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                      FEBRUARY 2016
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 22 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 8727-8849)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below 
 1,751  1,752  1,753  1,754  1,755  1,756  1,757  1,758  1,759  1,760  1,761 1,762  1,763  1,764  1,765  1,766  1,767  1,768  1,769  1,770  1,771  1,772


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,751

  Monday, 1 February 2016

 

• ‘Dukes' pitching its balls to NZ Cricket [1751-8727]. 

• BCCI looking at ‘scaled down’ UDRS for IPL [1751-8728]. 

• ICC ‘crackdown’ diminishing ‘entertainment value’ [1751-8729]. 

• Mahanama doubling up on MCL, PSL panels [1751-8730]. 

• Under-19 spinner suspended for illegal bowling action [1751-8731]. 

• CA umpires return to first class mode [1751-8732]. 

• Nepalese, Indian umpires standing in Townsville [1751-8733]. 

• Pakistan fined for slow over-rate in Auckland ODI [1751-8734]. 

• Is Clayton West Cricket Club on borrowed time? [1751-8735]. 

• ‘Independent’ ICC chairman move leaves Clarke with tough choice [1751-8736]. 

• Range of issues to be discussed by ICC quarterly meetings [1751-8737]. 

• Bodi match fixing information passed to police [1751-8738]. 

• Bermudan clubs left short after theft [1751-8739]. 

• Cricket’s corruption slinking into darker, seedier corners [1751-8740]. 

 

Headline: ‘Dukes' pitching its balls to NZ Cricket

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: Andrew Alderson.                          

Published: Sunday, 31 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1751-8727.

 

The owner of Dukes cricket balls is coming off the long run to attack Kookaburra's hold on the elite-level ball market in New Zealand.  British Cricket Balls (BCB) Ltd chief executive Dilip Jajodia meets with New Zealand Cricket (NZC) officials this week to pitch for territory in the New Zealand market.  Dukes has also been pushing for its ball to be adopted in Australia, Cricket Australia (CA) using them in trials conducted during youth and state second XI matches in the past (PTG 1265-6101, 7 January 2014 and 1052-5117, 4 February 2012).

 

Jajodia said that one of the problems his company faces is in regard to England where it dominates the market but has no on-going contracts.  His business is thus "on the line every year [and] if they don't like our products, they can try something else”.

 

NZC's contract with Australian ball manufacturer ‘Kookaburra' runs until the end of the 2016-17 season. NZC and BCB met last year after the New Zealand-Australia Test in Perth in which unscheduled ball changes reached double figures. That led to calls for CA to move to using ‘Dukes’ balls (PTG 1691-8322, 21 November 2015).  ‘Kookaburra' have been supplying Australian, New Zealand and South African Test balls since 1946.

 

‘Kookaburra’ managing director Brett Elliot said they are confident of improvement.  "Our products are made entirely of natural materials, so you can get bad batches. We've worked locally with [NZC] and everyone was comfortable with the reasons why [the balls failed in Perth]” (PTG 1692-8327, 22 November 2015).  ‘Kookaburra' balls undergo the same preparation process, regardless of the conditions in which they're used, but ‘Dukes' says they adapt their balls to the environment.

 

According to Jajodia, "Pitches and weather conditions are different, so we have become bespoke manufacturers". "But that's what we have to do to get credibility and break into new markets."

 

Both businessmen agreed balls are coming under more stress, especially given they are intended to deteriorate gradually over a day.  "The batting, for argument's sake of David Warner and Brendon McCullum, brings into question the fundamental construction of balls”, Jajodia said.  Elliot agrees saying: "The product is put under more stress than ever with the size of bats and the style of batting, but we believe our research and development department is the best in the world”.

 

New Zealand captain McCullum stayed in his diplomatic crease on the issue. "In our conditions if the wickets get flatter a ‘Duke' has benefits, but if ‘Kookaburra' make changes so the ball stays in better shape, it has been pretty good over a period of time”.  Twelve months ago NZC queer the Australian manufacturer’s production standards after problems were experienced in a Test series against Sri Lanka (PTG 1496-7224, 7 January 2015).

 

Elliot said more development had taken place on the pink ball since the Adelaide Test and the upgraded version will be used in this month’s day-night round of Sheffield Shield matches.  "Based on the feedback of players and administrators we have changed [from a green] to a black seam (PTG 1733-8611, 9 January 2016). It's coming out a lot bolder and more distinct in colour contrast. That will address some of the concerns once it got scuffed and picked up dirt”.

 

Headline: BCCI looking at ‘scaled down’ UDRS for IPL.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Arun Venugopal.                          

Published: Saturday, 30 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1751-8728.

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is mulling using a scaled down version of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) for this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament.  The BCCI's decision appears to have been prompted by the recent reported softening of the negative stance by the Indian team towards the UDRS (PTG 1747-8698, 27 January 2016).

 

Rajeev Shukla, the chairman of the IPL governing council, said there has been a proposal to adopt the system minus the referrals for LBW decisions.  A member of the IPL governing council said the discussions were still at a preliminary stage. "This [discussion on introducing UDRS] came up a few years ago as well, when the International Cricket Council (ICC) insisted that we try it. But it met with a lot of opposition”.  "Of course, there needs to be a lot of technical discussion on this before we go forward”.

 

Test captain Virat Kohli said during the Bangladesh tour last year that he was open to discussing the matter with his team, Ravichandran Ashwin saying then he wouldn't mind a UDRS without an umpire's call (PTG 1567-7536, 15 June 2015).  Aswan said "Cricketers are not rocket scientists. Let's keep it simple. Do you think in 15 seconds the captain standing at mid-off will be able to say it is not umpire's call? If you want to make the game a better place, either trust the technology completely or don’t”.

 

MS Dhoni, the limited-overs captain, had briefly suggested during the Brisbane Test in late 2014 at a kinder view towards the UDRS if it wasn't used to justify the decision of the umpires. But, during the recent One Day International series against Australia, India could have overturned the decision - had UDRS been in place - to reprieve George Bailey, who went on to score a match-winning hundred in Perth. 

 

Dhoni reiterated his general mistrust of the UDRS rule. "It could have [changed the course of the match] but at the same time we need to push the umpires to make the right decisions”, he had said. "You have to see how many 50-50 decisions don't go in our favour. It always happens, then you have to take it. But I am still not convinced about UDRS” (PTG 1736-8623, 13 January 2016)

 

David Richardson, the ICC's chief executive, had said in June last year that he was confident of getting the BCCI on board, with the technology being perfected over time.  "Ideally we want to be uniform but we are not there yet. What Geoff [Allardice, ICC general manager] is arranging is the testing of the technology so that everyone believes and trusts what the technology is supposed to be delivering is accurate and reliable”, he said. "Once we get over that hurdle, confidence in the UDRS will grow and eventually we will end up with everybody accepting it” (PTG 1574-7562, 23 June 2015).

 

India have used UDRS only twice in a bilateral series. The first of those was on the tour of Sri Lanka in 2008, where the team felt most of the 50-50 decisions went against them (PTG 288-1526, 1 August 2008). Three years later, in England, the system was partially adopted with only the ‘Hot Spot' and audio technology being used.

 

Just six weeks ago, BCCI president Shashank Manohar said his organisation will not accept the UDRS until it becomes "error proof” (ptg 1722-8544, 26 December 2015).

 

Headline: ICC ‘crackdown’ diminishing ‘entertainment value’, says Aussie vice captain.

Article from: Cricket Australia web site.

Journalist: Adam Burnett and Sam Ferris.                          

Published: Friday, 29 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1751-8729.

 

Australian batsman David Warner has labelled the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ‘crackdown' concerning on-field player behaviour in the lead-up to last year's World Cup "a bit of a joke”.  At that time the ICC made it clear they would be adopting a firmer stance on player behaviour, particularly exchanges between opponents as well as over-zealous wicket celebrations (PTG 1,502-7247, 16 January 2015).

 

Warner believes the so-called crackdown has diminished the entertainment value of the sport. "It's been tough with the crackdown of the ICC at the moment – I'm not going to have a pot shot at them but it's becoming a bit of a joke”.  "The players can't celebrate as much. Back in the day I used to love watching Glenn McGrath bowl to the West Indians, and them bowling to us, and [the bowlers] getting in the faces of the batsmen. We know sometimes things might get a little bit out of hand, but that's what we love about the game; we love the contest and [the crackdown] is really taking away from the bat-and-ball contest”.

 

The stance imposed by cricket's governing body hasn't stopped a series of exchanges between Indian Virat Kohli and several Australians throughout the limited-overs series over the last month, and while lauding the interactions, Warner believes that he and Kohli are now targeted for special attention due to their reputations.   "I think it's fantastic”, he said of the confrontations between Kohli and James Faulkner during the recent One Day International series.

 

"Virat's a very passionate guy, he leads by example for his country. He sets the tone, and that's what I try to do for Australia as well when I'm on the field … we're always in the camera's vision, it always gets us and we have to cop that on the chin and move on”.  Warner has clearly wrestled with the conflict between the on-field behaviour expected of a senior figure and his natural inclination toward combativeness over the last year.  On Australia's tour of the Caribbean that followed the World Cup, he effectively imposed a sledging ban on himself.

 

Warner said that approach "did help a little bit, but I love getting into a contest and into a battle with those bowlers". It’s "just how I play my game, that's how I get up [for the occasion] and it's what helps me strive to succeed for our team.  It's being in your face, and that's what I was brought up doing playing cricket. I remember grade cricket as an 18, 19-year-old, if you were going to get anywhere, you had to have thick skin because you were getting sledged left, right and centre.  It made me a tough person. I like to be aggressive, and that shows with the bat as well".

 

Kohli spoke last week about up his upbringing in Delhi and how it was crucial in forming his attitudes to the game  ."I come from a city where you always had to fight your way up the system.  And I think things that happen in your life make you mentally tougher and things don't bother you after a while because you know you're working hard enough.  You don't really go out there and take unnecessary things being said to you from anyone.  I follow that in life and I follow that in cricket as well”.

 

Headline: Mahanama doubling up on MCL, PSL panels.

Article from: from PSL press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Monday, 1 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1751-8730.

 

Sri Lankan Roshan Mahanama and West Indian Joel Wilson have been named as members of the match officials panel for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) tournament which is to be played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the next three weeks.  The 6-team, 24-match Twenty20 format series is due to get underway on Thursday.  Senior umpires in Pakistan expressed concern last week that their opportunities to work in the PSL would be limited (PTG 1750-8720, 30 January 2016). 

 

Mahanama, a recently retired member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) match referees panel (PTG 1702-8418, 3 December 2015), will fill that role together with Pakistan’s Muhammad Anees, while Wilson, a member of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) will be one of the umpires together with ICC Elite Umpire Panel member Aleem Dar, Pakistan IUP members Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza and Ahmad Shahab, and senior Pakistan umpires Rashid Riaz and Khalid Mehmood. 

 

The Sri Lankan will be working in two tournaments simultaneously as he is also contracted to manage Masters Champions League matches, the first game of which started last Thursday.  That competition runs until the 13th of the month, which is nine days into the 20-day PSL series  (PTG 1748-8701, 28 January 2016).  Mahanama has overseen all five MCL matches played to date.  

 

Over the next two weeks PSL-MSL matches will be played on the same day seven times, one being in Sharjah and the other in Dubai just 40 km away or vice versa.

 

Headline: Under-19 spinner suspended for illegal bowling action.

Article from: Daily Star.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 31 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1751-8731.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has suspended Bangladeshi Under-19 player Sanjit Saha from bowling in world-level cricket after a finding that his bowling action is “illegal”.  Saha was reported as having a suspect bowling action during his side’s World Cup match against South Africa in Chittagong on Wednesday (PTG 1750-8722, 30 January 2016).

 

An ICC 'event bowling action review panel' analysis conducted since then has found Saha’s action is illegal and they have suspended him with immediate effect.  He will only be allowed back into bowling after an independent assessment of his bowling action, conducted by an ICC specialist, proves that he has remediated his action.  That is unlikely to occur during the on-going World Cup which only has another two weeks to run.

 

Headline: CA umpires return to first class mode.

Article from: CA appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 31 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1751-8732.

 

Eleven of the twelve members of Cricket Australia’s (CA) National Umpires Panel (NUP), plus three umpires on exchange from India, New Zealand and South Africa, will be in action during the next three rounds of CA’s Sheffield Shield competition this month.  Of the nine matches, two are to be played in both Adelaide and Perth, and one each in Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Coffs Harbour 530 north of Sydney, and another near Christchurch in New Zealand, 2,140 km from the home side’s Sydney base.

 

The only member of the NUP not amongst those allocated Shield games is Geoff Joshua who is travelling to New Zealand on exchange (PTG 1746-8690, 26 January 2016).  New Zealand's Tim Parlane, plus Babs Gcuma from South Africa and Nitin Menon from India, are the three exchanges who will stand in Shield games this month (PTG 1748-8705, 28 January 2016).  NUP member Mike Graham-Smith, who was stood down from CA’s Twenty20 series two weeks ago (PTG 1736-8625, 13 January 2016), has been allocated one match.

 

Parlane's single game, a day-night fixture, is in Brisbane with NUP member Shawn Craig, Gcuma will stand first in Perth with Gerard Abood  in another day-nighter and then in Hobart with Sam Nogajski, while Menon’s games are in Adelaide with John Ward, also a day-night fixture, and then Perth with Paul Wilson.  Gcuma and Nogajski are to stand together in South Africa when the latter goes on exchange there in March-April (PTG 1748-8705, 28 January 2016).  Whether Abood and Ward continue to wear helmets on-field in their first class games remains to be seen.

 

New South Wales opener Ed Cowan has labelled the decision to schedule a Shield match in Christchurch as “ridiculous”.  His side has played just one four-day fixture at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) this season - a match against Queensland in late November - given there was a match against Victoria abandoned on the third day due to an unsafe infield, which cost NSW six competition points (PTG 1686-8286, 12 November 2015).  The following match against Tasmania was moved to Bankstown Oval; a decision that left players feeling disgruntled. 

 

Speaking on radio about the first Sheffield Shield match to be played outside Australia, Cowan said: "We are [playing in New Zealand], ridiculous isn't it. Why aren't we playing at the SCG?”  Told he probably needed to speak to someone at CA to find out the answer, Cowan replied with: "Mmmm, disappointing. Our home ground is the SCG and we're going to end up playing one game [there] this year, so we would prefer to play at the SCG there's no doubt, but we're also comfortable knowing the WA guys have to travel a lot further than we do. We play where we're told to play, but we'd prefer to be playing in Sydney”.

 

CA decided to take a match to New Zealand to give Australian players a chance to adjust to conditions ahead of Australia’s forthcoming Test tour there.  The Christchurch game will be umpired by Ward and Simon Fry.  After the Christchurch the NSW side’s next home game is also to be played away from the SCG, this time in regional Coffs Harbour.

 

Headline: Nepalese, Indian umpires standing in Townsville.

Article from: Match score cards.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 31 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1751-8733.

 

Nitin Menon is not the only Indian first class umpire who will be in Australia this month (PTG 1751-8731 above), as his colleague Vineet Kulkarni and Buddi Pradhan of Nepal are currently in that country standing in the Intercontinental Cup (IC) first class fixture between Ireland and Papua New Guinea in Townsville, Steve Bernard of Australia being the match referee. 

 

For Kulkarni its his fifth IC fixture in the last three-and-a-half years, and third in the last two months, the last two being in Dubai and Hong King.  Sixteen of Pradhan’s now 17 first class games have been IC fixtures since his debut 11 years ago, those games being at grounds in Ireland, Hong Kong, Kenya, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  Bernard is overseeing his fifth IC match since his first almost three years ago, the others being in the UAE, the Netherlands and Hong Kong. 

 

Headline: Pakistan fined for slow over-rate in Auckland ODI.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 31 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1751-8734.

 

Pakistan has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the third and final One Day International (ODI) of the series against New Zealand in Auckland on Sunday.  Match referee David Boon ruled that the visitors were one over short of the target when time allowances were taken into consideration, captain Azhar Ali being fined 20 per cent of his match fee and his team mates each 10 per cent.  

 

If Pakistan commits another minor over-rate breach in ODIs within 12 months with Azhar as captain, it will be deemed a second offence and Azhar and will face suspension.  Azhar pleaded guilty to Sunday’s charge and accepted the proposed sanction, so there was no need for a formal hearing.  The charge was laid by on-field umpires ‘Billy' Bowden and Nigel Llong, third umpire Bruce Oxenford and fourth umpire Derek Walker. 

 

Headline: Is Clayton West Cricket Club on borrowed time?

Article from: Yorkshire Cricket.

Journalist: John Fuller.                          

Published: Friday, 29 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1751-8735.

 

Typical challenges facing cricket clubs can be anything from scraping enough funds together to replace a mower to sourcing a wicketkeeper on the morning of a game.  The number of cricket clubs has been steadily declined in Yorkshire for years and the reasons for that will vary but not being able to get enough willing volunteers and the financial realities involved are chief among them.

 

For Clayton West Cricket Club, the threat to their existence is all about land. The club, whose two Saturday squads compete in the Huddersfield Cricket League (HCL), has always been a tenant in the village, since the club was founded in 1903.  In future, they could be evicted from their present ground on Back Lane, due to the domino effect of the proposed ‘Local Plan’ by Kirklees Council, which, if voted through – means land adjacent to the cricket field has its status changed from what is deemed ‘Open Land’ to housing.

 

If planning consent for building gets the green light in Clayton West, this would likely lead to developers Taylor Wimpey asking the farmer to vacate the adjacent field, who would in turn ask for his plot of land back from the cricket club.  A meeting between the developers, the local farmer’s family and the cricket club, along with local councillors has been amicable – as a solution that suits everyone continues to be sought – but there’s no getting away from the fact that time is fast running out.

 

In this particular game of chess, the cricket club have no moves left, other than to publicise their dilemma and hope a solution is found or the council is subsequently swayed by the depth of public feeling on this particular issue.

 

Talking to Steve Scott, a spokesman for the club, he was noticeably keen for people to lodge an objection with the council in this consultation period – which is about to end – but also didn’t want to stoke any feelings or play the blame game; the farmer is still their tenant, after all.  If this ultimately happens then it will be a rare example where a cricket club has ceased to be, by virtue of being booted off their land.

 

It would rob this village, some seven miles north of Barnsley, of a thriving club that won the HCL championship in 2011 and a sharp upturn in juniors from 30 to more than 100 in the last two years.  The club don’t want to rely on miracles down the line but Sport England could wield their considerable clout to try to come to Clayton West’s rescue, by dint of the fact that their stated policy is that the organisation: “clearly opposes development on playing fields, in all but exceptional cases”. Crucially though they don’t have the power to block development.

 

On the one hand, this is clearly a local issue that won’t affect you all. On the other hand, what if it was in your local area and your local facilities were at risk?  Cricket Yorkshire thinks the possible loss of the ground flies in the face of Kirklees Council’s own vision on its website which has the catchy tagline of: “Helping more people, become more active, more often”.

 

Headline: ‘Independent’ ICC chairman move leaves Clarke with tough choice.

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Nick Hoult.                          

Published: Sunday, 31 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1751-8736.

 

Former England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman and now president Giles Clarke will have to end a 12-year association with the ECB if he is to run for the most powerful office in world cricket.   Clarke, who was made the first president of the ECB last year after nearly a decade as chairman, will have to stand down from any role in English cricket if he decides to put himself forward as the next chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC). 

 

It is understood that the ICC will this week begin the process of cleaning up its governance by introducing a new condition which means its chairman must be independent of any member board (PTG 1751-8737 below).  It follows accusations of conflict of interest when Narayanaswami Srinivasan was made the first chairman of the ICC two years ago while also heading the Indian board and owning the Chennai Super Kings Indian Premier League franchise. 

 

When that team were caught up in a major fixing scandal, Srinivasan’s role tarnished the ICC and led to fears over the independence of the corruption probe investigation. Srinivasan was eventually forced to quit when India’s Supreme Court determined he had to go due to conflict of interest. 

 

The push to make the ICC chairman independent has originated in India and is expected to be rubber stamped by the board. Srinivasan stood down last year and was replaced by Shashank Manohar until June this year when a new chairman will be elected at the ICC’s annual meeting.  Sources close to Clarke expect him to stand for election but he will have to use all his political skills to win a majority backing of the 13-member board made up of 10 Test-playing nations and three ICC Associate members 

 

He may decide not to run if he feels he will fail to secure enough support before the election. There remains lingering resentment among many countries over the so called Big Three takeover of the ICC two years ago which ensured India, England and Australia would earn the lion’s share of income from ICC deals. But it is understood that division of funds is also up for debate and the big-three concept could be scrapped with India realising the impact on the poorer nations could be disastrous and leave them with weakened opposition on the field. 

 

Electioneering for the ICC chairmanship will begin this week in Dubai. The decision Clarke will face is whether to risk his position at the ECB. If he stands down from the ECB there is no guarantee he will have a post to go to for the presidency that was created for him last year and could cease to exist. 

 

Manohar is currently in Dubai overseeing an ICC quarterly board meeting (PTG 1751-8737 below), his first in that role since he took over from Srinivasan.  Last Thursday, ICC chief executive David Richardson told The Hindu that “the ICC chairman has suggested some constitutional changes and the same will be discussed soon”.  Manohar has made public his opinion about the ICC’s governance structure and other matters related to sharing of the revenue.

 

Headline: Range of issues to be discussed by ICC quarterly meetings.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Sunday, 31 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1751-8737.

 

A range of International Cricket Council (ICC) committee meetings to be held in Dubai over the next four days are to discuss a range of issues.  The ICC lists matters such as: ICC constitutional amendments; the structure and scheduling of bi-lateral cricket; potential participation in the Olympic and Commonwealth Games; updates on the forthcoming World Twenty20 Championship in India, including playing conditions and prize money; the composition of ICC's Cricket Committee; and issues relating to anti-corruption and anti-doping.

 

The Chief Executives’ Committee is to meet on Monday, then on Tuesday the Human Relations and Remuneration Committee and Governance Committee will conduct its business, after which will come the Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee and Executive Committee on Wednesday, and lastly several ICC Board meetings on Thursday.

 

Last November, ICC chairman Manohar, who is also the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, criticised the imbalance of power within cricket's governing body because of the constitutional revamp 12 months ago.  He described the move “bullying" and said there were several faults in the ICC that he hoped to rectify during his term as chairman (PTG 1697-8370, 27 November 2015).

 

Headline: Bodi match fixing information passed to police.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Firdose Moonda.                          

Published: Saturday, 30 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1751-8738.

 

South Africa's domestic match-fixing scandal could move into the courtroom after Cricket South Africa (CSA) confirmed it had sent the information in its possession to the South African Police Services. An update given at a CSA board meeting in Johannesburg on Friday stated that the matter was reported last year to the relevant police crime unit who will "deal with the criminal aspects of the investigation". 

 

When contacted previously, brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, the spokesperson for South Africa's directorate for priority crime investigations, said the police were "aware that there is an investigation going on but we have not received anything”, however, it is understood that the department has still not received any information. If taken up, the case would be handled by a specialised corruption unit as match-fixing is a crime under South Africa's the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Law.

 

Gulam Bodi is the only player CSA has sanctioned so far, being banned for 20 years, five of which are suspended.  It has been learnt that two former Test cricketers and at least one other international have admitted to failing to report offers to fix matches in the ongoing South African investigation. They are expected to learn their fate in the next week. One of those players said he believed that by refusing the offer and co-operating with the investigation, he has cleared his name. 

 

CSA president Chris Nenzani said his board have given the investigation a stamp of approval.  "The board is satisfied with the progress that has been made so far and with the lengthy ban that was imposed on Mr Bodi”, said Nenzani. "We will strongly uphold our stance of zero tolerance on any corruption matter. The internal investigation under the CSA Anti-Corruption Code continues and we are confident that our experienced investigative team will leave no stone unturned”.

 

At the same time, the board supported a request by CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat to hold a comprehensive review of the Ram Slam Twenty20 series - the tournament tainted by the scandal - with a "a view to expanding its cricket and commercial values". The competition has tried for several years to obtain the profile of some of its counterparts such as Australia's Big Bash League or the Caribbean Premier League, but the timing of the tournament, which often clashes with the national team's schedule, and the weakening South African Rand are among the obstacles to its success. 

 

It may face another roadblock after title sponsor Ram, a courier company, told News 24 they are awaiting the outcome of the match-fixing scandal before renewing their association with CSA. "We are hopeful that CSA is taking every measure to comprehensively investigate the allegations and enforce a 'Zero Tolerance' approach. However no one ever wants their brand associated with any dishonest activities and we are seriously considering the outcome of the matter before renewing our sponsorship”, said a spokesman.

 

Headline: Bermudan clubs left short after theft.

Article from: The Royal Gazette.

Journalist: Sarah Lagan.                          

Published: Sunday, 31 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1751-8739.

 

The four member clubs of Bermuda's Eastern Counties Cricket Association (ECCA) are still waiting for close to $35,000 that has been owed to them since November.  It is understood that the delay is because of money was stolen from a car, the missing amount of $B34,700 ($A49,000, £UK24,400) being the takings from the sales for the three-match series played at St David’s during last year’s season in Bermuda.

 

As a result, St David’s County Cricket Club, Cleveland County Cricket Club, Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club and Flatts Victoria Recreation Club are still awaiting funding that by now would normally have been distributed by the ECCA.  Representatives from the clubs say they have received little to no communication from the association about when or whether they would receive the money.  However, ECCA president Steven Douglas has said that good news is on the way as “Everything is forthcoming and the clubs will be updated in the very near future”.

 

St David’s is waiting for the largest chunk of money — close to $B20,000 ($A 28,230, £UK14,040) — as it was the host club for the 2015 series, which was steeped in controversy after the first round, when champions Cleveland were stripped of the cup and then reinstated after an ill-tempered match against Bailey’s Bay (PTG 1621-7898, 18 August 2015).  The rest of the funds are meant to be divided among the other three clubs.

 

St David’s president Otis Minors, said “We all know the money went missing [as] we have reps who go to the ECCA meetings who report back to the club, but I haven’t heard anything yet from them regarding the situation.  “We had given [the ECCA] time after the holiday period, but we are now well into the new year.”

 

The money was stolen during a meeting of the ECCA. A "6 foot" alleged culprit, described to be of "medium to stocky build", was seen fleeing by foot along Great Bay Road.  The Bermuda Police Service confirmed that an investigation took place into the crime, but are otherwise flummoxed. “We have no leads or suspects’,” a spokesman said.  All three clubs have made clear they need the money so that they can pay off outstanding bills and move forward.

 

Lloyd Fray, the president of the Bermuda Cricket Board, confirmed that the board sanctions county cricket, but “has no control over the organisation or internal affairs of the organisations themselves”.  That remains a sticking point for those who are aggrieved by the indiscipline shown during the series and which led to the abrupt resignation of a leading umpire Oscar Andrade.

 

The board, however, does run the Champion of Champions tournament, which pits the best of the counties against one another. That event ended in ignominy with the lifetime ban of Cleveland’s Jason Anderson and a six-game ban for George’s O’Brien of St David’s, who was appearing as a guest player for Willow Cuts, the Western Counties champions.  Their televised fight on the pitch during the final epitomised the indiscipline seen throughout cricket in 2015, an incident that has to date been watched 1,021,743 times on the video-sharing website YouTube (PTG 1648-8064, 19 September 2015).

 

Headline: Cricket’s corruption slinking into darker, seedier corners.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                          

Published: Saturday, 30 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1751-8740.

 

In the annals of cricket malpractice, the latest to be sanctioned makes a poor fit. A, B and C were cricketers great and greedy. D, who last week was suspended by Cricket South Africa for 20 years for attempting to pervert the country’s domestic T20 Ram Slam, possessed only the latter quality — he was a modest cricketer nearing career’s end in apparently straitened financial circumstances.

 

What he had, which would have appealed to gambling interests seeking an advantage, was access — entre to dressing rooms, relationships with players. He was known as a bit of a joker, which would keep the tone of exchanges light even as their implications darkened.

 

Bodi’s inconspicuousness as a cricketer is also the salient fact about him. For it is at these levels of cricket — among the game’s everyday Joe Sixpacks whose domestic matches are increasingly broadcast into the subcontinent — where for many years the game’s greatest vulnerabilities have lain.

 

The first generation of fixers, in the 1990s, were audacious, subverting closely-watched Test matches and one-day internationals.  So, of course, did Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, who served time for the injudicious rigging of events in a Lord’s Test in 2010.  Yet that last great “fix” — which was, of course, a well-orchestrated sting by a little-less-shady, now-defunct tabloid newspaper — obscured as much as it revealed.

 

The days of big occasion, broad-daylight heists were already over, thanks in part to the system of anti-corruption surveillances created in response to that earlier generation of scandals.  Opportunities and susceptibilities were growing greatest in the twilight world since described by malefactor turned informer Lou Vincent. Vincent’s 2014 confessions covered matches between 2008 and 2011 that frankly nobody could remember — short-form county cricket in England, domestic T20 in India and Bangladesh.

 

The vast majority have been poorer paid players in a cricket world fast getting richer at very different rates, where an elite make seven-figure sums in six weeks of Indian Premier League but the vast majority don’t.  In an interview last week, the ICC’s chief executive David Richardson went so far as saying that cases like Bodi’s were encouraging because they showed that “education is working” — not unlike being gratified by a building burning down because it vindicates investment in a fire brigade.

 

Richardson has a point, that cricket can never be rendered safe from corruption, but it is a small point worn out from overuse, indicative of an administration in the habit of treating symptoms rather than addressing causes. And the preconditions of corruption in cricket are hardly far to seek. You have a game that has been glutted with money in a short period of time with a fast-growing gap between rich and poor, individuals and nations.

 

You have an emergent set of domestic T20 competitions, even the largest of which, the IPL, is chaotically if not corruptly run (and operating, in the IPL’s case, in a country where most forms of gambling are illegal). These competitions have vastly discrepant standards of administration and anti-corruption measures. In the Bangladesh Premier League, players have routinely gone unpaid. In the Sri Lankan Premier League, one franchise emerged as actually owned by bookmakers. The first impresario of T20 cricket in the Caribbean will live out his days in jail.

 

And never mind, for a moment, swarthy figures on cricket’s shadowy fringes; particularly in Australia and England, cricket has welcomed colossal legal betting apparatuses, increasingly regarded as a lucrative source of revenue. Approximately $A3 billion was gambled on the recent BBL — officially anyway.

 

What’s underestimated, above all, is that the modern cricketer is increasingly an income-insecure independent contractor tugged hither and yon by multiple employers, bonds of loyalty no deeper than the provision of agreed services. Trade unions, where they exist at all, are generally weak. Manager accreditation is recent and remains loose. Players’ protection is — what? — “education”.

