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                      AUGUST 2016
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 24 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 9354-9602)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below 
 
1,889  1,890  1,891  1,892  1,893  1,894  1,895  1,896  1,897  1,898  1,899  1,900  1,901  1,902  1,903  1,904  1,905  1,906  1,907  1,908  1,909  1,910  1,911  1,912


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,889

  Monday, 1 August 2016


• Back-to-back Test series for Reiffel, Gould [1889-9468].

• Failure to use available lights criticised [1889-9469].

• Indian sports fraud bill likely to be delayed again [1889-9470].

• Aussies get a record they may not want [1889-9471].  

• Retired Bucknor ‘very keen’ to umpire in IPL [1889-9472].

• ECB fighting for community’s South Asian hearts [1889-9473].

• Samoan cricket alive and well in the Arctic [1889-9474].

Back-to-back Test series for Reiffel, Gould.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Sunday, 31 July 2016.

PTG 1889-9468.

Australian umpire Paul Reiffel is currently in Zimbabwe for the home side’s two-Test series against New Zealand, but he will stay in Africa for another few weeks after that for the Tests the Kiwis are to play against South Africa in Durban and Johannesburg in the last half of this month.  Reiffel and English umpires Ian Gould and Richard Inningworth, together with match referee Andy Pycroft will over see the two games.

Gould and Illingworth will be on-field for the first Test in Durban with Reiffel the television official, while in Johannesburg it will be Gould-Reiffel on-field and Illingworth the third umpire.  South African members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), Shaun George and Bongali Jele will work as fourth umpires in Tests one and two respectively, the latter his first appointment in his new IUP role (PTG 1875-9394, 12 July 2016).

The series will take Pycroft’s Test tally as a match referee to 48, while Gould, who is currently in the West Indies for their series against India, will take his to 53 on-field, and Reiffel to 25 on-field and 15 in the television spot (25/15) and Illingworth 22/8.

Failure to use available lights criticised.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Sunday, 31 July 2016.

PTG 1889-9469.

Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) decision that artificial lighting not be used at all in the series against Australia led to considerable time being lost in the opening match at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium last week.  Cricket Australia is reported to have argued, prior to the tour, that lights be allowed where needed, but SLC resisted because the venue of this week's second Test in Galle, as well as the third at Colombo’s Sinhalese Sports Club, do not have lights, and thus it believed the entire series should only be staged under natural light.  

The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) 'Standard Test Match Playing Conditions’ allow the use of artificial lighting "so that the match can continue in acceptable conditions” and thus allow "a full day’s play [to] be completed”.  However, that document also says that "prior to the commencement of [a] series [Home Boards may] seek the approval of ICC for artificial lights not to be be used at specific venues”.  

Fairfax Media journalist Jon Pierik wrote, prior to Australia’s loss in the game, that: “[SLC’s] decision to not allow the use of floodlights during this intriguing first Test has robbed players and, perhaps more importantly, local spectators and television viewers of the action they had paid for. It also makes the sport look silly”.  “When it comes to lighting [cricket] can still have a tendency to live in the dark ages” and he pointed to artificial lighting becoming a bigger issue if Tests are ever reduced to a maximum of four days (PTG 1884-9438, 24 July 2016). 

Indian sports fraud bill likely to be delayed again.

Jasvinder Sidhu.

Hindustan Times.

Sunday, 31 July 2016.

PTG 1889-9470.

India's Sports Fraud Bill, which was drafted in the aftermath of the 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) match-fixing scanda, is unlikely to be discussed in the Parliament in the on-going monsoon session which is due to end in September (PTG 1818-9088, 3 May 2016).  The Bill, which stipulates the jail term for officials, sportspersons and entities involved in corrupt practices in sport, is yet to be discussed in the Cabinet or the Parliament.

As currently drafted the Bill contains provisions for sentences of five to six years of imprisonment to those, including private companies such as IPL entities, directly or indirectly indulging in or attempting any sporting fraud. It clearly defines ‘inside information’ and ‘sporting fraud’ and states that ‘manipulation or attempt to manipulate result(s), irrespective of whether the outcome is actually altered or not’, will incur a jail term. In addition, "willfully failing to perform to his or her true potential for economic or any other advantage or benefit for oneself or for any other sports" will also be punishable.

Countries such as Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, Poland and Denmark already have laws for prevention of sporting frauds.  Many aspects in the draft Bill 2013 been adopted after studying the laws in these countries, especially Australia.

Aussies get a record they may not want.

Peter Lalor.

The Australian.

Sunday, 31 July 2016.

PTG 1889-9471.

Australia might have lost the first Test against Sri Lanka in Pallekele, but they came away from the game in possession of a record that no side will be in a hurry to take from them.  Lower order batsmen Steven O’Keefe and Peter Nevill were responsible for officially producing what some are calling the most boring partnership in the history of the game, The pair batted for 155 balls, or 25.4 overs, without scoring a solitary run.

The pair’s record making effort destroys the previous effort of 13.1 overs (79 balls) without scoring (by an England team in Madras) by 75 scoreless balls.  O’Keefe and Nevill also smashed the record for the lowest strike rate in the history of the game. By hitting just four runs, a boundary by O’Keefe, in 178 balls at a strike rate of 0.13 they took the crown from South Africa’s Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers whose 27 runs from 253 balls against India in 2015 gave them a strike rate of 0.76.

It is wrong, however, to suggest the long dry spell on the last day was boring as it came at a critical time in the match, the pair desperate to hang on and defy the Sri Lankans, just hoping that bad light or rain would stop play as it had on the four previous days of the match.  The ball was spinning every which way, fielders crowded the bat, appeals rang out and more than once the Umpire Decision Review System saved the Australians.

Retired Bucknor ‘very keen’ to umpire in IPL.

PTG Editor.

Media report.

Saturday, 30 July 2016.

PTG 1889-9472.

Former West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor, who easily hold the all-time record for the number of Test matches he has stood in, has told the ‘Pakistan Observer' he is “very keen” to umpire in the Indian Premier League (IPL).  Records available indicate that Jamaican Bucknor, who turned 70 in late May and left the international scene seven years ago, has not stood in a Twenty20 at any significant level and retired from umpiring almost immediately after his contract with the International Cricket Council ran out in June 2009.

Bucknor also said he can’t wait more to again meet Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar who is currently standing in the second Test between the West Indies and India at Sabina Park in Jamaica.  “Aleem Dar is like my younger brother. It has been a while when I last met him. I am very keen to meet him and will go to see him” at Sabina Park.  "I will not go on all five days but will visit the stadium on any one of the five days”.

After retiring from the cricket-umpiring Bucknor has been involved in football coaching and looks after a school’s Under-16 and Under-14 teams”.  He has also been the president of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association but left under a cloud (PTG 804-3935, 28 July 2011), and is also a former member of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s World Cricket Committee.  Referring to the IPL Bucknor told ‘Observer’ journalist Bipin Dani: “If the opportunity comes, I will grab it with with hands”.  

ECB fighting for community’s South Asian hearts.

The Sunday Times.

Sunday, 31 July 2016. 

PTG 1889-9473.

The week’s England-Pakistan Test match in Birmingham could not be better timed. At a meeting of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last week it was decided to formally recognise and work with the National Asian Cricket Council (NACC), a body created in 2014 to give voice to an estimated 40 per cent of recreational cricketers in England who are of South Asian origin.

In another significant development Kamlesh Patel, a British politician and member of the House of Lords, who was appointed to the ECB board last year (PTG 1589-7671, 10 July 2015), was detailed to chair a group to liaise between the ECB and Asian cricket community.  Among the potentially beneficial consequences is that this largely untapped and free-spirited constituency may ultimately provide England with the rich seam of mystery spinners for which they have long searched.

Birmingham, of course, is home to a large and avid Asian cricket community. Thanks to the presence in the England side of Moeen Ali, who grew up only a few miles from the Edgbaston ground though he ended up playing for Worcestershire, this community has probably never been more engaged with the national team, but it is also poorly resourced, heavily reliant on public parks for playing space, and largely disconnected from the established cricketing system.

One pioneering exception is Attock Cricket Club, a team of mainly Pakistan-origin players who, like many local Asian sides, were nomads until they struck an imaginative deal to initially refurbish and then share the facilities at Moseley School. Attock now successfully participate in the Birmingham League and run four Saturday teams, which may soon rise to six.

England’s Moeen, who attended Moseley School, is a close friend of Attock’s and turns out there every year in an end-of-season tournament.  “Moeen is a household name and a role model, a local lad who has done well”, said Nazir Khan, Attock’s chairman, who also sits on Warwickshire’s management board to provide a link with the local community. “People are asking, ‘If he can do it, have we got others like him somewhere in the system?’ But nobody is exploring that system properly".

“Go to any club in the Birmingham league and they will have three or four good Asian cricketers playing for them. They are integrated into the mainstream but are they thinking, ‘It is okay for me, I’m involved with a good club, but my buddies are playing in the parks, hundreds of them, and what do I do for them?’  I have raised my concerns about the standards of facilities Birmingham City Council provides for parks, but in times of austerity they have no money. This is where the NACC and the ECB can help, and also other schools with playing fields that are under-utilised”.

Gulfraz Riaz, the chairman of the NACC, echoes these concerns: “Sadly in 2016 we’ve still got Asian cricketers getting changed under trees and in car parks, and sheltering there from rain. The top of the game is rosy but at the bottom end it is a different world”.

Attock also has close links with the Pakistan team, who will attend a barbecue at the club after the Test match. They are coached by a former Pakistan domestic player in Haris Khan, and Mushtaq Mohammad, the former Pakistan Test captain, who has long lived in Birmingham, is Attock’s president; he has invited the Pakistan squad to train at the ground ahead of next year’s Champions Trophy.

Gulfraz Riaz points out that many Asians manage to make it into county age-group sides only to fall by the wayside before breaking into the first XIs.  “How come 40 per cent of all cricket in this country is played by the South Asian community but only five per cent of them make up the professional game?  There is a cultural hearts and minds journey to be made by both sides but the NACC will challenge the Asian community first. Parents need educating that to be a professional requires so much more than being good at batting and bowling".

Riaz said: "you can’t get a more visibly looking Muslim who is proud to wear the three lions shirt than Moeen and since he came on board I’ve heard British Asian-born children say that they want to play for England. That is new. I think there was a subconscious feeling that ‘Actually, we’re not accepted’”.

Neil Snowball, Warwickshire’s chief executive, said that the county is well aware of the untapped resource on their doorstep. “There’s talent out there in the parks. Our community coaches have found that. This year we paid for 30 coaches from the Asian community to do their Level Two coaching courses so that they could work in the parks, and the feedback was that there are some outstanding cricketers out there. We want them to get involved with Warwickshire and Birmingham Bear”.

Snowball added that the decision in 2014 to adopt the Birmingham Bears name for the ECB's Twenty20 competition had helped local Asians identify with the club.  “It was a controversial decision but it is definitely working”, Snowball said. “The concept of Warwickshire was not there for them. Connecting with inner-city Birmingham was a big part of the reason for the change”.

Warwickshire have sought to further strengthen links by allocating each member of the playing staff as mentors to local clubs. Ian Bell, Warwickshire’s captain, was attached to Attock and conducted a coaching masterclass only 10 days ago. “The youngsters loved him”, Nasir Khan said. 

The challenge, of course, is not purely confined to Birmingham, but extends to East London, Luton and Bradford among other places. Patel is already involved with the redevelopment of the Park Avenue ground that was once a regular home for Yorkshire, a move that is designed to address a chronic shortage of playing space in Bradford. What everyone is desperate to avoid is for cricket among the Asian community to decline in the way it did for Afro-Caribbeans.

Samoan cricket alive and well in the Arctic.

Beth Bragg.

Alaska Dispatch News

Sunday, 31 July 2016. 

PTG 1889-9474.

Check out David Park in the Alaskan city of Anchorage on Saturday’s this northern summer and you’ll easily pick up some of the unwritten but traditional rules of what is commonly called Samoan cricket or ‘Kilikiti’.  Samoan cricket was first played in Anchorage in 2006, and ten years on seven men's  and four women's teams now make up the United Samoan Organistion Cricket League.

‘Kilikiti’ is part sport, part food fest, part hokey-pokey and part multi-generational gathering.  The game itself is based on British cricket which was introduced to the Samoan Islands more than a century ago by visiting missionaries and military personnel.  “Cricket is our favorite game”, said Lucy Hansen, president of the Polynesian Association of Alaska, and "the most important game in our culture”.

The Samoan population in Anchorage numbers about 8,000, Hansen said, and cricket is something that can be played by all its members, young or old, big or small, experienced or novice.  As many as six games are played on most Saturdays.  With long daylight hours in summer at Latitude 61 North, the first game starts at 8 a.m. and the last ends around 8 p.m. or later.

Anchorage's version of Samoan cricket involves two teams of 20 players apiece. Instead of wearing the crisp, white suits seen in British cricket, players wear lavalava, Samoa's traditional and often colorful wrap-around skirts. 

Because the day lasts so long, there's usually more than one meal. On a recent Saturday one team's players dined on a post-game meal of fried chicken, fried plantains, white rice and sapa sui, also called chop suey.  “This is the best part of the game”, said one player as he dug into a styrofoam container loaded with food, However, while food is abundant, no alcohol is allowed.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,890

  Wednesday, 3 August 2016

 

• Four-day Tests would change the nature of first-class cricket [1890-9475].

• Play stopped after geese unload 'on a good length' [1890-9476].

• Three players disciplined by ECB [1890-9477].

• Bangladesh, Pakistan bowlers hoping for ICC retests soon [1890-9478].

• Zim financial stresses to see Tests replaced by tri-nation ODIs? [1890-9479].

• Sussex Premier League delays planned 2017 restructure [1890-9480].

• NZ competition moves from two to one-day format [1890-9481].

Four-day Tests would change the nature of first-class cricket/

Simon Heffer.

London Daily Telegraph.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016.

PTG 1890-9475.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) will next month debate whether Test matches should be shortened to four days. Those advocating truncation - and most Test-playing nations appear to be - have powerful facts on their side.  After all, the first two England Tests against Pakistan over the last two weeks finished within four days, and a similar outcome has been all too frequent recently: 41.5 per cent of matches have ended before the fifth day in the last five years.

Whatever happens to the County Championship, the logical and logistical arguments for four-day Test matches are powerful; but we should be aware how little cricket we might be getting. The scandalously low over-rates in modern Tests make the game boring and are a fraud on the public: and neither the ICC nor individual national authorities seem prepared to do anything about them - such as sacking captains who tolerate them and fining teams who perpetrate them so much that their players barely get paid. If talk about improving over-rates is not just rhetoric, it should be remembered that the money argument always concentrates minds.

The recent Lord's Test against Pakistan lasted 333.3 overs. That is fewer than used to be bowled in the 1980s during a three-day County Championship match.  If we are to have four-day Tests again - and they or three-day games were the norm until Bradman's last tour in 1948 - then shorter scheduled matches will change the nature of Test cricket. Should it really become easier for a bad side to hold out for a draw than it is now, for that consideration will affect the long-term balance of the international game. A game being cut from a possible 450 overs to just 360 will be less of a Test, because poor batting sides will find the draw more in reach.

People say it is unrealistic to insist on, say, 105 overs a day, even though that means lifting the notional rate merely from 15 to 17 overs and three balls an hour: but even 105 overs would only be 420 overs in the game. A generation or two ago 450 overs in four six-hour days would have been considered routine: fewer than 19 an hour.

England struggled to bowl 13 overs an hour at Old Trafford last week, which would mean two hours of extra time in a 105-over day. We know the reasons: the interminable reviews (which should be treated like injury time in football, with time added on at the end of the day until eventually umpires are replaced by infallible robots who can give an instant correct decision); the drinks breaks even when freezing cold; the posing by bowlers between balls; endless on-field conferences; time-wasting by batsmen; and so on.

The rhythm of the game has become interminably slow, and because matches finish in four days anyway no one seems to mind. Given the extortionate prices of tickets, someone should.  Four-day matches are fine: day-night matches are fine: but not if they dilute the quality and demands of the cricket. And the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) must also remember that cutting the County Championship further will eradicate another slice of the paying public, and further reduce the potential audience for Test cricket.

The ECB should understand that Test cricket will not survive unless it does something to boost enthusiasm for the county first-class game, ensures more England stars play in it, and takes it to more, not fewer, out-grounds. At the moment the ECB gives the impression that first-class cricket is the granny in the attic. If it does not make it compelling again, it soon will be.

Editor's note:  A poll being conducted by the Cricinfo web site which asks 'yes' or 'no to the question "Are you in favour of Tests being reduced to four days?" has so far brought 45,844 responses.  Just over 21 per cent (9,760) answered 'yes' and 79 per cent, or 36,084, 'no'.

Play stopped after geese unload 'on a good length'.

Daily Express.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016.

PTG 1890-9476.

A match being played in Leicestershire on Sunday was halted after a flock of around 50 low-flying geese deposited a mass of droppings on the pitch.  Michael Shipman, one of the umpires, described the event as the most bizarre interruption to a game he had experienced in more than 60 years as a player and official.

The geese sabotaged the pitch during the closing stages of the game between teams from Syston and Woodhouse Eaves.  Hosts Syston were closing in on victory in the County Cup tie when the birds flew about 20 feet over the ground and left deposits on the pitch.  Players standing under the birds' flight path were forced to take evasive action and play had to be stopped for sometime while the mess was cleared up.  "It was right on a length. We had to stop the game", said Shipman.

The other umpire, Alan Pearce, said: "I was at square leg and Michael was at the bowler's end.  Almost as if out of nowhere what I assume were geese were flying very low across the ground and making a hell of a noise.  Some of the players were covering their heads because of the droppings".  Syston club member Andy Corbett, who was among the spectators, gathered towels from a tea lady and cleared up the mess.  

Corbett said the birds had taken off from a field behind the scoreboard and were heading towards a nearby lake when they decided to relieve themselves.  Shipman added: "I think umpires going to Syston are going to have to wear crash helmets in future!"

Three players disciplined by ECB.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016.

PTG 1890-9477.


The England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) Cricket Discipline Commission has handed out penalties to England Under-19 player George Panayl, and two members of the Yorkshire Diamond's Womens' Super League (WSL) side, Jenny Gunn and Hollie Armitage, under the ECB’s disciplinary code. 


Panayl was reported by umpires Jeremy Lloyds and Steve O’Shaughnessy during England’s yough Test against Pakistan at the end of July for the Level Two offence of “using language that is obscene of a seriously insulting nature to another player, umpire, referee, team official or spectator”.  The penalty for this breach is three penalty points.


Gunn and Armitage were both reported by umpires Ben Debenham and Tom Lungley during their side's WSL match against Loughborough last Saturday for “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision by word or action”, both incidents being Level One breaches.  Both players have been reprimanded as a result.


The penalties given to the three players will remain on their records for a period of two years and the accumulation on nine points in any two year period will result in an automatic suspension.

Bangladesh, Pakistan bowlers hoping for ICC retests soon.

Mohammad Isam.

Cricinfo.

Monday, 1 August 2016.

PTG 1890-9478.

Bangladesh fast bowler Taskin Ahmed and his slow left hand orthodox colleague Arafat Sunny, whose actions were found illegal after independent assessments earlier this year (PTG 1784-8908, 20 March 2016), are likely to have their remodelled delivery styles tested by the International Cricket Council (ICC) later this month.

Taskin underwent rehabilitation work with Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) coach Mahbub Ali Zaki while he was playing in the Dhaka Premier League from April-June. On Sunday he was tested in front of the BCB's bowling-action review committee who employed six cameras during the session at the National Cricket Academy ground in Mirpur.  

BCB's Management Information Systems manager Nasir Ahmed said that the committee will analyse the footage which will give them a picture of Taskin's improvement.  "We will analyse the footage of this test and those from his rehab", said Nasir.  "We have done the test in 2D camera, but the ICC's test will be in 3D so it will be hard to be 100 per cent sure about his action, however, we can judge how much he has improved and whether he has been able to grasp what he was told to work on".

According to BCB sources, national coach Chandika Hathurusingha believes that both bowlers should be sent for testing in August, well in time for the team's preparation ahead of England's visit in October.

Meanwhile the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has appointed English coach Carl Crowe to help off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez prepare for an ICC test in the near future (P[TG 1884-9442, 24 July 2016).  Hafeez has already started working with Crowe in Worcestershire.  In the past the Englishman worked with West Indian spinner Sunil Narine whose action was eventually found to be legal (PTG 1796-8972, 9 April 2016).

Zim financial stresses to see Tests replaced by tri-nation ODIs?

Cricinfo.

Monday, 1 August 2016.

PTG 1890-9479.

Just as Zimbabwe are getting back to Test cricket, they face the prospect of another lengthy stint without matches in the longest format.  It is understood that Sri Lanka's tour of Zimbabwe in October-November, pencilled into the Future Tours Program as two Tests, three One Day Internationals (ODI) and a Twenty20 International, may instead consist of a triangular ODI series featuring Sri Lanka and West Indies.  A source said that "Zimbabwe never really intended for Sri Lanka to play Tests as it is not financially viable", and that a three-team, fifty-over competition is "definitely being planned".

Should that happen, Zimbabwe could go without Tests for another 11 months, with their next Tests scheduled as away matches in Sri Lanka in July 2017. They will also go 14 months without home Tests, until West Indies visit in October 2017. Already, Zimbabwe have gone 20 months without a Test - the gap between their series against Bangladesh in 2014 and the current on-going series against New Zealand - and almost two years without a Test at home, since last hosting South Africa in August 2014.

The costs of a home tour for Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) are crippling, not only because of their growing debt, but because of the economic situation in the country as a whole. With businesses struggling to survive, ZC battle for local sponsorship. They only turn a profit when hosting India or England, but luckily have had two successive years of limited-overs cricket against India to tide them over so far.  Still, Zimbabwe are battling to meet the costs involved in running the domestic game. The franchise system has been dismantled and there is a move back to provincial cricket, which has been divided into a two-tier structure. ZC has also gone through a restructure which has involved several retrenchments and salary cuts, and it is still in discussions over how to structure player contracts.

Sussex Premier League delays planned 2017 restructure.

West Sussex County Times.

Monday, 1 August 2016.

PTG 1890-9480.

The proposed restructure for the Sussex Premier Cricket League (SPCL) for the 2017 English season has been delayed after more than 20 clubs raised concerns that changes planned were rushed through and are flawed.  Four SCPL clubs - Ansty, Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath and Lindfield - raised the concerns and had backing from more than 20 of the 40 member clubs.  They called for a Special General Meeting, but the League has since decided instead to delay the restructure.

SPCL chairman Bob Warren told clubs via e-mail his executive "acknowledges the concerns voiced by a number of member clubs" regarding the restructure and has decided, with the agreement of Zac Toumazi, the Chief Executive of the Sussex Cricket Foundation, previously the Sussex Cricket Board, to delay the re-organisation. Warren indicted that "a strategic group" which is under the chairmanship of SPCL President, David Bowden, is looking at the development of Sussex Cricket in the whole.  They will, says Warren "come up with major recommendations [and] their interim report will be available in September".

While that is underway Warren points out that the SPCL has to decide, given "all our clubs are playing this season with the proposed league construction for 2017 in mind, what we are going to do with the 20 teams, who would have been moving to [what had been] the proposed feeder leagues" next year.

NZ competition moves from two to one-day format.

Wayne Martin.

Nelson Mail.

Tueasday, 2 August 2016.

PTG 1890-9481.

The Nelson Cricket Association (NCA) has decided to replace its traditional two-day senior club competition with a new one-day format during the coming austral summer, however, its 50-overs and Twenty-20 competitions will continue.  NCA community cricket co-ordinator Jon Routhan said they'd decided to adopt the new arrangement after heeding advice from clubs and players about the format used. 

According to Routhan, there has been some player dissatisfaction with two-day cricket for a number of seasons and in an attempt to keep more people involved in the game, and also to fall in line with similar-sized associations around the country, they had opted to introduce the shorter format.  He said the NCA "always put our surveys out to our clubs and players at the end of the season and it reached  a point with our feedback this year that it deserved serious consideration".

Routhan indicated he "spent a month of solid research looking into what was going on around the country and it was pretty obvious straight away that we were the smallest region still playing two-day cricket, geographically and numerically. Looking at what other similar regions were playing - the Hawke's Bays, the Bay of Plentys, the Canterbury Countrys - they haven't played two-day cricket for years but it certainly hasn't affected their ability to win Hawke Cups and produce first class players.  "I guess the argument that we needed two-day cricket to prepare people for Hawke Cup cricket kind of got to a point where we had to look at it and think, `is there another way we can do it'".

The new one-day competition will be played with a red ball over 110 overs with the team batting first able to bat up to 60 overs.  That arrangement is used by many competitions in England, the side batting second able to add any overs their opponents don't use in their innings to the minimum 50 they are allowed.   A win will be worth 15 points, with seven points for a draw.  Batting and bowling bonus points would be the same as for the two-day competition, with bowlers limited to 14 overs each. The one fielding restriction, apart from the basic requirement set out by the Laws, is that a team can have no more than five players outside a 30 m circle.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,891

  Thursday, 4 August 2016


• County chiefs being gagged so ECB T20 city franchise plans don’t leak [1891-9482].

• BCCI comes out against two-tier Test system [1891-9483].

• CPL suspends player over security breach [1891-9484].

• Gloucestershire all-rounder's bowling action cleared [1891-9485].

• Abandoned 'Protected Area' picnic leaves club 'appalled' [1891-9486].

County chiefs being gagged so ECB T20 city franchise plans don’t leak.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Thursday, 4 August 2016.

PTG 1891-9482

County chief executives have been told to sign gagging orders by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to prevent details of the national body's Twenty20 plans becoming public.  That news comes after it was revealed last week that the ECB is planning to launch a city-based T20 tournament from 2018 with new teams, but with the 18 counties as shareholders in the competition (PTG 1887-9451, 29 July 2016).  

The ECB is currently meeting chief executives on a one-to-one basis to give them details of its plans before a summit of all ECB members in mid-September.  However, such is the secrecy around the ECB’s plans, the at the end of meetings county chief executive are being asked to sign non-disclosure agreements.  The gagging clauses prevents chief executives from discussing the ECB’s plans with members at their own clubs. They can only discuss details with their club chairman and members will have to wait until after the meeting with the ECB in September to learn fully about the proposals for change. 

The political climate is tense with the ECB requiring a two-thirds majority to push through change. The 18 counties, the Marylebone Cricket Club and the 39 recreational boards will all have a vote. If their plans are rejected, Colin Graves, the chairman, and Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, will then have to decide whether to risk a vote of no confidence by forcing change through at board level.

The Test match ground counties held a meeting in London on Tuesday to try and form their own voting bloc under fears the smaller counties will form their alliance to prevent city cricket becoming a reality.

BCCI comes out against two-tier Test system.

New Indian Express.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016.

PTG 1891-9483.

Anurag Thakur, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has said his board will oppose the proposed two-tier Test system to "protect the interests" of smaller member nations. As the head of the powerful BCCI, Thakur's statement lends heft to the criticism of the proposal by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), even as the boards of Australian and New Zealand have welcomed the move.

"The BCCI is against the two-tier Test system because the smaller countries will lose out and the BCCI wants to take care of them", said Thakur. "It is necessary to protect their interests".  While SLC voiced skepticism about the financial model of the two-tier system, the BCB felt Bangladesh's growth would be affected should they be divorced from the top teams, its vice-president Mahbubul Anam saying five weeks ago: "We believe that more we play against competitive sides, the better we will get, [otherwise] our cricket will regress" (PTG 1864-9348, 28 June 2016).

According to Thakur: "In the two-tier system, [some nations] will lose out on a lot, including revenue and the opportunity to play against top teams.  We don't want that to happen. We want to work in the best interests of world cricket and that is why our team plays against all the countries".  A meeting scheduled by the International Cricket Council in Dubai next month is aimed at sorting out a range of issues, including the suggested two-tier Test system (PTG 1868-9368, 4 July 2016).

CPL suspends player over security breach.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 4 August 2016.

PTG 1891-9484.

The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) has suspended the Trinbago Knight Riders franchise batsman William Perkins for the remainder of the season for handing his Official Access pass to a third party for the side's CPL game against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in Florida on Sunday.  

The CPL, which called Perkins’ action "a serious breach", said that "members of its Security team in collaboration with the International Cricket Council (ICC) Anti-Corruption Manager Richard Reynolds", found the pass "had been handed to an external party".  Perkins accepted the charges for what the CPL said was "breaching the ICC's Minimum Standards for Players and [several] clauses [in his] the player contract". 

Gloucestershire all-rounder's bowling action cleared.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016.

PTG 1891-9485.

Gloucestershire all-rounder Jack Taylor can resume bowling off-spin after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) lifted his ban "with immediate effect" on Wednesday.  In June, Taylor's action was reported as suspect for the second time in his career, and he was subsequently banned from bowling (PTG 1843-9239, 3 June 2016).  After undergoing remedial work on his action he was re-tested last Thursday at the ECB's national academy in Loughborough.  Taylor had previously been reported in 2013 and he went on to miss the remainder of the ECB's domestic season to work on his action.  He was then cleared to bowl again in February 2014 (PTG 1289-6216, 11 February 2014).

Abandoned 'Protected Area' picnic leaves club 'appalled'.

Ilford Recorder.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016.

PTG 1890-9486.

The remains of the late night picnic, which looks as though it was abandoned half way through, were left on the pitch at the Ilford Cricket Club's (ICC) ground at Valentines Park overnight last Saturday-Sunday.  ICC chairman Maz Malik said: “The ground was clean and tidy when our players left around 8 p.m. on Saturday and those involved obviously came after that and decided the pitch area was a pleasant place for a picnic.  They left under cover of darkness and exited the park. They could not have done this in broad day light because someone would have stopped them. It’s just appalling behaviour".  The club has now cleaned up the mess.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,892

  Friday, 5 August 2016

• Bowler apologises to umpires for ‘petulant' behaviour [1892-9487].

• Club to mark scorer’s 50 years of service [1892-9488].

• Overseas officials featuring in CPL finals [1892-9489].

• CA announces Under-17 tournament umpires [1892-9490].

Bowler apologises to umpires for ‘petulant' behaviour.

George Dobell.

Cricinfo.

Thursday, 4 August 2016.

PTG 1892-9487.

England bowler James Anderson has apologised to umpires Bruce Oxenford and Joel Wilson for behaviour he admits was "petulant" and "unacceptable" on the second day of the third Investec Test at Edgbaston on Thursday.  Anderson clashed with Oxenford after he was twice warned about running into the Protected Area, therefore if he encroaches there again during Pakistan's first innings, which will resume on Friday morning, the umpires can withdraw him from the attack.

