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                      MARCH 2016
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 19 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 8750-8944)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below 
 
1,773  1,774  1,775  1,776  1,777  1,778  1,779  1,780  1,781  1,782  1,783  1,784  1,785  1,786  1,787  1,788  1,789  1,790  1,791


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,773

  Tuesday, 1 March 2016

 

• If BCB revokes umpire’s ban, why not mine, asks Sri Lankan [1773-8850]. 

• Show of bat, words to umpire, earn fine [1773-8851]. 

• Vandals ruin team’s finals hopes [1773-8852]. 

• CA congratulate WWT20C umpire appointee [1773-8853]. 

• Cricket has no need for cards if captains do their jobs properly [1773-8854]. 

 

Headline: If BCB revokes umpire’s ban, why not mine, asks Sri Lankan.

Article from: Pakistan Observer.

Journalist: Bipin Dani.                         

Published: Monday, 29 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1773-8850.

 

Sri Lankan umpire Maurice Winston is wondering if Nadir Shah’s ten-year ban can be revoked by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), why can’t he be exonerated early when he was banned for three years for the same reason in July 2013 (PTG 1769-8825, 23 February 2016).  Shah, now 52, was one of six umpires banned as a result of a ‘sting' operation conducted by an Indian television channel, Winston being one of the other five (PTG 1078-5242, 22 March 2013).

 

Winston, 53, said on Sunday that "Nadir Shah’s sting operation happened in India, whereas I was contacted [in Colombo] by a supposed representative of a sports management company via mobile phone and Skype and hence could not identify their motive". They were offering me a private contract for umpiring matches which I am entitled as I was not legally contracted anywhere”.  He claimed his case was "a set up in collaboration with a few Sri Lankans who wanted me out of umpiring – why else why give me a three year ban?”.  

 

According to the Sri Lankan, he "was not given legal representation which is my right as per any Law in any country and I was sent messages by some to desist from doing so”.  “As of today – no one from Sri Lanka Cricket has contacted me with regard to any sort of rehabilitation which has to be done by the home boards”.

 

Headline: Show of bat, words to umpire, earn fine.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Monday, 29 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1773-8851.

 

Indian batsman Virat Kohli has been fined thirty per cent of his match fee for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during his side's Asia Cup Twenty20 match against Pakistan in Mirpur on Saturday.  After being given out LBW, Kohl showed his bat and then after leaving his crease, kept looking back at the umpire and uttering "some words" that the International Cricket Council (ICC) says "were contrary to the spirit of the game”.  The charge was levelled by on-field umpires Ruchira Palliyaguruge and Sharfuddoula, third umpire Enamul Haque and fourth official Anisur Rahman. Under ICC regulations all Level One first offences carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand and a maximum penalty of fifty per cent of a player’s match fee.

 

After the match Indian captain MS Dhoni questioned umpires using earpieces during international matches.  He made his views known after an umpiring decision that saw Pakistan's Khurram Manzoor given not out despite apparently nicking a ball by left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra, the captain suggesting the devices might affect an umpire's decision-making on the field.  "You know all the umpires now have a walkie-talkie and earpiece, so effectively in a way it means that they are umpiring with only one ear and the other ear is stuck with an earpiece” and as such the ear pieces "were affecting umpires’ hearing”.  

 

Television replays suggested that the ball hit Manzoor on his gloves before it was caught by wicket-keeper Dhoni who had a chat with the Bangladeshi umpire Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid on the field after he turned down India's vociferous appeal.

 

Headline: Vandals ruin team’s finals hopes.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Monday, 29 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1773-8852.

 

A cricket team’s hopes of reaching their league finals in Victoria were dashed after vandals dug up the wicket midway through a must-win game.  Kingsville Baptist Cricket Club (KBCC) needed victory over Sunshine Heights in their Victorian Turf Cricket Association (VTCA) match to finish in the top four and secure a finals berth.  But they were frustrated upon arrival at Skinner Reserve in Sunshine for the second day’s play last Saturday when they discovered the pitch had been dug up and a mysterious liquid poured on to the strip.

 

Going into the second day’s play Kingsville were 1/46 chasing Sunshine Heights’ total of 186, and in a commanding position to snare the crucial win.  Sunshine Heights lay second bottom in the league and had nothing to gain from a stalemate.  

 

 

The damage rendered the wicket unplayable and with a suitable alternative venue unable to be found, the match was abandoned and a draw declared. As such, Kingsville missed out on qualification for the finals.  “The sad thing about it – the covers were there and the covers were pulled off. Someone who did it knew what they were doing”, club treasurer Peter Hardeman told radio station Triple M. “It looked like a shovel or a sharp object had been used.  They had dug up areas at both ends of the pitch. It reminded me of a ploughed field. There was also an oily substance that had been poured all along the pitch”.

 

The VTCA has offered a reward of $A5,000 (£UK2,570) for any information on the vandalism.  VTCA president Steve McNamara says:  "Whilst this practice has been common in other association to varying degrees, this practice will not be accepted by the VTCA as we are committed to doing our utmost to find those responsible and bring them to justice”.  The association is working the local council, Victoria Police, Cricket Victoria and Cricket Australia on the issue as they are all "strongly committed to finding and ultimately bring to justice the perpetrators concerned". McNamara also expressed "the VTCA's deepest sympathy to all at [KBCC] on this most heinous act” and urges "in the strongest of terms”, that anyone who has "any information no matter how small [to] just come forward”.  It "would be a win for the cricket fraternity as a whole if we can catch those people responsible”, concludes McNamara.  

 

Headline: CA congratulate WWT20C umpire appointee.

Article from: CA web site.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Saturday, 27 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1773-8853.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) has congratulated Claire Polosak for becoming the first Australian female umpire selected in the Women’s World Twenty20 Championship (WWT20C) series which will be held across India next month (PTG 1772-8846, 26 February 2016).  Polosak, 27, has enjoyed a rapid rise through umpiring ranks and became the first female to officiate in an Australian  men’s state domestic competition in last October as a third umpire in CA’s one-day cup series (PTG 1649-8068, 22 September 2015), a month after that she was one of four females appointed the WWT20C qualifying tournament in Bangkok, eventually standing in the final (PTG 1704-8430, 5 December 2016). 

 

CA chief executive James Sutherland said via a press release: “We are delighted with Claire’s appointment to officiate in the [WWT20C].  [Her] dedication and love of the game shines through as her officiating continues to go from strength to strength.  Her historic debut in the one-day cup late last year and now featuring in such a prestigious ICC tournament is an inspiration to other aspiring female cricket umpires.  We wish Claire all the best for the [forthcoming series].

 

Polosak, who is a member of CA’s second-tier Development Panel, has been surprised by her rapid progress, telling a CA journalist:  “When I started umpiring at 15 I really didn’t think I’d have the opportunities that have already been presented to me at 27”.  The high-school science teacher has worked her way through men's grade cricket in Sydney, the Women’s National Cricket League, and the Women’s Big Bash League where she worked both as an on-field and a third umpire.  

 

Headline: Cricket has no need for cards if captains do their job properly.

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Simon Heffer.                         

Published: Tuesday, 1 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1773-8854.

 

One of the more astonishing facts in these pages in recent weeks was in a story by Nick Hoult that indicated the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is planning to introduce a “red card” system in club cricket (PTG 1759-8772, 10 February 2016). That was not what astonished me – it simply depressed me, as I shall explain. The astonishment came from Nick’s report that five matches were abandoned in England during last season because of violence. 

 

The MCC’s response to growing unpleasantness on the field – Hoult, in his article, also referred to “excessive sledging” – smells to me a little like the Dangerous Dogs Act, only probably less effective.   The new code would allow players to be sent off, or “banished to a sin-bin for 10 overs”. This is where my depression kicks in. The whole thing sounds like an imitation of Association Football or various North American contact sports: it can’t be long before we have teams of nubile cheerleaders warming up the crowds before matches too, possibly even sporting MCC colours. 

 

But it is not just the overreaction, the vulgarity and the blatant violation of the traditions of the game that are so tiresome: it is also that no one seems to have thought through the consequences of this policy. For a start, as appears to be the case in certain other sports, dispatch to the “sin-bin” will become part of the entertainment, with crowds becoming restive if no one behaves badly enough to be booted into one. Just think of those people who used to pack Lions v Christians fixtures, or who would attend public hangings. 

 

Nick also wrote that “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 he is a batsman, he will be ‘retired out’.” Now the last three of those four acts, and depending on the circumstances quite possibly the first, are all criminal offences, so being sent off using the new red card might turn out to be only the beginning of the reckoning. The “red card” is in fact only a stunt: the captain of any team worth his salt would have bundled a player off the pitch in any of those circumstances even without this scheme. 

 

Some of us, boring old farts though we may be, might have found it more refreshing had MCC striven to remind those who play the game of the role of the captain, and of the responsibilities of captaincy in general. Once an umpire – who is there to see fair play according to the laws and not to make moral or disciplinary judgments – can start waving round a red card like a referee in a football match, the idea of captaincy has been diminished and emasculated, and an important part of the culture of cricket has changed for the worse. 

 

As a schoolboy I recall the shock of reading how Brian Bolus, captaining Derbyshire against Yorkshire at Chesterfield in 1973, sent off his fast bowler Alan Ward when Ward refused to do what he was told. There had in fact been two earlier incidents in county cricket. In 1897 Lord Hawke sent off Bobby Peel because he turned up drunk. Peel tried to demonstrate his sobriety by bowling a ball, but unfortunately bowled it in the wrong direction. Legend also has it that he urinated on the pitch, but this lacks what historians call “evidence”. Peel never played for Yorkshire again, but enjoyed a long and lucrative livelihood running, appropriately enough, a pub. 

 

Then in 1922, in a game between Nottinghamshire and Hampshire at Trent Bridge, Lionel Tennyson, the Hampshire captain, sent off his off-spinner Jack Newman after he refused to pick up the ball. Tennyson told the press he had sent Newman off for using “objectionable language”. Newman apologised in writing to his captain and to his opponents, Tennyson telling him “you have this afternoon disgraced the annals of Hampshire cricket – Hampshire cricket mind you, the cradle of the game”. Newman thought Tennyson had acted correctly: he later became an umpire standing in 220 first class games in the period from 1931 to 1939. 

 

Surely any violent or menacing incident should be dealt with by a captain sending off the player concerned, thereby doing the job he is picked for – providing leadership to the team. It is the lesser offences, which it is proposed to punish using the “sin-bin” – bowling a beamer is cited as one – and those further down the scale, such as time wasting and deliberate physical contact, which will attract a five-run penalty, that are trickier. Umpires are also going to have to decide what is sledging and what is banter: good luck to them. They will become figures of controversy.  And while racist abuse cannot be tolerated, and abusers should be punished severely, why is any other form of personal abuse deemed acceptable on a cricket field? 

 

The root of this problem is bad captaincy. A captain should be charged with seeing that the behaviour of his players accords with what MCC rather nebulously calls “the spirit of the game”. They need to discipline their team, and understand where the line is between hard competitiveness and downright aggression. It is like the NYPD’s zero tolerance policy: if a captain comes down hard on a player for a minor unpleasantness, that player – who is likely to have a long-standing relationship with his captain – is unlikely to engage in a major one. And leagues should not be afraid to ban for life those who bring disgrace on the game for criminal behaviour. One day an umpire will be punched for serving a red card. And then what? 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,774

  Wednesday, 2 March 2016

 

• ‘Mankading’ incident again gets air time [1774-8855]. 

• Association dealing with racial abuse claim [1774-8856]. 

• Hanging results in delay to start of play [1774-8857]. 

• Appointments for final Shield rounds go with rankings [1774-8858]. 

• Bowler’s action declared ‘illegal' [1774-8859]. 

• Clarke to explain role in ICC takeover to UK MPs [1774-8860]. 

• BCCI submits Lodha report reply to Supreme Court [1774-8861]. 

• The human spirit and the love of the game [1774-8862]. 

Headline: ‘Mankading’ incident again gets air time.

Article from: Geelong Advertiser.

Journalist: Jason Shields.                         

Published: Tuesday, 1 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1774-8855.

 

A ‘Mankad' dismissal in a Geelong Cricket Association eighth grade match played in Victoria last weekend has, despite the Marylebone Cricket Club’s repeated denials in recent years (PTG 1755-8757, 5 February 2016), again resulted in mutterings about the action going against the ‘spirit of cricket’.  The dismissal, which is allowed for under the game’s Laws, involved Newcomb and District Cricket Club bowler Josh Buckle running out Newtown and Chilwell batsman Allan Smith, a 58-year-old visiting English player, in a 40-over match played at Geelong’s Eastern Park. 

 

Smith’s side  were 3/24 at the time in pursuit of 331 for victory when Buckle removed the bails at the bowler's end with Smith short of his ground.  Buckle appealed and the umpire raised his finger to confirm Smith's dismissal.  Newtown and Chilwell captain Neville Crane, who was batting with Smith at the time, said he's never seen the dismissal in 62 years of playing cricket.  "I was just so shocked and disappointed”.

 

Crane, 70, said he "thought about walking off, but then I thought it would be stooping to that sort of level”.  "I’ve been playing since I was eight and in all that time I have never seen a ‘Mankad'. That says something.  I had to tell [Englishman Smith] that that is not the way Australians play their sport.  We had absolutely no chance of winning the game so when it happened I just turned to their captain and said ‘why would you want to do that?’  I think their players were as shocked as we were”. 

 

Mankads, which continue to result in controversy, have been in the news in recent weeks, the West Indies used it during their campaign at the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh (PTG 1753-8746, 3 February 2016), while Oman bowler Aamir Kaleem was labelled "cowardly" after Mankading a Hong Kong batsman in their Asia Cup qualifying match in Bangladesh (PTG 1768-8820, 22 February 2016).

 

Headline: Association dealing with racial abuse claim.

Article from: Geelong Advertiser.

Journalist: Nick Wade.                         

Published: Saturday, 27 February 2016.  

PTG listing: 1774-8856.

 

The Geelong Cricket Assoc­iation (GCA) is dealing with a racism complaint after allegations a player was vilified during a local match two weekends ago, a similar situation to that which it faced in 2010 (PTG 590-2971, 22 March 2010).  GCA officials have sought advice from Cricket Victoria, Leisure Networks and the Dep­artment of Justice and Regulation after the matter was brought to their attention early last week.  The alleged inc­ident involves a comment made by one player to an ­opposition batsman.

 

The aggrieved player’s club lodged a formal complaint to the GCA, prompting the grievance process to begin.  League officials hope to arr­ange a mediation session ­between the parties in the coming days, chaired by a member of the GCA’s exec­utive team.  If that fails to resolve the issue, it will escalate to a secondary hearing facilitated by a trained mediator from the Dep­artment of Justice and Regulation.  Should that also fail, the GCA will launch its own investigation, which could lead to a tribunal hearing if the league feels the player has a charge to answer.

 

GCA president Barry McFarlane said: “From the league’s point of view, racial vilification is a very serious issue.  We take it very seriously and we obviously don’t want that as part of our game, but we need to let the process take its natural course, as set out in our grievance procedures.  We will just follow that through and come to a conc­lusion one way or the other, whether they are happy to shake hands and move on, or if the aggrieved party still feels aggrieved and doesn’t want it to stop there it can go to an ­investigation hearing  It’s obviously a very ser­ious matter and as an assoc­iation we do take it very seriously”.

 

Headline: Hanging results in delay to start of play.

Article from: The International News.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Tuesday, 1 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1774-8857.

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) delayed the opening day’s play in first round of matches of its 24-team Patron’s Trophy Grade-II scheduled for Tuesday due to tense political situation after the hanging on Monday of a former police bodyguard who shot dead Punjab's governor in 2011.  The winner of the PCB second-tier event, which is played in a three-day format, will claim a spot in next season’s Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first-class series.  

 

A PCB spokesman indicated the first round of the competition could now begin on Wednesday "if conditions are right".  Supporters of the person hanged took to the streets in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and also blocked highways into Islamabad.  Demonstrators burned tyres and chanted slogans, while schools and markets in Islamabad and nearby Rawalpindi closed early over fears of violence, however, most rallies are reported to have dispersed peacefully.  Incidents following the executed man’s funeral on Tuesday were similarly limited. 

 

Headline: Appointments for final Shield rounds go with rankings.

Article from: CA appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Tuesday, 1 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1774-8858.

 

Cricket Australia has appointed eight of the twelve members of its National Umpires Panel to the twelve on-field positions available in the final six home-and-away matches of its 2015-16 Sheffield Shield season.  With top-ranked Simon Fry away at the World Twenty20 Championship series in India (PTG 1772-8846, 26 February 2016), the next five in the current rankings, Mick Martell, John Ward, Paul Wilson, Sam Nogajski and Geoff Joshua, have all been allocated two matches, while seventh ranked Gerard Abood and Shawn Craig have one game each.  With Fry likely to still be away in India and Nogajski in South Africa on exchange (PTG 1748-8705, 28 January 2016), the on-field and television umpiring spots for the Sheffield Shield final at the end of March appear likely to be contested by Martell, Ward, Wilson and Joshua. 

 

Headline: Bowler’s action declared ‘illegal'.

Article from: Times Live.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Tuesday, 1 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1774-8859.

 

Independent tests conducted on South African spinner Aaron Phangiso’s bowling action have revealed that it is illegal under the Laws of Cricket. Tests conducted last Friday by a member of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Panel of Human Movement specialists at the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre‚ showed all variations of his deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under ICC regulations.  Phangiso, 32, Phangiso, was reported after helping the Lions franchise into the final of South Africa's provincial 50-over competition last month (PTG 1772-8848, 26 February 2016).

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) said that as a result of the findings, Phangiso has been suspended from bowling in domestic cricket with immediate effect and it will "remain in force until he has undergone remedial work on his bowling action and has passed a re-assessment of his bowling action”.  CSA confirmed that Phangiso will not be considered for the first two Twenty20 International (T20I) Series against Australia, however‚ he will remain with the squad and will work alongside spin bowling coach‚ Claude Henderson‚ who will be joined by Cricket SA’s High Performance Manager‚ Vinnie Barnes‚ in an effort to remedy his action.

 

Phangiso is to undergo a second round of independent tests next Monday‚ which will then determine whether he is available for selection for the last T20I against Australia and whether he travels with the South African squad to India for the World Twenty20 Championship series.  “The timing of this issue for Aaron and for our World T20 squad is clearly inopportune but we need to deal with it. We will work hard to remedy Aaron’s action and have him retested as soon as practically possible”, said CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat.  “We are fortunate to have an ICC accredited Laboratory in South Africa and this will certainly make a quick turnaround possible.”

 

The new CSA Regulations for the Review of Bowlers Reported with Suspected Illegal Bowling Actions came into effect last October. Since then‚ six bowlers in franchise and senior provincial cricket have been reported for illegal bowling actions‚ while another four were reported during CSA’s national Under-19 series in December.

 

Headline: Clarke to explain role in ICC takeover to UK MPs.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist: Ali Martin.                         

Published: Tuesday, 1 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1774-8860.

 

Giles Clarke, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) president, will be summoned to answer questions by the UK Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport select committee (CMSsc) over his role in the controversial “Big Three” takeover of the International Cricket Council (ICC).  Clarke, the former ECB chairman, was central to the reforms in early 2014 that led to India, England and Australia taking greater control of cricket’s governing body and allocating themselves 52 per cent of revenues generated by international events.

 

With the select committee having spoken to Greg Dyke, the England Football Association chairman, over FIFA corruption, the athletics chief Sebastian Coe regarding doping and Chris Kermode of the Association of Tennis Professionals on the subject of match-fixing in tennis, it will now turn its attention to cricket’s governance.  A CMSsc spokesperson said: “The committee has decided to look into the conduct of the ECB in relation to the governance of international cricket, in the context of the other investigations it is undertaking.  [It] has already looked at football, athletics and tennis, as part of a wider group of investigations into sports governance and, in relation to cricket, the ECB is an obvious choice to call in”.

 

Damian Collins, the Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe who sits on the select committee, has also emailed the ECB chairman, Colin Graves, about the ICC issue, having been part of a protest outside The Oval by the Change Cricket campaign last summer (PTG 1625-7936, 22 August 2015).  Shashank Manohar, the new ICC chairman, has already vowed to review the 2014 restructure before the annual conference in June (PTG 1756-8760, 5 February 2016), with Collins now asking Graves how he and the ECB envisage change.  

 

“This is a crucial moment for cricket,” Collins said. “We have put six key questions to the ECB, because the cricketing public deserve to know how their game is being run.  England, along with India and Australia, are the most influential boards at the ICC. In August I accused them of orchestrating a back-room power grab that saw these three countries taking over the game at the expense of the other 102.  We welcome the news from the recent ICC board meeting that the ICC is considering governance reform but we want to know what the ECB thinks that reform should look like.  It is hugely important that cricket does not miss this opportunity to embrace meaningful reform, and that the ECB are at the forefront of ensuring that the international game gets the independent, transparent and accountable governance it deserves. And if the ECB disagrees, we need to know why”.

 

Collins’ e-mail to Graves was sent last week before a special screening of 'Death of a Gentleman' at the House of Commons on Monday night, the award-winning documentary by film makers Sam Collins and Jarrod Kimber that charts the so-called “Big Three” takeover of the ICC (PTG 1770-8836, 24 February 2016).  An ECB spokesman said his organisation "is aware of interest from [CMSsc] to look into the governance of international cricket”.  "The Committee has already spoken to a number of sports bodies in their on-going enquiries into the governance of international sport and we would welcome the opportunity to talk with them in the coming weeks”.

 

Headline: BCCI submits Lodha report reply to Supreme Court.

Article from: The Hindu.

Journalist: Vijay Rajagopal.                         

Published: Tuesday, 1 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1774-8861.

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) filed a detailed counter-affidavit in the Supreme Court on Tuesday detailing the practical difficulties it faces in complying with the recommendations of the court-appointed Lodha Committee (PTG 1769-8831, 23 February 2016).  Sources said that the BCCI has opposed almost every recommendation of the Lodha panel, including the ‘one person, one post’ rule, age limit and tenure cap, bar on ministers or government servants holding positions in the BCCI, and ‘one State, one vote’ suggestions

 

The Lodha Committee had recommended an age limit of 70 for BCCI office-bearers and suggested that they hold office for three years with a three maximum terms allowable and with a cooling-off period between each term.  The Board has also objected to the Lodha Committee’s suggestion to include two representatives from the franchisees in the Indian Premier League governing council.  The Court is expected to consider the BCCI’s latest submission on Thursday.

 

Early last month, a Supreme Court bench described the Justice Lodha panel report on overhaul of BCCI as “straight-forward, rational and understandable” (PTG 8754, 5 February 2016).  It advised the BCCI to “fall in line” with the recommendations and save itself further trouble. “Your members have been wielding power for long... The match is over. There will be no second innings here”, said the Chief Justice at the time The BCCI responded that it respected the recommendations, but required time to first extensively deliberate with its 30-odd members. 

 

Headline: The human spirit and the love of the game.

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Wednesday, 2 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1774-8862.  

 

    

                                       Younis Zargar/Barcroft India

 

Amir Hussain Lone, 26, who is from Kashmir, lost both his arms aged only eight years old in a tragic accident at his father’s sawmill which made cricket bats. His father had to sell the business to pay for his son’s treatment and his son still loved playing the sport. Amir, who is captain of the Jammu and Kashmir state para-cricket team, is able to bat, bowl and field using his feet. His unusual technique for batting involves holding the bat between his neck and shoulder and he bowls with his toes using a sweeping leg movement to launch the ball.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,775

  Saturday, 5 March 2016

 

• Dhoni advised to follow McCullum spirit [1775-8863]. 

• Another ‘Mankad’, another controversy [1775-8864]. 

• Three Sri Lanka U-19 players suspended [1775-8865]. 

• Bangladeshi reprimanded for stump strike [1775-8866]. 

• CA get around to announcing ASC scholarship awardees [1775-8867]. 

 

Headline: Dhoni advised to follow McCullum spirit.

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Wednesday, 2 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1775-8863.