 

Are the ICC’s full members addressing these factors?  Are they, bollocks. For they are the sponsors of these self-same forces, having into the bargain weakened the council’s authority, further skewed the playing field to the advantage of the strong, and raced one another to the bottom of governance standards. The family of Cricket Sri Lanka’s new president, a powerful politician elected recently in a curiously abrupt landslide, owns a betting shop chain. Pub test anyone?

 

In his interview last week, Richardson passed one another poignant remark. “Certainly when we find (out) about it”, he said, “no stone will be left unturned to make sure the matter is investigated proactively, and if necessary, prosecutions are made”.  Well, yeah, you can’t investigate something you don’t find out about. But isn’t it also possible to look, to turn a few stones over yourself? If your chief resource is player tip-offs, you’re showing a flimsy grasp of human nature, and Richardson knows this better than anybody.

 

Twenty years ago this year, Richardson was one of the South African players who was privy to MK Gupta’s approaches to Hansie Cronje, and who not only said nothing but thought it kinda cool. As Richardson told the King Commission: “We had heard that other teams had been approached and when we got this offer we thought, ‘We’re one of the big boys at last’”. Cricket has changed a lot since; cricketers too, in some respects; but human nature, maybe not so much. Gulam Bodi probably thought he was a pretty big boy too.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,752

  Tuesday, 2 February 2016

 

• CA, CSA won't back Clarke bid for ICC chairmanship [1752-8741]. 

• This week to see Bowden’s 200th ODI? [1752-8742]. 

• Test championship needed to save five-day game, says Kallis [1752-8743]. 

• What becomes of an English cricket ground in winter? [1752-8744]. 

 

Headline: CA, CSA won't back Clarke bid for ICC chairmanship.

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Nick Hoult                          

Published: Tuesday, 2 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1752-8741.

 

Australia and South Africa will not vote for England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) president Giles Clarke if he decides to stand for election as the next chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) (PTG 1751-8736, 1 February 2016). It is understood officials from both Cricket Australia (CA) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) have told the ECB they will not be voting for Clarke if he decides to run for the most powerful position in world cricket when it becomes available in June. 

 

The decision by Australia is a huge blow for Clarke for they were allies during the restructuring of the ICC two years ago which put more power and money in the hands of India, England and Australia.  South Africa were left out in the cold along with seven other Test playing nations so their decision not to support Clarke is hardly a surprise, but it does show the battle he will have on his hands to convince countries to vote for him as he looks to win a majority from the 13 member ICC board. 

 

When contacted, Clarke did not confirm his intention to stand and may well decide against it rather than risk the humiliation of losing an election.  But if he does put himself forward he will have to resign from his position as president of the ECB. 

 

The ICC will this week discuss changes to its constitution which will mean the next chairman will have to be independent and cannot hold office at another member board (PTG 1751-8737, 1 February 2016). It stems from accusation of conflict of interest which arose when Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the first chairman of the ICC, was dragged into a match fixing scandal through his positions with the Indian board and Indian Premier League team. 

 

Srinivasan, along with Clarke and Australia’s Wally Edwards, were the architects of the restructuring of the ICC that caused so much resentment within the international game. But since then Srinivasan has been hounded out of office in India and Edwards has retired leaving Clarke the sole survivor.  The fall of Srinivasan has led to a policy shift in India with his replacement, Shashank Manohar, publicly criticising the ICC’s structural changes (PTG 1697-8370, 27 November 2015). 

 

Manohar replaced Srinivasan as chairman of the ICC in October but his term ends in July and sources close to Clarke expect him to stand for a job he will see as a natural progression after nearly a decade as chairman of the ECB.  But the retirement of Edward has also changed CA's stance. His replacement, David Peever, has not spoken publicly about his views on the structure of the ICC but a Sydney report says he believes in sharing the game’s revenues rather than making a few countries richer. 

 

Officials from CA met with the ECB in Singapore in December when they informed them of their decision not to back Clarke. It is understood they feel he is too tainted by his involvement in the carving up of power to then be chairman during a two year period when it could be reconsidered.  Clarke’s only realistic hope of winning the election is to carry the support of India who would then lean on other Asian countries to support their candidate. 

 

If that happens Clarke could still become the next chairman of the ICC. He is a remarkable survivor and knows how to horsetrade having won two bloody elections as chairman of the ECB.   Electioneering is expected to begin in earnest this week in Dubai. 

 

Headline: This week to see Bowden’s 200th ODI?

Article from: ICC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 2 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1752-8742.

 

New Zealand’s ‘Billy’ Bowden is expected to stand in his 200th One Day International (ODI) sometime over the next seven days in the three-match series between New Zealand and Australia.  Bowden was on target to reach that mark last Sunday in his home city of Auckland, however, the washout in Napier last Thursday means he has had to wait a bit longer (PTG 1749-8716, 29 January 2016).

 

Bowden and Derek Walker, the only available New Zealand members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, are expected to stand in the series with either Ian Gould of England or Sundarum Ravi of India, the ICC’s ‘neutral’ appointments from its Elite Umpires Panel.  Gould’s countryman Chris Broad has been named as the match referee for the series.  

 

Gould will be on-field in games one and three in Auckland and Hamilton on Wednesday and Monday respectively, and Ravi in the second in Wellington on Saturday, both working as the television umpire when not on the field.  If Bowden is allocated two games in the series and Walker one it may be Auckland after all where he will become the second person, after now-retired South African Rudi Koertzen, to reach the 200 mark, but if the appointments are reversed that landmark could possibly come in Wellington.

 

The series will see Broad take his ODI record as a referee to 271, Gould to 111 on-field and 32 as the third umpire (111/32) and Ravi 26/19.  Currently Bowden’s record stands at 199/58, 15/16 being ‘at home’ in Auckland, and Walker’s 7/2.

 

Headline: Test championship needed to save five-day game, says Kallis.

Article from: Fairfax media.

Journalist: Daniel Lane.                          

Published: Sunday, 31 January 2016.  

PTG listing: 1752-8743.

 

Former South African player Jacques Kallis has expressed concerns about the future of Test cricket in his home country and the minimal number of Tests the Proteas have played in the past two years, warning the International Cricket Council (ICC) it needs to introduce its much talked about Test championship to preserve the significance of the five-day game (PTG 1744-8679, 23 January 2016).  

 

Before leaving Australia after he helped guide Sydney Thunder to the Big Bash League title, the man ranked alongside Keith Miller and Garfield Sobers as one of cricket's greatest all-rounders, admitted he was amazed by the minimal amount of cricket South Africa – as the world's former number one ranked Test nation – has played in recent times.  

 

"It's sad the top side has only played seven [or] eight Test matches in the last year and probably 16 in the last two years”, said Kallis.  "It's something we need to address and play more Test cricket. I'm sure the guys will feel that as well. It's just getting the correct balance between T20 cricket and Test cricket”.

 

Kallis said the game could not afford to slide towards a future where only the so-called big three – Australia, England and India – played meaningful Test cricket because the longer format does not provide players from certain countries with the same opportunities lucrative Twenty20 competitions do.  "We don't want that," he warned. "We need to grow the game, not lessen it”.

 

Kallis implored the ICC to revisit the idea of playing a Test championship to ensure the five-day format retains its relevance for all nations.  The Test championship was proposed in 2010 and designed to allow the four best-performed nations to compete in play-offs. However, it was scuttled in 2013 because of financial difficulties. The championship was supposed to have been played in 2017, but it was scrapped.  Kallis said it was crucial the authorities worked hard to ensure the concept gets off the ground.

 

The South African also endorsed the recent call made by former Australia Test captain Steve Waugh for the ICC to introduce uniform Test match payments to ensure players are paid equally.  Waugh, who nominated the poor crowds attending Tests as cricket's biggest issue, described the prospect of a player of AB de Villiers' calibre abandoning Test cricket for South Africa to play in domestic Twenty20 leagues as "catastrophic".

 

Waugh said: "There are a few countries who are getting paid real good money for Test cricket and other sides don't have the finance for it. How they're going to work that out I don't know, but I don't think it's a bad call and we certainly need to find a way to look after Test cricket”.

 

Headline: What becomes of an English cricket ground in winter?

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                          

Published: Monday, 1 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1752-8744.

 

In his 1932 novel 'Death Under Sail', C. P. Snow’s narrator is lured to an empty Lord’s by the detective Finbow, who indulges in melancholy reflection: "Cricket, having been created and evolved, has achieved its purpose, produced one lovely thing, and ought to die….Drinking the best tea in the world on an empty cricket ground - that, I think, is the final pleasure left to man”.

 

The narrator dismisses this as "arrant nonsense", but there is a sense of end times about the images in Graham Coster’s lovely book 'Snow Stopped Play', which explores the "mysterious world of the cricket ground in winter”.  This is a very English phenomenon. We know what happens to the Australian cricket ground in winter - it becomes a football ground, and is ploughed beneath muddied sprigs. But the dead, shock white Lord’s on the cover of Coster’s book suggests a world gripped by a second Ice Age, while across a ground on the Yorkshire Dales are the footprints of a solitary pedestrian who amidst such desolation might be on the lookout for zombies.

 

In another image time stands still at Amptill Town Cricket Club in Bedfordshire, which causes Coster to reflect: "We all love the nailbiting limited-overs finish: four to win off the last ball and the tail enders’ swipe, and the ball either slithers to the boundary behind backward point or bowls him neck and crop. But cricket is a long game and a slow game. Deliciously slow. It takes days. It needs to take days…”.

 

Coster continues: "The other day down at Hove I watched Sussex take an attritional, inconclusive day not to press home their advantage against Worcestershire, and it would be two more days (when I wasn’t there) before the game would swing around and eventually bring them victory. But it needn’t have: after four hours’ play, the whole thing might satisfactorily have ended in a draw. Isn’t it that same daunting feeling you get a couple of hundred pages into a Thomas Mann or George Eliot novel, when there is still three-quarters of the book to go, and you know getting to the point where it will have been hugely worth it is going to take so very many more creeping hours of concentration”. 

 

Not that it’s all wintry bleakness. The book shows sparkling snow scenes of cricket in Tibet, Kabul, St Moritz, Dharmasala, Brockton Point, and these jaunty hipsters on sea ice floating on iAntarctica's Weddell Sea using ice cores for stumps, and sawed-up ice sections for a ball.  But beneath the icy surfaces of snow covered grounds there lurks a liveliness - the portent of the miraculous regeneration that sweeps the landscape every Spring. Even football grounds.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,753

  Wednesday, 3 February 2016

 

• NZC schedule late season pink ball, day-night match [1753-8745]. 

• ‘Mankad’ dismissal again results in controversy [1753-8746]. 

• Wellington now likely to see Bowden’s 200th ODI [1753-8747]. 

• Advertising revenue for IPL-9 up as memories of controversies fade [1753-8748]. 

 

Headline: NZC schedule late season pink ball, day-night match.

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: Not stated                          

Published: Tuesday, 2 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1753-8745.

 

A day-night pink-ball Test in New Zealand and South Africa next austral summer remains an outside possibility, with Hamilton's Seddon Park to host a trial match next month.  A two-day minor association representative match between Hamilton and Waikato Valley will be played as a day-night encounter on 4-5 March with a pink ball as New Zealand Cricket (NZC) continues to examine the likelihood of a first Test match on home soil under such conditions.

 

With NZC keen to pursue the idea of a home day-night Test match , a round of first-class Plunket Shield four-day matches had been planned as trial games this month, but were scrapped due to the inferior light quality at Napier's McLean Park (PTG 1738-8633, 15 January 2016).  However, Northern Districts (ND) chief executive Peter Roach was still keen for Seddon Park, one of the original venues slated to host a Plunket day-nighter, to hold a trial match.

 

The encounter may allow NZC boss David White - currently in Dubai for a conference with fellow chief executives from other cricketing nations - to continue to discuss the option with South Africa of a day-night Test when the Proteas tour next February-March.  White has suggested publicly a number of times over the last three years that a day-night, pink ball match would be conducted in his country, however, until now such a fixture is yet to materialise.  

 

NZC Head of Cricket Operations Lindsay Crocker said "We want to keep the momentum going with the pink ball”.  "And while we've postponed the first-class matches, this gave us an opportunity to continue.  "Also, ND were very supportive of the pink-ball program and very keen to host that Plunket Shield game and were disappointed we had to postpone for reasons outside their control”.  "It's a competition game, not a trial, and all the participants appear very keen to take part - so all the stars are aligning”.  "It'll give us further information - we've already had the Black Caps with a pink ball at Seddon Park, but this will be under match conditions”.

 

The national side spent three days training with pink balls under lights in Hamilton in October as part of their preparation for the inaugural day-night Test in Australia (PTG 1659-8120, 8 October 2015).  "It'll also be at a time of year that we probably would want to run a pink-ball game - it'll be warmer than pre-Christmas time”.  Sunset in Hamilton on 4-5 March will be around 7.50 p.m. local time.

 

Crocker said a day-night Test next summer was "still possible”.  "It's one of the topics David [White] will have with the South African chief executive Haroon Lorgat.  Given the fact we haven't had the chance to play in first-class conditions, I think it's going to be unlikely, but it's still possible - given that we'll still have the opportunity early next season to run some trial pink-ball first-class games”, but "A more likely date is the year after”.

 

Crocker said NZC was keen to see if the day-night Test would be a success here with both spectators and TV viewers.  "It went off so well in Adelaide”, he said.  "I don't think it necessarily transfers around the world - in England it might not work so well because of their long twilights.  We still want to test it here to see if it works, but we think it's highly likely”.

 

The inaugural day-night Test in Adelaide attracted 123,000 people over just three days as the hosts won a low-scoring encounter by three wickets, and Cricket Australia is now in talks with Pakistan and South Africa around playing day-night Tests next summer.  Apart from Hamilton, Auckland's Eden Park is the other major option to host a day-night Test in New Zealand.

 

Headline: ‘Mankad’ dismissal again results in controversy.

Article from: Match reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor                          

Published: Wednesday, 3 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1753-8746.

 

West Indies took the last quarter final spot in the Under-19 World Cup with a tight two-run win over Zimbabwe in Chittagong on Tuesday, taking the African side’s last wicket ‘Mankad’ fashion.  Zimbabwe needed just three runs to win with one wicket in hand at the start of the last over, but, West Indies seamer Keemo Paul took off the bails before sending down the first ball, catching non-striker Richard Ngarava out of his crease. 

 

The decision was referred by on-field umpires Ahsan Raza of Pakistan and Phil Jones from New Zealand to their television colleague Tim Robinson, who declared Ngarava run-out. That led to a social media peak focussed on what was generally described as unsportsmanlike behaviour by the West indies, however, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has made it clear a number of times in recent years that as the Law currently stands such a move is not against the Spirit of Cricket” (PTG 1392-6735, 17 July 2014.  

 

The International Cricket Council’s Playing Conditions regarding Mankads are slightly different to that of the MCC, however, not it terms of the appropriateness of a bowler to run a batsman backing up out (PTG 1633-7985, 1 September 2015).

 

Headline: Wellington now likely to see Bowden’s 200th ODI.

Article from: Sources.

Journalist: PTG Editor                          

Published: Wednesday, 3 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1753-8747.

 

Saturday’s weather permitting, Wellington’s Westpac Stadium will be the location for New Zealand umpire ‘Billy’ Bowden’s 200th One Day International.  Bowden is to stand in the second ODI of the NZ-Australia series with Sunardum Ravi of india, Englishman Ian Gould being the television umpire.  Bowden was on target to reach that mark last Sunday in his home city of Auckland, however, the washout in Napier the previous Thursday means he has had to wait a bit longer (PTG 1752-8742, 2 February 2016). 

 

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 72nd he has stood in in the time since (PTG 1735-8619, 12 January 2016).  According to the ICC, Wednesday’s opening match of the series will be played in Auckland with Gould and Bowden’s New Zealand umpiring colleague Derek Walker on-field and Ravi in the television spot, the same combination being scheduled for the same roles in the third and final match of the series in Hamilton on Monday.  Bowden will be the fourth umpire in both those games.

 

Headline: Advertising revenue for IPL-9 up as memories of controversies fade.

Article from: ETBrandequity.

Journalist: Not stated                          

Published: Tuesday, 2 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1753-8748.

 

The controversies that have be-devilled the Indian Premier League (IPL) don't seem to have dented its value as an advertising property.  Advertisers will likely spend a record 12 billion Rupees ($A249 m, £UK123 m) during season nine of the Twenty20 competition this April-May, according to experienced top media buyers, a figure that  is up a fifth from that of the 2015 series.

 

Broadcast rights holder Sony Pictures Network, which will air the tournament on the SET Max, Sony Six and Sony ESPN channels, has increased the number of presenting sponsors to three from two for the first time. They are telecom services provider ‘Vodafone', e-commerce platform ‘Amazon’, and first time advertiser, Chinese smartphone maker ‘Oppo’.  With rival ‘PepsiCo' exiting, 'Coca-Cola' is among the new names in the associate sponsorship list along with discount wallet FreeCharge, owned by ecommerce company Snapdeal.

 

With two months to go before the tournament gets underway, close to 70 per cent of the advertising space available has been sold for the first time in IPL history, said Sony Pictures Network president Rohit Gupta.  "IPL is a risk-free investment for advertisers, as both ratings and reach have been consistently growing year on year”, he said. "We are expecting 20 per cent growth in overall revenues. The unprecedented levels of interest are despite the T20 World Cup and a host of other cricket”.  "The controversies [regarding IPL corruption] seem to have settled down, which is bringing in advertisers”, said Gupta.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,754

  Thursday, 4 February 2016

 

• Davis appointed to ECB match liaison group [1754-8749]. 

• Power hitters force coaches to wear helmets in the nets [1754-8750]. 

• The ‘Mankad’ and its place in cricket [1754-8751]. 

 

Headline: Davis appointed to ECB match liaison group.

Article from: ECB press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 4 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1754-8749.

 

Australian Steve Davis, who was until last year a member of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel, has been appointed to a England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Cricket Liaison Officer (CLO) position.  Davis, 63, who is currently standing in the Masters Champions League series in the United Arab Emirates (PTG 1748-8701, 28 January 2016), is work during the County season on activities that include: "supporting umpires, groundsmen, counties and the ECB by providing detailed reports of activity throughout domestic competitions".

 

Chris Kelly, the ECB Umpires’ Manager, said via a press release: “Appointing people of Steve’s calibre shows we are prepared to invest in the level of support we give to a range of people on match days – not least the umpires”.  “His vast experience behind the stumps and extensive knowledge of the professional game will make him a valuable addition to the team”.  

 

The ECB introduced the CLO role ahead of the 2015 northern summer by amalgamating the previously separate positions of pitch liaison officers and umpire coaches (PTG 1522-7327, 16 February 2015).  Davis will join the current four-man CLO group that includes three former first class cricketers, Tony Pigott, Phil Whitticase and Graham Cowdrey, plus the former rugby league referee, Stuart Cummings.

 

Headline: Power hitters force coaches to wear helmets in the nets.

Article from: The Times.

Journalist: Richard Hobson.                          

Published: Wednesday, 3 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1754-8750.

 

The changing emphasis of England’s one-day batting from accumulation to power hitting has prompted members of its coaching staff to don protective headgear during practice before the series against South Africa.  At Kimberley last week Ottis Gibson, the fast-bowling coach, needed ice treatment for a blow on a forearm caused by a return drive from Jason Roy.  Trevor Bayliss, the head coach, and Graham Thorpe, a batting coach, both wore helmets in the nets this week.

 

Safety is a live topic (PTG 1742-8661, 21 January 2016). The England and Wales Cricket Board has been talking to Cricket Australia (CA) about designing bespoke headgear for umpires, who must feel like sitting ducks with batsmen stronger and more aggressive than ever.  CA’s Gerard Abood made history when he wore a batting helmet while officiating during the recent Big Bash League and was later joined by colleague John Ward (PTG 1740-8650, 17 January 2016), and Bayliss and Thorpe feel that there are times when they need to take a similar view. 

 

Headline: The ‘Mankad’ and its place in cricket.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                          

Published: Thursday, 4 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1754-8751.

 

There’s nothing like a Mankad to set all heaven in a rage: poor old Vinoo, but better to be remembered for something, I suppose. I dare say folks will remember the West Indies’ Keemo Paul in future too, once they’ve googled ‘run out Mankad Under-19 World Cup’ anyway (PTG 1753-8746, 3 February 2016). This will link them to stories carrying the reflex asperities of esteemed judges such as Australian coach Darren Lehmann who called it “Unbelievable’”, former Kiwi skipper Steve Fleming’s view that its "a sad way to end a good game”, England one-day captain Eoin Morgan “Disgraceful”, while Jos Buttler who was ‘Mankaded’ in a One Day International in Sri Lanka in 2014 (PTG 1367-6610, 4 June 2014), said it was “Embarrassing”.

 

Which seems quite a heavy sentence on a seventeen-year-old cricketer Paul  — especially when, considering what has and does go down in cricket these days, the moral odium surrounding the Mankad seems ever more extreme. Zimbabwe’s Richard Ngarava was out of his ground before Paul entered his delivery stride; he would have been a metre clear at the point of release had Paul continued with his action. 

 

How, as Ant Pinshaw asks, was that not claiming an advantage? Here’s a rare case, too, where Sir Donald Bradman and Ian Chappell are shoulder to shoulder. In his 1949 book 'Farewell to Cricket', Bradman defended Mankad for punishing the delinquent Bill Brown: "For the life of me, I can’t understand why [the press] questioned his sportsmanship”.  "The laws of cricket make it quite clear that the nonstriker must keep within his ground until the ball has been delivered. If not, why is the provision there which enables the bowler to run him out? By backing up too far or too early, the non-striker is very obviously gaining an unfair advantage”.

 

In 2014, Chappell went to the support of Sri Lanka’s Sachithra Senanayake for his coup de grace at Buttler’s expense: ‘I’m surprised more non-strikers haven’t been Mankaded and that fielding sides bother with the so-called “courtesy” of warning the batsman first. Do you warn a batsman before you stump him? No. Then why warn him before you Mankad him? The situation is exactly the same: the batsman leaves his ground of his choosing and he’s aware of the risk involved” (PTG 1392-6735, 17 July 2014).

 

Equally, though, I wouldn’t expect to convince anyone of an opposite view: because there is no ambiguity about the Laws, it’s an almost perfectly personal matter. What’s perhaps most interesting is that opinions are so strong, and so diametrically opposed. In an on-line poll conducted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday, 50.44 per cent the respondents deemed the Mankad an ‘unsportsmanlike abomination’ and 44.19 per cent a ‘legitimate tactic’, but perhaps more interesting is that more than 3000 people troubled to vote. 

 

People cared this much? (I’ll qualify that: 5.37 per cent of people asked ‘What’s a Mankad?’ despite it being explained in the piece). This is despite it being a part of cricket for longer, even, than overarm bowling, and by no means always controversial. The earliest such incident in Australian first-class cricket of which I’m aware dates back to a Boxing Day intercolonial a hundred and fifty years ago, when NSW’s Nat Thompson hoodwinked Victoria’s Stoddart Campbell to the benign indifference of the report the next day in the 'Sydney Morning Herald’ (SMH).

 

There’s no mention by the journalist of any crowd reaction, which suggests it was regarded as just part of the game, and it did not prevent Thompson going on to open the batting for Australia in the inaugural Test match. When there were a few hoots fifty years later at an attempted bowler’s end run out by Victoria’s Warwick Armstrong of NSW’s Eric Bull in a Sheffield Shield match, the SMH actually came out in the perpetrator’s defence

 

So where are these strong views from? Perhaps simply from a desire to draw a distinction — any distinction — in an era in which so much goes. The ‘Mankad' was christened in the same year, 1947, as Stephen Potter published his classic 'Gamesmanship: The Art of Winning Games Without Actually Cheating', which contains a droll chapter entitled ‘Dawn of Cricket — Dawn of Not Cricket — WG’. Sport, Potter jokingly reminded readers, contained much grey, and lots of discretion. Naturally concommitant were demands for sportsmanship, for obeisance to a perceived spirit, for respect for certain free-floating ideals. It seems though that whatever the rules, whatever the reason, there’s something gratifying about taking a stand, and saying that this will not do.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,755

  Friday, 5 February 2016

 

• ICC moves to demolish ‘Big Three’ restructuring [1755-8752]. 

• Abu Dhabi County opener to be a day-time, red ball match [1755-8753]. 

• Implement Lodha report in full, says Indian Supreme Court [1755-8754]. 

• Second Aussie player censured over match betting [1755-8755]. 

• Rearranged boundary rope leads to catch query [1755-8756]. 

• ‘Mankadding' not against ’Spirit’ or Laws, says the MCC yet again [1755-8757]. 

 

Headline: ICC moves to demolish ‘Big Three’ restructuring.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 4 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1755-8752.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced it will carry out a complete constitutional review of the changes to its operations that resulted from the "Big Three" restructure in 2014 (PTG 1288-6208, 9 February 2014).  The ICC board agreed on Thursday to dismantling the system of governance proposed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and Cricket Australia (CA) that was introduced just two years ago, and confirmed the ICC chairmanship will become an “independent" position (PTG 1751-8737, 1 February 2016).

 

The Board said that it had “unanimously” agreed on the changes "in order to avoid any potential conflicts of interest and to follow best practice principles of good governance”.  The "complete review of the 2014 resolutions and constitutional changes” will be undertaken "with a view to establishing governance, finance, corporate and cricketing structures that are appropriate and effective for the strategic role and function of the ICC and all of its members”. 

 

Changes to the terms of reference of the ICC’s Finance and Commercial Affairs (FCA) and Executive Committees (EXCO) have already been made "so as to remove the permanent positions for the nominees of the BCCI, CA and the ECB on these committees, and to allow fair access to membership for all ICC Full and Associate Member directors”.  “The sole criteria [for membership will be] the skill, competence and experience of the relevant director”, and “to that end, the present composition of the committees will be reviewed in their entirety [next June]". 

 

Starting in June, a new Chairman will be elected for a two-year term through a secret balloting process overseen by the ICC’s independent Audit Committee Chairman.  While in the office, the person who holds that position "will not be allowed to hold any post with any Member Board and may be re-elected at the expiry of the term with a maximum limit of three terms”.  To qualify to contest the election, it has been agreed that all nominees must be either a past or present ICC board director and should have the support of at least two Full Member directors. 

 

In a further attempt to improve the governance standards of, and transparency within, Member Boards, the ICC board agreed to reinstate a previous requirement that Full Members must submit to the ICC their latest audited statements on an annual basis, as is already the case with all Associate and Affiliate Member countries 

  

ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar has constituted a five-member steering group with him as chairman, that also includes the respective Chairmen of the ICC’s Governance Review Committee (Nazmul Hassan, Bangladesh), EXCO (David Peever, CA) and FCA (Giles Clarke, ECB) committees, and the ICC Associate-Affiliate Member group.  It will be supported by various members of ICC management.  The steering group is to report on progress at the next ICC board meeting in April, the aim being to put forward any changes that may be required to meetings to be held during the ICC's Annual Conference week in June.

 

Manohar said via a press release: “We had very purposeful and positive meetings, and the decisions taken clearly reflect that we collectively want to improve the governance in a transparent manner, not only of the ICC but also the Member Boards. This, in turn, will enhance the image and quality of the sport. No Member of the ICC is bigger than the other and I am determined to make a meaningful contribution in this regard with support of all the Members”.

 

Headline: Abu Dhabi County opener to be a day-time, red ball match.

Article from: MCC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 4 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1755-8753.

 

The annual curtain raiser for the English County season between last year’s Championship winners Yorkshire and an Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) XI will again be played in Abu Dhabi in late March, but not in the day-night, pink ball format that has applied over the last six years.  John Stephenson, the MCC's Assistant Secretary (Cricket) says that his club “had received a request from Yorkshire to play the fixture in the daytime and with a red ball, to assist with their preparations for the start of the County Championship season”. 

 

The MCC has been a very strong proponent of the day-night, pink ball concept over the last seven years, its specific aim being the introduction of day-night Test cricket (PTG 534-2736, 17 December 2009).  The moving of the MCC-Champion County season opener to Abu Dhabi in 2010 and playing it in the game’s newest format was a key part of that initiative which has seen six such matches played there in the time since.  

 

Stephenson said Yorkshire’s request had been acceded to "on two principle reasons: firstly having conducted years of trials involving matches played with the pink ball, all around the world, MCC had proved the case for its use in multi-day cricket; and secondly with Cricket Australia picking up the mantle, ultimately leading to the hugely successful staging of the day-night pink-ball Test between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide, MCC feels that the case has now been made beyond doubt. 

 

According to Stephenson, the MCC "will continue to encourage cricketing authorities to promote Test matches as much as possible, and will do everything it can to ensure the primacy of the longest form of the sport”.  The "MCC has not discounted playing in day-night conditions with the pink ball in future Champion County matches”.

 

Headline: Implement Lodha report in full, says Indian Supreme Court.

Article from: Agence France Presse.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 4 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1755-8754.

 

India's Supreme Court has asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to implement the recommendations on structural changes to the way its operates made by the Lohda committee to ensure more transparency in its dealings (PTG 1733-8611, 9 January 2016).  In a telling blow to the world's richest cricket body, the judges said on Thursday the "BCCI should understand that this is not a second innings... it's all over [for] we find no reason to disagree with the recommendations of the [Lodha] committee”.

 

Lohda’s group recommended a number of fundamental structural changes at the BCCI, including a cooling off period between successive terms for top officials, that ministers and government servants not be allowed to occupy BCCI posts, that cricket betting be legalised in India, and stressed the need for professionals under a chief executive officer to run the board's day-to-day activity.   There was also a recommendation that the BCCI be brought under the country’s Right to Information Act so that citizens can gain access to information held by the Board.

 

The judges said: "Decks must be cleared for a complete reform. The best course is to fall in line and the BCCI must take a very realistic view of the matter”.  However, the BCCI is reluctant to implement the recommendations due to what is says are "severe administrative complications”, most os which appear to relate to the presence on politicians who head up state-level boards (PTG 1735-8621, 12 January 2016).  It told the court that it's legal committee will meet next Sunday to further consider the issues involved, and the Supreme Court has scheduled a further hearing to discuss the matter in four weeks time.

 

Headline: Second Aussie player censured over match betting.

Article from: CA press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Thursday, 4 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1755-8755.

 

A female player in Australia has been banned for six months, most of which is over the southern hemisphere winter, for placing bets on a men's Test match between Australia and New Zealand. Piepa Cleary, a 19-year-old player contracted to the Perth Scorchers in Cricket Australia’s (CA) Women's Big Bash League (WBBL), received a further 18-month suspended sentence after admitting placing bets totalling $A15.50 (£UK7.60) on the third Test in Adelaide last November, the first of its kind played in a day-night format.

 

CA said via a press release on Thursday that it "has imposed a 24-month period of ineligibility on Cleary of which 18 months are suspended on condition that she commits no further offences under the [Anti-Corruption] Code”.  The penalty bans Cleary from all domestic and international cricket, including cricket-related functions and events.  In addition, “she is also required to participate in anti-corruption player education programs delivered by CA in future”.

