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                      SEPTEMBER 2016
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 22 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 9603-9726)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below 
 
 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,913

  Thursday, 1 September 2016

 

• ICC match officials to ‘discuss' Lauderhill fiasco [1913-9603]. 

• BCCI open to UDRS but not ball tracking [1913-9604]. 

• CA pumps more money into ‘girl’s’ fund [1913-9605]. 

• New ND women's competition aims to improve standards [1913-9606]. 

• Benefit match planned for late PCB scorer’s family [1913-9607]. 

ICC match officials to ‘discuss' Lauderhill fiasco.

Sidhnarth Monga.

Cricinfo.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016.

PTG 1913-9603.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) says the annual workshop of its match officials in Dubai later this month will discuss last Sunday's fiasco in the Twenty20 International (T20I) between the West Indies and India in Florida. A 40-minute delay at the start of the match that resulted from television broadcast "technical" problems, robbed the match of even a Duckworth-Lewis result with rain arriving two overs into the second innings (PTG 1911-9593, 30 August 2016). 

It is understood that there was a problem with a television van that ‘up-links’ vision and sound to a satellite for distribution, primarily to television sets in India.  Had the game begun on time - conditions at the ground were perfect at the scheduled start time - the match would have been past the halfway mark of its second innings. Only five overs in each innings are required to be bowled for a result in T20 matches.

ICC playing conditions have guidelines for delays for only three reasons: rain, poor light, unfit playing surface. The match referee and umpires were left to make a subjective call when the request to delay the match was made to them by the two "competing members”, that is the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The decision to delay the start was unprecedented, but the events may not have been unprecedented: there have been at least two instances in recent times when broadcasters have had issues, but play went on without delay on both occasions.

In Hobart in February 2012, the ground lost power during the innings break of a One Day International (ODI) between India and Sri Lanka. With daylight still holding up, the second innings began at the scheduled time of 6.35 p.m. even though it meant the broadcasters couldn't show the first 3.4 overs of the chase. The power was restored before it became dark, and the match went on without delay.

A year before that, just before the start of an ODI series in India, the then host broadcasters Neo Sports had a run-in with Prasar Bharati, the government agency responsible for uplinking live telecasts out of India. The match began on time even though Neo lost out on broadcasting the first 2.5 overs of the match.

The ICC confirmed that its match officials had made the final decision to delay the start on Sunday. "Taking into account the strategic considerations behind the staging of the two international matches in Florida”, the ICC said, "the match officials, on the request of the [WICB and BCCI], agreed to tweak the playing hours to allow the host broadcaster to overcome the technical difficulties”.

Such decisions are usually made by the match referee in consultation with the umpires. Ranjan Madugalle, the ICC’s chief match referee, was overseeing the Lauderhill match, the on-field umpires being West Indians Joel Wilson and Leslie Riefer and the third umpire their colleague Nigel Duguid. 

The "strategic considerations” mentioned by the ICC could allude to the objective of spreading the game in a new market. In fact, when the ICC sanctioned the Windies-India T20Is, it welcomed them as capable of developing cricket in the United States. "The ICC has approved these matches because we believe they can play a significant role in the long term development of cricket in the USA and our ongoing efforts to unify the USA cricket community”, said ICC chief executive Dave Richardson at the time.

Given that obviously high marketing priority it is difficult to see just what aspects of the situation that applied in Florida lie within the ambit of ICC match officials, and just how the matter will be addressed at their forthcoming annual meeting.

BCCI open to UDRS but not ball tracking.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016.

PTG 1913-9604.

Anurag Thakur, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), says his organisation is open to using the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) but are unhappy with the margin for error that applies in current ball-tracking technology.  Thakur has no problem using ‘Snicko' or ‘Hot Spot' to aid umpires but feels too much is left to chance with 'Hawk-Eye’, a view that is apparently shared by a number of the world’s top panel umpires.  

Earlier this year the International Cricket Council commissioned research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to determine the efficacy of Hawk-eye.  The MIT work found 'Hawk-Eye' ball-tracking technology can have a field of error of up to almost four centimetres (1.5 inches) when determining the projected height of balls.  Hawk-Eye has always maintained its technology is only accurate to within 5 mm (PTG 1855-9301, 17 June 2016).  

But Thakur was not impressed with the findings.  He says he: "raised this question at that time also, whether it is 100 per cent foolproof? No. Whether changes are required? Yes. When it could be done? MIT was supposed to give a report but they are themselves not much confident that it could be 100 per cent foolproof”.  In presenting their findings the researchers themselves emphasised that in their assessment such systems till never be able to provide a perfect result.

The BCCI says it will be looking into trials of scaled back versions of the UDRS for domestic and international competitions in the near future.  There was talk of such an approach prior to this year’s Indian Premier League series but nothing eventuated in time for that event.

CA pumps more money into ‘girl’s’ fund.

PTG Editor.

CA media release.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016.

PTG 1913-9605.

Cricket Australia (CA), which six weeks ago committed $A4 million (£UK2.3 m) over the next four years to it’s 'Growing Cricket for Girls Fund’ (PTG 1878-9411, 16 July 2016), is now allocating a further $A500,000 (£286,250) to it over the next 12 months.  That move so soon after the launch of the program has come about because of the level of interest shown in the program by associations, clubs and schools across the country, 392 grant applications having been received to date. 

