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                      APRIL 2016
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 25  EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 8945-9076)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below 
 
1,792  1,793  1,794  1,795  1,796  1,797  1,798  1,799  1,800  1,801  1,802  1,803  1,804  1,805  1,806  1,807  1,808  1,809  1,810  1,811  1,812  1,813  1,814  1,815


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,792

  Saturday, 2 April 2016


• ICC names WT20C final match officials [1792-8945].    

• The Shield is won, let the merchandising begin! [1792-8946]. 

Headline: ICC names WT20C final match officials.   

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Friday, 1 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1792-8945.

Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and Rod Tucker from Australia have been named as the on-field umpires for Sunday’s World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) final between England and the West Indies in Kolkata, while Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Richard Illingworth of England will play the same role in the women’s final between Australia and the West Indies.  The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle from Sri Lanka will oversee the men’s final and one of his panel members, Zimbabwe’s Andy Pycroft, the women’s decider.  

The television umpires named for the finals are South African Marais Erasmus who will work in the men’s final, while Englishman Nigel Llong has been selected for the women’s game.  Fourth umpire duties will be undertaken by Australian Bruce Oxenford and India’s Sundarum Ravi in the men’s and women’s final respectively. All umpires selected for the finals are from the ICC’s top Elite Umpires Panel. 

Dharmasena, Erasmus and Mudugalle filled the same roles twelve months ago in the 50-over World Cup final in Melbourne (PTG 1543-7420, 28 March 2015), and while the coming WT20C final is the Sri Lankan and South African's first in that competition, it will be Madugalle’s third in the six such tournaments that have been played since the inaugural series in 2007.  

Earlier this week, Dharmasena and Tucker stood together in the men’s semi final match between England and New Zealand in Delhi with Oxenford as their third umpire, while Erasmus was the third umpire in the India-West Indies men’s semi, and Ravi on-field in the women’s semi final.  Dar though was completely missing from the match officials line ups for the four semi finals (PTG 1791-8944, 31 March 2016). 

Overall the ten officials named for the finals come from seven countries, two each from Australia, England and Sri Lanka, and one each from India, Pakistan, South Africa and Zimbabwe.  All except Ravi played at first class level before taking up umpiring while of the other four, Dharmasena, Illingworth, Madugalle and Pycroft, also featured as players in Tests.

Headline: The Shield is won, let the merchandising begin!  

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Greg Baum.                         

Published: Friday, 1 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1792-8946.

You'd be excused for not having noticed, but Victoria this week won their second Sheffield Shield in a row. Shortly afterwards, Cricket Victoria (CV) emitted this tweet, complete with exclamation mark: "To celebrate our Shield win, we're having a Bushrangers merchandise sale!" Instead of "hail, hail", it was "buy, buy", and don't forget the !  As a bum note, it was up there with Melbourne Australian Rules Football (AFL) club Hawthorn in 2008, which won a wondrous premiership and then used the grand final podium and the follow-up at their home ground the next day to pitch for new members. The next time they won, in 2013, they had learned their lesson and made sure to thank and rejoice with fans, not hard-sell to them.

CV's post-final discount drive was out of whack, but no more than the fixture itself. Like the reader whose bookmark has fallen out, it has lost its place. The problem is not the style or quality of the game itself.  Sometimes it is a grinding and gruelling affair, sometimes nail-biting as only cricket can be when two teams have spent themselves over five days and still there's only a wicket or a handful of runs or a couple of overs in it.

Tales are legion, but my favourite concerns the final of 1984-85, only the third staged. New South Wales and Queensland had played each other almost to a standstill and NSW was nine down with 11 still to get when Dave Gilbert arrived at the crease. At the other end was Peter Clifford, a highly accomplished batsman who made more than 900 runs that season and was 80 not out.  "I've been waiting all season for this”, Gilbert muttered to Clifford, "so don't you screw it up now”.  Next over, Gilbert belted Carl Rackemann - who had taken six wickets in the innings - back over his head twice for the two boundaries that brought victory.

The Shield final was introduced to sharpen up the end of long competition. Odd to think now, but falling crowds at Shield games also were a factor in the then Australian Cricket Board’s thinking at the time. So was the exploding popularity of one-day, 50-over cricket. It was only a few years after the Packer’s World Series Cricket revolution, and the landscape of the game was changing seismically.

Now it has changed again. Twenty20 has elbowed its way into the playground, then to prime position in it. Test cricket remains pre-eminent, and contrary to expectations, 50-over cricket refuses to curl up and die. To accommodate this profusion, CA effectively split the shield season into two cramped mini-seasons, months apart. Fixturing now resembles a schoolboy stuffing a sleeping bag into its cover and hastily pulling the drawstring before it escapes again.

The AFL season is an overbearing presence, strategically a disaster for cricket, denying the summer game grounds and profile. Last year, Victoria won their "home" final in Hobart. If they had finished top this year, they would have hosted the final in Alice Springs, two state borders away.  As it happened, because of a points system neatly described by Gideon Haigh as "occult", South Australia leap-frogged from fourth to first in the last round, and so the final was played at that hotbed of shield history, Glenelg. Seeking to make a virtue of a vice, players and officials from both states spoke glowingly of the venue as, well, um, you know, "boutique". It is a bit like describing a footballer as compact when you mean short.

I don't doubt that the ground and pitch were immaculately presented. And the game was another classic of its type, tense, even, fiercely contested and plumbing in the players understated qualities little regarded these days. It was spiced by an element of skulduggery. Parochially, it allowed Victoria to salvage a trophy that had been theirs to lose all season and which they nearly lost at season's end. It became a rare example of an away win.

 

But the final had no context. It was and is a shag on a rock. Once the final rounded out the season; now it hangs over the edge. This one was played even after the end of the club season in Melbourne, and with the opening round of the football season smothering it, and this year the World Twenty20 in India acting as further distraction. It lacked star quality, and has for years. Faces familiar from the Big Bash League lend glitter, but only a little. The final teases out some rising talent, but it is a long time since it was regarded as the unofficial sixth Test of summer.

From next year, it will be played with an English ‘Dukes' ball, notionally to accustom potential Ashes players. But most can't or won't play it, and in three years of a four-year cycle, red-ball cricket goes into hibernation now until the spring. Allowing only for one deep breath, this is Indian Premier League time.  The final served its least purpose: it determined a winner. But as a device, the last round would have provided an even more dramatic climax. Going in, any of four teams might have emerged on top, and on the last day, NSW still might have pinched it from SA, or Victoria from both. It won't always be so, of course. But nor is the final guaranteed to be a thriller. The time for a rethink is at hand (PTG 1790-8939, 30 March 2016).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,793

  Monday, 4 April 2016

 

• Former Zimbabwean Test umpire dies [1793-8947].    

• WT20C finalist fined for use of abusive language [1793-8948].  

• Club chairman suffers heart attack chasing vandals [1793-8949].     

• Youth dies, allegedly as doctors watch India-West Indies T20 [1793-8950].     

Headline: Former Zimbabwean Test umpire dies.   

Article from: Media reports, research.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Sunday, 3 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1793-8947.

Former Zimbabwe umpire Ian Robinson died of lung cancer at the age of 69 in Harare on Sunday.  Robinson has the distinction of having made his One Day International (ODI) debut during a World Cup, something that would not happen now, that match between Pakistan and the West Indies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in February 1992  involving a number of well-remembered players from both sides.

England-born Robinson began his umpiring career in 1975 after a recurring back injury prematurely ended his playing career.  He was appointed to Zimbabwe's first-class panel in 1978 the year he made his first class debut, and the last of his then 97 games at that level was four years ago after he ‘retired' in 2007 and retuned for a final stint in 2010-11.  He also stood in a total of 146 List A matches and 14 Twenty20s, all of the latter coming during his return to the crease after his initial retirement.  

Of those first class matches, 28 of them were Tests, while 90 of the List A games were ODIs. His Test debut came in Zimbabwe's inaugural match at that level, against India in Harare, in October 1992, his partner then being England’s ‘Dicky’ Bird.   The Tests Robinson featured in were played in Australia, England, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Zimbabwe, while on the one-day scene he stood in the 1992, 1996 and 1999 World Cups and the Asia Cup of 1995, as well as numerous series in many countries.

Apart from his umpiring duties, Robinson served as a Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) board member for 14 years and was an employee for nine, working as the board's international cricket manager.  He was appointed to the first international panel of umpires established by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 1994. 

 

In 2004, he was sacked by the ZCU without being given a reason and announced his retirement from top-level umpiring four years later to focus on his role as the International Cricket Council's first Regional Umpires' Performance Manager (RUPM) for the Africa region (PTG 262-1417, 26 June 2008).  He left that post in 2010 after two years in the job before returning briefly to Zimbabwe’s top umpiring ranks (PTG 676-3315, 4 October 2010).

Headline: WT20C finalist fined for use of abusive language..   

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor .                        

Published: Monday, 4 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1793-8948.

Marlon Samuels of the West Indies has been fined 30 percent of his match fee for using abusive and offensive language directed at England’s Ben Stokes during the World Twenty20 Championship final against England at Eden Gardens on Sunday.  The incident, in which Samuels was found to have “used language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an international match”, a Level One Breach, happened in the final over of West Indies’ run-chase when bowler Stokes had just been hit for four sixes, Samuels being the non-striker.

The charge against the West Indian was levelled by on-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Rod Tucker, third umpire Marais Erasmus and fourth umpire Bruce Oxenford.  Samuels admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Ranjan Madugalle, and so there was no no need for a formal hearing.  The International Cricket Council said that “for all first offences", Level One charges carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand and a maximum penalty of 50 percent of a player’s match fee.

Headline: Club chairman suffers heart attack chasing vandals.   

Article from: Western Daily Press.

Journalist: Tristan Cork.                         

Published: Sunday, 3 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1793-8949.

A club stalwart in Wiltshire had to be airlifted to hospital on Saturday after suffering a heart attack while chasing vandals on bikes who were carving up the square at the Trowbridge Cricket Club.  A club spokesman said chairman Brian Scrine had been "chasing a few ignorant teenage toe rags” who had been on the square when he fell ill.  After the incident clubs from across the West Country have joined together in condemning the vandals sending their best wishes to Scrine and the club.  As well as playing host to Trowbridge, the ground, with its picturesque two-tier stand, often serves as Minor County Wiltshire's home ground.

Headline: Youth dies, allegedly as doctors watch India-West Indies T20.   

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Monday, 4 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1793-8950.

Doctors in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh are alleged to have failed to properly attend to a critically injured youth because they were watching the India-West Indies World Twenty20 Championship semi final between India and the West Indies on Thursday, and he later succumbed to wounds suffered in an assault.  A police spokesman said that a complaint registered by the boy's father alleged that after administering first aid, doctors and para-medical staff at the hospital did not attend to him properly as they were watching the televised match.  Following the death the youth's family members and neighbours protested outside the hospital and only relented after they were assured a full enquiry would be held into the matter.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,794

  Wednesday, 6 April 2016

 

• Brilliant WT20C win sullied by post-match behaviour [1794-8951].   

• ‘Spirit of Cricket’: written by 'some HR do-gooder’ [1794-8952. 

• ICC acknowledges Robinson’s contribution to the game [1794-8953].    

• Ananthapadmanabhan turns a corner [1794-8954].   

• Summer football bad for kids’ sporting diversity [1794-8955].   

• Drought leads to call to move IPL games from Maharashtra [1794-8956].   

• Coach abused multiple boys for years, Royal Commission hears [1794-8957]. 

• Broadcaster blames Windies’ cricket, weather, for share slump [1794-8958]. 

Headline: Brilliant WT20C win sullied by post-match behaviour.   

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Jon Pierik.                         

Published: Tuesday, 5 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1794-8951.

Just when we thought it was time to finally raise a rum punch to West Indian cricket, with the men's and women's sides storming to victory in the World Twenty20 finals, Marlon Samuels has made us think twice.  Samuels has been one of the great disappointments of world cricket through an international career now into its 17th year. Remember, on his Test debut in Melbourne in 2000, Steve Waugh thought so highly of him that he handed him a piece of his lucky red rag, which Waugh had in his pocket each time he went out to bat.

Instead of adopting Waugh's toughness, Samuels has largely meandered through his career, averaging less than 35 in 61 Test appearances and 34 in 177 One Day Internationals although he now has two man-of-the-match awards in World T20 finals (he made 78 against Sri Lanka in the 2012 win).  There was a two-year suspension from 2008 for "receiving money, or benefit or other reward" for bringing cricket into disrepute  - Samuels maintained his innocence - and a handful of other controversies, one being his disinterested on-field manner in last summer's Test series in Australia.

But just when Samuels, thanks to his unbeaten 85 off 66 balls, and the once mighty Calypso kings should be a feel-good story for their stunning win against England in Kolkata on Sunday, the 35-year-old found a way to scuff the gloss.  Minutes after Carlos Brathwaite had smacked four straight sixes to deliver victory, Samuels launched an immediate attack on Shane Warne, the pair having a history of confrontation, most obviously during the 2013 Big Bash League.

Samuels dedicated his man-of-the-match knock to the former Australian leg-spinning and now commentator for having the temerity to say how it was during the Test series in Australia last austral summer (PTG 1794-8958 below).  So incensed was the Jamaican that he even had a crack at Warne's appearance. "I've never disrespected him. I don't know. Maybe because my face is real and his face is not?”  Samuels then racheted up his spray at what can only be described as an arrogant post-match press conference, when he leaned back in front of reporters and rested his feet on the table.  "I don't appreciate the way he continues to talk to about me. Seems as if he has a lot inside him that he needs to come out”, Samuels said.

Now, as we all know, Warne can handle himself, and has never been afraid to speak his mind. He has also been criticised for his post-match antics in the past.  But this, surely, was a time when Samuels could have shown leadership, and used the occasion to further the cause for better and more structured resources at home at a time when the sport suffers from inter-island bickering and does not capture the hearts and minds of youngsters as it once did.  Samuels, as one of the elder statesmen, should have known better. We should be talking about his craftsmanship with the bat, not a verbal spray. Once again, he has shown he is not an easy cricketer to love.

The cricketing world wants the West Indies to be strong. It needs the West Indies to be strong, for the game at the elite level is played only in a small pool, and cannot afford to have three or four strugglers. It should also be noted the Windies won the under-19 World Cup this year.  But Samuels' behaviour after this latest win makes it difficult to, as their anthem urges, rally around the West Indies. I wonder what Clive Lloyd, the grand ol' master of captaincy and now the chairman of selectors, would have to say.

Headline: ‘Spirit of Cricket’: written by 'some HR do-gooder’.   

Article from: Fox Sports pay TV.

Journalist: Brett Geeves (edited version).                         

Published: Tuesday, 5 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1794-8952.

Sledging is quite obviously an integral part of the game and whoever wrote the 'Spirit of Cricket' is deadset having a laugh.  I’m tipping it was some Human Resources (GR) do-gooder who was seeking job justification and not someone from the marketing department because nothing says television ratings like Marlon Samuels throwing his bat at Shane Warne after a heated verbal (PTG 1037-5034, 8 J January 2013).  After winning the Twenty20 World Championship and being named man of the match, Marlon very nonchalantly, with feet on the table, went on a tirade at now television commentator Shane Warne that ended with this little zinger: “Maybe it’s because my face is real and his face is not” (PTG 1794-8951 above).  

Check this out from the Marylebone Cricket Club’s Laws booklet which says in the Preface: “Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its Laws but also within the Spirit of the Game”.  What is the first thing you take from this? It’s a raging yawn fest and has been written in an environment that promotes equality and a fair go. Like a city-living home-schooled child, it’s a great idea, but at the end of the day; it’s just no fun for anyone.

Rather than that, how about replacing that with this: “Cricket is a game that if you pay your subs, or carry enough testosterone to classify on your passport as a male, you can act in a manner that is both entertaining and intimidating to your opposition. If you are a member of the female game, please replace the words testosterone with oestrogen and carry on with the same entertaining and intimidating theme”.  Sure, it’s a little long winded, but you get the idea. Maintain the rage people.  

Editor’s note:  Geeves, 33, is a former Tasmanian player who played at one-day level for Australia and in the Indian Premier League.  During the austral summer just ended, he held an Australian Cricketers’ Association, or Player’s Union, ‘Premier League Program’ (PCP) grant with a club in Cricket Tasmania’s Premier League competition.  Under the PCP, Australia’s 87 Premier League clubs, from whom the country’s first class players are drawn, can apply for up to $A10,000 per year (£UK5,300) for three years to engage an individual as a player, coach or mentor (PTG 1616-7867, 11 August 2015).  Reports suggest Geeves’ club had more than its share of on-field disciplinary issues during the 2015-16 season.

Headline: ICC acknowledges Robinson’s contribution to the game.   

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Tuesday, 5 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1794-8953.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has expressed its “sadness" at the passing of former Zimbabwe umpire and ICC Regional Umpires' Performance Manager’ Ian Robinson and "offered its deepest condolences" to his family.  Robinson died of lung cancer at the age of 69 in Harare on Sunday (PTG 1793-8947, 4 April 2016).   

Adrian Griffith, the world body’s Senior Manager Umpires and Referee said in a statement that “Ian’s passing is very sad news [for he] was not only a fine umpire but also a well-regarded administrator of the game.  He spent three decades serving the sport as an umpire at domestic and International level, and he was a key member in the ICC’s efforts to train and develop world class umpires in the Africa region.  Ian’s dedication and commitment to the growth of match officiating was special, and we thank him for his contribution to the game”.

Headline: Ananthapadmanabhan turns a corner.   

Article from: The Times of India.

Journalist: Narayanan S.                         

Published: Saturday, 2 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1794-8954.

KN Ananthapadmanabhan, once the name synonymous with cricket in the state of Kerala, has made a huge advance in his umpiring career with his induction to the list of on-field umpires for the 2016 Indian Premier League (IPL) season. A member of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) umpire’s panel since 2007 and his potential was underscored when he was selected to stand in the Ranji Trophy semi final between Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh earlier this year; the latest of his current 90 BCCI senior games on-field, a tally that currently stands at 41, 16 and 33 in first class, List A and Twenty20 formats respectively. 

The former leg-spinner, now 45, who is Kerala's leading wicket-taker in first-class cricket with 344 wickets from 105 matches, considers his latest selection a "huge opportunity". "It's definitely going to be the biggest challenge of my career and I should know by the end of it where I stand as an umpire”, said Ananthapadmanabhan.  He is set to be tested by the raucous crowds and the cauldron of noise which is normally the case in IPL venues, and that "accomplished international players are playing and the matches are live on television so your decisions would be scrutinised that much more”.

Even though it is going to be testing, Ananathapadmanabhan thinks Indian umpires are now equipped more than ever to handle the pressures of this profession. "The pre-season workshops conducted by the BCCI have been of huge help. It's amazing that someone like [former Australian international umpire] Simon Taufel comes to India to help our umpires every year. He gives a lot of inputs on body language, team spirit, fitness maintenance, and the handling of players and so on” (PTG 1553-7457, 21 May 2015).

So what's Ananthapadmanabhan's philosophy in umpiring? "There's nothing like perfection in umpiring. We can always improve. Good umpires have the right to get it wrong. Players are looking for an impartial umpire and if we can gain their trust the odd mistake would be tolerated”, he said.  He is of the view that countryman Sundarum Ravi's induction into the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel last year was a shot in the arm for Indian umpiring (PTG 1561-7505, 5 June 2015).  "It's not easy to break into the ICC panel and Ravi's was a big achievement. It has inspired a lot of Indian umpires”, he said.

KN Raghavan, the second official from Kerala to umpire in an international game, feels that officiating in the IPL will put Ananthapadmanabhan in a bigger league. "It's a great achievement. He was a great player. But playing cricket and umpiring things require very different mindsets. I am glad that Ananthan has been able to adjust very well to the role of an umpire. This is a huge platform for him. I am sure this will inspire other budding umpires in Kerala”.

Headline: Summer football bad for kids’ sporting diversity.  

Article from: Bolton News.

Journalist: Neil Bonnar.                         

Published: Sunday, 3 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1794-8955.

The debate continues over plans by the Bolton, Bury and District Football League (BBDFL) to move its season to summer and Gary Dixon, the chairman of the Westhoughton Cricket Club (WCC), believes such a change has the potential to threaten the number of people participating in cricket at junior and eventually senior level in the Bolton Cricket League (BCL) and nearby competitions.  The BBDFL plans to change its traditional winter season to March-to-October in 2017 with a break for the school summer holidays so as to eradicate the problem of regular postponements because of weather and thus ensure the 8,500 juniors involved play on better surfaces (PTG 1750-8723, 30 January 2016).  

Dixon says that while he can accept there are some benefits that could flow from the planned change, he has "serious reservations" about the full impact.  He points out that cricket and football have existed side by side for decades and worked in partnership, in some cases sharing facilities.  In his 28 years of involvement with the WCC the club “has always actively encouraged our players to participate in both sports, and around 80 per cent of our juniors have done so”.  

In addition, Dixon is the parent of "two sport mad boys", who are involved in the BBDFL, cricket, swimming, Thai boxing "and any other sport I can interest them in”.  He thinks parents need to be considered as they provide the support to help their kids participate.  "You cannot simply schedule sports around each other, filling up the weekly calendar and allowing little or no family time.  At some stage my own children will have to make choices, I just hope the opportunity to play both our national sports – football and cricket – isn’t removed".

So, while the approach of the BBDFL is to let kids choose, not all juniors are happy to do that.  And why should they?, asks Dixon.  "Kids should have the opportunity to try new activities if they want to, and without restrictions.  We often find at [WCC] that kids who excel at cricket are also very good at other sports.  While the BBDFL predicts an increase in participation, this will surely be made up from other teams coming in from the outside the area. The reality is both or all sports will lose participants".

The WCC chairman believes the biggest problem facing the BBDFL is "facilities which, along with the fact we have just had one of the wettest winters in years, has helped this proposal gain momentum.  The majority of pitches are owned and maintained by Bolton Council, and while money is tight, more investment is required for drainage and seasonal maintenance to get the most out of what we have got.  A switch to a summer football season would require even more investment by the council, pitches would need to be cut more regularly, lines marked all year round and goal posts left up.  The pitches simply would not have time to recover and it would become far more labour intensive".

Then there is the issue of football clubs who play on cricket grounds, continues Dixon.  "The BBDFL is often quick to boast about its number of clubs and membership numbers, but does this make them any better as a league?  A recent article has quoted the [BCL] and others as being supportive of these proposals. I have yet to see evidence of this.  The feelings of the parents, and mainly the kids is being overlooked.  These plans will have a detrimental effect on the sporting diversity of kids in Bolton, and in this day and age that is very sad” concluded Dixon.

Headline: Drought leads to call to move IPL games from Maharashtra.   

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Sunday, 3 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1794-8956.

Vivekananda Gupta, the secretary of Mumbai’s Bharatiya Janata [political] Party (BJP), has demanded Indian Premier League (IPL) matches scheduled to be played in the Indian state of Maharashtra be shifted out of the state due to prevailing drought conditions.  Gupta, in a letter addressed to Shashank Manohar, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), stated that "a standard cricket field" requires between 160,000 to 300,000 litres of water per week to maintain turf growth and repair damaged areas.

A total of 19 IPL matches are slated to be played in the Maharashtra cities of Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur over a seven-week period starting on Saturday, including the final in late May.  The BJP leader said more water was needed during hot and windy conditions and less during winter conditions, thus, more than 70 million litres of water will be required to maintain the grounds all or those games.  He pointed out that Maharashtra, Manohar’s home state, is facing one of its worst droughts in the last century.  “"Successive low rainfall has resulted in falling ground water levels, which has impacted on the state’s 900,000 farmers”, he said.

Gupta went on to say in his letter to the BCCI president that he "cannot turn a blind eye to the grim drought situation in the state and the sufferings of the farmers”.  "When our state is affected by drought, will it be wise to waste so much water? Even Mumbai faces acute water shortage. This is the time to show sympathy to our [farmers]”, and concluded that he hopes Manohar "will support and sympathise with our farmers and shift the venue of IPL matches to other states”. 

Such calls are not new in India.  Three years ago there were protests in Mumbai based around claims water was being supplied at subsidised rates to Wankhede stadium as it prepared for that season's IPL.  Water needed at the ground was alleged to be being supplied at a rate of 400 Rupees ($A7, £UK3.70) a tanker, in contrast to farmers in the state’s drought-hit regions who were having to pay as much as 1,500-3,000 Rupees ($A26-53, £UK14-28) for each load (PTG 1083-5285, 5 April 2013).  Around the same time in Gujurat state 500 km to the north, a pitch at a ground that has hosted One Day Internationals was dug up in a protest against the amount of water the Rajkot municipality used to prepare it for an inter municipal Twenty20 tournament (PTG 1097-5343, 30 April 2013).  

Headline: Coach abused multiple boys for years, Royal Commission hears.   

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Rachel Browne (edited).                         

Published: Tuesday, 5 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1794-8957.

Australia’s on-going Child abuse Royal commission, which after months of hearings has shifted its shifts focus to sporting clubs, has heard testimony from three men who were molested by their cricket coach as young boys.  Each fought back tears as they told of their fears the man had gone on to abuse other victims.  The commission heard Queensland Police charged coach Bob Ross with more than 50 child sex offences in October 2014, but he committed suicide before the matter went to court.

Troy Quagliata was 13 when he was first abused by Ross, telling the commission he felt powerless to fight off his advances or report the assaults.  "We weren't allowed to question or argue with an adult”, he said. "I felt I had to do what Bob said no matter what”.  Quagliata, now 40, said the coach would pay him $A50 (£UK26.50) each time he assaulted him, leaving him with permanent internal injuries and psychological damage, and that he personally had been jailed three times on drug-related offences and called for tougher sentences for child sex abusers.  

Another witness, who was nine when Ross started to molest him in the 1980s, told the hearing into sex abuse in sports clubs that rumours about the coach were rife in his country town, which cannot be identified for legal reasons.  "Throughout the school and the cricket club there were running jokes between the boys that Bob was a kiddy fiddler”, said the witness, given the pseudonym BXI. "I was afraid of becoming part of the joke”.  BXI wanted to tell his father that Ross was abusing him but was concerned he would "fill Bob with lead”.  When Ross turned up to BXI's father's funeral in 2001, he said it "sparked a fight in me like never before”.  

A third victim, given the pseudonym BXE, told the commission he was first abused by Ross when he was 13 and was forced to protect his younger brother from the paedophile.  All three victims told the commission they had never been offered support from Cricket Australia, Queensland Cricket or the local cricket club where they were abused.  BXI called for improved mental health services for sexual abuse survivors, a recommendation supported by the royal commission.  The hearing, before Justice Peter McClellan , continues. 

Headline: Broadcaster blames Windies’ cricket, weather, for share slump.   

Article from: ABC News.

Journalist: Stephen Letts.                         

Published: Tuesday, 5 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1794-8958.

The value of Australian broadcaster Channel Nine’s shares have tumbled 20 per cent after the network blamed the weak standard displayed by the West Indian tourists and a rained-out Sydney Test in January for its disappointing ratings and falling advertising sales. In a trading update, Nine said its third quarter revenue was down 11 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year, while its ratings were softer than anticipated.  "In particular, Nine's 'Summer of Cricket' was adversely impacted both by the weather and the standard of the competition”, the company noted sourly in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.

Nine told investors the free-to-air advertising market was expected to record a low single digit fall for the 2016 financial year, compared to its earlier guidance of "flat to down marginally”.  The cricket collapse has flowed through to other programming disasters on the network.  Nine's other response, in the time honoured way of dealing with poor-performing cricket, was to get out the knife.  Late last month a report suggested 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 (PTG 1788-8928, 28 March 2016).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,795

  Friday, 8 April 2016

 

• Brisbane, Adelaide likely to host day-night Tests [1795-8959].  

• How Dharmasena saved the day for the West Indies [1795-8960].   

• Club stalwart notches up 50 years of tea service [1795-8961].  

• Fire turns pitch from ‘unplayable’ to 'batsman’s paradise' [1795-8962].  

• Club offers £500 reward for info after 'mindless vandalism' [1795-8963].  

• IPL spectators to play ‘third umpire’ [1795-8964].  

• Big pay boost for Aussie women [1795-8965].   

• Club 'didn't know' how to handle child abuse allegations [1795-8966].   

• Captain gambled away over £1,000 in club’s match fees [1795-8967].   

• BCB set to take aim at suspect actions [1795-8968].   

Headline: Brisbane, Adelaide likely to host day-night Tests.   

Article from: Fairfax Media.        .

Journalist:  Chris Barrett.         .                         

Published: Thursday, 7 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1795-8959.

 

The Gabba in Brisbane is likely to join the Adelaide Oval in hosting the day-night Tests during the 2016-17 austral summer.  The Brisbane encounter is likely to feature Pakistan while Australia is expected to take on South Africa at the Adelaide Oval the venue of the inaugural match last November, both the games being scheduled for the first half of December.  Cricket Australia (CA) is finalising its international, domestic and Big Bash League (BBL) schedules for the season and an announcement expected this month.

South Africa are likely to tour Australia early in the season for a three-match Test series with the WACA ground in Perth set to host the first Test while Hobart looks the front-runner for the second, it being retained as a Test venue amid competition from Canberra, then the action will shift to the Adelaide for the mid-December day-night encounter.  Pakistan will begin their three-match Test series with the day-night game in Brisbane in the second half of December, followed by the Boxing-Day Test in Melbourne and the final Test in Sydney early in the New Year.  It will be the first time The Gabba will not host the first Test of the season since 1993.

Canberra’s Manuka Oval is understood to be in CA's thinking as a future Test venue but for now it looks like having to be content with hosting another One Day International as Hobart is given another chance.  There will be little change to the BBL season (PTG 1738-8642, 15 January 2016), with no extra games in the draft schedule and a push for a match to be held on Christmas Day not getting over the line (PTG 1723-8554, 28 December 2015).

Headline: How Dharmasena saved the day for the West Indies.   

Article from: The Island        .

Journalist:  Not stated.         .                         

Published: Wednesday, 6 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1795-8960.  

On Sunday, the West Indies stunned the cricketing world with their come from behind victory against England in the finals of the World Twenty-20 Championship at Eden Gardens in Calcutta. However, victory may not have been possible if not for umpire Kumar Dharmasena, for when the Caribbean side was 4/37 and his colleague Rod Tucker gave key batsman Marlon Samuels out caught behind, square leg umpire Dharmasena was suspicious given the way wicketkeeper Josh Buttler had collected the catch and encouraged Tucker to verify the catch.

Tucker responded that he was positive that the catch was clean but as Dharmasena kept on insisting, third umpire Marias Erasmus too asked whether Tucker was absolutely sure. That made Tucker ask for television assistance, replays then clearly showing that the ball had bounced before the catch was taken and Samuels was called back.  He went onto smash an unbeaten 85 and was later named 'Man of the Match'.

Dharmasena, nicknamed ‘unanduwa’ by his former captain Arjuna Ranatunga for his untiring efforts, takes his job very seriously and is highly regarded by the International Cricket Council (ICC).  After retiring from the first class game, Dharmasena tried his hand in both coaching and umpiring. Despite having Level 3 coaching certificate, he soon realised that coaching wouldd not take him far in the game, so he opted to concentrate on umpiring, but received little support.

Despite efforts by Ranatunga, who was by then President of Sri Lanka Cricket’s board, to fast track Dharmasena as an international umpire, opportunities provided to him at the top level were limited.  Then former captain Sanath Jayasuriya introduced him to Indian Premier League (IPL) organisers and there Dharmasena got constant exposure.  Soon was international recognition and he was drafted into the ICC Elite Umpires Panel of Umpires and in 2012 he was named the ICC's 'Umpire of the Year’ (PTG 991-4812, 16 September 2012).

Headline: Club stalwart notches up 50 years of tea service.   

Article from: Inner West Courier.      .

Journalist:  Not stated.         .                         

Published: Wednesday, 6 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1795-8961.

The Randwick Petersham Cricket Club in Sydney celebrated the contribution of one of their longest serving volunteers earlier this year, with a home round fixture being renamed the Robin Gardner Day. Gardner was introduced to the club at Petersham Oval by her then fiance Stuart Gardner, a spin bowler with the then Petersham Marrickville club, back in the 1966-67 season.  During that first afternoon she offered to help others arrange the afternoon tea for the players, a service she has now been performing for the last 50 years.  

 

 

 

Robin Gardner, one of the many unpaid volunteers who keep the game alive.

Randwick Petersham member, Lyall Gardner said: “Robin’s contribution, firstly to Petersham-Marrickville and during the past 15 seasons to Randwick Petersham, has been simply outstanding”.  “To work as a hospitality volunteer for a cricket club for half a century, turning up week in, week out with a smile on her face to serve hungry and thirsty cricketers and supporters, takes a very special person”.