When Oxenford, who had been prompted to warn Anderson by the intervention of the TV umpire Kumar Dharmasena, repeatedly asked him to move away from the pitch in the immediate aftermath of delivery, Anderson appeared to remonstrate angrily.  But, having seen a replay of himself remonstrating with Oxenford, Anderson accepted that such factors were no excuse and concluded that he had over-stepped the mark and took the decision to apologise. 

"It was a frustrating day”, said Anderson afterwards. "I had a bad half-hour where I let things got to me. I've apologised to both umpires as my behaviour wasn't acceptable. It was a bit petulant.  I wasn't convinced that I had [run on the pitch], but Bruce had the third or fourth umpire in his ear telling him I was.  Having seen my reactions on TV, it doesn't look great when I'm pointing at the pitch. I don't necessarily think it was what I said, it was just the way I behaved.  I've apologised and hopefully that will be the end of it”.

It is not the first time Anderson has succumbed to bouts of petulance. He was, for a long time, a persistent sledger of opposition batsmen and infamously clashed with India’s Ravindra Jadeja during a Test at Trent Bridge two years ago (PTG 1405-6788, 4 August 2014). Since that incident, however, he has appeared to rein in that side of his character but admitted he struggles to balance the "competitive edge" he feels he requires to succeed at this level with the standards of behaviour expected of an international player.  

"That competitive edge has helped me throughout my career”, Anderson said. "I know there are times I can get close to that line. I try to control it, but I don't want to lose that competitive edge. It's a balancing act.  Anderson will hope that his apology will appease the officials. But it will be no surprise if match referee Richie Richardson cites him for dissent.

Club to mark scorer’s 50 years of service

ChrisTravers.

Stoke Sentinal.

Thursday, 4 August 2016.

PTG 1892-9488.

Stuart Foster, who scores for the Longton Cricket Club in the North Staffs and South Chesire Premier League (NSSCPL),  is used to recording landmarks – and this weekend he'll be reaching his own half-century.  The club's Premier Division home game against Porthill Park on Saturday will mark the 50th anniversary of Foster's first game as Longton's man in the score box.  The 81-year-old, from Blurton, took over scoring duties in 1966, a week after England beat West Germany 4-2 to lift the World Cup... and hasn't looked back.

“It's a long time and I remember starting as though it was yesterday”, said Foster.  “I'd just come out of hospital and didn't go to the game at Norton the next day until tea.  “My wife, Ivy, said [then Langton captain] Doug Henson was after me because we didn't have a scorer.  I used to go to the matches and score in my own book while watching, so I knew what it was all about.  Doug came up to me and asked if I'd score and I said I'd help him out”.

There's been plenty of success for Foster to chart in his years in the score box.  Longton have won the championship three times in a row on two separate occasions – and are the only original NSSCPL side never to be relegated from the top division.  There's also been an array of outstanding cricketers who Foster has had the pleasure of watching while keeping score.  “I've really enjoyed it and have seen some great players like Gary Sobers, Nasim Ul Ghani, Nathan Astle and Alfonso Thomas”.  “I am grateful to my wife who has supported me through it all.  We have made a lot of friends and, who knows, maybe some enemies as well!"

Foster went on: “A couple of years ago I thought I'd had enough, but Ivy said if I didn't continue being Longton's scorer, what would we do on a Saturday?”  Aside from scoring Foster, a retired sale representative, has filled a number of other important roles for the club.  He was club secretary from 1975 to 1986, when he stepped aside due to work commitments. He has been assistant secretary and was also club president from 1997 to 2004.  He is also a club representative at NSSCPL meetings and has served on Longton's management committee since 1969.  His commitment to Longton has been a family affair, with his wife Ivy, aged 84, also playing a prominent role behind the scenes.

Longton are planning a day of celebration on Saturday to mark Foster's achievement.  He admits he's unaware what will happen as the club celebrate his landmark, but says he's happy to continue beyond his half-century if his services are required.  “I know there's things going on, but it's going to be a surprise as to what”, he said.  “As for the future, I don't know what is going to happen.  “I'd certainly carry on if Longton wanted me to”.

Overseas officials featuring in CPL finals. 

PTG Editor.

Friday, 5 August 2016.

PTG 1892-9489.

The Caribbean Premier League’s (CPL) three overseas match officials, John Ward from Australia, South Africans Johan Cloete and Devas Govindjee, and West Indians Leslie Reifer Jr and Wycliffe Mitchum, have been chosen to manage the CPL’s four-match deciding series, the final of which is scheduled to be played on the island of St Kitts on Sunday.   

Cloete, Reifer and Ward have shared the six on-field and three television spots in the first three finals games, Govindjee being the match referee and Mitchum the fourth umpire.  Appointments for Sunday’s final have not yet been announced, however, last year the CPL used both of its overseas imports, Ward and his countryman Mick Martell, on-field, Govindjee was the match referee, and West Indian Peter Nero the television umpire.

Over the last 36 days Govindjee has looked after 18 CPL games, the same number as Ward with 13 on-field and 5 as the television umpire (13/5), Cloete and Reifer both 12/6, while Mitchum’s involvement has been limited to five matches played on his home island. 

CA announces Under-17 tournament umpires.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 5 August 2016.

PTG 1892-9490.

Cricket Australia (CA) has selected 10 umpires to stand in its men’s 2016-17 Under-17 national championship series, five of whom have already chalked up a total of seven such events over the last five years.  

Of the ten, Hennie Boates of Western Australia, Muhammad Qureshi from Tasmania and Jayvan Ruddick-Collins of Queensland have stood in one such series previously, while Andrew Crozier (Australian Capital Territory) and Cain Kemp (South Australia) have two previous series under their belt.  

Those who will be making their debut are Crozier’s colleague Dinusha Bandara, Steven Farrell (Queensland), Nick Ferns (Victoria), and Troy Penman and Glenn Stebbings (New South Wales).  Kemp and Qureshi are the only one of the ten to have stood in CA Futures League State Second XI to date.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,893

  Saturday, 6 August 2016

 

• ECB want England to play fewer Tests, more T20 Internationals [1893-9491].

• Third 'Protected Area' transgression sees Anderson taken off [1893-9492].

ECB want England to play fewer Tests, more T20 Internationals.

Huw Turbervill.

London Daily Telegraph.

Friday, 5 August 2016.

PTG 1893-9491.

England will play more Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) and fewer Tests in future as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) looks to change the international calendar after 2019.  The ECB is looking to play six Tests, six One Day Internationals and six T20Is per summer starting in 2020, the year its next broadcast deal will kick in, according to a report published in the ‘Cricketer' magazine.  By cutting the number of Test matches per summer by one and 50 over games by four it will open up more space to play a domestic T20 tournament in a block during high summer.

England have played seven Tests most summers since 2000. The ECB are determined for cricket to access all areas, and T20Is are seen as crucial in capturing new fans.  Most boards believe income from international cricket will drop in future which is why the ECB is intent on relaunching its T20 competition to plug the gap and tap into a younger, new market. Cutting the number of Tests will increase competition to host matches, especially with Lord’s likely to keep its two Tests per summer particularly in years when two touring teams visit England.

The ECB are continuing to hold talks with the 18 first-class counties – a handful at a time – over the future of its domestic T20 competition.  It seems likely an Indian Premier League-style tournament lasting three to four weeks in the school summer holidays will result, possibly as early as 2018.  It is believed that the ECB are struggling to persuade two-thirds of counties to vote for a new city-based competition from 2018 (PTG 1891-9482, 4 August 2016).

Sussex chairman Jim May wants his county to be part of a new competition. “The ECB constitution says all counties need to play in all competitions”, he said.“We are a big country – there are 60 million people in the UK.  It’s not like Australia where there are 20m. They have six states, we have 18 counties – that sounds about right to me.  It’s a good product, it just needs to be a smaller window. When was the last time a leading Indian cricketer played in county cricket?  It also needs a better broadcasting deal, with the domestic game not bundled in with international cricket”.

Third 'Protected Area' transgression sees Anderson taken off.

PTG Editor.

Match reports.

Friday, 5 August 2016.

PTG 1893-9492.

England bowler James Anderson was removed from the attack for running into the Protected Area in the first session of the third day of the Test against Pakistan at Edgbaston on Friday.  Anderson had been warned twice for that offence the day before, later admitting that he had reacted in a “petulant” manner when spoken to by the umpires (PTG 1892-9487, 5 August 2016).  

Anderson bowled six overs straight at the start of Friday’s play, then had a seven over spell before returning for four more before transgressing on the first ball of the fifth, his eleventh of the day.  It’s the second time this year he has suffered the same fate, having also had to sit out the remainder of South Africa's innings at Johannesburg seven months ago (PTG 1739-8645, 16 January 2016).  

The umpires’ attention to the Protected Area in the current Test came after some observers questioned as to why, during the first Test of the series at Lord’s, the handling of such issues was not better managed.  One commentator said after Anderson was taken out of the attack on Friday that the umpires “have gone from allowing everything to now allowing absolutely nothing”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,894

  Sunday, 7 August 2016

 

• Essex all-rounder earns black mark over coloured bat [1894-9493].

• England's Test over rate reaches a horrible new low [1894-9494].

• Threat of shorter breaks should whet the appetite for quicker play [1894-9495].

• ICC names neutral officials for Ireland-Pakistan ODI series [1894-9496].

• Protesters use Test match to make their point [1894-9497].

Essex all-rounder earns black mark over coloured bat.

Simon Wilde.

The Sunday Times.

Sunday, 7 August 2016.

PTG 1894-9493.

Essex all-rounder Ashar Zaidi is exploring again using a coloured bat in his side’s Twenty20 quarter-final at Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on Monday despite being told the black bat with which he scored a match-winning fifty against Middlesex in the group stage broke regulations.  Zaidi has revealed that his intention is to publicise his support for charities working in Syria.

Zaidi used the black bat to strike an explosive 59 off 24 balls in a televised game at Lord’s the week before last.  He said: “It was a plan with my sponsors. I support 'Save the Children' and some charities working in Syria and my aim was to get people interested, then set up a [web] page supporting my charities, and then something good [would come] for people who are suffering.  I was disappointed the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) stopped me using that bat. It was shown to match officials prior to the game and they were happy. After the game I was told I was not allowed to use it. I’m trying to work around it”. 

Pakistan-born Zaidi said "the Laws suggest the back or edges of the bat can be of any colour, just [not] the blade or front but hopefully I’ll be able to use it in the quarter-final”.  Law6.6(d) which he fell foul of at Lord’s refers solely to the front of the bat, or blade, which states that, “the surface of the blade may be treated with non-solid materials to improve resistance to moisture penetration . . . [but] such treatment must not materially alter the colour of the blade”.

However, Appendix E of the Laws appears to prevent him blackening the back of the bat also; it states that commercial identifications “on the back of the blade . . . must occupy no more than 50 per cent of the surface”.  Zaidi may claim that colouring the bat does not represent commercial identification. He was hoping to use stickers provided by his sponsors on his bat at Lord’s but they did not arrive in time so he used black paint instead.

England’s Moeen Ali was judged to have contravened International Cricket Council regulations by wearing “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine” wristbands during a Test at Southampton in 2014 (PTG 1402-6779, 30 July 2014).  He was supported by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over the incident, and it does not appear Zaidi would break ECB regulations by publicly supporting charities.

Zaidi, 35, plays county cricket as a local after acquiring a British passport through marriage.  He has a history of involvement in disciplinary incidents, though not all of his own making. Last year Craig Overton, the Somerset all-rounder, was found guilty of racially abusing him in a championship match (PTG 1713-8487, 15 December 2015), and earlier this season Tino Best, the Hampshire fast bowler, threw a ball at him when he was batting in a T20 (PTG 1871-9380, 7 July 2016).

In 2010 he was banned for two matches while playing for Wood Lane in the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire Premier League for picking up a stump and brandishing it at a bowler who gave him a send-off, and in 2014 was given a suspended one-match sentence after taking to ‘Twitter' to condemn an umpiring decision that went against him while playing for Sussex (PTG 1344-6497, 3 May 2014).  Asked about the Wood Lane suspension, Zaidi said: “I can’t seem to remember that — it was a long time ago, sorry”.

Zaidi still lives in Manchester with his family and commutes to matches in a distinctive old jalopy, a Honda Civic with “Zaidi” emblazoned on the back windscreen. “It’s my travelling car which I’ve had for years”, he said. “It’s a nice little runner. It’s got a lot of mileage but I don’t want to ruin my new [sponsored] car. I don’t care how it looks as long as it does the job”, Rather like his bat.

England's Test over rate reaches a horrible new low

Lawrence Booth.

Daily Mail.

Saturday, 6 August 2016.

PTG 1894-9494.

Life, we are constantly told, is speeding up. But Test cricket seems determined to head in the other direction.  Between lunch and tea on the third day in Birmingham on Friday, England contrived to bowl just 20 overs. Even accounting for the fact that idealists have long given up on the idea of international teams sending down a figure as modest as 15 overs an hour, 20 in two felt like a new low.

There were mitigating factors, but then there always are. In the first over after the 40-minute lunch break, Jimmy Anderson took issue with the footholes from the Pavilion End. Then there were a couple of reviews. Then Sarfraz Ahmed hurt his hand.  Throw in the obligatory drinks break, the fall of five Pakistani wickets, and a kerfuffle which ended with Anderson being removed from the attack for running on the pitch, and a crowd of 23,592 were treated to what must have been one of the slowest sessions in Test history.

It was up there – or maybe down there – with the time Curtly Ambrose kept doing up his shoelaces as England desperately chased runs in the Trinidadian gloom.  Does this matter when the game itself is proceeding at a reasonable rate, with both first innings over by tea on day three? Isn’t an unhurried essence part of Test cricket’s charm?  Well, yes and no. No one expects the five-day game to rival Twenty20 for rough and tumble. But cricket earns its corn from the fans. Without them, no broadcaster would touch it, and the players would vanish into irrelevance. The Test format, in particular, is never far from existential crisis.

It’s a good idea, then, to keep giving spectators reasons to attend. And for every one dressed as a banana or wearing a traffic cone or dancing the congo, there is another who wants value for money: the priciest tickets here cost £61 ($A105).  Instead, cricket finds ways of sweeping its sluggishness under the greensward. Shortly after tea, by when England had managed 46 overs in four hours, it emerged that they had been granted eight overs’ leeway because of the various stoppages, thus sparing captain Alastair Cook a likely ban.

Captains found guilty of two over-rate transgressions in the space of 12 months automatically miss the next match – and Cook’s most recent fine occurred at the end of August 2015, against Australia at The Oval (PTG 1630-7959, 29 August 2015).  There is, though, a wider issue at stake. In their search for a way of repackaging Test cricket for the modern audience, the administrators – led by England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves – are pushing for four-day matches, comprising 105 overs a day.

The players are less keen, and on this evidence you can see why: 20 overs in one session would leave 85 in the other two. Now that really is cloud cuckoo land.  Old-timers will say it is no such thing. When Don Bradman made 254 at Lord’s in 1930 to help Australia to 729 for six, England are said to have rattled through 23 overs an hour – the kind of rate which would make Graves’s proposal a reality.

Those days, of course, are gone. Stoppages are the new breathing-spaces, craved by the players, indulged by the umpires, sanctioned by the suits. With 50 minutes to go on Friday evening, and 21 overs to be bowled, a gaggle of 12th men ran on for impromptu drinks. And no one batted an eyelid.  If Test cricket is serious about keeping up with the times, it should prove it. Make the players refund the crowd for overs unbowled – and watch the rate rise through the roof. 

Threat of shorter breaks should whet the appetite for quicker play.

Scyld Berry.

London Daily Telegraph.

Sunday, 7 August 2016.

PTG 1894-9495.

It will not be an irony if the third Test between England and Pakistan at Edgbaston is drawn when another hour of play could have achieved a definite result. It will be a travesty.  That is because the players and umpires have taken 11 overs – or virtually one hour – out of this match through their dilatoriness. Bowlers amble back to their mark, umpires allow subs on to the field to do anything bar field, and captains – instead of conducting at the tempo of Simon Rattle – now take the extra half-hour and a 6.30 p.m. finish for granted. So a Test match meanders, not rattles, along.

Fines will not work. The only solution is to hit the players and umpires where it hurts, not their pockets but their stomachs.  Take the first morning of a Test: if 30 overs have not been bowled by one o’clock, play on until the quota has been completed and reduce the 40-minute lunch interval accordingly. The first session, being dominated by the pace bowlers, is often the slowest of the three – Pakistan bowled 26 overs on the first morning after sending England in – but if the players and umpires see their break cut in half, after taking 20 more minutes to bowl the four extra overs, that will concentrate the mind – and appetite.

The tea break is even more precious as 20 minutes for everyone to put the feet up. So batsmen, who can be just as dilatory if they want, will be working with the bowlers, fielders and umpires to make sure that 60 overs are bowled by then – rather than falling two overs short and seeing their tea break cut in half.  Only one bowler in this match has bowled his overs at the desired rate: Pakistan’s wrist-spinner Yasir Shah. Even when England had a right-hander and a left-hander batting together, and rotating the strike by taking two singles, Shah bowled his over in two minutes and 20 seconds.  England’s spinner, Moeen Ali, would have bowled his overs at a similar rate only a lot of time was spent in fetching the ball back.

ICC names neutral officials for Ireland-Pakistan ODI series

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Saturday, 6 August 2016.

PTG 1894-9496.

Jeff Crowe of New Zealand, Marais Erasmus from South Africa and Australian Simon Fry have been appointed as the neutral officials for the two One Day Internationals (ODI) Ireland and Pakistan are to play at Malahide near Dublin later this month.  The appointment of that trio suggests they will also be involved in the five-match ODI series between England and Pakistan which is due to get underway after the Ireland ODIs.

The games in Dublin will see Crowe as the match referee for what will be his 240th and 241st ODIs in that role, while Erasmus and Fry will stand in one game each, their 63rd and 26th respectively, and work as the television umpire in the other.  The Irish umpires who will stand in the two other on-field spots have yet to be announced, but they are likely to come from either Roland Black, Mark Hawthorne and Alan Neill who are all members of the International Cricket Council’s third-tier Associates and Affiliates International Umpires Panel.

Protesters use Test match to make their point

New Zealand Herald

ICC appointments.

Sunday, 7 August 2016.

PTG 1894-9497.

Hundreds of protesters waved Zimbabwe's national flag and sang the national anthem during the opening day of second Test against New Zealand in Bulawayo on Saturday, in a sign of mounting opposition to President Robert Mugabe.  Circumventing laws which forbid political gatherings without police clearance, protestors at the ground in the country's second largest city, rose at the 36th over and began singing the national anthem while waving the national flag, which has been turned into a symbol of protest.  Mugabe has now been president for 36 years.

Police had earlier arrested at least 10 members of the pressure group 'Women of Zimbabwe Arise' who staged a protest outside the ground calling on Mugabe to fix the ailing economy or step down.  'Mugabe Must Go' one placard read, and another protestor called for resistance to a government plan to introduce token bank notes to ease cash shortages. The demonstration was dispersed by mounted police.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,895

  Tuesday, 9 August 2016

 

• CSA bans four players over match-fixing issues [1895-9498].

• Research provides list of all Aussie home Test scorers [1895-9499].

• Microsoft unveils ‘more accurate’ platform for predicting scores [1895-9500].

• ICC takes no action on bowler’s ‘unacceptable' ‘petulance' [1895-9501].

• Windian, Aussie on-field for CPL final [1895-9502].

• Model aircraft club stopping play, claims umpire [1895-9503].

• Lodha reform findings described as ‘unconstitutional' [1895-9504].

• Hefty fine for Aussie spinner’s off-field behaviour [1895-9505].

• Cricket celebrations cause alarm [1895-9506].

CSA bans four players over match-fixing issues.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Monday, 8 August 2016.

PTG 1895-9498.

Four South African players, former Test wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile, plus Ethy Mbhalathi, Jean Symes and Pumelela Matshikwe, have been banned for attempting to fix matches in Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) 2015 domestic Twenty20 tournament.  Tsolekile received a twelve-year ban for “contriving to fix a match or matches” in the competition, Matshikwe and Mbhalathi for ten years, although three of the latter’s were suspended, and Symes for seven.  Matshikwe, Mbhalati and Symes were sanctioned for accepting money from ex-international Goolam Bodi who was banned for 20 years in January for attempting to fix matches in the T20 event (PTG 1746-8686, 26 January 2016).

CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said on Monday: “Whilst there has been no evidence to suggest that an actual fix in any match was carried out, these players all participated in material discussions about match-fixing. In fact, they all went further and accepted, or agreed to accept in the future, sums of money which they knew or ought to have known was given to them to partake in activity that would amount to a breach of the Code, or bring the game into disrepute.  Our attitude towards any form of corruption is clear and hence why we have imposed such firm sanctions”.

In January, a South African media report claimed that "four domestic players were offered sums of up to 800,000 Rand ($A69,240, £UK33,400) for one spot-fix, an enormous sum in a country where cricketers are paid far less than their counterparts in Australia or England”.  The same report alleged Bodi was on commissions of up to 150,000 Rand ($A13,000, £UK6,300) (PTG 1743-8667, 22 January 2016). 

Lorgat said that to the quartet’s "credit, all eventually admitted their misconduct and co-operated with the investigators. They have also shown remorse for their actions. Importantly, each of them has indicated a willingness to engage in anti-corruption education to assist us to prevent this kind of conduct in the future”.  He also stated: "There is no evidence that this is widespread. We are fully confident that it is contained but will continue investigating".

The International Cricket Council (ICC) ”welcomed” CSA's findings and said the investigation involved, which was led by former South African Constitutional Court Judge Bernard Ngoepe, was supported throughout by its Anti-Corruption Unit.  ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: "What is particularly satisfying to note is that it appears that any intended wrongdoing was disrupted before it happened, meaning the domestic games in question went ahead without any act of corruption being committed”.  Richardson said CSA's bans will be extended to prohibit these individuals from competing at international level or in any other domestic league anywhere in the world. 

Research provides list of all Aussie home Test scorers. 

PTG Editor.

Monday, 7 August 2016.

PTG 1985-9499.

New research into the Australians who have officially recorded the details of the 404 Test matches played in their country over the past 139 years has for the first time, produced a near-complete list of names, and is helping to highlight the service of many individuals, including those whose scoring careers at the top of the game lasted for two, three and in some cases, four decades.  

Finding and collating information on match scorers is a challenge, even for Tests, as such detail is not always included on data bases, and scorers with visiting touring sides have to be filtered out.  But that hasn’t stopped Canberra-based scorer Adam Morehouse, a Test scorer himself, from taking on the task.  His work had turned up the names of scorer in every Test played in Australia, only eleven appointments alluding him so far: seven from the Adelaide Oval, three the Sydney Cricket Ground and one the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).    

Morehouse’ work has allowed a ‘provisional’ numbering of Australian Test Scorers, similar to that available for players and umpires, to be produced, although he would welcome feedback at adammorehouse@bigpond.com in order to help fill in the gaps and address any errors that might be brought to his attention.  He is currently working on compiling brief biographies of each individual, the aim eventually being to publish a small book on the subject.  It is also hoped that further liaison with Cricket Australia (CA) and State organisations will help refine his data and thus ensure the achievements of those scorers who have reached the game’s highest level are appropriately recognised. CA currently has a list of Australian Test umpires on its web site.

Data collated to date shows that Sydney-born William ‘Fergie’ Ferguson leads the Australian home soil list with 64 games, although all of those were during contracts he had with touring teams from other nations to undertake scorer-baggage manager duties.  Over the period of 42 years from December 1910 to February 1953, Ferguson scored in 22 Tests at the MCG, 19 the SCG, 13 in Adelaide, and 10 in Brisbane, 7 at the Gabba and 3 at the Exhibition Ground.  As the scorer and baggage coordinator for Australian and other touring sides he also recorded the details of 144 Tests in other countries during a total of 43 tours.  Melbourne’s Mike Walsh has been the official scorer in a total of 94 Tests, 15 at the MCG and the other 79 during 17 Australian overseas tours.

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

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William ‘Fergie’ Ferguson, front row right, with the Australian ‘Invincibles’ of 1948.

After Ferguson on the home Test list comes Adelaide's Tom Lowrey, who over the 40 years from 1972-2012 scored 32 Tests at the Adelaide Oval, plus two played in Darwin. Brisbane’s Judy Harris tops the Queensland list with 27 in 27 years from 1986-2013, and two with Lowrey in Darwin, plus another two played in Cairns.  The MCG has seen Kevin O’Neill score in 28 Tests since his first nearly 35 years ago, while Sydney’s David Sherwood featured in 27 matches over the 30 years from 1954. Charles Bull leads in Perth with 22 games over 23 years from 1980, and in Hobart the late Helen Bradshaw and Graeme Hamley are on six each.  

Morehouse's provisional list is: 1 H. Kennon; 2 WAK Plummer; 3 C Hipwell; 4 TH Chuck; 5 SW Daniels; 6 EC Weller; 7 JH Barnes; 8 CA Arvier; 9 GC Gurr; 10 CS Hobbs; 11 J Taylor; 12 JA Portus; 13 GD Cook; 14 HA Soloman; 15 AH Geregory; 16 N Batchelor; 17 S Cohen; 18 JG Jackshon; 19 SK Edwards; 20 J Hill; 21 GA Watson; 22 WH Ferguson; 23 J Levin; 24 WJ Stamp; 25 SB Ayling; 26 A O’Leary; 27 J Young; 28 E Healey; 29 G Spratt; 30 S Buckett; 31 HTA Wetzig; 32 E Gould; 33 AB Aumont; 34 RG Hammond; 35 WA Fisher; 36 NLG Gorman; 37 JJ Cantwell; 38 JW Hoelscher; 39 JL Cameron Snr; 40 HG Hill; 41 DKP Sherwood; 42 JH Guest; 43 SH Crouch; 44 VWM Fisher; 45 A Laird; 46 JD Cameron Jnr; 47 WP Corbett; 48 MP Ringham; 49 RA Spence; 50 BW Bright; 51 JE Sandes; 52 R Toogood; 53 TE Harry; 54 R Brown; 55 HE Smith; 56 EH McMullan; 57 T Lowrey; 58 BJ Sheldon; 59 M Bender; 60 HA Cowton; 61 EW Cosgrove; 62 TB Thomson; 63 AJ Nicholls; 64 CA Bull; 65 MK Walsh; 66 KV O’Neill; 67 GB Williams; 68 BR Hall; 69 DJ Evans; 70 JL Harris; 71 DA Connell; 72 RM Artis; 73 DA Saunders; 74 RJ Williams; 75 BM Wright; 76 HM Bradshaw; 77 AR Marshall; 78 JR Thorburn; 79 SA Wheeler; 80 KE Broomhall; 81 ME Gorham; 82 BL FitzGerald; 83 CJ Reece; 84 R Kellekar; 85 MA Fowler; 86 LM Messer; 87 CL Bennison; 88 FL La Rose; 89 GW Hamley; 90 ND Johnson; 91 JC Gainsford; 92 RM Scott; 93 RL Sanday; 94 AD Morehouse; 95 TJ Lorraine; 96 J Crawshaw; 97 NA Ricketts; 98 R Godfrey; 99 GA Ridley; 100 C Howard; 101 RC Palmer; 102 GM Cartwright; 103 D Mattison.

Microsoft unveils ‘more accurate’ platform for predicting scores.

The Economic Times.

Monday, 8 August 2016.

PTG 1895-9500.

‘Microsoft India’ has unveiled a new platform that it says improves the accuracy of predicting target scores in weather-interrupted matches, as well as helping sports administrators manage related activities. The platform uses machine learning and allows the incorporation of multiple parameters such as playing conditions, weather and the nature of a cricket ground, into the calculations used to estimate target scores.  

Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president of Data Group at Microsoft said: "We believe the possibilities for machine learning in sports are vast - from target scores to monitoring a player's condition on the field, to predicting injuries and taking early preventive actions”.  Former Indian cricketer Javagal Srinath, who is now an International Cricket Council match referee, said during a panel discussion organised by Microsoft that the existing Duckworth-Lewis can, to some extent, become confused when normal batting orders are changed around.  

Such issues “could” claimed Srinath "ideally be fixed when every batsman has a ranking and that ranking is accommodated into the system, thereby providing the true strength of a team's batting".  "Similarly, a bowler who has been in form in the last six months to a year will have a better impact on the game. The best part of this tool is that it can be updated with this information, making it more accurate”.  The pilot computer program was first used in Andhra Pradesh in August 2015.  Microsoft  recently signed a similar partnership with Punjab. 

ICC takes no action on bowler’s ‘unacceptable' ‘petulance'

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016.

PTG 1895-9501.

It would appear, more than 24 hours after the third England-Pakistan Test ended at Edgbaston, that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has no plans to formally censure England fast bowler James Anderson for his self-described “petulant” and “unacceptable” behaviour on day two of the game on Thursday (PTG 1892-9487, 5 August 2016).  The ICC did put out a media release about Anderson on Monday, but it was about him again becoming the world body’s top-rated bowler as a result of his playing efforts during the Edgbaston Test.  

Anderson apologised to umpires Bruce Oxenford and Joel Wilson for his angry reaction after he was twice warned about running into the Protected Area, something he did for a third time the next day (PTG 1893-9492, 6 August 2016).  Whether Oxenford and Wilson accepted the apology and did not formally report the bowler to match referee Richie Richardson, or if they did Richardson decided to take no action, is not known.

Windian, Aussie on-field for CPL final

PTG Editor.

Monday, 8 August 2016.

PTG 1895-9502.

Up-and-coming West Indian umpire Leslie Reifer Jr and John Ward of Australia were on-field for this year’s final of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) on Sunday, South African Johan Cloete being the television official and his countryman Devas Govindjee the match referee.  For Ward and Govindjee its their second CPL final in a row, and Reifer his first major domestic final since he stood in the deciding match of the Bangladesh Cricket League first class tournament in May 2014 at the age of just 24.

Meanwhile, attempts to obtain details of the umpiring training programs conducted during the period the CPL caravan was in Florida have turned up few details.  It is understood the 20 umpires were chosen for the week-long program by the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) America’s office in Toronto and their travel and accomodation costs were covered, but just who they were, where they came from, and what the program involved and who presented it, are not known.  CPL officials appeared keen for details to be released but the ICC America’s office appears to have taken a different view, an approach that reflects the ‘secret men’s business’ approach that is an integral part of cricket administration around the world.

Model aircraft club stopping play, claims umpire

Steph Brawn.

Lancashire Telegraph.

Monday, 8 August 2016.

PTG 1895-9503.

