Share:
 
JUNE 2016
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 25 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 9213-9353)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below 
 
 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,841

  Wednesday, 1 June 2016

 

• ICC committee briefed on UDRS testing work [1841-9213].

• Umpire's 'no ball’ call leads to his sister’s death [1841-9214].

• Bermudan faces ban over umpire abuse [1841-9215].

• Committee recommends day-night format for Duleep Trophy [1841-9216].

• CA to push for 2017-18 day-night Ashes Test [1841-9217].

• Overseas officials to the fore in IPL finals [1841-9218].

• Umpire unfairly treated by cricket board, claims Mum [1841-9219].

• Calgary pitch unplayable after vandals cut out carpet [1841-9220].

• Thieves target cricket club in Leominster [1841-9221].

• The many shoes of Roshan Mahanama [1841-9222].

ICC committee briefed on UDRS testing work.

Osman Samiuddin.

The National.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016.

PTG 1841-9213. 

The week’s meeting of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee, which is being held at Lord’s this year, has been presented with what is the first independent assessment of technologies that make up in the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) (PTG 1827-9139, 14 May 2016).  Nobody will say so outright, but the hope is that the results will be encouraging enough to nudge the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) – and other sceptics – to start reviewing their stance on UDRS use.

Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston have been working with the ICC over the last year to test ball-tracking and edge-detection technologies used in the game.  Sanjay Sarma, professor for mechanical engineering at MIT, and Dr Jaco Pretorius, who headed up the research side of the project, have given presentations on their work and findings to the Cricket Committee.  They are also believed to have provided similar briefings to senior ICC officials in Dubai last month.

Their assessment was prompted by the events of the 2011 series between England and India and more recently, the 2013 Ashes. In both, 'Hot Spot', the infrared imaging system employed to detect edges on bats through the heat created by the friction between bat and ball, suffered a couple of high-profile glitches. That led to its creator Warren Brennan to concede that Hot Spot “will miss fine edges" on occasions (PTG 1146-550, 13 July 2013).

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the apparatus that was developed as part of the fine edge detection study.

The first step for Sarma's team was to build suitable apparatus that could be used specifically to test the technologies. They began by creating a device for edge-detection technologies that was completed and put to use in September last year at the England Cricket Board’s National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough (PTG 1643-8045, 11 September 2015).

Geoff Allardice, the ICC’s general manager cricket who has overseen the entire process, said earlier this month that “One of the difficulties in testing these edge-detection products is that their performance is probably best assessed when there is really fine contact.  But to generate enough really fine contact repeatedly – if you have somebody throw a ball and somebody try to generate thin edges for a big enough sample, you’d have someone there for a week doing it.  [As a result they made] an apparatus with a swinging arm where we generate fine contact between ball and bat on a regular basis.

The bat was instrumented with sensors so that vibration from the thinnest contact with the ball registers on a piece of the MIT team’s recording equipment; the sound that the contact creates is also recorded by the technology being tested, for example Hawk-Eye’s ‘Ultraedge’ that automatically synchronises vision from ultra motion cameras to the audio from stump mics. The resulting data – from the MIT device and Ultraedge – were then cross-referenced and compared. The method of testing was also used to assess the other form of edge-detection, the heat-based 'Hot Spot'. 

It is anticipated that some of the results from the research, particularly if they are positive, could be released by the ICC after the Cricket Committee meeting ends on Wednesday London time.

Umpire's 'no ball’ call leads to his sister’s death.

Eram Agha.

Times of India

Tuesday, 31 May 2016.

PTG 1841-9214. 

Angry about an umpire’s call of ’no ball’ in a Jarara Premier League (JPL) match played in the small town of Jarara 175 km south-east of New Delhi last Saturday, a player allegedly sought revenge the next day by poisoning the official’s sisters, one of whom subsequently died.  Reports say player Sandeep Pal asked umpire Raj Kumar to reverse his call, but when he refused Pal indicated the umpire would pay dearly for the mistake and that he would lose one of his family members. 

Kumar is reported to have brushed off the threat for in rural Uttar Pradesh violence during sporting events is normal and threats of murder fly thick and fast.  On Sunday Pal, who knew what time Kumar's family members went out to tend their fields, stopped his sisters and offered them cold drinks laced with poison. 

The four are said to have known Pal and didn't suspect anything untoward.  Kumar’s 15-year-old sister Pooja collapsed almost immediately after taking a drink while the three others are in hospital. Pal has been declared an absconder by the police and Kumar says he will never umpire again.  

A local religious leader said he "always knew it was a bad idea to hold such a cricket tournament here. My fears have come true.  We resisted the formation of the league from the very beginning because these people don't know what sportsmanship is. They are touchy and violent".  The JPL's chairman said: "Give them a bat and they will swing it at each other's head. The league was formed after much resistance and one of the conditions [for it to go ahead] was that if a dispute arose no one would take matters into their own hands”.

The area’s police chief said the death of Pooja is being investigated and that at the site of the incident a bottle that contained a potent insecticide had been found. Teams that played in the JPL were vying for a prize of 5,100 Rupees ($A105, £UK52).   

Bermudan faces ban over umpire abuse.

Lawrence Trott.

The Royal Gazette.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016.

PTG 1841-9215. 

Willow Cuts face losing Kavon Fubler to a ban after reacted violently after he was given out in a Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) Premier Division match on the weekend.  In the first innings of the one-day game Fubler, after being given out LBW, knocked down the stumps with his bat, used offensive language to umpire Cal Waldron then, after leaving the field, threw a ball in the direction of Waldron which hit the stumps. 

Dexter Basden, the Willow Cuts coach, said Fubler “was given out and felt he wasn’t out and obviously was all uptight.  These guys love the game but have to learn how to respect the game and the decisions the umpires make. I preach to them every week about respecting the umpires and their decisions because, a lot of times you may hit the ball and he [the umpire] may not give you out but you don’t walk. The incident wasn’t good for cricket”.

With no power given to the umpires to prevent it Fubler, 24, went out to field in the second innings of the game with his team to defend their score, bowler in a total of 6.3 overs. Basden met with the umpires before that innings "and they said as long as I can deal with the situation that they would continue on playing”. “I pulled [Fubler] aside and we resolved what needed to be resolved. I promised the umpires it wouldn’t get out of hand. We figured after the game the Board and us would deal with it”. 

A former Cuts captain, Basden said Fubler could face disciplinary action by the club, with the BCB also likely to impose a ban once the umpires’ reports have been received. “The club will be meeting with him on Thursday”, Basden said. “I don’t condone [his behaviour] and he will be dealt with by the club”.

Committee recommends day-night format for Duleep Trophy.

Cricket Country.

Monday, 30 May 2016.

PTG 1841-9216. 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Technical Committee took an important step on Sunday as it recommended the 2016-17 Duleep Trophy first class series be played under lights with a pink ball. The move is part of plans to stage a day-night Test in India later this year (PTG 1812-9061, 27 April 2016).

The Duleep tournament which wasn’t held last season due to a busy calendar has been scheduled to be played ahead of India’s 2016-17 home season in October, four rather than five sides as in the past being involved in what is seen as a round-robin rather than a knock out event. 

The Technical Committee also recommended India’s Ranji Trophy first class matches be played at neutral venues: ”In a bid to make domestic cricket more competitive and rule out issues related to preparing specific pitches to favour home teams”.

CA to push for 2017-18 day-night Ashes Test.

Ben Dorries.

The Courier-Mail.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016.

PTG 1841-9217. 

The push is on to throw tradition out the window and stage the first day-night Ashes Test.  Seduced by the inaugural floodlit Test in Adelaide last summer, Cricket Australia (CA) is keen on the chances of a home pink-ball Ashes Test during the 2017-18 austral summer.  Late last week New Zealand Cricket was reported to be mulling a day-night Test against England later in the same season (PTG 1838-9202, 28 May 2016). 

“Is [an Ashes Test] on the table? Absolutely”, CA team performance boss Pat Howard said, but “Nothing is absolutely locked away yet [however] I think what you are seeing is a lot of the international cricket boards are moving very quickly and they are very keen [on day-night Test cricket]”.  Howard’s boss, CA chief executive James Sutherland has a similar view (PTG 1807-9030, 22 April 2016), and England chairman Colin Graves indicated recently his board is a supporter of pink ball Test cricket (PTG 1832-9167, 20 May 2016), but former Australian captain Ricky Ponting is not so keen (PTG 1830-9157, 18 May 2016).

Meanwhile, tickets for the November Test between South Africa and Australia in Adelaide have not gone on sale due to ongoing doubts about the game's timing, that is whether it will be played in a day or day-night format (PTG 1837-9195, 27 May 2016).  CA said in a statement issued on Tuesday that it was still trying to confirm the final Test of the South African series.  Tickets to the rest for the 2016-17 international season in Australia went on sale on Tuesday.

Overseas officials to the fore in IPL finals.

PTG Editor

Tuesday, 31 May 2016.

PTG 1841-9218. 

Indian Premier League (IPL) organisers used a total of 28 umpires and referees to manage the 60 matches that made up the 2016 version of the event.  Of those, 21 were umpires and 7 match referees, 16 of the former and 5 of the latter being from India, the other seven coming from four separate countries: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Across all games, Indian umpires were appointed to 60 per cent, and those from other countries 40 per cent, of all on-field spots available, while on the third umpire front, Indians worked in those positions 90 per cent of the time and the overseas officials the remaining 10 per cent. Of the referees jobs, Indians oversaw 66 per cent of the games played.  

When it came to the four finals matches though, the appointment ratios were reversed, overseas umpires occupying 63 per cent of the on-field positions and Indians 37 per cent, while the Indians filled 75 per cent of the television spots, and the two overseas referees 100 per cent of their positions.

Umpire unfairly treated by cricket board, claims Mum.

Wendy Chester.

Stabroek News.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016.

PTG 1841-9219. 

About eight years ago my son Monty Chester, heeded the call of an ad in the newspapers placed by the local umpiring fraternity. They were calling for interested members of the public to come and learn the laws of the cricket. Being a player and a lover of the sport my son joined the classes, not with the intention of being an umpire, but to improve his knowledge of the game. He went to the top of his class and was encouraged to join the Georgetown Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association. Thus began the journey of a cricket umpire.

In 2011, Monty became a fully qualified West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) umpire and he has been making continuous strides. He has earned the respect of many of our local cricketers and is even requested by the Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA) to do their tournament finals.

Recently, the WICB requested the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) to nominate a local umpire to join the Caribbean’s emerging umpires panel. The criteria stated that the umpire should be under 35, active in umpiring and fully qualified. The GCB asked the Guyana Cricket Umpires Council (GCUC) to submit not one but three eligible candidates. The names of Monty and two other candidates were submitted. A few weeks ago it was revealed that the executives at the GCB had selected Ryan Banwarie.

My first question is, why are GCB executives making a final decision on umpires and not the umpires themselves? Are the GCB executives at many games to assess who is the best umpire? No, they are not. Secondly, Monty has been fully qualified for over five years while the selected umpire has been qualified for less than two.

Thirdly, over the past two years Monty has been working as a stand-by umpire for the WICB in their junior tournaments held in Guyana. Banwarie has never done tthat. Such stand-by work is usually given to developing umpires for them to learn from senior umpires and have the experience of being on the Player Control team for a regional tournament. How can Monty have done all this work – more than the other candidates – and still be overlooked?

One rumour is that he was snubbed because he was not physically fit. However, if this rumour is true: why does the GCB select him for senior intercounty matches; and why has the GCB has never sent him for a physical examination.  I am confident that my son can pass any fitness test. While doing his morning jog in the park he often sees and acknowledges the GCB president doing his morning walk. So at least, some official at the GCB would know of my son’s exercise habits. 

The snub has disappointed and angered my son.  Even though he is reading for an MBA at the University of the West Indies, he is still making time in his busy schedule for his umpiring. Being a professional and progressive person he always aims to develop in his endeavours.  Looking at the data on the candidates, any fair person can see that my son has been unfairly treated.

Calgary pitch unplayable after vandals cut out carpet.

Lucie Edwardson.

Calgary Metro.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016.

PTG 1841-9220. 

Calgary’s cricket community is reeling following a blatant act of vandalism at one of the city’s few cricket pitches. Salman Khan, president of Calgary and District Cricket League, said the vandals deliberately cut a strip out of the carpet right down the middle of their Forest Lawn ground sometime late last week, forcing them to cancel  weekend games there. “They made sure there wouldn’t be any cricket played there”, said Khan.

 

The pitch is one of six in the city that caters to more than 1,000 players, who typically play their games on the weekends.  Sabeel Khan, president of the St. John’s cricket club, said when his team arrived for their games last weekend they were upset by the destruction they saw. Both men confirmed this is the second time this pitch has been vandalised. They said last year someone ripped up the carpet but "This year they made sure they absolutely cut it so there is no way to fix it unless we get bring a brand new carpet in”.

Sabeel said it’s hard to know for sure, but he would guess the vandalism is racially motivated. “Possibly because the majority of players here in Calgary are East Indian background, so a visible minority”.  He had a bad experience a few weeks ago at the same ground. “I was standing on the side and this guy riding on a bike was yelling at us saying it was a stupid game and swearing at us, telling us to leave and spitting towards us”, he said.   The league hopes to have the pitch replaced by this coming weekend.

Thieves target cricket club in Leominster.

Jessica Phillips.

Hereford Times.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016.

PTG 1841-9221. 

The chairman of a cricket club in Leominster, Herefordshire, which is working hard to keep the sport in the town, said members were left 'gutted' when thieves struck last week.  Members of Dales Cricket Club (DCC) discovered that a large fridge and alcohol had been stolen from their pavilion.  Locks and lights were smashed in the process and the double-hinged beer fridge was carried across the pitch and over a fence.

DCC chairman Ian Jones said: "We were absolutely gutted. There's only a small band of us and we are the last club in Leominster and try really hard to keep cricket in the town.  We started a junior section earlier this year and there is a demand so hopefully things will go from strength to strength.  The intention is to keep them going so we have got a few to take through to the senior team”.

The pavilion building has been in place for around seven years but it has been an on-going process to get it up and running due to funding issues.  This year’s project was to get the bar in place.  However, CCTV and an alarm system will now have to be installed at a cost estimated ar between £1,500 and £2,000 ($A3,025-4,035).  The total cost of the break-in – combining the cost of the stolen equipment and the damage caused – was around £750 ($A1,510).

Jones said the monies involved will have to come from somewhere else. "It will take a few years to get back to where we were. It's just so annoying. Some people have said they will get together and raise some money.  Leominster is a close-knit community anyway and anything that goes wrong, people step in to raise money.  We have had quite a few people say they would donate. It brings back faith in people and that there are more good people out there than people who just help themselves”.

The many shoes of Roshan Mahanama.

Akash Sarkar.

Cricbuzz

Tuesday, 31 May 2016.

PTG 1841-922. 

In December last year, Roshan Mahanama stepped down from his position from the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) top match referees’ panel hoping to take a break from cricket and spend some time with family (PTG 1702-8418, 3 December 2015). The aim was to spend more time in Sri Lanka and set up a pharmaceutical distribution business.

Mahanama's tenure on the panel lasted for 11 years, six months and 15 days and saw him officiate in 318 international matches across all three formats - the fourth highest behind Ranjan Madugalle, Chris Broad and Jeff Crowe.  He decided to step down six months ahead of the completion of his contract ending his career with the historical Australia-New Zealand day-night Test in Adelaide.

"It was a privilege to be involved with the game that I love so much and to work for the governing body [but] after you've been involved with an organisation for so long, it's very difficult to leave.  I've worked for 25 years as a player and as a match referee. It was a very hard decision that I had to take. However, I've been traveling very frequently for 25 years and I have a daughter who is 24. It'll be nice to spend time with her”.

The life of an umpire or a match referee involves equal or more amount of traveling than the players. For instance in 2015 alone, Mahanama spent a little over eight months officiating in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe and India, the latter involving a month away during the eighth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).  This year’s IPL saw him on duty for six weeks.

Mahanama feels it's very important to have the backing of the family if one has to excel as a match referee. "They've made huge sacrifices for me when I was player and then when I decided to become a match referee”, he says. "I've been blessed to have a wife and kids, who have been very understanding. The only down side of the job was time spent away from the family”.

As we chat, the focus shifts on the challenges of being a match referee, how they can take the burden off the umpires and key aspects of being a successful referee.  "Our job is not easy”, he asserts. "The transition from a player to a match referee is tough. You need to have good man-management and communication skills because it helps in getting the best out of people. If you have the passion and the people with whom you work with know that you respect them, it becomes a lot easier".

“Over the years the role of a match referee has evolved and we don't interfere in the traditional role of the umpire. I try to take the burden off them and taking care of various things, their security and I always tried to ensure that they take the field without any worry in their mind.

"When I was a player, I could switch off. When I became a match referee and sat on the same side with the umpires, I understood how difficult it is. There were instances where the mind wandered away from the game. I had to develop it over the years. A post-lunch session in a Test was a time where it got difficult at times. But over the years I became much better on it”, he adds trying hard not to laugh.

Mahanama, till now, has lived an entire life around the game he loves so much and is quick to point out that he's not retiring from cricket just yet.  "I'm not retiring. I'm the second youngest in the panel. I still have the age on my side”, he says. "I realised that I wasn't enjoying the role and the best decision would be to move away from the game for a bit, take a break and access what I need to do. I'll also got get a chance to spend time with my family".

Though he had decided to take a break from cricket he went on to officiate earlier this year in the Pakistan Super League and Masters Champions League and now in IPL-9.  When asked about his decision of taking time off the game, he evades the question with some friendly banter before reminding us that after the IPL he'll have plenty of time for his family and his business venture.  But he still wants to be a part of the grind and be associated with the game.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,842

  Thursday, 2 June 2016

 

• League president resigns after successful umpire ‘strike’ [1842-9223].

• Test ‘league’ could be in place by 2019 [1842-9224].

• NZC open to potential change to ‘Dukes’ balls [1842-9225].

• Player concerns reported behind latest CA ‘Dukes’ trial [1842-9226].

• PCB imports ‘Dukes’ for pre-England tour training [1842-9227].

• Opening Sheffield Shield matches to be day nighters? [1842-9228].

• ICC fixing event draws so India, Pakistan are in same group [1842-9229].

• Teenager critical after brain haemorrhage in T20 Game [1842-9230].

• NZ sports taking stand against homophobia, racism [1842-9231].

• Dar illness forces departure from field [1842-9232].

• Club angry after vandals destroy new covers [1842-9233].

• Air show stops club fund raiser [1842-9234].

• Man uses wife as stake for IPL match bet [1842-9235].

League president resigns after successful umpire ‘strike’.

PTG Editor.

Caribbean reports.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016.

PTG 1842-9223. 

A “brief strike” staged by local and Windward Islands’ sub-regional umpires on the island of Grenada is reported to have led to the resignation of Dwain Gill, the President of the Grenada Cricket Association (GCA), on Tuesday.  The controversy involved is said to have erupted during this year's Windward Islands Senior Tournament which features teams from Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The “strike” is said to have been called to protest the use of Grenadian Keith St. Louis as a third or reserve umpire in the tournament on the grounds that he was not qualified to work in the event.  St.Louis, who was part of the panel for the first round of matches, was also selected as the reserve umpire for the second round game between Dominica and St.Lucia, the same day the Grenada and St.Vincent and the Grenadines teams were also due to play each other.

The start of both matches was delayed by an hour on Tuesday morning because of the protest which involved four local umpires and one each from Dominica and St.Vincent and the Grenadines.  It has also been reported that the umpires were ordered by John Greenidge, the President of the Grenada Umpires Association, to withhold their service until St. Louis was withdrawn, thus bringing the strike to an end.  The GCA is responsible for appointing the local umpires for regional tournaments.

Gill’s resignation will be seen as a major setback to the GCA’s effort to bolster the sport in the tri-island state.  Since his tenure began two  years ago he has presided over a reenergised GCA which introduced the inaugural national T20 tournament, reorganised club competitions and youth cricket, and placed a heavy focus on training for umpires and coaches.  Gill was also manager of the West Indies team which won the Under 19 World Cup in Bangladesh earlier this year.

Test ‘league’ could be in place by 2019.

Reuters.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016.

PTG 1842-9224. 

A two-division league system for Test cricket could be established in three years in a bid to improve standards in the longest form of the game, International Cricket Council chief executive Dave Richardson said on Wednesday. Discussions with full member nations about a possible Test competition and its structure have begun and a proposal is expected to on the agenda at the ICC's annual general meeting later this month (PTG 1838-9200, 28 May 2016).

Richardson told reporters "If you want to create a real champion Test team, you need a competition that provides the same number of opportunities.  That means the same number of fixtures, home and away, so that at the end of a league period you can crown a champion team.  Realistically, with tours and broadcast agreements in place, we're perhaps looking at 2019 for it to begin”.

NZC open to potential change to ‘Dukes’ balls.

Mark Geenty.

Fairfax New Zealand.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016.

PTG 1842-9225. 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) remains open to the prospect of adopting balls made by English manufacturer ‘Dukes' for home Tests in 2017-18.  ‘Dukes' owner Dilip Jajodia is pushing to open new markets for his balls, including in New Zealand (PTG 1751-8727, 1 February 2016), and recently pulled off a big result in Australia where ‘Dukes’ may be used for the second half of the 2016-17 Sheffield Shield to help prepare the batsmen there for the 2019 Ashes series in England (PTG 1842-9226 below).  

NZC chief executive David White said "Nothing has been decided but from my point of view the idea is very interesting. We are currently contracted to ‘Kookaburra' and that runs till the end of [the 2016-17] season. It's something we're certainly going to discuss and have a look at”.  The hand-stitched Dukes have a more pronounced seam, hold their shape and usually swing for longer.

The current contract NZC has with ‘Kookaburra’, which has made that company the exclusive supplier of balls for the country’s high-level cricket since 1946, means they can't stage a trial with Dukes balls in its Plunket Shield first class series in 2016-17.  Said White: "We haven't used [Dukes] yet or trialled them yet. Our conditions are probably more like England than anywhere else in the world. It will be interesting if we do trial them”.  

Dukes supply balls to lower grade cricket in Auckland, Wellington and South Canterbury, but for continuity with Plunket Shield first-class games the ‘Kookaburra' is used in all premier club games.  Given the circumstances, NZC appears unlikely to sign a long-term deal with any supplier when the current contract ends and will instead keep its options more flexible when it signs its next ball contract.  

Player concerns reported behind latest CA ‘Dukes’ trial.

PTG Editor

Wednesday, 1 June 2016.

PTG 1842-9226. 

After announcing ‘Dukes’ balls would be used for the second half of the 2016-17 Sheffield Shield first class season, a move that came after three years of trials with them in lower-level competitions, many observers are wondering just why Cricket Australia (CA) has now decided to hold a final Dukes trial this month before confirming whether the Shield plan be abandoned or not.  It would appear though that the issue may be the lukewarm response of the Australian players' union to the idea amid concerns the domestic competition is being used as a "trialling ground for unproven initiatives” (PTG 1791-8943, 31 March 2016).  

In October 2012, CA announced Duke balls would be trialled in its annual Under-17 and Under-19 national tournaments, as well as in some state second XI games (PTG 1008-4899, 25 October 2012).  It is thought that well over 50 matches across those competitions have been played using the balls in the time since.  Reports from several states talk positively about the way trials of those balls were handled in those competitions and say umpires and others were required to provide their detailed thoughts about them.  While CA does not talk publicly about such matters, those involved who are prepared to make comment say the balls generally performed well and that ball quality was rated positively.

CA has not announced just when the forthcoming trial of the balls, which is to be held at Brisbane’s Allan Border Field, will be held, nor just what the nature or length of the procedures involved will be.  

PCB imports ‘Dukes’ for pre-England tour training.

Press Trust of India.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016.

PTG 1842-9227. 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has imported ‘Duke' balls from England as part of preparations for its the national team's upcoming tour of England.  A PCB official said chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq had asked for seaming pitches to be prepared for a skills camp now underway in Lahore, after which new head coach Mickey Arthur requested that the board import ‘Duke' balls.  The official said the players at the camp were holding net sessions on seaming pitches with ‘Duke' balls which are very different from the Australian made ‘Kookaburra' balls normally used by Pakistan.

Opening Sheffield Shield matches to be day nighters?

Josh Spasaro.

Mackay Mercury.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016.

PTG 1842-9228. 

Cricket Australia's (CA) general manager of team performance, Pat Howard, has revealed that Queensland are set to host a round-one, day-night Sheffield Shield match with the pink ball at the Gabba in Brisbane in November in the lead up to mid-December's day-night Test between Australia and Pakistan scheduled for that ground.  That means all three first round Shield games are likely to be played in the day-night format so that Australia’s Test players will have a chance to gain more experience of the pink ball format.

Howard said CA wanted "a few more tests" of how players adjust to pink-ball day-night cricket at the Gabba, where the ball is expected to swing in humid conditions at night, and following the recent $A1 million (£UK501,300) upgrade of lighting at the ground.  "We want to make sure the players are used to it by the time of the Test, and for our competitors as well”, said Howard.

The 2016-17 austral summer's day-night Test is part of an agreement for the venue, announced on Tuesday, to host international cricket there for the next three years under a partnership between CA, the Queensland Government and the Brisbane City Council.

ICC fixing event draws so India, Pakistan are in same group.

Jonathan Lieu .

London Daily Telegraph.

Thursday, 2 June 2016..

PTG 1842-9229. 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has admitted that the draws for global tournaments are habitually fixed in order to get India and Pakistan into the same group. The draw for the 2017 Champions Trophy in England, which was released on Wednesday, again throws the two countries together, with the reigning champions India beginning their title defence against their historic rivals at Edgbaston a year from this Saturday.

It is the fifth tournament in succession where India and Pakistan have been scheduled to meet in the group stage. Matches between the two countries regularly attract global television audiences of up to one billion and although it had long been suspected that the ICC was doctoring draws to guarantee fans and broadcasters another iteration of the sport’s most lucrative fixture, this is the first time that the governing body has admitted it publicly.

ICC chief executive Dave Richardson said on releasing Champions Trophy details:  “No doubt we want to try to put India versus Pakistan in our event. It’s hugely important from an ICC point of view. It’s massive around the world and the fans have come to expect it as well. It’s fantastic for the tournament because it gives it a massive kick”. 

Richardson denied that this had a negative impact on the integrity or fairness of the tournament. “What we try and do is make sure that when you add up the rankings of the different groups, they all add up to the same number of points. You can do that in a number of ways. So long as the pools are balanced, it’s silly to avoid [the fixture] when you can fairly cater for it”.

Teenager critical after brain haemorrhage in T20 Game.

Cricket Next.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016.

PTG 1842-9230. 

Teenager Hashim Akhtar collapsed after suffering a brain haemorrhage on Friday during a T20 match in Lancashire and remains in a critical condition in a hospital after undergoing an operation to remove a blood clot on his brain.  Teammates reported that he had felt ill at the end of their innings and was missing when they went out to field.  

He was discovered collapsed in the toilets, the father of an opposition player who is a doctor looking after him until paramedics arrived at the scene.  The promising all-rounder was set to be watched by Lancashire scouts on Monday.  He has been kept in an induced coma since the operation while doctors monitor his recovery.

NZ sports taking stand against homophobia, racism.

New Zealand Herald.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016.

PTG 1842-9231. 

New Zealand's leading sporting organisations, including New Zealand Cricket, have come together to encourage greater diversity across all codes, in an effort to stamp out homophobia and racism in sport.  Cricket, football codes, and hockey associations have committed themselves to establishing a framework for diversity and inclusion within their individual organisations, and establishing a program of agreed areas of focus, by the end of this year.  The move comes as a result of the findings of last year's 'Out on the Fields' research into homophobia in sport.  

Dar illness forces departure from field.

PTG Editor

Tuesday, 31 May 2016.

PTG 1842-9232. 

Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar had to leave the field due to illness on the last day of the second Test between England and Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street on Monday.  Dar, who departed just over an hour after lunch, was replaced by third umpire Rod Tucker who was on-field with Sundarum Ravi for the final 40 overs of the game.  

That shuffle led to fourth umpire David Millns, a member of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Full List, moving into the television umpires’ chair in what was his fifth Test as a fourth umpire.  Reports suggest Dar is expected to be well enough to fulfil his scheduled duties as the television umpire for the third Test of the series which starts on Thursday next week.

Club angry after vandals destroy new covers.

Tom Houghton.

Wales Online.

Thursday, 2 June 2016.

PTG 1842-9233. 

A South Wales cricket club has voiced its frustration after vandals caused £8,000 ($A15,900) of damage to its equipment.  The incident happened at Penarth Cricket Club on Tuesday evening when vandals allegedly tore pitch covers.  According to a club spokesman, the club only bought the new covers, which comprise large metal frames with a waterproof cover, six weeks ago.

The club was alerted to the issue by a member of the public who saw the incident, allegedly caused by around a dozen people, some ten club members going to the ground almost immediately.  A club spokesman said the three covers will need to be completely replaced following the incident, but he was not sure how the costs would be met.  "This is brand new equipment, and the first new set we have bought for 20 years”, he said.