Successful club and school applicants will receive grants of $A2,000 (£1,145), and associations $A10,000 (£5,725) over the next two years. That money will enable them to "secure accredited coaches, girls’ competition coordinators and assist with the purchase of team kits and match and training equipment".  It will, states CA, "mean the formation of 46 new all-girls’ competitions and the expansion of 11 existing competitions”.  A total of 534 new and existing girls and women’s cricket teams will also benefit, according to CA. 

As part of the overall investment into female cricket, $A500,000 (£286,000) is being allocated over each of the next four years "to activate a heightened marketing campaign targeted at the recruitment of girls and women into girls-only cricket competitions”.  Female participation specialist staff will also be employed in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales. Female match officials were not mentioned in the media release so what amount will be allocated to that program is not known.

CA is also continuing to invest $A300,000 (£17,175) each year towards additional support for clubs to create "more inclusive and welcoming environments" for all Australians as part of the 'A Sport For All Resource and Training Program’. 

New ND women's competition aims to improve standards.

Ian Anderson.

Waikato Times.

Thursday, 1 September 2016.

PTG 1913-9606.

New Zealand’s Northern Districts (ND) is introducing a new women's cricket competition as part of the associations's strong push to improve the Northern Spirit side which competes in New Zealand Cricket’s womens’ competitions.  In July, ND became the first New Zealand major association to pay their women's players in the domestic one-day and Twenty20 competitions this summer.

Now it's introduced the Northern Premier League (NPL), which will consist of four non-regional teams that will compete across six Sundays during the 2016-17 season. The four teams will be selected to ensure the talent is spread evenly to ensure competitive 40-over-per-side matches.

An internal review was the starting point for ND when they looked at ways of improving results from the Spirit side, which has constantly been one of the lesser-performed sides in the national domestic competition. Reasons included teenage girls leaving cricket in favour of other sports, making it hard for women to get regular quality cricket, bar a handful of elite players.

A recommendation of the review was to introduce a competition to replace the existing senior District Association competition.  ND chief executive Peter Roach said providing a quality cricket experience is essential to the success of the competition.  

Roach said: "Every game of the NPL will be an event in its own right. We have come up with four new team names [Power, Sonic, Velocity and Galaxy], designed new uniforms, and will provide quality grounds, quality umpires, coaches, managers and scorers. These will all be in place for the sole purpose to expose our players to quality competition to develop their games.  And there will be more to follow”.

Roach said the competition "is a key platform in our overall strategy to grow the number of women playing and engaging in cricket”.  "We are serious about it, and have invested heavily to ensure that this competition quickly becomes one of the best women's sporting competitions in New Zealand”.  The first matches of the six-round league to be held at the Bay Oval, Mt Maunganui, on the last Sunday of October.

Benefit match planned for late PCB scorer’s family.

Pakistan Observer.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016.

PTG 1913-9607.

A benefit match is to be played in Lahore in December to raise money for the family of Abdul Hameed, who was the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) scorer for 27 years until his death from a heart attack last week.  

The organiser of the game, Amir Ilyas Butt, said the best way to acknowledge his valuable contribution towards the promotion of cricket was to arrange a benefit match for his family.  The plan is to raise 2.5 million Rupees ($A31,750, £UK18,170) "for the education of his children and welfare of the family”, said Butt. 


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,914

  Friday, 2 September 2016 

 

• South Africa look at adding winter Tests to calendar [1914-9608]. 

• Bouncer breaks Lankan skipper's helmet [1914-9609]. 

• No decision on ‘abandoned’ match as league goes into final round [1914-9610]. 

• ’SG’ ready to submit its pink balls for BCCI testing [1914-9611]. 

• ’Swan Lake’ appeal routine leads to reprimand [1914-9612]. 

• BCCI’s umpiring test stumps many, runs out a few [1914-9613]. 

South Africa look at adding winter Tests to calendar.

Firdose Moonda.

Cricinfo.

Thursday, 1 September 2016.

PTG 1914-9608.

Test cricket in winter could become a reality in South Africa after the experiment to host New Zealand out-of-season in August was declared a success by players and administrators alike. The Durban debacle aside (PTG 1907-9564, 25 August 2016), Centurion produced a good pitch and pristine outfield, and drew sizable crowds on all four days. 

Faf du Plessis, South Africa's stand-in captain, said: "We want to play Test matches at home as much as possible so if that means we have to do it in the winter, we are all for it. Especially in Centurion.  Everything about the field was really good. The weather was really good, the pitch played well and the outfield was beautiful”. 

The possibility of dead pitches was one of the reasons why cricket in winter hadn't been considered by Cricket South Africa previously. Dry winters everywhere except the Cape - where rain makes it difficult to play - leave surfaces barren. But at Centurion, a significant grass covering ensured assistance for seamers throughout. 

In du Pleases’ view: "This was a great Test wicket - you had all the different combinations and all the factors come into play.  Day one, your seamers must play a big role, the wicket must move around and you must be tight as a batting unit. Day two and three must be good batting conditions and then day four and five must bring its different challenges. Maybe the only thing we didn't see in this match was spin on day four and five, and also, we didn't see reverse swing. It didn't happen because the outfield was beautiful, nice and lush, so those are the only things we didn't see”.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was a little more measured in his praise of the pitch, which he thought may have deteriorated a little too quickly. He indicated batting became progressively difficult as uneven bounce became a factor from the second day.

