabba hosted a day-night, Shield pink-ball game in 2013-14 it was clear the old lighting was not good enough (PTG 1305-6297, 4 March 2014).  “The feedback we got was the lights weren’t up to the standard when we used the pink ball and the white seam”, Cary said. “I went to the MCG, the Gabba and the Adelaide Oval on the three consecutive nights and it was really quite an obvious contrast. Adelaide stood out like the pink ball does now — like a beacon”.

 

The Gabba has not hosted a pink-ball game in the past two seasons and while the upgrade this September took the venue to a minimum standard the lights are still significantly below Adelaide’s standard.  They will get their first test this Saturday when the Renegades play the Heat with a white ball in CA’s Big Bash League (BBL). 

 

Adelaide curator Damian Hough had also requested another chance to prepare a wicket for the pink ball. The pitch used for the Test had 10 mm of grass on it which protected the ball but made batting difficult and resulted in a low-scoring three-day Test where the ball dominated the bat.  Hough is expected to cut the grass a bit lower for the Shield game to see if that affects the durability of the ball.

 

Cary said: “The public’s response to the first day-night Test was overwhelmingly positive and we’ve now had some time to evaluate feedback from everyone involved in the match.  As we look ahead to future international seasons and the prospect of playing more Test cricket under lights, we want to give our players more opportunities to play with the pink ball.  [The February Shield] matches will be used as part of our work to keep refining the ball in close consultation with Kookaburra”.

 

Australian Cricketers’ Association boss Alistair Nicholson said the players were keen for the ball to improve.  “There was concern in the feedback from the players in getting the ball better and if there is another Shield round that should be the main objective from a player point of view”, said Nicholson.  "Obviously tgetting more exposure to it for international players needs to be worked out.  The players are supportive but don’t necessarily like first class conditions being changed all the time”.

 

Cary said that he was working with ‘Kookaburra' to make the seam darker and hoped to have a new ball ready to test in February.  It will be the third seam colour used since the first pink ball trials in Australia.  The white seam used in the first trials was upgraded to green and the durability of the ball improved for last year’s trials and the new balls will have a darker seam again (PTG 1706-8445, 8 December 2015).

 

The odds of Australia hosting not one but two day-night Tests during the 2016-17 austral summer are shortening, Adelaide and Brisbane appearing to be the front runners to host such games.  The timing of the next Shield trial fits in with plans to play in those two cities as it was the only round left where the two venues are hosting Shield games. Perth is also involved in the day-night Shield trial but its time zone puts it low down the pecking order for a pink-ball Test because of television broadcast timings.  

 

CA is in talks with Pakistan and South Africa about playing day-night Tests in 2016-17, both boards having publicly stated their support for the concept.

 

Headline: Lankan minister hints at conspiracy over drug suspension.

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 17 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1715-8505.

 

Sri Lanka's sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekera has defended wicketkeeper Kusal Perera, who was suspended from the on-going New Zealand tour after failing a drugs test, hinting at a conspiracy against the cricketer.  He told parliament in Colombo that authorities will send a "B" sample for testing after it was announced last week that Perera tested positive for a banned steroid during a random check (PTG 1706-8441, 8 December 2015).

 

Jayasekera said: "We are doing all we can to defend him [and] are wondering if this allegation is a conspiracy to keep him out of next March-April's Twenty20 World Championship series”.  Perera is Sri Lanka's second international player to fail a doping test, batsman Upul Tharanga being suspended for three months after testing positive during the 2011 World Cup.  

 

Tharanga blamed a "herbal remedy" that he had taken for a long-standing shoulder injury for failing the doping test, while Perera pointed to medicine he took for an insect bite on a foot (PTG 1708-8456, 10 December 2015).

 

Headline: Announcement of ICC ‘Umpire’, ’Spirit’, awards awaited.

Article from: Research.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 16 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1715-8506.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is expected to announce its ‘Umpire of the Year’ and ’Spirit of Cricket’ trophies for 2015 in the next few days, much later than the timetable of recent years.  The Awards, which were first presented in 2004, were made at a gala dinner held each year from then until 2012, while those in 2013 and 2014 were television affairs, but now details of the winners will now simply come via media releases (PTG 1665-8157, 19 October 2015).

 

The eleven ‘Umpire of the Year’ awards to date have been won by just four men, Australian Simon Taufel five times from 2004-08 (PTG 310-1619, 11 September 2008), Pakistan’s Aleem Dar over the three years from 2009-11 (PTG 831-4058, 13 September 2011), Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka in 2012 (PTG 991-4812, 16 September 2012), and Richard Kettleborough of England for the last two years (PTG 1460-7072, 15 November 2014).

 

From 2004-10 the ICC’s ‘Spirit’ award went to teams, New Zealand winning it three times (2004, 2009 and 2010), England twice (2005 and 2006), and Sri Lanka also twice (2007 and 2008).  In 2011 the ICC changed it to an individual award, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni being the first recipient (PTG 831-4059, 13 September 2011), in 2012 it was New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori (PTG 991-4813, 16 September 2012), and in 2013 Sri Lankan batsman Mahela Jayawardena (PTG 1253-6050, 14 December 2013), who had prior to that accepted the 2008 award on behalf of his team.  England seamer Katherine Brunt won it last year.

 

Headline: Claim ‘prestigious colleges’ hoovering up west Auckland talent.

Article from: Auckland Now.

Journalist: Not stated                          

Published: Wednesday, 16 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1715-8507.

 

Prestigious colleges across Auckland are hoovering up young cricket talent and the game is suffering for it.  This is the opinion of the president of the Western Districts School Children's Cricket Association, Lynn Fuller, who has seen the numbers of young cricketers the association can draw from dwindle in recent years.  It is only able to scrape together about 10 representative teams from about 700 school-aged cricketers of all ages this season, and might not be able to field a girls' team.

 

Fuller worries about the affect this will have on our national game. Black Caps Martin Guptill, James Neesham and Roneel Hira all went through Western Districts.  Three years ago, she says, Kelston Boys' High School had a great team in the premier first XI competition.  But then four of the team's best players were attracted to Mt Albert Grammar School, Mt Roskill Grammar School and King's College.

 

Fuller says the gutting of the core of the team disheartened other players, many of whom then moved to clubs to play men's grade cricket.  Kelston now struggles to field even a premier B team which is not as good for the game at the school, she says.  But the luring of high school cricketers is not the only factor hitting the numbers of young cricketers out west.  Only three primary schools in West Auckland are now playing cricket, and only two secondary schools have teams in the premier first XI competition – Avondale College and Liston College.

 

Fuller says tight financial times and time-poor parents may also be taking their toll.  A man-sized bat for a 16-year-old costs between $NZ500 and $NZ1000 ($A470-940, £UK224-450).  And the thought of watching a child play cricket all day could be putting parents off – especially if they work weekends to make ends meet.

 

But there is always enough supervision at games, Fuller says.  And if safety is wearing on parents' minds after the high-profile death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes a year ago, helmets are now compulsory for all Western District players playing with a hard ball.  Fuller says the game needs to be advertised more to kids.  "We've had some great talent come through, but the scary thing is – can we keep it coming through?”

 

Two months ago a report from Auckland said there has been an unprecedented 20-30 per cent increase in the number of juniors playing the game around that city during the current season (PTG 1672-8204, 27 October 2015).

 

Headline: The love of cricket begins at home.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist: Andy Bull.                         

Published: Tuesday, 15 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1715-8508.

 

One of my earliest recollections of cricket, along with the great plates of crisps and grated cheese sandwiches with curling crusts, and the enormous coffins, impossible to lift, crammed full of obscure bits of kit, boxes, bails, and balls on sticks which he used for knocking in new bats.  

 

Early memories, these. Of long summer Saturdays scurrying around the boundary rope, disappearing into the woods over the far side of the ground from the pavilion. According to Matt Dwyer, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) director of participation and growth, research shows that there are three main reasons why children start to play cricket. The first is that a friend took them to the club. The second is that their parents did. And the third is that a school teacher or another significant adult did. 

 

Personally, I found it through my dad, who used to take my brother and me along to watch his games, just to get us out of the house and give my mother some peace. They were both far better players than I ever was or would be, but that must have been where I first fell for it, and why, 30 years later, I make my living writing about it.

 

At my state school they didn’t play. Though one year Andy Hayhurst, then Somerset’s new signing, came up from Taunton to run a few masterclasses. They cost a lot, and, equipped with hockey sticks because the school had no bats, we spent the sessions patting back half volleys, practising our forward defence, fighting the urge to try to launch the ball into the rooftop rafters of the hall.  Occasionally, someone would succumb, and Hayhurst would rebuke them. 

 

Every single player and spectator, everyone who loves the game, will have their own versions of these stories. First memories of cricket. 

 

A quick skim through a few books on the shelves either side of my desk shows that for David Gower it was in the backyard of a house on stilts outside Dar es Salaam in what is now Tanzania, where his father was District Officer, batting against the servants. 

 

For Alec Waugh, it was in the long, narrow garden of his family house in West Hampstead, batting against the cook’s bowling, his young brother Evelyn, the future author and journalist, a reluctant wicketkeeper, there to spare Alec time spent searching for the ball among the cabbages in the vegetable patch. 

 

For Marcus Trescothick, marked out in the article announcing his birth in the local paper as “On The Team For 1991?”, fuzzy recollections of walking around his house with a “little plastic bat” given him by his dad, hitting everything he could find. “If there weren’t any balls to whack I’d have a go at those square wooden alphabet bricks”.

 

And for WG Grace, way back in 1854, a visit to Bristol to watch his William Clarke’s All-England XI take on the local 22 in a field behind the Full Moon hotel in Stokes Croft. His father the captain, their gardener the groundskeeper. WG, six, sat with his mother in their pony-carriage beyond the boundary. “I don’t remember much about the cricket, but I recollect that some of the England team played in top hats”.

 

The common theme in all the stories was that, as WG put it, “if I was not born a cricketer, I was born in the atmosphere of cricket”. More often than not, a love of cricket is an inheritance, passed on from parents to sons and daughters. It’s perhaps too awkward and ungainly a game for a child to come to instinctively.

 

That “atmosphere of cricket” has grown thinner lately. Everything except the highlights in Britain have disappeared from free TV. The ECB’s Dwyer says that the fourth reason why children take up cricket is that they “want to play like their hero”.  So TV, he says, is less important than many think, secondary to the encouragement of a parent, pal, or teacher, but is still a significant factor. 

 

At the same time, despite the admirable efforts of 'Chance to Shine', fewer state schools are playing cricket. Best estimates are that over 10,000 school playing fields have been sold off in the last 35 years, 275 of those in the last five years. And so, according to a 2013 survey by 'All Out Cricket', only 50 per cent of the 413 players contracted on the County circuit were state educated.

 

Earlier this year, ’The Guardian' sent me to New Zealand to write about the All Blacks. One of the most enlightening aspects of the trip was a conversation with Buck Anderson, NZ Rugby Union's (NZU) community manager, who explained that the Union doesn’t just measure its success by the results of the national team, or the size of its profit margin, but by the number of people playing the game. Anderson says that the NZU puts more effort into persuading mediocre players to stick with it as it does into helping good ones to excel at it.

 

As Anderson explained: “It is about these kids having fun and enjoyment with their mates, learning the skills, being part of the national game. Having that love of the game will then mean they watch it on TV, they buy ‘Sky’ TV subscriptions, they join their provincial union. And more importantly than all of that, that in a generation’s time they are the new set of parents who take their kids to play rugby, who help run Saturday morning kids’ rugby, who go and do a bit of coaching”.

 

Over the years, the ECB has perhaps strayed too far from that line of thought, and put too much store in elite performance and its own bottom line. But there is hope. Those who know say Dwyer is a good man for the job. Cricinfo’s David Hopps, a canny soul with a keen appreciation of the issues, argues that it is time for the cricket community to quit carping and get behind the ECB. 

 

Hopes says that the ECB's new plan to increase participation is the most “coherent, ambitious, self-aware” he has seen in 30 years. Here’s hoping he is right. Because as participation falls, clubs close, and as clubs close, participation falls. Fewer mothers and fathers, then, to pass on the love of the game. As with so many things, it starts at home, and always has done.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,716

  Saturday, 19 December 2015

 

• Mobile phones could help identify suspect actions, says coach [1716-8509].

• Video review gets batsman to maiden first class century [1716-8510].

• Ball strike fractures fielder’s skull [1716-8511].

• Sri Lankans investigating alleged match-fixing approach [1716-8512].

 

Headline: Mobile phones could help identify suspect actions, says coach.

Article from: The Hindu.

Journalist: S. Dinkar.                          

Published: Friday, 18 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1716-8509.

 

Illegal bowling actions continue to be rampant in the Indian domestic scene, both at first class and age-group levels.  Reliable sources indicate that in the last 14 months alone, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI] has sent around 60 bowlers for bio-mechanical tests at the International Cricket Council (ICC) accredited laboratory in Chennai after their actions were queried by umpires.  Close to 50 of those examined were found to have illegal actions and despite measures to check the menace, it keeps coming back to cloud performances and matches.

 

Former South Zone all-rounder D. Vasu, who has been working with the ICC and the BCCI as a coach under bowling action protocols, said on Thursday: “For every 50 bowlers chucking and getting away with it, an equal number of bowlers with perfectly clean actions are being denied a place. It’s a blot on the game”.  According to him: “If you look at the [BCCI’s] National Cricket Academy, the curriculum includes issues such as the consumption of drugs and anti-corruption, but nothing on bowling actions”.

 

Vasu believes mobile phones could play a big part in catching dodgy actions early. “Although you require 3d technology to legally determine the number of degrees of flexion and then certify a bowler, a coach can easily detect an illegal action with 2d technology in a mobile phone”.  “All a coach needs to do is to position himself in the right place and take pictures and videos. In fact, there is a software, approved by the BCCI, available for this purpose. This is very useful for basic detection. But then, a coach should be educated on what to look for. He should also be empowered to take decisions”.

 

Apart from borderline cases, 2d technology of a mobile can identify most illegal actions, says Vasu. “But coaches need to know. If a bowler has hyper extension of ligament in the joint when the forearm goes back, or if there is a carry angle, the natural angle between the upper arm and the elbow, he may not be bowling illegally”.  “Umpires have become more vigilant at first class level but chucking would not have surfaced at that stage had it been detected at the Under-14, 16, 19, and 22 age-groups. After that it becomes hard to change a bowler. This is why coaches and umpires at junior levels play such a critical role”.