An umpire in Lancashire has accused a model aircraft society of flying planes over the Pleasington Playing Fields when games in the Blackburn District Amateur Cricket League are in progress or scheduled, forcing the fixtures to be called off because of safety concerns.  New signs have recently been put up at the Pleasington facility that say the Blackburn and District Model Aircraft Club (BDMAC) can now fly its planes over the area until 8 p.m. three nights a week, rather than the previous time of 6 p.m., and it is that that has made the situation even more difficult than it was.

Umpire Jon Lilley said BDMAC had told members of the Pleasington Cricket Club (PCC) should not play games during the times it is able to fly its aircraft.  Lilley said “The recent change has caused particular issues for us in regard to our late afternoon and evening matches.  These model planes go at 100 mph sometimes and if they ever hit someone they would kill them”.  Two years ago a match in Leicestershire was stopped when a model plane struck an umpire during a match, but he was not badly injured (PTG 1357-6550, 20 May 2014).  "There must be somewhere else for this club to go in Blackburn if they want to fly planes later at night”, said Lilley.  

The model aircraft club has the right to fly at the playing fields because it pays rent to the Blackburn with Darwen Council and has been flying planes there since the 1930s.  Lilley pointed to "A charity event held last month by the aircraft club led to a number of matches being abandoned”.  “It was an annual festival to raise money for a children’s Hospice and drew hundreds of people, but the aircraft club took out five grounds and cricketers were told to get off them because they were booked, which only left three for the scheduled games”.

Lilley said the PCC was established in 1895, long before the aircraft club.  "[The situation] is creating a lot of friction and I feel like local cricket is being slowly strangled. We have the option of using Blacksnape playing fields but [they are] horrendous [and] not fit for use”, said Lilley.  "I need the council to realise that if this continues it’s going to seriously damage local cricket”.  The model aircraft club and the local council were unavailable for comment.

Lodha reform findings described as ‘unconstitutional'.

Press Trust of India.

Monday, 8 August 2016.

PTG 1895-9504.

Former Indian Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju, who was appointed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to advise it on the nation’s Supreme Court verdict on the implementation of Justice Lodha committee recommendations, has termed the committee’s findings “unconstitutional”.  The Lohda report was handed to the Supreme Court last February (PTG 1767-8816, 18 February 2016), and news of Katju’s assessment of it came two days before BCCI representatives are to meet with the report’s authors on Tuesday.

Katjy recommended that the BCCI file a review petition before a larger Supreme Court bench.  “What the Supreme Court has done is unconstitutional and illegal. There has been violation of principles of the Constitution. Under [India’s] Constitution, we have legislature, executive and judiciary. It’s the legislature’s prerogative to make laws. If judiciary starts making laws, one is setting a dangerous precedent”.  "In this case the Supreme Court outsourced a committee to decide on BCCI’s punishment”, and that is "why I have recommended the review petition be tabled with th Court”.

The former judge said neither the Supreme Court and Lodha Committee can not forcibly change the BCCI by laws because BCCI’s constitution has been prepared as under the Tamil Nadu state’s Societies Registration Act.

Hefty fine for Aussie spinner’s off-field behaviour.

Media reports.

Monday, 8 August 2016.

PTG 1895-9505.

Australian Test spinner Stephen O’Keefe has been fined $A10,000 (£UK5,870) by Cricket Australia (CA) for “offensive behaviour” at a Sydney pub last weekend. O’Keefe, who returned home from Sri Lanka a week ago after straining his hamstring during the first Test in Kandy, was charged under CA’s code of behaviour.  The incident occurred on Saturday night at a hotel in Manly. CA charged O’Keefe with “conduct unbecoming of a player” and he accepted the hefty fine. He was also issued with an infringement notice by NSW Police for offensive behaviour and being an excluded person who remained in the vicinity of licensed premises.  

CA general manager of team performance Pat Howard said: “We take a zero-tolerance approach to this type of behaviour from players at any level in Australian Cricket [and] Steve understands our expectations and that we’re extremely disappointed this situation occurred, particularly as he is recovering from an injury”.  Cricket NSW chief executive Andrew Jones said: “I have spoken to Steve and he is very disappointed with his behaviour.  He has apologised to the management of the Hotel and accepts that he will be sanctioned. Steve has had a difficult couple of weeks but that is no excuse”.

Cricket celebrations cause alarm.

Reuters.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016.

PTG 1895-9506.

Explosions and the sound of gunfire set off alarms in the diplomatic quarter of the Afghanistan capital Kabul on Monday night, but officials said the noise appeared to be in celebration of a cricket match.  The sounds rattled a city on edge after regular attacks by various insurgent groups vying to undermine the Western-backed government.  Warning sirens could be heard from various embassies as loudspeakers urged employees to take shelter in safe rooms and bunkers.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,896

  Wednesday, 10 August 2016

 

• Pakistan coach dismisses ball-tampering claims [1896-9507].

• Dharmasena tops 2016 IPL match official earnings [1896-9508].

• CA acknowledge Martell's 50th first class match [1896-9509].

• Serious run penalties would speed up Test match play [1896-9510].

• South Africa gives support to two-tier Test system [1896-9511].

• Aussie coach yearns for variety in domestic pitches [1896-9512].

• Hockley to be named NZC's first female president [1896-9513].

• Women key to growing cricket in Australia [1896-9514].

• Largesse to see BCCI officials outnumber team members in Florida? [1896-9515].

Pakistan coach dismisses ball-tampering claims.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016.

1896-9507.

A television channel in Pakistan questioned England’s handling of the ball during a key spell after lunch in the third Test on Sunday when they started reversing the ball.  A decade ago a Pakistan Test match at the Oval was abandoned over ball-tampering allegations and relations between the sides were strained. But this touring side are determined to build bridges after the controversies of the past and Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said he had no problems with England’s tactics.

Arthur said:  “There’s a match referee who if there’s anything of any concern, or any footage, then he would deal with it.  It’s not up to us as a cricket team to accuse anyone of anything. That’s why you have match referees and umpires. There has been no mention in our camp around that”. 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has tightened up the process over ball-tampering since 2006 when, on the fourth day of the Test, umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove awarded England five penalty runs and replaced the ball believing Pakistan were ball-tampering. Pakistan refused to take the field after tea and the Test was abandoned and awarded to England. An ICC panel later cleared Pakistan and now if an umpire suspects ball tampering he informs the captain, changes the ball and reports it to the match referee.

For this Test the match referee, Richie Richardson, is more likely to be keeping an eye on over-rates. On the third day at Edgbaston nine overs went unbowled, prompting England player Alex Hales to refund a fan 10 per cent of his ticket when he complained on ‘Twitter’ (PTG 1894-9494, 7 August 2016).  

“I saw the tweet and it made me chuckle and he had a point as well”, said Hales. “I didn’t think I’d get a response but when he did it I thought I better go through with it. I might have crumbled with 20,000 more tweets but it was in good spirits, a bit of fun”.  “I think it’s [over-rates] something we will be conscious of as a squad going forward, to be on top of our over rate. It can be tough with [reviews] and umpires and other stops that are inevitable but it’s something we will look to do as a team going forward, get better with our over rate” (PTG 1896-9510 below). 

Dharmasena tops 2016 IPL match official earnings.

PTG Editor.

BCCI information.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016.

PTG 1896-9508.

Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena, who normally works under an International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP) contract, topped up his earnings from that arrangement to the tune of 4.5 million Rupees ($A87,055, £UK51,230) as a result of his 15-match, 51-day stint, in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) competition.  Assessment of information released by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) a month ago originally suggested a lesser figure for Dharmasena of around 3,825,000 Rupees ($A75,280, £44,000) from his IPL involvement (PTG 1874-9390, 11 July 2016).

While Dharmasena headed up IPL match official earnings in 2016, of the other EUP members involved in this year’s IPL, South African Marais Erasmus was paid 3.2 million Rupees ($A62,925, £37,070) for 11 games over 31 days (11/31), but figures for the EUP's Chris Gaffney (9/25), Bruce Oxenford (12/36), Sundarum Ravi (10/27) and Rod Tucker (5/14) are not yet available.  Estimates put the total IPL earnings of the latter four EUP members at around 10.4 million Rupees ($A203,000, £120,000), or an average of 2.6 million Rupees ($A50,700, £30,000) for each umpire.

Ranjan Madugalle, the ICC’s senior match referee, also signed up to the IPL, overseeing 9 games over 35 days.  He is shown as taking home 3.4 million Rupees ($A65,545, £38,615), while former ICC referee Roshan Mahanama earned 3.2 million Rupees ($A63,255, £37,270) for 13 games over 43 days.  Last month Mudugalle’s ICC colleague Javagal Srinath was shown to have received, for 11 games over 44 days, 2.6 million Rupees ($A52,000, £30,400).

Analysis of per match earnings shows a variation, from 240,000 Rupees per match for Srinath, to 250,000 for Mahanama, 290,000 Erasmus, 296,000 Dharmasena, and 373,000 Madugalle; the latter’s amount possibly being for an IPL umpire and referee supervisory role of the type he normally performs for the ICC.

CA acknowledge Martell's 50th first class match.

PTG Editor.

CA web site.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016.

PTG 1896-9509.

Cricket Australia (CA) has publicly acknowledged National Umpire Panel member Mick Martell’s 50th first class match in a story posted on its web site on Tuesday.  Western Australian Martell, who turns 50 next month, made his first class debut in a Sheffield Shield match in Perth almost eight years ago, and reached the 50 mark this week in Townsville in the match between the Australian and South African “A” sides.

Of the 50 matches, 39 have been in the Sheffield Shield, two being the last two finals of that competition, five were overseas on exchange, two each in India and South Africa and one in New Zealand, and six were tour matches played in Australia.  In June-July last year he worked in the Caribbean Premier League (PTG 1603-7782, 27 July 2015), and last January-February in Bangladesh in the Under-19 World Cup (PTG 1761-8783, 12 February 2016).  Six weeks ago he was elevated to an on-field position on the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (PTG 1860-9331, 24 June 2016).

Serious run penalties would speed up Test match play .

Evening Standard.

Jason Gillespie.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016.

PTG 1896-9510.

Don’t listen to international players when they make excuses for their dreadful over rates. Overs are bowled too slowly because players are lazy, and their teams should be given run penalties when this happens.  It is unacceptable for a side to fail to bowl 15 overs per hour for six hours — and I say this as a former fast bowler who wasn’t necessarily the quickest at getting through his overs. On the third day of the Edgbaston Test against Pakistan last week, England bowled only 20 overs between lunch and tea (PTG 1894-9494, 7 August 2016). 

So if I were a match referee, I would be incredibly tough on it. I would have a pretty simple policy — 10 runs deducted for every over a team failed to bowl. So if they got through only 89 in a day, they’d lose 10 runs.  If it were 88, it would be 20, and so on. If this were introduced, I guarantee teams would not fall behind on the over rate. Fines don’t hurt the elite international player and while I would use suspensions as a last resort, I’d prefer run penalties. They affect the whole team.

All Test players are of course first-class players. So every member of the England side has played in the County Championship, where teams manage to get through 96 overs in six hours. Fielders run to their positions between overs. If you’re fielding at slip, jog from end to end. There is no excuse for failing to do the same in Test cricket (PTG 1894-9495, 7 August 2016).

Instead, at the start of an over — or even between deliveries — you will see the bowler doing the teapot, hands on hips. He’ll be having a chat with the captain and another player about plans and field settings. I’d suggest you should be clear about your plans without needing these meetings that slow the game down. When I played for Australia, we were lucky in that we had Shane Warne to bowl a lot of overs of leg-spin, which sped up the rate. But we hustled between overs. 

We tried to take as little time as possible between the moment one bowler took his cap and sweater from the umpire and the moment the guy at the other end reached the top of his mark. Not only do you save time between overs, you make the batsmen feel they are being constantly hurried.  As I said, I wasn’t always the quickest at getting through my overs. I walked quite slowly back to my mark and I would sometimes stretch if the body was sore — but I was criticised for it by a coach early in my career. And when I shortened my run-up later, it was partly because I wanted to take less time to bowl my overs.

For us at Yorkshire, it’s non-negotiable, because if you don’t get through your overs, you lose points. You have to work bloody hard to earn bonus points in the Championship and if you lose some of them, you might miss out on the title. You might be relegated.  Today’s international players might read this and think “Dizzy is just an old traditionalist and he’s talking rubbish” — but the brutal reality is that international teams can be better.  When the overs are not bowled in time, are members of the ground staff paid overtime? What about the cameramen, the stewards, the people working in the bars? I doubt it. There is also the wider responsibility to the game to consider.

We have to make our game as customer friendly as possible. That means that it should proceed at a nice, brisk pace. We want as many people as possible to fall in love with cricket. They’re not going to do that if the game keeps stopping for reasons they don’t understand.  Players need to take ownership of this situation. They need to start taking some responsibility. If you speak to them, they will come up with all sorts of reasons why the over rates are slow.  They’ll mention the Umpire Decision Review System, or people moving around in the batsman’s eye line. These are excuses. Just take some responsibility and get through the overs. No ifs, no buts. Just do it.

South Africa gives support to two-tier Test system.

Cricinfo.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016.

PTG 1896-9511. 

Cricket South Africa executive Haroon Lorgat has declared his organisation's support for the introduction of two divisions in Test cricket. The support from the South African board has come as a shock for some just at the time when the debate over this issue is getting intensified.  Lorgat said: “Test cricket is already fading and will die if nothing is done. South Africa would support a two-tier Test system in order to create meaningful context for Test match cricket. Save for the Ashes, currently there is little or no meaning when countries play against each other in bilateral Test matches”.

Last week Anurag Thakur, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said his board will oppose the proposed two-tier Test system to "protect the interests" of smaller member nations.  Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have expressed similar views, while the boards of Australia and New Zealand have welcomed the move ahead of a special International Cricket Council meeting on the issue next month.

Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland stressed, in response to Shaker’s comments, the need to view proposed changes to the structure of international cricket in their entirety.  Sutherland said nothing under the new proposal would prevent top teams such as India playing against the lower-ranked sides in bilateral contests, and the overall raft of proposed changes would add greater context to international cricket.  

Aussie coach yearns for variety in domestic pitches.

Daniel Brettig.

Cricinfo.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016.

PTG 1896-9512.

As he ponders changes to Australia's badly malfunctioning top order, coach Darren Lehmann has admitted that increasingly homogenised domestic pitches - and drop-in wickets at multipurpose stadiums - have played a role in stunting the adaptability of batsmen.

When Lehmann and his contemporaries were learning their trade as players, each major venue had a pitch of unique character, from the bounce of Perth to the seam of Brisbane to Adelaide's something-for-everyone, Sydney's spin and Melbourne's variable bounce. However the contrasts have diminished in recent years, not helped by the installation of drop-in pitches at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Adelaide Oval and, soon, Perth's new stadium.

Another factor over time had been the preparation of increasingly friendly pitches for seam bowlers to aid each state's bid for the Sheffield Shield, followed by a reverse directive from the team performance manager Pat Howard for flatter surfaces. While the number of runs scored in Australian first-class competition has risen, batsmen are clearly not facing the same challenges that so confounded them in Kandy and Galle in the recent Tests against Sri Lanka.

"I think we have said for a while that we would like the Shield wickets to go back a little bit in time where they are all different”, Lehmann said. "You had Perth which was grassy and bouncy and went through and swung, and Brisbane seamed and Adelaide reversed and spun and Sydney spun from day one".

"All those things we would love to see happen, but the problem we've got now is we've got drop-ins at a couple of grounds, so it's hard to do. You would love that to be the case but you are living in a different world and so it's a bit harder. In terms of Test wickets, whatever we get we'll trust the curators to do the best they can. I think you see it has been pretty fair in Australia for a couple of years but there is no reason it can't improve either”.

Groundsmen in Australia are hard at work trying to find ways to improve the variety of pitches they can prepare. Adelaide Oval's head curator Damian Hough is at the forefront of experimentation with moveable surfaces, developing more porous drop-in trays that allow moisture to escape and so create the right environment for the pitch to deteriorate. Last year Adelaide provided a pitch made more or less to order for the use of the pink ball in the inaugural day-night Test.

Hockley to be named NZC's first female president.

Brendon Egan.

Fairfax New Zealand.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016.

PTG 1896-9513.

Former New Zealand player Debbie Hockley is set to become New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) first female president at the organisation's annual general meeting in November.  Christchurch-based Hockley has been nominated by the Canterbury Cricket Association and NZC's board for what is a non-voting and largely ceremonial role and will replace former national spinner Stephen Boock, who is in the last of his three-year term.

Hockey, 53, who is widely regarded as her country's finest women's cricketer, playing 19 Tests and 118 One Day Internationals in the period from 1979-2000, said she feels "extremely honoured because it's the first time a woman will have been nominated in New Zealand.  It's a tiny bit nerve-racking, but an honour none the less”.  In January 2014, she became the first New Zealand women's cricketer and fourth woman to be inducted into the International Cricket Council [ICC] Hall of Fame.  She played in five World Cups, winning the title in her last game in 2000 when New Zealand beat Australia in the final.

A physiotherapist for the Artificial Limb Centre, Hockey is the all-time leading women's World Cup run-scorer with 1501 at 43.  In the 1999 New Year Honours, she was awarded New Zealand's Order of Merit for services to cricket.

Women key to growing cricket in Australia.

Russell Gould.

Melbourne Herald Sun.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016.

PTG 1896-9514.

Capitalising on the Big Bash League (BBL) phenomenon and the growing participation rates of women as fans and players will be key talking points at a mass gathering of cricket officials in Melbourne.  More than 200 people, including Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland, past and present players and members of the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) have come together for the Australian Cricket Conference.  Held every five years the three-day conference will provide airtime for all the game’s major stakeholders as cricket’s key issues are discussed and strategies devised to secure the game’s future.

After the huge success of the Women’s BBL (WBBL) last austral summer, and following the inception of a women’s Australian Football League, strengthening the role of females across all levels of cricket will be a major discussion point.  The inclusion of female cricketers as part of the next Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between CA and the players, for which discussions are soon set to ramp up, will also be on the agenda.

In April this year CA and the ACA agreed on a $A4.2 million (£UK2.5 m) payment pool covering female players for season 2016-17 (PTG 1795-8965, 8 April 2016).  But with the current MoU expiring next year, Australia’s female cricketers are set to be included in an all of cricket pay deal.  “The WBBL this year has made a tremendously positive impact on the profile of women’s cricket, but our female state and national players have been among the best in the world for decades”, said ACA chief executive Alastair Nicholson.  “The role of the ACA in the growth of womens cricket will be to secure them the same terms and conditions that the male players are afforded.”

Nicholson said input from the players, as major stakeholders, was crucial in helping grow cricket game, as it would often fall on their to be the game’s key spokespeople.  “One of the most important parts of the conference is having the players present on the issues and opportunities that are important to them”, he said.  “The game and the players need each other and over the course of these three days we will have the opportunity to better understand each others needs as we grow the game”.

Largesse to see BCCI officials outnumber team members in Florida?

Devendra Pandey.

Indian Express.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016.

PTG 1896-9515.

With Indian cricket set to make its first official foray into the United States with its hastily arranged Twenty20 International (T20I) series against the West Indies in Florida, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCC) has decided to reward its members with a trip across the Atlantic.  Those involved will be on hand to watch the two T20Is at Fort Lauderdale over the last weekend of this month.

BCCI president Anurag Thakur announced during a Special General Meeting (SGM) last Friday that a person from each of its affiliated units, plus members from the state associations in the north-east, will travel to Florida.  With at least six BCCI staff joining them, India’s ‘non-playing’ contingent could rise to 46, according to a source. Thus for the first time the country’s ‘non-playing’ contingent will comfortably outnumber the playing squad which is likely to have 14 players.  It’s unclear if the national selectors, who are currently in the Caribbean, will be travelling to Florida as well.

It is understood that the BCCI has earmarked a budget in excess of 30 million Rupees ($A58,700, £UK345,300) for the trip. Each member are to be given business class flight tickets to Florida, along with a $US250 daily allowance ($A325, £UK192). The duration of stay is expected to be six days. “It’s an all expenses paid trip sponsored by the BCCI”, said a BCCI member who attended the SGM.  Thakur said in announcing the T20I series last week that the series is "part of our continuous efforts to reach out to new markets and audiences.  This will be a great opportunity for the cricket fans in America to watch the two champion sides in action [and] will be developed into an annual cricketing event in the United States”.

On Monday the BCCI awarded the broadcast rights for the two matches to Star India for 342 million Rupees ($A6.7 m, 3.9 m).  The decision was taken after a tender, bidding and evaluation process.  BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke said: "Star India has been an excellent partner for the BCCI. They have a deep understanding of the game of cricket, and what it means to the nation. We are pleased to extend our association with them. This agreement also reflects our strategy to develop new markets and fan following”.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,897

  Friday, 12 August 2016

 

• Players ’tweet’ their thoughts on Test dismissal [1897-9516].

• Has UDRS meant umpires have lost their instincts? [1897-9517].

• Galle pitch may have been doctored by curators [1897-9518].

• Two county players reprimanded for Level One offences [1897-9519].

Players ’tweet’ their thoughts on Test dismissal.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Fridy, 12 August 2016.

1897-9516.

England players Stuart Broad and Alex Hales have taken to social media to express their views over Hales' dismissal on day one of the fourth Test against Pakistan at The Oval on Thursday.  Hales was clearly angry after he was given out to a low catch off bowler Mohammad Amir early in England's first innings, shaking his head and uttering what appeared to be some choice words as he walked off the ground.  

A diving Yasir Shah had claimed the catch and didn't hesitate in celebrating but the England opener stood his ground.  Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford gave the Englishman out though he referred it to third umpire Joel Wilson to confirm.  In the absence of a close-up of the incident Wilson, whose voice as he came to his verdict was audible through the television commentary, said "there's not enough evidence to suggest the catch is either clear or not clean" and advised Oxenford, who had previously conferred with Marais Erasmus his on-field colleague, to stick with his original decision.  Oxenford then confirmed the dismissal.

Broad was straight on ‘Twitter' after play, questioning Dean Wilson, the cricket correspondent for English newspaper 'The Daily Mirror', about an earlier tweet announcing the dismissal of Hales.  Wilson tweeted "That is Out", Broad replaying later "replays are unclear? You don't believe that do you?”  While television replays had failed to get a closer view replay of the catch, Hales also opted to voice his opinion on social media in response to Broad, saying “a bit blurry to be fair” and attaching a zoomed-in picture, inferring the ball had touched the ground before Yasir could get his hands around it.  

English commentator and former umpire David Lloyd, said in his ‘Daily Mail’ column: “I could hear the technology lads desperately looking for another angle. They couldn’t find it, and the key to the dismissal was that both on-field umpires gave a soft signal of ‘out’. They’re obviously nearest to the action, and so the decision stayed on field. Correct call”.  While disciplinary action against players as a result of social media posts is far from uncommon, it remains to be seen whether either of the two Englishman will be reprimanded by the International Cricket Council.  The governing body could construe the tweets as a violation of part of its Code of Conduct, which relates to "public criticism of the umpire's performance”. 

Has UDRS meant umpires have lost their instincts?

Noel Burland.

Fairfax New Zealand.

Thursday, 11 August 2016.

PTG 1897-9517.

The Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) system was introduced eight years ago to help avoid so-called 'howlers' from umpires.  The system is good but the Indians don't trust it and with the exception of the World Cup where they have to use it, they won't accept its use anywhere else they play.  However, there are a few issues with the system, one of them being its impact on the ability of umpires to get along when it is not there.  

The first problem is that players are misusing their referrals by challenging decisions in the hope the umpire got it wrong instead of only using it when there are obvious howlers. This usually backfires on the players.    The second is the on-field call part of it. If the ball is just clipping the bails in an LBW decision there is a bit of a problem.  If the umpire has given it out and the batsman challenges, the decision remains with the umpire.  If it was given not out and the fielding side challenges, the decision again remains with the umpire.  This is something that the ICC needs to look at pronto.

The third issue and something that I saw evidence of during the last day’s play in the second and final Zimbabwe-New Zealand Test, is the fact the UDRS appears to have eroded the instincts of some umpires out there.  When the UDRS is in use and the umpires know it's there, I feel their instincts have been eroded somewhat.  I suspect some of them think that it's OK if they get a decision wrong because as long as the team challenging the decision have referrals left, they can successfully overturn it.

When it's not being used, umpires are forced to fall back on their instincts and don't have the UDRS as backup, there is the potential there for them to make mistakes that could cost teams crucial wickets.  That appears to have been the case in the recent Zimbabwe-NZ Test for Australian umpire Paul Reiffel had an absolute shocker in the home side's second innings.  Unfortunately Zimbabwe folded meekly, losing their last five wickets for just two runs, but they were definitely hampered by two or three umpiring howlers.  I really hope I'm wrong about umpires' instincts being eroded by having the UDRS as backup, but the evidence provided by Reiffel's howlers suggests otherwise.

Galle pitch may have been doctored by curators.

Peter Lalor.

The Australian.

Thursday, 11 August 2016.

PTG 1897-9518.

Photographs obtained by the 'The Australian' of the wicket at Galle on the third, and as it turned out last, day of Sri Lanka's recent Test against Australia show what are obvious ­efforts by curators to aid the local spinners.  Despite the move apparently being in breach of International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations, this journalist was informed on Wednesday that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had escaped sanction in ICC match referee Chris Broad’s pitch report which was filed on Tuesday.

Pitch doctoring is one of the main reasons wins are becoming harder to gain on the subcontinent.  On the last day of the Test, which the Sri Lankans won in two-and-a-half days, Broad could be seen in animated conversation with the curator in the middle of the ground and appeared to be gesturing towards the areas in front of the crease.  Photographs show an area about two metres in front of the batting crease at either end that is prepared differently from the rest of the pitch, which has more grass on it and shows less general abrasion. 

That practice obviously aids local spin bowlers.  It’s understood the curator scraped up the grass in this patch to remove it entirely and the area might even have been brushed with a strong broom.   Australian spinner Nathan Lyon, who has some experience in preparing pitches, was seen in a vigorous conversation with the groundsman before the match.  Sri Lanka won the toss and took 20 Australian wickets with just 501 deliveries, the local spinners wreaking havoc on batsmen who struggle on spinning wickets at the best of times.  Australian team management refused to comment on the issue when contacted on Wednesday. 

In 2011, the Galle pitch was rated “poor” by Broad after the game against Australia and the ICC took action against the local board (PTG 843-424, 8 October 2011).  At the time the then Australian captain Michael Clarke said he hated to see a game decided by the toss, while his team mate Michael Hussey rated it the driest first-day wicket he had seen in his life.

If last week’s Galle pitch had received a second “poor” rating, SLC would have faced a fine of up to $A30,000 (£UK15,815) as it would be the second offence within a five-year period. The Test match pitch and outfield report that Broad had to complete is comprehensive, and the Galle wicket should have raised problems.  The first item on the questionnaire asks: Did the pitch have a uniform covering of grass along its entire length?  Broad is asked to assess whether the pitch was: very good, good, above average, below average, poor or unfit.

Doctoring wickets is not a practice exclusive to Galle. At Chennai in 2013, curator K Parthasarathy admitted to “selective watering” during the match.  He kept the wicket-to-wicket line firm and rolled it while areas outside leg and off — where the local spinners land the ball — were allowed to crumble.  In a 2008 game at the ground, Parthasarathy had done the opposite, keeping the area outside leg firm to blunt then Australian spinner Shane Warne.  

“I kept the square patches outside the leg stump, on either side of the wicket, really hard”, he said at the time.  "It was difficult to get turn from that part as there would be no rough there.  “After that game, Warne came to me and asked why he wasn’t getting the turn and others were. I told him it was because of his dodgy shoulder, that was to be operated on later in the series”.

The practice of preparing ­wickets to suit the home side is ­accepted around the world but ­tolerable limits appear to have been exceeded more often in recent times.  England has embraced a radical approach to the practice in its county cricket by removing the winning captain’s call at the toss.  Instead of a toss, the visiting captain is allowed to choose whether he wants to bat or bowl, a move that negates curators preparing a wicket to suit the home team (PTG 1698-8376, 28 November 2015).

Statistics reveal that teams lose twice as many matches away from home and the ratio is getting worse in modern times. The seven top nations managed just one win from 23 away Tests in 2013.

Two county players reprimanded for Level One offences.

PTG Editor.

ECB meda release.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016.

1897-9519.

Warwickshire’s Rikki Clarke and Nottinghamshire’s Sean Terry have both been reprimanded by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Cricket Disciplne Commission.  Clarke was reported by umpires Neil Bainton, Peter Hartley and Nigel Cowley during his side’s one-day game against Yorkshire 10 days ago for the Level One offence of “using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting and/or making an obscene gesture".  Terry was reported by umpires Steve Garratt and Richard Illingworth for ‘showing dissent at an umpire’s decision” in a County Championship match against Glamorgan last week.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,898

  Saturday, 13 August 2016

 

• Visit, comments, to third umpire results in fine for batsman [1898-9520].

• BCCI announces first class, day-night, pink ball series timings [1898-9521].

• Ashraful ban ends, but not for franchise T20, internationals [1898-9522].

• How more data can make you more wrong [1898-9523].

• Corrupt Tsolekile has let down more than just his sport [1898-9524].

Visit, comments, to third umpire results in fine for batsman.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 12 August 2016.

PTG 1898-9520.

England opener Alex Hales has been fined 15 percent of his match fee, or around £UK1,000 ($A1,700), for showing dissent after confronting the third umpire following his first-innings dismissal in the fourth Test against Pakistan on Thursday.  Hales was given out when he clipped Mohammad Amir and Yasir Shah, diving forward in front of the square leg umpire, claimed a low catch (PTG 1897-9516, 12 august 2016).

Hales shook his head as he walked off but a statement issued by the International Cricket Council (ICC) says he had been punished for his conduct towards this umpire Joel Wilson after he had left the field. According to the ICC, Hales “visited the third umpire’s room and questioned the decision [and] also some inappropriate comments as he was leaving the room”.

The opener’s fine was for “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during an international match”.  He admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Richie Richardson and as such, there was no need for a formal hearing. All level one breaches of the ICC code carry a minimum penalty of a warning/reprimand and/or the imposition of a fine of up to 50 percent of the applicable match fee.

BCCI announces first class, day-night, pink ball series timings.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 12 August 2016.

PTG 1898-9521.

Start times and dates for the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) four match Duleep Trophy series indicate that the whole last session of the country’s first pink ball, day-night first class games, will be played under lights.  The four games, between the India ‘Blue’, ‘Green’ and ‘Red’ XIs, are all to be played at the Greater Noida International Cricket Stadium in Uttar Pradesh, which is just outside New Delhi.   