What both captains agreed on was that the outfield was as pleasant to play on as it was to look at. The playing area was re-laid with winter grass for this Test after both South Africa and New Zealand complained of the outfield being too hard, during a One Day International series in July-August last year.

The de-seeding process, which involved planting different grass to the usual summer carpet, took place in April. It was far different to the work done at Kingsmead in Durban, where the outfield was decompacted in June, making it hard to recover in time for the first Test.

That doesn't mean Durban is completely unsuitable for winter cricket. Had flash floods in July and unseasonal downpours on the second day of the first Test not taken place, more play may have been possible. Durban's warm days could be factored in while drawing the winter schedule. However, it is likely that concentration of out-of-season activity is likely to be on the Highveld where clear skies and mild sunshine are a guarantee.

While Centurion did not see a sell-out crowd, the local association was happy with the numbers they got, putting the numbers down to the proliferation of sporting activities at this time of year, which includes rugby. Attendance swelled to 9,000 on days one and two - a Saturday and Sunday - and dropped to around 3,500 on day three and 2,000 on day four. 

Bouncer breaks Lankan skipper's helmet.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Thursday, 1 September 2016.

PTG 1914-9609.

Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews was badly shaken on Wednesday after a bouncer struck his helmet during the fourth One Day International of the series against Australia in Dambulla.  The ball from fast bowler Scott Boland broke the protective strap, or stem guard, which is designed to safeguard the back of his skull.

Mathews was struck after losing sight of, and then turning his back on, a rising delivery from Boland which thudded into the base of the helmet, just above his neck.  Play was stopped for several minutes while Mathews recovered from the impact.  He could be seen rubbing the back of his head vigorously and was given the once-over by Sri Lanka’s physic.

Umpires Michael Gough and Ruchira Palliyaguruge called an early drinks break but after it Mathews carried on with his innings before retiring hurt with an unrelated calf injury.

No decision on ‘abandoned’ match as league goes into final round. 

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 1 September 2016.

PTG 1914-9610.

Two weeks on, the Cherwell League is yet to take a decision on the late August’s abandoned Division 4 match between the Witney Mills and Bicester and North Oxford Cricket Clubs, and with one round left in this year’s competition this coming weekend, the outcome of an investigation into the game could have an impact on who wins the league in 2016.  

Chasing Bicester’s 8/261, Witney were 6/107 when what was described as a “flare-up” occurred following a collision between a batsman who was going for a run, and a bowler (PTG 1907-9562, 25 August 2016).   The league said at the time it will not be assigning championship points to the match until after it holds a disciplinary inquiry.  

Currently, Bicester and North Oxford are currently third on the ladder 20 points behind leaders Westbury with one round to play this coming Saturday, a number that is small given the leagues bonus points system.  Westbury play second placed East Oxford that day while Bicester, who have promised to take “appropriate action” over the August incident, have what looks like a more straight-forward match against eighth placed Kimble.

’SG’ ready to submit its pink balls for BCCI testing.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Thursday, 1 September 2016.

PTG 1914-9611.

Indian ball manufacturer Sanspareils Greenlands (SG) is ready to submit its version of the pink ball to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCC) for testing its National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.  ‘SG’ announced ten weeks ago that is had commenced work to produce pink balls and hoped to provide samples for testing to the BCCI “in a month or two” (PTG 1852-9290, 13 June 2016).

SG's Paras Anand told the ‘Times of India’ on Wednesday his company "couldn't do it earlier because of shortage of time, but hopefully, our latest samples will appeal to the officials and players”.  A pink ball manufacturers by Australian company ‘Kookaburra' ball costs the BCCI around 7,200 Rupees ($A143, £UK81) but the pink SG balls are expected to cost much less. 

Currently, a red 'SG Test' ball used for home series in India costs around 1,500 Rupees ($A30, £17) but the BCCI pays 1,000 Rupees ($A20, £11) per ball as it buys the red version in bulk.  It is estimated that the cost of SG's pink ball will be in the same price band.

’Swan Lake’ appeal routine leads to reprimand.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Thursday, 1 September 2016.

PTG 1914-9612.

Two South African ‘A players, Tabriz Shamsi and Qaasim Adams, were reprimanded by match referee Steve Bernard for their part in incidents that occurred in match against Cricket Australia's National Performance Squad (NPS) in Mackay on Wednesday.  Both were reported and charged with the Level One breach of "showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during an international match".

The incident involving Shamsi occurred in the 36th over of the NPS innings when, having struck NPS captain Matt Short on the pad, he launched what was probably one of the most dramatic appeal processes ever seen.  He turned towards umpire Adrian Holdstock, ran alongside the pitch with his hand raised, twice jumped in the air with both arms again raised, sat down on the pitch with one arm raised, lay down and held his head.

All that elicited no more than a shake of the head and a call of 'over' from his countryman Holdstock, Shamsi then regained his feet and walked towards the leg side before turning and remonstrating with the umpire again with arms spread in pleading fashion, once more to no avail.

Adams' charge came after he was dismissed LBW, Holdstock again being the umpire.  Adams threw his head back when the verdict was delivered and stood at the crease for several seconds before starting his walk off the ground.

BCCI’s umpiring test stumps many, runs out a few.

Khurram Habib.

Hindustan Times.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016.

PTG 1914-9613. 

On a May afternoon this year in New Delhi, a couple of local league-level umpires attending the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Level One umpires’ workshop for league umpires approached one of the tutors, TK Handu, a former international umpire, with a strange demand: “Can this workshop be extended by a couple of days? We are struggling because our English is limited”.