The club needs to find a quick fix in time for its next match is set to take place at the ground on Saturday.  The spokesman added: "We're not sure what we'll do next, and we feel relatively vulnerable, because our pitch is a public space, so it's undoubtedly a big concern.  We are expected to have fully functioning covers by our league, so not having them is a real problem, especially with the weather being intermittent at the moment. We really hope it doesn't rain this Saturday”.

A South Wales Police spokesman said officers attended the ground and provided advice to the complainants and they appealed for information about the incident.

Air show stops club fund raiser.

Shropshire Star

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

PTG 1842-9234. 

A Shropshire cricket club has been forced to cancel its biggest fundraiser of the year due to recommendations introduced in the wake of the  2015 Shoreham air show disaster in Sussex, when an aircraft crashed killing 11 people.   Albrighton Cricket Club (ACC) sits below the main flying display area for mid-June's Cosford Air Show, and due to changes to air show operational regulations the Royal Air Force has advised the club to shut down for the day.

ACC's open day, which was due to take place on the same day as the air show, is when the club try to get the community together and  promote its activities, the event drawing families from around the area. The event usually involves barbecues, stalls and and other activities during the day.  Clubs chairman Darren Shimmons said "it’s our biggest day of the year so it’s a disappointment, we’ve been told not to open for safety reasons, and so that’s the stance we’re taking”.

Man uses wife as stake for IPL match bet.

PTG Editor

Tuesday, 31 May 2016.

PTG 1842-9235. 

Police in Kanpur, India, are hunting for a man who staked his wife on an Indian Premier League (IPL) match and then fled when he lost the bet.  Ravinder Singh is said to have spent all his money and sold his household valuables, so decided to gamble his wife as a last resort in order to place the bet. 

A police spokesman called the case "really shocking” and said “We are now looking into the allegations made by [the wife] to try and understand the exact circumstances behind the crime”.  The couple had been married for five years “but things turned difficult from day one”, says a report.  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,843

  Friday, 3 June 2016

 

• ‘Dukes’ plan foiled because ball behaves differently in Oz [1843-9236].

• Batsman collapses, dies, during Aberdeenshire match [1843-9237].

• Gloucestershire off-spinner suspended from bowling [1843-9238].

• Limited spots for female umpires in Womens’ Championship [1843-9239].

• BCCI to allow players to take part in WBBL, WCSL [1843-9240].

• ‘Divisional structure' chance to revive Test cricket [1843-9241].

• Cricket is cutting out whole sections of British society [1843-9242].

‘Dukes’ plan foiled because ball behaves differently in Oz.

Greg Baum.

Fairfax Media.

Thursday, 2 June 2016.

PTG 1843-9236. 

Cricket Australia's (CA) plan to use English-made ‘Duke' cricket balls in the Sheffield Shield next season is in doubt because, like so many English imports to Australia, they behave differently ‘down under’.  When trialled over the last four summers in the second XI matches and Under 19 and Under 17 men’s championships, a problem emerged, said CA high performance manager Pat Howard: "They had too much lacquer on them and didn't wear enough, so we didn't get the value of seeing how the older ball performed” (PTG 1842-9226, 2 June 2016).

Plan B is for ‘Dukes' to come up with a ball that will act like the English ball in Australian conditions. It will be trialled over the current austral winter at CA's National Cricket Centre in Brisbane, along with the standard Dukes ‘Test' ball.  "If we believe the English Test Dukes ball will survive our conditions we will use this ball”, Howard said. "If not, and there is another ball more suited to our conditions that looks and feels like the exact English Test ball, we'll use that. If not, we won't trial it in the Shield”.

This latest development adds a twist to the cricket ball market in Australia. For decades, Australian company ‘Kookaburra' had a near monopoly. Latterly, it has been squeezed as a business. Last austral summer, it had a torrid time when its ball repeatedly had to be replaced in Test matches in Brisbane and Perth (PTG 1692-8327, 22 November 2015). Then the Dukes foothold was announced.

‘Kookaburra' has contracts to provide balls for most or all of the elite club competitions around Australia, some short term, some long. CA says those contracts will, of course, be respected. But it is not unhappy to see competition in the market. "We are comfortable with the decisions made by the 87 Premier League clubs to choose the ball that is appropriate for them”, Howard said.

Notionally, this could put a good player in the position of playing with and against three different types of ball at Australia's three levels this season. Again, CA does not see this as necessarily a bad thing.  "Actually, we're of the view that it exposes players to greater variety and encourages greater adaptability”, said Howard.  "If we want to be successful in all conditions and in all formats, then the more experience we can gain here, the more likely we are to succeed away”.

Batsman collapses, dies, during Aberdeenshire match.

Chris Jaffray.

Press and Journal.

Thursday, 2 June 2016. 

PTG 1843-9237. 

Despite the efforts of a rival teammate to save him, Kenneth MacLeod, the captain of Aberdeenshire’s Inverurie Cricket Club, collapsed and died during a match played last Saturday.  MacLeod, who was in his early fifties and suffered from cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart muscle, took ill during a game against Crathie and could not be revived.

MacLeod had opened the batting for Inverurie in the second innings of the weekend’s match at Balmoral, however, after being dismissed, he collapsed as he was walking back to the pavilion and was attended to by one of the Crathie players who had medical training.  The game was immediately abandoned.

Andrew Stalker, secretary of the Inverurie Cricket Club, said: “Kenneth was a true gentleman, a great captain and a big part of the club.  Ourselves and Crathie are still in shock at what happened and so is the wider cricket community.  We’ve had a lot of messages of support coming in both in person and in social media and were are very grateful for that”.

Cricket clubs across Scotland have shared their sympathy for MacLeod’s loved ones, and a minute’s silence will be held before games this on Saturday.

Gloucestershire off-spinner suspended from bowling.

PTG Editor

ECB press release.

Thursday, 2 June 2016.

PTG 1843-9238. 

Gloucestershire off-spinner Jack Taylor has been suspended from bowling after being reported for a second time for a suspected illegal action.  Taylor, 24, served a previous suspension in 2013, however, after undergoing a period of remedial work he was cleared to resume bowling ahead of the 2014 English summer (PTG 1289-6216, 11 February 2014).

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) did not say when Taylor was reported this time, however, it indicated he underwent detailed testing last week.  The report of the independent analysis, which followed International Cricket Council practice, was received by ECB on Wednesday.  Gloucestershire said in a statement: "The report identified that Taylor’s bowling action displayed an bow extension in excess of the permitted 15 degrees“.

Taylor has been suspended from bowling for England and in competitive county cricket with immediate effect and until such time as he is cleared by a fresh independent analysis.

Limited spots for female umpires in Womens’ Championship.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 2 June 2016.

PTG 1843-9239. 

The England and Wales Cricket Board has appointed three members of its Full List, David Millns Martin Saggers and Alex Wharf, to support the three Womens’ World Championship (WWC), 50 over format, matches England and Pakistan are to play in the last week of June, their countryman David Jukes being the match referee.  Whether anyone will be appointed to a fourth umpire spot is not yet known.

The fixtures, which will be played in Leicester, Worcester and Taunton, are games 58, 59 and 60 of the inaugural WWC.  Wharf stood in England’s WWC series against Australia last July, and Saggers when India visited the month after.

By the time the forthcoming England-Pakistan matches have ended, a total of 44 umpires will have been appointed to the 120 WWC on-field positions, India providing 9, England 8, Australia 7, New Zealand 6, South Africa 5, Pakistan 4, Sri Lanka 3, and the West Indies 2.  Of those eight International Cricket Council members, England, the West Indies and New Zealand provided female umpires for games, only the latter though to on-field positions, while Australia, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka did not or could not nominate any.

Less than one per cent, or 9 of the 120 on-fied spots, will have gone to a female umpire, all of them to Kathy Cross of New Zealand who has stood in every game played there.  When reserve umpire spots are considered, 7 of the 60, or 12 per cent, went to women, Jacqueline Williams of the West Indies having 3, and Englishwomen Sue Redfern and Alison Smith, Ireland-based Ingeborg Bevers and New Zealand’s Diana Venter, all one.

BCCI to allow players to take part in WBBL, WCSL.

PTG Editor.

News reports.

Thursday, 2 June 2016.

PTG 1843-9240. 

The women’s cricket committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to allow India’s women cricketers to play in overseas Twenty20 leagues. Unlike the men’s version of the game there are only two womens’ T20 leagues at present, the first being Cricket Australia's Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), and the other the England and Wales Cricket Board's Women’s Cricket Super League (WCSL) which starts later this northern summer.

The BCCI does not allow male Indian cricketers to play in overseas T20 leagues citing the possibility of fatigue, but also because it could take away from the novelty of the Indian Premier League (IPL).  However, given that Indian women do not play anywhere near as much as the men, and that there is almost no chance of a women’s IPL happening any time soon, the BCCI has now cleared them to play in the WBBL and WCSL. 

‘Divisional structure' chance to revive Test cricket.

Mike Atherton.

The Times.

Thursday, 2 June 2016.

PTG 1843-9241. 

There may be dangers in change. The bigger danger is in doing nothing at all. For decades now, Test cricket has survived on a structure based not on merit but on strategic alliances, the weight of history and, more recently, financial and political clout, or bullying. The result is that a tipping point has been reached.

A little more than 2,000 people turned up to watch the final day of the second England-Sri Lanka Test in Durham on Monday. Elsewhere around the country, England and Wales Cricket Board Twenty20 matches attracted decent-sized crowds, more than 10,000 on consecutive nights at Chelmsford and Birmingham and beyond. Across the other side of the world, many of the best players were playing in the Indian Premier League. Last austral summer the West Indies, with half a side, played Australia while the other half enjoyed the financial benefits of the Big Bash League.

At the moment the structure of the game is a mess, with players forced to choose between country and franchise, between Test and T20, between national pride and money.  The narrative of the decline of Test cricket as a spectacle for paying spectators is nothing new outside this country and to some extent has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Talk down the game long enough and provide enough fast-food alternatives and the result is predictable in a world where time is short and choice is broad. The time has come to act.

Utter confusion as to how the game should be shaped has not helped. Shortly after the most recent World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series, David Richardson, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) chief executive, indicated that he was not in favour of increasing the number of WT20C events for fear of them cannibalising the market.  Now, just two months later, it is expected that there will be two more WT20Cs added before the present global television deal ends in 2022 (PTG 1837-9194, 27 May 2016).

Still, we are long past apportioning blame and exploring the reasons why. It is apparent that in many countries and in certain parts of England too, Test cricket is stagnant, declining or dying. In recent months there has been a consensus reached that something must be done: the ICC, the players’ union FICA, and broadcasters are in general agreement about the need to act to protect Test and bilateral one-day international cricket against the threat of the domestic T20 leagues.

At the launch of next year’s Champions Trophy on Tuesday, Richardson hinted again that a divisional structure is a possibility for Test cricket from 2019 (PTG 1842-9224, 2 June 2016). These thoughts have been bubbling away for a while. When I met Richardson during England’s tour to the United Arab Emirates, he raised the possibility of a divisional structure. The past few months have included in-depth discussions with broadcasters, the governing bodies of various countries and the players’ union, to put a little more flesh on the bone.

That detail looks like it could include 12 teams in two divisions: seven teams in division one and five teams in division two, playing each other over a two-year period, home or away, with promotion and relegation for every team (PTG.  When the concept was last mooted, England and India and Australia  remarkably, wanted a veto from relegation. The aim is to provide context and meaning to every series outside of the iconic contests, such as the Ashes, that will still exist in a vacuum. Pragmatism will still reign in all likelihood, given that this structure will encompass less than half the year, just five months in all, allowing governing bodies their own tournaments besides.

The timing of these hints on Tuesday was deeply ironic. The Champions Trophy was brought back at the expense of the planned World Test Championship because it was thought to be more financially attractive, after years of fiddling while the long form of the game burned. The late Martin Crowe originally proposed a World Test Championship in 2009. It received tacit approval at the ICC, and was to be introduced in 2013. It was then put back to 2017, and then abandoned altogether when the Champions Trophy was reinstated. Now it looks like ten years after his vision was first articulated, something approximating will come to pass. A lot has changed in those ten years.

The ICC’s annual conference is in Edinburgh late this month and it is there and beyond that these potential changes will be debated. Up until now, there has been acknowledgement of the problems but little drastic action except window-dressing — day-night Tests and Andrew Strauss’s recent Super Series innovations being two classic examples (PTG 1831-9162, 19 May 2016). Soon the ICC will have a chance to do something more meaningful. It should take it.

Cricket is cutting out whole sections of British society.

Scyld Berry..

London Daily Telegraph.

Thursday, 2 June 2016.

PTG 1843-9242. 

My latest book, which came out in paperback last week, is titled ‘Cricket: The Game of Life’.  It attempts to answer some basic questions: why we play and watch this sport in England and its three other main hot-spots around the world, and why do almost all of England’s 670 Test cricketers come from three main categories?

In Australia, the answer is simple: playing cricket against the British regiments stationed in Sydney was the only form of revenge open to the native-born sons of convicts. Their parents had often been savagely treated by those regiments on the passage to Australia, so what better than beating the Pommie b------s at their own game? And thus the appetite remains.

In India, the Parsis of Bombay wanted to play cricket against British soldiers or civilians. Partly, the game was fun – and it really is fun playing on a green field amidst Mumbai’s buildings and sea-breezes – and partly it was jolly useful networking. The Brits thus awarded Parsis the local contracts for dealing with the ‘natives'.

And in the West Indies, starting with Barbados, the answer is simple, too. Cricket was the only way the black man was allowed to compete with the white man on any playing field, let alone a level one.

But perhaps the most interesting question is: why do almost all of England’s 670 Test cricketers come from three main categories?  A third of them – 220 to be precise – attended fee-paying schools. Most have been batsmen, who have used the opportunity to build long innings on decent pitches, against challenging opposition, with a former county cricketer as coach and all the networking potential.  Current England captain Alastair Cook came to notice for example in a game between Bedford School and the Marylebone Cricket Club..

If you do not attend a fee-paying school, familial support is almost essential. Out of the 670, 154 had either a brother or father or uncle who also played for England, and another 110 had one who played first-class cricket.  That means two out of every five England Test cricketers have grown up with someone to bat and bowl against, to coach them, to give or lend them kit and steer them towards the summit.  Or else you come from one of the three northerly counties where cricket is still part of the community and the majority of people are still within walking distance of a cricket ground.

Deduct the 81 England Test cricketers born outside England and Wales, which leaves 589, then one-third – or 190 to be precise – have been born in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire. Now Durham has come on stream, this proportion is only likely to increase.  Of course, there are overlaps: Joe Root was born in Yorkshire, has a brother who plays first-class cricket and attended a fee-paying school. But that still leaves whole sections of society in England and Wales either under-represented or not represented at all.

None of those 670 Test cricketers was born in Wolverhampton. One was born in Hull and one in Newcastle, in the 19th century. Two were born in Cardiff, then attended fee-paying schools in England, and two each in Coventry, Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent and Sunderland.  In other words, there has never been a pathway to the top in some English cities, especially those that sprung up during the Industrial Revolution, when every spare acre – particularly a flat one – was used for factories and tenements.  And the most important question: what is going to be done about it so that English cricket involves all sections of society?

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,844

  Saturday, 4 June 2016

 

• ICC group backs further limiting of bat dimensions [1844-9243].

• UDRS research ‘positively received’, but as yet no details [1844-9244].

• Consistent standards needed for long-term day-night Test success [1844-9245].

• ‘Concussion replacement’ player bid rejected [1844-9246].

• Proteas give green light  for day-night Test [1844-9247].

ICC group backs further limiting of bat dimensions. 

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Saturday, 4 June 2016.

PTG 1844-9243.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the guardians of the game’s Laws, "should strongly consider limiting the dimensions of cricket bats to help achieve a better balance between bat and ball”, says the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee (CC) which met at Lord’s this week (PTG 1840-9212, 31 May 2016). While there are limitations on bat length and width, none currently exist on depth and weight, the latter two issues being a particular focus for many observers of the game in recent years.

The MCC, after years of talking about and researching bat-ball issues via its World Cricket Committee (PTG 1699-8383, 29 November 2015), is said to have "sought the [CC’s] guidance on the desirability of making changes in order to redress the balance between bat and ball”.   The ICC group were provided with a research paper prepared by the MCC which is said to have provided "a wealth of scientific and statistical evidence showing bats have become more powerful in recent years, primarily due to having larger ‘sweet-spots’" (PTG 1784-8909, 20 March 2016).

Modern manufacturers have become increasingly skilled at making bats with larger ‘sweet spots’ that do not feel as heavy to pick up as the blades that were once only the preserve of 1980s power-hitters.  Developments in ball technology, save for a white ball in one-day matches and the pink ball used in last year’s inaugural floodlit Test between Australia and New Zealand, have been far less drastic.  Bat changes have come about despite Law 6 requiring that  the blade remains solely made of wood, as it has been for centuries.

  

 

 

 IMAGE

 

 

 

 

 


ICC Cricket Committee members who attended this week’s meeting.  (Back row left to rightt) Mahela Jayawardena, Rahul Dravid, Adrian Griffith, Clive Hitchcock, Craig Ranson, Kevin OBrien, Andrew Strauss, Richard Kettleborough and Darren Lehmann, (Front left to right) David Kendix, David White, Ranjan Madugalle, Geoff Allardice, Anil Kumble, Tim May, Claire Connor and John Stephenson.  Griffith is the ICC’s match officials’ manager, and Kettleborough and Madugalle members of the ICC’s top umpire and referee panels.  Recommendations made by the committee will now be forward to the next ICC Chief Executives' Committee and Board meetings in Edinburgh in a few weeks time.

UDRS research ‘positively received’, but as yet no details.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Saturday, 4 June 2016.

PTG 1844-9244.

Just what the findings of research carried out by the into Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were was not revealed by the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee following its latest meeting earlier this week.  The committee proposes though to provide a "detailed report, along with a list of recommended changes to UDRS protocols", for presentation to the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee and Board meetings at the end of June”.

The Committee is said to have "had a long discussion" about the future use of technology in international cricket, and particularly umpiring, after receiving a presentation from the MIT engineers on their testing of current UDRS technologies.  It covered the performance of edge-detection systems (both heat-based and sound-based systems), and ball-tracking with predictive path, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each type of technology, and how each could contribute to increasing the number of correct decisions made across international matches.

The presentation was "positively received”, says the ICC, and the committee is said to be of the view "that the ICC needs to take a more prominent role in the management of UDRS technologies used in [the international] game”.  It says it should do that by establishing a structure and tighter processes to approve new technologies, and then to ensure a more consistent application of the technologies used from match to match”.

Consistent standards needed for long-term day-night Test success.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Saturday, 4 June 2016.

PTG 1844-9245.

While acknowledging “the success” of the inaugural day-night Test last November, that format at the game’s highest level needs to be delivered to a "consistently high standard" across all member countries if the concept is to be successful in the long run, says the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee. In its assessment, the "combination of ball, pitch, lighting levels and environmental conditions needed to allow for an even contest between bat and ball at all proposed day-night Test venues".

 

Also in regard to Test cricket, the committee believes a coordinated approach to the marketing of the five-day game was needed, expressed concern about the quality of pitches for such matches, and "in particular the common practice of home countries overtly preparing surfaces to suit their own teams”.

A presentation was provided to the group on the ICC’s plans to bring greater structure and context to international cricket by creating dedicated competitions in each of the game’s three formats, and there was "unanimous agreement" from committee members that the current structure of international cricket needs to change.

  

‘Concussion replacement’ player bid rejected.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Saturday, 4 June 2016.

PTG 1844-9246.

The International Cricket Council’s Cricket Committee (CC), which met at Lord’s earlier this week (PTG 1840-9212, 31 May 2016), has rejected a Cricket Australia (CA) proposal for a "concussion substitute” in first class cricket who can bat and bowl in place of teammates being treated for possible concussion   CA put a not dissimilar suggestion to the CC two years ago, the latest attempt to amend playing rules coming as a result of its independent review into the death of Phillip Hughes’ in November 2014 (PTG 1825-9124, 12 May 2016).

Despite that the CC said that the use of the latest British Safety Standard (BSS) helmets should be made mandatory in international cricket.   The group formulated their view after a presentation on injury surveillance trends provided to them by ICC medical consultant Dr Craig Ranson, expressing concerns afterwards "that there were still too many instances of international cricketers wearing helmets which did not meet the latest [BSS]".

Media reports suggest that at least two other major cricketing countries were behind CA’s concussion proposal to make what would be a fundamental change to the rules.  The news means CA can no longer go through with their revised safety plan for the coming Sheffield Shield season, for without the ICC’s blessing, matches in that competition would lose their official first-class status.  CA had proposed a two-year trial of the concussion substitute arrangement be allowed in Shield matches.

Unlike other major sporting organisations, the ICC still doesn’t have a medical officer or official policy on concussion — with player safety left entirely in the hands of individual member nations.  A CA spokesperson said: “We’ll continue to trial the substitute in [CA] sanctioned matches, except the Sheffield Shield, and provide any learnings back to the ICC for their consideration”.  Such competitions would include its one-day 50 over interstate series, the Womens’ National Cricket League, the men’s and women’s Twenty20 events, and national youth tournaments.

CA chief executive James Sutherland said at the time the Hughes report was released that he hoped concussion substitutes would ultimately come into Test cricket.  CA's Alex Kountouris said early last month that a substitute would help take the pressure off medical staff assessing players who have received knocks to the head.  “We want to give it a go at whatever level possible and see what impact it has on how we manage concussion”, Kountouris said.  As it stands, teams simply lose a batsman if the decision is made to take a player off the field for a concussion test. 

Proteas give green light  for day-night Test.

Sam Landsberger.

Herald Sun.

Friday, 3 June 2016.

PTG 1844-9247.

South African players have changed their stance on pink-ball cricket in a decision which will deliver Australia a second day-night Test during the 2016-17 summer.  On-going concerns over visibility of the pink ball in twilight hours has been a stumbling block in its scheduling, but in a major fillip for Cricket Australia (CA) it is believed the Proteas have finally agreed to play.

The breakthrough means Adelaide Oval will stage a day-night Test in November before a pink-ball match at the Gabba to open the three-Test series between Australia and Pakistan in December.  CA said on Friday that discussions with Cricket South Africa were ongoing, a spokesman saying: “We remain optimistic that the Adelaide Test match will be played as a day-night match.  After the success of last summer’s Adelaide Test, the anticipation in that market is huge".

Tickets to the upcoming summer of cricket went on sale this week, excluding the Adelaide Test, but it is believed an official announcement from CA is imminent.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,845

  Sunday, 5 June 2016

 

• MCC committees to take bat size issue forward [1845-9248].

• New season, another long ban for Bermudan [1845-9249].

• On-field incident leads to eight-match ban [1845-9250].

• Using ‘Dukes’ at home won't fix techniques: Waugh [1845-9251].

• Two banned, four fined, over match protests [1845-9252].

• Leicestershire pair penalised for dissent [1845-9253].

• ‘You are the Umpire’ returns for 2016 [1845-9254].

• Positives of ‘divisional’ Test structure outweigh negatives [1845-9255].

MCC committees to take bat size issue forward. 

PTG Editor.

MCC web report.

Saturday, 4 June 2016.

PTG 1845-9248.

Over the next six weeks the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is to "debate and decide" on a proposal to limit bat sizes in cricket in the Laws of the game.  That move comes after the International Cricket Council’s Cricket Committee announced following its meeting at Lord’sthat the club should "strongly consider" amending the Laws of Cricket relating to bats in order to help achieve a better balance between bat and ball (PTG 1844-9243, 4 June 2016).

As a consequence both the MCC's World Cricket committee (WCC) and Cricket Committee will decide on introducing the updates as part of the next Code of the Laws of Cricket, which is to come into force at the start of October next year (PTG 1642-8036, 10 September 2015).  The Club's Cricket Committee will debate the issue later this month and the WCC, which is chaired by former England captain Mike Brearley and is to meet at Lord's over two days in mid-July, will also make recommendations.  After that the MCC's Laws sub-committee consider any potential amends to the Laws.

New season, another long ban for Bermudan. 

Josh Ball.

The Royal Gazette.

Saturday, 4 June 2016.

PTG 1845-9249.

The Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) has banned Kavon Fubler from all cricket for seven years for smashing his stumps and abusing an umpire after being given out leg-before during a BCB Premier Division game last weekend.  The Willow Cuts all-rounder appeared at a disciplinary meeting on Thursday night where he was charged with several Level Four offences relating to his behaviour in the game against Bailey’s Bay.

Fubler may have escaped with a more lenient sentence were it not for the fact that he threw a ball at Cal Waldron, the umpire, after leaving the field, and had been heard to say he was going to smash his stumps if given out, immediately before doing so.  No stranger to discipline problems, Fubler has previously been banned from Somerset Cricket Club after he subjected Molly Simons, the Somerset selector, to a foul-mouthed tirade after he was left out of the club’s Cup Match squad in 2011.

Despite his behaviour, Fubler was able to continue playing in a game his side lost heavily, bowling 6.3 overs as Bay won by seven wickets. If the umpires had had their way he would not have been on the field at all.  

In February, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) introduced a trial of red and yellow cards in some cricket in Britain in an attempt to arrest the decline in standards of behaviour on the field (PTG 1759-8772, 10 February 2016).  The BCB reportedly consider implementing this system locally and was supposedly going to discuss it with the clubs. Nothing has yet been done, although one umpire said they had been “begging the BCB to bring this in here since the start of the season”.

Under the MCC system, lesser infractions such as dissent, time-wasting, and excessive appealing, bring an immediate five-run penalty.  Red cards are issued in the event that a player threatens an umpire, player, spectator or official, uses foul or abusive language, or commits an act of violence on the field of play.

This week’s punishment follows on the heals of the life ban handed to Jason Anderson, the Bermuda wicketkeeper, for his part in an on-field fight with George O’Brien last season (PTG 1645-8054, 15 September 2016). O’Brien is still serving the six game suspension he was slapped with for his part in the incident.  That fracas was one of a range of on-field incidents that were cited by the MCC when they announced their card system trial. 

On-field incident leads to eight-match ban. 

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Saturday, 4 June 2016.

PTG 1845-9250.

Mohammed Fazal, a member of the Home Counties Premier League's (HCPL) Burnham Cricket Club has been banned for eight matches as a result on an on-field incident in a Division One game against Henley three Saturdays ago.  One report says that Fazal "was embroiled in an ugly bust-up”, however, just who with and what the overall details were has not been publicised.

The ‘Windsor Observer says “the player has apologised for his part in the incident which left him dizzy and bleeding from the mouth and led to him taking a break from the sport”.  Burnham skipper Haveer Gandam supported Fazal, describing him as a role model for other players.  He said: “Mohammed has owned up to his actions and was the first to apologise to everyone. He was struck in the face with a ball to the point where he was dizzy and spitting out blood.  He went to hospital that evening and has not played since”.

Gandam also criticised Henley, suggesting they could have handled the incident better themselves.  “Is winning a game of amateur cricket more important than the well-being of players involved?” he asked.  “Where do you draw the line?  It is difficult to manage your own team on the field let alone the actions of players in other teams”.  

The Burnham skipper also criticised a lack of intervention from match umpires on the day, and is calling for more communication from league officials.  Gandam said: “I’m disappointed with the umpires because they had the opportunity to intervene and make sure Mohammed was okay.  I marked them down on their levels of interference but have not had a call from the league to ask why.  There needs to be a conversation because this was a potentially serious incident.  I accept the actions taken by the league, but feel the umpires did not take the right course of action.

The HCPL have declined to provide comment as the matter is still under investigation, while Henley Cricket Club were unavailable for comment.

Using ‘Dukes’ at home won't fix techniques: Waugh. 

David Middleton.

CA web site.

Saturday, 4 June 2016.

PTG 1845-9251.

Former Australian captain Steve Waugh says using the ‘Dukes' in the Sheffield Shield won't make a difference while Glenn McGrath claimed he much preferred to bowl the English ball.  Cricket Australia is to trial ‘Dukes’ balls over the current austral winter to decide whether to use them in the last half of the 2016-17 Shield season, a move that comes after considerable testing in lower-level CA fixtures since 2012 (PTG 1843-9236, 3 June 2016).

Waugh believes the current national team's problems in England lie with their batting techniques, not the Duke balls.  Australia has not won an away Ashes series since 2001 when his side won 4-1.  He told a Melbourne radio station that ‘Dukes’ "didn't cause us too many problems back in the '80s and ‘90s.  [The ball is] still round and red and the same weight. The seam may be a little bit different but it's not a huge difference. I think if you're concentrating too much on the ball you lose sight of the real issue and that's your technique”.

Two banned, four fined, over match protests. 

Minhaz Uddin Khan. 

Dhaka Tribune.

Saturday, 4 June 2016.

PTG 1845-9252.