 

Indian one-day captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s criticism over the use of ear pieces by the umpires has raised many questions (PTG 1773-8851, 1 March 2016).  Former International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) member Daryl Harper, who is now a member of Cricket Australia’s Umpire High Performance Panel, is not sure whether Dhoni has raised this issue because the appeal was negated by the umpire.  Speaking by telephone from his Adelaide home, 64-year-old Harper said: “Obviously having two unimpeded ears to use would be preferable to having only one…but is this a case of calling for action when one lousy decision goes against M.S.Dhoni ?”

 

In the fifth over of the India-Pakistan Asia Cup match last Saturday, Khurram Manzoor appear to get some glove on a delivery and the ball was caught by Dhoni. The Indian players were quick in appeal but it made no effect on the Bangladeshi umpire Sharfuddoula.  “Has [Dhoni]  heard about the Umpire Decision Review System where a captain can request a review of a disputed decision and the third umpire is utilised to resolve the situation using replays, stump microphones and all forms of technology that will produce the correct result far more often than not?”, asks Harper.

 

“If he’s not happy, I would urge M.S. to adopt the practice that Brendon McCullum has developed very successfully during his tenure as New Zealand’s national captain. The Kiwis would have appealed and accepted the umpire’s decision in the time honoured tradition of cricket…whether they were happy with the decision or not”.  “Just recall the Nathan Lyon decision in the Adelaide Test earlier this [austral] summer (PTG 1701-8400, 2 December 2015). Even when it was confirmed that the third umpire had erred, Brendan McCullum simply moved on, without any theatrics or unnecessary banter. If McCullum doesn’t win a Spirit of Cricket Award for his outstanding leadership by example, then I’m no judge”.  In fact in 2015 McCullum won two such awards (PTG 1721-8535, 24 December 2015).

 

Harper, who had a number of run ins with Dhoni during the latter part of his umpiring career and blames the Indians for his departure from the EUP (PTG 785-3838, 30 June 2011), continued by saying:  “Then again, I’m still in shock after M.S.Dhoni was gifted an ICC Spirit of Cricket Award several years ago after his team recalled Ian Bell who had been given run out in bizarre circumstances. On that occasion, it took the entire tea interval, and extra time afterwards, a team discussion and a delegation from the England team before Bell was invited to continue his rudely interrupted innings. I guess I’m right. I am no judge”, Harper concluded.

 

Headline: Another ‘Mankad’, another controversy.

Article from: Daily News Analysis.

Journalist: Taus Rizvi.                         

Published: Friday, 4 March 2016 .  

PTG listing: 1775-8864.  

 

The ‘Mankading’ of a batsman in an Under-14 match in Mumbai on Wednesday resulted in the batting side’s coach refusing to send his next batsman to the crease, and he only relented when he was reminded of the ’timed out’ Law.  The incident, one of a number in recent months (PTG 1774-8855, 2 March 2016), involved Lilavatibai school’s off-spinner Abbas Karachiwala running out D'Silva school number three Raj Kuradia, much to the annoyance of the latter’s coach Amol Jadhav.

 

The unnamed umpire gave the batsman out immediately, but Jadhav protested the decision and at first refused to send his next batsman in.  Jadhav said he is upset with the way Mankading was allowed. “[Batsman Karudia] is upset that he got out in this manner. He wasn't even warned by the umpire and straight away given out. I protested by not sending the next batsman, but had to give in because if the next batsman doesn't come in three minutes, he will [on appeal] be timed out”, said Jadhav.

 

In the coach’s assessment the Mankading reflected "poor umpiring". "The quality of umpiring is low. The umpire should have warned the batsman before giving him out. After all the boys are Under-14. You cannot do this to them”, he said.

 

However, the Mumbai School Sports Association defended the umpire involved. Deepak Talim, its cricket co-ordinator, said: "We go by the Mumbai Cricket Association rule book. The umpire need not give a warning, the bowler can warn the batsman and that too only if he wants to. The umpire just gives the decision. The non-striker isn't supposed to leave the crease before the ball is bowled and the bowler has the right to run him out”.

 

Talim said that players of that age group cannot be blamed. "They do what they see on TV. There was a huge controversy on this Mankading issue during the Under-19 World Cup (PTG 1753-8746,  3 February 2016).  I think it is the duty of coaches to teach the kids sportsmanship and not just how to play the game. The coaches have to ingrain that culture from the grassroots".

 

Headline: Three Sri Lanka U-19 players suspended.

Article from: The Island.

Journalist: Reemus Fernando.                         

Published: Thursday, 3 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1775-8865.

 

Three members of the Sri Lankan Under-19 team that participated in the recent youth World Cup have been suspended for two, three and five matches as a result of their behaviour in recent Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA) quarter-final matches.  Richmond College players Charith Asalanka, the national skipper, plus Wanindu Hasaranga, will miss two and three games respectively, while St. Sebastian College's Avishka Fernando was suspended for five.

 

Reports available are not entirely clear, however the two Richmond players are said to have questioned umpiring decisions and as a result the match “ended abruptly” before it was completed, their opponents later being awarded the game by the SLSCA “as they had the first innings advantage when the incident occurred".  Fernando, was taking part in another quarter final, deliberately threw the ball at a fielder when he was batting.  A third quarter final "also ended abruptly” due to player agitation but no player reports from that game have so far come to light.

 

Headline: Bangladeshi reprimanded for stump strike.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Thursday, 3 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1775-8866.

 

Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan has been reprimanded for hitting the stumps with his bat in frustration on being dismissed in his side’s Asian Cup match against Pakistan in Mirpur on Wednesday.  Shakib immediately apologised to the umpires Anil Chaudhary and Ruchira Palliyaguruge for his action but match referee Jeff Crowe issued the reprimand.  Under International Cricket Council regulations Level One breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand and a maximum penalty of 50 per cent of a player’s match fee.

 

Headline: CA get around to announcing ASC scholarship awardees..

Article from: CA web site.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Friday, 4 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1775-8867.

 

Cricket Australia (CA) congratulated umpires Donovan Koch, Simon Lightbody and David Taylor on Friday for their award of Australian Sports Commission (ASC) National Officiating Scholarships for 2016.  CA’s public acknowledgment came six weeks after news first surfaced that the trio had been selected for the scholarships, the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth cricket officials to take part in the ASC scheme over the last nine years (PTG 1743-8671, 22 January 2016).

 

CA says the trio, along with awardees from other sports, attended a ASC workshop to start their scholarships on the Gold Coast during the last week of February, sessions they attended included "psychology (emotional intelligence), psychology, nutrition and recovery”.  A mid-season workshop will be held in June, whilst the program concludes in late November at the Australia Institute of Sport in Canberra. 

 

Canberra’s Lightbody is currently a member of CA's second-tier Development Panel (DP), Sydney-based Taylor is a colleague of his on New South Wales’ state umpires panel, while Koch is on Queensland’s state panel.  The latter pair are contenders for elevation to the DP ahead of the 2016-17 season.  Each of the three has a mentor who is appointedl as part of the scholarship program, Koch having Queensland umpire’s manager Rob Dunbar, Lightbody former international umpire Simon Taufel, while Taylor’s is Tony Larven a Sydney-based physiotherapist.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,776

  Sunday, 6 March 2016

 

• WT20C appointments go with panel hierachies [1776-8868]. 

• Player eligibility issues result in team's withdrawal [1776-8869]. 

• Racism claim goes straight to tribunal [1776-8870]. 

• Now its a spectator in the firing line [1776-8871]. 

• Player payments confirmed for inaugural WCSL [1776-8872]. 

• New pension fund offers millions for retiring Kiwi players [1776-8873]. 

 

Headline: WT20C appointments go with panel hierachies.   

Article from: ICC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Sunday, 6 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1776-8868.

 

International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) members fill all but one of the on-field spots in the 32-match Group stage of the men’s part of the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) which begins in India on Tuesday.  On the other hand, the 20-match women’s Group stage will in the main be managed on-field by umpires from the world body’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) and their two female colleagues selected for the event.

 

Last month the ICC named 31 match officials from 9 of the 10 Test playing countries to manage fixtures in the month-long WT20C series (PTG 1772-8846, 26 February 2016).  Those involved are the 7 members of its senior match referee’s panel, plus 24 umpires, all 12 from the EUP, 10 from the IUP, one its third-tier Associate and Affiliate Panel of International Umpires (AAIUP), and another from Cricket Australia’s (CA) second-tier Development Panel (DP).

 

Group stage games are to be played in Bangalore, Chennai, Dharamasena, Delhi, Kolkata, Mohali, Mumbai and Nagpur,  and most members of the match officials group will criss-cross the country during that phase of the event, some several times.  That plus the need to appoint ‘neutral’ umpires to games and the ratings of the officials presents a complex challenge for those drawing up appointments.

 

Of the match referees selected for men’s Group fixtures, Chris Broad and Andy Pycroft have 7 games, Ranjan Madugalle and Javagal Srinath both 6, David Boon 4, and Jeff Crowe 2, while panel newcomer Richie Richardson has women’s fixtures only.  Of the latter Crowe has 6,  Pycroft 5, Srinath 4, Boon and Richardson each 2 and Madugalle 1, Broad not featuring in the women’s part of the event.  All-up Pycroft has 12 Group matches to manage, Srinath 10, Crowe 8, Broad and Madugalle each 7, Boon 6 and Richardson 2.

 

The 64 on-field spots available in the men’s Group stage have gone to EUP members Aleem Dar, Marais Erasmus, and Rod Tucker with seven each, while Ian Gould, Nigel Llong and Sundarum Ravi have 6, Chris Gaffaney and Richard Illingworth 5, Kumar Dharmasena and Bruce Oxenford 4, and Richard Kettleborough and Paul Reiffel each 3.  Those 12 will also work as third and fourth umpires during the men’s competition.  The last remaining on-field place in the men’s series has gone to IUP member Johan Cloete, all except he having stood at Test level.  

 

Four EUP members have also been allocated on-field spots in women's Group stage matches, Gaffaney having two and Illingworth, Llong, and Ravi one each.  

 

The other 35 on-field places in women’s Group stage have gone to IUP members Simon Fry, Chettihody Shamshuddin and Joel Wilson with four each, Anil Chaudhary, Michael Gough, Vineet Kulkarni and Ranmore Martinesz each three, Cloete and Ruchira Palliyaguruge both two and C K Nandan one.  All are first class umpires in their home countries, Fry, Martinesz and Wilson also having stood in Tests.

 

The two female umpires appointed to the event, AAIUP member Kathy Cross, and Claire Polosak of CA’s DP, will each be on-field in three women’s games. They, like the men, have been allocated a number of warm-up games ahead of the event proper, which in their case will see the two of them stand together.

 

Appointments of referees and umpires for the last six games of the Championship, the four semi finals and two finals of the men’s and women’s events, will be announced once the respective Group stages have been completed.  One set of men’s and women’s semi finals will be played in Delhi and the other in Mumbai, the women’s games being curtain raisers for the respective men’s matches, while Kolkata will host the two finals at Eden Gardens on the same afternoon. 

 

Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies have teams in both the men’s and women’s competitions, while sides from Afghanistan, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Oman, Scotland and Zimbabwe are also taking part in the men’s draw.

 

Headline: Player eligibility issues result in team's withdrawal.   

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Saturday, 5 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1776-8869.

 

The Suriname Cricket Board (SCB) has withdrawn its team from May's World Cricket League (WCL) Division 5 series in Jersey after the International Cricket Council (ICC) "uncovered failures" in the Board’s processes relating to "player residency” issues.  The South American country’s team qualified for the forthcoming tournament in winning the WCL Division 6 event in England last September 2015, but after that week’s competition queries were raised about the eligibility of some of their players.

 

The ICC says once its investigation confirmed problems existed, disciplinary charges were initiated against the SCB which "has now accepted that it failed in its duty to ensure the provision of accurate residency information in respect of a number of players”. The SCB has also "expressed its sincere apologies for these failures to all the participating teams at the Division 6 series, as well as to the wider cricketing community".

 

As a result of the findings the SCB has agreed to withdrawal its team from the forthcoming Division 5 event and be relegated to the WCL's Americas Division 1, and that it will forfeit the $US25,000 ($A33,600, £UK17,600) competition grant received by all ICC Members who compete in last year's Division 5 tournament.  In addition the SCB will "submit to a full ICC in-country inspection, including in respect of its processes, including but not limited to those relating to residency documentation and player eligibility, at an appropriate time in the future".

 

Suriname’s absence means Vanuatu will be invited to replace Suriname in the Division 5 series in Jersey.  Vanuatu was selected because it lost to Suriname in last year's Division 6 semi-finals and subsequently won its play-off match against Norway to finish in third place.

 

Headline: Racism claim goes straight to tribunal.   

Article from: Geelong Advertiser.

Journalist: Nick Wade.                         

Published: Friday, 5 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1776-8870.

 

Allegations of racial vilification in a Geelong Cricket Association (GCA) match in Victoria are to be heard at an investigations hearing on Monday night.  The alleged inc­ident involves a comment made by one player to an opposition batsman during a GCA fixture almost a fortnight ago (PTG 1774-8856, 2 March 2016).  

 

The matter has escalated straight to an investigation hearing after the aggrieved player declined to go through a mediation process.  The grievance process typically involves a mediation chaired by the GCA, then a hearing facilitated by a trained mediator from the Victorian government’s Dep­artment of Justice if that fails. But neither will take place hence the investigation’s hearing.

 

Headline: Now its a spectator in the firing line.   

Article from: Various media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Saturday, 5 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1776-8871.

 

Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has proved a danger to the crowd after a six he struck hit a spectator in the face in the first of three Twenty20 Internationals being played against South Africa in Durban on Friday.  Marsh hit the six down to square leg and the ball ricocheted off an advertising board and hit a spectator in the face.  The young man was said to be despite suffering a badly bruised eye. 

 

Headline: Player payments confirmed for inaugural WCSL.   

Article from: CA web site.

Journalist: Alison Mitchell.                         

Published: Friday, 4 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1776-8872.

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed that all players taking part in its inaugural Women’s Cricket Super League (WCSL) will be paid, with a set match fee on offer for players from home and abroad, however, it has not indicated just what the fees will actually be. 

 

When the new six-team Twenty20 competition was announced in June last year (PTG 1616-7866, 11 August 2015), it was suggested that each host team would have the option of determining whether they would pay their players and how much.  However, Clare Connor, Director of England Women’s Cricket at the ECB, says that each player will be paid a standard match fee for every game they play, and that the fee will be the same regardless of experience.  In addition, overseas players will be paid a 'participation fee' to cover the duration of the event.  

 

"For year one of the competition, given the role the ECB is playing alongside the hosts in player allocation, we decided that standardised participation fees and match fees was the most sensible start-point from a fairness perspective", said Connor said. "We would envisage this changing as the competition evolves and as the competition starts to attract commercial interest.  Players are being assigned to teams centrally by the ECB for the WCSL) first season of the WCSL in order to spread the best players across the competition. England contracted players have already been told confidentially which teams they will be playing for, with remaining slots, including the overseas places, yet to be finalised.

 

Cricket Australia paid Women’s Big Bash League players tiered payments of between $A3,000 and $A10,000 (£UK1,570-5,225) for the duration of their inaugural seven-week tournament, but in line with the way ECB England Contracts are kept private, the ECB will not be disclosing the value of their player payments.  A number of Australian women players are expected to take part in the WCSL. All players will have their accommodation and travel expenses covered, with teams given "ring-fenced funding" to ensure all costs are met.

 

WCSL team names were confirmed last week as being, in modern-speak: Yorkshire Diamonds, Lancashire Thunder, Surrey Stars, Western Storm, Southern Vipers and Loughborough Lightning (PTG 1739-8647, 16 January 2016).

 

Headline: New pension fund offers millions for retiring Kiwi players.   

Article from: Sunday Star Times.

Journalist: Liam Napier.                         

Published: Sunday, 6 March 2016.  

PTG listing: 1776-8873.

 

A groundbreaking, multi-million dollar retirement fund is set to ease New Zealand cricketers through the often perilous transition from professional sport to the working world.  Cricket is leading the way with this, the first compulsory saving initiative in New Zealand professional sport which is aimed at preventing players falling on crippling financial hardship when their careers come to an abrupt end.

 

The fund was established in 2010, as part of the collective agreement between the Players' Association and New Zealand Cricket (NZC), to ensure New Zealand's 20 contracted players planned for the future and learned smart ways to invest their money.  Domestic cricketers were included for the first time in 2014.  The pot of money involved has now hit $NZ4 million ($A3.7 m, £UK1.8 m) spread across 123 players, about $NZ650,000 ($A600,000, £UK310,000) being contributed each year.

 

Funds range per individual but Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum is understood to have invested about $NZ200,000 ($A183,000, £UK96,000) in the scheme which is run a New Zealand superannuation provider. Fellow senior Black Caps Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson and Tim Southee have contributed similar amounts.  

 

The retirement fund comes following revelations from Rugby Union’s former Samoa, Counties Manukau and Highlanders midfielder George Leaupepe who claimed he was left on the scrapheap after retiring from professional sport. The late Jonah Lomu is another high-profile sportsman who ended up struggling financially.   

 

Former Central Districts and Black Caps batsman Mathew Sinclair is the poster child in the need for future planning. Sinclair arrived on the international scene with a double century on Test debut. He scored 36 first-class hundreds in total and finished with an average over 50. But, after a 20-year career, he struggled to find work after retiring in 2013 and eventually ended up on the dole, battling to support his two children.

 

"It's one of the best initiatives I've heard in a long time”, said Sinclair who now works in real estate in the Hawke's Bay area. "I can see major benefits in all aspects of getting this done. It's highly important to put that money aside rather than for something else that's not going to get them an asset.  Youngsters are realising they need to look at plan B and C in regards to their careers. We're seeing lots of examples of that at the moment and the more we can try and help these guys with that transition, the easier it will be".

 

Players involved in the scheme can withdraw funds at two junctures; half when they pulls stumps on their professional careers – the other half when they reach retirement age of 65.  Access to savings is also granted for a first house, or in times of financial hardship.  Funds are allocated from the player payment pool, which receives around 25 per cent of NZC's revenue, compared to 36 per cent for New Zealand Rugby.

 

New Zealand Cricket's 20 contracted players each bank between $NZ30,000 and $NZ40,000 ($A27,500-37,000, £UK14,400-19,200) into the savings scheme annually. That's made up of a base investment of $NZ20,000 per year ($A18,300, £UK9,600), with the rest dependent on how many matches they play each season. Domestic players get a minimum of $NZ2,500 per year ($A2,300, £UK1,200).   Each player manages their own investments with a financial adviser, giving them valuable insights into how best manage their money.

 

New Zealand Cricket Players' Association boss Heath Mills said: "We're delighted to get a superannuation scheme up and running. In all honesty it's been a glaring weakness of our contracting environment,  It's a good development because it means players will be saving from the day they start playing professional cricket.  If you look around the world, pension schemes are key components of most professional sporting environments. It wouldn't surprise me to see more sports start to put these in place here in New Zealand”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,777

  Monday, 7 March 2016

 

• Pink ball guinea pigs find plenty to like [1777-8874]. 

• Officials from eight countries support Asia Cup [1777-8875]. 

• Three wickets in three balls - but no hat-trick [1777-8876]. 

• Anti-corruption unit acts to prevent potential spot-fixing incident [1777-8877]. 

 

Headline: Pink ball guinea pigs find plenty to like.   

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Andrew Voerman.                         

Published: Sunday, 6 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1777-8874.

 

Hamilton and Waikato Valley made history on Friday-Saturday, taking part in the first day-night game with a pink ball to be played in New Zealand (PTG 1753-8745, 3 February 2016).  They allowed their Fergus Hickey Rosebowl fixture to be turned into an experiment several weeks ago, when a proposed round of Plunket Shield first class matches under lights fell through (PTG 1738-8633, 15 January 2016).

 

The game at Hamilton’s Seddon Park was a good contest, with Hamilton dominating on day one on Friday and taking a 236-run first innings lead, before Valley fought back in their second innings, only to be dismissed 10 minutes short of securing a draw. That left Hamilton a chase of 40 runs from four overs late on Saturday night, which Northern Knights batsman Daryl Mitchell managed easily.

 

Speaking afterwards, Mitchell was enthusiastic about playing more pink ball cricket in the future.  "It's an awesome idea. You saw mates and everyone coming in after work at 5 o'clock, so Test cricket will definitely be a massive hit.  It's definitely a good idea and concept. There are a few things to work on, but overall it was awesome”.

 

A couple of hundred spectators came down to watch the evening session on Friday, suggesting benefits could be felt below Test level also.  "Obviously you see in Plunket Shield at the moment, crowds aren't what we'd like them to be, so anything like this that could help would be good”, said Mitchell.  "It was awesome playing out there tonight, and last night as well"

 

Even so, Mitchell said there were a few kinks that would need to be ironed out.  "The ball probably didn't swing as much as we thought it was going to, especially under lights, so that's something to take into account”.  That’s “especially so in four-day cricket, where you still need to shine the ball up and be able to swing it."

 

Waikato Valley captain Keith Vincent said his players had mostly enjoyed being part of the historic fixture, despite ending up on the losing side.  "It's probably the only time that I and a few of the boys in our team will get the chance to play under lights. Being mostly amateur cricketers, it's a bit of a novelty.  It would have been better if we'd had a better outcome, but that's the way it goes sometimes, doesn't it?"

 

Vincent batted under lights on Friday and said he had no issues picking up the pink ball, except for the fact that with Knights seamers Scott Kuggeleijn and Jimmy Baker bowling, it was coming down at a rapid pace.  He said the early feedback from his team had been positive, and that the concept definitely had merit, even at this level of the game.

 

"Being the guinea pigs, you never know what to expect. There's always the excitement factor, that you're out there playing with a ball that no one's used in New Zealand before, but it was all good really.  I know the boys at our level, they enjoyed playing under lights. I imagine if this was an opportunity for other rep games at our level, they'd jump at it”.

 

Having now hosted a pink ball game, even at minor association level, Seddon Park should be in the box seat if plans to play a day-night Test next summer do eventuate.  South Africa, who are scheduled to tour early in 2017, have been mooted as a possible opponent, but there are plenty of discussions to be had before any plans are set in stone.  The next step for the players involved in this game will be to complete a survey giving feedback, which will be passed on to Northern Districts and New Zealand Cricket.

 

Headline: Officials from eight countries support Asia Cup.   

Article from: ACC appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Monday, 7 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1777-8875.

 

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) used eight umpires from six countries in the region for the Asia Cup Twenty20 series that ended in Dhaka on Sunday evening, the International Cricket Council (ICC) providing two ‘neutral’ match referees for the 17-match event.  Six of the umpires were from the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), the other two coming the world body’s third-tier Associates and Affiliates International Umpires Panel (AAIUP).

 

The IUP members appointed were: Enamul Haque, Sharfuddoula and Anisur Rahman from Bangladesh, Ruchira Palliyaguruge from Sri Lanka, Anil Chaudhary of India and Pakistan’s Shozab Raza, while the AAIUP members were Sarika Prasad from Singapore and Buddha Pradham of Nepal.  

 

Pradhan, Prasad, Haque, Rahman and Sharfuddoula supported the six-match Qualifying section of the event which was held immediately ahead of the tournament proper.  The latter three stayed on for the 11-match main part of the tournament, being joined by Chaudhary, Palliyaguruge and Raza for those games.  West Indian Richie Richardson, the newest member of the ICC’s senior-most referees’ panel managed the Qualifying games and first three of the main event, New Zealander Jeff Crowe coming in for the final 8 games (PTG 1761-8785, 12 February 2016).

 

Sunday night’s final saw Chaudhary and Raza on-field, they being the only neutral umpires left of those involved given it was a Bangladesh-India final, while Haque was the television official and Chaudhary the fourth umpire, Crowe being the match referee.  

 

During the coming week Chaudhary, Crowe, Palliyaguruge and Richardson will commence their work in the World Twenty20 Championship series (PTG 1776-8868, 6 March 2016).  Crowe starts those duties in Bangalore on Thursday, Richardson in Mohali on Friday, and Chaudhary and Palliyaguruge on Saturday in Chennai and Dharmasena respectively.

 

Headline: Three wickets in three balls - but no hat-trick.   

Article from: CA web site.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Sunday, 6 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1777-8876.

 

Western Australia fast bowler Joel Paris has pulled off a hat-trick that wasn't, taking three wickets in three consecutive balls across two matches.  The left-armer took a wicket with his first ball in WA's Sheffield Shield match against South Australia at the WACA Ground on Sunday, which was also the first delivery of the visitor's innings.  Seven days earlier he took two wickets from the final two balls of WA’s Shield match against Queensland at the same ground, but as the feat was achieved over two matches it was not a hat-trick.

