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                      JANUARY 2016
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 25 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 8264-8726)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below 

 1,726  1,727  1,728  1,729  1,730  1,731  1,732  1,733  1,734  1,735  1,736  1,737  1,738  1,739  1,740  1,741  1,742  1,743  1,744  1,745  1,746  1,747  1,748  1,749  1,750


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,726

  Friday, 1 January 2016

 

• ICC praises Dar for ‘professionalism, consistency, reliability’ [1726-8564].

• Does cricket rely too much on technology? [1726-8565].

• Windies’ selector criticises tour scheduling [1726-8566].

• Victorian cricket set to embrace more female leadership [1726-8567].

 

Headline: ICC praises Dar for ‘professionalism, consistency, reliability’.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 31 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1726-8564.

 

Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar, who on Saturday will become just the third man to stand in 100 Tests (PTG 1715-8500, 17 December 2015), has been praised for his "professionalism, consistency and reliability” by Geoff Allardice, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) General Manager - Cricket.  Dar, along with his ICC Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) colleague Bruce Oxenford, are to manage the second Test of the four-match series between South Africa and England at Newlands in Cape Town.

 

Allardice called Dar, who has served on the EUP longer than anyone else, "one of the best and most respected umpires in world cricket for many years”.  "It is not easy to umpire at the elite level for more than a decade, and Aleem is in esteemed company alongside two other umpiring greats, Steve Bucknor and Rudi Koertzen", who also reached the 100 Test mark (PTG 1712-8481, 14 December 2015).  As such "he should be extremely proud of his achievements and all involved in the game will join me in congratulating him on reaching this significant milestone”.

 

Speaking ahead of the impending landmark Dar said: “I am delighted and proud to reach this significant personal milestone in my career. It is amazing to think how quickly time has flown. I am extremely grateful to all the support I have received throughout the years, not least from the Pakistan Cricket Board as well as the [ICC]”.  “It is an enormous honour to be involved in a sport which has given me so much enjoyment, enabled me to travel the world and experience so many different cultures”.

 

Dar, 47, paid "a special tribute [to his family] because I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the career I have had to date without their love and support. An umpire’s life can be challenging at times, with lots of time away from home, but they understand how important this is to me and have always given me their full support”.  "I have been privileged to have worked alongside some of the very best match officials and have umpired in classic matches at iconic venues featuring modern-day greats. It is a great honour for me [to reach 100 Tests] and one which I will cherish for many years to come”.

 

Lahore-born Dar made his international umpiring debut in an One Day International (ODI) between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in February 2000, became a member of ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel in 2002 and in 2004 the EUP, the first Pakistani of so far only two from that country to join that group.  In 2007 he stood his 100th ODI, the tenth umpire in the history of the game to reach that landmark, his tally in that form of the game currently standing at 178 matches.

 

Headline: Does cricket rely too much on technology?

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Holly Ferling.                          

Published: Thursday, 31 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1726-8565.

 

Has cricket started to depend on technology too much?  The progression of the standard of technology has not only enhanced the game as a spectacle, but also gives fans an inside look of the match with helmet cams, Spidercam, stump microphones and on-field player microphones for commentary chat.  However, technology that changes outcomes in games is potentially overruling the world's best umpires and also making them second-guess their judgments.

 

In Australia’s second Test against the West Indies in Melbourne this week, technology came into play a number of times, and often to the detriment of the Australian team.  Three wickets were reversed including two dismals of Carlos Brathwaite after it became clear that the bowler had actually bowled a no-ball. All of these reviews on the front foot placing were not instigated by the on-field umpires, but rather from the third umpire doing the mandatory check as the batter makes his way from the field. 

 

It then begs the question that former Australian bowler Brett Lee asked soon after – if the umpires had missed those three no-balls, what's to say that they didn't miss a heap more that didn't result in wickets? In a tight game, these could be vital and it does make me wonder about the future of the umpire (PTG 1724-8558, 30 December 2015).

 

Will our game evolve so much that only the players take the field, and the umpires use the cameras, microphones and other technology at their disposal to give their decisions?  Yes, this may make the game more accurate, however I believe it would be a huge loss to the game if this happens.  The game would become intermittent, and in my opinion, cricket isn't cricket without the umpire.

 

If cricket was to eventually go down that path, our reliance on technology could be our downfall. We saw a fault with ‘Eagle Eye' not working for one of Australia's reviews in Melbourne to overturn a not-out decision (PTG 1725-8563, 31 December 2015).  This saw them retain their review and continue the game with the umpire's decision standing. That in itself makes me wonder how accurate some of the technology is. We already see that if the ball on ball-tracking evidence hasn't hit the stumps with more than half of the ball's width, it is deemed "umpire's call”.  For a fielding side attempting to overturn a "not out" decision, I can imagine that this would be frustrating considering the ball is, in theory, still hitting the stumps.

 

Just like when ‘Eagle Eye' didn't work, the fielding side should retain their challenge if this happens. Their challenge wasn't wrong by any means – we just don't have the technology to definitively give the batter out in those circumstances.  If we are to depend on technology, and become more dependent on it in the future with greater advancements, we need to be prepared to have the technology fail at some point or another.  Otherwise, we need to make adjustments to things like the review system to ensure that if the technology isn't good enough to give an accurate decision, teams aren't disadvantaged from attempting to overturn the umpire's decision by using the review system.

=

Headline: Windies’ selector criticises tour scheduling.

Article from: Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Ben Horne.                          

Published: Friday, 1 January 2015.  

PTG listing: 1726-8566.

 

Former West Indies captain and international match referee Clive Lloyd has taken a swipe at Cricket Australia (CA) for short-changing the tourists on match-practice heading into the current  three Test series.  The Windies were humiliated by a hugely inexperienced CA XI in their only warm-up match to start the tour and chairman of selectors Lloyd has claimed a second four-day fixture could have made all the difference to their preparation.

 

CA were criticised for serving up an unacceptable Blacktown wicket to New Zealand as their lead-up match for the first Test at the Gabba to start the summer, with the Black Caps arguing they were robbed of any chance to acclimatise to conditions (PTG 1688-8305, 15 November 2015).  Lloyd has also called CA and the West Indies Cricket Board out for their scheduling motives.  “If a team comes to any country they should be able to play enough warm-up games to get accustomed to the conditions”.  

 

"We’ve travelled 12,000 miles [from the Caribbean] and it’s different here”, said Lloyd.  “We have jet lag, there’s the heat, the hardness of the grounds, it’s just getting accustomed to a lot of things and two four-day games would probably have put us in good stead.  “It showed in the last game we batted fairly well on a pretty good Test pitch [in Melbourne] so I’m sure the guys will give a good account of themselves in the long run".  

 

“You can’t blood a (young) player on tour anymore”.  “We had a four-day game and two-day game (in between Hobart and Melbourne), we had to play the guys we think will be good enough in the Test matches.  “[We used to play] a lot of games, we got accustomed to the conditions and you give a good account of yourself.”

 

Headline: Victorian cricket set to embrace more female leadership.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Matt Murnane.                          

Published: Thursday, 31 December 2015.  

PTG listing: 1726-8567.

 

Cricket Victoria (CV) says it will embrace a controversial Victorian government initiative aimed at increasing the number of women in board positions throughout sporting associations and peak bodies in that state.  A mandate that women must fill at least 40 per cent of the top leadership positions in sport is part of a series of recommendations made by a special advisory committee on women and girls in sport – a report that the government is set to adopt in full.  Sports that do not achieve the close-to-even split along gender lines in their top administration will risk missing out on government funding.

 

While several officials from sporting organisations expressed private concerns, CV chief executive Tony Dodemaide said his organisation was "fully engaged" in the plan, even though it would mean a shift in the board's make-up.  With only two women representatives on its nine-person board, CV would have to appoint at least two more female figures to its executive to fulfil the funding mandate, unless it downsized.

 

Dodemaide said: "We are already on this path. There is nothing in this proposal that is offensive to us at all.  We understand that women make up 51 per cent of the population and there is a real growth opportunity there.  We are very much looking forward to seeing the report and the recommendations in full. But in general terms, cricket has been pro-active in looking to increase the prominence of women in sport.  We've gone from, only a few years ago, having no women on the board to now having two out of nine, and we are looking at more opportunities”.

 

Dodemaide said CV hoped to be one of the leaders, and pointed to the newly formed Women's Big Bash League – in which Melbourne has two teams in the domestic competition – as a way that cricket has take a key role in promoting women's sport.  "That is very much increasing women's participation, exciting young girls to take up the sport and we are very keen to grow the base even more”.

 

The Victorian government is yet to release information on exactly which sporting organisations would need to comply.  Some sports officials contacted by Fairfax Media on Thursday were supportive of the concept, but expressed private fears that achieving the implementation could be problematic.  The timeframe for sports to make the transition at board level is reported to be about three years.  The government has already said that local sporting clubs will not have to comply.  

 

Like CV, the sport's national peak body – Cricket Australia – currently has two female executives on its nine-person board.  However, funding from the Victorian state government is not a factor for the national body, so the policy will have little impact.  CV, meanwhile, does benefit from funding from the state government, particularly at the game development level.  Dodemaide said he expected all sports to have "constitutional factors" to consider and other challenges in making the transition to an increased female presence on their boards. And he agreed that the change would take time.  "We've got directors that are in place and they have terms.  Board members are very valuable, so it's not just a case of saying 'ok, we've got to sack you now’”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,727

  Saturday, 2 January 2016

 

• Tin to open on Indian cricket’s giant can of worms [1727-8568].

• Two-day gap between Tests a concern [1727-8569].

• Players again push for Test world championship [1727-8570].

• Six Aussies set for $A1m plus IPL contracts [1727-8571].

• India could play Pakistan in England this northern summer [1727-8572].

• Former Windies’ opener pursuing MBL career [1727-8573].

• Speculation mounts spot-fixer's NZ entry could be blocked [1727-8574].

 

Headline: Tin to open on Indian cricket’s giant can of worms.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                          

Published: Saturday, 2 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1727-8568.

 

When he retired as India’s Chief Justice in September 2014, Rajendra Mal Lodha, a frugal, pious Jain from Jodhpur who regards judicial office as a “divine duty”, had in mind a quiet life, during which he might write a book. A different ­literary work is about to make him among the most important men in cricket.  On Monday morning, Delhi time, Lodha and two other retired judges, Ashok Bhan and Raju Varadarajulu Raveendran, will present to the Supreme Court the final fruits of a year’s examination of the workings of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the de facto seat of power in world cricket.

Judges have been crawling all over the BCCI since the first allegations of corruption within the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and ­Rajasthan Royals, two and a half years ago.  The Lodha Committee is the final stage of the process, designed to impose sanctions and recommend redresses, reliant on a ruling by brother judges that while the BCCI is a “private body” it performs “public functions”.  It has already suspended CSK and the Royals, in the process putting the skids beneath the owner of the former, Narayanaswami Srinivasan. These days the Chennai ­industrialist who never met a ­conflicting interest he didn’t like while lording it over the BCCI and the International Cricket Council (ICC), plays a lot of golf.

For the last six months, Lodha and his colleagues have been peering at the governance of the BCCI, not stopping at the organisation’s day-to-day functions of Cricket Centre at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, but drilling down to the level of the state associations represented on it, replete with parish pump politicians, crony capitalists and not-so-petty bureaucrats.  

 

Their tin opener for this giant can of worms has been a simple questionnaire: six sections containing 82 questions, seemingly bland, yet demanding in the way simplicity can be. Like this: “Is the BCCI for profit or not-for profit? If the ­latter, how is this reconciled with its commercial engagements?”  And this: “What is the financial oversight exercised by the BCCI over the income and expenditure of constituent bodies?” And: “Who conducts an oversight of the various elections?” And: “What records and papers of the state associations are available for inspection by BCCI and by the public?”

 

From all indications, there has been a lot of embarrassed rustling of papers, shuffling of feet, and “I’ll-get-back-to-yous”.  They could have asked more detailed questions. Like why did two teams turn up to represent Jammu and Kashmir (JK) in the Ranji Trophy against Himachal Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy in October, sent as they were by opposing factions of the JK Cricket Association?  

 

Or why is the Gujarat Cricket Association doubling the size of Ahmedabad’s Motera Stadium when it’s never been full, and what might this have to do with the association being led by the president of the Bharatiya Janata [political] Party (BJP) and his son?  (The BJP is one of the two major parties in the Indian political system, along with the Indian National Congress).  Or why did the Karnataka Cricket Association replace an effective administration run by Test great Anil Kumble in favour of one led by Brijesh Patel, who runs a company that is a big supplier of the association, owns his own private cricket academy, is chief executive of IPL’s Royal Challengers Bangalore, and has a son in the state team?

 

But, well, asking such questions would have stretched deliberations out to kingdom come. Lodha and his colleagues have basically deemed the Augean stables not worth cleaning; what’s required, they believe, are completely new stables.  Nobody knows in detail what reforms Lodha’s report will recommend, but there are indications they are very serious indeed, including a rationalisation of the BCCI’s membership and its revenue sharing. There is even talk of independent directors and a breaking of the nexus between Indian cricket and Indian politics — which would affect a good many of the most powerful figures in both (PTG 1723-8549, 28 December 2015).

 

The BCCI’s new president Shashank Manohar met Lodha in November the day before he was elected ahead of Srinivasan, succeeding in the process to chairmanship of the ICC.  A private, conscientious man who abjures a mobile phone and computer, Manohar shares some qualities with the judge, and has made the Vidarbha Cricket Association he runs a model of its kind.

 

Since assuming office as BCCI president, Manohar has behaved like someone preparing for change, making available an unprecedented amount of information about the BCCI’s workings, eliminating some of the more egregious conflicts of interest in its senior ranks, appointing an ombudsman to adjudicate others (PTG 1685-8285, 11 November 2015).  He has pledged to “try and implement as many things as possible from the [Lodha] report”. But he is one man, a consensus candidate, absent a true power base. The BCCI’s ambitious young secretary Anurag Thakur, meanwhile, is the scion of a BJP dynasty from Himachal Pradesh.

 

Why does this matter so much, even in this country, where cricket issues run such a minuscule gamut. Look, a six!  Ten years ago certainly, and maybe even five, the currents of governance reform at the BCCI would have seemed of esoteric ­interest.  That’s changed: generally, because of the money the BCCI makes; specifically, because of the money the BCCI takes.  It’s two years since the BCCI, abetted by Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board, voted itself a massive new rake-off from the ICC. That money was earned by cricket. To cricket it should rightly have returned. Contemplate it in the simple terms of the Lodha Committee: who is ­obtaining the benefit of cricket’s relatively recent but rapidly expanding wealth?

 

The stakes are extremely high, and not only for cricket.  In the last two months, one rotten Indian borough has stood out: the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), whose president from 1999 to 2013 was the BJP powerbroker Arun Jaitley.  For much of this period, the DDCA was a byword for corruption and nepotism, colloquially known as the ‘Delhi Daddies and Crooks Association’, deflecting multiple efforts at reform.

 

Jaitley moved onward and upward: as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s finance minister he is regarded by some as India’s second most powerful man. The DDCA has since more or less collapsed, mysteriously denuded of funds. India’s recent Delhi Test against South Africa was overseen by a retired judge, Lodha’s former colleague Mukul Mudgal. It earned a profit for the first time since the early 1980s. Just fancy that!

 

Now Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, a popular anti-corruption movement that swept local government polls a year ago, has funnelled many of these allegations into a frenzied campaign against the DDCA, with Jaitley as its primary target. The volatile Kejriwal is independent of the Lodha committee, and chiefly motivated by his enmity for the BJP. But he is tapping a rich vein of discontent.  A system that has enriched so many will not pass without a struggle: for many, the current system works just fine. But aware of it or not, cricket around the world has a great deal invested in the outcome.

 

Headline: Two-day gap between Tests a concern.

Article from: Daily Mirror.

Journalist: Dean Wilson.                          

Published: Saturday, 2 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1727-8569.

 

England captain Alastair Cook has voiced concerns over this week's rapid turnaround between Test matches and pleaded with administrators to avoid such an arrangement in future.  Cricket South Africa asked the International Cricket Council for special dispensation to have just a two-day gap, as opposed to the usual minimum of three days, between the first and second Tests in Durban and Cape Town respectively, an approach that was aimed at taking advantage of the Christmas holiday crowds.

 

Starting the second Test in Cape Town on a Saturday will help ensure bumper crowds for at least the first three days, as fans enjoy their days off at the cricket.  “A two-day turnaround isn’t great for the players, if we’re being brutally honest”, said Cook.  "If we’d bowled 140 overs in the dirt in Durban [in the opening Test earlier this week] and then had a two-day turnaround in temperatures of 40 degrees, which it has been here, that’s a gruelling ask to keep the standards up".

 

Cook hoped "this is just a one-off and people see sense - that you need a couple more days between Tests”. "The first I found out about the two-day turn around was when the schedules were released. Once we got our head round the schedule, we’ve known it and we certainly won’t be using that at the end of this week if we don’t play well”.  Cook is right not to use it as an excuse, and at a time when Test cricket is fighting against the lure of Twenty20 cricket and other ways to spend time and money the England skipper should be on board with the plans. 

 

Headline: Players again push for Test world championship.

Article from: Melbourne Herald Sun.

Journalist: Michael Warner.                          

Published: Friday, 1 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1727-8570.

 

Australian players are behind a renewed push for a two-year world championship of Test cricket which would culminate in a Test grand final between the two top-ranked nations.  Australian Cricketers’ Association president Greg Dyer says in the group’s latest annual report that the concept, which has previously been discussed and eventually rejected by the international cricketing community, was crucial to the survival and relevance of the traditional form of the game (PTG 1699-8389, 29 November 2015).

 

“We need to find out every two years who the world champion is in Test cricket”, said Dyer on Thursday.  “Each match played over the course of that two years needs to lead towards some kind of finals series between the top two, so that every game is important in determining who those two teams will be”.  Dyer is fighting for an overhaul of the governance of world cricket and for the sport’s “big three” — Australia, India and England — to play a more serious role in the rejuvenation of struggling nations like the West Indies.

 

Dyer believes that: “Left alone, left without action, we will not have meaningful Test cricket in 15 years — it might even be sooner than that”.  “Our players care deeply about Test cricket — they define themselves by how they perform in Test cricket".  “They want to be playing hard, competitive Test cricket against all nations and everybody given the chance to knock us off, because then the victories will be sweeter”.  “We’ve been pushing for this [world championship] for five or six years ands we’ll push it again”.  “There needs to be relevance for every game of Test cricket played, otherwise you end up with the horrible spectacle of empty grounds”.

 

Former Sri Lankan player Kumar Sangakkara, who is currently playing in Cricket Australia’s Twenty20 Big Bash League, has also backed the world championship model.  “If you have a tournament like that, then every Test match has context and meaning, because you’re actually competing for something more than just that Test match”, he said.  “You’re competing to get into that playoff, for that right to be in the top four”.  “You’re competing to get into that playoff, for that right to be in the top four".

 

Dyer said the existing Test ranking points system was not satisfactory.  “People aren’t turning up to a game thinking if Australia win this then they go from third to second”.  One proposal would see all Test nations play off at least once over the two years with extra points award for wins on foreign soil. Dyer, a former Australian wicketkeeper, said the advent of day-night Test cricket would not save the longer format of the game on its own.

 

Headline: Six Aussies set for $A1m plus IPL contracts.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 1 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1727-8571.

 

Six Australian players are now holding Indian Premier League (IPL) contracts worth more than $A1 million (£UK494,280), after teams made their pre-auction retentions just before new year.  Mitchell Johnson at $A1.34 m (£UK662,000), Glenn Maxwell $A1.24 m (£UK613,000), David Warner $1.14 m (£UK563,500) and Mitchell Starc $A1.03 m (£UK509,100) were retained by their teams, while Steven Smith $A1.14 m (£UK563,500) and James Faulkner $1.14 m, were drafted by new teams for IPL 9 after the collapse of Rajasthan Royals.  

 

Six other Aussies were also retained by their teams: Nathan Coulter-Nile $A876,000 (£UK433,000) , Shaun Marsh $A455,000 (£UK225,000), Chris Lynn $A269,000 (£UK133,000), Moises Henriques $A207,000 (£UK102,300) , Brad Hogg $A103,000 (£UK50,910) and Travis Head $A62,000 (£UK30,650).  Three players, Coulter-Nile, Henriques and Starc, are currently nursing injuries, and the latter looks almost certain to miss both the World Twenty20 Championship and IPL9 after undergoing ankle surgery.

 

Johnson will be able to give the tournament his undivided attention after retiring from international cricket this summer. Hogg, who will be 45 when the tournament is played, is back for another crack thanks to his ageless left-arm spin.  However, 14 Australian players face an uncertain future at this stage, 9 having been released, while 5 from the now suspended Rajasthan and Chennai franchises went undrafted.

 

In total, the six established IPL teams retained 101 players, including 37 overseas players, and released 61. The main player auction is still to come, so a number of Aussies will hope to score a new deal.  The price players are bought for at the auction is their minimum contract, and the amount that counts towards the team's salary cap. Teams do have the option, however, of paying the player more if they choose to, although this is not disclosed.

 

Headline: India could play Pakistan in England this northern summer.

Article from: The Times.

Journalist: Richard Hobson .                          

Published: Saturday, 2 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1727-8572.

 

England has emerged as a possible location for the long-awaited series between India and Pakistan next northern summer after time ran out on hopes to stage fixtures in Sri Lanka. The countries have not met outside International Cricket Council (ICC) events since the terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008.  England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) president Giles Clarke, who is due to take over as the ICC chairman in June, has been influential in trying to broker better cricketing relationships between the two countries. If it is to go ahead the series would need approval from both governments.

 

An unnamed source within the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) suggested that the package of three One Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals could be scheduled in England between the end of the Indian Premier League in late May and the start of Pakistan’s tour of England which is due to begin a month later.  The ECB has received no formal word from the PCB and would insist on avoiding a clash of dates with England’s early-season commitments against the touring Sri Lankans.  

 

Logistical issues include the potential for a fraught political peace between India and Pakistan to break. But the ECB would benefit financially and the games would generate huge interest in the sport.  There is a precedent, because Pakistan used England as a “home” venue six years ago for matches against Australia.

 

Headline: Former Windies’ opener pursuing MBL career.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Daniel Cherny.                          

Published: Friday, 1 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1727-8573.

 

Former West Indies Test opener Kieran Powell, who last played for the side in June 2014, is in Florida preparing for a tryout day in mid-January during which he will showcase his batting and fielding skills in a bid to be signed by a Major League Baseball (MBL) franchise.  Having fallen out with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Powell is committed to ensuring the move is a success. "An opportunity came about after a few discrepancies with the [WICB] so I decided to take some time off from cricket and some footage of me playing cricket was seen by the LA Dodgers”.  

 

Powell, 25, has played 21 Tests, 28 One Day Internationals and and one Twenty20 international since first appearing at international level in 2009. He has three Test centuries to his name, including twin hundreds made against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2012. Despite those successes, he averages an underwhelming 27.48 at Test level. He stepped away following the first Test of the 2014 series against New Zealand for personal reasons.

 

Once touted as a future Windies captain by WICB president Dave Cameron, the left-hander hasn't played any top-level cricket since lining up for Tamil Union in Sri Lanka last February-March. He says that the American pastime has his full attention at the moment, even if cricket has not entirely been written off. "Baseball is my priority right now. Obviously cricket is my first love.  [Baseball is] really fun, it's an interesting game, I've loved every minute of it so far, and I hope to continue doing it for the rest of my career”.

 

Powell explained he had never contemplated a move to baseball prior to being approached, but having made the decision has received immense support from family and friends. "It's a unique opportunity, it's a once in a lifetime thing. This is what dreams are made of. I'm just so excited about it, like everyone's so excited about it”.  He suggested the WICB had to do more to ensure the region's top talent stayed with the world's eighth-ranked cricket outfit. "The [WICB] could do something in terms of the retainer contracts, because you can't have guys losing on the home front and then trying to stop them from losing on the international front as well” (PTG 1686-8289, 12 November 2015).

 

Headline: Speculation mounts spot-fixer's NZ entry could be blocked.

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: Andrew Alderson.                          

Published: Friday, 1 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1727-8574.

 

Speculation is mounting over whether convicted spot-fixer Mohammad Aemer will be allowed into New Zealand if he is selected by Pakistan for this month's tour.  The first match of the tour is two weeks away, and his place in the tour party is yet to be confirmed (PTG 1722-8546, 26 December 2015).  The left-armer served a five-year ban from cricket and three months in prison for his role in the 2010 spot-fixing case where, as an 18-year-old, he bowled deliberate no-balls in a Test against England at Lord’s (PTG 661-3263, 31 August 2010).  The International Cricket Council has since approved his return to the game (PTG 1631-7971, 30 August 2015).

 

Like each of the Pakistani team, Aemer needs to apply for a visa to enter New Zealand. However, he needs character reference support because of his past conviction.  No such request has been made by Aemer or the Pakistan Cricket Board to New Zealand Cricket (NZC).   A spokesman for NZC said: "It's all speculation at this stage and we will have nothing to say until he is selected”.

 

Given Aemer has served his punishment, Immigration New Zealand would need evidence he was liable for recidivism to refuse entry.  Aemer was declined a British visa last year. Since his ban expired, his form has been outstanding in domestic first-class cricket (16 wickets at 14.87 in four matches) and the Bangladesh Premier League (14 wickets at 12.64 in nine matches).  Last month he joined a 26-man Pakistan conditioning camp in Lahore.  The issue has been complicated by the refusal of captain Azhar Ali and Mohammad Hafeez to attend that camp because of Amir's presence. Azhar, Pakistan’s one-day captain, even attempted to resign as a result.

 

Other current or former sportspeople have also been denied visa entry to New Zealand, notably Mike Tyson in 2012, Fijian military coup officials with rugby sevens connections in 2007, and the Zimbabwean cricket team in 2006.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,728

  Sunday, 3 January 2016

 

• CA BBL match attracts a crowd of almost 81,000 [1728-8575].

• Pink ball, day-night format for Pakistan first class final [1728-8576].

• BCCI considering ‘neutral’ venues for all Ranji Trophy games [1728-8577].

• No wickets off ’no balls’ in Melbourne Test [1728-8578].

• SCG curator reflects on Shield abandonment [1728-8579].

 

Headline: CA BBL match attracts crowd of almost 81,000.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Saturday, 2 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1728-8575.

 

 

A total of 80,883 people turned out to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for Saturday’s Big Bash League (BBL) match between Cricket Australia’s (CA) two Melbourne franchise sides, easily surpassing the previous BBL record of 52,637 set at Adelaide Oval.   Mike McKenna, CA’s Executive General Manager Operations, called it "a great day for cricket” and that CA is "absolutely delighted to see crowds across the country come out in force, with record attendances at our men’s and women’s BBL matches”. 

 

McKenna said: “To have more than 80,000 people at the MCG, then to witness a sell out in Perth for a re-match of last year’s final, all on the same day, was a genuine milestone in the [BBL’s] short history”.  "The [BBL] is continuing to develop but it is successfully delivering on its purpose to attract kids, families and females to the game”.  

 

He also praised the success of the Women's BBL (WBBL) after almost 13,000 patrons, a world record for a women’s domestic cricket match, were at the MCG to watch the two Melbourne women’s sides play ahead of the men’s game in what was a double header. “It’s still early days but we are very pleased with the strong start to the [WBBL]”, he said. "We want to show young girls that they too can aspire to represent their favourite BBL club”. 

 

A ‘Fairfax Media’ report quotes former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, who is described as “one of cricket's most astute judges", as saying attendance at the game will "send absolute shockwaves through the cricketing world".  Fleming, who has long experience as a coach in the Indian Premier League was said to be "visibly stunned" by the size of the crowd.  "It's just extraordinary where this competition is going”, said Fleming, who is in his first year as coach of the Stars. "The crowd support is astonishing.”

 

CA apologised to spectators who were left waiting outside the MCG after new security measures struggled to cope with the record crowd, defending the efforts of venue management (PTG 1715-8503, 17 December 2015).  "The MCG has been highly proactive in their security measures for major cricket events this summer”, a spokesperson said.  "The match tonight experienced an unprecedented record crowd for domestic cricket. We thank fans for their patience and apologise for the delays experienced entering the ground”.  "The safety and security of our fans, players and officials is always our number one priority and we'll continue to work to ensure everyone has a fantastic experience at any cricket event this summer”.

 

Headline: Pink ball, day-night format for Pakistan first class final.

Article from: Agence France Presse.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 2 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1728-8576.

Pakistan will experiment with the pink ball in the final of its premier first-class tournament, the Quaid-e-Azam trophy, in preparation for a possible day-night Test against Australia later this year (PTG 1715-8504, 1 December 2015).  The five-day 2015-16 Quaid-e-Azam final between Sui Northern Gas Pipelines and United Bank is due to get underway at 2 p.m. at National stadium in Karachi on Sunday. The PCB is reported to have imported pink balls from Australia for the match sometime ago.  

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) Shakil Sheikh said on Saturday: “We had experimented with the orange ball in the final of the trophy in 2011 (PTG 714-3496, 14 January 2011), and then with a pink ball in 2012 so the latest final will help us further assess the pink ball as Australia have offered us to play a day-night Test late this year”.  “We are ready to experiment at the highest level and Sunday's final will help the players and the board to consider the day-night Test offer, after which we will finalise our plans”.

Headline: BCCI considering ‘neutral’ venues for alll Ranji Trophy games.

Article from: Hindustan Times.

Journalist: Jasvinder Sidhu.                          

Published: Saturday, 2 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1728-8577.

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board may have reacted to ‘home advantage’ issues by taking away the mandatory toss (PTG 1698-8376, 28 November 2015), but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may go one better by playing all games in its Ranji Trophy first class series at ‘neutral’ venues.  Criticism against poor surfaces in Ranji matches has been getting louder, and BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur says the neutral ground proposal is to be considered at the Board’s next working committee meeting and discussed when Ranji captains’ and coaches’ next meet. “Domestic cricket should be played on competitive pitches”, said Thakur.

 

Currently, matches from the seven matches played from the quarterfinal stage of the Ranji Trophy are played at neutral venues.  Of the 108 roster games played during the 2015-16 season, 9 finished inside two days while 17 ended on the third day. Spinners have had the last laugh on underprepared pitches, as hosts won 36 matches and earned a first-innings lead in a majority of the games (PTG 1700-8398, 1 December 2015).

 

Pitches have come under tremendous scrutiny because of criticism from former players.  Recently, former India captain Rahul Dravid said the Ranji Trophy’s purpose was not only to decide a winner, it also had the responsibility of preparing cricketers for the international stage. “If we keep playing on bad wickets like these, we are not going to produce good cricketers”, he had said.  Prior to his comments there was a view that Ranji matches should be played at local venues so that cricket lovers could come to the stadium to cheer their teams, however, with matches being played in front of near-empty stands, the BCCI has had to do a rethink. 

 

There have been instances of the host captain or team management pressurising curators to prepare pitches suited to their strategy, and sometimes they are forced to change the nature of the pitch just days before a match.  BCCI guidelines for pitch preparation are clear but they are not yielding results because captains want to gain a first-innings lead at any cost. There is hardly any deterrent for as far as it is known the BCCI has never punished a captain for such actions.

 

Headline: No wickets off ’no balls’ in Melbourne Test.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Saturday, 2 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1727-8578.

 

A claim that third umpire Ian Gould initiated a check for three no balls bowled during the West Indies’ second innings in the Melbourne Test earlier this week, including two dismals of Carlos Brathwaite, is wrong (PTG 1726-8565, 1 January 2016).  A report says that Chris Gaffney, the on-field umpire concerned, actually asked Gould to double-check the deliveries involved  as he felt they were close. When consulted, replays showed that two were very close and the third less so, but all three were no balls.  By the end of the Test no wickets fell off no balls in the match - a good outcome for both players and umpires.

 

Headline: SCG curator reflects on Shield abandonment.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Daniel Brettig.                          

Published: Saturday, 2 January 2016

PTG listing: 1727-8579.

 

Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) curator Tom Parker has spoken for the first time about the embarrassing abandonment of a Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and Victoria in November due to a playing surface deemed unfit for first-class cricket (PTG 1683-8259, 9 November 2015).  Victoria were awarded outright points after the rain-affected match was called off by umpires Simon Fry and Mike Graham -Smith due to a shifty and unsound surface that had caused numerous fielders to slip over during the 34.2 overs that were able to be bowled (PTG 1684-8270, 10 November 2015). 

 

Parker and the SCG Trust had maintained at the time that the ground was playable, but the issue was the catalyst for frank and urgent discussion between the ground's custodians and their tenants (PTG 1685-8284, 11 November 2015). The outcome has been a more regimented plan for the SCG's transition from football to cricket seasons and more regular, detailed dialogue between the Trust, Cricket New South Wales and the Sydney Sixers Big Bash League team.

 

According to Parker: "at the time the decision was made [to abandon the Shield game] there was nothing we could do about it to reverse". "All we could do was move forward and try to work together with our partners to ensure that nothing like that can happen again and that we put any concerns to rest.  Our position at the SCG is that the ground's always ready to play for all first-class events and I think we've moved on from that. We've sat down and discussed things with our partners as well. We have a great relationship with Cricket Australia and Cricket New South Wales at present”.

 

Parker is happy with the pitch this season, which has taken more spin than in recent years, while also offering something for the seam bowlers. He was more concerned about a bleak weather forecast for the third and final Australia-West Indies Test which starts at the SCG on Sunday, solid rain being predicted for days two and three.  “Hopefully we'll get a majority of play in on day one, day two and day three they're predicting 40 mm each day, so that's a lot of rain. We'll wait and see, hopefully that'll change and we'll have some clear skies, but it's not looking good at the moment”. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,729

  Monday, 4 January 2016

 

• Umpires push on through ‘persistent’ drizzle [1729-8580].

• Twenty20 turns cricket, TV rights, on its head [1729-8581].

• Next Ashes Test may be played under floodlights [1729-8582].

• Windies' board turns back on 'misguided' calls for dumping [1729-8583].

• Sri Lankan net bowler, Bookie link, alleged [1729-8584].

 

Headline: Umpires push on through ‘persistent’ drizzle.

Article from: CA web site.

Journalist: Sam Ferris.                          

Published: Monday, 4 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1729-8580.

 

While praising the umpires for their persistence, Paddy Upton the coach of Cricket Australia’s Sydney Thunder Twenty20 franchise, says his bowlers were hampered by the consistent drizzle in their loss to Brisbane Heat on Sunday night.  The Sydney side suffered the second-straight defeat in bleak conditions at the Gabba, after the skies opened during the second innings, dampening the outfield, the bowlers' run-ups, the ball and - most importantly - the pitch.  It was during the period when the rain was at its heaviest that Brisbane scored freely as the Thunder bowlers struggled to control the soapy white ball.

 

But umpires Simon Fry and Mike Graham-Smith persisted, pushing on through precipitation that never became more than drizzle.  "It was very difficult”, Upton said when asked how his players dealt with the conditions. "The bowlers were bowling within themselves; they weren't really striding at the crease.  The wicket was muddy, obviously it's difficult to hold the ball. They were playing within themselves. But we knew before the game started there was a possibility of these conditions. "We had committed regardless of what the conditions are (and) we are going to focus on what's happening down here and not up there in the sky”.

 

Fry and Graham-Smith, who together abandoned a first class match at the Sydney Cricket Ground in November due to unsafe conditions (PTG 1683-8259, 9 November 2015), said the welfare of players is always their first priority and - despite some criticism on social media - the conditions at the Gabba never warranted a suspension of play.  Fry said: "Our primary concern is always going to be player safety. "Provided we think that it is safe for the players to continue playing out there we will stay out there as long as we possibly can”.  "We felt at that point in time it was still safe, that we could keep them out there and see if it got worse. And it didn't get worse, the rain eased off and it made it a little easier for us to [continue]”.

 

There were no sour grapes from Upton.  “It was probably one of the wetter games I've been involved in, but I think for the spectacle of the game of cricket, cricket would have been a loser if we'd come off in the 12th over when the rain was pretty heavy”. Upton said."All things being equal I think it's really good for the game and the spectators that an exciting game got to be played”.

 

Headline: Twenty20 turns cricket, TV rights, on its head.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                          

Published: Monday, 4 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1729-8581.

 

 

On my last visit to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), there seemed to be tumbleweeds blowing through the stands: 7000 people scattered about, watching Australia play the West Indies in a Test last week.  Now this: a world record of over 80,000 for a domestic Twenty20 fixture in a Cricket Australia Big Bash League (BBL) match last Saturday (PTG 1728-8575, 3 January 2016). 

 

Conjecture points to the events being related. Cricket watchers must make choices. On the basis of the catchweight contest in the first Australia-Wesy Indies Test at Bellerive Oval in Hobart, would you have queued to see the West Indies in Melbourne, except for reasons of sentimental attachment to the institution of Boxing Day? The conclusion is pretty much unavoidable: that many there on Saturday evening had delayed their cricket consumption till New Year.

 

They got, quite frankly, the better deal. It was a perfect Saturday evening in Melbourne. T-shirt and shorts weather. With lots of places still closed, there were also limited things to do. Under these circumstances, the MCG shows its cardinal virtue as a venue: no-one need ever worry about getting in (assuming they have the patience to negotiate the seriously slow-going security anyway). And so the BBL forded arguably its last frontier, Melbourne. Even the outcome was cheerfully subversive: having come for Gayle v Pietersen, the crowd roared for likeable Luke Wright.

 

The shift of BBL to free-to-air television has been transformational, connecting it with mainstream audiences at a cricket time of year. The genie will not willingly return to the bottle. Among other things, what’s playing out is the tale of two broadcasters, Channel Nine and Channel Ten, each of whom signed up for five years in June 2013: Nine pay about $A80 million (£UK39.2 m) a year for international cricket, Ten about $A20 m (£UK8.9 m) a year for BBL. Who might be happier with their investment, do you think? The next rights cycle will coincide with the sale not just of the next round of Indian Premier League television rights, bound to be the biggest of its kind, but the rights to international cricket involving India.

 

The world will look very different by then. It already looks different to three weeks ago.

 

Headline: Next Ashes Test may be played under floodlights.

Article from: The Independent.

Journalist: Stephen Brenkley.                          

Published: Monday, 4 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1729-8582.

The opening Test of the next Ashes series in November 2017 may be played under floodlights. Exploratory talks between England and Australia indicate that there is a will in both countries to stage next year’s match in Brisbane at night.  Attendances at the Gabba are never quite at capacity even for the only series that still regularly draws full houses but that is not the main thinking behind the proposal. 

Change is deemed necessary if the longest form of the game is to survive, and England and Australia are anxious to be seen to be doing what they might expect of others.  There is no intention yet of staging floodlit Tests in England, where the summer nights are so long and attendances are still holding up. But moves towards four-day Tests with 98 overs being bowled on each day are still being considered in various countries, including England (PTG 1699-8388, 29 November 2015).  That would be a reduction of 58 overs in a match, but it would still be more than enough to yield a positive result. It would also encourage players to ensure that Tests do not end in a draw.

 

Both proposals at least demonstrate that the game’s administrators are not giving up on Test cricket without a fight. The question will be, how much they dare dilute matches at the what many still consider the game’s highest level.

