Share:
 
                      JULY 2016
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 23 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 9354-9467)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below 
 
 1,866  1,867  1,868  1,869  1,870  1,871  1,872  1,873  1,874  1,875  1,876  1,877  1,878  1,879  1,880  1,881  1,882  1,883  1,884  1,885  1,886  1,887  1,888


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,866

  Friday, 1 July 2016

 

• CPL looks at expansion as ECB, counties talk [1866-9354]. 

• Sun issues twice stop play [1866-9355]. 

• Coaches concerned about players’ crowded schedule [1866-9356]. 

• Kumble to juggle ICC role with new Indian coaching job? [1866-9357]. 

• Saudi Arabia elected as ICC Associate Member [1866-9358]. 

• Vandals leave trail of damage at Lincolnshire club [1866-9359]. 

CPL looks at expansion as ECB, counties talk.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Thursday, 30 June 2016.

PTG 1866-9354.

As English cricket goes through a divisive debate over the future of its domestic Twenty20 tournament its main rival is looking to expand, the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) eyeing a move into the Asian market with matches in Singapore or Hong Kong. The CPL, the only other domestic tournament played during the English summer, offers an alternative to county cricket for overseas players, and by the time any new English T20 event is set up the CPL will have matured and consolidated its place in the market. 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is expected to inform the counties next month at the earliest about what options for Twenty20 they will discuss at the next meeting of the 18 county chairmen in September.  Finding a common ground and agreement between the ECB and the counties will define the reign of Colin Graves, the chairman, and Tom Harrison, its chief executive.

Meanwhile in the Caribbean the CPL will be breaking into the American market holding six games of this year’s tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, next month as it looks to build the brand.  Matches will be shown in England on the comedy channel ‘Dave', its first foray into cricket broadcasting (PTG 1860-9330, 23 June 2016), and the CPL this year has players such as AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Shane Watson and Hashim Amla as well as the West Indies’ victorious World Twenty20 stars.

“The great thing for us is to see how many people are travelling to see the games because it is first ever professional cricket league to played in America”, said Damien O’Donohue, the CPL chief executive. “We have fans travelling from New York and Toronto. The eyes of the cricket world will be looking upon it to see how well it goes so it is really important that the stadiums are sold out and we can create an atmosphere like we have in the Caribbean". 

“Even the interest locally [in Florida] has been great with the baseball team the Miami Marlins reaching out to us. They want to get Chris Gayle to do the first pitch at one of their games which is great and it is exciting to see a baseball team like that engage with us and their excitement at promoting us is really encouraging”.

The Caribbean is a small market and the need to expand is why the CPL is looking at Asia. Playing matches in Hong Kong or Singapore would also put them on a better time zone for India. The league already has close ties to the Indian Premier League (IPL) with the owners of the Kolkata Knight Riders having a stake in the Trinidad franchise is limited by the fact its matches are on during the middle of the night in India.  “India is not the Holy Grail for us, the US is the key target, but if you start to build audience in India that has a big impact on building commercial partners so it makes sense to get closer to that time zone,” said Pete Russell, the CPL chief operating officer.

“We are the only league to expand  the way we are. Australia can’t expand out of where it is. The IPL talks about it but I think that will be a challenge for them. For us we are looking at lots of options and not just America. We are looking at Asia as well. We would like to play some games there as part of our CPL. For us it is about building our global audience as much as our local one".

“We have had talks about matches in Hong Kong and Singapore. Singapore is interesting as they have a multi purpose stadium and a huge Indian and Pakistani audience that is starved of international cricket so we believe there is a market there and that it is close to India as well gives us another reason why we might take it there and it would not change what we are doing in the Caribbean”.

Sun issues twice stop play.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Friday, 1 July 2016.

PTG 1866-9355.

Kent’s Twenty20 match against Sussex in Canterbury on Thursday evening had to be stopped for a total of 27 minutes because the sun.  The first stoppage, which lasted for 17 minutes, came eight deliveries into Sussex’s run chase, then shortly after at the opposite end sun issues saw the game held up for a further 10 minutes.   

Umpires David Millns and Steve O’Shaughnessy halted play on the first occasion because the sun was glinting through the gap between the Pavilion and the Frank Woolley Stand.  They and the players stood in the middle waiting for the sun to drop, but ‘bad light’ then came into play again at the opposite end of the ground, the setting sun reflecting off the windows of the Sky Sports commentary box to dazzle the batsmen.

The irony was not lost on a Kent side who have lost 1,216 overs due to inclement weather in all forms of cricket during the current English summer.

Coaches concerned about players’ crowded schedule.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Friday, 1 July 2016.

PTG 1866-9356.

The head coaches of the Australian and South African teams have expressed concern about their players’ crowded schedule.  Australia’s coach Darren Lehmann believes current arrangements aren’t sustainable for those who play in the Indian Premier League (IPL), while South African coach Russell Domingo blamed the workload on his players over the past eight months plus IPL commitments for their "jaded performance" in the recently-concluded tri-series in the West Indies. 

Last year, Australian crick­eters who competed in all formats spent on average 280 days away from home. The players are given a six-week break as part of their contract, which many chose to spend at the IPL.  Lehmann points out in an article published in Friday’s edition of ’The Australian’ newspaper that in the last two-year cycle almost every player broke down at some stage and something needed to be done. The coach has just had a holiday, with Justin Langer stepping into his role for Caribbean tri-series.

Lehmann is quoted as saying: “If it keeps going like this, with players playing IPL as well, they are inevitably going to break down.  Hopefully changes will happen at the International Cricket Council [ICC] and then you will see a refined schedule which will be better.  I have seen a mock-up of that with [this year’s ICC] Cricket Committee [meeting] which will make it a bit easier”.  The international players’ union this week called for an increase of T20 cricket at the expense of five and one-day games (PTG 1865-9349, 30 June 2016).

After nine Tests and eight One Day Internationals (ODI) during the last austral summer, the Aust­ralians had a chance to take a break or play in the IPL.  The squad left for the West ­Indies as the IPL concluded in late May and returned this week but leave in eight days for Sri Lanka, where they will play three Tests, five ODIs, two Twenty20 Internationals and two warm-up games before flying home again in early September.  A week later they leave for South Africa for five ODIs and will then arrive home again in time for the start of the domestic summer, which is followed by a tour of India.

Lehmann said it was understandable that players would be drawn to the IPL because it maximised their earning capacity. ­Administrators have struggled to deal with the lure of the lucrative Indian domestic tournament. Some key players are believed to have been offered longer ­contracts to keep them out of the league but now they find the ­Indians planning to expand the tournament by holding a smaller series in September (PTG 1862-9339, 25 June 2016).  “It’s not so much the cricket, it’s the travel to these places. You’re on the road, you have training and all that stuff,”, said Lehmann.

Speaking to journalists on arrival home from the Caribbean on Wednesday, Domingo said:  "Think about our seriously long tour to India [November-December], the long home series against England [December-February], then straight into the World Twenty20 Championship in India [March], then players stayed there for the Indian Premier League [April-May] before flying straight to the West Indies [June]”.

“Some players arrived two days before our first [tri-series] game in Guyana and now some are staying another four weeks in the West Indies for the Caribbean Premier League, while some are playing county cricket, then home for two weeks, then a series against New Zealand [August], then go and play a mini-IPL [September], then straight into a tour against Australia [August-September]. When you are playing that amount of cricket for that period of time, it's difficult to maintain the standards consistently”.

The coach believes Cricket South Africa (CSA) needs to do better in managing the players' schedule beyond the the international calendar. “Our top players playing too much cricket. It's a big concern for me. It's one of the points I need to highlight with my superiors when I get time to sit down and chat to them”, he said.

Mohammed Moosajee, the team manager, believes CSA needs to ponder over the issuance of No Objection Certificates (NOC) to the players for their participation in several T20 leagues around the world. "CSA management will need to look at the process going forward, how they release NOCs, taking into account the long international season”, he said.

Kumble to juggle ICC role with new Indian coaching job?

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Friday, 1 July 2016.

PTG 1866-9357.

Anil Kumble, the newly appointed coach of the Indian cricket team, can stay on as chairman of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee, according to a senior official with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).  That comment came after unconfirmed reports claimed Sourav Ganguly, another former Indian captain and currently the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, could take Kumble’s spot on the world body’s high-profile committee. 

On Thursday, the 'Deccan Chronicle’ quoted the unnamed BCCI official as saying: "There have been few other former cricketers who are now performing coach duties and are still the members of the ICC committee.  For example Darren Lehmann is Australia's coach and Rahul Dravid is working with junior Indian teams in India as well as being active members of the world body’s Cricket Committee. Why therefore should Anil Kumble leave this post?”, said the source.

Despite that there has been no official statement on the matter and it also depends on whether the former Indian leg spinner wants to continue on the committee now that he has taken up the full-time position as Indian coach.

Saudi Arabia elected as ICC Associate Member.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release.

Friday, 1 July 2016.

PTG 1866-9358.

Saudi Arabia was elected as the International Cricket Council’s 39th second-tier or Associate Member during the world body’s annual meeting in Edinburgh on Thursday.  Saudi Cricket Centre (SCC) has been an Affiliate Member of the ICC since 2003 and a 2014 census shows it has 4,350 cricketers and 80 dedicated cricket facilities, a recent domestic tournament attracting 1,800 players from 106 clubs.

 

The SCC’s application for Associate Membership had been pre-approved by the ICC Development Committee during its October 2015 meeting, which was followed by a full application and an ICC inspection in March 2016. ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar congratulated the SCC and hoped "it will continue to play its positive and active role in promoting and developing the game in its territory”.

 

The same meeting "unanimously ratified" the suspensions of the USA Cricket Association and the Cricket Association of Nepal, which were suspended in June 2015 and April 2016, respectively.  Manohar said ICC delegations comprising Board Directors and senior management will visit the two countries to meet with the relevant stakeholders and provide an update during the ICC board’s October meetings.

 

The ICC, as part of its game and market development strategy, said it will continue to provide both countries with as much support as possible so that they can put in place good governance and cricket structures.

Vandals leave trail of damage at Lincolnshire club.

Winston Brown.

Spaulding Guardian.

Thursday, 30 June 2016.

PTG 1866-9359.

The Lincolnshire Premier League’s Bourne Cricket Club is carrying out repairs to its covers after vandals left holes in them overnight on Monday.  Holes were punched in two covers on the square and those responsible also went under the them and scattered rubbish, including the leftovers of a Chinese takeaway, across a pitch.  

Club captain Peter Morgan said: “Our chairman went down to the ground on Tuesday morning and found that the culprits had taken one of the poles that hold the ropes up and punctured the covers with it.  It was absolutely horrible and I just don’t understand it”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,867

  Saturday, 2 July 2016

 

• Yorkshire to sell museum in case an administrator grabs artefacts [1867-9360]. 

• Three team mates suspended for on-field behaviour [1867-9361]. 

• Irish, Scottish umpires for Afghanistan ODIs [1867-9362]. 

• Cricket for 2024 Olympics if Rome the host [1867-9363]. 

• Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published [1867-9364]. 

Yorkshire to sell museum in case an administrator grabs artefacts.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Friday, 1 July 2016.

PTG 1867-9360.

Yorkshire are in the process of selling their cricket museum to keep valuable memorabilia out of the hands of liquidators should the club ever go into administration.  The county will also benefit to the tune of £UK750,000 ($A 1.3 million) if the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF) successfully applies for UK Lottery money to fund the purchase of the Headingley museum. The proceeds of the sale will be used to help pay interest on club debts of around £22 million ($A39 m).

Artefacts at the museum, which is located at Headingley, include the bat Len Hutton used for his maiden first-class hundred, his county cap and an original scorecard of his then-Test-record 364 for England in 1938.  Geoffrey Boycott has loaned the club the bat he used to score his 99th and 100th first-class hundreds as well as his Yorkshire and England caps.

The precarious finances have forced the board to look to sell some of their most important pieces following fears the collection could be broken up and sold at auction if the club went into administration.  While that is not a prospect this year, Yorkshire have been alarmed by the problems at Durham and fear it would take only one or two unforeseen problems to plunge them into crisis.

Chairman Steve Denison confirmed the matter had been discussed with the YCF , saying: “If they can get funding to purchase the collection from the club it would then protect it from being sold by administrators and safeguard it for the future.  The concern we have as a board is the club have a lot of debt and if things don’t go to plan and we have to go into administration then there are not many assets owned by the club for the receiver”.

"If that happened, the first thing an administrator would put up for sale would be the club’s cricket memorabilia, which would then leave the club for ever. We have a very valuable collection of artefacts that reflect the heritage and history of the club. It would be awful if they were sold and dispersed and we want to protect against that happening”.

It is understood the YCF has applied for funding from the Yorkshire and Humberside Lottery Committee which is chaired by Sir Gary Verity, who is on the county board. The club are currently having their collection independently valued. Yorkshire hosted the first Test of the summer against Sri Lanka and managed to attract decent crowds for days two and three, which will help the club make money on the fixture.

On Thursday, they host the Roses Twenty20 match which is one of their most lucrative fixtures but, with huge debts and a staging agreement with the England and Wales Cricket Board that runs only until 2019, their financial future remains uncertain.  “Being a county cricket club, unless you are Surrey, is a risky place to be, even as a Test ground. We had three days of Test cricket in really difficult conditions [this northern summer] but it was a great success for us on and off  the field.  If the [Lottery] application is approved, it will be a handy windfall for the club and we would use it to repay debts, which is our priority”, concluded Denison.

Three team mates suspended for on-field behaviour.

Neil Perrett.

Daily Echo.

Friday, 1 July 2016.

PTG 1867-9361.

Three players from Hampshire club New Milton have been handed suspensions by the Southern Premier League (SPL) in the wake of last month’s derby with neighbours Bashley.  Skipper James Park, all-rounder James Haggaty and opening batsman Nick Park all received bans at a SPL disciplinary committee meeting earlier this week.

James Park was given a three-match ban for “dissent and failing in his responsibility as captain”, Haggaty also a three-match ban but with one match suspended, for “inappropriate language toward an opponent”, while Nick Park picked up a one-match ban for “dissent”.  The punishments were handed down after the league disciplinary committee studied reports from match umpires Geoff Prouton and Stuart MacTavish.  All three have opted against lodging appeals.

New Milton chairman Steve Taylor confirmed the club would not be commenting on the outcome of the disciplinary hearing, as did the three players.  Captain Park and Haggaty are understood to have served internal club one-match bans, which count towards their respective punishments.

In other SPL disciplinary news, Jordan Wright of Trojans Cricket Club received a one match ban suspended until the end of the 2016 season for "inappropriate behaviour" toward an opponent, while James Hibberd from the South Wiltshire Cclub was issued with a one match suspended ban until the end of the 2016 season for "inappropriate behaviour”.

A brief statement on the SPL’s website said: “The committee wish to take this opportunity to thank all the umpires for their ongoing management of on-field issues, and to remind all players of their responsibility under the spirit of cricket and disciplinary code”.

Irish, Scottish umpires for Afghanistan ODIs.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 1 July 2016.

PTG 1867-9362.

Irishman Mark Hawthorne and Scotsman Ian Ramage will be on-field for the two One Day Internationals (ODI) Scotland and Afghanistan are to play in Edinburgh early next week, Englishman David Dukes being the match referee and another Scotsman, Alex Dowdalls, the reserve official.  

Hawthorne, 53, will be standing in his 20th and 21st ODIs, and Ramage, 57, his 28th and 29th, Dukes, 60,  will be looking after his 48th and 49th as a referee, while Dowdalls will be serving as the fourth umpire in an ODI for the 5th and 6th time.  All three umpires are members of the International Cricket Council’s third-tier Associate and Affiliate Umpire Panel (PTG 1824-9121, 11 May 2016), and Dukes the world body’s second-tier Regional Referees Panel.

Cricket for 2024 Olympics if Rome the host.

Australian Associated Press.

Friday, 1 July 2016.

PTG 1867-9363.

Cricket will be included in the 2024 Olympics if Rome wins the hosting rights, according to the president of the Italian cricket board, the Federazione Cricket Italiana (FCI). The Italian capital, Paris, Los Angeles and Budapest are bidding to host the Games and, under new regulations, the local organising committee has the opportunity to add five sports to the schedule at its own discretion.

Earlier this year, the International Olympic Committee opened up the opportunity for the host city to suggest sports for admission to the program.  The 2020 Olympics, to be held in Tokyo, recently nominated karate, skateboarding, sports climbing, surfing and baseball-softball for inclusion.  Future Games would not necessarily have to include the same five sports which had been selected by the previous host city.

FCI president Simone Gambino told ‘Cricinfo: "If Rome hosts the Olympics, cricket will be included.  We have had a firm commitment from the organising committee”.  Cricket has not been played at the Olympics since 1900.  The announcement of the host city for 2024 is set to be made in September next year.

Earlier this week the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), or players' union, said the Twenty20 format was "the only viable format" for cricket to feature in the Olympics (PTG 1865-9349, 30 June 2016), while others queried whether including an Olympics program on the playing schedule would be viable given the ICC’s plans to hold the World Twenty20 Championship every two years (PTG 1862-9340, 25 June 2016).

Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published.

John Holder and Paul Trevillion. 

The Guardian. 

Friday, 1 July 2016.

PTG 1867-9364.

The latest edition of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper’s cartoon strip presents three scenarios to consider: a batsman who distracts a bowler from taking a catch; 12 fielders are found to be on-field after a dismissal; and a situation where a square leg umpire gets involved with his colleagues LBW decision.  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 1863-9344, 27 June 2016), are now available on line.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,868

  Monday, 4 July 2016


• ICC ’tweaks’ UDRS LBW review rules [1868-9365]. 

• Trials of television umpire ‘no ball’ calls planned [1868-9366]. 

• Standard of worn helmets need tighter watch, says ICC [1868-9367]. 

• ‘Workshop’ to ‘work through’ divisional Test plans [1868-9368]. 

• England’s heavy 2017 schedule raise fears of player burnout [1868-9369]. 

• Work continuing on changes to ‘Big Three’ structure [1868-9370]. 

• Womens’ cricket event at 2022 Commonwealth Games on table [1868-9371]. 

ICC ’tweaks’ UDRS LBW review rules.

PTG Editor.

ICC press release.

Sunday, 3 July 2016.

PTG 1868-9365.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) board agreed to changed the rules that apply in Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) reviews of LBW decisions at its meeting in Edinburgh last week.  This year’s ICC Cricket Committee recommended changes following its annual meeting in late May, a report at that time suggesting that instead of 50 per cent of the ball being projected to hit a stump, 25 per cent would apply in future (PTG 1851-9282, 11 June 2016).

The ICC said something a little different in a statement released after the Edinburgh meetings had ended which read: "The size of the zone inside which half the ball needs to hit for a not-out decision to be reversed to out will increase, changing to a zone bordered by the outside of off and leg stumps, and the bottom of the bails”. However, while the area that applies has been increased, the 50 per cent caveat still applies.  Previously the hitting zone was defined as the centre of off and leg stumps, and the bottom of the bails.

Australia's upcoming tour of Sri Lanka in July and August will not be affected by the change as the amendment will come into effect from the first day of October, "or from the start of any series using UDRS that commences just prior to this date”.  As such Australia’s tour of South Africa in late September-October looks like being the first in which the new rule will apply.

Trials of television umpire ‘no ball’ calls planned.

PTG Editor.

ICC press release.

Sunday, 3 July 2016.

PTG 1868-9366.

Trials in which third umpires make no-ball calls using near real-time replays are to be conducted during a One Day International series sometime in the near future, says the International Cricket Council (ICC). There have been a number of instances in international cricket this year alone that have seen batsmen able to continue their innings when the standing umpire missed calling a foot fault ‘no ball’, only for television replays shortly after to show the delivery was illegal (PTG 1853-9294, 14 June 2016). 

A media release issued after last week’s ICC annual conference said it had been agreed that the trial, in which third umpires "will judge ‘no balls' within a few seconds of the ball being delivered and communicate this to the on-field umpire", will be arranged "to better understand whether the third umpire could use instant replays to call ‘no balls' more accurately”.  The ICC says “further details relating to the trial will be announced once finalised”.

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 to ensure the delivery was not a ’no ball'. However, it is currently not permissible to reverse incorrect no-balls calls by the umpire on-field under the premise that batsmen change their shot when hearing the umpire’s call.

Standard of worn helmets need tighter watch, says ICC. 

PTG Editor.

ICC press release.

Sunday, 3 July 2016.

PTG 1868-9367.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has reiterated its position that the wearing of helmets in international cricket should not be mandatory, however, any player who "decides to wear a batting helmet” must use one that complies with the new British Safety Standard (BSS).  That requirement was confirmed by the ICC’s annual meeting last week amongst concern that too many international cricketers were not wearing BSS compliant helmets.

It was agreed that helmet standards needed to be more tightly regulated by the ICC and that Members "will educate their players on the benefits of using BSS compliant helmets”.  In addition the ICC's Clothing and Equipment Regulations will be amended to reflect the decision that only BSS compliant helmets may be worn when batting in international matches.

ICC chief executive David Richardson said in a media release:  “it is part of ICC’s duty of care to prevent a player from picking up a serious injury as a result of a misperception that the helmet being worn is safe”.

‘Workshop’ to ‘work through’ divisional Test plans.

PTG Editor.

ICC press release.

Sunday, 3 July 2016.

PTG 1868-9368.

Plans for the creation of two divisions in Test cricket and a new one-day league are to be "worked through" at a workshop that is to be held in Dubai in September.  Plans for that meeting were agreed to at last week's International Cricket Council annual meeting in Edinburgh amid concerns from smaller nations such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies that they risked permanent exile to the proposed Test 'second division’.

ICC chief executive David Richardson said in a statement: "This is an unprecedented opportunity for our sport to introduce a package of bilateral international cricket structures, which are merit and performance based, have context, enhance the value of bilateral international cricket and create a highly competitive environment for cricketers so they can provide more entertainment to spectators".

Richardson said the issues involved are “complex” but he is "heartened by the progress that has been made to date”.  A report prior to the Edinburgh gathering suggested the ICC planned to ‘hasten slowly’ on any Test and one-day rearrangements, in part because schedules for tours and broadcast contracts are in place up until 2019 (PTG 1862-9335, 25 June 2016).

Over the next three years it will be Richardson who will be closely involved in the development and implementation of any moves that are eventually agree to for the ICC board agreed to extended his contract as their chief executive until mid-2019.

England’s heavy 2017 schedule raise fears of player burnout.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Sunday, 3 July 2016.

PTG 1868-9369.

Fears of burn out for England’s leading players will dominate the 2017 northern summer when they embark on their busiest and longest ever season before heading off on the 2017-18 Ashes tour.  England will play a maximum of 26 matches over their next home season in all formats starting in the first week of May and ending on the second-last day of September, a fixture list spanning 148 days. 

England have never started a season so early or ended one as late as the schedulers cram in a Champions Trophy, plus Test and one-day series against South Africa and West Indies as well as two 50 over games with Ireland.  The last time England had such a busy summer at home was in 2013 when they reached the final of the Champions Trophy and won the Ashes playing a total of 23 matches.  A few months after it ended though they went to Australia and were defeated 5-0, many players looking out on their feet with exhaustion. 

Trevor Bayliss, England's head coach, will have to manage his player workloads carefully in 2017 with a return trip to Australia beckoning later in the year where England players will be tested mentally and physically by the effort of defending the Ashes in hostile conditions.  Concern about demands on players as a result of tour schedules has been expressed by the coaches of Australia and South Africa over the last week (PTG 1866-9356, 1 July 2016).

Work continuing on changes to ‘Big Three’ structure.