Play has been listed to start each day at 2 p.m., the first interval being from 4.00-4.20 p.m., the second session from then to 6.20 p.m., and the last from 7-9 p.m.  The sun will set during that last interval, for the first game from 23-26 August at 6.50 p.m., the second from 29 August to 1 September 6.45 p.m., the third between 4-7 September 6.40 p.m., and during the final which is scheduled as a five-day affair commencing on 10 September, at 6.30 p.m.

Ashraful ban ends, but not for franchise T20s, internationals.

Masher Uddin.

Dhaka Tribune.

Friday, 12 August 2016.

PTG 1896-9522.

Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful will return to competitive cricket in his home country from Saturday after he serving a three-year ban for his involvement in corruption during the 2013 Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20 series.  Ashraful was initially given with an eight-year ban by the BPL anti-corruption tribunal in July 2014, but in September of that year, it was reduced to five years after he appealed to the disciplinary committee chairman (PTG 1437-6952, 30 September 2014). 

Ashraful confessed his guilt before being banned and the five-year ban was dated from 13 August 2013. It includes the last two-year suspended sentence subject to his participation in the Bangladesh Cricket Board‘s (BCB) anti-corruption education and training programme. He also has to pay a one million Taka ($A16,600, £UK9.850) penalty for his misdemeanour.

While he can play domestic cricket the 32-year old will not be eligible for the national team and franchise-based T20 tournaments, including the BPL, for the next two years.  However, there was still some confusion whether he is eligible to take part in the upcoming Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) first class competition, which is also a franchise-based tournament. 

BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said the board has asked the International Cricket Council regarding the matter and hopes to get an answer by Sunday.  Currently Ashraful, who has played lower-level cricket in a number of countries during his ban, is participating in an unofficial Sunday League in Kent and is expected to return to Bangladesh on Saturday (PTG 1626-7939, 24 August 2015).  The 2016-17 BCL series is scheduled to start in late September.

How more data can make you more wrong.

Rory Sutherland.

The Spectator.

Saturday, 13 August 2016.

PTG 1898-9523.

 

In a One Day International against Australia at Lord’s last year, Englishman Ben Stokes was dismissed for ‘Obstructing the Field’, a rule rarely invoked in-cricket. The bowler had thrown the ball towards the wicket (and hence near Stokes’s head) in an attempt to run him out. Stokes raised his hand and deflected the ball. After some discussion between the two on-field umpires, and a referral to the third umpire, Stokes was given out (PTG 1639-8021, 7 September 2015).

What was most interesting was the difference in the conclusions people reached depending on whether they watched the replay in real time or in slow motion. Seen at speed, his raising of his hand looked nothing more than an involuntary and instinctive act of self-defence. Viewed in slow motion (as the third umpire saw it), it seemed a wilful and deliberate act of wicket–preservation. In the first instance, everything happened so quickly that it seemed impossible that Stokes had time to think; in slow motion it seemed impossible that he hadn’t.

But none of this matters compared with the effects when slow-motion replays are used in criminal courts. A recent University of-Chicago experiment showed subjects video of a bungled robbery in which a shopkeeper was shot dead: those ‘juries’ shown a slow-motion replay were more than three times as likely to convict as those who saw events at the correct speed. The effect diminished when the footage was shown at both speeds, but persisted: such juries were still one and a half times more disposed to find the gunman guilty.

Usually new technology works in the interests of justice. Advances in DNA fingerprinting have not only helped solve countless crimes but have exonerated thousands of wrongfully accused people worldwide. Such advances are also a powerful deterrent against committing crimes in the first place.  There may be a small counter-trend in which technology — including CCTV coverage — makes false convictions more likely rather than less. Several pretty iffy judgments have relied on miniscule quantities of matter, meaning that the opinion of one vetted scientific expert can potentially condemn someone to jail for life. Mobile-phone evidence or CCTV footage — or the resources to analyse it — may be more widely available to the prosecution than to the defence.

Part of the problem lies simply in the greater volume of data now available. A fairly good rule of thumb is that the more data you have, the more gold is contained therein… but at the price of an even greater volume of false gold: spurious correlations, confounding variables and so forth. 

Constructing an inaccurate but plausible narrative is much easier when you can cherry-pick from 50 pieces of information than from five. In one of the miscarriages of justice, great store was set by the fact that, on the fateful night, a wife had frequently called her husband but never the other way round; only later did it emerge that he had run out of credit on his phone. It’s a persistent problem with data. It doesn’t always make you right — it can serve only to make you more certain when you are wrong.

Corrupt Tsolekile has let down more than just his sport.

Mike Atherton.

The Times.

Friday, 12 August 2016.

PTG 1898-9524.

He was leaning on his black BMW. Cap turned backwards, spikey hair protruding from underneath and surrounded by friends and well-wishers. It has been written that the residents of the township joke that BMW stands for “black man’s wish”, and on a bright January afternoon earlier this year Thami Tsolekile looked like he had arrived.

I was in Langa township to research a piece on Temba Bavuma, who had just scored a magical hundred in the Newlands Test match against England. I had visited the sports club where Bavuma had begun his sporting journey, and the house where he grew up. I found myself at the crossroads where he played his first street cricket, just opposite the house of Ben Malamba, the first famous player that Langa had produced.

It is difficult to underestimate the awe in which Tsolekile is held in Langa: I was told they call him “Mara” after Maradona.  Although he was living in Johannesburg playing for the Highveld Lions franchise, Tsolekile keeps a house in Langa where he, too, had grown up, just around the corner from Bavuma. As he leant against the bonnet of his car, just up from the crossroads, he looked like he didn’t have a care in the world. We said hello and chatted for a while about an international career that had stalled after its early promise.

Shortly afterwards, reports emerged for the first time that Tsolekile was among the names being investigated as part of the corruption probe into Cricket South Africa's Twenty20 competition the previous November (PTG 1743-8667, 22 January 2016). Earlier this week, the first results of that continuing investigation were announced. Tsolekile was given a 12-year ban for four offences: contriving to fix, failing to co-operate with authorities, destroying evidence and a failure to disclose information (PTG 1895-9498, 9 August 2016). One of four players to be banned, his career is now finished.

When I read the news, I didn’t really think of Tsolekile, rather of Langa, the small township, with more than 50,000 Xhosa-speaking residents, many of whom have taken to cricket in a way that townships generally do not. The affection for cricket is a quirk of history: many of Langa’s residents came from the Eastern Cape initially where cricket was strong among the black community.

I thought of the community sports club and the pavilion where the shirts of Langa’s international stars hang in frames. The club takes great pride in the achievements of its locally-produced sports stars such as Thabo Mngomeni, a footballer for Bafana Bafana, and Tsolekile, who has two shirts hanging up in the pavilion, one for cricket and one for hockey, given that he is a dual international. It is difficult to underestimate the awe in which Tsolekile is held in Langa: I was told they call him after Maradona because of the No 10 shirt he wore in hockey and his outrageous talent.

Every achiever in sport carries the pride of a community. I can still remember the floods of cards and telegrams that were waiting for me at Trent Bridge in August 1989 before I made my debut in Test cricket. I still have a box at home with them somewhere. Cards from family, school friends, university friends and, especially, from the local cricket club where I had played since virtually in nappies. It made you realise that you were playing for more than yourself and your team.

Nowhere, though, had I felt that sense of community pride more than in Langa. When I asked Ezra Cagwe, who was serving drinks during the Newlands Test, but who was a cricket coach in Langa, whether he would take me around on a day off, he jumped at the chance to show off the township’s latest success story, Bavuma. When we visited the club, time and again we were introduced to people who had had some small part in Bavuma’s rise. Stories that had no doubt been repeated endlessly were told once more. The sense of pride was palpable.

There are only seven black Africans who have played Test cricket for South Africa since transformation, and two of those have come from the same street in the same township.   It was said of Viv Richards that when he walked to the crease, he did so with the hopes and dreams of the tiny island of Antigua walking with him. Bavuma is only small in stature but he needs broad shoulders, because he carries with him the same hopes of a community every time he walks to the crease. During his brief, three-Test match career, so did Tsolekile.

I wasn’t really thinking about the lessons to be drawn when I heard of his ban. I was thinking about the small brick pavilion in the middle of the wide-open, wind-swept fields of the Langa sports club. I was thinking of Tsolekile’s international hockey and cricket shirts hanging on the walls, and of the diminished pride those in the community will feel when they walk past.  By getting sucked into corruption, Tsolekile has betrayed his community. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,899

  Sunday, 14 August 2016

 

• Aussie TV chiefs want international league structures [1899-9525]. 

• ’Tweet’ costs Broad 20 per cent of his match fee [1899-9526]. 

• No sympathy for Hales from England camp [1899-9527]. 

• EUP candidate for England-Pakistan ODIs [1899-9528].

• Umpires consider quitting over bad player behaviour [1899-9529].

Aussie TV chiefs want international league structures.

Daniel Brettig.

Cricinfo.

Saturday, 13 August 2016.

PTG 1899-9525.

Australian cricket's major broadcasters Channel Nine and Network Ten have warned that international cricket runs the serious risk of being significantly devalued and overrun by domestic Twenty20 unless radical schedule changes provide league structures that viewers and fans can understand. Speaking to more than 200 delegates during the three-day Australian Cricket Conference (ACC) in Melbourne this week, Amanda Laing, the managing director of Nine, and David Barham, the head of Ten's Big Bash League (BBL) coverage, both stressed the need for change, in a panel discussion that also featured Geoff Allardice, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) general manager of cricket. 

Both the ICC's cricket and chief executives committees are presently working through the details of a plan to overhaul international cricket from top to bottom, with the introduction of leagues for all three formats, and two divisions for Test cricket. The boards of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India have expressed their opposition to change, particularly at Test level, ahead of ICC meetings scheduled for September and October (PTG 1896-9511, 10 August 2016).

At the last and inaugural ACC in 2010, major structural changes to Australian cricket - including fundamental reform of Cricket Australia (CA), the governing body, and the introduction of the BBL - were expedited by a mood for change. This time around, the focus was on reforms at a more global level, though this battle must by its nature be fought at ICC committee and board levels.

James Sutherland, the CA chief executive, has been a long-time advocate of changes to the way international cricket is structured. He said Laing and Barham had laid out quite a compelling case.  "We are conscious of some of the comments we've read in the media recently, but as far as I can see, those comments have been overmuch sharply focused on the concept of two divisions for Test cricket”, Sutherland said of the opposition to change. "This issue is far broader than that single issue around two divisions. We're talking about three formats, we're talking about a structure from which our corporate partners, our fans and our media partners can all understand the three formats, when where and why they're played”. 

Of other major agenda items at the conference there was consensus to review Australian cricket’s investment in grass roots, especially for boys and girls (schools and clubs) and the delivery model for the sport at this level. Furthermore, there was a commitment to roll-out modified playing formats nationally in the 2017-18 season, following pilots in the coming 2016-17 season, and to pursue the development of social cricket formats that align with the growing casual participation trends across the sporting sector in Australia.

CA chairman David Peever added that the goal of having cricket as part of the Olympics was still very much a priority, despite Indian opposition (PTG 1877-9406, 16 July 2016). "We see the Olympics, as do all other countries bar one, as very important to the development and growth of the game globally and bringing all countries into cricket competition”, he said. "The discussions at the ICC are ongoing and we are continuing to try to work through the issues which are making it difficult for India to at this point agree. We'll continue to do that and work as vigorously as we can to try to bring this about”.

’Tweet’ costs Broad 20 per cent of his match fee. 

Ali Martin.

The Guardian.

Sunday, 15 August 2016.

PTG 1899-9526.

Stuart Broad has become the second England player to be fined during the fourth Test with Pakistan, having been relieved of 20 per cent of his match fee, around £UK2,000 ($A3,380) for questioning a decision on social media (PTG 1897-9516, 12 August 2016).  Broad’s punishment is greater than that given to his team-mate Alex Hales, who received a 15 per cent fine after walking into the third umpire’s office to argue about his dismissal in England’s first innings (PTG 1899-9527 below).

Replying to a message from the Daily Mirror’s cricket correspondent, Dean Wilson, which stated replays of the low catch by Pakistan’s Yasir Shah that removed Hales were “unclear”, Broad wrote: “replays are unclear? You don’t believe that do you?”  Hales also replied to the message with a still image of the contested catch and the comment “bit blurry to be fair!” but he is not expecting an additional punishment to the one given for making “inappropriate comments” to third umpire Joel Wilson.

While Hales saw his fine made public during the second day of the Test, the decision on Broad was delayed while the fast bowler considered challenging it.  This would have meant a hearing with match referee, Richie Richardson, the official who issued the charge, and had he done so and been unsuccessful, the result would have been a doubling of the fine handed down.

Explaining his decision, Richardson said: “One of the most fundamental principles of the sport is to always accept and respect an umpire’s decision. In this case, Stuart ignored this golden rule and made inappropriate comments in regard to the umpires’ decision”.  Soon after Broad and Hales went to twitter to question whether the ball carried or not, England management has reminded its players about the appropriate use of social media.

No sympathy for Hales from England camp. 

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Saturday, 13 August 2016.

PTG 1899-9527.

The England camp has admitted batsman Alex Hales deserved to be fined on Friday for storming into the match referee’s office to have an angry exchange with officials over his first innings dismissal.  Hales was fined 15 percent of his match fee for showing dissent to third umpire Joel Wilson, after the officials ruled on the first morning that he had been dismissed by a clean catch at midwicket, a decision he disputed (PTG 1898-9520, 13 August 2016).

Coaches are allowed to discuss decisions with match officials but Hales is the first England player to be fined for such behaviour.  Paul Farbrace, England's assistant coach, told journalists Hales "deserves his fine. You can’t go in to the match referee’s office during the game and have a heated exchange as I understand Alex did.  The International Cricket Council did the right thing and we cannot support any player going in and having a crack at the third umpire”.

Hales’s reaction will have alarmed the England management who did not know he had left the dressing room to remonstrate with officials.  Farbrace went on to say: “We would not have advised him to go and share his thoughts on the dismissal. That is not the brightest thing to do. When you are mid-game do you need to upset the umpires? You work very hard on having a good relationship with them so the last thing you need to do then is go and kick the door off its hinges and tell the third umpire he has made a mistake because ultimately it is only going to make a difference to your bank balance”.

During Pakistan’s innings, Hales was picked up by television cameras wiping mock tears from his face when Azhar Ali had treatment for a blow to the wrist. That in itself is not punishable behaviour as far as the match referee is concerned but perhaps not wise after dropping a key catch as Hales did.  

EUP candidate for England-Pakistan ODIs.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Saturday, 13 August 2016.

PTG 1899-9528.

Australian umpire Simon Fry has been appointed to stand in three of the five One Day Internationals (ODI) England and Pakistan are to play once their current Test series ends.  As one of probably now three umpires in the running for a spot on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), if as some are suggesting a vacancy arises on that 12-man group next June, Fry’s performance will be under particularly close scrutiny by the ICC.

In addition to Fry, South African EUP member Marais Erasmus and match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand have been named as the neutral officials for the five ODIs in Southampton, Lord’s, Trent Bridge, Headingley and Cardiff over a 12-day period starting Wednesday week.  Prior to those games that trio will officiate in the two ODIs Ireland and Pakistan are to play next weekend (PTG 1894-9496, 7 August 2016).  The England and Wales Cricket Board are expected to select ICC second-tier International Umpire Panel (IUP) members Rob Bailey and Tim Robinson for the England series, their colleague Michael Gough being in Sri Lanka (PTG 1883-9434, 22 July 2016), plus one or two others to work as fourth umpires.

Fry will be on-field with either Bailey or Robinson in Southampton, Trent Bridge, and Cardiff, Erasmus being the television umpire for those games, while at Lord’s and Headingley Erasmus will be on-field and Fry the television official.  By the end of the series Crowe’s ODI record as a referee will have moved on to 246 matches, four short of being only the third man after Ranjan Madugalle and Chris Broad to reach the 250 ODI mark.  For Erasmus his ODI tally will be 65 on-field and 40 as the television umpire (65/40), and Fry 29/15.  Bailey goes into the series on 14/4 and Robinson 8/1.

The Australian, who made his Test debut last October and is about to start his twelfth season year as a member of Cricket Australia’s (CA) National Umpires Panel, its the fifth time the ICC has chosen him as a neutral in an ODI series, the first being in Sri Lanka almost two years ago, followed by New Zealand for the 2015 World Cup, then Zimbabwe last year, and Ireland next week ahead of its England series.  

A member of the IUP since 2010 (PTG 618-3097, 8 June 2010), Fry has in his career to date, worked as the television umpire in Tests on three occasions, stood in 79 first class games, 5 being CA domestic finals, been on-field in 93 List A fixtures, four of them domestic finals, plus 57 Twenty20 fixtures, three of which were CA finals.  Another 11 were internationals and 6 more in the Indian Premier League series.  CA has named him its ‘Umpire of the Year’ over the last three years.

Fry’s rivals for a potential EUP position next year, Joel Wilson of the West Indies and Michael Gough of England have also been busy lately; Wilson in the England-Pakistan Test series, and Gough in Zimbabwe’s Tests against New Zealand, his first, and in a few weeks the Sri Lanka-Australia ODIs.  A fourth contender, Ranmore Martinez of Sri Lanka, may be out of the running for since March last year his selection as a neutral by the ICC has been limited to two Tests in New Zealand, one on-field and another as the television umpire.

Umpires consider quitting over bad player behaviour.

Rob Helliwell.

Burton Mail.

Saturday, 13 August 2016.

PTG 1899-9529.

Players in the Derbyshire County Cricket League (DCCL) have been told to behave themselves or face playing games with no officials after a string of reports of abuse.  In recent weeks there has been nine cases reported to DCCL administrators, the majority of which involve "continuously questioning umpires' decisions, using foul and abusive language to umpires and acting in a disrespectful manner".

Speaking on behalf of the league's executive committee, vice chairman Martin Allsopp warned players umpires are "considering giving up" in light of the abuse.  He also described abuse and derogatory comments from spectators to match officials "equally intolerable”.  The DCCL’s umpire secretary Jon Salisbury has advised league administrators some officials have said they have 'had enough' and are ready to step down. 

"While it may be difficult to accept [an umpire’s] decision at times”, said Allsopp, "it is worth remembering that like any player an umpiring mistake can be made.  It has been the subject of long debates and discussions in the past and always will be.  However, the umpire is there for his enjoyment and love of the game. It is not acceptable for umpires to be subject to a tirade of questioning, abuse and foul language on the field of play.  It is also not acceptable for an umpire to have to intervene to curb arguments, even violence, between players either”.

League administrators also say instances of abuse have been on the rise for some time now.  Allsopp said: "In reviewing the last three years of disciplinary situations, 23 of the 31 have involved abuse towards umpires and it is getting worse.  It should be pointed out also that umpires have been subject to derogatory comments and verbal abuse from spectators at matches and this is equally intolerable.  Clubs here have a very real responsibility to ensure that this does not happen”.  

The warning has been distributed to all the clubs that take part in the league which includes many from across East Staffordshire and South Derbyshire.  Allsopp added: "We need our umpires to continue enjoying their part in the game so please spread the word from this weekend - and continue to do so in the future”.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,900

  Monday, 15 August 2016


• SLC president calls for four-day Tests, rejects divisional concept [1900-9530].

• Two more internationals fined for their behaviour [1900-9531].

• Sri Lanka rejects journalist’s pitch doctoring suggestion [1900-9532].

• Taufel to take up CA referee, umpire reins [1900-9533]. 

• No racial quotas for South Africa team to face New Zealand [1900-9534]. 

• Bangladeshis set for bowling action tests next month [1900-9535]. 

SLC president calls for four-day Tests, rejects divisional concept.

Jon Pierik .

Fairfax Media.

Sunday, 14 August 2016.

PTG 1900-9530.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief Thilanga Sumathipala has called for four-day Tests but continues to resist plans for a two-tier Test championship, saying it will leave nations as "second-class" citizens.  The International Cricket Council (ICC), with the backing of Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa, wants to introduce a promotion-relegation system into Test cricket. 

The plan would be for seven nations to comprise the top tier, and five the second tier, the latter also providing promotion and relegation for ICC associate nations.  But India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have opposed the plan. Sumathipala confirmed his position on Sunday, while also taking a swipe at the so-called "big three" nations.  He had discussed privately with Australian journalists on the eve of the series his stance on a new-look Test system, but went public in an interview with Colombo's 'Sunday Times'.

"The ICC is trying to push some countries to the 'bottom tier' – after they had earned their status through a lot of hard work. I am sure they would never be able to get back to their former positions once demoted”, said Sumathipala. Then their sponsors will leave them. They will become second-class Test-playing nations. I don't think that is the way forward and that is why we, as matter of policy, are against the 'two-tier’ system”.

"Sri Lanka won the ICC Trophy way back in 1979. Then, while still an ICC associate member, we beat India in a World Cup tie. Sri Lanka's ascendancy to full status was never an easy one, while it sustained itself within its realms right through”, Sumathipala said.  "That is the hard-earned status that Sri Lanka could be proud of in cricket. So, this status cannot be compromised and because of that, we are not in agreement with the two-tier cricket segregation”.

Sri Lanka began this series against Australia as the seventh-ranked nation but Sumathipala was confident his nation would soon rise.  Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland, and Australian television executives, said on Friday a two-tiered system, with promotion-relegation every two years, would add greater context (PTG 1899-9525, 14 August 2016), while South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat believes the long-form format will die unless there is change (PTG 1896-9511, 10 August 2016).

Sumathipala said the best way to reinvigorate Test cricket, which continues to attract poor crowds on the subcontinent, was to limit matches to four days.  "In 2003, I submitted a paper to make Test cricket a four-day affair because then, it was 90 overs into five, totaling 450 overs. Now, with night Test cricket using a pink ball, we can play at least another 30-45 minutes of cricket on all four days and make up for lost time," he said.  

"Hence, we can play the same amount of cricket in a lesser number of days, with four-day Test cricket. Then, if Test cricket is played from Thursday to Monday, players have three days for rest and travel, before the next Test match”.  "In this manner, we could take Test cricket to another level, where there would be more people watching the game in the evening session. In this manner, even production costs will be less, and we can find a solution to the equity problem while retaining the status part intact. So, we are not willing to shift our stance on the equity issue in the two-tier proposal”.

Sumathipala also took a swipe at the so-called "big three" nations, although the power of Australia, India and England is not as great as it had been because of recent ICC reforms.  "During the past few years, the ICC has got into a highly commercial frame of mind. At one juncture, the 'big three' was trying to control the game. That was wrong, how can India, England and Australia take control of the game?" he said.  "The game of cricket is all about equality. There should be fair play, so you cannot take equity into focus and change the game. We are happy, now that the 'big-three' concept has been done away with. Now the post of ICC president is not confined to those three countries. These are the good things that have happened to the game of cricket”.

Two more internationals fined for their behaviour.

PTG Editor

ICC media release.

Sunday, 14 August 2016.

PTG 1900-9531.

West Indian Darren Bravo and India's Rohit Sharma have both been fined 15 per cent of their match fees following a prolonged verbal exchange during the third Test of their sides’ series in St Lucia.  The pair were charged with "conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game" for their actions on the final morning of the match.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) said the pair "ignored numerous requests and instructions from the umpires [Nigel Llong and Rod Tucker] to stop verbally engaging with each other in a manner that was not in keeping with the spirit of the game”.  

Bravo and Sharma are the third and fourth players to be fined by the ICC in the past two days.  England's Stuart Broad was fined 20 per cent of his match fee on Saturday after tweeting about the dismissal of opening batsman Alex Hales on day one of the fourth Test against Pakistan at The Oval (PTG 1899-9526, 14 August 2016).  Hales had earlier been fined 15 per cent of his match fee for paying a visit to the third umpire’s room and making "inappropriate comments" as he left (1898-9520, 13 August 2016).  The apparent disparity between the fine levels of a tweet and going out of your way to have face-to-face verbal stoush with the third umpire has been questioned by some.

Sri Lanka rejects journalist’s pitch doctoring suggestion.

Colombo Sunday Times.

Sunday, 14 August 2016.

PTG 1900-9532.

Sri Lanka's chief cricket curator Geoffrey Dabarera has dismissed allegations levelled by ‘The Australian’ newspaper that the pitch provided for last week’s Galle Test against Australia was “doctored”.  Journalist Peter Lalor wrote that “photographs” of the pitch on the game’s last day "show what are obvious ­efforts by curators to aid the local spinners”, something that was "in breach of International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations”, but he had been informed Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had escaped sanction from match referee Chris Broad over the matter (PTG 1897-9518, 12 August 2016).

Dabarera said: “The Galle pitch was handed over to [referee Broad] prior to the game. From that point onwards, the pitch was shorn-off under the supervision of ICC match officials. At the same time at no point did the ball behave in an odd way during the entire game? So how could they come up with allegations which they cannot substantiate?  If the match referee saw some different patches on the wicket, he should have taken the matter up on the first-day of the Test and not on the last day when Sri Lanka was about to win the match handsomely”.  Some Sri Lankan insiders questioned how confidential discussions between the referee and officials could reach the ears of the Australian press. 

Commenting on the allegations, SLC secretary Mohan de Silva said: “It was the Australian fast bowlers who bagged the major portion of the wickets that fell during the game and remember Sri Lanka too lost twenty wickets, during that match. The good proportion of the runs were scored by the Sri Lankan lower half, which goes to prove that there were no hidden devils on the surface. We played a fair game and beat them squarely and why take the sheen out of a good victory”.

Taufel to take up CA referee, umpire reins.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 14 August 2016.

PTG 1900-9533.

Former international umpire Simon Taufel will take up his new role as Cricket Australia’s (CA) 'Match Referees and Umpire Selection Manager’ on Monday.  What is a new position will, according to the advertisement for the job released in June, be responsible for “leading CA’s Match Referee panels” so their duties "are executed professionally and efficiently”, “managing referee and umpire appointments”, performing referee duties himself, and ensuring umpire assessment and selection processes are appropriately conducted (PTG 1888-9458, 30 July 2016).  

CA is yet to make clear whether the five members of CA’s Umpire High Performance Panel (UHPP) over the last four years have been retained as referees under Taufel, however, there is no public evidence to date they won’t.  In their previous UHPP role the five, Steve Bernard, Daryl Harper, Peter Marshall, Bob Stratford and David Talalla, worked as referees and logged, via shared computer-based systems, their assessment of umpire performances in domestic first class, List A, senior Twenty20 and other CA competitions.  Those, plus such reports from lower-level referees and umpire coaches, are supposed to feed into the selection of umpires for panels, key tournaments, international exchanges and other appointments such as scholarships. 

Last May, one of the items on the agenda for CA’s post-season umpire managers’ meeting was whether the organisation’s current umpire assessment systems and processes were appropriate to “get the best [candidates] to the top” of CA's umpiring tree (PTG 1830-9155, 18 May 2016).  Also on the table at that time was the ability of such arrangements to deal with the “risk of unfair [umpire position] dismissal claims” and the question was also asked if there was a "need for more robust assessment criteria” in that regard.  

June's job description for Taufel’s position said it would be responsible for “ensuring” CA’s "umpire assessment criteria and processes are robust, consistent and fair”, and that the selection of umpires to CA umpire panels is "meritorious” and “lawful” at all times.  Words such as “fair”, “meritorious” and particularly “lawful” raise questions as to whether the system has, in the past, had to deal with situations that do not meet those criteria.  More likely though is that the exisiting reporting arrangements are seen by CA officials as not being sufficiently reliable, consistent, objective, informative and readily available for those in the system who need access to them.  Taufel is required to ensure his referees “are sufficiently trained and prepared for their duties” so such matters are likely to be a focus for him.      

The relatively new role of CA Umpire Coach, which former first class umpire Ian Lock was appointed to a year ago, would appear by its nature to be outside Taufel’s new orbit, however, he will need to have access to logged umpire reports as part of his duties.  On the other hand just how the various umpire managers and coaches in each Australian state and territory will interface with Taufel’s range of duties appear less clear, at least to some.  What is clear though is that Taufel will, as CA indicated in its job advertisement, have to "communicate directly and clearly” with all the stakeholders involved if the system is to reach its full potential.

No racial quotas for South Africa team to face New Zealand.

Reuters.

Sunday, 14 August 2016.

PTG 1900-9534.

South Africa will not be using any racial quotas to pick the team to face New Zealand in the first Test later this week despite promising to formally introduce them to a bid to speed up transformation.  Coach Russell Domingo said players would be selected on merit only for the first test in Durban, which starts on Friday.  He told reporters:"We will continue to do what we've always done and that is pick our best eleven players. We are fortunate that it hasn't been an issue for this particular team”. 

His comments came three weeks after Cricket South Africa (CSA), which has been criticised by the government over the issue, said it would set a minimum number of black players to be selected in all their national teams (PTG 1832-9169, 20 May 2016).  CSA president Chris Nenzani announced these "targets" would be calculated over a year after it had been determined what was realistic and sustainable.  "There has been nothing officially recommended to me at the moment”, added Domingo as South Africa began preparations for a two-match Test series.

CSA have already introduced quotas for the country's domestic franchise competitions where teams must field at least six players of colour, including three black African players.  South Africa's sports minister Fikile Mbalula has been critical of what he says is the slow rate of transformation in the country's major sports, apart from football.  The country has seen greater participation among black players across most sports at junior level despite the challenge of providing adequate school facilities in poorer districts. 

But Mbalula wants to see this reflected quicker at national team level and in April slammed the federations from rugby, cricket, netball and athletics for failing to meet what he says were agreed targets on transformation.  He banned them from bidding for or hosting international events like World Cups until they met their targets, with a review of this decision scheduled for next April.  South Africa's 15-man squad for the New Zealand Tests has seven players of colour but just two black Africans in Temba Bavuma and Kagiso Rabada. 

Bangladeshis set for bowling action tests next month.

Dhaka Tribune.

Monday, 15 August 2016.

PTG 1900-9535.

Bangladesh fast bowler Taskin Ahmed and possibly spinner Arafat Sunny are to travel to Brisbane next month for a test of their modified actions.  Both were suspended for suspect bowling actions during the World Twenty20 Championship series in April this year (PTG 1784-8908, 20 March 2016), and both the bowlers have been working on their actions since then.  Taskin played in the Dhaka Premier League while Sunny kept himself away from most of the domestic leagues and opted to work on his action on his own. 

Bangladesh Cricket Board’s cricket operations committee Akram Khan said on Sunday that: Sunny underwent a bowling test [on Saturday] and after getting the result of the test, we will think about the next step. On the other hand, Taskin is almost confirmed and we are looking forward to sending him for the official bowling test”.  "We will decide on Sunny after getting the result of [yesterday’s] test and if his report is positive we might send him with Taskin".