It was day one of the course during which the trainees were taken through the first 18 Laws and their sub-sections. In four days, they had to cram on cricket’s 42 laws. On top of that, they were supposed to undergo practicals, take part in group discussions, which meant explaining the assigned laws to the class, and then sit for an exam.  Interestingly, the advice from both the tutors was “understand the laws thoroughly”.

Complaints were also heard following a similar workshop held by the Delhi and District Cricket Association in February: “can we have more time?”  But their hopes were shattered by TR Kashyappan one of the tutors  who said:  “I don’t know Hindi and I’ll explain only in English. You can’t become a good umpire unless your English is good”.  

The tea break that day saw a couple of angry young trainees question that logic.  The anger was shared by SK Bansal, a former international umpire and long-time director of the BCCI’s umpiring academy at Nagpur.  Bansal  said: "A person can best understand the laws in his mother tongue. I have seen many umpires with great judgement and courage [who can’t speak] English. You can’t deny people on the basis of that”, said Bansal. “The exam only qualifies you to perform at the local league games where you don’t need to know English”.

Bansal complained that when it comes to graduating to the national level of umpiring the ‘English’ policy tilted the scale in favour of candidates from the BCCI’s South and West Zones.   The results of umpire promotions showed a preference for people whose English was considered good and who were cleared even though many had no experience of umpiring.  But many who had experience couldn’t make it past the initial stage because of their English.  

The BCCI has made its view clear by signing up with the British Council and organising English language workshops for its senior umpires (PTG 1599-7753, 23 July 2015).  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,915

  Saturday, 3 September 2016 


• New bat regulations will make no difference, say makers [1915-9614]. 

• Father, son, suspended over Cherwell abandonment [1915-9615]. 

• BCCI confirms neutral venues for Ranji matches [1915-9616]. 

New bat regulations will make no difference, say makers.

Josh Burrows.

The Times.

Saturday, 3 September 2016.

PTG 1915-9614.

Two bat makers have warned that proposed restrictions on the size of cricket bats are based on “pseudoscience” and will make little or no difference to the predominance of bat over ball in the international game.  Lat July, the Marylebone Cricket Club’s World Cricket Committee agreed during its meeting at Lord’s that “the time is right to introduce further bat size limitations to the Laws” (PTG 1876-9399, 13 July 2016). 

Bat makers insist that the power of modern bats owes not to their size and shape but to their weight and treatment of the willow.  They also claim that while obsessing over the size of bats, administrators are wilfully ignoring the improvement in hitting techniques and the improved physical condition of modern batsmen.

Chris King, the 'Gray-Nicolls' craftsman who sculpted the bat England’s Alex Hales used on Tuesday to score 171 in England’s record One Day International score of 3/444 against Pakistan said: “Administrators have to look like they’re doing something”.  “I’ve already told a guy from the International Cricket Council that they’re going to look daft because the game after they bring in the restrictions, nothing will change". “Not least because most of the bats now would already comply with the likely regulations”.

King says that he could create a smaller bat that would perform just as impressively because the power and size of the sweetspot owes more to weight (given that force equals mass times acceleration) and the way the face is “pressed” under two tonnes of pressure to create a springy surface.  “If the bat is 2lb 10oz it doesn’t matter if it’s big or small”, he said. “The size is irrelevant. The power a batman can generate is about the weight of the bat. It’s like the question about what’s heavier: the ton of lead or the ton of feathers”.

King believes that the pressure to limit the depth of bats has been driven more by commentators’ assumptions and nostalgia than by science.  “If you’re sat in the commentary box and you’re a retired bowler — it tends to be bowlers — from the 1970s and you look down at the players smashing big totals and hitting the ball incredibly hard, the first thing you notice is that the bat is different”, he said. “But it’s the equivalent of looking at a racing car and saying it’s faster because it’s red”.

Rob Chambers, the master bat maker at 'Millichamp and Hall', also doubts that limiting the size of bats will make much difference. “A lot of the changes to cricket bats are more for aesthetic reasons than for performance”, he said. “Bats are like handbags, they follow trends. Today’s trend is huge edges. Are they going to limit the amount of time the players spend in the gym? These guys are physical specimens. They’re on protein shakes from the age of 12. I think there are a lot of elements to look at and to look solely at the bat is a bit short-sighted”.

Chambers, who has made bats for Chris Gayle and Sachin Tendulkar, admits that the oversized edges probably provide a slight advantage when the ball is not hit out of the middle, but claims that the benefits have been vastly overstated.  King adds: “The biggest impact that size has is on the player’s confidence. If a player believes that a big bat is more effective, it doesn’t matter what you tell them or how you explain it, they will continue to believe it”.

Where King and Chambers disagree is whether proposed new regulations are a good thing for the bat-making industry. King would welcome an end to the arms race for bigger bats “because it will limit the number of people coming to me and asking for stupid sizes — which is a demand based on pseudoscience”.

Chambers however, is annoyed that manufacturers haven’t yet been properly consulted. “I’m disappointed. We’ve spent years honing techniques so that we can create what customers want, which is big bats”, he said. “I’ve not even had a call about it. This is our livelihood”.

Father, son, suspended over Cherwell abandonment.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Friday, 2 September 2016.

PTG 1915-9615.