 

Headline: Anti-corruption unit acts to prevent potential spot-fixing incident.   

Article from: Press Association.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Monday, 7 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1777-8877.

 

The International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit believes it has prevented a spot-fixing incident and identified the plotters. The chairman of the unit, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, said on Sunday the alleged planned fix involved members of an international team.  The revelation comes just days before the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series gets under way in India.

 

Flanagan did not disclose the individuals or the country involved as the case is still being investigated. However, the unit has acted in an attempt to prevent another potential betting scandal engulfing the sport by bringing the team’s squad together and reminding them of their responsibilities, while indicating it will punish those involved.

 

A retired senior British police officer, Flanagan told a press conference ahead of the WT20C: “Quite recently, we had reason to believe that members of a particular team had intentions to manipulate events in forthcoming matches.  “This was an international team, but I am not going to go into any details. The case is still under our investigation. Certain individuals we believe had intention to manipulate events, to facilitate betting on those events".

 

“When we come by a belief that something may happen in the future, bearing in mind that we exist to prevent corruption…we decided in this particular case that we would intervene immediately. We would bring together the entire squad, we would focus on individuals whom we suspected but we would remind the entire squad of all their responsibilities”.

 

Flanagan added in the press conference: “I am certain that our action in that particular case did indeed avert, did indeed prevent the intention of just one or two individuals. We have taken action in relation to those individuals and will be taking further action”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,778

  Thursday, 10 March 2016

 

• Umpiring errors mar Asia Cup [1778-8878]. 

• NZC looking for new Match Officials Manager [1778-8879]. 

• 700th match for long-serving Tasmanian umpire [1778-8880]. 

• Indian umpire aims for internationals [1778-8881]. 

 

Headline: Umpiring errors mar Asia Cup.   

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Mohammad Isam and Alagappan Muthu.                         

Published: Tuesday, 8 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1778-8878.

 

Umpiring was one of the major talking points in the Asia Cup, which was won by India on Sunday (PTG 1777-8874, 7 March 2016). There were several contentious decisions, some of which led to captains having animated discussions with the umpires. India’s Virat Kohli was fined for showing dissent, after being given out LBW against Pakistan, despite getting an inside edge (PTG 1773-8851, 1 March 2016).  However, none of the team managers contacted by Cricinfo confirmed if they had lodged official complaints or pointed out the wrong decisions in the captain's report, which is usually submitted to the match referee after each game. 

 

Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir also had two leg-before appeals denied against Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, in the same India-Pakistan match Kohl was fined. Both calls turned out to be debatable with replays showing that the ball would have hit the stumps. Earlier in the game, Pakistan opener Khurram Manzoor was given not out after he had gloved the ball behind to MS Dhoni who later said that the earpieces used by umpires were depriving them of the full use of their hearing ability, especially in matches played in front of packed crowds (PTG 1775-8863, 5 March 2016).    

 

The most controversial decision of the tournament came when Sri Lanka allrounder Thisara Perera was given out stumped by the square-leg umpire, even though replays showed that he had made his ground just before Dhoni had whipped the bails off.  Much like Dhoni, Sri Lanka's stand-in captain Angelo Mathews was careful not to pin the blame directly on the umpires. "You want to put me on the spot? [The decision] is a human error”, Mathews said. "I think we all make mistakes. Take it and move on. But if you have the technology you can use it”.

 

Pakistan and hosts Bangladesh were also affected by poor umpiring. Sharjeel Khan and Mohammad Hafeez were adjudged leg-before when the balls appeared to bounce over the stumps. Mushfiqur Rahim, meanwhile, was given out LBW to Shoaib Malik even as the ball pitched outside the leg stump.  Pakistan's coach Waqar Younis conceded that teams can't "really do much" when the decisions don't go their way. "The umpires try their best but I guess a couple of decisions haven't really gone in our favour when they could have”, Waqar said. "That's the way it is. One can say that's a little harsh, but you can't really do much about it”.

 

Headline: NZC looking for new Match Officials Manager.   

Article from: NZC web post.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Wednesday, 9 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1778-8879.

 

New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) Match Officials Manager Rodger McHarg, who stood in three Tests in the 1980s and early 1990s, is to retire from his position at the end of the current austral summer.  Christchurch-born McHarg, who will turn 69 in late March, has held his current position for almost eight years, having taken over from his predecessor, former Test umpire Brian Aldridge at the start of NZC's 2008-09 season.

 

In addition to Tests during his umpiring career, which were all played at Eden Park in Auckland, McHarg stood in another 50 first class and 39 List A fixtures, 13 of which were One Day Internationals (ODI) in the period from 1978-92.  He also umpired and refereed womens’ ODIs, one of them a 1982 Womens’ World Cup game, and worked as a scorer in both List A and first class games, the latter being a New Zealand tour match against South Australia at the Adelaide Oval in 1973.  In his younger years he played international hockey for New Zealand as a goal keeper.

 

News of McHarg’s departure became public via a post on the careers page of NZC’s web site on Wednesday which referred to "the retirement of the incumbent” and called for applications to be submitted by the last day of this month.  NZC says its Match Officials Manager is "responsible for providing leadership and management of cricket umpiring and match officiating in NZ at both community and professional level, and works with a number of international and NZ stakeholders to oversee umpiring at all levels of the game".  The role also "manages [NZ’s] elite match officials and is responsible for playing conditions and code of conduct management”.  

 

According to the position’s Job Description it has line control on one Umpire Coach, currently former international umpire Tony Hill, and despite them being scrapped last September, "three match referees” (PTG 1637-8012, 5 September 2015).  The successful applicant will says NZC "need an intimate knowledge of the laws and ethics of cricket, as well as being tech-savvy and able to think outside the square”.  They say they’re "looking to reinvigorate community umpiring and have a strategy to achieve this, so [the successful applicant will] need to be able to demonstrate [their] experience in driving through change whilst engaging relevant stakeholders”.  

 

The strategy referred to is the ‘That’s Out’ paper released six months ago by NZC cricket operations manager Lindsay Crocker titled: ‘A review of the strategy of recruiting and retaining cricket umpires in New Zealand' (PTG 1556-7476, 27 May 2015).  It received qualified support from members of the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NZCUSA) at their annual meeting last August (PTG 1632-7976, 31 August 2015).  Given what the NZC has said is its current tight budgetary situation, questions remain though as to whether NZC has the appropriate resources that will enable the paper’s ideas to be turned into reality.

 

Like McHarg, the successful applicant will be based at NZC’s High Performance Centre at Lincoln University near Christchurch.  There are a number of New Zealanders who have stood at Test and domestic first class level who potentially could apply for the job, although for many of them if they do and if they were successful, most would have to relocate from other major population centres in other parts of the country.  

 

However, while both Aldridge and McHarg, and before them Fred Goodall all stood at Test level, its not just former umpires who are of interest to NZC for as it says "those applying do not have to have umpired", rather "the successful candidate will need to demonstrate an affinity for umpiring, a good ‘feel' for the game and its participants".  That appears to be code for those who have played the game at first class level, but whether NZC have anyone in mind for the job is less clear.

 

Headline: 700th match for long-serving Tasmanian umpire.   

Article from: CT umpire appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Thursday, 10 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1778-8880.

 

Tasmanian umpire Brian Pollard is to stand in his 700th match as a member of the Tasmanian Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (TCUSA) this weekend in what is his 31st straight season in Cricket Tasmania's (CT) Premier League competitions. Pollard, 76, who stood in his first Tasmanian Cricket Association game way back in 1985, continues to be rated highly by the selectors.

 

His playing career involved many years with the Montagu Bay Cricket Club in Hobart as a batsman, and in the 1960s he and his batting partner established a record opening partnership of 208 in a suburban competition, a feat that still stands in the record books.  As the club's captain he led his side to several premierships and spent ten years on the committee there, his overall service being rewarded with Life Membership.  

 

Pollard took up umpiring in 1982 with the suburban association and stood in its matches for three seasons before moving over to CT's turf-based leagues.  Of his 700 Premier League matches, 240 have been at first grade level, equal to another long-serving umpire Don Heapy who is also still at the crease.  The TCUSA award for the umpire judged as the best umpire in CT’s first grade competition is called the Heapy-Pollard Medal.

 

Pollard's higher-level service includes a "two hour stint" in a Sheffield Shield match when one of the on-field umpires fell ill.  He served for many years on the TCUSA management committee, his work in that role and as an umpire being acknowledged by the award of a TCUSA Life Membership in 2008.

 

Headline: Indian umpire aims for internationals.   

Article from: Mid-Day.

Journalist: Ralston Marquis.                         

Published: Wednesday, 9 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1778-8881.

 

Mumbai cricket celebrated Indian Women's Day yesterday with Varsha Nagre stepping out to take her place on the field as umpire in an Under-14 Giles Shield match between Gokuldham and Anjuman Islam at Cross Maidan.  A left-arm spinner who has represented Mumbai at the senior, Under-19 and university levels, Nagre is also an official scorer for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).  

 

Nagre, 28, said on Tuesday she was inspired to take up umpiring while working as a scorer when New Zealand umpire Kathleen Cross was officiating in a Women's World Cup match in 2011.  “[Cross] aroused the interest in me to take to umpiring. She advised me how to go about becoming one, and I soon enrolled for a one-and-a-half-month course with the Mumbai Cricket Association. The course taught me the Laws of the game and after clearing the exams, I became a certified umpire”.  

 

Her family was reluctant at first. "Initially, my mom was not supportive, but now they all applaud me for following my heart. I am an independent woman. I previously worked as a coach and I umpired during the weekends. My mom often complains that I don't take enough rest but I enjoy being on the field”.   Nagre admitted that umpiring is no easy job. "It's a matter of judgment… we have to often make split-second decisions”, and "coaches could help by teaching students the importance of fair play and encourage them to walk back when they are out”.

 

Varsha earns a modest 1,200 Rupees per day ($A25, £UK12) as an umpire in Mumbai but it's the passion for the game that drives her. She aspires to officiate in an international fixture, saying: "I am a BCCI Level-1 umpire and my dream is to one day walk out in the middle for an international match”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,779

  Friday, 11 March 2016

 

• Skipper handed four-season ban for on-field actions [1779-8882]. 

• Phangiso’s action cleared ahead of World T20 series [1779-8883]. 

• Bangladesh pair's actions both under scrutiny [1779-8884]. 

• Squirrel's intrusion stops play [1779-8885]. 

• Umpires Cross, Polosak set for inspiring debut [1779-8886]. 

• Mid-pitch collision sees Zimbabwe captain run out again [1779-8887]. 

• Rauf ‘sucked in’ then ‘got stuck in the mud’, claims author [1779-8888]. 

• Planned 2017 County restructure a step in the right direction [1779-8889]. 

• Does Under-13 cricket need to be competitive? [1779-8890]. 

• Random dope tests to be conducted during WT20C [1779-8891]. 

 

Headline: Skipper handed four-season ban for on-field actions.   

Article from: Various reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Thursday, 10 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1779-8882.

 

The actions of a captain in a Mornington Peninsula Cricket Association (MPCA) match south-east of Melbourne last Saturday-Sunday have resulted in him being banned by the league from playing for the next four austral summers, one of which has been suspended on condition he is of good behaviour.  In addition to the censure against Hastings captain Tim Birch, an MPCA tribunal hearing on Wednesday also ruled that his club forfeit a $A1,000 (£UK525) good behaviour bond being held against them as a result of a previous disciplinary incident, and placed it on a further $A2,000 (£UK1,055) good behaviour bond that will be held by the MPCA for the next five years.

 

Observers present on the first day of Hastings’ league semi final match against Rosebud on Saturday, say that Birch came on to the ground when his side was batting after the umpires, who are believed to have been Ross Lewis and Colin O’Neill, were in discussion with the fielding side's captain Brad Glenn.  Just what matter Lewis and O’Neill were discussing with Glenn is not known, however, Birch is said to have approached the trio "in an angry fashion" that included "an expletive-laden dialogue that could be heard outside the boundary”.  

 

The umpires apparently ordered the Hastings’ captain from the ground, something observers say he did "somewhat reluctantly" with what appeared from a distance to be "further strong comment”.  Almost immediately afterwards though while Lewis, O'Neill and Glenn were still in discussion, Birch returned to the middle to resume his dialogue with the umpires, only be to told to leave for a second time.  Neutral spectators at the ground say both umpires were heckled by Hastings’ spectators at the end of play on day one.  

 

The bad blood did not end there though as despite having a night to calm down, Birch was involved in further incidents on the second day’s play on the Sunday.  The captain was eventually charged and found guilty of a raft of charges, including dissent.  He was also penalised for what a report in the 'Frankston Standard Leader’ newspaper on Thursday says was “showing disrespect to the tribunal and the process and thereby bringing the game into disrepute' after walking out of the tribunal hearing before it had concluded", apparently in somewhat of a huff .  The ‘Leader’ story says he: "admitted he did the wrong thing by leaving [but] it was out of frustration as he felt he was being unfairly dealt with".

 

MPCA rules are such that Birch, 39, has 14 days to table an appeal against the tribunal’s decision, otherwise he will not be able to play in the league “and all affiliated association competitions” until October 2019.  He told the 'Leader’ he would consider an appeal, but doubted he would play in the MPCA again.  The 'Leader’ quotes him as saying he’s “absolutely gutted for given his age he’s "just been retired out of cricket”.  

 

Wednesday's tribunal also suspended Hastings player Luke Hewitt for two games.  Whether he, or the Hastings club in regard to its monetary fine, plan to appeal are not known at this stage.  No information is available about just when and why Hastings were hit with the $A1,000 fine they have now forfeited because of the latest incidents involving one of their players. 

 

Headline: Phangiso’s action cleared ahead of World T20 series.   

Article from: Agence France Presse.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Thursday, 10 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1779-8883.

 

South African spinner Aaron Phangiso will now travel with the South African team to the World Twenty20 Championship after his bowling action was cleared following a second independent assessment.  Cricket South Africa says that Phangiso's action for all deliveries had been found to fall within the parameters of international regulations. The new assessment after tests last Monday came a week after it was announced that he had been banned from bowling in domestic cricket after all his variations had been found to exceed the 15 degrees of tolerance allowed (PTG 1774-8859, 2 March 2016).

 

Headline: Bangladesh pair's actions both under scrutiny.   

Article from: Cricbuzz.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Thursday, 10 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1779-8884.

 

Bangladesh's World Twenty20 Championship campaign has plunged into a spot of bother with the actions of bowlers Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny coming under the scanner.  Match referee Andy Pycroft is reported to have outlined his umpires’ concerns in his official report of the Asian side’s game against Netherlands in Dharamsala on Wednesday.  Chandika Hathurasinghe, Bangladesh’s coach said that he was confident that there was nothing wrong with the bowling action of either of his players.  

 

Under International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations the pair have 14 days to have their actions tested and can continue to play during this period.  The ICC has indicated that arrangements are in place for such tests to be conducted quickly during the WT20C series, most probably in Chennai.  The umpires who were on-field during the Bangladesh-Netherlands game were Sundarum Ravi and Rod Tucker, while Chris Gaffaney was the third umpire and Nigel Llong the fourth.

 

Headline: Squirrel's intrusion stops play.   

Article from: CA web site.

Journalist: Sam Ferris.                         

Published: Thursday, 10 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1779-8885.

 

There are a range of things that can cause delays in cricket, but on Wednesday at Newlands 'squirrel' can now be added to that category.  The rogue rodent caused chaos in Cape Town in the third Twenty20 international between South Africa and Australia, delaying play for five minutes at the start of the game’s second over.  The unidentified squirrel was chased by security, the standing officials and at one point Australia allrounder Glenn Maxwell, all to no avail.  

 

Four members of the local security unit thought they had the creature trapped in the north-eastern corner prior to play, but the mammal had other ideas, evading its captors to continue frolicking around the Newlands outfield.  An unknown woman tried to negotiate with the squirrel at the conclusion of Nathan Coulter-Nile's first over, but each discussion ended in the resident running away.  "It's the first time I've seen a sporting event held up by a squirrel”, said Australia selector and commentator Mark Waugh.

 

The intruder is thought to be either a Cape ground squirrel or its close cousin the Eastern Grey Squirrel.  While the strength of its arm is uncertain, its speed across the turf was a valuable asset when patrolling the deep boundaries at the picturesque venue.  The end of South Africa's innings also ended the squirrel's stay, it being ushered off as the players left the field. 

 

Headline: Umpires Cross, Polosak set for inspiring debut.   

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Shashank Kishore.                         

Published: Thursday, 10 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1779-8886.

 

In 2003, Australian Claire Polosak was given a rather unique challenge by her friend's father: to study for an umpire's exam, because she had a habit of reeling out rules every time she watched a match on television. She took the exam, but couldn't qualify in the written test as her playing knowledge was limited. A decade on, Polosak, who grew up to become a school teacher in Goulburn, a small town outside Sydney, couldn't be happier.  Now at 27, she will be the officiating at the Women's World T20 Championship, her first global tournament, where she will also be the youngest umpire. But getting to India has meant Polosak has also had to seek leave from her employers, Pittwater High School, where she continues to teach science to primary school kids.

 

"I've got a very supportive principal at school, a very supportive head teacher”, Polosak says, when asked about her twin roles. "They know how much both cricket and teaching mean to me. I think it is really important for the kids that I teach to see me achieving the goals that I have to achieve, so that they know that they can do whatever they want if they so choose. At the moment, I haven't had to make a choice between teaching and umpiring, so that's a future problem to have”.

 

Umpiring began as an evening activity for Polosak. After spending the mornings at school, she would head to the playgrounds and volunteer to umpire. "I grew up in a town where there wasn't any girls' cricket. But I've always followed the game; I had big posters of cricketers on the walls of my room. So standing in random games is how it all started”, Polosak says. "That turned into a passion, and here I am today."

 

A move to Sydney five years ago for university helped broaden her horizons as she enrolled for Cricket Australia's (CA) exams. Having cleared in flying colours after three attempts, she began officiating in junior grade matches. Years of ground work and umpiring in extreme weather convinced her that she had it in her to continue. It's a decision she doesn't regret, even if umpiring may not have been lucrative at the grade level. Being chosen as the first female to officiate as a third umpire in Australia's domestic one-day cup last year vindicated her decision.

 

Besides Polosak is Kathy Cross, 30 years her senior and a veteran in the umpiring circuit in New Zealand. Like Polosak, the love for cricket fueled Cross' passion for umpiring. A stop-start career as a cricketer further drove her towards excelling in a field she describes as a "path less travelled". 

 

Two years after she made her way through grade cricket, Cross was inducted into New Zealand Cricket's umpiring panel, and was listed to officiate in the 2000 Women's World Cup at home. In 2002, she was named fourth umpire in a Test between England and New Zealand at Wellington. With increased scrutiny at the highest level came a number of hurdles, which Cross says she cleared because of support from New Zealand.

 

"I've had some very good opportunities. And it is all about taking those opportunities when they came”, Cross elaborates. "Sometimes you have to make choices and sometimes those choices are quite harsh. However, the pathway for women has been very narrow in the past. It's probably only the last two or three years that we have seen more women coming through and it's great to see that. I hope that we can continue to set the pathway for more women to come into umpiring”.

 

Recognition took its time coming for both umpires, but Polosak says she had to work that much harder than Cross because of her non-cricket background. "Between us, Kathleen played a lot of cricket and I have never played cricket. So, I think having never played cricket before probably meant that at the beginning I needed to work harder and develop those game awareness skills that you would have being a player”, Polosak explains. "But as I progressed through CA's pathway, I don't think it is a huge disadvantage by having not played cricket. It just about loving the game and knowing how to manage the game”.

 

As Polosak speaks, Cross, who listened in carefully, adds: "With me having played cricket, it does give you an insight into what the players are actually thinking. We might pre-empt what might happen. We may see situations that may be happening and we can deal with it. You're that much more tuned in because playing gives you an idea. But if you are serious about your target, not having playing competitive cricket can be a gap that can be bridged with a lot of hard work”.

 

The success of Polosak and Cross is, in some ways, a reflection of the work done by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in promoting umpires. Cross, who came through a stringent assessment following her stints at the World Cricket League, earned a promotion when she officiated at the Women's World Cup in 2009 and 2013. More recently, Cross was a part of the Women's World T20 qualifiers in Thailand along with Polosak.

 

Both of them have a uniform view when asked to pick out the biggest difference between umpiring in a men's game and in a women's game. "I'd say there is some difference between the women's and the men's cricket”, Polosak states, Cross nods. "But I would say the intensity is the same. They are both teams that are out there to win the game. But sometimes the atmosphere can be little bit different. I think the girls don't get as hot-headed, for the lack of a better word, than the men do. But I haven't felt being treated any differently”.

 

Their ultimate goal, which is also on similar lines, is the prospect of breaking into the big league, the ICC'S Elite Umpires Panel. Looking at how they have carefully charted their journey so far, it would seem that their dream isn't too far-fetched.

 

Headline: Mid-pitch collision sees Zimbabwe captain run out again. 

Article from: Match observations.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Thursday, 10 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1779-8887.

 

Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza has been run out twice in somewhat unusual circumstances in as many games in his side’s two World Twenty20 Championship matches played to date.  On Tuesday against Hong Kong, he was run out after a somewhat lazy attempt to complete a run,  then on Thursday a mid-pitch collision with batting partner Vusi Sibanda in a match against Scotland saw him dismissed in the same manner, this time by a much larger margin.

 

Headline: Rauf ‘sucked in’ then ‘got stuck in the mud’, claims author.   

Article from: Pakistan Herald.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Thursday, 10 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1779-8888.

 

Former Pakistan international umpire Asad Rauf got “sucked into the system, played along but them got stuck in the mud”, according to the author of a new book titled ‘Fixed’ which is to be published in India next month.  Last month the Board of Control for Cricket in India banned Rauf for three years for "misconduct and corruption” during the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) 2013 series, something he denies was the case despite allegations he accepted "expensive gifts from bookies" and placed bets on IPL matches (PTG 1762-8791, 13 February 2016).

 

The book’s author, journalist Shantanu Guha Ray, says his publication “takes an overarching look at world cricket and various corruption issues”.  “Like football, cricket has its fair share of illegal cash, but unlike what we have seen in football, there has been no serious effort at cleansing it”, he claims.  As a result, the Delhi-based writer contends, “corruption will continue because the gravy trail is too big ... I doubt there ever will be a total spring cleaning”.

 

Guha Ray, says ‘Fixed’ has “loads of interesting stories” ranging from those on Hansie Cronje and the late Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer to material on cricketers.  The stories include those which surfaced during the World Cup in 2011, jointly hosted by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.  “Text messages routinely predicted the results, the most bizarre being the India‐Pakistan match in Mohali”.  

 

"When the Pakistanis were bowling, people had information about how the next over would go, over-by-over”, claims the author, and he also referred to the multiple reprieves Man-of-the-Match Sachin Tendulkar got; the Pakistanis grassed four catching chances off him when he was on 27, 45, 70 and 84.  “You drop one catch ... fine; you drop two catches ... fine. But you do it four times? You don’t drop Sachin Tendulkar four times. Even the foreign journalists were surprised”. 

 

‘Fixed’ also touches upon Rauf “but not in detail [as he] did not talk much in India, going back home very quickly after some charges surfaced against him” over the way he officiated in the IPL.

 

Headline: Planned 2017 County restructure a step in the right direction.   

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist: Mike Selvey.                         

Published: Wednesday, 9 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1779-8889.

 

The decision to cut the County Championship to 14 matches and relegate the County 50-over series to early season has bought the board time to try and copy Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL) model.  The subtext to the changes to the structure of the County schedule from 2017 is clear enough from the words of Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). “We now have a great opportunity”, he said, “to take a detailed look at a range of options and find the best structure for the long-term health of the domestic and international game”.

 

In other words, the decision to cut the County Championship to 14 matches, with two divisions of eight and ten teams respectively, to play the domestic Twenty20 series as a midsummer block and to relegate – the appropriate word, however it is dressed up as some sort of preparation for the Champions Trophy that summer – the 50-over competition to April and May (except that the final will be played in July), has bought them time to thrash out what is really believed to be the best structure for the future of the domestic game.