Headline: Fire turns pitch from ‘unplayable’ to 'batsman’s paradise'.   

Article from: Ten Sports.      .

Journalist:  PTG Editor.        .                         

Published: Wednesday, 6 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1795-8962.

Jack Flynn, a groundsman at the Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory of Australia, resorted to an unusual technique when confronted with a wet pitch ahead of two back-toback Darwin and District Cricket Association Twenty20 matches last Saturday.  Flynn told a local television station that he went to a nearby hardware store and bought a large bottle of methylated spirits, sprinkled it over the pitch and set fire to the whole area, and as a result he was able to “turn an unplayable strip into a batsman’s paradise”.  The first game that afternoon produced a total of 398 runs across the 40 overs, and the second 303, the 701 runs scored overall being made for the loss of just six wickets.

Headline: Club offers £500 reward for info after 'mindless vandalism'.   

Article from: News North Wales.      .

Journalist:  Mike Williams .        .                         

Published: Thursday, 7 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1795-8963.

A reward of hundreds of pounds is on the table for information after “mindless vandals” wrought havoc on Bangor Cricket Club’s (BCC) playing surfaces.   All but two of the club’s pitches at Ty Newydd, Llandygai, were drenched in red diesel last month, killing the grass and preventing any more from growing until the surface is dug up.  The damage was done just weeks before the start of the cricket season, meaning several of Bangor’s fixtures must be cancelled, matches played away where possible and restrictions placed on midweek games which will affect junior players. 

Now the club has offered £500 ($A935) to anyone with information relating to the incident if it results in a successful prosecution.  Writing in the appeal the BCC said: “The Square at Bangor Cricket Club has been seriously damaged. Youth cricket will be affected as there will be restrictions to mid week games to allow recovery time to the square. Preparations are in hand to provide a temporary wicket to ensure as little disruption as possible.  The club has been overwehelmed at the response of the community, not only in Bangor but the whole of the North Wales coast.  As a result, a reward of £500 has been raised for any information that results in a successful prosecution outcome”. 

Chris Wood, a pitch consultant with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), who was asked to provide his professional assessment of the situation, condemened all but three pitches on the square, making them officially unusable.  The whole square will have to be dug up at the end of the season to remove any trace of the diesel. Wood called the culprits “mindless and idiotic vandals with nothing better to do than think it is amusing to cause stress and damage [and] such actions] never cease to enrage me”.  

The BCC’s groundsman Jamie Davies said: “Whoever has done this knows what they were doing. It’s not mindless, like smashing a window - someone has walked across the pitch with a jerry can doing this”.

Headline: IPL spectators to play ‘third umpire’.   

Article from: Press Trust of India.   

Journalist: Not stated.          .                         

Published: Thursday, 7 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1795-8964.

Spectators attending Indian Premier League (IPL) games this season will have the chance to air their views on decisions referred to the third umpire, according to IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla.  He told journalists those at grounds spectators "will be given a placard, one side of which says ‘out’ and the other 'not out’, with which fans can express their opinion and that will be caught by the television cameras and shown on screen”.  He stressed though that “the opinion displayed will not matter to the third umpire, for he will go with whatever he sees on the [replay] screen”, but the new arrangement "will increase the involvement of the spectators”.

Shukla said that in order to "strengthen IPL-related anti-corruption measures” there is a high chance of players' phones being tapped or put on surveillance by Mumbai Police if there is an iota of doubt.  Last year, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Shashank Manohar, sought help from Mumbai Police to keep a tab on the corrupt practices in cricket.  According to Shukla, the BCCI "will again be using the services of the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU). [The police] can legitimately, legally tap the phones or keep on surveillance”, said Shukla.

The IPL chairman went on to say it was not right to link the drought situation in Maharashtra to the water used to maintain cricket grounds in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur for the IPL (PTG 1794-8956, 6 April 2016).  "We sympathise with the farmers affected by the drought in Maharashtra. [The BCCI] would like to help in whichever way we could if there is any proposal from the state government. However, to irrigate these grounds, only a few water tankers are required and I don't think they [the water tankers] would make a huge difference [to the farmers] for larger efforts are required to find a solution for the drought-affected regions. We can't link the two things”, concluded Shukla, who has no plans of moving the IPL out of Maharashtra.

Headline: Big pay boost for Aussie women.   

Article from:  CA, media reports.      .

Journalist:  PTG Editor         .                         

Published: Wednesday, 6 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1795-8965.

Cricket Australia (CA) will increase its national women's player payment pool from $A2.36 million to $A4.23 million (£UK 1.26-2.26 m) such that the Southern Stars’ top-ranked player will now earn $A65,000 (£UK34,700) as an annual base contract, while minimum retainers have doubled from $A19,000 to $A40,000 (£UK10-21,000).  When factoring in domestic contracts, tour fees and match payments, the highest-ranked women such as captain Meg Lanning and allrounder Ellyse Perry stand to earn more than $A100,000 (£UK53,400) from CA each year, before individual sponsorship endorsements are added.

The increases make the cricketers, who reached the final of the recent World Twenty20 tournament in India, the best paid women in any sport in Australia.  “We are determined to make cricket the sport of choice for women in Australia”, said CA chief executive James Sutherland. “We have worked constructively with the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) to reach this point and will continue to do so in our ongoing efforts to improve wages and workplace conditions for all elite female cricketers”.

There remains a huge disparity between the earnings of women and their male counterparts, some of the latter whom earn millions of dollars every year. Each member of the men’s team that won last year’s World Cup in Australia reportedly pocketed $A340,000 (£UK18,200).

In addition to the increased pay for elite women’s players, a number of other benefits were announced by CA, comprising: improved travel and accommodation; an updated pregnancy policy; restrictions on weekday hours of domestic team training to support players working or studying; and reduced commercial restrictions for Womens National Cricket League and Womens Big Bash League players in relation to major sponsors.  CA also said the ACA had committed $A500,000 (£UK267,000) over two years to cover private health insurance costs for players (PTG 1720-8523, 23 December 2015).

The Southern Stars are ranked the best women’s team in the world and narrowly missed out on a fourth consecutive World Twenty20 title with defeat to the West Indies in the final in Kolkata last weekend.

Headline: Club 'didn't know' how to handle child abuse allegations.   

Article from: ABC News.

Journalist: Thomas Oriti.         .                         

Published: Wednesday, 6 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1795-8966.

A cricket club in rural Queensland has conceded to Australia’s on-going child abuse Royal commission that it could have done more when child abuse allegations were made against a coach, while Queensland Cricket (QC) admitted it cannot guarantee appropriate protection policies are now in place.  Earlier this week three men told the Royal commission they were molested by their cricket coach in "a rural Queensland town" as young boys some thirty years ago (PTG 1794-8957, 6 April 2016).

The cricket club's treasurer gave evidence on Wednesday following the three men’s disturbing evidence about their coach Robert Ross.  A respected member of the small town, Ross was charged with 54 offences in 2014 after the men gave evidence two decades after the abuse, but the coach took his own life a short time after.  The treasurer of that club involved, who can only be identified as BXM, said he was not aware of Ross' behaviour until he was charged, however, he conceded that in the past week it had come to his attention that someone may have known decades earlier.

A lawyer for the victims, Nathan Turner, asked both BXM and the QC chairman James Holding what protection policies were currently in place to protect children, saying: "If a cricket mother or father approached you today and said 'I'm thinking of registering my six or seven-year-old to play next cricket season, but I'm worried about leaving him in the care of people I don't know', would you be confident that you could reply to that mother that as a club, we're doing everything we can to protect your child?’"  BXM responded: "I think you can always do more”, while Holding said “parents today need to be told to go and speak to the club, because I can't sit there and guarantee that every club in Queensland has those policies in place”.

The royal commission heard that QC was not informed about the situation involving Ross until mid-2015 - about seven months after he was charged and by then he was dead. Turner suggested to Holding that someone must have known about Ross's behaviour years earlier.  “[QC] must have such a distinct lack of communication with their associations and their clubs that if something as important as this wasn't even made aware of to anyone within [your organisation]”.  "Would you agree with that suggestion?”, asked Turner of Holding.

The QC chairman replied: "I am surprised, yes”.  He told the hearing that a lack of funding made it hard for QC to ensure that every club had the proper training programs and policies in place.  He indicated that QC was only made aware of Ross' victim's identities last week and Holding said the royal commission had "awakened cricket”.  “When something like this happens and then you feel as though you let people down, and then I think moving on, we have to make sure that we do respond as a sport better”, said Holding, but he also questioned why every sport had its own separate child protection frameworks, suggesting that a single policy would make more sense.  

Headline: Captain gambled away over £1,000 in club’s match fees.   

Article from: Shropshire Star.

Journalist: Not stated.         .                         

Published: Wednesday, 6 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1795-8967.

A court has given the former captain of the Oswestry Cricket Club (OCC) in Shropshire a six-month community order and ordered him to carry out 50 hours’ unpaid community work after he was found guilty of pocketing £UK1,030 ($A1,915) of the club’s money and gambling it away.  Nicholas Woodcock was the OCC captain and a committee member when he carried out the fraud between April and September last year, according to evidence provided to the Telford Magistrates Court.

Prosecutor Samantha Morgan said 27-year-old Woodcock had been responsible for collecting match fees during the 2015 season, but he later confessed to club chairman Mike Robinson that he had taken the money.  A club disciplinary meeting was held and Woodcock, who admitted spending the money on gambling, was banned from the club.  The Telford court, which ordered Woodcock to pay £185 ($A350) costs and a £60 ($A110) victim surcharge, heard he has since repaid the money in full.

Last February, Woodcock was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Shrewsbury Crown Court after admitting two offences of fraud which involved him swindling £85,000  ($A159,000) from his former employer.  For those offences, he was also put under supervision for a year, ordered to complete 200 hours’ unpaid work and pay a fine of £3,000 ($A5,580).

Headline: BCB set to take aim at suspect actions.   

Article from: The Daily Star.

Journalist: Not stated.         .                         

Published: Thursday, 7 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1795-8968.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is in the process of forming a committee that will focus solely on bowlers' actions during the upcoming Dhaka Premier League (DPL) season.  BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said discussions regarding the formation of the committee are in the final stages and it will be constituted by the time the league begins. "We are taking a bit of time on this as we want to ensure that this committee is extremely effective and that the individuals involved have a good understanding of the technicalities related to this issue”, said Chowdhury.

The league, which is set to begin later this month, will feature three bowlers who have been banned from bowling in international cricket for Taskin Ahmed, Arafat Sunny and Sanjit Saha are all expected to feature in the players' list.  Taskin and Arafat’s actions were found to be illegal during the recent World Twenty20 Championship series (PTG 1786-8916, 24 March 2016), and Sanjit during the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year (PTG 1751-8731, 1 February 2016). Although they are all banned from bowling in international cricket, they will be allowed to bowl at domestic level.

It will be interesting to see how many clubs express their interest in buying these players during the DPL player-by-choice procedure which is scheduled to take place next Sunday.  However, while the three will no doubt garner attention, BCB's cricket operations chairman Akram Khan reckons that there will be a number of other players under the scanner.  He said on Wednesday: “Look, there are a number of suspect bowlers in our first division cricket and even in the Premier League. We will need to observe them seriously, provide our review and then work on fixing their actions”.  “We will tell the umpires to keep an eye on this issue. We will base our decision based on the umpire's report as well as the committee’s”.

Akram said his board was extremely serious about eradicating suspect bowlers from domestic cricket.  “We have looked at the issue very seriously this time. We will give the board our proposal soon. Apart from ex players there will also be umpires in this committee”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,796

  Saturday, 9 April 2016

 

• Umpire chosen for award ahead of key player performances [1796-8969].  

• Court convicts player over mid-pitch bat attack [1796-8970].  

• Bombay High Court brought into Maharashtra IPL 'water crisis' [1796-8971].  

• Narine cleared to bowl after remedial work on action [1796-8972].  

• No new faces on ECB Reserve List for 2016 [1796-8973].  

• CA panel umpires meet for post-season review [1796-8974].  

• Dispute cost Aussie women a bigger pay rise, claims report [1796-8975].  

• BCCI refusing to be reformed, says India’s Supreme Court [1796-8976].  

• Windies win big but changes needed at WICB's top [1796-8977].  

Headline: Umpire chosen for award ahead of key player performances.   

Article from: Cricket Tasmania release.        .

Journalist:  PTG Editor.         .                         

Published: Friday, 8 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1796-8969.

 

Its rare, if ever, that an umpire is chosen for a major association award ahead of players, especially ones who perform outstandingly in games, however, it happened at Cricket Tasmania’s annual state awards ceremony last week. Cricket Tasmania's (CT) Chairman’s Award this year went to Hobart-based Sam Nogajski, 37, the youngest member of Cricket Australia’s (CA) National Umpires Panel, for his selection to, and performance during, CA’s domestic Twenty20 final in January (PTG 1745-8681, 24 January 2016).

Nogajski won the award from the impressive performances of the three other nominees, first class players Ben Dunk and Jackson Bird, and Tasmanian women’s player Veronica Pyke.  Dunk was nominated for scoring 190 against Victoria, Bird, a former winner of the award, for taking a 10 wicket haul against New South Wales, both those feats coming in Sheffield Shield games, and Pyke for taking 14 wickets in the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League, the most for the tournament across all teams.   

In announcing the award, CT Chairman Andrew Gaggin said the award to Nogajski was “one out of the box” for it was the first time an umpire had been recognised in this way. The umpire himself, who was also named Tasmania’s ’State Umpire of the Year’ for the third time running at the ceremony, was not present to receive either award as he was in South Africa as part of CA’s umpire exchange program with Cricket South Africa.

Nogajski is currently in Paarl, a town in South Africa’s Western Cape province, standing in a first class match between the Cape Cobras and the Titans that is due to end on Sunday.  Prior to that he stood in a first class match in Centurion between the Titans and the Lions (PTG 1748-8705, 28 January 2016).

Headline: Court convicts player over mid-pitch bat attack.   

Article from: Newcastle Herald.

Journalist: Sam Rigney.         .                         

Published: Friday, 8 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1796-8970.

A former New South Wales police officer was fined $A1,000 (£UK535) and placed on a two-year good behaviour bond by a Newcastle court on Friday for deliberately hitting an opponent twice in the head with a bat during a fifth grade match played in that city in February last year.  The court heard that after colliding accidentally with bowler Peter Lalor from the opposing Jewells Beavers side, Merewether skipper Michael Varnum, who was batting, struck the bowler with his bat as his opponent lay prone on the pitch (PTG 1748-8706, 28 January 2016).  Lalor required nine sutures to a wound to his head and suffered from more than six weeks of headaches, nausea and dizziness.

During sentencing submissions in the Newcastle Local Court, Varnum’s solicitor Paul Rosser SC, posed the question as to what possessed his client to use his bat in the way he did.  It was a reaction that was “way out there” and one Varnum says he doesn’t remember, said Rosser, who claimed there was "a reasonable explanation".  He told the court Varnum had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2009, brought on by his years in the police force, which had influenced his reaction to the mid-pitch collision with Lalor.  “This is a person who understandably enough suffers from on-going post-traumatic stress disorder”, submitted Rosser.

The solicitor went on to cite a psychiatric report that claimed the collision with Lalor had “jolted [Varnum] into an alarm state and the next several seconds he was operating without the capacity for reflection”.  Rosser argued the circumstances dictated that the assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge against Varnum should be dealt with without conviction. However, Magistrate Robert Stone, who had found Varnum guilty in January after a two-day hearing, disagreed.  “If you have issues that arise from your police service that cause an impulsiveness and an aggressiveness I can take that into account”, he said, “but there is no place... for people to use the bat in the way in which you did”.

Varnum, who had previously indicated he would appeal the court’s guilty verdict, is yet to face the Newcastle District Cricket Association’s judiciary over his on-field actions last year and could be given a life-time ban. 

Headline: Bombay High Court brought into Maharashtra IPL 'water crisis'.   

Article from: Press Trust of India.        .

Journalist:  Not stated.         .                         

Published: Friday, 8 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1796-8971.

Faced with criticism over large quantity of water needed to maintain grounds for Indian Premier League (IPL) during an on-going drought, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis indicated on Friday his state will not provide potable water for maintaining cricket grounds.  His comments came a day after the Bombay High Court refused to grant a stay on the first of the IPL matches scheduled for Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium on Saturday.  The court also sought information from the state government and Mumbai’s municipal body as to whether the water supplied to the stadiums in tankers was potable, or safe to drink, or non-potable.

A Mumbai-based Non-Government Organisation (NGO) had petitioned the court challenging the use of over six million litres of water to maintain pitches and asked that IPL matches be moved out of the state.  Altogether 20 games will be played across Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, three cities that the NGO said in its petition are facing “a grim water crisis”.  During two consecutive days of hearings, the High Court had come down heavily on the state government, IPL organiser the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI), and other cricket associations, for what it called "criminal wastage of water".

The court had suggested the IPL matches be shifted to a state where water is in abundance and had asked "is your cricket match more important than people?”  The BCCI advised the court that they had purchase non-potable water to maintain the grounds and that it cannot be used for general drinking purposes, but that might not satisfy farmers in the region who are finding it difficult to acquire any water at all.  

Headline: Narine cleared to bowl after remedial work on action.   

Article from: ICC press release.        .

Journalist:  PTG Editor.         .                         

Published: Friday, 8 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1796-8972.

West Indies spinner Sunil Narine has been cleared by the International Cricket Council to bowl again in international and domestic cricket after remedial work and a retest on his action at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai two weeks ago.  The 27-year-old limited-overs specialist was reported for a suspect action in November during the West Indies' tour of Sri Lanka and has not played for more than four months (PTG 1745-8683, 24 January 2016).  

Despite that he was named in the Windies' 15-man squad for the World Twenty20 Championship, but had to withdraw.  He will now be able to play in the Indian Premier League, which starts on Saturday, for the IPL’s Kolkata franchise.  The International Cricket Council says that umpires are free to report Narine in the future if they believe he uses a suspect action.

Headline: No new faces on ECB Reserve List for 2016.   

Article from: ECB information.        .

Journalist:  PTG Editor.         .                         

Published: Friday, 8 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1796-8973.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has not promoted anyone on to its Reserve Panel for 2016 to replace former members Mike Burns and Billy Taylor who have moved up to the ECB’s Full List (PTG 1748-8707, 28 January 2016 and PTG 1737-8629, 14 January 2016).  Instead of eight members last year six, Ian Blackwell, 37, Ben Debenham, 48, Tom Lungley, 36, Paul Pollard, 47, Russell Warren, 44, and Chris Watts, 48, make up the second-tier panel for the season ahead.  For Debenham and Pollard its their fifth year on the Reserve List (PTG 866-4232, 1 December 2011), while Blackwell, Lungley, Warren and Watts all joined the panel ahead of the 2015 season (PTG 1480-7162, 11 December 2014).

Of the six, Blackwell played at Test level for England, Lungley, Pollard and Warren all first class cricket at County level, Debenham in the County second XI game, while Watts’ playing record appears to have been in the club game.  Debenham and Pollard, who stood in the inaugural first class game four years ago this month, have both been on-field in 14 first class games to date, Blackwell and Lungley debuted at that level a year ago this month and so far have featured in three and four games respectively, while Warren’s debut and to date single first class game was in a match between Northamptonshire and the touring Australians last August. 

Headline: CA panel umpires meet for post-season review.   

Article from: Sources.        .

Journalist:  PTG Editor.         .                         

Published: Friday, 8 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1796-8974.

Most members of Cricket Australia’s (CA) current twelve-man top domestic National Umpires Panel and its five-person second-tier Development Panel are to gather in Melbourne on Saturday for a one-day, post-season review workshop, according to reports.  CA has not publicised the event and no details have been released, however, sketchy details available suggest the 15 or so umpires who are expected to be in Victorian capital for the meeting, who come from all six Australian states, will run through a range of issues from the season just ended.

It is possible that Ian Lock, CA’s National Umpire Coach and David Levens the International Cricket Council's appointed coach for Australian officials will be present, along with State appointed umpire coaches and managers, plus members of CA’s Umpire High Performance Panel, will also attend.  Whether CA will provide feedback from the meeting and so help acknowledge the wider umpiring fraternity and their role in supporting cricket is not known at this stage, although they haven’t in the past.   As has occurred in the recent past, the umpires’ partners are also said to have been flown by CA to for the weekend, probably to attend a dinner on Saturday night.

Headline: Dispute cost Aussie women a bigger pay rise, claims report.   

Article from: The Australian.        .

Journalist:  PTG Editor.         .                         

Published: Friday, 8 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1796-8975.

Australia’s female cricketers may have won a significant pay rise earlier this week, but what an article published in ’The Australia’ newspaper on Thursday calls "a bitter behind-the-scenes dispute”, cost them an even bigger salary increase  (PTG 1795-8965, 8 April 2016).  The report, by journalists Peter Lalor and Ray Gatt, says that Cricket Australia (CA) rejected an offer by the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA), or players’ union, to increase the women’s payment pool by additional $A1.45 m (£UK 777,500).  

CA increased the national women's player payment pool for 2016-17 from the current $A2.36 million to $A4.23 million (£1.26-2.26 m), but had the ACA offer been taken up the the new figure would have been $A5.68 m (£3.05 m).  Labor and Gatt write that the additional money would have been provided by the ACA’s men players who were willing to give up that amount from their contractual arrangements with CA.  However, there was a catch for the national body in that the ACA wanted what they described as "significant involvement" in overseeing the womens’ contract processes and the guarantee of what are called "certain conditions".

Negotiations are said to have stalled in late March with CA walking away and saying it would pay the women the $A4.23 m that was eventually put on the table.  'The Australian' report says that with former Rio Tinto executive David Peever now CA's chairman (PTG 1686-8292, 12 November 2015), "there is a belief that his board’s industrial relations committee has borrowed some tactics from the mining company which so famously championed individual contracts with its employees in the 1990s".

Despite the dispute though the women are starting to earn some real money even if it pales into comparison to what the their male counterparts, say Lalor and Gatt.  Australia’s ‘Business Review Weekly’ has estimated that players such as Michael Clarke, Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson each earned over $A4m (£2.1 m) last year with around half of that made up by their CA contract.  

Under the new arrangements the maximum retainers for the women will rise from $49,000 to $65,000 (£26,300-34,900) and another $1,500 (£800) can be added if they are contracted to the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).  Minimum retainers have more than doubled, rising from $19,000 to $40,000 (£10,200-21,500) for the national womens’ side and $3,000 to $7,000 (£1,600-3,750) for the WBBL.  Women’s National Cricket League payments are up from $7,000 to $11,000 (£3,750-5,900). 

The pay rise was not the only improvement for the women during the negotiation period with improved travel and accommodation allowances, a new pregnancy policy and better work hours. The 12-month pay deal should be the last of its kind with both parties keen for the women to be included in the four-year collective bargaining agreement due to be struck with the men this year.

Headline: BCCI refusing to be reformed, says India’s Supreme Court.   

Article from: Media reports.        .

Journalist:  PTG Editor.         .                         

Published: Friday, 8 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1796-8976.

India's Supreme Court said on Friday that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is refusing to be reformed after the Board's lawyers refused to accept some of the proposals made by the Lodha panel. The panel, which looked into BCCI operational and Structural issues last year following its investigation of Indian Premier league corruption issues (PTG 1727-8568, 2 January 2016), made several telling structure-related recommendations to the Supreme Court in January in a bid to ensure more transparency in the BCCI's operation (PTG 1730-8585, 5 January 2016). 

During Friday’s hearing, the BCCI argued that it was an autonomous body and was "accountable to [India’s] Registrar of Co-operative Societies” and refused to have a government nominee on board as it was "against International Cricket Council rules”.  The Court, which wants the Lodha report to be implemented, responded by asking, in reference to the revenue collected from television commercials and ticket sales, whether the "BCCI is arguing that it be allowed to collect billions of Rupees but can't be questioned on how it has been spent?”  The judges, who will meet again on Monday to continue the hearing, said the BCCI had no control over people to whom it was allocating money. 

Headline: Windies win big but changes needed at WICB's top.   

Article from: The Guardian.        .

Journalist:  Mike Selvey.         .                         

Published: Thursday, 7 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1796-8977.

Those who have feared a terminal decline in West Indies cricket might just have to revise that view after the finals of the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C). The dramatic last-ditch men’s victory over England was the climax to one of the outstanding matches that the format, which generally precludes ebb and flow and narrative, can have produced at international level. If Test matches can be the equivalent of great novels then this was a short story by James Joyce or Gabriel García Márquez. 

It was not, though, a win that should have come as a surprise, with a team of professional T20 experts case-hardened in the franchise leagues. The ease with which the women overcame Australia in their final which preceded was remarkable, though, for the Australians are massively resourced now when set against their opponents, and have just gained a large pay rise for the year ahead (PTG 1796-8975 above). And all this came on top of the West Indies Under-19s men winning their world 50-over tournament in February.

On the back of that triple success it is hard to say the game as such is not flourishing in the Caribbean, just that it is not doing so in the manner that so-called purists or nostalgists might like. In fact, it may well be that far from being a sport in decline, what we are seeing in the Caribbean is a template for, in terms of formats, how the global game might look in the future. A willingness, as a starting point, to hit the ball as hard and bowl as fast as possible has always underpinned West Indies cricket, and really this is no different in principle. The coaching manuals have become redundant, a solid defence while batting the last port of call rather than the building block of an innings. The Caribbean Premier League is thriving too, crowds flocking in where Test matches are largely ignored, and for the next edition, in July, it has announced what, in imitation of the American golf circuit, it has called its “Florida swing”, with a week spent in Fort Lauderdale.

So far so good. But it is clear from the aftermath of the WT20C that the administrative problems that have blighted West Indies cricket, most obviously since the current board president took over in 2013, have not disappeared. Darren Sammy, a hugely impressive leader and man, chose post-match to articulate, in a thoughtful, measured if emotional way, just how far apart are the cricketers who represent the region on the field from those who administer the game. There were, he said, issues with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), which largely, but not exclusively, revolved around remuneration, so that they felt “disrespected”. There had been a chance that the squad would boycott the tournament in protest, but happily, they chose the other course.

Sammy was grateful for the support of the Caribbean Community heads and two prime ministers who have been seeking, but so far failing, to secure the disbanding and restructuring of the WICB (PTG 1770-8837, 24 February 2016). Against that, the team had been ignored by WICB president, Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron, so that Sammy said it was “disappointing” not to have heard from the WICB after their triumph. Cameron was at the match and his hotel in Mumbai earlier in the tournament was adjacent to the team’s. There is more than one political Cameron though, and his response was first to announce that he would meet players after the Indian Premier League series at the WICB's June review to find “some common ground”, and then to temper it by suggesting that Sammy could be disciplined for his post-match remarks. On Sammy’s home island of Saint Lucia, meanwhile, the reaction has been to rename the Beausejour ground the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium.

Now Dwayne Bravo, another key figure in West Indies T20 success but the board’s longest and most fierce adversary, has added fuel to the flames with his own scathing attack on Cameron during an interview with a Trinidad and Tobago television network. The WICB, he said, was the “most unprofessional” in the world, while Cameron was engaged in a “personal war” with his own players.

Cameron claims that his relationship with the players is “good”, which is either brass-necked or delusional. He talks of compromise and, as in most disputes, there is nothing wrong with that. Except that the WICB will only deal with the players through the West Indies Players’ Association, an organisation to which 90 per cent of the T20 squad are not affiliated. Intransigence is endemic in all parties. 

The players, believing that they are relatively poorly paid for representing the region, wish to maximise their earnings in the franchise leagues that eat heavily into the Caribbean season but still want WICB retainers. Cameron for his part reminds them whence they came in order to achieve the riches they now get elsewhere and insists that limited financial resources have to be spread more widely, particularly into grassroots. By no means could he be termed a diplomat. There will be meetings but as long as Cameron runs the WICB there will be impasse.

The danger is that while the region could become the benchmark for the development of T20 cricketers, these same players’ ambition will be first and foremost directed at the leagues rather than the maroon of West Indies. The game will thrive there, that much is certain, but West Indies cricket as such may not in any meaningful way. It is a precarious position, a mess, that surely cannot change as long as Cameron endures.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,797

  Sunday, 10 April 2016

 

• Afghanistan gets a first class umpire [1797-8978].  

• Dharmasena continues sub-continental run [1797-8979].  

• ECB EUP members turn out for County matches [1797-8980].  

Headline: Afghanistan gets a first class umpire.   

Article from: ICC appointments.        .

Journalist:  PTG Editor.         .                         

Published: Saturday, 9 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1797-8978.

 

Afghanistan umpire Ahmed Shah Pakteen is to make his debut at first class level when his countryman play Namibia in a four-day Intercontinental Cup match which is due to get underway at the Greater Noida Cricket Stadium on the outskirts of Delhi on Sunday. The International Cricket Council (ICC) did not, in announcing the match officials for the game, provide any details about Pakteen, however, records available suggest it will be the first time an Afghani has stood in a first class fixture.

Few details are available about 40-year-old’s umpiring background.  He has stood, for at least the last two seasons, at home in Afghanistan’s regional four-day tournament, and internationally featured in a World Cricket League Division Four series in Singapore in October 2014, then in 2015 the Asian Cricket Council’s regional Twenty20 series in the United Arab Emirates plus an Under-19 World Cup Qualifier event in Malaysia.  

In January-February this year he stood in a series of day-night, 50-over one-day matches between the Afghanistan A and Zimbabwe A sides which were played at the Greater Noida ground.  Those games involved an all-Afghanistan match officials panel, the others involved being match referee Bismillah Shinwari, and umpires Izatullah and Ahmed Shah Durrani.

Pakteen will be on-field in the forthcoming match with Bangladeshi Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid Saikat, a member of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, who will be standing in his 38th first class game, three of which were whilst on exchange in the West Indies in 2011 (PTG 741-3638, 16 March 2011).  The match referee will be Graeme La Brooy from the ICC’s second-tier Regional Referees Panel.

The winner of the current Intercontinental Cup series will qualify for the proposed 'Test Challenge’ against the then tenth ranked Test side in 2022.  Should the Intercontinental Cup side win that game they will qualify for Test status.   Afghanistan defeated eventual winner the West Indies in the recently concluded World Twenty20 Championship series.

Headline: Dharmasena continues sub-continental run.   

Article from: IPL appointments.        .

Journalist:  PTG Editor.         .                         

Published: Saturday, 9 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1797-8979.

 

Last Sunday Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena was standing in the final of the World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series in Kolkata, but six days later he was in Mumbai on the other side of India doing the same thing, this time in the opening match of the Indian Premier League’s ninth season (IPL-9).  During the WT20C Dharmasena worked in 7 games in 19 days, 5 on-field and once each as a television and fourth umpire respectively in Delhi, Dharamsala, Kolkata Mohali and Nagpur.  

Saturday’s opening IPL fixture between the league's Mumbai and Pune franchises, was overseen by Indian Javagal Srinath, who like Dharmasena normally works for the International Cricket Council but is currently employed via an IPL contract.  IPL-9 is Srinath’s ninth-straight IPL series, Saturday's opening game being his 84th IPL fixture, two of which have been finals.

The Sri Lankan’s on-field partner was C K Nandan, who is in his sixth IPL season, the television umpire Vineet Kulkarni (sixth season) and the fourth Virender Sharma (first season).  Just who else is on the IPL’s match officials roster, and how many games they have been assigned to games in IPL-9, is not known as appointment details have not been released. 

Headline: ECB EUP members turn out for County matches.   

Article from: ECB appointments.        .

Journalist:  PTG Editor.         .                         

Published: Saturday, 9 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1797-8980.

 

They may have just returned home after a month in India standing in World Twenty20 Championship matches, but that hasn’t stopped the four England members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) turning out in the three rounds of County Championship games scheduled for April.  Of the quartet, who are all members of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Full List (PTG 1737-8629, 14 January 2016, Richard Illingworth has three first class games this month, while Ian Gould, Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong each have two.

Gould and Illingworth will in fact be standing together in Worcestershire’s opening match against Kent which starts at New Road on Sunday, the former’s second match being in Durham late in the month, while the latter’s second and third games are at Old Trafford and The Oval.  Kettleborough will be in Northampton for his first match of the season then moves on to Lord’s in mid-month, while Llong’s two first class fixtures are at Headingley and in Derby.  EUP members from England are the only ones from that panel who regularly turn out in domestic fixtures at home.

Meanwhile, Full List member Paul Baldwin will reach a milestone next week when he stands in his 50th first class match, it being at Hove in the game between Sussex and Essex.  