PTG Editor.

ICC press release.

Sunday, 3 July 2016.

PTG 1868-9370.

An amended constitution for the International Cricket Council (ICC) is to be presented to the next scheduled ICC board in South Africa in October, according to the world body’s chairman Shashank Manohar.  The focus of the work involved, which was discussed at length during the ICC annual meeting in Edinburgh last week, was on reforms that will undo the ‘Big Three’ system established two years ago which gave the top administrators in Australia, England, and India key control of the sport.  

An ICC media statement said "significant and positive progress" had been made to oversee a "complete" review of the 2014 structural and constitutional changes and the draft of a new constitution will be prepared in the coming weeks for consideration during the Board's October meetings.  Manohar, the former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chairman, has been a driving force behind the challenge to the 'Big Three' set-up established during the time his BCCI predecessor, Narayanaswami Srinivasan, headed both the BCCI and ICC.

Womens’ cricket event at 2022 Commonwealth Games on table.

PTG Editor.

ICC press release.

Sunday, 3 July 2016.

PTG 1868-9371.

Plans for a womens’ cricket event to be part of the 2022 edition of the Commonwealth Games in Durban, South Africa, are being supported by the International Cricket Council (ICC).  Cricket was last part of the Games in 1998 in Malaysia when a men's event was won by South Africa, but it is not yet known if any tournament in Durban will be a 20 or 50-over format.  

ICC chairman Shashank Manohar said in a statement following last week’s annual meeting in Edinburgh that the move "will enhance the profile of the sport and create additional exposure and experiences for female cricketers, as well as opportunities to engage with the Commonwealth Games on important social justice issues and initiatives”.  

The ICC says it will now work closely with the Commonwealth Games Federation to ensure cricket is included in the 2022 games program and "to determine the specific tournament structure and qualification process that will be applied”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,869

  Tuesday, 5 July 2016

 

• ’Super Hero’ shield to be available commercially? [1869-9372]. 

• Cricket Victoria enters into ‘Happy Deal’ on helmets [1869-9373]. 

• Cattle issues results in doubling of ball prices in India [1869-9374]. 

• CA open to sharing TV revenues from India tours [1869-9375]. 

’Super Hero’ shield to be available commercially?

PTG Editor.

London Daily Mail story.

Monday, 4 July 2016.

PTG 1869-9372.

Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford has spoken with the Gray-Nicolls company about the potential of making his so-called ‘Super Hero’ shield available commercially, according to a story published in the London Daily Mail.  Oxenford, who introduced his device to England last week (PTG 1862-9337, 25 June 2016), says he showed the cricket equipment manufacturer the first prototype of what some have suggested could be called the ‘Ox Block’, and that Gray-Nicolls “is working on something similar”.

Oxenford said his shield is made of a bulletproof polycarbonate plastic that can withstand a sledgehammer blow.  He started to think seriously about designing it after Australian umpire John Ward was hit in the head in a match in India last December (PTG 1701-8399, 2 December 2015).  Oxenford said: "We'd been talking for a long time about how we're in the firing line and the ball is coming back harder and faster all the time”.

"The natural thing is to throw your hands up in front of your face and turn your head away when the ball comes at you but then I thought, 'What if there's something like an extended arm guard which would act as a shield?’ I felt I could make it work [and I would] be able to do everything I need to do and not get in the way of the bowler.  I did a bit of research and looked at polycarbonate which is extremely strong and you couldn't break it with a sledgehammer.  I had people throw cricket balls at me from close range and it stood up to the test. I don't actually have to move it very far”.

Prior to a bowler delivering a ball Oxenford holds the shield across his chest area so that "it's already protecting my chest and upper body and if the ball comes at you it's really just moving it up a little bit and it covers your face.  More people get hit on the body than the head and more deaths have happened in cricket when people have been struck on the body, so this is multi-purpose” (PTG 1510-7279, 27 January 2015).

Oxenford said the improved safety aspect had not stopped fellow umpires and players from making good-natured jokes at his expense.  "It's been very good even though a lot of umpires have taken the mickey out of me”, he said.  "Paul Reiffel called me ‘Batfink' and [England batsman] Joe Root said I look like 'Captain America', so I've had that sort of stuff, but it's also been overwhelmingly positive”.

The Australian says he "wouldn't be surprised if every umpire had one of his shields in a few years’ time". "Personally I just think it's the sensible thing to do. All in, it cost me $120 (£UK68) to make as a one-off so it would be cheaper if they were made in bulk. I hope it is here to stay”.

Cricket Victoria enters into ‘Happy Deal’ on helmets.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 4 July 2016.

PTG 1869-9373.

A large international company of United States origin whose main product focus is hamburgers, has signed an agreement with Cricket Victoria (CV) to provide ‘Masuri' helmets to every junior community cricket club in that Australian state.  The helmets, which are to be shipped to clubs starting in August, will have Stem Guards, the clip-on attachments that are designed to protect the region at the back of a batsman's head and neck.

Rohan O'Neill, CV’s general manager of game and market development, said his organisation is "really pleased” to partner with the company whose brightly coloured upside down ‘W’ adorns many an Australian landscape.  "The focus of their program is grassroots development and participation, which links in perfectly with work we do every day”, said O’Neill.  "Having access to the right protective equipment is important for our young players”, and the new partnership "will allow us to support junior cricketers and clubs even more”. 

Cattle issues results in doubling of ball prices in India.

Hindustan Times.

Monday, 4 July 2016.

PTG 1869-9374.

A crack down on the illegal shipment of cattle products in the north of India is being felt not just on dining tables, for the cricket ball manufacturing industry is now feeling the pressure as well.  The slaughter of cattle in India is a very sensitive subject because of the cow's traditional status as a respected creature in Hinduism, and the country’s constitution asks states to “endeavour” to “prohibit the slaughter of cows and calves”.

With the supply of illegal leather now down significantly, the cost of cricket balls around the country is up almost hundred percent.  Balls that were being sold for 400 Rupees ($A8, £UK4.50) a year ago now cost double that amount, a rise that presents a challenge for some who play the game at lower levels.  Some manufacturers are using buffalo skin as an alternative, however, that animal's thick hide is not a good alternative. 

CA open to sharing TV revenues from India tours.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 4 July 2016.

PTG 1869-9375.

Cricket Australia (CA) is open to parting with its multi-million-dollar television revenue from India tours to Australia as part of a collective effort to preserve the financial health of the global game.  James Sutherland, CA's chief executive, has declared his board's willingness to divert a part of its overseas revenue from India tours to his country to be shared among all members.

Sutherland told ‘Cricinfo’:  "You have to have a belief in the broader context and you've also got to see the big picture. I think together with pretty well all other countries right now we see that bilateral cricket is very much our core business and it's really important that it continues to be popular.  Ideally if we get to a situation where it has more structure around it, we build context, fans can understand and appreciate it more and we can increase the value and appeal of bilateral cricket”.

Although this proposal is likely to cost CA money in the short-term while also changing the dynamics around the board's close relationship with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, a huge contributor to Australian cricket's financial health, Sutherland felt that "doing nothing is not an option”.  He insisted all boards would have to look at "the big picture" of the international game's future, amid worsening financial situations of some countries and the encroachment of domestic Twenty20 leagues on schedules and player priorities.

Sutherland said he was encouraged to explore the commercial implications of changes to bilateral tours by the willingness he saw during last week’s International Cricket Council Annual Conference in Edinburgh, to reform the structure of the game.  Further talks are set to be held in late August or early September, before a more detailed model is presented to the ICC board in October (PTG 1868-9368, 4 July 2016).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,870

  Wednesday, 6 July 2016

 

• Antigua to see Gould reach 50 Test mark [1870-9376]. 

• Test milestones for Caribbean’s Wilson, Richardson [1870-9377]. 

Antigua to see Gould reach 50 Test mark.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016.

PTG 1870-9376.

English umpire Ian Gould will become the twelfth person, and third Englishman after David Shepard and ‘Dicky’ Bird, to reach the 50 Test mark when he takes the field in Antigua for the first Test of the series between the West Indies and India in two weeks.  Gould and his countryman Nigel Llong, Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Rod Tucker of Australia and Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle, have been named as the neutral officials for the four-Test series, West Indians Gregory Braithwaite and Nigel Duguid working a television umpires.

Madugalle will have overall management of the four games as the match referee, Dar and Gould being on-field in Antigua and the second Test in Jamaica, and Braithwaite and Duguid in the television suite respectively for those games.  Tests three and four in Gros Islet and Port-of-Spain will see Llong and Tucker on-field and the two locals filling the same positions respectively.

While Gould’s Test record will have moved on to 51 by series end, Dar’s will be 105 and Madugalle 167.  Tucker, who will be in the West Indies straight after working in the England-Pakistan series (PTG 1870-9377 below), will have stood in 46 Tests by the time the Port-of-Spain match ends.  For Duguid the series is significant for he will be making his debut in the television suite in a Test in Jamaica, while for Braithwaite its will be his second and third time in that role, his debut being in Barbados five years ago when India last visited the Caribbean.

Gould’s 50 Tests will have been played on 31 grounds across eight of the ICC’s Full Member entities, Australia (9 matches), England (2), India (8), New Zealand (5), South Africa (8), Sri Lanka (7), the West Indies (8) and Zimbabwe (2), the exceptions being Bangladesh and Pakistan, plus the United Arab Emirates (1).  Five grounds have seen him standing in Tests three times each, they being: Bangalore, Bridgetown, Cape Town, Galle and the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo.

Of the 50 Tests, Australia and India will have each been involved in 19 matches, the West Indies 15, South Africa 13, New Zealand and Pakistan each 11, Sri Lanka 7, Bangladesh 3 and Zimbabwe 2.  Unusually, Gould is the only Englishman in recent times to have stood in a Test on his home soil, that being during the two-match Australia-Pakistan series of 2010 which was played at Lord’s and Headingley. 

Test milestones for Caribbean’s Wilson, Richardson. 

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016.

PTG 1870-9377.

West Indian umpire Joel Wilson, who became the 489th person to stand at Test level last July (PTG 1585-7641, 6 July 2015), has been appointed to all four Tests of the England-Pakistan series over the next six weeks.  The Trinidad and Tobago official, a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), will be on-field in two Tests, one of which is the opening match at Lord’s next week, and work as the television umpire in the other two.

Wilson’s Caribbean colleague and former West Indian captain Richie Richardson is to oversee all four games as the match referee, his first appointment in that role at the game’s highest level since he joined the ICC’s top referees’ group earlier this year (PTG 1649-8066, 22 September 2015).  Richardson’s umpires, apart from Wilson, will be from the ICC’s Elite Umpires’ Panel (EUP) and are Australian’s Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker, Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka and Marais Erasmus of South Africa.

The first Test at Lord’s will see Dharmasena and Wilson on-field and Tucker  the third umpire, then at Old Trafford its Dharmasena-Tucker and Wilson, Edgbaston Oxenford-Wilson and Dharmasena, and The Oval Erasmus-Oxenford and Wilson.   The series will take Tucker’s Test match record to 44 on-field and 17 as the television umpire (44/17), Dharmasena 38/9, Erasmus 36/25, Oxenford 33/14 and Wilson 3/4.

Wilson’s appointment to such a high-profile series is his most significant selection to date.  The performance of the 49-year-old across the four England-Pakistan games, which has been queried by some across recent One Day International series, will be crucial to his chances of promotion to the EUP in the next few years.  

That he has been selected for the forthcoming series suggests Wilson is still in contention.  It will be interesting to see if the two other contenders for a near-term EUP place, the IUP’s Simon Fry of Australia, who turns 50 in three weeks, and Ranmore Martinez of Sri Lanka, 49, go in terms of Test appointments over the next few months.  Then there is another IUP member, Michael Gough of England, who the ICC is yet to be exposed on-field to Test cricket.  While he is only 36, it seems his time for a debut at that level may well be near.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,871

  Thursday, 7 July 2016

 

• Three Aussies sanctioned for match gambling [1871-9378]. 

• Batsman recalled after leaving the field [1871-9379]. 

• Five county players’ disciplined over on-field behaviour [1871-9380]. 

• Counties face threat over ECB chief selection [1871-9381]. 

Three Aussies sanctioned for match gambling.

Fairfax Media.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016.

PTG 1871-9378.

.

Cricket Australia (CA) says women's Big Bash League players Hayley Jensen and Corinne Hall, who both also had state contracts with Victoria and Tasmania respectively, and Joel Logan, a Futures League or state second XI player for South Australia, have admitted betting on cricket games.  All three have been banned for two years but Jensen and Hall had 18 months of that penalty suspended meaning they will be able to return at the start of the 2016-17 austral summer, while Logan's ban was wholly suspended.

CA says Jensen, 23, a former New Zealand domestic and international player,  admitted placing one bet on the first Test between Australia and New Zealand last November.  Hall, 28, confessed to putting two bets on last season's CA men's one-day domestic competition in October, while Logan, 20, admitted placing two bets on the World Twenty20 Championship tournament last March.  What the size of the respective bets were has not been made public.

Iain Roy, CA's head of integrity, said in a statement: "We take a proactive, zero-tolerance approach to maintaining the integrity of our sport and this includes any form of betting on cricket globally.  Players in Australia are required to complete an anti-corruption education session before they can compete in any competition, including all players in our underage national championships.  We continually remind players that betting on any form of cricket is strictly prohibited and this is written into our anti-corruption code".

Roy said the three players "have accepted the seriousness of their errors and have voluntarily accepted their sanctions.  This serves as a timely reminder to all players in cricket that the integrity of our game is a high priority and we won't accept this being compromised”.  All three players will be required to participate in anti-corruption player education programs run by CA, and the suspended portions of their bans will be enforced if they commit any further breaches of CA's anti-corruption code. 

News of the three’s offences comes after CA banned Piepa Cleary, a 19-year-old player contracted to the Perth Scorchers, for six months, for placing bets totalling $A15.50 (£UK7.60) on the same Test as Jensen (PTG 1755-8755, 5 February 2016).  Prior to that in December, Angela Reakes, a leg-spinner with the Sydney Sixers, received a two-year sentence for wagering $A9 (£UK4.40) on the 2015 World Cup final.  Reakes, 25, had her entire sentence suspended (PTG 1720-8532, 23 December 2015).

Batsman recalled after leaving the field.

BBC Radio.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016.

PTG 1871-9379.

Worcestershire’s Joe Clarke hit a controversial century as his team successfully chased a target of 366 in 75 overs to beat Leicestershire with 10 balls to spare in a county championship match on Wednesday.  Clarke was given out LBW on 31 by umpire Jeremy Lloyds, only to be recalled as square-leg umpire Graham Lloyd had heard an edge off the bat.

Leicestershire captain Mark Cosgrove had a heated exchange with the umpires, before Clarke went on to score 123.  Leicestershire's complaint was that the Clarke incident had not been dealt with according to the Laws, as he had not only crossed the boundary rope, but was through the gate and about to be replaced by the incoming batsman Ben Cox, while the mode of dismissal was being announced over the public address system.

Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes told the BBC: "I have seen something like that before. [Now retired umpire] George Sharp once gave Daryl Mitchell out and realised he'd made a mistake and reversed the decision and there have been other occasions it has been done.  You have to take that sort of thing on the chin. I know it is going to upset Leicestershire but, if the umpire thinks he has made the wrong decision, then he has a right to change his decision and you just get on with it".

Cosgrove told the BBC: "The umpire made his decision, he changed his mind and brought him back.  It is just one of those things. You don't see it very happen”.

Five county players’ disciplined over on-field behaviour.

PTG Editor.

ECB media release.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016.

PTG 1871-9380.

Five county players, Hampshire's Tino Best, Essex’s Ravi Bopara, Lancashire's Liam Livingstone, and Sussex’s Ross Taylor and Philip Salt, have been discipline by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for their behaviour in recent matches.

Best was found guilty of a Level Two offence, "throwing the ball at or near a player, umpire or official in an inappropriate and dangerous manner”, during a Twenty20 match against Essex two weeks ago, however, there was no mention of a points deduction for Hampshire (PTG 1863-9343, 27 June 2016).  Bopara’s offence, also a Lever Two breach, occurred in the same game, it being showing dissent against a decision given against him.  Both men were given three disciplinary penalty points.

Livingstone was reported by umpires Jeff Evans and Graham Lloyd during another Twenty20 match on the same day, it being against Worcestershire, for a Level One breach of showing dissent.  Taylor and Salt were both reported by umpires Michael Gough and Russell Evans during a third Twenty20 fixture against Gloucestershire two days later.  All three were handed reprimands by the ECB.

The penalties to the five will remain on their records for a period of two years and the accumulation of nine or more penalty points in any two-year period will, under ECB regulations,l result in an automatic suspension.

Counties face threat over ECB chief selection.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Thursday, 7 July 2016.

PTG 1871-9381.

Counties face losing the power to elect the next chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) under proposals to introduce a fully independent board to run the game.  The ECB is going through a review of its governance amid fears that £UK5 million ($A8.6 m) of annual government funding will be cut if it does not introduce changes and is expected to discuss the issue at its next board meeting later this month.

Proposals include cutting the number of county representatives on the ECB executive board from two to one and establishing a nominations committee to decide on future chairmen.  Colin Graves was last year elected by the counties for a five-year term as chairman of the ECB, replacing Giles Clarke, who won three elections to office. In future, a nominations committee appointed by the board could decide on Graves’s replacement, with his term running out in 2020, thus eliminating the political horse trading that goes on to win votes.

There are 14 members on the ECB executive board with Andy Nash, of Somerset, representing the non-Test match grounds and Surrey’s Richard Thompson the larger counties. Peter Wright, the former Nottinghamshire chairman, is on the board as chairman of the ECB’s cricket committee and Ian Lovett, until recently Middlesex chairman, is Graves’s deputy.

The governance review is being conducted at the same time as massive structural changes to the county game are being considered. It is thought the governance review will not be completed and go to a vote until the shape of the future domestic Twenty20 competition is decided at the end of this season.  For the governance changes to be approved the proposals need the backing of 75 per cent of the counties as well as the county boards that make up the grass-roots game.

The ECB is worried that unless it instigates change it will come under the same pressure as the Football Association. John Whittingdale, UK’s  culture secretary, has warned football risks losing £30 million ($A51.6 m) of public money unless it updates its “outdated” governance.  Such a sum is a drop in the ocean for football and the ECB, with a turnover of £250 million ($A430 m), could also live without the £5 million it receives from Sport England every year but does not want the embarrassment of having funding cut for perceived antiquated governance.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,872

  Friday, 8 July 2016

 

• Huddersfield match abandoned after player attacks spectator [1872-9382]. 

• Computer game to include female players for first time [1872-9383]. 

• Player suspended, but no news of umpire inquiry [1872-9384]. 

• Why fat bats should stay in Test cricket [1872-9385]. 

Huddersfield match abandoned after player attacks spectator.

Robert Sutcliffe.

Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

Friday, 8 July 2016.

PTG 1872-9382.

An Huddersfield Cricket League (HCL) Twenty20 match had to be abandoned on Tuesday evening after an Almondbury Wesleyans player allegedly attacked an opposition spectator.  Eyewitness say bowler Chris Sykes, who was fielding near the boundary, got into a verbal dispute with a member of the Denby Dale club and that escalated into the alleged attack.

HCL general secretary Norman Clee said he is awaiting the umpires' report but he confirmed Almondbury Wesleyans have conceded the match.  He indicated “the player concerned won’t be selected for the Wesleyan’s match against Denby Dale [this coming] Saturday, which coincidently has been scheduled well before Tuesday incident.  It is understood that disciplinary measures may be taken against Sykes once the umpire’s report has been filed.

A cricket insider said: “I am sure there will be actions taken against him although there must have been some kind of provocation.  The disciplinary people will look into what has happened and see what sanctions should be taken.  It was quite a severe incident. It’s not the kind of thing we have come across for quite some time”.

Almondbury Wesleyan Cricket Club confirmed in a statement "an incident” involving a Denby Dale member and one of its players "who was fielding close to the boundary edge”.  "The incident was serious enough to cause the umpires to stop the game and take the cricketers from the field of play.  A few minutes later, and after consulting with the captains, the umpires decided to abandon the game”.  

The club said both it and the HCL "have launched their own separate investigations into the incident which [it] expects will be completed shortly”.  "We are awaiting the umpires’ report as part of completing our full understanding of what happened and why. It would be wrong to pre-judge or speculate on the outcome of that investigation until it has been completed”.

In regard to this Saturday’s game between the two clubs, Almondbury said:  “Both clubs, who have healthy and friendly relations going back over many years, have agreed to ensure that this important fixture takes place in a normal atmosphere and is enjoyed by everyone involved”. Wesleyans cricket manager Mark Binns said that West Yorkshire Police were “not involved to my knowledge” and added: “This is a sporting matter”.

Richard Hobson, the chairman of Denby Dale Cricket Club, who was at the match, said he was "busy doing other things" at the time of the incident and didn't witness it.  He said it was "unfortunate" that some junior players had witnessed it. He added the club was doing its best to ensure this Saturday's match was played in "as good and as friendly a spirit as we can”.  Sykes himself did not respond to requests to comment.

Computer game to include female players for first time.

Zorine Te

Game Spot.

Thursday, 7 July 2016.

PTG 1872-9383.

Australian computer game developer 'Big Ant Studios’ (BAS) has announced that the next version of its 'Don Bradman Cricket 17’ game will introduce female players and teams, a first for the series.  Players will be able to create a female character with various custom character options, and build up their own custom teams. To ensure that the representation of women's cricket is as "authentic and realistic" as possible, BAS used motion capture technology, assisted by members of the Australian women's cricket team.

BAS chief executive Ross Symons said: "In cricket, the growth of the women’s game worldwide has been exciting to watch. We wanted to do something genuine to bring gender balance to our take on the game, and we’re immensely proud to be the first developer in the world to feature women in a cricket game with [the latest version of our game]”.

'Don Bradman Cricket 17' is scheduled for release in December for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The game will be powered by a new engine with a new lighting system. Players will be able to import characters from the previous Don Bradman Cricket game.

Player suspended, but no news of umpire inquiry.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 8 July 2016.

PTG 1872-9384.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has suspended player Kithuruwan Vithanage from all forms of cricket for one year, however, as yet there is no news about the inquiry umpire Ruchira Palliyaguru is reported to be facing.  Vithanage, 25, was with friends in a nightclub when he became involved in a fight and was badly injured, behaviour that he was found guilty of at the hearing held three week ago.

In a media release issued on Thursday, SLC said its disciplinary committee "was presented with written and oral evidence from witnesses to the incident in question and Vithanage was invited to present similar evidence in his defence.  After a closed hearing, and in consideration of the evaluation of the evidence presented, the [committee] has recommended an immediate suspension [as his conduct] was unacceptable when considering his status as a public figure, and a role model for the youth of Sri Lanka".  

Reports have claimed 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 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.  Despite attempts, it has not yet been possible to independently verify he actually responded like that.

Why fat bats should stay in Test cricket.

Patrick Smith.

The Australian.

Friday, 8 July 2016.

PTG 1872-9385.

Over the last few decade a mixture of science and technology has changed the way sports of all kinds are managed and played.  Cricket has not escaped the revolution with bats now shaped like aircraft carriers from which attack after attack are launched. Their superpowers have become so great former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has this week declared enough is enough.

Ponting wants restrictions on the size of bats used in Test cricket. The bat that has Ponting’s attention is the bazooka used by Australian opener David Warner.  Called ‘Kaboom', they are manufactured by Gray-­Nicolls, and such is their destructive power the balance between bat and ball was on the turn.  The ‘Kaboom' has an 8.5 cm depth or edge but is made of a difficult-to-obtain light willow. In the right hands, it gives a batsman a massive advantage, making big-hitting much easier.