 

Agreeing on such changes is not as simple as many might believe – for example, those who thought it a no-brainer that there should be a franchised or city-based Twenty20 competition and that opportunities have been missed by the ECB.  Essentially though, while the ECB has an executive it is still a cooperative, which means that while there is a management structure, there still has to be a corporate agreement.  Persuading all the Counties that any changes are to their mutual benefit is the tricky bit. Softly is better. There are also broadcasting agreements to consider, the current ones lasting until the end of the 2019 season and the future of which will already be under preliminary discussion.

 

The nature of broadcasting rights is changing all the time, particularly when it comes to the packaging of what they call “device rights”: the increasing prevalence of smartphones and tablets, and the demand for clips. In particular, the Indian TV market, hitherto considered a licence to print money by any country who played the India national team, has apparently become so parochial that not only are Indian viewers reluctant to watch any cricket that does not involve India, they are also averse to watching India matches staged abroad.  To this end there is no one in the world more familiar than Harrison, whose previous work with the media distributor IMG involved overseeing media rights sales for Cricket Australia (CA), Cricket South Africa and the Indian Premier League, with work for Star Sports in Singapore before that.

 

The opportunity to ensure the first-class season starts later by moving the one-day competition is a really sound one which is based on CA’s approach of recent years. The season had been bursting at the seams so the only way to incorporate all the cricket was to expand the season, with early-to-mid-April championship matches on sappy, damp pitches distorting the picture. To illustrate, in 13 seasons as a professional, I played only five championship matches that started in April, three of them on the last day of that month and none earlier than 28 April. The latest start to a championship season we had in that time was 10 May, in 1978. By that time this coming summer Middlesex will be in the middle of their fourth match, a quarter of their season.

 

In the future I believe County Championship cricket, which has always been a loss-leader although essential to the development of Test cricketers, will remain essentially niche, as will Test cricket around the world, despite the calls for its primacy. This is part of a democratic process in which it is blindingly obvious that the mass of spectators are demonstrating what it is they really want to watch.

 

By 2020 (appropriately) we should see a city-based competition blocked into the middle of the summer, closer to the BBL model in which CA has overall control, rather than the Indian franchise system. This will not be straightforward: our grounds are not large enough to accommodate the sort of numbers the BBL has seen, and in Australia the expansion has been from six state sides to eight, with Melbourne and Sydney sustaining two each. Here, it would be necessary to shrink it down, and almost forget the County divisions.

 

But herein comes the real problem. A city-based competition would preclude home games for those counties – Essex and Somerset in particular – who rely on a few days’ T20 a year for a large proportion of their income.  So, two things. First, an equable way has to be found for the city competition to benefit all the counties (and minor counties to an extent) and this might have to include ancillary income from merchandising, food and drink outlets and entertainment.  Second, the T20 could continue through the summer anyway apart from the period of the city competition. But it would mean jettisoning 50-over domestic cricket. Personally I am convinced that T20 cricket gives proper preparation for One Day Internationals and it might even enhance it.

 

Headline: Does Under-13 cricket need to be competitive?   

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: V Ramnarayan.                         

Published: Thursday, 10 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1779-8890.

 

For a brief period in the 1990s, I did the rounds of Chennai's cricket grounds where age group cricket was being played. It was delightful to watch the youngest cricketers, belonging to the Under-13 category, with their fierce passion and unconcealed delight or disappointment when they clean-bowled a batsman, took a good catch or scored some runs, failed or appealed in vain. Most of them were immaculately turned out, with their English willow bats, perfect protective gear, including helmets and elbow guards - thanks to their new generation parents who took an active, sometimes hyperactive interest in their cricket. 

 

There was talent in abundance. Some of the little fellows could really belt the ball long and hard. The bowling was less impressive overall, with many of the aspiring pace bowlers too poorly endowed physically to generate any pace, and mostly tending to spray the ball around. There were some decent spinners, with a surprising number of them wristspinners of promise. This development was perhaps the result of the Shane Warne ball of the century. Of course, every batsman was a prodigy of Sachinesque potential in his parents' doting eyes. The poor coach had to field their ambitious queries all the time: ''When will my boy play for India?'' was a standard question, and the mother or father of the young player did not easily accept an ambivalent answer.

 

I usually sat far from the pavilion, permanent or makeshift, in order to insulate myself from these annoying conversations and to avoid being seen by parents who might spot a useful contact in me, given my assumed but non-existent influence with the selectors.  Cricket parents were the reason why I stopped watching junior cricket. Most coaches and cricket administrators, very similar to tennis coaches and mentors, will tell you what a nuisance some of these people can be, with their technicolor dreams for their offspring. 

 

One particular instance made me quit what was otherwise a pleasant pastime that gave me the vicarious pleasure of being part of the growth of the occasional exceptional talent. A young batsman, let's call him ''A'', was run out in a misunderstanding with his partner ''B'', and instinctively reacted angrily but only fleetingly. But watching from the boundary line, his father was not amused. When the players were trooping off for lunch, he caught hold of the still unbeaten ''B'' and hurled a stream of expletives at him, questioning his parentage and accusing him of sabotaging his son's career.

 

Meddling parents is not the only reason why I am against organised U-13 cricket competition. While it is perfectly normal for kids to play matches at an early age, the official competitions for cricketers yet to reach their full height and weight force these kids to specialise too early in their lives. How does a 12-year old know whether he will attain in his adulthood the physical attributes necessary for a fast bowler? How many aspiring spin bowlers know how to manage their rapid height growth in puberty, which causes problems in flight and trajectory all of a sudden for them? 

 

Competitive cricket at such an early age also tends towards over-coaching and stereotyping, often at the expense of a boy cricketer's natural ability.   During the period of the eminent Hemu Adhikari's stint as India’s national head of coaching for juniors, it was jokingly said that he tended to convert off-spinners into leg-spinners and fast bowlers into batsmen. This had a sniff of truth in it, and there were confused spinners in the 1970s who did not know whether they were wristspinners or finger spinners.  Once the young cricketer is physically formed, he gets to know his physical strengths and weaknesses, and that is the right time to specialise. 

 

A lot of spontaneity and freedom marked the cricket the young played in the 1950s and '60s, and most kids tried everything from fast bowling to wicketkeeping until they were 16 or so when about to leave school. If you take the example of a slow bowler, this is when he really learnt to impart spin. He learned to give the ball a real tweak and tried to obtain as much turn as he could muster - before concentrating on accuracy.   The problem with a bowler who starts to specialise in one department early is that he invariably learns line and length before he has mastered spin, swing or seam. This can lead to an army of defensive bowlers who cannot defeat batsmen with lateral movement, spin or pace. Budding tearaways tend to get defanged in the pursuit of economy.

 

The other result of such early exposure to competitive cricket is the emergence of an assembly line of batsmen. This could be one of the factors in India's riches in the batting department and its relatively weak bowling attack.  Some of the better fast bowlers India has produced, Javagal Srinath for instance, started bowling fast when they were 17 or 18. They had not come through the organised system, where they would have burned out by that age. 

 

The most disgusting by-product of age group cricket is the widespread age cheating in which players, schools, coaches, administrators and parents collude (PTG 1691-8323, 21 November 2015). How can we build character in a cricketer while condoning or even encouraging dishonesty?  We all agree that cricket, like any other sport, should be enjoyed by its players, especially during their childhood and adolescence (PTG 1745-8685, 24 January 2016). Why then don't we keep children out of the official age-group competitions until they are 16, instead of pushing them into competitive cricket earlier?

 

Headline: Random dope tests to be conducted during WT20C.   

Article from: Agence France Presse.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Thursday, 10 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1779-8891.

      

World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) organisers say they will carry out random dope tests during that event following a series of drug scandals that have blighted the sports world in recent times.  Doping has been rampant in the field of athletics and this week tennis’ poster girl Maria Sharapova admitted to being tested positive for the recently banned drug meldonium at the Australian Open, all of which is a warning to the sport of cricket (PTG 1740-8656, 17 January 2016).

 

The organisers of the WT20C’s sixth edition want to make sure that the event stays clear of the doping menace.  Tournament director M V Sridhar, the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s general manager for cricket operations said: “Dope tests are already in place. Random tests will happen during the event”.  “The tests will be done by the International Cricket Council (ICC) anti-doping committee as per the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code”, said Sridhar.  The ICC has been a signatory to the WADA code since 2006 and has been complying by the international agency’s program by upgrading the clauses every year.

 

Jamaica's Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (IADDP) has set a hearing for Tuesday week at an undisclosed location for West Indies player Andre Russell to answer charges of a 'whereabouts rule' violation.  Russell, 27, missed three anti-doping tests within a 12-month period, and last Friday the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission said it had referred the matter to the IADDP.  However, it is unlikely that Russell, who has not been provisionally suspended, will attend that initial hearing as he is slated to be representing the West Indies at the WT20C in India.

 

ICC chief executive David Richardson has previously said his organisation will continue random doping players of any team as they want to see that the game is clean.  Last year, Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah and Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kusal Perera also saw suspensions by their respective boards and ICC after testing positive for banned drugs.  While Yasir was banned for three months in January for a code breach, a suspension that is due to end on the last Sunday of this month (PTG 1756-8759, 8 February 2016), Perera faces a four-year ban after his provisional suspension ends (PTG 1722-8541, 26 December 2015).

 

Pakistani pacers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif had also faced bans after testing positive for a prohibited substance named nandrolone just weeks before the Champions Trophy event in 2006.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,780

  Sunday, 13 March 2016

 

• Club's Supreme Court bid fails to overturn players’s suspension [1780-8892]. 

• Hazlewood opens up on 'one-off' outburst [1780-8893]. 

• How a cricket match led to a hacker war [1780-8894]. 

 

Headline: Club's Supreme Court bid fails to overturn players’s suspension.   

Article from: Various reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Saturday, 12 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1780-8892.

 

A Melbourne suburban cricket club were forced to make do without their former Sri Lankan leg-spinner Malinga Bandara in a grand final on Saturday after the Victorian Supreme Court denied a last-minute bid to have his suspension overturned.  Springvale South Cricket Club (SSCC) attempted to free Bandara, 36, who was suspended for two matches by the Dandenong District Cricket Association (DDCA) tribunal on Thursday night.  

 

The tribunal found Bandara guilty of misconduct for swearing at opposition player Trevor Davies and then raising his bat in a threatening manner during last week's semi-final win against Heinz Southern Districts. SSCC launched eleventh-hour legal action on Friday in an attempt to have the suspension quashed.   The hearing also found Davies guilty of grabbing Bandara’s helmet during the altercation in the semi-final.  

 

Bandara’s lawyer, Myles Tehan, told the Supreme Court the tribunal denied Bandara procedural fairness and natural justice by not allowing Davies to be called as a witness in his case. But tribunal chairwoman Christine Ware told the court the player advocate who represented Bandara did not indicate at the appropriate time that Davies would be called as a witness.  Ms Ware said the advocate raised the matter during the summing up of arguments, after Davies had been excused from the hearing and left to go home.  Further, the court heard Davies had not been approached to give evidence by Bandara prior to the hearing.

 

Supreme Court Justice Jack Forrest upheld the tribunal’s decision, handing down his ruling on Saturday morning just two hours before the start of play in the DDCA grand final.  Earlier he told the hearing there was “an issue as to about whether this court [which is the highest in the state of Victoria] should ever intervene with the decision of a domestic tribunal”.  SSCC secretary Tony Cooper declined to comment, however, SSCC chairman Tim Cockayne said he was "extremely disappointed" by the decision.  

 

Cockayne said outside the court on Saturday morning:  “[Bandara has] never been reported, never been disciplined, never been suspended”, adding that he’s "extremely disappointed for [Bandara] and his reputation”.  But tribunal chairwoman Ware said "common sense had prevailed” and that “the Victorian Supreme Court  is not where I expected to be this morning”.  Bandara played 8 Tests, 31 One Day Internationals and four Twenty20 internationals during an international career which ran from 1998-2010.

 

Headline: Hazlewood opens up on 'one-off' outburst.   

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Saturday, 12 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1780-8893.

 

A contrite Australian bowler Josh Hazlewood has opened up about his meltdown during the recent Test in Christchurch, New Zealand, last month, saying it was out of character and won't happen again.  Hazlewood and his skipper Steve Smith were both charged with dissent and fined as a result of their actions during the game (PTG 1771-8839, 25 February 2016).

 

Hazlewood says his outburst, which involved the use of a number of choice words, had more to do with a wicket-less morning session than anything else.  "It wasn't really towards anyone, it was just venting a bit of frustration.  It was definitely out of character. I can't ever recall doing anything like that.  It was just one of those heat of the moment things. We'd had a tough session with a couple of near misses.  In the future I have to be a bit smarter ... I have to behave better".

 

The fast bowler said Australian coach Darren Lehmann told him afterwards: "you've just got to realise the microphones are on all the time, realise where you are and what you're saying”.  Whether that was the extent of Lehmann’s concerns is not clear.  Hazlewood said he and his team mates are "well behaved for the majority of the time and there is the odd slip-up.  We've got to be better and hopefully they happen less and less in the future”. 

 

Hazlewood also gave NZ all-rounder Corey Anderson a spray shortly after the incident but the pair have already shared a beer and a laugh about Hazlewood's blow-up.  "I know Corey quite well from the [Indian Premier League], I was just trying to get under his skin a little bit”, said Hazelwood.  "What happens on the field stays on the field, we're great mates off it so it's all good. The Kiwis are a great bunch of blokes.

 

Headline: How a cricket match led to a hacker war.   

Article from: BBC web site

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Saturday, 12 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1780-8894.

 

Fierce cricket rivalry is a tradition in South Asia. But a match between Bangladesh and India saw fan-fanaticism taken to the extreme - and ended with hackers taking down Bangladeshi government websites.  The spat began around the time of the final of the Asia Cup between India and Bangladesh last Sunday. India was favoured to beat the smaller country, but Bangladesh had been playing well and were hoping for an upset.

Spurred on by their hopes for victory, Bangladeshi fans mocked up a gory, cartoonish image showing their star player Taskin Ahmed holding the severed head of India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.  The image spread rapidly throughout social media - shared by those using it as a battle cry, and by others condemning the Photoshopped picture for being in bad taste.

 

In the end, India won by eight wickets to capture their sixth Asia Cup title. But Indian fans weren't keen to forgive the pre-match Bangladeshi bravado. They adapted the gory meme and also posted pictures of Bangladesh's "trophy cabinet" - empty of course.  All of which would have been simply a footnote in the long history of rabid cricket fandom. But trading insults wasn't enough for some Indian fans.

 

After the match a team of hackers calling themselves the 'Kerala Cyber Warriors' hacked into more than 15 Bangladeshi websites, including several belonging to the government. Visitors to the sites were greeted with victorious Hindi music, yet more cricket memes and a message: "YOUR CRICKET TEAM IS NOTHING”.  The hackers wouldn't identify themselves but they did say why they had carried out the attacks.  

 

“[Bangladesh fans] started this and we finished it”, they said via email. "They went too far in Photoshopping Dhoni's picture. It went viral and we felt really bad. Their attitude provoked us to do this.  We know defacing a site is a crime. But this is payback. Bangladeshi hackers have done the same in the name of cricket. So why can't Indian hackers do the same?”  However, they "didn't delete any data from the websites. We just defaced their home pages. They can easily recover the sites by uploading a default file”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,781

  Monday, 14 March 2016

 

• Latest in officials' safety equipment unveiled during WT20C warm-up game [1781-8895]. 

• Ryder in hot water again after outburst in club match [1781-8896]. 

 

Headline: Latest in officials' safety equipment unveiled during WT20C warm-up game.   

Article from: CA web site.

Journalist: Sam Ferris.                         

Published: Sunday, 13 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1781-8895.

 

Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford has debuted the latest innovation in umpire safety in Sunday's Australia-West Indies World T20 Championship warm-up game in Kolkata: a forearm shield.  Oxenford wore the protective equipment on his left arm as the International Cricket Council (ICC) and global boards continue to explore new ways to protect standing officials in T20 cricket.  Looked to be made of clear Perspex, the shield is strapped to Oxenford's non-dominant signalling arm, and can be used to parry and block shots fired back in the umpire's direction.

 

It's the latest innovation in the area after Australian umpire John Ward was hospitalised when he was struck in the head umpiring a match in India late last year (PTG 1701-8399, 2 December 2015).  That incident led to Ward and fellow Australian Gerard Abood wearing a helmet during Cricket Australia's Big Bash League, the former also donning one in a One Day International (ODI) for the first time (PTG 1740-8650, 17 January 2016).  The ICC have since followed suit, supplying all umpires at the World T20 with helmets, though they're not obligated to wear them (PTG 1750-8719, 30 January 2016), and to date nobody has.

  

 

English umpire Richard Kettleborough said shortly after he was struck on the leg during a ODI between Australia in Canberra in January:  "We've seen some umpires being hit in recent times and it's becoming quite dangerous, certainly in T20 and one-day cricket especially.  Our safety, as with the players, is paramount. The non-strikers are in danger too, as is the bowler in his follow-through, there's no doubt about that.  It's only a matter of time before someone gets hit quite badly”.  

 

Work has apparently been underway behind the scenes in several countries to address umpire safety issues (PTG 1613-7840, 7 August 2015.  Whether Oxenford’s arm guard is part of that initiative is not known.

 

Headline: Ryder in hot water again after outburst in club match.   

Article from: Fairfax NZ.

Journalist: Mark Geenty.                         

Published: Sunday, 13 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1781-8896.

 

Former New Zealand international Jesse Ryder faces a potential fine for alleged dissent towards an umpire's decision whilst playing for Petone-Eastbourne in a Cricket Wellington (CW) club match in late February. The incident involved former international umpire Evan Watkin in a Twenty20 knockout competition semi-final. Ryder was bowling and had an appeal turned down by Watkin, and is understood to have made his displeasure loud and clear as he walked back to his mark.

 

Watkin and fellow umpire Paul Cummings filed a written report after the match, which Petone-Eastbourne won, and Ryder was charged with dissent towards an umpire's decision. The code of conduct hearing wasn't convened until last Wednesday, after Ryder played a significant role in Petone's win in the final.  It is understood Ryder did not attend the hearing, but his captain BJ Crook did.  Ryder was absent from club cricket last Saturday but it is understood that was unrelated to the dissent charge.   

 

CW chief executive Peter Clinton was guarded on any details of the hearing, including the identity of the player. He said commissioner Mike Gould was yet to release his decision and "until such time as we receive that, we're not going to make any comment”.  CW's handbook recommends the penalty for any professional player found guilty of an offence to be a fine rather than a suspension.  Under New Zealand Cricket (NZC) guidelines, ‘dissent' is classed as a Level One offence, with a recommended fine of $NZ200 ($A180, £UK94), while 'serious dissent' is a Level Two offence with a recommended fine of $NZ500 ($A450, £UK235).

 

Ryder, 31, is no stranger to cricket's judicial process. Last year he admitted to a breach of NZC's code of conduct and was suspended from Otago's final Plunket Shield match for serious dissent and using offensive language after being given out (PTG 1542-7417, 26 March 2015).  In 2012 he fronted a CW hearing and escaped with a reprimand after being charged with unacceptable behaviour following an ugly clash with his former Wellington team-mate Harry Boam in a club match (PTG 956-4649, 3 July 2012).

 

Whilst the latest transgression was at the low end of the scale, another Ryder brush with officialdom won't impress Black Caps coach Mike Hesson.  Hesson confirmed he met Ryder for coffee in Wellington last month but wouldn't go into details. The meeting was initiated by Ryder to indicate his potential availability for internationals, having not played for New Zealand since January 2014. He had raised the ire of team-mates and management with several alcohol-related incidents. The meeting was also attended by current skipper Kane Williamson, senior player Tim Southee, team manager Mike Sandle and Ryder's manager Aaron Klee.

 

It is understood Hesson remains unmoved on his stance of not selecting Ryder, who received glowing reports from Central Districts for his conduct and commitment to staying off alcohol this season as they won the national 50-over title. There remains a lack of trust after past incidents, and it is believed Hesson has moved on and will continue to look elsewhere to fill the Black Caps' batting slots.  Wellington-based Ryder was contracted to Central Districts in 2015-16 for limited overs cricket only, and is soon to rejoin Essex for another English county season.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,782

  Tuesday, 15 March 2016

 

• Seven years on, still no sign of ‘wearables’ product [1782-8897]. 

• First class umpiring debut for former Windies’ bowler [1782-8898]. 

• Omani spinner’s action under scrutiny [1782-8899]. 

• Tempers flare as batsman 'swipes' bowler [1782-8900]. 

 

Headline: Seven years on, still no sign of ‘wearables’ product.    

Article from: Research.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Tuesday, 15 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1782-8897.

 

Lack of news about a research project that aims to produce a “cheap, readily available, wearable, real-time electronic sensor” the size of a cigarette packet to monitor a bowler’s action, suggests it will not meet the 2016 “in shops" time-line forecast two years ago.  Such a system, whose aim was to determine in near real-time the extent of a bowler’s arm flex, and thus the legality of their action, has been toted as streamlining the process of identifying bowlers who actions are labelled suspect by match officials (PTG 1782-8899 below).    

 

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

 

Marc Portus, the lead researcher at Griffith University, has in the past talked about the finished product as "disposable, lightweight and relatively cheap”, being for example "available in your local sports store for $A19.95 (£UK10), if you like".  That way "if it's damaged on the field it can be quickly replaced”.  He indicated the final product "would be fitted in the elbow or the sleeve or held by a couple of sweat bands”.  

 

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

 

Twelve months after Allardice’s comments the end of 2015 time-line target was confirmed by the researchers involved.  They said then that their prototype sensor unit had matured to the extent it could determine exactly when a bowler releases a ball, a factor they state is “a critical element in assessing illegal [bowling] actions” (PTG 1479-7152, 10 December 2014). 

 

Despite that, a press release issued eleven months later following last November's MCC WCC meeting in Adelaide, made no mention of the wearables project (PTG 1699-8383, 29 November 2015). It would be a surprise though, given the high profile the suspect actions issue has had over the last 18 months, if the project was not discussed during the WCC's two days of deliberations.  

 

More recently, there was no public mention made of the product at a two-day ‘Wearable Tech in Sport Summit’ held in Melbourne two weeks ago.  That meeting that was attended by a range of sports scientists, including some of the Griffith University researchers involved in the bowling action project. 

 

Headline: First class umpiring debut for former Windies' bowler.   

Article from: Score sheet.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Monday, 14 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1782-8898.

 

Former Windward Island medium-fast bowler Deighton Butler, who featured in five One Day International and one Twenty20 International for the West Indies last decade, made his first class umpiring debut on the island of St Vincent over the weekend in the Windwards’ match against Jamaica. 

 

Butler, 41, who played 64 first class games in the period from 2000-10, stood in his first match at that level after serving as the reserve umpire in seven such games over the last three years.  His on-field partner for the game was Gregory Braithwaite from Barbados for whom it was his 43rd first class game.

 

Headline: Omani spinner’s action under scrutiny.   

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Tuesday, 15 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1782-8899.

 

Oman off-spinner Amir Ali has been reported for a suspect bowling action during his side's final match in the World Twenty20 Championship match against Bangladesh in Dharamsala on Sunday.  The match officials' report, which was handed over to Oman team management, cited concerns about the legality of the 37-year-old's bowling action. 

 

Amir's bowling action is now required to undergo testing at the International Cricket Council-accredited testing centre in Chennai within the next seven days. During that period Amir is permitted to continue bowling in international cricket until the results of the testing are known.  The match in Dharamsala was managed by match referee Andy Pycroft, while the on-field umpires were Chris Gaffney and Rod Tucker, the television official Nigel Llong and the fourth umpire Sundarum Ravi.

 

Headline: Tempers flare as batsman 'swipes' bowler.   

Article from: Fairfax NZ.

Journalist: Aaron Goile.                         

Published: Monday, 14 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1782-8900.

 

Tempers flared at the Kaipaki Oval on New Zealand’s North Island on Saturday during a Waikato Valley Champions Trophy club match between Kaipaki and Otorohanga.  The home side won a thrilling final-round match by three runs to book a meeting with St Paul's Collegiate School in this coming weekend's two-day final, but there were farcical scenes which put a blight on the contest.