 

Headline: Windies' board turns back on 'misguided' calls for dumping.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Andrew Wu                          

Published: Sunday, 3 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1729-8583.

 

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has rejected calls contained in a report by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that it be dissolved immediate and that an interim committee be installed to run the affairs of cricket in the region (PTG 1681-8254, 5 November 2015).  WICB president David Cameron claimed the report lacked credibility and was wrong to link the poor performance of the West Indies team to the existing governance structure.

 

The WICB's decision appears bound to cause political friction in the Caribbean, but has not come as a surprise. Cameron said the interviews conducted by the CARICOM group were limited in scope, and claimed presidents of the territorial boards were concerned they were not consulted nor were the WICB's independent directors.  "This has caused or triggered findings and recommendations by the panel which are not supported by the facts”, Cameron wrote in a 15-page reply.

 

Cameron questioned CARICOM's recommendation to dissolve the board, particularly as it had no issue with any current directors. Nor was he convinced the removal of the board would lead to improved on-field performance by the Windies, who have been hammered in Australia and are ranked eighth and ninth respectively in Tests and One Day Internationals.

"While the board is ultimately responsible for the performance of all of the West Indies cricket teams, members felt there is no objective basis for this assumption or apparent leap of faith”, Cameron said.  

 

According to Cameron, Windies players were "comparatively well-paid", though their match fees and contracts were only a fraction of what Australia's elite earn and as such are particularly vulnerable to losing their best players to the massive sums of cash on offer on the Twenty20 circuit.  This was poignantly illustrated this summer as their inexperienced team was no match for Australia while the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell starred in the Big Bash.

 

Headline: Sri Lankan net bowler, Bookie link, alleged.

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 3 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1729-8584.

 

A practice net bowler is being suspected in the ongoing probe on a bookie approach made on Sri Lanka's Kusal Perera and Rangana Herath, Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera.  He told reporters: "We will make a complain to [Sri Lanka’s] Financial Crime Investigation Division) against him", adding that the bookies are believed to have approached the two players through the 'net bowler’ (PTG 1716-8512, 19 December 2015).  

 

Sri Lanka have started a probe following a complaint lodged by both Perera and Herath that they were approached by bookies to underperform during the Sri Lanka-West Indies Test match played in Galle mid October.  Perera was subsequently found to have used a banned steroid following a random test.  Now he awaits an International Cricket Council ruling on him, which Sri Lanka has already said it would appeal against.  Jayasekera has raised doubts if Perera's drug test result was a conspiracy following his reporting of the bookie approach (PTG 1722-8541, 26 December 2015).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,730

  Tuesday, 5 January 2016

 

• Lohda committee recommends sweeping changes to BCCI [1730-8585].

• Helmeted umpiring pair for CA BBL fixture? [1730-8586].

• CA upbeat BBL won't bash ODIs, Tests [1730-8587].

• Finn blames crowd for dropped catches [1730-8588].

• Top Aussie females set to break through six-figure salary glass ceiling [1730-8589].

• NZ to host South Africa in pink ball, day-night Test? [1730-8589].

 

Headline: Lohda committee recommends sweeping changes to BCCI.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 4 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1730-8585.

 

As anticipated by most observers, the Indian Supreme Court-appointed Lohda committee has urged a shake-up to the administration of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the wake of 2013 Indian Premier League corruption and alleged conflicts of interest (PTG 1727-8568, 2 January 2016).  

 

The three-member panel headed by Justice Rajendra Lodha, submitted its report to the Court for ratification on Monday, suggesting ministers and government officials not hold office, state representation on the BCCI’s top management committee be shaken-up, there be age, 70, and term limits for office-bearers, the formation of a players’ association, streamlining of the election process, and that betting on games be made legal.  

 

The recommendations handed down by the committee are not yet binding on the BCCI, and it is now up to the Supreme Court itself to decide what its requirements for change will be from here.

 

Headline: Helmeted umpiring pair for CA BBL fixture?

Article from: CA appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 4 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1730-8586.

 

The two on-field umpires appointed to a Cricket Australia (CA) Big Bash League (BBL) match scheduled for the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday week may both be helmeted, if their reported intentions in the past come to fruition.  Of the two CA National Umpire Panel (NUP) members involved, Gerard Abood wore a helmet for the first time in his last BBL match six days ago (PTG 1725-8562, 31 December 2015), while John Ward, who was felled by a ball the last time he was on the field, is reported to have indicated afterwards that its time for umpires to wear helmets (PTG 1705-8435, 7 December 2015).

 

Abood and Ward were amongst 46 match officials named on Monday to manage the final 12 matches of the round-robin section of the current BBL series: 11 NUP members for on-field roles, 9 for television spots, 5 match referees, 11 fourth umpires, and 18 scorers from across all six Australian states.  Of the NUP members, Simon Fry, Mick Martell, Paul Wilson and Ward have minimal involvement as their focus over the next two weeks is expected to be on Australia’s One Day International (ODI) series against India, which runs concurrently with the BBL.  Appointments for the five ODIs have not as yet been released.  

 

Three of the five members of CA’s second-tier Development Panel (DP), Simon Lightbody, Claire Polosak and Tony Wilds have been given reserve umpire spots, Polosak two, while a fourth member, Damien Mealey, has been allocated one game as a television umpire.  The fifth DP member David Shepard, who along with Polosak is also a member of CA’s fast-track Project Panel, does not appear on Monday's selection list for the 12 BBL fixtures. He, along with his four DP colleagues, have though been allocated roles in the women’s equivalent of the BBL over the next two weeks (PTG 1721-8537, 24 December 2015).

 

Meanwhile, Brisbane-based umpire Donovan Koch, a former first class player who appears to be highly rated by CA (PTG 1709-8465, 11 December 2015), is being flown to Perth this week to stand in two warm-up matches involving the Indian tourists.  Both games are against Western Australian XIs, the first a Twenty20 on Friday and the second the following day a 50 over match.  Koch’s partner for the T20 will be local James Hewitt, and for the one-dayer Nathan Johnstone.  CA Umpire High Performance Panel member Daryl Harper, a former international umpire, is to oversee both games as the match referee.  Indications are that Koch will be moved up to DP membership prior to the 2016-17 austral summer.

 

While Abood has worn a helmet and Ward is said to think its time to wear one, Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar’s wife Noshaba Banu says she is keen for her husband to wear a helmet in Twenty20 cricket as big hits from the modern-day bats can cause serious injuries to umpires. "I get worried and tell him to wear helmet”, she said, when being interviewed about Dar’s achievement of standing in 100 Tests (PTG 1726-8564, 1 January 2016).  During the World Cup of 2003, Dar escaped serious injury when an uppish drive from Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar saw him take evasive action.  "I could have been killed”, said Dar at the time, as “it was the most powerful drive I ever saw", and “I was only saved because of my good eye sight”.

 

Headline: CA upbeat BBL won't bash ODIs, Tests.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Rob Forsaitht.                          

Published: Monday, 4 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1730-8587.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland expects the arrival of the Indian tourists will lift local interest in international cricket.  The rise and rise of the Big Bash League  (BBL) has been hard to miss over the past month, with the most eye-catching figure being a crowd of 80,883 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for last Saturday's match between the two Melbourne-based sides (PTG 1728-8575, 3 January 2016).  At the same venue just 7,161 fans showed up for day four of the Boxing Day Test.

 

With the exception of the inaugural day-night Test, attendances have generally been low for this summer's series involving New Zealand and West Indies.  "Different seasons we have different touring teams. Sometimes there are peaks and troughs in demand around that”, said Sutherland on Monday.  "We're really pleased and very comfortable with the level of support we've seen for international cricket, for the Test series so far".  "We're absolutely confident with India arriving very soon to play men's cricket ... and women's, that we're going to see some fantastic crowds during the course of January”.  Australia face India in a five-match men's One Day International (ODI) series and three Twenty20 clashes following the SCG Test.

 

Sutherland remains confident the BBL won't cannibalise Test cricket.  He doesn’t "think kids around the country are under any illusions as to the ultimate still being wearing a baggy green cap and representing Australia”. "It (the recent MCG crowd) was further reinforcement of a competition that has been on an upward curve since day one.  "We certainly don't see it as a worry for Test cricket or any other format of the game.  "We've seen record (BBL) crowds all around the country over the last few weeks and that is really exciting for cricket”.

 

CA's long-term administrative head added his organisation had to convert the interest of new fans into other formats.  "We're really clear in our strategy around the [BBL] and that's very much focused on bringing new people to the game - kids, families and females”..  He was unclear though when asked about speculation that future Tests against West Indies could be played in northern Australian during winter.  "We've got a fair idea as to what it looks like but it's only as we get to within 12 or 18 months of a particular season that we start to really fine tune it on a day by day basis”, he said.  "It's still too far away for us to progress any further thoughts around that”.

 

Headline: Finn blames crowd for dropped catches.

Article from: The Times.

Journalist: Geoffrey Dean.                          

Published: Tuesday, 5 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1730-8588.

 

The dropped catches that have cost England so dearly in the second Test against South Africa in Cape Town were attributed by Steve Finn to the difficulty fielders had in picking up the ball out of the backdrop of the colourful crowd.  The home side’s Hashim Amla was dropped twice by England on Monday, once by James Anderson on 76 and then by Nick Compton when he had scored 120.  

 

 “It’s not easy to see the ball here”, Finn said after the day’s play. “The ground and the crowd are very much in line from where the ball comes from. The level of the crowd, and the colours in the crowd, you just lose it in there”.  “When the ball gets a bit older and darker, it just blends in with the crowd — even the one that fell just short of me at mid-off, I didn’t pick it up until it was halfway towards me.  Compo definitely struggled to pick his up. I think square of the wicket particularly, out on the boundary and for your close catchers, it’s hard to see. Hopefully, tomorrow morning, if we do get chances, we’ll see them”.

 

Headline: Top Aussie females set to break through six-figure salary glass ceiling.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Chris Barrett.                          

Published: Tuesday, 5 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1730-8589.

 

During the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne last week, as Australia were in the midst of thrashing the West Indies, another meeting of adversaries was taking place behind the scenes.  On either side of the table were Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's (CA) team performance manager, and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) chief executive, Alastair Nicholson. At issue was a subject that has driven the two parties further apart during the past eight months than would ordinarily be the case with the natural friction that exists between employer and union (PTG 1720-8533, 23 December 2015). 

 

An end to the stalemate, however, might just be around the corner after the meeting in Melbourne. Howard predicts that as a result Australia's contracted female players will be fully professional by the start of next summer, and that state players will be semi-professional in the same time frame. He will not put an exact figure on the salary range that will be available to the Ashes-winning Southern Stars but if the top Australian players are on six-figure contracts for the first time it will be a landmark moment for cricket and women's sport in general in Australia.

 

Howard said on Monday: "I'd be very surprised if that doesn't happen”.  "There's lots of ways to make this work and we're just going through the finer detail of making it work but for [season] 2016-17 I expect incremental growth to get to a point where it's a pretty good outcome for them.  I do think [CA]-contracted girls should be full-time players. We've got to settle on a number between the group of us. I was pleasantly surprised by the first meeting”.

 

Australia's centrally-contracted women's players are currently paid retainers between $A50,134 and $A78,034 (£UK24,500-30,060) out of a $A2.26 million (£UK1.1) pool, a huge lift on where they were only three years ago when the top salaries were only just north of $A20,000 (£UK9,760). State players are presently on anywhere between $A10,000 and $A17,000 (£UK4,880-8,300). Contracts in the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) are worth between $A3,000 and $A10,000 (£UK1,460-4,880).  In a season in which the WBBL has launched successfully, with higher than anticipated free-to-air television ratings, those figures will rise significantly again soon (PTG 1729-8581, 4 January 2016). The only question is by what means.

 

That is the crux of the ongoing dispute between CA and the ACA, who have campaigned for women's players to have their own collective bargaining agreement to give them the same rights as the men but against CA's desire for women's pay to be drawn from the same $A71 million (£UK34.6 m) salary cap that male players are paid from (PTG 1664-8153, 18 October 2015).   

 

The male payment pool is, under their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), calculated as a percentage of overall CA revenue - it ranges between 24.5 and 27 per cent depending on performance - and has gone through the roof since Howard and former ACA chief Paul Marsh negotiated the last five-year agreement in 2012. The cash that flowed in from the World Cup drove it further up this year, as did the tens of millions in compensation CA received over the cancelling of the Champions League. 

 

CA essentially want all players - men and women - covered under the same MoU and paid out of the same pool. The union, on the flipside, believes that if more players are being paid from the same pool, the percentage of revenue that flows toward it should go up so the men do not lose out.  "We've got a view that players are players and all should be part of that collective. They've got a slightly different view”, Howard said. "But we did have a meeting during the Boxing Day Test; we had a few hours together on this actual subject and we've got another meeting in mid-January. It's a start. In the end the female players will get a positive outcome either from us or them or whatever is required”.

 

That will be welcome news for the women caught in the middle of this standoff. Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning, two of the biggest names in women's cricket, already earn six figures from the governing body by virtue of the extra income they draw from CA marketing contracts, but should soon be joined by others.  "Certainly as elite players in the game you want to be as professional as possible and have every opportunity to continue to develop as a player and improve your craft”, Perry said.  "I think that's certainly where the women's game is heading. It's, in a lot of aspects, already there and there are a number of players that are essentially full-time players now”. 

 

Headline: NZ to host South Africa in pink ball, day-night Test?

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 3 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1730-8590.

 

The first pink ball, day-night Test in New Zealand looks set to take place during the South African tour there next austral summer.  New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White has told radio station host Tony Veitch that if a pink-ball trial round in the Plunket Shield in February goes to plan, it's likely the Black Caps will play their first home day-night test during the 2017 season.  "I think it's a distinct possibility and something we've discussed. Obviously South Africa would have to be keen as well but I think that it's very much a possibility”.  "I think if we're going to do it, the first one should be a very big game. Provided we get the conditions right and make it a huge big extravaganza”, White said.

 

White said the Test would likely to take place after Christmas and with South Africa scheduled to tour in February it makes even more sense to have the first pink-ball Test against the world number one ranked test side, rather than Bangladesh as originally mooted (PTG 1706-8444, 8 December 2015).  "The big difference between New Zealand and Australia is that it will be a big challenge to do it before Christmas because of our weather. But I think post-Christmas when it's a lot warmer at night I think will be more attractive”, said White.  Hamilton's Seddon Oval and Auckland's Eden Park are the most likely options to host the Test.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,731

  Wednesday, 6 January 2016

 

• Gayle fined for ‘inappropriate’, 'disrespectful’ remarks to reporter [1731-8591].

• Incident shines light on challenges female journalists face [1731-8592].

• ‘Safety’, 'security’ issues see Australia withdraw from U-19 World Cup [1731-8593].

• BCCI considering pink ball, day-night option for Duleep Trophy series [1731-8594].

• World Test series concept returns to ICC agenda [1731-8595].

• Rauf given more time to respond to corruption allegations [1731-8596].

• Indian boy makes 1,000 runs in school match [1731-8597].

 

Headline: Gayle fined for ‘inappropriate’, 'disrespectful’ remarks to reporter.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 5 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1731-8591.

 

West Indian Chris Gayle, a member of Cricket Australia’s (CA) Melbourne Renegades Big Bash League (BBL) franchise, has been fined $A10,000 (£UK4,890) by his side’s administrators for asking an Australian TV reporter out on a date and directing personal comments at her during a televised mid-game interview in Hobart on Monday.  The fine is the largest known to have been handed to a player in the five years since the BBL was constituted, the previous highs being separate $A5,000 and $A4,500 censures (£2,440 and £2,200), the latter including a one-match ban, that former Australian spinner Shane Warne received two years ago for his on-field behaviour (PTG 1044-5072, 22 January 2013) .   

 

Early on Tuesday Gayle suggested Monday's incident was a "simple joke" that had been "blown out of proportion”, but the Renegades acted after widespread condemnation of the incident.  It occurred just after he left the field after hitting 41 from 15 balls for the Renegades in the nationally televised match when he was approached by Channel 10 reporter McLaughlin.  After suggesting that he had played well in order to get an interview with McLaughlin, Gayle proceeded to direct personal comments towards her.  "To see your eyes for the first time is nice”. "Hopefully we can have a drink afterwards”.  "Don't blush baby”.

 

Renegades' chief executive Stuart Coventry said in a statement: "Chris's comments were completely inappropriate and disrespectful. There is simply no place for these type of comments [and] the club would like to extend a formal apology to Mel McLaughlin. We think of her very highly and the club and players will ensure we work with her in a professional and respectful manner in future.  We've had several discussions with Chris over the past day and he has acknowledged that his comments were out of line”.  The Renegrades stopped short of handing Gayle a match-related ban.  Coventry told journalists his comments may have been “culture related”.

 

CA chief executive James Sutherland said Gayle's comments were a "pretty significant mis-hit" and certainly no laughing matter.  He told reporters that "anyone who sees humour in that is misunderstanding and somewhat delusional about the situation.  I think they're forgetting it's a workplace situation. It's inappropriate and it's very, very public. It just goes to the point about how inappropriate and not cool that is”.

 

Other fines handed down in the BBL over the last five years include then Brisbane coach Darren Lehmann's $A3,000 (£1,465) two-year suspended fine for questioning the legality of Samuels’ bowling action (PTG 1034-5024, 1 January 2013), Perth captain Simon Katich loss of $A1,250 (£610) for abusing umpires (PTG 1030-5004, 19 December 2012), and fines of $A1,500 and $A1,000 (£730 and £490) that Cameron White received for separate dissent charges (PTG 1037-5034, 8 January 2013).  Media reports in the last few months have suggested that Gayle, who is a big draw for Twenty20 leagues around the world, will earn around $A250,000 (£12,210) for playing in the current season’s BBL.

 

Headline: Incident shines light on challenges female journalists face.

Article from: Fairfax media.

Journalist: Chris Barrett and Andrew Wu.                          

Published: Tuesday, 5 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1731-8592.

 

If Chris Gayle's disrespectful interview with journalist Mel McLaughlin has achieved anything positive it's that it might have shone a light on some of the garbage some female journalists and broadcasters have to deal with on a regular basis (PTG 1731-8591 above).   Anyone who disputes that should try this story on for size. Throughout the Ashes series last year, Cricinfo’s Melinda Farrell had to have two security guards with her whenever she filed a video report from outside a ground for her employer.

 

Her security detail was insisted upon by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after she was accosted by drunk louts on two consecutive days outside Lord's during the first Test of the northern summer between England and New Zealand.  On the first day of the match Farrell was outside the North Gate of the ground filming her post-day report without a camera operator when a few obviously inebriated men approached her. The sleazy behaviour extended to licking and biting her hands. She then abandoned her report when they started touching her camera.

 

The following day she tried the Grace Gates on the other side of Lord's (she had to film outside because her employer was not a rights holder). On this occasion, one man broke past stewards to harass her, while a group of at least half a dozen chanted obscene remarks at her. She again abandoned her report, this time showing footage of the harassment to the Marylebone Cricket Club and the ECB, who were horrified and apologised profusely. For the rest of the northern summer Farrell was accompanied by security for her filing outside grounds, including when she filmed post-day reports during the Ashes with Ricky Ponting, one of Cricinfo's analysts during that series

 

Headline: ‘Safety’, 'security’ issues see Australia withdraw from U-19 World Cup.

Article from: CA/ICC press releases.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 5 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1731-8593.

 

Australia have pulled out of the forthcoming Under-19 World Cup series in Bangladesh, which starts in three weeks, due to concerns over player safety.  Australia's senior men's side postponed their scheduled tour of Bangladesh in October due to security fears (PTG 1655-8096, 3 October 2015), and Cricket Australia (CA) have been monitoring the situation in the country ever since.  Whether CA’s position will impact on the chances of any of its umpires on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel taking part in the event has not been made clear.

 

In addition to the Australian senior team, South Africa’s tour of Bangladesh last November was also postponed (PTG 1680-8251, 4 November 2015), however, the Zimbabwe senior men’s, Under-19 and women’s teams all toured that month.  The UK Foreign Office web site currently says “there is a high threat from terrorism in Bangladesh”.  "There have been a number of terrorist attacks since September 2015 [and] further attacks targeting westerners may occur and could be indiscriminate". 

 

CA’s head of security Sean Carroll met with cricket and government officials in Bangladesh last week.  He subsequently reported back to CA in Melbourne and after further consultation with the Australian government, CA made the decision to withdraw from the tournament.  "We have always maintained that the safety and security of Australian teams and officials is our number-one priority”, said CA chief executive James Sutherland in a statement.  “Regrettably [government] suggests that the security threat to Australians travelling to Bangladesh remains as high now as it was when we postponed the Test team’s tour”.

 

Sutherland said: "We have not taken this decision lightly and we apologise for the inconvenience this may create for the organisers of the tournament - in particular the ICC and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB)".  He did not know whether or not other nations will follow Australia's lead and also withdraw from the tournament.  "In advising the BCB, we have reaffirmed our desire to get back to Bangladesh to play cricket as soon as possible and will continue to discuss this with them in the coming months”.

 

The ICC reacted to CA’s move by saying its own security manager and an independent security agency had been working very closely with the BCB and Bangladesh security agencies, and that planned security arrangements for the tournament "satisfactorily mitigate the risks identified such that it remains appropriate for the event to continue as planned”.  It also announced that it has invited Ireland, as the runner-up in the qualifying event in Kuala Lumpur in October, to replace Australia in the 19-day event.  "We remain confident that [we] will be able to successfully deliver this event in Bangladesh”, said ICC chief executive David Richardson.

 

England Under-19s squad are to meet on Thursday to be briefed on the security situation in Bangladesh, and the England and Wales Cricket Board is to again send its security ­adviser, Reg Dickason, to Bangladesh to check on security arrangements before the tournament (PTG 1669-8185, 24 October 2015).  New Zealand Cricket says its team will still take part in the event.

 

Headline: BCCI considering pink ball, day-night option for Duleep Trophy series.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 5 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1731-8594.

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) tours and fixtures committee has recommended to its technical committee that it consider playing day-night games with the pink ball in the Duleep Trophy inter-zonal first-class tournament. The next Duleep Trophy series is likely to be played next September-October in the led up to the 2016-17 season on the sub-continent, a period during which the national team is expected to play 13 Tests at home.

 

A BCCI press release says the committee discussed "various options" to bring more fans to Test matches next season.  The problem anticipated with playing day-night matches during the first-class season in India is that a majority of it is played in the winter, which makes dew a big factor.  If the proposal is implemented it won't be the first day-night first-class match in India as the first class Ranji Trophy final in 1997 was a day-night affair which was played in April using white balls. 

 

Former Indian player Sanjay Manjrekar wrote of that match in Gwalior: "it was one of the best first-class matches I ever played in, the main reason being that we played in front of a big crowd for a change, but clearly the white ball was an issue in that game and so the experiment was not repeated”.

 

The idea of day-night Tests has the support of India's Test captain Virat Kohli, who said just before the first day-night Test was played in Adelaide: "I'm glad the two teams have actually agreed to play an official Test like that as an experiment [and] credit to Australia and New Zealand, both, that they have decided to do this”.  "It is a step towards something [and] as cricketers we all should be willing and accepting of the fact that we need to step forward and contribute to the game however possible. If this is a step towards improving the excitement and the popularity of Test cricket, then I think every team should be in for it”. 

 

On the domestic scene, Pakistan is currently playing the 2015-16 final of its first class competition in a pink ball, day-night format (PTG 1728-8576, 3 January 2016), Australia has another round of similar Sheffield Shield games scheduled for February (PTG 1714-8493, 16 December 2015), New Zealand is looking to possibly do the same in the Plunket Shield around the same time (PTG 1706-8444, 8 December 2015), and the opening match of the 2016 County season will again be played in Abu Dhabi in that format in late March.   

 

Headline: World Test series concept returns to ICC agenda.

Article from: Super Sports.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 5 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1731-8595.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) will be seeking to move closer to the establishment of a formal competition for Test cricket as one of its priorities for the year, its chief executive officer David Richardson said on Tuesday.  Discussions with ICC full members about a possible competition and its format have already begun and will continue over the next few months before a concrete proposal is placed in the organisation's Annual General Meeting in June.

 

Richardson told reporters in Cape Town where South Africa are hosting England in the second of their four-test series: "We want to make a huge effort this year to put something in place that will help us sustain the value of bilateral cricket and, in particular, the profile of Test cricket”.  "The Ashes are still extremely successful and generate lots of money and generally Test series against India will generate money, but there are a lot of series that happen that do not make much more than just to cover the costs”.  "If something does come of it, existing television deals means it would only be able to be implemented after 2019”. 

 

The ICC's other priorities for this year are the standardising of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), to ensure a successful Twenty20 World Championship in India, and to develop the game in the United States.  "We have engaged [the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)] to do research on all the UDRS technologies and, in particular, the edge-detection and ball-tracking so that we've got a institute with credibility to pronounce on that”.  "Once we have those results, we can the review all the principles and policies around how the technology is used”, continued Richardson.   "I can't promise that every one will accept it as yet; that's an unknown, but once the MIT results are known hopefully that will make it easier to achieve."

 

Richardson said cricket in the United States had potential with more active players there than in Testest playing nations like New Zealand and Zimbabwe.  "There are about 80 leagues around the US but they are very fragmented and for that reason the country has made no progress. We have gone in to try and united everyone”. 

 

Headline: Rauf given more time to respond to corruption allegations.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 5 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1731-8596.

 

A decision by the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) disciplinary committee on the fate of players Ajit Chandila and Hiken Shah, who have been charged with Indian Premier League (IPL)-related corruption, has been postponed for two weeks after the third accused in the matter, Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf, sought more time to present his case.  Chandila and Shah have already been questioned by the three-member committee, headed by BCCI president Shashank Manohar, however, Tuesday’s meeting decided to give more time to Rauf to respond. Rauf has claimed his innocence but has not visited India since leaving during the IPL series in 2013 after the allegations were made against him (PTG 1722-8543, 26 December 2015). 

 

Headline: Indian boy makes 1,000 runs in school match.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 5 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1731-8597.

 

A teenager in Mumbai scored more than 1,000 runs in a single innings to set a new world record in school cricket.  Fifteen-year-old Pranav Dhanawade broke the previous record of 628 on Monday in an inter-school tournament, knocking up 1,009 runs off 323 balls.  The innings involved 59 sixes and 127 fours in 395 minutes before his school side declared the innings at 1,465 on Tuesday.  "When I started I never thought about breaking the record. The focus was never that. I just played my natural game, which is to attack from the word go”, said Dhanawade.

 

The previous record of 628 was set by then 13-year-old Arthur Collins over four afternoons in June 1899.  His record-making innings drew a large crowd and increasing media interest; spectators at the Old Cliftonian match being played nearby being drawn away to watch the junior school house cricket match in which Collins was playing. Despite this achievement, Collins never played first-class cricket and he was later killed aged just 29, in the World War 1 battle at Ypres in Belgium.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,732

  Thursday, 7 January 2016

 

• Aussie umpire reported weighing U-19 World Cup safety concerns [1732-8598].

• Ball strike claims women’s life [1732-8599].

• England’s Broad fined for ‘get on with the game’ comment [1732-8600].

• BCB to fine Tamim, Azizul for November BPL altercation [1732-8601].

• Broadcasters moving women’s games to main channels [1732-8602].

• Australia-India ODI match officials named [1732-8603].

• Don’t ban ’super bats’, says BBL bowler [1732-8604].

• Gayle's BBL future unclear [1732-8605].

• Starc still a pink ball sceptic [1732-8606].

• CA wary of foreign bookies as BBL betting approaches $A3 billion [1732-8607].

• Yorkshire Cricket sets up taskforce to help flood-affected clubs [1732-8608].

• Spot-fixer's behaviour to be closely monitored during NZ tour [1732-8609].

• Yasir `mistakenly` took wrong medicine, insists PCB chief  [1732-8610].

 

Headline: Aussie umpire reported weighing U-19 World Cup safety concerns.

Article from: WA media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 6 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1732-8598.

 

West Australian Mick Martell, a third umpire member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) will, according to reports, have a private briefing from Cricket Australia (CA) security manager Sean Carroll before deciding whether to officiate at the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh this month.  On Tuesday CA withdrew its Under-19 side from the event on the basis of security advice that the country was too dangerous to visit (PTG 1731-8593, 6 January 2016).  

 

Nothing was known publicly about Martell’s selection for the tournament until news of his reported dilemma surfaced in Perth media circles on Wednesday.  Currently ranked third on CA’s domestic umpire list Martell, 49, has leap-frogged second-ranked and IUP on-field member John Ward, 53, to be appointed to the event’s 16-man umpiring panel.  First-ranked Simon Fry, like Ward an IUP on-field member, was selected to attend the last U-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates two years ago (PTG 1284-6186, 5 February 2014), and subsequently went on to stand at Test level (PTG 1658-8113, 7 October 2015).  

 

Perth reports say that Martell is aware that every member of the ICC’s 12-man Elite Umpires Panel has officiated at an Under-19 World Cup, that it is a key stop of the pathway to potential EUP membership, and “he knows he is unlikely to be promoted without attending the event in Bangladesh”.  The latter claim appears, however, to be an overstatement of the  overall situation that applies to EUP selection.  Two of the umpires who stood in the last Under-19 World Cup, Chris Gaffney of New Zealand and Sundarum Ravi of India, have since gone on to become EUP members; however, quite a number of others are clearly now not in contention.  

 

Martell is currently in his eighth season as a member of CA’s National Umpires Panel (NUP).  He made his first class debut in 2008 and was elevated the IUP after five years on the NUP (PTG 1193-5748, 23 September 2013).  To date he has stood in 45 first class games, including some in India, New Zealand and South Africa whilst on exchange, 47 List A, 3 of them One Day Internationals, and 53 Twenty20 fixtures, none as yet internationals.  He received his first appointment from the ICC as a neutral official in the 2009 women’s World Cup tournament in Australia, and then the 2014 men’s World Cup Qualifier event in New Zealand (PTG 1264-6098, 6 January 2014). 

 

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan was quoted by an Indian website on Tuesday as saying that he saw no reason for CA’s decision to pull out of the Under-19 World Cup. “They have said they have taken the decision on government advice and because of security reasons". “Cricket is being held all over the subcontinent and as far as security issues are concerned they are there everywhere in the world, [something that is clear] after the recent incidents in Europe”.  “We will take up this issue at the ICC board meeting in February”, said the PCB chief. In related news Cricket Ireland announced on Wednesday that their side will replace the Australians in the World Cup.

 

Headline: Ball strike claims women’s life.   .

Article from: The Times of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 6 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1732-8599.

 

A women drying clothes outside her house in Hyderabad, India, has died after being hit in the temple region by a ball from a nearby game of cricket being played by a group of boys.  On being struck on Boxing Day by “a ball travelling at high velocity", Saba Tasleem collapsed immediately and family members rushed her to a nearby hospital, but as her situation became critical she was moved to a better equipped medical facility.  Despite efforts to save her she succumbed to her injuries on Monday.  

 

Headline: England’s Broad fined for ‘get on with the game’ comment.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 6 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1732-8600.

 

England fast bowler Stuart Broad has been fined 30 per cent of his match fee, around £UK2,000 ($A4.140), for a Level One breach of the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct during the fourth day’s play in the second Test against South Africa in Cape Town on Tuesday.  Broad was charged with showing dissent at an umpire’s decision, the incident involved happening in the 195th over of South Africa’s innings when he twice told umpire Aleem Dar to "just get on with the game”.  

 

That comment was made after Dar and his colleague Bruce Oxenford warned England captain Alastair Cook about Broad damaging the pitch by kicking it in frustration.  The Bowler pleaded not guilty to the charge, which was laid by Dar, Oxenford, third umpire Rod Tucker and fourth umpire Shaun George.  As such match referee Ranjan Madugalle conducted a formal hearing after Tuesday’s play and subsequently found him guilty as charged.  

 

Headline: BCB to fine Tamim, Azizul for November BPL altercation.   .

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Mohammad Isam.                          

Published: Wednesday, 6 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1732-8601.

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has announced that Tamim Iqbal, the Bangladesh Premier League’s (BPL) Chittagong captain, and Azizul Islam the owner of the BPL's Sylhet franchise, will both be fined for their altercation during a BPL match played in Dhaka in late November.  At the end of what was a chaotic game in which Sylhet tried to field two players who were not part of the team sheet provided at the toss, Tamim alleged that Azizul had abused him (PTG 1697-8375, 27 November 2015).

 

BCB disciplinary chairman Sheikh Sohel said the fines would be announced after the Bangladesh-Zimbabwe Twenty20 series in two weeks. "I apologise for taking too long on the Tamim issue”, said Sohel.  "From what I have gathered after speaking to everyone, both were at fault. Tamim should have shown more patience. He is a national cricketer and also a BPL icon. No matter what anyone says, he has to show patience. He shouldn't have behaved like that on a cricket ground”.

 

Sohel added that Azizul would face a bigger penalty than Tamim.  Azizul will also be punished for entering the ground unlawfully. "How does a franchise owner enter that area? He doesn't have the right to get near a cricketer or speak to them. He will be punished for that too”.  "Because the team owner entered the field unlawfully and behaved badly with the national team cricketer, he will be fined more. It wouldn't have gone that far had he not started it”.

 

BPL technical committee chairman Jalal Yunus and chief executive Nizam Uddin had said after the match that Sylhet's misdemeanor of trying to field two cricketers without the prerequisite No Objection Certificate, and not having mentioned their names in the team sheet at the toss, would also be investigated. Sohel, however, did not mention whether or not the BCB disciplinary committee would punish Sylhet for that misdemeanor.

 

Headline: Broadcasters moving women’s games to main channels.   .

Article from: Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Ben Horne.                          

Published: Wednesday, 6 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1732-8602.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) is in talks with broadcaster Channel Nine to move three women’s Twenty20 Internationals onto their main channel later this month, eager to cash in on the boom ratings achieved by the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).  The games involved will see Australia's women’s side play their counterparts from India in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.  The extra exposure to be gained by featuring the Australians and Indians on Nine rather than their secondary channel GEM is yet another boost for CA in their attempts to make women’s cricket fully professional by the end of the year (PTG 1730-8589, 5 January 2016).

 

Channel Nine’s rivals the Network Ten has been stunned by the success of the WBBL and has responded by shifting the match between the two Sydney franchises on Saturday week, as well as the women’s final a week later, from its secondary channel ONE on to its main broadcast channel.  That promotion comes after last weekend’s WBBL Melbourne derby attracted a peak audience of 439,000 viewers, a figure that dwarfs the average numbers for Australia's men’s A-League soccer competition.

 

CA is trying to work towards a position where it will be able to sell WBBL television rights as a separate entity to the men’s product, with the increased revenue to help ensure domestic female players can earn a fulltime living from cricket (PTG 1730-8589, 5 January 2016).  Ten says it had no hesitation in promoting two of their three remaining WBBL matches on to their main channel and CA hopes Nine will follow suit with their international matches.

 

Headline: Australia-India ODI match officials named.   .

Article from: ICC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 6 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1732-8603.

 

New Zealand match referee Jeff Crowe is to oversee the five-match One Day International (ODI) series between Australia and India later this month, umpire Richard Kettleborough of England being the second neutral official, other spots being filled by members of Cricket Australia’s National Umpire Panel (NUP).  Kettleborough is to stand in all five games, twice with Simon Fry an Australian member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and once each with Fry's IUP colleagues John Ward, Mick Martell, and Paul Wilson.  

 

Martell will also serve as the third umpire in two ODIs and Fry, Ward and Wilson once, while NUP members Gerard Abood, Ash Barrow, Shawn Craig, Geoff Joshua and Sam Nogajski, will work as fourth umpires.  The scorers involved will be Lance Catchpole and Sandy Wheeler for the first ODI in Perth next Tuesday, Cliff Howard and Gail Cartwright in Brisbane, James Higgs and Jan Howard in Melbourne, Rammanee Shivakkumar and Adam Morehouse in Canberra, and Robyn Sanday and Kay Wilcoxon in Sydney.

 

The series will take Crowe’s ODI record as a match referee to 229, Kettleborough’s ODI on-field tally to 62, Fry to 25 on-field and 12 as the third umpire (25/12), Ward to 7/4, Martell 4/3 and Wilson 4/1.  Abood will be working as the fourth umpire in a ODI for the ninth time and Joshua sixth, while for Craig and Nogajski it will be their first in an ODI.

 

Headline: Don’t ban ’super bats’, says BBL bowler.   .

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Daniel Lane.                          

Published: Wednesday, 6 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1732-8604.

 

Clint McKay, a fast-medium bowler with the Sydney Thunder's Big Bash League (BBL) franchise, doesn't support calls to ban the monster bats that are bruising BBL bowlers' egos - and mauling their statistics - by declaring it's up to bowlers to "get smarter".  Bowling at the death of any limited-overs format is a big ask for any bowler but in recent BBL matches the Adelaide Strikers batsman Travis Head and Brisbane Heat all-rounder Chris Lynn have won matches for their teams with outlandish power-hitting.  

 

Some have questioned the legality of big bats that score sixes from big snicks but McKay says the onus was on him and his peers to find ways to combat the barrages (PTG 1699-8383, 29 November 2015).  "If the bat companies can produce those bats within the rules and regulations then good luck to them”, he said. "You see other sports developing their technology - there's guys in golf hitting the ball so much further than they did 10 years ago - so we just need to get smarter as bowlers”.

 

McKay said "It's not about having to counter technology, a good ball is a good ball, and if you execute your skill perfectly each time you're going to succeed as a bowler. What's happening is just a matter of cricket going forward; everyone wants to see big sixes, fours and good scores".  "The bowlers have to become better than the batter and stay one step ahead of the game.  You have the big bats but it's the guys actually using them as well - Chris Lynn and those sort of guys are tremendous players and that's what comes into play”.

 

McKay conceded it was sometimes "brutal" to be a bowler, but added quality bowlers were making their marks when it mattered.  "You see the massive scores and you see a lot of teams back-end their run chase at the moment or set up their score. At the end of the day the best bowlers at the back end can win games of cricket and are pivotal in moving forward”.  "I think it's a matter of all the bowlers getting together one day and working out how we can counteract these batters”.

 

While Sydney has been belted by torrential rain throughout the week, McKay said he and his teammates were preparing to play there on Thursday despite the forecast -  just as they did in their loss to Brisbane when they played despite inclement weather. He hosed down the idea BBL organisers may have been appealing to the crowd and television audience by insisting play continue in Brisbane.  "The umpires are there to make a decision and they [deemed] the [Gabba] was fit and we were happy with that, we respect the umpire's decision and move on”.  “Our loss [in that game] had nothing to do with the weather” (PTG 1729-8580, 4 January 2016).  

 

Headline: Gayle's BBL future unclear.   

Article from: News Corporation.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 7 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1732-8605.

 

West Indian Chris Gayle's cards have been marked 'never to return' to Cricket Australia’s (CA) Big Bash League (BBL).  CA signs off on the contracts of all international players and it's understood they would block any franchise that attempted to bring the Gayle back next season following his actions in a game played in Hobart on Monday (PTG 1731-8591, 6 January 2016).  There is still a chance Gayle could have his current deal with the BBL’s Melbourne Renegades immediately torn up by CA should the West Indies find him guilty of more recent allegations he exposed himself to a woman in the lead-up to last year's World Cup.  Either way, the 36-year-old's second stint in the BBL will be his last.