  

Legends of Rupganj captain Mosharraf Hossain and batsman Mohammad Mithun have both been suspended for one match and fined 20,000 Taka ($A345, £UK175) for their actions in a Dhaka Premier League (DPL) match against the Kalabagan Krira Chakrai Club last Monday.  The pair’s coach Khaled Mashud, a former Bangladesh captain, and Ahmed Rubel, a club official, were fined the same amount by the Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM)

CCDM secretary Amin Khan said the four were notified of the charges laid against them following the match, however, “numerous” telephone calls to them "went unanswered” and there was "no other option but to impose the punishment on Thursday”.  During the game a series of decisions made by the on-field umpires which went against Rupganj had players and their management “furious". At one point Rupganj players and team officials left the dressing room and "charged towards” umpires Asadur Rahman and Rafiqul Islam John.

Coach Mashud said "We were lucky in that there were a few video journalists present during the incident. They had the footage and once it was shown to match referee [Samiur Rahman], he was convinced that our protest was correct. But [last Thursday] we got to know that the CCDM decided to punish a few of us after having discussions with the umpire’s committee”.  He demanded a proper investigation of the incident and went on to show his dissatisfaction with the quality of umpiring in this season’s DPL.

Leicestershire pair penalised for dissent. 

PTG Editor.

ECB press release.

Friday, 3 June 2016.

PTG 1845-9253.

Leicestershire seam bowler Charlie Shreck and wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O'Brien both fell foul of the ECB's disciplinary code during the County Championship match with Kent at Canterbury.  Both were reported for showing dissent at an umpire's decision by word or action. Shreck received a three-point penalty after being reported by umpires Paul Pollard and Alex Wharf, while O’Brienwas handed a reprimand for his actions.

Shreck’s points penalty took his disciplinary record to nine points over the last year, a figure that would normally lead to an automatic ban (PTG 1458-7066, 29 October 2014).  However, as one of those penalties followed being reported for bowling a high full-pitched delivery (PTG 1392-6740, 17 July 2014), he will not be banned at this point. The England and Wales Cricket Board’s Cricket Discipline Commission has the power to apply discretion in such situations in keeping with past precedent.

‘You are the Umpire’ returns for 2016.

John Holder and Paul Trevillion. 

The Guardian. 

Friday, 3 June 2016.

PTG 1845-9254.

The ‘You are the Umpire’ strip has returned to print for another year. The latest edition of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper’s cartoon strip has three scenarios: an ambidextrous bowler who changes his bowling arm during an over; a fielder who has a spare ball in his pocket and uses it to practice his catches whilst the ball is dead; and a most unusual incident involving a very tolerant new wife and something a batsman is wearing falling on to, and breaking, his wicket. The cartoons that make you think are drawn by Paul Trevillion from questions submitted by readers, and the answers are provided by former Test umpire John Holder.

Positives of ‘divisional’ Test structure outweigh negatives. 

Mike Atherton.

The Times.

Thursday, 2 June 2016.

PTG 1843-9255. 

Suggestions a two-tiered Test system should be introduced immediately raises questions as to just what the advantages and disadvantages of the concept are, but can we afford not to change given the current overall state of Test cricket?  (PTG 1843-9241,  3 June 2016).  On the one hand such an arrangement would offer a better context for games and provide a clear pathway for other countries to join Test ranks, but on the other some worry about playing statistics and the issues that surround home sides doctoring pitches.

What would the advantages of such a structure? Context and meaning is the obvious one. It is possible to see meaning in any game of cricket, but by providing acute context through promotion and relegation, the financial value of Tests are likely to rise, as are the incentives to succeed. Not just incentives for the top nations either, but for those bubbling under, such as Ireland and Afghanistan, for clearly with 12 teams involved, there will be two new entrants to Test cricket, and an opportunity for those below to join in time. 

The other advantage would be clarity to the structure of the game. At the moment it is a mess, with players forced to choose between country and franchise, between Test and Twenty20, between national pride and money. The hope is that a divisional structure would be introduced to One Day International (ODI) cricket too, to prevent the meaningless prolonged bilateral ODI series that have begun to turn away viewers and spectators. Clarity then: windows for domestic T20 leagues; a period of time for a divisional structure for Test and ODI cricket; and then room for countries to structure their own arrangements.

In addition such an arrangement would mean countries would have more of a chance of playing against teams of an equal or near equal standard. Nothing damages the game more than a mismatch, and mismatches have been a frequent occurrence in recent years. Supporters crave an equal balance between teams and a fair and competitive contest.

The disadvantages? The potential difference between the first and second division will add incentives for countries to doctor pitches so that home advantage is even more stretched than usual. In essence, result pitches are fine as long as it is not pushed too far. Clearly, the International Cricket Council (ICC) would need to monitor this, and provide stiff penalties, or even take control of pitches in hand themselves. 

Some will argue that there is a chance of statistics being disfigured. Ten years in the second division, for example, could enable an average player to have Tendulkar-like statistics. But there will still be opportunity outside of the divisional structure to highlight such fraudulence and, in any case, what do statistics matter when a game is withering before our eyes?

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,846

  Monday, 6 June 2016

 

• First ODI series as a referee for Richardson [1846-9256].

• Award of penalty runs make final over target easier [1846-9257].

• Dump T20 franchise concept, says ECB board member [1846-9258].

• St. Louis-area cricketers outgrowing their space [1846-9259].

First ODI series as a referee for Richardson. 

PTG Editor.

ICC information.

Sunday, 5 June 2016.

PTG 1846-9256.

Richie Richardson, the newest member of the International Cricket Council’s top match referees’ panel (PTG 1702-8418, 3 December 2015), is to oversee his first One Day Internationals (ODI) in that role during the three matches Zimbabwe and India are to play in Harare over the next two weeks. The former West Indian captain is no stranger to ODIs though, having played 224 of them in the period from 1983-96.

Richardson’s fellow neutral match official for the games will be Englishman Ian Gould who will be on-field in his 112th, 113th and 114th ODIs. The second on-field spot in each match, and the third and fourth umpire positions will be filled by Zimbabwean members of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel.

The coming series will be Richardson's fourth outing as an ICC referee since taking up the role late last year.  The first was in the Asia Cup Twenty20 tournament in February, followed the next month by the three match T20 internationals (T20I) between South Africa and Australia and games in the Womens’ World Twenty20 Championship series in India. Following the forthcoming ODIs Richardson will stay on for the three T20Is at the end of the Indian tour.

Award of penalty runs make final over target easier. 

PTG Editor.

Media reports, score sheets.

Sunday, 5 June 2016.

PTG 1846-9257.

Nottinghamshire needed 15 runs from the final over with just two wickets in hand to defeat Lancashire in an England and Wales Cricket Board Twenty20 match at Trent Bridge on Saturday and got them with the help of six penalty runs. Lancashire were penalised the runs by umpires Ian Blackwell and Steve O'Shaughnessy at the start of that over after they failed to begin bowling it by the stipulated cut off time, thus reducing Nottinghamshire’s target to 9 runs, which they got off four balls.

Dump T20 franchise concept, says ECB board member.

Paul Newman.

Daily Mail.

Sunday, 5 June 2016.

PTG 1846-9258.

Surrey chairman Richard Thompson, who is a member of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) board, disagrees with calls for the ECB's Twenty20 competition to mirror the successful city-based models of India and Australia.  Thompson is of the view that, with cricket at the crossroads, the game’s ruling body should introduce a peak summer nationwide short-form competition with promotion and relegation.  Crucially, every first-class county would be involved.

The Surrey director has called for an end to any move towards franchise Twenty20 cricket and instead wants to follow football’s example in creating a Premier League that would feature all 18 counties in two divisions.  "Our Twenty20 tournament could be better in some areas but in some counties it’s doing really well”, said Thompson who is chairman of the ECB’s commercial committee.  More people paid to watch T20 last year than watched England — and that was in an Ashes year.

According to Thompson: "The ECB understand they have a responsibility to all 18 counties and we have to look at the example of Leicester City winning the Premier League. That’s gone to another level because of this David v Goliath outcome.  The magic of any sport is when the underdog wins and we simply have to include all 18 counties in any structure moving forward.  We have to allow the likes of Kent, Essex and Somerset to play because they are a crucial part of the game’s fabric”.

"Most importantly, we need to kill the whole idea of enforced franchises”, continued Thompson. "This is creating such uncertainty among the counties. County clubs are trying to plan for the future and attract sponsors but some of them are not sure they will even be here in three years’ time. They might be merged”.

It is an argument that goes against the fashionable view that the current ECB T20 series has been left behind by the Indian Premier League and Big Bash Leagues, even though England invented the form of the game that has become such a monster. 

St. Louis-area cricketers outgrowing their space.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Saturday, 4 June 2016.

PTG 1846-9259. 

The St. Louis region of Missouri makes plenty of room in its parks for sports such as soccer and baseball, but some residents are pleading with cities in the region to make room for just one more: cricket.  For many residents who immigrated from India, largely concentrated in St. Louis and St. Charles counties, it's the sport that they grew up loving, not baseball.

United States census data indicate the number of residents in the region with ties to India has grown quietly over the past two decades. In St. Charles County it rose to 3,456 people in 2014, six times more than in 2000, while in St Louis in the same period numbers grew 84 percent to 11,401.  It is that change that is driving the expansion of cricket in the region.

Cricket has been played in St. Louis for at least the past 140 years, most of that time at a field on Cricket Drive in Forest Park. Now, there are at least three adult leagues and two youth leagues who have have around 600 playing members, however, there are only six grounds currently available for their games each summer weekend.

At the same time two cricket pitches have been torn up in the last decade.  The historic Forest Park pitch was lost after the club who used it moved to a higher-quality facility, while another that had been used for years was turned into a parking lot 12 months ago.

Over the last few months some of those residents have been knocking on cities' doors to plead for more grounds.  Parents of a new club for children have driven and flown their children to Indianapolis, Atlanta and Dallas (390, 880 and 1,050 km away respectively), and other cities because they haven't been able to secure a ground on weekends to host their own matches.

They celebrated recently when they convinced a local board of Aldermen to build a cricket field. The parent-run group is providing the $US27,000 ($A36,800, £UK18,700) needed to build it, but the city will reimburse the group in the next five years by waiving and reducing field reservation fees.

The co-ed academy started last year not just to teach children how to play, but also to try and get this soccer- and baseball-loving region to make room in their hearts and minds — and their parks — for cricket.  "If more kids play the game, then hopefully in the next few years things might change”, said one organiser. "What we are saying is, try this sport, too. Unless they try the game, they do not know”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,847

  Tuesday, 7 June 2016

 

• 'Hot Spot' can be fooled by bat tape, says MIT [1847-9260].

• Criticism for ICC over handling of match-fixing accusations [1847-9261].

• Adelaide day-night Test decision imminent [1847-9262].

• The ‘Big Bash’ comes to England [1847-9263].

'Hot Spot' can be fooled by bat tape, says MIT. 

Nick Hoult

Tuesday, 7 June 2016. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2016.

PTG 1847-9260.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have proved that silicone tape applied to bats can prevent 'Hot Spot’ picking up faint edges, giving batsmen a potential means of beating the system.  MIT engineers who spent six months testing the game’s various Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) devices are understood to have told the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee last week that silicone tape can prevent edges showing on the thermal imaging technology (PTG 1844-9244, 4 June 2016).  

The ICC now has to decide whether to ban silicone tape at international level or accept that the 'Hot Spot' system is not perfect.  The test results confirm long-held suspicions such tape, which is often used to repair minor bat damage, can fool 'Hot Spot'. The issue first arose during the 2013 Ashes when that system failed to show edges that were picked up by the ‘Snickometer' audio measuring tool.  Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen successfully sued after a report suggested he was using tape deliberately to fool 'Hot Spot’ (PTG 1202-5790, 4 October 2013).

Warren Brennan, the inventor of Hot Spot, has in the past urged the ICC to ban the use of silicone tape, which is currently a legal means for batsmen to protect the bat.  Since 2013, Brennan has developed a Real Time Snicko (RTS) audio technology, which provides evidence that complements 'Hot Spot'. This is now used by the third umpire and batsmen can be given out if RTS detects an edge even if 'Hot Spot 'fails to show up the ball hitting bat (PTG 1158-5602, 31 July 2013).  The two systems are reported to cost host broadcasters £6,000 ($A11,800) per day to operate, or around £30,000 ($A60,000) for a five-day Test.

The MIT investigation has also found that 'Hawk-Eye' ball-tracking technology can have a field of error of up to almost four centimetres (1.5 inches) when determining the projected height of balls.  The MIT's findings and the Cricket Committee’s recommendations that flow from them will be further discussed at the ICC’s annual meeting in Edinburgh later this month.

The ICC hopes the results from the MIT work will help it introduce protocols for the universal adoption of UDRS across the international game. India does not use UDRS because of doubts over its accuracy and has demanded a foolproof system, however, MIT scientists are understood to have told the Cricket Committee that is impossible.  The world body though  remains committed though to the use of UDRS and claims it improved the number of correct decisions to 99.1 per cent last year.  

Criticism for ICC over handling of match-fixing accusations. 

Fairfax New Zealand.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016.

PTG 1847-9261.

Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has hit out at cricket's bosses for their lack of protection and professionalism around match-fixing cases.  McCullum used his 'Cowdrey Spirit of Cricket' lecture at Lord's on Monday to give his views after being a witness in the perjury trial against former national team-mate Chris Cairns (PTG 1700-8394, 1 December 2015).

McCullum was a star witness in the Cairns trial where the former all-rounder was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice from a high-profile libel case involving former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi.  The former skipper gave evidence that Cairns approached him twice in 2008 about manipulating matches.

But Cairns' defence team counter-attacked by highlighting McCullum only reported these approaches three years later and said there were changes to his explanations in two statements given to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC’s) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit in 2011 and 2013, as well as one to London's Metropolitan police in 2014 (PTG 1708-8461, 10 December 2015).

In the 'Spirit of Cricket' lecture, McCullum told the Lord's audience he stood by his evidence and criticised "a very casual approach to gathering evidence" by ICC investigator John Rhodes when taking down his initial statement.  He believes "players deserve better from the ICC and that, in the future, the evidence-gathering exercise has to be much more thorough, more professional”.  

Mccallum said he was upset to see his statements appear in the media in 2014 via a 'Daily Mail' report, saying it had caused him personal distress and he felt the experience would harm the chances of players giving evidence in future.  "To report an approach and to give evidence requires considerable courage – players deserve much better. How can the game's governing body expect players to co-operate with it when it is then responsible for leaking confidential statements to the media?" McCullum asked (PTG 1357-6551, 20 May 2014).

McCullum said he had never had an explanation from the ICC over how his statements made it into the newspaper.  “To my knowledge no one has been held accountable and, in those circumstances, it is difficult to have confidence in the ICC”.  "It goes without saying that, if players do not have confidence in the organisation, they will be reluctant to report approaches and the game is worse off. If we are to get rid of the scourge of match-fixing, a robust governing body is essential”.

The former nation captain went on to suggest the life ban handed down to New Zealand player Lou Vincent for his involvement in match-fixing was harsh given his history of mental health problems and his decision to co-operate with authorities (PTG 1384-6691, 2 July 2014).  "If players cooperate with the authorities and provide the game with a rare and critical insight into the workings of this pernicious influence, then there must surely be something that can be done beyond giving them the maximum ban available”, McCullum said.

McCullum's lecture also touched on how he set out to change the culture of the New Zealand team during his time in charge.  "There was a determination to "personify the traits that we identified in New Zealanders – to be humble and hard-working”.  "We wanted to be respected by our long-suffering fans in New Zealand. We wanted to be respected by our opposition; and before we could demand this we had to learn to respect them”.

The Kiwi also spoke about the shock death of Australia's Phil Hughes and how that had brought about a style of playing without fear of failure in the Black Caps.  "I reminded the team that there would be no harsh judgment on any player's performance and no consequences for failure.  I believe that what motivated us was Phil Hughes. We knew we had to play and we would do that as best we could, to honour Phil and the game itself”.  

McCallum continued: The outcome of the 'uncaring', no-consequence play was a revelation to me”.  "There was an instinctiveness that took over – no fear of failure, just playing and being 'in the moment’”.

Adelaide day-night Test decision imminent. 

Firdose Moonda.

Cricinfo.

Monday, 6 June 2016.

PTG 1847-9262.

A decision on whether November's Adelaide Test between Australia and South Africa will be played as a day-night fixture will be made public by Wednesday. Tony Irish, the chief executive of the South African Cricketers’ Association, said on Monday the player body is "still dealing with the issue", and will have a "final decision one way or the other within the next two days". 

South Africa's players initially rejected the idea of a pink-ball Test but have been in negotiations with Cricket Australia (CA), and the Australian board said last week that it was "hopeful" of the match taking place under lights. On Friday, Australia's Herald Sun reported that the South African players had changed their mind during the Indian Premier League (PTG 1844-9247, 4 June 2016). 

Talk out of the South African camp in the last few weeks has suggested otherwise. AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada had all voiced their objection to a day-night Test, citing the lack of practice with the pink ball (PTG 1833-9172, 21 May 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).

Even though CA offered South Africa a warm-up match under lights, Philander said the players would need to have "experimented on the domestic front" and "tested the pink ball properly", before agreeing to play a Test with it. He said it would take "a few games" before they felt comfortable.  Others in South Africa have pushed for the day-night format (PTG 1809-9044, 24 April 2016 and 1818-9089, 3 May 2016), while some Australian players do not like the idea (PTG 1827-9137, 14 May 2016).  

The other major reason for South Africa's stance was that they are chasing a Test revival after slipping from first to sixth in the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings last season and do not want to risk missing out on a rise up the rankings because of unfamiliarity with the pink ball. "The players' strong desire to play this as a normal Test match is testament to how much they actually care about the series”, Irish said in April. Irish also stressed that the players' views should be treated with importance and pointed out that both South African and Australian players had concerns (PTG 1804-9012, 19 April 2016). 

Australia have already played one day-night Test, the inaugural match against New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval in November last year. Then, CA had provided New Zealand with a $A1 million (£UK507,600) financial incentive to compete in the match. It is not known if the Australian board has offered the South African players a similar sum but with the declining Rand at home, any amount may prove difficult to turn down.

The ‘Big Bash’ comes to England. 

Australian Associated Press.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016.

PTG 1847-9263.

The record books have been rewritten twice in an astonishing run spree at Nottinghamshire's Trent Bridge ground on Monday, which saw a record English one-day partnership and the most aggregate runs ever scored in a List A match.  By the close in the 50 over cup game between Notts and Northamptonshire on Monday, statisticians were checking to see if there had ever been a day like it anywhere in the world.

The big hitting began from the start with Nottinghamshire's Riki Wessels and Michael Lumb sharing a record one-day partnership in England of 342 from 39.2 overs, their side positing 8/445.  The runs continued to flow when Northamptonshire chased down what would have been another record for a team batting second but they fell 20-runs short which meant the day’s 98.2 overs saw 18 wickets fall for a total of 870 runs.

Between them umpires Stephen Gale and Michael Gough signalled 118 boundaries, 83 fours and 35 sixes, plus 44 extras, 4 byes, 12 leg byes, 20 wides and 8 no balls.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,848

  Wednesday, 8 June 2016

 

• Ravi retained on EUP, Shamshuddin to ICC ‘emerging’ group [1848-9264].

• Eden Gardens to host India’s first pink ball match next week [1848-9265].

• Will BCCI president follow through on Test pay? [1848-9266].

• Growing pains for another US region [1848-9267].

• Celebration of wicket ends bowler’s season [1848-9268].

Ravi retained on EUP, Shamshuddin elevated to ICC ‘emerging’ group. 

PTG Editor.

BBC media release.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016.

PTG 1848-9264.

A news item posted on the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) web site on Tuesday says that Sundarum Ravi has "retained his place” on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) for the 2016-17 year, an achievement the BCCI says comes following his “successful" first 12 months with the group.  That news suggests, as would be expected at this time of year, that the ICC has finalised membership of the 12-man group for another year, and that a public announcement of its composition is imminent. 

During his first year on the panel Ravi was appointed 30 times to ICC matches, which was about the average figure across all 12 members (PTG 1834-9176, 23 May 2016). He stood in five Tests and worked as a third umpire in another five but none as the fourth official (5/5/0), while his One Day International record was 2/3/0, in Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) 6/2/4, and in Womens’ T20Is  2/0/1.

The web story goes on to indicate that Chettithody Shamshuddin, who is currently an on-field Indian member of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), has been “elevated to the ICC’s ODI Emerging Panel” for 2016-17.  Just what that terminology means is not entirely clear, the ICC having referred publicly to an ‘Emerging Panel” five years ago, but not since.  

It may well mean the group of umpires who have been exposed directly to Test cricket as part of an examination of their potential as future EUP members.  Over the last year IUP members Simon Fry of Australia, Ranmore Martinez of Sri Lanka and Joel Wilson of the West Indies, appear to have been with that group.  Whether they will stay in EUP consideration is not yet known.

The BCCI statement says the "elevation of Shamshuddin and retention of Ravi [on the EUP] is a testament to BCCI’s focussed efforts towards raising the standard of umpiring in India and creating a bigger pool of match officials”, work that started seven years ago. It also says "exposure as field umpires in Indian Premier League matches has helped Indian Umpires” (PTG 1838-9199, 28 May 2016), and points to umpire workshops it conducts, as well as English speaking courses to improve their communication skills, and the use of former Australian umpire Simon Taufel to conduct key workshops.

Eden Gardens to host India’s first pink ball match next week.

Shamik Chakrabarty.

Indian Express.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016.

PTG 1848-9265.

India’s first-ever pink ball, day-night match is to be played at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, the weekend after next (PTG 1820-9105, 5 May 2016).  The fixture, the four-day final of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Super League competition, is to be played with a pink ‘Kookaburra' ball and will be telecast live across India. 

The CAB’s Super League, which has been introduced this season to streamline Bengal’s Ranji Trophy team selection, features the top eight teams in local cricket.  The new format is the idea of CAB president Sourav Ganguly’s as he thinks pink ball cricket is the “way forward” as far as the longest format of the game is concerned. Also, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India seriously mulling hosting a couple of Test matches under lights later this year the CAB is keen to attract such a Test (PTG 1812-9061, 27 April 2016).

Ganguly said the CAB "are not claiming any TV rights [from the broadcaster] for the event as they will bear the whole expense of the final”.  CAB secretary Abhishek Dalmiya said: “Certain conditions are required for the pink ball to hold up for a substantial period therefore we have spoken to Kookaburra’s subcontinent head and will follow the advice we received".

The BCCI's Technical Committee, which headed by Ganguly, has recommended Duleep Trophy first class matches in October be played under lights (PTG 1841-9216, 1 June 2016).

Will BCCI president follow through on Test pay? 

Andy Bull.

The Guardian.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016.

PTG 1848-9266.

“If we need to keep the players’ interest in Tests alive, we’ll have to ensure that those playing Tests are better paid”.  The words themselves aren’t so very remarkable, but they’re worth repeating simply because the man who said them. Anurag Thakur is president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and one of the most influential men in the sport. 

Thakur was comparing the earnings of Test specialist Che Pujara to those of Pawan Negi, who was bought for £879,475 ($A1.72 m) by the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Delhi Daredevils at the most recent IPL auction.

Pujara, 28, has played 32 Tests and has a batting average of 47. But his skills aren’t well suited to Twenty20, so he wasn’t bought at the IPL auction. He makes £7,244 ($A14,200) for every Test match he plays. On the other hand Negi, who is 23 and has won one Twenty20 International cap, played eight games in the IPL season, scored 57 runs and took one wicket in nine overs. 

Opaque as the IPL finances are, that would seem to mean he was earning £111,000 ($A217,700) per T20 match, around 15 times what Pujara was being paid to play a Test!

Which begs the question, why would any young player want to develop into a Test cricketer when he could make so much more in T20? Thakur is right that “we can’t hide away from the trend which we are witnessing among new cricketers” and right again when he said of Pujara: “If we wants these kind of cricketers to have long careers, and to retain their focus on Tests, we need to make Test cricket a lucrative option”.

The most important step for Test cricket to take is to start paying more to the men who play it. Sport is no different to most other walks, and ultimately it’s money that motivates many of the men and women who play it. While the earnings in Tests and T20s are out of kilter, the best players lose interest in what we say remains the ultimate form of the game. Thakur, of course, is in a good position to push through change, if his actions are any match his intentions.

Growing pains for another US region. 

Briana Hedden.

Loudoun Now.

Monday, 6 June 2016.

PTG 1848-9267.

A sport that’s little known to those who grew up in the United States is quickly becoming one of the most played games in Loudoun County, Virginia. The growing number of families who have moved to the county from India, Pakistan and other South Asian countries have brought with them their love of cricket, a situation similar to many other parts of the United States (PTG 1846-9259, 6 June 2016). 

The Loudoun County Cricket League (LCCL) has expanded from five teams in 2009 to 48 adult teams and five youth teams this year and currently has close to 1,300 players.  But those players have few places to play the sport, Loudoun having just one field designed specifically for cricket.  As a result the LCCL has started speaking at Loudoun County council meetings over the last few months pressing for more grounds to be established.

To make do until more can be built, the county’s Recreation and Community Services Department (RCSD) has made temporary modifications to grounds at several locations to accommodate cricket by adding concrete pitches that cost about $US20,000 ($A27,200, £UK13,900) to establish.  RCSD director Steve Torpy said: “After cricket really exploded over the last couple of years, we wanted to take care of them as much as we could”.  

However, those make-shift cricket grounds are not always available, because, for much of the time, they’re booked by Loudoun’s even larger soccer or baseball leagues.  The Dulles South Little [Baseball] League for example, which has 1,200 players alone, is one of 15 such competitions in Loudoun.  Harsha Sarjapur, a member of the Loudoun County Indian community said: "This season we had four games washed out due to rain and we were unable to reschedule them due to lack of field availability”.  “That is a huge frustration to the cricket community”.

The LCCL is petitioning the council for at least three more cricket fields and Torpy has been working with them to try to find them, but he said a key problem for the county is a shortage of open space.  “Cricket fields are now being considered whenever a large, open space becomes available”, said Tory. His department is also beginning to work with Loudoun County Public Schools so leagues, including cricket, can play on their grounds.

Recently, the United States of America Cricket Association approached the Loudoun league to organise and host a youth tournament but the LCCL had to decline due to lack of fields. “Someday, we would love to have kids come out to the fields and learn to play, instead of playing in driveways and cul-de-sacs”, said a LCCL spokesman.

Celebration of wicket ends bowler’s season. 

Associated Press.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016.

PTG 1848-9268.

An overly exuberant wicket celebration has ended Northamptonshire fast bowler Olly Stone's season, with his club confirming on Tuesday the freak incident resulted in damage to his anterior cruciate ligament.  Stone was thrilled when he had England allrounder Moeen Ali, fresh off an unbeaten 155 in the second Test against Sri Lanka, caught behind in the fourth over of a T20 match against Worcestershire on Friday.  But his leap and air-punch after the dismissal ended in disaster when he landed awkwardly on his knee and fell in a heap.

The 22-year-old attempted to finish the over but he collapsed in the delivery stride and had to be carried from the field.  After scans and an assessment by an orthopaedic knee surgeon, Northamptonshire confirmed he'd damaged his ACL and cartilage.  Northampton head physio Barry Goudriaan said in a statement: "We will do all we can to support Olly through a program of treatment and recovery”.

  

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,849

  Thursday, 9 June 2016


No change to EUP membership for 2016-17.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016.

PTG 1850-9269.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has made no changes to the membership of its twelve-man Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) for the 2016-17 year.  Whether that decision means the three current apparent contenders for spots, ICC second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) members Simon Fry of Australia, Ranmore Martinecz of Sri Lanka and Joel Wilson of the West Indies, will remain in contention for the year ahead, remains to be seen.  

It is the first time since 2007 no one has joined or left the EUP.  The twelve who will again do the rounds as EUP members for another year are: Aleem Dar (Pakistan); Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka); Marais Erasmus (South Africa); Chris Gaffney (New Zealand); Ian Gould, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong (all England), Sundarum Ravi (India); and Australians Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel, and Rod Tucker.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 IMAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Front row from left: Tucker, Kettleborough, Oxenford, Gould, Erasmus and Dar.  

Back row from left: Gaffaney, Llong, Ravi, Dharmasena and Illingworth.

In announcing the panel for the next year, the ICC said: "The game’s top umpires displayed their skills to an impressive degree in 2015-2016 by achieving a correct-decision percentage of 95.6 per cent in 220 matches across the three formats of Tests, One Day Internationals [ODI] and Twenty20 Internationals [T20I]”.  That’s "not only an improvement on 2014-2015 figures of 94 per cent, but is the highest since the Umpire Decision Review System was introduced in cricket in 2008".

Llong topped the numerical list of ICC appointments in the year just ending with 40, Reiffel being at the opposite end with just over one-third of that (PTG 1834-9176, 23 May 2016).  Just how the ICC rated each individual when all data available to them was drawn upon is not known as these days such details are not made public.