 

Waikato Valley Cricket, which is an affiliate of Northern Districts Cricket Association, is awaiting an umpire's report on the incidents - most notably the one which saw an Otorohanga batsman swipe a Kaipaki bowler in the face when the former was given out LBW.  It was the worst of several unsavoury incidents during the game, with both teams not shy of firing verbals.  The single official umpire managing the game is expected to deliver a report on one player from each sidel.

 

Otorohanga captain Leighton Parsons said it was disappointing such an exciting game was overshadowed by one incident, and that his side absolutely don't condone such behaviour.  "There was definitely contact to move him out of the way”, said Parsons, who was at the non-striker's end at the time.  

 

Parsons was "sure something will come of that, because contact with another player is completely against everything the game's [about]. That's that emotion boiling over with the occasion.  He'll be disappointed, definitely, with how much he over-reacted at that. Well he is, I know that for a fact. So whatever the consequences may be, I'm sure he'll accept, and take on the chin I suppose”.

 

A Otorohanga Cricket Club Facebook post hinted at the incident, it saying: "A number of controversial decisions led to boil over in emotions from both teams as the game went to the wire”.

 

Kaipaki captain Dean Busch confirmed the contact wasn't a punch and played down the rest of the ill-feeling during the match, which seemed to be escalated by players disagreeing with decisions of the player umpires who were assisting the official umpire by standing at square leg.  They were all "standard player-umpire-type incidents, and nothing that wouldn't have happened week in and week out on cricket fields all around the country”, claimed Busch.  

 

Both skippers said the good thing was everyone shook hands and had a drink together afterwards, with any tension that was generated during the game left on the park.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,783

  Thursday, 17 March 2016

 

• WT20C men fly ‘business’, women ‘economy' [1783-8901]. 

• CA signs on to LGBTIQ initiative [1783-8902]. 

• Vandals doing ‘donuts’ chop up club’s entire square [1783-8903]. 

• Goodbye to another cricket season [1783-8904]. 

 

Headline: WT20C men fly ‘business’, women ‘economy'.    

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.

Journalist: Jonathan Lieu.                         

Published: Wednesday, 16 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1783-8901.

 

The first time I read about the plane seats, I glossed over it. There was nothing particularly new or extraordinary in the fact that the England women’s squad currently playing in the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) flew to India in economy class, while the men went business. It was the case at the 2014 tournament, too. The women themselves, by all accounts, are none too fussed about it. And so on its own, it was just another of the thousands of casual inequities that you read about every week in some form or another, and have therefore lost their power to hold the attention for very long. Yes, sexism sucks. Now, what’s for lunch?

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board say that flights to global tournaments are booked by the International Cricket Council (ICC), and although they could pay to upgrade the women’s team themselves – as Australia do – they reason that the £30,000 ($A57,000) it would cost could be better spent elsewhere. The ICC points out that prize money in the women’s tournament has grown 400 per cent in the past decade, and that men and women now receive the same daily allowance of $US100 ($A130, £70).

 

But I started thinking about the plane seats more and more over the subsequent days, for it struck me that really this was about more than legroom or pocket money. It was about more than sport; more, indeed, than sexism. Take the main counter-argument to gender equality in sport, and indeed the first response I received when I tweeted about the aeroplane seats issue a few days ago: since the men’s game generates far more revenue than the women’s game, it is only fair that the men should be rewarded accordingly.

 

A couple of weeks ago, the American sports executive Charlie Stillitano offered a variation of this argument. Stillitano, you may remember, is the man trying to organise a European Super League, with qualification based on wealth generation rather than sporting merit. “What would Manchester United argue: did we create soccer or did Leicester?” he said. “Let’s call it the money pot created by soccer and fandom around the world. Who has had more of an integral role, Manchester United or Leicester?”

 

On the face of it, there is a certain logic there. Give more, get more. The problem comes when you follow the logical thread through to the end. For instance: should the well-off get preferential access to public services, given that they pay far more in tax? Should they be able to jump the queue in hospitals? Perhaps we could take this a step further still. Given that a millionaire contributes more to the economy than the guy who serves your latte in the morning, should their vote count for more?

 

This is not a theoretical argument, but a growing reality at all levels of society. The idea that those with the greatest financial value should be given the greatest rewards is used to justify everything from prize money in sport to City bonuses and government cuts. It is evident in the popular conviction that while foreign billionaires have every right to make a living in this country, refugees have none. It is why young people find it impossible to buy a house while luxury London apartment blocks lie empty. It is everywhere.

 

The point is this: sexism rarely gallivants around describing itself as sexism. It disguises itself in innocuous-sounding phrases: “revenue generation”, “equality of opportunity”, “economic realities”, “the free market”. These are used to keep discrimination in place long after the war for equality has superficially been won.  And so, while the ICC may well decide to put the women in business when the WT20C moves to Australia in 2020, the broader structure remains untouched. The plane flies on, and it is not just cricketers who are still sitting in the back.

 

Headline: Vandals doing ‘donuts’ chop up club’s entire square.    

Article from: Bradford Telegraph and Argus.

Journalist: Jo Winrow.                         

Published: Wednesday, 16 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1783-8902.

 

The Bradford Premier League's Idle Cricket Club fear they may not be able to play at home this season after vandals drove onto their square early on Sunday morning causing serious damage and leaving deep ruts in the grass across all 14 pitches.  The club’s chairman Neil Johnson says that the level of damage caused was devastating to the club and its many players and members. At the moment they are awaiting an official inspection to see what can be repaired and what will need replacing, but if the whole square needs to be replaced it could cost more than £20,000 ($A38,000).

 

Johnson said his club "believes the damage was caused by a 4x4 vehicle rather than quad bikes.  "A vehicle has just come on to the ground and been doing off-roading and donuts all over the square and outfield. They have managed to damage every pitch on the square to some extent.  If we have to replace the square, which is what we could be looking at, it could cost in excess of £20,000 to have it done professionally.  We are currently seeking advice from the league and also from the Yorkshire Cricket Board and are hoping they can help us in any way”.  A West Yorkshire Police spokesman confirmed they were investigating a report of criminal damage.

 

Headline: CA signs on to LGBTIQ initiative.    

Article from: ABC News.

Journalist: James Bullen.                         

Published: Wednesday, 16 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1783-8903.

 

Australian sporting codes, including cricket, will be scored on the support they offer for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTIQ) players, staff, and fans as part of a new index that ranks their inclusivity.  The 'Pride in Sport' index, announced today, aims to establish a framework for organisations to evaluate their LGBTIQ initiatives and policies.  

 

Former Olympic swimming champion and LGBTIQ ambassador Daniel Kowalski said the index could help sports change their perceived image.  "It's a world first, so it's a phenomenal effort, and I think it highlights that issues within the LGBTIQ community are being recognised and the six sporting codes who have signed on to it are going to be able to benchmark their work to ensure they're providing a safe environment for LGBTIQ [people]”. Index results are to be published annually, and an awards ceremony in May next year will recognise the highest ranking national and state organisations.

 

Development of the index was prompted by last year's 'Out On The Fields' study, which found 80 per cent of those involved in sport in Australia believed gays and lesbians were not accepted within the sporting community.  The study found nine out of ten young people felt they could not be honest about their sexuality, with many citing discrimination from coaches and officials as the main reason for keeping it a secret.  It also found Australia had the highest number of gay men who believed they were not "at all accepted" in sport.

 

Eighteen months ago Cricket Australia (CA) funded a 'A Sport For All’ initiative that was aimed at the recruitment and training of people as “ambassadors” and “educators" on LGBTI issues to Australia’s 3,750 clubs (PTG 1421-6871, 29 August 2014).  A CA spokesman was quoted by ‘Gay News’ at the time as saying that “by 2017-18, every member of the Australian cricket work force will have been trained in inclusion and cultural awareness".  “At the same time, all elite Australian cricketers, both male and female, will take part in diversity training”.

 

Headline: Goodbye to another cricket season.    

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                         

Published: Tuesday, 15 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1783-8904.

 

The things you learn as you pack up and stow your club’s goods and chattels at season’s end, as a bunch of us at my club did on Monday. Such as that….well, there is never enough room to pack up and stow aforesaid goods and chattels, important lares et penates like honour boards, premiership photos, framed scorecards, framed premiership pennants. So much so last night that the president wondered aloud if we might discard some of our runners-up pennants, which I vetoed with the retort that I had had to work hard to lose all those finals. So, into a milk crate they went.

 

Cricket is a game replete with equipment, of course, of which people can lose a great deal in the course of a summer: our lost property yesterday looked like the flotsam from a cricketing shipwreck (how do you lose one pad?). Boundary flags, net pegs, piebald practice balls, scruffy club keeping gear, the slips cradle with two slats missing, the covers patched from the depredations of the rats in our equipment bunker, the metal scoreboards with the magnetic numbers where the shortage of 2s has required the editing of several 7s…..everything had to go, at least temporarily. 

 

What’s often underestimated is the stuff of everyday leisure: the chairs, the couches, the tables for pool, table tennis and table soccer etc. If our clubrooms have to be cleared for a function, needs must. For trivia night a few weeks ago, the disabled toilet was fuller than the Marx Brothers’ cabin in 'A Night at the Opera'…..…but there I go giving away all our secrets.

 

The season, eh? Never long enough. It doesn’t seem so long ago we were holding a similar working bee to unpack our worldly goods from storage, along with our hopes, destined to be unfulfilled: our firsts and thirds bowed out in tight semi-finals. But it’s that time of year. Unless excellence has earned you another week — as it has my Australian colleague Andrew Faulkner, to whom good luck in his grand final on Saturday — you’re probably preparing the way for hordes of marauding footballers right now. 

 

A paradox: in stifling, overcrowded Blighty, ovals lie fallow half the year, and clubrooms remain in permanent readiness. In Australia, where we have all the room in the world, our sporting grounds must be shared. As we went about our work to put things away, lads from our co-tenants were blowing up footballs and erecting exercise bikes in the dressing rooms. Later this year though it will be our turn again. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,784

  Sunday, 20 March 2016

 

• Researcher gathering data on cricket deaths [1784-8905]. 

• Umpires need specially designed helmets, says Harper [1784-8906]. 

• Ryder found guilty of serious dissent, fined peanuts [1784-8907]. 

• Bangladesh pair’s bowling actions found ‘illegal' [1784-8908]. 

• Sweet spots to blame for bat hazard [1784-8909]. 

 

Headline: Researcher gathering data on cricket deaths.   

Article from: ABC News.

Journalist: Daniel Keane.                         

Published: Sunday, 20 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1784-8905.

 

Research being conducted by Adelaide historian Tom Gara for Cricket Australia has revealed Phillip Hughes's death 15 months ago was not a freak accident.  Trawling through newspaper databases, including the National Library of Australia's appropriately named ‘Trove’ data base of Australian newspapers and other publications, Gara has so far uncovered more than 160 deaths in Australia from the late-1800s to the mid-1950s, and about 370 in England.  His investigation focuses on incidents that can be attributed to the game itself, which most often involve the ball, and excludes deaths such as on-field medical episodes.

 

While the research is not yet complete, Gara has discovered a list of victims that is at times alarming, at others sobering, but always sombre.  Those whom the game has claimed in backyards and on suburban grounds include batsmen, bowlers, fielders, children, spectators and a wicketkeeper killed when he was hit in the head by a bat.  In one tragic incident in 1919, Brisbane father Edward Lucy died after he was hit in the head by a ball struck by his son, whom he was watching bat.  Lucy died in hospital as a result of a fractured skull.

 

Amongst other deaths so far collated by Gara include: Bowler William Joyce who died in Sydney in 1912 when he was hit over the heart by a drive whilst at net practice; Reginald Martin a suburban cricketer in Melbourne who was also hit over the heart while batting in 1914; an unnamed umpire fatally struck on the head during a match in Perth in 1929; 9-year-old Clifford Greaves who was hit on the head by a ball in Rockhampton in 1926; 19-year-old Clem Hills who was struck in the head whilst batting in Brisbane in 1939; Campbell Rudgley, who like Phillip Hughes, was hit behind the ear while batting in Newcastle in 1945; Joseph Flynn of Sydney after he was struck by a ball while fielding in 1947, the same season in which Perth wicketkeeper Martin McPartland was hit in the head when the batsman swung at a ball.

 

Gara, whose research interests includes Australian first peoples, European exploration, oral histories and sports history, hopes the research, which is expected to be published in the coming months, will lead to increased protections, particularly for grass roots cricketers like himself.

 

Headline: Umpires need specially designed helmets, says Harper. 

Article from: ABC News.

Journalist: Daniel Keane.                         

Published: Sunday, 20 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1784-8906.

 

Lightweight helmets should be developed for cricket umpires to protect them from straight drives and powerfully hit pull shots, a former member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) says.  The ICC has issued all those officiating at this month's World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C)  in India with protective headgear (PTG 1750-8719, 30 January 2016).  But Daryl Harper, who umpired in 95 Test matches, 174 One Day Internationals and 10 Twenty20 Internationals from 1994 to 2011, said what's been provided is only the "first part of a solution", and other options need to be explored.

 

“One umpire” Harper knows "has received his [helmet from the ICC] and has no intention of wearing it, [as] the ones offered in the [WT20C] are quite heavy, basically batting helmets”.  "You've got to remember, umpires are usually twice as old as the players that are wearing them when they bat, so it's an older person needing to stand out there and focus for a couple of hours.   It's going to be fatiguing. In the Caribbean, in the torturous Indian heat it would be very difficult [and] very sapping on the stamina, perhaps even dangerous to attempt it”.

 

Harper also knows what it is like to stop a cricket ball with the body, taking "two in the chest" during his international career, including one shot by Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya.  "I was told by both batsmen on both occasions that I'd cost them a boundary”, Harper said with a wry smile.  Seven years ago he called for baseball-style face grills for umpires (PTG 423-2233, 14 May 2009), but after experiencing baseball umpiring first hand since his retirement from the EUP he describes that view in hindsight as a "kneejerk reaction".  The key reason, he said, is that the natural reaction for an umpire is to turn away from the ball, and baseball grills do not provide enough protection to the side of the head.

 

"Surely technology these days, something can be done to produce a light-weight helmet that provides plenty of protection right around the head”, said Harper.  "I'm not sure what's in the pipeline at this stage. I would hope that someone's already part way down the line to presenting something.  It's got to be a matter of time [until someone is seriously injured or killed]. We must be getting closer and closer to that moment”.  Earlier in the WT20C series, Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford sported a fibre glass forearm shield whilst on-field (PTG 1781-8895, 14 March 2016).

 

Headline: Ryder found guilty of serious dissent, fined peanuts. 

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: Jimmy Ellingham.                         

Published: Friday, 18 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1784-8907.

 

Former New Zealand international Jesse Ryder's pockets are $NZ500 lighter ($A450, £UK235) after he let his frustrations with an umpire get the better of him.  Cricket Wellington (CW) today confirmed the punishment handed down on the attacking left-hand batsman over an incident in a club match in the capital last month.  CW chief executive Peter Clinton said Ryder was found guilty of a Level Two offence but that his organisation would not publicly release the written decision.  "That's been our process. We retain the decision for use by other commissioners and New Zealand Cricket, if they need it, and the parties themselves”.

 

Headline: Bangladesh pair’s bowling actions found ‘illegal' . 

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Sunday, 20 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1784-8908.

 

Bangladesh off-spinner Arafat Sunny and fast bowler Taskin Ahmed have both been suspended from bowling with immediate effect midway through the World Twenty20 Championship series. The duo were reported for suspected illegal bowling actions following their side's opening match of the tournament in Dharamshala 10 days ago (PTG 1779-8884, 11 March 2016).  They both went for independent testing at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai, an International Cricket Council (ICC) approved facility, where their actions were confirmed to be illegal.

 

Arafat’s analysis revealed that the elbow extension for majority of his deliveries had exceeded the 15 degrees' level of tolerance permitted under ICC regulations, while not all of Taskin's deliveries were legal.  Bangladesh, who have yet to comment on the suspensions, will be allowed to replace both bowlers in their squad for the remainder of the event.  Coach Chandika Hathurasinghe said when they were first reported that he was confident that there was nothing wrong with the actions of either bowler.  

 

Headline: Sweet spots to blame for bat hazard.   

Article from: ABC News.

Journalist: Daniel Keane.                         

Published: Sunday, 20 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1784-8909.

 

The death of Phillip Hughes in 2014 prompted a re-think of the game's safety, especially the issue of helmet design (PTG 1784-8905 above).  Within weeks of the tragedy, a clip-on safety guard was made available to provide extra armour to protect the back of the head from bouncers, and many players now rely on it although such attachments are not yet compulsory (PTG 1717-8513, 20 December 2015).  But, as far as an actual increase in danger is concerned, University of Adelaide physicist Dr James Zanotti believes bats, not balls, are the smoking gun. 

 

A specialist in particle physics who spends most of his time pondering the sub-atomic world, Zanotti is also a keen cricketer interested in the mechanics of the game.  "I've been hit myself before, even at cricket training not paying attention and the ball comes back out of the net”, he said.  “Contrary to popular belief, bats have not got much heavier over the last few decades, but rather their design has changed in crucial ways.  The so-called sweet spot - the area on a bat where the ball achieves maximum acceleration - has grown, meaning more shots are more likely to have more power".

 

Zanotti said: "It's more in the distribution of that weight around the bat where the work has been done.  The bats are heavier than they were 100 years ago but in terms of weight over the past 10 or 20 years, they haven't increased too much.  [Bat makers have] changed the distribution of the mass of the bat, so it is now in the area where the batsmen want it and it's more evenly distributed over this area”.  That means that tailenders can hit the ball just as cleanly as top order players.  "It's not necessarily that a ball that's hitting the sweet spot of a bat now compared to the sweet spot of a bat from 10 years ago, say, would travel any faster”, said Zanotti said.  "It's just that it's more likely that you will hit the sweet spot because they are naturally bigger”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,785

  Tuesday, 22 March 2016

 

• Shield final appointments suggest CA rankings change [1785-8911]. 

• ‘Beamer' makes big impact on Plunket Shield race [1785-8912]. 

• Does sledging drive people away from the recreational game? [1785-8913]. 

• Preventing 'no balls' involves an umpire, say researchers [1785-8914]. 

 

Headline: Bangladesh appeals bowler’s illegal action ban.   

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Mohammad Isam.                         

Published: Monday, 21 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1785-8910.

 

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has made an appeal to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to reconsider its decision to ban bowler Taskin Ahmed from international cricket.  Ahmed and his team mate, off-spinner Arafat Sunny, were suspended from bowling on the weekend after independent testing showed both their actions were illegal (PTG 1784-8908, 20 March 2016)

 

BCB president Nazmul Hassan has indicated that he spoke to the ICC chairman Shashank Manohar and chief executive Dave Richardson about Ahmed’s ban. While Hassan did not reveal what the BCB's main argument was, he said they were not convinced with the ICC's independent assessment report on Taskin's bowling action.  "We don't have any reason to be satisfied with the report so we have appealed to the ICC. Only the ICC can withdraw the ICC's decision, which is why I am talking to the ICC directly. I can tell you that we have done everything possible”.

 

Hassan said the BCB was trying to circumvent the normal procedure of appealing in a bid to quickly overturn the decision made on Taskin. The ICC had said on Saturday that "not all of Taskin's deliveries were legal". "The promptness with which we have taken the action is quite different to the way we responded to the others”.  Richardson and Manohar are reported to have indicated they will respond after talking to their legal team. 

 

The BCB president ruled out the possibility of taking the legal route against the ICC, which he feels will be too lengthy and would not give Bangladesh what they are looking for - a quick return for Taskin.  "If we take the legal way, then we can forget Taskin playing in the World Twenty20 Championship series. I don't think it will be solved any time in the future. It would be a lengthy procedure but as of now I am trying to avoid that way, and trying to see if something can be done immediately through a shortcut. It's very difficult, but I have not left hope as yet. I feel that there is a slight possibility for Taskin to join us as soon as possible”.

 

Though the ICC has never lifted a suspension on a bowler at such a short notice, they did lift a ban given to Shoaib Akhtar in regards to his bowling action within 11 days in 2000, a time well before the world body set up its bowling assessment laboratories on four continents. Akhtar was banned on 30 December 1999, but 10 days later he played for Pakistan in an One Day International against Australia in Brisbane, arriving a few hours after the match had started, having been in Perth when the ICC tool the decision to lift the ban.

 

Headline: Shield final appointments suggest CA rankings change.   

Article from: CA appointments.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Monday, 21 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1785-8911.

 

Match official selections for this year’s Sheffield Shield final indicate there has been another change in the rankings of top level umpires in Australia.  The five-day match between South Australia and Victoria, which is due to start in Adelaide on Saturday, will see Mick Martell and Paul Wilson on-field, John Ward the third umpire, Steve Bernard the match referee and Rita Artis and Neil Ricketts the scorers.  

 

The final will be Martell's second in a row and 48th first class match overall, he having also worked as the third umpire in the 2013 final.  For Wilson, who will be standing in his 42nd first class match, its his first final, as it is for Bernard who will be overseeing his 22nd first class game.  Ward, who has 67 first class games to his credit, stood in both the 2013 and 2014 finals and this year’s Shield decider is his fourth as the third umpire, having been assigned that role in 2011, 2012 and 2015.  Artis, who records available indicate she has been scoring at first class level since 1981, and Ricketts, will be recording the details of a final for the second and first time respectively. 

 

The on-field appointments further confirm Martell, 49, has risen to second on Cricket Australia’s (CA) domestic rankings behind Simon Fry, 49, who is currently in India working in the World Twenty20 Championship series (PTG 1776-8868, 6 March 2016).  It also looks like Wilson, 44, is now ranked third behind Martell and Ward, 53, fourth.  That quartet, who are all members of CA’s 12-man National Umpires Panel (NUP), currently make up Australia's membership on the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP).  It would not surprise many observers though if fast-rising NUP member Sam Nogajski replaces Ward on the IUP later this year. 

 

Headline: ‘Beamer' makes big impact on Plunket Shield race.   

Article from: New Zealand Herald.

Journalist: Niall Anderson.                         

Published: Saturday, 19 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1785-8912.

 

A ‘beamer' has played a pivotal part in Auckland opening up a significant 23 point lead atop the Plunket Shield ladder with an outright  win over Otago on Friday.  Chasing 218 for an outright win on the last day of the game in Dunedin, Otago had reached 4/92 when number seven batsman Mark Craig had his hand broken when he was struck by a beamer delivered by fast bowler Lachlan Ferguson and was forced to retire hurt after just two balls.  That left the home side a batsman short, and while they rallied thanks to Derek De Boorder who made 81, they were bowled out 11 runs short, and thus the visitors’ took home outright points.

 

Headline: Does sledging drive people away from the recreational game?   

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Liam Cromar.                         

Published: Monday, 21 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1785-8913.

 

The recent suggestion by Mark Williams, the Marylebone Cricket Club's Laws of Cricket Advisor and Middlesex Premier League umpire, that “the easiest and most effective line to draw in the sand is to tackle any remark that is made about the other side”, will no doubt prompt a variety of reactions. William’s point of view, which appeared in a recent issue of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Association of Cricket Officials’ newsletter, is likely to see umpires sceptical about the practicality of enforcing such a standard. From players, especially long-time ones: something approaching derision, for is not banter, verbal sparring, even choice invective, a traditional part of the fabric of cricket? 

 

Such appeal to the status quo is expected, and also unconvincing. Sledging, in its myriad forms, may have been a part of the game in its recent and indeed not-so-recent history. It does not follow that is either an inherent or desirable facet. It should be evident that what may have been acceptable in years gone by does not automatically equate to being so today.

 

This is not about idealism. It is not a misty-eyed appeal to sentiment. It is an argument born of sheer pragmatism. The ECB players' survey, cited by Williams, "identified poor behaviour and an aggressive, insulting atmosphere" as a factor in causing players to leave the recreational game - in particular, inexperienced players. Intoning "if you can't stand the heat..." is all very well. The problem is that there may be no one left in the restaurant, let alone the kitchen.

 

Nor is this an anti-competitive rant. The skill to deal with pressure, physical, psychological, verbal and otherwise, is a valuable one to acquire. Yet, moving the focus from talking well and onto performing well enriches rather than weakens the game, by spotlighting skills rather than sounds. Would allowing pressure to build up from the actions inherent to the game - hostile fast bowling, mesmerising legspin, batsmen charging, overs ticking away - rather than being artificially introduced through verbals, be such a negative arrangement?