Speaking at the ­Australian Cricket Society’s 49th annual dinner, Ponting said: “I don’t know how they are doing it to make the size of bats they are making now. The modern-day bats, and weight in particular — it’s just a completely different game. Full credit to them. If they are there use them, if there’s a better golf club or tennis racquet, everyone will use it. It’s nothing against the players”.

Ponting wants these big, light bats banned from Test cricket.  “I think it will happen”, he said. “I am going in a couple of weeks for a [Marylebone Cricket Club] World Cricket Committee meeting and that will be one of the topics talked about (PTG 1844-9243, 4 June 2016).  I don’t mind [big bats] for the shorter versions of the game. I would actually say you’ve got a bat you can use in Test cricket and a certain type of bat you can use in one-day cricket and T20 cricket.  The Test game is being dominated too much now by batters because the game is a bit easier for them than it was”.

But has Ponting got it right? The Twenty20 competition seems to have hit upon the right formula. The crowds, both at the grounds and watching on TV or other ­platforms, are strong, ­enthusiastic and growing. They seem most content. There are sixes galore, ‘Kaboom' or no ­’Kaboom'.  And while there have been many eulogies for the ­50-over game, it continues to thrive when played in a meaningful format.

If these formats suffer from anything it is the balance held by the batters is so overpowering that the competitions turn to public humiliations for bowlers. They don’t need the Kaboom to go kapow. But Test cricket does. Of all the formats, it is the one that thrives really only in Australia and England. Test cricket, rightly or wrongly, is seen as dull in comparison to the bash-and-be-done-with-it quicker formats.

If Warner’s bat gives cricket the thrill Ponting believes it does, then it should be mandatory in Tests.  The bat most definitely should not be banned, as Ponting would have it. We have special cricket balls for the short games, we should have a special bat for Tests.  Of course, whether we should use the bat at all on the grounds of player and umpire safety is another matter ­altogether.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,873

  Sunday, 10 July 2016

 

• Former Pakistani Test umpire dies [1873-9386]. 

• Aussie opener defends use of ‘super' bat [1873-9387]. 

• Umpire looks to resume career as ban ends [1873-9388]. 

• Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published [1873-9389]. 

Former Pakistani Test umpire dies.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Saturday, 9 July 2016.

PTG 1873-9386.

Former Pakistan off-spinner and international umpire Javed Akhtar died in Rawalpindi on Friday.  Akhtar, who was 75, played one Test for his country during a first class career that ran over 17 seasons from 1959-76. He made his umpiring debut at first class level two years before he retired as a player, and stood in his first international just 12 months after his final first class game as a player.

Akhtar officiated in 18 Tests, 16 at home and one each in England and South Africa, and 40 One Day Internationals across Bangladesh, England, India, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Wales, the last of which was in a 1999 World Cup Group fixture between England 

His penultimate Test as an official – the game between England and South Africa at Headingley in 1998 – was marred by controversy when he was charged with bias in favour of England after he gave eight decisions against South Africa in what was the series decider.  In 2000, South African administrator Ali Bacher alleged Akthar was involved in match fixing, hinting at the umpire’s conduct in that Headingley Test.  

Reports at the time indicated that Bacher had claimed Akhtar was “on the payroll of a Pakistani bookmaker” for the game that Test, which England won by 23 runs.  Akthar rubbished the claims and sued Bacher, but the South African did not turn up for the hearing, and in 2002 the Justice Karamat Nazir Bhandari Commission in Pakistan cleared Akhtar of any wrongdoing.

Aussie opener defends use of ‘super' bat.

Peter Lalor.

The Australian.

Saturday, 9 July 2016.

PTG 1873-9387.

Australian batsman David Warner has come out in defence of his so-called ‘super’ bats as his former national Captain Ricky Ponting leads calls to have them banned from Test matches (PTG 1872-9385, 8 July 2016).  Warner has cornered the market on a batch of 'Gray Nicolls’ Kaboom' blades that are up to 8.5cm thick but surprisingly light, but blames "flat wickets” for the glut of run scoring, and claims the bats' thick edges meant he was getting caught more often off a leading edge than in the past.

Ponting, who has no problem with the bats in the shorter formats, has been backed in his view of the use of ‘Kabooms' in Tests by Warner’s bowling team mate Josh Hazlewood.  Both say they have skewed the balance of the game too much in favour of batsmen.  The topic will be discussed by the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee in London next week, a meeting Ponting will attend as a committee member.

“If we look around the country I think the wickets are pretty much dictating”, said Warner. “A lot of batsmen are scoring a lot of runs and there’s been a lot of runs scored in the last 12 to 18 months and you can’t specifically come out and say it is the big bats because everyone around the country and around the world is scoring a lot of runs.  In my mind it is a credit to the bat maker”.

Warner noted that Ponting himself had a specially made graphite bat which was banned during his career.  “If people think that it is becoming an unfair advantage they will speak their opinions but we are getting bigger and stronger and are capable of using bats that are a bit heavy”, he said.  “In Test matches I use a smaller bat unless we are playing in the subcontinent, where I use a heavier bat. My bigger bats might be a lot larger than other players bats, but it is still the same cleft of wood”.

Umpire looks to resume career as ban ends.

PTG Editor

Media reports.

Saturday, 9 July 2016.

PTG 1873-9388.

Sri Lankan umpire Maurice Winston's three year ban for his alleged willingness to inappropriately influence the result of matches ends on Saturday and he is keen to return to the game (PTG 1773-8850, 1 March 2016).  Winston was one of six Asian umpires banned as a result of a ‘sting' operation conducted by an Indian television channel in October 2012  (PTG 1002-8-5242, 11 October 2012).


Winston, 53, told reporters on Friday:  “I am relieved because I can be back doing what I love. My family was very supportive and believed in me right throughout because they all know who I am”.  He was scheduled to meet with officials on Friday so he can resume his umpiring career at the earliest opportunity.  “I shall be meeting Mr. Junker, the General Secretary of the Association of Cricket umpires and request him to assign me the assignments at school level and other matches”, said Winston, who also indicated he has “promises” he will get back into the main stream of Sri Lanka Cricket umpiring circles.  

“Yes, there are regrets. I was a victim of jealousy and politics and was given a very harsh sentence for a hypothetical incident which was nothing but a frame up, but I will come back stronger and intend to perform to the highest standards possible”.

Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published.

John Holder and Paul Trevillion. 

The Guardian. 

Friday, 8 July 2016.

PTG 1873-9389.

The latest edition of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper’s cartoon strip presents three scenarios to consider: an umpire who doesn’t call ‘play’ and the first ball delivered takes a wicket; a batsman and a bowler who are both injured and neither can continue; and a wicketkeeper whose discarded glove is hit by a ball.  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 1867-9364, 2 July 2016), are now available on line.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,874

  Monday, 11 July 2016

 

• BCCI data provides glimpse of IPL officials’ earnings [1874-9390]. 

• CPL spectator ejected for 'pitch siding’ [1874-9391]. 

• Throw at batsman earns CPL player a fine [1874-9392]. 

• CA steps up push into US with new TV rights deal [1874-9393]. 

BCCI data provides glimpse of IPL officials’ earnings.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 10 July 2016.

PTG 1874-9390.

Indian umpires CK Nandan and Chettihody Shamshuddin, who both supported 16 matches in this year's Indian Premier League competition, earned 4,083,876 Indian Rupees ($A80,530, £UK46,960) for their trouble, or an average of 255,000 Rupees ($A5,020, £2,930) a game, according to payment details released by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).  Nandan stood in twelve games and was the television umpire in four (12/4), and Shamshuddin 10/6.

BCCI data also lists payments forwarded to three other umpires and a match referee, the latter being Javagal Srinath whose 11 games saw him paid a total of 2,642,508 Rupees ($A52,000, £30,400), an average of 240,230 Rupees per match ($A5,200, £2,760).  Of the other umpires Ammanabrole Kishore (6/6) received 3,963,762 Rupees ($A78,000, £45,600), while Anil Dandekar and Karumanaseri Ananthapadmanabhan both with 4/7 were paid the same amount, and apparently also match rate, as Srinath. 

No details have been released as yet of payments for the other three Indians who were involved in managing matches as referees, or the other six on-field and television umpires.  Neither is there any indication of payments to officials from overseas, two Sri Lankan referees, and five members of the International Cricket Council’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) from four countries (PTG 1819-9101, 4 May 2016).  

The BCCI does not release details of payments less than 2.500,000 Rupees ($A49,200, £28.750), however, referees Roshan Mahanama and Ranjan Madugalle looked after 13 and 9 games each, and EUP members Kumar Dharmasena 13/2, Bruce Oxenford 9/3, Marais Erasmus  11/0, Chris Gaffaney 7/2, Rod Tucker 5/0.  As such therefore Dharmasena for example, if he earns at the same rate as his Indian colleague, could be expected to take home at least 3,825,000 Rupees ($A75,280, £44,000), for seven weeks work.

CPL spectator ejected for 'pitch siding’.

Trinidad Express.

Sunday, 10 July 2016.

PTG 1874-9391.

A spectator, who is said to be an Indian national, has reportedly banned from attending future matches in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).  The unnamed individual is alleged to have been engaging in live betting while attending last Tuesday's game between the St. Kitts-Nevis Patriots and the Barbados Tridents at Warner Park on the island of St. Kitts.

The person concerned is said to have been questioned before he was ejected from the venue.  Pitch-siding, also known as court-siding, is the practice of transmitting information from sporting events for the purpose of gambling, or of placing bets directly from a sporting event.  Over the past few years a number of people, who are usually described as ‘Indian nationals’, have been ejected to high-profile matches in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere (PTG 1741-8659, 19 January 2016).

The CPL’s Chief Executive Officer Damien O’Donohoe praised the efforts of those responsible for security and anti-corruption in St. Kitts and Nevis, saying: “...I would like to reiterate CPL's unwavering commitment to protecting and enhancing the reputation of the game of cricket. The individual in question has been dealt with swiftly and this statement will undoubtedly deter any future unscrupulous behaviour at our games”.

O’Donohoe emphasised the CPL: “has a zero tolerance policy towards any forms of corruption or illegal activity and will deal with it quickly and effectively through the appropriate channels”.  “We are working closely with all our partners – including the International Cricket Council, the police and ground security in each CPL venue – and would like to thank them for their ongoing efforts on our behalf”.

Throw at batsman earns CPL player a fine.

PTG Editor.

CPL press release..

Sunday, 10 July 2016.

PTG 1874-9392.

The Caribbean Premier League’s (CPL) St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots left-arm seamer Krishmar Santokie has been fined three-quarters of his match fee after after being found guilty of a Level Two offence during his side’s match against the CPL's Guyana franchise in Georgetown on Saturday.  At the end of the 16th over of Guyana’s innings, Santokie threw the ball in the direction of batsman Steven Jacobs.

Santokie was subsequently charged by on-field umpires Leslie Reifer and John Ward, plus television and reserve umpires Peter Nero and Imran Moakan with  “throwing a ball (or any other item of cricket equipment such as a water bottle) at or near a player, player support personnel, umpire, match referee or any other third person in an inappropriate and/or dangerous manner during a CPL Match”.  There was no formal hearing after Santokie admitted to the offence and accepted the proposed sanction.

CA steps up push into US with new TV rights deal.

Michael Bodie.

The Australian.

Monday, 11 July 2016.

PTG 1874-9393.

Cricket Australia (CA) has renegotiated North American television rights, including a deal that will see the Big Bash League (BBL) air on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), which broadcasts into more than 85 million homes in the United States.  CA’s general manager of media, communications and marketing, Ben Amarfio, said the new deal gave the Australian game an “unbelievable” reach into American households because the particular sports channel involved has 95 per cent ­penetration of the market. 

The one-year deal, with an option to extend, will see one BBL match broadcast live into the US each week, with a replay the following day. It is the sweetener in CA’s renewal of US broadcast rights for five years with its longstanding cable and streaming partner Willow, a dedicated cricket channel for the US and Canada believed to have been purchased recently by the India-based media company, the Times Group.

The new deal with Willow, which is the official broadcaster of various cricket bodies, including the International Cricket Council (ICC), the Board of Control for ­Cricket in India, CA and Cricket South Africa, includes rights to broadcast Tests, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals played in Australia as well as the Women’s BBL.  Amarfio said: “We’re ecstatic [for] it could be a game-changer for us having the BBL on NBC”.

The deals accompany a concerted effort to expand cricket participation in North America beyond building a television audience. The ICC had just established an office in Colorado from which the ICC and CA would increase their promotional push, Amarfio said, “with people on the ground spending a lot of time on the development of the game whether at the grassroots or college level”.

“We’ve got our sights set on the US, where there is huge expat audience and growing interest in playing the game”, he said. “We’re tapping into the idea there’s more than 10 million expats in the US from India, Pakistan, England, Australia and elsewhere”, Amarfio said.  “That’s a nice core to start with and we think the BBL has enough appeal to sway Americans as well because it’s such an exciting game”.

The higher-profile NBC Sports Network has begun with the domestic T20 BBL because the short format appealed, as did the finite season.  “They’ve got a long history of developing sports, such as the Olympics, soccer and rugby”, Amarfio said of NBCSN. “And they know the breadth of the appeal of cricket outside the US, so there is the likelihood it could become huge.”

CA has also signed a new deal with Asian Television Network for five years for the rights to all men’s and women’s international matches, plus domestic competitions, for broadcast in Canada.  Just what the respective deals are worth is not known.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,875

  Tuesday, 12 July 2016

 

• New generation pushes into IUP membership [1875-9394]. 

• Somerset changes match pitch at last moment [1875-9395]. 

• ECB penalises three more players for disciplinary offences [1875-9396]. 

• Six finally acquitted in match disruption case [1875-9397]. 

• Innovation (and marketing) in cricket knows no bounds [1875-9398]. 

New generation pushes into IUP membership.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 11 July 2016.

PTG 1875-9394.

Significant changes have been made to the membership of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) for the 2016-17 year, according to data posted on the ICC web site on Sunday.  As previously reported New Zealand has completely changed its nominees, both they, Australia, India, South Africa and the West Indies farewelling long-serving on-field members, however, Bangladesh, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, elected to continue with last year’s members in place.

Six umpires who previously held on-field positions, and one television member, are no longer on the panel, the largest such changeover of personnel in the last few years.  That on-field group is made up of: Johan Cloete of South Africa, Peter Nero of the West Indies, Vineet Kulkarni of India, John Ward from Australia, and New Zealanders ‘Billy’ Bowden and Derek Walker, while the latter’s countryman Phil Jones was the television umpire who lost his spot.  

The departure of Bowden and Walker (PTG 1855-9300, 17 June 2016), Nero (PTG 1760-8777, 11 February 2016), and Ward (PTG 1861-9331, 24 June 2016), have been known for a month or more.  Kulkarni’s absence fits with apparent unhappiness with him at senior  levels of the Indian game (PTG 1664-8152, 18 October 2015), which is reflected in the drift of appointments given to him over the last six months, however, the loss of Cloete is surprising and details have not been made public.  

Coincidently or not though, both Ward, for the second time, and Cloete, are currently umpiring in this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) series, a selection CPL organisers have said was ‘facilitated’ by ICC Match Officials Manager Adrian Griffiths (PTG 1857-9311, 20 June 2016).  Nero, who is still a member of the West Indies Cricket Board’s Senior Umpires Panel, is also standing in the CPL.

The six who have been promoted to fill those on-field spots are: Gregory Braithwaite of the West Indies, Chris Brown of Wayne Knights of New Zealand, Anil Chaudhary of India, Adrian Holdstock of South Africa and Mick Martell from Australia, while Shaun Haig of New Zealand takes over Jones’ television place.  Brown and Knights moved on to the panel straight into on-field spots, and Braithwaite and Holdstock following five years as IUP television umpires, and Chaudhary and Martell after three.

Those who are completely new to the panel are, apart from Brown, Knights and Haig: Sam Nogajski of Australia, the West Indies’ Leslie Reifer, Patrick Jele from South Africa, and the West Indies’ Leslie Reifer (PTG 1822-9114, 9 May 2016).  Nogajski, Reifer, Bongani and Reifer have, like Haig, been given television umpire spots.

The unchanged IUP membership groups for 2016-17 are:  Bangladesh - Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid, Enamul Hoque Moni, Anisur Rahman (TV).  England - Michael Gough, Rob Bailey and Tim Robinson (TV). Pakistan - Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza, Ahmad Shahab (TV).  Sri Lanka - Ranmore Martinez, Ruchira Palliyaguru, Ravindra Winalasiri (TV). Zimbabwe - Russell Tiffin, Jerry Matibiri, Langton Rusere (TV).

The ICC entities who have made IUP changes their line ups have panels as follows: Australia - Simon Fry, Mick Martell, Paul Wilson (TV), Sam Nogajski (TV). India - Chettihody Shamshuddin, Anil Chaudhary, CK Nandan (TV).  New Zealand - Wayne Knights, Chris Brown, Shaun Haig (TV).  South Africa - Shaun George, Adrian Holdstock, Patrick Jele Bongani (TV).  West Indies - Joel Wilson, Gregory Braithwaite, Nigel Duguid (TV), Leslie Reifer (TV).

Of this coming year’s panel of 32, 18, one up from last year, played first class cricket before turning to umpiring, they being Bailey, Brown, Enamul Hoque, George, Gough, Haig, Holdstock, Martinez, Nandan, Palliyaguru, the two Razas, Rahman, Robinson, Shahab, Sharfuddoula, Wilson and Winalasiri.  Four of those, Bailey, Enamul Hoque, Robinson and Wilson also played for their respective countries at Test level.  On the other hand four panel members, Enamul Hoque, Fry, Martinez, Tiffin and Wilson, have stood at Test level. 

Tiffin stood in the last of his 44 Tests in 2009 and Enamul Hoque’s single Test appointment was four years ago and they are out of contention for further promotion, but the other three currently appear to be in the mix for potential elevation to the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel (EUP); Wilson looking after further Tests this month (PTG 1870-9377, 6 July 2016).  No changes were made to the membership of the EUP for 2016-17 (PTG 1850-9269, 9 June 2016), however, several independent reports suggest that for reasons apart from form, one spot might fall vacant next June. 

Those aged in their fifties on the IUP for the year head are: Robinson and Tiffin who at 57 who are the oldest across the panel, then comes Bailey and Nandan 52, Chaudhary and Shozab Raza 51, and Enamul Hoque 50.  Those who will turn 50 during 2016-17 are Fry, Martell, Martinez and Wilson, then comes George and Palliyaguru who are 48, Shahab 47, Braithwaite, Duguid, Holdstock, Shamshuddin and Winalasiri all 46, Knights, Matibiri and Rahman all 45, Wilson 44, Brown 43 and Ahsan Raza 42.  The youngest panel member is Reifer at 26, then comes Jele at 30, while the others in the fourth decade of their lives are: Rusere  31, Haig 34, Gough 36, Nogajksi 37 and Sharfuddoula 39.

Somerset changes match pitch at last moment.

Ivo Tennant.

The Times.

Monday, 11 July 2016. 

PTG 1875-9395.

An hour before the start of the Somerset-Middlesex first class match at Taunton on Sunday, the home side were intending to play on a dry looking, used surface, in the middle of the square.  Shortly afterwards, later than Graham Cowdrey, the England and Wales Cricket Board's Cricket Liaison Officer had seen before, Somerset decided to prepare another pitch that was indistinguishable in lime green hue from the outfield. 

Wickets duly fell and, even though taken by his Middlesex bowlers, the proceedings were not to the liking of Angus Fraser, that county's director of cricket.  Fraser said: “It does not seem or feel right to me.  Our kit was over the switched pitch while we were warming up. We wanted to play on a fresh pitch — but perhaps not as fresh as this one!”  

As the visiting team Middlesex took advantage of the ECB’s new ruling regarding the toss and chose to bowl (PTG 1798-8981, 11 April 2016).  Inevitably, there was not one over of spin given some excessive movement off the seam, but there was no criticism from umpires Steve Garratt and David Millns as the conditions were not considered dangerous.

Cowdrey said: “At this stage they have no issues.  It is Somerset’s call where they choose to play”.  Doubtless, though, the absence from the Middlesex attack of fast bowlers Steven Finn and Toby Roland-Jones, plus a high-quality county medium pacer in Tim Murtagh, would have considerably influenced the thinking of Chris Rogers, the Somerset captain, in regards to pitch selection.  He indicated that given the absence of Murtagh "we felt our best chance of winning was to back our seam attack against their inexperienced one".

Quite often on the first morning here a coating of grass has disappeared by lunchtime, and with it any lateral movement. On this occasion though, neither the colouring nor the deviation off the seam altered all day.   By the end of the first day’s play Somerset had been dismissed for 236 and Middlesex lost one wicket before stumps were drawn but on day two on Monday they went on to post a first innings score of 315.

ECB penalises three more players for disciplinary offences.

PTG Editor.

ECB press release.

Monday, 11 July 2016.

PTG 1875-9396.

Leicestershire’s Richard Jones and Worcestershire ’s Kyle Abbott and Joe Clarke have been reprimanded by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC).  All three were reported by umpires Jeremy Lloyds and Graham Lloyd for their behaviour during the two sides’ County Championship match at Worcester two weeks ago..

Clarke was reported for a Level One breach of "showing dissent at an umpire’s decision by word or action”, and Jones and Abbott for "abuse of cricket ground, equipment or fixtures/fittings”, which is also a Level One offence.  The reprimands will remain on their respective records for a period of two years and the accumulation of nine or more penalty points in any two year period will result in an automatic suspension.

Last week the CDC disciplines five County players  for their behaviour in recent matches, two being Level Two offences and the other Level One transgressions (PTG 1871-9380, 7 July 2016).

Six finally acquitted in match disruption case.

Times of India.

Friday, 8 July 2016.

PTG 1875-9397.

Six members of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), who were sentenced to six months imprisonment after they were held guilty of disrupting a Ranji Trophy match over a decade ago, have now been acquitted in the Dharamshala district court. 

The six were booked in December 2005 under sections of Indian Law that deal with unlawful association, obstruction, and mischief before the first class match between Himachal Pradesh and Tripura in December 2005.  Match referee Narender Menon decided not to proceed with the fixture after officials of two groups claimed that their respective organisation was the HPCA that was affiliated to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). 

The then HPCA, led by Rajinder Zar, produced a letter from the BCCI confirming the team headed by him was permitted to play in the Ranji Trophy. In retaliation, the office-bearers of the other group allegedly put on sprinklers in the outfield. Menon is reported to have then called in the police who issued charges against the latter group.

Innovation (and marketing) in cricket knows no bounds.

PTG Editor.

News reports.

Monday, 11 July 2016. 

PTG 1875-9398.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain has set a Guinness World Record for the catch of a cricket ball.  As part of a publicity stunt organised for broadcaster Sky Sport in the lead up to the forthcoming England-Pakistan series, Hussain caught a ball released from a drone at a height of 32 metres, before doing so for a second time when the drone was 49 metres above him. 

Hussain said at Lord’s where his feats were achieved: "Sky Sports are always looking to push the limits and be innovative in their approach to coverage, and this was certainly a very different experience for me.  It was great fun to spend the morning attempting to catch cricket balls dropped from a drone  – something I never thought I would do”.  It is estimated the ball dropped from 49 m would have been travelling at 118 km/h when he caught it.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,876

  Wednesday, 13 July 2016

 

• MCC’s bat issues ‘dam’ finally bursts [1876-9399].

• ICC reports large drop in ’suspect action’ test cases [1876-9400]. 