The year ahead will be Dar’s thirteenth on the panel, a record, Gould’s ninth, Erasmus and Tucker seventh, Dharmasena and Kettleborough sixth, Llong and Oxenford fifth, Illingworth and Reiffel fourth, and Gaffaney and Ravi their second.  

A number of milestones potentially await several members this year.  Currently on 103 Tests on-field, Dar could reach and pass former South African EUP member Rudi Koertzen’s 108 Test mark, however, he will still have a way to go to reach West Indian Steve Bucknor’s current all-time record of 128 Tests.  Of his colleagues Gould will become the 12th person to stand in 50 Tests, and Gaffney and Illingworth the 44th and 45th to have stood in 50 ODIs.

In terms of age, Gould is the oldest panel member at 59, so would therefore appear to have 3-4 more years with the group if he maintains form and a desire to continue.  After him comes Oxenford 56, Illingworth 53, Erasmus and Tucker 52, Ravi and Reiffel 50, Dar 48, Llong 47, Dharmasena 45, Kettleborough 43, and Gaffaney 41.  Age-wise at least, Fry, Martinez and Wilson, all have time to still make it to the world’s top umpiring panel as Martinecz turns 49 later this month, while Fry will celebrate his half century next month and Wilson in December.  

Should one or more of those three not still be in contention going ahead there several others in 20 who have on-field status in IUP ranks, who the ICC might trial at Test level as part of an EUP ‘audition’.  They are those who have reached the stage of standing as ‘neutral’ umpires in ODIs, such as England’s Michael Gough, 36, who heads the ranks of next generation contenders, possibly Sri Lanka’s Ruchira Palliyaguruge, 47, and South Africa’s Johannes Cloete, 45, and now Chettithody Shamshuddin of India (PTG 1848-9264, 8 June 2016).   

On the other hand the EUP career of former member ‘Billy’ Bowden of New Zealand, who has twice been dropped from the panel, would now appear to be completely over even though he current remains an IUP member.

Decisions on the make up of the EUP for the 2016-17 year were made by an Umpires Selection Panel consisting of Geoff Allardice the world body's general manager cricket who is the committee's chairman, the ICC's Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle, ex-England player and coach, umpire and now commentator, David Lloyd, and Srinivas Venkataraghavan (Venkat), the former India captain and international umpire.

Allardice said via a media release: “The elite panel has had an outstanding 12 months. Based on the individual performances of each umpire, as well as their ability to work together as a group, the selectors have decided the same 12 umpires deserve to be rewarded with appointment to the [EUP] for 2016-2017”.  He also said that: "The selectors also noted the improved performances of some of the umpires on the [IUP] and expect them to be pushing for selection on the [EUP] in years to come”.  

EUP structure enters its 15th year.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016.

PTG 1850-9670.

Since the EUP was established in 2002, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has selected a total of 29 umpires to join its ranks, although one of them, Neil Mallender of England, never actually took up his appointment.  Of the 28 who have, seven have been Australians, six Englishmen, three each from New Zealand and South Africa, two each from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, and one from Zimbabwe.  The only ICC Full Member not to have had an umpire join the group to date is Bangladesh.

In addition to the 12 named for the year ahead (PTG 1849-9669- above), others who have been on the panel have been: Australians Steve Davis who served for 7 years from 2008-15, Daryl Harper 2002-11 (9), Darrell Hair 2003-08 (5) and Simon Taufel 2003-12 (10); Englishmen Mark Benson 2006-10 (4) and David Shepherd 2002-05 (3); Indian Srinivas Venkataraghavan (Venkat) 2002-04 (2); New Zealanders ‘Billy’ Bowden 2003-13 and 2014-15 (11) and Tony Hill 2009-14 (5); Pakistani Asad Rauf 2006-13 (7); West Indians Steve Bucknor 2002-09 (7) and Billy Doctrove 2006-12 (6); South Africans Rudi Koertzen 2002-10 (8) and David Orchard 2002-04 (2); Sri Lankan Asoka de Silva 2002-04 and 2008-11 (5); and Zimbabwean Russell Tiffin 2002-04 (2).  

During their careers those former EUP members stood in total of 1,081 Tests, 200 as as the third or television umpire and 14 as the fourth official (1,081/200/14), 2,191 One Day Internationals (ODI) 2191/558/112 and 214 Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) 214/129/45, plus a host of other internationals including womens’ Tests and ODIs.  They collectively spent time 16 years worth of days working in Tests, 8 years in ODIs, and one in T20Is, altogether a total of 25 years.  

Bucknor, de Silva, Harper, Koertzen, Orchard, Shepherd, Tiffin and Venkat made up the inaugural panel in 2002-03.  Starting out with an 8-man panel, the 15 years since then has seen annual membership vary from as low as seven in 2005-06, to since 2009-10 and after a review the ICC conducted of international umpiring, the current 12 (PTG 126-686, 1 November 2007).   The latter period has seen the arrival of non-ICC competitions such as the Indian Premier League which usually contracts half the EUP for its games for up to a month  each year (PTG 1838-9199, 28 May 2016).

Agreement reached to play second Adelaide day-night Test.

PTG Editor,

Media reports.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016.

PTG 1849-9269.

Cricket Australia (CA) has confirmed that Australia’s Test against South Africa in Adelaide towards the end of November will played in a day-night format (PTG 1847-9262, 7 June 2016).  South Africa Cricketers Association chief Tony Irish said his members still had legitimate concerns around the ball, that their position "has never been about money”, and CA "has not offered the players extra money and we haven’t asked for money”.

Speaking about their decision to play under lights at Adelaide, Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgart told ‘Cricinfo', ”Our Proteas were initially hesitant to play such a key Test match without previous experience and adequate preparation, but after working through all their concerns and possible options to prepare sufficiently, there is newfound excitement for this novel Test match. Our players deserve credit for the way they have worked through the issues which were clearly not insignificant”.

Irish echoed those thoughts, saying: “The players looked at all the pros and cons of playing this. There are still legitimate concerns around the ball, as it is fundamentally different to a red ball or white ball. Some players will find it more difficult to see, it behaves differently and conditions have to be tailored to make it last. So there will be a number of unknowns in what is likely to be a crucial match for the Proteas against a team who has some experience of these conditions”.

Despite that "is the players’ willingness to take a bold step and play a pink ball match sooner rather than later, given the recent announcements from other countries that they will soon start playing day-night Tests". 

ICC promises 'no repeat’ of McCullum match-fixing experience.

Press Association.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016.

PTG 1849-9269.

Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum's plea to have the match-fixing reporting process tightened appears to have gained some traction with senior cricket officials.  McCullum hit out at International Cricket Council (ICC) for their lack of protection and professionalism around match-fixing cases on Monday during his presentation of the 2016 'Cowdrey Spirit of Cricket' lecture at Lord’s (PTG 1847-9261, 7 June 2016).

The ICC said in response it "commended Brendon McCullum two years ago - and continues to do so today - for his brave, courageous and principled stand against corruption in cricket”.  It went on: "The ICC also understood and shared his dismay at the leak of his confidential statement, which prompted a thorough and detailed investigation by the ICC.  While the probe proved the leak was not from within the ICC, it failed to establish beyond doubt the actual source. Nevertheless, the ICC has already put strong measures in place to ensure this type of incident is never repeated”.

Meanwhile, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) refused to get into a public discission over McCullum's criticism in the lecture of its treatment of Lou Vincent, the former New Zealand batsman, who was given eleven life bans from cricket by the ECB after admitting to his own part in match-fixing (PTG 1384-6691, 2 July 2014).  McCullum had pleaded for some leniency on Vincent who had co-operated with authorities.

At the same time the former head of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit says it would have been "stupid" to charge McCullum for his delayed reporting of alleged irregularities.  Ravi Sawani was in charge of that group when McCullum reported, three years after the event, he had been approached about fixing matches, which is generally considered an offence by cricket authorities.  

Test return for Amir at scene of spot-mixing scandal.

PTG Editor.

BBC media release.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016.

PTG 1849-9270.

Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir is poised to make his return to Test cricket at Lord’s, the scene of the 2010 spot-fixing scandal he was involved in, after reportedly being granted a UK visa for Pakistan’s tour of England this summer.  The 24-year-old left-armer, who was banned from playing for five years and served four weeks of a six-month sentence in a young offenders’ institute in England after bowling no-balls to order, made his international comeback in January.

Amir, who has played only limited‑overs matches since his suspension expired, including the World Twenty20 Championship in India in March, has been named in the squad to travel to England, his selection being subject to approval from the British government.  The England and Wales Cricket Board has formally supported his visa application (PTG 1808-9041, 23 April 2016). 

While the two other players banned for their roles in the Lord’s scam, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, have not played international cricket since that fateful fourth Test with England six years ago, Amir remains central to Pakistan’s plans and the international cricket community is keen to continue his rehabilitation (PTG 1631-7971, 30 August 2015).

Defibrillator saves player’s life after post-innings collapse.

Southampton Daily Echo.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016.

PTG 1849-9271.

A national Over Sixties Championship match between Hampshire and Devon played at Warnford in the Meon Valley was abandoned close to its end on Tuesday after a visiting batsman collapsed on the boundary just after he had been dismissed.  Devon captain Nick Rogers, 61, suffered a cardiac arrest in front of the pavilion, and reports indicate the availability of a defibrillator at the ground was instrumental in saving his life.

An air ambulance, two paramedics and three police vehicles attended the scene, the emergency crew taking over an hour to treat and stabilise Rogers, who was rushed to Queen Alexandra hospital in Portsmouth, where he is expected to remain for the next week or so.  The 45-over game was reaching a potentially thrilling climax went Rogers collapsed, Devon requiring 16 runs off the last 13 balls of the match to overhaul Hampshire’s 235 all out.

The fact that Rogers’ life was saved on the field owed much to the forward thinking Hampshire Seniors Club, who several seasons ago bought several defibrillators after one of their own cricketers, Jim Smallbone, collapsed in a veterans match in West Sussex.

In Australia last month, Cricket Australia's independent Curtain investigation into the death of Phillip Hughes in November 2014 recommended defibrillators be available at all CA sanctioned matches (PTG 1825-9124, 12 May 2016).  Last year a club in Staffordshire acquired a defibrillator after one of its players collapsed during play during the 2014 season in England (PTG 1588-7659, 9 July 2015).

Umpires are the unsung heroes of our game.

Rob Johnstone.

The Cricket Paper.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016.

PTG 1849-9272.

The growth of the Twenty20 game means the pressure on match officials is now greater than ever, according to Neil Bainton who is currently in his tenth season as an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) first-class umpire.  County umpires are vital to the smooth running of the professional game yet operate in the background, which is ­perhaps as it should be: umpires making news usually means something has gone wrong. 

Bainton was in his late teens when, playing for his club’s third XI, he realised that he enjoyed the umpiring stints that the players had to share between ­themselves when they batted more than he did playing the game.  Soon after, he decided to give up playing ­altogether and see how far he could take his ­umpiring.

Now 45, he came to the ECB’s first-class umpires’ list having risen through the Essex League and county second XI ranks.  He is one of 25 first-class umpires, assisted by eight umpires on the ECB’s reserve list, who officiate at first-class and county second XI fixtures during the summer.  The current set of umpires are well regarded for their ability and the relationship between the players and officials is generally excellent.

“Getting on with the players and player-management is key to being a good umpire at this level, as is not being too officious”, Bainton says.  “It’s the ­players’ game and you’ve just got to be accepted into their group. If you can do that, as long as you’re giving the correct decisions most of the time, that will help”.

The ECB’s Full List is a mix of former first-class players and a small minority, like Bainton, who did not play professionally.  “A lot of the former players who umpire have that respect immediately from the current players”, says Bainton.  “For the non-­players, it’s harder to get that respect but you do get accepted quite quickly. If you’ve progressed to that level the ­players obviously feel that you’re good enough”.

These days each umpire on the Full List has a 12-month contract, although some will have other jobs during the winter.  During the 2016 season, which runs for 183 days, they are required for 91 days of cricket including third umpire and second XI duties. Any days above that and they are paid overtime. In all, ­Bainton reckons that he will spend at least 80 days away from home during this season.

“They try and keep us closer to home with the appointments, certainly if you’re doing second XI matches”, he says. “They try to avoid long distances between matches too so you wouldn’t be sent from Durham to Somerset and be meant to start the next day.  Sometimes it’s not ideal because you can go from a floodlit game finishing at 10.30 in the evening and very ­occasionally you will be on the field the next day at 11 o’clock.  That’s not the norm but sometimes it cannot be ­avoided if umpires get injured and you’re called in for extra games".

“There will be times when you can’t go home after a game such as if you were to do a four-day game at Durham, have a day off and then have a one-day game at Manchester. It’s not worth driving all the way back so that’s not a day as part of the 91 but is a day when you’re away from home”.

The development of T20 cricket and the rewards on offer has meant an already pressurised job has become even more so. “The T20 has now become very serious and a no-ball here or there for example can make a hell of a difference with free-hits”, says Bainton, such that a wrong decision can impact the outcome of a fixture much more than in a longer format fixture.

“For the players, it’s the biggest ­tournament in front of the biggest crowds so everything has been heightened by that, including for umpires.  Certainly the balls are getting hit harder and you might be umpiring a few feet further back than you would normally be. I was at ­Canterbury last week [for a T20] and there were times where the ball was flying around and it was coming back at a rate of knots”.

To assist the standing umpires, ECB third-umpire duties have expanded to check on front-foot no-balls if a wicket falls and to get involved if a ball is ­possibly a high full toss. Umpiring is very much a three-way effort these days.

As befits professional officials, ­preparation is wide-ranging and ­thorough. Before this season, the first-class umpires undertook workshops on the Laws of the game and the ECB’s ­playing regulations, as well as fitness testing, third-umpire work and anti-corruption training.

For the first time they were also given first-aid training, including giving the dressing room a signal if a player is unconscious on the field so a ­defibrillator can be brought out. With the recent retirement of James Taylor due to a heart condition and the shocking death of Phillip Hughes in 2014, umpires are being prepared to do their bit should the unthinkable happen (PTG 1819-9100, 4 May 2016).

As with players, the umpires’ ­preparation is geared towards ­performance on the pitch. Each umpire is evaluated after each county game by both captains and, if present, one of the four ECB Cricket Liaison Officers (PTG 1754-8749, 4 February 2016).  ­Consistently good marks leads to bigger games, including finals, and potentially elevation to international level.

Umpiring at the highest level is a ­genuine option for those county umpires ambitious and good enough. English umpires are among the best trained and performing in the world.  The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) 12-man Elite Umpires Panel includes four English umpires, currently more than any other country, and Yorkshire’s Richard Kettleborough has been the ICC's Umpire of the Year for the last three years (PTG 1721-8534, 24 December 2015).

Umpires are often a forgotten part of the county system, only noticed when a mistake is made, and relied upon to be at the top of their game for every ball of every match.  The pressure on them is great but they are well-prepared professionals doing, on the whole, a fine job for English ­cricket. They are pretty lucky too: after all, they have been given the best view in the house.

  

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,850

  Friday, 10 June 2016

 

• Hughes Coronial inquest to look at ’nature of play' [1850-9276].   

• CA chief executive dismisses day-night Ashes Tests concerns [1850-9277].   

• Australian trio named for Ireland, England ODI series [1850-9278].    

• Defibrillator donated in memory of captain who died on-field [1850-9279].

• Umpiring ’strike' resignation withdrawn [1850-9280].

• Muddled thinking over Test championship increases the danger ahead [1850-9281].

Hughes Coronial inquest to look at ’nature of play'.

Peter Lalor.

The Australian,

Friday, 10 June 2016.

PTG 1850-9276.

The coronial inquest into the death of Phillip Hughes will examine the appropriateness of media coverage of the incident as well as the “nature of play” at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in the lead-up to the tragedy.  New South Wales State Coroner Michael Barnes will hold a directions hearing on Friday before continuing with another separate inquiry.

The inquest into Hughes death has been listed for October and is ­expected to include evidence from a number of high-profile Test cricketers who were playing that day, as well as umpires Ash Barrow and MikeGraham-Smith and others who witnessed what happened.  A number of players and offic­ials on the scene have given statements ahead of the hearing.

A draft list of issues to be examined by the coroner includes “the nature of the play … including compliance with the Sheffield Shield rules, and whether that in any way exacerbated the risk of injury to Phillip Hughes”.  NSW police are believed to have examined footage of the bowling in the overs leading up to the ball bowled by Hughes’s former teammate Sean Abbott.  It is understood the number of short balls bowled will be exam­ined.

Hughes died after being hit by a short ball, appearing to have misjudged the speed of the delivery. The batsman had completed his shot before being hit, which suggests that the ball was travelling slower than he had thought.

The draft issues list says there will be an examination of “the appropriateness of the emergency planning and response to Phillip Hughes’s injury, including the calling of ambulances, time of response to ambulance, conveying of information to ­ambulance service for the ­purpose of 000 calls, and emergency response training and management”.  The coroner will also receive reports on the helmet Hughes was wearing and if anything “would have prevented or minim­ised the risk of (him) ­sustaining the fatal ­injury”.

Cricket Australia commissioned a report into safety equipment and has since made the wearing of new helmets manda­tory, but the inquiry found these would not have saved Hughes (PTG 1819-9099, 4 May 2016). It also found Hughes received good treatment from medical staff in attend­ance and nothing could have saved him. 

Footage of Hughes being struck and treated on the ground was edited by most networks and websites to cut out the moment he fell to the ground, but the replays have upset his family, who have raised it with the coroner.

CA chief executive dismisses day-night Ashes Test concerns.

Peter Lalor.

The Australian,

Friday, 10 June 2016.

PTG 1850-9277.

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has dismissed concerns about the integrity of pink-ball cricket expressed by the captains of Australia and England and given the strongest indication yet that the 2017-18 Ashes series could feature two day-night Tests.  However, the players do not believe that the pink ball is good enough for Test cricket and are concerned about its behaviour in the shifting conditions from day to night. Some argue it should be treated as a different format altogether.

The administrators point to the popularity of the inaugural pink-ball Test in Adelaide last summer and appear to believe this justifies dismissing questions over preserving the traditions of Test cricket (PTG 1841-9217, 1 June 2016).  The new area of conflict has opened up soon after South Africa agreed to play one of the two day-night Test matches scheduled for this summer (PTG 1849-9271, 9 June 2016).

The Australian players believe that the format is still in the development stage and wanted only one Test — preferably in Adelaide. They were concerned that a game scheduled in Brisbane against Pakistan later this year could see them concede the traditional advantage they have at that venue.  Ashes captains Steve Smith and Alastair Cook both said this week that they would prefer the traditions of the Ashes be respected.

The players argue that the Ashes attracts the biggest crowds in world cricket and needs no gimmicks, but Sutherland is pushing on with the format he has championed so successfully.  “We’ve played one day-night Test match and this summer we have two in the schedule, so I think there’s a natural progression for us to get to a point where Ashes Test matches are played as day-night games”, ­Sutherland said on Thursday.

“The Ashes series is still a long way off and we want to get through [the 2016-17] summer first, but we will play somewhere between zero and two day-night Tests during the Ashes in 18 months’ time.  I respect the views of Steven and Alastair … the Ashes is a great contest and will no doubt attract a huge audience both at the grounds and on television but the facts of the matter are by playing day-night Tests, we’re going to get even bigger audiences at the game and on television”.

Players argue that the pink ball is not up to Test match standard but administrators claim the need to drag more fans to matches outweighs their concerns.  "The crowds and the viewers for the regular Ashes Test ­matches are pretty good”, Smith said in Guyana on Thursday.  “There’s a bit to be talked about there but it’s still a little while away. We’ll wait and see what happens with that one.  My personal preference probably would be, yeah [to keep the Ashes to day-only Tests]”.

England’s captain backed Smith. “A lot of the games have really good attendances, so I don’t think that’s a series where you need to do it at this precise moment in time”, Cook said at Lord’s on Wednesday.  “I don’t mean any disrespect to the guys who make it ... but it doesn’t seem to behave the same way as the red ball does now. The quality of the ball is vital for day-night Test cricket”.

‘Kookaburra' is confident the pink ball that will be available this summer will perform better than the one that had to be protected by a grassy Adelaide wicket in 2015-16 but will never behave the same as a traditional cricket ball (PTG 1833-9172, 21 May 2016).

The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA), or players’ union, says its members are upset with the way they are being railroaded into changes.  ACA chief executive Alastair Nicholson said:  “The concerns of the players run deep, and with Alistair Cook’s comments we see they also run internationally.  When the best players in the world are all expressing ­concerns, they must be listened to and their concerns must be ­addressed".

“The message from players all over the world is clear: ‘We want the best quality Test cricket'. To achieve this there is a lot of work to be done on the pink-ball ­format’. As the issue stands, the collective position on Ashes cricket is that it should be preserved as a red-ball contest, and the two Test captains are clearly expressing this view”, concluded Nicholson.

Reports say the Proteas tour of Australia late this year will start with a two-day, day-night match at Adelaide Oval in October, with a second practice match under lights, which could be a two-day game or a four-day game, pencilled in ahead of the Test in Adelaide in late November.

Australian trio named for Ireland, England ODI series

PTG Editor

Thursday, 9 June 2016.

PTG 1850-9278.

Australian trio David Boon, Bruce Oxenford and Paul Reiffel will be the neutral officials for the Ireland-Sri Lanka and England-Sri Lanka One Day International (ODI) series over the last two weeks of this month.  Boon will oversee all seven ODIs, two in Ireland and five in England and Wales, the two umpires sharing on-field and television duties next Thursday and Saturday in Dublin, while Reiffel will be on-field for the England-Lanka games in Nottingham, Bristol and in Cardiff, and Oxenford in Birmingham and The Oval.  

The seven matches will take Boon’s ODI record as a referee to 88, Oxenford to 75 on-field and 43 as the television umpire (75/43) and Reiffel to 45/22.  Cricket Ireland and England and Wales Cricket Board umpires will fill the second on-field, and fourth, umpire spots for the respective series.  As yet the names of those involved has not been made public.

Defibrillator donated in memory of captain who died on-field.

Tyler Mears.

Wales On-line.

Thursday, 9 June 2016.

PTG 1850-9279.

A club in Wales has been presented with a lifesaving defibrillator in memory of a former captain who collapsed and died from a heart attack during a match 10 years ago. The defibrillator, a common treatment for life-threatening cardiac conditions, was donated to Blackwood Town Cricket Club after Rhodri Evans raised more than £5,600 ($A10,900) in memory of his dad, Hywel Evans. 

Former policeman Hywel, who had captained the club’s second XI for four years, was a mentor to many members and a junior coach, died aged 43 in 2006, while playing against Rogerstone Cricket Club.  Son Rhodri who raised the money, was 15-years-old at the time of Hywel’s death, was playing on his father's team and saw the tragedy unfold.

The defibrillator was donated by the charity Welsh Hearts during a charity night celebrating Evans senior's life and legacy.  During the evening club members were also given professional training from 'Welsh Hearts', including defibrillator demonstrations and CPR sessions with dummies.

An investigation into the death of Australian Phillip Hughes recommended defibrillators be available at all Cricket Australia sanctioned matches (PTG 1825-9124, 12 May 2016).  Last year a club in Staffordshire acquired a defibrillator after one of its players collapsed during play during the 2014 season in England (PTG 1588-7659, 9 July 2015), while the device save a player in Hampshire earlier this week (PTG 1849-9271, 9 June 2016).

Umpiring ’strike' resignation withdrawn.

Stabroek News.

Thursday, 9 June 2016.

PTG 1850-9880.

Dwain Gill remains as president of the Grenada Cricket Association (GCA) after rescinding his resignation letter.  Gill told the media last week he had resigned the position after local and sub-regional umpires staged a brief strike to protest over the use of what they saw as an “unqualified” umpire being used in a senior Windward Islands tournament (PTG 1842-9223, 2 June 2016).

The GCA said in a statement issued after an “emergency meeting” that it: "wishes to state unequivocally that Dwain Gill’s resignation letter has been withdrawn [and] as a result [he] remains the substantive President of the GCA. The statement made no mention of the claims umpire Keith St. Louis of Grenada should not have been appointed to tournament games.

Muddled thinking over Test championship increases the danger ahead.

Simon Heffer.

London Daily Telegraph.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016.

PTG 1850-9281.

It has long been thought that some sort of Test championship or league would create an extra incentive for failing sides to turn themselves round, since all would not be done and dusted once a three-match series was over, and every win or draw would count for even more than it always has.  This idea was popular over a century ago, when the three Test nations then in existence – England, Australia and South Africa – played a triangular series in England in 1912. However, the high hopes for it were not fulfilled.

England won the tournament, in which each side played the other two three times each, by winning four of their six matches and drawing the other two; but the public soon lost interest, partly because an uncharacteristically weak Australian side were sent on the tour thanks to a dispute between players and management, partly because of limited interest in matches not featuring the home team, and partly because of a summer of poor weather.

The August of 1912 was the wettest and coldest of the 20th century, exploding those myths about the romantic endless summers before the Great War. What we would give now to watch Jack Hobbs, Wilfred Rhodes and C B Fry, batting on the “stickies” that exemplified that summer: but then the cricketing public could not be bothered, reminding us that apathy about Test cricket is nothing new.

It was not until 1998-99 that something similar was tried, with the Asian Test Championship between India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Unlike the 1912 experiment, it was repeated, in 2001-02, but an attempt to continue the cycle in 2006 did not come about because of the increasingly packed international schedule. The International Cricket Council (ICC) had regarded it as a possible precursor to a championship featuring all Test-playing nations, but they were to be disappointed. The schedule is now even more packed thanks to the inception of T20. 

An idea, three years ago, of having a league played over two or three years, with the top teams playing a knockout to establish an overall champion, also failed to get off the drawing board, again largely because of fixture pile-ups. More to the point, the evidence of our own eyes tells us that around the world enthusiasm for Test cricket has been vanishing. The pitiful turnouts at Headingley and Chester-le-Street for the first two England-Sri Lanka Tests this summer have been blamed on the cold, dank weather, but poor advance ticket sales belie that. People, generally speaking, are bored with Test matches that do not showcase the very best teams, and that are not held in London.

Now the latest wheeze by the ICC, which not before time appears to be in a state of mild panic about the long-term survival of the five-day game, is that there should be a two-division league of Test nations, with promotion and relegation to add spice to the mix. David Richardson, the ICC chief executive, advanced this in London last week; and there have been hints that if it came off the present 10 Test-playing nations might be expanded to 12, with Ireland and Afghanistan making up the numbers. 

Richardson told the media, quite correctly, that something radical had to be done to Test cricket for it to survive. He proposes two leagues: the top of seven teams, all playing each other in six tours (three home, three away) over a two-year period. Then, at the end of that period, the best team in the second division would be promoted, and the worst in the first would be relegated; and as in football, there could be play-offs. Of course it is good that the ICC is thinking so hard about these matters: but it is far from clear that its thinking is sensible.

Most obviously: what happens if England and Australia eventually end up in separate divisions? Given the Ashes is the most lucrative and historic franchise in cricket, what happens if it cannot happen? Or if India cannot play Pakistan or Sri Lanka? No doubt the ICC would underwrite the tournament in countries where virtually no one now wants to watch Test matches, but how will Pakistan cope if they can play no home matches for security reasons? Are we to endure endless matches in cavernously empty stadiums in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah? 

What will that do to increase interest in Test cricket? And what if England end up in Division Two, which is all too plausible, sadly, given the roller-coaster ride of recent years? What would two seasons of Tests against Ireland, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh do to the financial health of cricket in this country, or support for the five-day game here? Would we not merely be added to the casualty list?

I suspect the people who call the shots in the authoritarian world of international cricket – England, Australia and India – will tremble at Richardson’s brave idea. Within a few years perhaps six or seven countries only will be playing Tests, and except perhaps for England v Australia, interest will be waning even for them. 

The long game around the world has simply not been marketed properly, either at Test or first-class level, for decades: and in Britain its disappearance from terrestrial television and the huge cost of going to a Test match has largely killed a generation’s interest in it. If it can survive until the novelty of T20 wears off, it may then, and only then, have a chance.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,851

  Saturday, 11 June 2016

 

• Umpire's LBW call margin likely to be reduced [1851-9282].   

• Lord’s to go pink in 2017? [1851-9283].  

• Kolkata enthusiastic but ‘no decision’ yet on day-night Test [1851-9284].  

• ECB chairman again raises four-day Test issue [1851-9285].   

• Football on TV so games to start early [1851-9286].   

• Nominations for CMJ ’Spirit of Cricket’ awards open [1851-9287].  

• More international coordination needed on drug testing issues? [1851-9288].  

• Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published [1851-9289].  

Umpire's LBW call margin likely to be reduced.

Media reports.

Friday, 10 June 2016.

PTG 1851-9282.

The benefit of the doubt given to the batsman in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) could soon be reduced by half.  At present, at least half the ball has to be hitting between the inside half of leg and off stump for an LBW decision to be overturned in favour of the bowler by the third umpire, but ICC's Cricket Committee believes that should change.