Baldwin, 42, made his first class debut in August 2005 in an Intercontinental Cup match between Scotland and Ireland when he was based in Germany and was a member of the International Cricket Council’s third-tier Associated and Affiliates Umpires Panel.  He joined the ECB’s Reserve List in ahead of the 2010 northern summer (PTG 538-2757, 23 December 2009), and was promoted to the Full List five years later (PTG 1487-7190, 22 December 2014).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,798

  Monday, 11 April 2016

 

• Four visiting Counties exercise new right to bowl first [1798-8981].  

• BCCI mulls options ahead of Court ‘water’ decision [1798-8982].  

• Dew is wrecking day-night cricket [1798-8983].  

• World’s first helmeted umpire on India tour [1798-8984].  

• Kent boosted by power of the grass roots game [1798-8985]. 

• BCCI terminates long-serving IPL commentator's contract [1798-8986].  

Headline: Four visiting Counties exercise new right to bowl first.   

Article from: Score sheets, Cricinfo.        .

Journalist:  PTG Editor.         .                         

Published: Monday, 11 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1798-8981.

 

Visiting captains in four of the five County first class matches that got underway on time in England on Sunday morning elected to bowl first, thus taking advantage of a new Playing Condition introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) regarding the toss.  ECB rules in relation to Law 12.4 for what is the 126th County season now say: “toss for the choice of innings shall be deemed to include the determination by the visiting Captain whether the visiting team will exercise its right to bowl first" (PTG 1698-8376, 28 November 2015).

Of the opening matches, Somerset skipper Chris Rogers elected to bowl against home side Durham at Chester-le-Street, Warwickshire’s Ian Bell in Southampton against Hampshire, Ben Brown of Sussex in Northampton against Northamptonshire, and Surrey’s Gareth Batty against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.  The only game in which a toss occurred was at Chelmsford where the home side’s Gareth Roderick won and elected to bat against Essex.  The first day of the sixth match, Worcestershire’s home fixture against Kent, could not get underway because of a wet outfield.

Should they elect to bowl, the away skipper merely has to inform the umpires and the home captain, exchange team-sheets and the coin will not be tossed.  It hasn’t been scrapped altogether from four-day cricket for if the away captain believes conditions don’t suite bowling first then the familiar coin flick proceeds in the traditional manner as was the case at Worcester.  

The change in the regulations stemmed from a growing concern that the standard of pitches in County cricket, particularly in Division Two, was compromising the development of players.  Specifically, the role of spinners has become marginalised on surfaces that sometimes provide extravagant help to medium-pace seamers while batsmen, fearful that they will receive an unplayable delivery sooner rather than later, have responded by playing more aggressively. As a result, some of the skills required to succeed in Test cricket, patience, discipline and consistenc, have been lost.

Robert Key, who was a member of the ECB Cricket Committee who debated the toss policy before implementing it across both Championship divisions, said late last year his "original view was that we should have tougher penalties for poor pitches".  "But that is so hard to police. It just becomes a minefield. But what I still think is that the stigma over spinning pitches has to end. If we see 15 wickets fall to seam bowling on the first day of a game, nobody bats an eye. But if the ball turns on day one, people start to worry. That has to stop”.

Andrew Gale, captain of defending County champions Yorkshire, was less convinced about the changes.  "Obviously the rule has been brought in to encourage spinners and because of a recognition that the wickets have become too seamer-friendly”, he said. "The intention is a good one - I know that. But if wickets are that bad, why haven't points been docked? Fifteen-plus wickets have fallen many times on the first day and it has repeatedly been put down to bad batting. I can see [Key’s] point about something needing to be done, but why haven't pitch inspectors done their job properly? It comes down to people being strong”.

Headline: BCCI mulls options ahead of Court ‘water’ decision.   

Article from: Bangalore Mirror.        .

Journalist:  Vijay Tagore.         .                         

Published: Sunday, 10 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1798-8982.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has a plan to shift some, if not all, of the 19 Indian Premier League (IPL) games scheduled to be played in the state of Maharashtra over the next six weeks should the Bombay High Court take action over a petition it received regarding the region’s on-going drought (PTG 1796-8971, 9 April 2016).  The Court will discuss further whether Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur cane host games during its next session on the matter which is scheduled for Tuesday.

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur has warned that moving IPL games outside Maharashtra could result in a loss of one billion Rupees ($A19.9 m, £UK10.6 m) in revenue for the state.  Thakur said the figure is based on a study done by the BCCI after the last edition of the IPL. He suggested money earned from IPL activities can be better utilised by the Maharashtra government for tackling drought and taking relief measures for the affected population. 

On Tuesday, the BCCI is expected to make the point to the High Court that grounds will still require watering for maintenance regardless whether games are played on them or not.  As a contingency however, informal discussions have been held among BCCI officials at various levels on shifting games out of Maharashtra, including whilst many senior personnel were together during the IPL series’ opening ceremony on Friday. 

It has been learnt that the Kings XI Punjab franchise, who have been allotted three games in Nagpur, will be asked to play all their games in Mohali, their original base. The Gujarat Lions, who are slated to play several games in Nagpur, may be asked to complete their engagement in Rajkot.

Other avenues being explored are grounds in the cities of Indore and Ranchi in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand respectively. The Barabati Stadium in Cuttack is also an option but Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) officials maintain that no communique has been received from the BCCI so far.   Meanwhile, Chennai has ruled itself out as the MA Chidambaram stadium there is undergoing work.

Of the remaining 19 games listed for Maharashtra seven, including the final, are slated to be played at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium, nine, including two play-off games, are currently set for Pune, while there will be three other games in Nagpur. The priority for the BCCI are the home games of the three franchises involved and relocating those games may lead to logistical worries for the franchises. They want to address the franchise issues first. The play-offs and final are BCCI games, which can be held at any place.

The BCCI and franchise officials were tight lipped, refusing to discuss the contingency. "Let the High Court decide”, said a BCCI official, while franchises have maintained that they are waiting to hear from the BCCI. 

Headline: Dew is wrecking day-night cricket.   

Article from: F. Sports.        .

Journalist: Bikram Vohra.         .                         

Published: Sunday, 10 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1798-8983.

As the Indian Premier League (IPL) circus gets under way for another season and billions of man-hours teeter on the cliff of oblivion, it seems like the right time to do a little screaming: Dew is wrecking day-night cricket!  Every sport in the world pursues equality in the surface of play. That is the reason why football has half time and also why players change sides across the courts so that no one has an edge. In tennis, they practically sweep the courts from one end to the other to make sure no advantage accrues.

Then you have cricket. The huge discrepancy in the playing conditions reduces the element of equality to a farce. Without batting for either India or England in the recently concluded World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) and congratulating the Windies on a heck of a tournament and a deserving win, it is necessary to bring up the issue of the toss being so vital courtesy the dew factor.

In the first WT20C semi-final, India’s bowling effort was described as “sending down a wet ball of soap”, so soft was the ball and so difficult to grip. The ability to score nearly 200 runs with ease as bowlers desperately searched for purchase made batting second a romp in Mumbai that evening. It did not matter who bowled, there was just no grasp. By the same token, dew also kicked in at Eden Gardens in the final. While Braithwaite slogged the first four balls of the final over from Ben Stokes for sixes, it has to be asked if dew on the ball and the dead pitch made it easier to slog boundaries.

Is the IPL also going to be held at ransom by the dew factor? Although the matches are starting a little later, dew will kick in and the toss will become vital. Is this a game or is it a casino in Vegas? We might as well just have a toss decide the winner of the game. No point of watching cleaning crew with ropes, scurrying about the ground and drying it up for six weeks.

For years now the dew factor and the split between day and night has been central to the assessment made by several commentators and experts. In fact because of it, the ‘toss’ which should really be a bit of a formality becomes a formidable hurdle. But it is now mostly accepted that up to 80 per cent of a game played in a venue like Dharmsala is yours if you win the toss. The side bowling second is put to the sword.

This is a serious matter. Either the International Cricket Council has to grasp the nettle and play a day game for limited-overs cricket or a game that starts after dew begins to fall and play on through the night. In the early stages, dew was a kind of a spoilsport and keeping it in mind the toss was a slice of luck. It was cheerfully added to the cache of the glorious uncertainties in cricket. It is far more insidious and has now ‘graduated’ to a kidnapper holding cricket at ransom.

If this unfairness is tolerated any further the fans are going to start losing interest. Already, there is this ‘lost the toss, lost the game’ sentiment manifesting itself emphatically.

Dew doesn't affect just the ball. It flattens the pitch. It eliminates spin because the ball slips out of the hand. Fast bowlers lose out on swing, fielders discover easy catches slithering away and the captain has no clue how to set his field against an errant ball. The fielders keep drying the ball after every delivery which, ironically, ends up with captains being fined for wasting time.

Keep ignoring the uneven playing field created by dew and you might find the clicking of the turnstiles dying away. You cannot play a game dependent on the toss. Heads or tails, we all lose.

Headline: World’s first helmeted umpire on India tour.   

Article from: Pakistan Observer.        .

Journalist:  Bipin Dani.         .                         

Published: Sunday, 10 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1798-8984.

Australian Karl Wentzel, the world’s first helmeted umpire, has arrived in India to officiate in matches between a touring Sydney Cricket Ground Trust (SCGT) team and sides from suburban Mumbai on Monday and Tuesday.  Speaking at his hotel soon after his arrival, Wentzel confirmed he personally will be using helmet whilst standing in the matches with his long-seriving Sydney colleague, former first class umpire Arthur Watson (PTG 1292-6234, 15 February 2014).

Wentzel, a Commodity Consultant in Sydney, arrived directly from Japan and Malaysia where he was on business, and while he’s been to India before in regards to his work, he says "this trip will be my first here an umpire”.  During the interview he showed his five-teeth denture which came courtesy of a 2001 hit in the mouth by a ball when he was umpiring, and said he had to undergo several operations to fix the problem which cost him $A44,000 (£UK23,500) (PTG 1515-7299, 5 February 2015). 

“Yes, it was a freak accident. I moved to the left but the bowler put his hand out and the ball deflected, hitting my mouth at full speed, leaving me with five less teeth.  There are umpires such as [Australian] John Ward who now have learnt a lesson and started wearing helmet after the incident. There are other few like India’s Paschim Pathak who have started using helmet as a precautionary measure.  In a limited over games (PTG 1711-8475, 13 December 2015), the batsmen hit so hard and the umpires get hardly any time to move and therefore the International Cricket Council should make the use of protective helmet mandatory”, a view he has expressed more than once before (PTG 1685-8283, 11 November 2015).

Both umpires and 26 SCGT team members will leave for Delhi on Wednesday where another match has been scheduled.  The visitors also plan to witness an Indian Premier League match in Delhi and travel to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. 

Headline: Kent boosted by power of the grass roots game.   

Article from: Kent News.        .

Journalist:  Tom Pyman.         .                         

Published: Saturday, 9 April 2016   

PTG listing: 1798-8985.

After years of steady decline in the domestic game, Kent Cricket Club’s chief executive Jamie Clifford says the sport at the grassroots level in the County is outstripping many others and a fresh breed of local talent is bursting into its first team ranks.  And while concerns are still expressed over youngsters playing the sport in our schools, Clifford says Kent’s next generation of senior players are getting the chance to fall in love with the most traditional of summer sports.

Clifford said earlier this week the County has "got nearly 400 clubs and schools cricket is still relatively strong”.  “Don’t get me wrong, on a nationwide basis I’d love to see cricket played from the first day of the school term to the last and as much of it through a school summer term as possible, but I’m a realist.  We’re a cricket County, we’ve always said that, and that isn’t the case in every County, so while we’ve got that advantage we’re keen to use it and produce our own players”.

Cricket has suffered in recent years when it comes to appealing to a young audience bombarded with the glitz and glamour of Premier League football and its year-round appeal.  Adds Mr Clifford: “We’re still very much focused on our academy and the way we bring through local
talent.  We’ve got the best conversion rate of academy scholars into professional cricket graduates in the country and we’re very proud of that".  

The loss of live Test matches to pay-TV channels and a combination of poor form and poor attendance for County Championship games has meant Kent has had to introduce a major rejig of its business side to cope, including the redevelopment of its historic St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury.

Designed to transform it into a year-round modern facility capable of delivering revenues through all 12 months, at first, there was even talk of it attracting the occasional England One Day International match.  But its timing was catastrophically bad, with the global recession sweeping in just when it needed it to be buoyant.  The result has been a far more modest offering at the club than first envisaged and a dip in the revenue potential as a consequence.

It’s not all been bad however. The popularity of the Twenty20 competition which is hugely popular with fans and TV audiences is pumping in fresh money. Big crowds also swell the profit potential of food and drink sales at the ground too.  With a steady flow of funding coming into the club as its sale of land has continued, the club’s finances are on a firmer footing – improving year-on-year for the last six years.

But, as with all County cricket clubs, it remains a struggle.  “Our balance sheet is as strong as it was before we started the re-development program, so we feel we’re in reasonable shape”, said Clifford.  "But we will never rest on where we’ve got to, we’ve got a long-term job to do and that’s Kent regularly winning things and generating finances that allows us to re-invest in cricket".

Headline: BCCI terminates long-serving IPL commentator's contract.   

Article from: The Times of India.        .

Journalist:  Not stated.         .                         

Published: Sunday, 10 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1798-8986.

Journalist Harsha Bhogle has had his contract to commentate on this year’s Indian Premier League series terminated by the Board of Control for Cricket In India (BCCI).  Bhogle, 54, has been a regular in the commentary box since the IPL’s inaugural season in 2008 and the decision to remove him comes as a surprise to many observers.

A senior BCCI official said that his organisation may have reached the decision after taking feedback including that from the players. "When deciding the commentators, we take feedback from everyone. We monitor social media reactions on commentators, and also take inputs from players”, said the person on the condition of anonymity. 

Another report talks of an incident involving Bhogle and an unnamed Vidharbha Cricket Association official during India's World Twetny20 Championship game against New Zealand at Nagpur last month that resulted in a heated argument, a clash that might have been the reason for his exit.  

Bhogle is yet to receive an official reason for the termination of his contract and other than saying "it is a BCCI management decision”, has refused to speak on the matter.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,799

  Tuesday, 12 April 2016

 

• CSA ‘unlikely’ to agree to day-night Tests: players’ union [1799-8987].  

• Kathy Cross a true pioneer for women's cricket [1799-8988].  

• Court comes down hard anti-Lodha submissions [1799-8989].  

• Aussie captain supporting push into China [1799-8990].  

• Attempt to smuggle willow clefts foiled [1799-8991].  

Headline: CSA ‘unlikely’ to agree to day-night Tests: players’ union.  

Article from: Cricket World.        .

Journalist:  Manuj Sharma.         .                         

Published: Monday, 11 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1799-8987.

 

The chief executive of the South Africa Cricketers Association Tony Irish says that concerns surrounding the usage of the pink ball means that Cricket South Africa (CSA) is “highly unlikely" to agree for a day-night Test match against Australia.  Recent reports indicated Cricket Australia is looking to host two more day-night Test matches next austral summer, one each against Pakistan and South Africa respectively (PTG 1795-8959, 8 April 2016)..

However, Irish, who is also the head of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA), said South African players have no experience with the pink ball under the lights, which makes it a difficult proposition.  Nevertheless, Irish confirmed that his members are not against the idea of day-night Tests but their concerns are only due to the durability and the visibility of the pink ball.

“Not a single one of our players has played with the pink ball under lights at any level of cricket and, despite the fairly widespread praise of the concept in Australia, player feedback from Australia and New Zealand indicates that there are still significant on field concerns”, said Irish on Monday.

“A number of players from both teams said they had trouble seeing the ball in the evening and that [playing area] conditions had to be doctored to preserve the condition of the ball.  The players are not totally against the concept or anti innovation but feel that this is still very experimental and this is obviously an important series for them.  They don’t want to be out there not knowing what to expect in what could be a match which decides the series [and] more work needs to be done on making the ball more durable”.

Australia’s players’ union, which is affiliated with FICA, expressed very similar views ahead of last November’s inaugural day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide (PTG 1671-8193, 26 October 2015).

Headline: Kathy Cross a true pioneer for women's cricket.   

Article from: Lower Hutt News.        .

Journalist:  Nicholas Boyack.         .                         

Published: Monday, 11 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1799-8988.

In the highly sexist world of international cricket, Kathy Cross made history by becoming one of two females to umpire at the recent Twenty20 World Championship (WT20C) series in India (PTG 1772-8846, 26 February 2016).  She says the women's match in mid-March between Pakistan and the West Indies is the highlight of her career so far, and in all she stood in 10 women's matches, including warm-up games, and was pleased with her performance.

Cross and Australian umpire Claire Polosak were the only females among the 31 umpires at the World Cup.  Bizarrely, in a sport desperate to promote women, she was overlooked for the women's final involving West Indies and Australia.  Never one to rock the boat, Cross says it was always clear that the final would be umpired by men and she was not bothered by the snub.

Prior to the WT20C series Cross umpired women all over the world but only got her invite to India three weeks before her first game.  She received a call inquiring if she could get the time off work and whether her passport was up to date.  "I had three weeks to get a new passport and to apply for my visa. I got my visa on the third day of March, which was a little bit touch and go”, said Cross.

Although she has umpired a number of the women's teams, she says Pakistan were very surprised to see a female umpire, as was the Indian media.  "They were fascinated that there were two female umpires at the tournament, particularly with Claire because she was only 26, and has a big future”.

At 58, Cross is older than most international umpires but she is still hopeful of umpiring men's first-class cricket and intends to keep going for a while longer.  Cross has stood at List A and senior men’s Twenty20 level in New Zealand in the past, while Polosak has worked as a third umpire in a List A game.  

Having umpired at the highest level Cross hopes that her success will open doors for other women.  "It has taken quite a few years for people to recognise females can be good umpires”.  Another reason to keep going is to try and win selection for the next 50-over Womens’ World Cup.  She sees herself as a "pioneer" and hopes to show other women that they too can make it to the top in cricket.

Headline: Court comes down hard anti-Lodha submissions.   

Article from: Wisden India.        .

Journalist:  Not stated.         .                         

Published: Tuesday, 12 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1799-8989.

An Indian Supreme Court bench came down hard on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday, reiterating that cricket’s governing body in the country was not a private entity and, as trustees of the game, it had to function in a transparent manner and be accountable like any other public body.

“You are not a private entity. You are accountable and answerable. You are expected to act in a manner expected of a public body. You are a trustee of a game, all your activities must inspire confidence”, said the two-member bench comprising TS Thakur, the Chief Justice of India, and Justice FM Kalifulla. "How can you [the BCCI] object to the laudable objective of bringing transparency, objectivity and accountability in the working and functioning of the [country’s top] cricketing body?”

The bench made the remark when the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) and the Cricket Club of India (CCI) objected to the recommendation of the Lodha Committee that called for one cricket association for each state in the country, a suggestion the BCCI have expressed strong reservations against.

The state of Maharashtra have four members – the MCA, the CCI and the Vidarbha Cricket Association which are based in the city of Nagpur, plus the Maharashtra Cricket Association based in Pune. The MCA and CCI are two of the oldest full members of the BCCI and are the custodians of the Wankhede and Brabourne Stadiums respectively.

The CCI was founded in 1930, well before the registration of the BCCI under the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Societies Act in 1940, and they allowed the BCCI to conduct international and domestic matches at Bradbourne when the board had no infrastructure of their own.  The CCI’s contention before the Supreme Court was that the ‘one-state, one-association’ suggestion would alter and dilute their various rights, including that of voting, and also affect their status as a full member, which they have enjoyed since the inception of the BCCI.

The bench asked in response: “What is the purpose of the guidelines recommended by the [Lodha] committee”.  It then went on to reiterate: “The purpose is to clean the system, to make BCCI more transparent, open, objective and to make it more accountable and more responsive and representative”.  “If the structural changes in the BCCI, as recommended, are accepted, there will be far more openness and it will bring more transparency”.

Shyam Divan, who represented CCI in court, said that the club did not survive on funds from the BCCI, which prompted the bench to ask: “If you are promoting the game of cricket, why are you not being financed by the BCCI? It is very rare for a person to say that I will go on promoting the game, but I will not take money from the BCCI”.

The MCA, who are also supporting multiple full members from the states, submitted that full membership should be based on the cricketing population. In reply, the bench questioned the status of the Goa Cricket Association, who vote and are fully funded by the BCCI. “There has been no international player ever emerging from Goa which is getting so much of funds. Has Goa produced any international cricketer”, said the bench.  The hearing is continuing.

Headline: Aussie captain supporting push into China.   

Article from: CA web site.        .

Journalist:  Not stated.         .                         

Published: Monday, 11 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1799-8990.

Australian womens’ captain Meg Lanning will travel to China this weekas part of a Cricket Australia (CA) and International Cricket Council (ICC) delegation to 'Australia Week' there.  Lanning will join the Chinese national women's cricket team training camp in Shanghai, take part in a cricket clinic for Shanghai students, and attend the Australia Week in China gala lunch hosted by the Australian Government.

China is considered a rising cricket-playing nation and a realistic chance to qualify for the Women's World Twenty20 in 2018 and 2020. There are currently 80,000 cricket participants in China, approximately half of whom are female. In Shanghai, where Lanning will assist the national Chinese women's team training camp, cricket is played in 18 of the city's 40 universities.  

As recent evidence of the progress being made in the region, Chinese national player Wu Juan received a rookie contract with the Melbourne Stars in the inaugural Womens’ Big Bash League.  "I'm looking forward to visiting China and seeing the development of cricket there first-hand”, Lanning said.  "We've seen how quickly women's cricket has grown across the world – and in particular Australia – recently so it's exciting to know the game is growing in China”.

ICC Head of Global Development Tim Anderson, who will accompany Lanning on the trip, said: "China is one of the ICC's target markets in our vision to become the world's favourite sport.  In particular we see the development of women's cricket and the engagement of government as two important elements to cricket's growth in China.  Meg's visit is an exciting opportunity for the Chinese women's team to learn from one of the world's best cricketers”.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recently granted $A200,000 (£UK106,000) to CA and the ICC through its Asian Sports Partnerships (ASP) to help deliver cricket development activities in China, Afghanistan and Nepal.  The Asian Sports Partnerships seek to use sport as a vehicle to tackle social issues such as gender equality, as well as strengthen public diplomacy.  The ASP cricket program in China will upskill Chinese cricket staff to run high-quality school cricket programs and use national women's players as role models and program deliverers.

The visit comes in a week in which China unveiled a strategy to become a "world football superpower" by 2050, with plans to get 50 million children and adults playing the game by 2020.  Other targets include providing at least 20,000 football training centres and 60,000 football pitches by 2020.

Headline: Attempt to smuggle willow clefts foiled.   

Article from: Press Trust of India.        .

Journalist:  Not stated.         .                         

Published: Monday, 11 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1799-8991.

 

Staff of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir’s Excise Department foiled an attempt to smuggle a truckload of willow clefts from the Kathua district into Punjab on Sunday.  Clefts are the wooden blocks, a little larger that a finished cricket bat, that result from the basic cut of a willow tree into chunks from which a bat proper is honed to a finished product.  Their interstate transportation is banned under Jammu and Kashmir’s Forest Act (PTG 1683-8268, 9 November 2015).  

The vehicle, along with the seized willow clefts, has been handed over to state's Forest Protection Force for further investigation, according to a government spokesman.  He said that in 2015-16, a total of 26,359 willow clefts have been seized compared to 4,550 in 2014-15.

In September 2014, flooding along the India-Pakistan border region of Kashmir killed more than 500 people, destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses, and decimated large willow stockpiles that were waiting to be made into bats.  Some suppliers forecast the loss of wood and damage to trees could equate to a shortfall of millions of cricket bats in the next few years (PTG 1452-7039, 22 October 2014).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,800

  Wednesday, 13 April 2016


• Quiet departure for long-serving ICC officials’ manager [1800-8992].  

• Oxenford arm guard test a personal trial  [1800-8993].  

• BCCI to use 'treated sewage water' for IPL ground maintenance [1800-8994].  

• Time to bid farewell to the leg-bye? [1800-8995].  

• IPL rewards national boards for player releases [1800-8996].  

• Saggy green? Not us, says ‘Baggy Green' maker [1800-8996].  

Headline: Quiet departure for long-serving ICC officials’ manager.  

Article from: ICC advice.        .

Journalist:  PTG Editor.         .                         

Published: Tuesday, 12 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1800-8992.

 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) made no public announcement at the time but it has now confirmed South African Vincent Van Der Bijl, its Umpires and Referees Manager since August 2008, retired last October and in the words of a spokesman: “no longer works for the ICC”.  Van Der Bijl, who was 67 when he departed, has been replaced by Barbados-born Adrian Griffith, 44, who had worked under the South African as his Administration Manager over the last few years following a stint on the ICC’s second-tier Regional Referees Pane (RRR).  It would appear Griffith’s was a direct appointment rather than the result of an open process.

Like Van der Bijl, who played first-class cricket for both Natal and Middlesex, Griffith also played at first class level, his career being with his home country Barbados.  He went one step further however, being a member of West Indian teams in a total of 14 Tests and 9 One Day Internationals in the period from 1996-2000; those games being played in Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand and of course the West Indies.  

As was the case with Van der Bijl, there is no record of Griffith having umpired at any level of the game.  As an RRR member though he oversaw, as an ICC match referee over the years from 2009-12, mens’ and womens’ second-tier international fixtures played in the first class, List A and Twenty20 formats.  He performed the same duties in the West Indies Cricket Board’s ‘domestic’ competitions in the same period, his total match tally in that role being over 100 matches across all three formats.

Whether it was coincidental or not, Van der Bijl departure after seven years in the role came in the same month one of his staff, then Umpire Performance and Training Manager Simon Taufel, also left the world body in what some reports, which have not been denied, suggested involved a difference of opinion between umpiring staff in regard to technical practice and approaches to training (PTG 1736-8624, 13 January 2016).  Taufel returned to the world body earlier this year in what appears to be an important, but on the surface at least, lower-key role (PTG 1738-8635, 15 January 2016).

Headline: Oxenford arm guard test a personal trial.  

Article from: ICC advice.        .

Journalist:  PTG Editor.         .                         

Published: Tuesday, 12 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1800-8993.

 

The forearm shield worn by Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford in a World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) match a month ago was, according to an International Cricket Council (ICC) spokesman, a "prototype he was trying out on his own and was not provided to him by [the ICC]” and as such it was “a personal trial".  Looked to be made of clear Perspex, the shield was strapped to the Australian's non-dominant signalling arm, its aim apparently being to parry and block shots hit directly back in the umpire's direction (PTG 1781-8895, 14 March 2016), however, its appearance was limited to just one WT20C match.

The ICC said on Tuesday, what has been known for a while now, that it is looking at protective gear for umpires.  It is assessing “what's [directly] available on the market" as well "as any items the umpires themselves deem appropriate”, the latter a clear reference to Oxenford’s move with the arm guard.  Just what, if any, feedback was generated from Oxenford’s experience with the guard, who was behind it, or whether other techniques are on the drawing board, is not known. The ICC provided helmets to umpires who took part in the WT20C series but acknowledges no one used them during that event.  A media report last month described them as "basically batting helmets” that were "quite heavy” and called for a version specially designed for umpires to be developed (PTG 1784-8906, 20 March 2016). 

Over the past year or more there have been spasmodic media reports about work underway behind the scenes in several countries to address umpire safety issues especially in regard to Twenty20 matches.  The matter was first raised nearly seven years ago by now former Australian umpire Daryl Harper who talked about "umpires in higher-level Twenty20 matches wearing baseball helmets which cover the face with a grill for protection” (PTG 423-2233, 14 May 2009).  A more recent report last August indicated the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) 25 Full List first-class umpires were "examining protective gear, including for the head, heart and back of the neck, which could be worn in one-day and championship matches [in 2016]" (PTG 1631-7965, 30 August 2015). 

So far there has been no indication that any breakthroughs have yet been made in terms of umpire safety.  Whether members of the ECB’s senior umpiring panel are wearing, or plan to wear, additional protective equipment during the 2016 northern summer as a result of their ‘examination’ is not known, although such gear could make an appearance once the county Twenty20 competition gets underway.  In the absence of further evidence though, the occasional nature of the reports and lack of publicity, questions remain as to just how well coordinated, resourced and prioritised such work has been across the cricketing world.    

Headline: BCCI to use 'treated sewage water' for IPL ground maintenance.  

Article from: Press Trust of India.        .

Journalist:  Not stated.         .                         

Published: Tuesday, 12 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1800-8994.

 

With the Bombay High Court raising questions, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said on Tuesday it is taking water issues “very seriously” and is procuring treated sewage water for ground maintenance for Indian Premier League (IPL) matches listed for drought-hit Maharashtra state (PTG 1798-8982, 11 April 2016).  BCCI legal counsel Rafiq Dada told the Court "instead of discharging treated sewage water into the sea, we are using it to look after playing areas in stadiums” in Pune and Mumbai.

Three cities in Maharashtra, Nagpur, Mumbai and Pune, are currently listed to host 3, 7 and 9 IPL matches respectively over the next six weeks.  Dada said agreement had been reached with the Royal Western India Turf Club to obtain the treated water to maintain the grounds for the 16 matches scheduled across Mumbai and Pune, with "7-8 tankers" of such water being supplied to the respective stadiums each day.  The IPL's Kings XI Punjab franchise has agreed to shift its three matches listed for Nagpur to either Punjab state or elsewhere if the High Court so decrees, said Dada.  

Headline: Time to bid farewell to the leg-bye?  

Article from: Wisden India.        .

Journalist:  Karthik Lakshmanan.         .                         

Published: Tuesday, 12 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1800-8995.

Two articles I read in recent times – one by Ian Chappell calling for more common sense in cricket rules and the other by Ian Bishop asking why convention should not be questioned – reminded me of something I’ve wondered about forever: why should cricket, particularly the limited-overs formats, have leg-byes?  In simple terms, it appears weird and illogical that cricket – in essence a game between bat and ball – should have a provision for a team to score runs even when a batsman hasn’t made contact with the ball.

“Then what about byes?” – is the instant retort from almost every person to whom I’ve posed the question. The difference between byes and leg-byes is that the former can be viewed as a penalty for an error by the fielding side (wicketkeeper). A leg-bye, however, is a reward a batsman gets despite missing making contact with the ball. In an era where bowlers are under the pump thanks to massive bats and a host of other factors, do batsmen really deserve any reward for failing to connect?

Worse, a leg-bye is a punishment for the bowler despite him doing well enough to beat the bat with a sharp inswinger or an unplayable turner. Yes, it doesn’t affect his bowling figures, but it still hurts his side.  According to Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodians of cricket’s laws, leg-byes were incorporated into the laws in 1884. However, there are only speculations and no definite answers as to why leg-byes were allowed.

One such theory is that in the early days, cricket was considered a side-on game. The field would generally be packed on the offside, making it almost immoral for a batsman to score runs on the legside – it required Indian Kumar Ranjitsinhji, who played first class cricket in England, to ‘invent’ the leg glance! In such an era, leg-byes were a way of discouraging a bowler from bowling a negative line – on the pads.  Needless to say, cricket has changed rapidly over the last century, more so over the last decade with the advent of Twenty20. With only a maximum of two fielders allowed behind square, the legside is very much a scoring area. Modern batsmen, with their big bats, play flicks, whips, scoops, glances, paddles and so on, but strangely, the leg-byes remain.

“We have asked ourselves the question – why not abolish leg-byes”, said Mark Williams, the MCC’s Laws of Cricket Advisor. “The problem with doing that would be that, say you’re in the end of a tight game. A right-arm bowler from around the wicket or left-arm bowler from over the wicket is just spearing it into the batsman’s pads knowing that if the batsman misses, there would be no runs. That’s seen as a very negative tactic and not good for the game, and not fair on the batsman. It’s that aspect on which we’ve retained leg-byes.  Otherwise, there would be a potentially negative impact on the game. Not having leg-byes would be very, very unattractive”.

The reasons are based on conventional notions of what a ‘good line’ is – on or around offstump. It’s understandable in Test cricket but this limits the areas for bowlers to bowl in limited-overs cricket, where an inch more to the leg side is all it takes to be called wide. Then too, modern batsmen tend to move around plenty in the crease and what starts off being a ball bowled on leg stump could well be hit through mid-off. The concept of ‘negative’ line doesn’t really exist in limited-overs cricket, making the reasons for which leg-byes were introduced a bit irrelevant.  The other frequent way leg-byes are scored is when the ball ricochets off a batman’s body or helmet when he is taking evasive action. Once again, harsh on the bowler for no fault of his.