A father and son whose actions are reported to be behind the abandonment of a Cherwell League match two weeks ago have been given bans by a disciplinary committee (PTG 1914-9610, 2 September 2016).  The Bicester and North Oxford (BNO) club's Mike Simpson was handed an eight-game ban, four of which were suspended, and his son Richard a four-match punishment, two of which were suspended.

No specific details have been published about the incident involved, or as it has been described "flare-up”, in BNO’s game against Witney Mills, other that to say that it happened "when a batsman, who was going for a run, collided with Bicester bowler Mike Simpson”.  One umpire was quoted as saying of the resulting fracas: “I’ve never seen anything like it in more than 50 years of umpiring cricket” (PTG 1907-9562, 25 August 2016).

The bans mean that, provided their club plans no other action, including appealing the suspensions, Simpson junior will not be able to play again until the start of the 2017 season, and his father until the third game sometime in late May.

Bicester had scored 8/261 in it’s innings and Witney were 6/107 when the match was abandoned, and in addition to deciding what actions to take against the Simpson, the disciplinary committee had to determine how championship points for the game should be awarded. 

Witney Mills were subsequently awarded ten points for the match, six for the abandonment plus the four they had gained under normal league rules up to the point the game was called off.  The latter includes three for taking eight Bicester wickets and one for reaching the 100 run mark in their own innings.  However, while Bicester were also awarded six points for the abandonment, the eleven bonus points they would have otherwise earned were disallowed by the disciplinary committee.

As a result Bicester and North Oxford go into Saturday’s final game of the season in second place on the league table just 14 points behind current leaders Westbury.  The latter play third placed East Oxford who have the same number of points as Bicester.

BCCI confirms neutral venues for Ranji matches.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Friday, 2 September 2016.

PTG 1915-9616.

All the matches in the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy first class cricket tournament in India will be played in neutral venues, according to fixtures released by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).  The move came about following a recommended by the BCCI’s Technical Committee last May that is designed to make the competition "more competitive. Neutral venues will says the BCCI take away any home advantage as it will deny the home teams an opportunity to make tailor-made pitches to suit their strengths (PTG 1841-9216, 1 June 2016).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,916

  Sunday, 4 September 2016 

 

• South Africa sets race-based selection targets for national teams [1916-9617]. 

• Loss of points for abandoned match costs team league title [1916-9618]. 

• Plans to reshape Test cricket face Indian opposition [1916-9619]. 

• BCCI questions Champions Trophy's $US135 m budget [1916-9620]. 

• South African franchises earn profits for first time in 25 years [1916-9621]. 

South Africa sets race-based selection targets for national teams.

Firdose Moonda.

Cricinfo.

Saturday, 3 September 2016.

PTG 1916-9617.

South Africa's national men's team will need to field a minimum average of six players of colour, of which at least two must be black African, in their XI effective immediately, in order to meet transformation targets. The instruction was confirmed by Cricket South Africa's (CSA) board at their Annual General Meeting on Saturday and follows confirmation in July that all national teams will be obliged to meet targets as part of what CSA has termed a drive to "make cricket a truly national sport accessible to all” (PTG 1900-9534, 15 August 2016). 

The targets will not be imposed on the XI in every match they play but rather be calculated on an average basis over the season. That means South Africa's selectors will not be strictly bound to that combination all the time, but if there are some matches where they do not meet the targets, they will have to compensate in other games. 

Although the emphasis and timing of CSA's transformation efforts appear to be a response to being banned from bidding for or hosting major tournaments by the country's sports ministry as punishment for the slow progress of change, CSA has denied that is the case even though there is talk of a World Twenty20 Championship being held in South Africa in 2018 (PTG 1832-9169, 20 May 2016). 

"That would be an unfortunate analysis of the situation but the coincidence cannot be avoided”, CSA president Chris Nenzani said. "We are not driving transformation in order to host an event. That event is going to come and go, as many events before it. We are driving transformation because we believe it is the right thing to do. We have to talk about transformation, whether or not there is 2018”.

There is a degree of leniency in the new numbers because they will not apply on a match-by-match basis but will be assessed over a period of time. "We are saying let's look at this target over a season which allows the coaching staff and team management to have flexibility”, Nenzani said. "If there are reasons that the coach says, 'In this match, because of a number of reasons and conditions, I am not going to be in a position to play black players’, or even that 'I am going to go into this match without a single black African player’, that flexibility is allowed but it should be based on objective reality. If I were to be put in the same situation, I should see the same reality”.

By and large, South Africa are already meeting these targets. In the two Tests against New Zealand, they fielded that exact combination although they did not have either AB de Villiers or Morne Morkel (both white) because of injuries. In the One Day International series in the Caribbean in June, South Africa fielded no less than six players of colour in every XI, although their black African component varied between one and two. In their second match they made history when they fielded eight players of colour. 

Many questions still remain unanswered, such as whether South Africa fears a talent exodus as white players escape limited opportunities. For now, the focus is on making more use of the players they have by including all South Africans, especially those previously marginalised, in the sport. "This is a national imperative, it is a constitutional imperative. It is important for transformation to succeed”, Nenzani said.

Loss of points for abandoned match costs team league title. 

PTG Editor.

Match reports.

Sunday, 4 September 2016.

PTG 1916-9618.