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,901

  Wednesday, 17 August 2016

 

• ‘Delayed' stumping sparks discussion [1901-9536].

• Hales full of regret for outburst at TV umpire [1901-9537].

• Pakistan fined for slow over-rate at The Oval [1901-9538].

• NZC doubles pay for top female players [1901-9539].

• Curator describes visitors as ‘Ugly Aussies’ [1901-9540].

• Three-month ban for Bermudan who ’threatened assault' [1901-9541].

‘Delayed' stumping sparks discussion

Jon Pierik.

Fairfax Media.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016.

PTG 1901-9536. 

Australian wicketkeeper Peter Nevill has had a tough time with the bat through his side's current Test series against Sri Lankan but his game awareness remains as sharp as ever.  Nevill completed one of the cheekier dismissals when he had opener Dimuth Karunaratne stumped early on day four of the third Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground on Tuesday.

Karunaratne had been squared up and missed a spinning delivery by Nathan Lyon and the ball was taken by Nevill. But as Karunaratne then rehearsed his stroke, he lifted his back leg, which had been inside the crease - all while Nevill patiently holding on to the ball for two to three seconds. As the back leg slightly lifted, Nevill whipped off the bails.  The appeal was reviewed by third umpire Richard Kettleborough at the request of on-field umpire Sundarum Ravi and Karunaratne was adjudged stumped.  Two overs later the keeper attempted to do the same thin again but Ravi opting not to send it upstairs as the batsman was clearly in his crease.

Nevill said about Karunaratne’s dismissal at the end of the day’s play: "I thought he was going to lift his foot out of his crease, and he did.  You might have seen on the [television] footage I had my hand right near the stumps waiting for that to happen, and it did happen. You can see a shifting of weight and you're expecting the back foot to come up.  That's the hunch I had and that's what happened, and I managed to get the bails off in time.  It worked out well, the timing was just right and it was out”.

It's not the first time a wicketkeeper has been involved in such an incident. Former England gloveman Alec Stewart completed a similar stumping of West Indian Brian Lara in a one-day match in Sharjah in 1997.  Nevill's stumping sparked a flurry of social-media reaction, with some questioning whether his actions were within the spirit of cricket. But the umpires obviously were of the view the ball was not dead at the time.  Karunaratne appeared dumbfounded by his dismissal but did not react in an angry manner or appear to have words with the tourists. 

The Laws of Cricket say the ball is dead “when it is finally settled in the hands of the wicketkeeper or of the bowler”, however, “whether the ball is finally settled or not is a matter for the umpire alone to decide”.  Law 23 says “the ball shall be considered to be dead when it is clear to the bowler’s end umpire that the fielding side and both batsmen at the wicket have ceased to regard it as in play”.

Hales full of regret for outburst at TV umpire.

Ali Martin.

The Guardian.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016.

PTG 1901-9537.

England’s Alex Hales has apologised for what he calls the poor and immature decision that saw him barge into the third umpire’s room during the recent Oval Test and unload some industrial language, describing it as a lesson learned about the pressures of international cricket.  The 27-year-old opener was fined 15 per cent of his match fee, around £1,500 ($A2,545) by match referee Richie Richardson, for showing dissent towards the TV official Joel Wilson (PTG 1898-9520, 13 August 2016).

On-field umpires Bruce Oxenford and Marais Erasmus had asked Wilson, in the booth, to help with the decision, with the instruction from Oxenford – his “soft signal” – that the catch was clean. With a hazy replay denying the third umpire any conclusive evidence by which to overrule his on-field colleagues, Hales had to go (PTG 1897-9516, 12 August 2016).  Returning to the dressing room, Hales removed his pads and immediately walked along the corridor that runs behind the Bedser Stand and up one flight of stairs to the room in the pavilion that houses the match officials, before sharing his thoughts on the lack of footage in an emotional and colourful outburst he now hugely regrets.

“What frustrated me most was that in an international match, there was only one camera angle, which was blurry – that’s what tipped me over the edge”, Hales told the Guardian. “I wasn’t annoyed at the umpires, it was the lack of camera angles.  But that is no excuse to lose my temper like that. I’m filled with regret about the whole thing and I’m sorry for the whole situation. I’ll have to move on and know that, if something like that happens again, I’m now better equipped to deal with it”.

Asked why he did not cool down in the dressing room for longer, Hales said: “That’s where I went wrong. I should have taken 10 or 15 minutes to myself to come to a logical decision but instead I let my emotions get in the way and stormed up there for a fairly heated chat.  With the beauty of hindsight, that was a poor decision and an immature one as well. I have learned quite a bit and if something similar comes around again then I definitely won’t react like that.  I apologised to Richie Richardson and Joel Wilson and when were fielding the next day, I spoke to Marais Erasmus and Bruce Oxenford to smooth things over as well. I have got no complaints with the fine, it was 100 per cent deserved and I’m lucky, because on another day it could easily have been more”.

Certainly social media has not let Hales forget the fourth Test, with images of the crying face he made to Azhar Ali on the second morning of the match, after the opener was struck on the arm by a Steven Finn, repeatedly sent to him ever since.  “I have never had so much abuse as over the past five days”, said Hales. “That picture of me making a crying face has been sent to me over 1,000 times, along with my scores in the series. I take it with a smile, that’s the best way to deal with it. And it was a laugh and joke at the time, not abuse. I thought it was a bit tongue-in-cheek and so did Azhar”.

Pakistan fined for slow over-rate at The Oval.

Associated Press.

Monday, 15 August 2016.

PTG 1901-9538.

Pakistan has been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate in the fourth Test against England, which concluded at The Oval on Monday.  Match referee Richie Richardson imposed the fine after Misbah-ul-Haq’s side was ruled to be one over short of its target of 158 overs when time allowances were taken into consideration.  

In accordance with International Cricket Council regulations that relate to minor over-rate offences, players are fined 10 per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.  As such, Misbah has been fined 20 per cent of his match fee, while his players have received 10 per cent fines. If Pakistan commits another minor over-rate breach in a Test within 12 months of this offence with Misbah as captain, it will be deemed a second offence by him and he will face a suspension.  

Misbah pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the proposed sanction, so there was no need for a formal hearing.  The charge was laid by on-field umpires Marais Erasmus and Bruce Oxenford, third umpire Joel Wilson and fourth official Rob Bailey.  ICC time allowances include treatment given to a player, a player leaving the field as a result of a serious injury, all third umpire referrals and consultations, time wasting by the batting side, two minutes per wicket taken and four minutes for one drinks break per session in Tests.

 

NZC doubles pay for top female players.

Associated Press.

Monday, 15 August 2016.

PTG 1901-9539.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) will double the pay of its top female players, though the best-paid woman will still earn less than half as much as her lowest-paid male counterpart.  An agreement between NZC and the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association will see the country's top-15 female players offered annual retainers of between $NZ20,000 to $NZ34,000 ($A18,800-32,000, £UK11,170-19,000).  NZC’s contracted male players receive retainers of between $NZ83,000 and $NZ200,000 per year ($A70,025-188,000, £UK46,350-111,700).

With match fees of up to $NZ400 ($A375, £UK224) for One Day Internationals, leading female players could now earn more than $NZ40,000 per year ($A37,600, £UK22,340), not counting prizemoney and endorsements.  Chief executive David White said the increases for women reflect his organisation's commitment to "inclusivity and diversity”.  New Zealand is currently ranked third among the world's' top-ten women's teams.

Curator describes visitors as ‘Ugly Aussies’.

The Island.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016.

PTG 1901-9540.

Michael de Zoysa, the curator of Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) ground in Colombo where Sri Lanka and Australia are plying the current Test, has slammed the visitors as ‘Ugly Aussies’.  De Zoysa, a former  Sri Lankan team manager, told 'The Island' he had lost patience with the tourists following constant complaints and that he had brought certain incidents to the notice of match referee Chris Broad.  According to him the tourists had accused SSC ground staff of preparing ‘another three-day Test match wicket’.

Australian spinner Nathan Lyon criticised the pitch in front of Zoysa and later at the media briefing at the end of the first day's play.  De Zoysa is waiting to hear from Lyon now that his captain Steven Smith and opener Shaun Marsh have scored centuries as the tourists posted a first innings total of 379 in the match, and that the match is going into a fifth day.  Although Australian teams are known for their grit, courage and never say attitude, Zoysa was surprised by the current side’s "constant grumbling" about practice nets, practice facilities and the pitch.

Three-month ban for Bermudan who ’threatened assault'.

Bernews.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016.

PTG 1901-9541.

The Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) has banned player Christopher Douglas from all cricket for three months after he pleaded guilty to the Level Three charge of "Threat of assault on another player, player support personnel or any other person [including a spectator]”.   As such Douglas will not be able to play again until the first Saturday of November.  The BCB's Disciplinary Committee also found Ricardo Brangman guilty of the Level Two charge of "Using language or gesture[s] that is seriously obscene, seriously offensive or of a seriously insulting nature to another player, player support personnel, umpire, match referee or any other third person”.  Brangman has been banned for two 50-over matches as a result.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,902

  Thursday, 18 August 2016


• Pakistan schedules 11 domestic first class day-nighters [1902-9542].

• League bans player for life for on-field assault [1902-9543].

• Taufel working for CA on a full-time basis, say reports [1902-9544].

Pakistan schedules 11 domestic first class day-nighters.

PTG Editor.

PCB press release.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016.

PTG 1902-9542.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has scheduled eleven matches of its 2016-17 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first class competition, including the final, as day-night affairs that will use pink ‘Kookaburra’ balls, the aim being to familiarised players with such conditions.  The championship, which involves sixteen teams divided into two pools, will begin on the first day of October and end in mid-December when the five-day, day-night final will be played at the National Stadium in Karachi.

The PCB said: “This is for the first time that the schedule of all domestic tournaments and their playing conditions have been announced well in advance before the start of the season”. That approach will allow “teams, associations, officials and all stakeholders to finalise their financial and administrative plans and streamline their activities well before the start of each tournament”.  The Board has also approved a "substantial raise" in players’ match fees as well as their "daily allowances and other facilities”.

League bans player for life for on-field assault.

Alex Evans.

The Star.

Thursday, 18 August 2016.

PTG 1902-9543.

A Sheffield man as been given a lifetime ban from playing in the Yorkshire and Derbyshire Cricket League (YDCL), and suspended from playing the sport at all for 12 years, after he assaulted a man during a match late last month.  The game was abandoned after a fight broke out on the ground during the YDCL fixture between the Stocksbridge and Totley cricket clubs (PTG 1887-9452, 29 July 2016).

A Totley player, who has not been named by the league, cannot take part in any cricket played under the auspices of the England and Wales Cricket Board until 2028, but the YDCL itself will not allow him to ever play in its competitions again. The same incident has also resulted in a Stockbridge player being given a suspended two week ban that will be in force until the end of the 2017 season, for using offensive or obscene language, plus a ten-week ban, suspended until the end of 2018, for assaulting another player.  His bans were suspended because the disciplinary report filed against him said he was "defending another player and [was not] the instigator” of the fight.  

Totley’s captain was found not guilty of failing to control his players. The disciplinary committee found that "the situation exploded in such a short time that the captain fielding at Long On could not have foreseen how the events were going to unfold and demonstrated that he tried his best to control a difficult, fluctuating and unpredictable situation”.

Taufel working for CA on a full-time basis, say reports.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 18 August 2016.

PTG 1902-9544.

Former international umpire Simon Taufel is working in his new role as Cricket Australia’s (CA) 'Match Referees and Umpire Selection Manager’ on a full-time basis, according to so far unconfirmed reports circulating in Australia.  Taufel took up the position, which will oversight the activities of CA match officials, on Monday (PTG 1900-9533, 15 August 2016).  While the nature of the job will require him to travel around the country, it is understood he will conduct a lot of the day-to-day work from his home south-west of Sydney.

Some of the first tasks for the five-time world ‘Umpire of the Year’ would appear to be, apart from outlining his approach to the stakeholders involved, establishing the structure of the annual pre-season gathering on CA’s 12-man National Umpire Panel (NUP) late next month.  Last year NUP members were joined by those on the national body's second-tier Development Panel, but whether they will attend this year is not known (PTG 1617-7871, 12 August 2015).  It would also seem logical, given Taufel’s recent arrival in the new position and the arrangements for the management of match official issues that are now in place, that CA’s five match referees will also attend the gathering, but again details are under wraps. 

Another focus for Taufel at the moment is likely to be the selection of referees and umpires for the opening month of matches of CA’s three-week, 23-match 2016-17 domestic season fifty over competition which are due to start in seven weeks, as well as the 15 initial matches scheduled for the same format Womens’ National Cricket League around the same time.  Selection of personnel for those fixtures during the month of October will have to be made soon so that referees and umpires have a chance to confirm their availability, and travel and accomodation arrangements can be made for them on a timely basis.  

Whether Taufel will be continuing in the International Cricket Council “training role” arrangement he took up last January (PTG 1736-8624, 13 January 2016), or if as seem doubtful the similar role he had with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (PTG 1879-9414, 17 July 2016), are not known publicly.  It seems likely though he will continued to work as a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s Laws sub-committee.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,903

  Saturday, 20 August 2016

 

• Union calls on CA to give equal rights to women players [1903-9545].

• Former Indian international umpire dies [1903-9546].

• Bangladesh review finds five bowlers have illegal actions [1903-9547].

• CA posts Aussie Test scorer list on its web site [1903-9548].

• Female umpire amongst changes to CA Under-17 series list [1903-9549].

• Durham skipper edging toward suspension [1903-9550].

Union calls on CA to give equal rights to women players.

Andrew Wu .

Fairfax Media.

Friday, 19 August 2016.

PTG 1903-9545.

The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), the players’ union, is calling for the country's female cricketers to be included in the next collective bargaining agreement, in a move set to cause friction between it and Cricket Australia (CA).  The body representing the players wants CA to give female players the same rights as their male colleagues. At the moment, the women do not have an industrial agreement with CA and miss out on entitlements such as injury payments, access to the retirement fund and visiting periods for partners while on tour.

ACA's delegates met in Melbourne this week heading into the start of negotiations over the next Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with CA. They have stated their concerns with domestic cricket and how they feel it has been compromised by innovation, and also raised issues about the schedule.

The ACA wants revenue from the women's game to be included in Australia's cricket revenue, of which players are entitled to a 26 per cent share, but expects to be rebuffed by CA. The union has also called for greater financial transparency from CA to get a better understanding of how much money the women's game generates through areas such as sponsorship, broadcast rights, ticket sales and digital media.

The two parties had a bitter dispute earlier this year over women's pay. CA significantly increased its commitment to the female game from $A2.36 million to $A4.23 million (£UK13.7-24.6 m) (PTG 1795-8965, 8 April 2016). Wages for Australia's elite female players have spiked significantly in recent years but whereas the top men can earn around $A2 million annually (£1.2 m) the leading women have a maximum retainer of $A65,000 (£37,800) but can earn more than $A100,000 (£58,170) once payments from the Women's Big Bash League and the match and tour fees paid to international players are added.

Players remain concerned with how domestic competitions are being used as testing grounds for innovations such as the pink ball. While players are happy to try new ideas they believe it should not be to the detriment of the contest.  This season's Sheffield Shield competition will feature three different balls – the traditional ‘Kookaburra', the pink ball used for day-night Tests and the ‘Dukes' used by England (PTG 1790-8938, 30 March 2016).

"The delegates are a passionate group representing the players who have expressed their genuine interest in maintaining the integrity and growth of the game”, ACA chief Alistair Nicholson said. "The delegates have unanimously endorsed these principles and in so doing have made it very clear what the players need to help grow the game. These players are living and breathing custodians of the sport, and their commitment to the game and its growth is absolute”.

A CA spokesperson said: "The game of cricket is in good shape and players contribute an important element to this success. We look forward to discussing this with the ACA, but won't be negotiating the MOU in the media”.

Editor’s note:  Wu’s reference to the use of ‘Duke’ balls could indicate the trials CA said it was to conduct during the Australian winter to clear them for use in Shield matches were successful (PTG 1843-9236, 3 June 2016).  Whether that interpretation is correct to is yet to be confirmed publicly.  CA high performance manager Pat Howard indicated ten weeks ago, when mentioning the trials, that Dukes have been used over the last four summers in the State second XI, Under 19 and Under 17 men’s championships matches (PTG 1008-4899, 25 October 2012), but that a problem emerged with them in that: "They had too much lacquer on them and didn't wear enough, so we didn't get the value of seeing how the older ball performed” (PTG 1842-9226, 2 June 2016).

Former Indian international umpire dies.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Friday, 19 August 2016.

PTG 1903-9546. 

Former Indian international umpire Subrata Banerjee, passed away on Friday at the age of 71 in Kolkata, the city of his birth. He stood in 64 first class matches in the period from 1967-2002, and refereed 10 more in 2004-05.   There were also 13 One Day Internationals (ODI) in the period from 1983-98, and 36 List A fixtures overall over a 22 year period that ended in 2005.  In addition he umpired and refereed in Women ODIs and stood in an Under-19 Test.  His father Sunil (1919-86), stood in 34 first class games from 1955-74, a record that includes a single Test in 1964.

Bangladesh review finds five bowlers have illegal actions.

Dhaka Tribune.

Friday, 19 August 2016.

PTG 1903-9547.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board’s (BCB) bowling action review committee has found that five bowlers it recently tested have illegal bowling actions, however, they haven't suspend them immediately (PTG 1863-9341, 27 June 2016).  The five were amongst ten tested by the committee three weeks ago who had been reported as having suspect actions during the 2016 Dhaka Premier League series, another two had some of their deliveries labelled illegal, with three others were cleared by the group following assessments conducted in Mirpur.

Those found to have illegal actions, left-arm spinners Faisal Hossain and Amit Kumar and off-spinners Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Sharifullah and Asif Ahmed, are still allowed to play domestic cricket till mid-November this year.  However, they must complete the bowling action reassessment by that time in order to be able to be reassessed and cleared to play after that. Until then time they are free to play and the BCB will pay for their remedial work and the reassessment.

On the other hand left-arm spinner Rezaul Karim though has had all of his deliveries, except his arm-ball, cleared, while pace bowler Mohammad Saifuddin is not allowed to bowl his slower delivery.  Should either of them bowl such balls umpires will be able to call 'no-ball’, says the committee.  Left-arm spinners Moinul Islam and Naeem Islam jnr and off-spinner Sanjit Saha were found by the committee to bowl within the regulations.  

CA posts Aussie Test scorer list on its web site.

PTG Editor.

CA web posting.

Friday, 19 August 2016.

PTG 1903-9548.

Cricket Australia (CA) has included the provisional list of Australian Test scorers put together by Canberra-based scorer Adam Morehouse on the ‘Honours Board’ section of the ‘Umpiring’ part of its web site.  Morehouse’s work brings together for the first time details of the scorers who recorded the details of the 404 Test matches played around that country over the past 139 years (PTG 1985-9499, 9 August 2016).  

The scorers’  list joins those of the 89 Australian Test, 43 One Day International and 13 Twenty20 International umpires Australia has produced to date.  Of those only nine, Steve Davis, Simon Fry, Darrell Hair, Daryl Harper, Bruce Oxenford, Peter Parker, Paul Reiffel, Simon Taufel and Rod Tucker, have stood at international level in all three formats.

Female umpire amongst changes to CA Under-17 series list.

PTG Editor.

CA web posting.

Friday, 19 August 2016.

PTG 1903-9549.

Cricket Australia (CA) has made four changes to the umpires’ panel for its 2016-17 Under-17 mens’ national championship series in Brisbane next month it announced two weeks ago (PTG 1892-9490, 5 August 2016).  The changes include the first female named to a CA U-17 series, Deanne Young of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), and mean that unusually there will be no Victorian on the panel.  Just why the changes have been made is not known, but they come, probably coincidently, the week former international umpire Simon Taufel took up the oversight of umpiring appointments (PTG 1902-9544, 18 August 2016).

CA originally named Hennie Boates of Western Australia, Andrew Crozier (ACT), Nick Ferns (Victoria) and Jayvan Ruddick-Collins of Queensland amongst the ten it named, but they have now been replaced by Steve Dionysius (Queensland), Marc Nickl, (NSW), Todd Rann (Western Australia) and Young.  The latter four join previously named Muhammad Qureshi (Tasmania), Cain Kemp (South Australia), Dinusha Bandara (ACT), Steven Farrell (Queensland), and Troy Penman and Glenn Stebbings (New South Wales).  The line-up now features three from NSW, two each from the ACT and Queensland, and one each from South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.  

Nickl and Qureshi have stood in one U-17 series previously and Kemp two, while Rann is an old hand for over the last 18 years he has stood in three U-17 plus three CA Under-19 mens’ national tournaments, so just why he is being recycled into the U-17s at this stage is not clear. Kemp, Rann and Qureshi are the only ones of the ten to have stood in CA Futures League State Second XI to date.   Rann has also stood in both Womens’ and Under-19 One Day Internationals.

At the same time it posted its U-17 umpires on its web site on Friday, CA included an unchanged list of ten for its U-19 national championship event in Adelaide in December to that which it circulated four weeks ago (PTG 1884-9439, 24 July 2016).

Durham skipper edging toward suspension.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Friday, 19 August 2016.

PTG 1903-9550.

Durham captain Paul Collingwood is one sanction away from suspension after being removed from the attack by umpires Peter Hartley and Jeremy Lloyds for bowling two full tosses above waist height during Durham's Twenty20 quarter-final match against Gloucestershire last week.  The former England all-rounder had already received three penalty points for a Level Two breach of the England and Wales Cricket Board's code of conduct last season after showing dissent at an umpire's decision (PTG 1593-7703, 16 July 2015), and he will automatically pick up another three points for his latest offence.  That leaves him with six penalty points to his name in the last two years, and a further three will trigger an automatic suspension. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,904

  Sunday, 21 August 2016

 

• TV umpire to call front foot no balls in England-Pakistan ODIs [1904-9551].

• Aussie players’ union opposed to use of ‘development teams' [1904-9552].

• PCB to boost domestic match fee payments [1904-9553].

• Capped Black Caps [1904-9554].

TV umpire to call front foot no balls in England-Pakistan ODIs.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release.

Saturday, 20 August 2016.

PTG 1904-9551.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is to trial technology to detect front foot no-balls during the five-match One Day International (ODI) series between England and Pakistan which begins on Wednesday.  The trial will help to understand whether the third umpire is able to use instant replays to call front foot no-balls more accurately. It will also enable him to judge the front foot no-balls within a few seconds of the ball being delivered and communicate this to the on-field umpire.

It effectively means that for the forthcoming series starting the on-field umpires Australian Simon Fry, South African Marais Erasmus and Englishmen Rob Bailey, Tim Robinson and Richard Kettleborough (PTG 1899-9528, 14 August 2016), will not call any front foot no-balls without the third umpire’s advice, unless the side-on cameras are unavailable.  

To help the third umpire judge no-balls, the four dedicated side-on run-out cameras that form a part of the broadcast coverage, will be provided on split screen feed and automatic slow motion replay, and also enable third umpires Erasmus and Fry to rewind or move the video forward through the toggle wheel.  The on-field umpires will wear pager watches, which will vibrate as soon as the third umpire communicates to them that a front foot no-ball has been bowled.  If for some reason the signal is not sent through the pager, then the third umpire will use the normal radio communications system to relay the information.

To ensure that the match officials are thoroughly briefed on the trial, the ICC is to conduct training sessions with the five umpires and match referee Jeff Crowe in Southampton on Monday and Tuesday ahead of the first game there. The results of the trial will be shared with the ICC Cricket Committee, which will advise on the future course of action.

The issue of no-balls not being called has always been contentious in Tests. Earlier this year, there was controversy over umpire Richard Illingworth erroneously calling Doug Bracewell’s delivery that bowled Adam Voges a no-ball in the Wellington Test between New Zealand and Australia (PTG 1766-8809, 17 February 2016). More recently, in the Lord’s Test between England and Sri Lanka, umpire Rod Tucker was at the centre of dispute after incorrectly calling Nuwan Pradeep’s delivery that bowled Alex Hales a no-ball (PTG 1853-9294, 14 June 2016).

Addressing the issue during the annual ICC conference in July, David Richardson, the ICC chief executive, had said: “There are occasions where it does influence a match, where a batsmen is dismissed, the umpire calls a no-ball and it turns out to be not a no-ball. That’s a dilemma — you can’t reverse the call of no-ball, it’s too late. Or, he might have skied the ball and the fielder has heard no-ball called and stops going for the catch.  What we’ve looked at now is saying to the third umpire ‘let’s see if you can call the no-ball, it might be easier for you sitting in a box with the replay from a camera square on to the wicket’”.

Adrian Griffith, the ICC's Senior Manager Umpires and Referees, said the forthcoming trial "is being carried out to ascertain if there is a way in which front foot no-balls can be called more accurately and consistently, while also assessing the TV umpire’s workload and identifying the impact it will have on the flow of the game.  While we need to find out if the technology set-up for this purpose is fit, at the same time we feel this is the right time to conduct the trial as the TV umpires will have more information than ever before to share with the on-field umpires, which, in turn, will help them in correct decision making”.

Aussie players’ union opposed to use of ‘development teams'.

Daniel Brettig.

Cricinfo.

Friday, 19 August 2016.

PTG 1904-9552.

Australia's cricketers have stated their opposition to the use of Cricket Australia (CA) development teams in domestic competitions, heightening scrutiny around the CA XI that is to take part in this year's 50 over tournament in what is the second of a two-year trial.  That position was on of a number outlined by Australian Cricketers Association (ACA), or players’  union, delegates following meetings in Melbourne this week ahead of the start of negotiations over the next Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with CA which are due to start in October.

In addition to the development of a more inclusive and equitable agreement in regards to female players (PTG 1903-9545, 20 August 2016), the ACA also plans to focus on: scheduling and format issues in both domestic and international cricket; maintaining the character of the game by innovating in what they see as more appropriate ways; an improved and more structured communication arrangement between the ACA and CA; preservation of a revenue sharing model whereby players are entitled to 24-27 per cent share of all CA earnings; and maximising player welfare during and after their careers.

Last austral summer, the CA XI was roundly thrashed in initial encounters with full-strength state sides, before improving later on in the competition and defeating Tasmania. "We said initially that we were prepared to back this for a two-year trial and we are sticking to that for the second season as we felt that there were significantly positive results for Australian cricket”, says CA's team performance manager Pat Howard.

"With the postponement of the Test tour [to Bangladesh] last October, the CA XI came up against very strong state sides, which was wonderful for the competition but was also a tough introduction for the young group. It is important we continue to review the concept again this season, as there were many positives”.

Player development pathways have been a source of conflict between the players and CA in the past, notably the introduction of severe age restrictions on second XI competitions and the trial of split innings limited-overs cricket in 2010-11. CA ultimately scrapped both gambits in consultation with its own playing conditions committee (PTG 770-3772, 5 June 2011). ACA operations manager Graham Manou recently quit to join CA as the man in charge of talent pathways.

Among others issues, the ACA is seeking equal working conditions for women in the next MOU, though the players are yet to determine whether they will be seeking an increase in their current share of the game's total revenue by way of compensation. Katich said that women were at a junction not dissimilar to the men in 1997, when the advent of the ACA itself heralded full professionalism for domestic cricketers in addition to Australian players. 

 "The delegates are unanimous that the revenue sharing model should stay; it's worked for 19 years and it continues to make sure we're a genuine stakeholder in the game”, Katich said. "Both the men and the women were unanimous about that, knowing that part of the plan is to try and develop one MOU that covers both the men and the women. Obviously it's one thing saying that, the other is figuring out the process to get to that point”.

PCB to boost domestic match fee payments.

The Nation.

Saturday, 20 August 2016.

PTG 1905-9553.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has increased player match fees in its domestic first class, one day, and Twenty20 competitions. The new system is designed in part to enabled international players to earn at least half of the money on the domestic circuit that they receive while representing Pakistan.

Those who take part in a Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first class matches will now be paid a 15,000 Rupee ($A185, £110) match fee, and a new daily allowance of 200 Rupees ($A2.50, £UK1.50).  The PCB has also increased the budget for providing food to players during those fixtures.  A national team player will get half of a Test match fee if he plays in a four-day match, while centrally-contracted players will be paid in accordance with PCB international match fee for one-day and domestic Twenty20 events.

PCB fifty over one-day games will see most participants paid between 20,000 and 30,000 Rupees ($A250-375, £146-220), while in Twenty20 tournaments the fee has been doubled from 12,000 last season to 24,000 Rupees ($A150-300, £88-175).   International Labour Organisation statistics put the monthly average wage in Pakistan at around 26,700 Rupees ($A335, £195). 

Capped Black Caps.

Neil Mantorp.

Super Sport.

Saturday, 20 August 2016.

PTG 1904-9554.

Every nation has a variation on the capping ceremony before a Test match and they are always special. Mostly, it happens twice – the night before, when the captain hands the cap over, and then again on the field of play half an hour before the start of play when a ceremonial figure, usually a former ‘great’, hands the cap over officially.

They are both moments that players never forget, cherished as much as the first 50 or the first wicket. The cap, as every international cricketer will tell you, is something that can never, ever be taken away from you. Often the fulfilment of a dream that started in pre-teen years, the cap is tangible proof of achievement, of reaching the highest level. But not, obviously, of performing there.

If the capping ‘ceremony’ is so special, why limit it to one? Every appearance for your country is special, and some may be even more special than the first. So why not have your very own, unique and highly prized Test cap presented to you in a mini ceremony before every Test?  That’s exactly what the Black Caps do.

Their management group leave no stone unturned to find someone appropriate to re-present the caps to the established players and, occasionally, to hand over a new one to the debutant. They deliver a five-minute talk and then redeliver the precious caps to their owners. Once, in deepest Bangladesh, they found a Kiwi doctor doing extraordinary work in the most deprived areas. His talk to the team moved them to tears.

Team manager Mike Sandle reads out the names and precious numbers of the cap recipients on the night before the Test and they walk forward to accept, again, the most precious symbol of their achievement. Once the caps are back on their heads, the entire squad – players and management – embrace and share a special word of encouragement. There is little need these days to emphasise, or re-emphasise, that the team comes before the individual. 

The caps of players like Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill and Tim Southee were clearly much weather-beaten but their owners received them back again with a reverence almost certainly identical to the first time. There is a great deal of nonsense written and spoken about ‘team spirit’. And there is also the evidence of your own eyes.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,905

  Monday, 22 August 2016

 

• TV ‘no ball’ trial raises questions for wider umpire community [1905-9555].