“We thought seriously about whether leg-byes can be run if the batsman is hit while taking evasive action. We wondered whether to dispense with that”, says Williams (PTG 1642-8036, 10 September 2015). “But again, if you do that, towards the end of a close game a fast bowler can bowl bouncers deliberately towards the tailenders who are not equipped to deal with that. It would clearly mean that more bouncers would be bowled”.

It’s hard to understand, given there is already a limit on the number of bouncers in an over, but the other reason for not changing the leg-bye rule is that it could lead to potential umpiring controversies. Yes, it’s already a part of the umpire’s job to see if the ball has hit the bat, pad or nothing at all but not having leg-byes could see them under further scrutiny. Using technology is an option but it could also lead to more stoppages in play.

The cricket world is divided on whether the leg-bye rule needs to be abolished or modified. The issue was first raised by Steve Waugh in 2004 ahead of his final Test.  “I don’t see any reason why you should get runs when you miss the ball”, he had said while calling for a ban on runners as well.  Waugh’s reasons are perhaps more relevant in the T20 era, but more contemporary cricketers like Matthew Hayden and Jacques Kallis do not agree. They point out that batting will be even more difficult, especially on turning pitches in the subcontinent and point out that there are bigger issues to address.

“I like to be forward thinking, but on this particular occasion, I believe it’s not really broken so why fix it?”, said Hayde. “If you were to illegalise it for example, bowlers would take advantage of that as well. The game sort of ebbs and flows around different wicket conditions, different atmospheric and ground conditions. I just think it’s one of those simple but effective rules that don’t necessarily make great deal of impact but shouldn’t also be removed from the game.

Kallis echoed Hayden’s thoughts, saying leg-byes prevent spinners from bowling into the rough on the pads.  “I’m a fan of leg-byes,” he says. “I think it stops negative bowling. People want to see runs scored and this counts as runs. Especially if a left-arm spinner or legspinners bowling around the wicket into the rough, and it clips the batsman’s pads and goes for four, I think there is reason for that. The bat size and all that is still the same”.

Evening up the contest between bat and ball is indeed a topic of discussion at the MCC, pointed out Williams, revealing that they’re trying to put a cap on bat sizes. “We’re thinking very seriously about tackling the imbalance between bat and ball, by putting a limit on the size of bats”, he said. “The [International Cricket Council] have asked us to write on it and we’ve done a lot of research on it (PTG 1699-8383, 29 November 2015). We’ll be putting a lot of options, it’s for them to decide what to do. One of the options is to restrict the size of bats. Not the sweet spots, but the thickness of the edges. It is actually the mishits that are going all the way”.

Williams also confirmed that the topic of leg-byes was discussed recently but stressed that it’s unlikely to change.  “The structure here at Lord’s is that… there is a main MCC committee and then there is the MCC Cricket Committee and then the Laws sub-committee that analyses laws.  Essentially, it’s that committee that drafts new laws, analyses existing laws and posts serious questions. If there is going to be a Law change, that committee essentially produces a draft. That is recommended to the Cricket Committee who discuss it and send it back if needed".

“It’s basically like a bill in the parliament. And then if the Cricket Committee thinks it’s worthy of a change, it will recommend it to the MCC’s main committee. The level at which this has been discussed to date is the Laws sub-committee. We’ve discussed leg-byes in the last six months. I’ll be very surprised if the laws would be changed now though”.

Cricket without leg-byes seem unthinkable now but many rules that seemed integral to the game have changed over the years for various reasons. Why, even the toss was done away with in English county cricket this week (PTG 1798-8981, 11 April 2016). It could perhaps be argued that leg-byes are not fair, but it seems they’re here to stay.

Headline: IPL rewards national boards for player releases. 

Article from: Press Trust of India.        .

Journalist:  Not stated.         .                         

Published: Tuesday, 12 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1800-8996.

The cricket boards of Sri Lanka, South Africa and New Zealand have together earned just over $US1 million ($A1.3 m, £UK702,000) for releasing their players for this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) series.  Payment details released by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) show Cricket Sri Lanka received $US243,000 ($A317,000, £170,600), Cricket South Africa $US631,000 ($A823,000, £443,000) and New Zealand Cricket $US173,000 ($A226,000, £121,500) from the cash-rich T20 league.  Given that Australian, Bangladesh, English and West Indian players are also involved in the IPL, their respective cricket boards are also expected to be paid by the BCCI in a similar manner, however, detailed figures have not yet been released.  

Headline: Saggy green? Not us, says ‘Baggy Green' maker. 

Article from: Fairfax Media.        .

Journalist:  Greg Baum.         .                         

Published: Wednesday, 13 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1800-8997.

Albion, for more than half a century the maker of the iconic baggy green cap, has reassured Cricket Australia (CA) the company is viable in the face of reports it is under financial stress.  Fairfax Media has been told of Albion's struggles on several fronts. It has shed some staff and warned others that it might have to delay payment of wages. It still has not fully paid out former Australian captain Ricky Ponting for a licensing arrangement dating back to his playing days.  It has failed to fulfil orders on time, or at all, including some for CA's ancillary teams and for teams competing in national junior tournaments.  "We can't get straight answers”, a CA staffer said last week. "We're tearing our hair out”.  

But on Tuesday, Albion chief executive and managing director Brendan Denning told CA that it was down to seasonal fluctuations.  Subsequently, Albion spokesman Craig Binnie said: "Brendan inherited a contract when he bought the business. Residual payments are still being made and are not subject to any form of dispute. These payments are so small that they could be paid in full. It's ridiculous to suggest that there could possibly be a dispute over a few dollars”.

However, others have told Fairfax Media that Albion is months behind with orders from clubs in Australia and overseas, and some now are despairing.  One in Australia is Upper Ferntree Gully Cricket Club in Melbourne's east. Treasurer Nicky Irvine-Dejong said the club had paid in advance for new caps last September and still had not received them. One knock-on effect is that the club has missed out on funds it would normally raise by adding its own premium to the cap price.  "I've made 40-odd phone call”, Irvine-Dejong said. "Not one has been returned”.  The club is now preparing an application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Company spokesman Binnie said that "issue only came to light when the staff members left and will be dealt with immediately”.

Albion was founded in Sydney in 1941 and has been making baggy greens for the Australian team since the 1950s. Later, it expanded into making helmets and, more recently still, ventured into protective headgear for jockeys, cyclists and equestrian.  In 2011, Albion moved its headquarters to Melbourne while keeping its factory in Sydney. 

Binnie downplayed recent departures. "One person resigned and one person was no longer required”, he said. "The loss of these staff members has had no negative impact on the company's operations. If anything, the company is more streamlined”.

All in all, this has not been a happy time for famous brands in Australian cricket. ‘Kookaburra', for decades the manufacturer of balls for Australian cricket, had a difficult summer because of out-of-shape balls in early Tests (PTG 1692-8327, 22 November 2015). Subsequently, it was announced that English ‘Dukes' balls would be used in the second half of Sheffield Shield seasons in future to better prepare Australian players for English conditions (PTG  1791-8943, 31 March 2016).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,801

  Friday, 15 April 2016

 

• Drought order puts IPL into wider perspective [1801-8997].  

• County cricket will fade into obscurity without terrestrial TV [1801-8998].  

• ‘Big Three’ takeover cricket’s ‘murkiest’ episode, says ‘Wisden' [1801-8999].  

• First class player at ease in dual role [1801-9000].  

• Clubs directed to merge or face the axe [1801-9001].  

• When will cricket have the balls not to call it the ‘groin region’? [1801-9002].  

Headline: Drought order puts IPL into wider perspective.  

Article from: Media reports.        .

Journalist: PTG Editor.      .                         

Published: Thursday, 14 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1801-8997.

The Bombay High Court has ordered all 13 Indian Premier League (IPL) matches scheduled to be played across the cities of Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur in the state of Maharashtra in May, games that include three of the four finals, be shifted elsewhere in India in view of the severe drought in the region.   The order against the world’s richest cricket competition came despite an assurance by the Board of Control for Cricket In India (BCCI) that the IPL’s Mumbai and Pune franchises had agreed to contribute 50 million Rupees ($A980,000, £UK531,000) to the Maharashtra chief minister’s drought relief fund, and that untreated sewage water would be used to maintain grounds for IPL matches listed for Mumbai and Pune (PTG 1800-8994, 13 April 2016). 

Nearly 900,000 farmers in Maharashtra, India’s third-largest state, have been affected by crippling drought brought on by a delayed and inadequate monsoon season that has devastated crops and led to a spike in farmer suicides.  Agricultural department data shows that two-thirds of the state's 1.37 million farmers have been affected, the state government officially declaring two weeks ago that almost two-thirds of its villages were facing "drought-like conditions". That term means crop yields have been less than half of the annual long-term level in the area, a drastic fall in agricultural output that has significant implications for the region as a whole and beyond.

In handing down its IPL judgement the court, which last week queried the use of water to maintain cricket grounds in the circumstances that exist (PTG 1796-8971, 9 April 2016), said: “We agree that merely shifting of IPL matches out of the state will not be a solution but this can be a beginning to address the drought situation in Maharashtra. People are dying because of water scarcity and this court cannot ignore the plight of such people”.  Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had refused to provide potable water for maintaining grounds and said that he was not bothered if the matches were shifted out of the state, a situation IPL secretary Anurag Thakur warned could result in a loss of one billion Rupees ($A19.9 m, £UK10.6 m) in revenue for the state (PTG 1798-8982, 11 April 2016).

Former Indian captains Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid believe cricket should not be mixed with such a serious issue. “The fact that so many people are dying because of shortage of water is serious but linking it to IPL will trivialise it”, said Dravid. "How can a drought be as important as cricket? If not having IPL will solve the problem, then we should stop playing cricket”.  Gavaskar claimed the sport is being singled out.  "What do you think has been happening for the last 9-10 years? It's always something or the other cropping up before or during the IPL [and the competition] is a soft target”.

IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla pointed out that no objections were raised when Mumbai and Nagpur between them hosted 12 World Twenty20 Championship matches last month. Like Gavankar, Thakur claimed there was an attempt to create negativity over issues: "We are not using drinking water, we have said that we will use treated sewage water only. How many swimming pools of five-star hotels have been shut? Have people stopped watering their lawns?” He claimed the IPL would use "0.00038 per cent of water used in the state..  …a requirement that was not much”.  Another senior BCCI official was quoted as saying: “The schedule was decided a month ago. This is beyond our control. There’s no way we can do this [last minute switch]”.  Shukla acknowledged moving matches will be a “problem” but said that the BCCI is working on an "alternative plan”.

The IPL governing council, the three affected franchises – Mumbai Indians, Rising Pune Supergiants and Kings XI Punjab – and other stakeholders now have just over two weeks to identify venues to host May matches originally scheduled for Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.  Problems include finding grounds with appropriately prepared pitches that are ready to host matches at such short notice.  Hotel bookings, travel for players and staff, equipment, and broadcast arrangements, are also issues that will challenge organisers.  

Headline: County cricket will fade into obscurity without terrestrial TV.  

Article from: Daily Telegraph.        .

Journalist: Lawrence Booth, Wisden editor.      .                         

Published: Thursday, 14 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1801-8998.

No one seemed sure quite how offended to be when not a single member of England’s Ashes-winning team made the 12-strong shortlist for the BBC’s 2015 'Sports Personality of the Year’ award. One thing was clear: the four cricketers to have won the gong – Jim Laker (1956), David Steele (1975), Ian Botham (1981) and Andrew Flintoff (2005) – all attested to the fact that, when Australia are in town, cricket invades the national psyche.  Not this time though. Perhaps the public have got used to England beating them. But when Joe Root’s batting or Stuart Broad’s bowling can’t make the top dozen, something is amiss.

Since England’s home internationals will be hidden away on satellite TV until 2019 and almost certainly beyond, it’s time for a terrestrial channel to step in and offer to cover the domestic game. And since that domestic game has to grab the attention of a generation who have never – if their parents don’t own Sky – experienced the thrill of stumbling across the cricket on an idle afternoon, this means a franchise Twenty20 tournament.

Most of the counties don’t want it, of course, just as many of them didn’t want Twenty20 when it was narrowly voted through more than a decade ago. Neither did they welcome the franchise proposal mooted by the Marylebone Cricket Club and Surrey in 2008. Had they done so, they might not now be watching Australia’s Big Bash League with such envy – or wondering why every other nation has developed a domestic Twenty20 tournament that packs a more powerful punch than their own.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are rightly concerned by the counties’ grip on the game. The fear is that cricket will fade into obscurity if something isn’t done to court new fans. Given the talent on show in the England team at the moment, that would be a scandal. But the ECB can help too.

When Surrey asked if they could digitally broadcast home matches not on Sky, the ECB said no. Similarly, the free online coverage of Nottinghamshire’s home Championship matches has to stop when Sky are televising another domestic game. This is monopolism gone mad. But if counties continue to pander to their mainly traditionalist members – Twenty20, remember, was never about preaching to the converted – the very last chance for a franchise competition to help bankroll the four-day stuff may disappear for good.

Headline: ‘Big Three’ takeover cricket’s ‘murkiest’ episode, says ‘Wisden'.  

Article from: Wisden 2016.        .

Journalist: PTG Editor.      .                         

Published: Thursday, 14 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1801-8999.

In his 'Notes by the Editor’ in the 2016 edition of ‘Wisden’, Lawrence Booth says "cricket breathed a little more freely" following the departures from their posts of Dean Kino, Giles Clarke, Wally Edwards and N Srinivasan, who he calls the "masterminds" behind Australia, England and India's seizure of the International Cricket Council in 2014.  "There are reasons to be cheerful” about the game, says Booth, although "They are fragile, it's true. But the age of the Big [Three], as murky an episode as any in the annals of cricket administration, may be over before it has properly begun”.

Booth also argues the case for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to follow the experiment conducted by Australia in their recent Test series against New Zealand, and give day-night Test cricket a chance in England.  "If English crowds can sit through chilly floodlit one-dayers in September, why can't they cope in June, July and August? The ECB chairman Colin Graves is open to the idea, and so are the Test-match counties. And if it takes off everywhere, boards can use the extra revenue to prove to their stars that they needn't become soulless freelancers, forever scouring the globe for their next fix”.

Headline: First class player at ease in dual role.  

Article from: Indian Express.        .

Journalist: Vimal Sankar.      .                         

Published: Thursday, 14 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1801-9000.

Not everyday do you see the captain of a Ranji Trophy first class side side umpiring. It came as a bit of a surprise to find former Tamil Nadu skipper Ramaswamy Prasanna wearing the black and white uniform at the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) Plate final that ended at Chepauk on Wednesday.   The 34-year-old, who was part of Tamil Nadu's Ranji XI last season, said his prime motivation for taking up umpiring came from former Tamil Nadu player and now umpire Krishnamachari Srininvasan who is his "role model in everything to do with cricket”.

Prasanna, who has played 59 first class games over the last 11 seasons, started umpiring in the TNCA's divisions 5, 4, 3, 2 plus school games. After his first three-day game, he feels playing is easier than umpiring. “It’s a great challenge physically and mentally. To stand and umpire in Chennai heat for three days isn’t easy. Fitness matters if you want to keep playing and do umpiring simultaneously”.  As a player he is familiar with the way players pressurise umpires. “As umpire, my duty is to be authoritative on the field. We should be firm and right body language is necessary to avoid confrontations. The first thing we learn is to treat everyone equally, be it an Indian or Under-19 player”.

The Chennai born player-umpire believes players' knowledge of Laws among players is limited, but that his five years as an umpire have given him a good grounding in the Laws. After clearing the TNCA screening test, he is gearing up for the Board of Control for Cricket in India'a Level 1 exam. “Umpiring for five years has improved my game. I’m able to understand the game better now that I know the rules”, said the left-hand batsman  Having started umpiring at the age of 27, Prasanna is not ready to stop playing.  "I love umpiring”, he says, “but cricket is my life and I want to continue playing as long as I am fit. Tamil Nadu had a bad season, but we can come back stronger”.

Headline: Clubs directed to merge or face the axe.

Article from: Messenger Community News.        .

Journalist:  Matt Turner.         .                         

Published: Thursday, 14 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1801-9001.

Adelaide clubs West Torrens and Port Adelaide have less than two months to agree to merge, otherwise the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) plans to axe one of them from its top-tier competition which is the feeder league to the state’s first class side.  Four months after telling the clubs they were under consideration to be removed from A grade, SACA has given them until early June to reach a memorandum of understanding to amalgamate.  If they don't, SACA’s board will cut one of the two clubs from its roster for the 2016-17 season.

West Torrens and Port officials say they will meet this week to discuss a possible merger.  West Torrens chairman Andrew Capel said: “We’ll meet with Port Adelaide to explore the possibility of a merger but both clubs’ preference is to stand alone and there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge yet”.  Port chairman Maurie Vast said the clubs were continuing discussions but had not reached any decisions.  The two clubs are under fire because SACA believes that given the area’s demographics there are too many clubs in Adelaide’s west.  Each club will require at least 75 per cent of their members to vote to merge in order for arrangements to be finalised.

Earlier this month, SACA chief executive Keith Bradshaw said the governing body wanted the clubs to merge so their history could be retained.  A merged club would receive a once-off $A500,000 (£UK273,000) grant from SACA.  If there is not a merger, SACA will significantly slash the $A50,000 (£UK27,300) annual funding it provides to the club that remains.

Headline: When will cricket have the balls not to call it the ‘groin region’?

Article from: The Guardian.        .

Journalist:  Simon Burnton.         .                         

Published: Wednesday, 13 April 2016 .   

PTG listing: 1801-9002.

 

Surrey’s Stuart Meaker, rushed into surgery recently after absent-mindedly forgetting to don his box before a session in the nets and thus ruled out of the season-opening game against Nottinghamshire, is but the latest of a long line of players to suffer the pain most male cricketers have experienced in their time.  “It was just one of those days when things didn’t go according to plan”, Meaker told Cricinfo. “I was padding up, kind of chatting while I was doing it, and it just slipped my mind. I just didn’t think about it. Two balls later I was on the floor".

Cricketers forget their box at their absolute peril, though it wasn’t always thus. Cricket developed protection in a hurry after the advent of overarm bowling in the 1830s significantly increased the pace at which the ball was delivered, with pads swiftly following and some kind of box being introduced around the middle of the 19th century.  For a long time many considered the use of pads to be cowardly, and anyway of benefit mainly to batsmen insufficiently skilled to keep the ball off their legs with their bat. By the time of WG Grace they were in widespread use – “The sense of confidence that comes from wearing them more than makes up for the slight loss of freedom”, said Grace – but the doctor himself famously refused to use a box. 

Aluminium boxes don’t seem to have lasted much longer than the aluminium bat. Bert Strudwick, the former England wicket-keeper who played 28 Tests between 1910 and 1926, said of his protection: “For my first two years I hadn’t a box. When it did come in it was like cardboard. It didn’t save you but it gave you confidence”.  A US patent, filed in 1931, suggests the use of “a rigid material such as a cast shell of duraluminium, a shell of fiber, a shell of molded hard rubber composition, or a shell of Bakelite, or the like”, a particularly vague description.  Plastic however soon took over the box world, and by the 1970s technology had advanced sufficiently for cricketers to be issued with a thin cup perforated with air-holes, and it was one of those that former England batsman David Lloyd was wearing when he famously took on Australia’s Geoff Thompson in the second Test in Perth in 1975, perhaps the most well-known groin-region injury.

“Thommo drilled one straight into my groin”, Lloyd wrote in 2013. “There was no question of a leg bye. The ball dropped straight to the ground, swiftly followed by me. Until I had my knee operation recently, it was the most painful thing that’s ever happened to me. And I wasn’t helped by the box, which was a pathetic little pink thing, offering me no protection whatsoever. Back in the dressing room, the medical team decided the only way to deal with the situation was to produce a pint pot of ice-cold water, where I was expected to place my injured bits. This was only marginally less humiliating than having to go and buy a new box, with the female sales assistant asking me what size I was after: large, medium, or small. 

“The summer after Bumble got hit by Thommo, I did the same to him at Lord’s”, says the Guardian’s own Mike Selvey. “It actually really hurt him, and he was crawling around on all fours. I remember they brought a glass of water out and instead of drinking it he poured it over his head. I saw him later, lying on the treatment couch. ‘How is it Bumble?’ ‘Selve, compared to Thommo, you were an absolute pleasure’”, replied Lloyd.

Box design continues to evolve. The American company XO Athletic, who claim that their products offer “five times the protection when compared to standard plastics of the competition”, have patented impressively complex technology for a “device for the protection of the mail groin region” – patents, like commentators, appear to like a “groin region” – that comprises “a cup-shaped rigid base member, contoured to protect the genitals of a wearer, which can be formed from numerous rigid plastic materials” for “dampening the impact of a blow”, and “a peripheral flexible flange for further dampening the impact of a blow” which is further “designed to collapse under the force of a sudden impact in such a manner as to create a cushioning barrier”. It’s always hard to resist a flexible flange.

New Zealander Kane Williamson’s box certainly wasn’t designed to split down the middle when it was cracked by a Dale Steyn delivery at Wellington in 2012, the same Test in which Hashim Amla was hospitalised by a blow from Chris Martin (“Hashim underwent emergency exploratory surgery resulting from blunt trauma sustained to his groin region”, said the team doctor Dr Mohammed Moosajee, proving that qualified medics are also prone to groinregionitis).  Williamson eventually rose from the floor, called for a replacement box, and went on to compile an unbeaten match-saving century. Thus the good news for Surrey is that, while Meaker may have suffered a groin injury, those who suffer groin injuries don’t necessarily become meeker.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,802

  Saturday, 16 April 2016

 

• Cook defies England over banned helmet [1802-9003]. 

• First round, first reprimands issued [1802-9004]. 

• NZCs second in command Lindsay Crocker resigns [1802-9005]. 

• Club hopes burglary is not the end of its innings [1802-9006]. 

• King tide delays the start of play [1802-9007]. 

 

Headline: Cook defies England over banned helmet.  

Article from: The Times.        .

Journalist: Elizabeth Ammon.      .                         

Published: Friday, 15 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1802-9003.

England captain Alastair Cook should have been banned from batting for Essex this week after refusing to wear a helmet that meets new safety rules but officials did not enforce new England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) regulations that deal with head protection.  Under those regulations, all male and female professional cricketers playing for England or representing their county in first and second XI matches must wear helmets with fixed grilles (PTG 1698-8377, 28 November 2015).  The move comes in response to a number of cases of cricketers being seriously injured by a ball bursting through the gap between the peak of the helmet and the protective grille.

Cook, however, is refusing to change from his old style of helmet to one that complies with the new standard. This week he began the domestic season playing for Essex against Gloucestershire in the County Championship at Chelmsford wearing his England helmet with its badge taped over, rather than one with an Essex crest.

Umpires have been advised that they should not allow players onto the field if they know their helmet does not meet the new rules, although the responsibility for proactively checking whether the helmet is legal lies with the player and team management. That would put the responsibility on England to stop Cook going out to bat in the first Test against Sri Lanka next month unless he agrees to change.

Cook's current England helmet is a pre-2013 design, which has a larger gap and an adjustable grille and has not undergone the rigorous testing set out in the protective headgear directive issued by the ECB in November.  The regulations also state that professional cricketers have to wear a helmet when batting — even against spin — when wicketkeeping standing up to the wicket, or fielding close to the bat. It is understood the ECB and the match umpires in this week’s County Championship second division match at Chelmsford, Jeff Evans and Michael Gough, were aware that Cook’s helmet was illegal but decided not to force him to change it.

Despite being informed of the directive and the increased safety of the new helmets, Cook has refused to change for either first-class or international matches. It is understood that at an ECB briefing to first-class counties on the new directive at the beginning of 2016, the specific issue of Cook’s helmet was raised by one county and the ECB implied he would not be changing.

The directive was issued in light of a joint review by the ECB and the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) of existing safety guidance after injuries to Stuart Broad and Craig Kieswetter (PTG 1560-7511, 6 June 2015), who had to retire as a result of eye damage caused by a ball going through the gap between his grille and helmet.  As a result of those and other incidents, new helmets must have undergone rigorous testing in relation to the gap between the top of the grille and the peak of the helmet and the resilience of the grille. It must be fixed in position rather than being adjustable as it was previously.

After the death of Australian Phillip Hughes in November 2014 from bleeding on the brain as a result of a ball striking the back of his head, many cricketers have decided to have a neck protector added to their batting helmet, although this is not a requirement under the new directive (PTG 1717-8513, 20 December 2015).  All first-class counties have bought compliant helmets for their players and have been advised to ensure spares that meet safety standards are available at all games. An approved Essex-branded helmet would have been available for Cook to use in this week’s match, in which he made 105 and 35 not out.

Cook wears a Gray-Nicolls helmet and the manufacturer said it had offered helmets that meet the new standards to all cricketers that it sponsors. The company said most of them had accepted the helmets with the new design, but a handful had not.

An Essex spokesman said they did not wish to comment, referring the matter to the ECB on the basis that Cook is a centrally contracted England player.  A spokesman for the ECB: “All the first-class counties have been given detailed guidance and advice on the new helmet regulations ahead of the new season.  These regulations were drawn up after extensive consultation with the [PCA] and all England players were given a further reminder of the importance of this issue earlier this week”.

Headline: First round, first reprimands issued.  

Article from: ECB release.        .

Journalist: PTG Editor.      .                         

Published: Saturday, 16 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1802-9004.

Gloucestershire's Cameron Bancroft and Surrey’s Tom Curran have both been reprimanded for acts of dissent during the opening round of County Championship matches this week.  Australian batsman Bancroft, who was making his county debut, was reported by umpires Michael Gough and Jeff Evans during his side’s match against against Essex for a Level One breach of "showing dissent at an umpire's decision by word or action”.  South Africa-born Curran was reported by umpires David Millns and Tim Robinson during the match against Nottinghamshire for a similar offence to Bancroft.  

Meanwhile, Glen Maxwell of the Indian Premier League’s Kings XI Punjab franchise, has also been reprimanded for showing dissent at an umpiring decision.  His offence came during his team’s match against the Delhi Daredevils in Delhi on Friday, the Australian admitting to the Level One offence and accepted the sanction.

Headline: NZCs second in command Lindsay Crocker resigns.  

Article from: Fairfax New Zealand.        .

Journalist: Not stated.      .                         

Published: Friday, 15 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1802-9005.

New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) second-in-command, Lindsay Crocker, 57, has resigned after nearly four years in the job.  Crocker, NZC's head of cricket operations an area that includes match officials, confirmed he will finish up in his Christchurch-based role early next month and shift north to explore new opportunities away from cricket. His departure comes as NZC is looking for a new Match Officials Manager following the retirement of former incumbent Rodger McHarg late last month (PTG 1778-8879, 10 March 2016).

Crocker, a former Northern Districts opening batsman who has had nearly 20 years involvement in top level cricket administration, said he was happy to leave with the organisation in strong shape.  "I feel as though I've done my dash. I look back and think the place is in a far better shape than when I came back into it three or four years ago. It's never easy to time your exit but you certainly want to be going out when the place is on an incline, and I still think it is. I'm satisfied the timing is good”.

Prior to taking up his current position, Crocker was chief executive of Auckland Cricket then became Black Caps general manager in 2003, before a brief stint as general manager of a Golf Club in Christchurch.  He returned to NZC in September 2012 as it head of cricket operations under chief executive David White, and was heavily involved in the day-to-day running of the organisation and regularly visible as a spokesman for it.  After he leaves NZC he has no plans to return to working in cricket, saying: "I'm pretty keen to take a break and work out what the future holds”.

Headline: Club hopes burglary is not the end of its innings.  

Article from: Rotherham Advertiser.        .

Journalist: Not stated.      .                         

Published: Friday, 15 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1802-9006.

A club in Yorkshire bowled out by burglars is asking sports fans to help it get back to the crease.  Thieves broke into Adwick Cricket Club through the roof, ripping out the plumbing and letting rain ruin the interior.  A dozen volunteers arrived two weeks ago to spruce up the pavilion just two weeks before a new season started to find the damage, and unless supporters pitch in and help the attack could spell the end of the 120-year-old club.

Club secretary Jamie Clarke said on seeing the damage: "Our hearts just sank. There was no point doing any work because the place was open to the elements.  The stolen taps are probably worth £20 ($A37) for scrap, but four sinks were all smashed and there was water running all through the building”.  The club is receiving some help in donated time and cash, but still has many repairs to do.  “This is a cost we really can’t bear at the start of the season, when our rates and insurance are due”, said Clarke. “We’re only a one-team club with about 20 players” and money is short.

The club is aiming to raise £2,000 ($A3,680), which would put its facilities back in basic working order.  “If we raise £2,000 it will only allow a very basic fix”, said Clarke. “Our insurance doesn’t cover this sort of break-in — it’s mainly public liability and fire.  Anyone with trade skills they can share would be very welcome. We’re relying on the skills of our members, but we’re mostly office-based people.  We can lift things and we can help out, but we need the right skills and the right tools for the job”.

Not repairing the damage could even lead to financial sanctions — clubs are expected to provide visiting teams with comfortable facilities.  “Our first game is this Saturday”, said Clarke. “Luckily we’re playing away, but we have a home match on 23 April.  The cricket league has been quite supportive. They’ve even put some money in the pot.  They’re not going to penalise us for a lack of facilities yet — there won’t be any fines or anything.  They said we should provide whatever we can to visiting team, they’ll have to put up with it for now.  But it’s getting to the point where, if we can’t get back on track and provide nice facilities to attract new members, it’s going to be the end of the club”.

Headline: King tide delays the start of play.  

Article from: Fairfax New Zealand.        .

Journalist: Not stated.      .                         

Published: Friday, 15 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1802-9007.

It is a cricket pitch that will bowl you over – you just better get the tides right. That was the lesson Canterbury's Scargill Shags social cricket team learned the hard way, when they played a match over low tide on a sandy spit in the Bay of Islands on New Zealand’s North Island last weekend.  The spit is attached to a semi-submerged island, Submarine Rock – the home of the Submarine Cricket Club.

While the players were delighted to experience playing on one of the world's craziest cricket pitches, there was one problem.  They hadn't allowed for a king tide. When they turned up, the pitch was under at least one metre of water.  There was no option but to wait for the tide to recede.  An hour-and-a-half later, the two "well hydrated" teams took to the sand.

Each side, of 15, had two one-hour innings with an unlimited number of outs.  There was only one boundary, a six for hitting Submarine Rock on the full. Every score except that had to be run and fielders took a dip from time to time to retrieve the ball.  "We had a few guys that weren't  strong swimmers which was less than ideal”, Scargill Shags captain James Hyde said.  "It was an amazing spot. Driving up there all we could see was a rock sitting in the water that actually looked like a submarine”.

In the end Shags import, Ben Irwin, hit the winning runs with the shot of the day with 50 seconds left on the clock.  Irwin slogged one into the deep and ran six to ensure the Shags name went back on the Submarine Challenge Trophy, having convincingly won their inaugural meeting in 2014.  There will be a return fixture next year, but as the Shags don't have access to a beach venue and the Submarine side is keen on having a crack on a traditional grass surface.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,803

  Sunday, 17 April 2016

 

• Cook reported moving to upgraded helmet [1803-9008]. 

• Multi-format points system to decide Lanka, Pakistan tours? [1803-9009]. 

• Mahanama back for seventh-straight IPL [1803-9010]. 

• New web site aims at boosting Tamil Nadu player links [1803-9011]. 

Headline: Cook reported moving to upgraded helmet.  

Article from: Various media reports.        .

Journalist: PTG Editor.      .                         

Published: Saturday, 16 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1803-9008.

England captain Alastair Cook is ready to swap his banned helmet for a model that meets new, tougher regulations after Andrew Strauss, the managing director of England cricket, warned him of the consequences of sticking with his favoured headgear.  Cook is in danger of a ban from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) if he continues to wear an old-style helmet with an adjustable grille as he did in his county Essex’s game against Gloucestershire this week (PTG 1802-9003, 16 April 2016), however, that hasn’t stopped another prominent player complaining about the new arrangements.

Strauss has reportedly urged his former Test opening partner to put safety ahead of his initial reservations that his batting may suffer by making a switch.  It is understood the England captain, whose equipment contract is with manufacturer 'Gray-Nicolls’, tried a number of alternative helmets last week but did not feel as comfortable in them.  Sam Miller, the managing director of helmet maker ‘Masuri', was quoted by ’The Times’ as saying some players take time to adjust to a grille that is closer to their sightline. “Their first reaction is that vision is restricted slightly, but then players started to make big scores and others were happy to give it a try. Some guys are more resistant, but get used to it”.