Cherwell League Division 4 side Bicester and North Oxford (BNO) finished their season runners up in their competition for 2016 as a result of the “flare up” that caused the abandonment of their match against Witney Mills two weeks ago.  Following Saturday’s last round of games BNO finished 14 points behind league winners Westbury, a situation that would have been overturned had the match in August not been abandoned.

Had they, as appeared likely, won the match against Witney Mills, they would have earned around 40 points, 25 for a win plus probably at least another 15 bonus points for runs scored and wickets taken.  Instead, a Cherwell League disciplinary committee limited them to six championship points for the abandonment and scrubbed all the bonus points they would have earned up until the match was stopped, a loss of around 34 points and enough, it turns out, to win the league. 

Plans to reshape Test cricket face Indian opposition.

Nick Hoult

London Daily Telegraph.

Sunday, 4 September 2016.

PTG 1916-9619.

Ambitious plans to revolutionise Test cricket by introducing promotion and relegation are facing potentially ruinous opposition from India.  The proposal to reshape Test cricket into two divisions are due to be discussed in Dubai this week and have the support of the England and Wales Cricket Board, Cricket Australia, Cricket South Africa and New Zealand Cricket.

But the International Cricket Council (ICC) looks to be splitting along familiar lines once again with the Asian bloc set to oppose the plans led by India. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have voiced their opposition to the idea and West Indies and Zimbabwe are also unlikely to back the proposals given the likelihood they will be in the bottom division.  It will be a blow to Dave Richardson, the ICC chief executive, who in London earlier this year said a league system would add meaning and context to help Test cricket survive (PTG 1842-9224, 2 June 2016).

The plans were discussed at the ICC’s annual general meeting in July, but a decision was delayed until later this year with more time for a financial proposal to be completed. A board meeting of the ICC is due to discuss the latest developments this week but opposition from the Board of Control for Cricket in India has been gathering pace in recent months culminating in Anurag Thakur, the board’s chief executive, saying such the plans will harm the smaller nations (PTG 1891-9483, 4 August 2016).

“As the governing body of the game, the ICC's job is to popularise the game and increase its global reach”, Thakur said. "On the contrary, this system may be good for the top five countries, but apart from that, everyone else will suffer. On the one hand, we say we need to support teams like West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, while on the other, by bringing up something like this, we will cut their legs”.

The irony of the BCCI standing up for the poorer countries will not be lost on many. They forced through, with the help of England and Australia, structural changes at the ICC which saw more power vested in the hands of the so called ‘Big Three'. Thakur also reaffirmed this week the BCCI’s opposition to the use of Hawkeye in decision making although indicated India are willing to accept ‘Hot Spot' and ‘Real Time Snicko' as a watered down version of Umpire Decision Review System but remain unconvinced by the ball tracking technology after testing by researchers in Boston (PTG 1913-9604, 1 September 2016).

BCCI questions Champions Trophy's $US135 m budget.

Press Trust of India.

Saturday, 3 September 2016.

PTG 1916-9620.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has expressed its reservations with the International Cricket Council's (ICC) decision to budget around $US135 million ($A178.3 m, £UK101.5 m) to support the organisation of next June’s Champions Trophy in England.  BCCI sources say the budget is three times the $US45 million ($A59.4 m, £UK33.8 m) allocated to the BCCI by the ICC for the much larger World Twenty20 Championship (WT20C) series in India last March-April.

A draft budget for the 2017 Champions Trophy was provided to ICC members for comment at the world body’s Annual Conference in Edinburgh in May-June.  What many in the BCCI say they find baffling is the high cost for what is a 19-day, 15 match, tournament, compared to the WT20C which ran for 27-days and saw 58 matches, 35 men's and 23 women’s, played, and involved extensive air travel.

In addition to the budget there are also claims, so far unconfirmed, that the ICC will be building an office in London which will be handed over to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) once the tournament is over.   Why that should be given the ECB has its own offices in London appears strange.  A senior BCCI official said though in regard to that, and rather sanctimoniously: "Every [ICC] member has the right to ask as to why all members should pay for office of one member. Looking at the far bigger picture, every penny saved is every penny earned. This money should be used judiciously for development of cricket”.  

 

Given its concerns the BCCI has sent a letter to the ICC "expressing their reservations about the budget" and the matter is expected to be discussed on the sidelines of the ICC Chief Executives meeting scheduled for Dubai next Tuesday-Wednesday.  

South African franchises earn profits for first time in 25 years.

Press Trust of India.

Friday, 2 September 2016.

PTG 1916-9621.

Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) franchises have experienced profits for the first time since the country was reinstated into international cricket in 1991.  CSA President Chris Nenzani has attributed this achievement to heightened corporate governance and diligent operational processes at its affiliates.

Call the result “outstanding”, Nenzani said: “Creating sustainable structures at every level of the game’s administration is one of our five key pillars. With strong governance and operational structures in place, we are now turning our attention to our cricket playing structures”.

Nenzani said CSA was now eagerly awaiting the recommendations from a review committee for domestic cricket structures.  “It is indeed heartening to see the way all members have supported CSA in implementing the new operating model, which is now clearly producing the results we envisaged”.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,917

  Tuesday, 6 September 2016 


• Union survey suggest players favour two-tier Test system [1917-9622]. 

• Twelve front foot no ball calls in TV trial [1917-9623]. 

• Hyderabad umpires go without pay [1917-9624]. 

• Fifth quadrangular series player disciplined [1917-9625]. 

• PCB wants special compensation fund for Pakistan cricket [1917-9626]. 