• Wet season scheduling disrupts another Test [1905-9556].

• No Taufel at BCCI umpire, referee, workshops [1905-9557].

• Bangladeshi bowlers Brisbane-bound for retest [1905-9558].

TV ‘no ball’ trial raises questions for wider umpire community.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 22 August 2016.

PTG 1905-9555.

News that technology is to take over the responsibility of front foot no-balls during the forthcoming England-Pakistan One Day International series is seen by some as a move that has wide implications for the game.  The trial has been set up in order to determine whether the third umpire is able to use instant replays to call front foot no-balls more accurately (PTG 1904-9551, 21 August 2016), and follows several related incidents in internationals this year (PTG 1853-9294, 14 June 2016).

A number of senior umpire coaches in four Test playing countries with responsibility for officials standing at Premier League level, have asked independently of each other why the International Cricket Council (ICC) is again going down the technology route to solve an umpiring problem. “Is it because none of those in senior line control at the ICC are all former first class players who have never umpired in their lives?”, asked one from the northern hemisphere.

If the no ball issue is seen as being of significant importance why, asks another from the southern half of the world, "has there been no trialling of greater penalties against the bowler to eradicate the problem, instead of allowing a handful of serial offenders to warrant the resort to technology?"  He “finds it odd, although not unusual, that again, no information has come to light [from the game’s highest level] about ideas and strategies to help umpires improve this aspect of their game before resorting to technology". 

"Why do we train umpires to use head and eye co-ordination to call no balls [which is] the easiest thing in the world with practice and experience. What will they do next-replace umpires with a robot?!”, asked a second northern hemisphere coach-observer.  In a similar light two southern hemisphere coaches questioned the ICC’s umpire training and coaching system, one asking: "are we seeing this as an increasing problem because umpires have not been assessed on their ability to perform this task prior to being promoted to [the highest] level of officiating?”

One of the northern coaches pointed to issues regarding back foot no balls and asked just who will be monitoring those as the four cameras involved in the ICC trial will be focussed on the Popping Crease at each end, not the Return Creases.  The same official queried just how the batsman who is facing a ball that is called a front foot no ball can take advantage of what another called “the effective ‘free hit” involved, if the ball is already past him when the TV umpire presses the button for the call of ’no ball’? 

The ICC’s approach is seen in the words of one as a "very real danger" that the wider umpiring community could minimise the importance of the foot fault assessment task by feeling it is too hard to get right without compromising their decision making at the other end.  "That is what the trial is surely inferring”, said one, for "if the best umpires in the world can’t get it right, how are mere mortals expected to?”

Wet season scheduling disrupts another Test.

Karthik Krishnaswamy.

Cricinfo.

Sunday, 21 August 2016.

PTG 1905-9556.

Foolish logistical planning paired with inadequate drainage infrastructure have meant that despite the weather being sunny for most of the time, no play has been possible on days two, three and four of the final Test between the West Indies and India at Port of Spain's Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad.  Just 22 overs were possible on day one before play was called off in a Test match scheduled during the region’s wet season at a ground that does not own a ‘Super Sopper’ and has limited ability to cover the area of play.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the ground's failure to drain properly was simply the amount of rain it has taken over the last few weeks. It has rained consistently through August, and August is always a wet month. On average, according to the World Meteorological Organisation, Port of Spain receives 244 mm of rain in the eighth month of the year, more than in any other month. Scheduling a Test match here now was perhaps not the wisest decision in the first place.

It has never happened before. Of the 60 Test matches the Queen's Park Oval has hosted, this was the first to be played in August. The venue has never staged a Test in July, only two - in 2010 and 2014 - in June, and only one, back in 1965, in May. The other 56 Tests have all been played between January 19 and April 26, in the dry season, which in the Caribbean is the traditional cricket season.

But once the series had been scheduled, the authorities responsible for staging the Test match - the whole chain running from the West Indies Cricket Board through the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board to the Queen's Park Cricket Club, which owns the ground - could have made the best possible arrangements to minimise the rain's impact. They may not have had time not have time to overhaul the ground's drainage, and may not have been able to acquire a ‘Super Sopper' either, but they could definitely have rushed to the nearest dealer in outfield covers.

Last year the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) was criticised for hosting India and South Africa for Test series during the monsoon months of July and August, series that were significantly impacted by rain (PTG 1610-7830, 4 August 2015).  BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said the tight international schedule of both visiting teams forced his board to hold the series during the monsoon for the first time.  "We had communicated to them the rain factor but there was no alternative [as] if we did not host them now we would have had to wait till 2023”, said Chowdhury. 

No Taufel at BCCI umpire, referee, workshops.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 21 August 2016.

PYH 1905-9557.

A total of 109 umpires and 44 match referees have taken part in two-day workshops conducted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over the last two weeks, but long-term BCCI umpire trainer Simon Taufel does not appear to have been involved.  Material covered during workshops was, says the BCCI, put together by current International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Panel member Sundarum Ravi and his countrymen on the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel Chettihody Shamsuddic, Anil Chaudhry and CK Nandan, plus former Indian umpire Ivaturi Shivram, and referees Manu Nayyar and Amit Sharma.

The BCCI has been conducting workshops for umpires and referees prior to each season for a number of years now, however, this year is the first umpires and referees have been together at each of the six separate gatherings involved. The organisation also points out that another first is that the workshops were conducted its own senior match officials.  Taufel has had a key role in such gatherings over a number of years, but last month the BCCI indicated quite bluntly and publicly that there were questions as to whether the $US50,000 ($A65,800, £37,800) salary they are reported to pay him was cost-effective (PTG 1879-9414, 18 July 2016). 

During each of the workshops, says the BCCI, the focus was on helping "umpires and referees to have a common interpretation on a variety of issues and situations that may arise in a match".  Topics covered are said to have included: "the new umpire assessment policy; changes to Playing Conditions; match and man management communication issues; ball management; bouncing back; ground, weather and light; suspect bowling actions; goal setting; umpires expectation from a referee; referee's expectation from an umpire; and analysis of match videos.  The BCCI says that the response and feedback from the 153 individuals who attended was "very positive”.

Bangladeshi bowlers Brisbane-bound for retest.

Cricbuzz.

Monday, 22 August 2016.

PYH 1905-9558.

Bangladeshi bowlers Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny are set to undergo reassessments of their actions in Brisbane two weeks next Thursday, says the Bangladesh Cricket Board.  Both were banned by the International Cricket Council during the World Twenty20 in India earlier this year for having actions that exceeded the world body's 15-degree flexion limit (PTG 1784-8908, 20 March 2016).

Taskin acknowledged he is a bit nervous ahead of the test. "I'm thinking about the test while eating and sleeping”, he said. "I feel the same way as one would while hearing the date of the school final exams. You keep preparing, but when you hear the date, you get a little nervous. But I'm happy that a date has been fixed. I am preparing both mentally and physically through my skills.  Experts at home are satisfied with my bowling action. I am also satisfied. But since it is a test, even one problem found in a delivery can be a major issue. I am training hard and the rest is up to god."

BCB director Jalal Yunus is confident the pair will be cleared ahead of England's tour of Bangladesh in October. "We are very positive about Taskin's case," he said.  "Sunny [and] our head coach Chandika Hathurusingha are both relatively satisfied with his action, [although] he has to go through some more work” before Brisbane.  "But overall management feels that his action will be good enough and that he too can go along with Taskin [to Brisbane]”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,906

  Wednesday, 24 August 2016


• ‘Participation’ census a positive for CA, but some data looks shaky [1906-9559].

• Scheduling, ground, issues dog two ‘out-of-season’ Tests [1906-9560].

• When cricket and football went hand-in-hand [1906-9561].

‘Participation’ census a positive for CA, but some data looks shaky.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016.

PTG 1906-9559.

Cricket Australia’s (CA) fourteen 'Australian Cricket Census' (ACC) suggests "a record" 1.31 million Australians ‘participated' in the game there in 2015-16, an 8.5 per cent jump on the number claimed for the previous year (PTG 1611-7832, 5 August 2015).  CA says “the record-breaking results” show cricket is now Australia's "number one participation sport”, the organisation's aim for many years now, and that "almost a quarter of all players are female", however, analysis of the data released on Tuesday raises a number of questions about the year-to-year consistency, and therefore believability, of the work involved.

ACC data for the 2015-16 year states that overall there were a total of 1,311,184 “participants” in the game of cricket around Australia in 2015-16, a ‘participant’ being defined as someone who "participates in at least four sessions of a formal cricket program”.  Of that number 675,882 (up 7 per cent) were involved through ‘schools', a total of 454,657 (up 9.5 per cent) in the 'club and community’ area, and 180,645 (up 10 percent) in the indoor game.  

Of the overall participation number 314,936 or 24 per cent were females, a growth of 9 percent over 2014-15.  CA says there were 581 “girl’s and women’s teams playing 11-a-side cricket at clubs” in 2015-16, a statistic it did not provide last year therefore no comparison is possible.  The number in CA’s 'Junior Participation Pathway' for those aged 9-12 years is said have grown “16 per cent” to 83,138, however, the participation number provided last year for that area of CA’s work was 73,686, which when combined with this year’s figure suggests the growth, while considerable, was more like 11 per cent (PTG 1411-6815, 12 August 2014).

Discrepancies like that, which potentially are far more serious, can be found elsewhere.  According to the latest ACC, 422 cricket associations and a total of 3,741 clubs were engaged in the game nationwide in 2015-16.  Census data released for the previous ‘year’ did not mention such numbers at all, but the one the year before that stated 477 associations and 3,995 clubs were involved in 2013-14 (PTG 1411-6815, 12 August 2014).  The latest figures therefore represent a somewhat unbelievable drop of 55 associations and 254 clubs in two years, a significant change that raises questions about either the latest data, that presented a year ago, or both.  If that drop is indeed real it would suggest all is not well with club level cricket in Australia. 

Such issues get additionally confusing when the census data for the number of teams involved in the area of ‘Club and Community cricket’ are examined.  The latest data shows a total of 30,622 traditional 11-a-side, plus 3,139 “modified” rules teams, played the game around Australia in 2015-16.  Data provided in August last year for 2014-15 gave those figures as 23,111 and 1,850 respectively, numbers that indicate a rise of over 7,500 traditional 11-a-side teams and in excess of 1,300 extra of the “modified” variety.  Such a change if achieved would be remarkable, but it is also at odds with the apparent fall in association and clubs numbers mentioned previously.

In similar vein, the growth rates claimed in 2015-16 for CA's ‘diversity’ programs in ‘multicultural', ‘Indigenous' and ‘disability’ areas are not consistent when compared to the numbers released a year ago.  CA says this year's multicultural participant numbers of 187,816 represents a "28 per cent" growth, while the Indigenous figure was 36,900 (up "40 per cent”), and those for the disabled 17,492 (up "70 per cent").  However, 2014-15 figures provided a year ago for those three categories were 146,658, 26,427 and 10,292 respectively.  If they and those provided this year are correct, the growth rate actually comes in at 13, 14 and 17 per cent respectively; impressive figures in themselves but significantly different from the 28, 40 and 70 per cent claimed in Tuesday’s CA press release. 

As has been the case in the past, no mention is made of the number of participants in the Over 60 and Over 70 playing categories, areas where CA’s interest and support is seen by many as very limited, but where growth has been strong.  

Similarly, there is no mention of match officials in 2015-16 information.  Data for 2013-14 showed "4,353 umpires" were involved, that statistic being mentioned in a graphic that summarised survey data and not in the accompanying text provided two Augusts ago.  Just what it means in not clear, especially as the only reference to match officials when survey information for 2014-15 was released was to “1,611 umpires trained”, again with no explanation.  CA has indicated on its web site for some time now that “over 5,000 registered umpires” are involved.  As in the past this year's ACC again made no reference to scoring or scorer numbers.

In announcing the survey results, CA chief executive James Sutherland said: “Cricket is clearly the sport of choice for many Australians and we’re proud to be billed as one of the biggest participation sports in the country.  We’re committed to continuing to invest in the grass roots [area], as we have demonstrated with a $A4 million (£UK23.2 m) commitment in launching a 'Growing Cricket for Girls' fund recently (PTG 1878-9411, 16 July 2016).  Last year the National Community Facility Funding Scheme also invested $A1.34 million (£777,000)  into 89 community facility projects worth a total value of $A11.2 million” (£UK6.5 m).  Sutherland praised the growth in female participation saying it is “something that we are particularly proud of, diversity will continue to be an area of strong focus, including the desire to see further increases in multicultural and indigenous participants”.  Attempts to obtain funding breakdowns on ‘growing girls’ and facilities expenditure have so far been unsuccessful. 

CA’s press release on the census says it is conducted by “independent researcher Street Ryan” of the 'Street Ryan and Associates’ company.  It is said to also conduct similar auditing of Australia’s other major participation sports, and thus are able to make the ’number one participation’ sport claim for cricket.   Just how accurate the independence claim for the data used is is potentially open to question though, for the basic figures used were provided by the eight Australian states and territory cricket associations responsible for recording the number of programs, teams and registered players within their ambit.  While the figures presented are impressive and make good headlines, the year-to-year inconsistencies involved raise doubts about what is a key data set for policy makers and operations personnel.

Scheduling, ground, issues dog two ‘out-of-season’ Tests.

Media reports.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016.

PTG 1906-9560.

The Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) has launched an investigation after the fourth and final Test between the West Indies and India at Queens Park in Port of Spain lasted just 22 overs due to a waterlogged outfield, no play being possible after day one despite mostly sunny skies.  Less than a day after that match ended, the first Test between South Africa and New Zealand in Durban finished in a draw, not one ball being bowled over the final three-and-a-half days due to a sodden outfield.

The abandonment in Trinidad came despite long periods of sunshine and the efforts of groundstaff to make the surface playable. TTCB president Azim Bassarath said in a statement: "As hosts, the [TTCB] and Queen's Park Cricket Club regret that limited play was possible in the fourth Test.  We have jointly launched an investigation to determine what occurred with a view to remedying the situation so that it does not occur in the future.  Once this has been done it will be presented to the [West Indies Cricket Board]”.  Bassarath gave no indication of a time-frame for the conclusion of the investigation or whether its findings will be made public.  

Climate records show that August is Trinidad’s wettest month (PTG 1905-9556, 22 August 2016).  That is the middle of the wet season in most of the southern Caribbean, but it is becoming increasingly common for cricket to be played there in that period. Traditionally, the West Indies have played their home Tests in the first five months of the year, but they're increasingly being squeezed out of having a proper home season.  January, February and March clash with home seasons in Australia, India, New Zealand and South Africa, and most of the world's top players now play the Indian Premier League in April and May.

As a result the West Indies have had to move their home Tests into the most unfavourable months of the year. Until 2008, only four of their 48 home series had started after the end of May. Since the start of 2008, eight of their 15 home series have begun in June or later, in the rainy months. In the recent series against India, rain washed out 90 overs or more in three of the four Tests.

Over in Durban, only 100 overs were possible in the match there, players leaving the field prior to lunch on the second day never to return.  Reports claim the situation will place the spotlight on Cricket South Africa's decision to play the game at Kingsmead in August.  Of the 41 Tests played there prior to this week’s game, the earliest one started was mid-November while the latest one finished was in the last few days of March.  

South Africa's home Test series have almost always begun between November and March. Of the 41 Tests played in Durban up until now, 20 were played in December, 9 in January, 6 in February, 5 in March and one in November.  A Test series in late April-early May 2006 and the current one this month are the exceptions. Both of the latter times New Zealand have been their opponents, suggesting a scheduling compromise between two southern hemisphere teams reluctant to travel overseas during their traditional home seasons.  Such problems have also been seen elsewhere in recent years (PTG 1610-7830, 4 August 2015).

Last August though South Africa hosted New Zealand in a One Day International in Durban.  Both teams complained then that the playing surface was too hard and as a result work has since been undertaken to improve the outfield.  That work was completed six weeks ago but recent flooding and a lack of sunshine has not helped the grass to properly recover, leaving it soft underfoot and patchy. The latest rains have exacerbated the situation.  The timing of the work is now under question as a similar process in Pretoria, where the second and final Test between the two sides is to start on Saturday, was completed in April. 

When cricket and football went hand-in-hand.

John Ashdown.

The Guardian.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016.

PTG 1905-9561.

Thirty-six years ago last week, Britain’s first-ever floodlit cricket contest took place. And it took place at a football stadium. Kerry Packer’s colourful World Series in the late 70s had whet the public’s appetite for floodlit cricket. While plenty of counties talked the talk, in 1980 Surrey walked the walk and were the first to take the plunge.

With cricket grounds, even established Test venues such as The Oval, not equipped with floodlights, an alternative venue was required. Packer had encountered similar issues and innovated by using stadiums usually reserved for Australian Rules Football but with such venues in short supply in south London, Surrey opted to use Chelsea Football Club's Stamford Bridge stadium. The touring West Indies team were persuaded to provide the opposition. More than 10,000 tickets were sold. An artificial pitch was put in. The umpires for the game were the late Lloyd Budd and David Constant who were both Test umpires. So far, so good.

Surrey, though, had a problem. Their one-day semi-final against Yorkshire the day prior, was rained off.  Thursday was the designated reserve day and they were obliged to play. Which they did, beating Boycott and co comfortably at The Oval.  Fortunately Essex had already been placed on standby. “It was all teed up, we’d been standing by just in case so weren’t totally surprised to be there”, said Graham Gooch, the Essex opener. “It was a great evening, 11,000 people turned up and there was a really good atmosphere.  The dimensions at the ground were obviously unusual - it was short at the sides, longish at the ends. You got good value for your shots, and I think the crowd got plenty of fielding practice. I remember the wicket actually played quite well, which was paramount if you were playing the West Indies, with their pace”.

West Indies batted first and made 257 from their 40 overs.  In reply, Essex were 1/192 when rain brought things to a premature conclusion after 28 overs. Essex won on a faster scoring rate.  “Not everyone found it that easy to make runs, despite the short boundaries”, said Gooch. “Though having to face Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding might have had something to do with that. Still, we did OK and won on a faster scoring rate when the rain came, with me still in on 111".

The following weekend, Chelsea laboured to a 2-2 draw with Wrexham and at particularly soporific points the home fans could be heard chanting: “We want cricket”, a bit of a change from today.  Cricket has never returned to Stamford Bridge, however, and it’s a long time since Test cricket in England shared a pitch with a football club (1902 at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane). But as the Premier League’s deafening roar shunts cricket further from the spotlight over the final weeks of the English season, it’s worth remembering that the sports once went hand-in-hand rather nicely.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,907

  Thursday, 25 August 2016

 

• ‘Prolonged’, ‘awful’ incident leads to match abandonment [1907-9562].

• Floodlight failures ‘overshadow' Duleep Trophy start [1907-9563].

• Test outfields officially rated as ‘poor' [1907-9564].

• Gap between Aussie ‘best’ and the ‘rest’ females widening: union [1907-9565].s

• Zim opposing mooted two-tier Test system [1907-9566].

• India ‘A’ skipper fined for showing dissent [1907-9567].

• Sun shines again as ‘wet and unsafe outfield’ stops play [1907-9568].

• Yorkshire club claims new world bowling record [1907-9569].

‘Prolonged’, ‘awful’ incident leads to match abandonment.

Michael Knox.

Oxford Mail.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016.

PTG 1907-9562.

A one-day match in the Cherwell League in Oxfordshire was abandoned last Saturday after an incident one of the umpires has described as like nothing he’s seen in more than 50 years of umpiring the game.  Players from the Witney Mills club say they were shocked by what happened in their home Division 4 match against ladder leaders Bicester and North Oxford, however, they provided little detail of just what happened.

Chasing Bicester’s 8/261, Witney were 6/107 when what is described ass a “flare-up” occurred following a collision between a batsman who was going for a run, and a bowler.  It is understood that no physical injuries were sustained as a result of that, but Witney captain Mike Dove described what happened immediately afterwards as “prolonged” and "simply awful”.  Dove said: “It has left the players, members and supporters of [the club] very upset, angry and in a state of shock”, but that “at this stage I think it best not to comment further on the matter”.  "All the relevant reports have been submitted, and the matter is now being dealt with by the Cherwell League”, said Dove.

When contacted Bicester secretary Wes Kernaghan said: “We are still gathering detailed reports on the incident [and] when we receive them, we will take the appropriate action”.  Officials from the Cherwell League, which is made up of 38 clubs spread across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire, were unavailable to comment.

Floodlight failures ‘overshadow' Duleep Trophy start.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016.

PTG 1907-9563.

The first day’s play in the initial Duleep Trophy day-night first class match was interrupted on Tuesday when major floodlight malfunctions twice stopped play, the first at the start of the ‘night’ session and the second an hour later.  The four Duleep games scheduled for the series, which are part of trials being conducted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India ahead of a possible day-night Test later this year, are all being played at the Greater Noida International Cricket Stadium near New Delhi (PTG 1879-9416, 17 July 2016).   

The first failure saw a number of lights go out but the second involved all those in two of the towers at the ground going off completely.  In all a total 78 minutes were lost on day one due to the problems.  Other than the light issues, most media reports indicate the pink ‘Kookaburra’ ball used in the short, 48 over first innings of the ‘India Red’ XI held up well on a pitch that had even grass cover.

Test outfields officially rated as ‘poor'.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016.

PTG 1907-9564.

Test match referees Andy Pycroft and Ranjan Madugalle have officially rated the outfields at Kingsmead, Durban, and Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain respectively, as “poor”, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Wednesday.  Both the West Indies-India Test at Queens Park and its South Africa-New Zealand counterpart in Durban descended into what some reports call “a farce” after most days were lost due to a sodden outfields upon which the sun shone brightly most of the time (PTG 1906-9560, 24 August 2016).

The ICC says Pycroft and Madugalle’s reports have been forwarded to Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) who now have 14 days to provide their responses.  CSA’s response will be reviewed by Madugalle and Geoff Allardice the world body’s General Manager Cricket, while Allardice and David Boon, another ICC referee, will assess the WICB’s reply. 

ICC regulations set down the sanction that will apply should the original ‘poor’ ratings be upheld.  For a “first occasion” a warning and/or a fine not exceeding $US15,000 ($A19,680, £UK11,330) will be given together with a directive for appropriate corrective action could apply; while for "second and further occasions” within a period of five years of the previous finding a fine "not exceeding $US30,000 ($A39,360, £UK22,660) together with a directive for appropriate corrective action is applicable.

Should a pitch and/or outfields be rated as “unfit”, for a first occurrence the venue’s ability to hold international games could be suspended for a period of between 12 and 24 months together with a directive for appropriate corrective action. Following the expiry of the period of such a suspension, the Home Board "is required to arrange, at its cost, for the venue to be inspected by the ICC and re-accredited as a venue capable of hosting internationals”.  A second such report within five years would result in a suspension of between 24 and 36 months together with a directive for appropriate corrective action. Re-accredition of the venue then applies as for a first offence.

Once decisions have been made about Queens Park and Kingsmead, the ICC will inform the respective Home Board in writing of the decision and any penalty decided.  The Home Board may appeal against the ICC decision after which it is passed to an ICC Appeals Commissioner.

Gap between Aussie ‘best’ and the ‘rest’ females widening: union.

Andrew Wu.

Fairfax Media.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016.

PTG 1907-9565.

Australia's female cricketers are worried the professionalisation of the women's game is creating a growing gap between the country's international and state players.  While players want to play and train more they are concerned there is not enough money and resources being devoted at state level to help cricketers make the transition from semi-professionals to full-time players. They also hold fears for the future of Cricket Australia’s (CA) 50-over format Womens’ National Cricket League (WNCL).

Players reported their concerns to the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), or players’ union, at a meeting of state delegates last week ahead of the start of negotiations for the next memorandum of understanding (MoU) with CA in October.  After that gathering ACA chief Alistair Nicholson said his organisation wants CA to give females the same rights as male players (PTG 1903-9545, 20 August 2016).

The union is calling for female players to be included in the same collective bargaining agreement as their male colleagues for the first time, giving them entitlements such as injury payments, access to retirement funds and visiting periods on tour for partners. Female players, many of whom work and/or study outside of the game, also want a bigger say on scheduling.

"You don't want to create this big gap where the Australian players are becoming professional and training all the time and the state players are juggling jobs, careers, a bit of cricket as well – we're trying to ensure the women's game evolves equally”, says former Australian player and ACA executive member Lisa Sthalekar.

"CA contracted players are now employees of CA but don't have their own industrial agreement – there is certain rights [and] they're not necessarily being looked after”, said Sthalekar.  "It's not always about the monetary point of view, it's about their workplace being a safe environment to do their job. They have no say in the scheduling. That's their workplace – how many times they are away from home? They don't get a say in that.  They're not saying they don't like that, they want a say at the table with CA. At the moment by not having that agreement they don't have the opportunity to do that”.

While the introduction of the Womens’ Big Bash League (WBBL) has helped increase earnings for state players, Sthalekar said they were unhappy it has come at the expense of the WNCL. In order to find more time for the WBBL, teams now play each other only once instead of twice in the WNCL. Their preference is for it to be played either side of the WBBL, which is how the Sheffield Shield is scheduled.

"What we heard unanimously from the playing group was WNCL is our Sheffield Shield, we don't just want to play T20”, Sthalekar said.  "It's an area where the players develop their skills. You take away our longest form, players will only get four overs or 10-12 balls to bat.  By reducing the longer format you'll create a wave of players that aren't resilient enough to cope with the pressures at the next level”.

The scrapping of female Under-17 and Under-19 competitions has also disappointed the ACA. Females now play yearly Under-15 and Under-18s events, while the males have annual Under-15, -17 and -19 age groups tournaments.

Zim opposing mooted two-tier Test system.

Kevin Mapasure.

News Day.

Wednesday, 24 August 2916.

PTG 1907-9566.

Zimbabwe Cricket have voiced their disapproval of the proposed reforms to international cricket where a two-tier Test system could come into place if recommendations currently before the International Cricket Council (ICC) are adopted.  Zimbabwe face relegation to the second-tier should the format be adopted following meetings of the ICC board in September and October.

Four of the 10 ICC full-member boards, Australia, England, New Zealand, and Zimbabwe’s neighbour South Africa, have already endorsed the two-tier idea.  Bangladesh, who are ranked number nine, India and Sri Lanka have all opposed the proposal and have now been joined by Zimbabwe.  The West Indies who might, given current Test rankings, fall into the Division Two, are yet to announced their official position although reports suggest that are not in favour of it.  Pakistan have not yet gone public about their position but are thought likely to give the thumbs-up to the mooted change.

India ‘A’ skipper fined for showing dissent.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016.

PTG 1907-9567.

India ‘A' skipper Manish Pandey has been fined 25 percent of his match fee for breaching the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct during his side`s 50-over match against Cricket Australia's (CA) National Performance Squad in Townsville on Sunday.  The 26-year-old was found to have showed dissent when he was given out LBW by CA National Umpire Panel member Shawn Craig.

After being given out, Pandey gestured with his right hand towards Craig and remained at the crease "for more than 10 seconds" before starting his walk off the ground, according to a report on CA’s web site.  Later, Pandey admitted to what has been reported as a Level One offence, but he challenged the 30 per cent match fee sanction originally proposed by match referee Peter Marshall, who reportedly reduced it to 25 per cent as a result of Pandey’s objection.

Sun shines again as ‘wet and unsafe outfield’ stops play. 

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016.

PTG 1907-9568.

The first game of the on-going quadrangular national ‘A’ Team one-day series in Mackay, Queensland, between Australia ‘A' and Cricket Australia’s National Performance Squad, had to be abandoned without a ball being bowled on Wednesday due to a "wet and unsafe outfield”.  Despite “clear and sunny” weather, match referee Steve Bernard is reported to have called off what would have been the seventh game of the series, and first of the final eight of the competition scheduled there over the next eleven days.

The abandonment came in a week when two Test matches were affected by damp outfields, with play not happening over multiple days in Durban and Trinidad despite the sun shining (PTG 1907-9564 above and PTG 1906-9560, 24 August 2016).

August is the dry season in northern Australia, long-term climate records showing Mackay receives its second lowest average rainfall amount of 30 mm in that month.  Official weather records from a Bureau of Meteorology site less than a kilometre from the ground shows it received 9.8 mm of rain overnight Sunday-Monday, none on Tuesday, and 0.4 mm overnight Tuesday-Wednesday.  A report on CA’s web site says there is “uncertainty” about Thursday’s game there between the Indian and South African ‘A’ sides.

Yorkshire club claims new world bowling record.

Yorkshire Evening Post.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016.

PTG 1907-9569.

Yorkshire’s Rodley Cricket Club, which plays in the Bradford League, say they have set a new Guinness World Record after a marathon day of bowling.  Earlier this month, dozens of professionals, amateurs and youngsters took part in the club's attempt to break the record for the most overs bowled in an eight-hour period.  Organiser Alex Riddell said they bowled 734 overs in eight hours and recorded their attempt to send to Guinness. He said: “I started researching about cricket world records and Guinness helped us find a record that we could go for”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,908

  Friday, 26 August 2016

 

• No ’no balls’ in first 'TV no ball' match [1908-9570]. 

• One fined, one reprimanded, after Lanka-Australia ODI [1908-9571]. 

• PCB confirms dates for second day-night Test [1908-9572]. 

• 2016 NZCUSA conference follows a year of change [1908-9573].

• Revised formats designed to attract, keep, Aussie kids [1908-9574].

• Broadcaster warns CA about no increase in cricket spending [1908-9575].

• Cricket viewing at 30,000 feet? [1908-9576].

• Are behavioural problems afflicting amateur cricket? [1908-9577].

No ’no balls’ in first 'TV no ball’ match.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 25 August 2016.

PTG 1908-9570.

Pager watches worn on the wrists of umpires Rob Bailey and Simon Fry did not vibrate once during playing in the opening One Day International (ODI) between England and Pakistan in Southampton on Wednesday, for not one of the game’s 514 deliveries involved a bowler overstepping.  The ODI was the first of five in which the third umpire, in this case Marais Erasmus but in other games Fry, have been asked to call front foot no balls via replays provided 1.5 seconds after the bowler’s front foot lands (PTG 1904-9551, 21 August 2016).

Adrian Griffith, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) senior manager for umpires and referees, told ‘Cricinfo’ before the match that the world body's Cricket Committee had asked for the issue to be looked at after several related incidents in Tests earlier in the year (PTG 1853-9294, 14 June 2016).  That group is also said to have suggested that if successful, use of third umpires in such a way "could be the next step in making the third umpire a specialist position".  There has been periodic talk of establishing a so-called 'technology specialist’ ICC umpire group ever since the Umpire Decision Review System was introduced eight years ago (PTG 284-1507, 24 July 2008).