Former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene, a member of the Cricket Committee, said that at its latest meeting last week, it was agreed "the 50 per cent rule should be reduced to 25 per cent”.  "The [Laws of the game] says if it hits any part of the wicket, it should be given out. So you're going away from all that with the [current] UDRS 50 per cent rule”.  The Committee has submitted a recommendation to that effect to the ICC’s Chief Executives Committee and Board which will be considered at meetings in Edinburgh late this month.

The issue was brought to the fore again on the opening day of the third Test between England and Sri Lanka at Lords on Wednesday, when the home side’s Jonny Bairstow survived an extremely tight review when on 57 before going on to make a key 167.  The Sri Lankans were left even more frustrated by the fact the tough decision - which came back as "umpire's call" - robbed them of one of their two reviews.

According to Jayawardene, an analysis of past decisions indicates if the 25 per cent rule had applied, 75-80 per cent of those called umpire calls would have seen the batsman given out.  "You think 'benefit of the doubt' when sometimes umpires are considering those margins, that 25 per cent is OK, but I think 50 per cent is too much”.

Meanwhile, Jayawardene's former Sri Lanka team-mate Kumar Sangakkara expressed his dissatisfaction at the current functioning of the UDRS for LBW reviews. "High time the ICC got rid of this umpire's call”, Sangakkara tweeted. "If the ball is hitting the stumps it should be out on review, regardless of [the umpire's] decision. With the umpire's call, technology is used as an excuse for the umpire making a mistake. Technology should ensure the correct decision's made.  "If the umpire wants a comfort zone, give him a margin of 20 per cent”, Sangakkara added. "If anything more of the ball is hitting it, his decision can be overturned”.

The ICC’s Cricket Committee was briefed at its meeting at Lord’s last week about Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) research into ball tracking.  It is reported to have found that 'Hawk-Eye' ball-tracking technology can have a field of error of up to almost four centimetres (1.5 inches) when determining the projected height of balls (PTG 1847-9260, 7 June 2016).

Lord’s to go pink in 2017?

Josh Burrows.

The Times.

Friday, 10 June 2016.

PTG 1851-9283.

Day-night first-class cricket could arrive at Lord’s as early as the 2017 English season after Derek Brewer, the Marylebone Cricket Club's chief executive, said that he was willing to pave the way for a day-night Test in England. While acknowledging he had some reservations about the use of a pink ball, Brewer said he "would like to have a trial three or four-day game [at Lord’s]”.

Earlier this week, South Africa agreed to play the second day-night Test, in Adelaide next November (PTG 1849-9271, 9 June 2016). Pakistan will try the concept for the first time in Brisbane in December.  Also this week, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland dismissed concerns about the integrity of pink-ball cricket expressed by the captains of Australia and England and given the strongest indication yet that the 2017-18 Ashes series could feature two day-night Tests (PTG 1850-9277, 10 June 2016). 

Kolkata enthusiastic but ‘no decision’ yet on day-night Test.

Fairfax New Zealand

Friday, 10 June 2016.

PTG 1851-9284.

A breathless local official has confirmed it, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) insists no decision has been reached. And New Zealand Cricket (NZC) remains in the dark about its Black Caps lighting up Kolkata's Eden Gardens for India's potential first day-night Test in October.

That's not out of the ordinary, but NZC is keen to hear from its counterpart the BCCI after the venues for the Black Caps' tour to the sub-continent later this year were announced. "We had written to the BCCI and they have accepted our request. Eden Gardens will host the day-night test against New Zealand. This is fantastic news”, a senior Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) official told the Indo-Asian News Service. But he may have jumped the gun.

An NZC spokesman said on Friday: "We haven't heard from them [BCCI]. We're awaiting more detail including dates, and the potential for a day-night Test”.  It was much the same when the idea of playing a pink ball Test at one of world cricket's top stadiums was first floated by the BCCI. That was also news to NZC (PTG 1808-9034, 23 April 2016) . "There's no change from last time. There's still some detail to be thrashed out”, said a spokesman.

BCCI president Anurag Thakur told the 'Indian Express' no decision had been made on a day-night test. The pink ‘Kookaburra' ball will be trialled in the domestic Duleep Trophy matches in September, with night dew and the effect of abrasive pitches on the ball two other key considerations (PTG 1841-9216, 1 June 2016).  "BCCI will take a final call only after considering the various issues that is playing conditions, visibility of the ball. Feedback from the players will be taken after the game”, he said.

Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly, CAB’s president, is pushing hard for the day-night Test at his home ground but even he admitted the idea wasn't yet over the line.  "It's too early. All depends on the Duleep Trophy. It will give us an idea if at all pink ball cricket is a viable option in Indian conditions. The BCCI will take it from there”, he told the Express.

Before then though Eden Gardens will host India’s first-ever pink ball, day-night match next weekend, it being the four-day final of the CAB's Super League competition, which is to be played with a pink ‘Kookaburra' ball and telecast live across India (PTG 1848-9265, 8 June 2016). That match was shifted to the day-night format as part of the CAB’s move to give it a head start in attracting the Test.

ECB chairman again raises four-day Test issue.

Lawrence Booth.

London Daily Mail.

Friday, 10 June 2016.

PTG 1851-9285.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Colin Graves has again spoken publicly about four-day Tests, suggesting such an approach could be part of changes that are needed to try and protect the game’s longest format.  Graves floated the idea last year, however, it was not well received by some groups, including the Marylebone Cricket Club’s World Cricket Committee, who were concerned about the practicalities and the “strain” that would result "on player’s bodies” (PTG 1592-7692, 15 July 2015).

Graves said this week that he loves "Test cricket, but it’s a worry when you look around the world and see diminishing numbers of spectators.  It saddens me and we have to do something about it. If it were a business, we’d pull it to bits and re-do it.   From what they’ve said, Australia would look at it, but it’s not just about four-day games: it’s about revitalising Test cricket. There are lots of questions to consider”. It is understood that – with the exception of India – other national boards are now open to the four-day idea. 

Of the last eleven Tests in England, only one has gone the distance of five days for Alastair Cook's side.  The first two Tests against Sri Lanka this summer ended in three and four days, while none of last season’s five Ashes games extended into the fifth.  Only one – against New Zealand at Lord’s in 2015 – has gone the distance. 

Graves believes players would have to learn how to bowl 15 overs an hour if Test match days, which could begin half an hour earlier at 10.30 a.m., are to include 105 overs each. Meanwhile, provision could be made for an extra day in case the weather intervenes.  He also said the fifth day was rarely profitable for the host club. “I spent 14 years at Yorkshire and it always cost money. You get small crowds, and you have to pay for things like security and ground-operating costs. Do people want the fifth day if it’s heading for a boring draw?"

The subject of four-day Tests is expected to be discussed at the International Cricket Council board meeting which starts in Edinburgh on Monday fortnight.  Also on the agenda is a two-division Test structure (PTG 1843-9241, 3 June 2016), paving the way for further innovation in an attempt to make Test cricket commercially viable in the age of Twenty20.

Football on TV so games to start early .

Fraser Watson.

Western Telegraph.

Friday, 10 June 2016.

PTG 1851-9286.

Some matches in the Welsh county of Pembrokeshire may start 90 minutes earlier than scheduled on Saturday so players can watch Wales' opening game in Euro 2016 against Slovakia later in the day.  Pembroke County Cricket Club secretary Steve Blowes sent an e-mail to all clubs late on Thursday evening that said: "Any club wishing to arrange their matches on Saturday to start at 12 pm in order to be able to watch the [football] being played later that day) may do so providing both clubs and umpires agree”.

However, while the decision has been welcomed by many, some have criticised the late notice.  One umpire, David Brandon, has already declared that the Division 1 match he is to adjudicate will have to start at 1.30 pm as originally scheduled as he has "prior commitments" on Saturday morning.  In another fixture many of the players involved have to work that morning so their game will also get underway at the normal time.

Nominations for CMJ ’Spirit of Cricket’ awards open.

MCC press release.

Friday, 10 June 2016.

PTG 1851-9287.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the BBC have opened nominations for the 2016 Christopher Martin-Jenkins (CMJ) 'Spirit of Cricket' Awards.  The awards cover four areas, from those who have best exhibited the 'Spirit of Cricket' either on a specific occasion or throughout the year, be that through outstanding sportsmanship, fair play or respect for opponents and umpires (PTG 1721-8535, 24 December 2015).

The initiative was created by the two organisations in memory of former MCC President and BBC Test Match Special commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins, who passed away in January 2013.  MCC Chief Executive Derek Brewer said: "These awards have been running for a number of years now and the conduct of the winners is always very impressive.  MCC works hard to promote the 'Spirit of Cricket' and the interest we have in this awards scheme is heartening to see”.

More international coordination needed on drug testing issues?

Ali Martin.

The Guardian.

Friday, 10 June 2016.

PTG 1851-9288.  

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell is set to make his debut for Nottinghamshire in an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Twenty20 match on Friday night.  That comes more than three months after Jamaica’s anti-doping body announced he had missed three drugs tests in 12 months (PTG 1779-8891, 11 March 2016).

While the club, who take on Derbyshire at Trent Bridge, say they are comfortable with the situation, Russell’s ability to continue playing cricket around the world while awaiting a disciplinary hearing – and the possibility of a two-year ban – raises questions over the sport’s response to such cases.

Under World Anti-Doping Agency regulations, to which the International Cricket Council (ICC) is a signatory, cricketers must tell their local anti-doping authority where they will be for one hour every day, with three missed tests in the space of 12 months constituting a positive test.

However, provisional suspensions are mandatory only when athletes have tested positive for a non-specified substance. In all other cases, such as a whereabouts violation that Russell is alleged to have committed, suspensions remain at the discretion of the local authority.

Were an English cricketer to miss three drugs tests in a 12-month period, he or she would be provisionally suspended by UK Anti-Doping, the body that oversees drug testing for the ECB. However, the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), who announced Russell’s three missed tests in early March, opted against this course of action and, when contacted by the Guardian, said it was still waiting to be given a date for his hearing after referring the case to an independent panel.

While this decision, and the subsequent delay, has left the issue hanging over Russell, it has not affected his stock as one of the most talented Twenty20 specialists in world cricket. The 28-year-old was a key component of the West Indies side that won the World Twenty20 in India in March before he played a full campaign in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

After seven weeks at the IPL, where he holds a $US100,000 ($A135,000, £UK69,800) contract with Kolkata Knightriders, Russell will now begin a 20-day spell at Nottinghamshire before he returns home to play in the Caribbean Premier League for Jamaica Tallawahs.

Notts are understood to have contacted the ECB to check the deal could go ahead, with the governing body confirming it was unable to prevent the county proceeding. The club privately believe that the issue revolves around errors in updating the anti-doping system that is used to log athletes’ whereabouts, given a jet-set career in which Russell played Twenty20 in seven different countries over the past year, rather than any attempt to avoid the testers.

The ICC has told the Guardian the matter remains one for the West Indies Cricket Board and JADCO, but an imminent conclusion looks unlikely if the latter’s most recent case in cricket is anything to by.  Odean Brown, a first-class cricketer in Jamaica, was cited for missing three tests in August 2015 but had to wait until May this year before his 15-month suspension from the sport was confirmed (PTG 1836-9186, 25 May 2016).

Brown is reported to have believed himself provisionally suspended when the initial charge was announced and subsequently withdrew from playing cricket for his island from that date.  His punishment was backdated to November 2015, meaning he can return in February next year.

Were Russell to be found guilty of violating the anti-doping code, any suspension would begin from the date of the hearing. While a two-year ban is possible, it could be subject to a reduction down to a minimum of one year depending on the degree of fault and no prior record of activity deemed suspicious.

Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published.

John Holder and Paul Trevillion. 

The Guardian. 

Friday, 10 June 2016.

PTG 1851-9289.

The latest edition of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper’s cartoon strip has three scenarios: an injured player situation; the involvement of a player’s wig and an appeal for a catch; and a phone in a batsman’s pocket that rings and distracts a fielder such that he drops a catch.  Some of those scenarios may be improbable in practice but the cartoons make you think.  They are drawn by Paul Trevillion from questions submitted by readers, and the answers are provided by former Test umpire John Holder.  Holder's answers to last week’s first edition of the strip (PTG 1845-9254, 5 June 2016), are now available on line.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,852

  Monday, 13 June 2016

 

• Indian company working on manufacture of pink ball  [1852-9290].   

• Day-night Test cricket makes sense [1852-9291].   

• Lord’s likely to host final of proposed WTC [1852-9292].   

Indian company working on manufacture of pink ball.

Indian Express.

Sunday, 12 January 2016.

PTG 1852-9290.

With the possibility of a day-night Test on the horizon, long-time Indian ball-maker 'Sanspareils Greenlands' (SG) have commenced work to produce pink balls.  Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Anurag Thakur has announced that the Duleep Trophy series in September is to be played under lights with pink-balls as a precursor to a possible day-night Test between India and New Zealand the month after (PTG 1851-9284, 11 June 2016). 

Paras Anand, SG’s marketing director, said: “We have developed the pink ball after the hype around it after [the inaugural day-night Test in] Adelaide. The BCCI hasn’t sounded us out. This is something that we are doing on our own. If our work goes well, hopefully in the next month or two we will be able to give that ball to the [BCCI] to try it out”.

When asked about how making a pink ball is different than manufacturing other balls, Anand said: “There is no rocket science behind the making of pink ball. It’s not that your are trying to make a completely different product or there is new technology involved or there is a patent. It’s the same process, marginally different from the red ball, yes, but the same as the white ball”.

The BCCI is currently analyzing factors such as dew, weather and pitch conditions to decide upon the venue for the potential day-night Test, although Kolkata looks like the most likely.

Day-night Test cricket makes sense.

Ian Chappell.

Cricinfo.

Sunday, 12 June 2016.

PTG 1852-9291.

As a teenager I was warned about witnessing pink elephants if I imbibed too much. These days a budding young cricketer may well be urged to beware of pink cricket balls.  This would be a mistake, though, as it appears that pink-ball Test cricket is the future. Australia have included two such matches in next austral summer's calendar and India are planning ahead with some multi-day pink-ball cricket and a possible Test on the drawing board (PTG 1852-9090 above).

Despite the reluctance of some players, the administrators are pushing ahead with day-night Tests. It is a rare, and laudable, display of proactive behaviour from a group more commonly associated with knee-jerk reactions.  The players' reluctance is understandable - it's a major change to a very traditional form of the game - but the smart ones will adapt and eventually accept the change as part of evolution.

When World Series Cricket (WSC) decided on drop-in pitches and day-night games in the late 1970s, there was lingering doubt in the minds of the players. Adding to their consternation was the distinct ridge in the middle of the drop-in pitch at VFL Park in Melbourne. This came about because the cement trays containing the pitches were so heavy they had to be prepared in two halves. The join happened to coincide with the favoured length of the many outstanding pace bowlers who played WSC, but fortunately the ridge caused no incidents.

Such was the concern of the players over the standard of lighting at the ground that Tony Greig (the World XI captain) and myself (leading the Australia XI) reached a consensus - rare in those days - over the bowling of bouncers under lights. We agreed to limit their use until we could gauge the visibility.

Not surprisingly most of the concern over the pink ball is coming from the batsmen. Test averages loom large in the mind of many batsmen.  It's not a way of thinking that does the game any good. A Test match is not a statistical exercise - it's a contest to be won. Part of clinching victory involves entertaining the public, and this is becoming an even more important factor in a highly competitive market. 

Nearly 40 years on, the players who took part in WSC are proud of their part in the evolution of the game. I have no doubt that current players who contribute to the popularisation of day-night Tests will feel similarly chuffed when they reflect on life while sitting in a rocking chair.

Day-night Test cricket makes sense. The time frame is acceptable for the bulk of the population and it's a more viable proposition for television. Because it largely avoids the extreme heat, it helps limit skin damage. And day-night Tests could also lead to seven-hour playing days, with a reduction in the duration of matches.

Despite the misgivings of captains Steven Smith and Alastair Cook, day-nighters also makes sense for Ashes series  (PTG 1850-9277, 10 June 2016).  While crowds have been good for Ashes series, that can't be taken for granted and cricket should always be alert to ways of attracting new and younger spectators.

While there are many pluses for day-night Tests, they're all dependent on the contest remaining fair. The jury is still out among the players on the viability of the pink ball but the administrators have been good listeners in this regard. They just recently accepted adjustments to the much maligned seam colouring, furthering the development of the pink ball, which dates back a decade.

One unexpected benefit from the highly successful first Test under lights at Adelaide Oval was a result of efforts to preserve the condition of the ball. More grass was left on the Adelaide pitch, and if this eventually leads to more surfaces being prepared with a greener tinge in Australia, it'll be a big improvement on some of the bland surfaces that have made a mockery of the term "contest".

Cricket is not a statistical exercise devised for the benefit of batsmen. It should be a contest between bat and ball and the more even this battle, the better the end product.

Lord’s likely to host final of proposed WTC.

Ali Martin.

The Guardian.

Saturday, 11 June 2016.

PTG 1852-9292.

Lord’s is being lined up as the host venue for the final of the proposed two-tier World Test Championship (WTC), with the International Cricket Council (ICC) also investigating whether the new competition can begin as early as next year.  David Richardson, the ICC's chief executive, recently talked about a two division structure for Tests with 2019 considered the first opportunity in which to implement it (PTG 1843-9241, 3 June  2016).

The overriding principle of giving bilateral series greater meaning and structure in future – as cited by Richardson when first discussing the World Test Championship – was endorsed by the ICC’s Cricket Committee last week and now the proposals are set to be debated at the governing body’s annual conference in Edinburgh that begins in two week’s time.  Richardson and ICC general manager Geoff Allardice, see the league system being run over a four-year cycle. 

Whichever format is adopted, there is a growing desire that the competition has a marquee Test final in 2021, with Lord’s considered the natural host venue given its history and enduring attraction for all international touring sides.

In addition to this, it is believed that Lord’s ability to tap into London’s cosmopolitan population, should England not be one of the two teams competing, increases the prospect of the final being a sellout, something deemed essential if the WTC is to be a success. This preferred status will be welcomed by the MCC, who have become increasingly anxious about their prospects of hosting two Tests per summer beyond 2019 as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) considers trimming the number of home fixtures.

From 2020 onwards, England could see the seven home Tests they now play cut to six or possibly five, as the ECB looks to introduce a new domestic Twenty20 competition that would rival the Indian Premier League or Cricket Australia’s Big Bash League.

Lord’s was originally slated to host the final of a four-team knockout Test championship under a plan drawn up by ICC and the Marylebone Cricket Club in 2009, before the tournament was postponed in 2013 and then cancelled for 2017 due to a lack of interest from broadcasters, with the 50-over Champions Trophy replacing it both times.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,853

  Tuesday, 14 June 2016

 

• Umpires’ mid-match departure queried, criticised [1853-9293].  

• Sri Lanka to complain to ICC over key no-ball mistake [1853-9294].  

• Bowler reprimanded for retort to umpire [1853-9295].  

Umpires’ mid-match departure queried, criticised.

PTG Editor

Media reports.

Monday, 13 June 2016.

PTG 1853-9293.

Umpires standing in a Dhaka Premier League one-day match between Abahani Limited and Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club (PDSC) walked off the ground on Sunday following an argument about a decision given in favour of  PDSC batsman Rakibul Hasan.   Abahani players protested and their fans began to hurl abuse at umpires Gazi Sohel and Tanvir Ahmed and soon after both officials left the field after consulting with match referee Montu Dutta.   

Batting first, Abahani were bundled out for 191 in 42.4 overs. In reply, Prime Doleshwar had reached 2/59 in 17 overs when Hasan was given not out by umpire Gazi Sohel off a stumping appeal from left-arm spinner Saqlain Sajib.  A long discussion ensued between a visibly upset fielding captain Tamim Iqbal and the umpires.  Play resumes but an over later, the umpires decided that they would not continue officiating the match.  One report says referee indicated that both umpires "had suddenly fallen sick" and could not continue the game. 

Eventually, Prime Doleshwar were asked to chase a revised target calculated using the Duckworth-Lewis system, but they refused saying the weather wasn't a factor and the interruption wasn't their fault.  Their coach Mizanur Rahman Babul said: "Why should we go by the Duckworth/Lewis method? The match didn't stop because of us. What happened was quite unfortunate”.

For his part Khaled Mahmud, the Abahani coach, thought it was a case of the umpires overreacting. "There was no threat or any situation created that the umpires had to leave the field”, he said. "They could have handled the situation much better. It is quite natural that [Prime Doleshwar] didn't want to play according to the Duckworth-Lewis method when the situation didn't demand of such a thing”.

Sailab Hossain Tutul , Secretary of the Bangladesh Cricket Board's umpires committee echoed Tamim's views.  According to him “the two umpires are a couple of the best we had. They have had international experience as well.  But honestly speaking, in my 40 years of cricketing experience, I have never seen such an incident take place and this only further puts pressure on the umpire's committee”, said Tutul.

Tutul further said that the umpires should have handled the high-pressure game in a much better way. “Players can always have their say. Now if this was the case of a player pushing or shoving an umpire or something similar, I would have understood the umpire's reasoning. But it wasn't anything like that”, said Tutul.  Just how the umpires saw the situation was not mentioned in media reports. 

Sri Lanka to complain to ICC over key no-ball mistake.

Ali Martin.

The Guardian.

Monday, 13 June 2016.

PTG 1853-9294.

Sri Lanka will lodge an official complaint to the International Cricket Council (ICC) over the incorrectly called no-ball that led to Alex Hales being reprieved on the fourth day of the third and final Test at Lord’s on Sunday, the team briefly unfurling their national flag over the pavilion balcony in protest.

The incident occurred during the 46th over of England’s second innings when Hales, on 58, was bowled by a delivery from Nuwan Pradeep that kept low. The umpire Rod Tucker, at the Pavilion End, had already deemed the seamer to have overstepped, however, and the dismissal was scrubbed off.

Replays showed the delivery was legal, his front foot landing marginally behind the line before sliding over. Hales would go on to score 94 that helped England take the match away from the tourists.

Under current ICC Playing Conditions, on-field umpires are able to check with their television colleague to see if a bowler has overstepped after a dismissal that was originally deemed fair. However, it is not permissible to reverse incorrect no-balls under the premise that batsmen change their shot when hearing the umpire’s call.

Sri Lanka were angered with head coach, Graham Ford and team manager, Charith Senanayake, visiting match referee Andy Pycroft to seek clarification over the call, while those remaining in the team’s dressing room hung their flag from the balcony.

Officials from the Marylebone Cricket Club swiftly told them to remove the flag because it contravened ground regulations, but the mood in the Sri Lanka camp did not subside. Their board’s president, Thilanga Sumathipala, called the decision “unacceptable” and said he will be raising the matter with the ICC.  He called the flag display "a symbol to say we are not happy with the decision, to show solidarity and fight back.”

Ford said: “It’s something the ICC will have to look at – that with the technology available, you can still get a line call wrong. Surely we can get to a point where that problem can be taken out of cricket.  The flag was to show our support from the dressing room and boost the morale, only to find it’s not the done thing and we had to take it down. Apparently Rod Tucker apologised to our captain, Angelo Mathews, quite a few times”.

Hales said: “I have sympathy with Rod Tucker, when you think how fast the game moves and how close it was. He told the bowler he was getting close. It’s a split-second decision”.

It is the second time this year that the situation has occurred.  In February, Tucker’s Elite Umpire Panel colleague Richard Illingworth mistakenly called a ‘no ball’ when Australian Adam Voges was bowled when he was on seven and subsequently went on to score 239 and set up an innings victory for Australia (PTG 1766-8809, 17 February 2016).

The ICC’s Cricket Committee is understood to have debated the issue during its meeting at Lord’s a fortnight ago; the matter is due to be discussed further at the world body's annual conference in Edinburgh at the end of the month.  The Cricket Committee apparently is of the view batsmen are not affected by the calling of no-balls and have suggested reversals to be made possible in future.

Bowler reprimanded for retort to umpire.

ICC press release.

Monday, 13 June 2016.

PTG 1853-9295.

England bowler James Anderson has been reprimand for showing disrespect to the umpire Sundaram Ravi during the third Test against Sri Lanka at Lord’s on Sunday.  Ravi asked Anderson not to “verbally engage” with batsman Rangana Herath during Sri Lanka’s first innings and it was his response to that which led to the reprimand.

Anderson, who is no stranger to on-field controversies, was charged with “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game”, a Level One offence.  He admitted the charge, which had been laid by Ravi and Rod Tucker, the on-field umpires, as well as Aleem Dar, the television umpire, and fourth umpire Michael Gough, and accepted the light tap on the wrist given to him by match referee Andy Pycroft.

Under International Cricket Council regulations all Level One breaches carry a minimum penalty of a warning/reprimand and/or the imposition of a fine of up to 50 per cent of the applicable match fee.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,854

  Wednesday, 15 June 2016

 

• Confusion reigns as unfinished DPL match is ‘postponed' [1854-9296].  

• PCB to schedule 10 day-night first-class matches in 2016-17 season [1854-9297]. 

• Players nervous about reporting corruption, says union [1854-9298].  

• Collective rights issue part of divisional Test discussions [1854-9299].  

Confusion reigns as unfinished DPL match is ‘postponed’.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

PTG 1854-9296.

A Dhaka Premier League (DPL) 50 over match which stopped on Sunday when the umpires left the field, has been “postponed" and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is to consider how to resolve the issues involved (PTG 1853-9293, 14 June 2016).  One of the first requirements will be for match referee Montu Datta and umpires Gazi Sohel and Tanvir Ahmed to submit their reports on the match, Datta so far “only providing” and e-mail on what occurred to DPL organisers, something he appears to have suggested isn’t official.

DPL games have a reserve day allocated to them but Sunday’s fixture did not resume on Monday.  According to DPL coordinator Amin Khan, Datta "left the decision [on what to do about the situation] with us [the Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM)], and we referred it to the [BCB] who will now take the decision”. 

Khan said what he termed "the match referee’s report" didn't mention anything about abusive language or threats to the umpires: "It didn't contain anything about any team, player or supporters creating chaos. He only wrote that the umpires were sick and not in a position to run the game [even] on the reserve day, and as a result "the match couldn't take place”.  Just what they were sick of remains to be determined.

In its consideration of the matter the BCB will also decide on the umpires, continued Khan. "We have informed [the BCB] that the two teams were ready to play, but the match couldn't be held due to the umpires' refusal to officiate”, the latter comment being a direct contradiction of the umpire sickness claim.

‘Cricinfo’ is reporting though that Datta has said he has not submitted his report to the CCDM, rather he "only sent them an e-mail containing his version of the events”.  Datta indicated his official referee's report will be "based on the umpires' report which has not been submitted to him yet, [and that] both reports had to be submitted only after the match was completed, which is hasn’t”.  

The match referee also said that his report would also include what the umpires had written about Abahani captain Tamim Iqbal, who was seen arguing with Sohel after the stumping appeal that appears to have sparked the situation that transpired.

PCB to schedule 10 day-night first-class matches in 2016-17 season.

Umar Farooq.

Cricinfo.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016.

PTG 1854-9297.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is set to include ten day-night, pink ball, matches in its forthcoming domestic first-class, Quaid-e-Azam (QEA) Trophy matches, which are due to get underway in September. Those ten games will include the semi-finals and the final, while the roster of matches will be developed to ensure every top team gets experience with such conditions. A number of the games will be played prior to Pakistan’s day-night Test against Australia in Brisbane in December.

The PCB has been encouraging pink-ball trials over the last six years, although so far the trials have been limited. In 2011, the final of the QEA Trophy was played with an orange ball, and the year after with a pink ball. Pink balls also featured in this year's day-night QEA final but they received mixed reactions.  Though the PCB was pleased with the trial, the players were concerned with the visibility of the ball and its quality once it got older.  Most of them though have backed having more games with the pink ball to get familiar with its behaviour.

Pakistan hope to host the West Indies in a day-night Test in October (PTG 1812-9060, 17 April 2016) and have suggested the offer had been accepted by the West Indies Cricket Board (PTG 1816-9077, 1 May 2016), but as yet whether that will go ahead is not clear.  

In other domestic news, the 2016-17 QEA Trophy series will be played by 16 teams, with 12 of those, six regional and six departmental, gaining automatic qualification on the basis of their performance last season. The last four places will be filled through a qualifying round which will be played between 14 teams, the top two regional and departmental teams qualifying for the main tournament.

The PCB has also decided to doubled player match fees across all formats. Each international who is centrally contracted with PCB will receive half of the international match fee of the same format in domestic cricket, a move that has been taken to encourage them to play domestic competitions. 

Players nervous about reporting corruption, says union.

Nagraj Gollapudi.

Cricinfo.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016.

PTG 1854-9298.

Despite the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) strong reassurances, the Federation of International Cricketers Association (FICA) has said players across the globe remain insecure when it comes to providing information related to corruption to the anti-corruption units of the various member boards. Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum called the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) “casual” in his Marylebone Cricket Club's annual 'Spirit of Cricket' lecture last week (PTG 1847-9261, 7 June 2016).