Union survey suggest players favour two-tier Test system.

Greg Baum.

Fairfax Media.

Monday, 5 September 2016.

PTG 1917-9622.

Almost three-quarters of international cricketers favour a two-tier Test system, and half might choose the freedom to play Twenty20 club cricket over a Test contract, according to a survey conducted by the umbrella body to players guilds across most the Test-playing world, the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA).  Survey results have been released at the start of a week in which the International Cricket Council is to hold a meeting that will have as a key focus the proposed two-tier Test system (PTG 1916-9619, 4 September 2016).

FICA's survey results come from the inputs of nearly 200 professional cricketers, including 111 internationals, from across its seven member organisations in Australia, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.  Players from India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe are not part of FICA’s current ambit, however, there are plans to establish such a group in India, although the Board of Control for Cricket in India has to date opposed FICA.

The survey found that 52 per cent would consider opting for T20 free agency over a national contract, 70 per cent wanted scheduling windows dedicated to T20, 75 per cent believed closing the pay gap between the lucrative T20 leagues and international cricket is paramount, and 72 per cent were in favour of Test cricket played in two divisions, each with a play-off.

In FICA’s assessment the results show that cricket needs to change in step with the times.  Its executive chairman Tony Irish, said: "It is clear that there is a groundswell of opinion around the world that the current structure of international cricket is not serving the game globally, and that the status quo is not good enough for the long-term future success of cricket". 

According to him:  "The entire cricket economy, including all professional players – both international and domestic – is highly dependent on international cricket. To ensure its survival, the game needs to evolve.  It has many strengths and its rich history must be protected, but it is time to significantly move the game forward. That is not an easy task, but thinking globally, and not based on regional or country interests, is a good place to start”.

Irish said the ICC's focus had been almost exclusively on the decline in Test cricket, but FICA says it should be on finding a workable balance. "We know from our player surveys that they are facing a conflict between international cricket and domestic T20 cricket leagues”, Irish said. "This is a fundamental issue that we want any future structure of the game to address. Our concern is that if nothing is done, international cricket may very soon lose more and more of its best players to free agency and the T20 leagues. It is time for global, collective thinking”.

Twelve front foot no ball calls in TV trial. 

PTG Editor.

Monday, 5 September 2016.

PTG 1917-9623.

The International Cricket Council’s trial of television umpires calling front foot no balls during the five-match One Day International (ODI) series between England and Pakistan has thrown up a total of twelve incidents for investigators to work through (PTG 1912-9600, 31 August 2016).  A report on the trial is expected to go to the ICC’s Cricket Committee for consideration next May.

Of the 2,886 deliveries sent down, Pakistan’s fast-medium bowler Hasan Ali bowled six, his fast bowling team mate Wahab Riaz two, England’s off-break bowler Moeen Ali also two and his colleagues Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes one each.  

In comparison, the five ODIs between Sri Lanka and Australia played over the same time period saw the on-field umpires call two front foot no balls, both by Dilruwan Perera, across a total of 2,801 deliveries.  Earlier in the current English season the five ODI series there against Sri Lanka heard one no ball call made from 2,505 deliveries.  On the other hand Zimbabwe’s three ODIs against India in June saw seven front foot no balls from 1,356 deliveries.

Hyderabad umpires go without pay.

Times of India.

Monday, 5 September 2016.

PTG 1917-9624.

The start of the new season has not brought any cheer to the 70-odd umpires of the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) because administrators there are back to their old tricks.  The local league season started in the second week of June and as of last Saturday the umpires haven't been paid their match fees which for the months of June and July amount to around 1.5 million Rupees ($A29,730, £UK16,930).

HCA officials haven't shown any interest in making the payments, claimed a source who did not wish to be named. He said: “The umpires filed their claims for the months of June and July and despite several reminders, HCA officials have kept on stalling payments on one pretext or the other. So much so that one more month (August) has been now added to the arrears".

What has irked the umpires is that the salaries of HCA office and other staff have been paid on time.  "Even the scorers have been paid their dues but we have been left in the lurch and we don't have the money to spend on our families”, an umpire said.  "The main source of income for around 20 to 30 of them is umpiring. How can they take care of their families if the payments are not made for 2-3 months at a stretch?”

When contacted, HCA secretary K John Manoj said that the bills were signed and the payments would be made in a day or two.  On Friday, treasurer R Devraj said that the bills had been signed by him and the amount would be credited into the account of the umpires in a day. He also added that there were no financial problems at the HCA.

But even by Saturday evening there was no sign of the umpires getting their dues. With Sunday and Monday being holidays, the umpires are very concerned.

Fifth quadrangular series player disciplined.

PTG Editor.

CA media release.

Monday, 5 September 2016.

PTG 1917-9625.

The India ‘A’ side’s opening bowler Dhawal Kulkarni has lost a quarter of his match fee for giving Australia ‘A’ batsman Kurtis Patterson a 'send off' after bowling him during the final of the quadrangular series in Mackay on Sunday.  Kulkarni’s was the fifth disciplinary incident reported during the three-week long, 14 match, quadrangular series.  

What was a Level One offence occurred when Kulkarni dismissed Patterson and as per the International Cricket Council’s Code of Conduct procedure, match referee Steve Bernard considered the written report prepared by umpires Mick Martell and Adrian Holdstock and “offered” Kulkarni the 25 per cent match fee sanction.  Kulkarni accepted the sanction and as a result no hearing was required.