 

This will not satisfy some. The idea of outlawing all batsman-directed comment, as promoted by Williams, will reek of over-protective nannying. Condemning outright abuse is one thing, but to condemn all chirping seems over the top. Surely this is a step too far, they might understandably maintain, for banter adds a light-hearted element that can actually defuse tension rather than cause it. To which one might answer: it certainly can, but is that the exception or the rule? Is the intention honestly to provide amusement for batsman, bowler, fielders and umpires, or is it to gain a psychological edge over the batsman, to make him (or her) "think about something other than the ball he is about to face", to use Williams' words?

 

It is possible to be overzealous in this regard. An irradiated, sterile game with no opening for individuality to shine through is unlikely to provide much enjoyment for its participants. One of Williams' other recommendations, that "loud collective 'whooping' when a batsman is dismissed" be clamped down on, may strike some as excessive. Send-offs, wanton abuse of the parting batsman, are entirely unacceptable, and do betray a lack of respect. More general expressions of delight, however, are not inherently "disrespectful", as he suggests, but rather flow from satisfaction from successfully executing one of the aims of the game. Since appreciation of the batsman's ability also adds to the satisfaction of the dismissal, one could argue that such celebrations actually reflect a degree of respect for the batsman. It would be injudicious to attempt to police such displays of satisfaction.

 

However, on the subject of sledging, Williams observes that "league teams will often target vulnerable players when they first come in: the young, known debutants at that level, or players known to be out of form”. If players can only gain satisfaction from their cricket by resorting to bullying newcomers, then perhaps a spot of soul-searching is in order - not to mention more time in the nets, for therein lies a tacit admission that purely cricketing skills have, up to that point, proved inadequate.

 

It would be totally illogical to lay the whole blame for player drop-off at the door of sledging. Work patterns, lack of cricket in state schools, rival leisure options and numerous other factors have all been highlighted as contributing to the fall. It may not even be a primary factor. Yet even a secondary or tertiary factor deserves attention, and what marks on-field behaviour apart is the fact that there is no need to wait for centralised reform: it is an area where each player can make an impact. To use a press-conference cliché, it's a controllable that can be controlled.

 

Cricket, at its best, provides wonderful opportunities for self-learning, social bonding and character development. It would be regrettable - indeed it is regrettable - to see players give up the game because of the behaviour of others, and thus miss out on the many benefits that cricket offers.  Recreational cricket, after all, is supposed to be a form of recreation. A time when off-field concerns about family, work and life can be placed on hold; a time to be boosted, energised, recreated. Players cannot be blamed for looking elsewhere for their leisure if the on-field atmosphere wears them down. The question is: will the current generation of players be willing to adapt?

 

Headline: Preventing 'no balls' involves an umpire, say researchers.   

Article from: CA web site.

Journalist: Andrew Ramsey.                         

Published: Sunday, 20 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1785-8914.

 

The accepted wisdom that bowlers trying to eradicate the costly indulgence of no balls should focus on where they land their feet at training has been challenged by researchers who believe they might be better off looking at how they set up their practice environment such that it includes a bone fide umpire.  So concerned did Australia become about fast bowlers habitually over-stepping in the practice nets leading into the recent Test series in New Zealand, they trialled a prototype of electronic-eye technology that would notionally sound an alarm every time a front foot landed beyond the popping crease (PTG 1760-8774, 11 February 2016).

 

But not only did the man behind that experiment, Cricket Australia’s Executive General Manager of Team Performance Pat Howard, acknowledge its success depended largely on it being deployed on a dead-flat practice surface, he also noted it was a cumbersome device to lug around the world in its present form.  However, a team of researchers based in Australia and the UK have recently published a paper in the 'European Journal of Sports Science' that finds the most useful tool to ensure a bowler most readily replicates their practice run-up in a match is to have an umpire in position at the bowler’s end.

 

And its not just a casual onlooker who should fill that role, rather a bone fide umpire, who is standing in the normal position and creating the same physical and visual presence as found in competition, and with a full set of stumps hammered in to complete the simulation.  That’s because the researchers have found it’s a bowler’s capacity to pick up and process visual cues as to where the front line is drawn from very early in their run-up that enables them to make crucial minor subconscious adjustments with each foot fall as they approach the landing zone.  And given that fast bowlers habitually start making those subconscious alterations to their strides from as far as 14 steps from their delivery point, having an umpire in sight to provide a standard visual reference as to where they need to land is vital if training is to mirror match situations.

 

The researchers, including Daniel Greenwood who is a Senior Skill Acquisition Specialist with the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, also found that the physical presence of an umpire produces small but crucial changes to a bowler’s gait as they prepare to release the ball.  “We use vertical objects in the environment to gauge distance, especially as we move towards something”, said Greenwood about the research he conducted along with Keith Davids of Sheffield Hallam’s Centre for Sports Engineering in the UK, and Ian Renshaw from the Queensland University of Technology.

 

“You can picture it as you drive down a street, the traffic signs become bigger as they come towards you, as you walk towards a door it gets bigger and you use that ‘looming’ effect to gauge distance.  So one of the key messages from our research is that bowlers’ run-ups, although we try to believe they are the same every time, are in fact different every time they do it.  One of your steps is slightly longer or slightly shorter, or you’re a bit little more tired, or the grass is a bit longer, you’re running up the hill at Headingley or you want to put in a bit more effort – it means that every time you do it there’s a slight variation”.

 

“Therefore athletes’ training really has to reflect these variations", continued Greenwood, "and what it’s really about is learning to use information from the environment to get to where you need to at the right speed.  So you can use the umpire at the very start of the run-up to gauge distance, and as you get closer you’ll start to pick up the crease lines and whatever else.  Basically, the more of those relevant information sources that we have around the area [to which the bowler is headed] then the better we’ve learned to use them to judge distance.  Through practice, bowlers can become quite good at noticing small changes in information sources and use them to regulate their run-ups”.  

 

The cost of having bowlers who overstep the front line in matches was clearly underscored during the recent New Zealand-Australia Test series.  Prior to the second Test Australian fast bowler James Pattinson, who was deprived of two Test wickets earlier in the summer when found on video replay to have overstepped and suffered the same fate in Christchurch, claimed he was confident he had overcome it due to the hard work he had undertaken at training.  But Greenwood believes that while the introduction of a ‘Hawk-Eye’ style machine that calls out no-balls delivered in the nets has some value as a feedback tool, the re-creation of a match day environment for bowlers at training would likely deliver greater benefit.  

 

The trials conducted to complete the research were conducted over two days with a group of 10 bowlers of first-class or elite representative squad standard from Queensland and the UK who bowled in partnership to deliver spells of four overs, two with an umpire in place and two without.  The official was clad in umpire’s uniform and stood the mandated four metres behind the stumps at the bowler’s end, with a batsman also in place to replicate match conditions and with none of the participants aware of the nature of the study that was being undertaken.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,786

  Thursday, 24 March 2016

 

• Third-straight CA umpire of the year award for Fry [1786-8915]. 

• Bowler's suspension upheld by ICC Judicial Commissioner [1786-8916]. 

 

Headline: Third-straight CA umpire of the year award for Fry.   

Article from: CA announcement

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Wednesday, 23 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1786-8915.

 

South Australian Simon Fry has been named as the winner of Cricket Australia's (CA) 'Umpire Award' for the third year in a row.  Fry, 49, an eleven-season member of CA's National Umpires Panel who also holds an on-field position on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, reached the game’s highest level in Colombo last October when he became the 92nd Australian to stand in a Test match (PTG 1658-8113, 7 October 2016)

 

Those who work with him in the game describe Fry as “precise and dedicated” to the art of umpiring, both on and off the field of play who is well respected by his peers.  Records available suggest  that the last 12 months have been a particularly busy period for the Adelaide-based official.  It started with his fifth-straight appearance in a Sheffield Shield final, then went on to include appointment as a neutral umpire in a One Day International series in Zimbabwe, that first Test, as the fourth umpire in the inaugural day-night Test which was played in his home city, the first Sheffield Shield match played outside Australia, and the on-going World Twenty20 Championship series in India, his second major ICC event after the World Cup early last year.  Along the way his abilities were also highlighted in the way he handled the decision, under considerable pressure, to abandon a first class match in Sydney because of the state of the playing area.

 

Three years ago CA said selection for the award was based on an assessment of potential candidates contributions to the game off the field of play, their performance on it, and any milestones that they achieved during that year (PTG 1078-5243, 22 March 2013).  Given his achievements over the last 12 months presumably the parameters looked at were similar and that information collated on CA's umpire performance data base also played a part.  Fry becomes the third person in the award’s 13-year history to win it three times.  Now ICC Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) member Bruce Oxenford and the retired Simon Taufel each won three times, and Steve Davis, Daryl Harper, Peter Parker and Paul Reiffel, all once (PTG 1539-7407, 21 March 2015).

 

Headline: Bowler's suspension upheld by ICC Judicial Commissioner.   

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Wednesday, 23 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1786-8916.

 

A hearing conducted by International Cricket Council (ICC) Judicial Commissioner Michael Beloff QC has rejected an appeal by Bangladesh that Taskin Ahmed’s suspension from bowling in international cricket be overturned (PTG 1785-8910, 22 March 2016).  Taskin was reported as having a suspected illegal bowling action by the match officials in Bangladesh’s opening World Twenty20 Championship match in Dharamsala two weeks ago, and an independent assessment undertaken at the ICC-accredited testing centre in Chennai a week later finding “some” of his deliveries were legal (PTG 1784-8908,  20 March 2016).

 

The ICC says the bowler exercised his right to request "an expeditious review" of his case by a Judicial Commissioner. UK-based Beloff conducted the hearing on Tuesday via a tele-conference call that lasted several hours and in which numerous legal challenges were made on behalf of the player.  Beloff is said to have "carefully considered those arguments and the responses of the ICC” and undertook to provide a written submission "in due course".

 

In the meantime, Ahmed may, "at any time following appropriate remedial work", apply to the ICC for a re-assessment of his bowling action carried out in the same manner as last week's initial independent assessment.  In the event of such tests concluding his bowling action has been appropriately modified and that his elbow extension is within the permissible level on all of his standard deliveries, his international suspension will be lifted.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,787

  Friday, 25 March 2016

 

• Pitch vandalism leads to Playing Conditions rethink [1787-8917]. 

• ECB tightens penalties for unfit County pitches [1787-8918]. 

• ICC working to salvage Vidarbha pitch [1787-8919]. 

• On-field bat to head push attracts censure [1787-8920]. 

• Competition’s by-laws override ‘gentlemen’s agreement' [1787-8921]. 

• CA ’spirit’ awards to Tasmanian men, South Australian women [1787-8922]. 

 

Headline: Pitch vandalism leads to Playing Conditions rethink.   

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Thursday, 24 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1787-8917.

 

The Victorian Turf Cricket Association (VTCA) says that even if it takes years for the culprits to be found, action will be taken against anyone found to have vandalised a pitch such that the Kingsville Baptist Cricket Club (KBCC) was prevented from completing a key end-of-season match late last month (PTG 1773-8852, 1 March 2016).  The VTCA has offered a reward of $A5,000 (£UK2,570) for any information on who dug up the pitch and poured a liquid along it. 

 

A report by Cricinfo’s Daniel Brettig says there have been some leads in response to the reward offer.  One informer came forward with the suggestion that members of his club, which was not named, may have been involved, and offered circumstantial supporting evidence. Discussions have been had about how to pursue this further, but private investigations become legally murky, and the Victoria Police have plenty of other pressing matters at hand. 

 

VTCA president Steve McNamara, though, has stated that action will be taken.  "Irrespective of when, five or ten years down the track, if there's corroborating evidence, we'd expect we'd still pursue prosecution for those responsible.  There needs to be a resolution and also needs to be someone held responsible to make sure people don't get similar ideas in the future.  We do a rule review every year and we're looking at some rules to ensure this doesn't happen again. One thing we will certainly look at is the provision to change a venue in mid-match if need be, which takes away some of the motivation to do it”.

 

Something that stood out instantly about the Kingsville case was the method used to wreck the pitch. For 40 years vandals connected with cricket have had a most high-profile example to follow, and invariably have. An Ashes-deciding Test match at Headingley was aborted in August 1975 when activists protested the sentencing of a London cab driver called George Davis to 20 years in prison for armed robbery. His name and the saboteurs' method is so synonymous with pitch vandalism that one observer reflexively tweeted "George Davis is innocent!" upon hearing of KBCC's plight. Not only did the vandals know what they were doing - they knew cricket.

 

Other episodes of destruction have surfaced intermittently since, and in Australia seem recently to have centred upon Melbourne suburban competition. In October 2014 a sub-district match between Ivanhoe and Williamstown was abandoned after vandals used part of a picket fence to gouge holes in the pitch at Ivanhoe Park before spraying a solvent-based paint on the playing surface (PTG 1466-7101, 24 November 2014). Given the early-season status of the match and lack of any obvious motive, police, clubs and competition concluded it to be mindless rather than Machiavellian work.

 

More disturbing events had taken place at the end of the previous season, in a sequence of events that might have even made KBCC's players gasp. In the Williamstown and District Cricket Association's (WDCA) 2013-14 Grand Final, West Newport played off against Grand United. Having made 262, Grand United slipped to 9/171 in reply, and entered the final day with only the faintest hope of victory. West Newport's players arrived that morning to find the pitch had been dug up at one end, destined to be deemed unplayable. Lacking any regulations to deal with the situation, the WDCA declared a drawn game.

 

Disgusted by events and disillusioned by the lack of any recourse, West Newport resolved to change competitions. "It's what's driving the players this year”, the club coach Ross Cassidy told the 'Hobsons Bay Leader' early in the 2014-2015 season. "We did feel like it's the start of something fresh. It's nice to play some different sides, and play on some different grounds”.  West Newport had moved into the West B1 division of the VTCA, where they were beaten in a semi-final by none other than Kingsville Baptist Cricket Club.

 

Headline: ECB tightens penalties for unfit County pitches.   

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: George Dobell.                         

Published: Thursday, 24 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1787-8918.

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is set to announce a range of new regulations designed to improve the quality of pitches in domestic cricket ahead of the County season.  The ECB has already been announced that visiting teams would be given the option of bowling first, rather than having a toss, in the County Championship, with the aim of improving the standard of pitches (PTG 1698-8376, 28 November 2015).  Cardiff's groundsman was sacked last year soon after a one-day match between Glamorgan and Hampshire was abandoned because of pitch issues (PTG 1630-7957, 29 August 2015), but now the ECB have unveiled strict penalties on clubs that fail to prepare adequate surfaces.

 

A pitch deemed unfit in the Championship will now see the visiting team awarded the match. The visiting team will also gain 16 points plus whatever bonus points they have earned, or 20 points; whichever is greater. The home team will gain zero points from the match and any bonus points they have already earned in it will be deducted. It will also count as a loss to them.  A pitch deemed unfit in limited-overs cricket will also result in the visiting team receiving the two points and the home team zero. Furthermore, the home team will be regarded as having been dismissed for zero when it comes to the net run-rate calculation. The visiting team's run-rate from the match will be discounted.

 

Other changes to Playing Conditions ahead of the 2016 northern summer season will see group matches in the domestic one-day, 50 over series start at 11 a.m., half an hour later than previously which was seen as providing too much assistance to seamers in moist conditions. Knockout matches played later in the summer may though have to start at 10.30 a.m. to avoid problems caused by the earlier sunset, though it is possible floodlights could be used to avert that issue.

 

The ECB have also decided that no-balls given for bouncers passing above the batsmen's heads in limited-overs cricket should no longer warrant a free-hit. They were concerned that, in 2015, bowlers were reluctant to bowl short-pitched deliveries as the penalty was potentially so costly.  They have also decided that, in televised games, the TV umpire can unilaterally intervene if they see that a full ball over waist height is delivered. The on-field umpires cannot refer to the TV umpire on the matter.

 

In a move designed to bring the ECB's playing regulations into line with those of the International Cricket Council, the wording surrounding the issue of ‘Mankading' has been altered to ensure that the batsman can only be run out if the bowler has "deliberately" broken the stumps (PTG 1633-7985, 1 September 2015). That prevents a situation where a bowler bumps into the stumps - a la Steven Finn - and accidently runs out a batsman despite the delivery being adjudged a no-ball.

 

The ECB will also announce that, in 2016, half of County Second XI Championship matches will be played with ‘Tiflex' balls and half with those made by ‘Dukes'. It would appear the main purpose of that arrangement is to ensure they are not overly dependent upon one supplier and retain some bargaining power when it comes to agreeing costs.  

 

The ECB experimented with ‘Tiflex’ balls in the second division of the County Championship over the three years up until the end of the 2011 season.  The version used then proved unpopular with players who felt that they seamed and swung excessively early in an innings. An ECB spokesman said at the time: "It was felt that there was a need for consistency with the type of balls being used and that sides coming up from the second division should not have to get used to a different type of ball”.  

 

Headline: ICC working to salvage Vidarbha pitch.   

Article from: The Hindu.

Journalist: Amol Karhadkar.                         

Published: Thursday, 24 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1787-8919.

 

Thanks to an India-South Africa Test that didn’t even last three days five months ago (PTG 1701-8401, 2 December 2015), followed by a square turner in the opening group stage match of the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) between India and New Zealand, the pitch at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur is in the news for all the wrong reasons.  As a result the International Cricket Council (ICC), it seems, is leaving no stone unturned in trying to avoid a hat-trick of disastrous wickets for international games there.

 

Over the last five days, there has been frantic action on the square at the stadium. Andy Atkinson, the ICC's pitch consultant, headed straight to Nagpur after arriving in India. The Board of Control for Cricket in India also summoned Samandar Singh Chauhan, the Madhya Pradesh curator with a reputation of being a flat-bed specialist, in place of the ailing Taposh Chatterjee, the Rajasthan curator who oversaw the preparation for last week’s WT20C pitch.

 

One of the first decisions Atkinson and Chauhan made was to switch both the remaining WT20C games from the strip that hosted the Test and WT20C opener to an adjoining one. But that hasn’t exactly enthused the South African team, which is to play the West Indies there on Friday, about the nature of the wicket.  “When we got here, on the first day of practice the wicket was very dry and we just prepared ourselves accordingly to play on it. Obviously, it’s changed a bit now, we’re not playing on the same wicket…”, said captain Faf du Plessis.  “I assume that the reason they’re changing it is to not be as dry, or not to spin as much as it possibly could have on that dry surface. But it’s still two teams competing and possibly going to be a spinning deck, so I don’t think too much will change”.

 

Later in the evening, Atkinson instructed the groundstaff to uncover the strip that was under wraps the whole day, possibly to survive the beating sun. He then showered freshly cut grass after watering the wicket and rolled it for almost half an hour. If Atkinson’s last-ditch efforts end up turning the strip into a fair wicket, cricket fans can hope for a balanced contest rather than the toss turning out to be the decisive factor.

 

The WT20C’s first fortnight has seen too many extreme kinds of pitches, thus making the conditions the most vital factor in the outcome of matches, something du Plessis has been surprised about.  “To be honest, I didn’t expect it to be like this. Obviously, playing a lot of Indian Premier League [IPL] cricket for years now, I’ve found that wickets in [that competition] have generally been quite good and consistent. Barring one or two games through the IPL, you generally get similar runs on the board right through all the venues. This World Cup though, it’s been a little different”, he said. 

 

Headline: On-field bat to head push attracts censure.   

Article from: Taranaki Daily News.

Journalist: Charlotte Curd.                         

Published: Thursday, 24 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1787-8920.

 

Two Taranaki club cricketers have been stood down from the game until the end of the first half of the 2016-17 season after one hit the other in the back of the head with a cricket bat.  Hayden Birss of New Plymouth Marist United and Jayden Dravitzki of Inglewood will be watching from the sidelines until the first day of January and February 2017 respectively as a result of an incident which happened on the last Saturday of February.

 

While running after hitting a shot off a Birss delivery, Inglewood batsman Kyle Dravitzki had a shoulder collision with the bowler.  That led to the Birss grabbing him by the collar and marching him backwards as both players traded verbal shots.  Jayden Dravitzki, who is understood to be related to Kyle, was at the non-strikers end, and when he saw what was happening he ran towards Birss with one hand on each end of his bat.  He then shoved the bat into the back of Birss' head and neck, pushing the bowler to the ground. 

 

At a hearing held five days after the incident Taranaki Cricket code of conduct commissioner, Roger Mori, handed out suspensions to Kyle and Jayden Dravitzki plus Birss, of three, ten and four playing days respectively.  However, the Taranaki Cricket Association (TCA) appealed the censures given to Jayden and Birss as it believed they did not carry a weight that squared with competition rules set out in the TCA handbook.   That manual has, as a guide, a starting point of a two-year suspension, for anyone assaulting or attempting to assault another player.  

 

Kyle Dravitzki's suspension was not appealed and remained at three playing days.  At the appeals hearing last week Independent commissioner John Greenwood handed out the far more substantial punishments to the bat weilding Jayden Dravitzki and Birss.  However, Dravitzki’s censure, which equates to a playing suspension of around three months across the remainder of the current season and the beginning of the next, falls well short of the guide for assault contained in the TCA handbook.  Birss had ‘form’ for he was found guilty of using abusive and offensive language to a player umpire several seasons ago. When contacted the player’s respective clubs would not comment on the outcome of the appeal.

 

Headline: Competition’s by-laws override ‘gentlemen’s agreement'.   

Article from: ABC Radio Goldfields.

Journalist: Sam Tomlin.                         

Published: Wednesday, 23 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1787-8921.

 

Former Australian Test captain Kim Hughes says Western Australia's Eastern Goldfields Cricket Association (EGCA) "got it wrong" when it decided to abandon its 2015-16 A-Grade grand final last Saturday after a washout.  The EGCA, which runs Kalgoorlie-Boulder's premier cricket competition, made the call to abandon the 50 over one-day game after storms dumped heavy rain over the city early in the day’s play, halting the much-anticipated final between North Kalgoorlie and Great Boulder.

 

With Great Boulder in trouble at 2/21 after six overs when the rain came, an initial agreement was struck between the EGCA, club captains and umpires to return the next day, Sunday, and play out the game.  However, after further consultation and confusion over ambiguities in the association by-laws, the EGCA overturned the decision, indication the game was a 'no-result' and declared North Kalgoorlie, who topped the league at the end of the home-and-away season, the winners.  That decision sparked an altercation between the two camps, and debate over the "spirit of cricket" on social media, which only increased when perfect cricket weather prevailed on the Sunday.

 

Hughes told John Wibberley during an interview on ABC Radio the EGCA’s decision defied common sense.  "It's just wrong”, he said, for though “technically, it might be right, it's not within the spirit of cricket, nope”.  He said the fact the umpires and captains were prepared to come back the next day should have held sway, and seen the game played out to a result. "Particularly if all the players were available the next day, common sense would have said: 'Listen boys, we've only played six overs’”, said Hughes.

 

With Great Boulder lodging an official appeal against the result, the controversy has soured the end of the local cricket season.  When announcing on Tuesday their intention to appeal the EGCA’s decision, Great Boulder Cricket Club president Dean Jerrard cited an e-mail EGCA chairman Rick Smith-Ince sent to both clubs which confirmed the original intent to return and play the next day.  Smith-Ince said he sent the e-mail out of respect to both clubs for: "That's what the umpires discussed, therefore there was agreement between both parties”, he said. 

 

The umpires though may not have been across what the by-laws said about such situations, for Smith-Ince went on to say though that after he sent out the e-mail he "got a phone call [that pointed out that EGCA] by-laws [made it clear] the game was null and void” and required that in the event of wash out the team that topped to league table were to be declared the winners.  “The by-laws are the by-laws”, concluded Smith-Ince, they were set down before the season began and it would have been inappropriate to have reinterpreted or changed them in the heat of battle.

 

Headline: CA ’spirit’ awards to Tasmanian men, South Australian women.   

Article from: CA press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Thursday, 24 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1787-8922.