 

“Bets totalling $15.50 might seem small but it doesn’t matter”, said CA integrity unit head Iain Roy.  “We take a zero tolerance approach to any form of gambling on cricket by players in order to protect the integrity of the game”.

 

Cleary is the second female player in Australia to be sanctioned recently for betting on men's matches. In December, Angela Reakes, a leg-spinner for the WBBL’s Sydney Sixers, received a two-year sentence for wagering $A9 (£UK4.40) on the 2015 World Cup final (PTG 1720-8532, 23 December 2015).   Reakes, 25, had her entire sentence suspended, but with Cleary, CA "found there were aggravating factors that necessitated the suspension", including that she had received face-to-face anti-corruption training two months before she placed the bets.

 

Headline: Rearranged boundary rope leads to catch query.

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Nick Hoult.                          

Published: Thursday, 4 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1755-8756.

 

South Africa questioned the legality of England’s Ben Stokes’s catch to dismiss AB de Villiers in an area of the outfield where the boundary rope had been moved, during the opening One Day International of the series in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.  Stokes ran round from long on and plucked the ball out of the sky with his right hand to remove the South Africa captain in a moment that tipped the game in England’s favour.  

 

Umpires Chris Gaffeney and Shaun George appeared to check with third umpire Kumar Dharmasena as to whether the catch was legitimate before giving De Villiers out.  “It was a great catch and I thought he did well to keep it in – if he did”, said De Villiers. “There are lots of rumours and theories going on in the changing room. I’m not getting involved but a lot of guys think I was a bit unlucky there. I’m happy to walk off when the umpire gives me out. It was a silly shot. I’m better than that. I blame myself”.

 

Video of the catch shows that boundary rope had been pushed outside the edge of the cut playing area by previous fielding attempts, however, Stokes appears to catch the ball inside the cut boundary and well inside the rearranged boundary rope.

 

Headline: ‘Mankadding' not against ’Spirit’ or Laws, says the MCC yet again.

Article from: The Times.

Journalist: Josh Burrows.                          

Published: Wednesday, 3 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1755-8757.

 

A spokesman for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has confirmed, not for the first time in recent years, that there was no breach of either the ‘Spirit’ of the game or the Laws, when West Indian bowler Keemo Paul ran out Zimbabwean non-striker Richard Ngarava in ‘Mankad’ fashion in an Under-19 World Cup match on Tuesday (PTG 1753-8746, 3 February 2016).

 

The spokesman said:  “It’s clear to us. If he’s out of his ground, he’s out". “If the batsman had not been out of his crease, there would have been no issue about the Spirit of Cricket. Taken to another extreme, nobody complains when someone is run out going for a single”.  He added: “Obviously [Ngarava’s dismissal involved] as small a margin as it gets but that makes no difference. If you’re out, you’re out. This is not a ‘Spirit of Cricket' issue, it’s a Laws issue. On the village green, a warning might be considered standard practice and sportsmanlike but that is not in the Laws of the game”.

 

In recent years similar dismissals have been reported in England (PTG 1368-6610, 4 June 2014), India (PTG 1251-6042, 10 December 2013), and England again (PTG 986-4787, 31 August 2012), all of which generated considerable public angst, while in Australia an appeal for one was withdrawn during an One Day International in Brisbane (PTG 905-4398, 22 February 2012).  After both the latter two occasions the MCC, the guardians of the Laws of the game, pointed out that a bowler can run out the non-striker and do so without a warning (PTG 987-4793, 3 September 2012).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,756

  Monday, 8 February 2016

 

• No substitution rule means cricket is living in past [1756-8758]. 

• ICC bans spinner for three months over drugs issue [1756-8759]. 

• Manohar mulls returning share of India's ICC revenue [1756-8760]. 

• Scheduling of international, domestic cricket under ICC spotlight [1756-8761]. 

• ICC’s winds of change cloud cricket's real issues [1756-8762]. 

 

Headline: No substitution rule means cricket is living in past.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Chris Barrett.                          

Published: Monday, 8 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1756-8758.

 

In the latest round of Sheffield Shield matches that wound up at the weekend, Victoria fielded 13 players in Melbourne, with James Pattinson pulled out of the game early to head to New Zealand for the Test series and Marcus Stoinis withdrawn also to head across the Tasman to join the Australian one-day squad.  In Lincoln, on New Zealand's South Island, there was some talk of Shaun Marsh, who was on NZ’s North Island with the Australian side, being sent down for batting practice in a cameo for Western Australia against NSW.

 

Yet after having their opening batsman ordered off the ground following a head knock on the third day of the Shield match against WA at Lincoln on Friday, NSW were unable to replace him despite a generous offer to do so by WA captain Adam Voges.  Welcome to the 20th century, home of cricket's anachronistic rule that prohibit players being substituted even when they have been concussed.

 

Ed Cowan, the subject of this latest example of the game needing to play catch-up, was knocked around by a Joel Paris bouncer to the point where he admitted he was still "nowhere near" passing a concussion test he was put through a day later.  In his confused state Cowan, on two at the time he was struck just under the badge of his helmet, was keen to play on – "I probably wasn't thinking straight”, but was told he could not by John Orchard, Cricket Australia's (CA) chief medical officer, who was at the venue.

 

Voges, as a result, told NSW he would be happy for their 12th man, Ryan Carters, to replace the former Test opener for the duration of the match, but that magnanimous gesture was rejected by officials. To do so, the players were told, would see the game forfeit its first-class status.

 

This is not breaking news. The landscape has been the same in cricket since time immemorial but there is a growing belief that the game's rule-makers must consider the concept of injury subs, particularly where concussion is concerned.  CA’s new concussion guidelines require that a player be kept under medical observation for the 24 hours after an incident, and if necessary beyond that.

 

Cowan thinks such a rule change to allow playing subs would have the support of players, but only in the case of head knocks rather than hamstring strains or broken thumbs. The opener said "If the doctor wasn't there the other day I would have no doubt tried to keep batting. I was upset that I couldn't keep batting and I probably didn't realise the gravity of it at the time until the next day when you're not feeling well.  So when that happens I think a natural sub, there is good merit in that.  "I think there would be some agreement amongst the playing group that if someone was ruled out by a doctor at the ground due to a head injury it would be fair, if the other captain agrees, for him to be replaced”.

 

Orchard, who insisted Cowan leave the field in Lincoln, was coincidentally the primary public campaigner for injury subs to be allowed before he took the peak medical job at CA (PTG 1244-6010, 29 November 2013).  "Cricket has got to debate that question because cricket used to be a low-injury sport where the schedule was a lot more benign”, said Orchard  three years ago. "But now that they're playing a lot more cricket, and with T20 and Test cricket close in the schedule, it's got to go through the same debate that every other sport went through. Are we doing the right thing by telling players to either play through an injury and worsen it, or leave the team a player short?”

 

The idea of replacements for injuries across the board comes with all number of complications – how severe does the problem need to be, and who decides if a player is or is not, in fact, injured, for starters? – but as a starting point the subbing of someone like Cowan, for example, last Friday appears a no-brainer.

 

CA, to be fair, are taking concussion seriously. It was their strict policy that ensured Cowan left the field, and in coming weeks a report they commissioned after the death of Phillip Hughes will be released, with recommendations on mandatory helmet standards expected to feature. In 2012 they also wanted to trial a formal subs system in the Shield but had the plan kiboshed by the International Cricket Council (PTG 1022-4963, 27 November 2012).  It is there, at cricket's top table, that there has to be action if the game is to stop living in the past.

 

Headline: ICC bans spinner for three months over drugs issue.

Article from: Agency France Presse.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Sunday, 7 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1756-8759.

 

Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah has been banned from playing for three months by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after testing positive for chlorthalidone, a diuretic used to treat hypertension that is listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list of masking agents.  The 29-year-old was provisionally suspended by the ICC in late December after being tested during the One Day International series against England in the United Arab Emirates (PTG 1732-8610, 7 January 2016).  The three-month ban will end on the last Sunday of March.  

 

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan said the board’s medical panel had met after receiving more details from the ICC on Shah s case, and had decided not to request a second urine sample.  "We are confident that he didn't do it intentionally, however, he is a very naive guy and took that medicine out of ignorance”.  "We are instead preparing to file an appeal on behalf of Yasir and are expecting a lenient punishment as he used the medicine without any wrong intention”.  

 

Headline: Manohar mulls returning share of India's ICC revenue.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Mohammad Isam and Nagraj Gollapud.                          

Published: Saturday, 6 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1756-8760.

 

At last week’s International Cricket Council (ICC) Board meeting in Dubai, chairman Shashank Manohar discussed the possibility of giving six per cent of India’s twenty-two per cent share of ICC revenues back to the world body, according to Nazmul Hassan the chairman of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). The BCB president made the statement while speaking to TV reporters in Bangladesh on Saturday but did not respond to calls from ‘Cricinfo' for comments. Manohar, too, could not be reached. 

 

According to Hassan, and two other directors of Full Member boards who attended the ICC meetings which finished on Thursday, Manohar told the ICC Board that he would speak to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) about giving the six per cent of the revenue earned by the Indian board to other Full Members outside the so-called 'Big Three’ group: Australia, England and India. 

 

About a month after he became the BCCI president and, by extension, the ICC chairman, Manohar made a statement in a personal capacity, disagreeing with the ICC constitutional revamp carried out in 2014 which allowed the BCCI, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA), more authority and a greater share of profits in the ICC.  In his assessment: “You cannot make the poor poorer and the rich richer, only because you have the clout”, said Manohar in November, for “the ICC runs cricket throughout the world” (PTG 1697-8370, 27 November 2015). 

 

After the Board meeting on Thursday, the ICC stated in a media release that Manohar would head a five-member steering committee that would review the 2014 restructure of the ICC carried out by the trio of Narayanaswami Srinivasan, then ECB chairman Giles Clarke and former CA chairman Wally Edwards (PTG 1755-8752, 5 February 2016).   According to a Full Member director who was present in Dubai last week, Clarke, who is now the ECB president and the only one of the trio still engaged in cricket, remained quiet throughout the board meeting. 

 

"There is a genuine appetite to revisit the financial model to better share the ICC funds”, said a senior official of second Full Member country who took part in the Dubai discussions.

 

Headline: Scheduling of international, domestic cricket under ICC spotlight.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 5 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1756-8761.

 

The board of the International Cricket Council held "detailed discussions" on the future structure and scheduling of international cricket, including the impact of Twenty20 leagues on the international game, during its meeting in Dubai this week.  That and other issues were considered by the board were overshadowed by news the meeting agreed to carry out a complete constitutional review of the changes to ICC operations that resulted from the "Big Three" restructure in 2014 (PTG 1755-8752, 5 February 2016).   

 

Conversations held covered the positioning of each of the game's three formats and the amount of international cricket that should be played, with a view to building a clearer cricket calendar with greater context that is underpinned by an appropriate funding model.  The ICC says its "will engage" with relevant stakeholders, including player representatives, over coming months to prepare various cricketing models for consideration by the board and a number of its committees later this year.

 

This week’s Dubai meeting also received a report from ICC management on the status of on-going dialogue with the International Olympic Committee and Commonwealth Games federation about the benefits and drawbacks of cricket’s future participation in the Olympic and/or Commonwealth Games (PTG 1701-8408, 2 December 2015). The board said the issues involved were complex with a diverse range of views and factors to be taken into account, and that as such further work was required before a final position could be adopted. 

 

In the anti-corruption area the Board received an update from Ronnie Flanagan the chairman of its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) and, as recommended by the Integrity Working Party (IWP) during last year’s review, steps were taken to formally appoint an Anti-Corruption Oversight Group.   Plans call for it to meet once a year to review and provide independent input into the strategy adopted by the sport to tackle corruption and its implementation, and to offer its advice and guidance to the ACU chairman where required. 

 

The group’s members include Flanagan, the chairman of the ICC’s Executive Committee, currently David Peever of Australia, under whose area of responsibility this function rests, former India captain Rahul Dravid, legal expert Louis Weston and independent anti-corruption advisor John Abbott who was the IWP chairman.  ICC chief executive David Richardson will be an ex-officio member.

 

Headline: ICC’s winds of change cloud cricket's real issues.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Tim Wigmore.                          

Published: Friday, 5 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1756-8762.

 

Sports administrators are used to being ignored, which is exactly the way they like it. But scandals in international football, athletics, tennis and cricket in recent months have forced the men in suits into the spotlight.  Too many sports have been slow to recognise the urgency for reform. At least the aftermath of the latest International Cricket Council (ICC) board meeting provides hope that it accepts the need for radical change. 

 

But those who imagine that simply undoing the Big Three's constitutional reforms will be a panacea are deluded. Just because cricket is run egregiously does not mean it was run much better before Clarke, Edwards and Srinivasan engineered their restructuring. 

 

Remember the Woolf Report? "Cricket is a great game. It deserves to have governance, including management and ethics, worthy of the sport. This is not the position at the present time”, declared the only independent report that has ever been conducted into the ICC (PTG 1278-6156, 28 January 2014). It slammed the ICC for acting "primarily as a members' club" and instead advocated independent governance, in line with the best corporate governance practices. This was in 2012, two years before the ICC's restructuring.

 

Lord Woolf, the former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, was merely articulating what had long been known. Cricket before the Big Three did not have governance worthy of the name.  It was a dysfunctional mess. The lack of independent governance meant that all important decisions were made by representatives sent to the ICC by Full Member boards: an obvious conflict of interest. The Woolf Report exposed the hypocrisy of Full Member boards, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and West Indies, embracing the idea of independent directors and governance in their own national boards while not deeming it necessary in the ICC. 

 

Cricket before the Big Three did not have governance worthy of the name.  In the absence of strong leadership from an ICC deliberately designed to be weak, the system of governance lent itself to bigger countries using a mixture of carrot and stick to get smaller Full Members to vote with them in the ICC board. The Big Three had de facto power at the ICC long before they seized de jure power, too. It was long a running joke in ICC meetings that, whenever India raised their hands in meetings, whatever the issue, so Zimbabwe's representative would do so too.

 

"A number of countries were not prepared to challenge India and would simply support India for fear of what the reprisal might be”, an ICC insider says of the regime before the Big Three. "It was very much a club environment. Decision-making was based upon vested interests”.

 

Those who think life was significantly better for ICC Associate and Affiliate member nations before the Big Three are also sadly mistaken. The 2015 World Cup was originally planned to be a ten-team event with no pathway for qualification for Associate nations; that the 2019 World Cup will be ten teams merely follows through on plans made long before the ICC restructuring. 

 

In the days before the Big Three, the ICC failed to pursue Olympic involvement, despite the transformative impact this would have on Associate nations. And leading Associates continually suffered from Full Members' refusal to play them: Ireland played just nine One Day Internationals (ODI) against Test teams between the 2011 and 2015 World Cups while, risibly, Kenya had five ODIs against Test opposition in the 35 months after reaching the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup. 

 

When Ireland reached the Super Eights in the 2007 World Cup, they received $US56,000 ($A79,200, £UK38,600); Zimbabwe, knocked out in the first stage and, at that time, in self-imposed exile from Test cricket, earned $US11 million  ($A15.6 m, £UK7.6 m) on account of retaining their Full Member privileges. 

 

And while the pathway to Test cricket today appears ludicrously convoluted, the pre-Big Three regime never even told Ireland and other Associates what they needed to do in order to become a Test nation or, more importantly, a Full Member. The reason was clear: Full Members did not want their pie to feed 11 mouths rather than ten. The ICC allocated 75 per cent of funds to the ten Full Members and just 25 per cent to the 90-odd Associates and Affiliates. No wonder the Woolf Report slammed the ICC as a body whose "interest in enhancing the global development of the game is secondary".

 

Yet while the notion of an independent ICC chairman is laudable, the governance reforms fall way short of what the Woolf Report envisaged. He advocated a board comprising an independent chairman, four directors representing Full Members, two directors representing Associates, and five independent directors. Now, just as before the Big Three took charge, the ICC board comprises ten directors representing Full Members, three who represent Associate Members and no independent directors at all. 

 

Cricket might never again have such an opportunity to make its governance fit for purpose. Now is the time to pay heed to the maxim of Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama's former chief of staff: "Never let a serious crisis go to waste”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,757

  Tuesday, 9 February 2016

 

• ’Big screen’ dismissal raises appeals process issues [1757-8763]. 

• Tests of action result in ban for Gauteng bowler [1757-8764]. 

 

Headline: ’Big screen’ dismissal raises appeals process issues.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 9 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1757-8763.

 

Media reports from both sides of the Tasman Sea on Monday’s One Day International between New Zealand and Australia in Hamilton have had as their focus the manner in which Australian batsman Mitch Marsh was dismissed.  Marsh drove a ball delivered by the home side’s Matt Henry ball on to his left boot, it rebounded to Henry who took the catch but the bowler failed to offer a distinctive appeal, NZ captain Brendon McCullum declined to call for a review, then the replay was shown and the Hamilton crowd became involved.

 

Henry had not reached the top of his mark to start his next delivery when the crowd reacted loudly as the replay on the ground’s big screen appeared to show Marsh was out.  McCullum consulted umpire Ian Gould about a retrospective catch, Gould after discussions with colleague Derek Walker, contacted television umpire Sundarum Ravi and Marsh, after an interminable wait, was dismissed.  There was no question over the veracity of the catch but Marsh showed his anger as he exited with several clearly readable expletives, most likely at the way the decision was arrived at. 

 

McCullum said after the game: "I don't think the process was ideal, both teams would agree on that.  But in the end the right decision was made.  I saw [Martin Guptill] appeal as well, and then it came up on the screen, which was not ideal.  I yelled to ‘Gunner' [umpire Ian Gould] what the ... is going on. He didn't think we'd appealed. The only thing I said was 'the right decision needs to be made'. I'm not reviewing for something like that, in the end that's the umpires' job. Those bump balls are really difficult, which is probably why the hesitation was there.  They decided to review it which is pretty normal in that situation".

 

Australian captain Steve Smith said neither of the umpires had heard an appeal so he expected the game to go on.  "Well it was supposed to go on. And after what came up on the big screen they stopped the game for a bit and Brendon came in and got involved. It was shown on the big screen that there was a half appeal so they went upstairs.  I was pretty disappointed with the whole process. I think that the New Zealand players genuinely didn't believe it to be out”.

 

Smith said: "They're well within their rights that's for sure.  I’ve been informed by [match referee] Chris Broad that Gould had not heard an on-field appeal and the ball isn't dead until the bowler starts his run-up.  I think he was out, there's no doubt about that. I just think there needs to be a look into the game. I don't think decisions should be made coming across on the big screen. There needs to be better processes in place”.  

 

Headline: Tests of action result in ban for Gauteng bowler.

Article from: The Citizen.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Monday, 8 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1757-8764.

 

Gauteng’s slow left arm orthodox  bowler Jean Symes has been suspended from bowling in domestic cricket in South Africa with immediate effect.  The suspension, which follows independent tests conducted on his bowling action, will remain in force until he has undergone remedial work on his action and has passed a re-assessment.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,758

  Wednesday, 10 February 2016

 

• ‘Kookaburra’ unveil modified day-night pink ball [1758-8765]. 

• Four in the running for Under-19 World Cup final spots [1758-8766]. 

• Correct protocol followed in Marsh dismissal: former NZ Test umpire [1758-8767]. 

• Netherlands’ bowler’s action formally declared ‘illegal' [1758-8768]. 

• Record season reported for game in Australia [1758-8769]. 

• CA rejects talk of early TV deal [1758-8770]. 

• Second Indian businessman buys CPL franchise [1758-8771]. 

 

Headline: ‘Kookaburra’ unveil modified day-night pink ball.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Chris Barrett.                          

Published: Tuesday, 9 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1758-8765.

 

‘Kookaburra' has unveiled its new pink ball, earmarked for use in two day-night Tests in Australia next summer, which the manufacturer hopes will ease visibility concerns aired by batsmen after the inaugural Adelaide Test under lights.  The latest incarnation, with black stitching rather than white and green, was shipped to Australian state teams on Monday before its use in a round of Sheffield Shield matches that are due to start on Sunday (PTG 1714-8493, 16 December 2015).

 

While NSW players were due to have their first outing with the new model at training at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday night, most attention from this weekend will be on the Gabba, where Queensland will host Tasmania.  That is because while Adelaide is a lock  in to host another day-night Test next summer, Brisbane is likely to be awarded one too, with Cricket Australia (CA) leaning towards scheduling two pink-ball internationals in the 2016-17 home season, when South Africa and Pakistan will each tour for three-Test series.

 

Old and new: the latest Kookaburra pink ball (right) has black stitching instead of green and white.

 

The inaugural day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand was a success commercially and as a spectacle, but there remained scepticism from players, with Australian vice-captain David Warner and fast bowler Mitchell Starc among those publicly questioning the concept.  Warner said in December that more work was needed on the prototype Test match pink ball.  "The only disappointing thing from our point of view is that you've got to get the product right, and if the product's not right, it's hard to go out there and play the game”, he said (PTG 1706-8445, 8 December 2015).

 

Now ‘Kookaburra' has rolled out a new version in a bid to win over more players.  "The black seam was born purely out of player feedback from the day-night Test match from both sides, with the players indicating that it was difficult to pick the seam up, especially with the spin bowling”, CA's head of cricket operations Sean Cary said on Tuesday.  "What we did is work with ‘Kookaburra' to work out the best contrast between the seam and the pink ball, and we came up with an all-black seam”.

 

Cary said the Shield match at the Gabba was a trial for a day-night Test. Brisbane has traditionally hosted the first Test of the summer, but the city is not guaranteed to retain that status, particularly if it is staging a day-night affair.   "For us, Brisbane is really important because they've upgraded their lights, so we just want to see how the pink ball fares under the new lights”, he said (PTG 1715-8504, 17 December 2015).

 

"It's an obvious venue to play a day-night Test match because if we play it in November it offers the best climate across the country.  Depending on whether we play one or two next summer ... that will [determine] whether we can give the Gabba the green light [after] this match”.  Further tinkering with the ball could be done based on the response from players in the state matches. "I'm not saying this will be the last incarnation [of the ball]”, Cary said. "If there are opportunities to improve it, we will look to do that”.

 

Headline: Four in the running for Under-19 World Cup final spots.

Article from: ICC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 9 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1758-8766.

 

Umpires from four parts of the world have been selected to stand in the major semi finals of the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh.  West Indian Gregory Brathwaite and Australian Mick Martell stood together in Tuesday’s match between India and Sri Lanka, with Ashan Raza of Pakistan the television umpire.  Thursday’s second semi final between Bangladesh and the West Indies will see Ruchira Palliyaguruge of Sri Lanka and Rob Bailey of England looking after proceedings and India’s Chettithody Shamshuddin in the television spot.  

 

In past Under-19 World Cups the umpires on-field for the final, this year’s which will be played in Mirpur next Sunday, have come from those who undertake that role in semi final games.  Of the five umpires who have stood in the last three finals, 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 (PTG 1746-8689, 26 January 2016).  

 

Headline: Correct protocol followed in Marsh dismissal: former NZ Test umpire.

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: Richard Knowler.                          

Published: Tuesday, 9 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1758-8767.

 

Former New Zealand Test umpire Dave Quested believes the Australians have no reason to complain following batsman Mitchell Marsh's controversial dismissal during a One Day International (ODI) played in Hamilton Monday night as the umpires involved followed “the correct protocol”.  New Zealand bowler Matt Henry made a half-hearted appeal when he caught the ball after Marsh drove the ball directly into his own boot, and it ricocheted into the bowler's hands (PTG 1757-8763, 9 February 2016).

 

Depending on who you care to listen to, or which columnist's words you dare to read, umpires Ian Gould and Derek Walker were either following the correct protocols when they opted to get the viewpoint of TV umpire Sundaram Ravi, or they were swayed by TV replays and a boisterous crowd - who erupted when they watched the incident replayed on the big screen at the ground.

 

For Quested, a veteran of five Tests, 31 ODIs and more than 100 first-class matches, the debate is a dead duck. He has no doubt that Gould and Walker got it right.  Quested said New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was within his rights to approach Gould because the New Zealanders had appealed for a decision to be made. And that set in motion of a chain of events that created conflict on the park and provided fuel for some hot headlines on both sides of the Tasman.

 

It pays to look at the facts of the matter, says Quested, now 69, who watched the game from his home in Christchurch.  For starters, Henry put the question to the umpires: "An appeal is an appeal, whether it is loud or soft.   [The umpires] got together, which is the correct protocol, and then they understood there was an appeal. And as they came together it came up on the big screen and the crowd reacted. And that's what the Aussies are complaining about, saying the umpires only reacted because of the big screen.  Do they want the third umpire to go with what is correct, or just go with whatever?"

 

Quested understands why the Australians were emotional because Marsh was in sharp form and they appeared to have a firm grip on their own destiny as they chased 247 to win. The momentum of the game swung in the New Zealanders' favour once Marsh departed.  “[Marsh] was their star at that stage and was going along quite nicely, wasn't he?”, said Quested.  But “as far as I could work out, they did it exactly right. Derek [Walker] would have probably said 'it happened pretty quickly, we need to check upstairs' and so [Gould] did”.

 

Headline: Netherlands’ bowler’s action formally declared ‘illegal'.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Tuesday, 9 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1758-8768.

 

Netherlands’ medium pacer Christine Erkelens, who was reported as having a suspect bowling action during the Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament in Bangkok two months ago (PTG 1704-8431, 5 December 2015), has now had her action formally declared “illegal” by an International Cricket Council (ICC) 'Expert Panel’.  As a result Erkelens, 24, has been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect until such time as the she submits herself to an independent assessment of her action conducted by an appointed specialist at an ICC Accredited Testing Centre.

 

Headline: Record season reported for game in Australia.

Article from: Agence France Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 9 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1758-8769.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has hailed record-breaking crowds during the 2015-2016 season, which it says proved the sport is in good health.  New figures showed 1,727,270 people flocked to either international games or the Big Bash League (BBL), making it Australia's most attended cricket season on record.  During the season Australia hosted New Zealand and the West Indies for Tests, and India for One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. 

 

Of the overall total, 696,775 or 40 per cent watched Test cricket, including 123,736 who passed through the gates of the Adelaide Oval for the inaugural day-night pink ball Test against New Zealand.  The season was also marked by a record 80,883 people packing the Melbourne Cricket Ground for a BBL fixture (PTG 1728-9575, 3 January 2016), and television and online audiences also soared, with CA's Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat accounts growing.

 

CA chief executive James Sutherland said the public response demonstrated the sport was more popular than ever. "The numbers of people who have followed the game, either by attending a match or following it on TV or online, strongly suggests that cricket is our country's number one summer pastime”, said Sutherland (PTG 1746-8695, 26 January 2016).

 

Headline: CA rejects talk of early TV deal.

Article from: Fairfax media.

Journalist: Chris Barrett.                          

Published: Tuesday, 9 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1758-8770.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has refuted suggestions it is considering an early venture into the market with its next round of broadcast rights negotiations as Australia's National Rugby League did last year.  Cricket's governing body in Australia is midway through five-year domestic television contracts with Channel Nine and Network Ten worth a combined $A590 million (£UK288 m).  

 

Those deals expire in 2018 and it has been reported that CA is looking at bringing forward negotiations for local cricket rights in the five years beyond that to cash in on the success of the Twenty20-based Big Bash League (BBL).  The next BBL deal is tipped to cost the winning network well in excess of the $A20 m (£UK9.7 m) a year Ten paid for it in 2013 after enjoying a breakout 2015-16 season with standout ratings as well as crowds.

 

However, CA's general manager of media rights and broadcasting, Stephanie Beltrame, on Tuesday rejected suggestions cricket executives were endeavouring to go to market early to land rich new deals for the coverage of their competitions.  "We were surprised to read about CA bringing rights negotiations forward though, which suggests we have set a formal timetable for those discussions, which we haven’t”.

 

According to Beltrame: "These types of negotiations take a lot of time, a lot of planning and research and that's what we've been doing since the last renewal. We are very well aware that there is healthy interest from a number of parties in men's and women's cricket in Australia, and we certainly welcome that.  We take a very thorough approach to rights negotiations and when the time comes we'll be fully prepared and will conduct discussions respectfully with the relevant parties”.

 

The expectation is that when CA does open talks for the deals to run from 2018 to 2023 the BBL will be fiercely contested by networks.  However, there is a line of thought among some television executives that the much-hyped Twenty20 competition could have a used-by date, which could affect the value of the next deal. It is understood that Nine has yet to decide whether it will try to poach the BBL from Ten to sit with its suite of international cricket.

 

If a genuine bidding war does emerge, Ten will throw everything at keeping the BBL (PTG 1746-8695, 26 January 2016). With Nine determined to retain its stranglehold over Tests, One Day Internationals and T20 internationals, the BBL will simply be too important for Ten to lose.  CA's broadcast deals around the globe exceed $A1 billion (£UK487 m). Negotiations with networks in North America, where Australian officials are leading a push to expand the game, are underway. 

 

Headline: Second Indian businessman buys CPL franchise.

Article from: Barbados Today.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Tuesday, 9 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1758-8771.

 

Millionaire Indian businessman Vijay Mallya has confirmed his purchase of Caribbean Premier League (CPL) franchise Barbados Tridents, ending weeks of speculation about the proposed sale.  The 60-year-old said he had met with Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart last week and secured government’s support in the venture, and had subsequently moved ahead with the acquisition.

 

Mallya said on Saturday: “I’ve acquired the team. It is a joint venture if not exactly in the classical sense of the term. I will, of course, take a lead role and that is because I understand the Twenty20 competition”.  He will pay a $US2 million ($A2.84 m, £U1.4 m) CPL franchise fee and also fund Tridents players’ salaries but is confident of recouping the investment”.  Mallya, is  chairman of United Spirits which owns the Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

 

He said: “There is no central revenue in the CPL as in the case of the IPL and the revenue stream is tickets and sponsorship. The numbers did not add up and the only solution was to go to the government.  I met the Prime Minister of Barbados and he has promised all the support. Once the government came forward, I told the CPL that I’m ready. It is a joint venture of sorts.  Going forward, the CPL has said it will disburse central revenue and when it happens, it will be bonus”.

 

Mallya’s acquisition of the Tridents follows a similar move by fellow Indian businessman Shah Rukh Khan, whose company owns the IPL’s Kolkata Knight Riders franchise, who purchased the CPL’s Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel side last year (PTG 1571-7553, 19 June 2015).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,759

  Wednesday, 10 February 2016

(Second edition)

 

• MCC to trial ‘red cards’ for bad behaviour [1759-8772]. 

• Sin-binning a sad but necessary reflection of our times [1759-8773]. 

 

Headline: MCC to trial ‘red cards’ for bad behaviour.

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Nick Hoult.                          

Published: Wednesday, 10 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1759-8772.