Along with how the new system affects the third umpire's job, Griffith and his group will be looking at whether the delay in calling no-balls has an impact on the game itself. Both teams have been told that the on-field umpires will not be calling no-balls themselves and are happy to see how the experiment goes. Slowing the game down is a potential side effect, although it could also help save time by cutting out the process of checking for the no-ball after a dismissal.

Griffith told ‘Cricinfo’: "We want to see what sort of timings [are involved for] we're looking at the flow of the game, what extra work may be involved, what limitations it puts on the third umpire, if any, what the teams think about it, and how it affects the broadcast”.  “Is it fit for purpose” is the key question, he says.  Asked whether he thought the system would be beneficial, Griffith said: "Yes, from what we have seen”, however, questions have been raised by some about the basic philosophy behind the move (PTG 1905-9555, 22 August 2016).

One fined, one reprimanded, after Lanka-Australia ODI.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 25 August 2016.

PTG 1908-9571.

Sri Lankan bowler Thisara Perera has been fined 15 per cent of his match fee and Australian Mitchell Starc has received an official reprimand for their behaviour during their two side’s One Day International (ODI) in Colombo on Wednesday.  Perera was found to have breached an offence that relates to “using language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batsman”, while Starc was found to have engaged in “conduct that is contrary to the spirt of the game”.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) said the incident involving Perera happened during Australia’s run-chase when the fast bowler, after dismissing opener David Warner, used language and displayed actions which could have provoked a reaction from the batsman.  In other words he gave Warner a ‘send off’.  Starc’s came earlier in the day in Sri Lanka’s innings when after completing his third over, he threw the ball in the direction of batsman Dinesh Chandimal "who was inside the crease at the striker’s end and not attempting a run".

Both players admitted the offences and accepted the sanctions proposed by match referee Javagal Srinath and as such, there was no need for formal hearings.  The charges had been laid by on-field umpires Michael Gough and Raveendra Wimalasiri, third umpire Aleem Dar and fourth umpire Ranmore Martinesz.  sUnder ICC regulations all Level One breaches carry a minimum penalty of a reprimand up to a fine equivalent to 50 per cent of a player’s match fee.

PCB confirms dates for second day-night Test.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 26 August 2016.

PTG 1908-9572.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has confirmed that the second day-night, pink ball Test is to be played at the Dubai Cricket Stadium when their national side play the West Indies from 13-17 October.  The PCB announced two weeks ago that in the period from October to mid-December, eleven of it’s 2016-17 season domestic first class games are to be played in the day-night format (PTG 1902-9542, 18 August 2016).

The PCB has scheduled a three-day day-night warm-up game for the Windies tourists against a PCB Patrons XI in nearby Sharjah, the week prior to the Dubai Test.  Australia and New Zealand played the first day-night Test at the Adelaide Oval last November, Australia being set to do so again later this year in Brisbane and Adelaide when Pakistan and South Africa visit. 

2016 NZCUSA conference follows a year of change.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 26 August 2016.

PTG 1908-9573.

Scorer and umpire members of the New Zealand Cricket Umpires’ and Scorers’ Association (NZCUSA) are to attend that body’s 60th annual conference in Dunedin this weekend.  The meeting is the first such gathering since there were significant staff changes in New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) match officials area, the announcement by NZC of financial constraints, and a major revamp of the country's international panel that multiple reports at the time suggest shocked and surprised many.  

Since last year’s Auckland conference, Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri has taken over as NZC’s Match Officials Manager from now retired Rodger McHarg whose own boss Lindsay Crocker has similarly moved on (PTG 1802-9005, 16 April 2016).  Before they went, they oversaw a complete change in the country’s membership on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) that involved rapid promotions and reduced the group’s average age from 55 to 41 (PTG 1855-9300, 17 June 2016).

Apart from that, a year ago Crocker was pitching a strategy to improve the recruitment, retention and training of umpires, a proposal NZCUSA members gave cautious support to at their Auckland conference (PTG 1632-7976, 31 August 2016).  Within a few weeks of that though, the initiative’s future was put in doubt because of what Crocker and others at NZC indicate more than once were overall long-term budgetary constraints. 

That assessment of finances was also given as the reason NZC decided, three weeks after calling for applications, to discontinue employing match referees to oversee its domestic first class, one-day and Twenty20 competitions (PTG 1637-8012, 5 September 2016).  Whether Eden-Whaitiri will announce plans for the reinstatement of referees for the 2016-17 season or beyond, or indicate just where the ‘Crocker’ plan is now at, will be key points of interest at the Dunedin meeting.

During the two days, umpires present are to take part in three training sessions titled: ‘Management and Teamwork: Match Day, Conflict and Resolution; ‘Communication and Attitude:  Relationship with Captains and Colleagues; and 'Techniques and Processes: Routines, Concentration and Relaxation’.  Scorers will be briefed on role changes within NZC by Eden-Whaitiri and scorer coordinator Pete Mayell, and attend a session on scoring technology issues.

Other presentations listed include those from Kathy Cross, a member of the ICC’s third-tier Associates and Affiliates Umpires Panel, who was one of two female to stand in the World Twenty20 Championship series in India earlier this year (PTG 1799-8988, 12 April 2016).  In addition Chris Brown, one of the three new IUP members, is to provide his perspective on his first year on NZC’s top domestic umpires panel.

The conference, which is due to get underway on Friday evening and run until Sunday afternoon, will bring together NZCUSA members from NZC's six regions: the North Island’s Auckland, Central Districts, Northern Districts and Wellington, plus Canterbury and Otago from the South Island.  One item labelled for discussion is the conference itself, for an 'open forum’ on Sunday will have as its focus whether it should continue to be held annually, or alternatively only every two years with each NZC region holding local pre-season, technique focussed conferences, in the intervening period.

Revised formats designed to attract, keep, Aussie kids.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 25 August 2016.

August 24, 2016.

PTG 1908-9574.

The way junior cricket is played in Australia is set to change with format revisions designed to, in Cricket Australia’s (CA) words, "increase fun, action and skill development for young players” around that country.  CA foreshadowed the roll-out of "modified playing formats nationally” following its Australian Cricket Conference (ACC) two weeks ago, and said then there was consensus to review Australian cricket’s investment in the grass roots game, especially for boys and girls ((PTG 1899-9525, 14 August 2016).

CA says format modifications planned across eight age groups up until and including the 'Under-16 plus’ level are: pitch lengths that range from 14-20 m; team numbers between 8 and 11; the number of overs that constitute a match; boundary distances from 30-60 m; different ball sizes and levels of hardness; and for the U12, U13, U14, U15 and U16+ players, the option of playing Twenty20s.  Full details, including a video, of the revised formats are available on line.  

  

Such moves will, according to CA, "allow juniors to better develop their skills and become more involved in each game”, and that there will be "more balls in play, more runs, increased fielder activity, and increased scoring on the off side (all in a shorter timeframes)”.  "As a result the junior game will more closely replicate what the kids and parents see their heroes playing on TV”, runs the CA media release, but hopefully they will not emulate all of the traits demonstrated by some of those “heroes”. 

The format changes work was part of a two-year project "to revamp and align the Australian Cricket Pathway (PTG 1604-7788, 28 July 2015), introducing modern practices in skill development and coaching”, and thus provide a "clear and exciting pathway for all Australian kids interested in taking up the sport”.  

Community consultation, including feedback received at last year’s The Australian Cricket Pathway Roadshows (PTG 1608-7817, 2 August 2015), was involved, as well as what CA describes as "independent research”.  The latter include “experts" from Melbourne’s Victoria University and the Queensland University of Technology who examined "equipment modification, skill development and player participation to improve the cricket experience and retention at grassroots level".

Former Australian womens’ captain Belinda Clark, who is one of the CA staff members rolling out the changes around the country, is “excited" about the developments.  She said: “We are increasingly optimistic that making these improvements to junior formats will allow kids to better develop their skills, experience more success, build greater confidence and be more involved in each game”. That will in turn "will mean more kids starting to play cricket and more kids staying in the game for longer”.

Broadcaster warns CA about no increase in cricket spending.

Jake Mitchell.

The Australia,

Friday, 26 August 2016.

PTG 1908-9575.

Hugh Marks, the chief executive of Australia’s Nine Entertainment group has sent a strong message to Cricket Australia (CA), emphasising the free-to-air network’s reluctance to pay more to retain the broadcast rights to Test and international one-day matches. Marks said he believed the sporting body would reap a significant uptick from selling the Big Bash League (BBL) Twenty20 broadcast rights but not from home international matches for which Nine holds the TV rights.

Marks said on Thursday, after unveiling a $A120.3 million (£UK69.5 m) underlying net profit for the company in fiscal year 2016, which was down 7.1 per cent on the previous year: “There was big step up last contract so I think if there was another big step up it would really make it uneconomical.  There won’t be an increase like there was last time”.  Nine paid close to $A100m  (£57.7 m)  a year to secure the rights from 2013-18, after paying $A45 m  (£UK26 m) annually under the previous deal.

The comments come as CA prepares to kick off negotiations for the new deal this year. They also come after Nine handed over $A50 m  (£UK28.9 m) in prepayments to the National Rugby League last month for its $A625 m  (£UK361 m) deal for 2018-22.

Asked if Nine would be interested in the BBL, which is broadcast by rival Network Ten, Marks said: “Yes, I think they’ve done a good job launching a new format into the market.  I congratulate [CA] on that. It’s a format that’s more entertainment-focused, it’s more family friendly so, yes, I think there is value in that”.

Cricket viewing at 30,000 feet?

Mitchell Bingemann.

The Australian.

Thursday, 25 August 2016.

PTG 1908-9576.

The Australian airline Qantas is working through the final stages of negotiations with Cricket Australia that would allow passengers on its domestic and international flights to stream matches live while they cruise at 30,000 feet.  The company will trial in-flight Wi-Fi on its fleet of domestic Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 aircraft by the end of this year and a full commercial service is expected to be available in 2017.

Qantas chief Alan Joyce said: “A flight from Sydney to Perth [which normally takes around five hours] should be enough time to catch an entire match of 20/20”.  “Live cricket is just one of the partnerships we are looking at [for] it’s in addition to the streaming services you’ll be able to access just as you do on the ground”.  Joyce did not say if his airline would schedule long-haul flights around match timings, or CA its games around flight times.  

Are behavioural problems afflicting amateur cricket?

Phil Walker.

All Out Cricket..

Thursday, 25 August 2016.

PTG 1908-9577.

Maybe I'd had a bad week (I had). Maybe I was hungover. Maybe I'm emotionally fragile (no maybe about it). Or maybe it was simply this colourless corner of London's greenbelt getting under my skin. Whatever. Out there at the crease, it felt more like I was kicking around the fag-end spillover of a provincial nightclub than a cricket match on a sunlit Saturday. And I felt it.

We were winning the game. I was a few not-out. It wasn't especially tense - they hadn't got enough, and their failure to do so had left a sour taste in the air. Throughout the course of tea, their number four whinged on loudly about his dismissal, which had clearly carried to second slip (I was at first). But this is second XI cricket, where a neutral umpire is a rare treat, and so there's a vacuum. And, in effect, this bloke was filling it with slurs about an oppo player's probity. But that's OK, right? Because it's all part of the game.

We'd had a little wobble, so I was trying to bat my age and 'see us home'. When they saw I was on the block, they crowded me. The skipper, some portly defeat in a tattered cap, announced he was "getting right under his nose". And then it started. The yob cacophony.  I know I should brush it off. Just a bit of banter. Come on fella, it's just a laugh! And look, when the game's over it's a different story! All's well that ends… with a limp handshake and a swift half before buggering off.

"He's gotta be the most boring man in Essex!" was the only line in amongst the standard rubbish vaguely worthy of a smile (not least for its dramatic irony), so I offered one. Because it's only a game, right? And yet, as I studiously prodded the pitch between overs, I couldn't help thinking that the scavenging around the joke by the rest of his team for the next half an hour had rather undermined the bravura precision with which it was delivered in the first place.

And that was my problem: I couldn't help thinking. Finally, with just a few needed: "Six or gay, mate! Six or gay!" A few balls later, I drove a boundary. Two to win. Next ball I ran down the pitch and skewed it straight to cover. They went berserk. “Oooooooh”, said mid-off as he skipped past me. "Can I have your number?" I didn't give it to him.

A few weeks later, in the same league, our opening batsman - an old-fashioned walker - played and missed at a young bowler, whose appeal was turned down by the on field umpire, who himself had been batting just an hour ago. The bowler gave the usual histrionics - head in hands, turf-kicking, chuntering - and went back to his mark. 

Very next ball, big nick, and our man walks off. The bowler turns to the umpire and spews a volley of abuse. Our umpire, not unreasonably, tells him where to stick it. It then takes five men - including two of ours, both of whom ran on to the pitch - to restrain the bowler, who'd lost it completely, from kicking off there and then. Their captain was full of apologies, but the bowler, even at the end of play, remained unrepentant. In his eyes, it was all fair game.

I've played cricket for most of my life. I love its spirit and I believe in it. I'm not about to pretend that it's all cress sandwiches, ice and a slice, and clapping the batsman for managing to walk to the wicket. Most teams round our way have got a couple of bigmouths who can turn the whitest air blue, and spend large portions of their Saturday afternoons seeking to do precisely that. I know ours does. 

Hell, even my work place does. You know the sort - the bantz-merchants, team geezers, the chieftains of chirp. It's sometimes delivered with a smile but not always, and who cares if it hits the spot or not? The sole point is to create tension, turn the atmosphere uglier, unsettle the opponent and win the day.

These are austere times for sports participation. It's a battle out there - for central funding, schools commitment and next-generation engagement. In this regard, cricket is no different.

Yet in other regards… The game still means something. And how many sports can truly lay claim to that? So what about the kids who retreat from this great idea because the edges are too sharp? Or the veterans, fed up with being insulted all afternoon on their only day off? 

The umpires, walking off halfway through an innings and heading straight for their car, their old off-white robes of once-unimpeachable authority fluttering in the wind, as happened in our league this season? And what of the sideline pundits - invariably parents - who've never made a single mistake in their lives, vocally refusing to accept the scandalous notion that others have, and do?

"Second XI club cricket seems to hold a specific antipathy towards a good, fair game”, says Jamie Mann, captain of the twos at Walton-on-Thames CC. "All-too-common suspect club umpires, egotistical middle-aged men and testosterone-filled blokes who haven't become the cricketers they had hoped to be, all help push that line where behaviour becomes hostile and unnecessary more often than most would like. You wouldn't think the question 'Any chance he'll use the bat?' would lead to the offer of substituting leather and willow for fisticuffs in the car park, but it happens, and it happens a lot."

Just as neutral umpires help keep the peace, so their absence leaves a hole. The lower down the levels, the fewer paid-for umpires, and that brings its own problems. But Nick Cousins, senior executive officer at the ECB's Association of Cricket Officials (ACO), is concerned that the higher levels are being affected too. 

"Subjectively, I think there are two negatives. One is players who would in the past have come into umpiring now saying, 'I don't want any of that, thank you very much. I don't want to be abused on a Saturday afternoon’. And the second one, where undoubtedly existing umpires walk away from the game, certainly at Premier League and top-level recreational cricket, because they no longer enjoy their afternoons”.

Steve Vear, chairman of the Southern Premier League Disciplinary Committee, agrees. "Sometimes what umpires are expected to put up with, in terms of poor player behaviour, can get too much." He says that educating players is the key to protecting cricket's distinctive reputation. 

"We had one example of an ex-pro, who didn't know swearing on the field of play was actually cited as illegal in the league's code of conduct. The younger generation are often less adept at expressing their disappointment towards an umpire's decision in alternative ways than to get themselves in trouble by showing dissent”.

"If we try and pretend that the attitudes of players have not changed, then I think we're deluding ourselves”, says Cousins. "I tend to get a bit defensive because I think it's not just a problem for cricket or cricket officials. It's more of a societal issue where you're no longer conditioned to do as you're told by teachers, police, anybody in authority, including officials".

"And then you add into that the quite brilliant methodologies by which we can now check decisions on the big screens in major games, and you put that together and you have a rather pungent mix, which means that if an umpire gives you out on a Saturday afternoon, you don't just put your bat under your arm and walk off anymore. You give them a stare, or if you think you've hit it you point your bat at them”.

So is the game becoming a little less attractive for the way some of its players and watchers choose to conduct themselves? "Last year there were five games abandoned because there was fighting on the field of play”, says Cousins.  

"Now, on the one hand you can say that's five games from many thousands. On the other, you can say it's five more than we had five years ago. The idea that you'd have a game abandoned because of fighting was once unheard of. And in each of those games the umpires can't do anything. They've got no onfield authority to send people off. That's why we at the ACO fully support and endorse the MCC's proposal to give the onfield umpire full authority to actually deal with this behaviour”.

The MCC's proposals would give umpires the power to send players off for stepping out of line. "We may lament the times we live in”, writes Scyld Berry in the Telegraph, "and the erosion of respect for authority in society as a whole. But the MCC, as guardian of the game's spirit and laws, has to do something to arrest the quantifiable increases in physical violence on the field”.

There are obvious procedural problems here. What would have happened in our game, say, if our non-independent umpire had attempted to send off the very bowler who was giving him verbals? And should he, as a stand-in doing his 10-over stint, even be allowed to do so? 

As ever, the captains must show the way. The hope is that having a deterrent in place would safeguard against it kicking off at all. "I'm a 22-year-old skipper”, says Mann, "and I play cricket with my mates. But if one of my lads is completely out of order on the field, then I'd happily send him off. The integrity of the game is far more important than potentially losing out on a pint from a teammate on a Saturday night”.

Cricket's always reflected the times. I get that. It's unrealistic to hope that the game be an island. But those stolen Saturdays spent running after cricket balls and praying for an early finish are precious, and perhaps more precious than ever. One reason for cricket's enduring grandeur lies in the steaming piles of grimness off the field. So let's not be reminded of it until Monday morning at least.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,909

 Saturday, 27 August 2016

 

• ECB, Warwickshire looking at day-night Championship match [1909-9578]. 

• NZCUSA name their scorer, umpire of the year [1909-9579]. 

• Victorian Over 60s market their game with new video [1909-9580]. 

• Don't pop 'hazardous' champagne corks from Lord’s stands: MCC [1909-9581]. 

• Former Lankan bowling coach cleared of fixing charges [1909-9582]. 

• What went wrong with the Kingsmead outfield? [1909-9583].

ECB, Warwickshire looking at day-night Championship match.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Friday, 26 August 2016.

1909-9578.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Warwickshire are looking at holding a day-night, pink ball County Championship first class match late next month with a view to staging the first day-night Test in England in 2017.  The county’s final home game, which is against Lancashire, has been earmarked following a successful day-night trial in a Second XI match played at Edgbaston last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (PTG 1888-9459, 30 July 2016).

Day-night Championship cricket was first played in 2011 when Kent hosted Glamorgan in their last match of the season. Neither of the then Division Two sides were going for promotion or competing for serious prize money, otherwise what was a late switch to day-night play would not have receive ECB approval.  What is a potential Warwickshire-Lancashire game next month will also have nothing riding on it, and if it does take place it will be a first for Division One cricket.

The Second XI match game between Warwickshire and Worcestershire was played using a pink ‘Dukes' ball in the first innings and a pink ‘Kookaburra' in the second, although it is likely that the ‘Dukes' ball will be used in any Championship game because it has a darker, more pronounced seam. 

It does not, however, behave in the same way as the red ‘Dukes'. One of the big issues with any brand of pink ball is that, like the white balls, they lose their shine more easily and, once that has happened, it negates any real swing — one of England’s principal Test weapons at home.

William Porterfield, the Warwickshire and Ireland batsman, who played in the trial match, was positive about the experience. “I thought it was pretty good”, he said. “There’s been a bit of talk about visibility but it was all fine. It swung a little bit, but it hasn’t behaved too dissimilar to what a regulation Dukes does”.

A number of the Worcestershire batsmen said that there were no issues with visibility regarding the ball and thought that a day-night match could work. However, one expressed concern over not being able to see the seam or which side had been shined. “It just looked like a pink blur coming towards me”, he said.

All the players, coaches and officials involved in the match, including the umpires, ECB Reserve Panel members Ian Blackwell and Russell Warrenshave, been asked to fill in a questionnaire about the ball.  The ECB will now look at the ‘dead’ Warwickshire-Lancashire match for a follow-up.  

With a packed international schedule next year, including the Champions Trophy and a Test series against South Africa, Warwickshire are aware that the West Indies Test scheduled for Edgbaston in August may be hard to market. They hope therefore that the first day-night Test with the pink ball in England will be played there, and as such it would provide a unique selling point.

NZCUSA name their scorer, umpire of the year.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 26 August 2016.

PTG 1909-9579.

Otago’s Malcolm Jones was named as the New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association’s (NZCUSA) ’Scorer of the Year’ and recently retired Barry Frost its ‘Umpire of the Year’, on the first evening of the asociation’s Annual Conference weekend on Friday (PTG 1908-9573, 26 August 2016).  

Jones, 64, won the scorers’ award in acknowledgement of his achievements at club, first class and international level, as well as his long-time contribution to the training and mentoring of scorers.  Recently retired Frost, 58, who stood in his 100th first class match last austral summer (PTG 1656-8100, 5 October 2015), was selected for his contribution to the game both as an umpire and administrator in the Auckland area.

Frost is the second person to receive the umpire award since it was inaugurated in 2014, his fellow Aucklander Phil Jones winning it then and again last year.  Helen Simpson from Otago won the first scorer award in 2012, Ian Smith of Wellington in 2013, Euan West from Canterbury in 2014 and Bev Baker of Central Districts in 2015 (PTG 1631-7979, 31 August 2015).

Victorian Over 60s market their game with new video.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 26 August 2016.

PTG 1909-9580.

The Victorian Over 60s Cricket Association have released a new video which aims at encouraging players in the Over 60s and Over 70s age groups in that state to join them in playing the game.  The fast paced video, which runs for just over two minutes and is available on line, features a number of players, including now 63-year-old former Australian captain Graham Yallop, who talk about the enjoyment and benefits they still get from being involved in the game.

Given many of their members are retired, the Association offers the opportunity to play on a number of days of the week during the season, and it and its members are involved in running tours both in Australia and overseas.  The latter in recent years including England, Jamaica, Sri Lanka and the United States and other countries.  Association members have also featured in Australian teams in their age group.  In November they will field teams in the Over 60s and 70s Australian national championship series which this year is to be played in Perth.  

Don't pop 'hazardous' champagne corks from Lord’s stands: MCC.

Patrick Sawer

London Daily Telegraph.

Friday, 26 August 2016.

PTG 1909-9581.

The popping of champagne corks on the stands at Lord’s Cricket Ground has been enjoyed by the members of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) for as long as anyone cares to remember.  But the celebrations will have to become a touch more subdued from now on, after the club warned its members to put a stop to the practice - for fear the flying corks could pose a “hazard” to the fielders below.

MCC officials issued the edict, effectively banning the popping of corks from the stands, after visiting teams complained their outfielders were being distracted by the thud of the corks landing near them.  They published the warning in a newsletter emailed to members in advance of Saturday’s One Day International between England and Pakistan.

It stated: “In recent times the practice of some Members and other spectators opening bottles of champagne in such a way as to allow corks to be projected on to the outfield has been criticised.  Any items which are aimed at the playing area may cause a potential hazard to fieldsmen, and this point has been made formally to the Club”.

The warning went on: “Lord’s is now the only ground into which Members and ticket holders are allowed to bring alcohol, and in order for this arrangement to continue it is important that all Members, their guests and other spectators refrain from the practice that has been described”.

The ban has been greeted with a certain amount of derision by some of the MCC’s 18,000 members, whose antecedents founded the club in 1787, the same year that Thomas Lord laid out the famous ground in St John’s Wood.  Peter Woodman, a retired writer, said: “I’ve been a member for 35 years and I’ve seen a few champagne corks cracked in my time. Usually a big cheer goes up when a cork lands on the outfield, but the chances of them hitting any player are pretty slim”.

Another MCC member said:  “I did hear there was a lot of it going on at the last Test earlier this month, when England beat Pakistan. It used to be the odd one that got a cheer if it landed from the top tier of a stand to the bottom.  Landing it on the outfield where a player can stand on it is a whole different manner - or maybe the gentlemen on the lower tier have got fed up with it raining cork and ruining their panamas!”

A spokesman for the MCC, which owns Lord’s, said: “We’re the only ground in world cricket that allows members and spectators to bring in their own drink and we very much want to retain that. It’s part of what makes Lord’s, Lord’s.  But the problem of flying corks distracting fielders and posing a potential hazard has been mentioned by visiting teams and so we are politely asking members to desist from popping champagne bottles in the stands in the direction of the outfield”.

Former Lankan bowling coach cleared of fixing charges

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Thursday, 25 August 2016.

PTG 1909-9582.

“Lack of proof” has resulted in Sri Lanka Cricket‘s (SLC) fast bowling coach Anusha Samaranayake being cleared by the International Cricket Council (ICC) of allegations he was involved in trying to help fix the first Test against West Indies at Galle last October (PTG 1743-8666, 22 January 2016). Reports at the time claimed players Kusal Perera and Rangana Herath were offered the equivalent of around $A100,000 (£UK57,770) to engineer a batting collapse in order to lose the Test.

Samaranayake, a former first class player, was accused of bringing in a man with "no top-level cricketing experience" to help the national squad at training sessions, and it is that person who was alleged to have offered Perera and Herath money to lose the match.  Net bowler Gayan Vishwajith, the man in question, was given a lifetime ban from any cricketing premises in Sri Lanka.  

Last January, Jayananda Warnaweera, the former curator of the Galle International Stadium, was banned for three years by the ICC after failing to cooperate with an anti-corruption investigation, a move that came three months after SLC had issued its own ban to him (PTG 1742-8662, 21 January 2016).

What went wrong with the Kingsmead outfield?

Neil Mantorp.

Supersport.

Thursday, 25 August 2016.

PTG 1909-9583.

Commercial and financial considerations were uppermost amongst those with vested interests as two entire days were washed out at Kingsmead, but those anxieties were on an entirely different scale to those of the families who had invested so much emotional time and energy into attending, watching and supporting the South Africa play New Zealand in the first Test. 

The worst moment, perhaps, came when both Black Caps and Proteas players were seen shopping and buying movie tickets at a shopping centre at midday on Sunday, the third day of the match, two hours before the frustration of the families waiting at the ground was ended.  Imagine the disillusionment of the kids at the ground. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and there is absolutely no sign of movement or endeavour to get the ground ready for play.

It all happened much earlier, of course. The ‘SuperSopper' worked itself to a standstill, literally. By the end it was squidging up mud rather than water and quit, in protest.  The umpires, Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth, who have played over 30 combined years of first-class cricket, understand better than most the needs and requirements of the viewing public. 

For all the ire and disdain they receive, they remain admirably steadfast. They were available to explain the reality to television audiences throughout the two days, although that didn’t help those in the ground.  So the parents sat in the stands while the kids played ball on the grass banks. The sun shone but there was nothing, in sight, happening at the ground.

The outfield was scarified in late June to prepare it for the Test. It was a mighty job involving the removal of over 40 tonnes of ‘old’ grass and soil. It needed to start at least a month earlier, but the process was delayed until the second week of June. For logistical reasons, Cricket South Africa (CSA) couldn’t get their ground team to the stadium until two weeks after that. Those two weeks were critical in getting the outfield ready.

But even if the grass had enjoyed the final, critical 14 days of growth, the 65 mm of rain that fell after day two on Saturday night, would still have adversely affected the prospects of play. Perhaps just a little less.  The hardest question is: Why couldn’t the entire ground be covered, even just for a couple of nights, with so much rain clearly forecast? It the ground had been covered, we might have lost half a day’s play, not two and a half.

Responsibility is a complex issue between the host union and CSA. But CSA take ownership of the ground for ten days before and after as Test, so it seems obvious that they should stipulate the criteria required.  Bitching and moaning won’t help now. Lessons need to be learned. As former Sri Lankan batsman and captain Mahela Jayawardena said: “That’s why we cover the entire ground in Sri Lanka when there’s rain in prospect”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,910

Monday, 29 August 2016

 

• ICC to look at security of Bangladesh-bound match officials [1910-9584]. 

• First ‘TV no ball’ calls raise little interest, comment [1910-9585]. 

• Wider review slows NZ match officials’ initiative [1910-9586]. 

• Dew, ball durability, main issues from first Duleep trophy match [1910-9587]. 

• Windies’ umpire makes senior international debut at 26 [1910-9588]. 

• 'Send off’ in Mackay leads to reprimanded [1910-9589]. 

• TV networks lining up for CA cricket rights battle [1910-9590]. 

• Nero fiddled but new book says ‘Boris’ played cricket [1910-9591]. 

ICC to look at security of Bangladesh-bound match officials.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Sunday, 28 August 2016.

1910-9584.

International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive officer David Richardson said his organisation will instigate its own security investigation to ensure it has confidence the match officials it has appointed for the bilateral series between Bangladesh and England in October can be kept safe.  The announcement came in a day after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said, following an investigation carried out by its own security representatives, that the tour would go ahead.

England’s tour fell into jeopardy following a non-cricket related terrorist attack in Dhaka in July, an incident that followed other similar incidents over the last year in which people have been killed. In a media release issued on Saturday which announced the ICC’s intentions, Richardson said: “Where [security] threats are considered higher, cricket, like other sports, undertakes extensive security assessments in determining whether or not matches can go ahead”. 

Bangladesh and England are scheduled to play two Tests and three One Day Internationals during the tour which all-up is expected to see two separate match referees, at least three umpires, umpire coaches, and other ICC match official related personnel, travelling to Bangladesh.  England’s one-day cricket captain Eoin Morgan is reported to have told the ECB he remains concerned about player security and has asked them for further reassurances about the tour of Bangladesh.

Richardson pointed to the Under-19 World Cup which was played in Bangladesh earlier this year with "great success”.  "Like the ECB, we had carried out all the relevant safety assessments prior to the tournament and concluded it was safe for everyone involved to play”.  Australia though did not send a team to that event, however, Mick Martell one of its umpires, did (1732-8598, 7 January 2016).  Prior to that Australia pulled its senior team from a tour there last October because of security concerns, 

A report in the 'Sydney Daily Telegraph' on Sunday claims it has "new details" of an alleged plan to target Australian players last October.  Journalist Ben Horne wrote that the Australian Government had learned of a plan to attack the Australian team in Dhaka at an organised official reception with their Bangladesh counterparts.  Cricket Australia has not shifted from its original position that the threat made was against Australian nationals in Bangladesh, rather than the Australian cricket team itself.