According to Tony Irish, FICA's chief executive, players were concerned about the manner in which "sensitive information" provided by them was treated by anti-corruption units of various member countries. "There is a degree of nervousness generally among players who report, around how that information will be used. Brendon's experience doesn't help with that”, said Irish. "It's a question often asked by players during anti-corruption education sessions run by players' associations at the domestic level”.

Irish wants a focus on the protocols around how player statements are dealt with at both international and domestic levels, so that adequate protections are there for players, in particular whistle blowers. "Protecting clean athletes effectively is a critical aspect of ensuring that corruption is stamped out”, he said.

In his lecture, McCullum expressed his serious concern about the fact his in-confidence statements to the ICC were published by an English newspaper. The ICC responded by saying it was not responsible for the leaks, and that the episode had provided an opportunity for the ACSU to review its processes. The ICC also said it was committed to "gain and retain the complete trust" of players (PTG 1849-9272, 9 June 2016). 

Irish said it was important for the ICC's ACSU and similar units in various countries to keep the FICA and players' associations in the loop.  "The best results will always be achieved when players are part of and buy into regulations, rules and protocols that affect them”. "Everyone needs to be in this fight together. We have been pushing to formalise the relationship with the ACSU for some time, and we will continue to do so, as we think that this is vital to achieving good outcomes globally”.  Such an approach "will help to build and develop trust and confidence”.

Collective rights issue part of divisional Test discussions.

Tim Wigmore.

Cricinfo.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016.

PTG 1854-9299.  

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has tentatively discussed selling all Test matches played within what may be its new two Division Test structure collectively to broadcasters.  Even if the divisional approach is agree to later this month, such an arrangement would require many more months of negotiation between ICC members . 

In the English Premier League and beyond, it is the norm for teams to sell rights for their overall competitions collectively, which generates more money than them doing so individually. After it had given out the relevant competition grants, the ICC would then distribute surplus funds from that collective deal to members according to an agreed formula. India would still receive far more than any other country, but the hope is that everyone could be better off. 

Either way, a funding mechanism needs to be devised, so that sides do not lose out if their series with India in Division One happens to be away, depriving them of the proceeds of home TV rights. 

Even if the TV rights are not sold collectively, the proposed new structure would boost the economic value of Tests, believes Simon Chadwick, a sports business expert from the University of Salford. In sports the world over, fans have shown they are more likely to watch matches with consequences - those that are part of a competition rather than merely bilateral contests. 

The popularity of Rugby sevens has rocketed since the World Rugby Sevens Series was introduced in 1999. Hockey has just agreed to a new structure giving matches greater context. In cricket the soaring value of ICC events contrasts with the stagnating value for bilateral fixtures, including One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. 

The reforms would also mean that supporters in one country had a stake in the results of other matches, as they could impact their prospects of winning the league or being relegated - and if even a tiny percentage of English or Indian fans had a new reason to watch New Zealand play Sri Lanka, say, the economics of the series could be transformed.

If Full Member boards can be convinced of this financial argument, it bodes well for the ICC's plans. Nothing drives votes quite like self-interest. ICC chief executive David Richardson has tried to introduce divisions in Tests since 2004. He and the rest of the ICC's management have been frustrated more than they would care to remember. This time could just be different.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,855

  Friday, 17 June 2016

 

• Bowden departs in major NZ IUP shake-up [1855-9300].  

• Rival company defends ‘Hawk Eye’ over tracking error [1855-9301.  

• Decision on unfinished DPL match expected on weekend [1855-9302].  

Bowden departs in major NZ IUP shake-up.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Thursday, 16 June 2016.

PTG 1855-9300.

New Zealand umpire ‘Billy' Bowden has been dropped from membership of his country’s section of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) and is likely to have stood in his last senior international.  His departure heads a complete shake up of his country’s IUP membership that has also seen Derek Walker and Phil Jones leave that group, and a younger crop of officials, two of them former first class players, elevated in their place.

Bowden, Walker and Jones have though been retained on New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) top domestic panel, which has been renamed the NZC National Panel (NP), along with last year’s members Chris Brown, Wayne Knights, Tony Gillies, Ash Mehrotra and Tim Parlane.  Those eight have been joined by former NZC Reserve panel member Shaun Haig, who not only goes on to the NP but the IUP as well as the third umpire member alongside new on-field members Brown and Knights.  

The elevation of the latter trio means that the average age of NZ’s IUP group drops from 55 to 41, a sign that NZC may be looking to its next potential contenders for the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) rather than live with the past; a move that appears to have been overdue.  Knights, 45, is a long-term member of NZC’s senior panel having stood in 48 first class games since his debut in 2008, but Brown, 43, has only served with that group for one season after four on the NZC Reserve Panel, and Haig, 34, none at all after just two with the Reserve group.  The speed of the latter’s promotion is believed to be unprecedented in New Zealand. 

Both Brown and Haig are former first class players.  Brown featured in 19 first class and 25 List A matches during his playing career with Auckland from 1993-98, and Haig in 34 first class, 24 List A and one Twenty20 games for Otago in the period from 2005-11.  To date Brown has stood in 16 first class games over the last three years, two of them on exchange in South Africa, and Haig two, both of them in February-March this year.

Bowden, 53, who made his first class debut in January 1993, stood in 84 Tests, exactly 200 One Day Internationals (ODI) and 24 Twenty20 Internationals.  He made his international debut in an ODI in 1995 and at Test level in 2000, and for many years was one of the most recognisable figures on the ICC's EUP because of his on-field style.  However, he was cut from the ICC’s EUP in 2013, then reinstated in 2014, before being dropped for a final time last year after serving a total of 11 years with that group (PTG 1850-9670, 9 June 2016).  

Former first class player Walker, 56, debuted as an umpire at that level in 2005 and was appointed to NZ’s IUP third umpire spot in 2012, spending two season in that position before being moved up to an on-field role in 2014.  He has served in the latter spot over the last two austral summer seasons, Jones, also 56, replacing him as third umpire member over those two years.  During that time Walker worked in one Test as the third umpire, 9 ODIs on-field and 2 as the third umpire (9/2) and 8/3 in T20Is, while Jones’ record for both ODIs and T20Is is 3/0. 

Missing from NZC’s senior panel for the year ahead is long-serving member Barry Frost, 58, who completed his 17th season at first class level last season.  Over a senior career that stretched from 1999 to earlier this year, Frost stood in 102 first class, 94 List A and 61 Twenty20 NZC fixtures.  Whether he will continue as a Reserve panel member is not known, although that perhaps is unlikely. Reports suggest the names of that group for 2016-17 will not be named for several weeks.

The shake-up at the top of NZC’s umpiring fraternity comes just a month after Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri took over as NZC’s Match Officials’ manager in place of former Test umpire Rodger McHarg who retired (PTG 1815-9076, 30 April 2016).  It would seem unlikely Eden-Whaitiri has had the chance to put his considered stamp on the changes that have been made, and that the decision to move ahead with them was made whilst McHarg and his boss, now retired NZC Operations Manager Lindsay Crocker, were still in their respective positions.

Rival company defends ‘Hawk Eye’ over tracking error.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Thursday, 16 June 2016.

PTG 1855-9301.

Ian Taylor, the managing director of New Zealand company Animation Research which provided ‘Virtual Eye’ ball-tracking technology, says recent stinging criticism of such technology is unfair and the sport needs to develop tech-savvy third umpires.  Taylor made his comments after rival ball-tracking firm 'Hawk-Eye’ faced questions over an incident in last Sunday's South Africa-Australia One Day International in St Kitts.

During that match 'Hawk-Eye' displayed a significant anomaly, predicting a ball that actually clean bowled South African captain AB de Villiers would have missed the stumps.  Video replays clearly showed de Villiers did not get any bat on the ball or impact on its flight, which if he had could have been a reason for the error that transpired.

Taylor told Fairfax Media that the reaction to the ‘Hawk Eye’ assessment was over the top.  "The way it's been described, you would think it's the end of the world”, he said.  "It's wrong that expectations have been on the technology to deliver finite answers all the time”.  He took no satisfaction from seeing Hawk-Eye criticised: "There but for the grace of God goes us, but ... the reaction has been quite phenomenal” and was similar to that when his own technology has been queried in similar circumstances  (PTG 1725-8563, 31 December 2015).

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have found 'Hawk-Eye' ball-tracking technology can have a field of error of up to almost four centimetres (1.5 inches) when determining the projected height of balls (PTG 1847-9260, 7 June 2016).  Hawk-Eye has always maintained its technology is only accurate to within 5 mm.

Taylor repeated views he has expressed before that cricket authorities should be developing umpires with sound understanding of the technology, who could quickly make decisions, based on what they had seen.  In his view "The third umpire should be in the room with the technology providers”.  "I've argued for ages that you need a specialist third umpire, rather than grab someone from the middle of the pitch and surround them by all this technology”.  

Recommendations about ball tracking and ‘Hot Spot’ technology which have flowed from MIT’s work are to be considered during the International Cricket Council’s 2016 annual meeting period in Edinburgh at the end of the month (PTG 1851-9292, 11 June 2016).

Decision on unfinished DPL match expected on weekend.

Daily Star.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016.

PTG 1855-9302.

The fate of last Sunday's Dhaka Premier League fixture between Abahani and Prime Doleshwar, which was “postponed" after the umpires had reportedly 'fallen sick', is likely to be decided by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) during the coming weekend (PTG 1854-9296, 15 June 2016).  BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said on Wednesday a decision regarding the match will be taken at next Sunday's scheduled board meeting which by then have received disciplinary committee report on the issues involved.

A copy of match referee Montu Datta's report has, according to the Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM) who run the DPL, now been forwarded to the BCB's disciplinary committee.  Meanwhile, Sailab Hossain Tutul the secretary of the BCB's umpire committee, has said that they will assess the incident with an internal fact-finding committee. “Our main aim is to find out why the umpires left the field and what the exact situation was”, Said Tutul.

Gazi Sohel, 36, and Tanvir Ahmed, 43, the umpires who were standing in the match, are not without experience for each has been officiating at first class level in Bangladesh for the last 8-9 years.  During that time they have stood in 45 and 42 first class games respectively, four of Sohel’s being whilst on exchange in Sri Lanka in 2011, and three of Ahmed’s while in the West Indies on exchange in 2014.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,856

  Sunday, 19 June 2016

 

• ICC plans to overhaul 50-over international game [1856-9303]. 

• BCCI in talks with ‘Dukes’ regarding pink ball supply [1856-9304]. 

• Felled batsman wearing non-compliant helmet [1856-9305].  

• Umpire avoids injury, batsman’s shot breaks stump [1856-9306].  

• Papers' retreat from cricket coverage reflects game's sad demise [1856-9307].  

• Why I welcome back those who harmed cricket [1856-9308]. 

• Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published [1856-9309].  

ICC plans to overhaul 50-over international game.

Tim Wigmore.

London Daily Telegraph.

Sunday, 19 June 2016.

PTG 1856-9303.

One day cricket is set for its biggest overhaul with the International Cricket Council (ICC) proposing a new league of 13 nations with the top two teams playing off in a final.  The plans, which will be discussed at the ICC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Edinburgh later this month, will come into force from 2019 and are aimed at finally giving context to bilateral tours.  Afghanistan, Ireland and Scotland could be included in the league as the ICC looks to widen the number of elite teams.

It is proposed teams will play a three-match series, either home or away, against every other country, amounting to 36 One Day Internationals (ODI) each over a three-year basis, an arrangement in part similar to the ICC’s Womens’ World Championship (PTG 1843-9239, 3 June 2016).  The league would be used to determine automatic qualification, and seedings, for the World Cup, and the side finishing bottom will face relegation to the World Cricket League Championship, the second tier of one-day cricket.  Teams would also be free to organise extra ODIs, but these would not count towards the league.  

Senior figures at the ICC believe the proposals will provide one-day cricket with new relevance, which the format lacks outside the World Cup.  This will in turn help generate more interest and revenue from broadcasters in bilateral series, which have lost value in recent years (PTG 1854-9299, 15 June 2016).  It will also help 50-over cricket fight for relevance outside World Cup years and prop up the format in the face of increasing competition from Twenty20. 

The discussions are all part of the most ambitious restructuring of international cricket by the ICC which is also determined to introduce a two-divisional structure in Test cricket with promotion and relegation every two years (PTG 1852-9292, 13 June 2016).  Both plans will be discussed at the ICC’s annual conference, which begins at the end of the month, and could be agreed at the start of July.

The reforms are partly dependent upon changes in the ICC revenue model which means voting on the proposals could wait until a board meeting in October.  The ICC  is also expected to rubber stamp proposals for a World Twenty20 to be held every two years from 2018 (PTG 1837-9194, 27 May 2016).

BCCI in talks with ‘Dukes’ regarding pink ball supply.

Press Trust of India.

Saturday, 18 June 2016.

PTG 1856-9304.

No formal decision has been taken about making the India-New Zealand Test at Eden Gardens late this year a day-night affair, however, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is in talks with British ball manufacturer 'Dukes’ about supplying their version of the pink ball for testing under day-night conditions on the sub-continent.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a BCCI office bearer said: "We are still deliberating on a lot of issues. The conditions, the ball used and it's longevity. Also whether it is fair to have only one Test with pink ball and other two with red ball. Whether it will be fair on the two teams”.  

There is every possibility the BCCI will use pink balls from Australian provider ‘Kookaburra', ‘Dukes' and Indian manufacturer  'Sanspareils Greenlands’ (’SG’) during the Duleep Trophy, which will be held a month before the Eden Park Test, in order to obtain feedback from senior Indian players who will be taking part in that series.

The BCCI's technical committee chairman Sourav Ganguly is reported to have suggested 'Dukes’ balls should be tried as they have a better and thicker seam, which is helpful for Indian bowlers.  "Sourav feels that the seam [of Australian] “Kookaburra’ balls could be a problem in Indian conditions”, said the office bearer, and “we are currently awaiting a consignment from Dukes”.

Pink ‘Dukes' were used during last edition of Karnataka Premier League Twenty20 tournament. But as it was T20, senior BCCI officials feel that it won't be possible to use feedback from that series in relation to the longer version of the game. Administrators want an assurance from manufacturers that a standard pink ball has the ability to last 100 overs in sub-continental conditions.

‘Kookaburra' Group managing director Brett Elliot, who is in Kolkata to observe the first-ever day-night pink ball match there this weekend (PTG 1848-9265, 8 June 2016), said his company is working on pink ball development at their Meerut-based centre in Utta Pradesh with the aim of making their version better suited to Indian conditions.  ‘SG’, whose manufacturing centre is also in Meerut, announced last week that is had commenced work to produce pink balls and hoped to provide samples for testing to the BCCI “in a month or two” (PTG 1852-9290, 13 June 2016). 

Felled batsman wearing non-compliant helmet.

Dhaka Tribune.

Saturday, 18 June, 2016.

PTG 1856-9305.

Victoria Sporting League all-rounder Suhrawadi Shuvo has been hospitalised after being struck on the lower right side of his neck while trying to duck into a bouncer delivered by Abahani bowler Taskin Ahmed during a Dhaka Premier League match in Mirpur on Saturday.  Shuvo was wearing a helmet at the time but not, according to Bangladesh Cricket Board chief physician Debashish Chowdhury, one that complied with the latest safety regulations.

Shuvo was on 21 in the 25th over of his side’s innings when Taskin bowled a bouncer that didn’t rise as much as the batsman appears to have anticipated. He kept his eyes on the ball but couldn’t move out of its path.  Abahani players rushed to the batsman after seeing him fall at the crease. Chowdhury said that on reaching the fallen batsmen he did four quick tests and while he passed three of those he didn’t respond when light was shone into his eyes which “was of some concern”.

A subsequent CT scan and MRI showed that there was no damage to Shuvo's brain, "but as with any head injuries, they will observe him for at least 24 hours”, said Chowdhury.  “Once we know his scan results, we will be able to understand his condition better. It would have helped if he was wearing the helmet with new safety regulations, but he wasn’t”.

Two weeks ago the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee recommended that the latest British Safety Standard (BSS) helmets should be made mandatory in international cricket (PTG 1844-9246, 4 June 2016). That recommendation will be considered at the ICC’s annual conference in Edinburgh at the end of the month.  ICC medical consultant Dr Craig Ranson expressed concerns then "that there were still too many instances of international cricketers wearing helmets which did not meet the latest [BSS]” regulations.  

Umpire avoids injury, batsman’s shot breaks stump.

Antigua Observer.

Thursday, 16 June 2016.

PTG 1856-9306.

Its not just batsmen hitting the ball back down the pitch, or errant throws by fielders that can injure an umpire, but bowlers who throw at the stumps in an attempt to run out a batsman can now also be added to the range of possibilities.  Standing an a One Day International between the West Indies and South Africa at St Kitts this week, English umpire Nigel Llong managed to avoid a solid throw at the stumps from a few metres away by Windies’ bowler Carlos Brathwaite.

Brathwaite had fielded a ball off his own bowling and did a quick swivel and throw to try run out non-striker Faf du Plessis.  The South African was home safely by the time the ball passed the stumps but things weren’t looking as safe for Llong, who watched the ball bounce towards his head before ducking out of the way at the last moment.

While its was a bowler’s throw that almost hit Llong, later in the match there was a reminder of the power of modern bats when a drive from Windies’ opener Johnson Charles off the bowling of Chris Morris hit the stumps, breaking one in half, and almost spearing West Indies’ umpire Gregory Brathwaite.

Papers' retreat from cricket coverage reflects game's sad demise.

Roy Greenslade.

The Guardian.

Thursday, 16 June 2016.

PTG 1856-9307.

County cricket is unloved by regional newspapers nowadays. Editorial budgets are too squeezed to allow for journalists spending a whole day covering matches only for their reports to be read by few people.  Publishers and editors, even if reluctantly, have turned their backs on the county games. Indeed, many one-day matches are not covered by staff writers either.

It’s no wonder that David Hopps, editor of the ‘Cricinfo’ website should lament the “indifference” to cricket by “the traditional newspaper sector”.  But that indifference is no media conspiracy against the sport. It simply acknowledges the public’s lack of interest. There is no audience for cricket reports and, going on my last visit to a Sussex home game at Hove, precious little audience of any kind. 

In pointing out that much of the county coverage that does exist is financially supported by the England and Wales Cricket Broad (ECB), Hopps writes:   “The world for a cricket writer in England, beyond the international circuit, is an unforgiving one, and the resilience and talent of those who find a way to survive is deeply impressive.  The few who remain, and remain entirely independently, continue to provide vital surveillance of the professional game, striving to keep it honest, challenging its decisions – or lack of them”.

Hopes places his faith instead in social media, arguing that the 18 first-class counties aggregate more than half a million followers on Twitter, with even more on Facebook.  He also mentions ECB’s @countychamp Twitter feed. But, I note sadly, it had a mere seven tweets in the course of the past week.   

As if that isn’t bad enough, the Guardian’s Sean Ingle wrote last summer about the small audiences for TV coverage by Sky Sports of test matches (PTG 1591-7682, 14 July 2015). His words were: “As things stand, English cricket is in danger of becoming a sporting version of the Church of England, with an ageing demographic who attend because they always attend, and believe because they have always believed. Meanwhile younger generations will barely notice its slow and graceful slide into irrelevance”.

I fear he is right. I have tried to enthuse my grandsons with the joys of cricket, without any success. The most sporting of the trio is a football fanatic and shows an aptitude for tennis too. He has good eye-to-ball coordination, but my attempts to get him interested in cricket - buying kit, bowling at him, sitting him in front of televised Tests - has not changed his mind. 

Like all but one of his school friends, he just doesn’t see the point (and his school cannot be faulted because, to its credit, it provides ample cricket facilities).  He indulged me for a while by watching a session of England’s third Test against Sri Lanka, but I could tell he was bored despite Jonny Bairstow’s excellent knock.

I accepted long ago that cricket in Britain was gradually becoming something of a niche sport. Now I fear it will vanish altogether in the not-too-distant future.  But don’t blame the mainstream media. Newspaper content - especially lack of newspaper content - reflects an uncomfortable reality about the growing unpopularity of a game I have loved all my life.

Why I welcome back those who harmed cricket.

Mike Selvey.

The Guardian.

Thursday, 16 June 2016.

PTG 1856-9308.  

I have been re-reading Brendon McCullum’s MCC Spirit of Cricket lecture delivered at Lord’s a little over a week ago (PTG 1847-9261, 7 June 2016). Richie Benaud delivered the first of these, in 2001, since when there have been contributions of the very highest order from some of the most esteemed names in the game.

For the breadth of its content and the overriding message it carried, McCullum nailed better than any of them what we really mean by the spirit of the game, a phrase enshrined in the Laws but one so readily misunderstood. It is certainly my personal view that McCullum, someone who underwent an almost Damascene conversion on his journey through international cricket, is one of the most significant cricketers of my time. 

This time around, I was struck by something he said towards the end, almost in passing. Lou Vincent, a former team-mate of McCullum’s, and a troubled individual in any case, was a habitual match-fixer, for which his punishment, among other things, includes eleven life bans given to him by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), one for each offence, as if a single life ban may not be sufficient (PTG 1384-6691, 2 July 2014). 

McCullum’s central point is not in any way to exonerate Vincent but to point to the manner in which he cooperated (only after he had been rumbled some may argue but that is surely true in most cases of criminal regret), his particular courage in testifying against Chris Cairns when he would have known his integrity would be shredded in court, and to regret that instead of banning him from any contact with the game, it has not – yet anyway – found a way of reintegrating him so that the lessons he learned can be used to the common good.

There was a resonance to this, because shortly after McCullum’s lecture, the Pakistan Cricket Board’s visa application for Mohammad Amir was approved by the Home Office (PTG 1849-9270, 9 June 2016).  So if all goes well (I really mean that), he will open the bowling for his country in the first Test at Lord’s, the ground where his own misdemeanour came to light. Amir’s crime – accepting payment for bowling no-balls to order – was slight compared with that of Vincent, a display of potential rather than real criminality, but he received a five-year ban by the International Cricket Council and six months in young offenders’ institutes in this country.

The criminal justice system here recognises imprisonment should serve purposes other than simply incapacitation: restitution, for example; or retribution; and to act as a deterrent. But there is also an element of rehabilitation, contingent in no small part on future cooperation, regret and remorse. I believe in Amir’s case, he was a vulnerable teenager, coerced by unscrupulous seniors, and that in his sentence, all aspects of this brief have been served, including the prescribed term of sentence. His was not a life sentence, and thus, the slate should be wiped clean.

Beyond that though – and here we return to McCullum’s point about Vincent – it is to be hoped the profile Amir has, particularly within his country, can now be used to the common good, in further helping cricket’s fight against corruption, something that had been endemic for decades and which, so it is said, is looking to spread its claws not only into the domestic T20 leagues but the women’s game as well. 

Cricket was slow off the mark in recognising, or at least acknowledging, the problem, and the manner in which McCullum, whatever the rights and wrongs of the case, describes the lack of diligence in taking testimony for the Cairns case, shows there is still plenty of cause for concern at international level. McCullum’s witness box experience will do little to encourage whistleblowers.

In England though, there is evidence within cricket that a compassionate approach to criminals who have served their punishment can see their personal experiences harnessed. In 2010, the Essex pace bowler Mervyn Westfield served a four-month prison sentence and a five-year ban, for conspiracy to defraud by spot-fixing during a county match, encouraged, it is alleged, by his Pakistani team mate Danish Kaneria, who while not facing criminal charges received a life ban. 

But three years ago, Westfield began working with the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) and the ECB as part of an education program in the dangers of corruption in cricket. Earlier this year,the initiative took him to South Africa. He is, according to the PCA, providing valuable input in the fight against corruption (PTG 1768-8821, 22 February 2016).

Then there is Chris Lewis. A year ago, Lewis, an England cricketer, was released from prison, having served half of a 13-year prison sentence for smuggling liquid cocaine into the country. A drug dealer in other words. Now he too is working for the PCA, helping to reinforce their personal development program which deals with the problems of life after cricket.

Cricket in England should be proud of the way in which it can reintegrate and harness the experiences of those who have transgressed but paid a price. In no way do I condone the actions of Amir, Westfield, or Lewis but I welcome them all back. The good they can do will far outweigh any harm.

Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published.

John Holder and Paul Trevillion. 

The Guardian. 

Friday, 17 June 2016.

PTG 1856-9309.

The latest edition of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper’s cartoon strip presents three scenarios to consider: a fielder who deliberately throws a ball over the boundary; a ball that is fielded by a spectator before it reaches the boundary; and confusion as to which team should be fielding in the first innings of a match.  The strip is drawn by Paul Trevillion from questions submitted by readers, and the answers are provided by former Test umpire John Holder.  Holder's answers to last week’s edition of the strip (PTG 1851-9289, 11 June 2016), are now available on line.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,857

  Monday, 20 June 2016

 

• Committee formed to look into ‘sick umpires’ game [1857-9310]. 

• South African, Australian match officials for CPL series [1857-9311]. 

• Windies’ Wilson for another Test series? [1857-9312]. 

• Tests show Sri Lankan’s bowling action ‘illegal' [1857-9313]. 

• Windies, Pakistan set for day-night Test in UAE [1857-9314]. 

Committee formed to look into ‘sick umpires’ game.

Minhaz Uddin Khan.

Dhaka Tribune.

Sunday, 20 June 2016.

PTG 1857-9310

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) formed a four-member committee on Sunday to investigate the issues surrounding last week's Dhaka Premier League (DPL) match between Abahani Limited (AL) and Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club (PDSC) which was stopped half-way when the umpires cited “illness” and were unable to officiate the match until its end (PTG 1855-9302, 17 June 2016) .

BCB disciplinary committee chairman Sheikh Sohel, technical committee member Athar Ali Khan, match referee manager Raqibul Hasan and umpires committee chairman Nazmul Karim, have been named as members of the investigation group.  BCB president Nazmul Hasan told reporters the four will have to submit a report "within 72 hours” of conducting interviews with the umpires, players and others involved. 

Just when that will actually be was not spelt out, but so far unconfirmed reports say that the game between the two sides is likely to be completed this Friday.  Speaking following a BCB board meeting, Nazmul said: “Such an incident should not have happened and we will get to the bottom of what happened”. 

In addition to AL-PDSC match issues, the board also discussed DPL player payment matters. Clubs who haven’t paid their players according to regulations have been given 72 hours to pay at least 60 percent of monies currently owed.  “If they don’t pay within this time, the board will pay the amount from their coffers. In that case, the board will take stern action against the clubs”, said Nazmul.

South African, Australian match officials for CPL series.

PTG Editor.

CPL press release.

Sunday, 19 June 2016.

PTG 1857-9311.

South Africans Devdas Govindjee and Johan Cloete plus Australian John Ward, have been appointed to the match officials panel for this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 series.  Govindjee and Ward took part in last year’s CPL, working as the match referee and television umpire in the final respectively (PTG 1602-7772, 26 July 2016), but Cloete will be taking part in the event for the first time.

Devdas is a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier Regional Referees’ Panel, and Cloete and Ward its second-tier International Umpires Panel.  The latter two are to share on-field and television umpire duties with West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) umpires Zahid Bassarath (Trinidad), Patrick Gustard (Jamaica), Peter Nero (Trinidad and Tobago) and Leslie Reifer Jnr. (Barbados), while the second match referee will be Denavon Hayles of Jamaica.  For Gustard and Nero it will be their fourth CPL, Hayles and Reifer their second, and Bassarath his first.  

Missing from the panel are three of the four West Indian IUP members Joel Wilson, Gregory Braithwaite and Nigel Dulguid (PTG 1857-9312 below).

Bassarath, Cloete and Gustard are to stand in matches in Trinidad, Barbados and St Lucia, and Nero, Reifer and Ward in St Kitts, Guyana and Jamaica, before all six travel to Fort Lauderdale in Florida and share all six games listed for there.  Govindjee will be the match referee for all fixtures in St. Kitts, Guyana, Jamaica, and Hayles for games in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and St. Lucia, the pair like the umpires sharing the oversight of Florida games.  Appointments for the four finals matches, and just where they will be played, are not yet known.

Carl Tuckett of St Kitts and Nevis will work as the television umpire in three matches played there, plus three as fourth umpire, the latter role also going in their home locations to: Jonathan Blades (Barbados); Kellman Kowlessar and Danesh Ramdhanie (Trinidad and Tobago); Whycliffe Mitcham (St Kitts and Nevis); Shane Crawford and Imran Moakan (Guyana); and Verdayne Smith and Christopher Wright (Jamaica).

United States based, India-born Harry Grewal and Jamaica-born Jermaine Lindo, will share fourth umpire duties in Florida.  They have been appointed on the recommendation of Tom Humphries of the ICC's Americas region office, and will be part of a group of 20 umpires from the US who will attend workshops and seminars that are to be conducted jointly by CPL and ICC Americas in the week the event is based there (PTG 1806-9027, 21 April 2016).  Just who the other 18 US-based umpires are who will attend has not yet been announced.