 

Cricketers could be sent off or banished to a sin-bin for 10 overs this northern summer as lawmakers try to address increasing levels of bad behaviour. The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is to launch a trial that will, in effect, bring ‘red' or ‘yellow' cards to club, university and schools cricket to stamp out excessive sledging and curb the increase of violent behaviour. 

 

Five matches in England were abandoned last year due to violence and, after consulting umpire associations around the world, the MCC has decided action needs to be ­taken to support officials by introducing a code of conduct with four levels of offences. Proposals include sending off a player for the rest of the match for the most serious level-four offences, such as threatening an umpire, assaulting a player, official or spectator, and racist abuse. If it is a batsman, he will be “retired out”. 

 

For a Level Three offence, such as threatening and intimidating behaviour, or bowling a deliberate beamer, suggested sanctions include 10 overs in the sin-bin.  Lesser offences, including time-wasting, dissent or deliberate physical contact, such as shoulder-barging, would bring an immediate five-run penalty. "Last summer, five games had to be abandoned due to varying degrees of violence. That is an increase, for sure, for behaviour seems to be on the wane in cricket, certainly in this country”, said Fraser Stewart the MCC’s head of Laws’

 

Stewart went on: “Statistics from leagues show there are increased numbers of players being reported. Last summer, five games had to be abandoned due to varying degrees of violence. It was felt that now was a good time to review this whole area and perhaps try and find leagues, competitions and schools willing to trial means that act as a deterrent”.

 

The MCC, the guardian of the laws of the game, will be trialling these sanctions in its own matches this summer, which will include university cricket, although not games against county sides.   The Club is hoping leagues will join in the trial with a view to the sanctions being introduced when it publishes redrafted laws of the game in 2017 (PTG 1642-8036, 10 September 2015). 

 

The decision to introduce the scheme to professional cricket would be made by the relevant ­national boards and the International Cricket Council, but they could follow suit if the MCC trial is deemed a success. "The hope is the added deterrents will make players realise they can’t behave in a poor way”, said Stewart.

 

He indicated that "global consultation in 2015 [showed] the majority of umpires felt they would be better able to control player behaviour if they had more power to deal with the problem during the game, rather than through a reporting procedure afterwards.  The benefit of this is that the offence has a consequence in that particular game, rather than in the following weeks, or the following season". 

 

“The hope is the added deterrents will make players realise they can’t behave in a poor way. We will trial it in MCC university games over the summer and hope various leagues and schools will help out and we can then examine end-of-season reports to judge its success. Reports show that behaviour at schools level is an issue, not violence but lots of chat and loud, persistent sledging. The umpires will have to make a call on what is sledging and what is banter”. 

 

Last summer, a man in his sixties was taken to hospital and a man in his forties arrested after a fourth XI match between Basildon and Pitsea and Stanford-Le-Hope in the Essex Cricket League ended in a punch-up (PTG 1629-7951, 28 August 2015).  A few weeks later a match in Pembrokeshire had to be abandoned when a fight developed between players from Saundersfoot and Kilgetty cricket clubs. Trouble was sparked by a sledging incident (PTG 1622-7910, 19 August 2015)  

 

In addition, a bowler was punched unconscious and a man arrested when a match between Swindon Civil Ser­vice and Beanacre and Melksham descended into a fight (PTG 1592-7690, 15 July 2015).  Over in Shrop­shire, a match was abandoned when a dismissed batsman from Prees struck a bowler from Church Stretton (PTG 1635-8000, 3 September 2015). The worst recent incident of violence happened in Bermuda, where a batsman was given a life ban after a horrific attack on a fellow player that was captured on film and published on the internet (PTG 1648-8062, 19 September 2015). 

 

It is those kind of incidents that the MCC hopes will be curbed if the trial is a success and becomes part of the laws. Whether umpires brandish red or yellow cards will be for individual leagues to decide.  “The issuing of red and yellow cards would be a major step for cricket and not one we will commit ourselves to now”, said Stewart. “Some people would be against it but at the same time we feel, as happened in Bermuda, when a player is kicking someone on the ground, he should not stay on the field".  

 

“We will not be suggesting actual brandishing red and yellow cards and any steps taken such as a player being asked to leave the field would be handled through the captain”, said Stewart.  In New Zealand last year there was a trial of yellow and red cards and they were deemed a useful deterrent which led to significantly reduced instances of bad behaviour. 

 

Other areas being examined by the review of the law include the possibility of introducing a physical gauge to be carried by umpires to monitor the depth and size of bats, an issue that the MCC’s World Cricket Committee has been mulling for some years (PTG 1699-8384, 29 November 2015).  ‘Mankading’ is also on the agenda, with the possibility of introducing an official warning for a batsman before he is run out (PTG 1755-8757, 5 February 2016).  The MCC will be launching a Laws of Cricket app in the next two weeks to help make the game more accessible. 

 

Editor’s note:  The trial use of 'Yellow cards’ in Minor Counties cricket in England was proposed to cover umpire abuse or excessive in 2008, however, as far as it is known nothing happened with that initiative.

 

Headline: Sin-binning a sad but necessary reflection of our times.

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Scyld Berry.                          

Published: Wednesday, 10 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1759-8773.

 

It is, unfortunately, necessary for cricket to give umpires the power to send players off the field, in order to preserve the game’s special quality as a physical yet non-contact team sport (PTG 1759-8772 above).  As the third One Day International between South Africa and England was staged in a warm and friendly atmosphere on Tuesday, the introduction of such penalties may have seemed superfluous. The nearest a player came to fisticuffs was when Ben Stokes blew a fuse after one of his own team-mates, Adil Rashid, had misfielded. 

 

However, this match was staged in front of four official umpires and a match referee. Thousands of spectators at Centurion and millions on television would have deplored any misbehaviour. The players self-policed – being professional cricketers who would suffer a major loss of earnings if they descended to brawling on the field. 

 

It is for the amateur game that Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) introduction of these unprecedented powers is intended – and the lower rather than upper reaches. Where the game is umpired by two well-qualified officials, in full possession of their faculties, the players are less likely to consider themselves above the law. Through the ages bad behaviour on the cricket field has usually resulted from poor umpiring. 

 

The ethos of cricket, moreover, has not so much changed as reversed in the last generation. It used to be a game of fear and defensiveness, when the only attacking was done by the village blacksmith. But in the white-ball era the emphasis is on aggression in all respects.  So we may lament the times we live in, and the erosion of respect for authority in society as a whole. But the MCC, as guardian of the game’s spirit and laws, has to do something to arrest the quantifiable increase in physical violence on the field. 

 

Feedback from New Zealand’s experiment is encouraging. In the Northern Districts association these new powers are already being trialled – and serving as a deterrent (PTG 1435-6938, 26 September 2014). Players were sent off initially, but once they realised how damaging it was to their side to be off the field, they began to heed the umpires’ warnings. 

 

New Zealand Cricket has also added the telling observation about the national captain as a role model. Brendon McCullum’s influence has permeated through the sport down to the grassiest roots, so a cricket match in New Zealand is a contest of skills, not a slanging and sledging match (PTG 1721-8535, 24 December 2015). 

 

This experiment is an admission that the Code of Laws issued in 2000, with their preamble about the Spirit of Cricket, has failed to uphold fair play: “It is the responsibility of the captain to take action where required”. But whereas the village captain used to be the Rector or Squire, it is very difficult for 20-year-old Pete to stand back, risk unpopularity, and tell his mates to cool it. 

 

As the trials unfold – whether in games organised by the MCC or in leagues where officials want to join in – procedural questions will arise. If, at the bottom of the food chain in a game without two independent umpires, a player taking a turn with the white coat decides to send off a member of the fielding side without due reason, should he be allowed to do so? Or will both umpires have to agree? Or if they agree that a penalty is required but cannot agree on which one, will the lighter be applied? 

 

But these are details. Whisper it not to Dr W G Grace in the eternal hall of fame, the new measures are necessary. In fact, if he were playing, he would probably be the first to get sent off.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,760

  Thursday, 11 February 2016

 

• Aussies working to develop ’no ball’ training device [1760-8774]. 

• England skipper warns cricket risks becoming ‘too PC’ [1760-8775]. 

• Martinecz returns to Test fold [1760-8776]. 

• Nero departs IUP, keen to develop future umpires [1760-8777]. 

• ‘Repeated questioning’ of decisions leads to three-match ban [1760-8778]. 

• Under-19 batsman reprimanded after showing dissent [1760-8779]. 

• CSA have ‘open mind’, but no commitment to, day-night Tests [1760-8780]. 

• Australian women receive $500k health insurance boost [1760-8781]. 

• Professional footballer in trouble for playing cricket [1760-8782]. 

 

Headline: Aussies working to develop ’no ball’ training device.

Article from: Cricket Australia web site.

Journalist: Andrew Ramsey.                          

Published: Wednesday, 10 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1760-8774.

 

Australian players preparing for this week's opening Test against New Zealand in Wellington, tried out  a new piece of technology on Wednesday that is designed to alert bowlers who overstep in the nets, a move that aims to reduce the likelihood of them transgressing during a match.  On a number of occasions during recent Tests, most notably last year’s Boxing Day encounter against the West Indies when James Pattinson was twice denied a wicket, bowlers have made breakthroughs only to have the decisions reversed when video evidence confirmed a front-foot no-ball. 

 

Cricket Australia (CA) officials vowed to tackle the issue at training sessions where bowlers are known to regularly overstep without being brought to account due to the absence of policing the Popping crease.  In keeping with that pledge, CA’s Executive General Manager of Team Performance Pat Howard trialled a prototype of the  device during Wednesday's training session at Wellington’s Basin Reserve.

 

The device has been developed by an Adelaide-based designer who has been working on similar technology to assist long jumpers at training.  The equipment comprises two lengths of timber, one on each side of the pitch, that are fitted with sensors that align with both the return and popping creases. 

 

When a light beam that is projected between the two planks is broken by the bowler, a signal is relayed to a control box which emits a loud ‘beep’ when a bowler’s foot comes down wholly beyond the Popping crease.  It also provides a digital reading of just how far over the line the offender has stepped.  After signalling a ’no ball', the machine then automatically re-sets in preparation for the next delivery.  

 

Howard said the device, which is currently deemed too heavy to be practically transported as part of the team kit, is undergoing further refinements, would prove its value if it helped reduce the incidence of no-balls in matches.  Two years ago a system to monitor overstepping in training was being used at CA’s national Cricket Centre in Brisbane.

 

Headline: England skipper warns cricket risks becoming ‘too PC’.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 11 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1760-8775.

 

England captain Alastair Cook has warned cricket’s lawmakers the Marylebone Cricket Club not to become “too PC” following reports that the game is about to experiment with sin-bins to counter bad behaviour (PTG 1759-8772, 10 February 2016).   Cook also said he thought the professional game had become “a lot quieter” in recent years because of stump mics and an increase in TV cameras.

 

Cook said: “We’ve got to be careful.  Cricket needs characters, like Ben Stokes getting fired up after an 11-over spell in the heat and [at] altitude with no wicket. Then [Temba] Bavuma inside-edged him past the stumps. Stokes showed emotion. But I’d be worried if we take all that out of it, which is the danger. It’s important we don’t go OTT [over the top] on that”.

 

Speaking at a charity event, Cook said professional "players have a 100 per cent responsibility to make sure the game is played the right way”.  “There’s a line which can’t be crossed [but] it almost inflames a situation when, if a bowler says something to a batsman, the umpire gets involved straightaway. It makes the situation a lot worse".

 

“In general, we’ve got to be careful. Some of the great stories come from sledging. Allan Donald, was he sledging, no, but he was really fired up, when [Mark] Boucher dropped that catch [off Michael Atherton]. He screamed at the top of his voice. I’m sure it wasn’t particularly pleasant what he screamed, but it added to the drama and the theatre of that iconic moment, which people now love, him saying a few words to Athers, and Athers staring straight back at him.

 

Cook said he was "chatting to fans in South Africa [recently] and they enjoyed watching sides go at each other”.

 

Headline: Martinez returns to Test fold.

Article from: ICC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 10 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1760-8776.

 

Sri Lankan umpire Ranmore Martinecz, whose last of seven Tests was ten months ago, is one of four neutral match officials who have been appointed to manage the two Tests New Zealand and Australia are to play in Wellington and Christchurch over the next fortnight.  Martinecz will be working with Englishmen Chris Broad, Richard Kettleborough and Richard Illingworth, and Kiwis ‘Billy’ Bowden and Derek Walker during the series.

 

Broad will have overall management responsibilities for both games as the match referee, while Kettleborough will be on-field in both fixtures, the first with Illingworth, Martinecz being the television official and Bowden the fourth umpire, then in the second with Martinez on-field, Illingworth moving to the television umpire spot, and Walker for fourth official.  

 

Broad, who has been in New Zealand for the NZ-Australia One Day International series over the last week, will be overseeing his 76th and 77th Tests, Kettleborough his 34th and 35th, Illingworth number 21 on-field and 6 in the television spot (21/6) and Martinez 8/9.  

 

Martinecz, along with Australian Simon Fry and Joel Wilson of the West Indies, are the only non-members of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) to have been allocated Tests during the 2015-16 ‘year’ to date.  The Sri Lankan’s absence from the Test scene since April last year suggested he was no longer in contention for an EUP spot (PTG 1693-8336, 23 November 2015), however, there is no clear sign at the present time that there will be a vacancy on the panel when contracts are renewed by the ICC in June.

 

Headline: Nero departs IUP, keen to develop future umpires.

Article from: Trinidad Newsday.

Journalist: Joel Bailey.                          

Published: Wednesday, 10 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1760-8777.

 

Trinidad and Tobago’s (T&T) Peter Nero, a member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) since 2010, has retired from that position and now sees the development of the future crop of umpires as a key goal.  Nero, 51, started umpiring in 2000, was named a member of the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) Regional Umpires Panel in 2005, and promoted to the IUP five years after that.

 

Looking back at his time on the IUP, Nero called it "a great experience for anyone. It has been a learning curve for me, not just as an umpire but also as an individual.  You learn a lot about yourself, you learn a lot about your abilities, you learn a lot about your weaknesses”.  He would now "like to see a lot of our young persons getting involve in (umpiring), not just being an elite umpire or an international umpire, but being an umpire”. 

 

Asked why he decided to retire, Nero replied: “it’s age, giving the other guys an opportunity.   “I’ve been there for five years [and] since I haven’t progressed as I should [its time to] give somebody an opportunity.   It was not an easy decision of course, however, I think it was necessary”.  "I’m not going anywhere. I’m still on the first class panel and I’m now involved in training and developing other umpires”. 

 

Nero noted he’d "been to a number of countries, both Australia and the United Arab Emirates for Under-19 World Cups and New Zealand for World Cup qualifiers”, but the standout for him was the 2013 Tri-Nations series final between India and Sri Lanka which was played at his home ground of Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain.  "There are a number of other things, but travel and meeting people, experiencing new places and new cultures” were also stimulating.

 

Nero’s full-time job was not as an umpire but in the T&T’s Defence Force where he reached the rank of Warrant Officer Class Four before retiring, with 30 years of service, in 2014.  Nero’s contribution to the game was publicly acknowledged by the WICB last month (PTG 1745-8682, 24 January 2016).

 

The departure of Nero from the IUP raises the question of who will join his countryman Joel Wilson as the WICB’s two IUP on-field members, those in the mix being current third umpire members Gregory Braithwaite and Nigel Duguid. 

 

Headline: ‘Repeated questioning’ of decisions leads to three-match ban.

Article from: Newcastle Herald.

Journalist: Josh Leeson.                          

Published: Sunday, 6 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1760-8778.

 

Newcastle University Cricket Club (NUCC) president James Wallace wants to meet with the Newcastle district cricket umpires to clarify the charge of "repeated questioning of a decision", following all-rounder Luke Bird’s suspension for three games.  Three NUCC players, Bird, captain Matt Gawthrop and wicket-keeper Luke Stewart, were cited in Saturday week’s victory over Waratah-Mayfield.

 

At Thursday night’s judiciary Stewart was given a suspended one-game ban, due to his unblemished record, and Gawthrop’s charge of not controlling his players was withdrawn.  However, Bird was found guilty of repeatedly questioning the umpire’s decision, but was cleared of another charge of serious misconduct.

 

Bird was suspended due to his previous disciplinary record, which included a three-match ban in 2013-14 for dissent.  “Ultimately what he’s been found guilty of is repeated questioning”, Wallace said. “Unlike previous matters, there was certainly no evidence of abuse of umpires, swearing or any of those sort of things. It’s unfortunate, but that’s why it went to the judiciary”.

 

Wallace said Bird had successfully taken steps to improve his on-field behaviour in recent years. The Uni boss also said he wanted clearer information of what constituted repeated questioning of an umpire’s decision. “I will meet with the umpires association when it’s convenient to all of us and talk about it.  In terms of this issue of repeated questioning, there needs to be some communication about where that line is. I’m confident that will be the case as I have a good relationship with umpires”.

 

Headline: Under-19 batsman reprimanded for showing dissent.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Wednesday, 10 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1760-8779.

 

Indian Under-19 middle-order batsman Anmolpreet Singh has been reprimanded for “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during an international match" following his side’s semi final against Sri Lanka in Mirpur on Tuesday.  The incident happened in the 42nd over of India’s innings when Anmolpreet, after being given out caught behind, showed dissent at the decision by pointing to his sleeve and shaking his head.

 

Following the match, Anmolpreet admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Andy Pycroft and as such, there was no need for a formal hearing.  The charge was levelled by on-field umpires Gregory Brathwaite and Mick Martell, third umpire Adrian Holdstock and reserve umpire Ahsan Raza.

 

Headline: CSA have ‘open mind’, but no commitment to, day-night Tests.

Article from: News Corporation

Journalist: Notstated                          

Published: Wednesday, 10 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1760-8780.

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Haroon Lorgat says his board has an "open mind" about day-night Test cricket but is yet to commit to the concept.  Both Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket have talked about the possibility of their respective teams playing South Africa in a day-night Test when they tour each of those countries during the 2016-17 austral summer.

 

Lorgat said: "At the moment, we certainly cannot commit to playing in the pink ball Test”. "It is certainly not over the line that we would agree to play in [such a game], but there are plenty of things we need to explore and work though, including seeing if our own players will agree to play in it”.  As such "It is way too early to commit to anything”, said Lorgat. 

 

Headline: Australian women receive $500k health insurance boost.

Article from: Fairfax Media

Journalist: Larissa Nicholson and Scott Bailey.                          

Published: Wednesday, 10 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1760-8781.

 

Just a week after the Australian Sports Minister decreed major sporting bodies must provide male and female athletes with transport and accommodation of equal quality, Australia's male cricketers have dipped into their own pockets to help their female counterparts pay for private health insurance.  They will contribute $A500,000 (£UK244,000) to the Female Private Health Insurance Scheme launched by the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) this summer, so all 111 women's domestic and Australian representatives will be covered for at least the next two years..

 

It is not uncommon for professional athletes to have to pay for their own high-level health insurance, but that often poses a greater problem for women athletes, who do not command the same-sized pay packets as men.  The cover is particularly welcome for the game's domestic players, given the minimum contract of the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) – which proved an outstanding success in the 2014-15 season – is $A3,000 (£UK1,465), while their 50-over competition has a retainer of $A,7000 (£UK3,420).

 

Australian vice-captain Alex Blackwell told ABC Radio on Wednesday: "It's nice to know that some of that has gone towards helping the female members. I think it's a great initiative from the ACA and the male players to dip into those existing funds, which come under an existing agreement with Cricket Australia (CA)”.

 

A profit surplus resulting from last year's World Cup and cancelled Champions League tournament meant additional funds in the player pool would normally have been distributed across the male players. However, with the involvement of the ACA, the men agreed to transfer the money to give the game's female players automatic health coverage.  

 

The ACA said all contracted cricket players, male and female, must have top-level health insurance, which they paid for themselves. Its research found the cost of the required health coverage was one of the financial deterrents to women staying in the game.  The news comes before the ACA's next meeting with CA at the end of February, where a women's memorandum of understanding covering travel, accommodation, superannuation, scheduling and insurance will be discussed.

 

The talks have been boosted by the impressive WBBL ratings.  "Our product is actually viable and there is going to be greater revenue coming in from the women's game”, Blackwell said. "We're definitely on the right track and things have moved quickly. I'm really excited to see what happens in the next year or two”.

 

Headline: Professional footballer in trouble for playing cricket.

Article from: Melbourne Herald Sun.

Journalist: Jon Ralph and Glenn McFarlane.                          

Published: Thursday, 11 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1760-8782.

 

Jeremy Howe, a professional Australian Rules Football player with the Collingwood club in Melbourne, was subjected to an intense grilling from club officials on Wednesday as new details emerged of his unauthorised cricket appearance. The football club’s coach Nathan Buckley probed new recruit Howe about accusations he had broken his finger playing in a Twenty20 game last Tuesday, not in a frisbee accident as claimed by the player.

 

The club’s football boss Neil Balme asked Howe three times about whether a dropped catch in the outfield at Vermont Reserve caused him to break the finger.  Howe, 25, had not told club officials about playing cricket, or his dramatic collision with the turf, when he initially explained his broken finger to club doctors.

 

Collingwood will take no further action despite being upset Howe played cricket, bowling medium pace deliveries, even though he is currently dealing with foot stress fractures.  Howe is reported to have told told Balme he was only filling in for a player who was running late, however, while that would be so when he actually bowled in the game has not been explained.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,761

  Friday, 12 February 2016

 

• Bailey, Palliyaguruge to stand in Under-19 World Cup final [1761-8783]. 

• BCCI expected to decide on Rauf case on Friday [1761-8784]. 

• Richardson gets his first ICC referee appointments [1761-8785]. 

• South Canterbury officials back red, yellow card system [1761-8786]. 

• Two leagues, relegation and promotion for County T20 competition? [1761-8787]. 

• United States to host CPL games in 2016 [1761-8788]. 

• Windies Twenty20 squad stands firm on pay impasse [1761-8789]. 

• Team bowled out for zero in Kent indoor game [1761-8790]. 

 

Headline: Bailey, Palliyaguruge to stand in Under-19 World Cup final.

Article from: ICC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 12 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1761-8783.

 

England’s Rob Bailey and Sri Lanka’s Ruchira Palliyaguruge have been appointed to stand in Sunday’s Under-19 World Cup final between India and the West Indies in Dhaka.  Mick Martell of Australia has been named as the television umpire while the fourth official will be Adrian Holdstock of South Africa, all four umpires working under match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe.  The four umpires are members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, while Pycroft is a member of the ICC’s top referees’s panel. 

 

Bailey, 52, and Palliyaguruge, 48, both played the game at first class level, the Englishmen in Tests, in careers that ran for close to 20 year careers before they turned to umpiring.  Between them to date they have played in and umpired a total of 664 first class games, Bailey 374 as a player and 136 as an umpire over the last 34 years, and Palliyaguruge 124 and 30 respectively over the last 27 years.

 

Bailey is taking part in his second Under-19 World Cup, being chosen to stand in the matches that determined both fifth and seventh places in his first such event two years ago.  For Palliyaguruge its his first such Under-19 event, however, he was selected to stand in senior World Cup matches in Adelaide, Hobart and Dunedin a year ago (PTG 1511-7283, 31 January 2015).

 

Saturday’s match in Fatullah to decide the tournament’s third place between loosing semi finalists Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, will see a second Englishman, Tim Robinson, and Chettithody Shamshuddin of India on-field, Ashan Raza of Pakistan the television umpire, Bailey the fourth official and Pycroft again the match referee.  

 

Of the five umpires who have stood in the last three Under-19 World Cup finals, four are now members of the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), they being: Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena (2010), Richard Kettleborough (2010) and Richard Illingworth (2012) from England, and Sundarum Ravi of India (2012).  Should Bailey and Palliyaguruge go on to reach the EUP though, the current situation suggests they will be unlikely to do so for some 3-4 years, unless of course the ICC makes dramatic changes to the current 12-man panel over the next two years, something that on the surface at least appears unlikely. 

 

Headline: BCCI expected to decide on Rauf case on Friday.

Article from: Ahmedabad Mirror.

Journalist: Vijay Tagore.                          

Published: Friday, 12 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1761-8784.

 

The disciplinary committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will meet in Mumbai on Friday to announce what punishment former Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf will face in regard to misconduct allegations levelled against him during the 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) series. The BCCI has levelled four charges against Rauf: leaving India abruptly without completing his IPL duties; placing bets during IPL matches; accepting gifts from strangers (some of which are in possession of Mumbai police); and passing information about the matches to bookies, particularly Vindoo Dara Singh another who some suggest was involved in 2013 IPL corruption.

 

After initially questioning the BCCI's right to conduct the disciplinary proceedings against him, Rauf sought time and finally replied to the charges (PTG 1741-8657, 19 January 2016). The BCCI will make a call on his defence on Friday but speaking on the phone from Lahore Rauf put up a brave front denying acts of impropriety while confessing proximity to Vindoo. "Vindoo is a close friend. So what? Does it establish my guilt? Even the Indian courts has not declared Vindoo guilty".

 

Rauf said he has had a close association with Vindoo. "Have you seen his last interview and do you know what he said of me”, a defiant Rauf told the Mirror. The former member of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel rubbished the charge that he left India abruptly. "It is baseless. I actually overstayed in India by a day. Ravi Sawani, who has framed the charges against me, has got the information totally wrong”, he claimed. 

 

As to the costly gifts seized by the police, Rauf claimed to have purchased them all. "I have submitted the credit card records and receipts to the BCCI”.  The Pakistani said "the gifts were seized because Vindoo was to send to me via a friend [who was travelling by air]”.  "I had left that bag with Vindoo and before he could send that to me, he was arrested. All this came out because the police illegally tapped my phone”, he noted.  

 

Rauf refuted the charge of placing bets and passing information to the bookies.  "I raised the standard of umpiring in the IPL. The information about the pitch is given by the TV channels one hour before the games. Why would the bookies need my help? I had declared before [the ICC] that many of my friends place bets [but] I never did it myself”, he claimed. 

 

Asked about the potential punishment he might face Rauf sounded indifferent. "What can they do? They can ban me for life. I have retired from umpiring anyway. If that prevents me from coming to India, so be it”.    

 

Headline: Richardson gets his first ICC referee appointments.

Article from: ICC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                          

Published: Friday, 12 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1761-8785.

 

Former West Indies captain Richie Richardson, who replace Sri Lanka's Roshan Mahanama on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) top referee’s panel late last year (PTG 1649-8066, 22 September 2015), has been appointed to his first internationals in his new role. Richardson joins David Boon, 55 (Australia), Chris Broad, 58 (England), Jeff Crowe, 57 (New Zealand), Ranjan Madugalle, 56 (Sri Lanka), Andy Pycroft, 59 (Zimbabwe), and Javagal Srinath, 46 (India), on the ICC panel, the group between having featured in a total of 348 Tests and 826 One Day Internationals during their playing careers.

 

Richardson, 54, is to manage the first nine matches of the Asia Cup Twenty20 series in Bangladesh over the week starting next Friday, while Crowe will oversee the last eight fixtures, including the final, in the nine days after that.  Teams from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates are taking part in the series. Umpires for the 17-day tournament have not yet been named, however, indications are they will come from Asian Cricket Council nations.

 

Headline: South Canterbury officials back red, yellow card system.

Article from: Timaru Herald.

Journalist: Brayden Lindsay.                          

Published: Friday, 12 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1761-8786.

 

South Canterbury Cricket's (SCC) Mark Medlicott and Les Elliott are both in favour of the yellow and red card system that is to be trialled in cricket in England (PTG 1759-8772, 10 February 2016), but believe such an approach will only work in matches that have official umpires (PTG 1759-8773, 10 February 2016).  However Medlicott, who is SCC's chief executive, and Elliot, its umpires’ manager, don’t expect such a system to be operational in their part of the world any time soon.   

 

In Medlicott’s view: "Umpires will definitely use it. It will give them more authority in a way and help them make a call easier”, however, he stressed “we play under the rules and code of conduct issued to us by New Zealand Cricket and until that changes we won't be using the system”.  He said it would be interesting to see how the trials go and whether it would involve cutting out some of the judicial processes required for certain situations.

 

For Elliott the approach being trialled “has been a long time coming".  "We asked for something like this 10 years ago” but he echoed Medlicott’s view that SCC competitions won’t be using it in the near future.  "We usually do things on the back of what Cricket Australia do and it is likely we'd wait until they trial it”.  His assessment is though that “Just having [a card system] will calm things down because players will be less likely to react if they know the umpire have those up their sleeve”, but "they will only be useful at levels [of the game] that have official umpires”.

 

Headline: Two leagues, relegation and promotion for County T20 competition?

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Nick Hoult.                          

Published: Friday, 12 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1761-8787.

 

County cricket’s Twenty20 competition will be split into two divisions and feature promotion and relegation for the first time if proposals from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are agreed later this month.  A consultation paper outlining an overhaul of the County game has been circulated to the counties. The plans will be discussed with County chief executives in the last week of February before a board meeting in early March when a decision is likely to be rubber stamped. 

 

There is no mention of franchise or city based cricket in the ECB paper, averting a major confrontation with some of the 18 counties, for with this proposal for two divisions of nine teams is a compromise.   But if this latest restructuring fails to draw bigger crowds then the push for an eight or ten team city based competition will become stronger. This could well be County cricket’s last chance to keep the traditional structure in place. 

 

As expected, the first class Championship series will be reduced from 16 to 14 matches with a top division of eight teams, and a second of ten. The changes will come into effect in 2017 but a decision has to be made before the start of the 2016 season because results in this summer’s domestic T20 series and Championship will determine which division Counties play in next year. 

 

It is likely the eight teams reaching this year’s T20 quarter-finals will qualify for 2017’s division one with the ninth team the next best performing side.  The move to two divisions in the T20 series will increase the number of such games from 14 per County at present to 16 with sides playing each other once home and away.  The 50 over format cup series is likely to be shifted to the start of the summer to enable more T20 to be played when weather is more reliable. 

 

In the championship this northern summer two teams will be relegated from division one but only one side promoted from division two.   By removing two four-day fixtures from the Championship schedule even more time is freed up at the height of summer to play T20 games when schools and families are on holiday with a large block of matches to be played in July and August. 

 

The proposals have the support of Andrew Strauss, the England team director, who believes they will help improve the standard of one-day cricket in the build up to the 2019 World Cup.  County sources have indicated most clubs are open to the changes but fear the loss of lucrative local derbies if the T20 tournament moves from currently being a regional based group competition before the knockout stages to a league structure.  

 

Games such as Lancashire versus Yorkshire are sold out well in advance and at Headingley have attracted larger crowds than international fixtures.  It is pobable the ECB will offer financial sweeteners to the counties to allay any fears of losing revenue through a potential lack of derby matches.  

 

Another concern is that introducing promotion and relegation will encourage some of the smaller clubs to concentrate on T20 cricket, which brings in more revenue, and eventually withdraw from four-day Championship cricket. Low crowds in the Championship often leave Counties making a financial loss on four day games.  The move to fewer championship matches will not be popular with 80,000 county members, who are traditionally supporters of the longer form of the game, but the clubs accept it is a necessary step to keep pace with other T20 leagues around the world. 