‘Masuri’ is said to have been contacted by Cook’s “representatives" with a view to finding a solution soon after initial reports of his stand became public.  Strauss and his ECB colleagues want to avoid a confrontation but face charges of double-standards if Cook is allowed to continue wearing headgear that doesn’t comply with safety standards announced in November (PTG 1698-8377, 28 November 2015).  The tougher directive was brought in after a review by the ECB and Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA), ‘The Times’ reporting that to date 27 helmets across eight brands have passed testing in relation to the smaller gap between the grille and the peak.   

One unidentified county are said to have sought clarification from the ECB because their wicketkeeper is uncomfortable at having to use one of the new helmets standing up to the stumps, another stipulation introduced for the 2016 season. The unnamed county is reported to be prepared to push the issue of their keeper’s helmet further if Cook continues to breach instructions.  Under the new ECB regulations a player wearing the wrong helmet, and also his county, may be referred to the ECB cricket discipline commission, as is likely to happen if Cook wears the old-style helmet against Sussex. Given that the measures also apply to England teams, it would be almost impossible for him to remain as captain if he continued to transgress.     

Six months ago, two of Australia's leading wicketkeepers requested to be able to use a specialised helmet, supplied by global manufacturer ‘Shrey’, when standing up to the stumps.  That helmet features a special grill and is shorter at the back to a enhance a keeper’s comfort when they bend down.  The company claimed at the time that of all its helmets - batting and wicketkeeping - have been tested to ensure they can withstand the impact of a collision (PTG 1673-8208, 28 October 2015).  Whether the pair were eventually allowed to wear them is not clear.  Around the same time, Australian batsman Shaun Marsh was reprimanded for wearing what, under Cricket Australia's updated regulations, was a ’non-compliant’ helmet during a domestic one-day match (PTG 1658-8114, 7 October 2015).

’The Times’ says Cook will be fitted for a ‘Masuri' helmet with a fixed grille that complies with the new regulations and then test it in the nets today before Essex take on Sussex in their County Championship match that starts on Sunday.  Miller said Cook’s look at options available "is the responsible thing to do because there have been some terrible facial injuries.  We do not know he will wear our helmet, but if he is comfortable when he tests it and does it for a period of time then fine. We will do what we can to help, but it is not a case of us riding to his rescue”.  Cook's contract with 'Gray-Nicolls’ is a potential complication though and he is reported to be meeting with officials from that company on Monday.  

Meanwhile, Middlesex and England batsman Nick Compton has criticised the ECB for what he feels is an over-zealous approach to health and safety after the introduction of new helmet regulations.  He was quoted by London’s 'Daily Telegraph’ as saying: “For me there are so many rules and regulations now.  Health and safety and all these regulations - they do my head in”.

Compton continued: "You look at the Phil Hughes incident. It was well publicised that he was one of my best friends and I’m always thinking of him, but what happened was a freak accident. Those helmets have been used by thousands of players in the past and have done very well. All these new regulations takes away the freedom that sport is associated with. The whole point of sport for me growing up was freedom, and being away from rules and conforming. Sport should be about going out there and expressing yourself, but it seems that everything around you is everything but. It’s so conforming and restricting and I just hope that we don’t take away from our natural game”.

ECB umpires have been told to report players who do not wear helmets meeting the new criteria. The ’Telegraph’ story says, in apparent contradiction to other reports, the ECB’s legislation is not enforceable in Test cricket, which is governed by the International Cricket Council, leaving Cook free to wear the helmet of his choice when playing for England over the next four months at home. It also says the regulations will cover the England Lions but not touring teams.

Headline: Multi-format points system to decide Lanka, Pakistan tours? 

Article from: Press Association.        .

Journalist: Not stated.      .                         

Published: Saturday, 16 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1803-9009.

England may be able to beat tourists Sri Lanka and Pakistan on points, as well as by runs and wickets, this northern summer, if plans to agree a multi-format winner gets the go-ahead.  Negotiations are ongoing, and advanced, between the England and Wales Cricket Board and Sri Lanka Cricket to consider adopting a system similar to the one by which Australia’s women regained the Ashes in England in 2015. The women’s teams faced each other across all three formats, including only one Test match, with points allocated for success in each.

The same procedure is thought to be in the offing for Alastair Cook and Eoin Morgan’s teams against this summer’s tourists. England will face Sri Lanka in three Tests, starting in Leeds next month, then five One Day Internationals (ODI) and finally a one-off Twenty20 International(T20I) in Southampton in early July.  Pakistan’s three-month tour will then begin with a four-match Test series, move on to five ODIs and conclude with one T20I at Old Trafford in September.  A presentation may be made to the overall winning team, over each bilateral tour, after the final fixture – or once one has an unassailable lead.

Headline: Mahanama back for seventh-straight IPL.  

Article from: IPL appointments.        .

Journalist: PTG Editor.      .                         

Published: Sunday, 17 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1803-9010.

Sri Lankan Roshan Mahanama may have retired from the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) top match referees’ panel late last year after an 11-year stint because the "time has come to devote an uninterrupted focus and attention to my family" (PTG 1702-8418, 3 December 2015), but that hasn’t stopped him returning to the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the seventh-straight year.  

Mahanama, who turns 50 next month and worked as a referee in the ‘All-Star series in the United States in November and the Masters Cricket League in the United Arab Emirates in January-February (PTG 1751-8730, 1 February 2016), is together with countryman Kumar Dharmasena, the only non-Indian match officials to work so far in this year’s IPL series.  Mahanama is one of four match referees used across the the eleven IPL games played to date, the others being current ICC referee Javagal Srinath who has featured in all nine IPL seasons played so far, plus Chinmay Sharma and Manu Nayyar who are both in their second seasons

Dharmasena’s 16 umpiring colleagues who have featured in IPL games this year are all Indians.  The most well-known are ICC Elite Umpire Panel member Sundarum Ravi, and ICC second-tier International Umpires Panel members Anil Chaudhary (fifth season on-field and seventh overall), Vineet Kulkarni (fifth), Chettithody Shamshuddin (fourth) and CK Nandan (fourth, sixth overall).  Chaudhary and Nandan served an ‘apprenticeship’ as fourth umpires prior to taking up on-field and television duties.

Others who have had on-field or television roles this year have been: KN Ananthapadmanabhan (PTG 1794-8954, 6 April 2016), Anil Dandekar, A Nand Kishore, Nitin Menon and Virender Sharma, and the fourth or reserve umpires Yeshwant Barde, Krishnamachari Bharatan, Abhijit Deshmukh, R Pandit and Navdeep Singh.

Headline: New web site aims at boosting Tamil Nadu player links.  

Article from: The Hindu.        .

Journalist: R. Narayanan.      .                         

Published: Sunday, 17 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1803-9011.

A new web site developed by a university student in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu is aimed at better connecting potential players with the 136 clubs that make up the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA).  At present, the selection process usually begins with a word-of-mouth reference and ends with a ‘look’ at the player in the nets, but that is likely to change now thanks to Adithya Ravi, a second year student at Vivekananda College, who has launched a new portal which promises to be the bridge between the clubs and players.

The new arrangement is simple: a player registers his credentials on line and a club, searching for someone with a similar profile, will receive an alert. Recruitment action will then be set in motion, depending on availability and interest.  M.K. Vinod Kumar the secretary of the National United Club, which plays in the TNCA’s fifth division said: “We mostly get players through referrals. Unfortunately, we have to settle with the ones available instead of picking those we need. This [new site] will be very useful for a side like ours”.  N.P. Balaji, who manages three sides in the lower divisions, echoes that sentiment. “Usually, we procure players through our contacts [and] I am confident it will definitely be a win-win situation for the players and clubs”. 

The region's cricketers are expected to benefit from the new link, for some like R. Deepak a second year university student who lives 500 km from Chennai, recently made his debut in the TNCA league. "I was surprised to get a chance to play in the Chennai league. It was a pleasant experience and I definitely want to come back”, said Deepak, an opener and medium-pacer. Senthamizh Selvan from Chengam Taluk 220 km from Chennai is another who turned out for a TNCA club. “There are quite a few promising players in Chengam, but they hardly get a chance to prove their skills [and the new web site is] a great opportunity for players like us”, he said.

TNCA official P. Yuvraj said: “There is no doubt that this will be good for the game as well as the cricketers as it will be an open platform for the players and club secretaries. The youngsters’ efforts in developing the site are really appreciated”. The web site’s Ravi said his group "have already been in touch with around 70 clubs, and will spread the net further. Since there is so much talent in the city as well as the districts, we are confident of providing quality players to them".   If the new site lives up to its potential, it could well be a game-changer for the region’s many clubs and cricketers. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,804

  Tuesday, 19 April 2016

 

• Does South Africa need 'cash injection' to play day-night Test? [1804-9012]. 

• Cook fails in first use of compliant helmet [1804-9013]. 

• Trott joins Cook in rejecting new safety approved helmet [1804-9014]. 

• Facing a bouncer without a helmet sharpens the mind [1804-9015]. 

• Second IPL player reprimanded for dissent [1804-9016]. 

• It’s loyalty to money now, not team, says Waugh [1804-9017]. 

Headline: Does South Africa need 'cash injection' to play day-night Test? 

Article from: The Courier-Mail.        .

Journalist: Robert Craddock.      .                         

Published: Monday, 18 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1804-9012.

Damning pink-ball feedback from Australia’s cricketers to their South African counterparts is likely to undermine Cricket Australia’s (CA) plan to confirm its full summer schedule for 2016-17 on Wednesday.  South Africa have agreed to play Australia in a three-Test series in Perth, Hobart and Adelaide but are resisting the offer that the Adelaide fixture be played in a pink-ball, day-night format (PTG 1799-8987, 12 April 2016).  In contrast, Pakistan are set to play a pink-ball Test in Brisbane in mid-December as part of another three-Test series (PTG 1795-8959, 8 April 2016).

CA have one day to convince the South Africans to join the day-night revolution before the coming summer’s schedule is announced in Brisbane.  The fallback position would be to confirm the Adelaide time slot but not whether the match is a day-nighter.  South Africa’s cricketers strong opposition to a pink-ball Test was cemented by informal chats with Australian players during the recent World Twenty20 Championship series in India.

While supporting the day-night concept in principle, the vast majority of Australian and New Zealand players complained after the inaugural day-night Test about the ball, its visibility and the changed conditions (PTG 1706-8445, 8 December 2015 and 1708-8459, 10 December 2015).  Several Australian batsmen, spoiled by flat wickets in short-form cricket and Test decks which have far less spice than they used to, privately loathe the pink ball.  They told the South Africans that around dusk, conditions are a nightmare for batting.  The Australians were also far from convinced that the pink ball was robust enough for Test matches despite the Adelaide Oval being manicured to ensure the longevity of the ball.

The entire South African squad have never faced a pink ball under lights, only one ‘trial’ game involving first class players ever being played in that country, and that was three-and-half-years ago in Potchefstroom when ball problems and ’twilight’ issues arose (PTG 989-4802, 6 September 2012).  Their objections are being backed by their players’ association and the Cricket South Africa board. CA is offering the South Africans a chance to play a day-night tour match to adapt to the conditions, but this has not satisfied the visitors who say that if reservations remained after the game it would be too late to withdraw from the Test. The day-night tour matches CA lined up for New Zealand in the lead up to last November’s Test were in the opinion of some, too limited.

Aware CA put a $A1 million (£UK544,000) financial inducement on the table to encourage the teams to play that first day-night Test, the South Africans may seek financial inducements to play a Test under lights.  CA is reluctant to open the purse strings again though because it believes the day-night concept is one that South Africa could use to enrich its Test played at home which traditionally struggle to attract decent crowds.  The South Africans counter that argument by saying their lights are not good enough for day-night Tests.  Tony Irish, the head of the South African, as well as the international, player’s union, says money had not been offered in the negotiations and was a secondary consideration.

But money is a persuasive force in international cricket.  South Africa may have their minds changed if Australia offers them big dollars but the South Africans are no longer cash-strapped as they were a year ago, thanks to a recent payout from the demise of the Champions League which saw then given a payout of more than $A30 million (£UK16.3 m) (PTG 1636-8006, 4 September 2015).  

Writing in ‘The Australian’, Wally Mason expressed the view that: "Overall, Test cricket has found a format that is popular and suited to the 21st century. Like it or not, day-night Tests are here to stay. And the South Africans refusing to play in this match are resisting the best thing to happen to Test cricket in a generation. Perhaps in response, the Wallabies should refuse to play at altitude the next time they visit South Africa”.

Headline: Cook fails in first use of compliant helmet.  

Article from: The Guardian.        .

Journalist: Ali Martin and Mike Selvey..      .                         

Published: Monday, 18 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1804-9013.

England captain Alastair Cook made just one run the first time he wore his new England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)-approved helmet on the second day of Essex's County Championship Division Two match against Sussex at Hove on Monday, while his former England team mate Jonathan Trott went the other way and wore a non-compliant helmet (PTG 1804-9014 below).  Cook wore his old-style 2013 'Gray-Nicolls' helmet when scoring a century in the win over Gloucestershire last week, a decision in defiance of the rules that led to him being spoken to by the ECB and asked not to wear it as it didn't meet their new safety guidelines (PTG 1803-9008, 17 April 2016).

In his first innings with the upgraded 'Gray-Nicolls’ helmet since making the change Cook was caught at slip off the seamer Steve Magoffin off just the fifth ball he faced.  The scorer to date of of 9,964 Test runs, Cook has made it known he is unhappy with the enforced switch in headgear that has come about under new rules that stipulate helmets can no longer have an adjustable grille.    The change has come about as part of safety regulations introduced last November by the ECB in conjunction with the Professional Cricketers’ Association.  At least one manufacturer has indicated it takes most batsman time to adjust their game when wearing fixed grille helmets.

The regulations have been brought in to counter the possibility of balls squeezing between grille and peak, reducing the likelihood of injuries such as the shattered eye-socket that forced the former England one-day wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter to retire after his vision was impaired.  International and county batsmen must wear a helmet at all times, even when playing spinners, and wicketkeepers must wear one standing up to the wicket. Close fielders are similarly obliged to have their heads protected.  Players cannot be barred from playing in non-compliant headgear but could find themselves reported to the ECB’s disciplinary committee.

Headline: Trott joins Cook in rejecting new safety approved helmet.  

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.        .

Journalist: Nick Hoult.      .                         

Published: Tuesday, 19 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1804-9014.

London Daily Telegraph.

Former England player Jonathan Trott became the latest senior batsman to reject the use of the new safety approved helmet when he batted in old style protective headgear when facing Steven Finn at Lord’s on Monday.  Trott made an unbeaten 62 for Warwickshire as he joined England captain Alastair Cook in preferring to use a helmet that does not meet the safety standards set down by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) (PTG 1804-9013 above).

Trott has both a new and old helmet with him at Lord’s but it is understood feels the fixed grille reduces his vision and so opted for the old trusted helmet to face Finn and Middlesex’s all seam attack, which tested him out with the short ball.  Cook has reluctantly agreed to wear the new helmet for the first time on Monday at Hove, but without success in terms of runs scored (PTG 1804-    9013 above).  The fact two senior players who have faced the best fast bowlers in the world feel they are safer using the old helmet could force the ECB into a rethink and review its policy, Trott and Cook being unlikely rebels against authority in this case.

 

Headline: Facing a bouncer without a helmet sharpens the mind.  

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.        .

Journalist: Steve James.      .                         

Published: Monday, 18 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1804-9015.

Nothing sharpens your mind more than facing a bouncer without a helmet.  Of course, I got injured.  To set the scene. The finer details are not important, save to say it was a club match for my beloved Lydney. I was a professional at the time, in and out of the county first team.

We arrived at the ground to be greeted by the sight of a well-known West Indian fast bowler lining up for the opposition. To say that the laughing stopped would be an understatement.  As we changed, I glanced around my colleagues’ kit bags. There was not another batting helmet in sight. I was the only player with one, and yet I was supposed to be the best player.  This seemed palpably unfair. So I resolved not to wear one, even though it was bound to rile our Caribbean friend.

We batted and the bouncers duly flowed, and, yes, I was carried off.  But it was with a badly twisted knee, slipping when my partner maybe preferred not facing the Antiguan, rather than from any blow to the head.  The point? There was a time when batting helmets were not omnipresent, you know. There was a choice, and before that a time of no helmets at all. And that was also a time when head injuries were not omnipresent.

Indeed I did not begin wearing a helmet regularly until becoming a professional. And even then it was initially one without a grille, just ear-pieces. I simply could not get used to the impact it had upon my vision of the ball (PTG 1803-9008, 17 April 2016).  And I was not alone.  Eventually I succumbed to wearing a grille and that problem became easier, but even then a significant gap remained between peak and grille, large enough so that during a net practice in my last season when team-mate Alex Wharf, today an umpire on the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Full List, inflicted a nasty gash upon my cheekbone that required numerous stitches.

It was not my decision upon the position of the grille that irked (it was a risk worth taking in my view), more the forgetfulness that Wharf’s previous ball had been hooked meatily, so, while other bowlers bowled in between, the next was always going to be considerably quicker.

All this came to mind last week when there was a furore over the helmet being worn by England captain Alastair Cook (PTG 1804-9012 above). Apparently it did not abide by new stipulations of a fixed grille with a smaller gap.  It brought home yet again how much the game has changed. Regulations rule, health and safety reigns.  Everybody, it seems, has to wear a helmet these days, certainly all batsmen, even against spin (given all the sweeping top edges are dangerous), wicketkeepers standing up and sometimes umpires.

And now the England captain, who will probably be remembered ultimately as England’s greatest Test batsman, is not permitted to make any risk assessments himself.  Naturally amidst heightened litigiousness and safety-consciousness, one only has to consider the tragic death of Phillip Hughes before aiming any undue querulousness, but I do think it is worth considering the remarkable courage of batsmen from those bygone helmetless days (and I am not referring to my club-cricket antics).  For all of the game’s unquestionable advancements and improvements, this is one aspect where even the most modern of advocates must look back with respect and awe.

Mike Atherton has long argued that helmets have been the single most significant change in the game and that statistics before their advent should be separated from those afterwards, and I tend to agree.  Swaying out of the way of wickedly fast bouncers with an unprotected head will never happen again, but I can tell you that it certainly stirred one’s fiercest concentration, as well as ensuring that the old maxim of ‘watch the ball’ was observed religiously.

Headline: Second IPL player reprimanded for dissent.  

Article from: IPL press release.        .

Journalist: PTG Editor.      .                         

Published: Monday, 18 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1804-9016.

The Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Gujarat Lions franchise all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has been reprimanded for showing dissent at the umpire’s decision during his team’s match against the Mumbai Indians in Mumbai on Saturday. No details were provided by the IPL except that “Bravo admitted to the Level One offence and accepted the sanction”.  The umpires for the match were Kumar Dharmasena and Virender Sharma.  Glen Maxwell of the Kings XI Punjab franchise was reprimanded for the same offence the day before (PTG 1802-9004, 16 April 2016).

Headline: It’s loyalty to money now, not team, says Waugh.  

Article from: Press Trust of India.        .

Journalist: Not stated.      .                         

Published: Monday, 18 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1804-9017.

The “loyalty to money” which Twenty20 leagues around the world are promoting has made it impossible for any country to strike the perfect balance between all three formats of cricket, according to former Australian captain Steve Waugh.  However, he feels  Australia, England and India are closest to getting the equilibrium right.

Worried about the impact that Twenty20 cricket is having on the game, Waugh said the incentive on offer in T20 leagues has led to a decline in loyalty towards national duty.  “I think Australia is the closest when it comes to striking a balance, India has the potential and England is also coming up nicely…I think it’s impossible to strike a perfect balance given that there are three different teams. It’s not realistic. I don’t think there would ever be one world number one in all three formats of the game”, said Waugh at a World Sports Awards night in Berlin.

Waugh went on: “Somebody like Brendon McCullum retired from Test cricket even though I feel he still had three-four years in him. He is just working for superannuation right now, for his family, which is alright. Overall I feel there is no loyalty to the team, there is loyalty to money now. I don’t blame the players but it’s tough on the fans”.  

His sentiments were echoed by former England captain Ian Botham.  “Test cricket is number one because it ebbs and flows beautifully but there is shelf life for every format. And I feel Twenty20 should be at the bottom of the shelf. People are saying it was a great World Twenty20 final last month. I say it was a great last four balls, the rest of the final was a drag. I think it was a pretty poor final”, said Botham, of a game that ended with Carlos Brathwaite hitting bowler Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes.

Botham said the way things are going, Twenty20 is in the danger of becoming a lottery.  “That’s a real threat. T20 could become a lottery because cricket is much more than just 20 overs. Crowds like it but then crowds like Test cricket too. In England every big Test series is sold out, it’s the same in Australia, South Africa or New Zealand.  I think players have to remind people of how important Test cricket is. Players have the obligation to look after Test cricket”.

Waugh said West Indies is a prime example of how T20 can affect the growth of other formats.  “There is a danger and we all know that. Look at West Indies. The incentive to play T20 cricket is so much more than Test cricket”, he said.  Talking of Australia, Waugh said Steven Smith’s men deserved their early ouster from last month’s World T20.  “I appreciate that we put Test cricket at a pedestal and because of that probably T20 has suffered but I respect Cricket Australia for giving primacy to Test cricket.  As a result we didn’t have a settled line-up in World T20 and we got what we deserved. I guess there will be a shakeup and we will pay T20s a bit more respect”.

Botham said he is concerned about the fate of One Day International (ODI) cricket in the wake of the T20 storm.  “I am concerned about what might happen to ODIs. It’s a format I like because it also ebbs and flows like Tests. There is a need to get that balance but I don’t think it’s going to be easy”.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,805

  Wednesday, 20 April 2016

 

• Plans to cut BCCI share of ICC revenue challenged [1805-9018]. 

• ’No comment’ from CA on South African day-night Test [1805-9019]. 

• Airline renews umpire billboard contract [1805-9020]. 

• Kent may complain over abandoned game [1805-9021]. 

• Cook should be free to take risk over helmet [1805-9022]. 

• Past players call for dissolution of 'obsolete’ WICB [1805-9023]. 

Headline: Plans to cut BCCI share of ICC revenue challenged.

Article from: Times of India.        .

Journalist: A. Subramani.      .                         

Published: Tuesday, 19 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1805-9018.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Shashank Manohar's move for India to take six per cent cut in the money it receives from the International Cricket Council’s (BCCI) current revenue sharing arrangements, could cost the BCCI at least 10 billion Rupees ($A194 m, £UK105 m) over the life of the world body’s 2015-2023 broadcast cycle, according to evidence given to the Madras High Court on Monday.  Under arrangements put in place by the ICC’s so-called ‘Big Three’ two years ago, the BCCI is entitled to receive 21 per cent of the ICC’s revenue, but Manohar wants to change that for what he has described as the overall good of the game (PTG 1755-8752, 5 February 2016).

Soon after taking over as BCCI president last November, a role he has in addition to the chairmanship of the ICC, Manohar, criticised the imbalance of power within cricket's governing body that resulted from the 2014 constitutional revamp which gave the boards of Australia, England and India, the ‘Big Three’, greater authority and a larger share of the revenue (PTG 1697-8370, 27 November 2015). 

The High Court heard a submission from nine complainants that Manohar’s plan was “nothing short of a scam” because the Indian market contributes more than 80 per cent of the revenue generated by world cricket,  The submission, which bears the signatures of nine people, including former India first class umpire Rangachari Vijayaraghavan, said: "It remains a mystery as to how [Manohar] could on his own propose such a monumental reduction in the BCCI's revenue from ICC funds guaranteed by contract, and [having his board authorise] negotiations for a downward revision with other ICC members”.  They say such a move would be an "imminent threat to the fortunes of the BCCI”.

The Madras High Court bench, which on this occasion consisted of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice S Vaidyanathan, was not inclined to pass any interim orders on the matter on Monday.  It did though give the petitioner's senior counsel until Wednesday to “obtain instructions on withdrawing [their submission to it]”.

Headline: ’No comment’ from CA on South African day-night Test.

Article from: Australian Associated Press.        .

Journalist: Not stated.      .                         

Published: Tuesday, 19 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1805-9019.

A Cricket Australia (CA) spokesman would not comment on Tuesday in regards to reports South African players are disinclined to take part in a day-night Test when they tour Australia late this year (PTG 1804-9012, 19 April 2016).  The unnamed official was quoted as saying: "Piecing the [2016-17] summer schedule together is a complex task that involves many working drafts, and is still very much a work in progress, including discussions with visiting cricket boards. We won't be drawn on commenting on speculation at this point in time”.  

While the South Africans are apparently yet to be moved on the matter, their pink ball concerns do not appear be shared by Pakistan's players.  It is understood they are likely to be engaged in day-night Test at the Gabba in Brisbane, a series which is also expected to include the marquee Boxing Day and New Year Tests in Melbourne and Sydney respectively (PTG 1795-8959, 8 April 2016).  CA’s international schedule for the next austral summer is expected to be released on Wednesday.

Headline: Airline renews umpire billboard contract.

Article from: ICC press release.        .

Journalist: PTG Editor.      .                         

Published: Tuesday, 19 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1805-9020.

One of the most conspicuous billboards in the international game, the umpires’ back, will continue to be owned by Emirates, the world’s largest international airline.   The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Tuesday that it had renewed a deal, which goes back to 2002, that will keep Emirates as the "Global Partner" for all of its events over the seven years from 2016-2023, and as the "official sponsor" of the world body's top umpires and match referees’ panels.  As a result the 'Fly Emirates' logo will continue to be "displayed prominently on umpires’ clothing when they are officiating at all international cricket matches".

 

ICC chief executive David Richardson said via a press release: “I am delighted that Emirates has decided to continue its support for cricket by extending its partnership with the ICC. The on-going support of the world class Emirates brand is a compliment to the health and popularity of the game and we are grateful for their assistance in ensuring that our events can continue to grow from strength to strength”.  The same release had Boutros Boutros, Emirates’ Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand manager, saying: “The renewal of our partnership with the ICC confirms our commitment to cricket, which dates all the way back to 1999 when we sponsored the Australian team, which went on to win the World Cup”.  

Conspicuously, but as is usually the case for such sponsorships, neither man went anywhere near indicting just how much the seven-year deal is worth, or to what degree the money involved will be utilised in the match officials’ field of the game. 

Headline: Kent may complain over abandoned game.

Article from: The Times.        .

Journalist: Elizabeth Ammon.      .                         

Published: Tuesday, 19 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1805-9021.

Kent are in discussion with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) with a view to lodging a formal complaint against Worcestershire after last week’s match at New Road was abandoned without a ball being bowled. There was no play at all in the four-day County Championship second division game owing to an unfit outfield, despite the weather being dry and sunny for the majority of the game.

Kent believe that there should have been a contingency plan in place. There are provisions in the regulations that allow for venues to be swapped but this option was not explored by Worcestershire. Kent’s view is that, given there is often a risk of a very high water table in the area early in the season and given the amount of rain, it would have been sensible to play the match at Canterbury and play the reverse fixture at New Road later in the season.

Worcestershire have defended their decision to keep the game, which was due to start last Sunday week, at New Road. They say that they could not have foreseen the problems and that on the Friday before the match the ground was playable but heavy rain meant that it became saturated and remained so for the four days.  Travelling Kent supporters are also angered by Worcestershire’s refusal to give any ticket refunds. The county say that it is their clearly stated policy not to give refunds.

Headline: Cook should be free to take risk over helmet.

Article from: The Times.        .

Journalist: Mike Atheron.      .                         

Published: Tuesday, 19 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1805-9022.

On the day that 'The Times' revealed the stand-off between Alastair Cook and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over the new standardised helmet (PTG 1802-9003, 16 April 2016), I caught up with Graham Gooch, whose career straddled two eras — pre-helmet, and helmet. Like all professional batsmen, his choice of equipment was a dance of compromise, balancing performance, comfort, safety, feel, aesthetics and, to a lesser degree, superstition.

Gooch began his career in 1973, when helmets were a mere blink in Dennis Amiss’s eye. By the 1980s they were commonplace but, like many, Gooch only felt comfortable wearing a helmet with earpieces protecting his temple rather than a grille protecting his face, and that is how things remained throughout the rest of his career, even against the fastest bowlers West Indies could produce.

Only once, in a match, did Gooch call for a grille and that was on a tinder-dry pitch at Folkestone in 1980, when the first ball he received flew over his head from a length. The next ball bowled him and he got a pair in the match. The only other time he wore a grille was in preparation for the Caribbean tour of 1989-90, when Geoff Boycott, as coach, had net bowlers bowling off 15 yards. One of the best and bravest players of fast bowling, Gooch says that with a grille he felt that every ball was going to hit him: he couldn’t see it as well, an assessment shared by many others (PTG 1803-9008, 17 April 2016).  Coincident or not, Cook failed in his first innings with the ECB-approved helmet (PTG 1804-9013, 19 April 2016).

Safety is of paramount importance to governing bodies. Whether concussion in rugby, helmet safety in cricket or heart screening in young people in all sport, there is both a duty of care and potential legal ramifications. Phillip Hughes’s tragic death in November 2014 made cricket look at its safety record and now professional players in England require helmets to meet the new British Safety Standard (PTG 1698-8377, 28 November 2015).

The specifics for Cook are these: the new grille is 10 mm closer to his eyeline than before and the top bar of the grille runs directly in his line of sight. He feels that the new design makes it more likely that he will get hit than before. Cook has been a superb player of fast bowling, has rarely been hit and has been aware of the risks of the outsize gap between peak and grille. It has been a risk he has been willing to take.

Like Cook, I, too, needed the gap to be bigger than the circumference of a cricket ball to sight the ball. It was a risk that I was also prepared to take. For other batsmen, the fixed gap between peak and grille (now set at 50 mm) is less of an issue than other adjustments. The new guidelines mean that the grille juts farther out from the helmet than before and some have found that as they turn their head to face the bowler in their stance, the grille pushes against their front shoulder.

Others do not like the extra weight. The reinforced peak and thicker steel bars mean that the new helmets weigh almost 20 per cent more than the old. Having a “heavy head” is a coaching term that many batsmen will be familiar with, and it relates to those who fall over and across the crease as the ball is bowled. A heavier helmet is unlikely to help those with this predicament.

The choice, mould and feel of equipment are very particular things to batsmen. At the extreme, Viv Richards felt that not wearing a helmet was fundamental to his character as a batsman. It was a statement of intent and supremacy: no matter how fast you think you are, you are not quick enough for me. He refused to wear anything other than his maroon cap throughout his international career, the last of his type to do so.

Set against the potential safety benefits, the extra cost on manufacturers is unlikely to elicit much sympathy for them, but testing and bringing a new mould to the market costs tens of thousands of pounds. This will be passed on to the customer (entry price for a helmet is now £50 - $A95) making cricket an even more expensive and middle-class game.

The opportunity is there for a bright young designer to make his mark. For now, most parents will be happy to know that the new helmets reduce risk as far as possible and younger cricketers will readily embrace the new requirements.  Once the game has shown itself to be responsible where safety is concerned, though, surely professional players must be allowed some leeway to make their own choices. Cook is a grown man and a fine player who understands his game, his equipment and the relationship between the two better than anyone else. Decision-making at the crease has always been about the balance between risk and reward (PTG 1804-9015, 19 April 2016).

Headline: Past players call for dissolution of 'obsolete’ WICB.

Article from: Cricinfo.        .

Journalist: Nagraj Gollapudi.      .                         

Published: Tuesday, 19 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1805-9023.

A host of well-known former West Indies players including Garry Sobers, Viv Richards, Wes Hall and Andy Roberts, have called upon the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to dissolve itself in line with the CARICOM cricket review panel's recommendation (PTG 1770-8837, 24 February 2016), and appoint an interim committee as part of the structural reforms that would enable the region's cricket to "develop and flourish”.  Sobers and his colleagues met last Thursday with Grenada premier Keith Mitchell, chairman of the Prime Ministerial Committee on the Governance of West Indies Cricket, which appointed the review panel in the wake of the crisis that emerged in the wake of West Indies' withdrawal from India's tour in October 2014. 

Also present at the meeting were other former West Indies players - all-rounder Roger Harper; fast bowler Charlie Griffith; wicketkeeper Deryck Murray, who was also member of the CARICOM review panel, legspinner Dinanath Ramnarine, who was previously the president of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), and opening batsman, Desmond Haynes. Rudi Webster, who was the team manager during Clive Lloyd's time and worked as a psychologist with current World T20-winning captain Darren Sammy, were invited as guests. 

Tearing into the WICB with the same vigour that they reserved for their opponents in their playing days, the former players decried the board's "oligarchic structure" which has remained "unchanged in attitude and structure" for the past seven decades.  They said via a media release: "During the last two decades, many different presidents and chief executives have led the [WICB] and yet its performance has declined steadily with each passing year”.