CPL Cricket Operations Director Michael Hall said: “We are delighted to welcome a talented group of match officials and I have every confidence that the quality of umpiring and match officiating will match that”.  He thanked "not only to the WICB, but also [ICC match officials’ manager] Adrian Griffith for facilitating the availability of Cloete and Ward. I have no doubt that the domestic match officials will benefit from their insight and vast experience of standing in international tournaments across the world”.

Windies’ Wilson for another Test series?

PTG Editor.

CPL press release.

Sunday, 19 June 2016.

PTG 1857-9312.

Caribbean Premier League (CPL) appointments announced on Sunday suggest that Joel Wilson of the West Indies has been selected to stand in another Test series. Wilson, together with his two colleagues on the West Indies second of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel, Gregory Braithwaite and Nigel Duguid, were all missing from the 2016 CPL match officials’ list when it was released on Sunday, the only one of the four mentioned being Leslie Reifer Jr (PTG 1857-9311 above).

During the 40 days this year’s CPL is to run, England and Pakistan are due to play three Tests, Sri Lanka and Australia two, and Zimbabwe and New Zealand also two, while Afghanistan will tour Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands to play seven One Day Internationals (ODI), and a single International Cup (IC) first class fixture.  

Wilson made his Test debut last year and is considered by many observers in the loop for a potential appointment to the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) in the future, and it seems highly likely he will be on-field and in the television suite in at least one of the Test series scheduled over the next month.  Interest will also be on whether two other EUP aspirants, Simon Fry of Australia and Ranmore Martinez of Sri Lanka, also receive further Test appointments in the next few months. 

Braithwaite, who is standing in the current ODI ti-series in the Caribbean, has been appointed by the ICC to work in second-tier nation ODIs in the past as a neutral, however, as yet Duguid has not received such a call up from the ICC.  That pair therefore may be involved in one or more of the Afghan’s tour games, Duguid possibly in the ODIs and Braithwaite the IC match.

Tests show Sri Lankan’s bowling action ‘illegal'.

PTG Editor.

ICC press release.

Sunday, 19 June 2016.

PTG 1857-9313.

Sri Lankan Shaminda Eranga’s bowling action has been found by tests to be illegal and, as such, the fast bowler has been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect. Eranga’s delivery style was reported as “suspect” following his side's second Test against England in Chester-le-Street late last month (PTG 1840-9210, 31 May 2016).  

 

The International Cricket Council says laboratory assessment of Eranga’s action, which was conducted at the England and Wales Cricket Board’s National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough two weeks ago, revealed that all of his deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under its regulations.  

The bowler's international suspension will also be recognised and enforced by all National Cricket Federations for domestic cricket events played in their own jurisdiction, save that, he may be able to play in domestic cricket events at home if Sri Lanka Cricket so agrees.  He can apply for a re-assessment after modifying his bowling action.

Windies, Pakistan set for day-night Test in UAE.

Umar Farooq.

Cricinfo.

Sunday, 19 June 2016.

PTG 1857-9314.

As the push for day-night Test cricket gathers momentum around the world, the West Indies have agreed in principle to play a pink-ball Test against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in September. The WICB were initially reluctant but the PCB's offer of a practice match and training sessions under lights appears to have changed its mind.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been keen to host a day-night Test and made a bid in 2013 to play one against Sri Lanka in UAE. The proposal, however, was declined with lack of practice with the pink ball cited as the reason (PTG 1171-5662, 18 August 2013). Earlier this year, Pakistan agreed to a day-night Test against Australia in Brisbane in December.  The PCB is also set to introduce ten day-night matches in its forthcoming first-class season, which starts in September (PTG 1854-9297, 15 June 2016).

The PCB had also weighed up Sri Lanka as an alternative venue to host West Indies, to counter the growing expenses in the UAE which has been host to Pakistan's home series over the last decade. The idea was, however, dropped after assessing the drawback of playing in Sri Lanka during the monsoon.

Pakistan has largely remained a no-go zone for international teams since March 2009, when gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus during the Lahore Test. Since then, the UAE has hosted a majority of Pakistan's home series, with only Afghanistan and Zimbabwe visiting Pakistan for one series each.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,858

  Tuesday, 21 June 2016

 

• Time arrives for MCC to hit bat design for six [1858-9315]. 

• ECB, CA backing proposed top-tier ODI league [1858-9316]. 

• Zimbabwe fined for slow T20I over-rate [1858-9317]. 

• ECB rules 'negligence’ not involved in abandoned game [1858-9318]. 

Time arrives for MCC to hit bat design for six.

Simon Wilde.

The Sunday Times.

Sunday, 19 June 2016.

PTG 1857-9315.

Two years ago the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) reviewed the power of bats and opted for the status quo (PTG 1392-6734, 17 July 2014), but since then things have changed. The frequency of sixes has increased markedly, and research by London’s Imperial College presented in an MCC discussion paper identifies unregulated sweet-spot as the root of the trouble.  As a result the MCC is considering limiting the dimensions of bats to help achieve a better balance between bat and ball (PTG 1844-9243, 4 June 2016).

Fraser Stewart, the MCC’s Cricket Academy Manager, who, in conjunction with John Stephenson the club’s Head of Cricket is overseeing the MCC’s first root-and-branch review of the laws since 2000 (PTG 1642-8036, 10 September 2015), says “The middle of bats have not got much better”.  “That is why Albert Trott [who played Test cricket for both Australia and England] could clear the Lord’s pavilion [with a shot] in 1899”, said Stewart.  Trott though often used a bat which was heavier than was usual at that time.

Rather, continued Stewart, “It is the balls that are hit off-middle that are going further [today]”.  "The sweet-spot of the older bats was around 8 centimetres [3 inches] top to bottom; now it is more than 20 cm [almost 8 in].  A ball hit near the edge of the bat would in the old days have had no weight or thickness behind it, and the bat would probably have twisted in the batsman’s hand and resulted in a catch to extra cover or mid-off, whereas now it has enough behind it to clear the boundary”.

The recent evolution of bats has highlighted a loophole in the Laws; while a bat’s dimensions are defined in terms of length and width, they are not in respect of its depth of edge or spine. Some edges are 50 mm in depth and at the moment there is nothing to stop them growing bigger still.

Trent Woodhill, who works with the Indian Premier League’s Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise, fiercely supports more rigorous limits on the dimensions of bats, having seen players aim over square leg only to get four or six when the ball flies off a leading edge through point.

“That’s not what cricket should be about”, he said. “When you see someone mis-hit for six you think, ‘How the hell did that happen?’ It takes away the skill and blurs the line between the best and the rest. Hitting the ball long should be an art. A mis-hit should not be clearing the rope. The guy should be out”.

Woodhill says it is not the big-name players who are the problem but the less versatile guys you have not heard of. “You look at their bats, and wonder how someone crafted them. In the old days, people used to bounce the ball on the edge of the bat to show off their hand-eye coordination. Now you could do that with your eyes closed”.

He is in favour of limiting the edge to 35 mm and the spine to 65 mm but the MCC’s Stewart says that, having consulted bat manufacturers, there is a consensus for limiting the edge to 35-40 mm and the spine to only 60 mm. Although nothing has been agreed, the MCC is sufficiently serious about legislation that it is already getting prototype gauges made up to test the potential legality of bats.

The mood seems set on change but the debate is complex and the argument not settled. There are other factors behind the rise in sixes, such as the superior athleticism and innovative skills of the modern batsmen, and persuasive commercial reasons why big-hitting should remain a central part of the sport’s entertainment. Also, at a time when it is reckoned the women’s game would benefit from more boundary-hitting, it would be odd to curb its scope to do so.

At the MCC’s request, the International Cricket Council’s annual meeting in Edinburgh next week will consider the possible commercial impact of restricting bat sizes.  Provided no serious objections are raised the decisive step may come at the MCC’s World Cricket Committee meeting next month and could eventually see changes to Law 6 when revised code is introduced in October 2017.

What is being proposed is merely designed to halt the seemingly inexorable rise of the big hit at the expense of the sport’s integrity. Many batsmen simply do not deserve the rewards that currently come their way. “We are not trying to turn the clock back to 1980”, Stewart said.

ECB, CA backing proposed top-tier ODI league.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Monday, 20 June 2016.

PTG 1858-9316.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are understood to be supporting plans to bring One Day Internationals under the umbrella of a new league (PTG 1856-9303, 19 June 2016).  Under the proposal, thirteen countries would meet each other home or away over a three-year period in a proposal to be discussed alongside a World Test Championship at the International Cricket Council's week-long annual meeting which gets underway in Edinburgh next Monday.

On the other side of the world, Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has thrown his support behind a proposed revamp, saying it will help bring more relevance to what some see as a fading format. "My feeling is that in between World Cups, it would be beneficial to add some structure and additional context to the one-day games that are played on a bilateral basis”, he said.

Meanwhile, Sutherland wants the first event at the new 60,000-seat Perth Stadium to be an Ashes Test.  The $A1.2 billion (£UK610 m) venue was initially set to open in early 2018, but with construction well ahead of schedule, there's a chance an Ashes Test could be the first event there in late 2017.  Development of the new drop-in pitch being developed for the new stadium is also ahead of schedule.

Sutherland, who toured the new stadium on Monday, said "Given that for nearly 50 years cricket has been scheduling international sport here in Perth before any other sport, it would be entirely appropriate for the first ever major event to be at the Perth Stadium”.  "I don't see any reason why the first three or four days wouldn't be a sellout”.  

Zimbabwe fined for slow T20I over-rate.

PTG Editor.

ICC press release.

Monday, 20 June 2017.

Zimbabwe have been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate in first Twenty20 International (T20I) of the series in Harare on Saturday.  The home side were found two overs short when time allowances were taken into consideration, and as a result captain Graeme Cremer was charged 40 per cent of his match fee and his players 20 per cent.  

 

Cremer pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the proposed sanction so there was no need for a formal hearing.  The charge was laid by on-field umpires Jeremiah Matibiri and Russell Tiffin, third umpire Langton Rusere and fourth umpire Sifelani Rwaziyeni. 

ECB rules 'negligence’ not involved in abandoned game.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Monday, 20 June 2016.

PTG 1858-9318.

Sussex have accepted the findings of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) into the circumstances surrounding the abandonment, before play got underway, of their Twenty20 fixture against Hampshire in Southampton last Friday.  Groundsmen at the Ageas Bowl were criticised by some for leaving the parts of the square uncovered ahead of the game only for an unanticipated hail shower to suddenly descend.  

The covers were drawn during the downpour but water got underneath, leaving the square sodden.  Umpires Steve Garratt and Tim Robinson subsequently decided play was not possible due to puddles on part of the square and in the area of the bowler’s run ups.  Luke Wright, the Sussex captain, was of the view that in the circumstances his side should have been awarded both points.

Responding to allegations of negligence made by some, the ECB said in a statement issued on Monday that it "has gathered information from all parties on the events that led to the abandonment of the match and confirms that there is no negligence [on the part of] Hampshire Cricket [as] the groundstaff did all that could reasonably be expected of them given the circumstances that prevailed”.

Sussex chief executive Zac Toumazi, a former commercial director with Hampshire, said in a statement: "We asked the ECB and Hampshire to consider the events leading to the abandonment. The ECB investigated the situation and were in contact with Hampshire and the umpires.  We share the disappointment of Luke Wright, the team and our supporters around the circumstances [involved, and] appreciate that not all will agree with the findings but we have to support the decision of the umpires and respect the ECB’s [ruling]”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,859

  Wednesday, 22 June 2016

 

• On-field collision leads to player’s death [1859-9319]. 

• Indian pink-ball trial hailed a success [1859-9320]. 

• Loud buzzing noise stops play [1859-9321]. 

• ‘Sick umpires’ match report expected Wednesday [1859-9322]. 

On-field collision leads to player’s death.

Times of India.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016.

PTG 1859-9319.

A 26-year-old man named Bhanu Joshi succumbed to injuries after colliding with teammates during a match played in Chittorgarh in western Rajasthan on Sunday.  Joshi, who had been married for just two months, was fielding at mid-on when he and two of his team mates tried to take a catch, all three of them colliding such that he sustained serious injuries. He later died with the doctors linking his death to a ruptured liver major head trauma.

Ashok Singh, who was present during the match, said: "Bhanu started bleeding after he fell on the ground and was rushed straight-away to the government hospital in Chittorgarh”. Doctors there gave him first aid and then he was taken for MRI but he succumbed soon afterwards to his injuries. "He had internal bleeding and received grave head injury”, said a senior doctor.

Fourteen months ago Ankit Keshri, 20, a former captain of Bengal's Under-19 side, died when he and teammate Sourabh Mondal collided while going for a catch, Mondal's knee striking Keshri in the head (PTG 1551-7447, 23 April 2015).  

Later that same year Surrey fielders Rory Burns and Moises Henriques collided during a Twenty20 played at Arundel.   Burns suffered cuts above his left eye and was back playing with a fortnight, but Henriques received a broken jaw which kept him out of the game for some time (PTG 1577-7583, 26 June 2015). 

Indian pink-ball trial hailed a success.

Peter Lalor.

The Australian.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016.

PTG 1859-9320.

Australian ball manufacturer ‘Kookaburra' and Indian cricket authorities are hailing the first four-day pink-ball trial in Kolkata a success as that country signals an intent to re-embrace the Test match and joins others following Australia’s lead on day-night games.  The latest version of the Australian-made Kookaburra pink ball was used in a four-day Cricket Association of Bengal Super League final between Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata (PTG 1848-9265, 8 June 2016).

Locals reported that more grass was left on the wicket and around the square of the traditionally dry pitch to protect the ball, but the batsmen and bowlers were happy with the results.  The post-Srinivasan administration at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has shown a renewed interest in Test matches and announced the home side would play 13 Tests on the subcontinent in the next 12 months, including a day-night match.

New Zealand (three), England (five), Australia (four) and Bangladesh (one) are scheduled to play Tests on the sub-continent over the next nine months.  The BCCI is demanding that states selected to host jose Tests submit plans that make the experience more pleasant for fans, including reserving 10 per cent of tickets for women, children and the disabled and a promise of clean facilities.

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakara this week said his organisation was also keen to ensure that players earned enough from Tests to ensure they would not be lured away by privatised Twenty20 leagues.  “If we need to keep the players’ interest in Tests alive, we’ll have to ensure that those playing Tests are better paid”,” he said this week. 

There has been no decision made on which of the visiting ­nations will play the day-night Test (PTG 1851-9284, 11 June 2016), but the board was watching the experiment in Kolkata with the Australian ball.  

‘Kookaburra' managing director Brett Elliot flew to the venue to witness the trial and said afterwards he "was very pleased with the event". "The game attracted a great crowd when typically it wouldn’t have.  Crowds increased into the evening sessions. The balls were changed at 75 overs (and) still had plenty of shine and firmness.  We still are working on making sure we get the balance right and are continuing trials on more abrasive pitch conditions. Overall it was a very successful trial”.

Elliot said the grass on the pitch was cut back to 4 mm. The grass was left at 11mm in Adelaide for the inaugural pink-ball Test and received criticism because the seaming conditions caused the game to finish inside three days.  The Kolkata trial featured the pink ball with all-black stitching in the seam after players rejected variations on white and green seams from previous matches.

Most Test-playing nations are looking to include day-night cricket in future tours. The West Indies have reportedly agreed in principle to play a day-night Test against Pakistan in the UAE in September (PTG  1857-9314, 20 June 2016). Pakistan is also in talks with Sri Lanka.

Bengal and former Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha told local papers the pink ball behaved differently. He was quoted as saying by Kolkata’s ‘Telegraph’ as saying: “We took our stance some yards outside the crease in order to counter the swing.  The ball continued to swing even during the latter stages, which doesn’t happen with a red ball. If you apply yourself against the pink ball and on this kind of a green wicket, you will surely get runs”.

Test bowler Mohammed Shami claimed five wickets and was delighted with the way the ball behaved. “It’s very bright and glows like radium”, Shami said. “With red or white balls, there was some visibility problem as it took [on] the colour of grass. Definitely I will prefer this ball, this is much better. The biggest plus point is [the swing] under lights; what else does a bowler want?  There was a bit of moisture in the afternoon, so it helped initially. But then, under lights, there was more movement”.

Loud buzzing noise stops play.

Chris Ostick.

Manchester Evening News.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016.

PTG 1859-9321.

Lancashire's County Championship match with Warwickshire at Old Trafford was halted on Tuesday because of a loud noise. Umpires Jeff Evans and Graham Lloyd took the players off the pitch at 3.40 p.m. after complaints from Warwickshire batsmen Jonathan Trott and Varun Chopra that the strange buzzing noise was affecting their concentration.

The crowd were left bewildered as, after a few minutes of discussions out in the middle, the players and the officials walked back into the changing rooms before taking an early tea interval.  It was unclear whether the noise was coming from inside the ground - which holds 18,000 people - or from nearby building works.

However, the public address system at the ground was discovered as the source, Lancashire minutes later posting a message on their giant scoreboard a few minutes later explaining the problem.  It read: "There is an issue with the PA system. We are working to fix this as soon as we can”.  The noise stopped just minutes after the players came off, and play resumed at 4.02 p.m. after the tea interval.

Lancashire head coach Ashley Giles wasn't happy with the decision as umpire Evans explained that the noise was 'distracting' the players as they went off.  Earlier, 3,500 noisy primary schoolchildren were in the crowd as part of the club’s 'Lancashire Way' scheme, with play continuing throughout.

‘Sick umpires’ match report expected Wednesday.

Dhaka Tribune.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016.

PTG 1859-9322.

The four-member committee to investigate the incomplete Dhaka Premier League match between Abahani Limited and Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club held interviews of key individuals on Tuesday.  The match was stopped by umpires Gazi Sohel and Tanvir Ahmed who cited “illness” after getting into a heated argument with Abahani captain Tamim Iqbal who was protesting a not-out call to an appeal for stumping during the Doleshwar innings.

BCB umpires committee chairman Nazmul Karim, who was one of the committee members, said they expect to be able to submit their report on Wednesday.  Describing it as a "neutral hearing”, Karim said his group has heard heard from the two umpires, organisers and the Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis officials.  While no details of the committee’s findings have become public, it is understood the committee could make the two sides replay the game this Friday. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,860

  Thursday, 23 June 2016

 

• Fines, suspension, as ‘sick’ match declared a ‘no result’ [1860-9323]. 

• School Under-19 final ends in fracas [1860-9324]. 

• Court charges six over 2009 Lahore attack [1860-9325]. 

• Vandals ruin cash-strapped club’s equipment [1860-9326]. 

• Mum waits for test results after syringe stick [1860-9327]. 

• Former spot-fixer playing in Norway club cricket [1860-9328]. 

• Champions Trophy facing end of the road [1860-9329]. 

• Free-to-air cricket to return to UK via comedy TV [1860-9330]. 

Fines, suspension, as ‘sick’ match declared a ‘no result’.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016.

PTG 1860-9323.

Tamim Iqbal, the captain of Dhaka Premier League (DPL) side Abahani Limited, has been fined 100,000 Taka ($A1,700, £UK870) and banned for one match and his team mate Nasir Hossain fined 20,000 Taka ($A340, £UK175), for their behavior during the game against the Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club two Sundays ago.  Match referee Montu Dutta claimed on the day of the game the sickness of both umpires led to them leaving the field and the fixture being stopped (PTG 1853-9293, 14 June 2016).

During the 50 over one-day game, Prime Doleshwar had reached 2/59 in 17 overs chasing 197 when a stumping appeal was turned down by umpire Gazi Sohel.  A long discussion ensued between a visibly upset Iqbal and Sohel and his colleague Tanvir Ahmed.  Play eventually resumed but eight balls later the umpires, who were reportedly being “loudly abused" by Abahani players and spectators, decided that they would not continue officiating the match.  

Dutta indicated that because both the umpires had "fallen sick" and only one reserve umpire was present at the venue, the match had to be stopped.  The special Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) committee that was later formed and asked to investigate the facts involved recommended, in addition to the player fines and suspension, the match should be declared a 'no result’ with each side awarded one championship point.  As a consequence Abahani won the league with 23 points, runner-up Prime Doleshwar finishing with 21. 

Iqbal played Abahani’s last four DPL games of the season after he committed his offence, and with the competition now over he will have to sit out the first match of BCB's next tournament.  It took the BCB a week to form the committee to look into the issue (PTG 1859-9322,   22 June 2016), then a further three days for that group to come to a conclusion.

School Under-19 final ends in fracas.

Gerald Reid.

Jamaica Observer.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016.

PTG 1860-9324.

Jamaica’s Excelsior and Eltham High schools engaged in an ugly brawl at the end of their Under-19 Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Twenty20 final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Kingston on Monday.  Excelsior defeated Eltham to capture the title, the fracas starting immediately after Eltham’s final wicket fell with players and spectators from both teams clashing.

Police were called in to prevent any further trouble, and although the teams were placed in different areas of the field, ISSA’s Competitions Officer George Forbes opted to cancel the presentation ceremony.  Forbes said: “The matter is expected to be reported to the ISSA Disciplinary Committee and serious actions could be taken against both teams”.  The umpires said arguments had developed during the match and that they had to warn players of both teams on several occasions. 

Excelsior coach Kirkland Bailey admitted that it was an ugly end to the match and that it was not good for cricket, while Shaun Headlam, Eltham's assistant coach said the end-of-match brawl was "really bad and not in the true spirit of the game”.  The game was seen by many before hand as a "grudge match" as Eltham were the defending champions, while Excelsior won another competition last month when  they defeated Eltham in the final by more than 200 runs.

Court charges six over 2009 Lahore attack.

Ary News.

Thursday, 23 June 2016.

PTG 1860-9325.

An Pakistan Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) has levelled charges against six men for attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team and match officials in Lahore seven years ago.   Six members of the Sri Lanka cricket team were injured, while six Pakistani policemen and two civilians, one the driver of the match official’s bus, were killed in the attack (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009).

Three suspects named Zubair, Abdul Wahab and Adnan Rasheed are currently in jail, and three other named Abdullah, Javed Anwar and Ibrahim Khalil are currently on bail. Two other suspects, Mohsin Rasheed and Abdur Rehman, have been declared absconders.  The court has asked eyewitnesses to record their final statements by the end of this month.

Vandals run cash-strapped club’s equipment.

Gary Porter.

Wales Daily Post.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016.

PTG 1860-9326.

Vandals have damaged a £3,500 ($A6,880) grass roller which was only recently purchased by the cash-strapped Llanrwst Cricket Club (LCC) after its previous unit was ruined in the winter floods.  The second-hand roller, which was only bought a month ago through a mixture of fundraising and cash from an England and Wales Cricket Board grant. was targeted at the club's Gwydir Park ground some time overnight last Saturday-Sunday.  

LCC vice-chairman Trefor Williams, who discovered the damage on Sunday morning, said: “At the start of the year we lost all our equipment because of the huge flooding. The pitch was under water for two weeks so we had to raise money to buy the new equipment”.  The damage to the roller includes ripped out electrical wires and a broken air vent.  

Williams, who is also one of two groundsmen at the club, said the machine was now “unusable”.  “We’re midway through the season now and somewhere along the line we will have to borrow a roller to get the pitch ready”.

He described the latest incident as "heartbreaking. We put a lot of voluntary time into the club.  We don’t know what the cost will be yet. We don’t have a bar at the club so it’s all done through sponsorship and fundraising.  We’re under financial constraints as it is to keep cricket in Llanrwst – this will just make running the club even more difficult.  We’re looking at putting CCTV cameras up or security lighting but again it’s all extra cost".

Former spot-fixer playing in Norway club cricket.

PTG Editor.

Media Reports.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016.

PTG 1860-9327.

Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Asif is playing club cricket in Norway as he continues to rebuild his career following a five-year spot-fixing ban.  Asif, now 33, was suspended along with then Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and fellow paceman Mohammad Amir, for bowling no-balls to order during a Test at Lord’s in 2010 (PTG 669-3286, 17 September 2010), an offence for which he and his colleagues also served time in jail.

According to Asif, who returned to the domestic game in Pakistan earlier this year, a friend called him and ask him to play in Norway, an International Cricket Council third-tier Affiliate Member whose national side currently plays in World Cricket League Division 6, seven levels below the top of the international one-day game. Asia has since joined the Christiania Cricket Club in Oslo to "work on his fitness" over the summer there ahead of the next domestic cricket season in Pakistan which starts in September.  

Asif says he is “100 per cent sure" he will play international cricket again.   "Hopefully I will do well in Pakistan and be selected for the national team for the tours to New Zealand and Australia” next austral summer.  Amir, who was 18 at the time of the offence, has been included in Pakistan's squad for the four-Test series with England which starts next month at Lord’s, the scene of his earlier transgression (PTG 1856-9308, 19 June 2016).  

Mum waits for test results after syringe stick.

Kristie Lim.

PerthNow.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

PTG 1860-9328.

A junior player's mother faces an agonising wait for blood test results after a syringe injury in Jubilee Reserve in Bassendean, Western Australia, earlier this year.  The mother, a volunteer with the Bassendean Junior Cricket Club (BJCC), unknowingly came into contact with the discarded syringe whilst helping out at her son’s ground.

BJCC president Justin Murray said: “We want to take the park back for the residents, because at the moment it is overrun by people who do not want to use the park for its actual purposes”.  Residents in the area are concerned about children playing on the reserve.  Murray added: “The biggest issue for my club [and the footballers who use the facility in winter] are needles that are often scattered around clubroom areas”.

Champions Trophy facing end of the road.

Tim Wigmore.

The Times.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016.

PTG 1860-9329.

The Champions Trophy series could be scrapped after next year's tournament in England. As part of discussions about the future of the international game, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is discussing cancelling the currently scheduled 2021 version of the event, which has been awarded to India, and abolishing the competition for good.

Currently, the Champions Trophy is seen as lacking purpose and a clear identity, especially if the ICC’s proposals for a new 13-team, top-tier One Day International (ODI) league, culminating in a play-off between the top two nations, are ratified (PTG 1956-9303, 19 June 2016). Alongside the league, the first edition of which is planned for 2019-22, and the World Cup, there is little desire to have a third 50-over international tournament.

The last edition of the Champions Trophy, in England three years ago, was originally meant to be the tournament’s last, but huge commercial success led to it being retained, at the expense of the World Test Championship (PTG 1270-6130, 17 January 2014).

The concise nature of the Champions Trophy, 15 matches played over 18 days, compares favourably with the World Cup.  But the introduction of an ODI league, combined with the imminent confirmation that the World Twenty20 will return to being every two years (PTG 1837-9194, 27 May 2016), will reduce space in the schedule, and the financial need for the tournament. 

Senior figures from the ICC have this week met with broadcaster Star Sports in Dubai to discuss the future of ICC events and whether to retain the Champions Trophy.

While Star Sports would want to be compensated for the lack of a tournament in 2021, this money could easily be found by the extra sums that the ICC will raise from Star for staging two more editions of the World T20, in 2018 and 2022, within the 2015-23 commercial rights cycle. In return for agreeing to give up the rights to host the 2021 Champions Trophy, India would be likely to be awarded another ICC event, most probably the World Twenty20 in 2022 or 2024.

Free-to-air cricket to return to UK via comedy TV.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016.

PTG 1860-9330.

UK comedy television channel ‘Dave’ is to broadcast matches in the Caribbean Premier League's (CPL) 2016 season, the first time free-to-air television has been shown in that nation since 2005.  CPL fixtures have previously been shown on pay TV channel BT Sport, but according to Damien O’Donohoe, the CPL’s chief executive of the CPL, they were not getting the type of viewership figures with BT they would prefer. 

‘Dave', which has the banner “the home of witty banter”, normally shows reruns of comedy shows and programs such as 'Top Gear' and extreme sports.  However, it has started to break into the live sport market this year showing boxing and darts. David Haye, the British heavyweight, signed a deal for his comeback fight to be shown on ‘Dave' earlier this year and it attracted more than 3 million viewers. 

Live Test match cricket was last seen on terrestrial television in the UK in 2005, with all of England's matches since then being shown by pay TV channel ‘Sky’.  In 2014, some nine years after the move, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) own participation figures showed that the number of people playing recreationally had dropped significantly (PTG 1463-7085, 20 November 2014), however, just what the 2015 survey found has not been made public to date (PTG 1714-8495, 16 December 2015).  

ECB chairman Colin Graves said late last month: "The younger generation do not watch terrestrial television, they use social media. We have to take that into account. It will be a mix-and-match situation for us to come out with the right formula” in terms of future broadcast deals (PTG 1832-9167, 20 May 2016).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,861

  Friday, 24 June 2016

 

• No surprises in Aussie IUP changes [1861-9331]. 

• National Umpire Managers to meet in Johannesburg [1861-9332]. 

• ECB to open battle for next TV rights early [1861-9333]. 

No surprises in Aussie IUP changes.

PTG Editor.

CA press release.

Thursday, 23 June 2016.