 

It is also part of the ECB’s long term plan to make T20 cricket more competitive and attractive to broadcasters and sponsors. They will begin negotiations for the next broadcast deal over the next year. 

 

Headline: United States to host CPL games in 2016.

Article from: Stabroek News.

Journalist: Brayden Lindsay.                          

Published: Thursday, 11 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1761-8788.

 

Six matches in this year's Caribbean Premier League (CPL) competition will be played in the United States, a landmark move that will see the premier regional Twenty20 tournament unveiled in the Americas for the first time.  Matches are set for July and are expected to be played in Florida at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium.  Since the CPL's inception in 2013, all of the matches between the six franchise sides have been played in the Caribbean.

 

CPL chief executive Damien O’Donohoe described the move as a “massive boost” for the cricket market in the United States.  “This project has been in discussion for many months and we are grateful to the International Cricket Council (ICC) for supporting this move which enables us to step up our planning and open up opportunities for the cricket-hungry American public”, he said.

 

ICC Head of Global Development, Tim Anderson, said the decision to play CPL games in the United States was a “positive step forward for all cricket followers in the US”.  “We are also delighted that a number of development activities will take place around the matches, ensuring that the expertise and experience of the CPL players, coaches and officials contributes to the exciting growth of the game in the USA”.

 

Headline: Windies Twenty20 squad stands firm on pay impasse.

Article from: Reuters.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Friday, 12 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1761-8789.

 

The impasse between the West Indies’ World Twenty20 Championship squad and the region’s cricket board ­appeared no closer to resolution on Thursday, with both sides sticking to their positions.  West Indies Cricket Board chief executive Michael Muirhead says a new team will be chosen if the players do not abide by the previously agreed financial terms to play in the global event in India in March-April.  The players, however, want a new deal and have given no indication they will back down and sign the offered contract ahead of Sunday’s board-imposed deadline.

 

West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Wavell Hinds negotiated the terms of the deal but captain Darren Sammy said the body did not speak for the squad.  Sammy wrote in a letter to Muirhead, his second in less than 24 hours: “Firstly, as a group we don’t accept that WIPA can represent us. WIPA became conflicted during its negotiations with you and compromised itself”.  “It could not and did not actively represent the best interests of all West Indies cricketers and is a major reason we are having this discussion”.

 

Hinds responded in an interview on a Jamaican radio station saying: “Those are claims that were made by Sammy and so they stand by themselves: unsupported, no substantive evidence to support what he is saying and just a claim left idle by itself”.  “But as far as I’m concerned, whatever WIPA have done has been above board and was in the best interest of all its members”.  The West Indies are former World Twenty20 champions and currently second in the format’s world rankings.

 

Headline: Team bowled out for zero in Kent indoor game.

Article from: BBC.

Journalist: Not stated.                          

Published: Thursday, 11 September 2016.  

PTG listing: 1761-8790.

 

A team from the Bapchild Cricket Club in Kent has been bowled out for 0 in just 20 balls in a county six-a-side indoor championships match.  No batsman from the side was able to get off the mark against Christ Church University in Canterbury.  It is thought to be the first time in more than a century that a cricket team has failed to score any runs.  Christ Church player Mike Rose said: "We couldn't believe it, all they needed to do was hit a wall to get one run”. 

 

In traditional cricket formats, Wirral were bowled out for three in a Cheshire League Division Three fixture in 2014, even though they had 11 players and were 8/0 at one stage (PTG 1340-6475, 28 April 2014).  Ten of their batsman recorded 'ducks', the 'not out' batsman a single, while 'leg byes' topped the innings with two.

 

The world record for the lowest score is believed to have been set by Somerset club Langport, who were dismissed for zero against Glastonbury in a 1913 match.  At first-class level the lowest score ever made is six, by 'The B’s' against England at the old Lord's ground in 1810, while New Zealand's 26 against England in 1955 remains the lowest total scored in a Test match.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,762

  Saturday, 13 February 2016

 

• Three years on BCCI bans Rauf for five years [1762-8791]. 

• Skipper given three-match ban for ‘intimidating, threatening’, umpire [1762-8792]. 

• Should the TV umpire adjudicate no-balls? [1762-8793]. 

• Cricket: a metaphor for life [1762-8794]. 

 

Headline: Three years on BCCI bans Rauf for five years.

Article from: BCCI press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Friday, 12 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1762-8791.

 

Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf may have retired from the game two-and-a-half years ago but that hasn’t stopped the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from imposing a belated five-year ban on him for "misconduct and corruption” during the Indian Premier League’s 2013 series.  The BCCI said in a statement issued on Friday that Rauf’s ban, which was handed down by its Disciplinary Committee nearly three years after the said offences took place, prevents him from "umpiring, playing or representing cricket in any form or anyway being associated with the activities of the Board and its Affiliates”.  

 

Rauf has denied all the allegations levelled against him but has not been prepared to travel to India to present his case, doing so only via a written submission which was provided to the BCCI last month (PTG 1741-8657, 19 January 2016).  The International Cricket Council and the Pakistan Cricket Board both dropped Rauf from their respective lists of elite umpires three months after the IPL series he was embroiled in ended (PTG 1130-5485, 26 June 2013 and 1147-5553, 14 July 2013).  Earlier this week Rauf said about a potential ban: "What can they do? They can ban me for life. I have retired from umpiring anyway. If that prevents me from coming to India, so be it” (PTG 1761-8784, 12 February 2016).    

 

Headline: Skipper given three-match ban for ‘intimidating, threatening’, umpire.

Article from: NewsDay.

Journalist: Kevin Mapasure.                         

Published: Friday, 12 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1762-8792.

 

Zimbabwe all-rounder Sean Williams has landed himself into fresh controversy which has resulted in a fine and a three-match suspension from Zimbabwe Cricket’s (ZC) ongoing domestic Twenty20 (T20) competition in Bulawayo.  Williams, 29, who has played for Zimbabwe in all three international formats, was summoned for a hearing on Wednesday where he was found guilty of misconduct over insulting the umpire, ZC’s public relations manager Darlington Majonga confirming the incident and Williams’ suspension the next day.

 

Majonga said in a statement: “We can confirm Mid-West Rhinos captain Sean Williams was this week handed a three-match ban for serious breach of [ZC’s] Code of Conduct”.  "The player was found guilty of abusing, intimidating and threatening umpire Owen Chirombe during his side's T20 match against Matabeleland Tuskers at Bulawayo Athletic Club on Tuesday”.  It is understood the insults directed at Chirombe insinuated he would die a poor man, and he also called the umpire "an idiot”.  The incident is said to have arisen after Chirombe warned Williams, as his side’s skipper, eight overs into his opponents’ s innings, that the "over-rate was two minutes down” on that required. 

 

Williams was also fined $US150 ($A210, £UK103) for the offence. His ban would have been reduced to two matches if he had paid the fine by Wednesday afternoon, but he failed to do so.  In handing down the punishment match referee Emmanuel Dube noted that this was a serious offence that required maximum sanctions that would act as a deterrent to others.  Williams attended the hearing alongside his team manager Adam Chifo and coach Robin Brown, while the complainant, Chirombe, was also present together with fellow umpire Christopher Phiri.  

 

The left-hand batsman is not new to controversy having been involved in another incident with former coach Steve Mangongo after he skipped training.  He was subsequently left out of the squad that toured Bangladesh in 2014 and he also missed some matches against Pakistan due to a pay dispute with ZC. 

 

Headline: Should the TV umpire adjudicate no-balls?

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Brydon Coverdale.                         

Published: Friday, 12 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1762-8793.

 

Calls for television umpires in internationals to be able to decide on ‘no balls’ in near real-time, an approach that has been rejected by the International Cricket Council (ICC), arose again in Wellington on Friday during the first Test between New Zealand and Australia, but this time for the opposite reason.  In recent years there have been a number of situations when a batsman has been declared ‘out’, but which replays soon after showed overstepping was present such that the batsman was reprieved, but in Wellington umpire Richard Illingworth called a ’no ball’ that wasn’t on a delivery that bowled the batsman.

 

In the final over of what was the first day of the Wellington match, New Zealand’s Doug Bracewell bowled Adam Voges only to hear Illingworth call "no-ball". Television viewers around the world saw immediately afterwards that Illingworth's call was wrong: replays showing that Bracewell's foot landed with a good portion of his heel behind the crease.

 

One of the quirks of international cricket is that a no-ball can be retrospectively called but cannot be retrospectively undone. It really cannot be any other way, for who is to say that a batsman does not change his reaction once the no-ball is called? Here, that appeared not to be the case, for Voges left the ball alone - had he had time to adjust his shot he would surely have had a swing at the ball, knowing he could not be dismissed.

 

But what if the same thing had occurred with a spinner bowling? Surely then the batsman would have had ample time to adjust his shot, and undoing a wrong no-ball call would thus be unfair. Can you have different rules for different bowlers? And what about a slow medium-pacer? Who is to decide which bowlers are too quick, and which bowlers are slow enough for a batsman to react? One rule must apply, and the current rule is fair.

 

That is why international umpires are told to err on the side of caution with no-ball calls, that if they have any doubts at all to stay unmoved. They can always ask for video confirmation should a wicket fall. In the case of Bracewell and Voges, Illingworth was wrong. But it was not wrong that once he had made his call, it had to stand.  And yet, it is not that simple. If on-field umpires are told - rightly - to err on the side of caution, then what of all the runs that are not added to a team's total by way of missed no-balls? Matches are won and lost based on a team's tally of runs. The arguments on no-ball calls go in never-ending circles, like the traffic that circles Wellington’s Basin Reserve every day.

 

It is also worth noting that on-field umpires stand in far from the ideal position to make a live no-ball call. Certain bowlers are especially difficult because their actions mean the front foot is obscured from the umpire's viewpoint. It is much easier to see from the side-on television cameras, as viewers again discovered with the Bracewell-Voges incident.  Has the time come, then, to take no-balls entirely out of the hands of the on-field officials in matches with a TV umpire? Can the third umpire monitor the side-on cameras live, and relay to the on-field umpires whether a no-ball has been delivered?

 

Obviously this would result in a delay, and a no-ball would not be called until after the ball had been played by the batsman. But isn't that preferable to the current situation of missed no-balls and missed runs, and occasional incorrect no-ball calls as was seen at the Basin Reserve on Friday?   On-field umpires have managed no-balls throughout cricket's long history, but then so had they managed all decisions until replays and technology advanced to such a point that viewers at home had more information than the umpires on field. So why carry no-balls only halfway into the modern era?

 

For their part, the New Zealand players appeared to take the incident in their stride. It should be noted that replays of the no-ball were not shown on the big screen at the Basin Reserve, so the players did not see that they had been short-changed until they left the field.  "Once his arm goes out, there's not much you can do about it”, Kiwi offspinner Mark Craig said. "There's obviously going to be a bit of disappointment but you can't do much about it now”.

 

Not for that decision, certainly. But perhaps the ICC needs to look in greater depth at how no-balls are called. Introducing HawkEye technology would be difficult; the crease line often gets scuffed and blurry, and the non-striker's movement would cause interference. But involving the third umpire should not be as hard.  It would not be flawless, either. The non-striker and fielder at short mid-on or short mid-off could obscure the TV umpire's view, but with cameras on both sides that risk is reduced. And, of course, the batsman might be denied the chance to have a swing having heard an on-field no-ball call, but it is a batsman's game and that would only be a minor inconvenience.

 

That is, of course, if batsmen can even react quickly enough to adjust their shot in the first place, which against fast bowlers is debatable. And if they can't, why even bother having the on-field umpire make the call at all?

 

Headline: Cricket: a metaphor for life.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                         

Published: Saturday, 13 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1762-8794.

 

For 40 years, Englishman Scyld Berry has been a fixture in cricket press boxes around the world, a professorial figure who always seems to be walking into a slight headwind. You could imagine him in a university common room, buried in the The Aeneid or brooding on Schopenhauer. You need not have met Berry to enjoy his panoramic survey of the appeal of cricket in his latest book 'The Game of Life', but it may be of interest to understand that it reads as he sounds.

 

Berry turns over ideas about cricket as an accomplished batsman turns over the strike: ideas are what keep him going; he seeks gaps in thinking; he finds, works and exploits them. He would also, I trust, approve that metaphor, because it is in the spirit of his book’s thesis, best expressed in a chapter about the language of the game, when he contemplates the colloquial expression for a batsman escaping dismissal — that they have been given a life.  ‘‘We are saying that a batsman is alive when he is at the wicket”, writes Berry. ‘‘When he is out, therefore, he is dead, killed by the bowler, perhaps aided and abetted by the fielders. If a batsman makes a false stroke, it can be a ‘fatal’ mistake…"

 

He goes on: ‘‘This perception is reinforced by the phrase often employed at funerals. As people gather to reminisce about the departed, they may well say that Old So-and-So ‘had a good innings’. A person’s life is equated to a batsman’s innings, never to a bowler’s spell; or indeed anything else. I take this as an amazing compliment to cricket. The sport has had such a profound place in English, or British, life for so long that one of its phrases has been taken by the public and used as a metaphor for life itself”.

 

'The Game of Life' is a comparatively long book, more than 400 pages, but is full of paragraphs like the foregoing, discursive and acute. For example, Berry sees the cricket ball’s colour as an artefact of its ancientness, originating as it does in an era before artificial dyes; he sees cricket’s conservatism as reflected in its unchanging dimensions, both of equipment and playing spaces; he sees the emergence of the umpire in Georgian England as analogous to that of the ‘‘constitutional king, bound by the laws’’; he sees cricket’s aesthetics as rooted in classical ideals of beauty, relating the contrapposto in art to the power position in coaching.

 

It is not a history book, although it is steeped in history, and full of salient information, such as that cricket was the only game for which every English regiment had a team in the 1840s and that a quarter of England’s Test cricketers have a relative who also played Test cricket.  On the subject of cricket’s 65 pairs of brothers, in fact, Berry is wonderfully expansive: ‘‘In 17 cases, by my estimation, the elder brother has been better at Test cricket. In 32 cases, the younger brother has been better, while in 16 cases they have been more or less equally good.  This sample size is big enough to suggest that it is a distinct advantage to be a younger brother, presumably because he plays and practises more at a formative age than his elder brother, who may have had to wait for someone to play with”.’ Argue if you like, but Berry has given it thought.

 

Berry’s hallmark has always been this seeing the earth in a grain of turf, such is the depth and breadth of his knowledge, and his restlessness in seeking wider significances. His preparedness to stick his neck out at adventurous angles has sometimes left him magnificently wrong, as he was in his first book, 'Cricket Wallah’ (1982), when he confidently foresaw ‘‘little prospect of television and advertising acquiring an influence over the game’’ in India because television was ‘‘never going to be a mass medium’’.

 

But it’s precisely because Berry was prepared to think possibilities through that he foresaw in the same book, long before even Indians themselves, that the country would become the capital of cricket, and cricket in India the most popular sport in any one country in the world.  'Cricket Wallah' and its sequel 'Cricket Odyssey' (1988), mind-expanding surveys of cricket on the subcontinent, repay regular re-reading.

 

The keenest parts of 'The Game of Life', however, are where Berry describes the game’s personal appeal, to him — a story of which, despite knowing him a good many years, I was unaware.  Berry’s father Francis was poet and literature academic at University of Sheffield, eccentric, emotionally distant, and so impractical that he once went hungry because he could not work out how to open the oven in which his wife had left dinner.

 

When Berry was 13, his mother Nancy suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage — a date he recalls, very precisely, as the rest day of the 1967 Lord’s Test. ‘‘I do not remember crying much, or feeling angry or bitter, or even talking”, he writes. ‘‘Cricket kept me going — firstly reading about it, then writing it, before I ever had a chance to play”.  A set of Yorkshire CCC yearbooks, discovered in a second-hand store, became ‘‘a world I could enter’’, providing ‘‘camaraderie of a vicarious kind’’.

 

Then began playing, which Berry still does, purveying leg-breaks for Hinton Charterhouse Cricket Club, to whose members he dedicates 'The Game of Life', ‘‘especially those who have made catches and stumpings off my bowling’’. It’s this emotionally tight affinity with cricket, perhaps, that has informed his body of work, his broad-gauge mind enlarging what could be a narrow field of endeavour.

 

'The Game of Life' then, is the capstone of a fine career, which has also taken him into the Australian interior in 'Train to Julia Creek' (1985), a memoir of a rail journey, and the Australian past in 'Cricket’s Burning Passion' (2006), his definitive account of the Ashes origins story. What he teases out here is not only the richness of the game’s global thrall, but also the love of cricket as a form of self-inquiry.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,763

  Sunday, 14 February 2016

 

• ‘No ball’ review issue again on ICC Cricket Committee agenda [1763-8795]. 

• Kiwi’s Monster bat weighs into willow debate [1763-8796]. 

 

Headline: ‘No ball’ review issue again on ICC Cricket Committee agenda.

Article from: Cricket Australia web site.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Saturday, 13 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1763-8795.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is set to discuss the reviewing of no-balls with the controversial topic again rearing its head following Adam Voges' non-dismissal late on day one of the first Test between New Zealand and Australia in Wellington. Voges was bowled having shouldered arms but the delivery from Doug Bracewell seamed in and hit off stump, but the batsman - still in his leaving pose as his wicket was disturbed – looked up and saw umpire Richard Illingworth raise his right arm to signal for a no-ball, a call that replays showed to be wrong (ptg 1762-8793, 13 February 2016).

 

An ICC spokesperson confirmed there is no provision for the third umpire to overrule when the on-field umpire has signalled a no-ball. The governing body's justification is that "it is not right" for a batsman to be given out after an umpire has signalled no-ball, with the suggestion that, theoretically, the umpire’s signal may have prompted a batsman to change his shot.  "The third umpire can review the fairness of delivery on the fall of a wicket but not review a no-ball that has been called on the field”, said the ICC spokesperson.

 

"The ICC Cricket Committee has discussed this issue on a number of occasions and come to the same conclusion each time – it is not right that a batsman plays a delivery that is illegal, only to be told retrospectively that it was legal and that he is out by a mode of dismissal that would not have been allowed from an illegal delivery.  The ICC Cricket Committee will be looking at the use of technology at its next meeting [in May this year], and the topic of reviewing no-balls will again be part of that discussion”.

 

Former Australian opener Chris Rogers labelled the decision "horrific" and called for cricket to better use technology.  "I don't understand it, why can we not get these decisions right? There's enough time for the third umpire to change the decision. New Zealand have done nothing wrong there, they shouldn't be penalised. We keep seeing these incidents happen, why can we not embrace technology and get it right every time?”

 

Headline: Kiwi’s Monster bat weighs into willow debate.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Andrew Faulkner.                         

Published: Saturday, 13 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1763-8796.

 

He calls it 'The Monster', this 3 pound,15 ounce (1.8 Kg) club.  And you don’t need extraordinary strength to wield this slab of willow.  Simply position it in front of the ball and the bat does the rest (although presumably hooks, pulls and cuts are out of the question).  But it’s not for sale: Master New Zealand bat-maker James Laver has made it as a statement about the growing arms race of bigger and heavier bats.

 

The Monster, he says, is allowable under the laws as they stand. And Laver says it shouldn’t be.  As world cricket considers imposing restrictions on ever-burgeoning bat sizes, Laver has entered the debate wielding his super bat.  “We made it to provoke conversation to see what people actually thought”, said Laver this week.  “If you make a massive bat you’ll always sell loads, [but] I’m not going to sell bats like that. I’m not going to make it.  This is the sort of thing that I don’t think should be sold”.

 

 

You might think making and selling big bats would make good business sense for a bat-maker.  But the founder and managing director of Waipawa bat-making firm Laver and Wood is of the same mind as so many others: big bats have swung the balance too far in the batsmen’s favour.  'The Monster' is all about fuelling the discussion about regulating bat sizes.  And Laver’s gone further than that.  

 

He has suggested any size restriction is enforced using a sizing device similar to the ones used to test the ball’s shape.  He has produced a frame with a bat shaped hole in the middle. A bit like a giant cookie cutter.  If the bat can fit in the hole it is legal. Simple. “I really believe that the basics of the bat need to be regulated”, Laver said.  “And it’s got to be simple. It’s got to be straightforward.  Everyone seems to be on the same page. Everyone’s talking about how something needs to be done”.

 

So they are. The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced this week it was considering amending the current rules that stipulate the face of a bat is no wider than 4.25 inches (10.8 cm) and the length is no longer than 38 inches (96.5 cm).  The rules are silent about the width — or depth — from the face to the back of the bat.  “The balance may have shifted a little bit too much because sometimes poor shots or mis-hits are going for six”, ICC chief executive David Richardson told ‘Cricinfo' this week.  

 

Richardson pointed out, as he has done previously (PTG 1515-7299, 15 February 2015), that “Some batsmen are mis-hitting balls and it is just carrying over the rope and going for a six instead of being caught at the boundary, that is what some cricket people believe has become unfair.  Let us try and rectify that. The bats are so good these days that the sweet spot is much larger than it would have been 10-15 years ago”.  He indicated that “The Marylebone Cricket Club [MCC], as lawmakers, and the ICC, will be looking at giving perhaps some consideration to placing limitations on the depth of a bat in particular”. 

 

The MCC, via its World Cricket Committee (WCC), of which Richardson is a member, have been discussing bat issues for at least three years now, however, apart from talking each year about the “need for more research” into the matter, nothing significant has resulted in practice (PTG 1699-8384, 29 November 2015).  Past WCC meetings held at Lord’s have received presentations from England-based bat “specialists" (PTG 1149-5563, 17 July 2013), however, there was no indication that the group’s meeting in Auckland in February 2013, at which the bat issue was first discussed, heard from bat producers there (PTG 1068-5190, 28 February 2013). 

 

Richardson’s latest statement is though welcome news to the mums, dads and junior coaches bemoaning how big bats are straining young wrists and elbows and ingraining bad batting habits from a young age.  Laver has welcomed the news and says there’s nothing revolutionary about his proposal to test bat sizes.  A sizing device is a much simpler way of regulating bats than testing by weight or by volume.  He suggests limiting bats to a thickness of about 60 mm and their edges to about 35 mm, with some small leeway for the curve of the blade and one or two layers of tape.  That would outlaw Australian Dave Warner’s ‘Kaboom' bat, which is 85 mm thick at its widest part. Presumably Chris Gayle’s 3 pound (1.4 Kg) club would be rendered ­obsolete as well.

 

Laver dismisses any suggestion that restricting bat sizes will make for less attractive cricket.  “It’s not going to change the game dramatically. Twenty20 is about the attitude of the player. Regardless of the size of the bat, they’re going to be aggressive.  So it’s not radical at all. It’s really achievable.  It’s not going to make my job easier. It’s probably going to give me a few headaches. So I’m not really helping myself in that sense”.

 

The master bat-maker, who has made more than 30,000 bats since being schooled in the fine art by Millichamp and Hall founder Julian Millichamp, says the keys to a great bat are good English willow, skilled pressing and good sense of balance. So great bats don’t necessarily have to be the size of small trees.  Before 'The Monster', he drew upon all his skill to make 'The Monster Mark I' — a super bat made of balsa wood.  “Literally you would just put it in front of the ball and it’d fly.  That was to demonstrate that that is legal to use. It would go for miles”.

 

But like the dinosaurs, size was its downfall. It broke after its user had racked up 50 runs.   Presumably a fast 50 runs.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,764

  Monday, 15 February 2016

 

• Second ‘no ball’ called in error in Wellington Test [1764-8797]. 

• Pink ball durability issues again to the fore [1764-8798]. 

• Nine days on, Cowan fails concussion test [1764-8799]. 

• Football to see Shield final moved from traditional state venues [1764-8800]. 

• 2016 CPL likely to see non-Caribbeans in match officials list [1764-8801]. 

• Earthquake unlike to hold up Test start [1764-8802]. 

• Lodha advertising recommendation would cost BCCI dearly [1764-8803].  

 

Headline: Second ‘no ball’ called in error in Wellington Test.

Article from: Sky Sports.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Sunday, 14 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1764-8797.

 

English umpire Richard Illingworth, who called a ’no ball’ in error during Australia’s first innings of the Test against New Zealand in Wellington on Friday (PTG 1763-8795, 14 February 2016), did the same thing on Sunday, but this time the team the call advantaged was reversed, although the fall of a wicket was not involved.  Illingworth, who mistakenly no balled the Kiwi's Doug Bracewell for a delivery that bowled Australian batsman Adam Voges for seven - he went on to make 239 - stuck out his right arm early in the home side's second innings to a delivery from Jackson Bird two days later.

 

Replays of that Bird delivery subsequently showed a large part of the bowler's foot was behind the line. New Zealand opener Martin Guptill welcomed the extra ball, the last one of the fourth over, by pulling a short one to the midwicket boundary.  The dual blunders by a supposedly elite umpire will only grow calls for 'no ball' decisions to become automated, or leave them completely in the hands of the third umpire (PTG 1762-8793, 13 February 2016).  

 

They also again raise questions as to just how the International Cricket Council monitors the performance of its top umpires, and equally how well those umpires listen to, and apply, whatever feedback they receive.  There have been hints in the past that area of the ICC’s activities may have some key flaws (PTG 1736-8624, 13 January 2016).

 

Headline: Pink ball durability issues again to the fore.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Sunday, 14 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1764-8797.

 

Problems were experienced with the durability of the latest batch of pink ‘Kookaburra’ balls during the first day of Cricket Australia’s latest round of day-night, Sheffield Shield, first class matches in Adelaide and Brisbane on Sunday.  The latest version of the ball, which has black stitching rather than white and green (PTG 1758-8765, 10 February 2016), was developed with the aim of easing visibility concerns aired by batsmen after the inaugural Adelaide Test under lights late last year (PTG 1706-8445, 8 December 2015).

 

In Adelaide, where South Australia are playing Victoria, umpire John Ward and his Indian exchange colleague Nitin Menon called for a replacement 12.1 overs into Victoria’s first innings. The ball was so out of shape that there was little debate over the need for a second ball, however the second lasted a total of 68 overs.  

 

Up in Brisbane in the match between Queensland and Tasmania, the night portion of which is being played under up-graded lights, umpires Shawn and Tim Parlane from New Zealand had to replace the pink ball in Tasmania’s first innings at the 19.3 over mark.  Its replacement lasted the remaining 76 overs bowled on the day,

 

The third Shield match currently underway, that between Western Australia and New South Wales in Perth, appears to have proceeded without umpires Gerard Abood and South African Babs Gcuma having any ball-related problems on day one.

 

Headline: Nine days on, Cowan fails concussion test. 

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Sunday, 14 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1764-8797.

 

Nine days after New South Wales opener Ed Cowan was struck in the helmet in a Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia in New Zealand, he was unable to pass a fitness test prior to Sunday’s start of the return fixture between the two sides in Perth on Sunday.   

 

In his confused state last week Cowan, who was struck just under the badge of his helmet by a Joel Paris bouncer, was keen to play on, but John Orchard, Cricket Australia's (CA) chief medical officer who was at the venue, barred him from doing so under CA’s new concussion rules (PTG 1756-8758, 8 February 2016).  

 

Cowan indicated a day after that incident that he was still "nowhere near” able to pass a test to determine the extent of the concussion he suffered.  On Sunday, NSW coach Trent Johnston said Cowan is still suffering from headaches as a result of the blow. 

 

Headline: Football to see Shield final moved from traditional state venues.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Daniel Brettig.                         

Published: Saturday, 13 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1764-8797.

 

Uncertainty over the future of the 2015-16 Sheffield Shield final has been underlined by the announcement that only three of six states will have access to their prime venue for the competition decider in late March.  Top-of-the-table Victoria have nominated Traeger Park in Alice Springs, 2,360 km from home, as their choice for the final rather than the unavailable Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), while second-placed South Australia have plumped for suburban Glenelg in place of the Adelaide Oval, and New South Wales are understood to have suggested Coffs Harbour 530 km north of the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), however, that is subject to review.

 

Last October, outgoing CA chairman Wally Edwards and the chief executive James Sutherland both expressed doubts about the future of the final, which is being squeezed by various fixture pressures such as the Big Bash League (BBL).  Australian Rules Football's insistence on taking possession of the MCG, Adelaide Oval and the SCG before the end of the Shield season is also affecting the issue - Victoria hosted Western Australia in Hobart last year.  

 

"The Shield final, over many years, has proved itself to be a bit of a non-event, to be honest”, Edwards said following CA's 2015 Annual General Meeting. In his assessment: "There probably have only been three or four good Shield finals [for] the rest of them have been shockers, a bad advertisement for the game. I think it confuses the back end of our season. I think the best team should win in Shield cricket. If you play eight or ten games, that should sort it out”.

 

Sutherland echoed Edwards' views, noting how the expansion of the BBL was leaving fewer and fewer spare days in each season. "I think Wally is right. If you do look through history, the Shield finals have been absolutely dominated by the home team or a long draw”, Sutherland said.  "I don't think we should change it unless there was good reason to change that. But, at the same time, we are in a good position at the moment of having a burgeoning Twenty20 domestic competition that is in big demand. At some stage in the future, we will be looking at ways in which we can expand that, whether that is expansion through number of matches or number of teams, of what have you. That might put pressure on other parts of our program”.

 

The current Sheffield Shield season has been one of the most notable in its 123-year history, including six games played under day-night conditions as well as the first ever match overseas in Lincoln, New Zealand last week.

 

Headline: 2016 CPL likely to see non-Caribbeans in match officials list. 

Article from: CPL information.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Sunday, 14 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1764-8797.

 

The Caribbean Premier League’s (CPL) fourth season is still six months away but reports suggest organisers will again use a mix of Caribbean and overseas match officials to manage its games, some of which are to be played in the south-east United States (PTG 1761-8788, 12 February 2016).  

 

The inaugural tournament in 2013 saw 'Billy' Bowden of New Zealand employed as an umpire and Mike Proctor of South Africa as a match referee (PTG 1179-5692, 26 August 2013), in 2014 it was an all-Caribbean officials panel, while in 2015 Australians Mick Martell and John Ward plus Devdas Govindjee were hired for the series (PTG 1603-7782, 27 July 2015).  

 

CPL organisers are understood to have returned to a Caribbean-overseas mix in 2015 as a result of a controversy that erupted over the way management of 2014 final was handled (PTG 1482-7173, 13 December 2014).

 

Headline: Earthquake unlike to hold up Test start. 

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Sunday, 14 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1764-8797.

 

Engineers will undertake a comprehensive safety check of Christchurch’s Hagley Oval on Monday into the effects of the latest severe earthquake to hit the city ahead of the second Test between New Zealand and Australia which is due to get underway on Saturday.  There is understood to be no damage to the Christchurch pitch or the Hadlee stand from the magnitude 5.7 earthquake, and at this stage the series finale is expected to go ahead as planned.