 

The Tasmanian men’s and South Australian women’s sides have been awarded Cricket Australia's (CA) Benaud 'Spirit of Cricket' trophies for the 2015-16 season.  CA’s announcement of this year’s winners was limited to two words less than this story’s opening sentence.  In the past it has indicated that the 'Benaud' awards are decided on a tally of votes cast by umpires and recognise State sides that have best played in the spirit of the game, a recognition the national body has said on previous occasions "shows that elite cricket should be played hard but fair”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,788

  Monday, 28 March 2016

 

• Former Union chief returns to ICC's Cricket Committee [1788-8923]. 

• League secretary-treasurer stood down in money probe [1788-8924]. 

• England pair fined for their on-field antics [1788-8925]. 

• Bangladesh fined for slow WT20C over-rate [1788-8926]. 

• EUP members donate health services charity [1788-8927]. 

• TV networks up the ante over washed-out games [1788-8928]. 

• English T20 city franchise debate will keep coming back, says PCA chief [1788-8929]. 

• Batting the 'wrong way’ is the 'right way' to go, suggests study [1788-8930]. 

• Twenty20's unstoppable rise fuels fears for Test cricket [1788-8931]. 

 

Headline: Former Union chief returns to ICC's Cricket Committee.   

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: George Dobell.                         

Published: Friday, 25 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1788-8923.

 

Former Australian player and player union representative Tim May has been reappointed to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee as a past players' representative, almost three years after he lost his place on it (PTG 1101-5361, 8 May 2013).   May, one of two current players' representatives at that time, was replaced by Laxman Sivaramakrishnan in the 2013 elections that became controversial over perceptions that they had been influenced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

 

May's return is seen as a significant reflection of the changing attitudes at both the ICC and the BCCI following the appointment of Shashank Manohar as chairman and president respectively.  The former chief executive of FICA (the Federation of International Cricketers Associations), May, now 54, was voted off the Cricket Committee in 2013 in controversial circumstances. Sivaramakrishnan, a BCCI-contracted commentator, was among those who replaced him amid allegations that pressure was applied to several of the Test captains who elect their favoured representative (PTG 1133-5500, 28 June 2013).  May subsequently resigned as chief executive of FICA in June 2013, citing his growing frustration with the administration of the sport.

 

As inaugural president of the Australian Cricketers' Association from 1997 and FICA chief executive from 2005, May gained a reputation as a leading proponent of the rights of players. Few have done more to increase their pay, security or influence.

 

Under the previous ICC regime, such activities were viewed as trouble making. But under Manohar, the ICC is taking steps towards embracing, if not the full Woolf Report, at least aspects of its spirit (PTG 1756-8760, 8 February 2016).  Lord Harry Woolf's 2012 report targeted the ICC board and the way it operates, using phrases such as "self interested or parochial decision-making" to describe how some of the national board chiefs on the world body's top committee approached their tasks, and called for significant changes, including the appointment of independent directors (PTG 1283-6178, 4 February 2014). 

 

Headline: League secretary-treasurer stood down in money probe.   

Article from: Blackpool Gazette.

Journalist: Brian Ellis.                         

Published: Friday, 25 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1788-8924.

 

Detectives have launched a probe into the finances of England's Northern Premier League (NPL), one of Lancashire’s top cricket competitions.  Police were called in after alleged “irregularities” were discovered in NPL accounts, and one senior official – secretary and joint-treasurer Ann Gilfoyle – is understood to have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.  

 

In a short statement issued on Thursday, a league representative said: “Possible financial irregularities came to light and the [NCL] contacted the police and we are offering every possible assistance in their enquiries”.  It is understood that a five-figure sum was unaccounted for, a source revealing the discrepancy only came to light after the NPL was unable to pay the bill for last season’s annual presentation in October. The account for the dinner, which is believed to have totalled £2,500 ($A4,690), has since been settled. 

 

Lancashire Police said: “We have received a complaint of financial irregularity relating to the [NPL] and are at the very early stages of an investigation.  At this stage no arrests have been made and enquiries are on-going”.

 

The news was revealed to member clubs at a meeting with the league committee.  The ‘Gazette’ has been told that the overwhelming reaction from club officials was one of “deep shock”.  Clive Henderson, president of Preston Cricket Club said: “We’re all stunned that this has happened [and he’s] aware that the league secretary has been suspended. I’m shocked because she is a lovely person, she’s been like a sister to me.  Many people feel she has been a wonderful secretary, the best we have ever had. She’s terrific and to hear she has been suspended is a real shock”.

 

Blackpool Cricket Club treasurer Stuart Ashworth added: “Obviously this is deeply shocking. We haven’t been told how much is involved. The secretary is a very popular lady and I gather she was also carrying out the job as treasurer because no-one else would do it. It’s very sad and very upsetting”.  Other club officials say they are being kept up to date with the investigation, although some were unaware that the police had now been called in.  Gilfoyle, who works as an extended schools co-ordinator at a Primary School was not at work yesterday and was unavailable for comment at her home in Blackburn.

 

Headline: England pair fined for their on-field antics.   

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Sunday, 27 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1788-8925.

 

England players Jason Roy and David Willey have both been fined for their on-field behaviour during their World Twenty20 Championship match against Sri Lanka in xxxx on Saturday. Roy swore after being given out LBW and threw his bat and helmet as he left the pitch, apparently angry with a decision television replays suggest was correct; while Willey gave a strong send-off to Milinda Siriwardana when the Sri Lankan batsman was dismissed immediately after he hit the seamer for six. 

 

The International Cricket Council said Roy was found to have "shown dissent at an umpire’s decision", while Willey "used language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batsman upon his/her dismissal”.  Both players admitted the offences in a meeting with match referee Jeff Crowe, and as a result Roy lost 30 per cent of his match fee and Willey 15 per cent.

 

Headline: Bangladesh fined for slow WT20C over-rate.   

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Saturday, 26 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1788-8926.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has fined Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and his team mates for a slow over-rate against India in their World Twenty20 Championship match in Bangalore on Wednesday.  Match referee Chris Broad imposed the fine after Bangladesh were ruled to be one over short of the target when time allowances were taken into consideration. As required by International Cricket Council regulations, Mashrafe was fined 20 percent of his match fee while the other players received 10 percent fines.  Mashrafe pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the proposed sanction, thus doing away with the need for a formal hearing.

 

Headline: EUP members donate to health services charity.   

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Sunday, 27 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1788-8927.

 

Members of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) have donated $US10,000 ($A13,300, £UK7,070) to the Voluntary Health Services (VHS), a group that provides free healthcare for underprivileged people living in Chennai.  EUP members Rod Tucker, Sundaram Ravi Paul Reiffel and Chris Gaffney presented the cheque to the representatives of the VHS on behalf of their colleagues in Delhi on Sunday.

 

Tucker said he and his colleagued “are delighted to make a small contribution to what has been a marvelous work by VHS in Chennai.  "Providing free healthcare to underprivileged areas of Indian society is a huge service to the local community. Through its dedication and commitment, VHS has been able to treat about 70 per cent of its patients at no cost to them. This truly is an outstanding work, which has received little recognition.

 

The EUP group has supported chosen charities for the last seven years. Donations include $US10,000 to Operation Cleft and the United Kingdom’s Motor Neuron Disease Research during the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) in 2009 and 2014 respectively, and one million Sri Lankan rupees ($A9,065, £UK4,800) to Sri Lanka’s Chitra Lane charity during the WT20C of 2012 (PTG 1322-6376, 28 March 2014).

 

Headline: TV networks up the ante over washed-out games.   

Article from: Jake Mitchell.

Journalist: Ali Martin.                         

Published: Monday, 28 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1788-8928.

 

Television networks will push Cricket Australia (CA) for protection against weather-affected Test matches and early results, as they prepare to kick off negotiations for a potential $1 billion (£UK531 million) broadcast deal.  Nine Network holds the rights to Australia’s home international matches and was hit by a rained-out Sydney Test in January and a weak opposition in West Indies last summer.  It’s understood one plan devised by the networks to protect the value of international broadcast rights involves a system whereby days lost in Test ­matches could be supplemented by extra games played against stronger opposition teams, such as England or South Africa, in subsequent series.

 

Under the plan, the accruement of days lost may only kick in if fewer than four days are played in a Test match.  The scheduling of extra games would have to be approved by the International Cricket Council but provided this did not affect player welfare or the ability of the series to be completed on time, there would little reason for the international body to decline such a request.  As sports rights balloon in price, CA will come under more pressure to protect the value of its rights for broadcasters.  Whether protection measures are implemented by the sports body may come down to whether all the bidding broadcasters insist on them being part of the deal.

 

Nine paid $A450 million (£UK239 m) over five years until 2018 for the international home matches. Industry sources said that component was expected to fetch about $A700m (£UK372 m) in the new deal, while the Big Bash League (BBL) is expected to surge in value from Ten’s current annual payments of $A20 m a year (£UK10.6 m) to about $A50 m (£UK26.6 m). 

 

While the networks expect CA to kick off negotiations over broadcast rights in the second half of the year, a spokesman said there were no plans to bring the process ­forward.  The BBL was a hit for the Ten network during December and January, attracting younger viewers and an average national audience of more than a million.  Sources said the Seven Network would also consider a bid for the BBL, which would only clash with the first week of the network’s coverage of The Australian Open tennis tournament.

 

CA will be under pressure to secure a big uptick in the value of its broadcast rights after the premium winter sports in Australia attained massive increases for their deals.  The National Rugby League reaped a 70 per cent uptick to $A1.8 b (£UK956 m) from its broadcast partners Nine, Fox Sports and Telstra, while the Australian Football League secured a 67 per cent boost with a colossal six-year $A2.5 b (£UK1.3 b) deal with Seven, Foxtel and ­Telstra.

 

Simon Ryan, chief executive of media buying agency Dentsu Aegis Australia, said Test ­matches remained attractive to advertisers but the shorter forms of the game were popular with different brands.  “Retailers want to get involved into the T20 and Big Bash because it gives them a quick hit of ratings.  Retailers and clients alike are always going to want that big hit of ratings.  Test matches offered advertisers the opportunity for longer partnerships and sponsorships”, said Ryan.  "There are different clients with different audiences chasing the Tests that are more after the longevity of viewing and consistency”..

 

OMD chief executive Peter Horgan said international ­cricket now faced more competition for advertisers from the BBL, Seven’s summer of tennis and, to a lesser degree, the A-League soccer competition.  “Advertisers are still very drawn to cricket just given its duration and broadcast dependability, and although the game may finish early, across the summer there’s plenty of scope for the network to look after sponsors”, he said.

 

Headline: English T20 city franchise debate will keep coming back, says PCA chief.   

Article from: The Guardian.

Journalist: Ali Martin.                         

Published: Friday, 25 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1788-8929.

 

David Leatherdale, the new chief executive of the UK Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA), accepts it is only a matter of time before the debate over the creation of a city-based Twenty20 tournament resurfaces despite welcoming the recently announced changes to the domestic structure for 2017.  From next year counties will play 14 championship fixtures per season, down from 16, with the ECB’s Twenty20 series being held in two blocks of fixtures at the height of summer and the 50-over Royal London Cup moved to the start of the summer.

 

The changes have been viewed in some quarters as a holding pattern by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) before the next round of broadcasting rights are negotiated for 2020 onwards, the first possible juncture at which a new Twenty20tournament could be introduced.  Leatherdale, who stood down as the Worcestershire chief executive in January, is in favour of the latest format but knows the clamour to replicate Australia’s Big Bash League, which features eight teams, is unlikely to go away. 

 

“It’s difficult to ignore 81,000 people watching Melbourne Stars playing Melbourne Renegades at the MCG, or 40,000 at the Adelaide Oval when only 14,000 watch a Test match there”, said Leatherdale. “We have had conversations [about it] and the players have put their view forward but the franchise issue isn’t on the table.  From the players’ point of view they are far more comfortable with the structure in 2017, with blocks of T20 matches, rather than the current [season-long Friday night competition] and all the travelling that goes with it. Is the franchise question going to rear its head again? I’m sure it probably will, the question is when".

 

“With the TV rights up in 2019, if there is going to be a change that’s the time. But what that change looks like nobody knows. You could argue 2017 is quite different. The focus on 50-over cricket ahead of the 2019 World Cup is high on the agenda.”

 

Leatherdale, who officially replaced Angus Porter at the PCA a fortnight ago, has spent the pre-season on a tour of the counties with the former England players Chris Lewis and Graeme Fowler. Lewis spent six years in prison for drug smuggling and has been educating players about his experiences since retiring from the sport while Fowler has given talks on mental health issues.  Leatherdale was also in India last week for talks with officials from the International Cricket Council (ICC), whose frosty relationship with players’ unions appears to be thawing under the current chairman, Shashank Manohar with the news that Tim May, the former chief executive of global union collective FICA, is back on their Cricket Committee (PTG 1788-8923, above).

 

Last week “There were meetings with the ICC, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England”, continued Leatherdale. “There were open discussions about governance, playing structures and distributions of funds. That conversation wouldn’t have happened 12 months ago and for the PCA to be part of that is a massive thing. Strained may have been the word previously but it’s far less strained now”.

 

Headline: Batting the 'wrong way’ is the 'right way' to go, suggests study.   

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Friday, 25 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1788-8930.

 

Batsmen who bat the "wrong way" by adopting a reversed stance which involves dominantly right-handed people batting left-handed and vice versa, are more likely to succeed at the top level, according to scientists.  Those who place their dominant hand at the top of the handle and their weaker hand at the bottom have a stunning advantage, says new research published in the scientific journal 'Sports Medicine' that overturns what generations of cricket coaching manuals have advocated. 

 

Young players are traditionally taught from school age to place their dominant hand at the bottom of the handle with their weaker hand at the top. But the new study found batters who hold their bats the other way round have a far better chance of reaching first class and international standards.  It suggests right-handers generate more power if they bat in the stance usually taught to left-handers and vice versa for left-handed players. 

 

The study authored by David Mann, Oliver Runswick and Peter Allen says: "We found that cricket batsmen who adopted a reversed stance had a stunning advantage, with professional batsmen 7.1 times more likely to adopt a reversed stance than inexperienced batsmen, independent of whether they batted right or left handed or the position of their dominant eye”.  Quality left-hand batsmen like Brian Lara, Clive Lloyd, David Gower, Adam Gilchrist, Alistair Cook, Michael Hussey, Kumar Sangakkara and Matthew Hayden are actually right-hand dominant but used a reversed stance. 

 

Moreover, a reversed-stance advantage should also be evident for those who are left-hand dominant yet bat right handed and in support the study gives the examples of modern- day greats such as Michael Clarke and Inzamam-ul-Haq who batted right handed yet bowled with their left.  Even India's Sachin Tendulkar, widely-considered as one of the best batsmen of the modern era, batted and bowled right-handed but is known to write with his left hand. 

 

Professor Allen, from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, who led the study of 136 cricketers with a wide range of abilities, said "The conventional way of holding a cricket bat, with the dominant hand on the bottom of the handle, has remained basically unchanged since the invention of the game and is modelled on the stance used for other bi-manual hitting tasks.  "For instance, the first Marylebone Cricket Club coaching manual instructs batters to pick up a bat in the same manner they would pick up an axe. While that might be beneficial for beginners, switching to a reversed stance gives elite players a technical and visual benefit”, he said. 

 

Dr Mann, a scientist in human movement at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam University, said: "The top hand is typically responsible for controlling and guiding the path of the bat to hit the ball so it appears to be an advantage for the dominant hand to perform this role”.

 

Headline: Twenty20's unstoppable rise fuels fears for Test cricket.   

Article from: Agence France Presse.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Friday, 25 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1788-8931.

   

As he joined the sell-out crowd for a Twenty20 match at the home of Indian cricket, Kaushal Loday said he wouldn't have come if the game was a Test.  "I'm not interested in five-day cricket, it's too long”, said Loday outside Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, ahead of a showdown between India and South Africa.  "T20's more entertaining. We like seeing sixes and fours."

 

The success of the ongoing World Twenty20 should be cause for celebration for administrators, with millions of TV viewers and packed houses enjoying batting pyrotechnics.  But while T20 cricket was conceived as a way for cash-strapped boards to make some money on the side, its growth in the last decade has led to fears it might devour the longest form of the game. The official line is that T20 can spread the game and encourage newcomers to the five-day Test matches, or 50-over One Day Internationals (ODI).  "We want to make sure all three formats of the game -- Test, ODI and T20 -- are going to able to co-exist well into the future and not only survive but flourish”, said International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson.  

 

But with the proliferation of domestic T20 tournaments giving players the chance to earn more in six weeks than they get from their boards in a year, some senior players are turning their back on Tests.  And with Tests often attracting paltry crowds, some players worry T20 cricket is endangering the format it was meant to underwrite. "I think it does threaten the traditional game," said England skipper Eoin Morgan, before admitting he didn't have any solution to the problem.  This year's World Twenty20 Championship in India is the third on the sub-continent in a little over three years. In contrast the ODI World Cup is every four years.

 

Players such as the West Indies’ Chris Gayle have stopped playing Tests and instead earn big bucks in tournaments such as Australia's Big Bash League or the Bangladesh Premier League.  Gayle has admitted he would "not be so sad" if Test cricket died a death, while de Villiers -- South Africa's Test captain and still only 32 -- recently acknowledged rumours he was thinking of quitting international cricket in favour of Twenty20 tournaments.  "There are big tournaments going on around the world and some of them you can't ignore because financially they make a huge difference in our lives”, he said.  The biggest is the Indian Premier League (IPL) where an evening's entertainment features cheerleaders, fireworks and cameos by Bollywood stars.

 

Speaking outside the Wankhede, home to India's board and the Mumbai Indians IPL side, Indian fan Rohit Bhosale said he only had time for T20s.  "The whole crowd seems to be enjoying T20 cricket more than the one-day or Test cricket”, he said.

 

India's board was initially cool on T20 cricket and only agreed to send a team to the first World T20 Championship in South Africa in 2007 to secure the right to host the 2011 ODI World Cup.  But the ecstatic reaction to India's eventual victory prompted a rethink and the IPL's birth.  Former Indian captain Kapil Dev said there was no point trying to hold back the tide and "the T20 format is the future”.  "There is no doubt that Test cricket is far superior -- but then the public, young and old, are hooked on to [the T20] format. It does not matter whether I like it or not!" he wrote in India's Mail Today newspaper.

 

Richardson said the ICC was trying to devise an international calendar that didn't force players to choose between their country and a T20 money-spinner, acknowledging the need for a balance to ensure "they don't cannibalise each other".

 

In November, Australia successfully staged the first day-night Test, while the idea of a Test championship has long been debated to revive the format.  Indian commentator Ayaz Memon said it was wrong to lay Test cricket's problems at T20's door, saying the two shorter formats had been devised to reverse a fall in crowds.  Memon said the real challenge was to retain the interest of a younger generation "weaned on a lot of different formats”.  "Everybody wants to preserve Test cricket as of now, but you don't know what may happen in the future”, he said.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,789

  Tuesday, 29 March 2016

 

• Ball tampering mars Sheffield Shield final [1789-8932]. 

• Batsman survives ‘Obstructing the Field’ appeal [1789-8933]. 

• ECB ACO issues ‘Ground, Weather and Light’ guidelines booklet [1789-8934]. 

 

Headline: Ball tampering mars Sheffield Shield final.   

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Monday, 28 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1789-8932.

 

Victoria have been penalised five runs for deliberately altering the condition of the ball during the third day of the Sheffield Shield final against South Australia in Adelaide on Monday, however, the players themselves do not appear to have been involved.  The home side were awarded the penalty early in their second innings after Victorian bowling coach Mick Lewis, who was walking along the boundary line, went to retrieve the ball that had finished on the grass just in front of the fence after a four had been scored.  Replays showed that either accidentally or on purpose, he kicked the ball onto the concrete under the fence line, lent down and picked it up, then rotated it, probably on the concrete, before throwing it back to the fielders.

 

Two overs later, the 12th of the home side’s innings, a boundary was struck to the opposite side of the ground, the ball rolling under the fence and onto the concrete.  Umpires Paul Wilson and Mick Martell then examined the ball and after a lengthy discussion with Victorian captain Matthew Wade it was replaced.  Officials later ruled that South Australia would be awarded five penalty runs. Match referee Steve Bernard said: "The umpires had determined that the condition of the ball had been deliberately altered.  Under the laws they imposed the five run penalty against the Victorian side and replaced the ball”.

 

In terms of changing a ball’s condition, Cricket Australia (CA) Playing Conditions for domestic first class games follow International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations, the world body adding additional requirements to the Marylebone Cricket Club’s Laws in 2013 (PTG 1207-5809, 10 October 2013).  The ICC/CA Playing Condition reflects the basic requirements set down by Law 42.3 but also breaks the situation down to two basic scenarios, the first that covers if the umpires can determine which player or players are responsible for interfering inappropriately with the ball, and the second if no culprit can be identified.

 

If the player or players responsible is known the umpires are required to: have “the batsman at the wicket choose a replacement from a selection of six other balls of various degrees of usage (including a new ball) and of the same brand as the ball in use prior to the contravention; award 5 penalty runs to the batting side; inform the captain of the fielding side of the reason for the action taken; Inform the captain of the batting side as soon as practicable; and report the incident to the match referee who shall take action as is appropriate against the player(s) responsible”.  On the other hand if it is not possible to identify the culprit or culprits the umpires themselves choose the replacement ball then follow the same informing and reporting conditions.

 

In 2005, five days after a ball tampering allegation against a Victorian second XI was dismissed, CA distributed a memo to state associations, coaches and umpires warning them to be extra vigilant about ball tampering. The national body's e-mail reinforced laws governing tampering and urged umpires to replace the ball, fine the bowling team five runs and report the matter if they believed the ball had been unlawfully tampered with.  In 2010 Aaron Finch, who captained Victoria at times this summer, was fined half of his match fee for ball tampering while playing a Sheffield Shield match (PTG 705-3455, 21 December 2010).

 

Just when the match referees report about the matter will be forwarded to CA and then what action the national body then takes in regard to Monday’s incident remains to be seen.  One media report overnight suggests that what are described as “[CA] officials" met with their Victorian counterparts about the issue on Monday evening, but the outcome of that gathering is not expected to be announced until early on Tuesday.  They go on to suggest though, with what authority is not known, that Lewis faces a sanction over what appears to be a Level Two matter.

 

Headline: Batsman survives ‘Obstructing the Field’ appeal.   

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Monday, 28 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1789-8933.

 

Victoria batsman Peter Handscomb survived an appeal for Obstructing the Field during his side’s first innings in the Sheffield Shield final against South Australia in Adelaide on Saturday, but just what the reasoning was of the umpires who gave him not out is not yet clear.  In the incident, South Australian captain Travis Head threw the ball back towards, but not on track for Handscomb’s stumps off his own bowling, the batsman reacting by hitting the ball hard to the midwicket fence, after which some fielders appeared to appeal.

 

Umpires Mick Martell, who was at the bowler’s end, and  Paul Wilson at square leg, then came together to confer, after which both Handscomb and captain Head were spoken to.  The batsman, who was on 79 at the time and went on to make a further 33 runs in a key display for his side, was not given out.  Just how the two umpires saw the situation has not been made public and their reasoning will be of interest to many observers.

 

Cricket Australia’s Playing Conditions in regard to the type of incident Martell and Wilson adjudicated on say “Law 37 will apply”.  Part of that Law says that "Either batsman will be out obstructing the field if while the ball is in play and after the striker has completed the act of playing the ball ... he willfully strikes the ball…. with any other part of his person or with his bat”.  Following a Law change in 2013, Handscomb could not have been given out "hit the ball twice" because it had already come into contact with a fielder, in this case bowler Head (PTG 1199-5771, 1 October 2013).

 

After Saturday's play South Australian pace bowler Daniel Worrall played down his team's reaction claiming the situation "was blown up a bit”.  "We were just throwing it to the keeper and [Handscomb] decided he would have another hit.  I don't think it was anything too serious, we didn't appeal for it or anything like that. We were just trying to get in his head. We needed something”.  For his part Handsome is reported to have said: "I knew I was within my rights to hit the ball if it was coming at me”, although he didn’t explain just why he “knew” that.  The incident preceded Monday’s ball tampering controversy in the match (PTG 1789-8932 above).