 

Renegades chief executive Stuart Coventry's position was also under intense scrutiny last night after infuriating cricket officials by dismissing as "opportunistic" the exposure claims made against Gayle by an unidentified woman.  CA are livid with Gayle's behaviour on Monday and lack of contrition and the riot act has been read to him that if he puts so much of a toe out of line before this season is through he will face serious punishment that could extend to having his current deal terminated.

 

Gayle's management released a statement on Wednesday denying the allegations made by the woman that he exposed himself.  "As Chris's management group, we have obviously been following recent events closely.  Chris denies the allegations published by Fairfax Media earlier today. It's important that anyone seeking to make false accusations against Chris be aware that Chris and his management will be considering all rights and legal options available. There will be no further comment from Chris or his management at this stage”.

 

CA were unable to hit Gayle with anything firmer than a $A10,000 (£UK4,890) fine due to concerns a suspension or sacking could have been successfully challenged by the player.  However, it's possible an incident of this magnitude could force the BBL to look at how it can more forcefully handle discipline breaches in the future.

 

Headline: Starc still a pink ball sceptic.   .

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Andrew Wu.                          

Published: Wednesday, 6 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1732-8606.

 

There can be no doubting Cricket Australia's (CA) appetite for more day-night Tests but the organisation still has some work to do to convince one of its biggest names about the merits of the pink ball.  Despite the success of cricket's inaugural day-night Test, bowler Mitchell Starc remains a pink ball sceptic and it seems he will remain so until the quality of the ball is improved (PTG 1582-7616, 2 July 2015).  CA has plans to play at least one, possibly two, Tests under lights next austral summer after rave reviews from the Adelaide Test. While feedback from players was largely positive, there remains concerns over the visibility and durability of the pink ball, particularly with the seam.

 

CA will trial a new model of the pink ball with an all black seam to improve visibility in the next day-night round of Sheffield Shield matches in mid-February (PTG 1714-8493, 16 December 2015).  Starc is unhappy curators have to prepare a wicket with extra grass coverage in a bid to preserve the ball, even if that leads to more bowler-friendly conditions.  "Guys are still saying they can't see the seam”, Starc said (PTG 1706-8445, 8 December 2015). "I still think when you're preparing a wicket [primarily] to protect the ball, there is your issue”.  "The ball has come a long way in the past couple of years. I'd like to see wickets keep their own characteristics, and not have to change for the pink ball”.

 

Headline: CA wary of foreign bookies as BBL betting approaches $A3 billion.   .

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Perry Williams.                          

Published: Wednesday, 6 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1732-8607.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has held breakthrough talks with unregulated offshore bookmakers as it races to head off match-fixing concerns amid signs more than $A3 billion (£UK1.45 bn) could be bet on this season's Big Bash League (BBL).  The Twenty20 cricket tournament, which has reached its midway point, looks to be on track to smash last year's figure of $A2.2 bn (£UK1.06 bn) wagered on the regulated market as punters increasingly flock to their phones to place bets over the five-week tournament.  But behind the scenes the national cricket body, backed by the Australian Federal Police, has held its first discussions with several offshore operators that are thought to be major players in taking bets on the BBL.

 

Sources close to CA said it had held talks with the Philippines' based Sbobet and the Carribean-based Pinnacle Sports to better understand the level of wagers they have been taking on the BBL while also deciphering any suspicious bets in a bid to stamp out match fixing and corruption concerns.  Sbobet along with other unregulated betting exchanges in the Philippines such as AAStar and Citibet are thought to turnover $A2 bn (£UK1.06 bn) a week and have generated substantial income from bets made by Australian punters.

 

The Coalition of Major Professional and Participating Sports, an umbrella industry body representing CA, identified several of the offshore companies in its recent submission to former New South Wales premier Barry O'Farrell's review of Australia's wagering sector.  The sports body, chaired by the former chief executive of the International Cricket Council Malcolm Speed, is thought to have triggered the first discussions between CA and the unregulated operators in late December (PTG 1702-8416, 3 December 2015).

 

While the companies remain out of reach from Australian laws, the cricket body is hopeful that by opening lines of communication with the operators it can better protect the integrity of the booming short-form game.  There is also a financial incentive as bodies like CA usually share in revenue from bets lodged on their sport with local operators, by virtue of 'product fee' arrangements, but they are unable to share in the foreign bookies' spoils.

 

The size of the offshore betting market is hotly contested in Australian wagering circles.  The O'Farrell inquiry estimates more than $A1 bn (£UK482 m) is punted on over 2,200 illegal offshore sites each year by Australians, while Sportsbet has said that if the government retains the status quo, more than $A2.2 bn (£UK1.06 bn) will be lost offshore in lost wagering profits by 2020.  Several international operators licensed in Australia have used the figures as a warning to the government that it risks forcing more gamblers onto the offshore "black market" if it fails to move in step with rival jurisdictions and allow live in-play betting during sporting contests (PTG 1654-8093, 1 October 2015).

 

However, Tatts Group chief executive Robbie Cooke in December argued there was little evidence Australians have embraced the betting method by pouring money into illicit offshore websites.  William Hill, fronted in Australia by racing identity Tom Waterhouse, is inclined to disagree.  It cites figures showing it has recorded a 1,060 per cent rise in the number of in-play BBL bets compared with the same stage last season with overall live betting turnover up 167 per cent.  "On average, each match is holding more than nine times the amount of in-play bets than last season, showing that the appetite for BBL betting isn't just limited to the traditional pre-match markets, which are also up 15 per cent overall”, said William Hill spokesman Tim Ashworth.

 

Tabcorp, which remains the largest betting operator in Australia, said BBL bets are up more than 20 per cent to date while its close rival Sportsbet, owned by Irish giant Paddy Power, said the amount of individual bets placed on games has doubled compared to last year.  "We've seen a 50 per cent increase in the amount wagered on matches so far over the summer”, a Sportsbet spokesman said.  "We're basically getting as much interest on a Big Bash game as you'd see on an average regular season game in [Australia’s National Rugby League]”.  A source said if current momentum continues overall betting on the BBL may surpass $A3 bn (£UK1.45 bn) by the end of the current season on 24 January.

 

Headline: Yorkshire Cricket sets up taskforce to help flood-affected clubs.   .

Article from: ITV News.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 6 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1732-8608.

 

The Yorkshire County Cricket Club has launched the Yorkshire Cricket Floods Taskforce that will work with the region’s cricket clubs badly affected by the recent floods in the north of England.  Working with the Yorkshire Cricket Board (YCB) and the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, the Taskforce has also launched a floods appeal to raise money to help those affected by floods.

 

It has been a traumatic time for those communities affected by the recent floods that have shocked the region.  In all, 19 clubs across the county will need a substantial amount of work and resources to get them in any position to host any cricket this northern summer. Andrew Watson, the YCB’s executive director, said "We will work hard to ensure we provide them with the necessary backing, both financially and through the taskforce, to make a difference”.  “We encourage cricket supporters across the country and beyond to dig deep and donate what they can to help these community clubs in their hour of need".

 

Headline: Spot-fixer's behaviour to be closely monitored during NZ tour.   .

Article from: New Zealand, Pakistan media.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 6 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1732-8609.

 

Pakistan cricket authorities have ensured that spot-fixer Mohammad Aemer's behaviour on and off the field will be closely monitored if he tours New Zealand.  Aemer has been named in the squad for a tour that involves three Twenty20 Internationals and three One Day Internationals. His visa application is reported to be currently under consideration by Immigration New Zealand.

 

Despite previous suggestions the visa might not be granted (PTG 1727-8574, 2 January 2016), reports in Pakistan suggest they expect no problems with Aemer being cleared to enter New Zealand.  Officials though expect the 23-year-old left arm quick to be closely scrutinised as he returns to international cricket from a five-year ban after being caught spot fixing in a Test against England at Lord's in 2010 (PTG 661-3263, 31 August 2010). He subsequently served a three-month jail sentence in the UK for his actions. 

 

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) executive committee head Najam Sethi told media ahead of the tour that Aemer "should be very grateful he has got a second life [and] he must now not disappoint anyone”. "He will have to be on his best behaviour on and off the field and his every action will be followed closely”.  Sethi said the PCB had completed all documentary requirements so that Aemer faced no problems getting a New Zealand visa.  Immigration New Zealand said they hoped to make a decision on his application “soon”.

 

Meanwhile, Pakistan's chief selector Haroon Rasheed has ruled out an immediate national team comeback of Aemer’s Lord’s spot-fixing colleagues Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif.  They will resume playing domestic cricket on Sunday in the PCB’s one-day series.  Rasheed told the ‘Geo Super’ television channel "they will have to wait until the next season and appear in the first class tournament before we can decide whether their form, fitness and attitude makes us consider them for national selection”.  

 

Rasheed said that "In Aemer's case, the International Cricket Council allowed him to resume playing early and he first played Grade-2 cricket, then in different T20 tournaments and finally in the first class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and Bangladesh Premier League before we invited him for the national camp”.  "It was only after we were satisfied with his form, fitness and behavior in the camp that we decided to give him a second chance to play for the national team and picked him for the tour to New Zealand”.  He also pointed out that Aemer had undergone all necessary reintegration and rehabilitation programs of the PCB before he was allowed back into the team.

 

"It is too early to consider Butt and Asif. They are still completing their rehab and we have to see how they perform. But they will have to wait I think until next season”, added Rasheed.

 

Headline: Yasir `mistakenly` took wrong medicine, insists PCB chief.   .

Article from: Pakistan Observer.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 6 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1732-8610.

 

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shaharyar Khan has thrown his support to provisionally suspended Yasir Shah, saying that the leg-spinner had taken the wrong medicine by mistake.  The 29-year-old was handed a provisional suspension by the International Cricket Council (ICC) two weeks ago after being charged with an anti-doping rule violation (PTG 1723-8552, 28 December 2016).

 

Shaharyar insisted that the problem of blood-pressure runs in Yasir’s family and that he had mistakingly taken his wife’s medicine.  Under the ICC’s anti-doping code, the suspension period could be reduced if the offence was committed unintentionally.  Yasir’s in-competition test, which was conducted in mid-November, was found to contain the presence of chlortalidone, a Prohibited Substance on the World Anti Doping Authority's Prohibited List.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,733

  Saturday, 9 January 2016

 

• BCCI working to formulate Lohad report response [1733-8611].

• Bavuma hundred for South Africa transcended cricket [1733-8612].

• Pink ball 'massive challenge' under lights, says Misbah [1733-8613].

• Convicted spot-fixer granted NZ visa [1733-8614].

 

Headline: BCCI working to formulate Lohad report response.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 8 January 2016 .  

PTG listing: 1733-8611.

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is to hold a Special General Meeting (SGM) in early February to decide the way forward in regards to recommendations contained in the Lohda committee’s report.  The three-member panel headed by Justice Rajendra Lodha, submitted its report to India’s Supreme Court for ratification on Monday, suggesting amongst other things, that government officials not hold office, state representation on the BCCI’s top management committee be shaken-up, age and term limits be set for office-bearers, the formation of a players’ association, streamlining of the election process, and that betting on games be made legal (PTG 1730-8585, 5 January 2016).  

 

The BCCI’s first step ahead of the SGM is the collation of feedback from the state cricketing bodies who have been asked to submit their views before the end of this month. The second is to obtain the feedback from the board’s three-man legal panel who are expected to meet sometime next week.  One of the state bodies, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), which is headed by former BCCI president Sharad Pawar, has for example called a meeting of its own managing committee next Wednesday.  Pawar is to chair that gathering and "a few legal experts” are also expected to be in attendance. 

 

So far senior BCCI personnel have not been willing to make ‘on the record’ comments about the Lohda findings, however, some say they are not sure if the panel was right in making their report into BCCI governance issues public at this stage.  

 

Headline: Bavuma hundred for South Africa transcended cricket.

Article from: BBC

Journalist: Jonathan Agnew.                          

Published: Wednesday, 6 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1733-8612.

 

Temba Bavuma's magnificent unbeaten century for South Africa against England on day four in the second Test in Cape Town transcended cricket.  I've been very lucky - I have followed South Africa and witnessed their first tour after they came back into world cricket in 1991 following the wilderness years of apartheid.  I watched their first Test match back - their first in the West Indies - which was very significant, but the hundred by 25-year-old Bavuma is absolutely up there.

 

Unfortunately it's a reflection of the awful history of this country that you do have to categorise people by race.  They are trying very hard to overcome the legacy of those years so Bavuma, as the first black African to score a century for South Africa, is massively symbolic.  The South African authorities will be hoping his achievement resonates amongst an enormous number of people who might be inspired to take up cricket. It is very, very important.  In only his seventh Test match, Bavuma played superbly well and proved he is worthy as a Test batsman regardless of his skin colour”.

 

Meanwhile, people write off Test cricket far too early these days - there seems to be an agenda out there saying it has a limited lifespan.  Whenever there is some hard work for the bowlers on unresponsive pitches, people start criticising but Test cricket will endure because it produces climaxes and opportunities for teams to turn a match on its head like they have done in Cape Town.  This match is a brilliant example of why four-day Test cricket, as advocated by England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves last year, would be a mistake (PTG 1695-8355, 25 November 2015).

 

Headline: Pink ball 'massive challenge' under lights, says Misbah.

Article from: Express Tribune.

Journalist: Emmad Hameed .                          

Published: Thursday, 7 January 2016 .  

PTG listing: 1733-8613.

 

After playing a pivotal role with the bat in his side's Quaid-e-Azam Trophy triumph, Pakistan Test captain Misbahul Haq has described playing long-format cricket with a ‘Kookaburra’ pink ball under floodlights as a "massive challenge".  With Pakistan likely to play the second day-night Test in history on Australian soil during their tour Down Under later this year, the pink ball was used in the domestic tournament final to familiarise the players with it (PTG 1728-8576, 3 January 2016), but Misbah thinks players need more time to adjust to the variations that come along with the new ball.

 

“With heavy dew in Karachi, the conditions became extremely difficult for batsmen, especially under the lights”, said Misbah. “The new pink ball was seaming a lot; the moisture on the pitch [due to heavy dew] made it tough for the batsmen. Even lining-up high catches for fielders was a challenge as the visibility of the ball wasn’t all that great. Perhaps the players need more time to get familiar with the ball”.  He stressed though that batting in daylight wasn’t too different from the conventional red ball.  

 

The balls used in the match are believed to be the same as used in the day-night round of Sheffield Shield cricket in Australia in October and the inaugural day-night Test in Adelaide the following month.  Since then ‘Kookaburra’ have developed a newer version which has an all black seam to improve visibility and it will be used in the next day-night round of Shield matches in mid-February (PTG 1732-8606, 7 January 2016).  

 

Headline: Convicted spot-fixer granted NZ visa.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor .                          

Published: Friday, 8 January 2016 .  

PTG listing: 1733-8614.

 

New Zealand immigration authorities granted a visa to Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir on Thursday that will him to travel with his national side for the forthcoming tour of that country .  Amir who served a five-year ban for his role in 2010’s spot-fixing scandal, was included in selected in Pakistan’s both Twenty20 and One Day International squads for the tour which starts next Friday.  

 

Clearance from New Zealand authorities was considered a big hurdle given the criminal conviction he received for the spot-fixing scandal (PTG 1727-8574, 2 January 2016).  Immigration authorities considered different factors, including the purpose of obtaining a visa, the support of Pakistan Cricket Board and New Zealand Cricket, and that he has served his sentence for his actions.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,734

  Monday, 11 January 2016

 

• Batsman run out by a nose [1734-8615].

• Afghanistan bowler fined, warned for ‘send off’ [1734-8616].

• Player suspended over dress code violation [1734-8617].

• Shepherd, ‘111’, matchsticks and all that [1734-8618].

 

Headline: Batsman run out by a nose

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 10 January 2016 .  

PTG listing: 1733-8615.

 

Melbourne Renegades batsman Peter Nevill was run out in a Cricket Australia Big Bash League match on Saturday in a somewhat unusual manner.  Nevill, was at the non-striker’s end as Melbourne Stars leg-spinner Adam Zampa was bowling to the Renegades' Darren Bravo, when the batsman hit the delivery straight back down the pitch.  The ball collided with Nevill's bat and was diverted such that it hit Zampa on the nose who was trying to field the delivery, and from there it struck the stumps and knocked the bails off with Nevill out of his crease.

 

Headline: Afghanistan bowler fined, warned for ‘send off’. 

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 11 January 2016 .  

PTG listing: 1733-8616.

 

Afghanistan fast bowler Dawlat Zadran was warned and fined 15 per cent of his match fee for breaching the International Cricket Council's Conduct of Conduct during his side’s fourth One-Day International against Zimbabwe at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium last week.  Dawlat was charged with “using language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batsman upon his/her dismissal during an International Match”.  

 

Dawlat gave Zimbabwe batsman Graeme Cremer a clear send-off after having him caught by Mohammad Nabi by pointing and gesturing towards the pavillion.  He admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee David Jukes and as such there was no need for a formal hearing.  The charge was laid by on-field umpires Vineet Kulkarni and Chettithody Shamshuddin, and third umpire Anil Chaudhary.  Under ICC regulations all first time Level One code breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand and a maximum penalty of 50 per cent of a player’s match fee. 

 

Headline: Player suspended over dress code violation

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 10 January 2016 .  

PTG listing: 1733-8617.

 

Pakistan’s departure for their New Zealand tour late Saturday night was hit by a one-match ban on batsman Umar Akmal that was handed to him by the Pakistan Cricket Board for violating the dress code in the final of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy last week. Team manager Intikhab Alam said Umar would not be available for the first of three Twenty20 International matches in Auckland on Friday.  The 23-year-old, playing for the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited, was found to have committed a Level One offence by wearing two logos instead of the allowed one on his bat.  Match referee Anwar Khan warned Umar but he did not remove the extra logo.  He had been warned in two earlier Quaid-e-Azam matches.

 

Headline: Shepherd, ‘111’, matchsticks and all that

Article from: The Independent.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Monday, 11 January 2016 .  

PTG listing: 1733-8618.

 

Today is the 11th of January, a date that is recorded '111' in any system using the Gregorian calendar. This score was invariably marked by David Shepherd as part of his umpiring practice during his 92 Test career. Shepherd, who began his umpiring career in 1981 after a playing career with Gloucestershire, was renowned for his superstitious practices while standing. He would famously stand on one leg if a batsman reached the score of 111, or a multiple thereof, as he saw it as an unlucky number. 

 

This particular superstition surrounding 111 most likely harked from the days of Lord Nelson, a man arguably said to have had only one arm, eye and leg towards the latter years of his life (although it is reported that he had not lost a leg!). Other practices employed by Shepherd included taping a matchstick to his finger on Friday the 13th in order to ensure he was touching wood (for good luck) during a day that some view to be unlucky.

 

After a successful first class career with Gloucester, Shepherd opted to enter into umpiring rather than coaching. Before the end of his playing days Shepherd reportedly wrote in a local paper: "in my early days as a player, the umpire's job was probably the easiest in the world. All he had to do was count up to six and call 'over'. If a batsman thought he was out he left the crease and often the umpire would not be called on to make a decision. How frequently does this happen now?!" Shepherd stood in his first international match during the 1983 World Cup in England and eventually retired in 2005 after 92 Tests and 172 One Day Internationals.

 

Perhaps the strongest affirmation of his contribution to the game was from for Australian umpire Simon Taufel's obituary in Wisden: "The authorities struggle for a definition of the Spirit of Cricket. Perhaps the best answer is David Shepherd', noted Taufel.  These days the International Cricket Council’s ‘Umpire of the Year’ is now awarded the ‘David Shepard Trophy’.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,735

  Tuesday, 12 January 2016

 

• Home city to see Bowden’s 200th ODI [1735-8619].

• HK player charged with breach of Anti-Corruption Code [1735-8620].

• Mumbai Cricket Association to oppose Lodha recommendations [1735-8621].

• Pakistani appeals against doping suspension [1735-8622].

 

Headline: Home city to see Bowden’s 200th ODI

Article from: ICC/NZC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 12 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1735-8619.

 

New Zealand's ‘Billy’ Bowden will become only the second umpire, after now retired South African Rudi Koertzen, to stand in 200 One Day Internationals (ODI) when he takes the field in the last match of the NZ-Pakistan series in his home city of Auckland at the end of the month.  Bowden will be standing in that game with another centurion, Englishman Nigel Llong, as that match will see him become the 16th umpire to reach the 100 ODI mark.

 

For Bowden, 52, a former member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel, whose ODI debut was almost 21 years ago in March 1995, the forthcoming ODI series will be the 71st he has stood in, a record that includes a total of 24 games in the World Cups of 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015.  Long, 46, made his first appearance at ODI level in June 2006 and featured in the World Cups of 2011 and 2015, the NZ-Pakistan matches being his 42nd overall. 

 

Australian David Boon is to oversee the NZ-Pakistan series which in addition to the three ODIs will also feature three Twenty20 Internationals (T20I).  In addition to Bowden and Llong, Australian Bruce Oxenford and NZ member of the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) Derek Walker, make up the ODI match officials group.  Bowden, Walker and their IUP colleague Phil Jones, plus their fellow members of New Zealand Cricket’s Elite Umpires Panel, Wayne Knights, Chris Brown and Tony Gillies are to support the T20Is.

 

Long is to stand in the first and third ODIs with Walker and Bowden respectively, Oxenford being the third umpire, while for the second match it will be Oxenford-Bowden on-field and Llong the third umpire, his first appointment in that role since the inaugural day-night Test in Adelaide in November (PTG 1707-8449, 9 December 2015).  Boon’s ODI record as a match referee will have moved on to 82 by the end of the series, Bowden’s to 200 on-field, 58 as the third umpire and 21 as the fourth (200/58/21), Llong to 100/52/23, Oxenford 73/39/11, and Walker 7/2/15. 

 

Knights, who is not an IUP member, will be the third umpire in two of the T20Is, an appointment that has been specially approved by the ICC as Jones will be travelling to Bangladesh to stand in the Under-19 World Cup.  Walker is to stand in all three T20Is, Jones being his partner in the first match on Friday and Bowden in the second and third.  Knights will work as the fourth umpire in a T20I for the sixth time in the opening game then move to the television spot for the last two, Brown and Gillies being the fourth officials for the latter two games.

 

Headline: HK player charged with breach of Anti-Corruption Code

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Mohammad Isam and Peter Della Penna.                          

Published: Monday, 11 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1735-8620.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed on Monday that it has charged and provisionally suspended Hong Kong all-rounder Irfan Ahmed for a breach of its Anti-Corruption Code.  The offence involves failing to disclose without delay to the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit full details of any approaches or invitations received to engage in conduct that would amount to a breach of the Anti-Corruption Code.  

 

Hong Kong Cricket Association chief executive Tim Cutler said: "We are firmly committed to upholding the integrity of our sport and we fully support the ICC's broadened concern around this grave threat to the soul of cricket. We must always put player welfare at the centre of our concerns and no matter what, there is a young man here who needs to be our immediate concern and we will be there for any support we can offer”.

 

The 26-year old Ahmed has played six One Day Internationals since his debut in 2008, as well as eight Twenty20 Internationals, the last of which was in July 2015. He had been in the top bracket for centrally contracted cricketers in Hong Kong in 2014-15, but was not retained for the 2015-16 season. 

 

Ahmed faces a possible ban of between two and five years if found guilty of the charge.  An ICC spokesman said that: "In accordance with the terms of the Code, a disciplinary process is currently underway and the ICC is not able to make any further comment on the matter pending the outcome of the disciplinary process”.

 

Headline: Mumbai Cricket Association to oppose Lodha recommendations

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 12 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1735-8621.

 

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), headed by Sharad Pawar, is set to oppose most of the recommendations the Justice Lodha committee made in the report it submitted submitted to India's Supreme Court a week ago.  MCA's joint secretary PV Shetty told reporters: "We are opposed to most of the recommendations and are one hundred per cent behind Mr Pawar”, however, he declined to discuss details which will now be submitted to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) (PTG 1733-8611, 9 January 2016). 

 

Among the sweeping reforms proposed by the Lodha panel which are set to be opposed by the MCA's managing committee are that politicians should not be involved in administration and should not be older than 70 (PTG 1730-8585, 5 January 2016).  Pawar, a former BCCI chairman who celebrated his 75th birthday last month, is a politician who serves as the president of India's Nationalist Congress Party.

 

Headline: Pakistani appeals against doping suspension

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Umar Farooq.                          

Published: Monday, 11 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1735-8622.

 

Pakistan leg spinner Yasir Shah has decided to appeal against his provisional suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. He has informed the International Cricket Council (ICC) through the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that he will contest the case (PTG 1732-8610, 7 January 2016). The ICC will now form an independent tribunal within two weeks to hear the case.  

 

A PCB medical panel investigation has reportedly indicated that Yasir had taken his wife's blood pressure medication, unaware of the banned substance contained in the drug. While he is provisionally suspended, Yasir cannot play - or be involved in any capacity in - international matches, or games organised by any ICC-affiliated national cricket board or its affiliated members.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,736

  Wednesday, 13 January 2016

 

• India getting raw deal from umpires, claims captain [1736-8623]. 

• Taufel reported working in ICC training role [1736-8624].

• Misdirected text leads to umpire stand down [1736-8625].

• Neutral officials for South Africa-England ODIs announced [1736-8626].

• Time to privatise the BBL, argues players' chief [1736-8627].

 

Headline: India getting raw deal from umpires, claims captain. 

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 13 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1736-8623.

 

Indian captain MS Dhoni believes his side are getting the raw end of the deal from umpires as payback for the team's ongoing refusal to use the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS).  Australian batsman George Bailey should have been out first ball in Tuesday's One Day International in Perth when he gloved a delivery through to the wicketkeeper.  'Hot Spot' showed the ball tickled Bailey's glove on the way through, and ‘Snicko' strengthened the evidence.  But with umpire Richard Kettleborough giving Bailey not out - and no UDRS available for the game - India simply had to accept the decision.

 

Had Bailey been given out, Australia would have been in trouble at 3/21.  Instead, he went on to make 112 in a 242-run stand with Steve Smith to lift Australia to a five-wicket win.  Asked after the match whether his position on UDRS had changed, Dhoni said: "are you indirectly saying that we don't get decisions in our favour because we don't use UDRS?”  "We need to push the umpires to take the right decision”.  "You have to see how many 50-50 decisions don't go in our favour”, and “UDRS shouldn't be umpire's decision justification system”, said Dhoni.

 

When asked whether he felt his team might not be getting the 50-50 calls in their favour because of their stance on the UDRS, Dhoni said "I may agree with you”.  In his view the UDRS variables are simply too great, with too much emphasis being placed on the umpire's original decision.  For example, if a batsman is given not out following an appeal for LBW, the decision can only be overturned if UDRS shows more than 50 per cent of the ball is hitting the stumps.  But if the original decision was out, then even one per cent of the ball hitting the stumps is enough for the batsman to be dismissed.

 

Bailey broke out into a grin when asked whether he had gotten any glove to the ball, saying: "It just caught the thigh guard a little bit I reckon”.  "It would have been interesting on UDRS to have a look at that, wouldn't it”.

 

Headline: Taufel reported working in ICC training role

Article from: Sources.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 12 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1736-8624.

 

Former international umpire Simon Taufel, who left his Umpire Performance and Training Manager (UPTM) position with the International Cricket Council (ICC) at the end of October, is said by reports from Mumbai to have rejoined the world body at the start of January.  The ICC said three months ago after news of the Australian’s departure became public that it was “in negotiations” with him in "regard to a possible alternate role within the organisation” (PTG 1662-8138, 14 October 2015), discussions that appear to have borne fruit.

 

Sources from the sub-continent, where Taufel has spent a lot of time in recent years, are suggesting he is now working in a role that has as it focus the preparation of training materials for the ICC’s top Elite Umpire Panel and second-tier International Umpires Panel groups.  That though awaits confirmation as the ICC is yet to respond to requests for clarification about the situation.  

 

The same Mumbai sources claim what appears to have been Taufel’s sudden departure from the UPTM role was related to the high expectations he had in regards to the way senior ICC umpires approach training and development issues.  Some senior international umpires, a number of whom have been involved in the game as players and umpires for up to two, three and four decades, are alleged to have rejected Taufel’s particular approach to umpiring practices.  Sources claim that led to somewhat of a stalemate and eventually Taufel’s resignation.

 

The UPTM job, which in Taufel’s time had three Umpire Coach positions under it, was essentially created for the Australian by the ICC after he decided, at the age of just 41, that it was time to end his on-field career; primarily he said at the time and well before that, because of the large amount of time he was spending away from his family (PTG  988-4800, 4 September 2012).  The ICC wanted to retain his expertise then just as it obviously does now.

 

Prior to taking up the UPTM role, Taufel acknowledged that setting up an international training and performance architecture from scratch would, in the short to medium-term, "be challenging for all involved” (PTG 1009-4902, 27 October 2012).  The complex task of establishing a coordinated, high-quality training and development system for international umpires across the ten Test playing counties, and have it reflected down into national systems, was indeed a challenge, and while much is still to be done, it did result in some impressive outputs (PTG 1417-6843, 22 August 2014).  

 

Whether the ICC plans to fill the UPTM position, and just how the Umpire Coach positions now fit into its match officials structure, await clarification.

 

Headline: Misdirected text leads to umpire stand down

Article from: Sources.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 12 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1736-8625.

 

A text message sent in error to the wrong person is believed to be behind Cricket Australia’s (CA) decision to stand down National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Mike Graham-Smith from his final two matches in CA's current Big Bash League (BBL) Twenty20 competition.  Graham-Smith had been appointed to a BBL fixture at the Sydney Cricket Ground last Sunday and another game at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday, however, he has been replaced by NUP colleagues Greg Davidson and Gerard Abood in Sydney and Adelaide respectively.

 

Reports from Melbourne suggest Tasmania-based Graham-Smith commented in his text on the performance of fellow NUP member Phil Gillespie’s in a BBL game played in Brisbane last Friday, a match he may have watched on television from his home in Hobart.  Gillespie is one of five Victoria-based members of CA's 12-man NUP, a group who some in Australian umpire circles rightly or wrongly allege receive more favoured treatment from CA.  That stems in part, philosophise some of those involved, because the offices of CA and Cricket Victoria are located only 200 metres apart in Melbourne.  CA and the Victorians are likely to have a completely different view to that assessment. 

 

Unfortunately for Graham-Smith, instead of sending the message to his intended recipient, he is said to have mistakenly directed it to Gillespie himself, who in turn relayed his NUP colleague's assessment to CA.  As it turned out the Tasmanian and Victorian were scheduled to stand together in Sydney on Sunday some 36 hours after the text was sent, and it would appear Davidson was drafted in at short notice to avoid what would probably have been an awkward situation.  Reports say that at the same time Graham-Smith was also stood down from the Adelaide fixture.

 

If CA follows its past practices, an umpire like Graham-Smith, who is believed to sit in the lower half of NUP ratings, would normally have two, perhaps three, further appointments during the current austral summer across the last five rounds of CA’s Sheffield Shield first class competition in February-March.  Just what effect the errant text will have on those appointments and Graham-Smith’s future on the NUP for the 2016-17 summer, remains to be seen.  The Tasmanian, who is 46, is currently in his third season on the NUP (PTG 1133-5490, 26 June 2013), and to date has stood in 11 first class, 9 List A and 16 Twenty20 matches.

 

Headline: Neutral officials for South Africa-England ODIs announced

Article from: ICC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 12 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1736-8626.

 

Javagal Srinath from India, Chris Gaffney of New Zealand and Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena, have been named as the neutral officials for the five One Day Internationals (ODI) South Africa and England are to play in Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, Centurion, Johannesburg and Cape Town next month.  Srinath will oversee the series as the match referee, while Gaffney will be on-field for matches one, three and five, and Dharmasena in games two and four, the pair working in the television spot when no out on the ground.   

 

South African members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, Johan Cloete, Shaun George and Adrian Holdstock, are expected to fill the second on-field and fourth umpire spots in the ODIs, then go on to manage the two Twenty20 Internationals to will follow the ODIs.  Zimbabwean Andy Pycroft will come in as the referee for the latter two games.

 

Headline: Time to privatise the BBL, argues players' chief

Article from: Chris Barrett.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 13 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1736-8627.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) should revisit the concept of privatising its Big Bash League (BBL) and use the monetary windfall to invest in the future of the "main game”: Test and first-class cricket.  That is the view of the Australian Cricketers’ Association’s (ACA) Greg Dyer, who shares the opinion expressed by international players' union boss Tony Irish this week that the International Cricket Council must act urgently to halt the loss of international players to Twenty20 tournaments.

 

CA explored a private ownership model before the competition was set up in its present guise in 2011, with the eight franchises valued at $A50 million (£UK24.2 m) each and various suitors in India said to be prepared to pay $A26 m (£12.6 m) for a 49 per cent stake. Later, a consortium involving Sydney-based businessman Darshak Mehta was willing to stump up $A5 m (£2.4 m) for a 49 per cent share in the Sydney Sixers but learnt that was well short of the asking price. 

 

Despite the potential riches, CA on Tuesday reaffirmed its intention not to go down that path, having abandoned privatisation plans five years ago and stuck with a model of franchises being owned by Australia's state cricket associations. Dyer, ACA's president, is adamant they should reconsider their position, arguing now is the time to strike. "You effectively swap future revenues for a current capital inflow and you pick your moment when the value of that particular asset is at its maximum”, said Dyer on Tuesday.  

 

Dyer argues that "in light of this very, very successful [BBL] summer series, the value to an external investor is as high as its ever likely to be. It's certainly worth a lot more now than it was five years ago just given the success in terms of audience numbers and television viewing and the like”.  He "would encourage either a complete privatisation or a partial privatisation of the franchises. What it does, it potentially throws off a massive amount of capital ... I say that number can be invested back into the primary sport of cricket”.

 

The ACA president says the money so released could be used "to develop the women's game, you use it to further develop the men's game from the grassroots up and you use a substantial portion of it to solidify Test and Sheffield Shield cricket, which is what your primary purpose should be”.  "It would deliver a massive capital inflow to cricket, which could be used to support the main game. [BBL] and T20 will either be the death or saving of Test cricket and the longer forms”.

 

Dyer said a private ownership model would have to include strict franchise relationships to avoid the kind of issues that emerged in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with its corruption scandal in 2013. Unlike the 10-year licences offered initially by CA, he said prospective owners should be offered permanency and transferability.  The BBL is televised live into India on Star Sports, but it does not feature any Indian players.

 

CA's opposition to the proposal of the players' chief is multi-faceted. It flirted heavily with the idea of selling off teams when a delegation comprised of Cricket NSW chairman Harry Harinath, Cricket Victoria chair Geoff Tamblyn, CA commercial chief Mike McKenna and then strategy guru Andrew Jones met with prospective buyers in Mumbai and Delhi in 2011.  Joining them were reps from Credit Suisse, a Switzerland-based multinational financial services holding company, who had been given the rights to sell minority stakes in the teams.

 

Some Australian state associations were keen to cash in, particularly given the embryonic state of the BBL and the scepticism about its long-term viability, but CA baulked at the idea for various reasons. Principally, it did not want to engage in a revenue-sharing model with owners, as happens in the IPL, where franchises receive a sizeable ongoing piece of television rights and sponsorship income.  It also foresaw other major problems and were wary of franchises effectively becoming offshoots of IPL teams rather than engaging in local development as the likes of the Sixers and Sydney Thunder are required to do.  

 

McKenna said on Tuesday: "You can imagine having privatised teams and those owners, whether they have 49 per cent or more, want to take profit from that”.  "That is money that could otherwise be going back into cricket. There is a risk it could put at risk our not-for-profit status and one of the key factors that helps us run the Big Bash and international cricket side by side is the programming”.  "You can imagine if you had wealthy owners with a stake in a competition who had different views, how that might compromise what you're doing to help protect international cricket”.

 

According to McKenna: "We definitely had people who were interested in buying and we had some [state] associations who were very keen to look at the value. But when we talked to people who were interested in buying it was pretty clear their strategic objectives in investing in the league were at odds with ours.  "Why would you compromise that when you don't need the money to build the game? We're already generating that money”.

 

Jones, now Cricket NSW's chief executive, was on Tuesday more emphatic about the flaws in CA's short-lived venture towards privatisation.  In his view: "It was the single worst idea I have come across in my time in Australian cricket".

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,737

  Thursday, 14 January 2016

 

• South African cricket braced for huge match-fixing scandal [1737-8628]. 

• Burns confirmed as new ECB Full List member [1737-8629]. 

• Club issues warning after thief strikes four times [1737-8630]. 

• ECB starts site visits of flood-stricken clubs [1737-8631]. 

• PCB lifts one-match ‘dress code’ ban [1737-8632]. 

 

Headline: South African cricket braced for huge match-fixing scandal

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Nick Hoult.                          

Published: Thursday, 14 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1737-8628.

 

South African cricket is bracing itself for its biggest match-fixing scandal since the Hansie Cronje affair as the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) closes in on a former South Africa Test player thought to be the ring leader in attempts to corrupt the recent Ram Slam Twenty20 competition.  Last month, Cricket South Africa (CSA) charged an unnamed "intermediary" with “contriving to fix, or otherwise improperly influence” matches in that T20 series, however, no details have yet been provided as to whether any matches were under investigation or just who the individual concerned is (PTG 1715-8498, 17 December 2015). 

 

Investigators from the ACSU have been working for weeks on a complex case that is expected to become public once the current Test series against England is completed. The case will be a huge test for CSA and the ICC which is helping local authorities with their investigation.  CSA have declined to comment apart from releasing a statement about the suspension of the “intermediary”, but news circulation in South Africa claim a former Test cricketer has been charged and a franchise team investigated, with other players facing disciplinary action for failing to report corrupt approaches. 

 

Under South African law the former Test player could face jail. The ACSU  is in the process of agreeing Memorandums of Understanding with police in England and South Africa that will allow them to share intelligence (PTG 1713-8490, 15 December 2016).  A formal link would also enable the ACU to benefit from the extra investigatory powers the police have at their disposal.  In December, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the chairman of the ICC’s ACSU, said his unit was engaged in a “series of ongoing” investigations with one, believed to be this South Africa probe, at an advanced stage. 

 

Earlier this week it was revealed that a Hong Kong cricketer due to play in the forthcoming World Twenty20 had been charged with an anti-corruption offence after being approached by the same fixer who paid Lou Vincent.   All-rounder Irfan Ahmed, 26, is facing a possible two-year ban if found guilty of failing to report an approach by a known fixer (PTG 1735-8620, 12 January 2016).  In his recent interview, Flanagan also warned of the danger of corruption at ICC associate nation level and the women’s game. Matches are often televised and it is far easier to gain access to the players. 

 

The Ram Slam was shown live in India, from where almost all cricket corruption emanates. A recent report into fixing in the Indian Premier League recommended legalising gambling in India to help combat the problem of fixing (PTG 1730-8585, 5 January 2016).  Regulating the underground betting market in India would help cricket’s corruption fight but would need political support that has never been present before. 