 

Headline: Lodha advertising recommendation would cost BCCI dearly. 

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Saturday, 13 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1764-8797.

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is set to suffer a financial loss to the tune of 16 billion rupees ($A330 m, £UK161 m) if the Lodha Panel’s recommendations on curtailing the advertisement breaks during the matches is implemented.  Such a loss of revenue would not only impact on the smooth functioning of country’s richest sporting body, but it would also hit the development of junior cricket in the country.

 

According to BCCI balance sheets, the current operational revenue is approximately 20 billion rupees ($A413 m, £UK202 m), a large chunk of which comes from broadcasting rights and advertisement revenues. However, if the Lodha Panel's recommendation that advertisements be limited to only during “lunch, tea or drinks breaks”, that income would fall to just 4 billion Rupees ($A83 m, £UK40 m).  According to a reliable BCCI source, Star Sports which has the broadcasting rights to its matches, currently pays 430 million Rupees per match ($A8.9 m, £UK4.6 m), and the Lodha rule could see the board earning as less as 80-100 million Rupees per match ($A1.7-2.1 m, £UK0.81-1.0 m).

 

A source in the know of things said on conditions of anonymity: “Yes, it is true that we are facing a situation which could lead to [large] revenue losses. Star Sports will renegotiate their deal and may be pay us only 20-25 percent of the amount that we get currently per match. The same applies for those involved in broadcasting Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.  According to insiders, there are chances that BCCI’s age-group structure, which is one of the most robust in world cricket, will be badly hit if this recommendation comes to effect.

 

The BCCI spends around 7.5 billion Rupees ($A155 m, £UK76 m) on subsidies to state associations, 4-5 billion Rupees ($A83-103 m, £UK40 -51 m) on match-fees and allowances of players right from Under-16 to the senior teams.  In addition, another 3.5 billion Rupees ($A72 m, £UK35 m) is spent to conduct around 2000 BCCI matches from U-16, U-19, U-22 to Ranji Trophy first class level across the country, and former first-class and international players and umpires are provided with a monthly pension that involves a payout of around a quarter of a billion Rupees ($A5.2 m, £UK2.5 m).

 

When the BCCI source was asked about the implications of the possible hit in revenue structure, he replied, “The biggest hit could be the age-group matches, U-16, U-19s and the various camps that are organised. The money generated through IPL and international broadcasting rights is used for development of junior cricket which will not be possible then".

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,765

  Tuesday, 16 February 2016

 

• The mysterious case of the missing four runs [1765-8804]. 

• CA injects funds to help Queensland fight football codes [1765-8805]. 

• PSL pair fined, cautioned, for on-field altercation [1765-8806]. 

• Opener suspended for ’serious dissent' [1765-8807]. 

 

Headline: The mysterious case of the missing four runs.

Article from: Cricket Australia web site.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Monday, 15 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1765-8804.

 

It may be adding insult to New Zealand's ‘injury’, but Australia were incorrectly denied four runs during the controversial no-ball incident involving Adam Voges on the opening day of the first Test in Wellington on Friday (PTG 1762-8793, 13 February 2016).  The reprieve Voges was given when a Doug Bracewell delivery that bowled him was incorrectly ruled a no-ball was the major talking point of the match, but it has now been pointed out that the ‘no ball’ that wasn’t rolled down to the third-man boundary after ricocheting off the stumps.

 

During commentary on Monday's final day of the Test, former New Zealand wicketkeeper Ian Smith relayed a story of how an Australian fan had raised the issue of four runs that weren't with the host broadcaster's statistician.   Smith and co-commentator Grant Nisbett replayed the Voges incident from a wide angle and clearly showed that the ball had reached the boundary.  Amid the controversy of the incorrect no-ball ruling by Umpire Richard Illingworth, seemingly everyone - including the match officials - didn't notice that Australia should have been awarded five extras rather than the one they actually received for Illingworth’s call.

 

“[New Zealand] should really feel quite aggrieved”, joked Australian captain Steve Smith after the match ended. "It just shows you in the confusion of what all happened about that.  Mr Illingworth missed the end result of that delivery.  It should have been four more. But then again, it should have been out”. 

 

Headline: CA injects funds to help Queensland fight football codes.

Article from: Brisbane Courier-Mail.

Journalist: Robert Craddock.                         

Published: Monday, 15 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1765-8805.

 

Monies from the Big Bash League (BBL) plus a groundbreaking $A6 million (£UK2.96 m) funding bonanza has Queensland Cricket (QC) poised for a major fightback in the war against marauding football codes in the state.  Though they failed to make the BBL finals, QC's Brisbane Heat will produce a profit of more than $A1 million (£UK492,000) which will flow back to grassroots cricket.  But the bigger news is that Cricket Australia (CA) have at last recognised that QC needed urgent help in the war against cashed up football codes and has underwritten a five-year development blitz worth $A1.2 million a year (£UK592,000).    

 

QC chairman Jim Holding said that his organisation faces a"battle for young talent and this will really help us”.  QC has at times been helpless to resist the charge of the cashed up football codes, particularly in rural parts of the state, and pleaded for special assistance due to the vastness of the area involved. For years those pleas were ignored but Holding said the advent of a new independent CA board has triggered a breakthrough which will see five new employees spread across the state.  "There is no doubt with [CA] having an independent board the funding is a lot more targeted towards bigger states like Queensland which have the potential to get a lot of kids playing cricket.  It is real recognition that Queensland missed out in the past”, said Holding.

 

Through the decades cricket in Queensland has lost many promising players to the football codes including Wallaby Jason Little, the best junior fieldsman in Australia as a teenager, and his great friend and fellow Wallaby Tim Horan, a Queensland junior batsman.  Rugby league notables Allan Langer and Andrew McCullough also represented Queensland cricket at primary school level before giving the game away and while the challenge will remain eternal Queensland needs to give itself every chance in the fight.

 

Holding became concerned that cricket’s junior pathways were too muddled for the good of the game as he monitored his children playing rugby league, rugby union and soccer which had clearly defined pathways through their junior ranks.  Queensland, by contrast, had a “hotchpotch’’ teenage representative systems. Now it will be streamlined where the best Under-13s and Under-15s play in the School Sports system while the Under 14s play under the Queensland Junior Cricket banner and the Under 16s the Bulls Masters Cup.

 

“In the old system kids could pay up to $A1,200  (£UK590) to attend an age carnival”, said Holding, but “we are going to sponsor all those teams so each kid only has to pay $A250 (£UK125 ).  “Often we see that kids who are good at cricket do well at other sports so we need the costs to be as competitive as they can”.  “Cricket in Queensland has never really had that defined pathway.  Even as the chairman I struggled to understand if I had a talented 13 year old boy what would be the best pathway for him. As a parent it also seemed to me that in other sports you knew where you had to go but it was never that clear in cricket”.

 

In February 2014, Queensland Country Cricket Association chief Kev Maher complained about the lack of funds available to support the game in country areas.  At the time he pointed out that the big Queensland regional hubs of Cairns and Townsville each had just one full-time funded cricket development/participation staffer, "who had to travel thousands of kilometres each year" (PTG 1281-6169, 2 February 2014).  Later that year QC advertised two Regional Development Managers, one of whom was to be based in Brisbane and the other in Townsville, plus five Brisbane-based Market Development Officers (PTG 1362-6581, 25 May 2014).

 

Headline: PSL pair fined, cautioned, for on-field altercation.

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Monday, 15 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1765-8806.

 

Pakistan players Wahab Riaz and Ahmed Shehzad have been fined heavily and  given a warning by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for a heated on-field altercation during a Pakistan Super League (PSL) match played in the United Arab Emirates on the weekend.  The incident happened in the fifth over of the match between the Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi when the two players pushed each other and exchanged harsh words.  

 

Riaz was subsequently fined 40 per cent of his match fee and Shehzad 30 per cent by match referee Roshan Mahanama.  A PCB official said: “The players have been asked to behave as such incidents hampers the image of Pakistan cricket as millions are watching the PSL around the globe”.  “Physical contact is a serious offence and we don’t take it lightly, this time the players have just been cautioned privately since they were fined by the match referee”.

 

Headline: Opener suspended for ’serious dissent'.

Article from: Cape Sport.

Journalist: Ashfak Mohamed.                         

Published: Monday, 15 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1765-8807.

 

The Cape Cobras will have to do without the services of Andrew Puttick in Tuesday’s one-day match against the Knights in Bloemfontein due to a suspension.  The opening batsman was suspended for two matches on Monday – one of which is suspended for one calendar year – after Cricket South Africa (CSA) found him guilty of a Level Two disciplinary offence.  

 

The matter relates to an incident during a first class match between the Cobras and Titans in Benoni in late December when he showed "serious dissent" at an umpire’s decision.  CSA said in a statement on Monday that the veteran left-hander had admitted his guilt. “I have taken into account the fact that Mr Puttick admitted the offence and has accepted that his behaviour was inappropriate”, said CSA disciplinary commissioner Professor Rian Cloete.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,766

  Wednesday, 17 February 2016

 

• Aussie coach wants square leg umpire to make 'no-ball' calls [1766-8808]. 

• Umpire reported 'distraught' over incorrect no-ball call [1766-8809]. 

• Border all-rounder suspended for ‘Clause’ offence [1766-8810]. 

• Village club in a spin after theft of mowers [1766-8811]. 

• Red and yellow cards: yet another development that just isn’t cricket [1766-8812]. 

 

Headline: Aussie coach wants square leg umpire to make 'no-ball' calls.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Andrew Wu.                         

Published: Tuesday, 16 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1766-8808.

 

Australian coach Darren Lehmann, who is also a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee, has put forward arguably the most bizarre solution yet to cricket's no-ball problem – let the umpire at square leg make the call.  Lehmann’s view was expressed when he was questioned about the ‘no ball’ call that was made to reprieve Australian batsman Adam Voges in the first New Zealand-Australia Test in Wellington last Friday (PTG 1766-8809 below).

 

Lehmann said the error by umpire Richard Illingworth was "part of the game but I know it's not right, however, we all make mistakes.  It's heightened because [Voges] was on seven at the time and made 239, isn't it?  He batted really well as you know but the no-ball situation is getting tough for umpires.  I'd have the square leg umpire do the no-balls, but that's just me with my Cricket Committee hat on”.

 

While Lehmann's alternative would allow the umpire at the non-striker's end to concentrate more on the ball being delivered, the square leg official is in an even worse position to adjudicate a no-ball. He is further away from the bowler and not side on to the line.  Lehmann, a critic of slow over rates in modern cricket, does not want to see anything introduced that would further lengthen the game.  "Just make it the best possible outcome because if you review every ball I'm sure there's more no-balls in a day than not, you lose overs then fans don't get to see 90 overs”.

 

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson called for technology to be used to rule on no-balls while other suggestions include the reintroduction of the back-foot law to improve umpire safety.  The Kiwis had no option but to cop the Voges decision on the chin but Hesson said technology had improved umpiring accuracy.  "Players, coaches, spectators want the more decisions right the better”, Hesson said.  "If we can use more technology to do that then decisions like that become less influential. It's something the ICC are aware of and will be discussed”.

 

Headline: Umpire reported 'distraught' over incorrect no-ball call.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Tuesday, 16 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1766-8809.

 

Match referee Chris Broad says umpire Richard Illingworth was "distraught" over his no-ball call against New Zealand's Doug Bracewell when he bowled Australian batsman Adam Voges last Friday in the first Test in Wellington (PTG 1762-8793, 13 February 2016).  Illingworth’s call cost the home side dearly for Voges went of to make a match winning score, however, he the umpire then made a second similar, but not quite so dramatic, incorrect call two days later (PTG 1764-8797, 15 February 2016).

 

Broad said when anyone "is proved wrong in any decision that they make it's clearly embarrassing at the time.  But umpires, particularly on the elite panel, have a great ability to be able to overcome that feeling and get on with the game.  There can be nothing done about it.  You can't change that decision because under the laws a batsman may change his shot when the no-ball is called. It was called – that's the end of the matter.  I'm constantly amazed at how the umpires, when they do make their occasional errors, are able to recover from it”.

 

Broad ducked for cover though when asked if New Zealand had made their feelings known during the Test.  According to him” "What goes on in a dressing room remains in the dressing room but I'm sure … [they're] human beings”.  He said there was extra scrutiny on umpires now because of media attention and technology but the human element was ever-present.  "It's been part of cricket ever since the game started. Errors from players and match officials happen.  I don't know that it's getting any harder [for umpires to call no-balls]. I think what is different is the media are so much closer to the action now out in the middle than they've ever been in the past. Therefore, they're showing up good things as well as bad things in the game”.

 

Broad's thoughts come as the International Cricket Council has indicated the topic of video technology to review no-balls will be discussed at its next Cricket Committee meeting in the wake of the controversy which spared Voges (PTG 1763-8795, 14 February 2016).

 

Headline: Border all-rounder suspended for ‘Clause’ offence.

Article from: CSA press release.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Tuesday, 16 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1766-8810.

 

Border all-rounder Somila Seyibokwe has been found guilty of what Cricket South Africa (CSA) says was 'Clause 6.2.1’ of its Code of Conduct and has been suspended for one match.  That makes him ineligible for selection for his side’s Provincial 3-day match against Boland that is due to get underway in East London on Thursday. 

 

CSA’s Clause 6.2.1 covers a multitude of sins, including logos on a player’s clothing or equipment, abuse of equipment or fittings, showing dissent at an umpire’s decision, use of inappropriate language, excessive appealing, send offs, or public criticism of a match-related incident or match official.  Which one of those Seyibokwe was found guilty of is not spelt out in the CSA press release, nor where or when the offence took place.

 

CSA’s Disciplinary Commissioner Professor Rian Cloete said he "took into account the fact that Mr Seyibokwe admitted the offence and has accepted that his behaviour was inappropriate”.  “Therefore, having taken all factors into account, 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 this offence, which has been elevated to Level Two as it is a repetition of the same breach within one calendar year, is a suspension for one match, but without the need, in addition, to impose a fine”.

 

Headline: Village club in a spin after theft of mowers.

Article from: Shropshire Star.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Tuesday, 16 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1766-8811.

 

A village cricket club in Shropshire has seen its preparations for the new season hit after thieves stole three of its mowers.  The mowers, which are used to prepare the cricket square, were taken from Willey Wanderers Cricket Club, an organisation that has a history dating back over 100 years.  Club chairman Alan Rudd said: “The theft was discovered at around 3.30 pm on Sunday, the thieves [taking] three mowers, but they aren’t like normal lawn mowers, these are special mowers used to prepare cricket squares and bowling greens".

 

Rudd pointed out that  “Each mower will cost between £UK2,000 and £UK2,500 ($A4,000-5,000) to replace and while we haven’t got the funds to do that, we are at least insured. Unfortunately we will have to wait for the insurance claim to be processed before we can get the replacement mowers, which means preparations for the new season have come to a dead halt for now.  There have been a spate of thefts at cricket clubs in Shropshire recently, our club is tucked away and isn’t easy to find, but you would only have to look on the internet to find out where we are.  The mowers were stored in a very secure enclosure, it wasn’t just a shed, it was metal reinforced on a concrete base to satisfy our insurers – but even that didn’t stop the thieves”.

 

Headline: Red and yellow cards: yet another development that just isn’t cricket.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist: Andy Bull.                         

Published: Tuesday, 16 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1766-8812.

 

“What greater exhortation to integrity is there than the advice to ‘Keep your bat straight’?” asked an editorial in ‘The Observer' back in 1907. “What sterner rebuke than ‘It is not cricket!’” In the last century or so, the Guardian identified a variety of things as being “not cricket”, among them: the use of dumdum bullets by the British army in the wars against the Boers, proposals to run a dual carriageway bypass through the Kirklands playing fields in Birkenhead, the Labour party’s decision to stand a candidate in Daventry against Captain FitzRoy at the 1935 general election, ING’s takeover of the collapsed merchant bank Barings, and the threats of Bolton factory owners to replace mules with ring frames in the cotton mills. All of which are, inarguably, not cricket, by letter or spirit. The odd thing is that these days an awful lot of cricket seems to be not cricket too.

 

Last year in England there was a an outbreak of “not cricket” in a number of lover-level games played around the country (PTG 1759-8772, 10 February 2016).  The previous year, another scrap happened in a village match between Aldington and Detling in Kent. One of Detling’s players refused to accept that he had misfielded a ball on the boundary. “He just saw red”, explained umpire Robert Wanstall.   "There was a bit of pushing and shoving. People were holding people back who were supposedly involved. There was a lot of shouting and a few swear words”.  It was, Wanstall added, “a bit of a kerfuffle”.  “It wasn’t the best idea to go to the pub and have a drink together, so we just went straight back home”.

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), alarmed by all this anecdotal evidence, has decided to try empowering the umpires by providing them with red and yellow cards (PTG 1759-8773, 10 February 2016). It is inviting leagues, schools, and universities to take part in trials this summer. The lesser offences – time-wasting, dissent, excessive appealing, offensive language – will be punished with a warning, followed by a five-run penalty in the second instance. For the more serious ones, there is no warning at all. Anyone who bowls a beamer, intimidates an umpire or threatens another player will be sent off the field for 10 overs. Anyone who commits an assault will be sent off for the remainder of the game.

 

Soon after the MCC made this announcement, Wahab Riaz and Ahmed Shehzad barged into each other during a match in the Pakistan Super League (PTG 1765-8806, 16 February 2016). As Scyld Berry warned in his Editor’s Notes in Wisden in 2008: “Once this taboo is broken, it could rapidly spread, just as sledging – sustained personal abuse – has spread from international teams downwards”.  Of course, the system of showing cards and sending off players could also be said to be “not cricket”, which is why the sport has resisted introducing it for all this while. Sadly, it seems that these days more and more people are finding the distinction between what is and isn’t cricket difficult to make.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,767

  Thursday, 18 February 2016

 

• WA skipper in ‘heated exchange’ with umpire over LBW decision [1767-8813]. 

• ICC chief prevaricates on ‘Mankad’ dismissals [1767-8814]. 

• Zimbabwean’s bowling action declared ‘illegal' [1767-8815]. 

• BCCI facing multiple challenges as ’special meeting’ looms [1767-8816 

• Christchurch umpire named New Zealand’s ‘favourite' [1767-8817]. 

• Test ticket sales are hit by early finishes [1767-8818]. 

• The Pope doesn’t umpire sport [1767-8819]. 

 

Headline: WA skipper in ‘heated exchange’ with umpire over LBW decision.

Article from: The Western Australian.

Journalist: John Townsend.                         

Published: Wednesday, 17 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1767-8813.

 

A fiery on-field confrontation between Western Australian captain Michael Klinger and umpire Gerard Abood ignited the Sheffield Shield match in Perth on Wednesday, however, as yet there has been no news of any censure being handed down by match referee Steve Bernard. The heated exchange, that lasted for more than a minute, came after a first ball LBW appeal against New South Wales batsman Ryan Carters was turned down as the home side pushed for an outright win on the last day of the game.  South African exchange umpire Lubabalo Gcuma also became involved in the confrontation.  

 

The incident followed Abood’s apology to Joel Paris the previous evening when he approached the Western Australian opening bowler to say he had made an error in failing to give out opener Dan Hughes.  Abood said he had watched a replay of the Paris delivery and realised that he should have given Hughes out LBW.  The match also saw the pink ball used in the day-night match receive more negative feedback with Klinger saying it had gone too soft to give his bowlers much hope of breaking through for the outright win.  According to him: “We have to find a way to take 20 wickets but once the pink ball goes soft it has a lot to do with it while the red ball might have been different”.

 

Headline: ICC chief prevaricates on ‘Mankad’ dismissals.

Article from: The Daily Observer.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Wednesday, 17 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1767-8814.

 

David Richardson, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), has suggested that young West Indies bowler Keemo Paul should have warned Zimbabwe batsman Richard Ngarava before removing his bails in a ‘Mankad' incident that sparked controversy during the recent Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh (PTG 1753-8746, 3 February 2016).  The incident occurred during a crucial final group game between the two teams, with the Zimbabweans needing just three runs to win with one wicket remaining.

 

Richardson said at a press conference on Monday: “My personal view is that where the batsmen aren’t specifically trying to steal runs, the option is with the fielding side to at least warn the batsmen.  This is often down to the ‘Spirit of Cricket', and how the individual players see the match. We would like to encourage spirit of cricket at all times”.  He continued: "There are other modes of dismissal. If you’re a batsman, you’re interfering when you pick up the ball without asking permission from the fielding side. Strictly speaking, that is illegal and you could be dismissed. But generally, the players don’t take that action.  Running the batsman out at the bowler’s end is similar to that. Sure, if the batsman is taking unfair advantage, please run him out. If not, the best course of action is to warn him before taking any action”.

 

Earlier this month a so far unconfirmed report said that ‘Mankading’ is one of the matters on the agenda in the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) current comprehensive review of the Laws, and that there is a possibility that changes may see an official warning given to a batsman before he is run out (PTG 1759-8772, 10 February 2016).  Responding to the Ngarava incident though, an MCC spokesman confirmed, not for the first time in recent years, that Paul’s action did not involve a breach of either the ‘Spirit’ of the game or the current Laws (PTG 1755-8757, 5 February 2016).

 

Headline: Zimbabwean’s bowling action declared ‘illegal'.

Article from: ICC press release and media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Wednesday, 17 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1767-8815.

 

Zimbabwe left-arm seamer Brian Vitori's bowling action has been found to be illegal, an assessment conducted in Chennai two weeks ago revealing that all variations of his deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations.  As a result he has been been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect but can apply for a re-assessment after modifying his action.  Vitori's was reported for a suspect action following a Twenty20 International (T20I) against Bangladesh in Khulna last month (PTG 1743-8672, 22 January 2016).

 

Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago all-rounder Kevon Cooper, who is currently playing for the Lahore Qalandars’ in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), was reported for a suspected illegal bowling action after Tuesday night's Twenty20 fixture against the Quetta Gladiators in Dubai.  Cooper has now been placed on the PSL’s 'warning list' and may continue to be selected to play and bowl for his team.  

 

Under the league's Suspected Illegal Bowling Action policy, if a player is reported while on the warning list, he shall be suspended from bowling for the remainder of the tournament and from bowling in any matches organised by the Pakistan Cricket Board until such date as he is cleared or upon conclusion of any ineligibility period.  A player suspended from bowling may continue to be selected to play in PSL matches, however, he will not be entitled to bowl.  Should he be suspended, Cooper will have to go through the West Indies Cricket Board’s rehabilitation process.

 

Cooper was reported for a similar offence during the Caribbean's 'domestic' Twenty20 series in 2011 after which he was sent to the University of Western Australia to undergo remedial measures.  Following a three-week program there he returned to play for Trinidad and Tobago in the Champions League Twenty20 series four months later.  Three years later he was reported again during the Indian Premier League’s 2014 season but was later cleared to play (PTG 1364-6590, 28 May 2014).

 

Headline: BCCI facing multiple challenges as ’special meeting’ looms.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                         

Published: Thursday, 18 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1767-8816.

 

When Wall Street sneezes, the world proverbially catches a cold. Something similar is true in cricket of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). And at the moment the world’s wealthiest and most influential cricket organisation has at least a case of the sniffles.  On Friday it gathers in Mumbai ahead of a special general meeting convened by president Shashank Manohar to discuss two problems fast tangling up together. 

 

The first problem is posed by the report of the Indian Supreme Court’s Lodha Commission which has proposed far-reaching reforms of the board’s structure, management and by extension its finances.  Changes mooted to television coverage, for instance, have members particularly worried, with rumours of a potential cost of more than $US150 million ($A209 m,  £UK105 m) (PTG 1764-8803, 15 February 2016).  

 

Even if that’s an overestimate, it complicates the second problem, which is Manohar’s commitment, in his other role as chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC), to a review of the Big Three rake off (PTG 1756-8760, 8 February 2016).  Manohar’s very public stance caused immediate murmurings from the camp of his disgruntled BCCI and ICC predecessor Narayanaswami Srinivasan, which has now given way to full-fledged persistent complaints about the potential cost to the BCCI of the mooted repeal. Talk is of another haircut approaching $US150 million.

 

To paraphrase the late United States’ Senator Everett Dirksen, $US150 million here and $US150 million there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money. Time, furthermore, is short. The Supreme Court is bearing down on the BCCI, demanding a formal response to Justice Lodha’s report in a fortnight. The ICC governance steering group on which Manohar sits, meanwhile, is committed to presenting recommendations to the council’s June annual meeting. Even if there is not a hefty sneeze, expect at least a good deal of muffled coughing.

 

Headline: Christchurch umpire named New Zealand’s ‘favourite'.

Article from: Press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Wednesday, 17 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1767-8817.

 

Eugene Sanders of Halswell has been announced as the winner of the New Zealand’s 'Favourite Local Cricket Umpire’ for 2016, an award that has been established to recognise and reward the "unsung heroes of community cricket".  Taking out the title from a group of five other finalists Sanders, 43, won because of his dedication to being a "committed and trusted umpire within his community". 

 

New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) Head of Cricket, Lindsay Crocker said: “Not only is Eugene an inspiring umpire in his own community, but he is also one of our [NZC] Reserve Panel Umpires (PTG 1640-8028, 8 September 2015), and has proved to be dedicated, capable, and passionate about our sport. It’s great to be involved in this initiative that puts our local cricket umpires in the spotlight”.  

 

Sanders said he’d “played cricket all my life, and when I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease seven years ago, that was no longer an option. I immediately started thinking of other ways to be involved in the sport whilst also giving back to my community, which is why I made the decision to umpire”.  “To be recognised as New Zealand’s favourite local umpire is very humbling. I’d like to say a big thank you to [sponsor] ‘Specsavers'. I had just come off the field after umpiring a match in Christchurch when I heard the news, and it made my day! I’d also like to say a big thank you to my family, without their amazing support, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do”.

 

As part of his winners prize package Sanders will have "the opportunity to meet with some of the leading Elite Panel of ICC Umpires and learn tips and tricks from the best in the business”.  "It’s an honour to receive such a title and I’m looking forward to meeting with, and learning a few tricks of the trade from some of my own heroes!”  That interaction is likely to occur in Christchurch over the next week with English members of the elite panel, Richard Kettleborough, Richard Illingworth, as well as match referee Chris Broad.  That trio, along with Sri Lankan Ranmore Martinez, will be in the city managing the second Test between the home side and Australia.

 

This is the fifth year the 'favourite umpire’ program has been conducted and Graeme Edmond, Specsavers New Zealand Director, says his company "is proud to put umpires like Eugene in the spotlight. Every year we receive nominations for remarkable people who give up their own time to further club cricket in New Zealand. Thousands of volunteers like Eugene make grassroots cricket possible for New Zealanders”.

 

Headline: Test ticket sales are hit by early finishes.

Article from: The Times.

Journalist: Richard Hobson.                         

Published: Wednesday, 17 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1767-8818.

 

The frenetic pace of England’s Ashes win in 2015 may have captured the imagination of the public, but it has had a negative impact on ticket sales for the later stages of the Test matches scheduled for the 2016 northern summer.  While seats are being purchased as expected for the first three days of the games against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, those for the fourth day are lagging behind with fans wary of early finishes.

 

Although the two Tests against New Zealand went the distance in 2015, all five meetings with Australia were completed ahead of schedule. Tests at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge finished inside three days and those at Cardiff, Lord’s and The Oval ended on the fourth.  The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) only has tickets available for the fourth day of the game against Sri Lanka and the first and fourth days for the visit of Pakistan to Lord’s. “We always thought demand for the fourth days would be slower because of what happened last year”, an MCC official said.

 

Ninety per cent of tickets for days two and three of the final Test of the summer, against Pakistan at The Oval, have been sold, and the first day is only slightly behind, but seats remain plentiful for the fourth. “Anyone who is a natural worrier will be slightly cautious about buying in advance”, a Surrey official said. “We are behind a touch, but it is nothing we do not have plans for”.

 

While Warwickshire expect their second and third days against Pakistan in the third Test at Edgbaston to play to full crowds, a club official acknowledged that day four is following the trend. “The fourth day was probably our second-best seller last year as it was the Saturday of an Ashes Test, but the game had finished by then”, he said. “People are not as quick to commit at the moment”.  Yorkshire, who host the opening Sri Lanka Test at Headingley, are “quite pleased” overall, with sales about a quarter up on those for New Zealand last May. But the fourth day is proving “a tough sell for us”.

 

Headline: The Pope doesn’t umpire sport.

Article from: The Roar.

Journalist: Glenn Mitchell.                         

Published: Thursday, 18 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1767-8819.

 

Why in the hell is it that fans get so wrapped up in umpiring decisions?  Seemingly, no matter the sporting code, fans tend to believe that umpires and referees should possess papal-like infallibility.  For some reason many spectators simply cannot tolerate incorrect umpiring decisions.  Why umpires are judged in this light lacks common sense, although sporting fans at times are not always known for having this quality in abundance.

 

Let’s look at the sport of cricket in isolation for a minute.  In a four-innings match, as many as 40 wickets can fall. Each of them comes about as a result of human error. All because, in a split second, a player makes a flawed decision – he leaves a ball that hits the stumps, pops up a catch, misjudges a run, or gets hit on the pads rather than using his bat.  Conversely, batsmen can be given lives by errors – or at times complete ineptitude – in the field. Elementary catches can be grassed and batsmen can be reprieved by a no ball.

 

Such mistakes are looked upon as part and parcel of the game. However, umpiring errors are seldom viewed as sympathetically by the fans.  In sports like Australian Rules Football vitriol can be taken to the extreme with the ire and invective directed at the umpires frequently over the top.  While working for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation I spent about 15 years hosting a two-hour Saturday morning sports talkback program in Perth. The questions from some listeners at times simply left me shaking my head.

 

It was not unusual to field a call where a certain umpiring decision from the previous weekend was called into question.  Yes, the previous weekend!  “What did you make of that decision in the third quarter last weekend where Matthew Pavlich was pinged for holding the ball. How could he have been penalised for that?” was the sort of thing that would be asked.  If it wasn’t for the sensibility of working for the national broadcaster I may have answered, “Who gives a stuff?”

 

Honestly, I would have called the game and would have no recollection of the incident in question nor would I think it of any importance if I did. Yet to many fans it was an injustice that needed to be dissected and addressed – albeit seven days later!  Similar questions would not be asked about how a certain player could miss a set shot from 20 metres out directly in front. Or how a player could kick the ball into play following a behind and put it straight on the chest of an opponent 25 metres away, only to see it go back over his head for a goal.  No, they were just skill errors that, while unfortunate, were not to be dwelt on. But an umpiring error, what the hell, that should simply not have happened.

 

How many times do we hear comments like, ‘he’s only a youngster’ or ‘it’s his first game’ when a player makes a bad blue? But an umpire in his first game in front of a crowd of 50,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is never given the same leeway.  "He should know the bloody rules”, would be the crowd reaction upon a blatant error.  Guess what, he does know the rules but in the heat of the moment made an error of judgement. Just like the first-game player who knows that he needs to get back from the man on the mark before he tries to kick the ball but fails to do so and a turnover – and possibly goal – results.