 

Vasu said incidents of suspect actions had increased as more batsmen these days are attempting to become bowlers because of Twenty20 cricket. “They do not go through the natural process of bowling and tend to chuck”.  An illegal action provided spinners, in particular, with a huge advantage, he said. “You can hold your action and see what the batsman does. Or you can flick the ball out from your wrist with a bent elbow which then straightens to gain extra spin and bounce”.  Vasu advocated strong measures against coaches who wilfully kept bowlers with suspect actions in their side to gain a vital edge. “They should be suspended for a specific period”, he said.

 

Headline: Video review gets batsman to maiden first class century.

Article from: Fairfax NZ.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 17 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1716-8510.

 

Canterbury opener Leo Carter received an early Christmas bonus on Thursday when umpires Derek Walker and Tony Gillies belatedly credited him with two extra runs to earn him his maiden first class century.  The 21-year-old was on 99 in Canterbury's first innings against the Central Districts in Rangiora on Thursday when he appeared to play the ball down leg-side, however, leg byes were signalled as neither umpire thought contact had been made with the bat.  Carter was out to the next ball thus leaving him stranded one run short of his 100.  

 

Canterbury coach Gary Stead said though that at the end of the day’s play Walker and Gillies changed the bye decision and awarded him runs off the bat.  Ten minutes after stumps, Walker went into the Canterbury dressing room and informed Carter he had been awarded two further runs after he and Gillies viewed video footage. That meant the batsman was officially credited with 101, 20 runs more than his previous best score of 81 which he made on debut against Auckland 12 months ago. 

 

Headline: Ball strike fractures fielder’s skull.

Article from: Adelaide Advertiser.

Journalist: Andrew Capel.                          

Published: Thursday, 17 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1716-8511.

 

An Adelaide University cricketer is lucky to be alive after being frighteningly struck in the head by a cricket ball hit by South Australian captain Travis Head in a club match on Tuesday.  Sumeet Jarwal, 29, suffered a fractured skull and there were fears for his life when he was struck above the left eye while attempting to catch a powerfully hit ball from Head in a twilight Premier cricket Twenty20 fixture at University Oval.  

 

Playing for Tea Tree Gully, Head sent the first ball he faced flying to backward square leg where Jarwal mistimed an attempted catch.  The ball, said to have been hit like a tracer bullet, crashed into Jarwal’s head, just above his left eye, then rebounded 30 metres back towards the pitch.  Jarwal slumped to the ground with blood pouring from a deep gash above his eye.  Officials from both clubs rushed to his aid, the Indian-born off-spinner staying on the ground for 40 minutes before being taken by ambulance to the emergency department at Royal Adelaide Hospital.   

 

It is understood doctors at the scene immediately diagnosed a fractured skull.  Jarwal, who had 15 stitches inserted to close the deep wound, was released from hospital late on Thursday but will have surgery next week to repair the damage.  Players from both sides were distressed and umpires Luke Uthenwoldt and Rajesh Sambamurthy eventually had to reduce the match to a 15 overs-a-side contest.  South Australian Cricket Association officials at the game described the incident as one of the worst they had seen on a cricket field.

 

Adelaide University Cricket Club secretary Luke Johnston said Jarwal was in good spirits given the serious nature of the sickening blow.  “It was very scary”, said Johnston, “it was an incredible blow that Sumeet copped and there were serious concerns for his welfare.  He is lucky to be alive and we’re all just hopeful that he comes through this without too many health concerns”.

 

Headline: Sri Lankans investigating alleged match-fixing approach.

Article from: Agence France Presse.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 18 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1716-8512.

 

Sri Lankan authorities are investigating a bid to persuade members of the national cricket team to under-perform in a recent Test to ensure a surprise victory for the West Indies, according to Dayasiri Jayasekera the nation’s sports minister.  Jayasekera said on Friday that a man linked to a bookmaker had approached wicketkeeper Kusal Perera and bowler Rangana Herath to engineer a Sri Lankan batting collapse during a Test in Galle in October, which Sri Lanka went on to win.  The sports minister indicated a police inquiry had been commenced as well as an anti-corruption probe by Sri Lanka Cricket.  Earlier this week Jayasekera hinted that Perera, who was suspended from the on-going New Zealand tour after failing a drugs test, was the subject of a conspiracy against him (PTG 1715-8505, 17 December 2015).  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,717

  Sunday, 20 December 2015

 

• CA to make helmets for batsmen compulsory, but not yet stem guards [1717-8513].

• Rechargeable glow-in-the-dark ball next cricket gimmick? [1717-8514].

 

Headline: CA to make helmets for batsmen compulsory, but not yet stem guards.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Peter Lalor.                          

Published: Saturday, 19 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1717-8513.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has received the report it commissioned into the death of Phillip Hughes and will release the findings as soon as next week (PTG 1598-7738, 22 July 2015). It is expected that ­helmets will become mandatory for all professional batsman in Australia as a result of the inquiry.  The clip-on stem guard attachments, developed by helmet maker ‘Masuri' after the 25-year-old was struck and killed by a blow to the back of the neck in a Shield game, will not be made mandatory immediately despite their obvious benefits; however that is likely to come eventually.

 

CA is not expected to go as far as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), which made ­helmets compulsory for batsmen at all times, and will allow some leeway with slow bowlers.  The ECB, which led the research into improved safety, now requires batsmen, close fielders and wicketkeepers to wear helmets (PTG 1698-8377, 28 November 2015).  The issue of player safety is vexed and complex and never better illustrated than by the events on Thursday night at the Big Bash League match between CA's two Sydney franchises.

 

While batting for the Sixers, Brad Haddin sought assistance from opponent Shane Watson to remove the stem guards from his helmet. Both Haddin and Watson were within metres of Hughes when he was hit last year and assisted their former teammate from the state and national sides until medical help arrived.  But some players complain the stem-guard attachments, which were developed by Masuri, rub on their shoulder or neck in their stance and some are reluctant to wear them.  Haddin wears a ‘Shrey’ helmet (PTG 1673-8208, 28 October 2015).  

 

Players are provided with Masuri helmets, which meet the 2013 standard but does not include a stem guard requirement, and must sign a release form if they wear another brand that proves it meets that standard.  About half the Australian Test side wear the stem guards, which were introduced in March (PTG 1519-7313, 12 February 2015). They have not been subject to safety testing by any standards body but independent analysis suggests they are as effective as a visor guard, and former Australian opener Chris Rogers believes they saved him from serious injury earlier this year (PTG 1600-7759, 24 July 2015). It is expected that when they have been given a safety-approval rating stem guards will be made mandatory by CA (PTG 1598-7738, 22 July 2015).

 

CA contracted QC David Curtain, a former chairman of the Victorian Bar and president of the Australian Bar Association, to investigate the circumstances surrounding Hughes’s death and make recommendations as a result of his findings.  The NSW Coroner is also conducting an inquiry and will hold a public hearing next year (PTG 1630-7955, 29 August 2015). Police took Hughes’s helmet as evidence on the day he was hit and have prepared a report for the Coroner which looks at response times from emergency crews and the events leading up to the accident.

 

Since Hughes’ death, CA has increased medical presence at all games and practice sessions and in October made it mandatory that all helmets comply with the upgraded British safety standard of 2013, a decision the International Cricket Council took last June (PTG 1618-7877, 13 August 2015).  The new standards demand the visor be stronger and fixed and close to the peak to stop the ball coming through to hit the face. In the past the visor was adjustable but South African Mark Boucher had to retire from the game because a bail damaged his eye (PTG 1468-7111, 26 November 2014). Horrific injuries to England’s Craig Kieswetter and Stuart Broad from the ball coming through the visor encouraged the move to fixed visors (PTG 1562-7511, 6 June 2015) .

 

These helmets had been available for some years, but many batsmen were reluctant to wear them because the top of the grill was in their line of sight and the rear profile of the Masuri model a little lower. They were also heavier than some other models.  Michael Clarke decided to wear the new fixed-visor model during the Lord’s Ashes Test after talking to physiotherapist Alex Kountouris and was immediately convinced to wear the stem guards when Chris Rogers was protected by the attachment during that match (PTG 1605-7790, 29 July 2015).  

 

Clarke said: “[Kountouris] has done a study on it and he showed me where Broad got hit and Kieswetter and where [Rogers] got hit ... and then next morning Rogers came out and got hit right on the same spot [as Hughes] and that made my mind up for me.  I got rid of my old helmet there and then and made up my mind I am using the new one.  My gear hasn’t changed for my whole career. My pads are the same, gloves are the same, so you are used to what you are used to”, he said. “Because I wear my collar up I can feel it there, it is more of a feel thing, like anything it is just about making that change.  The grill sits a little bit higher than my old Masuri so it’s taken a little bit of time to get used to seeing the ball and having the grille in my peripheral vision”.

 

CA was forced to ease the rules on mandatory helmets because some keepers during its domestic one-day series in October complained the back of the helmet dug into their neck when they crouched. Keepers can now wear any helmet they like. New South Wales women’s keeper Alyssa Healy was struck on the head during a recent match while keeping up to the stumps without a helmet (PTG 1694-8337, 24 November 2015).

 

Headline: Rechargeable glow-in-the-dark ball next cricket gimmick?

Article from: Geelong Advertiser.

Journalist: Mandy Squires.                          

Published: Saturday, 19 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1717-8514.

 

A south-west Victoria man has developed a glow-in-the-dark cricket ball he hopes will put the Geelong region on the international sporting map.  Point Lonsdale landscaper and sports enthusiast, Nicholas Martino, said the world-first, rechargeable, glowing cricket ball had potential to be used in local cricket, twilight T-20 games, indoor and backyard cricket.  

 

Martino said: “One market is providing a ball for [Cricket Australia’s] Big Bash League games and another huge audience is obviously for kids hitting the ball around at home”.  He also thinks it could also help cricket clubs extend pre-season training sessions by enabling practice to continue into the evening without lights.  The sophisticated technology behind the glowing cricket ball had been developed in China and was the same as that used in LED television and phone screens. 

 

The glowing ball, which has beendesigned to feel and handle like a standard ‘Kookaburra' ball, is manufactured in India.  However, because a single ball glows brightly for only a short period it has to be recharged in a small box at the end of each over, a second glow ball being used for the next over while the first ball is charging, although it only takes 20 seconds to charge a ball.  “You play a game with two balls, charging one then the other”, said Martino. 

 

So far only a few prototypes of the glowing ball had been made but Martino said he was hopeful of increasing production in the near future.  He also hoped Geelong region cricket clubs would offer to trial the novel glowing ball in twilight games and at training.  “It will be a world first so it could put Geelong and specifically cricket in Geelong, on the map”, claimed Martino.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,718

  Monday, 21 December 2015

 

• ICC must act on UDRS disconnect [1718-8515].

• Players oppose BBL 'fan-keeps-ball’ baseball concept [1718-8516].

• 'Pitchsiders' finding new ways to stay ahead of the game [1718-8517].

• BBL players warned about revealing match plans [1718-8518].

• Umpire acknowledges incorrect call [1718-8519].

• Country versus club is killing cricket [1718-8520].

• Lancashire League expansion plans not supported by governing bodies [1718-8521].

• Coaching manual flawed, says bio-mechanics expert [1718-8522].

 

Headline: ICC must act on UDRS disconnect.

PTG listing: 1718-8515.

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: Andrew Alderson.                          

Published: Sunday, 20 December 2015.  

 

A scene behind the pavilion at Seddon Park in Hamilton during lunch in Sunday's play in the second Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka summed up the toll the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) takes on umpires.  Australian umpire Paul Reiffel cut a disconsolate figure leaning against the wire-netted security fence, then his former Australian team mate and now match referee David Boon approached to offer support with an arm around the shoulder.

 

Late in the pre-lunch session Reiffel was faced with a decision which, in bygone days, would have been filed under 'benefit of the doubt' in favour of the batsman.  New Zealand’s Doug Bracewell angled a ball across left-hander Udara Jayasundera from over the wicket. Bracewell and his team mates appealed on the assumption it had brushed the batsmen's gloves.  Reiffel ruled 'not out' but on review his television colleague Richard Kettleborough disagreed, despite what appeared limited evidence available to him via ‘Hotspot' and ‘Snicko’, a minor deviation of the ball being apparent on the visual close-up.

 

Kettleborough had little to go on, but gave the Sri Lankan out. Cue Reiffel's distress.  It adds another chapter to the ongoing poor advertisement for the relationship between technology and the umpires, Reiffel’s on-field colleague in Hamilton Nigel Llong having had his problems with the system of late (PTG 1711-8478, 13 December 2015). Numerous incidents have incited doubt in fans' and players' minds in recent weeks.  For starters in Hamilton on Sunday both teams, perhaps unsurprisingly, had different views on the Jayasundera incident.  

 

"I thought it was pretty good umpiring”, said New Zealand bowler Neil Wagner. "Everybody could see the way it hit the glove and followed out. At times I don't know why technology doesn't always show something, but that's why the umpires have to step in and take ownership”.  Sri Lankan bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake countered with: "I don't think it was out [and] we didn't see anything on the TV.  I can't talk about the umpiring, but what I saw indicated it was not out”, however, he went on to say: “we need to have a serious think about the UDRS, there are a lot of errors”.

 

The UDRS, which has improved accuracy in the game, is not to blame. It is the process and the relationship between the television umpire and the UDRS technical experts. They are not allowed to give the umpire any operational advice.  As a result, UDRS providers Animation Research are already investing $NZ500,000 ($A460,700, £UK223,600) to improve the system because the International Cricket Council won't take the initiative.  Last week the company's chief executive Ian Taylor said they want to provide the third umpire with enhanced information, however the  International Cricket Council (ICC) called such an arrangement impractical (PTG 1713-8485, 15 December 2015).

 

The disconnect between umpires and the UDRS experts is affecting all stakeholders' confidence in the system. It can't help morale within umpire ranks either, given their decisions dictate player futures.  Its time for the ICC, who have indicated a review of UDRS will be completed next year,  to act.

 

Headline: Players oppose BBL 'fan-keeps-ball’ baseball concept.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Chris Barrett.                          

Published: Sunday, 20 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1718-8516.

 

At the height of the home run derby that captivated sports in the United States in 1998, there were do many memorabilia hunters – or 'ballhawks' – positioning themselves on the streets outside Chicago's Wrigley Field that they had to be restrained by police barricades.  The Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa was in the midst of an all-time season-record pursuit with St Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire, the ball involved in the latter's record-breaking 70th home run of that season, which was caught by a fan, would later end up being bought for $US3 million ($A4.2 m, £UK2.0 m) .