• International ‘Code of Conduct’ offences continue to grow [1876-9401]. 

• U-19 WC appearances limited due to age verification concerns [1876-9402]. 

• New book covers career of former England Test umpire [1876-9403]. 

MCC’s bat issues ‘dam’ finally bursts.

PTG Editor.

MCC media release.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016.

PTG 1876-9399.

After wrestling with the issue of the balance between bat and ball over the last five years, the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) World Cricket Committee (WCC) agreed during its meeting at Lord’s on Monday-Tuesday that “the time is right to introduce further bat size limitations to the Laws".  At its last meeting in November, the WCC said it had "no appetite” for reducing bat sizes and research into the matter would continue (PTG 1699-8383, 29 November 2915), however, six weeks ago the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee finally gave its significant ‘nod' to take action on the matter (PTG 1844-9243, 4 June 2016). 

The WCC said in a statement issued after the meeting ended on Tuesday that: "After considering the broad issue of the balance between bat and ball, the committee believes the balance has tilted too far in the batsman's favour. The committee agrees with the ICC's Cricket Committee that, beyond the limits that have long been in place regarding the width and length of a cricket bat, further limitations to the edge, depth and possibly to the weight should now be introduced”.

The WCC's discussions were supported by a paper commissioned by the MCC titled "Balance of The Game” which is available on line.  It states that "there is incontrovertible evidence that the balance between bat and ball has changed, favouring the former, over recent years”.  The WCC went on to say in response to that that: "One proposal would be for the maximum thickness of the edge to be between 35 mm and 40 mm, and the overall depth of the bat to be between 60mm and 65mm”.  Some bats in current use have edges of 55mm and can be up to 80mm deep (PTG 1873-9387, 10 July 2016). 

The MCC indicates that “further consultations will be held with bat manufacturers and scientists to finalise the exact measurements, and the means of evaluating them, as well as to investigate the viability and need for a weight limit”.  Interestingly the WCC says that its decision on bats was “overwhelming” amongst its members, "but not unanimous”.  The overall view of the committee though was that it "has become too easy for batsmen to clear the boundary in all forms of cricket, even with mis-timed shots”.  In previous meetings members have been significantly divided on such matters. 

In its media release the WCC also cited, in addition to big hitting, "safety concerns for close fielders, bowlers and umpires, and noted that the recreational game is suffering from balls struck into nearby resedential properties".

As a result of the WCC’s conclusions, the MCC as the Guardians of the Laws of the game, will include up-dated bat dimension requirements in its long-planned new Code of the Laws, the first since 2000, which is scheduled for release next year (PTG 1642-8036, 10 September 2016).  It says though that any new limitations on bat sizes will first have to be agreed and then ratified by the Club's Main Committee, a move that now appears certain.

The MCC’s WCC is an independent body comprised of current and former international cricketers and umpires from across the globe.  It meets twice yearly to discuss the prevalent issues in the game and acts as a complementary body to ICC and its constituent nations. 

ICC reports large drop in ’suspect action’ test cases.

PTG Editor.

ICC Annual Report.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016.

PTG 1876-9400.

The number of bowlers whose actions were scrutinised across the five International Cricket Council (ICC) accredited testing centres fell dramatically during the 2015-16 year, according to the world body’s recently released Annual Report for that period.  The ICC says "umpires once again showed a willingness to report bowlers with whom they had concerns”, but not it seems at the rate reached in 2014-15.  

Last year the ICC stated that the actions "of a total of 104 bowlers from domestic and international cricket” had been tested across the Brisbane, Cardiff, Chennai, Loughborough and Pretoria testing centres in 2014-15.  However, the 2015-16 report states that "ten bowlers were reported for a suspect bowling action” and that presumable led to testing at one of the laboratories, which is closer to number in 2013-14 which is believed to have been in the order of 25.

The jump in reported cases in 2014-15 was said the ICC last year, a “reflection of four things: an acknowledgement within the game that a problem existed; a willingness to address that problem; the belief among officials doing the reporting that they would be supported in their judgments; and support among all [ICC] Member Boards for the processes put in place to deal with the issue".

According to the 2015-16 ICC report, testing arrangements have been refined such "that if a report is made during an ICC event, as was the case with Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny during the ICC World Twenty20 Championship series (PTG 1786-8916, 24 March 2016),  then that process – reporting, testing and revelation of the result – is intended to take no more than seven days”.

Interestingly though, the 2015-16 report does not mention the ‘wearables’ project whose aim was to provide near ‘real time’ analysis of bowling actions.  The report of last year said the world body, who along with the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) funded the project, “[was continuing] to monitor" the work involved in order to determine its “viability”.   

With the researchers involved looking for someone to invest in commercial production of the devices, which they have indicated meet the basic specifications initially laid down by the ICC-MCC late last decade (PTG 1824-9122, 11 May 2016), it suggests either the ICC is not convinced of its “viability”, or that the resources put into the laboratory testing program and its apparent success, means its is a more cost-effective way to proceed for those at the highest levels of the game.   

International ‘Code of Conduct’ offences continue to grow.

PTG Editor.

ICC Annual Report.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016.

PTG 1876-9401.

The number of player ‘Code of Conduct’ (CoC) reports originating from international matches rose for the third year in a row, according to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) 2015-16 Annual Report.  It states that in the year to last April, umpires submitted reports on 42 occasions, which was up from 33 in 2014-15 and 27 in 2013-14.  

The 2015-16 report does not provide a summary of the 42 offences or their nature, therefore it is not possible to access their overall level of seriousness. A total of 37 appear to have resulted from senior internationals, for the report indicates four occurred during Intercontinental Cup matches, the first-class competition for the top national sides below Test level, and one in the World Cricket League Division 6 series held in England last September.

Two of the 37 were over-rate related, the only specific mention of CoC cases in the Annual Report being those of Jason Holder of the West Indies and Zimbabwe’s Elton Chigumbura, who were banned for a game each after their sides were found guilty of maintaining slow over-rates for a second time within the same 12-month period. In 2014-15 four international captains were given one-match bans because their sides were repeat slow over-rate offenders.

In its 2014-15 report, the ICC said the rise from 27 to 33 then "was not necessarily a reflection of degenerating levels of player behaviour”.  It went on somewhat ingeniously to say rather "it illustrated a willingness on the part of the [umpires] to report what they perceived to be players stepping out of line, a key aspect of one of the focus areas for the ICC’s umpiring department [in 2014-15]".

Those areas it said then "could be divided into four [areas]: getting decisions right; using technology better; improved communication of decisions; and setting clear boundaries over player behaviour, illegal bowling actions, over-rates and the issues of the fitness of ground, weather and light”.  

In the lead up to the 2015 World Cup, ICC chief executive David Richardson "strongly reinforced” his organisation's expectations on player behaviour and maintaining the game’s integrity at all times, both on and off the field of play.   Richardson said then he believed “no stone has been left unturned” in preparations for the World Cup, but stressed the need for players to remember their responsibilities to uphold the sport’s integrity PTG 1505-7257, 21 January 2015),

Then and still today, however, some observers continue to question the consistency, and sometimes the appropriateness, of the censures handed to players for their on-field behaviour (PTG 1505-7258, 21 January 2015 and PTG 1853-9295, 14 June 2016).

U-19 WC appearances limited due to age verification concerns.

PTG Editor.

Indian media reports.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016.

PTG 1876-9402.

Concerns about age verification issues has led the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to only allow its Under-19 players to attend a single youth World Cup.  Ravindra Jadeja (2006, 2008), Vijay Zol (2012, 2014), Sandeep Sharma (2010, 2012), and Sarfaraz Khan, Ricky Bhui and Avesh Khan (all 2014, 2016), are some of those who have taken part in more than one Under-19 World Cup in recent times, although there is no suggestion they were involved in age violations issues.

Last November, the Bombay High Court upheld the BCCI's policy of compulsorily conducting bone testing to determine age of players for selection to its under-age  tournaments (PTG 1691-8323, 21 November 2015).  Past reports have indicated that some players, in connivance with their coaches, parents and cricket associations, try to have their age reduced by using fake birth and other certificates in order to play longer in age-group competitions (PTG 1621-7904, 18 August 2015).   

New book covers career of former England Test umpire.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016.

PTG 1876-9403.

A book that details the playing and umpiring career of John Holder, BBC broadcaster and one of those behind the Guardian newspaper's ‘You are the Umpire’ series, was released earlier this month.   Holder, an immigrant from Barbados, who had a playing career with Hampshire cut short by injury, turned his hand to umpiring and over a period of 27 years, he officiated in 11 Tests and 19 One Day Internationals. 

Publicity for the book, which is titled 'A Test of Character’, says it " throws an interesting light on the job of an international umpire, with all its pressures, controversies and prejudices”.  It was written by Holder and his former Hampshire team-mate Andrew Murtagh.  The latter's previous books have been: 'A Remarkable Man, The Story of George Chesterton”, which was short-listed for the Marylebone Cricket Club's Cricket Society Book of the Year; 'Touched by Greatness’ about former England batsman Tom Graveney'; and 'Sundial in the Shade’ which covers the career of former South African batsman Barry Richards.

The 352 page book’s subtitled is: 'The Story of John Holder, Fast Bowler and Test Match Umpire’.  Its ISBN is 9781785311772 and what information is available suggests iit is available in the UK for just under £20.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,877

  Saturday, 16 July 2016


• WCC favours ICC definition of 'Mankading' [1877-9404].

• Palliyaguru explains his side of the story [1877-9405].

• Cricket at Olympics key to games growth, says WCC [1877-9406].

• PCB buys bulletproof buses to improve players' security [1877-9407]

• Union to take legal action over MCL pay issue [1877-9408]

WCC favours ICC definition of 'Mankading'.

PTG Editor.

MCC press release.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016.

PTG 1877-9404.

 

The Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket agreed unanimously at is meeting earlier this week, that the current Law regarding a bowler running out a batsman before he has delivered the ball, should be changed to reflect the Playing Condition that currently applies in internationals.  Discussion on the matter is said to have been part of lengthy consideration by the committee of the MCC's planned introduction of a new Laws Code in October next year (PTG 1642-8036, 10 September 2015).

 

Part 42.15 of the Laws, which deals with a 'Bowler attempting to run out non-striker before delivery', has been modified by the ICC for all games played under its auspices.  The first sentence of the Law as controlled by the MCC reads "The bowler is permitted, before entering his delivery stride, to attempt to run out the non-striker".  

 

However, in International Cricket Council (ICC) Playing Conditions the section of the Laws' statement between the commas, has been changed to read: "before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing".  The ICC made the change because they believed batsmen were getting too much of a head-start while backing up (PTG (905-4398, 22 February 2012).  The ICC Playing Condition also indicates the act by the bowler must be "deliberate" and not the result of a 'Finn-type' accidental knocking off of a balls whilst delivering the ball.

 

Palliyaguru explains his side of the story.

PTG Editor.

The Island.

Saturday, 16 2016.

PTG 1877-9405.

 

Sri Lankan umpire Ruchira Palliyaguru has denied he "acted violently and used foul language” whilst at a disciplinary hearing being conducted by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) into the behaviour of national player Kithruwan Vithanage at a nightclub last month (PTG 1863-93412, 26 June 2016).  In a statement published in 'The Island' newspaper on Friday, Palliyaguru sets out the circumstances that led him to complain to Vithanage disciplinary committee members about his being called to their hearing and kept waiting unnecessarily without being needed.

 

Palliyaguru opens his statement by emphasising that while was at the nightclub with his wife, he was not present when Vithanage was involved in an altercation, but rather was called to the scene after it had happened.  He stressed that others dealt with the situation and he did not become directly involved.  He then goes on to explain that a SLC official contacted him a few days later and ask him to provide a written statement about what he knew of the incident, after which the official asked him to attend the disciplinary hearing at 4 p.m. the next day.

 

The umpire says he had been scheduled to take his blind month to a medial appointment that day and canceled the trip to his home town to do that in order to attend the hearing.  He says he arrived at the "SLC premises at 3.30 p.m. and waited till 5.15 p.m.", after which the official he had given his statement to the previous day "came up to me and said my presence wasn't necessary and asked me to leave".  

 

Palliyaguru goes on: "At that point I informed [the official] I wasn't a cricket board employee and if my services weren't required I should have been asked to leave earlier.  Then he promoted me to go inside the room where the inquiry was taking place.  I went in and told them that you time is important and so it mine [but] the claim that I used foul language is totally false".  Palliyaguru does not indicated just where the issue between him and SLC currently stands.

 

Cricket at Olympics key to games growth, says WCC.

PTG Editor.

MCC press release.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016.

PTG 1877-9406.

 

The inclusion of cricket in the Olympics would be the "the single most effective move" the International Cricket Council (ICC) could make to realise its ambition of making cricket "the world's favourite sport", believes the Martlebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee (WCC).  Plans for a womens’ cricket event to be part of the 2022 edition of the Commonwealth Games in Durban, South Africa, are being supported by the ICC, which is also liaising with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding participation.

  

At its mid-year meeting at Lord's this week, the WCC said that having the "best players in both the men's and women's game" featuring at an Olympic tournament "would help to inspire and reinvigorate the sport at the grassroots level and encourage its growth in new markets".  As such it believes "Cricket should grasp this opportunity and do all it can to help persuade the [IOC] of the benefits of its inclusion".  

 

Earlier this month the head of Italy's cricket administration suggested that if Rome was successful in attracting the 2024 game cricket could be included in the program (PTG 1867-9393, 2 July 2016).  General concerns have been expressed though as to whether an Olympic event could be squeezed in given the ICC's plans for World Twenty20 Championship series every two years ([PTG 1862-9340. 25 June 2016).

 

PCB buys bulletproof buses to improve players' security.

Press Trust of India.

Friday, 15 July 2016.

PTG 1877-9407.

 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has bought four bulletproof buses in an effort to improve security arrangements for international players visiting the country.  Pakistan has not hosted Test nations since the militant attacks on the touring Sri Lankan team bus near the Gaddafi Stadium in March 2009.  In that incident, gunmen shot at the team bus near Gaddafi Stadium, injuring five cricketers and killing six security personnel and two civilians (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009).

 

A PCB spokesman was quoted as saying: "There will be high expectations from teams willing to visit Pakistan and we want to ensure that we provide them with the best possible arrangements. Having these bulletproof vehicles would play a major part in convincing teams [about security arrangements]".  The idea was mooted and proposed during the chairmanship of Zaka Ashraf in 2012 and sanctioned last year.

 

Barring Zimbabwe's limited-overs tour in May 2015, Pakistan has not hosted a senior level international game since the attacks. The International Cricket Council said in its 2015-16 Annual Report released last month that it had not provided match officials for that series because of on-going security concerns.

 

The PCB spokesman said, "We are actually planning to host the final [of next year's 'domestic' Pakistan Super League] series in Lahore, but this requires us to convince overseas players [and presumable any overseas match officials who may be involved] to come".  "We have to have discussions with the players about their safety and security and I think this new addition in our security facilities will definitely give us an edge. Our ultimate goal is to revive international cricket, and we are doing our best to make sure we can".

 

Earlier this week the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) World Cricket Committee heard a presentation from Shaharyar Khan, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary about "the current landscape of cricket in Pakistan".  The committee "expressed sympathy for Pakistan’s situation, and offered to help by taking on one or two of the most promising cricketers as part of the MCC Young Cricketers’ intake in future years".

 

Union to take legal action over MCL pay issue.

Indo-Asian News Service

Saturday, 16 July 2016.

PTG 1877-9408.

 

The Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (FICA), or players' union, has threatened to take legal action against the Masters Champions League (MCL)  following non-payment of dues. The MCL, a T20 tournament for retired cricketers, had its inaugural season earlier this year. It was supposed to be held for the next two years too but now FICA has threatened litigation on behalf of up to 50 players over what they term “the systematic non-payment of players”.

 

FICA’s executive chairman Tony Irish has confirmed the intentions of the players to sue the organisers — GM Sports, which is owned by Zafar Shah and said there was a need of forming “an international dispute resolution body and contract enforcement mechanism in cricket”. “It’s pretty obvious the organisers of the MCL have lost credibility", Irish said.  “The failure to honour contracts sends a strong message. It is not a straightforward process to bring legal action, but we ensured there were proper player contracts in place and we are looking to coordinate a class action on behalf of 40 or 50 players.”

 

“We have given the organisers several deadlines and these have not been met. If they want to hold an event next year, they have a lot of ground to make-up. I think players will look at what happened in the first year and draw their own conclusions".  The six teams involved in the inaugural series had well-known, mostly, former players from all around the world, former International Cricket Council match referee Roshan Mahanama and English umpires Graham Lloyd, Peter Hartley, Billy Taylor and Jeremy Lloyds (PTG 1748-8701, 28 January 2016).  Whether the officials are in the same boat as the players regarding pay is not known.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,878

  Sunday, 17 July 2016

 

• MCC report asks: is it time to alter balls? [1878-9409].

• Captain's criticism likely to attract censure [1878-9410].

• CA invest $A4 million into women's game [1878-9411].

• ICC members oppose BCCI's 'mini-IPL' proposal [1878-9412].

• Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published [1878-9413].

 

MCC report asks: is it time to alter balls?

Jon Pierik.

Fairfax Media,

Friday, 15 July 2016.

PTG 1878-9409.

 

The world's leading batsmen are churning through a staggering 40 bats a year in a bid to intimidate bowlers who may now push for the modification of balls.  A detailed report by cricket's lawmaker, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), titled 'Balance of the Game', has found the drier willow used nowadays is behind the reason why so many more bats break.  The trade-off is super-charged power, conspiring to mean "there are increasing concerns for the safety of close fielders, bowlers and umpires".

 

The report says: "The bats nowadays tend to be drier, so they can contain a higher volume of wood than the older bats. The disadvantage of this is that the bats will break more easily.  Top players tend to look for a narrower grain in the willow. In general, they are much more selective than they used to be and will get through a huge number of bats – up to 40 per year for some players".

 

Bat manufacturers, including 'Kookaburra' and 'Gunn and Moore', have according to the MCC report, acknowledged a bat gauge would be a "sensible way of controlling the shape and size of bats".  "They generally felt that restricting the maximum edge depth to 30-35mm, and maximum overall depth to 60-65mm, would be acceptable. They felt that there would still be room for skilful bat development within these limits".

 

Debate continues over whether bat sizes should be restricted or, as former Indian player Sachin Tendulkar argued last week, whether flat pitches are more to blame for cricket becoming more of a batsman's domain, something Australian opener has also pointed to (PTG 1873-9387, 10 July 2016).   But for change to be made, the MCC acknowledges that commercial considerations will have to be taken into account. This could mean the combative Indian Premier League (IPL), the Twenty20 cash-cow for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and for many a modern player, will have an important say because its revenue could be affected".

 

There are credible reasons for not making any changes that would alter the balance of the game", the report says.  "There are obvious commercial benefits of the game being more attractive to as diverse an audience as possible. In certain tournaments, such as the [IPL], the sixes are sponsored, making it financially beneficial to the sponsor, and therefore to the [BCCI] in receipt of the funds, that the sixes are hit more often".  "Any limit of the bat's power could have an effect on revenues", states the report.

 

While the focus has been on bats, the MCC has raised the possibility of modifying the balls. Manufacturers 'Kookaburra', 'Dukes' and 'Tiflex' have said they could provide: More spin - increase mass of core (needs to bounce after plenty of use), use heavier thread to make seam more prominent and to grip more; More seam: alter stitching using thicker thread and polishing it, making the seam more prominent and longer lasting; and More swing: small alteration to shape and size of core, or use two-piece ball.

 

While acknowledging "there is incontrovertible evidence that the balance between bat and ball has changed, favouring the former, over recent years", the report says a reduction in the size of bats could impact women's cricket.  "There are some who are suggesting that the women's game could be made more exciting by allowing them to have more powerful bats than currently exist. Limiting the power of bats would be another obstacle for women's cricket", the report said.  

 

Captain's criticism likely to attract censure.

PTG Editor.

Match reports.

Saturday, 16 July 2016.

PTG 1878-9410.

 

Yorkshire captain Alex Lees has openly criticised umpire Martin Saggers for what he claimed was a contentious decision involving him that he suggested contributed to his team 's loss in a Twenty20 match against Nottinghamshire on Friday.  Lees queried Saggers' ability to judge, "from 40 yards away", whether he was outside the circle or not when the ball was delivered, while at the same time watching the bowler through his run up; and his comments appear likely to attract censure from the England and Wales Cricket Board. 

 

During the fifth over of Nottinghamshire's chase of 161 to win Saggers, who was apparently at square leg, called 'no ball' because he assessed that Lees was outside the circle.  Nottinghamshire batsman Dan Christian ran a single off the 'no ball' and his batting partner Greg Smith then hit a four from the resulting free hit, therefore all up a single ball cost Yorkshire six runs.  On the last ball of that over, the 'extra ball' in Lees eyes, Christian himself hit a six.  Lees was quoted as saying after the match: "We could have done with 10 more runs with the bat and saved 10 in the field, and then we'd have won".

 

Lee went on to criticise Saggers describing his call 'no ball' call "terrible".  "I don't know how, from 40 yards away, you can tell if someone is in or out of the ring.   I wasn't out of the ring.  Even if someone is out by a yard, can you see that from 40 yards? [Lees indicated Saggers told him] he watched the bowler from his run-up all the way and he watched me all the way.  I don't think he's doing his job properly if he's looking at me when the bowler's bowling. I don't how he can track it. I don't know how he can track all seven players in the ring.  Sometimes in cricket they go your way, and unfortunately it went for Notts tonight".

 

CA invest $A4 million into women's game.

James Hall.

Fairfax Media.

Friday, 15 July 2016.

PTG 1878-9411.

 

Cricket is the latest to step up its game to focus on women's sport through the announcement of $A4 million (£UK2.3 m) over four years to create specific competitions and development programs.  Cricket Australia's (CA) 'The Growing Cricket for Girls Fund' will go directly to clubs, associations and secondary schools, as well employing fulltime female participation specialists across the country.

 

CA chief executive James Sutherland said the record number of girls' participation in cricket was fuelled by the launch of the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) last austral summer.  "Whilst cricket has had a national female competition for 70 years, we are committed to further investment to grow the female game with the [WBBL] at the forefront", he said. "And our female cricketers are deservedly the best paid of all women's team sports in our country".  "Our female cricketers are wonderful role models and we are delighted to see their increasing exposure is inspiring more and more girls to play cricket".

 

ACT Meteors off-spinner and coach Erin Osborne said the initiative provides a tangible pathway for girls in cricket.  "It's fantastic  funding to all state and territories and it's purely focusing on 11 to 18 year-old-girls who want to become better cricketers and it's all about providing that opportunity for them to succeed.  Now is the time to start playing cricket, there's fantastic opportunities. We've seen the growth in participation from young ages and we've also seen new competitions such as the [WBBL] that's creating a new brand of cricket and an exciting brand of cricket".

 

Osborne said the growth in women's sport in rival codes is a positive for cricket because it creates a strong market where sporting bodies are being forced to commit financially.  "All the other sports are catching up and are always competing, from the best athletes in Australia there's been a few players that have crossed over to different codes and that's fantastic, it's creating that rivalry and sports are going to have to look after the girls to ensure they keep the talented ones.

 

The new Meteors coach will be joined by a new assistant coach and even a dietician for the upcoming season, as well as former Australian captain Jodie Fields.  "We've had a lot of structural changes within the Meteors", said Osborne. "I know the girls are really looking forward to having Jodie around the group and picking her brain and gaining as much knowledge off her as we possibly can".

 

ICC members oppose BCCI's 'mini-IPL' proposal.