 

The 2015-16 Ram Slam series struggled to attract crowds and does not have the financial muscle to attract big-name overseas players, with former England player Kevin Pietersen its only real star.  The last thing the South Africa authorities need is for the tournament to be tainted by scandal, but there is also a strong desire at the ICC to prove they can root out corruption and punish the guilty. 

 

Headline: Burns confirmed as new ECB Full List member. 

Article from: ECB press release.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 13 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1737-8629.

 

The appointment of former Warwickshire and Somerset player Michael Burns to the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Full List for 2016 has been confirmer by the England and Wales Cricket Board (PTG 1714-8494, 16 December 2015).  Burns, who played first class cricket for 13 years as an all-rounder, and captained Somerset before retiring in 2005, was added to the ECB’s Reserve List in 2012.   

 

Burns, who will be 47 before the season begins in the UK, replaces the now retired Martin Bodenham on the Full List that is otherwise unchanged from last year.  ECB Chief Operating Officer Gordon Hollins, said: “Martin can be very proud of the successful transition he made from one sporting code to another. He has been a highly respected figure within our first class game and leaves with ECB’s sincere thanks for his contribution to cricket and our best wishes for his retirement”.  “We are also delighted to welcome Michael onto the Full List for the first time and congratulate him on having made such an impressive start to his umpiring career".

 

The Full List for the forthcoming northern summer is:  Rob Bailey, Neil Bainton, Paul Baldwin, Mark Benson, Michael Burns, Nick Cook, Nigel Cowley, Jeff Evans, Russell Evans, Steve Gale, Steve Garratt, Michael Gough, Ian Gould, Peter Hartley, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Graham Lloyd, Jeremy Lloyds, Neil Mallender, David Millns, Steve O’Shaughnessy, Tim Robinson, Martin Saggers and Alex Wharf.  No details are available as to what if any changes the ECB has made to its Reserve List for 2016.

 

Headline: Club issues warning after thief strikes four times

Article from: LCC e-mail.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 13 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1737-8630.

 

Hobart’s Lindisfarne Cricket Club (LCC) has issued a warning to visiting players and umpires after a thief rifled through their change rooms on four separate occasions during the current austral summer.  LCC secretary Kevin Thomas says that cash was the thief’s target as phones, credit cards and the like were not touched.  On the first two occasions Tasmania Police were called and they investigated but could do little after the event.  Thomas says “we do not know if the thief is one of our members, a spectator or an opportunist".

 

Lindisfarne has installed signs in the change rooms advising players, coaching staff and umpires not to leave money or valuables in the change rooms and offered to hold such items secure in their canteen where someone is always present.  Thomas says though that “whilst this offer has been taken up on a number of occasions, [those involved in matches] are still leaving cash unsecured”. The club plans to install a suitable a lockable team safe or cabinet to the wall in each of the change rooms to provide an option but this will need to be managed by the teams.  They are also investigating installing a camera so that there is a record of just who enters the change rooms.

 

Thomas says: "We regret that we have to take these measurers and we again apologise to all those affected and we will do our very best to provide improved security and to catch the mongrel”.  Clubs in England have experienced similar problems in recent years (PTG 1613-7842, 7 August 2015).

 

Headline: ECB starts site visits of flood-stricken clubs

Article from: ECB press release.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 13 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1737-8631.

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has started a series of planned site visits to clubs in northern England who were affected by adverse weather around Christmas as part of urgent recovery work to return grounds to a playable condition (PTG 1732-8608, 7 January 2016).  North-based ECB Facilities and Investment Manager Dan Musson will, before the end of this month, visit 40 clubs throughout Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Northumberland.

 

The initial visits are aimed at assessing what damage was sustained and to determine the levels of funding and practical support required to kickstart the process of getting clubs back on their feet in time for the season ahead. The England and Wales Cricket Trust has pledged significant financial assistance for potential repair work in the form of a £500,000 ($A1.04 million) emergency fund.

 

Speaking about the visits Musson explained: “At the moment there are 40 clubs registered who are seriously affected by flooding”.  "Our primary aim is to get as many of these clubs as possible ready for the start of the season and actually playing cricket on their grounds”.  “There might unfortunately be a few instances where clubs need to hire grounds for a season or share grounds while their playing surface is made ready, but our goal is to have the vast majority back on the field of play as soon as possible and in time for the beginning of the season”.   

 

Both the ECB and Sport England have dedicated emergency relief funds to help those clubs that meet the assistance criteria.  “Sport England has made available a pot to all sports clubs and is allowing up to £5,000 ($A10,380) application for certain defined costs”, explained Musson.  “This is particularly concentrated on grass pitch restoration and direct clean-up costs, for example skip hire and perhaps machinery to get mud or silt washed away or drains cleared”.   Clubs such as Keswick in Cumbria face the task of clearing mud and silt from their grounds.

 

Headline: PCB lifts one-match ‘dress code’ ban

Article from: Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 13 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1737-8632.

 

Pakistan's Umar Akmal is eligible to play in the opening match of the Twenty20 series against New Zealand on Friday after he successfully appealed his one-match suspension for violating the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) dress code during the final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy last week (PTG 1734-8617, 11 January 2016).  He was dropped for Pakistan's recent Twenty20 series against England for his involvement in unspecified "immoral activities" during another domestic match, before the PCB changed course when he was cleared by the police.  He will return home after the three-match T20 series against New Zealand and will not be a part of Pakistan's One Day International team.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,738

  Friday, 15 January 2016

 

• Plans for day-night Plunket Shield round scrapped [1738-8633]. 

• Safety issues dictate need to control bats, say former bowlers [1738-8634]. 

• ICC provides sketch of Taufel’s new role [1738-8635]. 

• Female umpires to the fore in CA national women’s series [1738-8636]. 

• Alleged corruption involves ‘enough players to form a team' [1738-8637]. 

• CSA bans bowler for showing ‘serious dissent’, language issue [1738-8638]. 

• Gavaskar floats pink-ball idea for ODIs [1738-8639]. 

• International cricket still king in Aussie television ratings [1738-8640]. 

• County cricket needs an injection of BBL pizzazz [1738-8641]. 

• No plans to expand BBL in the 'short term' [1738-8642]. 

 

Headline: Plans for day-night Plunket Shield round scrapped

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: David Leggat.                          

Published: Friday, 15 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1738-8633.

 

Plans for a round of pink ball, day-night Plunket Shield matches next month have been scrapped, and that in turn is likely to put back the prospect of a day-night Test being played in New Zealand until the 2017-18 season (PTG 1730-8590, 5 January 2016).  New Zealand Cricket (NZC) had proposed using a round of first-class matches in Auckland, Napier and Hamilton to test the merits of using a pink ball in New Zealand conditions (PTG 1706-8444, 8 December 2015)

 

While the lighting at Seddon Park in Hamilton is fine and it was expected Eden Park in Auckland would also work, the strength of the lighting at McLean Park in Napier presented an issue.  There had been the idea of New Zealand's first day-night Test at home being staged at one of those venues next season, most likely against South Africa at Eden Park.  However, without a full trial run, it is unlikely to go ahead, but the intention is to look at it again at domestic level during the 2016-17 austral summer. 

 

NZC general manager of cricket Lindsay Crocker pointed out the distinction between playing white ball limited-overs cricket under lights and using a pink ball.  ''The white ball only has to last 25 overs, one ball being used at each end in a 50-over match, whereas a pink ball has to last 80 overs”, Crocker said.  He added that there was a strong collective willingness for the pink ball experiment, but having canvassed a range of options, it was felt more work was needed to get the plan over the line.

 

NZC looked at switching the McLean Park game between Central Districts and Wellington, to neutral Seddon Park on a different date, or Westpac Stadium in Wellington, but scheduling problems eventually scuppered those ideas.  Staging it as a day game would also mean an uneven playing field for the premier domestic competition.  NZC are due to have talks with Cricket South Africa (CSA) shortly and it may be CSA are willing to press on in regards to a day-night Test, even without the pink ball having been trialled.

 

More likely, however, the target will be a Test against England, who are the major incoming tour in the 2017-18 summer. There have been no talks with English officials about the idea, but that will happen this year.

 

Headline: Safety issues dictate need to control bats, say former bowlers

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 14 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1738-8634.

 

Former Australian bowlers Geoff Lawson and Stuart Clark have called for bats to be better regulated to ensure player safety is maintained.  Lawson, who told Sky Sports Radio "The balance of the game has just gone horribly in one direction”, cited edges in Australia's first One Day International against India in Perth this week which went to the boundary as proof it is now too easy to hit a six.  

 

Lawson thinks "there needs to be some control put on [bats] just as they put on golf sticks”.  "With more sixes than ever flying off the bat in all forms of the game, it is only a matter of time before a player, umpire or spectator is injured”.  Clark said it was important bowlers were given some protection to stop free-scoring.  "Even when you put the fielders out [batsmen] don't care anymore, they just hit them over their heads”.  "If you clear one over the rope it's actually not a good shot anymore”.

 

Headline: ICC provides sketch of Taufel’s new role

Article from: ICC advice.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 14 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1738-8635.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed it has appointed former international umpire Simon Taufel to a new position titled Training Manager.  Taufel, who left his ICC Umpire Performance and Training Manager job at the end of October, apparently in interesting circumstances (PTG 1736-8624, 13 January 2016), is said to have rejoined the world body at the start of this month (PTG 1736-8624, 13 January 2016).  An ICC spokesman told ‘PTG’ in response to a query that Taufel’s new role will involve responsibility “for Laws and Playing Conditions, development of umpire resources and TV umpiring”, as well as what was called "umpiring projects”.

 

Headline: Female umpires to the fore in CA national women’s series

Article from: CA appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 14 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1738-8636.

 

Seven female and one male umpire have been appointed to stand in Cricket Australia’s Under-18 women’s national championship series which is being played in Canberra and the nearby city of Queanbeyan this week.  New Zealand umpires Diana Venter and Kim Cotton have flown to Australia for the eight team, 28-match event (PTG 1709-8469, 12 December 2015), the others being Margaret Marshall and Deanne Young from the Australian Capital Territory, Claire Polosak of New South Wales, a member of CA’s Development Panel, Ashlee Kovalevs from Western Australia and Queenslander Jillian Shephard, the lone male being Luke Edwards from Victoria.

 

Headline: Alleged corruption involves ‘enough players to form a team'

Article from: Nerwerk24, Radio South Africa.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 14 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1738-8637.

 

The Afrikaans-language online news outlet, Netwerk24, has claimed former South African One Day International (ODI) player Gulam Bodi as the "intermediary" who “contriving to fix, or otherwise improperly influence” matches in Cricket South Africa’s 2015-16 Ram Slam Twenty20 competition (PTG 1737-8628, 14 January 2016).  Around the same time well-connected South African writer and broadcaster Neil Manthorp outlined the scope of the pending scandal while speaking on Radio South Africa, saying there were allegations against "enough [players] to form a team [as] we're not talking about one or two, or three or four” individuals.

 

Bodi, 37, who was born in India, played two ODIs and one Twenty20 Internationals for South Africa in 2007, during a first class and List A career of 108 and 144 games respectively over the 18 years to January last year.  He featured in the 1997 Under-19 World Cup, played an Under-19 Test, the 2012 Champions League Twenty20 series, had stints over the last decade in a number of Premier League-level competitions in mid and northern England. He is yet to respond publicly to Nerwrk24’s claim. 

 

Headline: CSA bans bowler for showing ‘serious dissent’, language issue

Article from: CSA press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 13 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1738-8638.

 

Free State's Quinton Friend has been suspended for two matches, one of which is suspended for the current calendar year, for showing serious dissent for an umpire’s decision and using language that is seriously obscene, offensive or insulting towards another participant.  Friend’s infringement, which he pleaded guilty to, occurred in a first class match between Free State and Easterns in Bloemfontein in mid-December.  As a result of the ban he was ineligible to play in his side’s current first class fixture against the Lions in Kimberley.

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) Disciplinary Commissioner Professor Rian Cloete said in a statement he took “into account the fact that Mr Friend has admitted the offence, that Mr Friend regrets his behaviour and that he has refrained from acts of misconduct during his career [114 first-class matches and 88 A-list matches] thus far”.  “I further take into consideration that both charges relate to two incidents which took place immediately after the final ball of the sixth over was bowled [and] there were no further incidents recorded during the match”.  

 

Colette continued: “It is important that an effective penalty be imposed and that it is fundamentally important for disciplinary action to correct behaviour”.  “In the circumstances I am satisfied that the appropriate penalty in respect of these offences, which are both at Level Two, is a suspension for two matches, of which one match is suspended for one calendar year.

 

Headline: Gavaskar floats pink-ball idea for ODIs

Article from: CA web site.

Journalist: Martin Smith.                          

Published: Thursday, 14 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1738-8639.

 

The red-ball portion of this Australian summer may be behind us and the white-ball schedule just getting started, but it was the pink ball that was once again a topic of discussion in Brisbane today. The suggestion of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar to at least trial pink balls in limited-overs cricket in place of what he claims are lifeless "nothing doing" white balls was an unexpected talking point ahead of the second One Day International (ODI) between Australia and India at the Gabba on Friday.

 

Two days after almost 620 runs were hammered for the loss of just eight wickets in the first match of the series in Perth, Gavaskar vocalised his belief that the recent dominance of bat over ball in one-day cricket – widely attributed to a combination of flat pitches, powerful bats, strong batsmen and batsmen-friendly fielding restrictions – isn't helped by the unresponsive white balls used by the bowlers who are seeking to redress the imbalance. 

 

 "The white does nothing for bowlers. I actually call it a 'nothing doing ball’”, said Gavaskar, one of just 11 players to have scored more than 10,000 Test runs, in an interview with 'The Indian Express’.  "What could be interesting is that with the success of the pink ball it may (be) used in limited-overs cricket to even the balance between bat and ball”.  "It needs to be experimented at domestic level. Maybe the Indian Premier League can have a few matches where they can experiment with the pink ball in the initial stages and see how it goes.

 

However, the suggestion was dismissed today by Indian batsman Rohit Sharma, one of the best exponents in the world of countering the new white ball having averaged 52.28 in ODI cricket as an opener.  Sharma pointed to the introduction of two balls in 50-over cricket – one at each end – in 2011 as providing some much-needed assistance to the fast men early in the innings, even though conventional wisdom is that the rule change has made it much easier for batsman to deposit balls to and beyond the boundary rope in the final overs.  

 

"I don't agree that the white ball doesn't do anything”, said Sharma. "It's a nightmare for the batsmen when you play with the two new balls and conditions are against batters; when it's overcast the ball tends to swing a lot and there does tend to be seam movement”.

 

Headline: International cricket still king in Aussie television ratings

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Chris Barrett.                          

Published: Thursday, 14 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1738-8640.

 

There are two more austral summers before Cricket Australia (CA) goes into negotiations for another local broadcast deal, but expect by then the suitors to be lining up for the rights to Big Bash League (BBL) telecasts.  And Australian broadcaster Channel 9, despite having plenty of programming on its plate with the Test and One Day International (ODI) rights, may well be right in the thick of it. 

 

The last five-year BBL deal was worth $A100 million (£UK48.2 m), so given the tournament's success that figure is only going to rise for the 2018-2023 rights. Even if Nine were to mount a bid for the BBL though, their Network Ten rivals would be hard to shift. There is no doubt this has been the tournament's breakout year, but it's worth remembering that when it comes to television ratings the international game is still king. 

 

Nine is not able to use all the bells and whistles the BBL does, such as having players miked up and the stumps lit up, because their games are governed by the International Cricket Council and not CA. But the first ODI between Australia and India in Perth this week was still the 28th most-watched sports program in Australia in the past 12 months with a five-city metro average of 1.148 million viewers. Only the third afternoon of the inaugural day-night Test against New Zealand in Adelaide in late November, which was 17th overall with 1.614 million viewers, has beaten it in terms of cricket ratings this summer. 

 

Ten's BBL doesn't have an entry inside the top 30 or close to it.  Its top-rating match of this season was between Adelaide Strikers and Perth Scorchers, which drew a five-city metro average of 926,925.  

 

Headline: County cricket needs an injection of BBL pizzazz

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Oliver Brown.                          

Published: Friday, 15 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1738-8641.

 

There was once a time when Cricket Australia’s (CA) Big Bash League (BBL) was derided as ersatz tripe, a kind of cricketing Monster Trucks for the attention-deficit generation. Five years on, with Saturday's Sydney derby between the Sixers and the Thunder long since sold out, it no longer seems so apt to scoff. 

 

January is the month of languor in Australia, a time when schools are shut, the surf is up, and the midday sun is so fierce that even shade-seeking kangaroos wear a look as if to say: “Seriously?” Into this breach steps the BBL, with its psychedelic uniforms, towering sixes, self-lighting stumps, and even a spot of crass sexual objectification by Chris Gayle – whose “don’t blush, baby” remark to Channel Ten commentator Mel McLoughlin has, regrettably, joined the soundtrack of summer (PTG 1732-8605, 7 January 2016).

 

By any gauge, the fifth instalment of the Big Bash is an unqualified smash. More than 80,000 people thronged the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for a confrontation between Gayle’s Renegades and Kevin Pietersen’s Stars (PTG 1728-8575, 3 January 2016), while the average crowd across the league has swelled to 24,229. Just for comparison, the mean gate for Test matches in the country over the past 12 months was 19,138. 

 

It is little wonder that Sanjay Patel, commercial director of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), has flown to Australia to watch this exhilarating alchemy at work. For the brash theatre of the BBL – manifested in Chris Lynn’s five successive sixes for Brisbane Heat on Thursday– has starkly underscored the UK's own absence of a worthy equivalent. No self-respecting ECB executive could experience one of these occasions, akin to a night at Yankee Stadium with an extra helping of blooming onion, without coveting a slice of the action. 

 

By comparison, the ECB's T20 Blast series resembles a ramshackle garden fete. Diffusely scattered in our domestic schedules from mid-May to late August, it has none of the Big Bash’s concentrated significance. For five weeks in Australia, Twenty20 cricket colonises the sporting landscape at precisely the time of year when most people are off work and most likely to watch. Pricing is so attractive that family tickets can be bought for as little as £UK20 ($A41). If all this were not democratising enough, the whole shebang is also available on free-to-air television. 

 

This ease of access lies at the heart of the Big Bash revolution, which has given the game perhaps its greatest shot of adrenalin since Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket 39 years ago. If the ECB is to enjoy anything approaching the same success with its own T20 model, it must consider restoring at least some terrestrial TV coverage. The next set of TV deals comes into force in 2020, heightening the need for a hard renegotiation with right-holders Sky before the ECB loses further ground in a period of convulsive change. 

 

The instinct among our sporting administrators is too often to dither and defer. The protracted struggle simply to reduce the County Championship from 16 to 14 matches for 2017 hints at the scale of the blood-fight that awaits the ECB in its preferred plan to establish a 10-team, city-based league at the height of summer.  The longer it agonises over its options, though, the more it risks being left behind. 

 

James Sutherland, CA’s chief executive, acknowledges that the Big Bash’s exponential success has “cannibalised” the demand for international cricket. But who is complaining, when the public are biting as never before? Prior to the tournament’s inception, an alarming report was published stating that cricket was only the seventh favourite sport among boys under 15 in Australia, and 14th among girls. Fast-forward five years, to a time when players such as Shane Watson and Brad Haddin are signing autographs for children on the boundary for up to an hour after a game, and junior cricket has seldom looked so vibrant. 

 

Puritans worry, naturally, about how T20 is disfiguring the cherished forms of first-class cricket. But the days when 60,000 would flock to the MCG to watch Victoria play New South Wales have been consigned to the realm of sepia. These days, a Sheffield Shield match would do well to entice an audience in four figures. Now Big Bash T20 is where the money and the passion is.  The ECB’s Blast has the feel of an unwieldy, unloved add-on to an overcrowded season, a pale imitation of Australia’s joyous jamboree. Better for the ECB to show courage by injecting a dash of Big Bash pizzazz, surely, than to be caught cold by the pace of change. 

 

Headline: No plans to expand BBL in the 'short term'

Article from: Fox Sports.

Journalist: Ben Waterworth.                          

Published: Thursday, 14 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1738-8642.

 

Anthony Everard, the head of Cricket Australia’s (CA) Big Bash League (BBL), says the league will resist the temptation — in the short term — to extend its season with more games over more days, despite an ever-growing hunger for the popular tournament and calls to prolong its future editions.  This summer’s BBL has clearly been the most successful to date, delivering massive crowds and TV ratings.  Average attendances have grown to 27,394 per match — up from 23,590 last summer — while total TV viewership is up 11 per cent from last year, with an average of one million people tuning in for each session nationally.

 

With 35 games scheduled across 39 days — the shortest time frame the competition has been held over so far — there has been no “too much cricket” attitude from fans, which have lapped up the cricket fiesta.  The chief executive of the Melbourne Stars franchise Clint Cooper earlier this month suggested the BBL should extend its home and away season from 32 to 56 games plus finals to allow all eight franchises to play each other twice before finals.

 

Everard admitted the BBL had kept a close eye on its changing fixture length each season, but said the league wasn’t yet tempted to tinker with its school holiday-friendly schedule, which must also fit around international fixtures and two other domestic cricket forms, the first class Sheffield Shield and one-day competitions.  “At the moment, the formula’s working pretty well”, said Everard.  "One of the interesting things for us to consider is, at the moment, we sit right on top of school holidays, which works very well for that objective of families in that we want to try and make the BBL as successful as possible to that important market for us".

 

“Even a weekend either side of where we are now — as in if we go a week into February — school is back and would be a difficult time for families and schools to come along. Even a week earlier, when school is still in and families are busy wrapping up the school year and leading into Christmas, would be tough. It might not seem much either way, but we are sensitive to what that means to our fans.  “Our preference, at the moment in the short-term, is probably to stay in the mid-December to late-January window”.  "We’ll see what happens in the medium to longer term”.

 

The first two BBL seasons ran over a 44-day period, with 31 games scheduled in the first followed by 35 in the second.  When TV rights changed in 2013-14, the 35 games were spread across 50 days. No matches were played on Mondays or Tuesdays, with the league scheduling games on days leading up to the weekend, as well as on the weekend itself.  This austral summer, instead of spreading the same number of matches out over more days, the league has bulked more matches together over less days, including four double-headers.  The current jam-packed, 39-day season only had rest days scheduled during the Christmas period (two nights off) and the One Day International (ODI) series between Australia and India (five nights off).

 

Everard said: “Rather than horizontal expansion, we’ve gone a bit deeper vertically, trialling a twilight game in Sydney before Christmas followed by a 7-10 pm game in Melbourne, which worked really well from an attendance and broadcast perspective. We’ve done a couple of late night Perth games, which have worked pretty well”.  He indicated CA originally thought a T20 every night would be a bit too much in the first year of the free-to-air deal.  “We thought we’d have a run of three or four games into the weekend and then we’d have a couple of nights off. But we realised very quickly that the demand was there from fans to keep it going every night”.  “Having that consistency of programming has been a real key to the success.”

 

The BBL’s main purpose is to connect with children and women — a goal it’s well on its way to achieving with 38 per cent of the BBL’s audience being female.  It also aspires to encourage fans to engage with other cricket formats and levels. However Everard stressed expanding new cricket fans’ interest to other forms wasn’t the be-all and end-all.  “I think we need to be careful in the intention. Not every new fan who’s coming to a BBL game is automatically going to graduate to ODIs or Tests”, he said.

 

“However there’s no question there will be a percentage of fans that have been introduced to cricket for the first time that obviously have a positive experience and want to then go and see cricket at the international level”.  “It’s a different offering, in that it offers you a different experience with the strategy and tradition involved in Test cricket then the international flavour that ODIs bring”.  Everard said research from the BBL’s 2014-15 season indicated that 50 per cent of BBL attendees were families — a statistic he expects will increase when demographic numbers for the current tournament are revealed at season’s end.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,739

  Saturday, 16 January 2016

 

• Under-19 World Cup match officials named [1739-8643]. 

• UDRS producing ‘lazy umpires’, claims former official [1739-8644]. 

• Protected Area violation sees England’s Anderson removed from attack [1739-8645]. 

• Former South African awarded Aussie officials’ scholarship? [1739-8646]. 

• ECB announces 'Women’s Super League' hosts [1739-8647]. 

• CSA ‘waiting for Bodi to identify co-conspirators’ [1739-8648]. 

• Convicted spot-fixer booed on international return [1739-8649]. 

 

Headline: Under-19 World Cup match officials named

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 15 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1739-8643.

 

Seventeen umpires, all but one from the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and three match referees, have been named to managed games in the forthcoming 11th edition of the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh.  Australian Mick Martell, who last week was reported to be mulling whether to take part in the event because of security concerns (PTG 1732-8598, 7 January 2016), has been named in an U-19 umpiring group that is one person larger than that used for last U-19 World Cup two years ago. Whether that is because Martell is still keeping his options about participating open or not is not clear. 

 

IUP members named for the tournament in addition to Martell are: Enamul Hoque Moni, Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid and Anisur Rahman (Bangladesh); Ahmad Shahab and Ahsan Raza (Pakistan); Gregory Brathwaite and Nigel Duguid (West Indies); Chettithody Shamshuddin (India); Rob Bailey and Tim Robinson (England); Jerry Matibiri and Langton Rusere (Zimbabwe); Ruchira Palliyaguruge and Raveendra Wimalasiri (Sri Lanka); Phil Jones (New Zealand); and Adrian Holdstock (South Africa).  

 

Anisur Rahman, Ahmad Shahab, Brathwaite, Duguid, Robinson, Rusere, Wimalasiri, Jones and Holdstock are IUP third umpire members, the others holding on-field spots.  The only umpire from the ICC’s third-tier Associate and Affiliate panel is Ian Ramage of Scotland.  Those appointed to oversee matches are Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe from the ICC’s top panel of referees, and Devdas Govindjee of South Africa and Graeme La Brooy from Sri Lanka who are members of the ICC’s second-tier Regional Referees Panel (RRR).

 

All three referees were involved in the 2014 series in the United Arab Emirates, La Brooy prior to that also playing that role in the event of 2000.  Ramage returns for his fourth-straight U-19 World Cup after those of 2010, 2012 and 2014, Enamul Hoque took part in the 2008 and 2012 tournaments, and Bailey and Matibiri both in 2014.  Of the 20 match officials named, 13 played the game at first class level before becoming involved in managing matches, five of them also featuring as Test players, while Enamul Hoque has stood at Test level and Palliyaguruge in last year’s senior men’s World Cup.  Ramage and Robinson are the oldest umpires at 57 and Rusere the youngest at 30. 

 

Two on-field umpires and a reserve official will be appointed to all 48 matches across eight venues, while for the 20 fixtures that will be televised a TV umpire will also form part of the playing control team. The ICC says that in some of the first round matches the fourth official will be a local Bangladeshi appointment.

 

Adrian Griffith, a former RRR member and now the ICC’s Senior Manager Umpires and Referees, said in a press statement: “The panel for this tournament represents an outstanding cross-section of international officials who are among the most experienced currently standing in international cricket. The players will benefit from the calibre of the match officials, with the game’s best young talent exposed to umpiring and refereeing of a high international standard”.

 

Headline: UDRS producing ‘lazy umpires’, claims former official

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 16 January 2016 .  

PTG listing: 1739-8644.

 

Since it was first switched on in 2008 until the end of last year, the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) has been responsible for overturning just five per cent of decisions in Test and one-day international matches.  In that time it has probably created almost 95 per cent of the controversy and former Australian umpire Ross Emerson — who infamously called Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing in 1999 — said putting technology before umpiring skill was putting the “cart before the horse”.

 

The Adelaide Test against New Zealand in November saw a howler from third umpire Nigel Llong, who ignored a glaring Hot Spot mark on Nathan Lyon’s bat (PTG 1699-8384, 29 November 2015), while during the first Australia-India One Day International (ODI) in Perth this week the ball brushing George Bailey’s glove sparked calls by India captain MS Dhoni of an umpiring conspiracy because his nation’s cricket board chooses not to use the UDRS (PTG 1736-8623, 13 January 2016).  Such are the questions and allegations repeatedly thrown at the UDRS that even the brains behind the ball-tracking technology, Animation Research’s Ian Taylor, has said there need to be radical changes to its use, including dropping its predictive ball tracker.  

 

'The Australian' can reveal UDRS’s actual impact: according to the International Cricket Council 18 per cent of on-field decisions in ODIs and Tests were requested to be reviewed by players, of which 26 per cent were actually overturned.  Emerson says the reversal of 0.0468 of decisions is not nearly worth the culture of “appalling umpiring” the UDRS has bred and that “It has been set up in such a way it gives the umpire the benefit of the doubt”.  “If the umpire gives it out LBW the ball’s only just got to touch the stump but if he’s given it not out more than half the ball’s got to hit. So you’ve got two different decisions for the same ball. They’ve done it that way ... because they accept the fact that the ball tracking is not accurate which is what the Indians are blueing about.”

 

In Emerson’s view: “The standard of umpiring is appalling at the moment — they don’t even look at the front foot now, they don’t have to”, he said. “You get caught at cover and they say, ‘Hang on a minute, we’ll check the front foot’. What’s the umpire watching?”  “And if they’re only calling no-balls after somebody’s out, how many aren’t called?”  He said the resultant “lazy umpiring” would trickle down through the game.  “We used to all be trained that if there was a run out at the bowlers’ end you had to get square with the popping crease. Now half the time they don’t even try”, he said.

 

Emerson pointed to the fact that for questionable low catches in the outfield the technology just wasn’t good enough.  “There’s always a frame missing ... every one of those is going to be given not out”.  Emerson said before UDRS no one knew about close decisions but it was the same now.  “Look at how many time they’re all confident they should go to the UDRS and it’s overturned”, he said. “It’s important to get the decision right but if the technology’s not good enough we should probably go back to the tried and tested way where the blokes out in the middle do it and if they keep making mistakes get rid of them”.

 

Headline: Protected Area violation sees England’s Anderson removed from attack

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Saturday, 16 January 2016 .  

PTG listing: 1739-8645.

 

England fast bowler James Anderson was removed from the attack near the end of South Africa’s innings in the third Test in Johannesburg on Friday for running in the Protected Area.  Two balls into the 100th over of the innings, umpire Aleem Dar is reported to have told Anderson and his captain Alistair Cook that the bowler had already had two warnings, however, indications are that Anderson disputed that in what was described as a “lengthy discussion”.   Images available show Anderson clearly running down the centre of the pitch.  Ben Stokes continued the over and with his first ball took the final wicket of the South African innings. 

 

Headline: Former South African awarded Aussie officials’ scholarship?

Article from: Sources.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 15 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1739-8646.

 

A so far unconfirmed report from Brisbane indicates that Queensland state umpire panel member Donovan Koch has been awarded a year-long National Officiating Scholarship (NOS) by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC).  South Africa-born Koch, 39, a former first class player in his home country who appears to be highly rated as an umpire by Cricket Australia (CA), could well be in line for a promotion to CA’s second-tier Development Panel (DP) prior to the 2016-17 austral summer (PTG 1709-8465, 11 December 2015).

 

Last month, Koch was chosen to stand in the final of CA’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).  He was then appointed to the two warm-up matches the Indian tourists played in Perth last week in the lead-up to the current One Day International series against Australia (PTG 1730-8586, 5 January 2016).  

 

Koch played in 21 first class and 20 List A games in South Africa 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.

 

The aim of the NOS program, which is now in its fourteenth year and encompasses all sports, is to support and encourage the professional development of emerging "high performance" match officials by helping them progress through recognised pathways to the highest levels of their chosen sport in national and international competitions.  As the governing body for cricket in Australia, CA would have had to given any umpire seeking to submit scholarship applications their support before they did so.  

 

If the report of his award is confirmed, Koch will be the fourteenth cricket umpire to be granted one of the ASC’s $A20,000 (£UK9,660) scholarships over the last eight years.  Whether any other cricket umpires will be amongst 2016 NOS awardees is not known at this time.  Three, now National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Phillip Gillespie, and joint DP/Project Panel (PP) members Claire Polosak and David Shepard, received 2015 scholarships (PTG 1513-7295, 3 February 2015).

 

Current NUP and International Cricket Council (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) member Mick Martell became cricket’s first NOS recipient in 2008 (PTG 200-1098, 22 February 2008).  Early in 2009 now ICC Elite Umpire Panel member Paul Reiffel, who was fast-tracked into umpiring via CA’s PP system, received the scholarship along with then emerging umpire Steven John (PTG 369-1963, 9 February 2009); however, John quit umpiring altogether at the end of the scholarship program after missing out on NUP selection (PTG 639-3183, 26 July 2010).  

 

Now CA umpire coach and former long-serving NUP member Ian Lock, and current members Simon Fry and Sam Nogajski, were awarded scholarships in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively, and their NUP colleague Shawn Craig and former NUP and now DP member Damien Mealey both in 2013 (PTG 1070-5203, 2 March 2013).  The 2014 recipients were the NUP’s Greg Davidson and the DP's Tony Wilds, then in 2015 Gillespie, Polosak and Shepard.

 

Craig, Davidson, Gillespie, Martell and Nogajski were given their scholarships the year prior to their appointment to the NUP, but on the other hand Mealey, Reiffel, Fry and Lock were one, four, six and seven years into their time on CA’s top domestic panel respectively when they came to be selected; Reiffel and Fry in fact already being members of the IUP at the time their scholarships were announced.  Documentation for 2016 applicants said that “scholarships will NOT be available to those who: have been appointed as a senior official on a national team; or are regarded by the sport to be a senior official and not a developing official".

 

Current NUP members who are yet to receive a scholarship are: Gerard Abood, Ashley Barrow, Mike Graham-Smith and Geoff Joshua, plus NUP/IUP members John Ward and Paul Wilson. 

 

Headline: ECB announces 'Women’s Super League' hosts

Article from: ECB press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 14 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1739-8647.

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced the six hosts to compete in its inaugural Women’s Cricket Super League (WCSL) series during the coming northern summer.  The ECB, who plans to invest £UK3 m ($A6.3 m) in the new competition over the next four years, said five months ago that the WCSL initiative had attracted 'remarkable’ interest and that they had received 28 expressions of interest from a "diverse variety of organisations", including all 18 first-class counties, to run teams (PTG 1616-7866, 11 August 2015). 

 

The six hosts named are: Hampshire Cricket with partners; Lancashire County Cricket Board with partners; Loughborough University; South West; Surrey County Cricket Club and the Yorkshire County Cricket Club.  All six groups have been awarded hosting rights for a four-year period from 2016-2019 inclusive.  The ECB says they were chosen following "a rigorous process [conducted] over the last six months, which included an initial expression-of-interest and invitation-to-tender phase followed by prospective hosts being invited to interview at the end of 2015.  

 

Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive, said: “This is a key day in the creation of the [WCSL] – we have now secured the six hosts for the start of the competition this summer. “The bidding process for obtaining the hosts was competitive from the outset, and throughout the interviews, alongside my colleagues on the panel, I was very impressed by all of the proposals submitted”.  "To have seven first-class counties, five non first-class counties and three universities involved, demonstrates how collaborative, imaginative and wide-ranging this project is”.  

 

The Women’s Cricket Super League will start in the summer of 2016 with the six teams competing in a Twenty20 (T20) event. In future seasons the competition will include both T20 and 50-over formats.  The ECB says that further details on the format and timing of the inaugural competition, along with confirmed team names and identities, will be announced in due course.

 

Headline: CSA ‘waiting for Bodi to identify co-conspirators’

Article from: TMG Digital.

Journalist: Telford Vice and Chumani Bambani.                          

Published: Friday, 15 January 2016 .  

PTG listing: 1739-8648.

 

South African cricket’s integrity is burning while the suits fiddle with words they hope will douse the flames of another match-fixing crisis.  Now‚ instead of intensifying their efforts to discover the names of any co-conspirators‚ Cricket South Africa (CSA) say they are waiting for Gulam Bodi, who it described as the “intermediary” involved in allegations of corruption in the CSA’s 2015-16 T20 franchise competition, to identify them.  CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said on Thursday: “Mr Bodi is presently co-operating with ... anti-corruption officials”. 

 

Contacted by telephone by TMG Digital‚ Bodi issued a one-word answer when asked if he was a focus of the probe — “No” — and said he was in a meeting and would call back.  He has not done so and subsequent attempts to talk to him have failed.  While Bodi is‚ allegedly‚ just one piece in a puzzle, Altaaf Kazi‚ CSA’s head of media and communications said: “We don’t know who the other guys are”. “This is an ongoing process and we will know only as the investigation continues”.  “We released Bodi’s identity because his name was already out in the media. We will now wait for him to name all the others who are implicated” (PTG 1738-8637, 15 January 2016).  

 

Tony Irish‚ the executive chairman of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations, or players’ union, as well as the chief executive of its South African equivalent‚ said: “It would be inappropriate for me to comment on any aspect of the investigation”.

 

Headline: Convicted spot-fixer booed on international return

Article from: BBC Sport.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 15 January 2016 .  

PTG listing: 1739-8649.

 

Mohammad Amir was booed on his return to international cricket after a five-year ban, but took a wicket as Pakistan beat New Zealand in a Twenty20 International in Auckland on Friday.  Amir, now 23, was playing for Pakistan for the first time since his suspension for spot-fixing ended.  The left-arm fast bowler was convicted for spot-fixing in a Lord's Test in 2010 and was one of three Pakistan players subsequently jailed for his part in a conspiracy to bowl deliberate no-balls against England. He served three months in prison and his suspension originally covered all forms of the game, but in January last year he was cleared to play domestic cricket in Pakistan and later at international level.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,740

  Sunday, 17 January 2016

 

• BBL umpiring pair both wear helmets, ODI next? [1740-8650]. 

• Run record stretches boundaries of credulity [1740-8651]. 

• Anderson was warned twice before removal, says skipper [1740-8652]. 

• Six runs an over called the 'new standard' [1740-8653]. 

• T20 cricket 'an easy gig’, says Pietersen [1740-8654]. 

• Kiwi side not a big priority for BBL [1740-8655]. 

• Cricket needs to be prepared for the scourge of doping [1740-8656]. 

 

Headline: BBL umpiring pair both wear helmets, ODI next? 

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 17 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1740-8650.

 

Australian umpires Gerard Abood and John Ward both wore helmets for protection in Saturday’s Cricket Australia Big Bash League (BBL) match at the Sydney Cricket Ground in what is thought to be a first at any level of the game (PTG 1730-8586, 5 January 2016).  Abood has been wearing a helmet in BBL games since late December (PTG 1725-8562, 31 December 2015), while Ward decided to wear one after being felled by a head strike in a first class game in India nearly seven weeks ago, Saturday’s BBL fixture being his first senior level match since then (PTG 1705-8435, 7 December 2015). 

 

Abood’s next game on-field will be another BBL match on Monday in Melbourne where he will presumably wear a helmet again, and after that in the BBL semi finals in the likely event he is selected.  On the other hand Ward, an Australian on-field member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, will be in Canberra on Wednesday to stand with Englishman Richard Kettleborough in the fourth Australia-India One Day International (PTG 1732-8603, 7 January 2016).  With high scores and big hitting a feature of that series so far (PTG 1740-8653 below), Ward could well become the first umpire to wear a helmet at international level.