 

Cricket has always lived by a different philosophy, with the age and behaviour of the ball having been central to the contest itself and therefore being far less disposable. But what if the bloke who took that backhanded screamer from a Shane Watson six in last Thursday’s Cricket Australia’s (CA) Big Bash League (BBL) match was allowed to keep the ball rather than have to throw it back?  It's a policy that CA management have quietly proposed for the BBL for each of the five years that its city-based format has been running, and for each of the five years they've had it knocked back. 

 

The body knocking the idea on the head has been a committee that discusses and rules on changes to the playing conditions for domestic cricket before making recommendations to the board. It comprises representatives from the players' association, a state captain, an umpire, CA's team performance chief Pat Howard and its marketing and media boss Ben Amarfio, plus a couple of CA directors. The chair is Mark Taylor, a board member himself.

 

The crux of the idea put to the playing conditions committee is that umpires be provided with a bag of balls every five overs to replace any that fly beyond the boundary (PTG 1545-7424, 1 April 2015). So if Chris Gayle belts one 15 rows back in the fourth over the new ball would come from the 1-5 over bag; if he hits another in the seventh over the next one would come from the 6-10 over bag.  Umpires already brandish boxes of balls of varying ages in white and red ball cricket for use if they go out of shape as they did repeatedly during Australia's second Test against New Zealand in Perth last month (PTG 1715-8496, 17 December 2015). 

 

However, the proposal for BBL spectators to be able to keep a ball they snaffle up in the stands has come unstuck time and again because of the opposition of players.  They have consistently reported their concern that the constant changing of the ball would compromise the integrity of the contest. What if, the players ask, a ball is behaving in a certain way, say reverse swinging, and then it's replaced after a six by one that's doing nothing? The argument is that in the big-swinging, risk-taking Twenty20 arena life is difficult enough for bowlers without mucking around with one of the tools of their trade. 

 

The players are not against crowd members perhaps being presented with a ball, maybe signed even, after the game or by drumming up sponsor-aligned spectator involvement with something like the $A1 million (£UK482,000) jackpot that was on offer in New Zealand during the World Cup.  However, if the fan-keeps-ball suggestion is viewed as simply a marketing ploy among the players, those at CA who have tossed it up in the past few years have a different take.  What they maintain they're endeavouring to do is use the BBL to attempt to buy into a dreamy concept innate to baseball. The American ideal that the father catches a ball, gives it to his son or daughter, who then falls in love with the game (PTG 1715-8508, 17 December 2015).

 

No one is naive enough to believe that a memorabilia industry around Kookaburras hit over the boundary at BBL games would take off. They'd be lucky to be worth their cover price let alone the $US3 m McGwire's record-setter went for. There are certainly never going to be folks hanging around in kayaks behind Bellerive Oval just in case Chris Gayle smashes one into the Derwent River with his golden bat.  But as the tectonic plates of old and new in cricket continue to grind against each other, don't be surprised if this little idea one day gets over the line.

 

Article from: 'Pitchsiders' finding new ways to stay ahead of the game.

Journalist: Fairfax Media.                          

Published: Friday, 18 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1718-8517.

 

A computer program used by audacious cyber scammers has emerged as a new weapon for ‘pitchsiders' to avoid detection by cricket's anti-corruption officers.  Pitchsiding is the practice where a bookmaker-linked spectator attending a game live can take advantage of the television delay to place in-play bets on matches, information that can then be used to frame more advantageous markets.  

 

Fairfax Media has learned software designed to allow remote access of computers, called ‘TeamViewer', is being used to transmit information from cricket venues either for betting purposes or to illegal bookmakers. To enable that, mobile phones have been re-engineered with the purpose of sending data more discreetly.  TeamViewer has also been used by swindlers, purporting to be from Microsoft, to trick people into giving money to repair non-existent infections. 

 

Despite what its name suggests, TeamViewer has little to do with team sport but is a legitimate and free program commonly used on IT help desks to provide technical support over the internet.  It enables users to connect to electronic devices, linked by user names and passwords, from anywhere in the world. It can also be accessed on mobile phones.

 

Therefore, a fan watching a match in Australia, where in-play bets cannot be easily laid on the internet, could place wagers in an offshore betting account that is logged in on an overseas computer. The program also enables instant messaging which would allow a pitchsider to communicate securely with their associates through the press of a button – a strategy which one security source has told Fairfax Media is extremely difficult to detect.

 

Previously, pitchsiders had relayed information by talking into their phone, which led authorities to target fans who spent long periods on the phone. Pitchsiders were thrown out from matches in Cricket Australia’s (CA) Big Bash League and the World Cup early this year (PTG 1526-7347, 28 February 2015), and more recently in Sri Lanka (PTG 1621-7901, 18 August 2015). While pitchsiding is more common at Twenty20 games, which fluctuate more wildly, two men were ejected from a Test between Australia and Pakistan in Abu Dhabi last year.

 

Some pitchsiders are analysts and mathematicians, who have developed very complex algorithms based on match and team trends, and regarded as very high end professional gamblers. CA has at least one anti-corruption official at every game, sometimes two, who works with venue security and local police to monitor behaviour. Pitchsiding is not illegal but is a breach of the terms and conditions of entry (PTG 1528-7357, 21 February 2015). 

 

And pitchsiding, unlike match fixing or spot fixing, does not require the participation of players but rather a delay in the television coverage. While the delay is around seven seconds in Australia investigators believe it can be 20 seconds in Asia or as long as 30 seconds in Europe.  Broadcasters say there is very little they can do to reduce the delay, which is the length of time required to send the signal from the venue to a central hub.

 

Headline: BBL players warned about revealing match plans.

Article from: The Courier-Mail.

Journalist: Ben Dorries.                          

Published: Monday, 21 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1718-8518.

 

Cricket Australia’s (CA) anti-corruption police have gagged players in its Twenty20 Big Bash League (BBL) from revealing individual plans while miked-up on live television commentary.  And BBL captains and team officials have been warned not give away batting orders or bowling blueprints to media outlets or the public before matches.  The strict new measures come as CA's anti-corruption officers keep an eagle eye on the Big Bash with a monster betting bonanza of more than $2.5 billion expected on the colourful competition.

 

One of the casualties has been batsmen predicting their next shot or bowlers revealing their next delivery while they are miked-up live on television commentary.  It means that the days of the likes of former Australian player Shane Warne becoming Nostradamus to predict his wickets are over.  Warne provided one of the magic moments of the early days of the BBL when in 2011 the miked-up spinner told TV viewers precisely how he planned to get Brendon McCullum out.  “He might try to sweep me, so I’ll just slide one through”, Warne said, which he did with his next ball, bowling a sweeping McCullum.

 

BBL players have also been ordered not to answer pre-match questions that could reveal specific team information, in particular regarding batting and bowling orders.  There are hundreds of wagering operators offering bets on the Big Bash including in-play batting and bowling betting markets.  While Australia’s betting industry is heavily regulated, countless millions are bet on the BBL through India’s black market and other underground overseas bookmakers.

 

The huge betting spike on the BBL games has meant that CA has pulled out all stops to ensure the integrity of games.  When one player was asked by a journalist for basic team information before a match, he replied: “Sorry, but I can’t legally answer those questions.”.  CA has confirmed to The Courier-Mail that anti-corruption officials are now keeping a close eye on pre-match player interviews and in-game player commentary.  “We have an anti-corruption officer at each match and they actively monitor pre-match interviews as well as commentary in-match”, a CA spokesperson said, and “every player, support staff and broadcaster — including the commentary team and network producers — must undergo an anti-corruption education session".

 

“CA advises our players that it is an offence under CA’s Anti-Corruption Code to provide information to any third parties that may influence betting”.  CA has a formal information-sharing relationship with every Australian corporate betting agency, which it says helps with the ongoing integrity management of the Big Bash.  They have also engaged Sport Radar, an external bet monitoring company, to provide intelligence on the nature and volume of betting on the Big Bash.  “While betting on sport is not new to our community, the increase in its popularity in recent years has seen us take significant steps to ensure we safeguard the integrity of our competitions”, the spokesperson said.

 

Article from: Umpire acknowledges incorrect call.

Journalist: Australian Associated Press.                          

Published: Sunday, 20 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1718-8519.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Gerard Abood, who along with his NUP colleague Mike Graham-Smith was on-field for Friday night's Big Bash League match between CA’s Adelaide and Melbourne Stars franchises at the Adelaide Oval, admits he erred in giving the home side’s Travis Head out at caught behind.  Replays confirmed the ball hit the turf before lobbing in the gloves of Melbourne wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb.

 

Abood, who was at the bowler’s end, told the CA web site: "It's not the best feeling in the world when you realise you've got one wrong”.  "We'll go through our processes and try to figure out how we got it wrong and why we got it wrong.  It's hard not to hear all the boos when they nearly lift the roof off, but that's all part and parcel of it. We're paid to do that —   that's our job”.

 

Reports say Abood looked towards Graham-Smith at square leg who gave the ‘ball carried’ signal, both umpires judging in real time it was a clean catch. "It's easy to be Monday's expert on it. We didn't think at the time there was an issue with it so we didn't refer it up [to third umpire Mick Martell]”, said Abood.  "As it turns out, it appears that it has bounced and if we had an inkling that it had bounced, we would have referred it upstairs”.

 

Article from: Country versus club is killing cricket.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Malcolm Knox.                          

Published: Saturday, 19 December 2015

PTG listing: 1718-8520.

 

"Does cricket make money in order to exist, or does cricket exist in order to make money?" The question, asked by Australian journalist Gideon Haigh in 'Death of a Gentleman', a documentary that premieres in Australia this week (PTG 1614-7853, 8 August 2015), could not be more timely as Cricket Australia's Big Bash League (BBL) inverts nature and eats its own parent.  Is the BBL saving and reviving this austral summer of cricket, or is it completing the sport's transformation into a soulless income stream, a live-action billboard?

The journalists who made the documentary, Jarrod Kimber and Sam Collins, were worrying about the future of Test cricket when they started their project in 2011. Immediately a gonzo spirit revealed itself: they didn't quite know what they were asking or whom they should ask, and their search was as much for the question as the answer.  Indeed, they found the answer before the question. 

 

They got an interview with Narayanaswami Srinivasan - then the omnipotent boss of the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Chennai Super Kings, the Board of Control of Cricket in India, the International Cricket Council (ICC), his own cement company, and, via his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, an indirect stake in the game's biggest betting scandal – when Srinivasan answered his mobile phone. Weaving words like wisps of steam, evaporating yet embodying pure power, Srinivasan left them without answers but a clear guide towards the question.

 

They had no such doubts over Giles Clarke, then the nabob of English cricket, whose manifest amour-propre sucked him into an interview, kept letting out rope, and finally hanged him on stringy bile and long-fibred contempt. Australia's Wally Edwards dodged an interview. But between them, Srinivasan, Clarke and Edwards stitched up the cricket world, cornering revenues for India, England and Australia, a big three who will soon be left to play with themselves. Srinivasan, Clarke and Edwards are now gone from their positions, but their legacy lives on: in fact, in what is passing for a Frank Worrell Trophy series between Australia and the West Indies, we are seeing the alpha and omega of that legacy. Starve the smaller countries because they produce little, and then cast them out because they are starving.

 

While watching Collins and Kimber thrashing about in this weird world – how is it that cricket is so unhealthy and so wealthy at the same time? – it struck me that they had stumbled upon the real schism in the game. It's not Test cricket versus T20. It's national cricket versus franchise cricket.

 

Tim May, in the documentary, gives a definition of Test cricket as 'the best against the best'. May talks about it in the context of Test teams being gutted of their best personnel by T20 leagues. But isn't it 'the best against the best' that attracts so many people to the BBL, the IPL and other T20 franchise-based leagues? Test cricket is about cricket, but it's also about nations. The fundamental problem facing Test cricket is not so much a decline in the game as in the political and economic conditions of the nations behind the teams. T20 might be a rejection of five-day cricket for some fans, but it is also a rejection of the national idea. 

 

West Indian fans are following Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo in the way that Australian football fans have followed Harry Kewell or Mark Schwarzer or basketball fans follow Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills and Ben Simmons. In global sports, the national idea falls in behind the franchise idea, except in periodic tournaments where the individuals leave their clubs to represent their country. The mainspring of big global sport is the franchise, not the nation.

 

Is that cricket's future? The 'best against the best' representing franchises, each reforming their rosters annually, competing for huge pots of prize money, leaving the national contests to World Cups or World Test Championships?  It's not beyond belief, or even new. International cricket began as private contests between entrepreneurial troupes, a lot more like World Series than the 'establishment'. It was where those private troupes laid claim to a national idea, both in Australia and England, that they clashed with the administrators of grassroots associations. 

 

The fight to claim those national colours and symbols was won by the administrators, but temporarily. It would eventually be shaken up by World Series Cricket and overturned by the IPL revolution, backed by broadcast godfathers, and ultimately funded by us turkeys who vote for Christmas every year. Do the biggest cricket audiences in the world really care about their national team, or would they rather see a group of all-stars stage a proxy war against another group of all-stars wearing the colours of their rival city? Tune in over the next three weeks to see what Australians think.

 

The explosion in television rights revenue for international cricket, from $US50 million in the 1990s to $US1.9 billion now, according to Kimber and Collins, is less about the change in formats than the privatisation of the game. Ironic, then, that the ICC has been emasculated by its members' national self-interest, defended by Clarke in the documentary, with Blimpish gall, dodged by the absent Edwards, and smirked away by Srinivasan, who, although dumped by rival corporate interests in India, still wins, for India Cements is bigger than India.

 

Most fans watch it all go by with a kind of helpless anger. As a consciousness-raising exercise, superbly shot by Melbourne cinematographer Anthony Koreny, 'Death of a Gentleman' is attempting to spark a democratic uprising through its petition at www.changecricket.com. Its aim is to 'demand our governments - elected representatives charged with protecting sport - force their respective cricket boards to reform our beloved game and #changecricket before it's too late’.  A worthwhile aim, and achievable too: it's bums on seats and eyeballs on TV sets that got cricket into this position, and it's those same bums and same eyeballs that can rescue it. If they want to.

 

Headline: Lancashire League expansion plans not supported by governing bodies.

Article from: Lancashire Telegraph.

Journalist: Tyrone Marshall.                          

Published: Friday, 18 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1718-8521.