First Post.

Saturday, 16 July 2016.

PTG 1878-9412.

 

Newly-appointed Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Anurag Thakur has run into opposition from International Cricket Council (ICC) members over his planned  overseas mini-Indian Premier League (IPL).  The BCCI's proposal for a short version of the Twenty20 event abroad during an empty calendar slot in September,.has been opposed by Cricket Australia (CA), the West Indies Cricket Board, the England Cricket Board and Cricket South Africa. The proposed mini-IPL was being planned for the empty calendar slot in September, possibly in the United States.

 

The BCCI, known for its big brother-esque high-handedness and influence in international cricket, is not used to taking no for an answer and is known for punishing member boards in the past for going against its wishes by threatening to pull out of tours and hence heaping financial loss on its counter-parts.  Therefore the opposition to a lucrative mini-IPL, one that would cater to the Indian diaspora worldwide, comes as a shock and blow to BCCI's might.  An Indian source said: "it's a telling sign of the reduced clout the current set of [BCCI] administrators wield, unlike their predecessors [and] a personal embarrassment for the men running the BCCI right now".

 

The September slot had been occupied by the Champions League where domestic Twenty20 champions from different countries competed. The tournament was scrapped in 2015 after it failed to attract interest and the BCCI has since been looking to introduce a marketable short tournament to take its place, and what better than something that carries the brand-name of wildly successful IPL.However, the idea for a mini-IPL has not found many favours among the cricketing community. Australia coach Darren Lehmann recently indicated that such a tournament would further restrict time off for his players.

 

In 2015, Australian cricketers who played all three formats spent on average 280 days overseas (PTG 1866-9356, 1 July 2016). Under CA contracts, players are given a six-week break from commitments, which many use to sign lucrative IPL contracts.  Lehmann said that while the financial incentive to play in India was tempting, it often wore players out and the ICC should use a common sense approach to future scheduling so that the toll on bodies was not too high.  "If it keeps going like this, with players playing IPL as well, they are inevitably going to break down," Lehmann told the Australian media two weeks ago.

 

The ICC is also currently considering the introduction, but probably no earlier than 2020, of a two-tiered Test Championship and a one-day league, which would go some way to lightening the workload.

 

Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published.

John Holder and Paul Trevillion. 

The Guardian. 

Friday, 8 July 2016.

PTG 1878-9413.

 

The latest edition of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper’s cartoon strip presents three scenarios to consider: a non-striker who interferes with a ball whilst in play; a batsman who has trouble with a wasp as a the bowler releases his delivery; and two batsmen who shed their helmets and bats in order to 'run faster between the creases.  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 1873-9389, 10 July 2016), are now available on line.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,879

  Monday, 18 July 2016

• BCCI 'unhappy' with Taufel, contract extension in doubt [1879-9414].

• 'Made in India' pink ball put to the test [1879-9415].

India-England day-night Test remains a possibility [1879-9416].

• Players opposed to four-day Test matches [1879-9417].

 

BCCI 'unhappy' with Taufel, contract extension in doubt.

Arani Basu.

Times of India.

Sunday, 16 July 2016.

PTG 1879-9414.

 

Former international umpire Simon Taufel's role as mentor to Indian umpires has come under the scanner with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) expressing dissatisfaction with the Australian's commitment to the job. High level sources suggest that the BCCI may not renew Taufel's contract after September.

 

Taufel was hired in by the BCCI after he stood down from umpiring internationals in 2012, a move that was part of the board's efforts to raise domestic umpiring standards, work he had been involved in since at least 2007 (PTG 117-632, 15 October 2007).  The Australian is currently paid around $US50,000 ($A66,000, £UK37.900) a year (PTG 1553-7457, 21 May 2015), but many within the board feel he "hasn't done justice" to the high salary.  

 

A top BCCI official told this newspaper: "The board wants to cut out unnecessary expenditure. Much was expected of Taufel but his work over the past couple of years hasn't been satisfactory".  The source said the board is "willing to look at someone else" for the job.  "He spent very little time in India. If you add up the days he spends before the Ranji Trophy and the Indian Premier League, he interacts with Indian umpires at the most for a fortnight a year. It is not worth paying him so much".

 

Another BCCI official said that Taufel "was initially given a two-year contract. But after his performance was reviewed last year it was decided he should be given only one-year contracts. There's no denying that there has been a healthy change since he took over but our umpires too have evolved a lot".  When Taufel took over, India had not had a representative on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top Elite Umpires Panel since the retirement of Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan in 2004, however, Sundarum Ravi was promoted to that group last year.

 

Indian umpiring courted controversy with Vineet Kulkarni being dropped from the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel after the World Twenty20 Championship this year.  In February, there were indications the BCCI was planning to withdraw his name from that panel following complaints from Team India and domestic teams and allegations he was fast-tracked into the panel (PTG 1875-9394, 12 July 2016). 

 

Taufel, now 45, was named ICC's 'Umpire of the Year' five straight times from 2004-08, resigned from his post of ICC's Umpire Performance and Training Manager last October, but he is now back with the world body in a related, but different, training and umpire development capacity (PTG 1736-8624, 13 January 2016).

 

'Made in India' pink ball put to the test.

Hindustan Times.

Sunday, 17 July 2016.

PTG 1879-9415.

 

At a time when ‘Make in India’ is the buzzword, there seems to be some buzz in at least one industry --- ball manufacturing. With the advent of pink balls, local companies are coming up with their versions of that ball, one version of which was used by the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) last week in an inter-district Colvin Shield final four-day game, and the result was that both players and went away smiling.

 

Reports from the match say the balls used didn't lose their colour until the end of an innings, they were durable and easily visible, and were "much cheaper" than the Australian-made 'Kookaburra'.  RCA secretary Somendra Tiwari pointed out that a 'Kookaburra' pink ball costs around 16,500 Rupees ($A325, £UK185), while the Indian-made version comes in at around 5,000 Rupees ($A100, £UK55).  "Although it is far more expensive than the normal red ball, [the Indian pink ball] is still cheaper than the other foreign pink ball options", said Tiwari.

 

Mahipal Lomror, the India Under-19 World Cup player, who made a half-century to guide Nagaur to victory over Bikaner in the final, says the ball behaved very much like the white ball. “This one came at a quicker pace than the normal red ball and it also bounced a bit more. It behaved more like a white ball".  Nikhil Doru, a seasoned RCA Ranji campaigner who also played this game, said, “Interestingly, the ball lasted for 70-80 overs and we didn’t face any problems as the leather itself was pink".

 

While the testing and debating is still going on, the Indian ball's manufacturers say they are using pink leather instead of painting the ball to make sure it lasts longer. Anil Rathi, whose company SR Supreme supplied the balls to the match, said: “Most of the manufacturers are applying 3-4 coats of pink on the white ball which is why it gives a glazed effect. But we make the leather pink by dipping it in that colour and using chemicals. The process is much like it is done for red ball, but it takes a bit longer. While the red leather ball is made in a week, the pink one takes 15-20 days".

 

Lomror says the ball didn’t turn much while Doru adds that the ball didn’t swing at all on the first day but then started to move in the evening and continued to do that during the rest of the match. “I don’t know why it didn’t do on the first day. Maybe the surface was wet. But it lasted", said Doru.

 

Even though two of the four innings were wrapped up below 200, the team batting fourth chased down 238 losing just four wickets in just under 67 overs.  However, observers point out that it is too early to draw too many conclusions as the match was played on the RCA academy ground whose outfield is more lush and slightly smaller than the main RCA stadium, plus the pitch was green and fresh, leading to less abrasion for the ball.

 

India-England day-night Test remains a possibility.

Vijay Tagore.

Mumbai Mirror.

Sunday, 17 July 2016.

PTG 1879-9416.

 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has not exactly talked about the possibility of holding a day-night Test against England this Indian winter but it has kept the option open. Should it manage to pull the match off, Mumbai could be in the running for the game, and the England and Wales Cricket Board has been told to standby for further confirmation. 

 

On Friday, the BCCI announced the schedule of five Tests, three One Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals the Englishmen are slated to play here the board was silent on the day-night Test. The BCCI hopes to stage at least one Test under lights this winter, either during New Zealand's visit in October or England later in the season. 

 

Before it takes a plunge into the Pink revolution, the BCCI wants to test its preparedness for a pink ball game and it will be known only after the Duleep Trophy which it wants to hold during late August and first half of September. "At this stage we are not confident if we can pull off a day-night Test. We can't make a judgement about that until after the Duleep Trophy", a BCCI member said. 

 

The Duleep Trophy series is expected to end by the middle of September and the BCCI wants all its marquee players to take part. Now that the mini-Indian Premier League is not happening (PTG 1878-9412, 16 July 2016), all the Test players, currently in the West Indies, will be available for the tournament, the dates and venue of which are expected to be announced sometime next week. At this stage, no decision has been taken as to which centre will host the tournament, however, several grounds in the BCCI's south and central zones are in contention. 

 

Players opposed to four-day Test matches.

Lawrence Booth.

London Daily Mail.

Sunday, 17 July 2016.

PTG 1879-9417.

 

The prospect of reducing Tests to four days is being opposed by the players after England and Wales Cricket Board ECB chairman Colin Graves restated his support for the move, first last year and again a few months ago (PTG 1695-8355, 25 November 2015).  International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson said the game’s administrators are keen to shorten the format but admitted: "[Players] are pretty much against moving to four-day Tests"  

 

Richardson said: "The administrators like [the four-day concept] because it makes scheduling easier. You can stage a Test like a golf tournament – starting on Thursday and finishing on Sunday".  "You wouldn’t have to worry about the Monday, with everyone going to work and no one watching the game".  "However, players are opposed to the idea of the ultimate form of the game being contested over four days".

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,880

  Tuesday, 19 July 2016 

• Social media image supports batsman's run out concerns [1880-9418].

• Women to the fore in World Cup Qualifier [1880-9419].

• Indian Court accepts Lodha panel recommendations [1880-9420].

• Gabba to host pink ball Test warm-up [1880-9421].

• West Indian to face anti-doping panel [1880-9422].

• ‘Behave’ as role models: BCCI to touring players [1880-9423].

• 'Test of Character' book review [1880-9424].

 

Social media image supports batsman's run out concerns.

Gerard Hughes.

Irish Independent.

Monday, 18 July 2016.

PTG 1880-9418.

 

Irish batsman Ed Joyce was run out in controversial fashion during his side's One Day International (ODI) against Afghanistan in Belfast on Sunday.  Joyce hit the ball through the covers and watched as former Afghan captain Mohammad Nabi, a very experienced international cricketer, patted the ball back to a fellow fielder when he appeared to be clearly over the boundary.

 

Joyce stopped running and was in the middle of the pitch when the ball was returned to the bowler’s end where the wicket was broken. The Afghans celebrated and refused to withdraw their appeal when asked if they wished to by umpires Alan Neill of Ireland and Chettithody Shamshuddin from India.  Soon after Joyce trudge back to the Stormont pavilion, given a two-fingered salute on the way, a photo that was circulated via social media emerged which showed Nabi with his right foot and left knee grounded on the wrong side of the rope as he touched the ball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMAGE

 

 

 

 

 

A social media post shows Afghanistan fielder Mohammad Nabi clearly outside the boundary rope as he pats the ball 

back to a fellow fielder.  The subsequent throw to the wicketfound Irish batsman Ed Joyce well out of his ground. 

Video available of Nabi’s fielding effort is much less conclusive.

 

 

Ireland captain William Porterfield, who opened the innings with Joyce, said: "When Ed and I crossed, he said it was four and stopped running". "The fielder said he had saved the four and we have to take his word for it".  Nabi may have genuinely not known whether he transgressed or not.

 

Video of the incident now available shows umpire Neill, who was at the bowler’s end, going to the same side as the ball and watching the crease as the batsmen run, at the same time occasionally looking towards the boundary where the ball was.  However, his view of the Nabi’s fielding efforts was not only affected by distance, but also because another fielder happened to be between him and Nabi.  Whether Shamshuddin at square leg had a better view, or that he was watching, is not known.

 

Shamshuddin, an International Cricket Council (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel member, came in for Sunday's fourth and Tuesday's fifth and last ODI of the Ireland-Afghanistan series, the first three games being looked after by Irish umpires Neill and Roly Black plus Scotsman Ian Ramage who are all members of the ICC's third-tier Associates and Affiliates Umpire Panel.  The match referee for the five games is David Jukes of England.  It seems likely Shamshuddin will also stand in Afghanistan's Intercontinental Cup first class match against the Netherlands which is due to start in Voorburg on Friday week.

 

Women to the fore in World Cup Qualifier.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 18 July 2016.

PTG 1880-9419.

 

Former England international Barbara Daniels, 51, was the match referee for the three Womens' World Cup Qualifier 50 over matches the Netherlands and Scottish sides played in Southend-on-Sea last week, an appearance that is believed to be her debut in that role.  Two other women, England's Alison Smith and England-based, Netherlands' born, Inge Bevers, umpired in the series, each standing with Irish umpire Mark Hawthorne, an International Cricket Council third-tier Associates and Affiliates Umpire Panel member, in games one and two, then standing together in the final match.

 

Indian Court accepts Lodha reform recommendations.

Bhadra Sinha.

Hindustan Times.

Monday, 18 July 2016.

PTG 1880-9420.

 

India's Supreme Court on Monday formally accepted most of the Lodha committee's recommendations on how to reform the way cricket is run India and gave the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) six months to implement the proposals.  The Court set up the Lodha committee in January 2014 after allegations of betting and spot-fixing surfaced in the Indian Premier League (IPL) (PTG 1730-8585, 5 January 2016).

 

The recommendations, many of which the BCCI and its state affiliates have serious concerns about, include delinking the IPL and BCCI, age restrictions for the board’s office bearers, and a ‘one state, one vote’ policy, which would mean only cricketing bodies representing a state would have full membership and voting rights in the BCCI.  The Lohda proposals also say no government minister or civil servant can be a part of the BCCI, and that nominees from from India's Comptroller and Auditor General be included in the board.

 

It seems likely, given the reaction to the Lohda’s groups recommendations when they were first released seven months ago, that the Indian cricket administrative fraternity will strongly fight the introduction of the proposed arrangements.  The top cricket administrators in many of the BCCI’s 27 states occupy elected positions in either their state or the national government.

 

Aussie first class season starts with day-night games.

PTG Editor.

CA press release.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016.

PTG 1880-9421.

 

Cricket Australia’s (CA) 2016-17 domestic first class season will get underway with three day-night, pink ball matches at the Gabba in Brisbane, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), and the WACA ground in Perth in late October.  The Gabba match, between home side Queensland and New South Wales, will be a dress rehearsal for Australia’s pink ball Test against Pakistan in Brisbane in mid-December, while at the MCG Victoria will play Tasmania, while Western Australia will host South Australia in Perth.

 

In other Australian domestic news, CA’s 50 over one-day competition, which was staged solely at Sydney venues in 2015-16, a mixture of Sydney and Brisbane in 2014-15, and in Brisbane only in 2013-14, will in the coming austral summer start in Brisbane in early October before heading to Perth and then Sydney.  All matches will be played in October prior to the start of the first class season.

 

West Indian to face anti-doping panel.

Australian Associated Press.

Sunday, 17 July 2016.

PTG 1880-9422.

 

West Indian Andre Russell’s preliminary hearing before an independent anti-doping disciplinary panel has been scheduled for later this week.  Russell failed to update a 'whereabouts diary' for drug testers three times within a 12-month period, and avoided a provisional suspension after he was hit with the charge in February.  

 

Under world anti-doping rules, athletes must tell their local agency where they will be for at least an hour each day between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. to allow for drug tests.  There is no suggestion he had deliberately tried to avoid any testing or that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs, but failure to comply with the testing regime can result in bans of up to two years.

In March, Jamaica's Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel set a hearing date on which Russell was to answer questions about the 'whereabouts rule' violation, however, he was in India at the time as a member of the West Indies team in the World Twenty20 Championship series (PTG 1779-8891, 11 March 2016).  

‘Behave’ as role models: BCCI to touring players.

Amol Karhadkar.

The Hindu.

Sunday, 17 July 2016.

PTG 1880-9423.

 

Beer and the beach may well be an integral part of the Caribbean lifestyle. But some of India’s young cricketers posting pictures on their social media handles while relaxing on the beach with beer in their hands hasn’t gone down too well with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).  Two days after some of the players posted their images with a pint of beer in their hand during a day’s outing in between tour games at a St. Nevis' beach, the BCCI has sent an advisory to the team through team manager Riyaz Bagwan. 

 

A BCCI insider told this newspaper: “Some BCCI officials aren’t happy with players posting such images on social media. There has been no written communication, but the manager has been asked to send a message to the players to ensure that nothing that could set a bad example should be posted online".  The picture that has been creating waves on social media features two players and a support staff member, however, since the diktat was passed the players have deleted the image from their personal sites.

 

In the 21st century, an urban Indian being pulled up for carrying a pint of beer in public may seem frivolous to many. But, the BCCI hierarchy feels the cricketers should behave as role models. “Many kids blindly follow the star cricketers’ actions on and off the field, so our boys have got to always keep that in mind. They should always consider the sense and sensitivities of Indian cricket fans", said another BCCI official, preferring anonymity.

 

'Test of Character' book review.

Martin Chandler.

Cricket Web.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

PTG 1880-9424.

 

John Holder is not an obvious choice for a cricketing biography, his being the 352 page book 'Test of Character' whose author is Andrew Murtagh which was published earlier this month by Pitch Publishing (PTG 1876-9403, 13 July 2016). Holder played for Hampshire from 1968 -72 without ever being capped or being entirely sure of his place in the side. Later on he was a first class umpire, and eventually was to stand in eleven Tests, but he was never a headline grabber, whether for the right or the wrong reasons.

 

Holder and his more well known namesake Vanburn of the West Indies and Worcestershire, hailed from neighbouring Parishes in Barbados.  Murtagh deals with that part of his subject’s life in just the right amount of detail. Much more unusually the reason why Holder ended up in England was because he was one of those attracted in the mid 1960s by London Transport’s call to the Commonwealth for staff. The experience of a young man from the Caribbean in that situation makes for particularly interesting reading. I had expected to read some unpleasant tales of prejudice and discrimination, but there aren’t really any, although that may at least in part be due to Holder being, particularly for a fast bowler, a remarkably tolerant and easy going individual.

 

In the end Holder resigned from Hampshire in the close season of 1972. He already knew he wasn’t going to be offered a new contract, and that a back injury that had stopped him in his tracks in 1970 was never going to completely clear up. Holder and author Murtagh spent much time together as two of the junior professionals at the county waiting for their chances to shine and were clearly always friends, thus in writing 'Test of Character' Murtagh has adopted the same conversational approach that he did in his splendid biography of Barry Richards.

 

One of the most tedious techniques open to a biographer is to go through his subject’s career on a match by match basis. Murtagh does exactly that with Holder, but in a thoroughly entertaining way. They are a fine double act, who take it in turns to play the straight man and they produce an absorbing account of what life was like as a county cricketer a couple of generations ago. The cricketing stories are many and varied, although the great Richards crops up a good deal, as does another aggressive opening batsman, the Hampshire legend Roy Marshal plus others of note.

 

His county playing career over Holder returned to Barbados, but he couldn’t settle and soon returned to England. He played in the Leagues for a while until, in 1983, he became a first class umpire, a job he did for the next 26 summers. He reached the highest echelon of umpiring standing in ten Tests from 1988-91, and one more in 2001. The reason for his not being included in the Test panel for 1992 seems to have been as a result of his catching the England side of 1991 tampering with the ball, but why he came back and stood in just a single Test in 2001 remains a mystery. Murtagh decided it was not a necessary part of his role to delve deeper into the reasons for that. It is the one point in respect of which he and I disagree.

 

More than half of the book is taken up with Holder’s umpiring career, but that is no less entertaining than the story of his playing career. It is one long stream of anecdotes, all of which are very well told. Almost all are unfamiliar, but even those few incidents that are better known are all written up from a slightly different perspective than previously. Holder’s views are seldom too controversial, but are often thought provoking. He provides some fascinating insights into the personalities of the men who he played with and, the more so, those he took charge of. Peter Roebuck, David Steele, David Gower and Graham Gooch are just four of many who Holder sheds much light on. 

 

In fact such is the variety of cricketers who Holder and Murtagh talk about that I do have one complaint, that being the lack of an index. The fact it is going to be trickier than it might otherwise have been for those of us who like to have an occasional scribble about the game ourselves to pinch Murtagh’s material is, of course, neither here nor there to those who just want to read a good book about the game, and on that subject there can be no issue. 'Test of Character' is a superb book that I wholeheartedly recommend.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,881

  Wednesday, 20 July 2016 


• Afghan reprimanded over false boundary claim [1881-9424].

• Yorkshire captain given suspended ban for umpire comments [1881-9425].

• ECB opens new club player survey, results of last one still awaited [1881-9426].

• Claim Lodha proposals ‘will elevate bitterness between associations’ [1881-9427].

• Bombay court asks questions of BCCI over IPL ‘noise’ [1881-9428].

 

Afghan reprimanded over false boundary claim.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016.

PTG 1881-9424.

 

Afghanistan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi has been reprimanded for falsely claiming he correctly fielded the ball before Ireland’s Ed Joyce was run out in the sides’ One Day International on Sunday.  Soon after Joyce left the field, a photo that was circulated via social media which showed Nabi with his right foot and left knee grounded on the wrong side of the rope as he touched the ball (PTG 1880-9418, 19 July 2016).

 

The International Cricket Council said in a media release issued overnight that “Photographic evidence confirmed that Nabi was in contact with the ball whilst outside the boundary when he had flicked the ball for [team mate] Rashid Khan to help run-out Joyce”.  Even after umpires Alan Neill of Ireland and Chettithody Shamshuddin from India requested skipper Asghar Stanikzai to withdraw the appeal, Nabi did not relent.

 

Match referee David Jukes found Nabi guilty of the Level One breach of “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game”.  As Nabi, a former Afghan captain, admitted his offence and accepted the reprimand there was no need of a formal hearing.  Neill, Shamshuddin and reserve umpire Royl Black had charged Nabi with the offence. 

 

Neill was quoted by the 'Belfast Telegraph' as saying: “After speaking to my colleague, I spoke to the fielder and asked him had he prevented the four. He said 'yes'. I then asked 'were you in control of the ball when you were outside the rope?' He said 'no sir'. I went over to my colleague and said 'we have a problem here’”.  Shamshuddin’s response was "'ask him again', so I repeated the same two questions and got the same two answers. He was adamant he had not touched the ball while he was outside the rope. So, we had to take his word and had to give Ed Joyce out”.

 

Yorkshire captain given suspended ban for umpire comments.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016.

PTG 1881-9425.

 

Yorkshire limited-overs captain Alex Lees has publicly apologised to umpire Martin Saggers for comments he made after his side’s Twenty20 loss to Nottinghamshire on Friday.  Lees queried Saggers’ ability after the umpire called a no ball for a fielding restriction offence, labelling it a “terrible” decision (PTG 1878-9410, 17 July 2016), and Yorkshire has since taken action and handed him a two-match ban which has been suspended for one year.  

 

The 23-year-old said on Tuesday he regretted his comments and offered his "sincerest apologies to Martin”.  He went on to call his words after the game “uncharacteristic" and that they "were made in the heat of the moment”.  "I understand the seriousness of the offence and regret these actions. I am now keen to put this incident behind me and concentrate on the important games coming up at Headingley this week”.

 

ECB opens new club player survey, results of last one still awaited.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 18 July 2016.

PTG 1881-9426.