The release also pointed out the boards in Australia and New Zealand had overhauled their governance structure for the better and that had been reflected in their various teams prospering in all forms of the game.  Even the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the “world’s most powerful cricketing entity”, was under pressure from India's Supreme Court to open up to radical reforms to its governance structure. "Inexplicably, the WICB prefers to maintain the status quo and yet, it expects to get different results while it continues to do the same things.  We believe that revival of West Indies cricket will only happen when the Board undergoes structural adjustment, and when it improves the quality of its communication and leadership, and upgrades the management of key relationships”.

Last year the CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market) five-member review panel report described the WICB as “obsolete” (PTG 1618-7879, 13 August 2015). The board itself rejected the report saying none of the six territorial boards - Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, Leeward Islands and Windward Islands - were represented, nor its directors, clubs and representatives. Hence, it concluded, the panel's findings were not supported by facts (PTG 1729-8583, 4 January 2016).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,806

  Thursday, 21 April 2016

 

• Hong Kong all-rounder banned for anti-corruption breach [1806-9024]. 

• Forced to wear new ECB approved helmet, Trott makes 219 [1806-9025]. 

• Council looking at banning hard balls from its nets, parks [1806-9026]. 

• CPL planning Florida umpire seminars [1806-9027]. 

• ICC begins latest round of meetings [1806-9028]. 

• Cook should tell ECB to ‘get stuffed’ over helmet issue [1806-9029]. 

Headline: Hong Kong all-rounder banned for anti-corruption breach.

Article from: Media reports.        .

Journalist: PTG Editor.      .                         

Published: Wednesday, 20 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1806-9024.

Hong Kong all-rounder Irfan Ahmed has been banned for two-and-a-half years for failing to disclose approaches made to him to engage in corruption.  The 26-year-old Pakistan-born player was provisionally suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in January and in the time since the world body’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has been investigating his role in relation to the activities of another suspected offender (PTG 1735-8620, 12 January 2016).

The ICC said on in a statement issued on Wednesday: "While Mr Ahmed was not charged with any offence involving corruption, the ACU established that he had failed to disclose to it full details of approaches or invitations to engage in corrupt conduct that had been made to him between January 2012 and January 2014”.  Ahmed, who has played in six One Day Internationals and eight Twenty20 Internationals for Hong Kong, is said to have accepted the sanction and waived his right to appeal

The game has been plagued by a number of corruption issues and a 2010 spot-fixing scandal resulted in bans and jail terms for Pakistan fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, and their former Test captain Salman Butt.  ACU chairman Ronnie Flanagan said corrupt individuals had increased the targeting of players from ICC Associate, or second-tier, member nations, where cricket is firmly established and organised, and the game's stakeholders needed to stave them off.  Flanagan said the penalty imposed on Ahmed "should act as a reminder to all participants of the need to comply with their obligations under the [ICC anti-corruption] code at all times and, in particular, the requirement to report corrupt approaches to the ACU without any delay”.

Flanagan concluded by saying:  "It is pleasing to note that the investigation upon which these charges were founded originated from information that had been disclosed to the ACU.  This is a clear and welcome demonstration that participants now more and more fully realise their own responsibilities in combating this scourge on the game through prompt and diligent reporting as required by the Code”.  Ahmed's ban is backdated to when he was provisionally suspended and will expire early May in 2018.

Headline: Forced to wear new ECB approved helmet, Trott makes 219.

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.        .

Journalist: Nick Hoult.      .                         

Published: Wednesday, 20 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1806-9025.

Warwickshire’s Jonathan Trott responded to being forced to wear an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) approved helmet by scoring his first double century in Championship cricket for over a decade on Tuesday and says he believes batsmen will soon get used to the new headgear.  Trott used his old helmet last week against Hampshire and again on the second day of his side's current match match against Middlesex at Lord’s (PTG 1804-1914, 19 April 2016), joining England captain Alastair Cook in rejecting the new headgear that has a fixed grille designed to reduce the risk of a ball piercing between the peak and metal visor (PTG 1804-1913, 19 April 2016).  

Reports say that Alan Fordham, the ECB’s head of cricket operations contacted Doug Brown, Trott’s county coach, on Monday night to point out the new regulations and the risk of disciplinary action Trott faces if he didn’t wear the approved helmet from ball one on Tuesday.  Not everyone agrees with the ECB’s position on the matter tough (PTG 1806-9029 below).

Trott soon adapted to the new lid, making an effortless unbeaten 219 that brought back memories of his batting at the peak of his England career.  He said the upgraded helmet: “sits a bit differently, is a different brand and a different shape with the way the foam is on the inside to the one I have used since I was 15.  It's not just the vision, it is the fit.  As a kid you grow up wearing a certain type and settings for the grille. You are just used to that.  Some batsmen just put a helmet on, some are quite finicky, they get attached to it but once it’s taken out of your hands like it is with the ECB, they are quite clear this is the stipulation. As long as it’s clear that’s fine, I don’t have a problem with it. If Alastair had not done it, no-one would be talking about it”.

There is no sign of the ECB backing down and they will contact all counties this week to further remind them of the new helmet regulations.  The board decided to take a soft approach to batsmen using the old helmets expecting some senior players to resist the change early season but so far only the cases of Trott and Cook have come to light. Now Trott has made runs in the new helmet, twice kissing it as he went past 100 and then 200, the issue should die down, especially if Cook starts to make scores for Essex.

Trott’s double hundred is the second of the match, following Sam Robson in Middlesex's first innings, and the fourth in county cricket already this season. It is the most ever scored in April and there are still one round of Championship matches to go this month.  It suggests concerns that groundsmen would produce flat pitches to counter the changes to the toss appear to be coming true. This pitch however is a typical Lord’s surface that has improved since day one and a draw looks inevitable barring a spectacular collapse on the last day. 

Headline: Council looking at banning hard balls from its nets, parks.

Article from: Media reports.        .

Journalist: PTG Editor.      .                         

Published: Wednesday, 20 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1806-9026.

South Australia’s next generation of cricketers could soon never make it out of the ‘backyard league’ if one local council has its way.  Port Adelaide's Enfield Council is currently considering banning children and parents from using hard cricket balls in playing the game in their nets throughout public parks, amid fears passers-by might get injured and sue.  What one Councillor, Mark Bashman, called an "nanny state-type situation”, would if introduced be enforce at all times, the exemption being if cricket clubs book out an entire oval for scheduled play.

Council wants players to use tennis balls, one councillor arguing the current risk is so large that “someone will die”.  While the council argues it has the safety of the community at heart, not everyone is happy about the proposed ban.  Former state batsman and now sports commentator Ken Cunningham said there’s nothing wrong with young people using hard balls, and that warning signs such as ‘hard ball in use, beware’ should be considered.  He feels: “We’re just over protective”.  Cunningham believes people watching Cricket Australia Big Bash League matches at the Adelaide Oval are more likely to receive a cricket ball injury.  

Some Councillors likened the proposal with implementing rubber goal posts in Australian Rules Football in case their players run into them.  Bashmam said his organisation must advise people of the dangers.  “If you are an innocent passer-by who has every right to use that facility and a stray ball whacks you on the back of the skull people sue the council”, he said.  Carol Martin, another councillor, agreed and claimed many non-crickets are often hit.  “Someone will die. There will be a serious accident or a conflict between people ... so there are serious issues”, she said.

Batman said "unfortunately in this world every time someone gets hurt they look for someone to sue and that means you go to the people who have the most money and in this case it is council”.  “Local football and cricket club don't have a lot of money and therefore council is the ultimate people to go looking to sue”.  The council will consider a report into the issue at next month’s council meeting.  Appropriate signage had already been looked into while it is understood the proposal could cover all reserves, not just those with nets. 

Over the last few years councils in several countries have raised similar concerns about “risk to the public, including in Hampshire (PTG 868-4243, 3 December 2011), Norfolk (PTG 1128-5478, 23 June 2013), and Melbourne (PTG 877-4287, 23 December 2011).

Headline: CPL planning Florida umpire seminars.

Article from: Media reports.        .

Journalist: PTG Editor.      .                         

Published: Wednesday, 20 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1806-9027.

Caribbean Premier League (CPL) organisers say the are planning, amongst other things, to conduct seminars for local umpires during the period six of its games are played in Florida for the first time at the end of July.  Those games will be played at the 10,000 capacity Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, two of them under floodlights, in what will be the CPL’s fourth season.  The CPL’s chief executive Damien O’Donohoe said recently his organisation plans to "bring in our guys to help or advise [local] umpires”.  No details of the seminars, nor the CPL’s 2016 umpire panel itself, have yet been released.

O’Donohoe said “If we’re totally honest, our preference would be to play games in New York”. “But we’re investing a huge amount of money into playing the games in Florida and I think the cost of it would be twice to go to New York City. We can’t play in the baseball stadiums like the [Tendulkar-Warne] All-Stars games did [last November]”.  One of the things CPL organisers have learnt from the All-Stars games is to price tickets lower.  The cheapest tickets for the three AllStar fixtures started at $US50 ($A65, £UK35) but went for upwards of $US300 ($A385, £UK210) for the Los Angeles fixture.

Headline: ICC begins latest round of meetings.

Article from: ICC press release.        .

Journalist: PTG Editor.      .                         

Published: Wednesday, 20 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1806-9028.

The second round of International Cricket Council (ICC) management meetings for 2016 are to get underway at ICC headquarters in Dubai on Thursday ahead of next week’s meeting of its board.  The ICC’s Womens’ Committee is to be held on Thursday, its Chief Executives Committee on Friday-Saturday, the Audit, Finance and Commercial Affairs and Development Committee on Saturday, the Governance and Executive Committee on Sunday and higher-level board meetings on Monday.  The ICC says that key issues on the table over the five days are: the structure and scheduling of bi-lateral international cricket; an up-date by a Working Group’s review of the "Resolutions and ICC Constitution” adopted by the so-called ‘Big Three push in 2014; plus updates on matters relating to United States Cricket Association, participation in Olympic and Commonwealth Games, anti-corruption and anti-doping.

Headline: Cook should tell ECB to ‘get stuffed’ over helmet issue.

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.        .

Journalist: Geoff Boycott.      .                         

Published: Wednesday, 20 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1806-9029.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is becoming like Brussels and the European Union. Rules and regulations are taking away our freedom of choice and Alastair Cook is the victim of this kind of modern-day bureaucracy gone mad (PTG 1802-9003, 16 April 2016).  The England captain, who has scored 9,964 Test runs, should be able to wear whatever he likes on his head while batting. We live in a free society. We are able to make our own choices. Players should be able to decide whether to wear a helmet or not (PTG 1805-9022, 20 April 2016).

Telling players to wear helmets makes us a sissy society. Cook is right.  What are they going to do? Sack him because he will not wear a helmet. I have never heard anything so stupid in my life.   Cricket and sport mirror real life. Accidents and injuries are an occupational hazard. People get run over and have an accident or something unforeseen happens. It is called life. You are lucky or unlucky.

I have two men here today fixing a leak in the roof of my house. It is three storeys high and they are up a gantry on the roof. Neither of them has chosen to wear a helmet. They do their job five days a week. They must know that if they fall they could have a serious injury or even die if they land on their head. But they have chosen not to wear a helmet and just because they are working for me, like Cook does for the ECB, I do not have the right to tell them what to do. They have freedom of choice.

In cricket it is a personal choice and everybody who plays sport accepts there is an element of danger. You can get hurt and people have been badly injured in the past.  But a helmet does not make you invincible. In fact, it causes more problems. More batsmen are hit on the head now than when we did not wear helmets. They all think they are safe from serious injury so instinctively pull or hook any short ball.

You see tail-enders play pull and hook shots when they are not good enough to play those strokes. They then wonder why they get a smack on the helmet. For my money, it serves them right. They should not be hooking or pulling if they are no good at batting.

Years ago, when players did not have helmets, we watched the ball more closely (PTG 1804-9015, 19 April 2016). We never took our eyes off it and were very selective about when we tried a hook or pull shot. I knew if I got it wrong I could be on the way to the hospital round the corner. And because we all had that knowledge we became better batsmen at judging what to try to hit and what to duck and weave.  The officials cannot legislate against players getting a freak injury, like Phil Hughes or Craig Kieswetter. It just happens, so why penalise everyone else? 

I always felt the most important part of my protective gear was my chest pad to protect my ribs against the rising ball. I never felt worried about being hit on the head. I watched the ball.  I wore a helmet for the first time in the 1979 World Cup final at Lord’s. I was in my 39th year. I still did not want to wear one but we were facing four great West Indian fast bowlers. Everybody else was wearing one and it would have been waving a red rag at a bull if I had gone out to bat without one. They would have thought, ‘Oh here is the clever dick who thinks he can play us without a helmet’. I did not think that was smart at my then age.

Wearing a helmet does impair your vision. We had Perspex grilles in those days and it made everything a little blurry. You have a tiny little bit of space to see the ball, maybe four inches to look through. You have to hold your head so you can see the ball through that small four-inch space. Your best weapon of defence is your eyesight but that has been compromised.  If I was Cook I would tell the ECB to get stuffed. He is responsible for his batting and his own safety. That is his choice and it should be everybody else’s choice too.

Also the last thing we want to do is ruin his batting. We need Cook making runs and helping to win Test matches this summer. England have had enough problems in recent years making big scores without messing about with the captain’s batting.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,807

  Friday, 22 April 2016


• Day-night Ashes Test a 'distinct possibility', says CA chief [1807-9030]. 

• India looking to host day-night Test [1807-9031]. 

• ‘Replay’ technology to invade club cricket too? [1807-9032]. 

• Snow stops play [1807-9033]. 

Headline: Day-night Ashes Test a 'distinct possibility', says CA chief.

Article from: Media reports.        .

Journalist: PTG Editor.      .                         

Published: Thursday, 21 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1807-9030.

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive officer James Sutherland said on Thursday there is a "distinct possibility" the first day-night Ashes Test will be played when Australia take on England in the austral summer of 2017-18.  Sutherland was speaking the day after CA announced a schedule for the 2016-17 summer which has a day-night Test in Brisbane against Pakistan, and potentially another in Adelaide if South Africa’s players eventually agree to the proposal (PTG 1805-9019, 20 April 2016).

Sutherland seemed confident of a pink-ball, day-night Ashes encounter and expressed the view that "over the course of the next 12 months or so we'll see day-night Test cricket being played in countries other than Australia (PTG 1807-9031 below).  "I'm really confident that other [International Cricket Council] member boards are very keen to do that”, said Sutherland, while in regards to the South Africans, Sutherland is "still optimistic that the big picture will prevail". According to him “the big picture is about making the game of Test cricket more accessible to fans and those sitting at home, to be able watch into the evening after school or work”.

Australian journalist Gideon Haigh said on radio in Melbourne on Thursday that a day-night Test against South Africa is likely to happen.  He pointed out that "New Zealand were pretty reluctant, until we threw a whole lot of money at them [and] maybe South Africa’s looking for us to do the same” and he "wouldn’t be surprised if this is subject to further negotiations [for] it’s amazing how persuasive money can be”.

Headline: India looking to host day-night Test.

Article from: Press Trust of India.        .

Journalist: Not stated.      .                         

Published: Thursday, 21 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1807-9031.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is seriously looking at hosting its first-ever day-night Test with a pink ball when New Zealand tour India later this year.  BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said on Thursday India’s four-match Duleep Trophy domestic first class series between the country’s five cricketing zones, will be played in in the same format and act as a dress rehearsal for a possible day-night Test match.  The Duleep Trophy is usually played in October and New Zealand are due to be on the sub-continent in October-November for a tour that includes three Tests.

The main objective of such a move is said to be to try and raise the ever dwindling number of spectators who attend Tests in India.  Thakur said the Duleep Trophy series will check how the pink ‘Kookaburra’ ball behaves under the light in sub-continental conditions.  "While we have not zeroed in on the venue, there are lots of factors that need to be taken into account, including the dew factor and how the spinners bowl with the pink ball on Indian pitches”.  It is expected that all leading Indian players will play in that Duleep game to gain experience and give a feedback to the board.

Test matches in India are played with Sanspareils Greenlands (SG) balls which have been made in Uttar Pradesh since 1950.  Thakur said the BCCI may ask that company "to manufacture pink balls [sometime in the future] but they have to be of the same quality as [the ones] ‘Kookaburra’ [produces]”.

Headline: ‘Replay’ technology to invade club cricket too?

Article from: The Times.        .

Journalist: Simon Hughes.      .                         

Published: Thursday, 21 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1807-9032.

The rancour surrounding a batsman’s decision not to walk when he is caught after edging the ball in club cricket could soon be a thing of the past.  The inventor of the Hawk-Eye ball-tracking system has developed a sensor capable of detecting the tiniest snick and hopes to introduce it cheaply to amateur cricketers at all levels. The device, which is very small, can be fixed easily to a bat and linked to an app on the umpire’s smartphone.  Umpires attach the smartphone to their jackets and record each ball using the phone’s camera, giving them access to instant replays and, in the case of LBW appeals, showing where the ball had pitched and whether it would have hit the stumps.

Paul Hawkins, a former county player and missile-guidance expert who created Hawk-Eye in 2000 to predict the path of the ball after it had hit the batsman’s pad, said he was close to making the system available for public use. The sensors cost £25 ($A46) but it is hoped that they can be made more cheaply.  The Hawk-Eye system is used as part of the Umpire Decision Review System in international cricket in which players can challenge the umpire’s decision, and has also been adopted by professional tennis, rugby, baseball, volleyball and football to help to adjudicate line decisions.

Hawkins has long dreamt of finding a way to enhance the amateur game through technology. His determination grew when he returned to Hampshire league cricket last year and witnessed a scene depressingly familiar in club circles: a batsman edged the ball to the wicketkeeper at a crucial moment in the game did not walk and was given not out.  “Batsmen have always not walked, but what really got me was that after the inevitable bout of sledging from the fielders, the batsman said, ‘I know I nicked it and you know I did, but so what, it wasn’t given’”, said Hawkins.  “More and more batsmen try and get away with it. We got him out soon afterwards, but it ruined my day”.

In collaboration with Tim Dean, a recent Hawk-Eye recruit whose previous expertise was in oil exploration, Hawkins adapted a small sensor of the type normally found in a mobile phone that detects vibrations in objects, and fixed it to a bat. When connected to software on a smartphone, video of a delivery can be replayed with a line graph, similar to the ‘Snickometer', showing whether there was contact with the bat.  “We experimented in the nets and found that even the finest edge, a “feather” that the bowler didn’t hear, is detected”, said Hawkins.

With two angles — bowler’s end and square leg — covered by the umpires’ smartphones, the line, length and trajectory of the ball can be calibrated and its future path predicted, thereby enabling the officials also to adjudicate LBW decisions.

Headline: Snow stops play.

Article from: Media reports.        .

Journalist: PTG Editor.      .                         

Published: Thursday, 21 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1807-9033.

Cricket may be a summer sport, but try telling that to two England club sides.  Players from Sowerby Bridge and Copley cricket clubs in Yorkshire found themselves throwing snowballs at each other in the outfield after an unseasonable snow storm interrupted their Halifax Cricket League match last weekend.  It was an unexpected turn of events after a sunny morning in northern England.

Sowerby Bridge second XI captain Martin Mellor said he "woke up on Saturday and it was a bright, sunny morning so we were very hopeful of getting a game in”.  Then “it just went dark – a big black cloud sat above our heads and the wind died down completely.  Initially we carried on but the snow and hail got heavier and heavier, bouncing off helmets and the wicket. The umpire brought us off and within 10 minutes the whole ground was white”.

Mellor said he and his colleagues went from thinking they were going to buck the recent poor weather trend in England and get a full game to all of a sudden throwing snowballs at each other on the outfield.  It’s not the first time snow has interrupted play in matches in England.  There are at least eight other documented instances, including during WG Grace’s final first class match at The Oval in 1908. Three years ago a friendly between county teams Hampshire and Surrey in Southhampton was interrupted by a rogue snow shower.  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,808

  Saturday, 23 April 2016

 

• India’s day-night Test plans news to Kiwi official [1808-9034]. 

• ICC debate Test revamp to save long-form cricket [1808-9035]. 

• Club amalgamation saves cricket in the village [1808-9036]. 

• Treated sewage water to maintain playing area in Bengaluru [1808-9037]. 

• BCB dragging its feet over suspect actions issue [1808-9038]. 

• Umpire’s ban officially comes to an end  [1808-9039]. 

• WICB reports turnaround in finances [1808-9040]. 

• Visa question over convicted spot-fixer’s England visit [1808-9041]. 

• Batsman assaults umpire over call of four [1808-9042]. 

Headline: India’s day-night Test plans news to Kiwi official.

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Friday, 22 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1808-9034.

News that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is looking at playing a day-night Test against New Zealand later this year have comes as a complete surprise to New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) operations manager Lindsay Crocker.  BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said on Thursday India’s four-match Duleep Trophy domestic first class series between the country’s five cricketing zones, will be played in October the a day-night format as a dress rehearsal for a possible day-night Test match against the Kiwis who are when they tour the sub-continent in October-November (PTG 1807-9031, 22 April 2016). 


Crocker said NZC weren't aware a pink ball Test was even on the cards.  "The first I heard of it was when the news broke [on Friday morning], but [NZC chief executive] David [White] maybe a little closer to it because he is in Dubai at the International Cricket Council’s current chief executive's conference (PTG 1806-9028, 21 April 2016).  "Alphabetically, India traditionally sit next to New Zealand at these conferences so David would have no doubt talked to his Indian equivalent about the concept, but it would have been relatively fresh news to him as well because it certainly wasn't a discussion we were having when David left a couple of days ago". 

NZC is "still waiting for the draft [schedule for the tour to India] and [Thakur’s] was the first announcement we'd had...it was quite a definitive one but from our side there's a few things we would need to understand before we're comfortable with the notion”.  Such matters as “the match venue, quality of the floodlights, lead-up plans, playing conditions [and player reaction to the idea] would be major factors”.  Whatever happens Crocker will not be there to see it as he is due to leave his NZC job in a few weeks (PTG 1802-9005, 16 April 2016), however, so far there has been no news about his replacement, no advertisement for a vacancy having been released to date.  

The BCCI’s plans come as NZC are pursuing a potential pink ball Test during South Africa's tour there in February-March next year, something Crocker said was still a "theoretical possibility”, the same line on the matter he used two months ago (PTG 1753-8745, 3 February 2016).  The schedule for that tour is still being pinned down and the finer details surrounding playing conditions will only be considered once dates were locked in, Crocker said.  South African players are currently resisting Cricket Australia’s (CA) plans for them to play their national side in a day-night Test in Adelaide prior to their visit to New Zealand (PTG 1805-9019, 20 April 2016).

A report by Peter Lalor in ‘The Australian’ on Friday states that Australian players have "reluctantly agreed" to play a day-night Test in Brisbane against Pakistan late this year, but "wholeheartedly support their South African counterparts in objecting to another pink-ball match in Adelaide”.  It goes on to say CA chief executive James Sutherland is, like NZC’s Smith, currently in Dubai, and that during that time he will be holding talks with the Proteas board and players’ association in an attempt to steer the concept over the line.

Lalor quotes Australian Cricketers Association chief executive Alistair Nicholson as saying on Thursday: “[Australian] players have continued to show a willingness to support innovation but there are some genuine concerns about the durability and visibility of the pink ball which is yet to be improved to a satisfactory level”.  “We can absolutely app­rec­iate that the South African players are concerned about using a pink ball in conditions that they haven’t experienced before, and given the recent poor trial in the Sheffield Shield in February then I’m not surprised the Australian players would have provided them this feedback”.

Headline: Umpire’s ban officially comes to an end.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Mohammad Isam.                         

Published: Thursday, 21 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1808-9035.

Nadir Shah will return to competitive cricket on Friday, two months after the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) lifted the 10-year ban it gave him in 2013 (PTG 1769-8825, 23 February 2016). Shah was banned on charges of corruption alleged by a TV sting operation in October 2012, he filed a plea of mercy three months later (PTG 1307-6302, 7 March 2014), but it took nearly three years for the BCB to revoke its ban, a period in which some confusion reigned (PTG 1438-6960, 1 October 2014). 

Shah, who became eligible to work in domestic matches in Bangladesh from February 2016, will be one of the on-field umpires on the first day of the Dhaka Premier League, when Abahani take on Kalabagan Krira Chakra in Fatullah. He said earlier this week he is "very excited to be back, but it is very important to I perform well. I have already done two practice matches recently and I feel I am ready to go. The time when I was banned was quite hard for me as people would ask me questions. Now everything is very good and exciting”.

Headline: ICC debate Test revamp to save long-form cricket.

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.        .

Journalist: Nick Hoult.      .                         

Published: Friday, 22 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1808-9036.

A new world championship for Test cricket will come a step closer this weekend when the International Cricket Council (ICC) debates how to save the most traditional form of the game, but England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) president Giles Clarke’s hopes of becoming the board’s next chairman are over.  Proposals for a new, simplified Test championship, with possibly four points for a Test win and two for a draw, will be discussed along with big prize money for winning a match and a series to try to persuade players not to swap the long form of the game for riches on offer in Twenty20 leagues.

Revitalising Test cricket has ­become the most urgent issue at the ICC and will be top of the list of priorities for the next chairman who will be formally elected at the board’s annual meeting at the end of June.  Clarke’s hopes of becoming the ICC chairman are at an end after he failed to gain enough support to sustain a campaign. Instead it looks increasingly likely the current chairman, Shashank Manohar, from India, will carry on in the role and will be elected unopposed if he agrees to stand.  It is understood Clarke will ­remain as ECB president and continue to represent that body at ICC level.

Manohar has won support among many nations by stating he will cut the amount of funding India receive from the central pool, although that proposal has brought criticism for the Indian at home (PTG 1805-9018, 20 April 2016). It is almost certain the arrangement agreed two years ago under which Australia, England and India receive the lion’s share of ICC revenue will be reversed.  This will help pay smaller nations to continue holding Test series, which are often played at a financial loss, which will be necessary if any future Test championship is to have balance and credibility.

Headline: Club amalgamation saves cricket in the village.

Article from: Hereford Times. 

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Friday, 22 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1808-9037.

Difficulties in finding enough players each week to put a team on the field has resulted in the merger of two clubs in Herefordshire.  The Worcestershire County League’s Burghill and Tillington and Weobley clubs start the season on Saturday under their new name, the Burghill, Tillington and Weobley Cricket Club. The amalgamated club's chairman Steve de Souza said the two clubs getting together “made sense for both”.  

"Every year cricket clubs are going out of existence for various reasons and it looked like Weobley would fold as they were finding it difficult to put out a team week in, week out”.  "Once a club folds it is very difficult to resurrect and cricket in the village would be lost forever”.  "For Burghill and Tillington it means we now have a long term home at what was Weobly’s ground for the third team”.  "That team is important to the club as it acts as a pathway for juniors to make their way into the hustle and bustle of senior cricket”.

Headline: Treated sewage water to maintain playing area in Bengaluru.

Article from: Deccan Herald 

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Friday, 22 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1808-9038.

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has directed the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) to use recycled water from its Cubbon Park wastewater treatment plant for maintaining the pitches and outfield at KSCA’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.  That city is almost 1,000 km to the south of Mumbai in the state of Maharashtra where the Bombay High Court (BHC) has ordered the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) to move all Indian Premier League (IPL) matches scheduled there in May out of the state due to water availability issues during what has been a seriously prolonged drought (PTG 1801-8997, 15 April 2016).

Following a Banglaore High Court order, the BWSSB convened a meeting with KSCA office-bearers on Thursday to discuss ways to reduce wastage of potable water during matches. Water board chairman T M Vijay Bhaskar said that the KSCA had also been asked to transport recycled water from Cubbon Park via tankers until such time as they set can up an in-house sewage treatment plant.  Last month, the stadium, with 40,000 seating capacity, hosted seven matches including four warm-up games of the World T20 Championship series, and is to host six IPL games during May.  Whether some of the games being moved out of Maharashtra will be added to that roster is not yet known.

In yet another cricket-related court case in India, the MCA has now approached India's Supreme Court to have the BHC’s IPL order to move games out of Maharashtra overturned.  The MCA said in documentation lodged with the Supreme Court on Friday it will be using treated sewage water to water IPL grounds in Mumbai and Pune (PTG 1800-8994, 13 April 2016).  The case is scheduled to be heard on Monday.  

Headline: BCB dragging its feet over suspect actions issue.

Article from: Cricinfo. 

Journalist: Mohammad Isam.                         

Published: Friday, 22 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1808-9039.

If it hadn't been for the international sanctions on Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny during the World T20 Championship (WT20C), the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), by its own admission, would not have taken suspicious bowling actions seriously. The Dhaka Premier League (DPL), the domestic one-day tournament that begins on Friday, is the first chance to take a look at the problem but the board has not created its proposed bowlers' review committee yet (PTG 1795-8968, 8 April 2016), and remains relaxed in letting bowlers with illegal actions play in the competition. 

There is talk of including a board director, a coach and an umpire in the committee, but the BCB has so far only circulated the draft regulations among the board directors. BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said once approval is given, "the committee will be formed in two to four days". Apart from this delay, questions have been raised about the permission given to Taskin, Sunny and Sanjit Saha, the offspinner reported during the Under-19 World Cup (ptg 1751-8731, 1 February 2016), to play in the domestic tournament before their bowling actions have been approved by the BCB. 

Taskin and Sunny have been training with their respective clubs since the players draft two weeks ago, meaning they have had little time to work on their actions. The board hasn't yet mentioned when either of the two will be ready to each undergo their second bowling-action assessment. Taskin has mentioned recently that he will need eight to ten weeks to get ready, while nothing of the kind has been heard from or about Sunny. Sanjit is said to have worked hard with a local coach without making much progress. 

But the problem of suspicious actions is not new to Bangladesh, and isn't limited to these three bowlers. For decades, illegal bowling actions have plagued the domestic competitions, where a lack of technical knowledge, and technology, has hampered proper analysis. 

Only after Bangladesh gained Test status in 2000 did the BCB discover that some of its bowlers had kinks in their arms. Just two months after Bangladesh's inaugural Test, the then captain Naimur Rahman, an offspinner, and left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique were reported by the International Cricket Council (ICC). In 2004, it was another left-arm spinner, Abdur Razzak, who was reported for a suspect action. He was suspended from bowling in December 2008, before the ICC was satisfied with his action four months later. In 2014 it was Sohag Gazi and Al-Amin Hossain who were suspended and had their bowling bans upturned after successful second assessments.

In domestic cricket, hardly any bowler has had to suffer a prolonged suspension due to a suspect action. The BCB had worked with a few bowlers in 2007 but there was no procedural follow-up. Though umpires have reported bowlers from time to time, the BCB has not taken any concerted action.

BCB director Khaled Mahmud, the former national captain who is now the Bangladesh manager as well as coach of one of the BPL sides, said the board should have taken suspicious bowling actions seriously at least three years ago. "There has been work with suspect bowlers in the past but we should have continued with it”, he said. "It would have created a system, possibly we could have built the [bowling action assessment] laboratory that we are now thinking of. I think now these things will get implemented”.

Nazmul Abedeen, the BCB's national game development manager and an experienced coach who has worked with bowlers with suspect actions, said performance is often given more importance than technique in domestic cricket, resulting in more bowlers getting ahead by gaining an undue advantage with suspect actions. "I think we have been putting a lot of emphasis on performers, without always checking their bowling action”, said Abedeen. "I think many bowlers with suspect actions get advantage over those with cleaner actions, and when they perform, they get selected. I think this is a lesson for us, and we should take it very seriously”.

After Taskin and Sunny were slapped with suspensions during the WT20C, the BCB went up in arms. It demanded a review of Taskin's ban while BCB president Nazmul Hassan said last month that the bowling review group would be created soon.  With the final domestic tournament of Bangladesh’s 2015-16 season about to get underway, the proposal still only exists on paper.

Headline: WICB reports turn around in finances.

Article from: Media reports.        .

Journalist: PTG Editor.      .                         

Published: Thursday, 21 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1808-9040.

The West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) annual report for the year to last September indicates the organisation recorded a net comprehensive income of $US3.4 million ($A4.4 m, £UK2.4 m) for the 2014-15 financial year, a turn around from the $US1.53 million ($A2 m, £UK) loss it announced twelve months ago.  That news comes as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced it has decided to forego the $US42 ($A54.3 m, £UK29.2 m) damages claim it lodged against the WICB after their players pulled out midway through their tour of India in 2014 over a long-running dispute with the WICB.