 

Plans to expand the Lancashire League for the 2017 season have been dealt a blow after the Lancashire Cricket Board (LCB) and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) came out against the proposals.  The Lancashire League wanted to add 10 teams to the competition and had invited the 16 clubs who applied to interviews in January.  However, the LCB and ECB have been holding a consultation with clubs and other leagues after concerns that Lancashire League expansion could spell the end for the Northern aLeague, the Ribblesdale League, and the Palace Shield competition.

 

Bobby Denning, the LCB’s managing director, said: "The LCB and ECB do not support the Lancashire League’s current expansion plan”.  "The LCB recommends that the four leagues agree to work together to decide on a new structure and in doing so, this will be supported by the LCB and ECB.  "Various proposals/models have been put forward and the LCB/ECB will share, guide and facilitate discussions to reach an agreement across the leagues, so that the leagues can move this forward".  

 

Denning said: "The proposals put forward [but not including the current Lancashire League expansion plan] received in principle support from the LCB and ECB".  "Our belief is that these meet the needs of what each League and their clubs ultimately want, based on the feedback we received during the consultation process and what we have been advised by the executives of the leagues”.  

 

"The various proposals ultimately see clubs across the Lancashire League, Northern League and Ribblesdale League playing in a structure with promotion and relegation between divisions and we will now meet with the leagues to agree how clubs can be placed along with all the necessary detail to be agreed, including second team cricket”.  "The Palace Shield have requested that they are involved with discussions from the outset, albeit that the consultation undertaken with the Lancashire League, Northern League and Ribblesdale League clubs, has not yet taken place with the Palace Shield clubs".

 

According to Dennings: "The LCB's long term vision for league cricket in Lancashire is to see one division that sits above all the leagues across the county, with promotion from the local league structures into the county-wide division”.  “Along with the new leagues in Greater Manchester and the existing structure in Merseyside, is an exciting vision and achievable with the right structures in place".

 

Article from: The Times of India.

Journalist: Amit Karmarkar.                          

Published: Sunday, 20 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1718-8522.

Headline: Coaching manual flawed, says bio-mechanics expert.

 

Rene Ferdinands, a leading bio-mechanics expert from Australia, has come out strongly against cricket's premier coaching manual: the Level 3 course. A former first-class player for Northern Districts in New Zealand who is now based at Sydney University and has worked with top coaches and national boards including Cricket Australia (CA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Ferdinands believes the entire Level 3 coaching book "should not be taken too seriously" (PTG 1423-6882, 1 September 2014).

 

Ferdinands, in Pune near Mumbai as a visiting faculty member at an academy, said the principles expounded in the Level 3 manual - adopted by coaches attached to CA and the BCCI - were a bit outdated. In his view cricket coaching must be more scientific and include the latest bio-mechanics principles, and apply the idea of allowing natural talent to flourish only in exceptional cases.  "Shane Warne was supposed to be a great, natural leg-spinner. After him, thousands of kids took to leg spin around the world. So, where are those natural leg-spinners”, Ferdinands asked. "We must understand that being a natural is a rarity. Players have to work on their game. When I am working here and abroad, I am correcting mistakes from the Level 3 coaching manual”.

 

The 46-year-old, who works with golfers too, had no hesitation in saying that Tiger Woods was a victim of incorrect coaching, describing him as a: "Huge, huge talent who attained so much despite wrong body movements”.  Ferdinands appeared seriously concerned about the future of cricket due to a lack of guidelines on bats. "Thickness of bats has affected the balance of the game and is hurting the sport. We have to review that and legislate it”, he said.  "Putting a limit just on the dimension of the wood is not enough. The thickness, distribution of weight, density of wood, all these factors have to be looked into”, something the Marylebone Cricket Club is still conducting research on (PTG 1699-8384, 29 November 2015). 

 

Ferdinands thinks: "Cricket is becoming a less skillful sport. Check the world records in Twenty20 and One Day Internationals in last 10 years or so, and judge how many shots have come off the middle of the bat.  The elbow of bowlers is coming into the game because a majority of the batsmen don't require too much technique to be successful”.  He said Asian countries should be more worried about this trend. "When there is more tolerance for errors in a game, it becomes more power-based. Historically speaking, the Asian countries haven't done well in sports that travelled from skill-based to power-based due to equipment change, be it squash, tennis or hockey”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,719

  Tuesday, 22 December 2015

 

• BCCI disciplinary committee to consider Rauf ‘punishment’ [1719-8523].

• ECB playing catch-up with BBL study tour [1719-8524].

• ICC issues official warning over ‘poor’ Nagpur pitch [1719-8525].

• BBL team penalised for slow over-rate [1719-8526].

• Player says umpires’ ‘error’ was not [1719-8527].

• Fielder off-ground, back turned, misses catch [1719-8528].

• BBL has future Christmas Day match in mind [1719-8529].

• Playing cricket and feeling calm and hopeful [1719-8530].

 

Headline: BCCI disciplinary committee to consider Rauf ‘punishment'.

Article from: Bangalore Mirror.

Journalist: Vijay Tagore.                          

Published: Saturday, 19 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1719-8523.

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has called a meeting of its disciplinary committee next Thursday to decide what punishment should be handed to three people facing charges of involvement in corrupt practices during Indian Premier League (IPL) series over the last few years. Two of them are players, Hiken Shah (PTG 1591-7678, 14 July 2015) and Ajit Chandila (PTG 1188-5731, 15 September 2013), while the third is now former Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf who was alleged to have placed bets on IPL games (PTG 1233-5947, 16 November 2013), something he has always denied (PTG 1196-5760, 28 September 2013).

 

There was no immediate information of any of accused having been summoned for Thursday's hearing which has been called by BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur and will include board president Shashank Manohar plus Jyotiraditya Scindia and Niranjan Shah.  One of the accused players says he has not received a summons, and as he has indicated previously Rauf will not be travelling to India for questioning, although he has more than once in the past made clear he was willing to be interviewed in Pakistan (PTG 1114-5418, 30 May 2013).  

 

One of the two, if not both, of the players faces potential life bans. Having been charged in the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, Chandila could be in for severe punishment just like the other accused in that case - Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan who were banned for life (PTG 1188-5731, 15 September 2013).  The BCCI has persisted with those bans despite a court dismissing the case against them (PTG 1636-8008, 4 September 2015).  Chandila's case has been pending since he was behind bars when the other two accused were called for the hearing. By the time he was released, board members were not ready to hear his case. A lawyer for Chandila has indicated the BCCI should not hand down a verdict without giving the player a hearing. 

 

The allegation against Hiken was that of making an approach to an IPL player who had reported to the authorities. Once the incident came to light, the player was suspended but the final judgement was not given in his case. As for Rauf, he was named as a 'wanted accused' in the charge sheet filed by the Mumbai Police.  It could not be confirmed if the BCCI will call any one or all of them in the next few days but board sources indicate that the verdict could be pronounced on them that day.

 

Headline: ECB playing catch-up with BBL study tour.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Chris Barrett.                          

Published: Monday, 21 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1719-8524.

 

England may hold the Ashes but they were beaten to the punch when it came to establishing a franchise-based Twenty20 league and now the old enemy are endeavouring to play catch-up by taking what they can from Cricket Australia's (CA) Big Bash League (BBL).  In the new year a delegation from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) led by their marketing chief Sanjay Patel will visit Australia to meet CA officials and examine the model of the BBL, which is now in the fifth season of its city-based format.

 

While the BBL becomes even more popular and is a revenue spinner for CA, England have been left with their comparatively stale T20 Blast, played on Friday nights through the northern summer.  After rejecting the creation of their own T20 franchise competition in 2007 the country that first introduced the 20-overs format 12 years ago is eager to belatedly get its own slice of the action.  However, while in Australia there was relative ease in starting eight franchises in the six states the task is immeasurably more challenging in England, where a drive to form a new 10-team competition played at the leading grounds has faced opposition from the smaller of the 18 counties (PTG 1636-8008, 4 September 2015).

 

The reason is the non-Test-match-ground counties, many of them debt-ridden, are so reliant for revenue on the gate and bar takings from their Friday night fixtures and can't afford to lose them.  One player who realises the dilemma as well as anyone is Sydney Sixers and England T20 batsman Michael Lumb, who has seen the BBL succeed since he first played in its former state format for Queensland.

 

Lumb was part of an ECB working group in the English summer that discussed the implementation of a BBL-style system. It's a concept he is strongly in favour of but he knows the obstacles that must be overcome.  "Australia have got all the stars aligned”, Lumb said on Monday. "The weather, the time of year with the school holidays, there are only eight teams, it's on free-to-air TV. In England, it's on Sky, it's not the number one sport in the country, the weather is junk and there are 18 teams. There are just so many things fighting against it. Until everyone buys in it's not going to happen. It's just a dream”.

 

Lumb's county is Nottinghamshire, one of the major outposts of England cricket, but he understands why the transition to T20 franchises has been so fiercely opposed by others. "You've got for example, smaller counties like Essex or down at Somerset where their main income stream is the T20”, he said. "We played in front of 20,000 [at the Sydney Cricket Ground] the other night and that is quite a big crowd. Counties play in front of 5,000 and that's a sell-out and they go nuts for it. But if you say we're going to take away your Friday night cricket they will be like 'hang on, we could go under because of this'. They have to find a way, if they do split it up, to have some sort of compensation”.

 

Asked to compare the BBL and the ECB’s T20 Blast, the 35-year-old said: "It's chalk and cheese really. [The BBL] is just a much better competition in every aspect. I reckon this is probably the premium competition in the world at the moment”. Earlier this year England's professional cricketers overwhelmingly called for a reshaped domestic Twenty20 competition capable of rivalling tournaments such as the BBL (PTG 1630-7960, 29 August 2015).  

 

While Australia and England are more than century-old rivals on the field there is a spirit of co-operation about the ECB study tour.  "We're more than happy to help them out”, said Mike McKenna, CA's executive general manager of operations. "We don't see this as a competitive situation. We play at different times of the year and there would be an opportunity for our state guys to go over there. It's unlikely to impact on anything we're doing”.

 

Headline: ICC issues official warning over ‘poor’ Nagpur pitch.

Article from:ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 22 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1719-8525.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) have given the administrators of Nagpur’s Jamtha Stadium an "official warning" for the poor pitch prepared for the third Test between India and South Africa.  Match referee Jeff Crowe, who observed that the did not allow “a fair contest between bat and the ball”, rated the pitch poor after the match which was decided within three days last month (ptg 1701-8401, 2 December 2015).  The ICC said that in reaching the decision consideration had been given to the fact that there had been no concerns about the performance of the pitch after any of the other international matches played at this venue. 

 

ICC General Manager (Cricket) Geoff Allardice, and ICC chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle agreed with Crowe’s judgement after they watched match video and reviewed Crowe’s reports. They are said to have been unconvinced by the response provided to them by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (PTG   .  The pitch had been criticised by several former cricketers, among them Australia's Matthew Hayden and England's Michael Vaughan, although Indian captain Virat Kohli and team director Ravi Shastri firmly defended it. 

 

Headline: BBL team penalised for slow over-rate.

Article from: CA web site

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Monday, 21 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1719-8526.

 

Sydney Thunder have been penalised for maintaining a slow over rate in their Cricket Australia Big Bash League (BBL) match against the Melbourne Stars at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday night.    Thunder, who fielded second, were deemed to be one over behind the required over rate after time allowances were taken into consideration.  As a result each member of their XI have been fined $A1,000, however, that figure will be reduced by half if they accept the penalty without appeal.  In addition though, Thunder captain Mike Hussey faces a one-match suspension if his team has an second over-rate problem while he is in charge during the current series.

 

Three years ago former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne was in a similar situation to Hussey after receiving his own slow over rate penalty that season.  To avoid a possible suspension in the final, the Stars named James Faulkner captain for their semi-final against the Perth Scorchers in January 2013, but the move backfired in two ways: the Stars lost the match off the last ball and Warne was reported for breaching Cricket Australia's Code of Behaviour which stated "If a team's official captain is selected but not named as captain, this will be considered against the Spirit of Cricket and may attract a Code of Behaviour charge” (PTG 1041-5060, 18 January 2013).

 

Headline: Player says umpires’ ‘error’ was not.

Article from: Adelaide Advertiser

Journalist: Andrew Capel.                          

Published: Monday, 21 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1719-8527.

 

Adelaide batsman Travis Head was correctly given out against the Melbourne Stars in last Friday's Big Bash League (BBL) match, according to Head’s team mate Ben Laughlin.  The umpires admitted to making an error in giving Head out caught behind when television replays appeared to show the ball hit the ground before wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb grasped it (PTG 1718-8519, 21 December 2015).

 

However, Laughlin believes the original decision was right, saying he "thought it was out, I thought he caught it”.  “If you slow any [low] catch down [on replay] you will probably be able to find a blade of grass which touches something".  “I think it was a fair catch so play on. Maybe if we got rolled for 60 we might be crying a bit more but I thought it was fair”.  

 

Laughlin rejected claims from former players over the weekend for the Umpire Decision Review System to be introduced into the BBL.  “When you put television cameras on those catches you can always find doubt somewhere if you look hard enough”, said Laughlin.

 

Headline: Fielder off-ground, back turned, misses catch.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Peter Hanlon.                          

Published: Monday, 21 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1719-8528.

 

The notion that West Indies are a cricket team drifting somewhere between indifference and disarray has been hard to swallow for anyone pining for the days when they were calypso kings. At Geelong in Australia on Sunday, a single moment encapsulated the current, miserable malaise.  Captain Jason Holder bowled a bouncer to Jake Hancock, who was on 22, which the opening batsman hooked straight to fine leg. Or at least, to exactly where fine leg Jerome Taylor should have been standing to take what would have been a regulation catch, instead he was leaning on the fence outside the rope with his back to the game gazing into a near-empty grandstand.

 

Hancock, who made the most of his good fortune with an unbeaten 80 before rain ended the two-day fixture a session early, said "I definitely got away with one there”.   "He wasn't even on the field, was he?”  West Indies coach Phil Simmons wasn't watching either, but made it clear he'd be seeking out details and an explanation.  "It can't be a good look”, Simmons said. "It's a team trying to gain that sort of respect, so things like that, we have to make sure we cut them out”.  Hancock said Taylor's team-mates, who had alerted him to the incoming missile with frantic screams as it flew from bat to boundary, had "a little chuckle" and got on with things.  "They sort of just brushed it off really and kept going. They didn't seem too fazed by it”.