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is conducting a fourth 'National Cricket Playing Survey’ that offers those at club level in England and Wales the opportunity "to have [their] say and influence the future of the cricket [they] play".  The ECB, whose first two surveys in 2013 and 2014 produced some troubling results that showed a significant drop in player numbers (PTG 1463-7085, 20 November 2014), conducted a third in 2015, however, as yet the findings of that call for information and comment have not been made public (PTG 1714-8495, 16 December 2015).

 

Survey two in 2014 attracted responses from more than 37,000 current and former players.  In launching the 2015 survey in June last year, the ECB said that its aim then was to generate "new and innovative ideas which will help to retain existing players and increase take-up of the sport".  They urged then "every player, whether Premier League or occasional Sunday friendly player, to have their say on all aspects of the recreational game”.  Lack of news of that survey’s outcome is being interpreted by some as indicating the results may not have been altogether positive for the ECB.  

 

This year's fourth survey, which was released last week and can be accessed and filled out on line, is said by the ECB to “be the shortest ever" and "only take[s] around 10 minutes” to complete.  Questions, which are spread across nine separate pages, seek feedback on each player’s "satisfaction with the game”, "the effectiveness of any changes” to the game in result years, and "thoughts on how club cricket should continue to change”.  In order to encourage individuals to complete the survey the ECB says those who do so will be entered into a draw to win a £250 ($A435) voucher for spending at its on line playing equipment shop.

 

Claim Lodha proposals ‘will elevate bitterness between associations’.

Harit N Joshi.

Hindustan Times.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016.

PTG 1881-9427.

 

The Indian Supreme Court’s decision to dissolve the 14-member Working Committee, the most powerful body of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and replace it with a nine-member Apex Council, is another major setback to the functioning of the Indian cricket board. On Monday the Court formally accepted most of the Lodha committee's recommendations on how to reform the way cricket is run in India and gave the BCCI six months to implement the proposals (PTG 1880-9420, 19 July 2016.

 

The Apex Council will consist of five elected BCCI office-bearers — president, vice-president, secretary, joint secretary and treasurer. There will be four ‘councillors’ — two (one male, one female) to be nominated by the players’ association which is to be formed, one to be elected by the full members of the BCCI, and one to be nominated by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the national government’s top auditory body. The tenure of members will be for three years while the maximum period of membership will be nine years.

 

In its order the Supreme Court explained the reason for such a drastic move: “The governance of the BCCI must be decentralised. No individual is more important than the institution, and so all crucial powers and functions hitherto bestowed exclusively on the president will have to be divided across the governing body, which is to be known as the Apex Council (with a special and separate governing body for the Indian Premier League (IPL), known as the IPL Governing Council)”.

 

The Court also indicated the new BCCI will have only one vice-president, not five as at present, saying: “The provision for five vice-presidents is detrimental to efficiency and efficacy and so only one vice-president shall be elected to the Apex Council in the same manner as the secretary, joint secretary and treasurer”.

 

Ravi Savant, who was appointed BCCI’s treasurer amidst the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal, was concerned about the health of the Board with only one full member getting a berth in the Apex Council. “This will only elevate the bitterness and rivalry further between state associations. Above all, getting a post or being part of the BCCI sub-committee is a major attraction for state association members. If you are something in your state association, you fancy your chances to be in the BCCI. In such a scenario, I don’t see many members being interested to work passionately. Overall, it is not good for the health of the Board”, claimed Savant. 

 

Meanwhile, former BCCI president Narayanaswami Srinivasan did not wish to comment on the SC verdict. “I have been out of [the BCCI] for one-and-half years now. You need to ask the current people. I have not read [the Court order copy]. I am busy… just came back from the factory. I am the wrong person to ask”.  The now Tamil Nadu Cricket Association president lost his cool when asked to respond to the blame put on him by many BCCI members for the current crisis. “Everybody knows who… Look, I do not want to offer any comments to you”, said Srinivasan as he hung up his phone. 

 

Bombay court asks questions of BCCI over IPL ‘noise’.

Press Trust of India.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016.

PTG 1881-9428.

 

The Bombay High Court issued notice to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) on Monday seeking their response on a Public Interest Litigation that alleges violation of noise pollution norms during Indian Premier League matches in 2013.  Advocate Kapil Soni filed the petition in 2014 alleging that during the IPL matches played at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium and Pune’s Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, allowable noise levels and regulations were violated.

 

Soni argues that legal action should be initiated against the BCCI and MCA and heavy penalties should be imposed.  According to the petition, matches held in Pune and Mumbai in 2013 began at eight in the evening and went on until midnight.  The petition says in part: “Loud speakers were being used and loud music was being played during the matches even after the prescribed time deadline and thus violated provisions of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Act. Legal action should be initiated against the BCCI and MCA and a fine of a billion Rupees ($A19.9 m, £11.3 m) should be levied on the BCCI”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,882

  Thursday, 21 July 2016 

 

• England’s Gough named for Test debut [1882-9429].

• Two more females, returning expat, join NZ Reserve Panel [1882-9430].

• Sharma India’s 2016 England exchangee [1882-9431].

• Aussie, PNG officials manage Samoan Qualifier [1882-9432].

England’s Gough named for Test debut.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016.

PTG 1882-9429.

Michael Gough will become the 111th Englishman to stand in a Test, and the 490th in Test history, when he takes the field in the first Test between Zimbabwe and New Zealand in Bulawayo next Thursday.  Gough’s appointment, which has seemed inevitable given his rise over the last few years, continues his rapid progress towards the top of the umpiring chain from his time as England’s Under-19 captain in the late 1990s, a relatively brief six-year stint as a first class player from 1998-2003, and for the last ten years a first class umpire.

Yorkshire-born Gough will be standing in the two Tests in Bulawayo with Australian Paul Reiffel, whose countryman David Boon will be the match referee.  Reiffel will umpiring his 23rd and 24th Tests while Boon will be managing his 31st and 32nd as a referee.  It will  however be the first Tests in Zimbabwe for both Australians as either players or match officials.

Zimbabwean members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) are believed to be filling third and fourth umpire spots for those games, but as yet no announcement has been made as to which of Russell Tiffin, Jerry Matibiri and Langton Rusere will undertake those roles. 

Gough, who is just 36 and has been a IUP member for the last three-and-a-half years, will be standing in his 113th and 114th first class games in Bulawayo, having made his debut at that level in April 2006.  After his retirement as a player at the age of 23 following 67 first class and 49 List A matches with Durham, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) appointed him to their Reserve List when he was 27, moved him up to the Full List in early 2008 at the age of 28, on to the IUP in a third umpire spot in November 2012 when he was about to turn 33, and to his current on-field position in December 2013 around the time of his 34th birthday.  He has won the UK Professional Cricketers’ Association ‘Umpire of the Year’ award over the last five years.

The ECB and the ICC have clearly identified Gough as a solid prospect for potential elevation to the world body’s top Elite Umpires Panel (EUP).  September 2013 saw him nominated by the ECB to the first of his now 27 One Day Internationals (ODI), three months later after just that first ODI, the ICC selected him for a World Twenty20 Championship Qualifier (WT20Q) in the United Arab Emirates in November 2013, then in February 2014 to a World Cup Qualifier (WCQ) event in New Zealand.  He stood in the final of the WT20CQ with Sundarum Ravi of India and the WCQ with Joel Wilson of the West Indies.  Ravi is now an EUP member, a panel Gough, like Wison a recent Test debutant, are being considered for.  

In the 30 months since that Qualifier, Gough has been selected as a neutral umpire in a second-tier nation ODI, the World Cup tournament of early 2015, and in July that year his initial ODIs as a neutral in Bangladesh when South Africa were the visitors.  Similar appointments to Sri Lanka and New Zealand have followed over the last nine months, plus in the Twenty20 game, to stand in this year’s World Championship series in India.

Gough’s Test selection means the ICC currently has four individuals who are currently in the final stage of ‘auditioning’ as potential EUP members, the others being in addition to Wilson, Simon Fry of Australia and Ranmore Martinez of Sri Lanka.  

Two more females, returning expat, join NZ Reserve Panel.

PTG Editor.

NZC press release.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016.

PTG 1882-9430.

Two additional female umpires and an expat Kiwi who has been living and umpiring in Adelaide, have been added to New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) Reserve Panel for the 2016-16 austral summer.  News of the second-tier group comes a month after NZC named its top nine-man National Panel for the coming season, surprising many observers with its choice of panelists for the country's section of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) (PTG 1855-9300, 17 June 2016).

The most notable changes on what is now an 18-person Reserve Panel for the year ahead are the addition of Canterbury’s Kim Cotton and Auckland’s Diana Venter who join Wellington’s Kathy Cross, previously the panel's sole female, plus the arrival of now Wellington-based Cory Black, a former member of South Australia’s state umpires panel, who is moving back to New Zealand.

The 18 member group, one less than last year, has six members from Central Districts: John Bromley, Mark Elliott, Mike George, Richard Hooper, Shaun Ryan and Glen Walklin; four from Auckland, Raoul Allen, Jayeth Batuwangala, Hiran Perera and Venter; three from Wellington, Black, Cross, and Garth Stirrat; two from Northern Districts, Damian Morrow and John Dempsey; two also from Canterbury, Cotton and Eugene Sanders; plus Otago's Peter Pasco.  Cross remains a member of the ICC's third-tier third-tier Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel for a fourth year, having been appointed to it in early 2014 (PTG 1280-6164, 31 January 2014). 

Cotton and Venter have been standing in men’s Premier League competitions for several years as well as women’s competitions in both New Zealand and Australia.  Black’s selection presumably followed liaison between NZC and Cricket Australia umpiring officials, possibly at the ICC’s Match Officials Managers meeting in Johannesburg late last month (PTG 1861-9332, 24 June 2016).  Whilst in Australia he officiated as high as state second XI level.  One so far unconfirmed report suggests he had been selected for CA’s under-19 men’s championship series, a key milestone, later this year, news that if correct suggests Black’s transition back to New Zealand came at short notice.

While Black, Cotton and Venter have joined the panel, three members from last year, David Paterson of Central Districts, Aaron Hardie of Wellington and David Tidmarsh of Northern Districts, have left, while a fourth 2015-16 member, Shaun Haig of Otago, has been promoted both to the National Panel and the ICC’s IUP.

Sharma India’s 2016 England exchangee.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016.

PTG 1882-9431.

Virendra Sharma was India’s exchange umpire to England this year, the 44-year-old standing in first class matches in Northampton and Tunbridge Wells earlier this month (PTG 1865-9351, 30 June 2016).  Sharma, who was standing in his 36th and 37th first class games, made his debut at that level in November 2009 after playing 51 first class and 40 List A games for Himachal Pradesh in the period from 1990-2007.  

Sharma is the sixth Indian to travel to England on exchange after Shavir Tarapore in 2011, Sundarum Ravi 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, Nigel Cook in early 2015 and Alex Wharf in late 2015.  Sharma stood with Wharf and Cook during his England visit.

Aussie, PNG officials manage Samoan Qualifier.

PTG Editor.

ICC press kit.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016.

PTG 1882-9432.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) appointed three Australians and three Papua New Guineans as “tournament officials” for the Womens’ World Cup, East Asia Pacific (EAP), Qualifing event held in Samoa this week.  The 50-over format series, which involved teams from Japan, Papua New Guinea and Samoa, was overseen by Australian Steve Bernard as the referee, while the umpires were PNG nationals Helen Atai, Alu Kapa and Lakani Oala.  

It is understood that Australian Claire Polosak, a member of the ICC’s third-tier International Associates and Affiliates Umpires Panel, travelled to Samoa as a ‘mentor’, but whether she actually stood in games is less clear given the information currently available.  Bob Parry her countryman, who doubles as Cricket Australia’s Education Manager and the EAP’s Umpire Manager, was also present for the six-match series.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,883

  Friday, 22 July 2016 

 

• ICC acknowledges Gould’s 50th Test [1883-9433].

• Dar to equal Bucknor’s ODI match record [1883-9434].

• Lanka-Australia neutral Test officials named [1883-9435].

• Gough gets his own media release [1883-9436].

• Female umpires push through ‘glass ceiling' [1883-9437].

ICC acknowledges Gould’s 50th Test.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release.

Thursday, 21 July 2016.

PTG 1883-9433.

Former West Indies captain Courtney Walsh presented English umpire Ian Gould with a memento to mark his 50th Test in a ceremony prior to the start of the opening West Indies-India Test in Antigua overnight (PTG 1870-9376, 6 July 2016).  Gould is quoted as saying via an International Cricket Council (ICC) media release: “Over 480 umpires have officiated in Tests to date but only 12 have been successful in reaching 50, a stat that gives me tremendous satisfaction because I have been successful in maintaining the required and expected standards”.

 

Gould said he “would have never reached this position if there had been no support, guidance and cooperation from a number of people, both within and outside the sport. I feel extremely humbled and privileged to have been given the opportunity to work in the sport I love and alongside some of the finest professionals who have been my mentors, role models and inspiration”.  “I thank all my fellow match officials and colleagues within the ICC and Member countries for making this journey a memorable one for me.”

 

Adrian Griffith, the ICC’s Senior Manager Umpires and Referees said: “On behalf of the ICC, I want to congratulate Ian for reaching this significant milestone”.  “Ian’s knowledge about the game, excellent decision-making, on-field man management skills and friendly attitude has made him one of the most popular and recognisable faces in our sport. We wish him well and hope that he will continue to go from strength to strength”.

Those who have stood in 50 Tests to date are: Steve Bucknor (1989-2009) 128; Rudi Koertzen (1992-2010) 108; Aleem Dar (2003-to date) 104; Daryl Harper (1998-2011) 95; David Shepherd (1985-2005) 92; ‘Billy’ Bowden (2000-2015) 84; Darrell Hair (1992-2008) 78; Simon Taufel (2000-2012) 74; Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan (1993-2004) 73; 'Dickie Bird’ (1973-1996) 66; Steve Davis (1997-2015) 57; Ian Gould (2008-to date) 50.

Dar to equal Bucknor’s ODI match record.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Friday, 22 July 2016.

PTG 1883-9434.

Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar will equal Steve Bucknor’s record of having stood in 181 One Day Internationals (ODI) by the end of the Sri Lanka-Australia series in early September.  Dar has been named with Michael Gough of England and Javagal Srinath of India as the neutral officials for the five games in Colombo, Dambulla and Kandy, the Pakistani standing in three games and working as the television umpire in two, and the Englishman two and three respectively.

Srinath will, coincidently, have managed a total of 181 ODIs by series end, while Dar’s record will be 181 on-field and 44 as the television umpire (181/44) and Gough 29/11.  Sri Lanka Cricket is yet to name which of its three members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel will fill the five other on-field and fourth umpire spots for the series.

Dar and Bucknor’s 181 ODIs are third on the all-time ODI umpires list behind the now internationally retired ‘Billy’ Bowden of New Zealand on 200, and the similarly departed Rudi Koertzen of South Africa with 209.

Lanka-Australia neutral Test officials named.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Friday, 22 July 2016.

PTG 1883-9435.

Two Englishmen, and Indian and a New Zealander have been named as the neutral match officials for the three Test series Sri Lanka and Australia will play in Pallekele, Galle and Colombo over the next three weeks.  Chris Broad of England will be the match referee, and the umpires are his countryman Richard Kettleborough, India’s Sundarum Ravi and Chris Gaffney of New Zealand.

The umpires will each be on the ground in two Tests and in the television spot in a third.  Kettleborough and Ravi will be on-field in the opening match in Pallekele, Kettleborough again and Gaffney in Galle, and Gaffney and Ravi in Colombo.  The series will take Broad’s Test referee’s record to 80 matches, Kettlebourough to 37 on-field and 13 in the television suite (37/13), Ravi to 12/12 and Gaffney 9/8.

Gough gets his own media release.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release.

Friday, 22 July 2016.

PTG 1883-9436.

English umpire Michael Gough, who was named for his Test debut earlier this week, says his selection has come to him "because of a combination of hard work, persistence and the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) umpires’ coaching systems” (PTG 1882-9429, 21 July 2016).  Gough made his thoughts known via an ICC media release issued overnight, something the world body did not do for the last two debutants, Joel Wilson and Simon Fry.

An “excited" Gough is said to be “absolutely delighted” about his elevation to Test cricket as it is "the most challenging format” and "the ultimate form for any player and so it is for umpires”.  "The five days on the field are a test of mental and physical strength”.  

He is looking forward to "a good working" relationship with fellow umpire Paul Reiffel and match referee David Boon during the forthcoming series. "David was my first captain at Durham, so we go back a long way. I’ve stood with Paul in a few games already and share a good working relationship with him and also a fine relationship off the field”.

Gough, who was yesterday appointed to the forthcoming Sri Lanka-Australia One Day International series (PTG 1883-9434 above), said he was keen to "establish myself as a respected umpire [and] wants people to consider me as one who controls the game well”.

Female umpires push through ‘glass ceiling'.

The Sports Campus.

Thursday, 21 July 2016.

PTG 1883-9437.

South African-born Venter, who was this week named as a member of New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) Reserve Panel (PTG 1882-9430, 21 July 2016), continues a globe-trotting career as an umpire which includes stints in Finland, Italy, France and Slovenia - and yes, they really do play cricket in those countries.  A former national powerlifting champion Venter, who moved to New Zealand in 2004, regularly officiates in Auckland men’s Premier League cricket, and has also been appointed to fourth umpire duties in several representative games.

More recently, as a member of Auckland Cricket’s exchange program with Cricket Victoria, she became the first woman to umpire a Melbourne men’s Premier League match  (PTG 1528-7356, 28 February 2015).  She said she has "really enjoyed umpiring around the world and being so involved in the game of cricket, but this [appointment to the NZC Reserve Panel] is a massive honour and a dream come true”.

Kim Cotton was the second female appointed to the panel alongside Venter and Kathy Cross from last year.  Cotton began her umpiring in Timaru in 2010 following a playing career that started with men’s club cricket in Nelson and included a stint in England; one season representing Kent.  Since moving to Christchurch, where she practises as a solicitor, she’s been regularly umpiring men’s Premier League fixtures, and for the past three seasons has stood in the national women’s Under 21 tournament.

Like Venter, Cotton has participated in several trans-Tasman umpiring exchanges, a feature of which remains a visit to Melbourne earlier this year for Premier League games there.  “Umpiring has been a great way to stay in the game”, said Cotton.  “I’ve been involved in cricket (either playing or umpiring) just about every summer since I was in primary school”.  “Being included in the Reserve Panel is a real highlight and I’m very much looking forward to the challenge”. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,884

  Sunday, 24 July 2016 

 

• Support grows for four-day Tests by 2019 [1884-9438].

• Plenty at stake for CA Under-19 series appointees [1884-9439].

• South African umpire for second Aussie visit [1884-9440].

• County players penalised for dissent [1884-9441].

• Hafeez to front for bowling action assessment soon [1884-9442].

• Captain ‘naive’ to question umpire’s decision [1884-9443].

• Bees again stop play [1884-9444].

• Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published [1884-9445].

Support grows for four-day Tests by 2019.

Tim Wigmore.

The Times.

Saturday, 23 July 2016.

PTG 1884-9438.

Test matches could be reduced to four days from 2019 as part of proposals that will be considered by the International Cricket Council (ICC) at a special meeting in September (PTG 1868-9368, 4 July 2016).  The reforms, which are attracting growing support, are part of a radical restructuring planned for the longest form of the game that includes a new two-division structure, with seven countries in division one and five in division two.

The reforms are a recognition of the challenges the longest format faces to remain relevant in the Twenty20 age. Four-day Tests could involve 100 overs a day, up from the current 90.  This would be made possible by more stringent penalties for slow over rates, and longer playing times. The increase in day-night Test cricket would make it easier to extend the hours of play.

The introduction of four-day Tests, which was advocated last year by Colin Graves, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), is seen as a way of rationalising international cricket’s bloated schedule. A three-Test series could be played over three weeks, rather than four as at present.

It is known that broadcasters consider the idea attractive, largely because Tests could always be played from Thursday to Sunday. This would ensure certainty over when matches would be played, creating an “appointment to view”, increasing the amount of cricket played outside normal working hours, and maximising the chances of games concluding over the weekend, when more fans could watch.  Such a schedule would be modelled on golf tournaments, which begin on Thursday and reach a conclusion on Sunday evenings.

Four-day Tests would also reduce the cost of hosting Test matches, particularly for countries that attract sparse crowds for such games. Even in England, where Test crowds are the envy of the world, host counties can suffer if games do not last five days because they have to pay for retail and hospitality costs in advance.

A decreasing number of matches are lasting five days. Since the Headingley Test against New Zealand last northern summer, only one of nine Tests in England has extended into the final day.  “In the grand scheme of things, not many Tests go to the fifth day anyway; and if you do it’s only a small amount of time, which ends up costing you money”, Graves said, reiterating his belief that four-day Tests would be more viable financially.

There is also another financial consideration. The ICC is looking to fund all matches played within the new two divisional structure, and the costs would be reduced if Tests were played over four days rather than five.  Any such plans would face staunch opposition from traditionalists, while players are also unlikely to support four-day Tests.

For four-day Test cricket to be introduced, seven of the ten Test-playing nations would need to vote to change the regulations that define a Test match. Although Tests have been played over four, five, six and unlimited days over their 139-year history, all matches since 1979 have comprised five days.

In addition to Graves, representatives from New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka have also publicly endorsed the idea. The changes would have major implications for the game in England. It is understood that, from 2020, the ECB plans to move the English summer to six Tests of four days each — amounting to 24 days of Test cricket a year, compared with 35 under the present arrangement of seven Tests of five days each.

This reduction would allow England’s leading players to play in a revamped T20 domestic competition, but competition between grounds to host Test matches would intensify further. Lord’s present staging agreement to host two Tests a summer expires at the end of 2018, but its owners the Marylebone Cricket Club are keen to continue hosting two Tests a year thereafter.  A staging agreement for The Oval in London guarantees it one Test a summer until 2022, which could mean just three Tests a year being shared between the seven Test venues outside London.

Plenty at stake for CA Under-19 series appointees.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 23 July 2016.

PTG 1884-9439.

The ten umpires named by Cricket Australia (CA) to stand in its men’s national Under-19 Championship series in Adelaide in three months' time will bring to the tournament a wider range of experiences in the game than such panels in the past.  The two-week event, selection for which is a key milestone along CA’s umpire development pathway, will feature officials who have been at the tournament multiple times, played and umpired at first class level, received national officiating scholarships, or are already members of CA and International Cricket Council (ICC) panels.

Those chosen this year, who are active at Premier League level to various degrees in their respective states, are: Victorians Daryl Brigham, Dale Ireland, David Shepard and Steven Brne, plus Murray Branch of Queensland, James Hewitt and Trent Steenholdt from Western Australia, Tasmanian Darren Close, and from New South Wales, David Taylor and Claire Polosak, the first female to ever be selected for such a series.  No one from South Australia will be present, while the fact that four of the ten come from Victoria will probably be a point of discussion for some observers.

Six of the ten, Branch, Brne, Hewitt, Ireland, Shepard, and Taylor, took part in last year’s Under-19 national series, while for four of those, Branch, Hewitt, Shepard, and Taylor, its the third time that have featured in the competition.  Close, Brigham, Brne, Hewitt, Ireland, Shepard, Steenboldt and Taylor, have in previous years all worked in CA national men’s Under-17 series, the step on the development ladder prior to the Under-19s.  All except Polosak have stood in CA men’s Futures League, or state second XI, matches in the last few years.    