Meanwhile, the Press Trust of India also reported on Sunday that four terrorists who were allegedly involved in the attack on the Sri Lankan team and match officials in 2009 (PTG 380-2021, 4 March 2009), were shot dead by Pakistan police in the early hours of Sunday morning.  According to Punjab police, seven terrorists attacked its personnel in the Manawan area of Lahore.  Two months ago the Anti-Terrorism Court in Lahore had indicted six members of the banned terrorist organisation who were involved in the Sri Lankan attack (PTG 1860-9325, 23 June 2016).

First ‘TV no ball’ calls raise little interest, comment.

PTG Editor.

Match reports.

Sunday, 28 August 2016.

PTG 1910-9585.

It took a total of 1,031 deliveries, but eventually a front foot no ball was called by the television umpire in the ‘TV no ball call’ trial being conducted during the One Day International (ODI) series between England and Pakistan.  The television umpires involved, South Africa’s Marais Erasmus and Australian Simon Fry, have been asked to call front foot no balls via replays provided to them 1.5 seconds after the bowler’s front foot lands (PTG 1904-9551, 21 August 2016).

Erasmus worked through a total of 514 deliveries in the television suite during the first ODI in Southampton last Wednesday without having to set the wrist pagers of on-field umpire Fry and his colleague Rob Bailey, vibrating (PTG 1908-9570, 26 August 2016).  Fry, who took up the television role for the second game at Lord’s with Erasmus and Tim Robinson on-field on Saturday, went right through 303 balls of Pakistan's innings without touching the pager button, but on ball 517 during England’s stint at the crease, he did.

Pakistan medium-fast bowler Hasan Ali had a delivery to England’s Ben Stokes hit firmly to cover, only to hear Erasmus respond with a ’no ball’ call after an alert from Fry.  The Australian triggered the same reaction from Robinson eleven overs later after the same bowler’s delivery to Moeen Ali was missed and went through to the ‘keeper.  The trial, which has seen two front foot no balls sent down in a total of 1,110 so far, is to continue over the last three ODIs of the series in Nottingham, Leeds and Cardiff where a further 1,800 odd balls are expected to be bowled.

Wider review slows NZ match officials’ initiative.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 28 August 2016.

PTG 1910-958.

Moves to develop and improve the recruitment, retention and training of scorers and umpires in New Zealand outlined in the ’That’s Out’ paper a year ago have now been subsumed into a new overall review of New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) activities.  New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NZCUSA) members gave cautious support to the NZC ‘That’s Out’ initiative at their Auckland conference 12 months ago (PTG 1632-7976, 31 August 2016), but its development since has been curtailed by financial constraints.

Around 110 NZCUSA members present in Dunedin for their 2016 conference on the weekend were advised of the latest situation  (PTG 1908-9572, 26 August 2016).  Following former Glamorgan first class player Adrian Dale’s move to NZC’s General Manager Domestic Cricket position from Auckland Cricket, NZC is reviewing the totality of the game in that country.  The work is to be undertaken with the aim of making cricket a 'game for life for all New Zealanders’ and is the context within which issues canvassed by the ’That’s Out’ paper will now be considered.  Whether outcomes from it will be available at the association’s next annual smeeting in late August 2017 is not clear.

Concern was again expressed by NZCUSA members in Dunedin about the high ratio of players to umpires around New Zealand, one report suggesting a figure of around 1:500 applies.  The stretched nature of resources, a problem other similar match officials associations have around the world, is illustrated by NZC’s Match Officials Manager Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri’s situation, for he has now had responsibility for both scorers and grass roots officials added to his top level umpiring management duties.  That realigned structure has been welcomed by the NZCUSA, however, currently the only other full-time NZC employee in the match officials' area with him is umpire coach Tony Hill. 

Some progress has been possible though as both Auckland and Northern Districts have appointed seasonal part time managers to help with the administration of umpiring in their area, while Canterbury have conducted interviews for a similar position. What was one of the ‘That’s Out’ initiatives has seen former Test umpire Doug Cowie in the Auckland role and long-serving Northern Districts umpire Kevin Earl in the position there.  

All other umpire and scoring positions in New Zealand are undertaken basically by volunteers which evidence shows provide a very professional service.  However, they have to balance that work with their personal responsibilities for at most, only a small honorarium; a point of contention in many countries, especially given the resources that appear available in some areas of the wider world of the ‘cricket business'.  There was no announcement at the conference about whether the seasonal match referee positions NZC abandoned due to financial constraints a year ago will be reinstated in either the short of long-term.  

Also discussed at this year’s conference was the conference itself, one suggestion being it be held every two years with regional associations having their own gatherings in alternate years.  Discussion on the floor of the meeting was strongly in favour of retaining existing arrangements, but it was acknowledged there is a need to consider the meeting and its position in NZCUSA’s  overall role and activities in the long term.

Dew, ball durability, main issues from first Duleep trophy match.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Sunday, 28 August 2016.

PTG 1910-9587.

Several players who took part in the first day-night, pink ball Duleep Trophy first class match last week raised concerns about issues related to post sunset dew, according to reports from the sub-continent (PTG 1907-9563, 25 August 2016).  There were also contrasting views about how easy it was to sight the pink ball being used, but a general consensus appears to have been reached about the durability of the balls and the resultant inability of bowlers to achieve reverse swing. 

'Indian Red' opening batsman Sudip Chatterjee felt that late night dew helped the batsmen's cause, saying: "On the third evening, the ball was getting heavier because of the dew so it was difficult for bowlers to grip the ball".  Parthia Patel another opener echoed those thoughts saying, as is already well known, “dew could be a factor in conducting a day-night Test in India”.  “The ball skidded and moved more” and Patel didn’t think "you can have [day-night] Test matches on the sub-continent with this much of grass on the pitch", left there it seems to minimise ball degradation. 

'India Green' duo Patel and Robin Uthappa had contrasting views on the visibility of the ball, the former claiming he had no issues sighting it while the latter feels that catching the ball under lights will take some time to get used to. "I had no problem in sighting. During the day I could see the ball well but at night its a matter of getting used to it”, said Patel.  'India Red' opener Abhinav Mukund also said that he had no issues sighting the pink ball.

His skipper Yuvraj Singh said the pink ball favoured batsmen much more as it did not wear like those used in “normal” first class matches do. "I thought the pink ball moved a bit more than the ‘SG’ ball [but] the pink version doesn't go old. It was coming onto the bat nicely”. “It was dipping well and the drift was also good but there wasn't much turn on offer”.  According to Patel "the [balls’] colour varied at different times of the day. At one point, it looked light pink, followed by orange at one point of time before it looked bright pink under lights. I think we will get used to it as we play with it more”.  

Uthappa and Patel both felt that there is very little chance of the pink ball reverse swinging as it maintained its shape and shine even after long use.  Patel said: "We tried hard but there was no reverse swing. There is conventional swing but the shine is maintained so well that there is no chance of reverse swing.  Other players made similar comments.  The second match of the four-game Duleep Trophy day-night series is due to get underway at the same stadium near New Delhi on Monday.

Windies’ umpire makes senior international debut at 26.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Sunday, 28 August 2016.

PTG 1910-9588.

West Indian umpire Leslie Reifer Jnr., who was promoted to the International Cricket Council's second-tier International Umpires Panel earlier this year (PTG 1822-9114, 9 May 2016), made his senior international debut when he took the field in the second West India-India Twenty20 International (T20I) in Florida overnight Australian time.  The Barbadian, who is only one week shy of his 27th birthday, is thought to be one of the youngest, if not the youngest, umpire to have stood in a full international.

Refer, who started his umpiring career as a teenager, was the television umpire for the first T20I on Saturday.  He said the on-field appointment is "a dream for me and I’m delighted to be appointed to stand in these matches here in the United States”.  “I  just want to keep improving as an umpire and strive to reach higher standards”.  Refer was selected to stand in the final of this year’s Caribbean Premier League series earlier this month (PTG 1895-9502, 9 August 2016).

'Send off’ in Mackay leads to reprimanded.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Sunday, 28 August 2016.

PTG 1910-9589.

Cricket Australia National Performance Squad batsman Matt Renshaw has been reprimanded for an incident during his side's 50-over match against India ‘A’ in Mackay on Saturday.  Renshaw took a catch diving forward to dismiss India ‘A' captain Manish Pandey, but the 20-year-old was reported by umpires Gerard Abood and Paul Wilson after he appeared to gesture towards the batsman as he departed.

Henshaw, who accepted the reprimand proposed by match referee Darryl Harper, was charged with "using language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressing reaction upon dismissal during an international match”, in other words a ’send off’, which is a Level One offence under International Cricket Council regulations.  They are being used following the agreement of all three countries who have teams participating in the event.

TV networks lining up for CA cricket rights battle.

John Stensholt and Max Mason.

Australian Financial Review.

Monday, 29 August 2016.

PTG 1908-9590. 

Fox Sports is set to launch an aggressive bid for cricket broadcast rights, potentially partnering with incumbent international rights holder Nine Entertainment Co.  The pay-television operator is keen to win back at least some exclusive rights to the Big Bash League (BBL), which it telecast before losing the rights to Network Ten in 2013, and may even simulcast some international matches and other BBL games with Nine.

Fox's bold plans could also include a dedicated cricket channel, adding to the existing Fox Footy channel for Australian Rules Football (AFL) and a new National Rugby League (NRL) channel that will launch with a new broadcast rights deal starting with the 2017 season.  The cricket move would be similar to the agreement Fox and Nine have for the NRL, under which Fox broadcasts all eight matches per round, three of which are also shown by Nine. Fox and Seven West Media also share rights to the AFL.

Fox's play for cricket could also help Nine in terms of costs, with Nine's chief executive, Hugh Marks, who is also keen to get a hold of rights to the BBL for Nine, flagging that there may need to be a readjustment in how sports rights increase in price and that pricing increase was likely to come from BBL not international matches.  Marks' predecessor David Gyngell described it as an "ouch moment" when he agreed in 2013 to pay $A450 million (£UK261 m) in cash and contra for Nine's cricket rights over five years.

While the test matches and international limited-over games Nine currently broadcasts are on the anti-siphoning list, that is they must be offered as free-to-air broadcasts, BBL matches are not. That leaves the way open for Fox to gain at least some matches on an exclusive basis, though incumbent rights holder Ten is expected to also bid aggressively in an effort to maintain what has been a high-rating sport. 

Broadcasters are expecting Cricket Australia (CA) to set an asking price of up to $A200 million (£UK118 m) annually for the rights, which could include streaming rights that telephone companies ‘Optus' and ‘Telstra' would bid for.  CA has already held preliminary discussions with all the networks ahead of launching a more formal process later this year or early in 2017.  Nine Entertainment and Network Ten, incumbent rights holders, are expected to fight hard to retain their respective rights and even expand them, while Seven West Media is also expected to bid.

CA, which last month signed a BBL rights deal with a United States broadcaster for an undisclosed sum (PTG 1874-9390, 11 July 2016), will shortly finalise a television deal with New Zealand broadcasters, before moving on to then strike a new deal in India, the most lucrative source of income for the organisation, and then Australia.

Nero fiddled but new book says ‘Boris’ played cricket.

Graeme Culliford.

London Sun.

Sunday, 28 August 2016.

PTG 1910-9591.

Now British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s decision to play cricket the day after the Brexit victory he campaigned for was one of three “criminal errors” that cost him the chance to be the UK Prime Minister, claims a recently released book by Andrew Gimson.  Johnson's fellow Brexit campaigner Michael Gove’s fury at seeing his colleague relaxing with Princess Diana’s brother Earl Spencer on the cricket field at such a key time reportedly made him so angry he denounced Johnson as “unsuitable” and ran for the top job himself.

Gimson says Gove was enraged by Johnson’s lack of focus in the days after now former Prime Minister David Cameron, a ‘Remain’ campaigner, resigned as PM.  Johnson went to the Althorp estate in Northants to ­compete in Earl Spencer’s annual cricket match against the Johnson family, something Gimson describes as being seen by some as: "a quintessentially English way to relax after the rigours of the campaign, but to others, including some Gove supporters, it showed an almost criminal lack of seriousness”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,911

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

 

• NZ schedules Plunket Shield day-night matches [1911-9592]. 

• Broadcaster’s ‘unavoidable’ ‘technical’ problem stops play [1911-9593]. 

• ‘Un-dead’ ball after wind flicks off bail [1911-9594]. 

• Pair allegedly assaulted while trying to protect ground [1911-9595]. 

• NZC’s online scoring presence grows, attracts Indian audience [1911-9596]. 

• Sightscreens block our view, claim Alberta ground's neighbours [1911-9597]. 

• Crisis...what crisis? [1911-9598]. 

• BCCI’s generosity knows no bounds (well some) [1911-9599]. 

NZ schedules Plunket Shield day-night matches.

PTG Editor.

Media reports

Tuesday, 30 August 2016.

PTG 1911-9592.

New Zealand has become the sixth Test playing nation to schedule pink ball day-night first class games, its 2016-17 playing schedule including a round of such fixtures in its Plunket Shield series in March.  The three matches involved are to be played at the Eden Park in Auckland, Seddon Park in Hamilton, while in another first the Wellington stadium will host it first first class match as the Basin Reserve, the normal venue for first class cricket, does not having lights.

The New Zealand side was part of the first ever day-night Test in Australia last November, but so far only two day-night pink ball games have been played on their home soil, both being at Seddon Park.  The first was a two-day practice game for the national squad last October ahead for the Adelaide Test (PTG 1660-8129, 10 October 2015), and the second a hastily arranged, two-day, regional representative fixture last March (PTG 1777-8874, 7 March 2016).  .

Several years ago, media reports suggested New Zealand Cricket (NZC) was eyeing one of the ‘hard-to-sell’ Tests against Bangladesh scheduled next January, however, they have obviously long missed that opportunity.  More recently there was talk of another of the country’s 2016-17 season Test matches at home against South Africa in March, but the potential target now appears to be England’s visit in February-March 2018.

NZC’s inclusion of the day-night Plunket round comes after the Marylebone Cricket Club plus national boards in Australia, England, India, Pakistan and the West Indies have all arranged day-night domestic first class games since the start of this decade.  Of the other full Test playing entities, Bangladesh talked about doing so at one stage but it never went forward with the idea (PTG 989-4801, 6 September 2012), while Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe have never appeared to have seriously considered such fixtures.

South Africa’s contribution has been a single match that was played in a four-day, pink ball, day-night format, however, it did not have first class status (PTG 989-4802, 6 September 2012), and since then Cricket South Africa have gone no further with the concept at home.  

The Marylebone Cricket Club has led the way on such fixtures, conducting six matches in Abu Dhabi.  The West Indies scheduled and played a total of fifteen games, while Australia has seen twelve Sheffield Shield fixtures played that way and others have been scheduled.

The England and Wales Cricket Board hastily arranged a pink ball, day night first class game at the end of the 2011 season and another has been mooted for late next month, while Pakistan conducted two finals of its domestic first class competition in that manner and more recently announced eleven would be played this coming season.  India is currently playing all four matches in this year’s Duleep Trophy series as day-nighters.

All that has so far led to only Australia and Pakistan conducting and/or locking in a total of four day-night Tests to date, although Indian appears to be seriously mulling the possibility of one in October, New Zealand being their opponents then.  Apart from the inaugural day-night Test against New Zealand 10 months ago, Australia has ones against South Africa and Pakistan scheduled for Adelaide and Brisbane respectively later this year, while Pakistan will host the West Indies for one in the United Arab Emirate in October.

Broadcaster’s ‘unavoidable’ ‘technical’ problem stops play.

Sidhnarth Monga.

Cricinfo.

Monday, 29 August 2016.

PTG 1911-9593.

International cricket has lost valuable time in strange circumstances in recent weeks, bright daylight but non-drying outfields in rainy months (PTG 1909-9583, 27 August 2016), but what happened in Florida on Sunday might just be too bizarre for even cricket to come up with (PTG 1911-9597 below).  For 40 minutes at the start of the day, on another beautiful sunny morning, a full house was denied cricket because the broadcasters suffered an "unavoidable" and "technical” problem, that time coming at a cost as rain curtailed play later in the day.  

The match was timed such that it could be watched during ‘prime time’ viewing the evening in India.  Once that problem was fixed India bowled the West Indies out for 143, but two overs into India's chase a 20-minute shower was enough to ensure the three remaining overs required to constitute the five that would allow a result to be calculated would not be bowled.  West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite said areas of the ground were 'unsafe', while MS Dhoni his Indian counterpart said he had played in worse conditions during his career.

This two-match series, which West Indies won 1-0, was supposed to be an exercise to take the game into a new market, a market where fans are used to being treated better than cricket tends to treat fans in India. They would have been in for a rude surprise when, after paying steep prices for their tickets, they didn't even get a proper public announcement explaining the delayed start. 

The broadcasters had paid massive sums for the rights and deserved some consideration (PTG 1896-9515, 10 August 2016), but there was rain forecast for the afternoon. You can imagine the eggshells the match officials would have walked on while sanctioning that delay, then with India looking to be on their way to a win, it rained.

The ground didn't have a 'Super Sopper’ and wasn't covered fully. The pitch area was quickly ready for play after the rain stopped and the deep parts of the outfield drained well too, but the top of the bowlers' run-ups, around the area where the painted advertisements are, didn't dry up. Both captains were seen looking at that particular area with concern minutes before the game was called off.

The official presentation was carried out in gloomy circumstances with the official interviewer steering clear of even mentioning the delayed start, without which the crowd would have had a result. The TV studio presentation and the official interviewer only spoke of how humans are helpless against "mother nature" and "weather". But without being prompted Brathwaite said he hoped the drainage and equipment would improve at the ground, which he said was otherwise very good. 

‘Un-dead’ ball after wind flicks off bail.

Brydon Coverdale.

Cricinfo.

Monday, 29 August 2016.

PTG 1911-9594.

There was a bit of wind around in Dambulla on Sunday such that in the third over of the day in the third One Day International (ODI) between Sri Lanka and Australia, it blew one of the bails off at the striker's end while Tillakaratne Dilshan was preparing to receive a ball from bowler Mitchell Starc.  

Nobody seemed to be bothered by it though, not umpire Aleem Dar at the bowler’s end who was standing in his 180th ODI, although perhaps the batsman obscured his view, nor his colleague Ranmore Martinez at square leg, and certainly not Dilshan, who flicked a boundary through square leg. However, under Law 23 it should have been called a dead ball for  when "one or both bails fall from the striker's wicket before the striker has had the opportunity of playing the ball”.

Mind you conditions at the ground weren’t ideal for Sri Lanka Cricket (LC) estimated that there around 45,000 people thronged the venue which has a capacity of only 18,000.  Part of the reason for that is believed to be the fact that it was the first day-night ODIl at the venue in six years.  SLC later apologised and said it regretted any inconvenience caused to ticket holders who could not get to their allocated seats.  "Due to [that] situation contingency measures were taken to protect the playing area and the two teams, which was considered as a priority for the continuation of the game”, said SLC.

Pair allegedly assaulted while trying to protect ground.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Monday, 29 August 2016.

PTG 1911-9595.

Former Australian leg-spinner Bob Holland and his wife were allegedly assaulted when he asked a man and women to stop riding their dirt bikes around a cricket ground in the Lake Macquarie area of New South Wales.  Holland, 69, who volunteers as a curator at a near by cricket club, stopped his car when he noticed what was happening on-field, and police allege two people responded aggressively to his request for them to stop.

The turf facility where the incident occurred is the home of the Newcastle Junior Cricket Association’s Beresfield Memorial Cricket Club.  Holland, whose arm was in a sling following shoulder surgery three weeks ago, is said to have been punched in the mouth and kicked in his shoulders and ribs, while his wife, who filmed the riders’ activity on her phone, was also allegedly assaulted by the female rider.  Their phones were taken during the incident and were later found destroyed.  

The Hollands were taken to hospital with facial injuries and bruising and have since been released.  Lake Macquarie police later arrested a woman, 21, and a man, 31, and the pair have been charged with two counts of aggravated robbery and inflicting actual bodily harm, as well as one count of common assault. They will both face a court hearing in mid-September, having been granted conditional bail.

NZC’s online scoring presence grows, attracts Indian audience.

PTG Editor.                           

Monday, 29 August 2016

PTG 1911-9596.

New Zealand Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association (NZCUSA) members set yet another record during the 2014-15 austral summer by providing live scoring feeds for a total of 423 matches, 33 more than in the previous season, and up 55 on the season before that (PTG 1634-7992, 2015).  A particularly notable outcome from that was what Peter Mayell, New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) then Scorer Manager, described as the “massive growth” in on-line interest in NZC’s domestic Twenty20 series.

According to Mayell, total visit to NZC’s web site climbed 34 per cent, unique visitors by 44 per cent and total page views by 44 per cent.  Mayell told the NZCUSA's conference on the weekend that the rapid rise cause concern at first as it was thought the system had been hacked.  However, analysis of web site hits showed particular interest was focused on NZC's T20 series and that the traffic involved came from the sub-continent, primarily India, the speculation being it is betting related.   

An the wider scorer front, one NZ scorer made their debut at international level in 2015-16, Gail McGowan of Canterbury scoring in a Test for the first time.  In addition, Lindsay Nelson from Otago made his first class debut in a Plunket Shield match, and Wellington’s Justin Williams recorded the details of his first domestic List A fixture. 

NZC’s Tournament Scorers Program continued for a sixth-straight year, a total of 19 scorers travelling from around the country, filling the 24 positions needed to recorded the details of matches played across the Provincial A, men’s Under-19 and Under-17, and women’s Under-21 tournaments. One of the NZCUSA' Regional Scoring Managers was present at all four tournaments to provide support, feedback and training, especially for the five scorers who were taking part in those events for the first time.  

An up-date of NZC’s ’Scorer’s Companion’ has been completed and will be made available to NZCUSA members prior to the season commencing in October.  A key scorer focus during NZC’s 2016-17 season will be the introduction of NZC’s integrated scorers’ system.  It will allow match details to be recorded, streamed on the web, and sent direct to scoreboards at ground in real-time, all done by one of the two scorers who will record match details.

Sightscreens block our view, claim Alberta ground's neighbours.

Svjetlana Mlinarevic.

Daily Herald Tribune.

Friday, 26 August 2016.

PTG 1911-9597.

Sight screens erected by the Grande Prairie Cricket Association (GPCA) in a park in a suburb of the city of Grande Prairie in Alberta, Canada, have some nearby local residents complaining as they feel it hinders their view of the park.  The two screens were put up at the start of this northern summer at either end of the association’s playing area.

Locals Susan Schneider and Bruce Russell approached the city council last week claiming the 15-foot by 30-foot screens have affected their views of the park.  "I am very upset. I am limited on where I can live because I'm in a wheelchair. I'm home a lot...now I look out the back and I look at a black billboard. I'm very, very upset”, said Schneider, who has lived in Northridge for the past year.

Russell, Schneider's neighbour who lives two doors down, said that his view is obstructed "about 40 per cent” by the plastic sheeting which covers a high cyclone wire fence.  "I would like [the one near his residence] to be taken down”, he said.

GPCA president Digvijay Singh Parmar said there were never any plans to take down the screens after every game as they are difficult to erect.  But, as “there was a residential complaint when we were planning to put [the screens] up we thought, 'OK, let's not upset anyone, we'll try to take it down every single game’.  However, given it took six of us two hours to put them up and another two hours to take them down every single time, it was practically impossible".

It cost the association almost $C10,000 ($A10,200, £UK5,860) to buy the screens and to put in the posts to which they're attached.  With deliveries from bowlers reaching each speeds up to 144 kilometres-an-hour, the matter is a safety issue for the association's 70 players, according to Singh Parmar. “As such we're not able to compromise”, he said.  "There have been a lot of injuries to our players [but] since [we put up the screens] there have been no injuries. It's a cricket field requirement".

Northridge is the only cricket ground in the city of Grande Prairie. Since the association took over the former soccer ground in 2012, the city and the association have been working together to fund, through the parks improvement grant, improvements that are required for the GPCA to meet regulation cricket standards.

Community living director Gary Roth said he is currently working with the GPCA on a motorised mechanism that would allow the screens to be lowered after every game.  "We are looking into an engineering solution, but it's more extensive than just a rope and pulley kind of system because it has to be resistant to weather”, said Roth.

Parmar said his organisation is working with the city on the customised device and the funding for it will most likely come from them as the cricket association doesn't have money.  "We're hoping some solution will be found that will work for everyone”, he said.  The current season ends towards the end of September, after which the association will remove the screens until May next year when the cricket season begins again.

Crisis...what crisis?

Neil Mantorp.

Supersport South Africa.

Saturday, 27 August 2016.

PTG 1911-9598.

The much-written-about and frequently championed division of Test cricket into two leagues of seven and five won’t happen now because the Board of Control for Cricket in India has refused to support it (PTG 1891-9483, 4 August 2016).  It was a good idea, if not ideal, but at least it was an idea. Recent weeks have confirmed that Test cricket is truly on life-support (PTG 1907-9564, 25 August 2016), and something has to be done to revive it – or even give it a chance.

Just in case South African cricket lovers haven’t noticed, the Indian Soccer League is profoundly successful, as is the Chinese national league. Both are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on recruiting players and coaches and, more importantly, both are gaining even more viewers (PTG 1799-8990, 12 April 2016).

The entire global cricket game is propped up on the back of the viewership of the Indian market. They watch because they have many star players and national pride is suitably and rightly buffed. But the same viewers also watch English Premier League (EPL) football. And there is a great deal of evidence to suggest they like it more than cricket, even the Indian Premier League.

So what happens when India produce their first EPL player? And they will, because there are 1.2 billion Indians and they enjoy football – a lot. The moment a player is contracted by Manchester United and starts scoring goals, there can be no doubt where Indian TV audiences will go. The bottom will fall out of the cricket market faster than a bad prawn curry. Actually, never mind Manchester United. Bournemouth or Burnley will do.

Cricket’s international administrators don’t to need react fast, because that will be too late. The moment they are ‘reacting’, they have already lost. They need to be proactive. Cricket is neither a global game nor mass-market. Football is. The proof is there for all to see – that’s why the game hasn’t, and can’t grow. In fact, it is shrinking.

Anyway, the good news is that the Proteas decline isn’t quite as dramatic as we all think. Number one in the world to number seven in a year may look and feel horrible, but the team is still a lot closer to number one than number eight!

BCCI’s generosity knows no bounds (well some).

Umaima Saeed.

Sport Skeeda.

Saturday, 27 August 2016.

1911-9599.

In what should be good news for the future of women’s cricket in India, national women players and their Under-19 men’s colleagues there, are to be played the same daily allowances as Indian’s senior side.  The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) says players in those teams will now receive the equivalent of $US125 per day ($A165, £UK95) on international tours and $US100 ($A133, £75) in series played at home.  In other women-related news, the BCCI is reported to currently be considering setting up a womens’domestic Twenty20 league.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,912

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

 

• Caught batsman reprieved by TV umpire’s ’no ball call' [1912-9600]. 

• Skipper’s eight-match ban makes eleven for the season [1912-9601]. 

• Fairs fair when its comes to protecting the pitch [1912-9602]. 

Caught batsman reprieved by TV umpire’s ’no ball call'.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016.

PTG 1912-9600.

Television umpire Marais Erasmus called six 'no balls' from the stand at Trent Bridge on Tuesday, none of them more important that one delivered to England batsman Alex Hales.  Hales was given a life in his innings in the third England-Pakistan One Day International (ODI), for when on 72 he pulled Wahab Riaz straight to deep square leg, only for on-field umpire Richard Kettleborough to call ‘no ball’ when the pager on his wrist vibrated after a signal from Erasmus.

The six no balls came from a total of 570 balls bowled in the ODI, making a total of 8 from the 1,680 delivered in the three games played so far in the five-match series.  Pakistan’s fast-medium bowler Hasan Ali sent down three on Tuesday for a total of five for the series, his others coming in match two (PTG 1910-9585, 29 August 2016), his fast bowling team mate Wahab Riaz two, and England’s off-break bowler Moeen Ali, one.

Skipper’s eight-match ban makes eleven for the season.

Bournemouth Daily Echo

Tuesday, 30 August 2016.

PTG 1912-9601.

Hampshire club New Milton's former skipper James Park has been handed an eight-match ban after falling foul of Southern Premier League (SPL) rules for the second time this English season in his side’s match against Burridge at the end of July.  A month before that he was given a three-match ban for “dissent and failing in his responsibility as captain” when Bashley were his side's opponents in late May (PTG 1867-9361, 2 July 2016).

Park, who its no longer part of the set-up at New Milton as a result of his latest indiscretion, has this time been punished for "multiple breaches and serious failings in his responsibilities as captain" during a SPL Premier Division fixture against Burridge.  The severity of the latest ban was reflective of Park's position as captain and also because he had been in hot water earlier in the year.  He could still appeal the verdict, which was published on the league's official website on Monday.  

New Milton players James Haggaty and Nick Park were given three and one-match suspensions, respectively, following the May fixture.  They offended again in the match against Burridge and were given fresh bans for their actions as a result.  

Haggaty was this time banned by five matches, with two suspended, "for swearing at an opponent and it being a second offence during the season". He could still appeal the decision.  Nick Park was suspended for two matches, which he has already served, "for dissent and it being a second offence during the season”.

Fairs fair when its comes to protecting the pitch.

The Daily Star.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016.

PTG 1912-9602.

Players in Nilphamari in northern Bangladesh were left in shock after a week-long fair organised at one of the area's main playing fields left their cricket pitch in tatters.  The week long fair, which was organised by Bangladesh's forest department, left holes in the pitch.  The event, which was opened by Bangladesh’s Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, also left the ground ridden with garbage and bricks.

Nilphamari District Sports Association General Secretary, Arif Hossain Moon said: “Our plan was to make a cricket ground here and as a first step we had made the pitch which met the national standards. Now all our plans have gone haywire”. 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Arifuzzaman Milu, the secretary of the Nilphamari Cricket Umpire's Association, said specialised groundsmen were brought in from Chittagong 600 km away and soil was brought from Bogra 170 km to the south in order to create the pitch. “We worked really hard to establish this pitch. It came at a very high cost and it took us two months”, said Milu.  While the fair was successful, the end result was an anti-climax, especially given its focus was on environmental issues. 

Nilphamari's municipality councilor, Anisur Rahman, who was in-charge of a sub-committee responsible for preparing the ground for the fair, said protecting the pitch was never a concern for them. However, the chairman of the fair committee, Ershad Habib, admitted they had erred, saying:  “It was a big mistake by us. We shouldn't have harmed the cricket pitch. I assure you that all the repairs will be made soon”.

 

 

End of August 2016 news.