 

The early finish on Sunday merely underscored the folly of the tourists filling a near-two-week gap between the Hobart and Melbourne Tests with a solitary two-day fixture. Simmons was at a loss to explain the scheduling, saying he'd requested a four-day game when he first saw the tour itinerary.  "I guess the details of that would have to come from back home”, he said, referring to the West Indies Cricket Board. "I would love it to be a four-day game – 12 or something days in between the two Test matches with a two-day game is not ideal”.

 

By Boxing Day, the Windies will have been in Australia for 30 days and played on eight of them.  One of those eight West Indies days lasted just on an hour, two others around half a day each  (PTG 1688-8305, 15 November 2015). 

 

Headline: BBL has future Christmas Day match in mind.

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 22 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1719-8529.

 

Christmas dinners in households across Australia could come with a side of cricket in the future, with Cricket Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL) organisers contemplating scheduling a match on Christmas Day.  While the idea is only in its infancy, head of the BBL Anthony Everard admitted the potential upside to such a move, which would likely be a television ratings bonanza, made it worth exploring.

 

Everard told AAP: “I think what the BBL does is give you an opportunity to innovate … I think it’s a case of `Never say never’.  “If we were to contemplate it I think we’d want to be pretty clear on what the objective was and that’s not as a novelty or just playing another game because there’s no other content on that day.  We’ve had some very preliminary thoughts on whether or not we could align with a children’s charity rather than just having another BBL game in a season of 30 or 40 games.  There’s a fair bit of thinking that needs to be done before we would contemplate that but BBL is all about innovation and we’ll keep an open mind”.

 

In the United States national football and basketball leagues schedule marquee matches on Christmas Day that are hugely popular from a television ratings perspective.  “There’s certainly a precedent over in the US – they’re very popular events”, Everard said.  “There’s no question there would be strong demand on television for a game on Christmas Day but that’s not reason enough on its own for us to contemplate it – it needs to fit into the bigger picture”.

 

Twelve months ago, the BBL’s Melbourne ‘Renegades’ captain Aaron Finch received a barrage of criticism on social media when he complained about missing Christmas Day at home for the second year in a row because he had to make the four hour flight to Perth to play a match there on Boxing Dat (PTG 1490-7199, 27 December 2014).

 

Headline: Playing cricket and feeling calm and hopeful.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Paul Sinclair.                          

Published: Monday, 21 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1719-8530.

 

Some places anchor your life and stop it being blown away. When I was diagnosed with testicular cancer my life felt as though it was an old shed having sheets of iron blown off it. Each sheet of rusty corrugated iron ripped off by the wind was a truth about what my life was and could be. The wind wouldn't ease off.   A place that helped me hold my ground against this damaging force was Ryder Oval, its trees and the people who love the place. These moments give meaning to my life. They establish networks of care and connection. 

 

Ryder Oval is in the northern part of Melbourne's Royal Park. My club, Youlden Parkville Cricket Club, has, in one form or another, played near or on Ryder Oval since 1875. I've spent thousands of summer hours playing cricket, turning sausages, coaching parents and kids at Ryder Oval, and in return been replenished by the camaraderie of being part of a club. 

 

During a lull in chemotherapy treatment, with most of my life's certainties having being blown away, I took myself down to Ryder Oval. The western boundary of the oval is ringed by 12 mature eucalypts.  I stood on the oval's eastern perimeter looking across towards the eucalypts and felt calm and hopeful for the first time in weeks.  Behind the eucalypts the land drops away into the valley of Moonee Ponds Creek. At dusk the setting sun silhouettes Ryder's perimeter eucalypts making the heart of the city, only a few kilometres south, seem a long way away. 

 

At night the sky is as dark as it's possible to be in the forever lit up city. If you lie on your back on Ryders' turf wicket star gazing it's possible to imagine you're alone in Australia's second biggest city. The silhouetted eucalypts, standing on the edge of an expanse of oval flatness, create a shape I've seen before in other loved places. When the hot north wind blows across the plateau between Merri Creek and Moonee Ponds Creek upon which Ryder Oval has been built, it's possible to feel those distant places on your skin. 

 

Cricket's a great game, utterly dependent on teamwork but also reliant on a bowler or batsman taking centre stage and displaying the full glory of their personal strengths and failings. It tests people and reveals their inner selves. What's most important about the games played in the shadows of the eucalypts is not runs scored and wickets taken, but the relationships forged between people along the way. 

 

I've built connections with people I'd never have met unless we'd suspended earnest life and played together. Every Saturday I see people sticking their heads up out of their professional or cultural holes to have a look around at the rest of the universe. On a Saturday afternoon an aircraft re-fueller, a banking industry analyst, and former Sri Lankan asylum seeker, play together with a common purpose. 

 

At Ryder, we watch kids who came to our club as five-year-olds grow into strapping teenagers who then make the oval their place.  After playing in the juniors in the morning, some of those teenagers now take their place in adult teams and, in doing so, bridge the distance between their adolescent selves and their future adulthood life. So fathers get outplayed by teenage sons who, over the dinner table, talk about their individual performances as a shared endeavour and become better friends because of it. 

 

On a hot day it's at least 5 degrees cooler at Ryder Oval than the heat-soaked concrete and bitumen in the suburbs surrounding Royal Park. At the end of those days mums talk and sprawl on the grass watching the sun disappear behind the eucalypts as daughters demonstrate death-defying moves on the boundary fence. These moments give meaning to my life. They establish networks of care and connection. They occur within a game played in a beautiful place that's enduring. In the end these moments are what life is. 

 

Back in the 1960s , C L R James, a West Indian cricket writer writing about his home club in Trinidad, observed that if a calamity were to eradicate cricket from the face of the earth all that was good about the game and its traditions would rise up from his little club with sufficient energy to reconquer the world. My club is another of those places. 

 

When the boosters of a new freeway wanted to dig up Royal Park bushland and cricket ovals claiming the road would connect people, we responded: the bushland and cricket ovals already connect people and enrich our community. Digging them up breaks connections and would make our community fatter, hotter and sicker.  Ryder Oval is a space within which people create better lives. It's one of hundreds of such places in Melbourne and around the wider world where people come together unified by not much, and create trust, generosity and co-operation. 

 

Australians often seem to forget we're one of the most urbanised populations on a planet where more the half the global population live in cities. Within those cities people find natural places to build their hearts and communities. These places aren't luxuries. A hopeful life needs them. So, as I was being stripped of mental and physical health by drugs designed to cure me, it was natural to go to Ryder Oval to be healed by its trees and their people (PTG 1715-8508, 17 December 2015).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,720

  Wednesday, 23 December 2015

 

• Player unsuccessful in attempt to sue umpires for damages [1720-8531].

• Player sanctioned over $A9 World Cup bets [1720-8532].

• WBBL ‘great success’, but player pay issues loom [1720-8533].

 

Headline: Player unsuccessful in attempt to sue umpires for damages

Article from: Sources.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 22 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1720-8531.

 

A player sued two umpires for damages in the English Midlands earlier this year because he was injured on a wet ground after they judged it was safe to continue play.  While the player, whose surname is believed to be Barlett, was unsuccessful in his submission to a court, a report says that the legal costs involved in defending the umpires were "in excess of £100,000” ($A205,000), all of which was covered by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) and its insurers.

 

Few details are available publicly about the case, and where and when the match was played, in which league, or between which teams, are all unknown.  It is understood the claimant was the captain of a team who wanted to call off a match as he considered conditions to be dangerous after heavy rainfall. The opposition disagreed. The unnamed umpires inspected the pitch and outfield on a number of occasions before declaring both fit for play.  However, soon after the game got underway, the claimant performed a ‘sliding stop’ and injured his knee and subsequently blamed the umpires for allowing play in unfit and dangerous conditions.

 

The court found that while umpires owed a duty of care to the players to enforce the rules so as to minimise inherent dangers of injury, they had carried out thorough and careful inspections of the ground before reaching their decision. The fact that the grass was wet did not mean that conditions were dangerous.  The umpires, who are members of the ACO, were supported throughout the hearing by their organisation, its insurers and the appointed legal team.

 

The Lancashire Cricket Board says that the growth in use of ‘No win No fee’ lawyers increases the prospect of litigation more likely in the future.  ACO members have comprehensive insurance that covers such match-related issues, as well as when they are travelling to and from their games.  

 

Headline: Player sanctioned over $A9 World Cup bets.

Article from: ABC News.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 22 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1720-8532.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has charged Sydney Sixers Womens’ Big Bash League (WBBL) player Angela Reakes for breaching its anti-corruption code over five bets she placed - totalling $A9 (£UK4.40) during this year's World Cup.  CA has imposed a two-year suspended sentence on Reakes, 24, who currently plays for the Canberra-based side in the Women's National Cricket League, as well as the Sixers in the WBBL.  

 

Reakes pleaded guilty to placing five bets on the winner of the man-of-the-match award during the World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand.  She was found to be in breach of CA's anti-corruption code, and has received an official reprimand, which will require her to participate in CA's anti-corruption education program.   She voluntarily accepted the sanctions and will be able to continue participating in Australian cricket subject to no further breaches of CA's code. 

 

The head of CA's integrity unit Iain Roy said in a statement: "All elite cricketers are reminded regularly that betting on any form of cricket is strictly prohibited.  It is outlined in the anti-corruption training that we deliver on an annual basis and is written into our code of behaviour.  Angela understands that in placing these bets she made a bad mistake and has acknowledged the seriousness of her error.  She has been cooperative during the investigation and we believe the penalty in these circumstances is appropriate”.

 

Headline: WBBL ‘great success’, but player pay issues loom.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Peter Lalor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 22 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1720-8533.

 

Cricket Australia's (CA) inaugural Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) has exceeded all expectations by outrating a number of established male sports, but its success comes as a bitter stand-off over player payments escalates.  The stand-off became ugly earlier in the year when a behind-the-scenes campaign led to accusations that millionaire male cricketers were refusing to help out the women (PTG 1664-8153, 18 October 2015).  The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) and CA are set to resume negotiations in the new year on a topic that has opened a divide between the two bodies and key players in cricket administration.

The ACA, which represents all professional cricket players in Australia, wants a collective bargaining agreement or memorandum of understanding for the women. Significantly, the Australian Football League's Players’ Association is hoping to strike a similar deal when that code’s women’s league starts in 2017.  CA placed the women on 12-month individual contracts this year and is pushing for them to be paid out of the male players’ salary cap. The ACA has objected to this.  The men were upset the private negotiations would be represented in a manner they thought was an attempt to score cheap points in a public relations war.

This season the women receive a WBBL retainer of $A3000-$A10,000 (£UK1,465-4,880), while state players’ contracts rose to $A7,000 (£UK3,415). The governing bodies had poured an extra $A600,000 (£UK292,650) into the total payment pool to take it to $A2.26 m (£UK1.1). The minimum retainer for a male BBL player is $A20,000 (£UK9,750) and the salary cap for the eight sides in that competition is $A10.4 million (£UK5.07 m).   The top-paid Australian male international player earns almost as much as the women’s total payment pool. 

 

CA argues the men should tip in money from their pay, which is worked out under the current CA-ACA Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at about 26 per cent of revenue. They claim there have been bumper years and the pool has inflated.  The men argue the rising tide has lifted all boats and inflated CA’s revenue equally and the employer is responsible for paying additional employees.

 

The ACA’s primary focus in the new year is to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement for the women that gives them the same rights as men and protects their place in the game. It believes there should be an increase in the percentage of revenue that pays players if there are extra players being paid from it, but says the MoU is the most important thing.

 

WACA chief executive Christina Matthews has an interest in the argument from two sides of the triangle. She is Australia’s most capped female Test player and now a senior administrator.  “The women aren’t paid nearly enough”, she said. “Everybody is letting the female players down here. [CA] is trying to force the issue, the ACA comes straight from a union perspective — don’t give an inch or it will cost you down the track. The women are caught in between”.

 

The ACA told The Australian that it was already funding the women’s education programs, health insurance and was providing access for current players to earn money from its coaching clinics program.  “Pay is a subsection of a bigger issue, which is overall female rights and an MoU or CBA for the women”, ACA chief executive Alastair Nicholson told The Australian.

 

In games played so far WBBL television ratings have been hailed as a great success. The Brisbane Heat-Adelaide Strikers match at the ’Gabba on Saturday had a peak audience of 427,000 and drew a national average of 250,000 in the first match broadcast on free-to-air television.  The game was shown on Ten’s digital channel One and won its timeslot across all channels in all demographics and was number one in the male demographic. A crowd of 2,466 turned up at the venue.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,721

  Thursday, 24 December 2015

 

• Third-straight ICC ‘Umpire of the Year’ award for Kettleborough [1721-8534].

• ‘Spirit of Cricket’ double for McCullum [1721-8535].

• Ball strike results in ‘minor skull fracture’ for batswomen [1721-8536].

• CA Development Panel members on the move [1721-8537].

• CA to review ticket prices as Test crowds decline [1721-8538].

 

Headline: Third-straight ICC ‘Umpire of the Year’ award for Kettleborough

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 23 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1721-8534.

 

English umpire Richard Kettleborough has named as the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) 2015 'Umpire of the Year’, the third year in a row that he has won that award (PTG 1460-7072, 15 November 2014).  Kettleborough is the fourth umpire, and only Englishman, in the eleven years the ICC trophy that is now named after his countryman the late David Shepherd has existed, his third win coming after just four years on the ICC's Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) (PTG 766-3758, 26 May 2011).  ICC Chief Executive David Richardson described Kettleborough as a “well deserved” winner and congratulated him completing a hat-trick of ICC Umpire of the Year titles. 

 

Aged 42, Yorkshire-born Kettleborough is the second youngest umpire currently on the EUP.  Prior to taking up umpiring he played 33 first-class matches for Middlesex and Yorkshire in the period from 1994-99.  After retirement as a player he made his first class debut as an umpire in 2002, joined the England and Wales Cricket Board's Full List in 2006, stood in his first senior Twenty20 (T20I) and One Day Internationals (ODI) in 2009, and made his debut at Test level in 2010 (E-News 697-3418, 15 November 2010).  

 

Currently he has stood in 33 Tests, 57 ODIs and 17 T20Is.  During the period covered by the 2015 award, 18 September 2014 to 13 September this year, Kettleborough worked in a total of 24 internationals, 8 Tests all on-field, 16 ODIs, 13 on-field, 9 in the World Cup including the final, and 3 in the television suite all in the World Cup.  The ICC does not provide any details as to how the award is arrived at, however, in previous years the it was decided on a combination of votes cast by the ten current Test captains and ICC match referees for games played in that August-September period, plus ICC umpires’ performance statistics gathered over that time.  No details of the latter data have been released by the ICC.   