Close stood in 20 first class matches in the period from 1986-92, a time when each state was responsible for appointing its own officials to matches.  He debuted when he was just 18, and also stood in two List A games, the first a national final of CA’s domestic one-day competition.  After that he moved to England where he lived and worked for many years before returning to Tasmania two years ago and resuming his umpiring career.  Shepard played a single first class game and six List A fixtures for Victoria in the late 1990s before moving to umpiring.

Shepard and Polosak are current members of both CA’s ‘fast-track’ Project Panel and second-tier Development Panel.  They have also been recipients of Australian Sports Commission officials’ scholarship, the third of the Under-19 series group with that award under their belt being Taylor, who was a recipient earlier this year.  CA has a great stake in Polosak as she is a highly visible part of its women in cricket strategy, and as a result has had somewhat of a 'magic carpet' ride over the last year. 

Over that time she has been appointed as a television umpire in a CA senior men’s one-day game, taken part in various CA womens’ series, stood in an ICC Twenty20 Qualifier series in Bangkok, been appointed to the ICC’s World Twenty20 Championship in India, named, apparently to CA’s surprise at the time, a member of the ICC’s third-tier Associates and Affiliates International Umpires Panel, and more recently taken part in another ICC Qualifier, this time in Samoa.  

A future target is obviously selection to next year's Womens’ World Cup in England, however, there are also a series of related Qualifying events in October and in the first quarter of 2017, plus lower-level men’s World Cricket League series, that she could potentially be appointed to before then.

Unlike Polosak the umpiring future of her colleagues in Adelaide is less clear.  Records available show that CA has appointed a total of 22 umpires across the four men’s Under-19 series since 2013-14.  Two of those individuals, Shawn Craig and Phillip Gillespie, are now members of CA’s top National Umpires Panel, while five, Polosak, Shepard, Tony Wilds and Simon Lightbody of New South Wales and David Koch of Queensland, are on the Development Panel.  Many of the remained though appear to have risen as high as they are likely to, their chance for higher honours appearing to have passed.  

South African umpire for second Aussie visit.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 23 July 2016.

PTG 1884-9440.

South African umpire Adrian Holdstock is to stand in two four-day, and seven 50-over one day games between the ‘A’ sides of Australia, India and South Africa which are to be played in Brisbane and Townsville in August-September.  All five members of Cricket Australia’s (CA) Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP) will oversee the games, and ten of the twelve members of its National Umpires Panel (NUP) will also be involved in managing matches. 

Holstock, 46, a South African member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, last visited Australia in 2012 as part of the umpire exchange agreement between CA and Cricket South Africa (PTG 889-4334, 17 January 2012). On this occasion the two four-day games will be between the Australians and Indians, while his one-dayers will involved all three ‘A’ sides.

NUP and Australian IUP members Simon Fry, Mick Martell, Sam Nogajski and Paul Wilson have been allocated on-field spots in the four-dayers.  NUP members Ash Barrow, Shawn Craig, Greg Davidson and John Ward working as reserves, and UHPP members Steve Bernard, Bob Stratford and David Tallala the match referees.  Fry’s last day on-ground during the series is scheduled to be the second Tuesday of August, well in time for him to, if rumours are correct, to join the match officials group for the five England-Pakistan One Day Internationals.  

Bernard, Stratford and Tallala will be joined by Daryl Harper, the fourth UHPP member, for the 14 one-day games.  Holdstock is to stand in 7 of those, Wilson 5, Martell and Nogajski both 3, Craig and Ward each 2, and Gerard Abood and Geoff Joshua each 1, the four finals spots being left blank at this stage.  Abood will also work in 6 games as the reserve, and Craig, Davidson Joshua and Ward all twice.

CA has named eight scorers for the 18 matches.  Stephen Boyle, Gail Cartwright, Cliff Howard and Ted Williams will record the details of the four-day games, all except Cartwright plus Sam Byrnes, Lyndele English, Adam Tindale and Kirk Turk looking after the one-dayers.

County players penalised for dissent.

PTG Editor.

ECB media release.

Friday, 22 July 2016.

PTG 1884-9441.

Essex’s Ten Doeschate and Derbyshire’s Billy Godleman have been penalised by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) for their actions in recent County matches.  Ten Doeschate was reported by umpires Nigel Llong and Billy Taylor for “showing serious dissent at an umpire’s decision", a Level Two offence, and Godleman by umpires Nigel Cowley and Steve Game on a Level One dissent charge.  

Ten Doeschate’s report, which saw three penalty points added to his current playing record, came from his side’s Twenty20 match against Gloucestershire last Sunday, and Goldeman in a County Championship fixture against Glamorgan around the same time.  

Godleman previously had nine CDC disciplinary points against his name from the last two years, the first in September 2014 of “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play (PTG 1458-7066, 29 October 2014), and April 2015 of “throwing the ball at or near a player, umpire or official in a dangerous manner.  His latest offence attracted three disciplinary points, therefore he now has a total of twelve points against his name. 

Hafeez to front for bowling action assessment soon.

PTG Editor.

Pakistan media reports.

Saturday, 23 July 2016.

PTG 1884-9442.

Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez is set to undergo a bowling assessment test by the International Cricket Council (ICC), possibly before the end of the month.  Hafeez has faced problems with his bowling action since 2014 and in July 2015 he was banned from bowling in international cricket for a year after his bowling action was reported again following a Test against Sri Lanka in Galle (PTG 1595-7717, 19 July 2015).

An official with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is quoted as saying his national side’s team management is keen to get a clear picture about whether Hafeez can bowl in the last two Test matches against England as well as the limited-over series that follows it as they want to have an extra bowling option in England.

The official admitted that since Hafeez had suffered a knee injury in April he had spent little time working on his modified bowling action, and as such: "Most probably we will first have him appear in a unofficial bowling test in England before we send him for the ICC assessment test” as “we want to be sure his bowling action is modified and his elbow extension is within or close to the ICC limits of 15 degrees”.

Captain ‘naive’ to question umpire’s decision.

Andrew Gale.

Yorkshire Evening Post.

Saturday, 23 July 2016.

PTG 1884-9443.

Yorkshire limited overs captain Alex Lees’ comments to the press about the umpire after his side's recent Twenty20 match against Nottinghamshire suggests he is probably a little bit naive.  Yorkshire has since handed Lees a two-match suspended ban after which he publicly apologised to umpire Martin Saggers his comments (PTG 1881-9425, 20 July 2016).

 

As a captain, I can say we have all been there where an umpire’s decision has probably cost us a game – I’ve been there myself and been quite emotional straight after the game (PTG 1445-7000, 9 October 2014). But I think in the scheme of things it wasn’t just the umpire’s decision that cost us the game, it was probably our batting at the back end of the game and also some poor bowling so he’ll reflect on that.

I’ve gone head to head with the umpires after a game and it’s not the way things are done in cricket. We don’t want to get to a football environment where we question every decision that is made and probably getting to a place where we are not honest with our performance as well. We don’t want to create an environment like that in cricket. Alex is young, he’s probably emotional after losing the game of cricket but in the scheme of things it’s probably something that he’ll learn from.

The umpire probably didn’t make the right decision at the time but there’s nothing you can do about out and in the scheme of things did it cost us the game? Maybe. But you can’t be quite sure about that. 

Bees again stop play.

New Zealand Herald.

Sunday, 23 July 2016.

PTG 1884-9444.

A swarm of bees put New Zealand players on the back foot in a bizarre incident in their tour match in Harare on Saturday.  During day two of their match against Zimbabwe ‘A', a swarm of bees buzzed over the Harare Sports Club and forced the players to hit the deck in search of cover.

All-rounder Mitchell Santner said it was the first time he had seen anything like it while playing cricket, but downplayed the threat the bees posed.  "I saw [Trent Boult] hit the deck pretty early, from there everyone else seemed to hit the deck. I was the only one standing, I think you'll find”.  "They were quite far away, so I don't know why everyone was on the ground.  But they moved on and we carried on”.

its not the first time that play has been interrupted by bees.  In 2013 bees did so in a Sri Lanka-Bangladesh One Day International in Hambantota (PTG 1081-5260, 26 March 2013).  It happened twice in 2014, a one-day Berkshire Cricket League fixture being abandoned because of an invasion of flying ants (PTG 1404-6787, 1 August 2014), while a game on the North Island of New Zealand was suspended for five minutes when a “massive swarm of bees” arrived (PTG 1478-7150, 9 December 2014).  Locusts too have stopped play (PTG 502-2600, 6 October 2009).

Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published.

John Holder and Paul Trevillion. 

The Guardian. 

Saturday, 23 July 2016.

PTG 1884-9445.

The latest edition of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper’s cartoon strip presents three scenarios to consider: a bowler who throws the ball at the batsman’s wicket in an attempt to run him out; alleged interference with the ball by a spectator; and a ‘ball strikes a wicketkeeper’s helmet on the ground’ situation.  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 1878-9413, 17 July 2016), are now available on line.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,885

  Monday, 25 July 2016 

 

• Former first class players join senior CSA umpire ranks [1885-9446].

• Vandals leave two clubs with funding headaches [1885-9447].

• BCCI conducting Level 1 Curators’ course [1885-9448].

Former first class players join senior CSA umpire ranks.

PTG Editor.

CSA media release.

Sunday, 24 July 2016.

PTG 1885-9446.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has not changed its 13-man National First Class Panel (NFCP) for the 2016-17 year, however, it has expanded its second-tier Amateur Panel, dropping one member and adding three former first class players to that group’s ranks.  Details of CSA’s domestic panels comes after a reshuffle of CSA’s membership of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), however, Johan Cloete, the main casualty of the changes involved (PTG1875-9394, 12 July 2016), remains on the NFCP for what will be his 21st season in the first class game.

The NFCP for next austral summer is made up of: Cloete, Murray Brown, Marais Erasmus, Babalo Gcuma, Shaun George, Stephen Harris, Adrian Holdstock, Clifford Isaacs, Bongani Jele, Allahudien Paleker, Gerrie Pienaar, Dennis Smith, and Brad White.  

Six of the 13 are former first class players, Erasmus, George, Holdstock, Paleker, Smith and White, their ages ranging from Pienaar 57, Erasmus 52, Brown and Issacs 49, George 48, Holdstock, White and Cloete 45, Smith 44, Gcuma 40, Paleker 37, Harris 35 and Jele 30.  They have between them stood in a total of 1,077 first class matches to date, the majority being three-day games, White currently being on 113 matches, Cloete 108, Brown 105, Smith 104, Pienaar 97, Issacs 89, Erasmus 88, 35 of which were Tests, George 80, Holdstock 75, Gcuma 61, Paleker 58 and Jele 60, and Harris 39.

In announcing the panels, CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said via a media release: “[Jele’s] elevation is well deserved and it once again proves that sterling performances will be rewarded. He has done exceptionally well to be promoted [to the IUP] at such a young age”. Lorgat, did not mention Cloete’s IUP service, but congratulated “all our umpires on their deserved appointments for the approaching season”.  He said "umpires are central to the game of cricket”, and that CSA will “continue to create opportunities for them to develop through our exchange programs with Australia, India and New Zealand.

To date Holdstock, Jele and Paleker have been on exchange to all three countries, Cloete, Gcuma and Smith to Australia, Cloete, George, Smith and White to New Zealand, and George also to Sri Lanka.  Holdstock will be returning to Australia next month for a triangular ‘A’ side series (PTG 1884-9440, 24 July 2016), however, the is not part of the normal exchange program.

  

What was a 19-man CSA Amateur Panel last year, none of whom had played first class cricket, is now 21 with three former first class players.  Earl Hendrikse, who stood in 79 first class games over the last 12 years and was a former NFCP member, is no longer on the Amateur Panel, while former first class players Siphelele Gasa, Arno Jacobs and Thomas Makorosi have all been added to it .  

Their appointment has occurred because of what CSA said was their “display [of] continued high quality performances and practical competencies in the CSA Umpires Acceleration Program [UAP] and at the various CSA Select Tournaments”.  Other countries have UAP-type arrangements for former first class players or persons they are trying to promote quickly, the approach taken usually being referred to as ‘fast-tracking’.    

The coming season’s Amateur Panel is, in addition to Jacobs, Gasa and Makorosi: Rudi Birkenstock; Hassen Dawood; Gladman Gaseba; Ryan Hendricks; Marlon Jansen; Kevin Lawrence; Lester Leendertz; Bryan Mantle; Jack Morton; Bongani Ntshebe; Stephen Rex; Jurie Sadler; Faizel Samsoodien; Abdoellah Steenkamp; Irvin Van Kerwel; Phillip Vosloo; Laurance Willemse; and Jeff Wolhuter.  

CSA also announced an unchanged panel of match referees, they being: ‘Tiffie’ Barnes 75, Devdas Govindjee 68, Barry Lambson 57, and Shaid Wadvalla who turns 67 today.   All except Lambson played at first class level.  Barnes ttook up match refereeing in 2005 and has in the time since managed 76 such games, Govindjee since 2006 (70 matches), and Lambson (47) and Wadvalla (53) since October 2007.  Lambson stood in 148 first class games, 5 of them Tests, over the period from 1985-2009.

Vandals leave two clubs with funding headaches.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Sunday, 24 July 2016.

PTG 1885-9447.

Vandals have cost the Newbridge Cricket Club (NCC) in Wales more than £UK6,000 ($A10,550) as a result of their activities last week, around the same time the Hambleden Cricket Club in Buckinghamshire launched a fund-raising appeal for a new lawnmower after its old one worth £UK7,000 ($A12,300) was stolen by burglars.

At Newbridge, vandals set fire to a new BBQ worth £150 ($A265) and have damaged a pitch cover worth £6,500 ($A11,400).  NCC chairman Jonathan Wellington, said: "The boys went down there this morning as we have a league game against Abergavenny at home later today. They found a couple of the covers pushed to one end of the ground.  The new BBQ which was only a week old had been set on fire and they completely crushed one of the covers. It looks like it has been jumped on - it's damaged beyond repair”.

Wellington added: "We are a self-funded club run by volunteers. Today's game will go ahead as it is dry but the risk is that without the cover is that we can't put a game on. We have a touring side coming on Monday if that has to be cancelled we could lose around £1,500  [$A2,600] in revenue”.  "It is very frustrating as members put in a huge amount of effort into the club” which has Under-11, Under 12, Under 14 and a senior side.  Wellington said the club will be looking at options to raise money or apply for funding to secure the site with more fencing.

 

Across at Hambleden the club there has launched a fund-raising appeal for a new lawnmower.  Thieves forced their way into the club’s pavilion and made off with the mower which was purchased last year after a fund-raising drive.  They broke several locks and cut through a barbed wire fence, loaded it on to a vehicle using a compost heap as a ramp then escaped through neighbouring farmland.

The club can reclaim most of the cost through insurance but there will be a shortfall of about £2,000 ($A3,500). It is now asking villagers for help towards these expenses and so far it has raised more than £500 ($A880) in pledges and on-line donations.  A row of anti-ram bollards have now been installed outside the pavilion at a cost of £1,500 ($A2,630). 

Pat Aldridge, the club’s chairwoman, said: “This was a real kick in the teeth. I struggle to understand how people can attack a community facility. We are not blessed with funds and rely on a lot of free help so this is a real setback”.  It took two years to raise the money for the mower and the football club raised a substantial share of this through charity matches.

BCCI conducting Level 1 Curators’ course.

BCCI media release.

SundAy, 24 July 2016.

PTG 1885-9448. 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI is conducting its first ever Level one Certification course for Curators at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru over the next two weeks. The BCCI the course has been organised as part of efforts to "make matches competitive and create a level playing field". 

Twenty curators from around India are to take part in the 10-day course which is to be run by Daljit Singh, the chairman of the BCCI’s Ground and Pitches (GAP) committee for BCCI, Daljit Singh, Tony Hemming the chief curator with the International Cricket Council’s Dubai Academy , and PR Vishwanathan a second GAP member.

Daljit Singh said: “The emphasis will be more on preparation of pitches and how to prepare a standard pitch. Now that the Ranji Trophy is going to be held at neutral venues, it is important that people understand what a good pitch is and there must be some uniformity in the preparation”. 

Singh said a lot has happened about improving the pitches over the years, but it was not a well organised structure like umpiring, coaching and other disciplines of the game. After the success of the first course in 2012, two more were held in 2013 and 2014. Just over 60 people qualified as certified curators via those courses and are presently working for their respective associations across the country. 

One refresher course was held last year for those who had attended the previous courses, after which it was decided to go further and organise the Level One course. Candidates who scored 75 per cent or more in the first three courses have been invited through their associations to attend over the next 10 days.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,886

  Tuesday, 26 July 2016 

• CA reported bolstering umpire oversight panel [1886-9449].

• Palliyaguru appointed to Lanka-Australia series [1886-9450].

CA reported bolstering umpire oversight panel.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016.

PTG 1886-9449.

Cricket Australia (CA) is believed to be planning to add a sixth member to its Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP) prior to the 2016-17 austral summer, change the name of the panel to reflect their match referees’ role, and appoint one of the five as the leader of the group. Over the last eight years, UHPP members have worked as match referees in CA first class and other mens’ and womens' games, monitored umpires’ performances in those matches, and provided input into the selection of CA’s 12-man National Umpires Panel (NUP) (PTG 274-1464, 11 July 2008).

News of CA’s plans to introduced changes has been reported and confirmed by separate Melbourne sources, but little concrete information is available. There have been no public calls for applications for such positions on the CA or any associated web site; either for the fifth spot or any of the four UHPP positions that have been occupied over the last few years by Steve Bernard, Daryl Harper, Peter Marshall, Bob Stratford and David Thalalla.   Indications are therefore that recruitment action for a sixth UHPP member has been, or is being, conducted ‘in house’, or that CA already knows who its wants in the role.   

Bernard, Harper, Marshall, Stratford and Thalalla have constituted the UHPP over the last three austral seasons (PTG 1189-5738, 17 September 2013), and their recent appointment to matches schedule for late July-August suggest they will be continuing in 2016-17 (PTG 1884-9440, 24 July 2016).  One of those four is likely to be in the running for the leadership of the expanded group. 

News of a sixth position leads to speculation as to just who might be in contention to fill it.  CA has used around a dozen individuals for match referee duties in its second-tier games over the last few years.  While a number of them have stood at first class level, and several in Tests, former International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel member Steve Davis, who retired from that group 13 months ago, would appear to be in the best position to take on such a role should CA want and he chooses to do so.  

Earlier this year the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) appointed Davis as one of its Cricket Liaison Officers, a job that involves "supporting umpires, groundsmen, counties and the ECB by providing detailed reports of activity throughout domestic competitions” (PTG 1754-8749, 4 February 2016).  April to September in England in that role would appear to be nicely complemented by October to March in Australia with CA.  

It has also become apparent that CA’s national Umpire Coach, former first class umpire Ian Lock from Western Australia, has commenced work in a full time basis with the nation body.  Lock was appointed to the Umpire Coach role on a part-time basis when the position was established eleven months ago (PTG 1628-7948, 26 August 2015), but no announcement has been made of his now full-time status.  England-born Lock was a member of CA’s NUP for eleven years until he was dropped from that group in 2014 (PTG 1352-6535, 14 May 2014).  

Lock, together with CA Match Officials’ Manager Sean Easy, were in Johannesburg four weeks ago for the International Cricket Council’s gathering of national officials’ managers and umpire coaches (PTG 1861-9332, 24 June 2016).  It was the first time that annual meeting saw national umpire coaches attend alongside their national head of umpiring, however, just how many ICC Full Member entities sent both such officials, what was discussed, and what the outcomes of the three-day affair were, have not been made public.

Palliyaguru appointed to Lanka-Australia series.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016.

PTG 1886-9450.

Whatever went on between Sri Lankan umpire Ruchira Palliyaguru and administrators last month has not impacted on his appointments, for he will be part of the match officials’ group for three of the eight internationals Sri Lanka and Australia are to play over the next month.  Palliyaguru denied he "acted violently and used foul language” whilst at a player’s disciplinary hearing, saying he had only complained to panel members about being called to their hearing and kept waiting unnecessarily without being needed (PTG 1877-9405, 16 July 2016).

Palliyaguru will work as the fourth umpire in the third Test between the two countries, his International Cricket Council second-tier International Umpire Panel colleagues Ranmore Martinesz and Ravindra Winalasiri filling that role in the first two Tests alongside neutral officials Chris Broad, Chris Gaffney, Richard Kettleborough and Sundarum Ravi (PTG 1883-9435, 22 July 2016).

During the One Day International (ODI) series that follows the Tests, Martinesz and Palliyaguru will both be on-field in two games and Wimalasiri one, matches that will take their ODI record on-field to 39, 34 and 8 respectively.  The trio will work with neutral officials Javagal Srinath, Aleem Dar and Michael Gough during the five games (PTG 1883-9434, 22 July 2016).


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,887

  Friday, 29 July 2016 


• Counties query ECB’s ‘neutrality' on city-based T20 series [1887-9451].

• Police called, match abandoned, after on-ground fight [1887-9452].

• New CA chief match referee spot was advertised [1887-9453].

• Still no scorers, umpires on ICC ‘Hall of Fame’ list [1887-9454].

• Indian skipper sends message to umpire’s son [1887-9455].

• CSA to introduce national team selection targets [1887-9456].

• MCC pays Cairns damages for 'match-fixing' post [1887-9457].

Counties query ECB’s ‘neutrality' on city-based T20 series.

Ali Martin,

The Guardian.

Thursday, 28 July 2016.

PTG 1877-9451.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is facing a battle to convince the counties it remains neutral in the debate over the proposed introduction of a Twenty20 tournament to rival the Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash League.  A report in the London Daily Telegraph has outlined details of a proposal for a four-week competition that would be held in the height of the English summer, featuring newly created city-based teams and run in addition to the current ECB summer-long T20 series that is contested by the 18 counties.

An ECB spokesperson has maintained that, as agreed in March, an executive team are continuing to draw up a small range of options for T20 cricket – including a rejected two-division county tournament – and will present them to the first-class counties and the recreational boards in September, with “no agreed or preferred approach” at present (PTG 1779-8889, 11 March 2016).

However ‘The Guardian' has spoken to county chief executives and chairmen who believe ECB chairman, Colin Graves, and chief executive Tom Harrison, are solely set on the one path. One club official described the city tournament proposal as “death by a thousand cuts” and a form of “identity theft”, while another said the leaked details were “highly ironic” given the ECB’s repeated insistence that plans be kept private.

While the ECB intends to hold small meetings with groups of counties over the coming weeks to continue the conversations and allay any concerns, a number of chairmen now believe they must convene independently from Harrison, Graves and the ECB to establish what it is they are looking to get out of a new T20 competition before September’s presentations (PTG 1871-9381, 7 July 2016).

Support from 12 of the 18 counties and 26 of the 39 recreational cricket boards is needed to make such a change but there is at least a growing concession the status quo, while seeing counties such as Surrey thrive – a record gate receipts for this Friday’s T20 fixture with Kent at The Oval – it is not working for all. Durham, for example, are facing a exodus of players at the end of the season amid severe financial difficulties and reported debts of £UK6 million ($A10.5 m).

The proposed city-based Twenty20 plan would be attractive to many, with counties becoming shareholders in the competition and pooling the money generated. However this incentive would need to be weighed up against a month-long gap in county cricket and, if the current T20 series were to be played as a summer-long tournament, whether the new competition would reduce its appeal (PTG 1846-9258, 6 June 2016).

The ECB has a delicate tightrope to walk with its main broadcaster partner, Sky, whose £75m-a-year ($A131 m) deal for all international and domestic cricket runs up until the end of 2019 (PTG 1861-9331, 24 June 2016). The proposed 2018 start date for the city-based tournament would fall within this period and selling its rights off separately would remain problematic (PTG 1866-9354, 1 July 2016).