 

Headline: Run record stretches boundaries of credulity

Article from: The Times.

Journalist: Simon Wilde.                          

Published: Friday, 15 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1740-8651.

 

Pranav Dhanawpade became a global internet sensation last week by scoring a record 1,009 not out in a Mumbai schools match (PTG 1731-8597, 6 January 2016). However, reservations are now being expressed about the 15-year-old Indian’s innings. Sharmila Thakur deserves sympathy for acting as scorer, especially on the second day when Dhanawade, overcoming cramp from the night before, resumed on 652 and media and local politicians descended on the ground in Kalyan. Some, though, have queried her accuracy.

 

Dhanawade was reported to have reached 652 with 78 fours and 30 sixes. He batted on to 1,009 with 129 fours and 59 sixes, yet his boundaries alone on the second day should have raised his score to 1,030.  Other inconsistencies were apparent in interim reports of his score and the team total. If the final boundary tally is right, he scored 139 off the other 139 balls faced, which on a small ground suggests the standard of fielding was as poor as you would expect from a bunch of weary kids.

 

The playing area in a walled field between housing blocks was small, particularly square of the wicket on one side, which made boundary hits easier, but while the published scorecard shows Dhanawade hitting 59 sixes, the other batsmen hit only two while making 384 runs between them. According to Mobin Shaikh, who has coached Dhanawade since he was five, the same ball was used throughout: “Not a single ball was lost"

 

Shaikh said that while the ground was small, it was not small for Under-16 cricket and he had played on similar sized fields in league cricket in Bradford 20 years ago. He also defended the controversial decision to bat on against a team made up of youngsters two or three years younger than him, saying the crowd were shouting, “Don’t declare, don’t declare”.  Dhanawade’s team, KC Gandhi English School, eventually declared on 1,465-3. The bowling team, Arya Gurukul, had been bowled out for 31 in their first innings and were subsequently dismissed for 52.

 

Shaik said: “The way the game was going, he was scoring so fast, the mindset of people was that there was no looking back. They were so passionate, like they were watching some kind of movie. It was like a miracle”.  He has instructed Dhanawade not to play today for KC Gandhi in order to prepare for examinations, an ironic decision given that the opposition he put to the sword last week from Arya Gurukul were unable to send their Under-16 players because their school principal refused to release them because of exams.

 

The replacements were Under-14s and, according to their coach Yogesh Jagtap, most were playing competitively for the first time. Some reports put the boys’ ages as low as 11 or 12. Photographs show them to be much smaller than Dhanawade, who turns 16 in March.

 

Shaikh, who attended the second day of the two-day game, was full of praise for the fielding side. “I was very happy with the other team’s boys, the way they played. Even when fours and sixes were being hit, their interest level was good. The wicketkeeper was especially good, to keep for one and a half days at the age of 13 or 14. The body language was very good. They took something from the game that will help them”. For all that, Jagtap said they dropped Dhanawade “quite a few times”.

 

Dhanawade, the only son of a rickshaw driver, has been flooded with congratulations and gifts, including a signed bat from Sachin Tendulkar and a five-year school scholarship from the local government, while a Meerut bat manufacturing company intends to launch a “P-1009” line. Yesterday, Air India offered him a scholarship place in their cricket team.  His performance has also sparked debate about whether it breached the spirit of the game. Rahul Dravid, the former India batsman, recently criticised the cult of big scoring in youth matches in India where individual 200s and 300s are commonplace, and suggested batsmen retire at 50 not out to give teammates a chance.

 

Headline: Anderson was warned twice before removal, says skipper

Article from: Cricket World.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 16 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1740-8652.

 

English captain Alastair Cook has admitted that fast bowler James Anderson was warned twice by the umpire Aleem Dar before he was taken from the attack in the third Test against South Africa in Johannesburg on Friday.  Anderson is reported to have had a “lengthy discussion” on-field with Dar, apparently claiming he had not been warned twice before for running into the Protected Area (PTG 1739-8645, 16 January 2016).  Ben Stokes replaced Anderson and took South Africa’s final wicket off his first ball, but Anderson then talked to Dar and his colleague Rod Tucker again, apparently to indicate his displeasure.

 

 

Headline: Six runs an over called the 'new standard'

Article from: Melbourne Herald Sun.

Journalist: Greg Buckle.                          

Published: Sunday, 17 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1740-8653.

 

Bowlers have been bashed around in the One Day International (ODI) series between Australia and India, but Australia’s John Hastings has given the cold shoulder to suggestions law-makers need to rein in bat’s dominance over ball.  Australia’s successful run-chases in Perth and Brisbane on Tuesday and Friday, with scores of 5/310 and 3/309, were both ground records for successful chases in ODIs.

 

Former Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar has called for pink-ball trials as a possible way to even the ledger for the bowlers against the batsmen with their massive, powerful bats (PTG 1738-8639, 15 January 2016).  But all-rounder Hastings says the game should be left to evolve and he says six runs an over appears to be the new “standard”.  “All the reports have been that it was a really easy chase”, Hastings said on Saturday.  “I don’t think that was the case at all. Take nothing away from our batting group. They did an amazing job to chase 300-plus two games in a row and break a few records as well”.

 

Following last year’s World Cup final in Melbourne, the International Cricket Council introduced a new ODI Playing Condition that allows five fielders outside the circle in the last 10 overs.  “I don’t know whether they need to have a look at [more new rules] or not”, said Hastings.  “I just think that’s the way the game’s evolving now. I think six an over is just the standard.  The [pitches] have been really good. That [Perth pitch] looked really flat and not much pace and bounce in it.  The Gabba got better [on Friday] as it was going on. It was probably on the slower side of the Gabba wickets I’ve seen. There just wasn’t any sideways movement or receptiveness to gripping slower balls or cross-seam deliveries. There just wasn’t much there”.

 

Australia’s opener Aaron Finch, who scored 71 in Brisbane on Friday, says Gavaskar’s idea could have some merit.  “I must say growing up watching cricket and even now you see a chase of 200 on a wicket that has a bit in it — they do tend to be exciting games”, he said.  “I certainly don’t want to see the wickets juiced up but ... there is an argument for [pink balls]. But I haven’t thought about pink balls too much — and at the end of the day people still want to see runs, and so do I”.

 

Headline: T20 cricket 'an easy gig’, says Pietersen

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 17 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1740-8654.

 

Former England captain Kevin Pietersen thinks playing Twenty20 cricket is the "easiest gig in the world". The 35-year-old batsman is currently playing for the Melbourne Stars in Cricket Australia’s Big Bash League and warns that the riches on offer may cause an increasing number of big-name players to turn their backs on international cricket.  The right-hander has taken to playing T20 cricket for various teams around the world, appearing in Australia, India and the Caribbean. He thinks that in comparison to the demands of international cricket, playing domestic T20 competitions is easy.

 

Pietersen wrote in London’s ‘Daily Telegraph’: "There is a lot of talk among the players here in Australia about the future of the game and the battle brewing between international and franchise T20 cricket. If the International Cricket Council keeps the current structure of bilateral tours then I see more players wanting the life of T20.  The boards need to make sure, especially with the big three earning most of the money, that they look after the poorer nations. If the players from those nations can't earn their cash in international cricket then the best will drift away and jump on the T20 bandwagon like five or six of us are doing now, and earning a lot of money for a lot less work”.

 

Pietersen, who last represented England in January 2014, said players are handsomely rewarded for their efforts and also get the chance to play in front of packed-out crowds.  "What some of us are doing now is the easiest gig in the world. You turn up for a franchise, are well remunerated and then move on to your next contract”, he said. "It is very attractive. And we are playing in front of full houses”, his Melbourne Stars attracting a crowd of over 80,000 to the Melbourne Cricket Ground] earlier this month (PTG 1728-8575, 3 January 2016).

 

Headline: Kiwi side not a big priority for BBL

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 17 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1740-8655.

 

The prospects of a New Zealand team entering Cricket Australia's (CA) Big Bash League (BBL) are still a long way off, according to CA's Mike McKenna.  Australia's premier Twenty20 cricket competition has been attracting plenty of interest on New Zealand shores, but the thought of having a Kiwi side participating in the next few years remains optimistic.

 

The BBL had previously explored the option of including teams from New Zealand and South Africa to create a competition equivalent to Super Rugby, but the logistics involved proved impossible.  Although the idea of introducing a New Zealand side to the competition has been discussed further, BBL chief McKenna says it is not currently a priority for the competition.  He told a NZ radio station: "There have been a number of suggestions about a New Zealand team coming into the competition, but our focus at the moment is the growth of the league”.  That is in contracts to comments made by another BBL official, Anthony Everard, last week that the league will resist the temptation, in the short term, to extend its season with more games over more days (PTG 1738-8642, 15 January 2016).

 

McKenna believes other Australian centres would be more likely to gain inclusion in the BBL before a New Zealand team is considered.  "When we do [look at expansion], we've got at least three big population centres in Australia - Gold Coast, Canberra and Geelong - with great cricket venues and a cricket culture and a very big population and believe they should be the first cab off the rank. That's where it makes it hard for us at this current time to contemplate a New Zealand team being amongst that”.

 

Despite that, the BBL continues to create ties with New Zealand sides, with the Sydney Thunder becoming the first BBL team to play a match in New Zealand when they faced Canterbury in an exhibition match late last year.  Partially as a result of that relationship, Canterbury batsman Henry Nicholls joined the Thunder as an injury replacement for Jacques Kallis for Saturday''s must-win game against the Sydney Sixers.  As those relationships continue to evolve, McKenna won't rule out a Kiwi side joining the league further down the track.  "The concept of New Zealand teams will certainly be discussed again before we make any final decisions on where's the best place to put expansion teams when that time comes”.

 

Headline: Cricket needs to be prepared for the scourge of doping

Article from: Gideon Haigh.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Saturday, 16 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1740-8656.

 

Normally football in Australia rejoices in hogging airtime and newspaper column inches in summer. Last week not so much. Instead of one of those carefully choreographed pseudo-events in which it specialises, the Australian Football League (AFL) was confronted with its own unflattering reflection when, after a three-year saga, 34 current or former players at Melbourne's Essendon football club were banned for a year over drug related issues.

 

Cricket in Australia, meanwhile, cruised serenely along, those unsightly Test matches tidied away, the Big Bash League and the One Day International series against India alternating in prime time, further plenishing Cricket Australia's coffers. Problems? Cricket’s tend to be of a lower, less discordant if more lingering key, which thinking in relativities can drown out. At the moment the International Cricket Council (ICC) could rebadge itself with the slogan “ICC: Not as Rubbish as FIFA and the IAAF, At Any Rate”.

 

Yet the issues in cricket’s in tray commonly resemble those facing other sports: governance, corruption, the sway of mass media, the intrusions of politics. This suggests that if you want a sense of what’s coming down the pike, check out other pikes. So what can be said of cricket’s drug risk profile?

 

A perennial backburner challenge, doping in cricket has smouldered more visibly since the ICC adopted World Anti-Doping Authority-compliant out-of-competition testing in 2009. Between them, the ICC and its full members carry out 1,200 tests per annum — not an exhaustively intensive program, and some countries are more rigorous than others, but it is expanding, and diligently run. In the past five years a dozen players have been quietly suspended for testing positive to prohibited substances — a range of anabolic steroids, masking agents, recreational stimulants and diet pills.

 

In the past two months, there have been two higher-profile cases, yet to be resolved: Sri Lanka’s ­exciting keeper-batman Kusal Perera, who tested positive to the steroid nandrolone in October (PTG 1729-8584, 4 January 2016), and Pakistan’s mercurial leg-­spinner Yasir Shah (PTG 1735-8622, 12 January 2016), who tested positive to the diuretic chlortalidone in November. Both have been provisionally suspended. Alternative hypotheses for their positive tests have been mooted in sympathetic media — Yasir was reported to have partaken of his wife’s blood pressure medication, Perera (at first at least) to have been affected by a remedy for leech bite. Appeals are under way.

 

In Australia, of course, the issue will always be associated with Shane Warne, among whose many contributions to the game was the inadvertent one, 13 years ago, of focusing attention on the responsibility of athletes to monitor their ingestions.  To that stage, Australian ­cricket’s decade of drug screening had netted only two minor transgressors. After Warne’s suspension, nobody could claim ignorance.

 

Warne’s mea minima culpa, of course, involved a famous repudiation of the saying that mother knows best. While disclaiming any desire to enhance his performance, Warne confessed to the sin of vanity — the hankering to shed a little weight, to slough off an extra chin. Credible or not, it continues to have some force. Young athletes today inhabit a world of mass and social media mirrors, in a culture hung up on appearances, in a professional environment involving constant bureaucratic surveillance of their physicality — the nag of the wellness form, the nip of the skinfold.

 

Nor are such hang-ups confined to a decadent West. In October 2013, a 22-year-old left-arm quick at the Delhi Daredevils, Pradeep Sangwan, copped an 18-month ban for steroid abuse (PTG 1214-5845, 20 October 2013). In an interview with India’s NDTV at the time, his coach blamed Sangwan’s heedless pursuit of “six-pack abs”, despite the fact that his growing upper body had steadily nullified his ability to swing the ball.

 

Above all, however, doping is another part of cricket being complicated by the proliferation of T20, which is transforming it into ever more of a power game, in which the vogue skill is the big hit. Length hasn’t been such a popular cricket subject since Joel Garner and Viv Richards were caught short on Sydney Harbour Bridge.The cost of the quest for the booming  drive is now being ­seriously examined in golf, which these days returns a higher percentage of adverse analytical findings than athletics and cycling, while baseball may never live down its asterisk era.

 

“Call God”, said Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants 15 years ago when asked to explain the astonishing additional distances his drives were travelling, “Ask him”.  In fact, the call investigators had to make was a local one, to a Bay Area laboratory with an elite athletic clientele, BALCO, where the slogan was: “Cheat or lose”.  Such a slogan would resonate with a young cricketer for whom the ability to regularly hit the ball an extra 20 metres might make all the difference. In a field of myriad aspirants, perhaps carrying a family’s hopes, who would not be tempted to seek a tiny edge, to take a little shortcut?

 

Indeed it’s possible our thinking on doping in cricket is dated. We still regard it as a discrete offence rather than as a segment of the continuum of malpractice. Today’s young cricketer is ever more so an individual athlete, faced with all manner of temptations and inducements, often encircled by instant friends and ingratiating helpers.   He glimpses a gilded world, but sporting life is short and nothing is certain. He receives warnings, but warnings are not welfare; he is advised of prohibitions, but prohibitions are not pastoral care. Soon after Perera was suspended, it was reported that he had been approached by the emissary of a fixer in the guise of a net bowler, with the inference this may be related to his drug test.

 

True or not, who could doubt the tentacular reach of cricket corruption in a week in which it has been revealed in South African domestic T20 and ICC associates level in Hong Kong  Forces are massing in the shadows of cricket we barely understand, and may not until it is too late. If cricket is serious about heading doping off at the pass, a regimen of testing alone may not be sufficient; investigative support, of the kind that finally closed BALCO, could be required. As the AFL’s benighted Essendon Football Club have demonstrated this past week, it’s all fun and games until someone loses a career.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,741

  Tuesday, 19 January 2016

 

• BCCI hands out life, 5-year, bans to IPL pair [1741-8657]. 

• South Africa braces for more match-fixing revelations [1741-8658]. 

• ‘Pitchsiders’ evicted from Big Bash matches [1741-8659]. 

• Special BCCI meeting on Lodha report faces delay [1741-8660]. 

 

Headline: BCCI hands out life, 5-year, bans to IPL pair. 

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 18 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1741-8657.

 

Ajit Chandila, a member of the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Rajasthan Royals franchise, has been banned for life by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after he was found guilty of "misconduct and corruption" in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal.  The BCCI’s  disciplinary committee on Monday also banned Mumbai's Hiken Shah for five years for breaching BCCI's anti-corruption code (PTG 1722-8543, 26 December 2015).  Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf, who was called to face the disciplinary committee over IPL matters did not provide a submission and he has been given one "final opportunity” to provide information in regards to the allegations made against him (PTG 1731-8596, 6 January 2016).

 

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said in a media release that the bans handed to Chandila and Shah prevent them "from playing or representing cricket in any form or to be associated in any way with the activities of the Board or its Affiliates”.  In regards to Rauf, Thakur said "He did not appear in person but sent a reply stating that no fair enquiry has been conducted in his matter, and hence a new enquiry be held by appointing another enquiry officer”, however, “that request was rejected by the disciplinary committee".

 

Rauf has been given "a final opportunity to submit his written statement if any, and produce documents on which he proposes to rely, before the ninth of next month". "The date of the hearing and the final order has been scheduled for the twelfth in Mumbai”, said Thakur.

 

Headline: South Africa braces for more match-fixing revelations. 

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Scyld Berry.                          

Published: Monday, 18 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1741-8658.

 

South African cricket is bracing itself for more bad news this week, with further revelations about match-fixing to follow the loss of the Test series against England and their number one Test status (PTG 1737-8628, 14 January 2016).  After the former South African international Gulam Bodi was charged with conspiring to fix matches in Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) T20 RamSlam competition before Christmas (PTG 1739-8648, 16 January 2016), the best-case scenario is that other players will be charged with nothing more serious than non-disclosure, which carries a maximum ban of two years. 

 

The 'Weekend Argus' in Cape Town revealed that four Proteas – players who have represented South Africa in one format or another – and four other domestic players were offered sums of up to 800,000 Rand ($A69,240, £UK33,400) for one spot-fix, an enormous sum in a country where cricketers are paid far less than their counterparts in Australia or England. 

Bodi, 37, who played two one-day internationals and a T20 international for South Africa in 2007, was alleged to have been on commissions of up to 150,000 Rand ($A13,000, £UK6,300). 

 

When contacted about the charges made by CSA in their 13-page Notice of Disciplinary Charge, Bodi declined to comment (PTG 1738-8637, 15 January 2016). Bodi, who was born in India before emigrating to South Africa as a teenager, is also alleged to have offered to arrange meetings between players and Indian businessmen. 

 

The worst-case scenario for South African cricket is that some of the eight players will be accused of more than non-disclosure, though the 'Weekend Argus' stated that they have all denied any wrong-doing.  It is understood that while none of the four Proteas is a member of the current national squads, they have represented South Africa in recent years, and are nothing to do with the historic match-fixing done by the late captain Hansie Cronje, who fixed the Test between South Africa and England at Centurion in 1999-2000. 

 

Headline: ‘Pitchsiders’ evicted from Big Bash matches. 

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Tom Decent.                          

Published: Monday, 18 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1741-8659.

 

So-called "pitchsiders" are continuing to infiltrate Cricket Australia’s (CA) Big Bash League (BBL) matches by sneaking laptops and mobile phones into grounds (PTG 1718-8517, 21 December 2015).  Security and anti-corruption officials are remaining vigilant as CA confirmed on Monday it was aware of a number of incidents over the past few weeks involving spectators being evicted from BBL games for partaking in suspicious activity. 

 

While CA refused to elaborate on specific details because the evictions were "operational matters", Fairfax Media understands a number of spectators at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday for the Melbourne Stars and Brisbane Heat match were evicted for using laptops and other devices while sitting in the crowd.  It is believed even more spectators at the same match were approached by security for using mobile phones to relay information about match conditions and up-to-the-second information about the game at hand. 

 

While it appears the issue is not confined to one state in particular, the spectators were evicted from games because they breached various terms and conditions of entry enforced at different grounds around the country.  It is unclear whether the spectators who were asked to leave have been handed bans or move-on notices. Security at the ground passes on information about the incident to police, who then deal appropriately with the offenders and determine a punishment, should one be necessary.  

 

CA and the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit have worked tirelessly in recent years to stamp out the activity.  While not illegal in New South Wales, is not a good look for a sport trying to distance itself from the shady underworld of match-fixing.  In Victoria, however, pitchsiding is now a criminal offence after laws passed in 2013 target individuals who try to corrupt a betting outcome. "Australian cricket has a long-standing, proactive approach to sports integrity management”, a CA spokesperson 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”.

 

In 2013 CA hired an external bet monitoring company, Sportsradar, to provide intelligence on the nature and volume of betting on domestic matches.  The national body has an in-house integrity analyst to assess betting trends as well as relationships with a number of official betting partners that assist in the ongoing integrity management of all competitions, by agreeing to information sharing and other integrity requirements.

 

The most high-profile case of pitchsiding in Australia occurred when Rajiv Mulchandani, a British national, was evicted from two stadiums in Sydney in December 2014 after police caught him live-betting on his laptop behind the bowler's arm during a game between the Sydney Thunder and Brisbane Heat.   He was charged with trespass offences after it became clear he had re-entered the Olympic Stadium after being banned from the venue (PTG 1492-7210, 30 December 2014).

 

Pitchsiding is not a new phenomenon. It involves a spectator using an electronic device to bet — or relay information — to someone who places a live in-play bet which takes advantage of the slight time difference in overseas broadcasts to potentially gain an advantage over bookmakers before odds are changed. 

 

Headline: Special BCCI meeting on Lodha report faces delay. 

Article from: Mumbai Mirror.

Journalist: Vijay Tagore.                          

Published: Monday, 18 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1741-8660.

 

The legal committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) met in Mumbai on Sunday but deferred formulating advice on the Lodha Committee report due to the need to further study its recommendations.  The consensus among the members was that the BCCI’s 27 state associations, who have been given until the end of this month to send put forward their views on the Lodha report, also need more time for their deliberations.  As such the early-February date for the BCCI’s planned Special General Meeting now looks like being convened towards the end of that month (PTG 1733-8611, 9 January 2016).  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,742

  Thursday, 21 January 2016

 

• Umpire shin strike brings new focus to safety issues [1742-8661]. 

• ICC joins SLC in banning Galle curator [1742-8662]. 

• Former international announces his retirement [1742-8663]. 

• BBL final appointments reflect CA umpire rankings [1742-8664]. 

 

Headline: Umpire shin strike brings new focus to safety issues.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 21 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1742-8661.

 

English umpire Richard Kettleborough ‘retired hurt’ and was replaced in the One Day International (ODI) between Australia and India in Canberra on Wednesday after he was struck on the shin by a ball hit by home side batsman Aaron Finch.  The incident occurred in a match that saw Australian umpire John Ward, who was felled when hit in a match in India last month, become the first umpire to wear a helmet for protection in an international fixture (PTG 1740-8650, 17 January 2016).  Ward is reported to have also worn a box and shin guards, the latter which may well have lessened Kettleborough’s injury.

 

Kettleborough, the current ICC ‘Umpire of the Year’, was struck by a ball that deflected off bowler Ishant Sharma's hand, the force being such that it ricocheted from the umpire’s shin and dislodged a bail.  The strike occurred in the match’s sixth over but Kettleborough, who was attended to by medical staff, battled through the pain until drinks at the end of the sixteenth when he hobbled from the field and was replaced by third umpire, Australian Paul Wilson.  The Englishman's leg is said to have swelled and he experienced numbness in his foot.  

 

One area Ward apparently did not have protection for was his chest. Five months ago, senior umpires in England were reported to be looking at the use of baseball catcher's helmets, chest pads and shin guards (PTG 1631-7965, 30 August 2015), but as yet there has been no indication that the England and Wales Cricket Board, or Cricket Australia who if reports are correct has been in liaison on such matters (PTG 1613-7840, 7 August 2015), have made any significant progress in umpire protection issues.  However, resolving such issues is not altogether straight forward. 

 

Australian chairman of selectors Rod Marsh said in August that if he was umpiring he would wear a baseball catcher's helmet, chest pad and shin guards (PTG 1635-7999, 3 September 2015).  Sydney grade umpire Karl Wentzel, who has worn a helmet since loosing five teeth after being struck 14 years ago, also pointed to the need "to look at a [torso] guard [like a baseball umpire's] because we've seen many umpires get hit in the chest and stomach” (PTG 1685-8283, 11 November 2015).  While two umpires have been killed in recent years, one whilst at square leg by a fielder’s throw (PTG 601-3017, 5 May 2010), and the other at the bowler’s end by a batsman’s shot (PTG 1472-7119, 1 December 2014), it has been chest strikes suffered by batsmen that have been the main cause of death in the game in that time (PTG 1587-7651, 8 July 2015).  

 

Kettleborough’s departure on Wednesday, and Wilson’s entry on to the field, meant that fourth umpire Sam Nogajski, who was working in his first ODI (PTG 1732-8603, 7 January 2016), had to step up to the third umpire spot. Nogajski was asked by Ward and Wilson to provide advice when Australian fielder George Bailey claimed a low catch at backward point.  Replays appeared to show the ball had landed just before Bailey collected it and the umpires subsequently rejected the appeal.

 

Headline: ICC joins SLC in banning Galle curator. 

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 20 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1742-8662.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended Galle International Stadium curator Jayananda Warnaweera for three years on Wednesday after he failed to cooperate with an “on-going investigation” being conducted by the world body's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU).  In November, Warnaweera, was suspended “from all cricket activities” for two years by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) as a result of his failure to attend two interviews with the ACU (PTG 1690-8316, 17 November 2015). 

 

The ICC says that Warnaweera has been charged with an offence which relates to “failing, without compelling justification, to cooperate with any reasonable investigation carried out by the ACU in relation to possible breaches of the [ICC] Anti-Corruption Code, including failure to provide information and/or documentation requested by the ACU that may be relevant to such investigation”.  

 

"In particular”, continues the ICC statement, "Mr Warnaweera failed, on two separate occasions, to attend a scheduled interview with the ACU and failed to provide documents required from him in connection with the investigation”.   "Mr Warnaweera also failed to respond in any manner to the charge and [as a result] he is consequently deemed to have accepted that he committed the offence charged, waived his right to a hearing, and acceded to the imposition of a sanction within the range specified in the [ICC AntiCorruption] Code.

 

Sir Ronnie Flanagan, Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), said: “The ICC takes no pleasure in imposing a suspension, but this decision clearly illustrates what the Code means to the ICC and how seriously we take matters that relate to corruption”.  "It should also act as a reminder to Participants of the need to comply with their obligations under the Code.  The ICC has a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption and it will not hesitate in taking such decisions in its endeavor to eliminate this menace from the sport”.

 

The ICC says that offences of the type Warnaweera has been charged with "carry a minimum suspension of six months and a maximum of five years”.  It also says SLC "has been informed of the decision”.  Warnaweera, 55, played 10 Tests and 6 One Day Internationals for his country in the period from 1985-94.

 

Headline: Former international announces his retirement. 

Article from: ECB press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 21 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1742-8663.

 

Englishman Mark Benson, a former member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), is to retire after suffering a back injury which necessitated surgery, a situation that apparently means standing over the stumps day after day is not conducive to a speedy recovery.  The news comes just a week after Benson, 57, was named as a member of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Full List for the 2016 northern summer, a season that would have been his twentieth at first class level and seventeenth as a Full List member (PTG 1737-8629, 14 January 2016).

 

Benson, who played single Tests and One Day Internationals (ODI) for England during his playing career, made his umpiring debut at international level in 2004, was appointed to the EUP in 2006.  He retired from the EUP in 2010 on the grounds of ill-health and opted to finish his career on the ECB's county circuit (PTG 566-2871, 5 February 2010).  He was the first international umpire to have a decision he made overturned under the Umpire Decision Review System.  In 2008, during the first use of the system, Sri Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan appealed successfully to television umpire Rudi Koertzen after being given out by Benson in a Test between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo.

 

During his career Benson was on-field in 27 Tests, 72 One-Day Internationals, 8 of those in the World Cup of 2007 in the West Indies, and 19 Twenty20 Internationals, 11 of which were in the World Championship tournaments of 2007 and 2009, including the first ever final where his partner was now retired Australian Simon Taufel.  His overall first class, List A and T20 record as an umpire stands at 173, 206 and 99 matches respectively.  

 

Gordon Hollins, the ECB’s chief operating officer said that Benson’s services “will will be sadly missed by everyone involved in the game”.  “He has made a huge contribution to the sport as both a player and an umpire and has been involved in some crucial matches during his tenure”  “We wish him well with his recovery and in the future”.

 

Former Hampshire and Sussex fast bowler Billy Taylor, who turned 39 last week, will replace Benson on the Full List.  Taylor featured in 54 first class, 142 List A, and 37 Twenty20 matches in the period from 1999-2009.  He appears to have commenced as an umpire in 2010 the year after his retirement, and in a speed that appears is typical of preferred ex first class players in England, started at County second XI level in 2011 and made his first class debut in 2012.  Since then he has gone on to stand in 12 first class, 8 List A and 2 Twenty20 matches, and there have also been single womens’ Test and ODIs and an Under-19 Test. 

 

Headline: BBL final appointments reflect CA umpire rankings. 

Article from: CA appointments list.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 20 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1742-8664.

 

Match official appointments for the semi finals of Cricket Australia’s (CA) Big Bash League (BBL) competition have as expected gone to the highest ranking available umpires on CA’s National Umpires Panel (NUP).  CA’s top ranked domestic umpire Simon Fry and fifth ranked Gerard Abood are to stand in Thursday’s first match at the Adelaide Oval, and sixth and seventh ranked Geoff Joshua and Sam Nogajski the second on Friday evening at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.  Third ranked Mick Martell is in Bangladesh for the Under-19 World Cup, while second and fourth ranked John Ward and Paul Wilson are involved in the last match of the Australia-India One Day International series in Sydney on Saturday.

 

Match referees for the two semi finals are Daryl Harper ‘on home’ in Adelaide, and Peter Marshall in Melbourne, the third umpires being NUP members Shawn Craig in Adelaide and Ash Barrow in Melbourne.  NUP members Phillip Gillespie and Greg Davidson will be the fourth umpires in Adelaide and Melbourne respectively.

 

The semi finals of the Women’s BBL, which will be played as curtain raisers at the two grounds, will also see NUP members involved, former international umpire Steve Davis, another local, being the match referee in Adelaide, and former Cricket Victoria Umpires manager Daryl Cox, in Melbourne.  Gillespie will be on-field for the Adelaide semi final, CA second-tier Development Panel (DP) member Damien Mealey being his partner and the latter’s DP colleague Simon Lightbody the third official.  In Melbourne Davidson will stand with DP member Tony Wilds, David Shepard, another DP member, being the third umpire.

 

Adelaide’s Rita Artis and Neil Ricketts will record the details of both games in Adelaide, and in Melbourne the scorers for the womens’ game will be James Higgs and Jan Howard, and the mens’ Higgs, Howard and Mike Walsh.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,743

  Friday, 22 January 2016

 

• CA to address bat-ball imbalance after summer of tons [1743-8665]. 

• Sri Lankan suspend bowling coach over alleged fixing attempt [1743-8666]. 

• Second South African linked to alleged match fixing named [1743-8667]. 

• ICC must support war on corruption with more money, says Waugh [1743-8668]. 

• Concerns expressed over CSA's quota system [1743-8669]. 

• McCullum for MCC ’Spirit’ lecture, WCC membership [1743-8670]. 

• Report suggests three awarded Aussie umpire scholarships [1743-8671]. 

• Bowler’s action rated ’suspect’, another’s cleared after remedial work [1743-8672]. 

 

Headline: CA to address bat-ball imbalance after summer of tons.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Chris Barrett.                          

Published: Friday, 22 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1743-8665.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) officials admit they have been left underwhelmed by the theme of flat wickets this summer, from the Test portion of the season to Australia and India's One Day International (ODI) series run feast.   A total of 671 runs were scored by the two teams in the fourth match of the ODI series in Canberra on Wednesday, the third most ever in an ODI in Australia, with the contest utterly dominated by the bat until India's stunning late meltdown. One-day pitches are generally on the flatter side of the spectrum but even by usual standards, and with Australia fielding inexperienced bowling line-ups, this series has been extraordinary as both teams passed 300 in three of the four games.

 

After a Test summer in which only Adelaide Oval offered substantial assistance to bowlers, it is a dilemma CA intends to address with groundsmen around the country.  They have a policy of not interfering directly with pitch preparation for each match but speak to curators as a group before and after every season, and are adamant there needs to be a better balance between bat and ball across the board in international games.  

 

CA's general manager of team performance Pat Howard said on Thursday: "In an ideal world we've got some of the best fast bowlers in the world who like it hard, fast and bouncy and we're not getting that at the moment”.  "We're after the old fair balance between bat and ball and the unique characteristics [of each ground]. And we do try and get the domestic cricket to try and mirror the Test stuff so we'll have to sit down and do that at the end of the year and make sure we get those better aligned. The balance probably hasn't been as good as we'd like this year”.

 

It is a sentiment that echoes comments made last week by former Australian quick Brett Lee, who bemoaned the lack of bounce and sideways movement for bowlers in this ODI series.  "I think this is where I start crying. I've been really disappointed ... disappointed with the Australian pitches”, Lee told the website Cricbuzz. "I'm at the stage now where you can only say it so many times ... that you think it's a flat wicket. You also don't want people to think you're an ex-fast bowler and you want green pitches. We're not saying that. We're just saying that we want something that's competitive”.

 

Speaking at a reception ahead of the inaugural Australian Governor-General's XI women's match against India in Sydney on Friday, Howard maintained that CA's relationship with the game's curators "has never been as good" despite the trend this summer.  However, he said he felt for the likes of Australian bowling newcomers Joel Paris and Scott Boland making their first steps in international cricket in an ODI series so heavily weighted towards batsmen.  "Let's not get lost. The ODIs have been great games. Great chases”, Howard said. "But I think it's been a very hard introduction for a few of these blokes to international cricket. On two things: the pitches, but also the talent. The Indian batsmen are absolutely wonderful players”.

 

Headline: Sri Lankan suspend bowling coach over alleged fixing attempt.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 21 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1743-8666.

 

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have suspended fast bowling coach Anusha Samaranayake for two months over an alleged attempt to fix a Test against the West Indies in Galle last October, a game the home side won by  an innings and six runs.  Samaranayake, 53, a former first class player, is reported to have been accused of bringing in a man with "no top-level cricketing experience" to help the squad at training sessions, and it is that person who is alleged to have offered Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kusal Perera and spin bowler Rangana Herath money to lose the match.

 

Net bowler Gayan Vishwajith, the man in question, has been given a lifetime ban from any cricketing premises in Sri Lanka.  Sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said in December that the fee offered was 10 million Sri Lankan Rupees ($A100,220, £UK48,830) to engineer a batting collapse.  SLC said in a statement it "has received several complaints regarding a close acquaintance of Samaranayake, [Vishwajith] who had approached several national players for the alleged illegal activities of match-fixing”.

 

After involvement from Jayasekara, police have taken statements from captain Angelo Mathews and team manager Jeryl Woutersz.  The Minister told BBC Sinhala: "The aim of the police investigation is not to destroy the good name of the national cricketers but to protect it”.  "We do have clear information that players were offered money to fix matches. All the players have rejected that offer”. 

 

Mathews met police for five hours on Monday as the investigation widened. He said: “I answered all their questions honestly to help them in their investigation. We all want this game to be clean and whoever has done something wrong, we want them to bring before the courts and take certain decisions".  “As captain of the team I have to mention that the cricketers felt really uncomfortable the last few days because they are the ones who came forward and reported this to the ICC [International Cricket Council] and [SLC]”. 

 

The ICC began an investigation following a complaint by Perera who himself is facing a four-year ban after failing an out-of-competition drugs test in October.  In December, Jayasekara suggested that the failed drugs test could be a "conspiracy" against the 25-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman (PTG 1715-8505, 17 December 2015).  Earlier this week Jayananda Warnaweera, the former curator of the Galle International Stadium, was banned for three years by the ICC after failing to cooperate with an anti-corruption investigation, a move that came three months after SLC had issued its own ban (PTG 1742-8662, 21 January 2016).

 

Headline: Second South African linked to alleged match fixing named.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 21 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1743-8667.

 

Former South African Test wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile is the latest player to be identified with a fixing ring that attempted to corrupt Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) 2015-16 Ram Slam T20 competition.  Tsolekile, 35, last played a Test for his country in 2004 but captained the Highveld Lions in the Ram Slam competition.  When approached for comment Tsolekile said: “No I don’t know anything about that. And I don’t want to comment anything about that”.  A CSA spokesman declined to comment. 

 

The naming of Tsolekile comes a week after South African authorities confirmed they had charged Gulam Bodi, an all-rounder who played one-day cricket for South Africa in 2007, for being an “intermediary” in the fixing ring. Allegations have surfaced that four who have represented South Africa in one format or another, and four other domestic players, were offered sums of up to 800,000 Rand ($A69,240, £UK33,400) for one spot-fix, an enormous sum in a country where cricketers are paid far less than their counterparts in Australia or England.  Bodi, 37, is alleged by some reports to have been on commissions of up to 150,000 Rand ($A13,000, £UK6,300). 

 

Headline: ICC must support war on corruption with more money, says Waugh.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Daniel Lane.                          

Published: Thursday, 21 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1743-8668.

 

Former Australian captain Steve Waugh said his calls for the game's authorities to further fund the war on match-fixing have fallen on "deaf ears" as the ramifications of corruption are being felt in South Africa, Sri Lanka and even Hong Kong.  Waugh, who was a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s World Cricket Committee, took a lie-detector test in 2011 to prove he'd never been involved in corruption in cricket and to also show a polygraph was one way a player who was wrongly accused of illegal behaviour could prove their innocence (PTG 885-4315, 11 January 2012).

 

However, Waugh is frustrated his continued calls for more funding towards the sport's Anti Corruption and Security Unit haven't been acted upon.  "I've always said nowhere near enough is being done". "It falls on deaf ears – and I was part of the anti-corruption committee at the MCC and I did the lie-detector test”.  "I do think it has improved but I certainly don't believe there is enough in the budget that's being put towards [fighting it] and there's also not the co-ordinated approach you need from all the countries” involved.

 

Over the last three days tennis has been rocked by allegations of match-fixing, but cricket hasn't escaped with a series of damning allegations being raised during the last week in South Africa, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong.  South Africans Thami Tsolekile and Gulam Bodi have been named in conjunction to Twenty20 match fixing (PTG 1743-8667 above), Sri Lanka bowling coach Anusha Samaranayake received a two-month ban (PTG 1742-8662, 21 January 2016), Irfan Ahmed, a former Hong Kong cricketer of the year, was suspended for failing to report an alleged fixing approach (PTG 1735-8620, 12 January 2016), and so-called "pitchsiders" were infiltrating Cricket Australia Big Bash League matches (PTG 1741-8659, 19 January 2016).  

                  

Waugh has previously stated he didn't believe elite cricket presented a problem, saying he feared the minor Twenty20 leagues were at greater risk.  "I know the International Cricket Council (ICC) has a minute amount of money that they put towards match-fixing, there's $A3-4 million a year (£UK1.5-2.0 m) out of billions of dollars in budget".  "But, until they put the proper resources towards it nothing much will change”.  "I think players are more aware of it. I know junior cricketers are told about it and they're taught what is right and wrong but I suppose temptations are always going to be there and I suppose it will always be there for players from countries who aren't well paid by their boards”

.

"It's just human nature”, continued Waugh, "You're never going to stop it but you have to make players even more aware of their responsibilities (PTG 1650-8071, 24 September 2015). Match-fixing will always be there and until they put more money and enough resources towards [fighting] it they can't expect it to get to much better”.

 

Headline: Concerns expressed over CSA's quota system.