 

A popularist on-line poll conducted by the ABC Cricket web site about the matter drew responses from over 4,000 people.  Of those 53 per cent, or 2,146 voters chose the option "Do what Handscomb did: Dispatch it to the fence with extreme prejudice!; 33 percent or 1,345, that he should have "Let it go through to the keeper and given the bowler the stink eye’; 366 or 9 per cent felt the right reaction was to "Dive out of the way in melodramatic fashion”; and 4 per cent of 176 that he should “have complained to the umpire that the bowler was being mean”.

 

Headline: ECB ACO issues ‘Ground, Weather and Light’ guidelines booklet.   

Article from: ECB ACO.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Monday, 28 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1789-8934.

 

So-called recreational umpires in England and Wales have been issued with new instructions as to how they are to deal with ‘ground weather and light’ (GWL) issues they encounter during games.  The England and Wales Cricket Board’s Association of Cricket Officials (ACO), makes it clear early on in a new 28 page electronic booklet, that the new guidelines have been produced as a direct result a player's unsuccessful attempt last year to sue two umpires over an injury he suffered whilst playing on a ground he considered unsafe for play.  That controversy involved is reported to have cost the ECB in excess of £UK100,000 ($A190,000) in legal fees in defending the umpires involved (PTG 1720-8531, 23 December 2015), and the information contained in the booklet “draws upon the lessons learnt from [that] case” 

 

The ACO booklet covers a range of matters familiar to umpires around the world, including: pre-match preparations such as checking the weather forecast; factors to consider in assessing ground conditions; rain issues; how umpires must work together to weigh up the situations they are confronted with; dealing with club officials and captains; and how that all marries up with the ECB’s ‘Get the Game on’ initiative. The ACO have also released a new GWL training module has been released and members are "strongly encourage to attend a local training course where possible” to go through the material.

 

The key message from the revised policy is that in "order for play to start, continue or resume, both umpires should agree, at all times, that conditions do not present an actual and foreseeable risk of injury to any player or umpire”, but that if they cannot agree that it is so then play must be stopped. The document lists nine questions that should be answered by both umpires, and emphasises that when considering each of them “the state of the game, or the views of either team, should have no bearing on the answers”. If one of the umpires is not an ECB ACO member he or she may consult their colleague but the decision made rests with the ACO member who has, by virtue of their membership, insurance cover whilst travelling to, at and on the way home from, games; support that includes support should a legal issue be involved. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,790

  Wednesday, 30 March 2016

 

• Victorian bowling coach fined for ball tampering [1790-8935]. 

• ICC names WT20C semi final match officials [1790-8936]. 

• Facing the consequences ... visible and not [1790-8937]. 

• Cricket Australia swings to Dukes ball [1790-8938]. 

• Mooted changes aim at ‘energised' Sheffield Shield final [1790-8939]. 

• ‘Dissent’ costs skipper half his match fee [1790-8940]. 

• Background to Handscomb ‘Obstruction’ processing awaited [1790-8941].   

• Video shows a ‘no ball’ training device [1790-8942]. 

Headline: Victorian bowling coach fined for ball tampering.   

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Tuesday, 29 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1790-8935.

Victorian bowling coach Mick Lewis has been fined but escaped suspension after pleading guilty to ball tampering in the Sheffield Shield final against South Australia on Monday. Replays showed that Lewis kicked the ball onto the concrete under the fence line when retrieving the ball after a four had been scored, lent down and picked it up, then rotated it on the concrete, before throwing it back to the fielders.  A subsequent check of the ball by umpires Mick Martell and Paul Wilson saw them replace the ball and award South Australia five runs (PTG 1789-8932, 29 March 2016). 

Cricket Australia (CA) announced on Tuesday morning that Lewis had been charged by match referee Steve Bernard for a Level Two offence under CA's Code of Behaviour and was fined $A2,266 (£UK1,200), an amount equal to 50 per cent of a player's match fee.  As it was Lewis's first CA Code of Behaviour offence within the past 18 months and he accepted the charge, no hearing was required. CA’s head of operations Sean Cary said that "Ball tampering is a very serious offence and simply won't be tolerated at any level of the game”.  He indicated Bernard "addressed the matter as soon as it was brought to his attention, spoke at length to Mick Lewis about it and has handed down the subsequent penalty”.

Cricket Victoria (CV) chief executive Tony Dodemaide said his organisation, which itself issued Lewis with a “severe reprimand”, “acknowledge he has apologised to the South Australian team and match officials and hope the matter deters others from doing anything like this in the future”.  Dodemaide indicated his side were "committed to playing fair cricket in the spirit of the game" and "does not condone any action to gain an unfair advantage in any form”.  "Myself and [CV chairman] Russell Thomas immediately spoke to Mick and he has apologised unreservedly and understands that this reflects unfairly on the [Victorian side] and all of Victorian cricket”.  "Victorian coach David Saker was extremely disappointed [Lewis] cost the side five runs in what could be a very close match”.

It's not the first time Lewis has drawn the attention of officials for ball tampering.  In 2005 he was the subject of the first video review in Australian domestic cricket after he was captured applying pressure to the ball with his thumbnail while playing for Victoria in a Shield match against Queensland.  He was issued a warning then but escaped without an official charge.  

Despite Dodemaide’s protestations, Victoria are well represented in the list of controversial match issues over the last five years and have a reputation of playing the game particularly aggressively.  In the same year Lewis was warned, Saker was cleared of any wrongdoing after an investigation into alleged ball tampering while coaching the Victorian second XI side.  In 2010 Aaron Finch, who has captained Victoria, was fined for ball tampering during a Shield match against South Australia (PTG 705-3455, 21 December 2010), then late 2013 saw then and now captain Matthew Wade fined half of his match fee and banned for one match for tampering with the pitch (PTG 1240-5985, 23 November 2014). Reminded of the Finch incident, Dodemaide acknowledge it but said "it's not something we want to build in to our game".     

South Australia though have also had to deal with a similar situation in 2014, when then-captain Johan Botha was banned for one match for altering the condition of the ball in a game against New South Wales in somewhat bizarre circumstances (PTG 1309-6314, 10 March 2014). 

The cricket community was quick to condemn Lewis’s action.  Former Australia player Greg Blewett called his actions a “disgrace” while his countryman and now Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie, who like Blewett played for South Australia, said it was “very poor from anyone let alone a member of the support staff”.  Former Australia captain Michael Clarke expressed his disbelief at seeing the images, and Mitchell Starc suggested Victoria should be hit with a points deduction at the start of next season.  Retired batsman Damien Martyn called for a "serious investigation" and a heavy penalty "to set an example that this is just not on”.  "It's not in our culture or our values that we hold dearly to ourselves in Australian cricket that this is acceptable”, claimed Martyn.

 

Lewis, 41, retired from playing in 2008 after a 17-year higher level career that blossomed late and saw him feature in 82 first class games, three of them Sheffield Shield finals, one of which his Victorian side won, plus seven One Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals.  

Headline: ICC names WT20C semi final match officials.  

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Wednesday, 30 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1790-8936.

Fifteen umpires, eleven from the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) and and four from its second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and four match referees, have been selected to manage the men’s and women’s semi final matches in the World Twenty20 Championship in Delhi and Mumbai on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.  The only EUP member missing from the four games is Pakistani Aleem Dar, while IUP members Simon Fry, Michael Gough, Ranmore Martinesz and Joel Wilson, all potential future EUP members, have been given roles.

EUP members Kumar Dharmasena and Rod Tucker will be on-field in Wednesday's men’s match between England and New Zealand in Delhi, and Richard Kettleborough and Ian Gould the second semi final in Mumbai between India and the West Indies on Thursday; David Boon and Chris Broad respectively being the match referees.  The first women’s semi between Australia and England, which will played as a curtain raiser to the England-NZ men’s game, will have EUP members Chris Gaffaney and Sundarum Ravi on-field, and the second, another curtain raiser, this time between New Zealand and the West Indies, will see Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong on-field.  EUP members missing from that on-field list are Dar, Marais Erasmus, Bruce Oxenford and Paul Reiffel.

Oxenford and Erasmus have been appointed as the third umpire for the England-NZ and India-Windies men’s semi finals respectively, and Reiffel and the IUP’s Wilson as the third officials in the women’s semi finals, the first to the NZ-Windies match in Mumbai and the second the Australia-England fixture in Delhi.  Fourth umpire spots in the two women’s games have gone to Wilson in Delhi, after which he will move to the third umpire job in the men’s semi final there that day, and Fry in Mumbai.

Headline: Facing the consequences ... visible and not.  

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Gideon Haigh.                         

Published: Wednesday, 30 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1790-8937.

For all the odium being heaped on him, Victorian bowling coach Mick Lewis can be considered a little unlucky.  Any other domestic game and his opportunistic scuffing would almost certainly have gone unnoticed, given the limited surveillance of the cameras providing Cricket Australia (CA) with its Sheffield Shield livestream.  As it was a final, with enhanced coverage and the ABC commentariat in attendance, he finds himself with a fine and, perhaps worse for his reputation, being chastised by rivals and awkwardly defended by his employers at what should be the crowning moment of his team’s season (PTG 1790-8935 above).

Ball tampering is one of those cricket misdemeanours of ambiguous seriousness - carrying only a five-run penalty yet involving sufficient of a taboo as to provoke the forfeiture of a Test match a decade ago. The game winks at it, with the admonition: ‘Don’t get caught.’ Without sin, sir? Your first stone is ready…..

In the meantime, South Australia have hosted an engrossing Sheffield Shield final on an excellent surface at a picturesque venue in front of a cheerful crowd. They have a promising side, well-led and well-coached. But it’s surprising there has not been more question about their right to be hosting in the first place, which arises largely from the occult bonus point system that CA adopted for the Shield this austral summer, allegedly to encourage more enterprising cricket, but whose variations have introduced a kind of arbitrariness to the competition ladder. 

No team in twelve decades of domestic first-class cricket in Australia has finished top losing as many as the five games South Australia lost this summer. New South Wales, meanwhile, with the disadvantage of completing a solitary game at the Sydney Cricket Ground, won five games, lost once, and finished… third? Come again?

As the last day of the Australian cricket summer dawns, CA is reportedly entertaining measures to ‘energise’ the Sheffield Shield (PTG 1790-8941 below). It might like to consider whether, in its scoring system and other measures this season, recent innovations haven’t just been a little too clever. Steps taken out of sight have impacts too.

Headline: Cricket Australia swings to ‘Dukes' ball.   

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Greg Baum.                         

Published: Tuesday, 29 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1790-8938.

Cricket Australia (CA) will announce on Wednesday that English-made ‘Dukes' balls will be used in the second half of Sheffield Shield seasons from next year.  The initiative is meant to help Australian players prepare more thoroughly for future overseas tours, especially those to England. Australian made ‘Kookaburra' balls will be used in the first half of each season, in the lead-in to home Test series, but ‘Kookaburra' will lose its long-standing monopoly in Australia.

Rumblings urging the introduction of the ‘Dukes' ball to Australia were first heard more than four years ago. They grew to a dull roar after last year's Ashes series in England, when the Australians comprehensively failed to tame the English ball, which is darker and harder than a ‘Kookaburra', and swings more and for longer. Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting was joined by his former team mates Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath in calling for CA to adopt the ‘Dukes' ball.

Former captain Michael Clarke, who retired at the end of the 2015 Ashes series, added his voice obliquely, saying the Sheffield Shield prepared players well for Australian conditions, but not for away series. Australia have lost their past four Ashes tours in England, and each time, lack of mastery of the ‘Dukes' ball has been a factor.  CA has been trialling Dukes balls in the state second XI Futures League and in its Under-19 and Under-17 championships since 2012 (PTG 1008-4899, 25 October 2012). The English maker has been progressively modifying the ball for Australian conditions.  

As the cricket program has evolved in Australia to accommodate the rise and rise of the Big Bash League, the Sheffield Shield season has been been virtually split into two terms, one finishing in early December and other beginning in February. ‘Dukes' balls will be used in rounds six to 10 in early 2017 and the final. One will be a day-night round, with a pink ball. It is possible also that a white ‘Dukes' ball will be used in CA's domestic one-day tournament at the start of each season.

Ostensibly, CA's move is a case of "if you can't beat them, join them". It has implications beyond Test and first-class cricket though, for as a rule, elite club competitions prefer to use the same ball as in interstate competitions, for consistency's sake. ‘Dukes' managing director Dilip Jajodia has made it clear that he intends to take the opportunity to open up the cricket ball market in Australia, pitching to clubs and schools as well as the professional level (PTG 1265-6101, 7 January 2014).  He has also been trying to introduce them into New Zealand (PTG 1751-8727, 1 February 2016).

Dukes' arrival is poorly timed for ‘Kookaburra', the century-old Australian icon. It came under criticism during the recent Australian summer, and in New Zealand in previous seasons, when its balls had to be replaced repeatedly in Test matches. In 2012, Kookaburra's Rob Elliot said: "If we are not supported by cricket in Australia then Kookaburra [basically] won't exist”.

Headline: ‘Dissent’ costs skipper half his match fee.   

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Tuesday, 29 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1790-8939.

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has been fined 50 per cent of his match fee for “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision" his side’s final match in the World Twenty20 Championship series in Delhi on Monday. It was the second time within a 12-month period that du Plessis has been found guilty of a Level One ‘dissent’ breach, he having been fined 15 per cent of his match fee for doing so during the fourth One-Day International against India in Chennai last October (PTG 1669-8184, 24 October 2015).

The latest incident happened in South Africa’s 13th over when du Plessis, after being given out LBW, showed dissent at the decision by occupying the crease for a period of time before leaving the field while looking at his bat and shaking his head.  He was reported by on-field umpires Sundarum Ravi and Rod Tucker, third umpire Paul Reiffel and fourth official Chris Gaffaney, all of whom are member of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel.  

After the match, du Plessis admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Jeff Crowe, and as such there was no need for a formal hearing.  Should du Plessis be found guilty of a similar breach within 12 months of the first last October, it will amount to his third offence and, as such, he will be suspended. 

Headline: Background to Handscomb ‘Obstruction’ processing awaited.   

Article from: Various sources.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Tuesday, 29 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1790-8940.

It seems most knowledgeable observers of the game are of the view, after assessing available vision of the situation, that Victorian batsman Peter Hanscomb should have been given out ‘Obstructing the Field’ during the second day’s play in the Sheffield Shield final in Adelaide last Saturday.  In the incident, South Australian captain Travis Head threw the ball back towards, but not on track for Handscomb’s stumps off his own bowling, the batsman reacting by hitting the ball hard to the midwicket fence, after which some fielders appeared to appeal (PTG 1789-8933, 29 March 2016). 

Those who are interested in the issue warn though that there may have been more involved than just the vision and the body language it displayed, for on-field umpires Mick Martell and Paul Wilson to consider in resolving the matter in the way they did.  Either that or else they chose, in their own personal way, to manage it such that match man-management issues countered what the Laws require.  Cricket Australia (CA) has been asked by ‘PTG’ to clarify just what Martell and Wilson's thinking was in taking the path they did but as yet no details have surfaced, therefore speculation abounds.  

Vision available indicates Handscomb could have avoided the ball thrown in his direction, however, he ‘chose’ to hit it, and hit it very lustily, the video also clearly suggesting there were appeals, or at minimum raised arms and words spoken possibly to that effect, from several fielders.  Martell as the ‘presiding’ umpire with the best view could have answered those apparent appeals with a raised finger, which then would have left Head, as the fielding captain, the option of withdrawing the appeal if he felt so inclined. 

Replays suggest Martell, who may have felt Head was reticent about the issue, asked him if he wanted to go on with the appeal, for he gave the captain a tap on his side after he had had a quick word with him, thus suggesting his approval over the result.  Given Head’s throw and Handscomb’s ‘shot’ could both be regarded as overreactions by both players, the umpires may have been of the view that the tone of the whole game could have been effected negatively.  Details of heir actual reasoning, if it is ever made public, will be of considerable interest to others who practice the art of umpiring.

Headline: Mooted changes aim at ‘energised' Sheffield Shield final.   

Article from: Daniel Brettig.

Journalist: Cricinfo.                         

Published: Tuesday, 29 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1790-8941.

Future Sheffield Shield titles would only be awarded to the outright winner of the final, under one of several proposals currently being considered by Cricket Australia (CA) to revitalise the competition decider.  Planning of the domestic schedule for next summer is at an advanced stage, and it is understood the Shield final is safe from being cut, as there are no plans to grow the number of Twenty20 Big Bash League (BBL) games from their present number before the 2017-18 season. Any changes to the final could then be tested before a decision is made on whether it is retained against an expanded BBL.

CA, the states and the players have been in talks about ways to revitalise the five-day final, which has run to largely predictable scripts over the years. While outstanding contests like the first final in 1983, a one-wicket win for New South Wales over Queensland in 1985 and South Australia's last-gasp escape in 1996 have stayed in the memory, most have been duller affairs on flat pitches and led to some at high levels to mull that the final be scrapped (PTG 1675-8222, 30 October 2015).

This has been largely due to the fact that current competition rules allow, in the event of a draw, for the Shield to be awarded to the team finishing top of the table, meaning the home side prepares pitch that increases the likelihood of a draw. The proposal to leave the Shield shared between the two finalists unless there is an outright result is geared towards ensuring a more lively contest on a fairer surface.

Pat Howard, CA's team performance manager, has floated this possibility among numerous other thought bubbles, and it is believed to have met a favourable response from CA Board directors, state associations and players. A five-day final is considered ample time to gain an outright result, provided the pitch offers enough. 

Ironically, the strip prepared for this year's meeting between South Australia and Victoria at Glenelg Oval has proven to be an excellent example, affording enough seam movement to the fast men and some appreciable turn for the spinners. At the same time, batsmen have been able to make runs when applying themselves. "I'm not surprised there has been discussion”, said Cricket Victoria chief executive Tony Dodemaide. "We've had those in meetings with [CA]. The cricket world changes over time, it's very different to when it was first installed in the early '80s. "But I think we are seeing today how valuable it can be in terms of this sort of intensity of cricket and how young players from both teams have really stood up and shown what they can do under pressure”.

Glenelg's successful hosting of the final, where the smaller ground has leant a pleasant festival air to proceedings while also providing an ideal surface, has not been lost on Victorian administrators as they work on long overdue upgrades to Melbourne’s Junction Oval as a cricket hub and secondary venue after the Melbourne Cricket Ground.  "I'm very impressed, I've done several laps of the ground over three days through nervousness and also wanting to have a look a what they've got here”, Dodemaide said. "This is a terrific arena for Shield cricket, it's an excellent atmosphere and a perfect fit for what Sheffield Shield cricket can be. This will definitely influence what we are looking for at the Junction Oval”. 

Headline: Video shows a ‘no ball’ training device.   

Article from: YouTube.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Tuesday, 29 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1790-8942.

A video posted on YouTube ten months ago shows a system that has been developed for Cricket Australia (CA) to monitor ‘no balls’ during training sessions.  The video shows that the equipment involved, which was developed by ‘qubluebox’ the Queensland University of Technology’s commercial arm, produces an audible alarm when a bowler oversteps with their front foot.  CA bowling coach Troy Cooley says on the video that CA had been looking at such a system “for a while now” and that “a pretty simple” device, a small box that can easily be held in one hand and a reflector, was involved. 

Two months ago there was news that the Australian tourists had became so alarmed about fast bowlers habitually over-stepping in the practice nets leading into the Test series in New Zealand, they trialled a prototype of electronic-eye technology that would notionally sound an alarm every time a front foot landed beyond the popping crease (PTG 1760-8774, 11 February 2016).  That equipment was said then to comprise "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”, and it was "difficult to lug around the world".  On the surface that sounds different to the equipment shown in the YouTube video.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,791

  Thursday, 31 March 2016

 

• Players, CA butt heads over use of ‘Dukes' ball in Sheffield Shield [1791-8943]. 

• Opening WT20C semi finals narrow match officials’ finals availability [1791-8944]. 

Headline: Players, CA butt heads over use of ‘Dukes' ball in Sheffield Shield.   

Article from: Fairfax media.

Journalist: Andrew Wu.                         

Published: Thursday, 31 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1791-8943.

Cricket Australia's (CA) introduction of the ‘Dukes' ball for use in the Sheffield Shield has met a lukewarm response from Australia's players union amid concerns the domestic competition is being used as a "trialling ground for unproven initiatives”.  The English-made ‘Dukes' cricket ball will be used for the second half of next season's Shield season, replacing the traditional ‘Kookaburra', which will still be used for all international fixtures in Australia (PTG 1790-8935, 30 March 2016). The initiative is designed to better prepare players for Ashes campaigns in England, where Australia have not won a series since 2001. 

Questions have been raised over how much benefit players will gain from using the ‘Dukes' in Australian conditions, which are markedly different from England. Those who have played in England say the amount of cloud cover is a major factor in how much the ‘Dukes' ball swings.  "If it's bright and sunny and no grass on the wicket, fill your boots in with the bat”, said one first-class player.  "Kookaburras can swing all day with the right conditions”.  The main difference between the two brands is that Dukes' hand-stitched seam is prouder than Kookaburra's, therefore offering more assistance to the fast bowlers off the pitch.

The Kookaburra company is concerned any gain from playing with the ‘Dukes' would be minimal given it would not be used in English conditions. "We understand the importance of preparing for an oversea tour and have always supported training with a ‘Dukes' or Indian ‘SG' ball in the lead up to a tour”, said Kookaburra's managing director Brett Elliot. "I am concerned that the Shield competition will be damaged if it's simply used as a testing ground”.

Many of Australia's international players are likely to have minimal involvement in the ‘Dukes' Shield matches as the second half of the season will coincide with limited-overs matches against New Zealand and a tour of India. But it will give those on the fringe of the Test side exposure to the ‘Dukes’.  There is also widespread dissatisfaction among players over the quality of ‘Kookaburra' balls used in recent years - an issue that was highlighted during last austral summer's Perth Test (PTG 1689-8310, 16 November 2016).  The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) or player’s union, is sending a survey to players to canvas their views but are concerned how the Dukes ball will behave in Australia.

CA has used the ball in its second XI competition, the Futures League, for two seasons and in the recent Under-17 and Under-19 national championships, but the ACA say this is not enough research to justify introduction to the Shield - which remains a much-loved competition among players even if it has lost its lustre with much of the public.  The ACA and CA were also in dispute over the pink ball used in the historic day-night Test (PTG 1693-8335, 23 November 2016).

ACA chief Alistair Nicholson said: "It'll need a substantial trial period before it jumps into a Shield competition”. "Apart from Futures League on club grounds we don't have an understanding on what first-class players think about it.  Plenty of guys who have played in England have exposure but plenty don't. Without trialling and feedback the only thing we have to go off is a really small understanding in English conditions.  We don't want the Sheffield Shield to degenerate”, ACA chief Alistair Nicholson said.

The ‘Dukes' has been confirmed to be used for next season only at this stage but it's expected it will also be used in seasons after that.  "In recent times Australian teams travelling to England haven't adjusted well to local conditions and the swinging Dukes ball", CA cricket boss Pat Howard said.  "We have been on record saying that we will look at ways to address this deficiency and believe giving players greater experience with the ‘Dukes' ball is one way of doing just that.  Some people might think changing a brand of cricket ball is a minor consideration, but as we have seen from past Ashes campaigns in England, it can be a significant factor”.

Headline: Opening WT20C semi finals narrow match officials’ finals availability.   

Article from: WT20C semi final results

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Thursday, 31 March 2016.   

PTG listing: 1791-8944.

Australia and England may have won Wednesday’s women’s and men’s World Twenty20 Championship semi finals in Delhi and qualified for their respective finals in Kolkata on Sunday, however, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) neutral match officials policy means those who are nationals of those winning countries cannot now be chosen to support those games.  

With England in the men’s final against either India or the West Indies, four English ICC Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) members, Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Nigel Llong and Richard Kettleborough, the latter who has been rated the ICC’s best umpire over the last three years, will automatically miss out, while Australian EUP members Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker, will be ineligible for the women’s final which will see their countrywomen play either New Zealand of the West Indies.

With the four Englishmen out of contention for the men’s final, of those remaining EUP members, Tucker and Kumar Dharmasena appear the likely choice for that game, while if ratings mean anything Kettleborough and Gould could well stand in the women’s final.  The ICC is expected to provide details of finals appointments on Friday, the day after the second semi finals in Mumbai the previous evening.



 

End of March 2016 news.