PTG 1860-9331.

There were no surprises when Cricket Australia (CA) announced its membership of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) for 2016-17 on Thursday, the changes made being clear sometime ago (PTG 1785-8911, 22 March 2016).   CA National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Simon Fry retains his on-field spot and has been joined in that role by Mick Martell, the third umpire positions going to Paul Wilson and newcomer Sam Nogajski of Tasmania.  

Fry, who turns 50 late next month, made his first class debut in 2002 will be working as an IUP member for the seventh season running.  He was first appointed to the IUP as a third umpire member in 2010, moving up to an on-field spot after two seasons and standing in his first Test last October.  Martell, whose 50th birthday is also imminent, has been a first class umpire since 2008 and joined the IUP as a third umpire in 2013 at the same time as Wilson, 44, the only one of the four to have played first class cricket.

Tasmanian Nogajski, 37, the NUP’s youngest member, was appointed to that panel ahead of the 2012-13 austral summer after making his first class debut in November 2011.   To date he has stood in 25 first class games, including one in New Zealand and two in South Africa on exchange, plus 17 List-A and 26 Twenty20 fixtures, the latter including the final of this year’s CA Big Bash League (PTG 1745-8861, 24 January 2016). 

Martell moves into a position previously held by John Ward who has been dropped.  Ward’s name, let alone his contribution to the game, was not mentioned in CA’s press release, something cricketing authorities are often guilty of in such circumstances.  A NUP member for the past eleven seasons, Ward, 54, worked as an IUP member for four seasons, one as a third umpire and three in an on-field role.

National Umpire Managers to meet in Johannesburg.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 23 June 2016.

PTG 1861-9332.

National Umpire Managers (NUM) or their representatives from all ten Full Members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) are to meet in Johannesburg, South Africa next week.  The ICC has also extended an invitation to National Umpire Coaches to attend but just how many will be supported by their respective boards to attend is not yet known.

The meeting, which is scheduled to run on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, will be facilitated by Adrian Griffith the ICC’s Umpires and Referees manager.  The ICC says NUMs "will lead discussions, and suggest topics for consideration”.  When asked by ‘PTG’ about what issues were on the agenda for the meeting the ICC response was limited to: "The main expected outcome for this conference [is] together [to] develop the best match officials across the globe”.

ECB to open battle for next TV rights early.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph

Thursday, 23 June 2016.

PTG 1861-9333.

The biggest television deal in the history of English cricket could be completed as early as next year after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) indicated to broadcasters that its tender process could begin in the northern autumn.  It is understood that ECB officials informally told interested broadcasters last week it intended to go to the market earlier than originally planned in order to seal a deal to run from 2020. The decision to go to tender more than two years before the current deal runs out has surprised industry insiders.

Television executives are gearing themselves up for a winter of talks that will see a fierce contest between Sky and BT Sport.  In 2012, the ECB agreed a £280 million ($A548 m) deal with Sky Sports but BT Sport has moved into the market and driven prices up. Last year, they agreed a deal with Cricket Australia to screen live coverage of the next Ashes tour, breaking the Sky monopoly.

But before the ECB can go to market they will have to provide  details of the domestic Twenty20 competition and the make-up of the international calendar.  In September, the ECB is due to meet  the  counties to propose  options over the future of domestic Twenty20 cricket, while  the International Cricket Council is due to discuss proposals  next week to shake up Test and one-day cricket.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,862

  Saturday, 25 June 2016


• Brexit vote will impact British sport [1862-9334]. 

• Extra WT20C to get nod, but its ’no rush’ on other reforms [1862-9335]. 

• Zimbabwean seamer’s action cleared after retest [1862-9336]. 

• ’Super Hero’ shield makes England debut [1862-9337]. 

• SACA signs five-year deal to 'grow the game' in China [1862-9338]. 

• BCCI’s September ‘mini-IPL’ idea faces Duleep clash [1862-9339]. 

• Will the Olympics plus a two-yearly WT20C work? [1862-9340]. 

Brexit vote will impact British sport.

Daniel Schofield and Cristina Criddle.

London Daily Telegraph.

Friday, 24 June 2016.

PTG 1862-9334.

Just about every area of British public life will be affected by Thursday's ‘Leave' vote, and sport in the United Kingdom will be no exception.  As with much else in the ‘Brexit' debate, a lot of guesswork is involved in extrapolating the range and depth of the potential changes. All we know for certain is that the landscape will be different for all sports, including cricket.

Under the terms of the Cotonou Agreement and the Kolpak Ruling in 2003, sportsmen from Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States enjoy the same rights as European Union (EU) players. This particularly applies to cricket and rugby union, where many players from South Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific region have come to play in English domestic leagues.

Several have gone to represent England. For example in cricket, for 11 years between 2004 and 2015 encompassing 139 Tests, England started a match with a South African-born player in their team such as Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen. The English rugby union team, too, has come to rely upon a large percentage of foreign-born players.

Leaving the EU will render the Kolpak agreement void meaning future imports from such countries will count as foreign players.  Arguments can be put forward that this will encourage the development of homegrown players, but Christian Abt, a director at the Essentially sports management group, believes that the presence of Kolpak players in England has enhanced sport here.  

Extra WT20C to get nod, but its ’no rush on other reforms.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Saturday, 25 June 2016.

PTG 1862-9335.

An extra World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) in 2018 will be agreed at the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) annual meeting in Edinburgh next week, but any further reforms to the game are likely to be put on hold.  The inclusion of another WT20C, probably to be held in South Africa (PTG 1837-9194, 27 May 2016), was proposed after the ICC was surprised by the amount of revenue raised by the recent competition in India.

This year’s tournament brought in around $US250 million ($A335 m, £183 m) in just 27 days, underlining the power of Twenty20 to make money and boost the sport’s profile.  Under the original schedule, the next WT20C was not due to take place until 2020, when Australia will be the hosts, but after talks between the ICC and its broadcaster Star Sports (PTG 1860-9329, 23 June 2016), it has now been agreed the tournament will be held every two years, with another to be pencilled in for 2022.

The Edinburgh meeting will also discuss proposals for a two-division Test championship and a one-day league for 50-over cricket, however, it is understood such groundbreaking reforms will not be sanctioned this week.  International schedules are already agreed until 2019 and the ICC believes there is no need to rush into reforms until their full cricketing and economic impact have been evaluated.

The funds raised from the extra WT20Cs will help bankroll the changes to Test cricket, the survival of which is under increasing threat.  David Richardson, the ICC’s chief executive, and his team will report to the annual meeting on their plans for a two-division competition, with promotion and relegation, that would widen the number of Test nations from 10 to 13 and is seen as a crucial part of protecting that format of the game.

Ideally, the ICC would like a top division of five, with seven nations in Division Two, but this would not gain enough support from existing members, with too many fearing they would be in the bottom league.  Instead, the compromise is for a top division of seven and a second of five, with countries playing each other home and away and the possibility of a final to determine the winners in the top flight.

The outcomes of the ICC’s review of Test and one-day cricket will have a big impact on the game in England. Like international cricket, any changes in this country are limited by existing deals until 2019, which is the last year of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Sky Sports contract (PTG 1861-9333, 24 June 2016).  After that, a new Twenty20 tournament will be launched, although the ECB will be unable to make any major changes until it knows the future look of international cricket. 

Despite the introduction of a Test divisional championship, it is likely the amount of Test cricket will be reduced after 2019, giving more time in the calendar for domestic Twenty20 tournaments, which will help the ECB plan its own relaunched competition.

This year’s ICC annual meeting will be the first to be chaired by a fully independent chairman and the board are likely to agree to further stripping back changes introduced two years ago, when England, India and Australia took control of the ICC in a power grab.

Zimbabwean seamer’s action cleared after retest.

PTG Editor.

ICC press release.

Friday, 24 June 2016.

PTG 1862-9336.

Zimbabwe left-arm seamer Brian Vitori’s revamped bowling action has been found to be legal, and the left-arm fast bowler can resume bowling in international cricket.  Vitori had been reported as having a suspect action following a Twenty20 International against Bangladesh in Khulna a few weeks earlier (PTG 1743-8672, 22 January 2016).

An assessment conducted in Chennai in February showed that all variations of his deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations (PTG 1767-8815, 18 February 2016).  A recent retest, which was conducted after he underwent months of remedial action, indicated his elbow extension for all deliveries is now within the 15-degree requirement.  

While he may resume playing internationals, the ICC says umpires are still free to report him in the future if they are again concerned about his action.

’Super Hero’ shield makes England debut.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Friday, 24 June 2016.

PTG 1862-9337.

Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford introduced his self-designed transparent forearm ’Super Hero’ shield to England on Thursday during the home side's One Day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka in Birmingham.  Oxenford first used the device in a World Twenty20 Championship warm-up match between Australia and the West Indies in March, and a month later in the Indian Premier League (PTG 1840-9209, 31 May 2016).  The Australian is due to stand in the fourth England-Lanka ODI at The Oval in London next Wednesday.

‘Cricinfo’ quoted a spokesman for the England and Wales Cricket Board as “confirming" that, if a batsman struck the ball and it deflected off the shield and was subsequently caught, the batsman would be given out, in contrast to the situation for fielders wearing protective headgear. In the latter case if the ball strikes the helmet before being caught by a fielder the batsman is not out.

SACA signs five-year deal to 'grow the game' in China.

Nicola Gage.

ABC News.

Friday, 24 June 2016.

PTG 1862-9338.

The South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) announced on Thursday it had signed a five-year agreement with China's Shandong Cricket Association to help grow the game within the world's most populous country, however, just what amount of money is involved has not been revealed.  The deal will include Chinese cricketers and coaches competing and training in South Australia, the state government of which has a 'sister state' relationship with the province of Shandong.

SACA policy manager Ben Page said it was the first partnership of its kind in Australia and called it “a landmark agreement". "We have to work through what this will mean for South Australian cricket but it's just the beginning”, he said.  "There are lots of different opportunities for us to collaborate ... I would like to see this as a long-term growing partnership”.

The first activity under the agreement will see the Shandong Under-20 women's team tour Adelaide in September.  "The next target is to get the Chinese women's team to qualify for the world T20 tournament in 2018”, said Page.  "We think by helping to develop their players, particularly the women's junior players, that they'll be well-placed to reach that goal”.

Page said China was extremely well-placed to become the next powerhouse in international cricket.  "They already have 80,000 players. I expect that to grow significantly over the coming years.  The skill level of Chinese cricketers is very high. They play it in the school and university system and the Chinese never do anything by half measures so they have some extremely talented cricketers. This initiative is about growing the game and increasing the number of cricketers as well as improving cricketers at the high-performance level”.

Last April’s International Cricket Council board meeting agreed the world body must continue to work with the Chinese Cricket Association to develop a long term strategy for cricket’s development in China (PTG 1811-9054, 26 April 2016), and before that this year, Cricket Australia sent a ‘delegation to Shanghai during ‘Australia Week’ (PTG 1799-8990, 12 April 2016).  A Chinese women’s team has competed in international tournaments in recent years (PTG 1704-8430, 5 December 2015).

BCCI’s September ‘mini-IPL’ idea faces Duleep clash.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Friday, 24 June 2016.

PTG 1862-9339.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is reported to be seriously considering launching the 'Mini IPL' in September this year, to exploit the overseas market for the popular Twenty20 tournament. The idea was floated at a meeting of the Indian Premier League Governing Council on Thursday, a move that was hinted as a possibility last October.

A senior BCCI official said on Thursday: "There's a 'window' which has been left vacant in September after the Champions League T20 was discontinued from last year. A proposal to launch a mini IPL has been floated and we're now considering the possibility of playing a short duration (10-15 days) tournament in the United Arab Emirates or the United States in which all the eight [IPL franchise teams] can take part”. 

One issue though is that India's home season will begin in September with the Duleep Trophy set to feature all of India’s senior players as it is to be played with a pink ball under lights.

Will the Olympics plus a two-yearly WT20C work?

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Friday, 24 June 2016.

PTG 1862-9340.

The chances of cricket becoming an Olympic sport may diminish if as reported the International Cricket Council (ICC) decides to switch its World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) from a two-year to a four-year cycle at its annual meeting next week (PTG 1862-9335 above).  Cricket is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which, it is understood, has “encouraged” the ICC to apply for the inclusion of a Twenty20 event in the Olympics, featuring up to 12 teams, both men and women.

While governing bodies of other sports have been quick to seize the exposure Olympic status can provide, the ICC has maintained a deliberate approach to the matter. At the last two ICC board meetings in February and April this year, they have deferred taking a final position on whether or not to make an application to the IOC (PTG 1811-9054, 26 April 2016).

If the WT20C continues to take place once every two years, there is a chance that it would clash with the quadrennial cycle of the Summer Olympics.   ICC head of global development Tim Anderson concedes it would be difficult to squeeze two major global T20 championships into the same calendar year.  Anderson indicated the ICC board has had long discussions on the matter and there’s been direct conversations with the IOC.

Financial permutations are also a major factor. While the ICC controls broadcast rights and revenue distribution for its own competitions, they would cede both to the IOC for an Olympic T20 tournament. However, with the increase in government funding for sports with Olympic status, member countries who lose out on ICC revenue can still make up the difference.

  

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,863

  Monday, 27 June 2016

 

• BCB establishes bowling action group [1863-9341]. 

• Umpire to face disciplinary hearing, claims report [1863i-9342]. 

• Hampshire face points deduction over player's action [1863-9343]. 

• Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published [1863-9344]. 

BCB establishes bowling action group.

Dhaka Tribune.

Sunday, 26 June 2016.

PTG 1863-9341.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board’s (BCB) new Bowling Action Review Committee (BARC) will assess the suspected bowling actions of at least 13 bowlers reported during the recently completed Dhaka Premier League (DPL) series (PTG 1836-9185, 25 May 2016).   BARC was formed a week ago three months after BCB president Nazmul Hasan said, in wake of the suspensions of Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny during the 2016 World Twenty20 Championship in March (PTG 1785-8910, 22 March 2016), that the BCB would weed illegal bowling actions from domestic cricket.

In the first week of the DPL, six bowlers were reported by the umpires - Naeem Islam Jr, Faisal Hossain, Moinul Islam, Rejaul Karim, Amit Kumar, and off-spinner Mustafizur Rahman, who was reported twice (PTG 1816-9079, 1 May 2016). They, along with several others, will have their bowling actions tested in the nets next month.

BARC chairman Jalal Younus said: “We have a meeting on Tuesday that will decide the committee’s modus operandi”.  He also indicated there are plans to bring an expert from Cardiff Metropolitan University, one of International Cricket Council’s accredited testing centres for suspect bowling actions, to Bangladesh as part of the forthcoming work.

Umpire to face disciplinary hearing, claims report.

The Island.

Sunday, 26 June 2016.

PTG 1863-93412.

Sri Lankan umpire Ruchira Palliyaguru is reported to be facing an inquiry after allegedly obstructing the proceedings of an "emergency" disciplinary hearing last Friday into the actions of national player Kithruwan Vithanage.  Vithanage, 25, was with friends in a nightclub when he became involved in a fight and was badly injured, behaviour that has led to him being suspended by Sri Lanka Cricket for a year.

Reports claim that Palliyaguru, 48, was present at the nightclub at the time of the incident and as such was called as a witness by the disciplinary committee. They also suggest he called for leniency for Vithanage whilst giving evidence, and "acted violently and used foul language” when he became aware of the suspension that was handed to the player.  Vithanage's censure could be overturned on appeal. 

Hampshire face points deduction over player’s action.

Simon Wilde.

Sunday Times.

Sunday, 26 June 2016.

PTG 1863-9343.

Former West Indian bowler Tino Best was dropped by Hampshire for their Twenty20 match against Gloucestershire on Saturday as a result of a disciplinary issue that arose during a T20 against Essex at Chelmsford the evening before.  Best was bowling when the ball was hit into the deep and returned to him, after which he appeared to throw it towards  Essex batsman Ashar Zaidi at the striker’s end.

Umpires Neil Bainton and Martin Saggers reported Best and he faces action from the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Discipline Commission.  If found guilty it is likely to trigger a two-point penalty for Hampshire who were last year handed a 12-month suspended points deduction across all three formats, plus a fine of £UK4,000 ($A7,320) after disciplinary offences by five players (PTG 1585-7644, 6 July 2015).  That 12-month period does not end until next Saturday.

Also in Friday’s match, Essex captain Ravi Bopara was involved in a clear show of dissent when he questioned Bainton's decision to give him out LBW for nought. Bopara, who was, already at the other end when the umpire's finger went up, implied that he had got bat on ball.

Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published.

John Holder and Paul Trevillion. 

The Guardian. 

Friday, 24 June 2016.

PTG 1863-9344.

The latest edition of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper’s cartoon strip presents three scenarios to consider: two batsmen who run into each other exactly midway down the pitch after which the wicket is legally put down at one end; pads of different colours; and a stumping situation that occurs just after the wicketkeeper’s cap knocks off a bail.  The strip is drawn by Paul Trevillion from questions submitted by readers, and the answers are provided by former Test umpire John Holder.  Holder's answers to last week’s edition of the strip (PTG 1856-9309, 19 June 2016), are now available on line.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,864

  Tuesday, 28 June 2016


• Conciliator works through racial slur concerns [1864-9345]. 

• Cairns seeking damages from MCC over YouTube mistake [1864-9346]. 

• Pavilion lock out sees team concede game [1864-9347]. 

• Third BCB director speaks against two-tier Test system [1864-9348]. 

Conciliator works through racial slur concerns.

PTG Editor

ICC press release.

Monday. 27 June 2016.

PTG 1864-9345.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) and "the Afghanistan players in question" have offered an apology to "a Namibian player" who believed he was the target of a racial slur during the two sides' Intercontinental Cup match played in India in mid-April.  Cricket Namibia subsequently filed a complaint under the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti-Racism Code and “confidential arbitration” has led to the apology being issued on Monday.

The ICC said it "engaged an accredited mediator with extensive experience in race relations issues and sports disciplinary matters to act as the conciliator” on the matter, the first time such a process has been invoked under its Anti-Racism Code.  While an apology was issued, the ACB and its players say there was no intention to cause offence on the basis of race or act in a way that would constitute a breach of the ICC Code.  

Despite that the Afghans have accepted that "certain words spoken by some of their players could reasonably have been expected to cause offence”.  As a result the ACB has undertaken that their national playing squad will attend an education and training course to be organised by the ICC, which will focus on the responsibilities of international cricketers in relation to issues of race, language and cultural sensitivity.

Commenting on the matter, ICC chief executive David Richardson thanked "all parties involved for their cooperation in and commitment to the conciliation process”.  He went on to stress that "there is no place for racism within the sport; we are proud of the diversity of the global cricket community and accordingly place the utmost importance on every participant according respect to their fellow players”.

Cairns seeking damages from MCC over YouTube mistake.

Elizabeth Ammon.

The Times.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016.

PTG 1864-9346.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) have issued an apology to Chris Cairns, the former New Zealand player, after accusing him of match-fixing in a YouTube post.  Earlier this month an MCC staffer uploaded the video of Brendon McCullum, the former New Zealand captain, delivering the Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey lecture under the title: “McCullum on: on Cairns’ Match Fixing”.

Cairns successfully sued Lalit Modi, the Indian cricket administrator, in 2012 for libel after he accused him of match-fixing in the now defunct Indian Cricket League. In 2015, Cairns was found not guilty by a jury at Southwark Crown Court after he was charged with perjury relating to that 2012 trial.

MCC said on their YouTube channel yesterday: “During the evening of 6 June 2016, the former New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum gave the annual MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey lecture.  At about 10 pm that evening, a recording of part of Mr McCullum’s speech was uploaded to YouTube. It carried the title ‘McCullum on: on Cairns’ Match Fixing’". 

The MCC “accepted that Mr Cairns was successful in a libel action in 2012 when wrongly accused of match fixing. He was also acquitted by a jury of all charges in 2015, in which it was alleged he had committed perjury at that 2012 trial”.  As a result the MCC apologised to "Cairns for wrongly alleging in the video that he was guilty of match fixing and withdraws the allegation completely”.

The video title remained posted for approximately 11 hours before the MCC removed it after being alerted to their mistake. While it is understood it was a genuine mistake by a member of MCC staff, a libellous statement was left online for a considerable length of time and it is on that basis that Cairns’s legal team asked for a full public apology and financial damages.

It is understood that Cairns’s legal team in London and representatives of the MCC are negotiating over financial damages to be awarded to Cairns as a result of the inadvertent YouTube allegation.  

Pavilion lock out sees team concede game.

Eastbourne Herald.

Monday, 27 June 2016.

PTG 1864-9347.

East Sussex Cricket League Division one side Hailsham were awarded 25 championship points after home side Lewes St Michael were locked out of their ground on Saturday.  The match was due to be held at Braypool Ground in Brighton but Lewes didn’t have the combination code for the pavilion.

According to a Hailsham statement: “when we turned up at 12:40 p.m. for a 1.30 p.m. start and found a couple of Lewes players standing outside with their bags we knew something wasn’t right.  We started the warm up but as the minutes ticked by we and umpire Andy Shanks wanted to know what was going on.  Unfortunately Lewes couldn't get into the pavilion so were forced to concede the game”.

Third BCB director speaks against two-tier Test system.

Mohammad Isam.

Cricinfo.

Monday, 17 June 2016.

PTG 1864-9348.

The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) proposal for a two-tier Test system has not been received well in Bangladesh with the cricket board's vice-president Mahbubul Anam the latest to voice dissent as he feared for the growth of cricket in the country.  Should such a move happen Bangladesh, who are currently ranked ninth in Tests, are likely to slip into Division Two and settle for lesser Tests against top cricketing nations. 

Bangladesh gained Test status in 2000, but if they are relegated, they may have go through a two-year grind in Division Two to earn a promotion.  Mahbubul said:"We believe that more we play against competitive sides, the better we will get. If we didn't play against better standard sides in One Day Internationals we wouldn't have come this far.  It is the ICC's responsibility to globalise the game and not create a special class”.  

Mahbubul is the third Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) director to speak against the two-tier proposal. The views of Nazmul Hassan, the BCB president, have not yet been made public.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,865

  Thursday, 30 June 2016

 

• T20 is the vehicle to grow cricket, say players’ union [1865-9349]. 

• Female umpires return to county second XI cricket [1865-9350]. 

• Deflected ball strikes umpire, injures eye [1865-9351]. 

• Two ECB first class matches for Indian exchangee [1865-9352]. 

• Langer’s 1999 ‘clicky bat’ claim confirmed as lie [1865-9353]. 

T20 is the vehicle to grow cricket, say players’ union.

Cricket.co.uk

Wednesday, 29 June 2016.

PTG 1865-9349.

The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), or players' union, wants the game’s administrators to give greater emphasis to the Twenty20 format as they look at the way the game is to be organised post 2020. The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) annual conference in Edinburgh is this week is considering league structures for Test and 50-over cricket, however, reports have suggested financial returns are likely to see moves only in the T20 area at this time (PTG 1862-9335, 25 June 2016).

FICA has called on the game's administrators to "design future competition structures where countries of similar abilities in each format compete against each other in leagues or championships" and "develop a clear pathway and meaningful, meritocratic opportunity for developing nations”. 

Despite that, an examination of more detailed recommendations relating to the balance of cricket's three formats see FICA calling for a shift towards more Twenty20 cricket at the expense of five and one-day games.  It wants to “increase the volume of Twenty20 Internationals" and "build a new centralised global competition”.  FICA called T20 "the vehicle to grow the game" and "the only viable format" for cricket to feature in the Olympics. 

A FICA survey of 129 players from seven countries found half of those who responded "would consider rejecting a national contract" if paid significantly more for freelance T20 work - with that figure lower, at 39.3 per cent, among better-remunerated English and Australian players but at 58.6 per cent across New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Bangladesh. 

Nine out of ten respondents to the survey also wanted the Umpire Decision Review System to be standard across all international cricket, something senior ICC staffers have been trying to achieve for sometime. 

Female umpires return to county second XI cricket.

PTG Editor

Wednesday, 29 June 2016.

PTG 1865-9350.

English-based umpires Ingebord Bevers, Sue Redfern and Alison Smith have stood in men’s county second XI matches this northern summer, the first time females have been allocated to games at that level for 10 years.  Analysis of appointments across the UK suggest the trio are the only three England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) women umpires being groomed for possible selection to next year’s Womens’ World Cup.

In April, Dutch-born Bevers, who now lives in England, was appointed to a three-day Northamptonshire-Leicestershire second XI game with ECB Full List member Rob Bailey, and earlier this month to two-in-one-day Twenty20s between the second sides of Worcestershire and Durham with Jeff Evans another Full List official.

Smith also stood in a three-day match, it  being between Surrey’s second side and a Marylebone Cricket Club Young Cricketer’s team at High Wycombe last month with Full List umpire Nigel Bainton.  Like Bevers, Redfern stood in two Twenty20 games in one day this month, her games being between the Warwickshire and Worcestershire Second XIs, Full List member Steve Garratt being her on-field colleague.

Last week Redfern and Smith worked, for the second season in a row, as reserve umpires in a women’s One Day International series, this year’s games between between England and Pakistan.  Bevers however was missing from that three-game series, although for what reason is not known. 

Records available on-line indicate Smith currently stands in the ECB’s male Home Counties Premier League, while Redfern has one at that level, it being a Birmingham Premier League fixture 12 months ago, however, there is no record of Bevers, who officiated in a four-day womens’ Test nine years ago, standing at men’s Premier League level.

Two ECB first class matches for Indian exchangee.

PTG Editor

Wednesday, 29 June 2016.

PTG 1865-9351.

India’s exchange umpire to England this year, who is yet to be named, is to stand in two first class matches.  The first will be at Northampton starting on Sunday week between Northamptonshire and Worcestershire, Alex Wharf being his on-field colleague, and the second the week after in Tunbridge Wells with Nigel Cook when Kent play Sussex. 

The umpires exchange program between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India is now in its sixth year.  Shavir Tarapore was the first to travel to England in 2011 and has been followed by Sundarum Ravi in 2012, Chettithody Shamshuddin 2013, Anil Chaudhary 2014, and CK Nandan last year.  ECB umpires who have gone the other way have been: Tim Robinson 2010, Peter Hartley 2012, Michael Gough 2013, Cook in early 2015 and Wharf in late 2015.

Deflected ball strikes umpire, injures eye.

PTG Editor

Wednesday, 29 June 2016.

PTG 1865-9352.

Ron Dawson, an umpire with the West of England Premier League’s Wiltshire Division, was hit in the face by a ball deflected by a fielder in the match between Trowbridge and Purton cricket clubs last Saturday.  Reports say Dawson was standing at square leg when the batsman swept the ball very hard just behind square, however, in his attempts to stop the ball a fielder only managed to deflected it straight into the umpire’s right eye.  Images taken soon afterwards show Dawson with the area around his eye blackened, and the eye itself totally closed.   His injuries are said to be such that he is expected to be out of the game for sometime.

Langer’s 1999 ‘clicky bat’ claim confirmed as lie.

Andrew Ramsey.

CA web site

Wednesday, 29 June 2016.

PTG 1865-9353.

Former Australian opener and now Western Australia coach Justin Langer has admitted his denials of more than a decade that he did not make contact with a ball that was caught at a critical stage in a Test against Pakistan in Hobart in 1999 have been lies.  Australian umpire Peter Parker gave Langer ‘not out’ at the time, insisting that he heard and saw nothing to support the visitors’ insistent appeal, after which the batsmen continued in what became a match-winning partnership with Adam Gilchrist.

No sooner had the ball passed Langer's bat than Pakistani wicketkeeper Moin Khan tossed it in the air in triumph, bowler Wasim Akram charged past Langer to celebrate without so much as a glance at Parker, and the nearby fielders joined in believing the Test to now be all-but won.

Langer told his teammates and his own father after the match, and anyone who asked for years afterwards, that the noise in question emanated from a “clicky bat handle”.  “Straight up, I smashed it”, said Langer when asked this week whether that long-recounted story was not, in itself, a little wobbly.  “It was a massive nick, and everyone knew it”, except Parker, who stood as judge with no jury in the days before the Umpire Decision Review System and its associated technologies.

But Langer, who maintains a strong Christian faith alongside a fierce national pride and will to win, believes the seeds of the deceit were sown in the first innings of that Test in Hobart when Parker determined incorrectly he had squeezed a catch to silly point off spinner Saqlain Mushtaq.  “I wasn’t a walker - [Gilchrist] was a walker”, Langer explained, before indicating he told everyone the click bat story because he'd "got a bad one in the first innings and I didn’t want to land ‘Porky’ Parker in it”.  

“As a [Western Australia] coach one of our values is you’ve got to speak honestly”, Langer said when asked what had led him to abandon the bat handle myth.  “I was asked [about the Hobart Test incident] a few years ago at a function and I said ‘oh, I’ve got to walk the talk here – yeah, okay I nicked it’”.  “It’s like going to confession at church, now I feel better for it [and] I’m not carrying this lie”.



End of June 2016 news.