WICB revenue has increased by $US6 million ($A7.7 m, £UK4.2 m) or 21 per cent and the directors said this resulted from the sale of "new properties" for the international home series and enhanced returns from the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand early last year.  Expenditure on tours and tournaments decreased by $US1 million “due to tighter controls over spending”, and the positive financial outcome came despite the "launch of the Professional Cricket League which required an outlay of $US3 [$A3.9, £UK2.1 m] million in new spending”.  

Headline: Visa question over convicted spot-fixer’s England visit.

Article from: London Daily Telegraph.        .

Journalist: Nick Hoult.      .                         

Published: Friday, 22 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1808-9041.

Pakistan player Mohammad Amir could be denied a visa for his side's tour to England this northern summer because of his conviction for spot-fixing.  Amir was sentenced to six months in a young offenders’ institute in 2011 after pleading guilty to corruption charges for his role in spot-fixing during the Lord’s Test of 2010.  Immigration lawyers say his case will ­depend on whether his admission into the country would be contrary to the public good, a decision that will be with the ­immigration officer that deals with his visa application.

Amir completed the ban given to him by the International Cricket Council last September last year and has regained his place in the Pakistan team.  New Zealand immigration officials considered withholding his visa for a tour to the country earlier this year, however, they relented when he was supported by the Pakistan and New Zealand cricket boards (PTG 1733-8611, 9 January 2016).  The fact that he was not deported from Britain at the end of his sentence should help his case. 

Headline: Batsman assaults umpire over call of four.

Article from: Media reports.        .

Journalist: PTG Editor.      .                         

Published: Thursday, 21 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1808-9042.

A student at an engineering colleague in the Indian state of Kerala who was umpiring a game between two student sides, was hospitalised after being struck on the head by a cricket stump on Tuesday. Anooj Mathew, 18, was left with a fractured skull and internal bleeding after a number of players disputed his call of four, rather than a six, when the ball was struck to the boundary.  Incensed by the umpire’s assessment, the batsman concerned started arguing, and then brawling, with the umpire.  After the match the batsman struck the umpire on the head with a stump.  The police have arrested the assailant and charged him with attempt to murder.  Doctors meanwhile say that Mathew is now out of danger.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,809

  Sunday, 24 April 2016

 

• Four spinners' actions reported on day one of DPL season [1809-9043]. 

• Play day-night Test in South Africa, suggests Pollock [1809-9044]. 

• Don't believe the hype – the pink ball didn't pass the test [1809-9045]. 

• IPL skipper fined for slow over-rate [1809-9046]. 

• CA open to blushing Gayle's BBL return [1809-9047]. 

Headline: Four spinners' actions reported on day one of DPL season.

Article from: Daily Star.

Journalist: Sports Reporter .                         

Published: Saturday, 23 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1809-9043.

Four spinners were reported as having suspect actions by umpires in the first day of Dhaka Premier League (DPL) matches on Friday.  According to sources two of them play for the Gazi Group team, and the others for Abahani Limited and the Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club.  The umpires, apart from filing a report, have also spoken to the players and the coaches of the teams regarding the issue. It is still uncertain as to what the next step will be, although it is likely the bowlers would be further observed in the next few matches before any decision is taken.

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) sources say this is not the first time that bowlers have been reported by umpires in a domestic series. For example it happened during the DPL’s last season and is a common occurrence in the lower leagues.  With no functioning bowling action review committee these issues have long been ignored (PTG 1808-9038, 23 April 2016). However, with 'illegal bowling' receiving a great deal of attention since Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny were banned in the recent World Twenty20 Championship series (PTG 1786-8916, 24 March 2016), and a new review committee in the process of being formed, umpires are hopeful that this season their reports will be heeded.

Headline: Play day-night Test in South Africa, suggests Pollock.

Article from: CA web site.

Journalist: Martin Smith.                         

Published: Saturday, 23 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1809-9044.

Long-serving South African player Shaun Pollock says the Proteas could play one of the two home Tests they are scheduled to play against New Zealand in August as a day-night match as part of preparations for a Test played in the same format against Australia in Adelaide in November.  South African players have to date reportedly rejected a proposal from Cricket Australia to play the Adelaide Test as a pink ball day-nighter, however, some observers think its only a matter of time before a financial incentive is offered to assist them in their decision-making about the matter (PTG 1804-9012, 19 April 2016 and 1809-9045 below).

The Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) Lord’s web site quotes Pollock, a member of the MCC’s World Cricket Committee, a group that has long pushed for day-night Test cricket, as specifically mentioning the first Test against the New Zealand tourists scheduled for Kingsmead in Durban in the last half of August as the best candidate.  The second and final Test of that series is listed for Centurion a week after the first.

Pollack said he "fully understands the point of view” of the current crop of South African players regarding the Adelaide Test as "You don’t want to give an advantage to Australia”.  "It’s always been such a keenly contested series and you can understand how South Africa want it to be an even battle”. In regards to his New Zealand Test proposal, Pollack said "There is a good chance there will be a light issue in that game [in Durban] because it comes at the back end of the South African winter and with the pink ball you wouldn’t have to take the players off for bad light” and as such “That might be a solution”. 

While the full schedule for South Africa’s Australian tour is yet to be released, there is a gap of eight days between the second Test and the third in Adelaide, a period in which a day-night warm-up game or games with a pink ball could be fitted in.  Prior to the inaugural day-night Test, the New Zealand tourists played two day-night tour matches with the pink ball, the first a one-day game under lights in Canberra, and the second a two-day affair in Perth at which the two umpires who later stood in the Adelaide Test also got some experience (PTG 1674-8212, 29 October 2015).

Just what Cricket South Africa and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) think about Pollacks’ proposal, or if they are even aware of it, is not yet known.  The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) surprised NZC earlier this week regarding their apparent plans to play a day-night Test during the Kiwis’ tour there next October-November (PTG 1808-9034, 23 April 2016).  If Pollacks’ thoughts have any weight, and given the BCCI’s recent announcement, it would suggest the day-night Test issue will be high on the list of policy discussions NZC has over the next few months.

Headline: Don't believe the hype – the pink ball didn't pass the test.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Malcolm Knox.                         

Published: Saturday, 23 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1809-9045.

Some time later this year broadcaster Channel Nine, through their fully owned subsidiary Cricket Australia (CA), will "compensate" Australian and South African cricketers for playing a Test match under lights with a pink ball in Adelaide. Again. Last year's inaugural day-night Test had cricketers "compensated" to put on happy masks over their disappointment with the quality of cricket they were producing, and their discomfort with how the bespoke ball and pitch distorted the contest that five-day cricket should be. Not just a group of grumpy mercenaries, they genuinely believed that Test cricket ought to be better than a game of TV trial and error.

Boo hoo, said the television audiences, the broadcaster and CA. Think of the bigger picture, saving Test cricket from irrelevance. This counter argument wasn't without merit, but it did seem, if you were at the game and steering clear of the Kool-Aid, that there was a conspiracy of television against reality. Watching from the stands, I found it extremely difficult to see the ball. The cricket lacked intensity as tentative players felt their way. But on the TV screen, the pink ball looked fabulous and the entertainment was rich. Turn the sound on – was it Tony Archer who said we watch sport with our ears? – and there was the cheer squad of commentators extolling how great this was. Wickets were clattering and an action-packed finish ensued, a refreshing change from the draw in the Perth Test the week before.

I walked around the ground. Nearly 50,000 people had come! Surely they were voting with their feet. But from every vantage point the ball was equally hard to see. This is part of cricket, yet not part of night cricket. Conditioned to seeing the white ball, to evening sessions building to a result, and to warmer evenings during the Big Bash League and One Day International season, the audience were soon voting with their feet again, marching for the exits or the big screens inside the hospitality tents, long before the close of play.

The conclusion was simple, if a little disturbing. The further you were from the game the better the day-night Test match was. For those on the field it was manifestly unsettling. For those in the Adelaide Oval it was a novel occasion (and Adelaide folk will, let's be honest, turn out en masse to see two poets argue about the dithyramb versus the iambic pentameter, but not compelling enough to stay to the end. On the other hand, if you were on the couch in Sydney or Melbourne this was the future of cricket and the players should just take their compensation and be happy with it.

Like a lot of pushing and pulling in the world of sport, it raised the question of who games are for. Participants or spectators, administrators or broadcasters? Those who have skin in the game due to dedicating their lives to it or those who put up the cash? Those who worry about the present or those with an eye on the future? Conflicts between all these "stakeholders" were stirred up, principally a false opposition between selfish players on the one side, and the public (represented by their white knights at CA and Nine) on the other.

Recalcitrants are reminded by CA’s chief executive of the "bigger picture", but what is the bigger picture? (PTG 1807-9030, 22 April 2016).  The contrivance of a gimmick or the weight placed on the game itself? The cricketers who don't want to play Test cricket as an experiment, just like rugby league players who don't want their work to boil down to field goals, are conservatives in this sense, but are they reactionaries? Maybe they just see the essence of their sport as worth preserving. And it's not true that all of the fans are lined up behind the money, demanding instant-result football and fast-forward cricket. 

Many of us think that if you degrade what is at stake in the service of tonight's TV ratings it is you who are losing sight of the bigger picture. Day-night Test cricket? By all means do it when you have developed a better ball, but don't call last year's experiment an unqualified success when it wasn't. Instant results in football? Sure, but find a better way. (Hint: a tennis tie-breaker works, because it's a test of tennis). Out here in fan land, we don't all need instant gratification, and we can't all be bribed.

Headline: IPL skipper fined for slow over-rate.

Article from: IPL press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Saturday, 23 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1809-9046.

Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli has been fined around $US2,300 ($A3,000 , £UK1,600) for maintaining a slow over rate in his side’s Indian Premier League (IPL) match against the Rising Pune Supergiants on Friday.  As it was his team’s first offence of the season the IPL’s Code of Conduct relating to minimum over-rate offences only Kohli was fined, while second over-rate offence this season will result in each player being fined 25 per cent of their match fee and their captain $US10,000 ($A16,000 , £UK9,000) 

The IPL's regulations regarding slow over rates are different to those enforced in international matches.  The International Cricket Council classifies over-rate offences as minor or serious; minor when a side is no more than five overs short of their target in a Test match two in a One Day International (ODI) or Twenty20 International (T20I), while a serious breach occurs when a Test side is judged to be no more than five overs behind or two overs in ODIs or T20Is.

Headline: CA open to blushing Gayle's BBL return.

Article from: Australian Associated Press.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Saturday, 23 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1809-9047.

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland insists West Indies' opener Chris Gayle won't be prevented from signing with a Big Bash League (BBL) franchise again.  Gayle caused outrage in January following his infamous 'Don't blush baby' boundary-line interview with a female television reporter whilst he was playing with the BBL’s Melbourne Renegades.  CA strongly intimated at the time that it would stop any team that tried to sign Gayle for future BBL series (PTG 1732-8605, 7 January 2016).

Sutherland told News Corporation on Friday that with the exception of match-fixers, it's not CA's position to rub players out of the competition.  "No matter what anyone at [CA] thought [of the  Gayle incident] at management level, board level, I think you're on a slippery slope if you start making judgements on players who could or shouldn't be playing in the [BBL] or in our domestic competitions”, said Sutherland.  "Because, when does that ever end? My view is unless there's a very, very strong reason along the lines of anti-corruption, then its difficult for us to be making those judgements”.  "I'm not saying that it wouldn't happen but my judgement is that it's not appropriate as it's about the teams themselves to make the calls."

Renegades Chairman Jason Dunstall said the team were open to all options in their recruitment process, including Gayle, and that position has not changed.  "You'd like to think there's a place for everybody [in the BBL]. The excitement he can generate is extraordinary”, said Dunstall.  "We want all those types of players on display. That's the idea. What we want is the best players in the world at the BBL”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,810

  Monday, 25 April 2016

 

• Oxenford returns to T20 with ’Super Hero’ shield [1810-9048]. 

• Upset with umpiring, Younis leaves Pakistan Cup [1810-9049]. 

• County batsman dismissed in rare fashion [1810-9050]. 

• PCB looking at early return for banned umpire [1810-9051]. 

• Children betting on cricket matches comes as a shock [1810-9052]. 

Headline: Oxenford returns to T20 with ’Super Hero’ shield.

Article from: Match reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Monday, 25 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1810-9048.

Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford again sported his forearm protective shield during the Indian Premier League match between the Gujarat Lions and Royal Challengers Bangalore franchises played in Rajkot on Sunday.  Oxenford, and fellow International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel members Chris Gaffney and Kumar Dharmasena, have now joined Indian umpires in standing in IPL matches so far this season (PTG 1803-9010, 17 April 2016).

Oxenford debuted the latest innovation in umpire safety in a warm up game for the World T20 Championship (WT20C) series in India six weeks ago, a device one on-line commentator on Friday dubbed the ’Super Hero shield’ (PTG 1781-8895, 14 March 2016).  Looked to be made of clear Perspex, the shield is strapped to the Australian's non-dominant signalling arm, its aim apparently being to parry and block shots hit directly back in the umpire's direction.  Images available from the IPL game show it in more detail, including a circular wheel-like feature at the hand end which presumably is there to protect the face.  

 

 

 

Two weeks ago the ICC described the guard to ‘PTG’ as a “prototype” he was trying out on his own, it was not provided to him by [the ICC]”, and as such it was what was called “a personal trial” (PTG 1800-8993, 13 April 2016).  The world body provided helmets to all umpires standing in the WT20C event, however, none of those involved took advantage of that move and actually wore one.

Headline: Upset with umpiring, Younis leaves Pakistan Cup.

Article from: Wisden India.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Sunday, 24 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1810-9049.

Former Pakistan captain Younis Khan returned home under controversial circumstances midway into the on-going Pakistan Cup, the country’s premier domestic one-day tournament, after reportedly being dissatisfied with umpiring standards.  Younis, the captain of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) – one of the five teams in the tournament – spoke out against the umpiring after a match against Punjab on Friday which KPK won, and was subsequently fined half of his match fee for breaching the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) domestic code of conduct. 

Following that, in what appears to be in reverse order, Younis was summoned for a disciplinary hearing by match referee Aziz-ur-Rehman.  That is said to have "only served to anger Younis further” and he walked out of the tournament in protest. Ahmed Shahzad will take over as KPK captain for the remainder of the competition.

Younis’s irritation with the officiating began on Wednesday when third umpire Shozab Raza, a Pakistani member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, turned down a referred KPK LBW appeal against opposition captain Misbah-ul-Haq at Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad. When it came to KPK’s turn to bat third umpire Raza was again in the mix, judging that Younis had been run out for just two after a direct hit from the field.  Later in the innings on-field umpires Mohammad Sajid and Riazuddin chose not to call a waist-high full toss from fast bowler Aamer Yamin fast bowler, a no-ball.

After the game Younis slammed the umpiring. Mukhtar Hussain, the KPK team manager, was quoted as saying: “Younis Khan was unhappy with the run out and the no-ball decisions during KPK’s innings.  He was fined by the match referee for criticising the umpiring decisions. He has decided to quit the tournament as he feels he cannot play in such an environment”.

Younis received support from former Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf who agreed that the umpiring had been poor. “I was watching the match when the [Misbah] incident happened”, said Yousuf on a TV channel. “There is no doubt Misbah was out and the ball was hitting middle.  Younis being a captain had the right to ask the umpire why he felt it was not out. The officials should have taken it lightly [and the] referee should have not fined him. Umpires themselves make so many blunders in Pakistan’s domestic cricket. If the umpire didn’t give it out just because the batsman was Misbah then the PCB should ban the umpire instead”.

Headline: County batsman dismissed in rare fashion.

Article from: CA web site.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Sunday, 24 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1810-9050.

South African Sean Dickson has become just the sixtieth batsman in first-class history to be given out 'Handled the Ball'.  Dickson was dismissed in the unusual fashion on the first morning the Kent's English Division Two county match against Leicestershire at Grace Road on Sunday, sent on his way without scoring after just eight balls of the match.

A post on the England and Wales Cricket Board’s web site described the incident.  It said that facing a fullish delivery from Ben Raine, Dickson played a defensive shot on the front foot which somehow sent the ball trickling back towards his stumps. He would have been within his rights to flick it away with his bat or his boot but instead chose to reach down and nudge the ball with his hand. Leicestershire wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien appealed, umpires Steve Gale and Russell Evans conferred, and Dickson was given out.

Dickson is just the second Kent player, and the first since George Bennett in 1872, to be dismissed for handling the ball.  Interestingly, the most recent incident of handling the ball in first-class cricket also came against Leicestershire, Indian Cheteshwar Pujara dismissed in that fashion whilst playing for Derbyshire two years ago (PTG 1434-6936, 25 September 2014).  

There have been 59 previous incidents of a batsman being given out in such a fashion in first-class cricket, the first of which was James Grundy, who suffered the fate while playing for the Marylebone Cricket Club against Kent in 1857. It's occurred only 10 times at international level and only three times this century at the highest level; Australia's Steve Waugh in a Test against India in Chennai in 2001, England's Michael Vaughan also in a Test against India in 2001, and most recently Zimbabwe's Chamu Chibhabha in a one-day match against Afghanistan late last year.

Headline: PCB looking at early return for banned umpire.

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Sunday, 24 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1810-9051.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) appears likely to give disgraced former Test umpire Nadeem Ghauria a six-month reprieve from his four-year ban and allow him to resume umpiring in domestic tournaments this season. Ghauri, who played a Test and six One Day Internationals for Pakistan before taking up umpiring, was banned for four years in 2012 after the PCB’s integrity committee found him guilty of being willing to accept money to give favourable umpiring decisions. PCB sources say chairman Shaharyar Khan has sent a letter to all the members of the Board of Governors asking whether they approved ending the ban on Ghauri immediately.

Ghauri, 53, was caught up in the fixing scandal along with first-class umpire Anees Siddiqui after a TV sting operation claimed to have exposed at least eight first-class and international umpires from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. All but one of them were found to have been willing to give favourable decisions in return for a fee in domestic Twenty20 leagues.  Ghauri has always maintained his innocence and insisted that he never entered into any illegal deal with anyone. 

Sources said Ghauri had appealed to the PCB Chairman to end his ban on humanitarian grounds as Bangladesh did with its umpire Nadir Shah (PTG 1808-9035, 23 April 2016).  One source said: “Ghauri has pleaded with the PCB that he should be allowed to resume umpiring in domestic cricket to make ends meet and he should be given a six-month reprieve from the ban”.

Headline: Children betting on cricket matches comes as a shock.

Article from: Cricket Country.

Journalist: Gautam Gambhir.                         

Published: Saturday, 23 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1810-9052.

I was having breakfast in my Pune hotel when a middle-aged lady walked up to me. I stood up to greet her thinking it was time for another picture request. But I was extremely disturbed by the conversation we had for the next 10 minutes. Anita Pauline Dey is principal at WH Smith Memorial School in Varanasi and also a research scholar. Her thesis is called “Inter-religious peace building through education”. It seemed one of those innocuous subjects but along the way she stumbled upon a worrying trend.

Her research shows that children from Classes 6 to 10 in at least four states (names withheld) are indulging in betting on cricket matches. This won’t become a part of her research but she probed further with the help of authorities. She discovered that most of these children were from affluent families and were using their pocket money and mobile phones to bet on matches through syndicates.

I was shocked. Kids’ betting on cricket matches is a first for me. Dey left with a request that I should appeal to parents and children to abstain from such a repulsive practice. So here I am, making not an appeal but a strong recommendation to keep a check on how your young ones are spending pocket money and using their mobile phones.  I don’t know who is killing innocence here, money, technology or modern lifestyle? I am not an expert on parenting but handing out a mobile phone to children doesn’t seem to be a smart idea. I understand the anxiety of working parents to stay in touch with their wards, but it is important to keep a check on what is coming in and going out of a child’s mobile phone.

By the way, I hope children betting on cricket is not blamed on the Indian Premier League (IPL), which is already coping with a lot of criticism this year.  I am in Pune for Sunday’s game against the Rising Supergiants, and am pleased to note that cricket will do its bit to help plug water problems in this region. The Mumbai Cricket Association and Maharashtra Cricket Association, the body that looks after the Pune stadium, have announced their support towards drought relief measures. I was reading the other day that even Hindi film songs can’t be played at IPL games due to non-payment of royalties. Hopefully, that is resolved now.

We are not too far away from the day when someone’s maid doesn’t show up and it is blamed on IPL! That seems to be the trend these days – blame it on IPL. I am not surprised by reports suggesting that the 2017 IPL could be hosted outside India and you can imagine the GDP loss.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,811

  Tuesday, 26 April 2016

 

• ICC criticises Windies players over WT20C win celebrations [1811-9053]. 

• World body reiterates support for day-night Tests [1811-9054]. 

• Window smash yet to attract sanction [1811-9055]. 

• Player taken to hospital after head strike [1811-9056]. 

• Equipment abuse offences attract fine, reprimand [1811-9057]. 

• South African minister still unhappy about black player representation [1811-9058]. 

Headline: ICC criticises Windies players over WT20C win celebrations.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Monday, 25 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1811-9053.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has criticised the actions and comments of several West Indies players following their World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) final win over England in Kolkata earlier this month.  Prior to lifting the trophy, West Indies captain Darren Sammy gave an emotional interview where he thanked Keith Mitchell, the Prime Minister of Grenada and a key member of the CARICOM heads of government umbrella body, but accused the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) of “disrespecting" the team (PTG 1794-8951, 6 April 2016).

After a board meeting held at its Dubai headquarters on Monday (PTG 1806-9028, 21 April 2016), the ICC issued a statement congratulating the WICB on an 'unprecedented treble' that saw its teams win the men’s and women’s WT20C finals as well as the men’s Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in February.  However, the world body also said it had given "very serious consideration" to bringing Code of Conduct charges against several West Indies players for “inappropriate" and “disrespectful" comments that "brought the event into disrepute” (PTG 1794-8951, 6 April 2016). Such actions had it said "detracted from the success of what was otherwise a magnificent tournament and final".

ICC chairman Shasjank Manohar also appeared to single out Marlon Samuels for criticism. Samuels, who was at the non-striker's end for the final over of the game, taunted bowler Ben Stokes after the England all-rounder was hit for four successive sixes by Carlos Brathwaite, shots that saw the West Indies win in the last over of the match.  Manohar said “The sport of cricket is proud of its unique spirit and this involves being gracious in victory as well as defeat and respectful at all times to the game, one's opponents, the sponsors and the fans”. Such actions were "not acceptable conduct at ICC events played out on a world stage in front of millions of people around the globe”.

Headline: World body reiterates support for day-night Tests.

Article from: ICC press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Monday, 25 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1811-9054.

During its latest board meeting in Dubai on Monday, the International Council (ICC) "and its members" confirmed their support for day-night Tests and noted that a number of such games were being considered for the forthcoming year (PTG 1809-9044, 24 April 2016).  They also reiterated their point of view that administrators "must embrace innovation and understand the demands and expectations of the spectators and fans, keeping alive and growing interest in the traditional format of the game”, however, there was no mention of the players themselves who appear less keen on the concept (PTG 1809-9044, 24 April 2016).  

 

The ICC also indicated there had been "an extensive discussion” in Dubai about the current state of bilateral international cricket, during which options for future international competitions in the three formats were also explored.  It says “while it remains a work in progress”, there was a consensus that a model which "adds greater context to international cricket needed to be created as a matter of priority, so international cricket can be best positioned to connect with the next generation of cricket fans”.  There was no specific mention of a world championship for Test cricket that was mooted last week (PTG 1808-9036, 23 April 2016).

Following on from the February 2016 meeting decision to urgently re-establish the “independent" position of ICC chairman (PTG 1751-8736, 1 February 2016), the Board agreed that the election of someone to that position by the Board will be held through a secret ballot in late May after "all constitutional amendments” to the ‘Big Three’ changes of 2014 have been approved by the Full Council in the coming weeks.  The election process is to be overseen by the ICC’s independent Audit Committee Chairman and all present and past ICC directors will be eligible to contest the vote. The elected independent chairman will not be allowed to hold any national or provincial position with any ICC Member Board during his time in office.

 

The Board also approved a "short-term" One Day International fund of $US500,000 ($A648,000, £UK344,900) to both the Afghanistan Cricket Board and Cricket Ireland. That money is "to allow them the opportunity to schedule more bilateral series, which, in turn, will support their bid to improve their team rankings and claims to secure direct qualification for the World Cup of 2019”.  In January 2014, those two ICC members were added to its team rankings list which now consists of 12 teams, host England and the next seven highest-ranked sides at the end of September next year automatically qualifying for the 2019 World Cup.  Both countries also participate in the ICC-funded Intercontinental Cup, a first class competition which is now a pathway to Test cricket.

 

During Monday’s meeting an update was provided to the board on the work being taken on the game's potential participation in the Olympics and or Commonwealth Games.  It was agreed that further discussions were required with the Members and the other stakeholders, including the International Olympic Committee and Commonwealth Games Federation before a final position could be adopted. The board received a report on those matters at its previous meeting in February (PTG 1756-8761, 8 February 2016).

Cricket in China was also discussed, the board being "impressed to note that there were approximately 80,000 participants in the country, including around 35,000 female cricketers". It was agreed that ICC must continue to work with the Chinese Cricket Association to develop a long term strategy for cricket’s development in China (PTG 1799-8990, 12 April 2016).

Headline: Window smash yet to attract sanction.

Article from: Press Trust of India.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Monday, 25 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1811-9055.

Pakistan opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad found himself in the midst of yet another controversy on Monday after reports surfaced that the 24-year-old broke a dressing room window with his bat whilst playing for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) in a domestic one-day match.  Unhappy on being given out caught on 79 in a Pakistan Cup match against Balochistan, Shehzad argued with on-field umpire Rashid Riaz claiming that fieldsman Bilawal Bhatti did not take the catch cleanly.  It was after that that he vented his anger by smashing the window.  According to team source, Shehzad will pay for the broken glass from his match fees, but as yet the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has not taken note of the incident.  

Shehzad’s reaction came the day after former Pakistan captain Younis Khan, who Shehzad took over from as KPK’s captain, was found guilty for walking out of the Pakistan Cup after a dispute with the match referee and umpires, a situation that saw him at first fined half of his match fee (PTG 1809-9049, 25 April 2016).  After he failed to show up at a disciplinary hearing though, match referee Aziz ur Rehman then went further and fined him his full match fee.  

A PCB source said that his chairman Shaharyar Khan has taken "serious notice of the incidents involving Younis and has summoned a report from the match referee”.  The chairman is said to have been trying to speak to the player but his phones have been switched off since the match ended on Saturday night.  Younis was named by the PCB to lead the KPK team in the tournament which is being televised live and is seen as a platform for selecting the national squad for the tour to England this northern summer.  

The source also said “The [PCB] chairman’s greatest concern about Khan’s departure from the tournament is that along with Misbah-ul-Haq he is an advisor to the chairman on cricket affairs”.  “[The chairman] is unlikely to let the matter go as he feels that no matter who the player or how senior he might be, no one can be allowed to challenge the authority of the umpires, referee or board in such a blatant manner”.  The source said that if the chairman decides to penalise Younis he could face a ban of three to five matches.

It is not the first time Younis has run into problems with the authorities and he even had issues with his first class team United Bank in the last domestic season, leaving them in a lurch in the final stages of the nation’s top four-day competition after a disagreement with the coach.

Headline: Player taken to hospital after head strike.

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Monday, 25 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1811-9056.

Sri Lankan Test opener Kaushal Silva was taken to hospital on Sunday after being hit on the head by a cricket ball while fielding in a domestic match.  Sri Lanka Cricket said Silva, who was wearing a helmet and took evasion action, was struck whilst fielding at short leg during a match in Pallekele.  Scans taken soon afterwards were clear, but as a precaution he was flown to a hospital in the capital Colombo 130 km away for further tests and observation, the latest reports suggesting he will be discharged on Tuesday.  Sunday's match was part of Sri Lanka's preparations for their tour of England next month.

 

Headline: Equipment abuse offences attract fine, reprimand.

Article from: IPL press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Monday, 25 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1811-9057.

Indian Premier League (IPL) Kings XI Punjab franchise batsman Glenn Maxwell was fined 25 per cent of his match fee for "abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings" during his side’s game against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Hyderabad on Saturday.  The same match saw his Australian and Kings XI team mate Shaun Marsh receive an official reprimand for the same offence.  The IPL said that both players accepted the charges laid against them, however, it did not go into the specifics of either incident or why there was a discrepancy in the censure given to each player for what were both reported as Level One offences.

Headline: South African minister still unhappy about black player representation.

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Monday, 25 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1811-9058.

South African Sports minister Fikile Mbalula said on Monday that his country’s cricket, rugby, athletics and netball federations have been banned from hosting and bidding for international tournaments “for at least a year” in their respective fields of sport due to their failure to increase representation of black players (PTG 1770-8844, 25 February 2016).  Mbalula made the announcement after a report handed to him showed that four out of the five biggest sports played in South Africa have failed to create enough opportunities for black players.  The minister's decision was a major blow to the South African Rugby Union's intention to bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, the bidding process for which starts next month.

South Africa's government has been pushing for more black players to be included in the nation's most popular sports but more than two decades after the end of apartheid whites still make up the bulk of players in athletics, cricket, netball and rugby.  Mbalula said in a statement that he had "resolved to revoke the privilege [for sporting associations] to host and bid for major and mega international tournaments”.  The football federation was the only one of the five to meet its transformation targets, said Mbalula.  He plans to review the decision when considering the results on the 2016-17 'Transformation Barometer’ at the end of 2017.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,812

  Wednesday, 27 April 2016

 

• ’Stem guard' saves player as CA safety report stalled [1812-9059]. 

• Pakistan the latest to propose 'home' day-night Test [1812-9060]. 

• Day-night Test no longer a surprise for NZC [1812-9061].

• Criticism for PCB as Younis apologises, escapes ban [1812-9062]. 

• CA chief pushes higher Test match pay [1812-9063]. 

• Clubs forced to clean-up after vandals do their thing [1812-9064]. 

• Unseasonal cold snap stops play [1812-9065]. 

Headline: ’Stem guard' saves player as CA safety report stalled.

Article from: The Australian.

Journalist: Peter Lalor.                         

Published: Tuesday, 26 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1812-9059.

A Sri Lankan Test batsman struck in the back of the neck and airlifted to a Colombo hospital over the weekend was saved from more serious injury by a clip-on stem guard on his helmet as Cricket Australia (CA) continues to stall on releasing the results of its inquiry into player safety commissioned in the wake of Phillip Hughes’ death.  The report was delivered to CA before Christmas by David Curtain QC and is believed to contain a number of recommendations on safety standards and the compulsory use of helmets by batsmen, fielders and even coaching staff in the nets (PTG 1717-8513, 20 December 2015).

CA chief executive James Suth­erland said last May he wanted the recommendations in place ahead of the 2015-16 austral summer season, which is now well and truly over.  Curtain is understood to have examined the clip-on stem guards at the back of helmets that were introduced after Hughes was struck and killed by a blow to the back of the neck at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Nov­ember 2014.  Curtain, a former chairman of the Victorian Bar, was also asked to report into the response by medical staff and spoke to the doctors who attended Hughes at the time (PTG 1598-7738, 22 July 2015).

On Sunday Sri Lanka’s Kau­shal Silva was airlifted to hospital after being struck in the back of the head during a warm-up game for the Test series against England (PTG 1810-9056, 26 April 2016).  Reports suggest the ball struck Silva’s stem guard attachments which teammates believe saved him from more serious injury.  

CA’s Sutherland said when he commissioned the report into ­Hughes’ death that he expected its findings would help “determine whether we need to implement further [safety] measures before the 2015-16 season”.  When 'The Australian' revealed the inquiry report had been filed but not released last December a spokesman said then it would be released in the next week. CA now say the report is imminent but has not explained what the holdup is.

Helmet use is not mandatory for Australian batsmen or close fielders nor are the stem guards, but CA introduced new standards for helmets late last year and England followed suit ahead of its 2016 domestic season and made the use of the helmets mandatory (PTG 1698-8377, 28 November 2015).  The new safety standards ensure the grille and peak is fixed and more sturdy to halt facial injuries from the ball forcing through the gap in helmets with an adjustable grille.  

There has been reluctance from players to embrace the new regulations in both Australia and England.  Former Australian captain Michael Clarke only agreed to change after seeing Chris Rogers being forced to retire hurt after being struck during the Ashes (PTG 1605-7790, 29 July 2015).  Brad Haddin took the stem guards off his helmet during a CA Big Bash League match (PTG 1717-8513, 20 December 2015).  England’s Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott were threatened by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) with sanctions recently for continuing to wear outdated models (PTG 1806-9025, 21 April 2016). Helmet maker ‘Masuri' introduced the stem guards in April last year but take up has been slow (PTG 1535-7393, 14 March 2015).