Article from: eNCA.

Journalist: Myron Naicker .                          

Published: Thursday, 21 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1743-8669.

 

There are concerns in the cricket fraternity that Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) new quota system at franchise level could affect the quality of competition (PTG 1430-6818, 18 September 2014).  The new rules which were implemented this austral summer require that teams field six players of colour per game.  However, according to the South African Cricketers Association, some who are unhappy with the new quota system.

 

There are widespread rumours that some players from the Titans, Lions and Knights franchises are unhappy with the new quota system and have threatened to strike.  However, Dolphins chief executive Pete de Wet, says critics must accept the quota system as it is necessary.  “The reality is that the quota system is a part of our lives so the key message is that we need to embrace it. It is an important part in ensuring that we develop cricket and cricket is in the forefront of development and transformation so we take it seriously and I see it as a natural part of what we need to do I a day to day basis”.  Only seven black African players have represented the Proteas at Test level since 1991.  

 

Headline: McCullum for MCC ’Spirit’ lecture, WCC membership.

Article from: MCC.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 21 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1743-8670.

 

Retiring New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum will deliver the annual Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) 'Spirit of Cricket' lecture at Lord's in June.  The lecture was first delivered by the late Richie Benaud in 2001, other previous notable speakers including Desmond Tutu, Imran Khan, Kumar Sangakkara, Tony Greig, Ian Botham and the so far only umpire, Simon Taufel.  McCullum becomes the second New Zealander to give the address, after Martin Crowe in 2006.  

 

In addition to the lecture, the MCC has also announced that McCullum will join its World Cricket Committee (WCC), a think tank that examines a wide variety of issues affecting the game (PTG 1699-8383, 29 November 2015).  His first meeting will be at Lord’s around the time of his lecture.

 

Headline: Report suggests three awarded Aussie umpire scholarships.

Article from: Sources.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 21 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1743-8671.

 

A recent report that Queensland state umpire panel member Donovan Koch has been awarded a year-long National Officiating Scholarship (NOS) by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC), has now been followed by a claim two other umpires will have received the same scholarship for 2016 (PTG 1739-8646, 16 January 2016).  According to a Canberra source, Simon Lightbody, a member of Cricket Australia’s (CA) second-tier Development Panel (DP), and Sydney-based David Taylor his colleague on New South Wales’ state umpires panel, will join Koch on the ASC program over the rest of this year.  

 

Taylor was chosen to stand with Koch in the final of CA’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).  He has now taken part in two CA U-19 and one U-17 series plus two state second XI games.  Lightbody, who lives in Canberra and travels the 290 km to Sydney each weekend to stand in NSW’s top club competition, has stood in Under-19 Test and One Day Internationals, 19 state second XI fixtures, and four U-19 Championship series.  

 

If confirmed as NOS recipients, Koch, Lightbody and Taylor will bring to sixteen the number of CA umpires to receive the award in the last nine years.  Paul Reiffel, one of the awardees is now a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpire’s Panel, two, Simon Fry and Mick Martell, the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, four CA’s National Umpires Panel, Shawn Craig, Greg Davidson, Sam Nogajski and Phillip Gillespie, while another five, Damien Mealey, Claire Polosak  David Shepard, Tony Wilds and now possibly Lightbody, are all DP members.  

 

Headline: Bowler’s action rated ’suspect’, another’s cleared after remedial work.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 21 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1743-8672.

 

Zimbabwe left-arm seamer Brian Vitori has been reported for a suspect action following the third Twenty20 International (T20I) against Bangladesh in Khulna on Wednesday. Vitori will have to undergo a test on his action at an International Cricket Council (ICC) accredited centre within 14 days but can continue bowling in international cricket until the results are known.  The ICC said that the report from umpires Anisur Rahman, Enamul Haque and Sharfuddoula had been handed over to the Zimbabwe team management after the game.  Vitori, 25, has played four Tests, 19 One Day Internationals and 11 T20Is for Zimbabwe after making his international debut in August 2011.

 

The ICC also confirmed that Netherlands seamer Ahsan Malik had been cleared to bowl in international cricket following remedial work on his action and a retest.  "Since being reported in July during last year's ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier (PTG 1591-7685, 14 July 2015), Ahsan had remodeled his bowling action prior to applying to have his action re-tested”, the ICC said. "The result shows that the level of elbow extension 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,744

  Saturday, 23 January 2016

 

• PCB umpires need better remuneration, says Dar [1744-8673]. 

• New blood or Bowden? [1744-8674]. 

• Six WBBL games broadcast live on free-to-air TV in eleven days [1744-8675]. 

• Narine faces club bowling ban at home [1744-8676]. 

• In most UK government schools, cricket is a dead game [1744-8677]. 

• The secret behind cricket’s feel good hit of the summer [1744-8678]. 

• Why a world championship could save cricket [1744-8679]. 

 

Headline: PCB umpires need better remuneration, says Dar.

Article from: Dawn.

Journalist: Mohammad Yaqoob.                          

Published: Friday, 22 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1744-8673.

 

Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar, a member of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel who recently stood in his 100th Test, has expressed concerns about the future of umpires in his country because of the level of remuneration they get on the domestic circuit.  Dar said on Thursday that while Test and international cricketers in other countries are joining umpiring ranks after their playing days because of the financial packages available, "the situation here in Pakistan is different” as match fees for domestic games “are very scanty”. 

 

Dar said he “would suggest the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) invest more [in umpiring] if it wants to improve cricket and the standard of umpiring [there]”.  There are reports that the PCB has not raised domestic umpires’ daily allowance over the last three years.  The financial problems faced by the umpires have been compounded, for while they have been getting a 4,000 Rupee ($A54, £UK27) daily match allowance, that is reduced as the PCB now extracts 2,500 Rupees ($A34, £UK17) from their daily fees in order to put them up in three-star hotel.

 

In addition, local umpires are also not being paid an allowance for the cost of reaching the ground from their hotel.  “We can hardly save 1,000 Rupees per day ($A14, £UK7), but only if we travel by rickshaw and not by taxi”, said a current domestic umpire on condition of anonymity.  “It is just our passion for the profession [that keeps us going], otherwise, the remuneration is very limited if anyone compares it with the tough job we have to perform as umpires”, he added.  “Umpire match fees should be increased to make their future attractive”, said Dar.

 

Dar made similar comments almost two years ago, when he called on the PCB to improve match officials pay scales.  He said then during an interview on the 'Geo Super' channel that Indian umpires are paid twice as much as his countrymen, and recommended the PCB review umpire pay structures, establish central contracts, and improve the facilities provided to umpires in carrying out their match related duties (PTG 1283-6181, 4 February 2014).  That resulted in then PCB director of domestic cricket Intikhab Alam saying he planned to address the issues involved and "completely transform the domestic umpiring structure” (PTG 1285-6200, 6 February 2014).

 

In his latest thoughts, Dar laments the fact that there are quality umpires coming out of India and Sri Lanka, but Pakistan and Bangladesh have lagged far behind.  “The biggest setback for Pakistan is that international teams are not visiting here. Pakistan is playing their home series in Dubai and only international umpires are travelling there. If teams will visit Pakistan, new umpires will get a chance”.  

 

Meanwhile, Dar is reported to be mulling setting up specialised umpiring academy. “I am nearing my retirement but I have plans after that and will try to set up a specialised academy for umpiring in Pakistan".   “I have been running two cricket academies in Lahore, but neither specialises in umpiring“.  "I receive calls from umpires asking for help, and I always ask them to meet me at my academies”.  Dar has said on a number of occasions over the last decade that he plans to retire when he turns 50.  Whether he still intends to take that cause of action on a date that is just 30 months away remains to be seen.  

 

Headline: New blood or Bowden?

Article from: from New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 22 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1744-8674.

 

Former New Zealand umpire Evan Watkin, who believes he lost his spot on New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) top domestic umpiring panel in 2013 so that ‘Billy' Bowden could prolong his international career, says it's time for Bowden, 52, to "do the right thing" and retire in order to make way "for younger umpires”.  Wellington-based Watkin, who was a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) for most of last decade, says Bowden's second dropping from the ICC’s top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) to the IUP in two years last June (PTG 1561-7505, 5 June 2015), means he should now vacate his IUP spot.

 

Watkin told the New Zealand Herald's (NZH) Anendra Singh on Thursday: "The [first, 2013] Bowden dumping took [NZC] by surprise and [as a result] I got the heave-ho” from its top domestic panel.  He went on to claim that if Bowden hadn't "had a bad spell internationally" and been looking for a spot at home, NZC would have kept him as a member of that group, instead of moving him to NZC’s second-tier Reserve panel that year (PTG 1187-5725, 14 September 2013).  

 

Watkin, who was 62 at the time and had stood at first class level for 24-straight seasons, did not, even though he was named on the Reserve panel, appear again in an NZC fixture, reports since indicating he was embittered by his demotion.  He gave a hint of that in the NZH interview saying the 2013 move by NZC was "disappointing as I could have had one more season because 25 seems to be a nice, round number to finish”.  By the end of his career he had stood in 135 first class matches, three of them Tests, and 177 List A games, 23 of them One Day Internationals (ODI).

 

A product of club level umpiring, Watkin has his reservations about a system that "fast-tracks" younger officials but emphasises now ICC EUP member Chris Gaffaney, a former Otago first class player, "is an example of it working quite well”.  He also said another former Otago player, Derek Walker, now a NZ IUP member, is deserving of his international call up.  That pair's ability to officiate without becoming "buddies with players" and "who make decisions very well”, are catalysts of their success, he says.   "Us ordinary umpires coming through club level have had to accept fast-trackers coming through”, although "most players [in NZ] don't want to become umpires because they've had just about enough after having played the game [at domestic level]”.

 

Despite Watkins’ view, NZC match officials manager Rodger McHarg said after the ICC let Bowden go from the EUP last June, that his age means he still has enough time on his side to make another bid to return to it again (PTG 1560-7510, 6 June 2015).  Bowden, whose last appointment as a neutral umpire from the ICC was in May last year, and who is still able to stand at home in internationals as a NZ IUP member, is due to become the second man to stand in 200 ODIs in Auckland on Sunday week (PTG 1735-8619, 12 January 2016).

 

Headline: Six WBBL games broadcast live on free-to-air TV in eleven days.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jesse Hogan.                          

Published: Friday, 22 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1744-8675.

 

Australian broadcaster Network Ten's telecasts of the two Cricket Australia (CA) Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) semi-finals and the final will be followed by Nine Network providing live coverage of Australia's national womens’ team in their three Twenty20 matches against India next week.  It is almost eight years since women's matches were first shown on TV, in a match between Australia and England in which 17-year-old Ellyse Perry made her Twenty20 debut. 

 

CA's general manager of media rights and broadcast, Stephanie Beltrame, is understandably delighted in the unprecedented level of coverage for – and interest in – women's cricket.  "There's a lot of momentum around women's sport”, she said. "We've kind of hit that bit of a wave, where we've got the volume of content and so much peripheral momentum that's pushing it along ... respect for female athletes and female sport”.  "There's been a perfect storm of factors to give it a bit more oxygen this year”.

 

The key to the surge in popularity, reflected in ratings on Ten that have been strong enough to exceed Australia’s A-League football matches, has been CA's decision to subsidise Ten's production costs in order to get eight WBBL matches shown in its inaugural season. The response was so strong that CA and Ten then expanded the coverage list to include the semi-finals on Thursday and Friday.

 

Beltrame said that investment, mirroring a strategy CA employs to get its senior men's domestic one-day tournament shown by Nine in October, is being vindicated.  "Television is still absolutely the number one way to reach people, so getting the exposure is the most important factor”, she said.  "The intent of the WBBL was to show girls you can aspire to play in a competition like this. From a viewing perspective, there are men and women, boys and girls who are watching. It might be a slightly different game – there are nuances in the women's game – but cricket is cricket, and men are watching”.

 

Beltrame said CA was appreciative of the support of Ten, for its extensive promotion of the WBBL and its decision to move some of the matches from its secondary broadcast channel ONE to its main channel to better capitalise on demand. Nine has followed suit, deciding to show the Australia-India womens’ match next Tuesday, a date the two countries share as national days, on its main channel.

 

For the past six years, the women's domestic Twenty20 final has been broadcast live, first on Fox Sports and then on Ten in the past two years.  Beltrame said a key benefit of having more matches shown is that it has given viewers an opportunity to become familiar with players beyond the recognised players like Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry.  "We've always had belief in the product, the content, because it's always rated pretty solidly without it ever being in prime time, and with neither us nor the broadcaster giving it any major promotion. The big difference I'm finding this year is because there are a lot more games [shown] you're able to tell a bit of a story”, she said.

 

CA has been so rapt with the level of interest in WBBL in its first season it is keen to get at least the same level of match coverage next year, ideally with Ten.  "That would be our logical point”, Beltrame said. "We want to sit down with them to get their thoughts on what's worked, but also what we can improve”.  The long-term goal for CA is to be able to play women's matches as standalone games at boutique-sized stadia and be shown in their own right in prime time, as happens in England on pay TV broadcaster Sky Sports.

 

"The only downside with double-headers is we don't get to push the content into prime time, so there's always a little bit of a cap on the ratings ... but we have to earn that right”.  Beltrame said. "The ultimate vision is when we're not necessarily having to piggyback with the men's sport”.  "We do now because we recognise it's a smart and efficient way of doing it, but if we continue to go on an upward trend, then there's no reason why we couldn't start to establish a standalone product”.

 

The more immediate priority is to reduce the gap of at least 90 minutes between the women's and men's double-headers, to make it more attractive for spectators to watch both matches. Even with those large gaps, there have been a number of matches this season where crowds have exceeded 10,000 by the end of the women's match.  "I always believed we had something we could build and build, but it's just been an outstanding response”, Beltrame said. "We're really, really proud of every element: the way the broadcasters have embraced it, the way the girls have become more professional, stronger athletes, and the quality of the game is changing”.

 

Headline: Narine faces club bowling ban at home.

Article from: Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 21 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1744-8676.

 

Banned from international cricket by the International Cricket Council (PTG 1733-8488, 15 December 2015)), off-spinner Sunil Narine could find himself prohibited from even playing for Queen’s Park in Trinidad and Tobago’s forthcoming 2016 domestic season if the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) executive passes a motion to extend his ban domestically.  Reports have emerged that a nationwide block on Narine was discussed at the TTCB’s last executive meeting but that no firm decision was made. 

 

A source close to the situation who wished to remain anonymous speculated that Narine may have ruffled a few feathers in his defence of Evin Lewis, Kevon Cooper and Rayad Emrit who were stripped of their retainer contracts by the TTCB after competing in the Bangladesh Premier League last November-December (PTG 1689-8314, 16 November 2015). The trio clashed with TTCB chief executive Suruj Ragoonath who they claimed had given permission for players to compete in T20 leagues — an assertion Ragoonath has denied. 

 

The source said Narine was vociferous in his condemnation of the move to take away the players’ retainers which did not go down well with certain members of the TTCB. “Sunil spoke out in support of the players and because he open his mouth they want to do [hit back]”.   "Yes he has a little [bowling] problem but at the end of the day he is a Trinidadian and a West Indian”, the source said. 

 

“Sunil is mad and angry. They are supporting Sunil in the newspaper but in reality want to stop him from bowling. Non-contracted players getting $US40 ($A57, £UK28) a day when they come to train but nobody saying nothing about that. Players always does come out looking bad every time there is a problem but nobody saying nothing about those running the cricket”, the source added. 

 

Meanwhile, David Furlonge, coach of Queen’s Park, said he also heard of the potential ban and is eagerly awaiting the next National League meeting to expound further.  “I heard about it yes [but] until they bring it out [in public domain] I can’t say anything. I attended a meeting [on Monday] where they added a rule for bowlers with illegal actions such that the umpire can call them". Furlonge warned that Queen’s Park will not be taking any attempt to further sanction Narine lightly. 

 

Headline: In most UK government schools, cricket is a dead game.

Article from: The Spectator.

Journalist: Michael Henderson.                          

Published: Saturday, 23 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1744-8677.

 

England’s cricketers won a remarkable Test match inside three days in the bearpit of Johannesburg, a victory that put them 2-0 up in the four-match series, with only the final Test to play. It is a remarkable achievement by Alastair Cook’s team because, before a ball had been bowled, most judges expected South Africa, the number one ranked team in the world, to claim another triumph by right.

 

In particular it was a wonderful tribute to non-government schools in England which sharpened the skills of the star players. Stuart Broad, who took six prime wickets for only 17 runs on that tumultuous third day, reducing South Africa’s second innings to rubble, was educated at Oakham. Joe Root, who scored a superb century to set up the bowlers, was a sixth-former at Worksop College. Jonny Bairstow, who held nine catches in the match behind the stumps, attended St Peter’s York, and James ‘Titch’ Taylor, who held two remark-able catches at short leg, went to Shrewsbury.

 

Cook, who has made more Test runs for England than anybody, and who has now led England to victory in South Africa as well as India, spent his schooldays at Bedford. Poor old Nick Compton had to make do with Harrow, ‘the dump on the hump’. And there to report on proceedings was the BBC cricket correspondent, Jonathan Agnew, an Uppingham old boy, supported by the evergreen ‘Blowers’, Henry Calthorpe Blofeld, who polished his vowels at Eton.

 

Nor does the non-government school, which are referred to as public schools in the UK, influence end at the boundary ropes. Andrew Strauss, Cook’s predecessor as captain, was appointed director of cricket by the England and Wales Cricket Board last year, and Strauss is a Radley man. As the Oxfordshire school also educated the great Ted Dexter (‘Lord Ted’) 60 years ago, they have certainly done their bit for the summer game.

 

English cricket has been adorned, if not completely dominated, by public schoolboys for as long as batsmen have faced bowlers. C.B. Fry, the finest all-round sportsman this country has produced, went to Repton before Oxford University. The Albanians offered Fry the crown of their kingdom but he refused it, saying it was ‘a damn bore’. Mind you, he went on, ‘had I accepted it, the Italian invasion would never have happened. There would have been county cricket, and nobody would have dared to invade Albania with county cricket being played. The Royal Navy would have been obliged to intervene!"

 

Douglas Jardine, the England captain whose ‘bodyline’ strategy of vicious fast and short bowling in Australia in 1932-33 almost led to a diplomatic breach between the countries, learned his cricket at Winchester. After the war the finest batsmen continued to come: Peter May (Charterhouse), Colin Cowdrey (Tonbridge), M.J.K. Smith (Stamford), and David Gower (King’s, Canterbury). Of recent captains Michael Atherton was a bright boy at Manchester Grammar School, and Nasser Hussain went to Forest School in east London. Mike Brearley, widely considered to be the finest captain of all, passed through City of London School on his way, like Atherton, to Cambridge.

 

Does all this matter? My word, it does, more than ever. In government schools cricket has more or less disappeared. The game is expensive to play, with all the clobber that participants need, and it takes up more hours than any other sport. Football and rugby are easy work. All you need are two lots of shirts and a teacher with a whistle. Cricket requires far more dedication from schoolmasters and the lads (and, increasingly, girls) who play the sport.

 

The public schools, with their long-rooted traditions (not least in fixtures against other top schools) and superb playing fields, have a head start in all respects. Many of them also offer sports scholarships to the most gifted boys, which is how Root, who is blossoming day by day into a cricketer of exceptional skill, got his chance. You might say that the victory in Jo’burg was established on the playing fields of Worksop — and Oakham.

 

These schools have another advantage. Many leading cricketers, including those who played Test cricket, are recruited as ‘pros’, coaching the boys during the summer term and casting a kindly eye upon their progress. Cook, for instance, was coached at Bedford by Derek Randall, once of Nottinghamshire and England. Phillip DeFreitas is the current pro at Magdalen College School, Oxford, and John Lever is at Bancroft’s.

 

Meanwhile, in the state sector, King Football reigns supreme. Even though we are not much cop at football as a country, compared with Germany or Italy, the game is more popular than ever, or at least more visible. Cricket, once unquestionably the other major national sport, has been pushed to the margins. Club cricket, once so strong in places like Lancashire and Yorkshire, has also declined. There is a widespread struggle to put out teams, and some clubs have gone out of business (PTG 1636-8010, 4 September 2015).

 

The lack of coverage on terrestrial television over the last decade has played the most important part in this process of marginalisation. However skilfully Sky cover the game, with Atherton and Hussain to the fore as commentators, a generation of young people have grown up with cricket playing little or no part in their sporting lives. As newspapers no longer report the first-class game in depth, preferring to throw all their eggs into the basket of Test cricket, there has been a rupture with the past. It is now noticeable that many spectators who attend Test matches have a sketchy knowledge of the game and those who play it.

 

So the public schools which have contributed so mightily to English cricket’s past are now entrusted with the responsibility of finding players for the future. It is a burden these great institutions will shoulder manfully. It is also a sad reflection on our national sporting life.

 

Headline: The secret behind cricket’s feel good hit of the summer.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                          

Published: Saturday, 23 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1744-8678. 

 

Writing about Cricket Australia's (CA) Big Bash League (BBL) poses challenges unfamiliar in cricket journalism. It grows difficult to single out particular games, so quickly do they pass in its concentrated timespan. Gratification is instant; feats blur; results are rapidly succeeded; even the fixtures breed a degree of uncertainty. At the time of writing, it is unclear who will meet the Sydney Thunder in tomorrow’s final or where it will take place.

 

That encourages a concentration on the phenomenon, which is at this stage, perhaps, what matters anyway. Notable as individual achievements have been in BBL5, and as eye-catching have been many of the skills on show, the standout performer has surely been the continuous one, and also the happiest: the fans.  When the Indian Premier League kicked off almost eight years ago, the numbers that stood out were the eye-watering sums of money — in broadcast revenues, in sponsorship and endorsement fees, and, for the first time, in auction results for players sold.

 

In this summer of the BBL’s apotheosis, it is the crowd figures, now up around seven figures, that have, to use the phrase of Melbourne Stars’ well-travelled coach Stephen Fleming, sent “shockwaves through cricket”.  Seven of the eight franchises have set attendance records. The Melbourne Cricket Ground’s cap­acity has at last been tested; Adelaide Oval, the Gabba and Bellerive Oval have brimmed for every game; for the improving Thunder, Sydney Showground Stadium has proven a vastly more welcoming home.

 

We’re commonly told that a concentration on crowds is old-fashioned thinking, that it is the ratings that matter because it is television that foots the bills.  Yet crowds retain a powerful corroborative effect. For the home viewer they dramatise that something important is going on worthy of their attention; for the commentator they provide an indispensable part of the descriptive palette (“The crowd’s going wild” etc).  A deserted stadium is likewise expressive: the weird and sterile Test matches that Pakistan host in the Gulf are somehow dismaying whatever the quality of the play.

 

BBL crowds, moreover, do more than simply spectate; they form part of the spectacle, responding resoundingly to the cues of the ground announcer, good humouredly mugging when the cameras show them on the big screen, leaping for six hits like seagulls scrabbling for chips, and, of course, making a hashtag of themselves by their fruit-eating habits. It’s an agreeable change, given the killjoy ordinances in operation at international fixtures, and could be argued as demonstrating how unnecessary many of these prohibitions are. Left to regulate themselves, while also needing to be mindful of the presence of so many children, people have proven that they can relax responsibly.

 

Alcohol, of course, is less of an issue in a short-duration game, while rivalry has yet to become unfriendly. During Thursday night’s semi-final at Adelaide Oval, the camera hovered amusedly over a handful of banner-waving Thunder supporters among the solid ranks of Strikers fans, appreciating the incongruity rather than accentuating a conflict.

 

What are we to read into the BBL’s crowds, beyond a banal attestation of its popularity, and of T20’s streamlined consumer appeal? In one respect they are a tribute to the deep and abiding Australian love of cricket.  Make the game accessible, regular and cheap, it seems, and the public will turn up and tune in almost irrespective of who is playing.  Maybe cricket is late to this understanding, but it is also building on the endowments of generations. Cricket is summer, summer is cricket, which makes attending a BBL game like dropping in on an old friend and being gratified by their good health.

 

In another respect, the BBL reflects a public desire to be part of a success, forming, as it were, a virtuous circle: fans are attracted by the publicity and form part of the publicity themselves. There is a cool factor involved. BBL has become the party people want to say they’ve been to.

 

Over time, cricket has not always encouraged the casual walk-up or the spontaneous patron attending on a last-minute whim. Attendance has instead involved a kind of homage or pilgrimage. In its calculatedly dressed-down way, the BBL makes no such demands. It is cricket for a good time not a long time, a one-night stand on a balmy evening rather than part of a lifetime’s commitment.  Such novelty will not last indefinitely, of course. But as a fit with high summer, competing as it does with silly season news and soporific television, the BBL experience has a good many recommendations.

 

That being so, what might be BBL’s longer term impacts on the culture of cricket watching? In particular, will it be a gateway to the rest of the game or a substitute for it?  Administrators have always tended to talk up the former, although from a commercial point of view the latter might suit them every bit as well.  After all, cricket based on a domestic autarky would be a good deal more straightforward to manage and to monetise than one based on a web of global relationships, unpredictable nationalisms, conflicting calendars, split revenues. If anything, international cricket is growing harder to build summers round, the list of attractions contracting towards a choice between sackcloth or the Ashes.

 

Frankly it is too early to tell, and our understanding of the dynamics of the cricket audience has never been great anyway, the stuff of anecdote rather than evidence. Even the market research undertaken by CA ahead of the BBL was of a crude, drunk-meet-streetlamp sort, for the purposes of support rather than illumination.If anything, cricket fans have tended to  accommodate themselves to the given, accepting that they live in a market provided for by a monopoly, rather than demanding or leading change. The Boxing Day Test testifies to the commercial value that can accrue from simply leaving something as it is and allowing people to plan ­accordingly.

 

Here, then, lies the challenge awaiting the planners of the next stage of the BBL, between the culture of innovation and the comforts of continuity. In this sense, tomorrow’s final preludes another beginning.

 

Headline: Why a world championship could save cricket.

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Nick Hoult.                          

Published: Saturday, 23 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1744-8679. 

 

At the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday the final of Cricket Australia's Big Bash League (BBL) will be held between the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder. There will be a winner and a loser.  Everyone will know what is at stake. A trophy will be presented, the winners feted, fireworks booming and medals handed out.  In Test cricket over the past week India have become the world’s best Test side without bowling a ball due to South Africa’s series defeat by England. 

 

But if Australia beat New Zealand in their two match Test series in February they will replace India at the top of the rankings becoming the third team in a few weeks to be the number one Test side in the world. This will all be confirmed via a press release issued from International Cricket Council (ICC) headquarters in Dubai.  One of the problems with the fight between franchise and international cricket is that one is far simpler than the other to understand. We know who wins the Indian Premier League (IPL) or BBL. 

 

But in international cricket we have different rankings for all three forms of the game, two World Cups (at 50 over and Twenty20) and a Champions Trophy, an eight team play-off designed to cash in on TV money.  As international cricket desperately fights for relevance it is time to see the game in the round, not split it into its individual component parts. 

Why not scrap the rankings and introduce a World Championship of cricket, one that could lend some excitement to the bilateral tours around which cricket’s fixture list is compiled. 

 

The format is simple. First of all copy the example of the women’s Ashes. Since 2013 the women’s Ashes have been played on a points format. Last summer it was four points for winning a Test (two each for a draw), and two points for a One Day International (ODI) or Twenty20. Australia won the seven game series 10 points to six.  This could easily be transferred to men’s cricket such as England’s current tour to South Africa which features 11 games across the three formats. 

 

It would place more emphasis on the Test matches because they provide the most points and teams would be rewarded for their allround capabilities across all three formats, which is surely the whole point of trying to be the best team in the world. The winner from the Tests, ODIs and T20s could then be awarded three points in the World Championship. One point each for a drawn contest and nothing to the losers. The league could be organised around the existing future tours program that runs until 2019 and upon which boards have based their television deals. 

 

Iconic series such as the Ashes would remain untouched because the number of Tests played only impacts on the points awarded in that particular contest. The winner across the three formats for that tour would still only receive three points in the World Championship.  The World Championship winner could be decided at a given point in time, perhaps every two years, with the top two playing off providing a final with a big money prize to the winners which could persuade some of those thinking of becoming Twenty20 freelances to commit to Test cricket. 

 

This system would perhaps give an advantage to teams who do not play the top sides as often but then again why feel sorry for the big three of England, India and Australia who have carved up world cricket for themselves pocketing the majority of money by playing against each other more regularly. 

 

The existing World Cup and World Twenty20 would survive providing a way to decide the best teams in each shorter format and protect lucrative ICC broadcast deals.  In July the ICC is to discuss ways to add context to international cricket. They have to act fast to address dwindling audiences and interest in the BBL and IPL grow every year. The MCG tomorrow will provide an attractive alternative. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,745

  Sunday, 24 January 2016

 

• Dhoni 'disturbed' by ‘SpiderCam’ intrusion [1745-8680]. 

• BBL final for CA NUP’s youngest member [1745-8681]. 

• WICB to acknowledge umpire, new ICC referee [1745-8682]. 

• Narine club ban report ‘misleading and mischievous' [1745-8683]. 

• Bowden ’training umpires’ for phone company promotion [1745-8684]. 

• The game is meant to be fun for kids, says Waugh [1745-8685]. 

 

Headline: Dhoni 'disturbed' by ‘SpyderCam’ intrusion.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Sidharth Monga.                          

Published: Sunday, 24 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1745-8680.

 

The first ball Indian batsman Virat Kohli faced in a tight and ultimately successful chase at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in the fifth One Day International (ODI) on Saturday should have gone for four runs. Instead it was called dead because it hit ‘Spydercam' on its way to the boundary. In the last Test that India played at the SCG 12 months ago, Steven Smith dropped a sitter from KL Rahul because he was distracted by Spydercam (PTG 1498-7233, 9 January 2015). The ball might have even flicked the cable. India eventually won the fifth ODI, but who knows if Australia would have been held to a draw had Rahul not gone on to score a century in the Test last year? 

 

MS Dhoni, India's ODI captain, has called for balance when it comes to intruding the field of play for TV gimmicks. He has also spoken about other gimmicks that have mushroomed with the advent of Twenty20. "I am quite a traditional guy”, Dhoni said. "I have always felt that… anything that disturbs the game of cricket I don't like it. It all started right from the T20 where people would be like, 'Why don't you wear a mic?', 'Why don't you wear a camera?'

 

"I have always felt there is a need for balance. At the end of the day it is a spectator sport, people watching on television, but at the same time four runs can matter, especially when it is a close game. Those four runs can be crucial. “[Broadcasters] are striving for more. When you have got out and walking off, the cameraman goes right under your face. The same way the Spydercam is right next to you. You have seen players, they are like, 'What is happening?' It makes a lot of noise. At the end of the day it is also about the spectators. If spectators are not there, cricket won't be played”.

 

During the Sydney Test last year, the camera was moved higher and away from the field of play rapidly after the Smith incident. This time, though, the upper-cut from Kohli was not even a skier. Back then, a joint statement from Channel Nine and Cricket Australia (CA) said: "We have spoken about the matter involving Spydercam and the dropped catch before lunch and it's clear the ball did not hit the camera or its supporting wires. Smith was distracted by one of the wires in his eye line. Both CA and Nine will continue to work together on the use of Spydercam in the broadcast coverage and will take on board any player feedback as necessary. As it stands, if any player has a concern about the placement of Spydercam they can ask the umpires for it to be moved”. 

 

Dhoni's larger point about the intrusion into the players' space might hold some resonance too, especially shoving cameras up their faces when they have just got out or doing interviews just after their dismissals. Such interviews were the centre of conversation when, earlier in the Australian summer, Chris Gayle infamously made a female reporter uncomfortable in an interview as soon as he had walked off the field (PTG 1732-8605, 7 January 2016).

 

Editor’s note: Playing Conditions for Test, ODI and Twenty20 Internationals currently available on The International Cricket Council’s web site state: "should a ball that has been hit by the batsman make contact [with ’Spydercam’], while still in play, with the camera, its apparatus or its cable, either umpire shall call and signal ‘dead ball’. The ball shall not count as one of the over and no runs shall be scored” (PTG 1011-4916, 30 October 2012).  Match commentary suggests that Saturday’s ‘Spydercam’ strike delivery was counted as a legitimate ball.  The Playing Conditions go on to say that when "a ball thrown by a fielder makes contact with a camera on or over the field of play, its apparatus or its cable, either umpire shall call and signal dead ball. Unless this was already a no-ball or wide, the ball shall count as one of the over. All runs scored to that point shall count, plus the run in progress if the batsmen have already crossed". 

 

Headline: BBL final for CA NUP’s youngest member.

Article from: CA appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Saturday, 23 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1745-8681.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has appointed National Umpire Panel (NUP) members Simon Fry and Sam Nogajski to stand in the final of its Big Bash League (BBL) competition at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.  CA Umpire High Performance Panel member Bob Stratford will oversee the final as the match referee, it being Fry’s and his third final, while NUP members Geoff Joshua and Phillip Gillespie are the third and fourth umpires, and James Higgs, Jan Howard and Mike Walsh the scorers.  

 

The latter three will also record the details of the Womens’ Big Bash League final, which will be played as a curtain raiser to the men’s game.  Former Victorian umpires’ manager Daryl Cox will be the match referee for that match, the on-field umpires NUP members Ash Barrow and Shawn Craig, the third umpire NUP member Greg Davidson, and the fourth Ange Sammartino from Victoria’s state umpires panel.

 

The selection of Nogajski, who was the fourth umpire in last year’s final and at 37 is the youngest member of the NUP, is the latest vote of confidence from CA that suggests he is now ranked sixth or even fifth on the 12-man NUP.  Fry is currently believed to be number one in NUP rankings, John Ward second, Mick Martell third, Paul Wilson fourth, hence that quartet’s membership of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, then comes Gerard Abood and Nogajski in fifth-sixth and Joshua seventh.  

 

Ward, Wilson and Abood are unavailable for the BBL final as they are part of the match officials panel for the last One Day International (ODI) of the Australia-India series in Sydney on Saturday, selections CA would have made knowing the BBL final was next day.  Martell is believed to be involved in the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, however, the match officials appointments page on the ICC’s web site makes no mention of him being involved in the 12 warm-up games that started on Friday and end on Monday.  Martell's last match in Australia was an Australia-India ODI played in Brisbane last Sunday, five days before warm-up matches got underway.  

 

The Under-19 World Cup proper is due to get underway on Wednesday in Chittagong and run for a total of 19 days.  Appointments for those games have not yet been released (PTG 1739-8643, 16 January 2016).

 

Headline: WICB to acknowledge umpire, new ICC referee.

Article from: WICB press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 24 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1745-8682.

 

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) plans to acknowledge Peter Nero and Richie Richardson, who it calls two "outstanding servants” of the game in the Caribbean, after Saturday’s one-day WICB final between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago in Port-of-Spain.  Nero, 51, a West Indian member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel who has stood at first class level for the past eight years, will be presented with a special momento at the end of the final at the Queen’s Park Oval.

 

Antigua-born Richardson, 54, a former West Indies captain, was the West Indies' team manager from 2011 until this month, but has now taken up a new role as an ICC match referee (PTG 1649-8066, 22 September 2015). He is being honoured for his contribution as a player and an administrator.  Nero, from Trinidad and Tobago, has says the WICB, been one of the leading umpires in regional cricket for over a decade. 

 

WICB President ‘Dave’ Cameron congratulated both men for their contribution to the game in the West Indies.  “Richie was an exceptional batsman and courageous captain for the West Indies and as manager he showed great leadership and was at all times an ambassador for cricket” in the Caribbean.  “Peter has been an outstanding umpire and we want to show our appreciation for his dedicated service. He is well-organised and very professional and is a standard-bearer for match officials in the region”.

 

During the one-day series, Nero and his countryman Joel Wilson both passed the 50 match List A mark, while Carl Tuckett of the Leeward Island and Jamaica’s Jacqueline Williams made their debuts in that form of the game.  Both of the latter made their first class debuts earlier in the WICB’s current domestic first class season (PTG 1711-8476, 13 December 2015).  The last time time a female umpire stood in a List A match was exactly eight years ago today when New Zealand’s Kathy Cross was on-field in a match in Dunedin with now retired David Quested.

 

Headline: Narine club ban report ‘misleading and mischievous'.

Article from: Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 22 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1745-8683.

 

West Indies and Queen’s Park off-spinner Sunil Narine will play in the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board’s (TTCB) 2016 domestic series.  A TTCB executive member said yesterday that Narine’s bowling ban by the International Cricket Council was brought up at the last meeting of the board, but there was never any intention to ban him from domestic competitions (PTG 1744-8676, 23 January 2016). 

 

Narine was reported to be in danger of being banned from club cricket because the matter was up for discussion at last Tuesday's TTCB’s executive meeting. However, the board member said he "is from Trinidad and Tobago and falls under the umbrella of the TTCB. We just could not bury our heads and not discuss the matter concerning Narine. It was brought up as a matter of interest”, said the board member.  He called a story published earlier this week "total rubbish, misleading and mischievous”. 

 

Headline: Bowden ’training umpires’ for phone company promotion.

Article from: Optus press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Saturday, 23 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1745-8684.

 

New Zealand umpire ‘Billy’ Bowden is heading up an advertising campaign for telephone company ‘Optus’ and the ‘Uber' smart phone mobile app, that focuses on ‘backyard’ games of cricket played across Australia on Tuesday, a public holiday that marks that country's national day.  Optus says it’s the latest brand to tap into the "latent marketing potential" of Uber, and together they two companies are "set to send dozens of umpires out to keep the peace at backyard cricket matches on Australia Day” across Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.  

 

According to Optus, “those umpires "will preside over games for approximately three overs or 30 minutes”, a description that suggests a very slow over-rate.  However, the phone company thinks “demand”, a term that is another way of describing people paying to use its network, "is likely to be sky-high, so if you can’t request straight off the bat keep trying” for an offer that runs from 11 am to 3 pm.   Videos available on line show Bowden "training a group of umpires” in “official backyard cricket rules” to prepare for the task, including his interpretation of "signalling a six and go and fetch it”, “lost ball” and “vicious dog”.  

 

Bowden ends by saying “you can have me, or one of my umpires, officiate your cricket game on Australia Day”.  Part of that might be a bit hard as Bowden himself is due to be in Wellington on the other side of the Tasman Sea the day before working as the fourth umpire in the opening One Day International (ODI) between New Zealand and Pakistan.  After that he will be on-field in Napier on Thursday for the second match, and on-field again in Auckland on Sunday in what, weather permitting, will be his 200th ODI (PTG 1735-8619, 12 January 2016). 

 

Headline: The game is meant to be fun for kids, says Waugh.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Daniel Lane.                          

Published: Saturday, 23 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1745-8685.

 

Former Australian captain Steve Waugh only attended one cricket clinic when he was a talented junior and remembers being told by South African Barry Richards to sit out an entire three-hour session after testing the coach’s patience one too many times.  Waugh was picked to attend a week-long World Series Cricket coaching clinic and his satisfaction at cracking a ball he still maintains would have soared over the boundary for a six was short-lived when Richards yelled for him to get out and sit down.  