 

This is the twelfth year the ICC has named an 'Umpire of the Year'.  The first five from 2004-08 were won by now retired Australian Simon Taufel (E-News 310-1619, 11 September 2008), the next three from 2009-11 by Aleem Dar of Pakistan (E-News 831-4058, 13 September 2011), that for 2012 by Sri Lanka's Kumar Dharmasena (PTG 991-4812, 16 September 2012), before Kettleborough’s wins in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

 

Headline: ‘Spirit of Cricket’ double for McCullum.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 23 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1721-8535.

 

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has won the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'Spirit of Cricket Award’ for 2015.  McCullum, who announced on Tuesday he plans to retire from international cricket in February after the forthcoming two-Test series with Australia, was given the award for "inspiring his side to play the game in its true spirit”.  

 

The ICC said McCullum’s approach to the game "was clearly evident throughout the [this year’s] World Cup, and in particular in the semifinal where he showed humility and exemplary sportsmanship by inviting de Villiers and his side to the New Zealand's dressing room after a closely-fought match”.  

 

In September, McCullum won the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) 2015 Christopher Martin-Jenkins 'Spirit of Cricket Award' in recognition of his conduct during his side’s  tour of England earlier this year (PTG 1650-8072, 24 September 2015).  

 

Headline: Ball strike results in ‘minor skull fracture’ for batswomen.

Article from: Bombay Mirror.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 23 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1721-8536.

 

Humaira Kazi, a member of the Mumbai University women’s side, suffered a minor skull fracture when a ball thrown from the field to the wicketkeeper hit her in the head during the final of the All India Inter-University cricket championship in Mumbai on Monday.  Kazi, 22, who was batting but was not wearing a helmet, had just completed a single scored by her partner and was taking guard from the umpire when she was hit, the blow rendering her unconscious for a few minutes.

 

Varshaa Nagrey, a volunteer at the ground, who accompanied Kazi to the hospital said: “When she was hit, the sound could be heard clearly inside the dressing room.  As soon as she fell, we rushed to her and saw that she wasn’t opening her eyes or responding for about two minutes. As I removed her leg guard, she moved her legs. A physio slapped her lightly and then she opened her eyes. She was unable to support her own weight, so she had to be carried off the ground by a coach”.  Kazi was taken to Bombay hospital for a CT scan, the examination showing the fracture of the skull but no internal damage. 

 

After Kazi was discharged from the hospital she told an interviewer "the wicketkeeper shouted ‘Watch!’ as she saw the ball coming towards me, but I didn’t have any time to react. It was a freak accident that could have been avoided if I had worn a helmet”.   She had a headache and a felt “a little dizzy” the next morning, but it was only temporary, however, he doctor advised that she rest "for a couple of days".

 

Headline: CA Development Panel members on the move.

Article from: CA appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 23 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1721-8537.

 

All five members of Cricket Australia’s (CA) second-tier umpires Development Panel (DP), and a match referee, will travel away from their home cities during the final 30 games of CA’s Womens Big Bash League series.  Those fixtures will be supported by a total of 30 umpires, 9 match referees and 22 scorers, 2 of the umpires, Claire Polosak and Deanne Young, and 11 of the scorers, being female.

 

Of the DL group, CA’s two current Project Panel members, Sydney-based Polosak and David Shepard from Melbourne, will stand in matches in Hobart, while Brisbane’s Damien Mealey will be looking after games in Adelaide and Sydney, Tony Wilds from Sydney is to travel to Adelaide and Melbourne, and Canberra-based Simon Lightbody will be on-field in  Melbourne.  Shepard and Lightbody will also stand in games played in their home association’s area.  

 

In addition, Brisbane-based Rob Dunbar will serve as a match referee in games played in Sydney, while CA Umpire High Performance Panel member Steve Bernard will oversee a game in Hobart.  Of the umpires named, 9 come from New South Wales, 7 from Western Australia, 5 from Victoria, 4 each from South Australia and Tasmania and one, Mealey, from Queensland.

 

Headline: CA to review ticket prices as Test crowds decline.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jack Paynter.                          

Published: Wednesday, 23 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1721-8538.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is to conduct an end-of-season review of ticket prices for international matches, as poor crowds threaten to tarnish the Tests against the West Indies.  A crowd of between 50,000 and 60,000 is estimated for day one of the Boxing Day Test, but CA was reluctant to release pre-sale ticket figures for days two to four.  Only 15,343 fans attended the first Test in Hobart, while New Zealand's matches in Brisbane and Perth were also marred by small crowds.

 

A ticket on day one of the Boxing Day Test will cost a full-paying adult $40 (£UK19.40) for a reserved seat, dropping to $35 (£UK17) for days two to four.  However, ticket prices may not be the only factor affecting Test match attendance figures, with the big names and big hits of CA's Twenty20 Big Bash League a winner among children and families.  However, the inaugural day-night Test in Adelaide attracted a strong crowd of 123,736 across the three days, with CA contemplating adding another day-night Test to the fixture next summer when South Africa and Pakistan tour.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,722

  Saturday, 26 December 2015

 

• Umpires to use ‘Snickometer’ rival in South Africa series [1722-8539].

• Gough continues in the mix for EUP spot [1722-8540].

• Lankan faces four-year ban after ‘B’ sample tests positive [1722-8541].

• Cape Cobras' Engelbrecht banned from bowling [1722-8542].

• Rauf to be asked to respond to IPL betting allegations [1722-8543].

• BCCI president confirms ‘no UDRS use until error free'’ mantra [1722-8544].

• WICB submits response to CARICOM report [1722-8545].

• Will spot-fixer Aemer be allowed to tour New Zealand? [1722-8546].

• ICC Awards reflect council’s bedraggling [1722-8547].

• Whatever happened to respect for an umpire's decision? [1722-8548].

 

Headline: Umpires to use ‘Snickometer’ rival in South Africa series. 

Article from: The Times.

Journalist: Josh Burrows.                          

Published: Friday, 25 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1722-8539.

 

Third umpires will be using a rival version of ‘Snickometer' and will not have access to ‘Hot Spot' for England’s tour to South Africa because of the host broadcaster’s decision to change technology providers. ‘Hot Spot’, which uses heat-sensitive cameras to detect edges, and Real-Time Snickometer, which uses audio detection, are both provided by Australian company BBG Sports. By combining the evidence of both devices, umpires have grown confident in giving batsman out after being caught off a thin edge. 

 

However, television umpires Chris Gaffney, Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker will not have that option in South Africa after host broadcaster, SuperSport, elected to use UltraEdge, a system developed by Hawk-Eye, the British company behind the ubiquitous ball-tracking technology.  UltraEdge, like Snickometer, matches audio from the stump microphones to pictures from TV cameras. The difference is that by using Hawk-Eye’s fixed-position cameras, which operate at 340 frames per second rather than the 50 to 100 frames per second of normal TV cameras, the new system can offer greater accuracy. 

 

But, because UltraEdge is not provided by BBG Sports, which offers its ‘Snickometer' and ‘Hot Spot' products as a package, umpires in South Africa will not be able to call on a visual back-up if audio evidence is inconclusive. According to Warren Brennan, BBG Sports managing director, this may put officials at a disadvantage.  “I am disappointed that for a big series like that you won’t have both tools”, he said. “I don’t want to go and do fine edges again without both products because there are gaps in both products. When you run them together, you’re going to get just about all the decisions right, but if you’re only going to run one of them it’s just exposing the gaps. The proof has been in the pudding over the past few years”. 

 

The men behind UltraEdge, however, believe that the advantages of their audio-detection technology outweigh the disadvantage of not having ‘Hot Spot'. The UltraEdge system has been independently tested by American engineers but England’s tour to South Africa will be the first time that it has been used in Tests by third umpires.   “We are the only technology that has been independently tested and passed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology”, explains Lawrence Platt, the cricket general manager at Hawk-Eye.  “UltraEdge passed with flying colours and we’re confident that with the extra vision you get from the high frame-rate cameras we can get rid of all the doubts that people have about whether the lack of Hotspot will be a hindrance”. 

 

The differences between heat-detection and audio-detection technology became a huge source of controversy during the day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand at the end of last month when Nathan Lyon nicked a ball to slip off the slow left-arm bowling of Mitchell Santner (PTG 1707-8449, 9 December 2015).  Lyon survived New Zealand’s review because although ‘Hot Spot' picked up the edge but ‘Snickometer' did not. The International Cricket Council (ICC) later confirmed that the third umpire, Nigel Llong, got the decision wrong - possibly because he did not realise that the current ‘Snickometer' technology is not 100 per cent accurate. However, if UltraEdge is as sensitive as its developers claim, similar problems may not arise. 

 

The fact that the tools used by the third umpire are provided by television broadcasters rather than the ICC has been a thorny issue for several years. The ICC has been unable to centralise provision of all Umpire Decision Review System technology because the BCCI, India’s governing body, refuses to sanction its use for matches involving India (PTG 1722-    8544 below). 

 

Dave Richardson, the ICC chief executive, said earlier this year: “The ICC has said it would prefer to have a consistent UDRS system used wherever international series are played”. “However there is one member who does not want to use it. And until we have everyone singing from the same hymn sheet in that regard it remains up to the host board to pay for the technology that is used in a series”.

 

Headline: Gough continues in the mix for EUP spot

Article from: ICC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 25 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1722-8540.

 

English umpire Michael Gough, a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), will be working in his sixth One Day International (ODI) series as a neutral official in the last 12 months in the five-match series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka over the next two weeks.  Gough, 36, will be working with his countryman and fellow neutral umpire Richard Illingworth, plus NZ IUP members ‘Billy’ Bowden, Derek Walker and Phil Jones, Andy Mycroft from Zimbabwe being the match referee. 

 

Gough will be on-field in three of the ODIs and in the television suite for the other two (3/2) and Illingworth 2/3, however, precisely what roles Bowden, Walker and Jones will play is not yet known.  Gough’s ICC assignments since January this year suggests he is under serious consideration for appointment to the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) sometime in the next few years.  His previous senior ODI appointments from the ICC have been: Sri Lanka and the West Indies in November; Bangladesh and South Africa in July; the World Cup in February-March; and New Zealand and Sri Lanka and New Zealand and Pakistan in January.

 

Meanwhile, three Indian IUP members have been appointed to on-field and third umpire positions in the five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) Afghanistan and Zimbabwe are playing in the United Arab Emirates over the next two weeks.  David Jukes of England, a member of the ICC’s second-tier Regional Referees’ Panel, will oversee the series as the match referee, the umpires being Anil Chaudhary, Vineet Kulkarni and Chettithody Shamshuddin, with an umpire from Afghanistan the reserve official.  Shamshuddin’s ODI appointments are 4/1, and Chaudhary and Kulkarni both 3/2, while Kulkarni will be on-field in both the T20Is and his two umpiring colleagues both 1/1. 

 

Headline: Lankan faces four-year ban after ‘B’ sample tests positive

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 25 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1722-8541.

 

Sri Lanka's Kusal Perera faces a four-year ban after the country's sports minister said the wicketkeeper-batsman's 'B' sample has also tested positive for a prohibited substance.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) provisionally suspended the 25-year-old after he failed an out-of-competition anti-doping test in October (PTG 1716-8512, 19 December 2015).  Sri Lanka Cricket sent Perera home from their tour of New Zealand earlier this month while also promising to provide support for him to get back on the field as soon as possible.

 

Sri Lanka sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekera told reporters on Friday: "The ICC has informed that his B sample also has been tested positive for a banned drug.  We are appealing against this because he was never found like this in the last four instances. We will back him with legal representation while making every possible effort to help him to get out of this issue.  Perera faces a maximum ban of four years according to the ICC's anti-doing code”.

 

Headline: Cape Cobras' Engelbrecht banned from bowling

Article from: Sport25.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 25 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1722-8542.

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has suspended Cape Cobras off-spinner Sybrand Engelbrecht from bowling in domestic cricket with immediate effect.  Engelbrecht was reported by umpires Dennis Smith and Shaun George for a suspect bowling action during a CSA Twenty20 match against the Dolphins at Kingsmead earlier this month  

 

As a result he was required to submit to an independent assessment of his bowling action and, in accordance with CSA's) Regulations for the Review of Bowlers Reported with Suspected Illegal Bowling Actions, that was conducted at the International Cricket Council-accredited laboratory in Pretoria two weeks ago.  It revealed that all of Engelbrecht's deliveries exceed the 15 degrees level of tolerance for elbow extension permitted under the regulations.

 

As a result he has been suspended from bowling in domestic cricket with immediate effect, a ban that will remain in force until he undergoes  remedial work on his bowling action and has passed a re-assessment.

 

Headline: Rauf to be asked to respond to IPL betting allegations

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Devendra Pandey.                          

Published: Friday, 25 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1722-8543.

 

A Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) disciplinary committee on Thursday gave two players, Ajit Chandila and Hiken Shah, who have been charged with involvement in corrupt practices in the Indian Premier League (IPL), until early January to submit their response to the charges that have been laid against them.  The committee also decided to issue a notice to former Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf that will ask him to respond to charges that he was involved in betting on IPL matches in 2013, a series he was standing in (PTG 1721-8523, 22 December 2015).

 

Rauf, a former ICC Elite Umpire Panel member, was quoted as saying on Wednesday before the committee met: "I have not received any letter from the BCCI. I was not involved in any wrongdoing but I am still ready to clarify my position but not in Mumbai. I can attend [any meeting] in Dubai or at any neutral venue to clarify my position. I had always worked for the ICC honestly and was in the IPL because the ICC approved [my participation]. I got a few suspicious calls but I passed the numbers on to the ICC's [Anti-Corruption and Security Unit] and was never questioned by anyone” (PTG 1196-5760, 28 September 2013).  

 

On Thursday, after the disciplinary committee hearing, Chandila spoke to journalists about the questions the disciplinary committee asked him earlier that day. “The questions were the same as the ones Delhi Police asked me”, Chandila said. “This is a new committee and I had to give them answers. I gave them the same answers I gave the court. I have been waiting to be heard by the new committee. I’m confident this committee will give me a fair trial. I have answered all their questions. Let’s see what happens next. For me, my lawyer is god. I still have cricket left in me, I want to play for my state and for India”.

 

Headline: BCCI president confirms ‘no UDRS use until error free'’ mantra

Article from: Cricket World.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 24 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1722-8544.