 

It is completely illogical to accept that players will, by nature, make countless errors during a match, no matter the sport, but the officials controlling the encounter should be blemish free or very close to it.  Fans may baulk at the proposition but, believe it or not, umpires are human. And, as a result, humans are – with the curious exception of the chap who occupies a bedroom in Vatican City’s Papal Palace – ‘fallible'.  Seriously, I kid you not.

 

So next time when a group of cricketers go up in unison in a raucous appeal because a batsman has had a complete brain fade and left a ball that has hit him roughly in line with the stumps, do not be totally dismayed if he is given not out.  The fielding team may have no reviews left yet replays and technology show the batsman should have been out. Yet, as is often the case in life, one poor piece of judgement can be followed by a second.  But by largely discounting the first while completely being up in arms about the second you are missing the point. If sporting participants can make errors, umpires can, and will, too.  It is a fact of life.

 

And just as we move on rapidly from the myriad blunders that sportspeople make we should really do likewise with respect to the umpires.  When all is said and done, life is short.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,768

  Monday, 22 February 2016

 

• Latest 'Mankad' called 'cowardly act' [1768-8820]. 

• Westfield cleared to play second XI cricket after spot-fixing ban [1768-8821]. 

• PSL pair fined for disputing umpire’s decision [1768-8822]. 

• Final ball stump kick earns reprimand [1768-8823]. 

• ECB T20 to be renamed ‘English Premier League’? [1768-8824]. 

 

Headline: Latest 'Mankad' called 'cowardly act'.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Sunday, 21 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1768-8820.

 

Oman left hand spinner Aamir Kaleem earnt the ire of Hong Kong coach Simon Cook when he Mankad-ed opposition batsman Mark Chapman in their Asia Cup Twenty20 qualifier match played in Fatullah, Bangladesh, on Friday.  Kaleem’s back and front feet had both landed when he pulled out of his around-the-wicket delivery and under-armed the ball into the stumps with Chapman clearly out of his ground.  Cook, as so many have done in the past and despite the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) repeated denials (PTG 1755-8757, 5 February 2016), said Kaleem disregarded the ‘Spirit of the Game’.  The coach called it "a cowardly” dismissal, but while it met the rules that applied on the day, the video suggests it pushed them to the absolute limit.

 

Chapman would not have been out if the Laws of Cricket had been in play as the first sentence of the applicable MCC rules reads: "The bowler is permitted, before entering his delivery stride, to attempt to run out the non-striker".  Kaleem had however clearly entered his delivery stride, but in matches played under the auspices of the International Cricket Council (ICC) the middle section of the MCC wording between the commas, has been changed to read: "before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing” (PTG 1585-7642, 6 July 2015). The ICC subsequently added the word “deliberate” in front of the word ‘attempt' in order to exclude accidental Finn-type knocking off of the bails by a bowler (PTG 1633-7985, 1 September 2015).

 

The video available shows that in addition to Kaleem's back foot landing, his front foot had also landed and his bowling arm was close to horizontal and the ball very close to being released when he stopped before completing his delivery swing, swivelled around, and under-armed the ball at the stumps to remove the bails. Chapman still appears to have his bat inside the crease when the bowler’s front foot lands, however, as he anticipates the delivery and moves forward his bat is dragged outside of his crease by the time the bails are removed. The Hong Kong batsman waved his hands in disbelief for a moment, but walked off a few seconds later when on-field Buddhi Prahdan of Nepal upheld Kaleem's appeal without discussion with his Bangladeshi umpiring colleague Enamul Haque. No television review facilities were available to either umpire on the day. 

 

Earlier this month a so far unconfirmed report said that ‘Mankading’ is one of the matters on the agenda in the MCC's current comprehensive review of the Laws which are due in 2017 (PTG 1642-8036, 10 September 2015), and that there is a possibility that changes may see an official warning given to a batsman before he is run out (PTG 1759-8772, 10 February 2016).  

 

Headline: Westfield cleared to play second XI cricket after spot-fixing ban.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist: Michael Butler                         

Published: Saturday, 20 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1768-8821.

 

Mervyn Westfield, who was sentenced to four months in prison and banned from cricket for five years for spot-fixing, has been cleared to play in County second XI and Minor Counties competitions due to “his contribution to anti-corruption initiatives”.  In 2012 Westfield pleaded guilty to spot-fixing during a one-day match for Essex against Durham in 2009 and was given a ban from all forms of the game until February 2017.  He was allowed to return to the club game in 2014 (PTG 1309-6316, 10 March 2016).

 

Westfield’s ban from first XI county cricket will remain until that date but the England and Wales Cricket Board's Discipline Commission’s chairman, Gerard Elias, said the 27-year-old is allowed to play minor counties and first-class second XI cricket from the start of the 2016 northern summer “after acknowledging the important contribution he has made to anti-corruption initiatives, including a recent trip to South Africa to support a player education program”, in which he has shown “a real and substantial effort in this area which reflects his continuing remorse.”

 

Westfield accepted £UK6,000 ($A12,000)  to concede more than 12 runs in an over in 2009 and despite Durham only managing 10 runs, he was sent to Belmarsh prison, a maximum-security facility, something that he has previously described as “hell”.  After his release, Westfield was allowed to play club cricket in 2014 and has worked as a supermarket assistant in east London. He could feasibly return to full county cricket action in a year’s time.

 

Pakistan's banned leg spinner Danish Kaneria, who was involved in Westfield’s case and was subsequently banned for life, has slammed the Pakistan Cricket Board and the ECB about Westfield return.  Speaking in Karachi he said: "If anything, the permission by the [ECB] to allow special treatment to Westfield, confirms their bias and discrimination towards me throughout this case”.  Kaneria has tried multiple times to have his life ban lifted but to no avail (PTG 1624-7923, 21 August 2015).

 

Headline: PSL pair fined for disputing umpire’s decision.

Article from: The Nation.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Saturday, 20 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1768-8822.

 

Pakistan Super League (PSL) Quetta Gladiators’ players Ahmed Shehzad and Kevin Pietersen have been fined 20 and 10 per cent of their match fees respectively for "objecting to an umpire’s decision" during the PSL’s first playoff match in Dubai on Friday.  No details of the offences were provided by the PSL.  Quetta as a whole were also fined for a slow over-rate whilst in the field, their captain Sarfraz Ahmed loosing 20 per cent of his fee and his team mates, including Shehzad and Pietersen, each 10 per cent. The on-field umpires for the match were Pakistanis Aleem Dar and Shozab Raza.

 

Headline: Final ball stump kick earns reprimand.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Sunday, 21 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1768-8823.

 

England bowler Reece Topley has been reprimanded for “abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings” for his actions at the end of his side’s opening Twenty20 International against South Africa in Cape Town on Friday.  On the last ball of the match with England needing to limit the home side to one run in order to take the fixture into a Super Over, Topley fumbled a return from the field as the batsmen were running for a second, a ball which if he had taken cleanly would have seen batsman Kyle Abbott run out.  

 

Topley put his head in his hands before lashing out at the stumps, sending one of the ‘Zing' bails flying into the air.  Following the match, the Englishman admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Andy Pycroft and as such there was no need for a formal hearing.  The charge was levelled by on-field umpires Johan Cloete and Shaun George, third umpire Adrian Holdstock and fourth official Dennis Smith.  Under International Cricket Council regulations Level One first offences carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand and a maximum penalty of 50 per cent of a player’s match fee.

 

Headline: ECB T20 to be renamed ‘English Premier League’? 

Article from: The Times.

Journalist: Richard Hobson.                         

Published: Saturday, 20 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1768-8824.

 

The top division of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) beefed-up 20-over competition may be rebranded rather unimaginatively as the English Premier League (EPL), or something similar, if it comes into being as expected in 2017. Proposals are due to be discussed by the counties before they are rubber-stamped by the ECB board next month.  A domestic structure review group led by Andy Nash, the Somerset chairman, is recommending that the ECB’s current competition become to a genuine two-tier event with promotion and relegation, from its present formation of two groups split regionally. 

 

The ECB agreed to introduce an EPL as far back as 2008, comprising the 18 counties plus two teams from overseas. But the plan fell through before it could get off the ground in 2010 when the commercial deal with now jailed United States’ citizen Allen Stanford, who was due to provide a side, fell through.  This time, teams would meet each other home and away to give 16 rather than the present 14 fixtures. These would take place in two blocks in July and August, separated by a fortnight or so of Championship matches to give traditionalists a taste of the four-day game in high summer. The 50-over competition would be scheduled for the opening three weeks of the season, not unlike occurs now in Australia.

 

Twenty20 Finals Day would continue, with two instead of three games. The first, a play-off, would pitch the team finishing third in the second division against seventh-place in division one to determine the third and final promotion place. This would precede a contest between the top two teams in the first division for the overall title.  The review group, which included Andrew Strauss, the managing director of England cricket, believes that the potential for three second-division teams to move up should ensure that none feel stuck in the lower tier. It would also reduce the “dead” games.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,769

  Tuesday, 23 February 2016

 

• Bangladesh lifts umpire’s 10-year ban [1769-8825]. 

• Australia warned for deliberate ball scuffing [1769-8826]. 

• Non-helmeted batsman suffers brain swelling after head strike [1769-8827]. 

• Smith head knock failed test of concussion policy [1769-8828]. 

• Solemn anniversary fitting for McCullum exit [1769-8829]. 

• WICB umpires assist storm, fire-hit, Dominican colleagues [1769-8830]. 

• BCCI, states, to push back on Lohda recommendations [1769-8831]. 

 

Headline: Bangladesh lifts umpire’s 10-year ban.

Article from: Agence France-Presse.

Journalist: Not stated .                         

Published: Tuesday, 23 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1769-8825.

 

Bangladeshi umpire Nadir Shah, who was banned for 10 years in 2013 after a ‘sting' operation by an Indian television channel suggested he was willing to give LBW decisions on demand (PTG 1078-5242, 22 March 2013), is to be allowed to return to domestic fixtures.  Shah, now 52, who was dropped from the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel when his indiscretion came to light and has stood in 40 One Day Internationals and three Twenty20 internationals, was one of seven umpires caught in the undercover investigation, one of whom was cleared.  Three of those charged were from Sri Lanka and two from Pakistan and like Shah all were censured by their respective home Boards.

 

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan told reporters in Dhaka on Monday:  "We have found that the others umpires found guilty for the same offence had not been punished for more than three years so we've decided to lift Nadir Shah's ban. As a result there will be no bar on him standing in domestic matches”.  Shah welcomed the BCB decision saying he was "over the moon now” and "grateful to all who helped me getting the ban removed”.  

 

A year after his ban was handed down Shah sought “mercy” from the BCB to allow him to return early to the game (PTG 1307-6302, 7 March 2014).  Around the same time he stood in matches in competitions in the Los Angeles area run by leagues that were not part of ICC affiliated organisations (PTG 1376-6657, 16 June 2014). He was also banned from obtaining a visa to visit India, apparently because of his cricket ban (PTG 1341-6482, 30 April 2014).  In late 2014 what the BCB called at the time a “miscommunication” saw him stand in a domestic Twenty20 fixture, however, the ban was reinstated soon after that match (PTG 1438-6960, 1 October 2014).

 

Of the others banned as a result of the television sting, Sri Lanka Cricket banned Sagara Gallage and Maurice de la Zilwa for ten and three years respectively, while Gamini Dissanayake received a "severe warning" and was "demoted" to a "lower domestic league" (PTG 1144-5553, 10 July 2013).  The Pakistan Cricket Board gave its umpires, Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui, bans of four and three years respectively (PTG 1089-5303, 14 April 2013).  Dissanayake returned to stand in first class cricket a year ago, Ghauri sought an early return (PTG 1477-7146, 8 December 2014), but apparently to no avail, while de la Zilwa and Siddiqui do not appear to have as yet reappeared at senior domestic level.

 

Headline: Australia warned for deliberate ball scuffing.

Article from: Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Ben Horne.                         

Published: Monday, 22 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1769-8826.

 

Australia was warned by the umpires and New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum even picked up the ball whilst batting for his own examination, as the visitors got away with executing a reverse-swing masterclass on day three of the second Test in Christchurch on Monday.  Bowlers James Pattinson and Josh Hazlewood had the ball tailing every which way to take four defining wickets in the final session, baffling a New Zealand team that’s struggled to get it off the straight all match.

 

It’s the second time the Aussies have mastered the art of making the ball go reverse, only this time the umpires were unhappy with their tactics of scuffing the ball by deliberately throwing it back to the keeper on the bounce.  While the outfield at Hagley Oval is lush, there are several abrasive patches on the neighbouring wickets that a fielder can aim at.  Australian captain Steve Smith made no secret after the first Test in Wellington that his team had a plan to hammer one side of the ball into the dirt on the square, but on Monday umpires Richard Kettleborough and Ranmore Martinesz determined the Aussies were overstepping the mark and issued stern warnings.

 

Australia jumped down the throat of South African batsman Faf du Plessis for a similar act in 2014 (PTG 1309-6311, 10 March 2014), but they appeared unperturbed by a potential attempt at gamesmanship by a bemused McCullum who may have been trying to draw further attention to the state of the ball by umpires.  “He was probably having a look to see what it looked like, basically”, said Australian Adam Voges post play. The New Zealand skipper could have been given out handling the ball had the Australians appealed.

 

According to Voges:  “We’ve probably got it going more than what they have. It can be to do with the conditions as well. The wicket is probably drying out a bit more abrasive so the ball is scuffing up a bit more. There was no dramas. There’s a line [as far as umpires are concerned]. I’m sure most fielding teams will get as close to the line as they can without overstepping it. That’s the umpire’s job to tell us when we’re getting close. That’s what happened today and we kept it up pretty well after that.  I don’t know if we are doing anything differently. I think maybe with a tad more air speed it maybe exaggerates reverse swing a bit more and our guys seem to be able to go a little bit both ways”.

 

Headline: Non-helmeted batsman suffers brain swelling after head strike.

Article from: Rotorua Daily Post.

Journalist: Shauni James.                         

Published: Tuesday, 23 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1769-8827.

 

Rotorua player Karl McKnight is in Waikato Hospital in a stable condition after a ball struck him in the head while he was batting in a match last Saturday causing swelling to his brain.  McKnight, who is waiting for the results of more brain scans, was not wearing a helmet whilst batting for the Geyser City Cricket Club.  His captain Matt Collier said the ball involved was "a back-of-the-length rising delivery which was misjudged" by McKnight, and “there was nothing vicious about [it]".

 

McKnight told the ‘Post' via Facebook he was not up to being interviewed at this stage because he was struggling with his words. He said in a message "I'm in the neuro ward in Hamilton struggling with words. More scans tomorrow but getting better.  I have some swelling on the brain. Thought [it] was a trauma migraine ... very lucky. 1st time hit in head by ball and will always wear [a helmet] from now on”.

 

After the head strike McKnight was given immediate attention, with "ice being wrapped around his head and [while] he had a bit of a headache he was alert and aware of what action was being taken the whole time”, said Collier.  However, “he slowly deteriorated as the game was ending and was then taken straight to Rotorua Hospital”.  "He was pretty groggy, he kind of lost a bit of his hearing to start with [then] had issues speaking”.  Collier said from what he understands, McKnight was hit "where all the speech nerves were in the brain”.  After scans at Rotorua Hospital revealed some serious damage he was transported by ambulance straight to Waikato Hospital that night.

 

Collier said the situation was a shock and, "a bit of a wakeup call for the guys”.  Most of his batsmen wear helmets but some of the experienced ones did not.  The team played another game on Sunday against Mount Maunganui with everyone wearing helmets.  His entire club "had been really good", with people who played with McKnight both now and in the last 25 years all offering support and love to the family.  "We are doing all we can to make sure this period is as smooth as possible”.  Collier said the bowler "was a bit shaken up at the time", but his team got behind him and we were reassuring him it wasn't his fault.  It was just an unfortunate incident on the cricketing field”.  

 

Bay of Plenty Cricket chief executive officer Paul Read said wearing a helmet was not mandatory but was strongly encouraged, as was the use of all protective gear.  Helmets have to be worn for representative cricket, but not for more social adult grades, he said, and it was a question all players had asked themselves given the incident involving Phillip Hughes in Australia (PTG 1470-7116, 29 November 2014).  

 

Headline: Smith head knock failed test of concussion policy.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Wally Mason.                         

Published: Tuesday, 23 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1769-8828.

 

It was a like a glance back in time. Australian captain Steve Smith takes a sickening blow to the back of the head after misjudging a short delivery from Kiwi paceman Neil Wagner and crashes to the ground during Sunday’s play in the on-going Test in Christchurch.  As the Australia captain lies motionless, Wagner rushes forward with his heart in his mouth and cricket fans in two nations hold their breath. We do that these days, in the wake of the death of Phillip Hughes, felled by a similar ball at the Sydney Cricket Ground 14 months ago (PTG 1470-7116, 29 November 2014).

 

But within moments Smith was back on his feet. In the words of The Australian’s Andrew Faulkner, the skipper shook his head “like a wet dog”, had a couple of mouthfuls of water and went back to his crease. Pivoted into a pull shot the very next ball, in fact.  The prospect of concussion? It didn’t appear to cross anyone’s fuddled mind.  Had Smith been a footballer — of any code — he would have been taken from the field immediately for a 20-minute concussion test. Had he been unable to prove beyond doubt that he was free of concussion symptoms, he would not have been allowed to return to the field that day. Probably wouldn’t have been able to play again for a couple of weeks, as was the case with New South Wales batsman Ed Cowan earlier this month (PTG 1764-8799, 15 February 2016).

 

But not only was he allowed to bat on, he was applauded for his gutsy attitude. “Shows the character of the bloke”, said Wagner. “A hell of a lot of credit to him to take a blow like that and stand up and bat the way he did”.  Like I said, a glance back in time ... to an era of hairy-chested players and coaches oblivious to the devastating impact of concussion on elite athletes.

 

It was once a common sight in matches in all football codes in Australia to see players take heavy hits and stagger from the scene of the impact with wobbly knees, unsure of what country they were in. Minutes later they were back in the fray, perhaps with the help of smelling salts. And the fact they played on without being able to remember the rest of the game was considered a badge of honour. Guts and glory. Only the toughest players could do it.  That was before the scientific studies that proved two or more significant head knocks in a lifetime can lead to long-term neurological damage. Before the litany of retired footballers coming forward with tragic stories of migraines, memory loss and a host of other symptoms. Before the links to early-onset Alz­heimer’s and Parkinson’s.

 

These days, any Australian Rules Football player who loses consciousness, goes stiff when he hits the ground after a heavy fall or collision or is rag-dolled in an unprotected tackle must not return to the field in the same game.  Rugby Union and Rugby League have similar policies — and the governing bodies of all three sports have outlawed the sorts of tackles most likely to cause such head knocks. Shoulder charges, hip-and-shoulders and the like.

 

Cricket is not a contact sport, so big hits are not an issue. But the impact of a cork and leather missile travelling at 140 km/h can be devastating. Without a helmet, Smith could have been seriously injured or killed. With it, there was surely a possibility of lasting damage.  Cricket Australia (CA) apparently developed a new concussion policy based on the action taken in the West Indies last year when Chris Rogers was the victim of a head knock in the lead-up to the first Test (PTG 1561-7507, 5 June 2015). Rogers was made unavailable for selection by team doctor Peter Brukner after being hit on the head in training. A sensible course of action, but one that appears to have gone out the window in Christchurch on Sunday.

 

A CA spokesman said on Monday: “Our medical staff take a very conservative and responsible approach to the treatment of concussion injuries. We have had a concussion policy for some time that gets reviewed regularly to ensure it aligns to best practice treatment.  Last year CA’s medical staff and doctors from around the country met to review the policy. The outcome of that is that the team doctor has the final say on whether a player takes the field and the player cannot return until they have fully recovered”.  So why was Steve Smith allowed to bat on as if nothing had happened?

 

Headline: Solemn anniversary fitting for McCullum exit.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                         

Published: Tuesday, 23 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1769-8829.

 

A small country, New Zealand has felt its disasters deeply, including through cricket. The country’s first Test tour of England was almost scuppered by the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake that killed 256 people; there’s a book devoted to the cricket team about the doomed ferry the ‘Wahine’ in 1968; there’s a book and a movie about the impact of the 1953 Tangiwai rail disaster when 151 people died on the same day the national side started a Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.

 

So the solemn and moving ceremonies held at lunch during the on-going Test at Hagley Oval on Monday on the fifth anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake that killed 185 people were entirely fitting. New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum, Tom Latham, Corey Anderson, Henry Nicholls and Matt Henry were resident in Christchurch at the time of the calamity; McCullum, Kane Williamson, Tim Southee and Martin Guptill are all veterans of the last international played at Lancaster Park, now languishing derelict and partly demolished.  Picturesque Hagley Oval was the first ‘anchor project’ in Christchurch’s rebuilding to be completed and McCullum christened it just over a year ago with an innings of cathartic splendour. The statistics of his first innings in the current Test match, of course, make astonishing reading.

 

McCullum’s farewell Test innings on Monday was brief, but the spirit around it measured up to the anniversary on which it fell: the Australians applauded him all the way to the centre, and his rival captain Steve Smith and successful catcher David Warner made a point of shaking hands with him as he moved off. By breaking away from the Australian celebration to offer his congratulations, in fact, vice-captain Warner showed a pleasingly chivalrous touch, indicative of the rapport the teams have developed over five Tests, three One Day Internationals and two Twenty20 internationals in the last five months. If McCullum can take credit for the growingly congenial spirit of international cricket in recent times, it’s no longer a solo project.

 

Headline: WICB umpires assist storm, fire-hit, Dominican colleagues.

Article from: Dominica Vibes.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Saturday, 20 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1769-8830.

 

The West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) Senior Umpires Panel (SUP) has pulled resources together and donated food vouchers and appliances to three members of the Dominica Cricket Umpires Association (DCUA) who have been hit by hard times.  Patrick Moses and Ronald Detouche were affected by Tropical Storm ‘Erika' six months ago (PTG 1631-7967, 30 August 2015), while Grenage Lanquedoc lost all of his belongings when his home was gutted by fire.  

 

During a ceremony held at a homes’ store which provided special discounts on the items, DCUA president Lennox Abraham said that while the road to recovery is going to be hard but “in a very small way the senior panel of umpires would like to assist in this process”.  Abraham, who is a SUP member, said that after the passage of ‘Erika’ all 12 of his SUP colleague were asked to contribute $US300.00 ($A415, £UK210) towards a relief project in Dominica.  “I was mandated by the panel to look for a project and it was concluded that local members of our association, who suffered during the storm, would be assisted”. DCUA member Heston Charles served as chair of the committee and met with the individuals and assessed what they needed.  

 

“Sometimes people look at us as persons who just go out there and just give bad decisions. We have a heart and we have consideration”, said former International Cricket Council Elite Umpire Panel member, Dominica-born Billy Doctrove.  He recalled that the day after the storm impacted on his country when colleagues from around the world inquired as to how he and the other umpires were affected.  “I was very pleased when I heard that the initiative had come from the [Caribbean’s] regional panel to make a contribution to any cause that we felt necessary in Dominica”, said Doctrove.

 

As a result of the initiative all three DCUA members were provided with grocery vouchers valued at $US500 ($A690, £UK350), plus Moses received a refrigerator, Lanquedoc a stove, and Detouche a stove and a bed.  An emotional Detouche, who spoke on behalf of all three recipients, thanked SUP members and the DCUA for the assistance.

 

Headline: BCCI, states, to push back on Lohda recommendations.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Tuesday, 23 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1769-8831.

 

Friday’s Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) special general meeting that discussed the Lodha panel's recommendations (PTG 1767-8816, 18 February 2016), has decided to file an affidavit with India’s Supreme Court pointing out the "anomalies and difficulties” it faces in implementing the restructure of the Board’s activities (PTG 1755-8754, 5 February 2016).  The Lodha committee has recommended wide-ranging sweeping reforms in the BCCI, including having only one vote per state association, banning politicians from positions, an age cap of its officials, that they not be allowed simultaneous posts on both state and the national body, and restrictions on advertisements in televised cricket matches (PTG 1764-8797, 15 February 2016).  The BCCI has told the state associations that they can file separate affidavits on the difficulties they faced as a result of the recommendations. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,770

  Wednesday, 24 February 2016

 

• Ugly Aussies on show as ‘line’ crossed yet again [1770-8832]. 

• Umpire ‘overreacted' on bounce throws, claims former bowler [1770-8833]. 

• Doctor flags changes to concussion rules [1770-8834]. 

• Indian police want year 2000 fixing accused extradited from UK [1770-8835]. 

• ICC exposé scoops Sports Journalists' Association award [1770-8836]. 

• Shake-up needed for West Indies cricket, say CARICOM heads  [1770-8837]. 

• Yacht clubs play annual Spencer Gulf sand bank match [1770-8838]. 

 

Headline: Ugly Aussies on show as ‘line’ crossed yet again.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Tuesday, 23 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1770-8832.

 

Australian pace bowler Josh Hazlewood pleaded guilty to a dissent charge after launching an expletive-laden tirade when a decision went against him in the second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch on Tuesday, both he and his captain showing clear disrespect to the umpire concerned.  With the home side battling to build a second innings lead in the first session on the fourth day, Hazlewood was convinced he had trapped Kane Williamson LBW with an inswinging yorker, only for umpire Ranmore Martinesz to deny the appeal.

 

Captain Steve Smith immediately asked for a review but 'hot-spot' technology showed Williamson, the key wicket the Australians needed in their push for victory, had got a thin inside edge onto his pad, so ball tracking was not examined.  The Australians were openly incredulous at third umpire Richard Illingworth's assessment of the situation and Smith sought to clarify the verdict with Umpire Martinesz.  Smith, who approached the umpire mid-pitch in what appeared to be an angry, insolent, manner, shook his head in disagreement as he turned away.  As captain Smith is required by the game’s Laws for the way he and his team plays the game. 

 

Hazlewood, 25, who is part of a team that has a long record of inappropriate behaviour on-field, was also seen to speak to Martinez in what looked like a forceful, bulling manner.  He was heard on the television broadcast of the game to exclaim: "Who the f*** is the third umpire”, thanks to a Sky TV staffer who was too slow to turn down the stump microphone feed.  The fast bowler was spoken to by both on-field umpires at the end of the over a few minutes later as they walked off for lunch, Smith also entering into a forthright discussion with Martinez’s colleague Richard Kettleborough.  

 

Fellow bowler Jackson Bird said after the day’s play: "We probably thought it was out, but those 50-50 calls either go your way or they don’t.  Test cricket is a hard game and tempers can rise and people can get frustrated sometimes. If we did overstep the line, the match referee and the on field umpires are there to adjudicate that”.  According to an Australian team spokesperson Hazlewood later pleaded guilty to showing dissent and match referee Chris Broad fined him 15 per cent of his match fee, a figure thought to be in the order of $A2,100 (£UK1,075), a small sum given his overall cricket earnings.  There is no indication that Smith himself had similarly been charged.  

 

New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson, who was batting with Williamson at the time of the latest incident, said the ground’s big screen replays had not been that clear for the players.  "I know from the big screen there's a few bits and pieces [that] are harder to tell”, he said.  "I know we've been on the end of those where you want a wicket so badly and you want something to happen...and it doesn't quite go your way.  It's happened before and it'll happen again”.

 

Three former Australian fast bowlers, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Mitchell Starc all rallied in support of Hazlewood on ’Twitter', not so much in defence of what he said but his "right to express it in the privacy of his workplace" without a world full of eaves-droppers performing a 21st Century ‘glass against the wall’ routine.  Just what Cricket Australia itself thinks about Hazlewood and Smith's approach to the game on Tuesday has not been made public. 

 

Last week Johnson penned a column for the Fox channel in which he lamented the way match officials crack down on bowlers’ behaviour in the modern game.  “The last couple of years, I probably started to enjoy the game less because the umpires were getting involved a little bit too much in situations that weren’t that bad to begin with”, Johnson wrote. “As soon as I stared at a batsman the umpires would come rushing in.  People want to see a bit of fire in the belly as long as it doesn’t go overboard. It’s always been part of the game – it was part of Dennis Lillee’s game and it worked pretty well for him”.  Australian vice captain David Warner expressed similar views late last month (PTG 1751-8729, 1 February 2016)

 

Australia’s latest show of on-field petulance came the day after a suggestion they were improving their on-field behaviour (PTG 1769-8829, 23 February 2016), and a fortnight after the Marylebone Cricket Club’s announcement that it is preparing to trial red and yellow cards in lower level cricket this northern summer as part of an attempt rein in disciplinary issues (PTG 1759-8772, 10 February 2016).  The approach their professional counterparts in Australia continue to take at the game’s highest level is unlikely to help curb the need for the formal introduction of such an approach into cricket's Laws.

 

Headline: Umpire ‘overreacted' on bounce throws, claims former bowler.

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Tuesday, 23 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1770-8833.

 

Former Australian fast bowler Ryan Harris believes umpire Richard Kettleborough "overreacted" when he cautioned Australia for returning throws on the bounce during the Test match against New Zealand in Christchurch on Monday.  Kettleborough, a three-time International Cricket Council ‘Umpire of the Year’ (PTG 1721-8534, 24 December 2015), took exception to the ball banging into the abrasive part of the square and at one point threatened to change the ‘Kookaburra’ then in use (PTG 1769-8826, 23 February 2016).

 

Harris told Melbourne radio station SEN, a broadcaster that specialises in sports news and talk, that “all teams do it". "When New Zealand were bowling they were doing the exact same thing [and] the umpires seemed to have overreacted in my mind. They jumped straight onto us and it makes us [Australia] look worse”.  Harris, who retired last year after playing 27 Tests for Australia, suggested Kettleborough could have been more subtle. 

 

"There might have been a couple of times where the ball bounced where it probably shouldn't have”, said Harris and "The way they should do it is just a quiet word to the players as they walk past them”.  You can't blatantly [bounce] the ball in from close to the wicket to the `keeper, but if you're in the outfield that's fine”.  "I've read all night on ‘Twitter' the uproar about it; it happens just about every game”, he claimed.

 

Headline: Doctor flags changes to concussion rules.

Article from: Sydney Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Ben Horne.                         

Published: Tuesday, 23 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1770-8834.

 

Australian team doctor Peter Brukner believes cricket will inevitably follow the his country’s National Rugby League and Australian Rules Football codes and introduce a mandatory 20-minute sit-down period for players who cop blows to the head.  Brukner is an industry leader in the concussion debate that has become such a critical issue for sporting organisations and said cricket must continually look to update their policies.