 

"He kicked me out of the nets because I hit too many balls out of them in the first session”, Waugh recalled. "He said: 'If you hit another one out of the nets you'll be sitting out the rest of the session’”.  "Someone tossed one up, I hit it for six and was thinking it was a great shot. However, I heard Barry yell out 'that's it' and I sat out the next three hours watching the others bat”.  While Waugh might not have appreciated Richards' disciplinarian approach he conceded the lesson obviously hit home.  "It helped me along the way because I hit the ball along the ground after that”, he said. "So I didn't forget it.”

 

It is unlikely the former Australian captain will follow the Richards approach after he cited the reason he is teaching kids - after being linked to coaching roles with South Africa and India since his retirement - was because he does not like what he sees in junior cricket.  "I thought they aren't enjoying their cricket as much as they ought to be”, he said. "It's meant to be fun but there seems to be more pressure on the kids these days with social media because kids know how their friends are going and if they fail in a game their mates know about it”.

 

Waugh said he "saw a lot of kids throwing their bats or kicking the ground when they got out. I saw parents not talking and heard coaches being negative. I was thinking 'this is not the way it should be, this isn't the way I was brought up’”.  He said he was frustrated when coaches stifled a child's natural flair, saying there should not be a fear of young cricketers making errors.

 

"When we spoke about forming Steve Waugh Cricket I said we needed to set it up so we encourage kids to make mistakes because that's the only way we learn”, he said. "Rather than saying to the kids: 'You shouldn't do this' or 'Don't do that' I say: 'Have a go at it and if you don't get it quite right let's try to learn and be better for it’.  "I think one problem in Australia is coaches want to change someone's natural style. I'm more of the Sri Lankan mindset because players like Ajantha Mendis, Lasith Malinga and Muttiah Muralitharan would never have made it if a coach said they cannot bowl like they do”.

 

Rather he likes "to work on the kid's natural style and while I might tweak it I won't change them because kids need their individual style”.  "Our slogan is backyard or baggy green”, says Waugh. "If you want to play in the backyard that's fine, but if you want to play in the backyard you should want to hit the ball properly or bowl well. It's about maximising your talent. To become an international cricketer people have different skills and passions but the great thing about today is every kid who is here is keen ... and that's a great start”. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,746

  Tuesday, 26 January 2016

 

• Former international banned for 20 years for fixing attempt [1746-8686]. 

• Tail-ender injured when ball penetrates helmet grille [1746-8687]. 

• Give balls ‘a bigger seam' to counter big bats, says Shastri [1746-8688]. 

• Umpires warm-up for Under-19 World Cup [1746-8689]. 

• Two prepare for trans-Tasman exchange [1746-8690]. 

• Opener reprimanded for ‘obvious delay’ in leaving crease [1746-8691]. 

• Social media comment leads to 'severe reprimand', suspended ban [1746-8692]. 

• Former Newcastle bowler establishing himself as an international umpire [1746-8693]. 

• Umpires earn twice their normal pay for a day [1746-8694]. 

• CA BBL success to stoke television rights battle [1746-8695]. 

• NZ-Australia Test series to be pay-TV exclusive? [1746-8696]. 

 

Headline: Former international banned for 20 years for fixing attempt.

Article from: Various reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 26 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1746-8686.

 

Former South Africa batsman Gulam Bodi has been banned for 20 years by Cricket South Africa (CSA) after admitting he was planning to fix matches in CSA's Ram Slam tournament.   The ban comes after Bodi formally responded last week to CSA charges that he was an “intermediary” in contriving to fix, or otherwise improperly influence, aspects of the 2015 version of the Twenty20 competition (PTG 1738-8637, 15 January 2016).

 

CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat announced the sanction on Monday, saying investigators believe Bodi was caught in the "planning stage”, but that the probe was ongoing and could take "weeks, months or even years” (PTG 1743-8667, 22 January 2016).  Lorgat said CSA "thoroughly considered" all the relevant factors and determined that a lengthy ban was appropriate, five years of which has been suspended provided Bodi takes part in anti-corruption education programs when asked to by CSA.  Under South African law, the cricket body also had to report the corrupt activity to criminal authorities and Bodi could face a jail sentence.

 

Lorgat said CSA’s "attitude to corruption will always be one of zero tolerance". "There is no doubt that Mr Bodi’s actions have threatened the integrity and image of the game that we love and he must be handed a strong punishment.  "We have had many discussions with Mr Bodi and he accepts the folly of his actions”.  "We are fortunate in this instance that several players rejected his approaches and, as a direct result of our integrity processes, which include CSA and [South African Cricketers Association] player education programs, the matter was brought to light and meticulously investigated”.

 

The investigation reopens wounds in South Africa following the Hansie Cronje scandal in which South Africa's Test captain was banned for life sixteen years ago for fixing.  Cronje was one of the country's most popular sportsmen and the scandal rocked South African sport and world cricket.  CSA determined that Bodi’s offences were not as serious as Cronje’s and that a life ban would have been too strong.  Mitigating factors are said to included that he admitted his guilt at an early stage, agreed to a public apology that is presumably due to come out soon, and that he was “suffering from significant stress and anxiety due to both personal and financial issues at the time of commission of the offences”.   

 

Headline: Tail-ender injured when ball penetrates helmet grille.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Monday, 25 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1746-8687.

 

New Zealand tail-ender Mitchell McClenaghan collapsed on the pitch after a bouncer forced its way through the grille of his helmet during the first One Day International (ODI) of the series against Pakistan in Wellington on Monday.  Facing Pakistani quick Anwar Ali on the penultimate ball of New Zealand's innings, McClenaghan was sent to the turf after missing a hook shot, the ball ricocheting off the underside of the peak of his helmet and smashing into his left eye before becoming lodged inside the grille.

 

The ball strike was so powerful that part of his helmet's grille was sent flying onto the pitch and his eye immediately began to swell.  Fortunately, the fast bowler was able to get to his feet and left the field to cheers from the Basin Reserve crowd after retiring hurt.  McClenaghan, 29, later received stitches near his left eye and didn't appear during New Zealand's time in the field as he was being examined at a nearby hospital.  That assessment was that he needs “some minor cosmetic” surgery on a fractured eye socket and as a result will miss the remainder of the three-game ODI series against Pakistan.  He had to be driven back to his home in Auckland home from Wellington as he was unable to fly.

 

There have been a number of similar helmet penetration occurrences in the past few years.  In August 2013, England batsman Joe Root needed four stitches after he top-edged a ball from Australian Josh Hazlewood into his face, where it stuck between the grille and his cheekbone.  

 

The following year former England ODI and Twenty20 International wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter was struck in the face when a ball went between his helmet and grille when playing for Somerset against Northamptonshire in July 2014, a blow that broke his nose, damaged an eye socket and resulted in “wobbly vision". He returned for two matches at the end of the 2014 season but struggled with the effects of the injuries.  He subsequently took time off from the game early in the 2015 season but eventually decided his injuries meant he had to retire (PTG 1562-7511, 6 June 2015). 

 

A month after Kieswetter was struck, England bowler Stuart Broad was hit in the face by a short-pitched delivery in a Test against India at Old Trafford, the ball squeezing between his grille and visor, striking him at the top of the nose, which was broken, and drawing blood.

 

In 2013, the International Cricket Council set out a new safety standard for helmet manufacturers because they were seeing far too much grille damage. The new requirement stated that the grille should be able to stop the impact of a ball released at speeds of 80 mph (around 130 kph).  However, that speed was said by Angus Porter the chief executive of the UK Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA), to be "20 kph less than the desired one”, but was put in place to "represent a benchmark” it was felt all manufacturers should be able to meet” (PTG 1708-8459, 10 December 2015).

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the PCA are currently working with Loughborough University to test current helmet designs at higher ball speeds, one of the area of concern being the ability of grilles to protect wearers.  Last month, the ECB announced it was funding a PhD student to research helmet design, head injuries and safety in relation to cricket at Loughborough’s Sports Technology Institute (PTG 1709-8471, 12 December 2015).   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).

 

Headline: Give balls ‘a bigger seam' to counter big bats, says Shastri.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Andrew Faulkner.                          

Published: Tuesday, 26 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1746-8688.

 

The best way to return the contest to one-day cricket would be to give the bowlers a ball with a bigger seam bigger ball to counter the power of modern bats, according to Indian team director Ravi Shastri.  There has to be a balance because the bats are getting bigger, he says, and “something has to be looked at as far as the ball is concerned if you want to get a better match-up”.  His comments came after a batsman-dominated Australia-India One Day International series in which the bowlers were just making up the numbers.

 

Numbers prepared by leading statistician Ric Finlay show just how much bowlers are being crunched by bigger bats, flat wickets and short boundaries.  According to Finlay, just six of the 21 bowlers used in the ODI series operated at under a run a ball. Ten years ago an economy rate of 5.00 was deemed unacceptable. Now most bowlers are wheeling away at 6.00 and above.  

 

The rise of the Twenty20 format has further fuelled the heavy scoring, of which there will be more, much more, on another plum Adelaide drop-in pitch in the opening Australia-India Twenty20 International in Adelaide on Tuesday evening. 

 

Headline: Umpires warm-up for Under-19 World Cup.

Article from: score sheets.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 26 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1746-8689.

 

All 18 members of the umpires’ panel for the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, including Australian Mick Martell whose presence was said to be under question due to security issues (PTG 1732-8598, 7 January 2016), have been standing in the 16 warm up fixtures played at grounds in Savar, near Dhaka, and in Chittagong, over the last four days.  Martell’s name was missing from warm-up selection lists posted on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) appointments web page, a service that is frequently presented in a sloppy way.  Appointments to the 96 on-field spots during the tournament proper, which gets underway in Chittagong on Wednesday, have not yet been announced.

 

Selection for the main final in mid-February will be a key goal for the umpires, for of the five who have stood in the last three Under-19 World Cup finals in the United Arab Emirates, Australia and New Zealand respectively, four, are now members of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP).  The four who made it are: Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena (2010), Richard Kettleborough (2010) and Richard Illingworth (2012) from England, and Sundarum Ravi of India (2012).  Dharmasena’s countryman Ranmore Martinez stood in both the 2010 and 2012 finals but has not made the EUP cut, however, New Zealand’s Chris Gaffaney, who was the television umpire to Martinez and Ravi for the 2012 final, has.  

 

Headline: Two prepare for trans-Tasman exchange.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 25 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1746-8690.

 

New Zealand umpire Tim Parlane will umpire overseas in a first class fixture for the third time in his career when he stands in the day-night Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and Victoria in Brisbane next month as part of the on-going Australia-NZ exchange agreement.  Parlance, 58, who is in his thirteenth season at first class level, stood in two Cricket South Africa first class fixtures in Stellenbosch and East London in February 2007, and currently has 70 first class matches to his credit.  

 

Reports indicate that at the same time Parlane is in Australia, Geoff Joshua, 45, who is in his seventh season on Cricket Australia's top domestic panel, will travel in the opposite direction for what will be his 35th first class match.  It will be a fixture in the Plunket Shield series between Central Districts and Canterbury with Parlane’s umpiring colleague, Sydney-born Tony Gillies, in Nelson. 

 

Headline: Opener reprimanded for ‘obvious delay’ in leaving crease.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Monday, 25 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1746-8691.

 

India opener Rohit Sharma has been reprimanded for showing dissent when he was dismissed in the fifth and final One-Day International against Australia in Sydney on Saturday.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement that Sharma "displayed dissent when he showed an obvious delay in leaving the crease after being given out caught behind off John Hastings when on 99".

  

The Level One charge against Sharma was levelled by on-field umpires Richard Kettleborough and Paul Wilson, third umpire John Ward and fourth official Gerard Abood.  Following the match the batsman admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Jeff Crowe . As such, there was no need for a formal hearing.  

 

United Arab Emirates batsman Mohammad Usman has been found guilty of a similar offence in the Intercontinental Cup match against the Netherlands in Abu Dhabi earlier this week.  After being given out LBW he first pointed at his bat and then "occupied the crease for an extended period of time before leaving", on-field umpires Sarika Prasad of Singapore and CK Nandan from India, plus reserve umpire Rabiul Hoque reporting him for the offence.  Usman pleaded guilty and accepted the reprimand handed to him by match referee David Jukes. 

 

Under ICC regulations, Level One breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand and a maximum penalty of 50 per cent of a player’s match fee.

 

Headline: Social media comment leads to 'severe reprimand', suspended ban.

Article from: Scottish Daily Record.

Journalist: Charlie Gall.                          

Published: Monday, 25 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1746-8692.

 

A Scottish cricket club accused of homophobia after their captain made a Twitter comment about local TV weatherman Sean Batty and spin bowler Majid Haq has been "severely reprimanded” and given a suspended ban of two match wins by the Western District Cricket Union (WDCU).  The trouble started after Scottish international all-rounder Haq sent a tweet to Scottish TV presenter Batty asking how hot the weather was in December.  Ayr Cricket Club captain Andi McElnea then entered into the ‘conversation’ with a comment that caused considerable offence.

 

Ayr apologised to Haq but is reported to have indicated McElnea's tweet was misinterpreted.  Haq though contacted lawyer Aamer Anwar, who demanded action from the club and Cricket Scotland. Anwar was disappointed with the response saying “One wonders if ­individuals had not kicked up a fuss on social media whether any action would have been taken”.

 

The Ayr club said via their website they had cooperated with the investigation, while McElnea, 27, shut down his Twitter and Facebook accounts and apologised.  He said: “There is no excuse for my stupidity”.  WDCU chairman Alex Miller said yesterday: “I believe all parties have been informed and all are happy with the decision. It is something that has been a storm in a tea cup and we sincerely hope it will never be repeated”.

 

Haq was dropped from the national team by Cricket Scotland last March after suggesting his axing from a match against Sri Lanka was racially motivated.  He hasn’t been selected since.  Anwar said: “Cricket Scotland and the powers-that-be need to get their act together otherwise they could stand accused of ­operating double standards or having their heads in the sand”.

 

Headline: Former Newcastle bowler establishing himself as an international umpire.

Article from: Newcastle Herald.

Journalist: Rober Dillon.                          

Published: Monday, 25 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1746-8693.

 

Newcastle's Paul Wilson took another step towards what he believes would rank as his most satisfying achievement in cricket when he completed his first full One Day International as an umpire last weekend.   Wilson officiated in Saturday’s fifth ODI of the series between Australia and India at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the first time he had started and finished an ODI fixture between two top-tier nations.

 

The former fast bowler from Newcastle’s Southern Lakes made his senior ODI debut in late January last year, but the match in Sydney was washed out after 16 overs.  Prior to that he had stood in two second-tier ODIs between Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea in Townsville in November 2014.  Last week he made a surprise appearance as an injury replacement when English umpire Richard Kettleborough was struck by ball during an Australia-India ODI in Canberra (PTG 1742-8661, 21 January 2016).

 

So Saturday represented a breakthrough for the man known as “Blocker’’, as it was the first time he had been on the field from the first ball in a one-dayer until the last.  “It was a great game to be part of”, he said after India’s thrilling six-wicket win with two balls to spare.  “The noise and the atmosphere was quite incredible towards the end”.

 

Wilson took up umpiring in 2006 after a Sheffield Shield career that spanned almost a decade and culminated in 11 ODI appearances for Australia and a lone Test, against India in 1998. His ultimate goal is to join another former Aussie paceman, Paul Reiffel, as a fully fledged Test umpire.  “I’d nearly to go so far as to say that if I was lucky enough to umpire in Test cricket, it wouldn’t be any less satisfying than playing Test cricket”, he said. “In fact, I’d say it’s probably far harder work to get there as an umpire than it was as a player".

 

“For players, people seem comfortable when they make mistakes. But in the business we’re in, people don’t seem to accept that umpires can make mistakes”, continued Wilson.  “It’s a tough gig being an umpire, and it would certainly carry a lot of satisfaction if I ever got myself a chance to do Test cricket”.  Australia’s three elite-panel umpires, who stand in Test matches overseas, are Reiffel, Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker.  Wilson is on the level below that, officiating in home limited-over internationals and domestic fixtures. His next appointment is Tuesday’s T20 international between Australia and India in Adelaide.

 

Asked how he could take the step to the Test panel, Wilson replied: “It’s probably natural attrition. I suppose I just have to keep doing what I’m doing and be patient, and hopefully my chance comes along”.

 

Headline: Umpires earn twice their normal pay for a day.

Article from: Sources.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 25 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1746-8694.

 

Umpires recruited to stand in back yard cricket matches played around Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney on Tuesday, Australia’s national day, will earn around $A250 (£UK123) for “4-5 hours” work, twice the amount they are normally paid for a day of cricket.  The initiative, which has been dreamt up by Sydney-based advertising agency ‘Emotive Content’ for Cricket Australia’s (CA) commercial partner, telephone company ‘Optus’, is being headed up via a series of videos  featuring New Zealand umpire ‘Billy’ Bowden (PTG 1745-8684, 24 January 2016).

 

Reports indicate that CA’s Commercial Partnerships Manager Nick Thodey, approached umpire managers in the six cities earlier this month to seek their help in recruiting ten umpires from their respective associations who will be sent briefly to backyard matches in order to “keep the peace” on Australia Day”.  Those involved in back yard games who are looking for umpires are required to use a ‘Uber’ phone app to request visits their game "for approximately three overs or 30 minutes”.  

 

Arrangements call for the umpires who make themselves available to be collected and transported in a Uber car and have what is described as "an activation assistant" with them.  ‘Optus’ say the umpires will be briefed on their role and provided shirts to wear on the day.  Just how many umpires decided to get involved with the promotion across the six cities is not known.  

 

‘Emotive Content’ say that the "key for authenticity” of the promotion is that CA endorse it.  It says in its pitch for the campaign that the rulebook for the games will "talk through the finer rules including contentious areas” such as: "no LBW; ‘Esky’ [ice box] as stumps; one hand one bounce; automatic keeper; first ball dismissals; sledging guidelines; special rules when playing the Poms; underarms to New Zealand batsman only; streaking; humorous penalties for rule breaking; the role of pets; the role of the third umpire (i.e. people filming content on their iPhone; and dealing with environmental challenges (pool, clothesline etc)”.

 

Bowden has been "signed up as key talent” due to his "global recognition, a unique umpiring style and a quirky personality, and the fact that he is a New Zealander adds to the authenticity of the release as Test cricket umpiring requires umpire neutrality”.  “Billy”, who was the fourth umpire in a One Day International in Wellington yesterday, "will be one of the Sydney Uber Umpires on Australia Day”, says an Emotive document.  Bowden is no stranger to advertising having featured speaking Hindu in a video for a sugary drink ahead of the 2011 World Cup on the sub-continent (PTG 727-3580, 16 February 2011).

 

Headline: CA BBL success to stoke television rights battle.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Jake Mitchell and Darren Davidson.                          

Published: Monday, 25 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1746-8695.

 

Australia's Nine and Ten television networks are bracing for a fierce battle to retain their coveted Cricket Australia (CA) broadcast rights as the governing body considers pulling forward ­negotiations on the back of the Big Bash League (BBL) phenomenon.  The Big Bash T20 cricket ­competition has been a smash hit for Network Ten this summer, ­attracting a new group of young fans, families and adults (PTG 1744-8678, 23 January 2016).  

 

CA entered into a seven-year deal with the Nine Network in 2005, which was extended in 2013 for an additional five years until 2018.  The last deal was worth $A450 million (£UK221 m), including Ten’s payments of $A20 m (£UK9.8 m) a year for the BBL. The T20 competition is expected to yield at least $A40 m (£UK19.6 m) a year in the new deal after recording strong growth each year since it moved from subscription TV channel Fox Sports.

 

One media executive, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “It’s worth more than the Australian [tennis] Open now. The good thing is that you’re assured an Australian winner in a city-versus-city format. The West Indies team were in disarray in the recent Tests; it was no contest, whereas the BBL is very competitive and matches are often decided in the final overs”.  A CA spokesman said: ‘The ratings have been incredibly strong, but there are no plans yet to bring forward talks”.

 

Ten and Nine are readying for CA to go early to capitalise on the BBL’s success, while the Seven Network is expected to consider a serious bid, although it would be hampered by the fact it broadcasts the tennis Open for two weeks of the BBL tournament.

 

Australia's National Rugby League (NRL) expedited negotiations for its ­recently-signed broadcast deal, from 2018 to 2022, in an effort to beat rival code the Australian Football League (AFL) to market.  The NRL reaped a 70 per cent uptick to $A1.8 billion (£UK883 m) from its broadcast partners Nine, Fox Sports and Telstra, while the AFL secured a 67 per cent boost with a colossal six-year $A2.5 bn (£UK1.3 bn) deal with Seven, Foxtel and Telstra.

 

CA will likely struggle to grab a similar uplift for its international rights after a ­disappointing Test series between Australia and West Indies. However, the One Day International (ODI) series against India and Test series against New Zealand have dominated the top 20 ­cricket sessions of the summer, confirming that the international rights are still by far the most valuable component (PTG 1738-8640, 15 January 2016).

 

The BBL’s average attendance before the final was 28,200, an increase of almost 5,000 per match compared with last year’s competition. TV ratings have soared by 15 per cent to a national average peak audience of 1.1 million viewers.  A crowd of 47,672 spectators turned out for Sunday night’s BBL final between the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Sunday’s BBL final attracted 1.66 million national viewers, up 17 per cent from last year’s final.  The shortest form of cricket also appears to have changed the way other styles of the game are played, with Australia and India hitting a record number of combined runs for a five-match ODI series in a tournament that concluded on Saturday.

 

Two years ago, former Network Ten chief executive Hamish McLennan hailed its acquisition of BBL broadcast rights as “the deal of the century”.  Rival networks raised eyebrows when Ten forked out $A100 m (£UK49 m) in cash and contra in June 2013 to secure the BBL for five years but its investment in cricket is now looking like a masterstroke.  

 

Sports rights are a key pillar of success for Australian broad­casters. Citi analyst Justin Diddams wrote in an investor note last year. saying: “Premium sporting rights are increasing in importance … as a platform for cross-promoting other programming content and to secure advertising dollars across the entire schedule”.

 

Former Australian captain Don Bradman said if he hit the ball along the ground, he was no chance of being caught. The Big Bash bares no resemblance to the game Bradman knew.  Speaking earlier this month, another former Australian skipper, now 78-year-old former Test captain Bill Lawry, described the BBL as: “It’s a bit of a revolution”.  “The Big Bash has come along and been a shot in the arm and it’s surprised a lot of people in this country”, he said.

 

Headline: NZ-Australia Test series to be pay-TV exclusive?

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jesse Hogan.                          

Published: Monday, 25 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1746-8696.

 

Live coverage of Australia's looming two-Test tour of New Zealand could be limited to those with pay-TV, with no guarantee either radio network that covered this summer's series in Australia will provided ball-by-ball descriptions to listeners.  The commercial Macquarie Radio network is the only possibility to provide commentary of the Tests in Wellington and Christchurch after their rival, the national broadcaster ABC Radio, confirmed they would not be broadcasting the series, on either their conventional radio or digital radio stations.

 

While the proximity to New Zealand would seem to be advantageous - it is only two hours in time in front of the key Sydney and Melbourne markets - that is also a key factor in why the ABC has elected not to send a team to New Zealand, or retransmit a local radio broadcaster.  "It would affect too many of our scheduled programs: breakfast shows and things like that”, said ABC spokesman Nick Leys.  The ABC will still provide coverage of the series to radio listeners, but that will not extend to ball-by-ball descriptions.

 

The commercial Macquarie Radio network, which is owned by Fairfax Media, provides commentary of the home Tests on 3AW in Melbourne and 2UE in Sydney in addition to its digital stations, however, it has currently not committed to sending a commentary team to New Zealand for the two Tests. But it is also not ruling out providing what would be exclusive radio coverage in Australia.  The series will be shown on TV in Australia on pay channel Fox Sports. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,747

  Wednesday, 27 January 2016

 

• McClenaghan wearing ‘older helmet’ when struck, suggests team mate [1747-8697]. 

• ‘Howlers’ lead BCCI to soften its stand on use of technology [1747-8698]. 

• English franchise cricket would be 'a real win’: Somerset skipper [1747-8699]. 

• Pitch length stops play, results in restart [1747-8700]. 

 

Headline: McClenaghan wearing ‘older helmet’ when struck, suggests team mate.

Article from: Various NZ reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 26 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1747-8697.

 

The fractured eye socket New Zealander Mitchell McClenaghan suffered when he was felled by a bouncer during his side’s One Day International against Pakistan in Wellington could have easily been avoided, says his teammate Trent Boult.  McClenaghan was sent to the turf after missing a hook shot, the ball ricocheting off the underside of the peak of his helmet and smashing into his left eye before becoming lodged inside the grille (PTG 1746-8687, 26 January 2016).

 

Boult, who went in to face the last ball of the NZ innings after McClenaghan was hit, has suggested he was wearing a helmet manufactured before the death of Australian cricketer Phil Hughes forced changes to newer models.  "With the newer helmets, that supposedly can't happen”, Boult said.  "The gap between the grill and the lid is supposed to be smaller”.  Boult indicated the fact McClenaghan was "wearing an older helmet”, was "a choice that comes down to his personal preference [for] generally the newer helmets are a bit more indestructible”.

 

Former Australian opener Ed Cowan, who played with Hughes for New South Wales and against England in the 2013 Ashes series, is said to be stunned that McClenaghan's safety equipment is not up to date.  After McClenaghan went down, he said: "Another victim to a ball through the grill of an old ‘Masuri' helmet. How they were ever deemed safe is beyond me”.

 

Boult said: "It's never a nice sight to see one of your team-mates down on the ground”.  "It churns your stomach to see stuff like that and it's hard to talk about to be honest, what happened yesterday was unfortunate one snuck through his grill and got him pretty good, but it's part of the game I guess.""It's been going on for years. It's just a shame it happened [on Monday in Wellington]”.  Boult said though that he had confidence in the more up-to-date equipment that is now available.

 

Last October, Western Australian opener Shaun Marsh became the first player to be reprimanded for failing to wear a helmet compliant with Cricket Australia’s (CA) new 'State Equipment and Apparel Regulations’ which came into force that month (PTG 1658-8114, 7 October 2015).  Marsh was reported for the style of helmet he opted to wear, which fell foul of the new regulation. 

 

CA said in a statement issued at the time that its new regulation requires: “all Australian and State contracted players to wear a helmet compliant with the British Standard – BS7928:2013 ‘Specification for head protectors for cricketers’ ”, a standard that is sometimes referred to as the ‘British tick’. That requirement was introduced as a result of an International Cricket Council (ICC) directive for Member countries to adopt the British Standard as the new international standard for helmets.  CA informed its players in August that the rule would be applied from the beginning of the 2015-16 austral summer.

 

The current British Standard the ICC and CA refer to does not include a requirement that the newly designed clip-on guards that better protect the back of a batsman's neck be fitted.  In July, a media report suggested CA was set to make all first-class players in that country wear the clip-on guards (PTG 1598-7738, 22 July 2015), an innovation Australian opener Chris Rogers claimed saved him from serious injury when he was struck behind the ear in an Ashes Test (PTG 1600-7759, 24 July 2015).  After seeing Rogers struck then Australia captain Michael Clarke decided to upgrade to a helmet with the clip on guards (PTG 1605-7790, 29 July 2015).

 

Angus Porter, the chief executive of the UK Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA), or players union, expressed the view in August that the ICC's lack of leadership in enforcing world-wide minimum safety standards on helmets “seems bound to increase the chances of avoidable tragedy” (PTG 1618-7877, 13 August 2015).

 

Headline: ‘Howlers’ lead BCCI to soften its stand on use of technology.

Article from: Times of India.

Journalist: Ehtesham Hasan.                          

Published: Tuesday, 26 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1747-8698.

 

A few days after Anurag Thakur, the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), revealed that his organisation was willing to adopt the Umpires Decision Review System (DRS) in an altered way, new details are emerging of what could be on cards.  Reports indicate that the Indian team wants what it terms the 'Overall Review System' in place of the UDRS for the 13 home Tests it is due to play in the 2016-17 season. 

 

What this effectively means is that other than LBW appeals, which depend on the ball tracking system, the players are open to the use of technology for other decisions. The reason for the change of attitude, said an insider, is that India had been on the receiving end of umpiring howlers in the recent five-match One Day International series (ODI) against Australia, and prior to that in the three-Test series against Sri Lanka there last August (PTG 1620-7890, 17 August 2015). 

 

In 2016-17, India are scheduled to play Bangladesh (1 Test), New Zealand (3), England (5) and Australia (4), plus an away four-Test series against the West Indies, and are keen to become the number one red-ball team.   The home matches are likely to be played on turning tracks and at times even the best of umpires get it wrong. 

 

"While we are still against the ball-tracking technology, we don't want to miss out on bat pad decisions, which we did in Sri Lanka last year”, said the source. "India should have won 3-0 against Sri Lanka but for a few poor umpiring decisions. Dinesh Chandimal was out not once but thrice after the umpires failed to detect the edges and he went on to win the match for his team by scoring a hundred. The same thing happened in the recent ODIs in Australia with Bailey and Maxwell” (PTG 1739-8644, 16 January 2016).

 

Headline: English franchise cricket would be 'a real win’: Somerset skipper.

Article from: BBC.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 26 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1747-8699.

 

New Somerset skipper Chris Rogers says English cricket would benefit from following Australia's lead by having big city franchise Twenty20 teams.  The former Australia Test opener, who has played T20 cricket for four English county teams, has not played the short form of the game in over three years, but after watching Sydney Thunder win the Big Bash League (BBL) in Melbourne on Sunday, the 38-year-old is now in no doubt England should follow suit.

 

Rogers told BBC Sport: "You only have to look at the success in Australia”.  "And it's not just seeing it from a spectator point of view. The players love it. If we can create a little of that it will be a real win for cricket in England”.  Twenty20 cricket in England has been played under the traditional 18-county format since its inception in 2003, however, a £40 m ($A82 m) offer has been reportedly been made to the England and Wales Cricket Board to televise a restructured franchise competition from 2017 onwards (PTG 1603-7779, 27 July 2015). 

 

Despite the commercial success of the BBL, as well as the Indian Premier League, there remains opposition from within the English first-class counties, half of whom do not play at Test match venues, including Somerset (PTG 1584-7637, 5 July 2015).  "I've always been a bit of a traditionalist, it's hard not to when you play the way I play”, said Rogers, who is renowned as a relatively slow-scoring first-class cricket specialist.  "But I think it will go that way. It has to, but the counties have to be open to it. You still have to sustain four-day cricket and Test cricket. But surely the success of the [BBL] will be opening a few of their eyes”.

 

Headline: Pitch length stops play, results in restart.

Article from: Cricket Country.

Journalist: Arunabha Sengupta.                          

Published: Tuesday, 26 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1747-8700.

 

The three-day first class match between Cambridge University and Charlie Thornton’s England XI  at Fenner’s in May 1885 had to be restarted after it was discovered that the pitch was longer than as required by the Laws.  Thorton won the toss and decided to bat, however, after his side had lost two wickets, opener John Studd and number three batsman Walter Wright having been dismissed, it was realised that the pitch being used was far too long.

 

Measuring tapes were called for and the groundsmen were seen gauging the distance from stump to stump, and as a result it was discovered that the pitch was rather more than 22 yards long. Sources differ in recording the actual length. Some say it was 23 yards, others 23–and-a-half, still others 23-and-a-quarter. However, it was definitely not 22, and by all evidence 23 or more.  Many of the fingers were pointed towards the umpires. Perhaps they had erred in positioning the stumps after the pitch had been rolled?

 

Thornton, who was at the crease at the moment, spoke to Cambridge captain Martin Hawke and they agreed that that the match would be restarted from scratch.  Thorton's side batted twice over the first two days of the match and Cambridge once, however, day three of the game was washed out.  Wright, who had been dismissed before the pitch error was discovered, lost his wicket in each of the subsequent innings, a situation some claim means he was out three times during the game. 

 

Similar errors are reported to have occurred on other occasions.  In Ireland in 1889, Leinster 2nd XI had lost four wickets against Blackrock College when the discovery was made that the match was being played on a 26-yard pitch. However, unlike the Fenner’s encounter, the teams agreed to play on rather than restart the game.  In 1946, Yorkshire were playing Derbyshire at Chesterfield and Len Hutton was at the wicket when it was found that the pitch had been incorrectly measured.  And in the first class match between Lancashire and Derbyshire in July 1979, the alignment of the stumps was found to be askew.

 

In the book 'Cricket’s Strangest Matches' Andrew Ward relates the story of a pitch measurement of a different kind that is said to have taken place in a local game that is otherwise undocumented. When the new batsman asked the unnamed umpire for ‘middle’, the official supposedly took 11 measured strides up alongside the pitch, each approximately a yard, and pointed at the ground saying, “It’s about here”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,748

  Thursday, 28 January 2016

 

• Former ICC referee, umpire head up MCL officials list [1748-8701]. 

• Ground announcers censured over on-air sledging [1748-8702]. 

• Players’ union seeking feedback over live match interviews [1748-8703].   

• Under-19 World Cup officials spread far and wide [1748-8704].   

• Trio prepare for South African exchange visits [1748-8705].

• Ex-policeman found guilty of bat attack on opposing player [1748-8706]. 

• Former County player ‘a neutral’ now! [1748-8707]. 

• New Pennine League to be headed by former Test umpire [1748-8708]. 

• Sports Minister praises CSA for swift Bodi action [1748-8709]. 

• Why there is no easy fix for cricket's scandals [1748-8710]. 

• Another neutral ground Sheffield Shield final looms [1748-8711]. 

• What’s the point of the T20 international? [1748-8712]. 

 

Headline: Former ICC referee, umpire head up MCL officials list.

Article from: MCL press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 27 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1748-8701.

 

Former International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Roshan Mahanama, and fellow retiree umpire Steve Davis, are to head up the match officials list for the inaugural Masters Champions League (MCL) which will be played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over 16 days starting Thursday.  The 6-team, 18-match MCL, is a Twenty20 competition that features retired higher-level players (PTG 1688-8307, 15 November 2015).

 

Mahanama, 49, who retired from his ICC position last month after an 11-year stint, said then that the "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” (PTG 1702-8418, 3 December 2015).  Davis, 63, was a member of the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel from 2008 to last year (PTG 1560-7502, 3 June 2015).

 

The pair will work with three members of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Full List of umpires, Billy Taylor, 39, (PTG 1748-8707 below), Graham Lloyd, 46, Peter Hartley, 55, and Jeremy Lloyds, 61 (PTG 1742-8663, 21 January 2016).  They are likely to have received approval from the ECB to take on MCL contracts for the competition is an ICC-approved series, an entirely different approach to that it took in regards to its umpires in the "non-approved” Indian Cricket League last decade.  UAE-based umpires Sachin Solanki and Iftikhar Ali will work as fourth umpires during the tournament.

 

Zarah Shah, the MCL’s chief executive said: “The match officials for the inaugural edition of the MCL features a brilliant set of experienced men. We are certain to witness umpiring and refereeing of world class standards”.

 

Headline: Ground announcers censured over on-air sledging. 

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 27 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1748-8702.

 

Cricket authorities in South Africa and New Zealand have issued apologies to the touring England and Pakistan sides respectively over the actions of ground announcers during the Test at Centurion Park in Pretoria and One Day International in Wellington over the last week.  Sam Roy, the Centurion announcer made an ‘on air’ comment about England bowler James Anderson, while at the Basin Reserve Mark McLeod targeted Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir who has recently returned to internationals after a five-year match fixing ban (PTG 1733-8611, 9 January 2016).

 

On day one of the fourth Test in Pretoria, the objectionable announcement was made as James Anderson prepared to bowl, Roy saying on microphone: "And Jimmy Anderson has the second new ball in his grubby paws”.  Stadium audiences sledging the away side is common, but it less common that the sledge is delivered through a microphone.  

 

It led Cricket South Africa (CSA) to send a letter of apology to their English counterparts and Anderson for their employee’s comment.  CSA said that Roy had only been employed on a one-off freelance basis because their regular announcer was unavailable. "Sam says he meant no malice. This type of incident has never occurred before and we do not see it happening again in the future”, said a CSA spokesman.

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) censured McLeod, a veteran DJ who has been contracted by NZC for many years to announce and play music at their home internationals, reportedly giving him a clear reminder to tone it down, however, the national body stopped short of asking spectators to lay off taunting Amir (PTG 1739-8649, 16 January 2016).  McLeod had played the sound of a cash register when Amir was running in to bowl. 

 

NZC chief executive David White issued an apology to the Pakistan team saying McLeod’s actions were "inappropriate and disrespectful", and has the effect of trivialising one of the biggest issues facing cricket at the moment. "I've contacted the Pakistan team management to apologise, and to assure them there will be no repeat”, White said.

 

But there was less sympathy for Amir on the subject of crowd taunts. His team-mate Mohammad Hafeez reportedly complained to the umpires and Pakistan's security team after spectators at the Basin Reserve allegedly called "I've got a dollar for you" and waved money at Amir as he fielded near the boundary on Monday.  Security officials approached the crows and told them to behave or leave the venue, says a Pakistan media report.

 

White said: "As opposed to a member of the public in the stands having a bit of banter and humour... it's different. We can't direct people how to behave all the time. There's a line of drunken disorderly abusive behaviour but stadiums are full of people in groups together, around the world there is banter. I guess there is the line that people need to stay within”.

 

Recalled Black Caps seamer Doug Bracewell said crowd taunts were a hazard of touring life, particularly when fielding on the boundary.  Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shahryar Khan expressed his disappointment at the crowd's taunts. "Obviously what happened is disturbing for Amir and the team, but mentally they are prepared for these things and are strong enough to deal with such situations”, he said.

 

Headline: Players’ union seeking feedback over live match interviews. 

Article from: Fairfax media.

Journalist: Andrew Wu.                          

Published: Wednesday, 27 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1748-8703.

 

The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) or players’ union is to seek clarification from television networks over what constitutes acceptable player engagement during matches after Australia's Steve Smith was dismissed in the opening Twenty20 International against India in Adelaide on Tuesday.  Smith had been providing on-field commentary for broadcaster Channel Nine, so when he was dismissed for  just 21, India’s Virat Kohli sent him off with a sledge. 

 

Smith mis-timed a push down the pitch from Ravi Jadeja's bowling and was caught by Kohli at mid-off.  Kohli gave the Australian a fiery parting shot, which included indicating he wasn't impressed with Smith's chatter, but the batsman was not spoken to by commentators in the lead-up to the ball which got him out.  Many viewers believed Kohli was referring to Smith's on-going conversation with the Nine commentary team, which he had mic'd up in his ear, while others suggested it was in response to sledging he copped during his knock.

 

Guidelines given to broadcasters as to when they can communicate with players say they cannot speak to the facing batsman while the bowler is in his approach to the crease.  It's understood Smith does not blame the broadcaster for losing his wicket, which sparked a dire batting collapse that crippled Australia's run chase. The Test and One Day International captain did not appear uncomfortable at any stage during his interview, at points even sharing a laugh with commentators.

 

While the ACA have no qualms with the circumstances leading to Smith's departure, the players' union said it would seek feedback from players and speak to networks over the appropriate times they are spoken to.  "We think players have been really accommodating”, ACA chief Alistair Nicholson said.  "Being miked up, there is the right time and place to do that but there's a greater level of feedback we need to seek from players over when that engagement is going to be acceptable”.  "It's very difficult for players in a live environment to push back on what they've been asked to commentate on”.