Cricketers are reluctant to change their equipment, especially as the new grille interrupts the batsman’s line of sight and Clarke said at the time he’d spent six months trying to get used to that and the stem guards.  “My gear hasn’t changed for my whole career”, he said at the time. “My pads are the same, gloves are the same, so you are used to what you are used to.  Because I wear my collar up I can feel it there, it is more of a feel thing, like anything it is just about making that change”.

The ECB’s insistence that players wear the helmets has met with widespread resistance from current and former players, including Test batsman Nick Compton who was a teammate of Hughes at Sydney’s Western Suburbs club (PTG 1803-9008, 17 April 2016).  Former England opener Geoff Boycott scoffed that the regulations “makes us a sissy society” (PTG 1806-9029, 21 April 2016).

The New South Wales coroner is preparing to conduct a public inquest into Hughes’s death with reports prepared by police and a number of related experts on the table (PTG 1630-7955, 29 August 2015). The coroner will assess the time it took to call an ambulance, delays in the ambulance arriving at the ground and other incidents that led up to Hughes being struck.  Players and the umpires involved, Mike Graham-Smith and Ash Barrow, are expected to be called as witnesses at the inquest. 

Hughes remained on his feet when he was struck but fell to the side of the pitch seconds later. Dr John Orchard treated him and attempted to move him off the ground on a motorised stretcher but had to stop at the boundary and begin resuscitation.  An emergency doctor was in the stands and assisted but Hughes was unresponsive and died two days later in hospital (PTG 1470-7116, 29 November 2014).

Headline: Pakistan the latest to propose 'home' day-night Test.

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Tuesday, 26 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1812-9060.

Pakistan hope to host the West Indies in a day-night Test in October ahead of their pink-ball encounter in the same format with Australia in Brisbane two months later (PTG 1805-9019, 20 April 2016).   The West Indies are currently scheduled to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a series consisting of two Tests and six limited-over internationals.  If the offer is accepted, it could be a major boost to Pakistan, who generally to play their ‘home' Tests in the UAE front of empty stands.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has long been a supporter of day-night Test cricket, having been the first nation to formally invite a team, Sri Lanka, to play a Test under lights in Dubai in 2013 (PTG 1170-5652, 15 August 2013).  However, that offer, which was made over two years before Australia and New Zealand played the first day-night Test, was turned down by Sri Lanka specifically due to their players’ lack of match practice with the pink ball (PTG 1171-5662, 18 August 2013).

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has confirmed domestic day-night matches in the PCB’s Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first class series will also form a crucial part of his team's preparations for the Brisbane Test.  Even if the Test offer is knocked back by the West Indies, Misbah confirmed the Pakistan players would be exposed to the pink ball in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, the country’s premier first-class tournament, with every team likely to play at least one day-night first-class match later this year.

"If you don’t have match practice it will become difficult to play at Test level”, said Misbah, who is an advisor to the PCB’s cricket committee.  "It was one of the things discussed in the cricket committee’s previous meeting.  The bowlers are at advantage in the evening session and it becomes very difficult for batsmen under lights. That is one reason the cricketers from other countries are also reluctant to play Tests under lights. [Another] is the lack of match practice with the pink ball”.   While he still held some concerns about batting under lights with the pink ball, Misbah was prepared to back the concept as he believes day-night Tests are necessary to rejuvenate the sport.

The views expressed by the Pakistan captain were backed by one of his predecessors and now PCB chief executive Ramiz Raja, who also supports the idea of hosting day-night Tests in the UAE.  He thinks its a "very good innovation that will help Test cricket to increase its audience.  The PCB have held the final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy under the lights in Karachi for the last two years thus giving some of their players crucial experience in the conditions.  After the latest final last January Misbah, who was the winning captain in that game, called playing with a pink ball under lights a “massive challenge” (PTG 1733-8611, 9 January 2016).

The PCB’s interest in a day-night Test comes after news of scheduled, possible or suggested such games in Brisbane and Adelaide in the next eight months (PTG 1805-9019, 20 April 2016), South Africa in August (PTG 1809-9044, 24 April 2016), in India in October (PTG 1808-9034, 23 April 2016), New Zealand early next year (PTG 1753-8745, 3 February 2016), and even during the Ashes series of 2017-18 (PTG 1807-9030, 22 April 2016).  No everyone if happy with the concept, however, the International Cricket Council’s board reiterated its support for such games at its latest meeting earlier this week (PTG  1811-9054, 26 April 2016).

Headline: Day-night Test no longer a surprise for NZC.

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Tuesday, 26 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1812-9061.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has opened up to the possibility of playing a pink ball day-night Test match during their side's tour of India later this year.  The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) unilaterally announced plans for such a match last week, much to the surprise of NZC’s operations manager Lindsay Crocker who said then that first he heard of it was when media reports appeared that outlined the BCCI’s plans (PTG 1808-9034, 23 April 2016).

NZC chief executive David White had talks with BCCI officials during the International Cricket Council (ICC) meetings held in Dubai late last week (PTG 1806-9028, 21 April 2016), the ’New Zealand Herald’ quoting him as saying: "We've said we are receptive to the idea. We will work closely with the players, but in saying that, if the trials look good and [India] are comfortable with [the trials] it's very positive from our point of view. We believe day-night Test cricket has a big future in the game”.  

White said there was a solid consensus around the ICC table in Dubai about the importance of day-night cricket in the future Test landscape (PTG 1811-9054, 26 April 2016).  "The sentiment was very positive. Everyone realises it's going to be important for the future of the Test format to make it accessible to the fans”, he said.

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur indicated when announcing his organisation’s day-night plans that the five-match Duleep Trophy first class series just before New Zealand tour will act as a dress rehearsal for the potential day-night Test.  Indian media reports suggest Mumbai could emerge as the most likely venue to host the day-night Test should the two boards go ahead with the proposal.

Headline: Criticism for PCB as Younis apologises, escapes ban.

Article from: Wisden India.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Tuesday, 26 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1812-9062.

Former Pakistan captain Younis Khan has escaped what could have been a ban of three to five Test matches after apologising to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for his recent controversial retreat from the country’s domestic one-day tournament midway through the competition (PTG 1810-9049, 25 April 2016).  Younis withdrew from the Pakistan Cup over umpiring decisions that went against his Khyber Pakhtunkhawa side in two matches, the last of which saw him loose his entire match fee for the criticism (PTG 1811-9055, 26 April 2016). 

Faced with a potential ban and a tour to England coming up, Younis, 38, apologised in a phone call with PCB chairman Shahryar Khan and promised to immediately return to the tournament.  A PCB media release confirmed that they had received an apology from the batsman. Younis acknowledged that “being an advisor of the PCB chairman on cricketing affairs, it was obligatory on his part to participate in the premier one-day domestic tournament for the larger interest of the promotion of the game in the country”.

Younis maintained his stance on the umpiring in the two matches, but denied having misbehaved with any of the umpires.  He told a Pakistani TV channel he "had objected to a no-ball which was above chest height [and wasn’t called] and that’s all”.

Former Pakistan international Abdul Qadir and Test umpire Mahboob Shah are amongst those who have criticised the PCB over the matter.  The former said the national body should have taken action against Khan for turning the “gentleman's game" into the “shame game” and not allowed him to rejoin the Pakistan Cup, and the latter that the PCB’s stance was "dangerous, not only for players, but also for umpires".

Headline: CA chief pushes higher Test match pay.

Article from: Cricinfo.

Journalist: Daniel Brettig.                         

Published: Tuesday, 26 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1812-9063.

International cricket's future can only be secured by making Tests the financial pinnacle for players currently torn between Tests and domestic Twenty20 leagues, according tp Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland.  On returned on Tuesday from a round of International Cricket Council (ICC) meetings in Dubai, a gathering he considered as constructive as any he had witnessed in 15 years in his current position, Sutherland argued that any changes to the schedule or additions of championships or league formats had to run parallel with extensive work to ensure that the financial rewards for Tests outstripped the cash on offer in the Twenty20 format. 

Outside of Australia and England players, most can currently earn far more for a few weeks' work in the Indian Premier League (IPL) or CA’s Big Bash League (BBL) than their contract retainers or match fees to play international matches. This trend was underlined last summer in Australia when the payments for New Zealand and West Indies were lined upagainst those of the home side. Sutherland said players should not feel they are being shortchanged by putting international cricket first, meaning new ways must be found to pay them more generously for Tests in particular.

"I'm genuinely excited about the progress that's been made and the collective will that appears to be in the room among ICC Full Members to improve the context around international cricket and the quality of international cricket”, he said. "Some of the key things there are about trying to make way to ensure the best players play international cricket, that they're available and they don't feel under pressure to go and chase money in T20 leagues".

Among Sutherland's priorities while in Dubai was to further prosecute his case for a day-night Test against South Africa in Adelaide next summer. He said discussions with Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the South African players' association had revolved around ensuring South Africa's players had the maximum possible opportunities to get used to playing with a pink ball under lights before they arrive in Adelaide. Former captain Shaun Pollock has raised the possibility of a day-night Test at home against New Zealand in August, before the Australian tour begins (PTG 1809-9044, 24 April 2016).  So far CSA has not reacted publicly to that suggestion.

"I maintain my position that I continue to be optimistic about the Adelaide Test match being played as a day-night Test match”, Sutherland said. "In a timing sense we probably won't have any firm decisions on that until after the IPL's over, when [South Africa's] players get back home, but certainly constructive discussions and I think things are heading in the right direction".

"As we know from last year we'll see an enormous attendance at a day-night match in Adelaide. It'll be a bigger crowd than the South African players have ever seen before. To some extent that can add a little bit of extra trepidation when they haven't played under lights before; hopefully as part of the plan here we'll provide as much opportunity for them to prepare with pink balls and under lights both back at home and leading into the Test match. It's a lot about making sure they have a comfortable preparation to get themselves ready for that game”.

Headline: Clubs forced to clean-up after vandals do their thing.

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Tuesday, 26 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1812-9064.

Two cricket clubs run by volunteers, one in Bermuda and the other in England, have had to deal with the aftermath of attacks by vandals on their facilities over the last few days.  In one case a newly laid artificial pitch was significantly damaged, and in the other a shed was broken into, items stolen, and the scoreboard broken. In both cases though officials expect scheduled games at the respective grounds to proceed as scheduled.  

A volunteer groundsman in Bermuda has hit out at vandals who rode their bikes on a newly laid artificial pitch and destroyed a sign warning members of the public not to use the new strip.  Peter Profit said he was very disappointed and frustrated when he went to inspect the pitch at Shelly Bay on Monday morning and found it had been vandalised.  He told 'The Royal Gazette' that he, another club member and two tradesmen, had spent four days clearing the old strip and laying the new one.  

“A lot of work went into putting this new strip down”, said Profit. “To find that people had driven their bikes all over it leaving tyre marks and completed trashed the home-made sign I made is really annoying”.  "There’s no permanent damage and the start of the new evening league won’t be affected, but it’s just a sign of the times”.  “If I had seen them doing it I would have chased them all the way home and spoken with their parents”.

At the Conttingham Cricket Club in Yorkshire, a shed was broken into and items stolen, pots of paint were thrown around the ground and the scoreboard was smashed resulting in a damages bill of around £1,000 ($A1,890).  After viewing the damage club chairman Mike Gibson told the ‘Hull Daily Mail” the situation was “upsetting”.  "We run a tuck shop for the kids that visit the club every week and we built a new shed to keep all the items in, and that’s been damaged. It’s just an act of mindless vandalism”.  

Club member Craig Parker said, “They’ve taken around £400-worth of confectionery ($A750). It’s pretty devastating to be honest. It must have taken a lot of effort for whoever did it because it’s a long way to walk or cycle down here.  I’d appeal to any parents whose kids have come home last night with lots of paint on them and lots of sweets to come forward”.  Gibson said “The club’s made up of volunteers doing the best they can. It’s frustrating. Certainly in my time we’ve not experienced anything like this before”.  He said that despite the damage their next home game will go ahead. "I’m sure the league will be supportive of us so the club will rally round make sure everything is in order”.  

Headline: Unseasonal cold snap stops play.

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Tuesday, 26 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1812-9065.

Snow stopped play at county matches across England on Tuesday as an unseasonable cold snap.  Play was suspended at Edgbaston in the Warwickshire-Yorkshire fixture just ahead of the lunch break, Hampshire's Ageas Bowl where it and Somerset’s second XIs were playing, while the covers were put on for a period during Surrey's game against Somerset after a "very unexpected and sudden downfall of snow”.  Hampshire Cricket spokesman Jamie Hopkins said: “It’s not happened for a very long time, especially in April. A lot of the players were tweeting saying how shocked they were, a few of the guys were laughing about it".

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,813

  Thursday, 28 April 2016

 

• PCB issues ’show cause’ to ‘forgiven’ Younus [1813-9066]. 

• Suspect-action concerns continue in Dhaka Premier League [1813-9067]. 

• Silva discharged from hospital, to resume training soon [1813-9068]. 

• Top overseas officials managing IPL matches [1813-9069]. 

• Australia’s coaches to study in the United States [1813-9070]. 

Headline: PCB issues ’show cause’ to ‘forgiven’ Younus.

Article from: The Nation.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Thursday, 27 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1813-9066.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided on Tuesday to take disciplinary action against Younus Khan just one day after ‘forgiving’ the former captain (PTG 1812-9062, 27 April 2016).  The PCB has served Younus with a ‘show cause' notice for breaching various clauses in his central contract after he deserted his domestic team during the on-going Pakistan Cup in Faisalabad.  And despite his willingness to return he has also now been barred from rejoining his Khyber Pakhtunkhwa side.

Commenting on the development, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said: “Younus has been a great servant of Pakistan cricket and a true role model for youngsters.  I feel pained making this decision as we have to demonstrate that no one is bigger than the game.  We will wait for Younus to respond before we proceed further in this matter”.  A PCB spokesman said that Younus was found to have questioned an umpiring decision, showing dissent and threatening an umpire.  “Younus called Shaharyar on Monday to apologise for his actions but the PCB determined that the charges against him would remain intact”, said the spokesman.

Earlier, the PCB decided against taking any disciplinary action against Younus after he apologised for his actions.  That led to former national captain Javed Miandad, ex-cricketer Abdul Qadir and Test umpire Mahboob Shah strongly criticising the PCB, a reaction that appears to have resulted in a change of heart by the national body.  Miandad said that he was surprised that the board ignored senior batsman Younus' show of dissent.  "No matter how big a player is, indiscipline could not be tolerated at any cost as it left a bad precedent for the other players”.

Miandad noted that this was not for the first time that the PCB had ignored acts of indiscipline.  To make matters worse, five Pakistan players were reported to have been involved in a brawl at a theatre in Faisalabad where they went to watch a dance drama.  "What examples are we setting for our younger generation of players”, he questioned.

Headline: Suspect-action concerns continue in Dhaka Premier League.

Article from: Daily Star.

Journalist: Misbah Shakir .                         

Published: Wednesday, 27 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1813-9067.

Mohammad Saifuddin, a Cricket Coaching School player and member of the Bangladesh side in this year's Under-19 World Cup, has become the fifth player to be reported for suspected bowling action in the Dhaka Premier League's (DPL) first week of competition.  Some of Saifuddin’s deliveries are reported to have been a cause of concern for umpires Sharfuddoula and Tanvir Ahmedin in his side’s DPL match against Prime Bank Cricket Club on Tuesday.  He was a successful all-rounder for his country in this year’s Under-19 World Cup taking at total of 11 wickets at 18.1 and averaging 25 over four innings across six matches.  

Four other bowlers, left-arm spinner Moinul Islam and offspinner Mustafizur Rahman of Gazi Group Cricketers, left-arm spinner Amit Kumar of Abahani and left-arm spinner Rejaul Karim of Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club, were reported last week for suspected action in the current season of the DPL (PTG 1809-9043, 24 April 2016). The five reported bowlers can continue to play in the DPL as the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s review committee will assess them after the end of the tournament.

Headline: Silva discharged from hospital, to resume training soon.

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Wednesday, 27 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1813-9068.

Sri Lanka Test opener Kaushal Silva was discharged from hospital in Colombo on Tuesday where he was been treated for a head injury sustained whilst fielding at short leg during a match in Kandy (PTG 1811-9056, 26 April 2016).  Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) says that after keeping him under observation for 36 hours, medical experts identified Silva as suffering from a mild concussion and has been "totally cleared" to resume training with the national team, however, he will be rested for two more days.  

Headline: Top overseas officials managing IPL matches.

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Wednesday, 27 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1813-9069.

Eight members of the International Cricket Council’s top umpire and referee panels are now amongst the panel engaged in managing matches during the current Indian Premier League season.  They include half of the Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus, Chris Gaffaney, Bruce Oxenford, Sundarum Ravi and Rod Tucker, and two of the ICC’s seven top referees, Javagal Srinath and Ranjan Madugalle, plus former ICC referee Roshan Mahanama (PTG 1803-9010, 17 April 2016).   

The four English members of the EUP, Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough and Nigel Llong, are all at home standing at county level (PTG 1797-8980, 10 April 2016), while the remaining members, Aleem Dar and Paul Reiffel are either rostered later in the IPL season, are unavailable or are not required.

Headline: Australia’s coaches to study in the United States.

Article from: CA press release.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Wednesday, 27 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1813-9070.

    

A selection of Australia’s top-level up-and-coming coaches will head to the United States at the end of June to take part in a study tour aimed at developing their skills.  The study tour is aimed at giving participants the opportunity to "experience various elite performance environments, including professional sports, colleges, and media institutions", with a particular focus on the latest practices and what it takes to "create a culture of excellence".

Cricket Australia’s (CA) Executive General Manager Team Performance Pat Howard said it was important for Australian Cricket to invest in the professional development of current elite coaches as well as those coaches coming through the pathway system. “This program represents a significant piece of the overall Elite Coach Program in place for the year.  All those selected for this tour are currently working across Australian cricket and have been identified as future national coaches.  It’s about seeing what works well in other elite environments. This trip provides a great opportunity to look outside the box and expand our thinking in a number of areas”, said Howard.

Those who are to take part in the study tour are: Justin Langer, Greg Blewett, Adam Griffith, Graeme Hick, Matthew Mott, Phil Jaques, Ryan Harris and David Hussey.  Both Brad Hodge and Mike Hussey are not available due to Caribbean Premier League commitments.

CA says a panel of high performance staff were consulted on the selection of participants, the selection criteria including, but not exclusive to a person’s capability: to be a future Australian head coach or specialist assistant coach; to be a future state, Big Bash League or international head coach; and for growth and the ability to learn and share with others in Australian Cricket based on the opportunity and experience.  CA says plans are currently in place to identify subsequent study tours in 2017 with a particular focus on female programs.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,814

  Friday, 29 April 2016

 

• Club forfeits league spot after cheats caught out [1814-9071]. 

• Another day, yet another PCB stance on Younis [1814-9072]. 

Headline: Club forfeits league spot after cheats caught out.

Article from: The National.

Journalist: William Dick.                         

Published: Thursday, 28 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1814-9071.

One of Britain’s oldest cricket clubs has been thrown out of its league after the sons of one of the world's top umpires lied about being Scottish born.  Ali and Hassan Dar, whose father Aleem Dar is a member of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), falsely claimed they had been born in Glasgow in a bid to meet competition rules.  The pair posed as 'Umer Mustafa' and 'Saleh Mustafa' and claimed to be Glasgow-born, a move that allowed them to play for Kilmarnock Cricket Club (KCC) in the Scotland’s Western District Cricket Union (WDCU) first division in 2015.

However, the siblings, who were both born in Pakistan, saw their plan backfire on the club for as a result of the deception it has now been relegated from the WDCU’s second-tier competition the first division, its opening match of the season being scheduled this Saturday.  A WDCU official declared: “We received information regarding possible breaches of league rules and our investigation proved this to be the case.  It was found that two players were registered with improper details and one, or both, participated in a number of matches during the 2015 season”.  There has been no suggestion at all that Dar senior knew of his sons' deception.

The official continued: "The [Union’s Cricket Management Committee (CMC)] has decided to follow precedent by deducting all the points gained by Kilmarnock in league matches in 2015 in which the two illegally registered players participated.  [As a result] Kilmarnock have been deducted 49 points and are now relegated to the second division for 2016.  The club stated that an individual had been responsible for supplying the information and exercised their right to appeal the decision to the [WDCU’s] Appeals Committee on the grounds that club officials were unaware of the true circumstances. The original CMC decision to regard the breach as a club offence was upheld though, and the penalty has now been applied accordingly [and] Kilmarnock have accepted the punishment”.

KCC's place in this year’s first division competition will be taken by previously relegated St Michael’s.  Kilmarnock, a powerhouse of Scottish cricket for many years, won the WDCU’s competition seven times in the period from 1949-1970. Accomplished former players include Scotland internationalists the late James Aitchison, and Bobby Hill, a past president of the Scottish Cricket Union.  Ironically, their best player at the moment is Muhammad Azeem Dar, a Scotland Under-19 player and nephew of the EUP's Dar.  

Headline: Another day, yet another PCB stance on Younis.

Article from: The International News.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Thursday, 28 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1814-9072.

Pakistan’s cricket authorities made yet another a U-turn on Wednesday when they allowed former Test captain Younis Khan to rejoin his team in the Pakistan Cup one-day tournament after initially disallowing him to do so on disciplinary grounds.  The Board had seemingly taken a tough stance against Younis, who withdrew from the country’s premier one-day tournament following a row with the umpires, by rejecting an earlier apology from Pakistan’s most successful Test run-getter (PTG 1812-9062, 27 April 2016).

However, after further consideration the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided to pardon Younis and announced that he could rejoin his team, Khyber Pakthunkhwa, for the Pakistan Cup series under progress in Faisalabad.  “A show cause notice was issued to Younis Khan after a disciplinary breach during the ongoing Pakistan Cup”, said the PCB in a statement (PTG 1813-9066, 28 April 2016).  “In his response to the show cause notice, Younis Khan expressed regret over his conduct and has duly apologised. In view of his acceptance of the wrong-doing and consequent apology, the PCB’s chairman has decided to accept his explanation”.  “Consequently, Younis Khan may now join the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa squad should the team qualify for the final of the Pakistan Cup”.

The Board statement quoted PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan as saying that the decision was taken after it became apparent that Younis had admitted his mistake.  “Younis has served Pakistan cricket for a number of years and he has developed a shining reputation in Pakistan and abroad. While this incident is unfortunate, I am glad to note that Younus has admitted his mistake”, runs the quote attributed to Shaharyar.

The Board’s latest move was in stark contrast to its earlier stance when it 'got tough' on Younis.  It served the former Pakistan captain with a 'show cause notice' for breaching various clauses in his central contract after he walked out of the Pakistan Cup and barred from rejoining Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, despite his willingness to return.  It announced he had been charged with questioning an umpiring decision, showing dissent and threatening an umpire. The PCB also found that Younis had breached various clauses in his category A central contract with Pakistan.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,815

  Saturday, 30 April 2016

 

• Counties angry at ECB approach to funds sharing [1815-9073]. 

• WICB to consider PCB day-night Test proposal [1815-9074]. 

• Aussie players only want one day-night Test in 2016-17 [1815-9075]. 

• NZC appoints new Match Officials’ Manager [1815-9076]. 

Headline: Counties angry at ECB approach to funds sharing.

Article from: The Times.

Journalist: Elizabeth Ammon.                         

Published: Friday, 29 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1815-9073.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has angered county chief executives by significantly increasing its salary bill by £UK3.5 million ($A6.7 m) as well as its levels of cash reserves, according to accounts for the 2015-16 year.  The £3.5 million increase in wages to £20 million ($A38.4 m) a year has sparked the most concern at county level because it is equivalent to the annual income of one of the smaller first-class counties.

It is understood that a number of counties have expressed their dismay to ECB chairman Colin Graves. At present, the ECB hands out between £1.5 m and £3 m ($A2.9-5.8 m) to each county, according to the number of England players they produce.  The national governing body, which enjoyed a big operating profit for the year, pays an average salary of £98,000 ($A188,000) per annum to its employees, although that figure does include the salaries and win bonuses of contracted England players during what was a successful year.  However, it still represents a 21 per cent increase from the previous year’s accounts. The average salary is put into stark contrast when it is considered that Essex recently advertised for a full-time press officer at the paltry annual salary of £15,000 ($A28,800).

The accounts, which are due to be published shortly, are also expected to show that the ECB’s cash reserves have increased from £65 m to £73 m ($A124.8-140.2 m). It is likely that this figure will be challenged by most county chairmen who wonder why, when many counties are strapped with huge debts or constrained by running operating losses year on year, some of these enormous reserves could not be more fairly redistributed.

The ECB manages its financial planning on a four-year cycle, which, it says, enables it to maintain the level of investments across the different parts of the operation. The past two years have been more lucrative because they have involved tours by India and Australia, which bring in more revenue.  The next two years will be financially leaner and the total cash reserves are expected to be lower by the end of 2018. However, both the first-class counties and those in the recreational game will be looking for assurances from Scott Smith, the new ECB chief financial officer, when he takes up his role next month, that he will look again at the financial strategy.

Headline: WICB to consider PCB day-night Test proposal.

Article from: Stabroek News.

Journalist: Not stated.                         

Published: Friday, 29 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1815-9074.

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) are mulling a proposal from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to play a Test under lights during the Caribbean side’s scheduled tour later this year.  The Windies are set to play two Tests, five One Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates starting in October, and the PCB have proposed that one of the Tests be played as a day-night affair (PTG 1812-9060, 27 April 2016). 

It is understood the proposal will be under consideration when the WICB executive committee meets here this weekend.  This has been driven in part by the International Cricket Council’s recent call for member bodies to “embrace the innovation” of the day-night concept (PTG 1811-9054, 26 April 2016).  The PCB are hoping West Indies agree to the proposal as it would add a new dimension to the series which is expected to be otherwise played in front empty stands. In addition, the game would allow Pakistan important match practice with the pink ball, as they gear up for their ‘pink-ball’ Test against Australia in Brisbane next December (PTG 1795-8959, 8 April 2016).

The PCB are keen on reviving their cricket which has suffered from their inability to host matches because of the volatile security situation in Pakistan.  An offer to host their first game in seven years on Pakistani soil was rejected by the WICB earlier this month. Former Test captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, who is an advisor to the PCB’s cricket committee, said it was important Pakistan played a Test under lights before taking on Australia.  He said even if the West Indies night Test did not materialise, there were plans to play day-night fixtures during the Pakistan first class championship, in order to begin to familiarise players with the new concept.

Headline: Aussie players only want one day-night Test in 2016-17.

Article from: Fairfax Media.

Journalist: Andrew Wu.                         

Published: Friday, 29 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1815-9075.

Cricket Australia (CA) is facing a major fight persuading its players to agree to a second day-night Test due to ongoing concerns over the pink ball.  CA have already locked in a day-night Test against Pakistan in Brisbane, but talks are taking place with South Africa for another pink-ball game in Adelaide next austral summer.  While the issue had been portrayed as one between CA and their South African counterparts (PTG 1805-1919, 20 April 2016), Australia's players are keen to have their voice heard.

The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) released a statement on Friday complaining about the lack of consultation between the players and CA, a move which surprised the governing body which says the union was involved in talks over the schedule.  CA boss James Sutherland met his ACA counterpart Alistair Nicholson on Thursday to discuss the issue, but there is unlikely to be progress until after Australia's and South Africa's players return from the Indian Premier League (IPL).

CA last year threw in $A1 million (£UK521,000) prize money, to be split 60-40 between the winner and loser, to convince New Zealand to play the inaugural floodlit Test, and another financial inducement may be required next summer (PTG 1804-9012, 19 April 2016).  Australian captain Steve Smith said via CA’s web site earlier this week Australia would be happy to play South Africa under lights if their players agreed, but his comments are at odds with the stance taken by the ACA.  They say players want clarification from CA over the direction they want to head with day-night Tests and are bemused that, after agreeing to play one last summer, there is now a push to increase to two.

The ACA say players are worried about the need to prepare wickets differently in order to preserve the ball. The example they give is Adelaide, which is traditionally a batsman-friendly wicket but last year hosted a three-day Test.  There are also concerns whether the Gabba is the ideal venue to play under lights after a less-than-impressive trial with the pink ball in the Shield in February.

Nicholson said Australia's players must be involved in discussions with the two boards.  "The recent media regarding whether South Africa will or won't play a day-night Test is only one part of the equation. There are many other factors to be considered”, Nicholson said.  "The feedback we are receiving from our playing group is that there still remains concerns over day-night Tests and, whilst there is acknowledgement that this format may grow the game, at this stage the players would prefer to only play one day-night Test in 2016-17” (PTG 1706-8445, 8 December 2016).

The ACA say players are unhappy they have been portrayed as being against innovation and not being able to "see the bigger picture”.  "It's about growing the game through high-quality cricket, accessible to as many people as possible”, Nicholson said.  "That's why we urge more formal discussions with the players having a seat at the table. On behalf of the players, the ACA would welcome that”.

CA remains optimistic the Adelaide Test with South Africa will again be held under lights.  "After the success of last summer's Adelaide Test, the anticipation in that market is huge”, a CA spokesman said.  "Whilst discussions between ourselves and Cricket South Africa will continue, we don't expect material progress on this matter until after the IPL concludes”.

Headline: NZC appoints new Match Officials’ Manager.

Article from: Media reports.

Journalist: PTG Editor.                         

Published: Friday, 29 April 2016.   

PTG listing: 1815-9076.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) are reported to have appointed Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri as its new Match Officials’ manager to replace Rodger McHarg who retired from the position at the end of March after eight years in the role (PTG 1778-8879, 10 March 2016).  Currently a senior New Zealand rugby referee, Eden-Whaitiri is also the Otago Rugby Football Union’s Referees’ Eduction Officer, but he is not the first from that game to work in the management of national-level umpires.  

Records available indicate Napier-born Eden-Whaitiri, 31, who will be based in Christchurch in his new position, has umpired cricket in Auckland as well as in that region’s National Club Championship series.  The All Blacks web site quotes him as saying he keeps fit by running and that his advice to aspiring referees is to: "Referee each game like it's your last”.

NZC has described the role Eden-Whaitiri will now assume as being "responsible for providing leadership and management of cricket umpiring and match officiating in NZ at both community and professional level, [a task that involves working] with a number of international and NZ stakeholders to oversee umpiring at all levels of the game".  The job also "manages [NZ’s] elite match officials and is responsible for playing conditions and code of conduct management”. 

On Friday the ‘Otago Daily Times’ (ODT) quoted Eden-Whaitiri as saying he is confident his current role in rugby has set him up well for his new responsibilities, work he described as ‘’exciting” but "a big challenge at the same time”.  ‘‘The [new] role is quite wide-reaching ... but I'm prepared and ready to take it head on”.  The ‘ODT’ says Eden-Whaitiri "will have to brush up on the Laws of Cricket", but his focus will be more about ‘‘delivering the community strategy’'.   

NZC announced an umpiring initiative as part of that ‘community strategy’ eight months ago (PTG 1632-7976, 31 August 2015), however, given what the NZC has said in the time since about its current tight budgetary situation, questions remain though as to whether the organisation has the appropriate resources to turn its ideas involved into reality.  But says Eden-Whaitiri: ‘‘Just like in rugby, recruitment is an issue, so one of my big tasks is to get more people in the middle umpiring”.  He says he’s "upped the number [of rugby referees in Otaga] by close to 50 per cent in the three years I've been here”. 

Eden-Whaitiri has, says the ‘ODT’ story, a law degree but has not worked in that industry, his heart was always being with sport. When he realised his skill did not match his ambition, he took up refereeing rugby while still at school and cricket umpiring at 18.  He has refereed in 48 first class rugby games and assisted in 21 Super rugby games. But a couple of poor performances in 2013 stymied his career.  ‘‘It was hard to take at the time, but that is professional sport”.  Umpiring "can be a bit of a thankless task, but once you get out there and get into the heat of the battle ... it is a really good challenge and I just love it”.  

 


Others around the world with a Rugby background now involved in senior cricket umpire management include Stuart Cummings, who is currently serving on the England and Wales Cricket Board's Cricket Liaison Officer (CLO) group for the third season running, and Peter Marshall who now has seven seasons on Cricket Australia’s Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP).  Information available suggests neither of them has umpired a game of cricket at any level,

Cummings, 55, played two seasons of Minor Counties cricket in the late 1980s and was head of England Rugby League’s match official department before joining the CLO panel (PTG 1306-6299, 5 March 2014).  Marshall, 60, has had wide international experience as a Rugby Union referee, officiating in thirty-two Tests as well as other matches in countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and the Pacific Islands in the decade from 1993-2003 (PTG 454-2364, 13 July 2009).  





End of April 2016 news.