Police called, match abandoned, after on-ground fight.

Alex Evans.

The Star.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016.

PTG 1887-9452.

Police had to be called to a local cricket game in Sheffield after reports that a fight broke out on the ground during a Yorkshire and Derbyshire Cricket League (YDCL) match between the Stocksbridge  and Totley cricket clubs last Saturday.  A 23-year-old man suffered a minor injury to his back and the game was abandoned due to the reported altercation.

South Yorkshire Police say that are "working alongside the cricket clubs" to try and determine just what went on.  Both clubs have been called to an official YDCL disciplinary hearing this week.  

Stocksbridge chairman Alan Thwaites said: “It’s disappointing when this happens anywhere at any time, not just our club”.   He added that there had never been such an incident at the club before, but that he could not comment further before the hearing.  A spokesman for Totley Cricket Club refused to comment on the matter.

New CA chief match referee spot was advertised.

PTG Editor

Thursday, 28 July 2016.

PTG 1887-9453.

Contrary to a report in ‘PTG’ earlier this week, Cricket Australia (CA) did make a public call for applications for a position in relation to the revamp of its Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP) ahead of the 2016-17 austral summer.  CA is to change the UHPP's name to reflect its match referees’ role, and add a new, sixth position to the group which will oversee and lead its activities (PTG 1886-9449, 26 July 2016). 

A call for applications for the senior match referee position is said to have featured on the ‘Work for Cricket Australia’ page of CA’s web site and general advice about the planned UHPP changes was provided to match officials managers around Australia, but the information does not appear to have gone much wider than that.  Just when applications for the job closed is not known, nor are details of the position as the advertisement has now been removed from the site.   

Reports are suggesting that the senior match referee is more likely to come from current UHPP members Steve Bernard, Daryl Harper, Peter Marshall, Bob Stratford and David Thallala.  Whether they actually applied for the job is not known. 

Bernard, 66, would appear to be the favourite according to a number of knowledgable observers.  He played first class cricket for New South Wales in the 1970s, and in the two decades after that served as a NSW selector, including as its chairman, before moving on to a spot on the national selection panel.  He was Australia’s team manager from 1997-2011, joined the International Cricket Council’s second-tier Regional Referees Panel in 2011 (PTG 866-4233, 1 December 2011), and commenced with the UHPP in 2013 (PTG 1190-5738, 17 September 2013).

Should Bernard, or one of his four UHPP colleagues taken on the senior role, a vacancy would then exist on the panel.  Just how CA would then arrange to fill that spot is not known.

Still no scorers, umpires on ICC ‘Hall of Fame list.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release.

Thursday, 28 July 2016.

PTG 1887-9454.

The inclusion of four new members on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ‘Hall of Fame’ list again highlights the absence of umpires and scorers who have served the game with distinction at the highest level on that honour role.  On Thursday the ICC announced, via a media release, that Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralidaran, Australians Karen Rolton and Arthur Morris and Englishman George Lohmann, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame list "later this year".

The ICC has indicated in the past that the selection process to decide who should be added to its Hall of Fame list involves all of the current living members of the group being asked to nominate those they thought deserved such recognition. The ICC Nominations Committee then reduce the initial nominees to a short-list that is sent to a "Voting Academy” that includes members of the media. 

Muralidaran, Rolton and family members of Lohmann and Morris, will be presented with commemorative caps honouring their contribution to the game to mark their induction.  ICC chief executive David Richardson congratulated the four, which bring the list of those chosen to 84, 6 of whom are female, saying: “The ICC Cricket Hall of Fame recognises some of the truly great players from cricket’s long and illustrious history, and this year’s inductees thoroughly deserve to be in this highly prestigious group”.

Indian skipper sends message to umpire’s son.

Ary News.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016.

PTG 1887-9455.

India’s Test skipper Virat Kohli has an ever growing base of followers around the world. One of them is Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar’s son Hassan who seems to be such a staunch supporter of Kohli that Dar, who is one of the neutral match officials for the opening two matches of India's current series against the West Indies (PTG 1870-9376, 6 July 2015), conveyed news to that effect to the Indian skipper. 

Kohli, who is known to fulfill fans requests instantly, recorded a personalised message for Dar’s son. While recording the message, he showed Dar sitting beside him and said he was happy to know young Dar believes in commitment and hard work just like himself. Kohli told Hassan: “Keep up your hard work and dedication and keep believing in  yourself”.  He then invited Dar Junior to meet him whenever his father officiates in matches involved India and promised to send him a signed bat.

Earlier this year the younger Dar and his brother were involved in a controversy that resulted in the Kilmarnock Cricket Club being related to the second-tier of Scotland’s Western District Cricket Union for the 2016 season (PTG 1814-9071, 29 April 2016).  Dar senior denied having any knowledge of the reported deception involved (PTG 1816-9078, 1 May 2016).

CSA to introduce national team selection targets.

Firdose Moonda.

Cricinfo.

Thursday, 28 July 2017.

PTG 1887-9456.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has confirmed a decision to introduce targets for all national teams for selection of players of colour (PTG 1832-9169, 20 May 2016). The specifics of the new policy, which will stipulate how many players of colour need to be included in starting XIs, have yet to be revealed, but are likely to fall in line with the requirements of the South African sports ministry, with whom CSA have signed a memorandum of understanding. 

Chris Nenzani, the CSA president, said: "In the past, we had never set targets in our national teams, but with changing circumstances, we feel it is essential to move with the times". "The precise targets will depend on work to be undertaken by relevant committees to determine what is realistic and sustainable. This will be announced in due course. We will aim to achieve our targets over the course of the year and not on a match-by-match basis”.

In April this year, CSA, along with three other national federations, was banned by the ministry from bidding for or hosting international tournaments after failing to meet transformation requirements (PTG 1811-9058, 26 April 2016). The ministry used 60 per cent as the barometer for their measurements, which equates to seven players of colour in a team. Cricket fell short by five per cent. The ministry also had a separate measurement for the number of black African players in a team, but did not provide a percentage (PTG 1770-8844, 25 February 2016).

CSA has previously worked with what it termed a "guideline," on transformation, which required the consideration of at least four players of colour when picking the national men's team. Although CSA insisted the target did not have to be strictly applied, the board rarely transgressed it and reaffirmed that policy after the 2015 World Cup semi-final. In that match, Vernon Philander, who had spent a significant part of the tournament injured, was selected ahead of an in-form Kyle Abbott. An internal investigation was conducted to review the semi-final selection which confirmed the guidelines. 

MCC pays Cairns damages for 'match-fixing’ post.

New Zealand Herald.

Thursday, 28 July 2016.

PTG 1887-9457.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) have paid former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns damages after the club posted a YouTube video that wrongly implied the New Zealand was involved in match-fixing.  The mistake was made following the MCC's annual 'Spirit of Cricket' lecture last month, after former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum insisted he stood by his claim in court that Cairns had twice approached him in 2008 to fix matches - allegations that Cairns has always strongly denied (PTG 1864-9346, 28 June 2016).

A source close to the Cairns family indicated that the MCC's payment to Cairns is less than $NZ20,000 ($A18,840, £UK10,770).  "The payment was minimal, the main thing was the apology and the MCC was very quick to address it”, the source said.  "There was no substantial payout, but ultimately the home of cricket acknowledging it was their wrongdoing and addressing it”.  The MCC made a public apology soon after the video was posted. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,888

  Saturday, 30 July 2016 

 

• Taufel to head up Australian referees, umpires [1888-9458].

• Three-day, pink ball, day-night trial scheduled for Edgbaston [1888-9459].

• Holdstock takes out CSA ‘Umpire of Year’ double [1888-9460].

• Two Indians in action in Europe [1888-9461].

• ECB Reserve Panel members for WSL [1888-9462].

• New era for women’s game, but pay only £UK20 a day [1888-9463].

• Police pursuit of alleged car thieves stops play [1888-9464].

• Teams donate equipment after vandals attack club [1888-9465].

• After 150 years, Japan is finally falling in love with cricket [1888-9466].

• Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published [1888-9467].

Taufel to head up Australian referees, umpires.

PTG Editor.

CA media release.

Friday, 29 July 2016.

PTG 1888-9458.

Former Australian international umpire Simon Taufel has been appointed to Cricket Australia’s (CA) new "Match Referee and Umpire Selection Manager” position, a role that makes him the effective head of Australia's match officials.  CA called for applications for the position last month as part of a revamp of its Match Officials Unit, a grouping formerly made up of four full-time staffers, plus its five member Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP).

CA says that Taufel’s position, which he will take up in mid-August, "will provide dedicated performance management" for its match referees, the former UHPP, and “oversee” umpire assessment, appointment and selection processes.  Taufel’s demonstrated professionalism was welcomed by many in Australia yesterday for in recent years there has been uncertainty, even amongst state-level managers, about just how many aspects of the processes and decision-making he will now oversee have been managed, and by whom.  

Taufel, 45, comes to CA almost four years after leaving the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel, his nine years with that group including five-straight ICC ‘Umpire of the Year’ awards.  He then became the ICC’s Umpire Performance and Training Manager (UPTM), a position that appears to have been created for him, but he resigned from that role last October (PTG 1663-8146, 16 October 2015). Three months later he returned as the ICC's Training Manager, a part-time position similar to that he has been undertaking for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).  He is also a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) Laws sub-committee.

It appears though that the high standards Taufel sets for himself and those he trains led to his departure from the UPTM spot as some senior EUP members were, in one knowledgeable observers words, “too good to be taught new things”.  The BCCI is also said to be considering whether its rehires him or not over questions as to whether the $US50,000 ($A65,800, £37,800) salary they are reported to pay him is a cost-effective way to obtain such services (PTG 1879-9414, 18 July 2016) .  The MCC though is known to highly value his analytical knowledge of the Laws and the way they are applied. 

Taufel's high standards are also acknowledged by many Australian observers for in their view they will bring to the country’s match officials system a level of credibility it has lacked for some time. Whether his new position will be full-time throughout the year, or just during the summer season, has not been made clear.  Nor have any details of the salary package involved been made public.  It is unlikely to be unsubstantial though, and it plus confirmation on Friday that CA's Umpire Coach Ian Lock is moving from "a contract to full time position”, suggests CA has directed extra funding into the senior match officials sector.

CA has also announced that as part of its revamp Chris Grant will “join the Match Officials Team” in early August as Match Officials Administration Officer.  That suggests CA’s office in Melbourne will still be made up of four people: Match Officials Manager Sean Easy, a substantial amount of whose previous tasks Taufel will now take on, Umpire Educator Bob Parry, Cate Ryan and Grant.  Taufel, Lock and former UHPP members and now match referees Steve Bernard, Daryl Harper, Peter Marshall, Bob Stratford and David Thallala, will continue to work from their respective home bases.

Three-day, pink ball, day-night trial scheduled for Edgbaston.

Agence France Presse.

Friday, 29 July 2016.

PTG 1888-9459.

The prospects of day-night Test cricket being staged in England has moved closer to reality with Warwickshire’s announcement that it will stage a Second XI three-day match under lights at Edgbaston late next month.  The match, which has been moved from another ground, will use balls manufacturered by both England's ‘Dukes' and Australia’s ‘Kookaburra’ companies, each being used for two innings of the game.

Alan Fordham, the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) head of cricket operations, said: "Staging first-class matches under lights with a pink ball is a format which has worked well elsewhere in the cricketing world and it’s important we consider ways in which we can attract more people to first-class cricket in the long term.  We’ll be monitoring this trial match closely and we would like to thank Warwickshire for their support in hosting the fixture”.

Neil Snowball, Warwickshire’s chief executive, added: "The concept of day-night cricket has attracted a large amount of interest around the world and we are keen to support the ECB by exploring the potential for these fixtures in England and Wales.  We have a long tradition of staging day-night cricket on this ground and this trial game will provide valuable insights for everyone interested in broadening the audience for our first class game”.

Edgbaston hosted the first ever day-night limited-overs match in Britain in 1997, under temporary lights, but the Birmingham ground now has permanent floodlights and is seen as the most likely venue should England play a home day-night Test.  Late in the 2011 English season a county first class match between Kent and Glamorgan was also played in a day-night format (PTG 834-4075, 16 September 2011).

Holdstock takes out CSA ‘Umpire of Year’ double.

PTG editor.

Published: Friday, 29 July 2016.

PTG 1888-9460.

Adrian Holdstock won both Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) 2016 'Umpire of the Year’ and 'Umpires’ Umpire of the Year’ awards at the national body’s annual awards night in Johannesburg on Tuesday.  Holdstock, 46, a member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, won the latter award last year (PTG 1563-7514, 8 June 2015).  

In related awards, the Gauteng Cricket Board took home the 'Scorers’ Association of the Year’ trophy for the second year running, while the ‘Fair Play’ award went to the Cape Cobras.  CSA appears to be unique on the international scene in that it includes match officials in its annual players’ awards prize giving evening. 

Two Indians in action in Europe.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 29 July 2016.

PTG 1888-9461.

The two Indian on-field members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, Chettithody Shamshuddin and Anil Chaudhary, are in Europe at the moment standing in separate international competitions.  

Shamshuddin, who stood in the final two matches in the Ireland-Afghanistan One Day International series last week (PTG 1881-9424, 20 July 2016), is now taking part in the European Division 2 Under-19 World Cup Qualifier tournament in The Netherlands involving the home side, Denmark, Guernsey, Italy.  

Chaudhary is also in The Netherlands, standing in the four-day International Cup first class match in which Afghanistan are the visitors.

ECB Reserve Panel members for WSL.

PTG Editor.

ECB appointments.

Friday, 29 July 2016.

PTG 1888-9462.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has enlisted the services of its six Reserve Panel members to managed the 15 preliminary matches in its inaugural Womens’ Super League (WSL) Twenty20 series over the next three weeks, the first of which is due to get underway on Saturday (PTG 1888-9463 below).  

Reserve Panel members Ian Blackwell and Paul Pollard are to stand in four WSL matches, their colleagues Chris Watts and Tom Lumley each five, and Ben Debenham and Russell Warren both six.  Umpiring appointments for the two semi finals and final of the competition, which have been scheduled for the same day at Chelmsford on the third Sunday of August, are yet to be filled. Whether they will come from those six or from the ECB’s Full List is not yet clear.

New era for women’s game, but pay only £UK20 a day.

Elizabeth Ammon.

The Times.

Friday, 29 July 2016.

PTG 1888-9463.

A new era of women’s cricket starts this weekend with the inaugural Women's Super League (WSL) but the six-team Twenty20 competition is facing the challenge of poorly-paid players, low attendances and no TV deal.  The tournament has been marketed as a way to bridge the gap between the unpaid women cricketers playing in domestic cricket and the 18 centrally contracted England players and to attract a new set of fans to women’s cricket.

It is an admirable objective but, as the host teams are finding out, the £3 million ($A5.3 m)  investment by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) does not go far among the six host teams. The level of pay in the WSL is staggeringly low and is understood to equate to about £20 ($A35) a day for training and £150 ($260) for a match.

The tournament will feature some of the best women cricketers in the world. Each team have four England contracted players and three overseas players, including high-profile names such as West Indies’ Stefanie Taylor, Australia superstar Ellyse Perry and New Zealand’s Suzie Bates.

Despite this being the pinnacle of women’s cricket, the tournament may happen under the radar. Advance tickets sales are modest for many group games, attendances are likely to be in the hundreds rather than the thousands and there will be no television coverage, not even for the finals.

When the tournament was announced in 2015 (PTG 1571-7551, 19 June 2015), the ECB said it would be interested in approaches from television and radio broadcasters but it had to row back from that quietly after realising that ‘Sky' could argue that it already has the rights to show women’s cricket. It is also understood that no other television broadcaster was interested in covering the tournament — at least initially.

Although it had the option to, ‘Sky' has decided not to show the tournament. Privately it was concerned about the quality of the cricket and the fact that the tournament clashes with the height of the Test summer and the business end of the men’s domestic competitions.

The BBC will provide ball-by-ball radio coverage of some, but not all, matches. Some grounds — such as Haslegrave, where Loughborough Lightning will be playing their home matches — do not have broadcasting facilities and it would be disproportionately expensive to install them for a few T20 matches.

Compare this to the hugely successful Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia. WBBL teams were linked to existing men’s teams. Many matches were played as double-headers with the men’s, while the games were shown on television, with some on free-to-air TV and attracting six-figure audiences.

The average crowd was about 5,000, with one match drawing 12,000. In contrast to the WSL, contracts for the WBBL are around £8,560 ($A15,000). The WSL will not be able to mirror that success.  This is the first year of the tournament, however, and the intention is to keep developing it year on year with the belief that T20, rather then longer formats, is the way to grow the women’s game.

Police pursuit of alleged car thieves stops play.

BBC Wales.

Friday, 29 July 2016.

PTG 1888-9464.

A police chase stopped play in a match played in Cardiff this week as officers pursued suspected car thieves across the ground.  Radyr was playing a Marylebone Cricket Club XI when officers ran across the pitch and into a neighbouring field, leaving players and spectators watching on. It ended soon after when officers re-appeared with five arrested youths. 

Police allege a stolen BMW was involved in the incident.  Jo Morgan, Radyr’s scorer, said they had heard the helicopter for a while before they saw a police car heading towards the pitch.  "The police got out and ran across the field”, she said.  "They went into the neighbouring fields and within ten minutes they were all walking back through with five youths”.  

Teams donate equipment after vandals attack club.

Luke Jarmyn.

South Wales Argus.

Friday, 29 July 2016.

PTG 1888-9465.

Clubs in the south-eastern Welsh county of Gwent have banded together and donated equipment to Newbridge Cricket Club after a spate of vandal attacks last week. Vandals have cost Newbridge more than £UK6,000 ($A10,550), setting fire to a new BBQ worth £150 ($A265) and damaging a pitch cover worth £6,500 ($A11,400) (PTG 1885-9447, 25 July 2016). 

The Newport and Blackwood Town clubs have helped out, the former's captain Matthew Evans saying: “I saw photos on Saturday morning and texted their chairman John [Wellington] straight away to offer anything we could do as we have a really good relationship with Newbridge, lending them a mower earlier this year.  People just don’t think who [the damage they cause] will affect. They have been through the mill at that club but they keep coming back and probably have the best youth set up in Gwent”.

Blackwood captain Richard Matthews added: “We just invested in covers so we know how expensive they are.  We are all volunteers in cricket who work so hard and whoever it is, it’s exasperating that [those responsible] might get away with it”.

Both clubs have lent covers to help reduce the chance of Newbridge suffering fixture disruption.  Newbridge’s Wellington said: “It’s a nuisance and an expense. Obviously if we can’t get games then we are in potential difficulties.  We have been hosting a touring Kent side this week who bring more than 35 people and the fixture is worth nearly £2,000 [$A3,500]. Luckily we haven’t had to call it off but that would have hit our bar takings, which are one of the clubs big earners. We offer opportunities to the community, which is why it’s frustrating”.

After 150 years, Japan is finally falling in love with cricket.

Justin McCurry.

The Guardian.

Friday, 29 July 2016.

PTG 1888-9466.

It is a scene that will be familiar to cricket lovers the world over: furious running between the stumps after the smack of leather on willow, applause for a well executed cover drive, and cheers for a rare six.  Yet the shouts of encouragement from the edge of the boundary are in Japanese, and the aural backdrop is provided by countless cicadas nestling unseen in the trees.

Out in the middle, Japan’s batsmen are making a late attempt to close in on the 148 run target set by their opponents, West Kathmandu Cricket Club, in their Twenty20 match in Sano, a town of 120,000 people in Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo.  In a country where baseball is king, cricket was for many years a sporting curio, of interest mainly to a small number of Japanese expats who had been transferred to cricketing nations by their employers.

While the Japanese public has not taken cricket to their hearts as they have other “foreign” sports – baseball, football and rugby – the idea that Japan could one day compete in a major international tournament no longer sounds as preposterous as it would have done just a few years ago.  In November, the Sano ground – the first dedicated cricket pitch in Japan to meet international standards – will host Japan, China, South Korea and the Chinese Dragons from Hong Kong in the first ever East Asia Cup.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 IMAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mount Fuji, probably Japan’s most famous icon, looks on as cricket in played. 

That Japan’s youthful team – their youngest player is 15 – are aiming to reach the latter stages is proof of how quickly the sport has developed in recent years, according to Naoki Alex Miyaji, chief executive of the Japan Cricket Association.  “The gap in ability in international tournaments used to be huge”, Miyaji, 37, said. “We didn’t have what it took to build an innings. If we batted first we were lucky to make it through to lunch”.

Miyaji, whose mother is Scottish, fell in love with cricket during childhood summer holidays spent in the UK, before taking it up at Keio university in Tokyo and going on to make his debut for Japan in 2000.  Japanese cricket’s turning point came several years ago when he returned from working in England, eager to share his love of cricket with his compatriots. To his amazement, local authorities and businesses, desperate to arrest population decline and bring more visitors to the area, agreed to support his plans to turn Sano into Japan’s first “cricket town”.

The country’s cricketing roots stretch back to 1863, when British merchants and Royal Navy officers played a friendly match on a grassless patch of land in Yokohama. Over the next 150 years, though, Japan would discover a passion for baseball through commercial and diplomatic contact with the United States. Cricket was limited to occasional matches between expat communities in Yokohama and another port city, Kobe.

Cricket did not register in Japan’s sporting firmament until the early 1980s, when inquisitive Japanese university students teamed up with foreign students to form an amateur league.  The formation of the national team in 1986 was the catalyst for a dramatic improvement in the game’s fortunes in a country where many people still confuse cricket with croquet. In 2000, the national team reached a milestone of sorts when they scored 100 runs for the first time in a 50-over match.

Japan, an associate member of the International Cricket Council, is now home to an estimated 3,000 players and 200 teams, including those for Under-15s, women and university students, in every region of the country. Kanto, where Sano is located, is considered the sport’s spiritual home, with five pitches and plans for the international ground to host 180 matches by the end of the year.

When the Marylebone Cricket Club toured in 2009, Sano’s cricketers used the opportunity to take the sport into local schools. “The schools around here weren’t that keen before, but when we told them that some important gentlemen from England were coming, they were interested”, Miyaji said.

Coaches from Australia now visit several times a year to teach children of all ages attending more than half of Sano’s 28 schools. “If you’re a kid in Sano, there’s a very good chance you’ve played cricket at least once" he added.  Despite its roots in the British empire, cricket fits easily into the typical Japanese sports fan’s preoccupation with technique and form, and their fascination with statistics and records. 

“Cricket is not a sport you can understand just by watching it”, said Miyaji.  “You need to make the effort to learn about it properly, and the Japanese love that. But if you break it down to its basic components, cricket is deceptively simple. Baseball matches can be very low scoring, but in, say, a T20 cricket match, there are always lots of runs”.

Japan’s 33-year-old captain, Masaomi Kobayashi, hadn’t witnessed a single over of cricket until curiosity prompted him to start playing at university.  “This is a young side, so we have a lot to look forward to”, said Kobayashi, still kicking himself after being stumped early in his innings. “Our immediate aim is to become one of the top three or four teams in the region.  “But our dream is to one day make the qualifying rounds of the World Cup”. 

Latest edition of ‘You are the Umpire’ published.

John Holder and Paul Trevillion. 

The Guardian. 

Friday, 29 July 2016.

PTG 1888-9467.

The latest edition of ‘The Guardian’ newspaper’s cartoon strip presents three scenarios to consider: a batsman who places his hand on the ball before being called through for a run; an umpire who in a reflex action catches the ball; and a ball that hits a batsman’s foot before he hits it for six.  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 1884-9445, 24 July 2016), are now available on line.



End of July 2016 news.