 

Television interaction with players in Twenty20 matches is a feature of the coverage of Australian broadcasters Nine and Ten and welcomed by viewers, who appreciate being taken inside the mind of the player in the heat of battle.   Players are not obliged to wear microphones if asked by a broadcaster and have the right to say no. No Indian player was miked up in Adelaide.  There was an instance in Cricket Australia’s Big Bash League this season when Melbourne Stars' Kevin Pietersen asked Ten's commentary team not to speak to him until he was settled in, a wish granted by the network. He was run out moments later.

 

Smith’s team mate David Warner said he had no problems with being connected to Channel Nine during games, nor did he feel under extra pressure, saying: "Obviously it's not in the interests of Channel Nine to disturb us while we're out there and for us to be dismissed”.   However, he could not hide his frustration when asked on Wednesday if he felt Australian players were judged more harshly for their on-field behaviour compared to their rivals, querying why Kohli did not receive more scrutiny for his feisty send off to Smith.  

 

The controversy comes days after a boundary-bound shot by Kohli struck Channel Nine's aerial Spydercam and was ruled a dead ball, costing India four runs (PTG 1745-8680, 24 January 2016).

 

Headline: Under-19 World Cup officials spread far and wide. 

Article from: ICC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 27 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1748-8704.

 

The eighteen umpires standing in the Under-19 World Cup have been broken into four groups for the 24-match Group stage of the event (PTG 1746-8689, 26 January 2016).  Five member panels being allocated in both the capital Dhaka and Chittagong 250 km to the south east, while four men each will be looking after games in Cox’s Bazar another 100 km further south, and in Sylhet 200 km to the north-east of Dhaka.

 

The Dhaka area panel consists of Rob Bailey (England), Gregory Brathwaite (West Indies), Adrian Holdstock (South Africa), Ruchira Palliyaguruge (Sri Lanka) and Sharfuddoula (Bangladesh).  In Chittagong its Phil Jones (NZ), Mick Martell (Australia), Ahsan Raza (Pakistan), Tim Robinson England) and Chettithody Shamshuddin (India), down in Cox’s Bazar Nigel Duguid (West Indies), Enamul Hoque (Bangladesh), Langton Rusere (Zimbabwe) and Ahmad Shahab (Pakistan), and up in Sylhet, Jerry Matibiri (Zimbabwe), Ian Ramage (Scotland), Anisur Rahman (Bangladesh) and Raveendra Wimalasiri (Sri Lanka).

 

With the exception of Bailey, Enamul Hoque, Matibiri, Rusere, Shamshuddin and Wimalasiri, who each have two on-field appointments during the Group stage, the others have three matches to manage.  Eight of the 24 Group games will be televised and therefore third umpires have been appointed to those games, Brathwaite, Holdstock, Jones, Palliyaguruge, Raza, Robinson, Sharfuddoula and Shamshuddin having one game each in that role in addition to their on-field spots.

 

The three match referees Devdas Govinjee, Andy Pycroft and Graham La Booy will manage eight games each.  Govinjee will be based in Chittagong, overseeing matches there in person and also in remote mode some fixtures that are to be played in Sylhet.  Pycroft will be in Mirpur near Dhaka for matches there and on a remote basis for some played in nearby Fatulla, while La Booy has one game to look after in Chittagong and then moves to Sylhet for seven other Group games.

 

Headline: Trio prepare for South African exchange visits. 

Article from: Sources.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 27 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1748-8705.

 

Umpires in three different countries, Australian Sam Nogajksi, India’s Anil Dandekar and Chris Brown from New Zealand, are to travel to South Africa in March-April as part of exchange programs between their respective national authorities and Cricket South Africa (CSA).  All three are to stand in two CSA first class matches, Nogajski in Pretoria and Paarl, Dandekar in Cape Town and Durban, and Brown in Kimberley and Port Elizabeth.

 

Nogajksi’s first match will be the derby between the Titans and the Lions at SuperSport Park, Centurion, his on-field partner then being Babs Gcuma.  The Australian, 37, who went to New Zealand a year ago, will then move 1,400 km to Paarl in the Western Cape near Cape Town where the Cobras will host the Titans.  There he will work with Johan Cloete a member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), a group Nogajksi could join as early as this year.

 

Dandekar 47, for whom its his first exchange, is to stand in Cape Town with Bongani Jele in the match between the Cobras and Dolphins, then move 1,600 km to the north-east for the match between the Dolphins and the Knights in Durban with Shaun George, another IUP member.  Brown, 42, who will also be on exchange for the first time, is to travel first to Kimberley to work with Brad White where the Knights are to play the Warriors, then to Port Elizabeth for the fixture between the Warriors and the Lions with Adrian Holdstock who is also an IUP member.

 

Travelling in the opposite direction are Gcuma, 39, who will be in Australia in February to stand in two Sheffield Shield games, while his South African colleague Stephen Harris, 35, will travel to New Zealand in March for two matches, the first in Auckland between the home side and Central Districts with local Ash Mehrotra and the second in Christchurch with Brown in the match between Canterbury and Wellington.  Gcuma went to New Zealand on exchange 12 months ago while Harris is a first-time exchange.  Jele went on exchange to India last November-December on exchange after visits to New Zealand in 2014 and Australia early in 2015 (PTG 1702-8413, 3 December 2015).

 

Reports indicate that the exchange agreement between New Zealand Cricket and Sri Lanka Cricket will not be in operation this year, apparently at the latter’s request.  Australia and New Zealand are exchanging umpires this year (PTG 1746-8690, 26 January 2016).

 

Headline: Ex-policeman found guilty of bat attack on opposing player. 

Article from: ABC News.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 27 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1748-8706.

 

A former New South Wales police officer has been found guilty over a cricket bat attack on an opponent in a lower grade match played in Newcastle in 2015.  Merewether batsman Michael Varnum, 47, was today found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault.  Newcastle Local Court heard that after colliding with bowler Peter Lalor from the opposing Jewells Beavers side last February, Varnum whacked his opponent twice on the head with his bat.

 

Magistrate Robert Stone found the attack was not accidental, describing Varnum as "cocky" while he gave inconsistent evidence.  Lalor said the incident had impacted his family.  "It was awful for my family and my kids. I'm still playing, the worst part is my son has stopped playing cricket, but he'll get back into it”.  "I'm glad we got justice, I'm glad to be free of it all”.  "I'm glad to be here, and glad to be on the end of a good decision by the judge and the courts".

 

The blows to the head resulted in Lalor needing nine sutures, and he suffered from headaches, nausea and dizziness for several weeks afterwards.  He said his injuries had now healed.  "They lasted quite some time, but they're now pretty much non-existent”.  Lalor said Varnum's behaviour should not be part of sport.  "The Beavers cricket team is the best team in the world, and we just play to have fun”, he said.  "Something like this is not associated with cricket, or sport at all”.

 

Lalor said that now the court has handed down its decision, it was up to the Newcastle District Cricket Association to decide what action it needed to take.   "I don't think there would be many people who would want someone who does an act like that on the cricket field or any sporting field for that matter”.  Varnum will face a sentencing hearing in March, his lawyer asking the magistrate for a non-custodial sentence.

 

Headline: Former County player ‘a neutral’ now! 

Article from: Basingstoke Gazette.

Journalist: Simon Walter.                          

Published: Wednesday, 27 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1748-8707.

 

Billy Taylor, who was promoted to the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Full List last week (PTG 1742-8663, 21 January 2016) insists he loves umpiring as much as he loved playing.  Former Hampshire fast bowler Taylor, 39, whose love of the outdoors has led him to work as a tree surgeon, a falconer and a dog walker, is likely to be back at the Ageas Bowl in his latest role this summer after his promotion, and he is also standing in United Arab Emirates in the next few weeks (PTG 1748-8701 above).

 

The Southampton-born former Bitterne Park schoolboy, who played for Hampshire from 2004-09, cannot wait to return to the County circuit after replacing long-serving Mark Benson, who has had to retire following back surgery. "I hugely enjoyed my time playing cricket  and there are moments as a player I’ll always remember”.  "Taking a hat-trick [for Hampshire against Middlesex in May 2006] and scoring the winning runs off the last ball of a one-day game [for Hampshire against Derbyshire in August 2006 ] stand out".

 

“Those moments will always stay with me and if I could go back to playing I would, but those days are behind me.  I loved umpiring the first time I did it and my passion for it grew and grew. I feel at home in the middle as an umpire and enjoy seeing the game from a different angle”.  I see a lot more of the game than I did as a player and seeing fantastic spells of bowling and how players go about their business is fascinating".

 

“Physically it’s obviously not as tough but it's tougher mentally because you have to be switched on every ball”.  “As a player I could switch off down at fine leg and get away with it but you can’t switch off as an umpire”.  “All of a sudden you have to make a match-changing decision that people will be judging you for over the course of four days”.  "My playing experience has helped. I can appreciate how tough it as a player”.

 

Taylor, who was restricted to one first-class appearance in his last three seasons at Hampshire, continued: "I never really lost my passion for the game but after playing for 11 seasons it knocks the stuffing out of you when it ends”.  "It takes you a little while to adjust to normality and it's been a long journey to get here”.  "It's nice to have the security of a 12-month contract for the first time in a long time”.  "But I'm not going to take things for granted, I'll keep working as hard as I have done for the last five years”.  "I’ve been asked whether I’m happy to umpire Hampshire matches, and of course said ‘yes’ - I’m a neutral now!”

 

Headline: New Pennine League to be headed by former Test umpire. 

Article from: Oldham Evening Chronicle.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 27 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1748-8708.

 

Former Test umpire John Holder has been appointed president of the new Pennine Cricket League (PCL) in north-west England.  The PCL has been created by the merger of two of England's oldest-established cricket competitions: the Central Lancashire Cricket League which was former in 1892, and the Saddleworth and District Cricket League in 1898. 

 

Holder, 70, who played first class cricket for Hampshire and Western Province before going on to stand in 421 first class games, 11 of them Tests, from 1982-2009, was the unanimous choice of delegates at Tuesday night’s meeting in Middleton.  Holder said he’s "a serious cricket lover and feel honoured to be elected president of the Pennine League”.  “I’ve played [for clubs] in both leagues and wish clubs the very best for what I’m sure will be an exciting future”.

 

Headline: Sports Minister praises CSA for swift Bodi action. 

Article from: Sport24.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Wednesday, 27 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1748-8709.

 

South Africa's Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, has welcomed the swift response and strong action taken by Cricket South Africa (CSA) to allegations of match-fixing leveled against Gulam Bodi and other suspected cricketers (PTG 1746-8686, 26 January 2016). Mbalula said in a statement that said CSA’s approach was “commendable” but it must continue to safeguard the sport by leaving no stone unturned in its investigation of this disdainful practice”.  "CSA must pro-actively install preventative measures to protect our athletes from these parasites and vultures”, said the Minister.

 

Headline: Why there is no easy fix for cricket's scandals. 

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist: Andy Ball.                          

Published: Wednesday, 27 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1748-8710.

 

Cricket has always been a game for gamblers, and so long as that’s the case, you can no more eradicate fixing than you can avarice.  English player Ted Pooley’s story is always worth returning to, a reminder that cricket has always been a game for those wanting to gamble, for he wasat the centre of one of international cricket’s very first betting scandals.

 

If Pooley is known at all now, it is because he should have been in England’s team for the very first Test, against Australia at Melbourne in 1877. But he missed it, because he was in a prison cell in Christchurch. Pooley was a gambling man, though he often tried to deny it. He was once involved in what one of his obituaries described as “a certain unpleasantness” in a match against Yorkshire at Bramall Lane, when he was accused of trying to lose. 

 

“I never was a gambler on cricket”, Pooley said. But Surrey suspended him when it was proven that he had won a bottle of champagne in a wager with a colleague. Pooley had it with his breakfast and so had to be replaced as ‘keeper just after lunch. Despite that, Pooley was picked by James Lillywhite for England’s tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1876-77. 

 

In Christchurch, England were due to play 18 men of Canterbury, in what they called an “odds match”, the bookmakers’ prices published in the local papers. Pooley struck a wager with a man named Ralph Donkin. He bet Donkin a shilling apiece that each of Canterbury’s 18 batsmen would be out for a duck. A fair bet, but for the fact that Pooley was injured and unable to play, so stood as umpire instead. 

 

In the end 11 men were out for nought, and Pooley won a healthy sum. Donkin refused to pay. He said that he had declared the bet off before the game. So Pooley punched him three times in the face. Donkin later accused Pooley of breaking into his hotel room and trashing his belongings. Pooley was arrested, along with England’s kit man, Alfred Bramhall, and a trial scheduled. 

 

The team travelled on to Melbourne without them, and John Selby took over as wicketkeeper for the first Test. Pooley was eventually found not guilty of destroying Donkin’s property. He travelled back to England with Bramhall, arriving home a month after the rest of the team. 

 

The scandal hardly seemed to make the British papers. 'The Times' later mentioned that Lillywhite’s team has “laboured under the tremendous handicap of having to take the field without their wicket-keeper”, because he was “mixed up in a fracas”. His obituaries didn’t mention it, just as they glossed over the circumstances that caused him to fetch up in the poorhouse. 

 

‘Wisden' noted: “The faults of private character that marred Pooley’s career and were the cause of the poverty in which he spent the later years of his life there is no need now to speak". “He was in many ways his own enemy, but even to the last he had a geniality and sense of humour that to a certain extent condoned his weaknesses”. 

 

Pooley’s story is always worth returning to, a reminder that cricket has always been a game for gamblers. Sri Lanka have just suspended their fast bowling coach, Anusha Samaranayake, because he has been accused of trying to help fix the first Test against West Indies at Galle last October. 

 

Samaranayake is alleged to have brought a new net bowler, Gayan Vishwajith into the team set-up, though he had no serious experience at top-level cricket. Vishwajith has been accused of trying to bribe two players to throw the game. Galle’s groundsman, Jayananda Warnaweera, also has been suspended for three years by the International Cricket Council because he failed to co-operate with an investigation into fixing. In South Africa Gulam Bodi has been banned for 20 years after he admitted to attempting to fix matches in the Ram Slam T20. 

 

In New Zealand, Mohammad Amir has just taken 3/28 in his first One Day International since he came back into cricket. And in Pakistan, Salman Butt has been in fine form for the Water and Power Development Authority, with successive scores of 135, 99*, 6, 30, 81*, 95 and 90. Mohammad Asif, playing for the same side, has been a little less impressive while opening the bowling. 

 

The authorities felt unable to impose a lifetime ban on any of them, partly because the prospect of a comeback served as an inducement to secure their co-operation in their investigations. All exist, then, in this uneasy twilight, neither entirely condemned or entirely condoned, guilty, but playing again. Like Pooley. Only you wonder whether their obituary writers will be so forgiving.

 

Headline: Another neutral ground Sheffield Shield final looms.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jesse Hogan.                          

Published: Wednesday, 27 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1748-8711.

 

The Sheffield Shield final could be held at a neutral venue for a third successive year, with Victoria's decision to move their final game of the season to Alice Springs, 2,360 km from home, the basis for remaining there if they have hosting rights.  The final-round match between Victoria and New South Wales was to be the last match of the season at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) before the Australian Football League’s 2016 season starts. 

 

That mid-March match will instead be played at Traeger Park in Alice Springs. While the agreement between Cricket Victoria and the Northern Territory government, to which Cricket Australia and Cricket NSW are said to be amenable to, is only for that one match, it seems likely that if the first-placed Victorians are still atop the ladder after that match they will lobby to play the final in Alice Springs.

 

Last year Victoria, to the dismay of opponents Western Australia, hosted the shield final at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval. Their rationale was the MCG was unavailable due to the World Cup and secondary venue Junction Oval in St Kilda did not meet first-class standards.  The multimillion-dollar redevelopment of the St Kilda venue, to transform it into the State Cricket Centre capable of hosting first-class matches, will begin next austral summer.

 

In 2014 NSW hosted the shield final in Canberra, because the Sydney Cricket Ground was unavailable due to a Major League Baseball match (PTG 1303-6285, 2 March 2014).  Victoria hosted four matches out of the state in the second half of last season. Two of those were in Alice Springs. 

 

Cricket Victoria general manager of operations Shaun Graf said Alice Springs had already become their "home away from home”.  "It's a rare opportunity for Northern Territory fans to see elite cricket in their own backyard, with many international players from the two states to be playing in this match”.  Northern Territory chief minister Adam Giles said the deal to again bring shield cricket to the centre of Australia was "great for the community" and would "grow participation at the grassroots level”.

 

Headline: What’s the point of the T20 international?

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                          

Published: Wednesday, 27 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1748-8712.

 

If it wasn’t the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, it was a notable day in Australia and India's cricket rivalry, even if the teams for the night-time entertainment at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday had an experimental feel, with multiple debutants and recalls, and one palpable absence.  Given all the ersatz traditions being minted at the moment, one would have thought that there was quite a lot to build on.

 

What’s perhaps most noteworthy is the vehicle deployed on this august occasion: the Twenty20 international (T20I), widely derogated, including by the former great who presented Travis Head with his cap yesterday. Since its lighthearted genesis eleven years ago, the format has filled an interesting corner of cricket, like a rather garish but potentially valuable lamp in a tastefully furnished living room. 

 

Its rankings are meaningless; its schedules are a mess; its statistics are hard to keep track of. Yet in the next breath it is often spruiked as an ideal means of spreading the game to distant frontiers, and in March will coalesce as a juicy and enticing global event with a bigger field than the World Cup.

 

Frankly, the format makes money, and generates bold, skilful cricket — hardly discouragements to its continuance. Last night in Adelaide it had the additional context of the Adelaide Strikers’ barn burning Cricket Australia Big Bash League (BBL) season, and the strong Indian support for their team during the World Cup.  The three T20Is, with games two and three in Melbourne on Friday and Sydney on Sunday, come after the One Day International series, rather than acting as a curtain raiser as it did when South Africa visited last season. 

 

In other words, we may be seeing another slight shift in its identity. It is something of a comment on cricket’s shape-changing ways that in each of the last three Australian summers a different format has predominated: Tests (the Ashes) in 2013-14, ODIs (the World Cup) in 2014-15 and T20 in 2015-16 (the BBL). By the next coincidence of Australia and Republic Days it could be different again.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,749

  Friday, 29 January 2016

 

• Contracted Kiwis ‘advised’ to wear ’safe’ helmets [1749-8713]. 

• Caribbean umpires set for England, Bangladesh exchanges [1749-8714]. 

• Debutant reprimanded over ‘excessive’ first wicket celebration [1749-8715]. 

• Bowden’s 200th ODI delayed by match wash out [1749-8716]. 

• Auckland looking for more umpires [1749-8717]. 

• Large bonus a possibility for Aussie players [1749-8717]. 

 

Headline: Contracted Kiwis ‘advised’ to wear ’safe’ helmets.

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: Mark Geenty.                          

Published: Thursday, 28 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1749-8713.

 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) had “advised” its contracted players to wear “safe” helmets when batting prior to Mitchell McClenaghan being felled during his side’s opening One Day International (ODI) against Pakistan in Wellington on Monday (PTG 1746-8687, 26 January 2016).  McClenaghan was wearing an older style ‘Masuri' brand helmet which is not compliant with the International Cricket Council-recognised British Safety Standards (BSS). 

 

NZC's head of cricket, Lindsay Crocker, said it had recommended the use of either ‘Masuri' or ‘Albion' helmets that complied with the BSS to all its first-class players, and "we issue them to all players if they want them [most picking] them up”. However, NZC has stopped short of ordering its contracted players to wear the approved helmets.  

 

Crocker said the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is making it compulsory for all its professional players to use BSS-approved helmets this year (PTG 1698-8377, 28 November 2015), but there are no plans to take a hard line in New Zealand. "We'll be watching the ECB situation with interest” though, said Crocker.  

 

Cricket Australia (CA) introduced and enforced a requirement its players wear BSS-approved helmets when batting four months ago (PTG 1658-8114, 7 October 2015).  CA does not compel wicketkeepers to wear a helmet, but if a player chooses to wear one, it has to be a batting helmet, because they are the only ones approved (PTG 1673-8208, 28 October 2015)

 

It's a tricky and sensitive situation for players and administrators which had a glaring spotlight shone on it with the death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes after he was struck on the back of the head by a bouncer at the Sydney Cricket Ground fourteen months ago.  Players are very particular about their helmets, with comfort and vision an important factor as they try to execute their batting skills against bowling of up to 150 kmh. Some opt for brands from their personal sponsors, for example NZ ODI captain Kane Williamson uses a Gray Nicolls.

 

Crocker said McClenaghan and team-mates had been warned of the risks around using an older style ‘Masuri' but he chose to continue wearing it. The ball flew between the grille and the peak as he attempted a hook shot. The new Masuri helmets had the gap narrowed and the peak reinforced, and also had  a clip-on 'stem guard' added at the back of the neck.

 

Headline: Caribbean umpires set for England, Bangladesh exchanges.

Article from: WICB press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 28 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1749-8714.

 

Trinidad and Tobago umpire Zahid Bassarath, 32, and his Jamaican colleague Verdayne Smith, and are to travel to Bangladesh and England respectively on exchange over the next few months.  Bassarath who will officiate in matches during the Bangladesh first class season in late February and early March, while Smith, 38, is expected to stand in three rounds of first class matches during the County season.

 

In the other half of this year’s exchange program, England and Wales Cricket Board Full List member Martin Saggers, 43, will stand in final two rounds of the West Indies Cricket Board’s regional first class competition, the first in Trinidad and Tobago and second on St Kitts.  A yet to be named Bangladeshi umpire will stand in the three first games in St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, and Trinidad.

 

Bassarath made his first class debut in February 2013 and currently has 11 such games to his credit while Smith, who debuted at the same time, has 13.  Saggers, who played three Tests for England in a 119 match first class career from 1996-2009, made his debut as an umpire at that level in 2011 and to date has stood in 70  games, all of them in England or Wales

 

West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) project officer Rawl Lewis, a former West Indies leg-spinner, said the exchange program "was vital to the development of regional umpires".  “This program has been and continues to be an integral part of our umpire development as it provides opportunities for the umpires to experience different conditions and follow the protocol of other leagues which is vital for their advancement”.

 

Six of the current 12 members of the WICB's regional senior umpires panel, have been involved in the program to date, officiating games in England, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

 

Headline: Debutant reprimanded over ‘excessive’ first wicket celebration.

Article from: MCL press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 27 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1749-8715.

 

India’s Hardik Pandya has received an official reprimand for “Using language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batsman upon [their] dismissal during an International Match”, during the first Twenty20 International against Australia in Adelaide on Tuesday.  The incident happened in the 16th over of Australia’s innings when Pandya, after dismissing Chris Lynn, "celebrated excessively in close proximity to the dismissed batsman, which could have provoked an aggressive reaction".

 

The Level One charge was reported by on-field umpires Simon Fry and John Ward, third umpire Paul Wilson and fourth official Gerard Abood.  Following the match Pandy admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Jeff Crowe.  The match was Pandya’s first senior international and Lynn was his first international wicket.  

 

Under International Cricket Council regulations that cover all first offences, Level One breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand and a maximum penalty of 50 per cent of a player’s match fee. 

 

Headline: Bowden’s 200th ODI delayed by match wash out.

Article from: NZ media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 29 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1749-8716.

 

New Zealand umpire ‘Billy’ Bowden will have to wait a little longer to stand in his 200th One Day International (ODI) after what was to have been his 199th was washed out at McLean Park in Nelson on Thursday.  Bowden, 52, was on track to reach the 200 mark in his home city of Auckland next Sunday (PTG 1735-8619, 12 January 2016), but will now have to wait until one of the NZ-Australia ODIs in either Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton next week.

 

Meanwhile, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has defended its stance on having no reserve days for ODIs after Napier was denied its only taste of international cricket this austral summer.  With mainly fine weather forecast for Friday in Napier, and the third and final ODI not until Sunday in Auckland, many queried why Thursday’s match could not have been played the next day.

 

NZC's head of cricket, Lindsay Crocker, explained the logistics of rescheduling flights and hotels for upwards of 150 players, support staff, officials and television crew was too much. Reserve days were phased out about 15 years ago in New Zealand.  "At the moment you finish the game and move the next day. In order to accommodate a reserve day you'd either have to move a day after the match, or double book everywhere which puts costs through the roof. Logistically it becomes very difficult”.

 

Crocker said that "World Cups have reserve days but they delay all the movement for a day. Here with the congestion of the program and trying to get three games out in an eight-day period, it just becomes impossible logistically to get it done and with player welfare, to squeeze it any more than it is”.

 

Crocker said transporting of equipment from place to place was another reason why reserve days weren't viable any more.  "Flight-wise from here to Auckland is relatively short but drive-wise it's quite a distance for those who have to load up their vans. And when it's a change [the North and South Islands] between matches it becomes very difficult. It can take a full day to move.  It's a boring old word, logistics, but it is the fundamental reason why we don't do it these days”.

 

Headline: Auckland looking for more umpires.

Article from: New Zealand hard.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 29 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1749-8717.

 

A ball comes hurtling down the cricket pitch at 100 kilometres per hour.  It's a good delivery and the batsman is slow to react.  At the last second he tries to tip a shot over the wicket keeper but slides his bat past the ball by mere millimetres.  It would take a keen eye to see the miss as the ball sails into the keeper's gloves.  Howls of joy come from the fielding team as they appeal to the umpire to call out; the pressure is on to make the right choice.

 

It's a situation Auckland umpire Grant Howlett is used to but that doesn't make it easy.  "You can't always get your decision right but you just try your best.  Just about every game there's some 50/50 calls. You just have to give people the benefit of the doubt.  Umpiring or refereeing a sports match is a tough job.  In the heat of the moment an unfavourable call can result in angry players and even angrier fans”.

 

Howlett, who has been umpiring matches in Auckland for 10 years and began by lending a hand at his son's games, said: "At times players really question your calls and you've just got to be confident that you can back up the decision that you've made.  A lot of people shy away from it because of the controversy. They just don't want the pressure put on them”.

 

Auckland though is looking for more people to join the around 70 people currently in umpiring ranks there.  Auckland umpire administrator Doug Cowie, a former Test umpire and International Cricket Council staff member, says they are hard-pressed to cover weekend games.  "We're very short with numbers. We could do with another hundred”, he says.  "We would love to see days in the future where we are able to appoint every club game of cricket with an umpire"

 

Cowie admits it is a big commitment but says there's plenty of help along the way.  "There's plenty of opportunity for those to take part in programs and training.  If you're not playing the game it's a great way to be right in the thick of it”, he says.

 

Headline: Large bonus a possibility for Aussie players.

Article from: Cricket Australia web site.

Journalist: Martin Smith.                          

Published: Friday, 29 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1749-8718.

 

More than just Trans-Tasman bragging rights on the line when Australia meet New Zealand next month.  Australia are a series win away from getting their hands on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Test Championship mace and a $US1 million cash prize ($A1.4 m, £UK   700,000).  The latest ICC rankings, released on Wednesday after England completed their series win over the Proteas, confirmed India's ascension to the number one spot in Test cricket, a crown Australia can take from them if they win their upcoming two-match series in New Zealand.

 

With the series scheduled to end in late February, the timing could be perfect – and profitable – for Australia, with the Test championship mace awarded by the ICC annually on the first day of April.  As it stands either Australia or India will be the first team to earn the $US1 million bonus, the ICC announcing last October that the cash prize would double from the previous award of $US500,000 ($A706,000, £UK   350,000).

 

All up, 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 (PTG 1708-8462, 10 December 2015). 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,750

  Saturday, 30 January 2016

 

• ICC issuing umpires helmets for WT20C, but ‘no obligation’ to wear [1750-8719]. 

• PSL match officials details unknown as start nears [1750-8720]. 

• ‘Spydercam’ won’t disturb WT20C play, says ICC chief [1750-8721]. 

• Under-19 off-spinner’s action reported as ’suspect' [1750-8722]. 

• Football’s planned change to summer a challenge for all [1750-8723]. 

• Devon League to scrap match teas? [1750-8724]. 

• Pakistani facing jail for waving India flag [1750-8725].

• The selfish giants [1750-8726].

 

Headline: ICC issuing umpires helmets for WT20C, but ‘no obligation’ to wear.

Article from: Various reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 29 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1750-8719.

 

In a move designed to make the game safer for umpires, the International Cricket Council (ICC) will issue helmets to on-field umpires officiating in World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) matches in India in March-April.  Two umpires have been hosiptalised in a last few months after being struck by the ball during a match, the first Australian John Ward in a Ranji Trophy game (PTG 1701-8399, 2 December 2015), and the other English umpire Richard Kettleborough during a One Day International (PTG 1742-8661, 21 January 2016).

 

Kettleborough told Cricket Australia’s (CA) web site that: “We’ve seen some umpires being hit in recent times and it’s becoming quite dangerous, certainly in T20 and one-day cricket especially. We’re not obliged to wear helmets in the [WT20C] as it’s totally up to us, but it’s certainly something I’ll be taking on board and thinking about”.  “Our safety, as with the players, is paramount. The non-strikers are in danger too, as is the bowler in his follow-through, there’s no doubt about that [and] its only a matter of time before someone gets hit quite badly”.

 

CA says that it has been in touch with the other boards over the last 12 months about the same issue. “It’s no different to any other workplace – we want to make sure that our employees are safe”, a CA spokesperson said.  “We’ve done surveying of umpires [sic] within Australia and overseas as well, and we’ve had some great results from that.  “From there, we’ve been looking at what measures can be put in place to mitigate risk of ball strike for umpires, and also what types of protective equipment could be suitable”, he added.  Just what the “results” CA achieved were have not been made public.

 

During the recently concluded Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia, Gerard Abood, wore a helmet during matches, as did Ward in that series before become the first umpire to wear one in an international (PTG 1742-8661, 21 January 2016).

 

Headline: PSL match officials details unknown as start nears.

Article from: Dawn.

Journalist: Mohammad Yaqoob.                          

Published: Friday, 29 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1750-8720.

 

Six days before the 6-team, 24-match Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 series is due to get underway in the United Arab Emirates, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is yet to answer many key questions about the project, including those that relate to match referees and umpires.  PSL authorities have issued details about the event’s opening ceremony but nothing has come out about cricketing matters, especially in reference to umpires and referees.  

 

Senior umpires in Pakistan are said to know nothing about their appointments in the PSL matches, a member of the PCB’s elite panel saying: “We are hoping that most of us [on the PCB's elite umpires and referee panels] will be appointed to supervise these matches along with international umpires, but we are also concerned as there are reports that there is not much in store for us”.  

 

Another umpire of the elite panel said the local umpires had pinned high hopes on the PSL after the lack of international matches in the country during the past six years had deprived them of the opportunities, but the picture doesn’t seem to be too rosy for them.  He disclosed that the news emerging from the PSL camp is not encouraging for them as only a couple of umpires and referees are likely to get a chance to officiate. 

 

Headline: ‘Spydercam’ won’t disturb WT20C play, says ICC chief.

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 29 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1750-8721.

 

‘Spydercam’, which has been criticised by India‘s limited-overs captain MS Dhoni, will be used during the upcoming World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C)in India in March but it won’t disturb play, according to David Richardson the chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Speaking at a promotional event on Thursday, Richardson confirmed the device will be in use but they will make sure it doesn’t interfere with play as “we have guidelines for its usage” (PTG 1745-8680, 24 January 2016).

 

Richardson also indicated the ICC was keen to have pitches provided for the WT20C series such that they will encourage attacking play.  “As far as we are concerned about preparations of pitches, we want to make sure pitches are fast. We want to encourage attacking brand of cricket with the bat or the ball. We are very confident that in the tournament we will witness attacking and entertaining brand of cricket of the highest quality”.

 

Headline: Under-19 off-spinner’s action reported as ’suspect'.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor                          

Published: Friday, 29 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1750-8722.

 

Bangladesh’s off-spinner Sanjit Saha has been reported with a suspect bowling action during the Under-19 World Cup match against South Africa in Chittagong on Wednesday. The match officials’ report, which was handed over to the Bangladesh team management after the match, cited concerns about the legality of the 18-year-old’s deliveries.

Sanjit’s bowling action will now be scrutinised further under the International Cricket Council's (ICC) process for bowlers reported with suspected illegal bowling actions.  An Expert Panel will review match footage of the bowling action of the off-spinner to determine if the bowling action is legal or illegal.  Until the result is known, Sanjit is permitted to continue bowling in the tournament.  Bangladesh’s next match is against Scotland in Cox’s Bazar on Sunday.

 

Headline: Football’s planned change to summer a challenge for all.

Article from: Bolton News.

Journalist: Neil Bonnar.                          

Published: Friday, 29 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1750-8723.

 

Bolton Cricket League (BCL) secretary Ray Taylor says it would not have been right for his league to argue independently the case against junior football in the district changing to a summer season in parallel with cricket. The BCL has received criticism for not making a statement so far on the Bolton, Bury and District Football League's (BBDFL) plans which would see junior football run simultaneously with its cricket counterpart and potentially threaten participation in local cricket.  

 

The BCL believes the criticism of it is unfair as it was not right for them to act independently on the matter as a summer football season would also affect up to six other cricket leagues in the area.  All those leagues come under the governance of the Lancashire Cricket Board (LCB) whom the BCL believe would be the correct body to take up the matter on their behalf.

 

The BBDFL plan to change its traditional winter season to March-to-October with a break for the school summer holidays from next year.  They are doing it to eradicate the problem of regular postponements and to ensure their 8,500 junior players play on better surfaces.  It means their season will run simultaneously with junior cricket, an issue many people believe will threaten the number of people participating in cricket at junior and eventually senior level.

 

The BCL informed the LCB of their concerns last week and it was discussed at a meeting of the County's recreational sub-committee on Monday night when LCB managing director Bobby Denning agreed to meet with the Lancashire Football Association.  Now the BCL have concluded what they believed was the correct procedure, Taylor has given his own views on the matter.

 

Taylor said: "We have to be mindful that football and cricket are county-wide sports, and therefore the local area should not be taken in isolation. The lead has to come at national or county level.  Summer sports, including cricket, should be sympathetic to the problems experienced by junior football with the weather.  Though football has to be careful young players don't see it only as a summer sport and then baulk at the change to less favourable conditions as they get older and then drop out of the game completely".

 

The BCL secretary says: "The impact on other sports must be taken into consideration. Few sports can afford a drop in player participation, and, when it comes to funding, Sport England will not be fooled into thinking extra registrations equate to actually playing the game.  Arrangements must take travelling time into consideration. It is likely more than one sport will be played on the same day and some sports are not conducive to being played on a hot summer afternoon – especially by children".

 

In addition, "The days and times when training and practice sessions take place – as well as matches – have to be agreed, and limited if necessary.  Grounds and playing fields need time to recover, particularly where winter and summer sports are played at the same venue.  A six-to-eight week break is essential, and it would benefit everyone if football were to take this in May and June when most young people are taking exams of one sort or another.  Darker evenings from early August onwards mean it is impossible to play a junior cricket match lasting up to three hours”.

 

Headline: Devon League to scrap match teas?

Article from: Exeter Express and Echo.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 29 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1750-8724.

 

Devon League club representatives are due to meet in Exeter soon for the competition's annual meeting at which a range of issues will be on the table, including matters related to mid-match teas, which are an integral part of the English game.  The tea issue appears the most likely to spark a heated debate, with Budleigh Salterton suggesting the fee per team be raised to £42 from the £33 ($A85-67) that has applied since 2001, while if Plymouth get their way the tea interval will be scrapped and a straight 15-minute break between innings introduced.

 

Various clubs, Sidmouth, Abbotskerswell and Stokeingteignhead among them, want to tinker with match start times, and Sidmouth hope to see fielding circles introduced in second XI cricket – until now they are in first XI games only – and want free hits brought in for no-balls.  Exwick are behind two proposals which are bound to appeal to sides in the lower divisions.  They want a loan system brought in allowing players to float between teams playing in the second XI competition only.

 

Another proposal from Exwick is to stop adding extra deliveries to an over for no-balls and wides – except in the final over of a game.  Under their proposal the batting side would be awarded two penalty runs instead for each non-legal ball that is delivered.

 

Headline: Pakistani facing jail for waving India flag.

Article from: Agence France Presse.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 28 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1750-8725.

 

A Pakistani cricket fan is facing up to a decade in jail after he was charged Wednesday for jubilantly waving the flag of longtime foe India when his idol Virat Kohli made a match-winning knock.  Pakistani police said Umar Daraz, 22, went "against the ideology of Pakistan" when he waved the flag at his house in Okara town in Punjab province.  Daraz was celebrating Kohli's innings of 90 not out in the first Australia-India Twenty20 International in Adelaide on Monday.  His conviviality and subsequent arrest came on Tuesday, as Pakistan's arch-rival India marked its national Republic Day. 

 

Police officer Faisal Rana said Daraz was charged under Pakistan's penal code with acting against Pakistan's sovereignty. He could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine.  "Daraz initially told us that he is a true Pakistani but likes Kohli and never knew that was a crime”, said Rana.  "His act is against our country's sovereignty and is against the ideology of Pakistan”.  Rana said Daraz's home was also full of Kohli pictures.  

 

Headline: The selfish giants.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist: Andy Bull.                          

Published: Wednesday, 27 January 2016 .  

PTG listing: 1750-8726.

 

There was an excellent piece in the 'Indian Express' this week, returning to the topic of Indian junior player Pranav Dhanawade’s sc ore of 1,009 (PTG 1731-8597, 6 January 2016).   In it, the authors measured the pitch on which the innings was played, and found that the longest boundary was only 40 yards from the wicket. 

 

They spoke to the bowlers who had played against Dhanawade, and found that two of them were only 10, five years younger than Dhanawade, and too young to have ever before played on a full-sized pitch or with a full-size ball. And they spoke to the boys’ coach, and found that he had asked Dhanawade to cut them some slack and declare, that Dhanawade had promised to stop when his score was 500, but had instead gone on and on. 

 

It wasn’t the details of the story that surprised me, so much as the reaction to it. Some suggested that Dhanawade’s record should be disregarded, have an asterisk next to it, and that it was “fraudulent and a disgrace”. Let’s flick back 116 years, to revisit the story of Arthur Collins, the 13-year-old boy whose record Dhanawade broke. 

 

Collins made 628 not out in a junior house match at Clifton College. He did it on a junior ground, 60 yards long, against a team that included, according to one report, some “no-hopers”. Collins won the toss, put his side in, opened, and then batted for the next four afternoons. The next best of his teammates made 42, and between them the opposition made all of 33. 

 

Point being, no one makes a score like that without ruthlessly exploiting the circumstances to their own advantage. In batting, record-breaking tends to an unappealingly selfish business. Just ask Geoff Boycott. Or Brian Lara. Or Matthew Hayden. 

 

Dhanawade set out to make a name for himself, because he plays for an unfashionable school in the suburbs, and wanted to earn selection for Mumbai’s Under-16 team. He has done it, at the expense of the 10-year old boys he was playing against. And while we don’t have to admire him for it, we can’t dismiss him simply because we don’t approve of the way in which he went about it (PTG 1740-8651, 17 January 2016).

 

 

End of January 2016 news.