 

Shashank Manohar, the chairman of the Board Of Control for Cricket In India (BCCI), has confirmed previous Indian thinking that they will not accept Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) until it becomes "error proof".  Manohar said that his organisation has never been against this system but they have some issues, particularly in regard to the use of ball-tracking technology for LBW judgments.

 

The BCCI chairman, who holds the same position at the International Cricket Council, also said that the on-field umpire should be the one who makes the decision about the bounce on the pitch as he is standing there and the third umpire cannot tell accurately as he is just sitting in front of a television screen. There are many problems with the system, according to Manohar, and those behind it have not been able to provide satisfactory answers to his questions. 

 

Some of those answers may come as a result of work currently being undertaken by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a report on which is due next May (PTG 1702-8419, 3 December 2015).

 

Headline: WICB submits response to CARICOM report

Article from: Stabroek News.

Journalist: Not stated                          

Published: Thursday, 24 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1722-8545.

 

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) on Wednesday submitted its response to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) report that recommended the immediate dissolution of the board (PTG 1681-8254, 5 November 2015).  Reports say the WICB paper, which was formulated following consultation with the six Caribbean territorial cricket boards, looks carefully at how both the board and CARICOM can work together for the “benefit of the improvement of cricket on and off the field”.  Following the meeting with the two groups earlier this month in Grenada, the two organisations have agreed to meet for a series of discussions to try and come to a consensus on West Indies cricket governance issues.  

 

Headline: Will spot-fixer Aemer be allowed to tour New Zealand?

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Not stated                          

Published: Thursday, 24 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1722-8546.

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board is seeking legal advice on whether Mohammad Aemer, who was jailed for match fixing, can travel to New Zealand its side's tour there next month. Aemer, whohas been named in the 26-man squad for a pre-tour conditioning camp, served three months of a six month sentence after being convicted in a London court in 2011 on charges of conspiracy to accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to bowl deliberate no balls in a Test against England in 2010.  The five-year ban handed to him by the International Cricket Council ended in September and 

 

The New Zealand immigration website states: "People with criminal convictions or who have provided false or misleading information will not be granted a visa unless a character waiver is granted”.  "In the case of character waivers, each application is considered on its individual merits and taking into account, for example the seriousness of the offence, number of offences and how long ago the event/s occurred”.

 

Headline: ICC Awards reflect council’s bedraggling

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh                          

Published: Thursday, 24 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1722-8547.

 

It’s a bit like someone at International Cricket Council (ICC) remembered at the last minute, heck, we haven’t done the fricking awards yet. They’ve never been announced this late in the year (PTG 1721-8534, 23 December 2015). There’s no ceremony, as there was between 2004 and 2012; there’s not even the television show format they put together in 2013 and 2014 (PTG 1665-8157, 19 October 2015); just a press release and one video for what Cricket Australia’s website is describing, despite appearances, as "cricket’s top gong”.

 

It’s a pity. I went a few years ago in London when it was hosted by Ravi Shastri and Gaby Logan, and thought it was quite good. Jonathan Trott’s winning of the Sobers award capped England’s overall, albeit temporary, Test ascendancy; the hall of fame inductees, Curtly Ambrose, Belinda Clark and Alan Davidson, turned out to be a delightfully complementary trio. But the biggest impact was of an absence, that of MS Dhoni and the Indian team, never adequately explained, while somehow symbolising their contempt for anything in which they were not centre of attention. There was no Indian among the winners this time either, which may or may not be significant.

 

More likely, though, it simply reflects the ICC’s general bedraggling. Senior staff have been quitting left and right, including strategic management chief Jon Long, now at Repucom a company that specialises in business-sport links. The World Twenty20 schedule has only just been released, less than three months ahead of the event. Cuts have hit the Targeted Assistance Performance Program and the World Cricket League. In any case, the ‘gongs’ that really count in cricket now are the windfall gains distributed at the Indian Premier League player auction, next scheduled to bring the cricket world to a standstill on 6 February 2016. So many winners…..!

 

Headline: Whatever happened to respect for an umpire's decision? 

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Liam Cromar.                          

Published: Thursday, 24 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1722-8548.

 

Adelaide Oval cannot often have been compared with London’s Southwark Crown Court. Other than their riverside placement, the two venues would appear to share little in function, design, capacity and purpose. Recently one played host to a dramatic acquittal, as evidence that had been stacked up against the accused man was rejected. The other saw Chris Cairns cleared of perjury (PTG 1700-8394, 1 December 2015).

 

Both decisions have resulted in disappointment for certain parties. The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service would have been disappointed that the jury considered its case against Cairns to be less than watertight. In terms of outpourings of sheer disbelief, however, the reaction to Nathan Lyon's escape in the Australia-New Zealand Test easily eclipsed any reaction to the clearing of Cairns (PTG 1711-8478, 13 December 2015).

 

The way one reacts to decisions is widely perceived as an integral part of cricket, so much so that it is laid out in the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) Preamble to the Laws. As woolly as some parts of the preamble may be, nonetheless surely this is clear enough: "The Spirit of the Game involves RESPECT for […] the role of the umpires. […] It is against the Spirit of the Game to dispute an umpire's decision”. Similar wording is found in the Laws themselves, in Law 42.18.

 

RESPECT indeed, in capital letters, perhaps spelled out by Aretha Franklin. Strictly speaking, of course, these words only apply to the players on the field of play. Commentators, journalists, crowd members, all and sundry can air their discontent with little fear of any repercussion.

 

However, it wasn't quite the same when the International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport's governing body and also umpire Nigel Llong's employer, broke its silence. It's unusual enough for the ICC to publicly comment on umpiring matters, yet the ICC media department took to Twitter to declare that "ICC has reviewed the decision and acknowledged that it was incorrect. […] ICC confirms the umpire followed the correct protocol, but made an incorrect judgement” (PTG 1701-8400, 2 December 2015).

 

An "incorrect judgement"? What is meant by that? Presumably that Llong should have been less doubtful about the provenance of the 'Hot Spot' mark, and that ultimately he should have come to a different conclusion. Yet that is the umpire's role: to evaluate the evidence and make unbiased decisions as a disinterested party.

 

On the contrary, and strange though it may seem to say it, Llong's decision was correct, in that he gave the right response according to protocol, based on his assessment of each factor set before him. It was his assessment that was at odds with most people's view, my own included.  To alter the situation: say that Llong went through the same reasoning process, again believed there was no conclusive evidence, but decided to give Lyon out. Would that have been the correct decision? No, for that would not have been the decision demanded by his assessment.

 

When protocol hasn't been followed, it's quite right for the ICC to admit umpiring error, as indeed it did earlier this year when Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena incorrectly gave James Anderson out when the ball was dead in a World Cup match (PTG 1524-7335, 18 February 2015). For the ICC, however, to wade in and comment on the correctness of an umpire's individual judgement doesn't sit well with me. Indeed, this risks unintentionally undermining Llong's position and reducing respect for the role. 

 

Having said that, it is commendable that the ICC did not subsequently remove him from the firing line but backed him by sending him to New Zealand to officiate, although it changed his role in the second Test from the television spot to an on-field spot (PTG 1707-8449, 9 December 2015).  But does the principle of showing respect prevent us expressing disagreement as observers? Not at all. It's perfectly in order for us to comprehensively disagree with the umpire's assessment, while respecting his decision as valid.

 

I'm clearly verging on the pedantic. I'm not proposing a wholesale adjustment in how we refer in casual conversation to umpiring decisions as right or wrong, or on the even more slippery words good and bad. But I do believe that comments from official bodies such as the ICC can subtly influence the respect given or not given to the "role of umpires" and their decisions, to go back to the MCC's Preamble.

 

Lurking not too far away from this discussion, and waiting for future debate, is the question of what the standard of proof should be in cricket. Should conclusive evidence always be required to establish a batsman's "guilt", or should decisions be made on the balance of probabilities?

 

This brings us back to the Cairns trial, in which, since it was a criminal case, the standard of proof had to be, quite rightly, beyond reasonable doubt. On this basis, Cairns' acquittal was not merely understandable but justified. The jury made its assessment: we might agree or disagree with it, but we are best served by respecting the process, its participants, and the verdict returned.

 

Interestingly the ICC also made an official statement regarding the Cairns case: "The ICC notes the decision of the jury finding Mr Chris Cairns not guilty and confirms its utmost respect for the process that has been followed” (PTG 1700-8394, 1 December 2015). Quite: now to apply the same standard to the deliberations of umpires.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,723

  Monday, 28 December 2015

 

• Lohda committee to recommend sweeping changes to BCCI? [1723-8549].

• BCCI report lists 177 suspect actions, 110 disciplinary actions [1723-8550].

• Short leg fielder hospitalised after ball strike to head [1723-8551].

• Leg spinner provisionally suspended by ICC after positive test [1723-8552].

• BCCI seeks to lower bowler testing facility costs [1723-8553].

• CA chief executive talks of BBL Christmas night ‘blockbuster’ [1723-8554].

• BBL driving changes to junior formats in NSW [1723-8555].

• New Guinness world record set for the longest net session [1723-8556].

 

Headline: Lohda committee to recommend sweeping changes to BCCI?

Article from: The Times of India.

Journalist: Dhananjay Mahapatra.                          

Published: Sunday, 27 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1723-8549.

 

The Indian Supreme Court appointed committee that has been looking into organisational structures, management and functioning of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over the last six months, is expected to suggest a range of sweeping changes when it tables its report next Monday.  The committee's recommendations are said to be exhaustive and touch upon almost every aspect of BCCI's functioning and as such they are bound to create "ripples" in cricketing circles, especially for top management at the Board.

 

The very basis of the BCCI's existence, its registration under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975, could be under test. The panel, which is headed by former Supreme Court chief justice Rajendra Lodha, is likely to recommend changing the Board's character from a society to a public trust or a company to allow more transparency in its functioning through public scrutiny. The BCCI came into existence in 1928 as an unregistered association of persons.

 

Lodha’s group, which included Supreme Court Judges R V Raveendran and Ashok Bhan, has talked extensively with players, former captains, advocates and eminent persons on a whole range of issues, including the BCCI's organisational structure and the relationships between the parent body and its affiliate bodies in states. Sources say the majority of those consulted favoured entrusting core management of the BCCI to professionals, mostly cricketers.

 

A source with links to the committee said: "The recommendation of the committee will reflect the majority view and could spell doom for most non-cricketers, including industrialists and especially politicians, who routinely get themselves elected as heads of the state affiliates and have a say in the allotment of matches to venues. If the politician is powerful, his state affiliate invariably gets prime matches in a tournament conducted by the BCCI” (PTG 1712-8484, 14 December 2015).  Such a limitation would not apply to either of those types of persons if they had a higher-level career in the game prior to entering politics and business.  

 

At present, most of the BCCI’s affiliate members are headed by non-cricketers and politicians and the committee's recommendations, if carried to its logical conclusion by the Supreme Court as it had done by disqualifying Narayanaswami Srinivasan from contesting this year's BCCI election because of conflict of interest, would end the long reign of politicians and businessmen overseeing the game on the sub-continent.

 

Headline: BCCI report lists 177 suspect actions, 110 disciplinary actions

Article from: The Indian Express.

Journalist: Devendra Pandey.                          

Published: Saturday, 26 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1723-8550.

 

Over the last one-and-a-half seasons in India a total of 177 bowlers have been reported to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for having suspect actions, 110 players were either reprimanded or fined for disciplinary indiscretions, and 25 teams and captains charged for slow over rates in matches.  Eight of the bowlers reported were tested at Chennai’s International Cricket Council accredited laboratory (PTG 1723-8553 below) and subsequently not allowed to bowl; Mumbai opener Akhil Herwadkar being barred twice in the same calendar year across two seasons.

 

These are just some of the key points from the BCCI’s Code of Conduct and Suspect Action List, which has been accessed by The Indian Express.  Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI’s general manager game development, said that his board has empowered its umpires not to show any leniency towards suspect actions, and the figures in the List make it clear they have come down hard on bowlers and captains alike when it comes to flouting the rules.  

 

Shetty said that a BCCI umpire workshop four months ago featured a session on how to detect suspect actions and what the reporting system required (PTG 1624-7921, 21 August 2015). "We don’t want people with unfair actions playing. Most of the suspect action cases are mostly found in the Under-16 and Under-19 categories” and "each state association has a major role to play in trying to step in and eradicate the evil of chucking at that level”.  “It’s the state association’s responsibility to ensure that they take measures to help the cricketers with suspect actions to overcome the problem” (PTG 1716-8509, 19 December 2015). 

 

Earlier this year, former Indian captain Rahul Dravid welcomed the moves by the board to curb dodgy actions in domestic cricket at various levels. He also said this issue needs to be addressed seriously at the junior and schools level by the players’ coaches. “There was a time in Indian domestic cricket there were so many bowlers with dodgy action. It’s good that they have now decided to eradicate it. I welcome it”, Dravid had said in April.

 

Meanwhile, based on statistics provided in the List, Bengal is the worst-behaved team, across all age-group levels with eight of their players have been found guilty of breaching the code of ethics.  Delhi is a close-second while Haryana is the best behaved, none of its players being reported in any of the men’s or women’s categories.

 

Headline: Short leg fielder hospitalised after ball strike to head. 

Article from: The Indian Express.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 26 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1723-8551.

 

Bengal batsman Writam Porel was hospitalised on Friday after being hit in the head while fielding at forward short leg in a Cricket Association of Bengal club match between the East Bengal and Bhowanipore sides.   Bhowanipore batsman Prinan Datta's pull shot hit Porel, who tuned to protect himself, but even though the 26-year-old was wearing a helmet, he was struck under his left ear.  

 

Porel was rushed to Nightingale Hospital, the same medical facility another young Bengal cricketer Ankit Keshri, who was also playing for East Bengal, was taken after an on-field collision eight months ago that led to his death (PTG 1551-7447, 23 April 2015).  Porel was said to have been in considerable pain but he did not loose consciousness, and indicated he "was scared because Ankit was my team-mate, but it is all right. I'm fine". Doctors told him they planned to give him an MRI scan at the earliest opportunity.

 

Headline: Leg spinner provisionally suspended by ICC after positive test. 

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 27 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1723-8552.

 

Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah has been provisionally suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after testing positive for a banned substance and he will face disciplinary proceedings under the ICC's anti-doping code.  The 29-year-old provided a sample which was found to contain chlortalidone, a banned diuretic, following a One Day International (ODI) against England in Abu Dhabi last month.  Shah, who has played 12 Tests and 15 ODIs, bowled nine overs in the match but did not take any wickets.

 

Headline: BCCI seeks to lower bowler testing facility costs. 