 

Australian captain Steven Smith couldn’t have been in safer hands when hit on the head by a bouncer by New Zealand bowler Neil Wagner on day two of the second Test in Christchurch on Sunday, with Brukner administering an extensive concussion test both on the ground, in the sheds at the tea break and then that night.  There has been criticism that Smith batted on after the knock (PTG 1769-8828, 23 February 2016), but the captain suffered no concussion symptoms whatsoever, and there was no problem with him continuing in the match.

 

Brukner ruled former Australian opener Chris Rogers out of a Test series against the West Indies last year with a head knock (PTG 1561-7507, 5 June 2015), and pulled him out of a match at Lord’s following another blow to the head (PTG 1600-7759, 24 July 2016)..

 

Headline: Indian police want year 2000 fixing accused extradited from UK.

Article from: Bangalore Mirror.

Journalist: Vijay Tagore.                         

Published: Tuesday, 23 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1770-8835.

 

Delhi Police have sought the extradition of Sanjeev Chawla, the prime accused in the 1999 match-fixing scandal involving the late South African captain Hansie Cronje who died in a plane crash in 2002.  Sources connected to Delhi Police have revealed that the demand for Chawla's extradition was made to India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) last week and the MEA, in turn, has passed on the demand to its counterparts in the United Kingdom.

 

The MEA did not contradict the information. "I am told it is not our general policy to comment on individual extradition cases”, MEA joint secretary and official spokesman Vikas Swarup said without going into the details. Swarup then added, "I can confirm, however, that we do have an extradition treaty with the UK”.  Chawla fled to England immediately after the scandal involving Cronje came to light.  It led police though to arrest half a dozen of his alleged accomplices who are currently out on bail.

 

It has been alleged that certain men representing Chawla had approached Cronje to underperform in the 1999 India-South Africa series. Chawla reportedly lives in London and runs a hotel. The investigation in the case has always been questioned for after making initial arrests, the Delhi police, did not file a charge sheet until 2013 (PTG 1154-5583, 23 July 2013).   The development is the latest attempt to extradite Chawla after a botched bid last year when the UK government reportedly rejected the Indian request due to lack of proper information. 

 

Although those involved in the case are confident of a positive outcome this time around, there are many Indians, facing criminal charges back home, living in England.

 

Headline: ICC exposé scoops Sports Journalists' Association award.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Andrew Miller.                         

Published: Monday, 22 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1770-8836.

 

'Death of a Gentleman', the independently produced film investigating the dysfunctional governance of world cricket, has been recognised as the Television Sports Documentary of the Year at the Sports Journalists' Awards in London (PTG 1718-8520, 21 December 2015).  The 96-minute film, directed and produced by Sampson Collins and Jarrod Kimber, beat off a strong shortlist including 'Catch Me If You Can', BBC Panorama's investigation into allegations of doping in athletics, and 'One Day in May', BT Sport's story of the 1985 Bradford City football fire, both of which were highly commended.

 

Collins' and Kimber's film, which premiered at the Sheffield Film Festival in June 2015 and has since been distributed worldwide, was cut from more than 400 hours of footage and interviews conducted in Australia, England, India, Sri Lanka, and the United Arab Emirates.   The project started life in 2011 as an investigation into Test cricket's uncertain future, but soon became a running commentary on the so-called "Big Three takeover", the structural reforms at the International Cricket Council (ICC) that came into force in February 2014 - whereby India, England and Australia claimed ownership of the sport's finances, and with it the game's future.

 

In the course of their investigation, the duo secured key interviews with two of the three men who drove through the reforms, Narayanaswami Srinivasan and Giles Clarke, the then-president and chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board respectively, as well as David Becker, the former head of the ICC's legal department, who quit his post after blowing the whistle on India's intentions to withdraw from a tour of South Africa.

 

Collins said "It is brilliant that the film has been recognised but, to be honest, I'd prefer it if we hadn't had to make it in the first place”.  "We are thrilled that there has been some sort of recognition within the game that things need to change, but this is a key moment. The things that happen now have to be meaningful, and not just lip service”.  "Nothing has changed yet, in the sense that the game is still looking to India and seeing what India are going to do”, Collins added. "It just so happens that India at the moment Shashank Manohar is talking about change” (PTG 1756-8760, 8 February 2016).  

 

At the recent ICC board meeting in Dubai, Manohar, Srinivasan's replacement as BCCI and ICC chairman, set in motion a possible repeal of many of the board's reforms, having announced back in November that he "did not agree with the Big Three countries bullying the ICC". He also announced his plans to head a five-man steering committee to review the decisions made by Srinivasan, Clarke and Wally Edwards, Cricket Australia's former chairman (PTG 1756-8760, 8 February 2016). 

 

Headline: Shake-up needed for West Indies cricket, say CARICOM heads.

Article from: Caribbean News Now.

Journalist: Cathy Lashley.                         

Published: Tuesday, 23 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1770-8837.

 

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders are so concerned about the problems facing West Indies cricket, including its governance, that they intend to approach the International Cricket Council (ICC).  This was disclosed by Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart as he spoke on the margins of the 27th inter-sessional conference of heads of government of CARICOM in Belize, on Wednesday.  He said it had been agreed that heads of government had to intervene to protect the interests of the people in the region, who patronised West Indies cricket and “who have a vested interest in it”. 

 

Admitting that it was no secret that there was a “stand-off” between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and CARICOM heads of government over the state of West Indies cricket and the issue of governance (PTG 1729-8583, 4 January 2016).  Stuart stressed that they intended to approach cricket’s governing body “with a view to heightening awareness about the governance problems that have been bedevilling the administration of West Indies cricket”.  

 

“Now, I just want to make it very clear that heads of government understand that it is not any part of their remit to try to take over West Indies cricket, or to try to run West Indies cricket – that is the function of the West Indies Cricket Board”, continued Stuart.  "But what heads [of government] are [saying] is that the standards of corporate governance at the moment are undesirable, and that they have been doing much to undermine the integrity of West Indies cricket, and certainly, are compromising the standards to which we in the Caribbean have grown accustomed". 

 

Stuart noted: “Some heads of government have already come to the conclusion that it is a waste of time trying to engage [in discussions with] the present [WICB] and therefore, there has to be an appeal elsewhere and other measures have to be adopted to sensitise the WICB to the concerns of both heads of government and the people of the region”.  He assured the people of the region that the matter would be followed up and further action contemplated at the appropriate juncture. 

 

Headline: Yacht clubs play annual Spencer Gulf sand bank match.

Article from: ABC News South Australia.

Journalist: Michael Dulaney.                         

Published: Tuesday, 23 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1770-8838.

 

When the tide is right, a spit of cockle shells and other ocean detritus rises up out of the Spencer Gulf and forms a unique beach cricket pitch.  And on one weekend every year — weather and schedules permitting — members of the Royal Port Pirie Yacht Club and Whyalla Yacht Club in South Australia sail out to this temporary pitch in the waters between the two cities to stage a very special cricket match, an action similar to that which is played out on Bramble Bank in the Solent in Hampshire during the northern hemisphere’s low water spring tides (PTG 843-4125, 8 October 2011).

 

In South Australia’s Spencer Gulf, the two teams battle to see who will take home a jar of ‘Vegemite' filled with cockle shells laid into a wood plaque, also known as the Cockle Spit Cricket Challenge trophy.  Rules of the game will be familiar to anyone who has played backyard cricket: each batsman faces six balls, with three runs deduced for every wicket, and six or four runs added for hitting the ball into the water.  Playing with a tennis ball, it is hit and run and one hand, one bounce.   There is a scorer and an umpire, as well as the obligatory sausage sizzle and cooler full of drinks set up under a gazebo on the sidelines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the first Cockle Spit match, but organiser Alan Moore said a drop in member numbers at the yacht clubs had put the competition on hold for several years.  "Years ago Whyalla had a fleet of large yachts that they would just race to Port Pirie as part of their program, and then on the way home we would go out to the spit as a group, play cricket and then continue back to Whyalla”, he said.  "But numbers dropped at the clubs and it got harder to organise, so they stopped coming”.  The match was resurrected two years ago and Moore said the high turnout this year had given him hope it would remain a permanent fixture in the future.  "It is really gratifying to have so many people turn out on the day”, he said.  

 

The spit is a tough surface to play on, with fielding and running in the mix of soft sand and cockle shells a challenge for most players.  It could be described as a bowler's wicket, with plenty of deliveries skidding off the uneven surface at strange angles after hitting a shell or rock.  This year there were plenty of spectators and supporters of both teams shouting words of encouragement, and the match was a close affair.  After some handy work with the bat and some tight fielding, the Cockle Spit Challenge Trophy was taken home by Port Pirie, who won the match 54-29.  With Whyalla winning last year, the trophy was passed between the two commodores from each club in a simple handover ceremony.

 

With the cricket over for another year, everyone made their way back to their vessels anchored in the water just off the sandbar.  Some had to wait longer than others to sail home, because during the match the tide had sunk further than expected, leaving their boats stranded on the sand.  It took another few hours before the tide came up enough to allow them to sail home.  Moore said the first priority after arriving back in Port Pirie would be to get the trophy displayed properly on the wall at the yacht club.  "We've left a screw in the wall and we just hung it straight back on there”, he said.  "There's no messing about with that”.

  

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,771

  Thursday, 25 February 2016

 

• CA quiet as their national skipper is fined for dissent [1771-8839]. 

• Appeal against 'slow over-rate’ match result rejected [1771-8840]. 

• Head strike results in hospitalisation [1771-8841]. 

• CSA criticise player for 'inappropriate' imitation of cocaine snort [1771-8842]. 

• Kulkarni to lose Indian IUP spot? [1771-8843]. 

• Minister urges movement on black African player grievances [1771-8844]. 

• Smith fails test of leadership with behaviour against NZ [1771-8845]. 

 

Headline: CA quiet as national skipper is fined for dissent.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Wednesday, 24 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1770-8839.

 

Australia captain Steve Smith has been fined 30 per cent of his match fee for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during the second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch on Tuesday (PTG 1770-8832, 24 February 2016).  Smith joins his team mate bowler Josh Hazlewood in being fined for an incident that centred around a failed LBW appeal, the pair’s angry reactions attracting widespread criticism, but nothing but silence from their employer Cricket Australia. 

 

During the game Smith was seen to approach the on-field adjudicating umpire Ranmore Martinesz in an angry, insolent, manner, and shook his head in disagreement as he turned away after a brief discussion, while Hazlewood’s body language in talking to Martinesz showed open dissent.  Smith told journalists after the game ended and his fine was announced on Wednesday, that in approaching Martinesz he was querying why third umpire Richard Ilingworth, who noted batsman had hit the ball in what was an LBW appeal, did not use ball tracking technology in making his decision.  

 

The captain is quoted as saying his action "was a mistake on my behalf [and both] myself and Josh Hazlewood have crossed that line in this Test match and that's not what we're about.  [As captain] I need to set the example” concluded Smith (PTG 1771-8845 below).  While Smith lost 30 per cent of his match fee for what was deemed a Level One offence, a figure of around around $A5,000 (£UK2,580), in what appears to have been a delayed censure by match referee Chris Broad, Hazlewood was fined 15 per cent of his, or approximately $A2,100 (£UK1,075), on the evening of the day it occurred.

 

In winning the Christchurch Test, Australia were officially anointed as the world’s number one Test side for the first time in seven years.  As a result of that they are now the holders of the International Cricket Council’s Silver Mace, a trophy that also has an accompanying prize of $US1 million ($A1.4 m, £UK718,000), an impressive figure in comparison to fines in Christchurch that total close to $A7,000 (£UK3,600)

 

Headline: Appeal against 'slow over-rate’ match result rejected.

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Wednesday, 24 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1770-8840.

 

Cricket Tasmanian (CT) has heard and rejected an appeal by Cricket North Wests’ (CNW) Ulverstone Cricket Club against the result of last Sunday’s statewide Twenty20 semi final against Cricket North’s (CN) Riverside club, a match Ulverstone lost by two runs because of a slow over-rate penalty.  Ulverstone believed they had won by four runs after dismissing Riverside's James Scott off the game’s final ball, however, they were subsequently docked six runs for not starting their final over on time as required by the competition’s Playing Conditions, and therefore lost the match.

 

Media reports of the match situation and the subsequent appeal by Ulverstone to CT vary, ’The Advocate’ newspaper, which is based in that side’s region favouring their version, while ’The Examiner’ which is published in Riverside's home territory, generally leaned towards that club's view of the situation.  

 

Various reports available indicate that batting first, Ulverstone were themselves allocated twelve penalty runs by umpires David Flynn and Russell Day at the end of their innings as Riverside still had two overs to bowl when the time limit involved had been reached.  CT Playing Conditions say that provided no time allowances are applicable, a team must be in position to bowl the first ball of the final over when 75 minutes of play have elapsed, and that when they haven’t the umpires are required to penalise the bowling side six runs for each over involved.  

 

‘The Examiner’ report has Riverside captain Alex Saunders indicating that his "fast bowlers were bowling off short run-ups and we bowled spinners so we were surprised to learn we had gone over time”, and claiming Day and Flynn "hadn’t told me we were behind”.  He was "pretty surprised when the umpires approached me in the dressing rooms at the change of innings to say that Ulverstone captain Jacob Snare had insisted that they enforce the run penalty against us for being, I think, five minutes over time for those two overs”.  Why Snare would “insist” Day and Flynn impose the penalty when the requirement was on the umpires to do so is not clear.

 

According to ‘The Advocate’, Snare said all indications were when they took Riverside’s last wicket that they had won the match and were only informed of the amended result in the change rooms by their scorer, a situation that cut short the celebrations at making the competition final.  "To go from feeling like you've won in such a close game, to being told that you haven’t, is a tough pill to swallow”, said Snare.  Saunders is quoted in ’The Examiner’ as saying: "After we fell four runs short I asked the umpires if Ulverstone were within their time and they said ‘No they weren’t’.  Then they conferred with the scorers on the scores and we got the six runs”.

 

Ulverstone's subsequent protest to CT is said to have centred around the penalty run decision and how it was administered by Day and Flynn.  CN administrator David Fry is quoted by ’The Examiner' as saying CT had investigated Ulverstone’s appeal against the result and upheld the umpires' decision to award the match to Riverside.  ‘’[CT] went through all the umpires’ notes and checked the scores as recorded by the scorers and supported the umpires original decision that Riverside won the match”, said Fry.

 

Headline: Head strike results in hospitalisation.

Article from: Agence France Presse.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Wednesday, 24 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1770-8841.

 

Zimbabwean all-rounder Luke Jongwe suffered a head injury during his team's first practice match at the Sharjah Cricket Ground as they prepare for next month's World Twenty20 Championship series in India.  While attempting a return catch, Jongwe missed the ball and it hit him above the right eye.  He was taken by ambulance to hospital where an x-ray revealed no damage, however, as a precautionary measure, he also underwent a magnetic resonance imaging scan andwas put on a drip and hospitalised for observation. 

 

Headline: CSA criticise player for 'inappropriate' imitation of cocaine snort.

Article from: London Daily Mirror.

Journalist: James Whaling.                         

Published: Wednesday, 24 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1770-8842.

    

South African spinner Aaron Phangiso has been criticised by Cricket South Africa (CSA) for imitating snorting cocaine during his side’s Twenty20 International against England in Johannesburg on Sunday.   Phangiso, 22, who was part of his team's squad but didn't make the match day XI, was chatting to teammates in the dugout when a television camera unexpectedly panned to him during play and he was seen to imitated snorting cocaine from his hand before throwing his head back in satisfaction.  CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: "We understand that Aaron was sharing in a light hearted moment with his team-mates, but his action on television was inappropriate in the light of the drug problem that we are challenged with in South Africa". 

 

Headline: Kulkarni to lose Indian IUP spot?

Article from: Ten sports India.

Journalist: Piyush Jain .                         

Published: Wednesday, 24 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1770-8843.

 

Indian umpire Vineet Kulkarni is to lose his position on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Pane (IUP).  Kulkarni’s performances during the current season on the sub-continent have been such that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is set to replace him with current IUP third umpire member Anil Chaudhary. 

 

News of the development came after the BCCI's recent annual review of umpires, an exercise which has not been undertaken for two years. A BCCI official said: "There were too many complaints [against Kulkarni].  In the last international series in India, he made glaring mistakes and the Indian team management feel he wasn't doing a good job" (PTG 1661-8131, 13 October 2015).  There have also been complaints against Kulkarni, 36, over his performance during BCCI Ranji Trophy first class matches.

 

Headline: Minister urges movement on black African player grievances.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Firdose Moonda.                         

Published: Wednesday, 24 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1770-8844.

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has appointed Normal Arendse, their lead independent board director and chairman of its transformation committee, as convener of a task force to address grievances voiced by black African cricketers.  Last November, a group identified only as “Black Cricketers in Unity” sent a letter to CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat detailing their disappointment at how they are being used, especially when it comes to selection to national sides (PTG 1686-8291, 12 November 2015).

 

South African sports minister Fikile Mbalula subsequently wrote to CSA and stressed the need for the matter to be tackled as a matter of urgency.  The letter ran in part: "The issues of players being selected but not being picked for matches is old and has not only been raised by the players but the public. These players are not [raising the matter] for themselves but for generations to come”.  

 

Lorgat and CSA president Chris Nenzani confirmed receipt of the letter at the time and insisted that it would receive "priority attention at the highest level”.  Mbalula responding that he was "encouraged" by a proposed meeting between the board and the players, however, in the weeks that followed, there were no updates on whether a meeting had taken place or a solution reached. 

 

On Monday, Mbalula met with CSA officials to discuss both those so-called “transformational issues” and the on-going investigation of match-fixing that surfaced late last year (PTG 1751-8738, 1 February 2016).  Given the latter is a criminal offence under South African law, the minister said CSA should leave no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of allegations and offered the services of state investigative agencies to help bolster the capacity of the investigation.  CSA assured Mbalula that its anti-corruption unit has the investigations under control.  

 

CSA briefed the minister on selection policies, guidelines and procedures, a report the ministry said was "well received", however there was "general agreement that there are glaring gaps and inadequacies in the policy that are in conflict with the sports barometer and transformation charter”.  CSA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, similar to the one signed by the South African Rugby Union last year, in order to guarantee their commitment to achieving transformation targets. 

 

Currently, CSA have quotas at domestic level which require that every franchise side must field six players of colour, of which three must be black African.  CSA claim not to have official national quotas but unofficially, it is recommended that at least four players of colour take the field in every XI, of which one is black African (PTG 1430-6819, 18 September 2014).

 

Headline: Smith fails test of leadership with behaviour against NZ.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Peter FitzSimons.                         

Published: Wednesday, 24 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1770-8845.

 

Look, I grant you, it was not the most cringeworthy moment of Australian sport in the last 12 months, for the yellow jersey in that crowded field is still held by tennis player Nick Kyrgios, well out in the lead, muttering at Stan Wawrinka, at a time the Swiss champion was cleaning the court with him: "Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend, sorry to tell you that mate”.  All of us were sometime in therapy on that'un , knowing we shared the same nationality as the one who uttered the epithet, and that in many ways our whole country was being judged by the sheer brattishness of one of our junior members.

 

But, and I mean this, the events in Christchurch in the second Test on Tuesday ran it close.  As if you didn't know, a stink erupted when the Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood thought he had Kiwi batsman Kane Williamson plumb LBW, only for the the umpire, Ranmore Martinesz to give him not out. The Australian captain, Steve Smith, decides to send an appeal "upstairs," to the third umpire, Richard Illingworth, who spooled through the footage back and forth until our noses bled.

 

He continued to do so, while we watched on live television and saw what he saw. 'Hot Spot' showed, beyond any doubt, that Williamson had nicked the ball before it hit his pads. The third umpire gave his decisions to onfield umpire Martinesz, who confirmed his decision accordingly:  "Not out.”  So far, so straightforward?

 

The Australians appeal to the third umpire, meaning the decision has passed from the hands – and the index finger – of the on field umpire? That gentleman uses modern technology, and his own expertise, to give the verdict that the on field umpire's decision was correct? So everyone shut the hell up then, and get on with the game, just like we were all raised? You know, the match official is there to do a job, and though you might not agree, it is inimical to the interests of the game, and bad sportsmanship to boot, to carry on about it? All on board for all stations to The Bleeding Obvious? Next stops: Common Sense, Because Mum Said, and Tantrums Are Tedious.

 

Nuh. Not our blokes. Derailed the whole thing.  Representing Australia, enough of them carried on like pork chops you could sell them as a meat tray on a Friday night pub raffle, and be rushed off your feet. Have a look at the footage   First the Australian captain strongly remonstrates with the ump, possibly to the point of swearing, as is claimed – as if the ump has anything to do with it at all, which he doesn't, and as if that is acceptable behaviour, which it isn't. Then Hazlewood barrels in, and asks, as the cameras roll – and the Australian cricket team makes a break from the pack and heads out after the yellow jersey – "Who the f--- is the third umpire?”

 

Former Kiwi Test player Mark Richardson in the commentary box nailed it: "I'm sorry, but that's intolerable. There's a few players out there that need to come to the realisation they do the playing, not the umpiring”. Exactly. Even as they left the field for lunch, Hazlewood was still going on with it, yelling abuse at New Zealand batsman Corey Anderson.  At the limit, Hazlewood just might be given some allowance, as it is not consistent with his pattern of behaviour. Fellow fast bowler Jackson Bird, however, backed by some former players was quick to spot the problem. Of course, the on-field microphones! (PTG 1770-8832, 24 February 2016). 

 

For them, the problem was not that our blokes behaved like spoiled brats, nor that they showed a shocking lack of base-level respect for crickets, its traditions, its officials. No, the problem was the microphones.  I disagree.  It is you, Australian captain, Steve Smith. You set the tone, and the others follow you. Mate, we expect better from you.

 

You were meant to be the start of a new era, remember? And your job there was to tell Hazlewood to pull his damn head in, and others to settle down. "I think we're at our best when we play a good, hard, aggressive brand of cricket”, you wrote in a column a fortnight ago. "I think there's a line there that we don't want to cross, and we know where that is”.  If carrying on like that at an umpire who doesn't even have the right to make the decision you are protesting is not across the line, what the hell is? Smacking him one?

 

The point is, if any of us were coaching an Under-10 side or an Under-17 school side who carried on like that, the whole damn lot of them would be sent to the principal's office. But what an excuse they would have now: the Australian side does it, so why can't we?  And yes, I see that right as this column goes to press, you've apologised, after facing a fine for dissent, saying "I need to be better as a leader; I need to set the example. That wasn't good enough” (PTG 1771-8839 above).

 

That really is something, and good on you. But geez, Louise. No more please. The outgoing Kiwi captain himself, Brendon McCullum, has been giving you credit for ushering in a new era of decent behaviour. You could do worse than follow his lead on sportsmanship, as the Kiwis under his command have been notable for it.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,772

  Friday, 26 February 2016

 

• Two females on 31-person WT20C officials panel [1772-8846]. 

• Warner criticises 'vulgar’ NZ crowd abuse [1772-8847]. 

• South African spinner’s action reported as ’suspect' [1772-8848]. 

• CSA investigating Tsotsobe as part of match-fixing probe [1772-8849]. 

 

Headline: Two females on 31-person WT20C officials panel.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Thursday, 24 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1771-8846.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has named 31 match officials from nine of the ten Test playing countries to manage fixtures in the month-long men's and women's World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series in India which is due to get underway on Monday week.  Those involved are the seven members of the ICC’s senior match referee’s panel, plus 24 umpires, all twelve on the Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), ten from the second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and what the ICC describes as "two members of its third-tier Associate and Affiliate Panel of International Umpires" (AAIUP).

 

Of those selected, Australia, England and India will have six officials each working at the event, all one referee and five umpires (1/5), another four are from Sri Lanka (1/3), three from New Zealand (1/2), two each from South Africa (0/2) and the West Indies (1/1), and one from Pakistan (0/1) and Zimbabwe (1/0).  Bangladesh is the only Test entity without any presence on the officials’ panel, while both they and Zimbabwe will have no umpires at all in the tournament.

 

Match referees named are: David Boon (Australia), Chris Broad (England), Jeff Crowe (New Zealand), Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka), Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe), Richie Richardson (West Indies) and Javagal Srinath (India).  The EUP members are: Aleem Dar (Pakistan), Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), Marais Erasmus (South Africa), Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand), Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong (all England), plus Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker (all Australia).  

 

Those from the IUP are: Indians Anil Chaudhary, Chettithody Shamshuddin, Vineet Kulkarni and CK Nandan, South African Johan Cloete, Australian Simon Fry, Englishmen Michael Gough, Sri Lankans Ranmore Martinesz and Ruchira Palliyaguruge, and from the West Indies Joel Wilson.  Kulkarni’s presence is at odds with a recent claim he is to soon lose his IUP spot (PTG 1771-8843, 25 February 2016).  Cloete, Fry, Gough, Palliyaguruge and Wilson all stood in last year’s World Cup series which was played in Australia and New Zealand, while Fry, Martinez and Wilson have all featured at Test level over the last twelve months.

 

Kiwi Kathy Cross is the AAIUP member and according to the wording of the ICC’s press release so is Australian Claire Polosak, which if true is yet to be formally announced, for as far as it is known at the present time her affiliation is as a member of Cricket Australia’s second-tier Development Panel (PTG 1607-7810, 1 August 2015).  Cross has stood at List A and senior men’s Twenty20 level in New Zealand, while Polosak has worked as a third umpire in a List A game.  

 

The ICC points out that pair were also involved in the Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier played in Thailand last year, they being selected for the coming series ahead of two other female umpires, Jacqueline Williams of the West Indies, and Sue Redfern of England (PTG 1696-8359, 26 November 2015).  Following that Qualifier, Williams went on to become the first women to stand in a first class game in a quarter-of-a-century (PTG 1711-8476, 13 December 2015).  The ICC says Cross and Polosak’s appointments come as it “continues to place an important emphasis in recognising that cricket is a game for all, and hopes that this will inspire more women across the globe to become involved in officiating and participating in cricket".

   

Just which of the match officials will be appointed to the 35-match men’s and 23-match women’s section of the event has not been announced as yet.  Of the 31 match officials, 14 will be making their WT20C debuts: referees Richardson and Pycroft, and umpires Chaudhary, Cloete, Cross, Fry, Gaffeney, Gough, Kulkarni, Martinez, Nandan, Palliyaguruge, Polosak, Shamshuddin and Wilson.  In comparison the coming event will be Madugalle’s sixth WT20C, Dar, Llong and Tucker's fifth, Gould’s fourth, Broad, Dharmasena, Erasmus, Kettleborough, Oxenford and Srinath's third, the second for Boon, Crowe, Illingworth and Reiffel.

 

Headline: Warner criticises 'vulgar’ NZ crowd abuse.

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Thursday, 24 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1771-8847.

 

Australian vice captain David Warner says he and several of his teammates were left angered after days of "derogatory and vulgar" abuse from Kiwi crowds during the recent series in New Zealand.  After Australia completed their tour with a 2-0 triumph in the Test series, Warner said some of the touring party were forced to call for security after prolonged abuse from the New Zealand crowd took its toll.

 

Warner said family members were referenced too and it has also been alleged the names of the Australian's children were also dropped.  "Some of the stuff was pretty derogatory and vulgar”, said the vice captain upon arriving back in Sydney. "You get your odd banter here or there but when they're talking about people's families it takes it a little bit too far”.  While accepting that some banter from the crowd was commonplace in modern sport, Warner suggested the kind of behaviour experienced this time was beyond the norm.  "We don't expect to wake up and be hounded for six or seven hours. The upsetting thing was I know if my two daughters were in the crowd I wouldn't want them listening to that kind of stuff."

 

Despite his side being criticised for their on behaviour on the field during the series in New Zealand (PTG 1770-8832, 24 February 2016), Warner said they wouldn't be toning down their aggression.  He admitted both his captain Steve Smith and bowler Josh Hazlewood may have crossed the line in their remonstration with umpire Ranmore Martinesz during the second Test, but said it can't change the way they approach their cricket.  "We have a passionate brand”, he said. "If you look back at the history of Australian cricket we have an aggressive style.  We've got keep playing our brand of cricket and not stepping over that line”.

 

Warner joined a chorus of past Aussies questioning why Hazlewood's expletive riddled rant was captured through what should have been a muted stump microphone.  "The stump mics were turned up and they said it was so-called 'human error' which was convenient at the time”, said Warner. "Obviously it's disappointing, Josh was disappointed. That's out of character for Josh, he never really loses his head”.

 

Headline: South African spinner’s action reported as ’suspect'.

Article from: CSA press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Thursday, 24 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1771-8848.

 

South Africa left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso has been reported for a suspected illegal bowling action.  Cricket South Africa (CSA) said in a statement on Thursday that his delivery style will now be scrutinised further in accordance with its regulations.  Phangiso, 32, who is in his country's squad for the up-coming World Twenty20 Championship in India, will undergo testing by the International Cricket Council but it is hoped he will be cleared ahead of next month’s tournament, which for South Africa starts in three weeks time.

 

Phangiso, who was in South Africa's squad for their recent Twenty20 series win over England, was reported after helping the Lions franchise into the final of South Africa's provincial 50-over competition when he took 2-38 in eight overs.  He was disciplined by CSA after allegedly offending crew and passengers on a flight from India last October while in an intoxicated state, and last Sunday was forced to apologise after being caught by television cameras imitating snorting cocaine while in his team's dugout during the second Twenty20 international against England (PTG 1771-8842, 25 February 2016).

 

Headline: CSA investigating Tsotsobe as part of match-fixing probe.

Article from: Wisden India.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Thursday, 24 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1771-8849.

 

Former South Africa fast bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe has confirmed that he is being investigated for match fixing by Cricket South Africa (CSA), but denies having taken money from bookies to underperform.  The Lions' paceman was contacted by Wisden India and confirmed that CSA had asked for his phone records and the like, but said further comments would go via CSA. He has taken time off from the Lions, but wouldn't say why.

 

Former Lions batsman Gulam Bodi, meanwhile, was confirmed as the intermediary between the players and the Indian bookies, and has been banned from the game for 20 years for his role in approaching players to underperform for money (PTG 1751-8738, 1 February 2016). Along with Tsotsobe, who confirmed his part in the investigation, wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile is also allegedly involved, though neither he nor CSA have commented. CSA would not comment on Tsotsobe either.

 

The paceman told Wisden India: "There’s a lot of speculation going around. I'm not going to entertain anything but Cricket South Africa can do anything they need to do to check if we did any match-fixing with the people that they are investigating.  I've given them everything they want. My phone bills, my messages, my bank accounts, everything. They said they would get back to me”.  When asked whether he met with any of the bookies, he added: "That we can discuss with [CSA]. If you want to know anything more about what’s going on you can ask them”.

 

As for his current hiatus from the Lions, for whom he last played in December, he said: "I just feel that there’s a lot that’s going on in my life.  "I've spoken to the coach and he’s the one who gave me the time off. I don't have to explain myself to any other person. If the chief executive and the coach know, then I think I'm cool”.

 

 

End of February 2016 news.