Article from: Bangalore Mirror.

Journalist: Vijay Tagore.                          

Published: Sunday, 27 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1723-8553.

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is in negotiations with Chennai's Sri Ramachandra University regarding the terms and conditions arrangement it signed with the facility several years ago.  The BCCI, which has a rehabilitation centre and tests bowlers with suspect actions at the facility which received International Cricket Council accreditation in October last year (PTG 1440-6969, 3 October 2014), is reported to believe existing funding arrangements, which were negotiated by then senior BCCI officials in 2014, are excessive.

 

Under the current agreement, the BCCI pays close to 350,000 Rupees per month ($A7,260, £UK3,570) plus 75,000 Rupees ($A1,560, £UK765) for every domestic player tested there. For every international player, the fee is 150,000 Rupees ($A3,110, £UK1,530).  The BCCI told the centre's management recently it that wants the monthly payment waived and funding should on a case-by-case basis. University management is said to have asked for time to respond to the request.

 

A senior BCCI member said: "Why should the BCCI be paying every month when we're made to pay for every single case separately. During the last four months, not a single player was tested there and yet the board had to shell out money" . Indian state associations who request that a player be tested have been asked to pay the costs involved.  The BCCI is said to be satisfied with the service provided by the centre but it has decided to shift the rehabilitation operations to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru where former India physio Andrew Leipus has been put in overall charge of training and rehabilitation programs.

 

Bowlers from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have also had their actions tested at the Chennai centre in the past.

 

Headline: CA chief executive talks of BBL Christmas night ‘blockbuster’. 

Article from: Melbourne Herald Sun.

Journalist: Greg Buckle.                          

Published: Sunday, 27 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1723-8554.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has confirmed that the organisation's Twenty20 Big Bash League (BBL) might break new ground with a Christmas night fixture next austral summer.  The potential for such a game surfaced a week ago when Anthony Everard, the head of the BBL, said such a move was likely to be a television ratings bonanza and that made it worth exploring (PTG 1719-8529, 22 December 2015).

 

While TV ratings for BBL games this month of over one million, in what is the fifth season of the league, have prompted a fresh round of speculation that the eight-team competition should be enlarged, Sutherland says this isn’t on the agenda.  However the opportunity to build a new tradition of a Christmas-evening blockbuster could be too difficult to ignore.  “I did hear some of the commentary around it just in the last few days. It hadn’t actually occurred to me before”, Sutherland told ABC Radio on Sunday, “but sitting back on Christmas night for a great night’s entertainment [is] something that I guess will be on the drawing board”.

 

Sutherland says the BBL is all about bringing new people to the game (PTG 1723-8555 below).  “[It’s] very much about kids, very much about families and females, and nothing will change on that front, and we want to graduate people’s interest into the main game which is international cricket”.  “There’s definitely an element of it, that you could argue it takes some of the limelight away [from Tests]”.  “But realistically we are very comfortable that we will continue to get the balance right to insure that it is inspiring kids to pick up the bat and ball and play the game”.  “It’s beholden on us to reinforce the pride, the heritage and the big deal that is playing for your country”.

 

Headline: BBL driving changes to junior formats in NSW. 

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Julie Power.                          

Published: Sunday, 27 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1723-8555.

 

There's nothing like the sound of leather on willow on a Saturday morning – players padded up and ready for an all-day session – to conjure up the past. But that's rapidly becoming history.  Many children still dream of growing up to wear the baggy green and playing Test cricket for Australia.  Now that dream may have pink fluoro balls as junior cricket changes colours and times, often ditching the traditional Saturdays. The change is driven by a shortage of fields and an appetite for shorter games modelled on Cricket Australia's (CA) Big Bash League (BBL).

 

In Newcastle, which introduced T20 junior cricket this year, the number of junior cricket players under 10 has risen to 560 from 141 last season.  Across Sydney, a shortage of grounds is forcing Saturday competitions to be played on Sundays, sometimes on "postage-sized fields" which are too small for older-aged teams and on fields a long drive from home.

 

Only three of nine games played this season by the Lindfield District Cricket Club's under 14 team – registered in the North Shore's Saturday afternoon competition – have been played locally on a Saturday afternoon, said one parent. Four have been played on grounds an hour's drive away, including on the banks of the Hawkesbury, and two had taken place on Sunday.

 

In the Northern District Cricket Association (NDCA), competition for grounds on Saturdays is also intense which has resulted in some games being played on fields too small for the age group.  A parent said her son hit a "sh--load of sixes" when his team played at an oval too small for his age group.   However, NDCA club secretary Craig Menzies has little patience for those who complain about a lack of grounds, pointing out that while every available ground is used on Saturday, only three are used on Sundays. "Clubs need to get out of this view that we only play on a Saturday”, he said. To make existing grounds go further, the club is looking at moving the under eights to Friday nights.

 

Cricket New South Wale's Ivan Spyrdz said competitions were popping up at all times of the week, and all year round.  With 634,000 players, there had been a 63.5 per cent increase in players in NSW since 2010 – at the same time as population growth was putting pressure on ground capacity, said Spyrdz, the general manager of game development.  Of those players, 22 per cent were children under 12.

 

Numbers had been plateauing until the launch of the BBL five years ago.  "We have had to reinvent ourselves”, said Spyrdz, adding that numbers would have remained flat if cricket had remained stuck in the Saturday mindset.  "The game of cricket that a 62-year-old person fell in love with is very different to the one that I, as a 42-year-old, fell in love with. And that is very different to the game that my eight-year-old fell in love with”, he said.  The BBL has had a big impact, as “kids saw a new style of cricket that they wanted to play”.

 

Geoff Spotswood, a CA level three coach and the Lindfield District's coaching director, said distributing games across the week would help utilise limited facilities more effectively. But with population growth, more sporting fields had to be built, too.  A former first grade cricket, Spotswood said the insistence on playing on Saturday mornings meant new girls teams, inspired by the recent popularity of the women's BBL, fell to the "bottom of the food chain”.  They struggled getting game time, and they were allocated less desirable fields, he said.

 

Newcastle's new co-ed competition with 90-minute long games and soft balls is played on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.  "We took the bold approach of removing normal cricket and replacing it with a more energised version, which is captivating a different audience”, said Aaron Gray, the president of the Newcastle Junior Cricket Association, and "It's been a roaring success”.  

 

T20 also replaced traditional Saturday morning games for the under nines and under 10s.  "Cricket has been for so long staunchly bats, pads and helmet – and it has always been mostly a Saturday and Sunday sport. Mid-week, for me, is the biggest change and it has been well supported and adopted”, said Gray.

 

Headline: New Guinness world record set for the longest net session. 

Article from: Zee Media Bureau.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 26 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1723-8556.

 

A player from Latur in Maharashtra set a new Guinness world record for the longest net session on Thursday.  According to media reports, Virag Mare, 24, batted for three days and two nights, facing 2,447 overs or 14,682 balls, to break the record set by English duo Dave Newman and Richard Wells almost two years ago (PTG 1283-6201, 6 February 2014).

 

Mare faced deliveries from both a bowler and a bowling machine.  His first session of five hours was followed by a 25-minute break. On Wednesday he took a break every hour or so.  Despite fatigue he persevered and was spurred on by his father who made the journey from their hometown to watch his son.  "We had thought of crossing the 15,000 balls mark but he was already very tired. It would’ve been wrong to stretch him beyond his limit”, said a friend.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,724

  Wednesday, 30 December 2015

 

• UDRS takes day off in ball-tracking shocker [1724-8557].

• Umpires keen not to overstep the mark on adjudications [1724-8558].

• Ball damage produced an 'unnatural amount of reverse swing’ [1724-8559].

• 164.2 km/h ball highlights speed gun 'glitch' [1724-8560].

• Do banned drugs help cricketers? [1724-8561].

 

Headline: UDRS takes day off in ball-tracking shocker.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Chris Barrett.                          

Published: Tuesday, 29 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1724-8557.

 

It was the kind of moment that would have worked the technology sceptics in India into a lather. The only positive was that it didn't cost a team a wicket at a more crucial juncture of a more evenly contested Test match.  Most wouldn't have believed that there would be a fourth day of the second Test between Australia and the West Indies, and on Tuesday afternoon at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) it appeared that the game's ball-tracking device 'Eagle Eye' had decided to have the day off as well.

 

In farcical scenes television umpire Ian Gould was left stranded, and speechless, as he waited for the computer software to "build" a virtual picture of Peter Siddle's delivery to West Indies captain Jason Holder following a review by Australian captain Steve Smith.  As it turned out, he was waiting in vain. It was soon announced that Eagle Eye had gathered no footage of that particular ball and the initial decision, made by on-field umpire Marais Erasmus, would remain. 

 

The Australians were given their review back but looked decidedly displeased despite the impression that Siddle's delivery, which pitched on off and middle stump and was hitting Holder's front pad on middle and leg, was probably creeping down the leg side.   Smith said he was "not 100 per cent sure yet" exactly what had gone wrong with Eagle Eye.   "We've made a few enquiries and we're going to talk to match referee Chris Broadlater on. But it's not ideal if it's shut down and not working”.  He joked, however: "I think after looking at (the replay) I was pretty lucky to get my review back actually. So it was a nice time to stop working”.

 

The episode, then, in all likelihood did not cost Australia the wicket of Holder, then on 29, and who went on to top score in the West Indies second innings.  Holder said the incident was "quite surprising". "Of all the Test playing countries Australia is pretty much right up there with all the technology”, he said.  "But you have malfunctions and glitches. You can't be perfect. You just have to hope they get it right most of the time”.

 

The breakdown will have served to reinforce the positions of those who argue such technology should have no place in the game unless it is entirely foolproof.  The game's most powerful body, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) , has been the chief opponent of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), claiming it is not 100 per cent accurate and refusing to have it used in bilateral series.  It is said that their stance has been driven by the scepticism of now retired Sachin Tendulkar and their former Test captain MS Dhoni, who now plays only limited-overs cricket.  Whatever the origins of India's intransigence it is an issue they have not been budged on (PTG 1722-8544, 26 December 2015).

 

The ball-tracking, which plots the ball's path towards the stumps and the one that malfunctioned on Tuesday, continues to be India's primary area of mistrust.  "Actually telling you the truth, the BCCI was never against the UDRS system right from the time of my earlier tenure”, the new BCCI president Shashank Manohar said last week, maintaining their position would remain unchanged unless the system became foolproof.   

 

Having seen the UDRS go missing at the MCG on Tuesday, don't expect any movement from the Indians anytime soon.

 

Headline: Umpires keen not to overstep the mark on adjudications.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Wayne Smith.                          

Published: Tuesday, 29 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1724-8558.

 

Joel Garner famously bowled a 12-ball over to Australian John Dyson in 1984. Curtly Ambrose went even better — or worse — sending down nine no-balls in a 15-ball over to Shane Warne. The Australian legspinner had, apparently and somewhat unsurprisingly, annoyed him.  These days, it almost certainly wouldn’t happen. Oh, there would be annoyance out on the field and even occasional anger but it wouldn’t manifest itself in such a wanton over because it would be highly unlikely the umpire would be watching the bowler’s front foot.

 

If the Test scorebook is to be believed, the only no-balls that James Pattinson bowled in Monday’s pre-lunch session in the second Australia-West Indies Test in Melbourne, were the two balls that took Carlos Brathwaite’s wicket but then were disallowed. He bowled four no-balls in all in the West Indies’ first innings but two of those transgressions took place the previous afternoon. So it breaks the bounds of credulity to suggest that, aside from those two ill-fated balls, he didn’t once overstep the mark.

 

New Zealand umpire Chris Gaffaney didn’t call him, ever, not even the ones that saved Brathwaite. They were spotted by third umpire Ian Gould on replays but at no point was Gaffaney standing there, arm outstretched, signalling a no-ball.  It may be that Pattinson is not an easy bowler to spot when he oversteps (PTG 1634-7993, 2 September 2015). Peter Siddle apparently fits into this category. His bowling action actually obscures his front foot when it lands, making it near-impossible for the umpire to check for the no-ball and then perform his primary function, which is to adjudicate on what the batsman is doing.

 

It could be a useful exercise for broadcaster Channel Nine to follow Pattinson’s front foot when he bowls in the second innings, much as British broadcaster Sky Sport checked on Mitchell Johnson when he bowled at The Oval in the last Ashes series. Eight times he overstepped in a three-over spell (PTG 1625-7928, 22 August 2015). Not once was he no-balled. In that same Test, two batsmen were given a reprieve when the TV umpire correctly adjudged the bowler to have overstepped, Steve Smith being recalled to the wicket on 92 — he went on to make 143 — when caught behind off Steve Finn and then Mark Wood getting a let-off when Mitchell Marsh no-balled. Again, the television umpire had to come to the aid the officials in the middle.

 

International Cricket Council general manager of cricket Geoff Allardice insists it is wrong to suggest that umpires these days are no longer watching the popping crease but clearly they aren’t paying attention the way they used to. And interestingly, the change seems to coincide with the introduction of the Umpire Decision Referral System (UDRS).  If an umpire is shown to be making too many mistakes that have to be overturned by the UDRS, chances are it won’t be long before he gets demoted.  Better, from the umpire’s point of view, to get the LBWs and faint edges right than worry about no-balls, particularly since the third umpire can always pick them up on replay.

 

Allardice also maintains that umpires are still advising bowlers when their front foot is close to the crease and here, indeed, he may be right. Even if the umpires have only half an eye on the front foot, they can nearly always tell when a bowler is close to overstepping. Gaffaney repeatedly could be seen brushing away at the popping crease, clearing away loose dust and debris, so common sense suggests he was keeping Pattinson abreast of developments.

 

Former Australia allrounder Tom Moody said he’s "be surprised if they don’t because it’s just down to good umpiring: 'Look, you’re getting close here’”.  “We’re talking two very experienced umpires out there (South African Marais Erasmus was standing at the other end) so it would be very surprising if they weren’t doing that”. But Moody believes the time has come when umpires shouldn’t even have to think about no-balls and instead leave the matter entirely to technology and the third umpire.  

 

“I just think the third umpire could easily watch it in real time — there’s a camera square of the wicket at every Test venue — and when there’s an obvious no-ball, just signal it”, Moody said.  “Just press a button — no ball. And that can be done in three seconds. So you clearly know if someone has lost their middle peg. On the scoreboard you see a big NB, otherwise you get this 30-second, more than that, 60-second delay where — what’s going on here? Then everyone’s aware of the process of what’s happened”.