Apart from Kulkarni, his skipper Manish Pandey was fined 25 percent of his match fee for dissent during the series (PTG 1907-9567, 25 August 2016), Cricket Australia National Performance Squad batsman Matt Henshaw was reprimanded for a 'send off' (PTG 1910-9589, 29 August 2016), and South African ‘A players Tabriz Shamsi and Qaasim Adams were both reprimanded for dissent (PTG 1914-9612, 2 September 2016).    

PCB wants special compensation fund for Pakistan cricket.

Press Trust of India.

Monday, 5 September 2016.

PTG 1917-9626.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan has called for the International Cricket Council (ICC) to set up a special compensation fund for Pakistan after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) agreed to send their team to Bangladesh this month despite security concerns.  Khan said the PCB would again push its case in the ICC for the setting up of a special fund for Pakistan cricket.

Khan said: "The ECB has refused to send its team to Pakistan because of security concerns but after consulting its Foreign Office and sending its security experts to Bangladesh it has agreed to send its team to Bangladesh”.  "We will again push our case that why is Pakistan only being deprived of international cricket at home. But we are hopeful that if we can have the Pakistan Super League final in Lahore next February then our case will get stronger”.

Pakistan moved a proposal at the last ICC meeting asking the members to support the establishment of a special compensation fund for Pakistan cricket.  The ICC set up a special task force on Pakistan cricket and it has been assigned the job of going through the feasibility of the PCB proposal.

Khan said Pakistan cricket had suffered a lot since 2009 due to foreign teams refusing to tour the country on security grounds.  "But this case of England agreeing to go to Bangladesh will strengthen our case in some ways”.   The ICC though is looking at security issues for its match officials ahead of that tour (PTG 1910-9584, 29 August 2016).  

Khan conceded that terrorist attacks in parts of Pakistan from time to time deal a blow to PCB's case in the international cricket community, the recent suicide attack in Quetta being a further step backward for Pakistan cricket.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,918

  Wednesday, 7 September 2016 

 

• NZ moves to resurrect match referee positions [1918-9627]. 

• Menon elevated to IUP, says state association [1918-9628]. 

• BCCI puts pink balls under CCTV surveillance [1918-9629]. 

• Champions Trophy costs much lower than claimed: ICC [1918-9630]. 

• Leading England players set for Pakistan Super League T20 [1918-9631]. 

• There should be no confusion about an Indian players’ association [1918-9632]. 

NZ moves to resurrect match referee positions.

PTG Editor.

NZC advertisement.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016.

PTG 1918-9627.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has announced plans to appoint six match referees to manage its domestic first class, one-day and Twenty20 competitions.  The call for applications for the positions on Tuesday came a year to the day NZC decided, because of funding constraints, to abandon the referee structure it had had in place for the previous two austral summers (PTG 1637-8012, 5 September 2016)

NZC says the referees will act as its representatives at matches to "ensure compliance with regulations and the smooth running of match day operations”.  The work will include "compliance with policies and procedures (medical, emergency, health and safety, venue assessments, code of conduct) as well as facilitating any code of conduct matters, end of match meetings between umpires, coaches and players, and providing feedback to NZC's Match Officials Manager on umpire performance”.  It is understood the absence of referees during the 2015-16 season resulted in some problems being experienced.

Unlike the two seasons from 2013-15 when three referees roamed the country overseeing matches, the six positions now open will be based in each of NZC's six Major Association (MA) geographical areas: Auckland; Canterbury, Central Districts; Northern Districts, Otago and Wellington. As a result they will operate from their home base, with occasional travel required to other venues throughout NZ, an approach which appears designed to reduce NZC overheads.   It is anticipated each person contracted will be given around 30 days’ work over the course of the coming season.

Applicants for the position, which close on Thursday next week, require: "a good understanding of the structure and operations of cricket in New Zealand; accuracy, timeliness, and firm but fair leadership qualities; the ability to work with and interpret cricket’s laws, playing conditions and code of conduct; and an understanding of the importance, context and content of the Master Agreement between NZC, MAs and players".

Menon elevated to IUP, says state association.

PTG Editor.

Wisden India.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016.

PTG 1918-9628.

Nitin Menon has been nominated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India as a member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, according to the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association.  Menon, 32, appears to have been promoted to the BCCI’s second television umpire spot on the IUP alongside CK Nandan with Chettithody Shamshuddin and Anil Chaudhary in the on-field spots (PTG 1875-9394, 12 July 2016).

Menon, 32, played two List-A matches for Madhya Pradesh in January 2004 and turned to umpiring soon after.  Since then he has stood in 40 first-class matches, two of them on exchange in Australia last February (PTG 1764-8797, 15 February 2016), 32 List-A matches and 21 Twenty20 games, six of the latter being in this year’s Indian Premier League series.

Narendra Menon, Menon’s father, who is now 70, played 51 games of first-class cricket for Madhya Pradesh from 1967-81, and then became an umpire.  He worked as the television umpire in two Tests, stood in 33 first class games and 24 List A fixtures, four of them One Day Internationals, in the period from 1990-2003.

BCCI puts pink balls under CCTV surveillance.

Ashim Sunam.

International Business Times.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016.

PTG 1918-9629.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is so worried about the safety of the pink ‘Kookaburra’ balls it purchased for its Duleep Trophy day-night experiment, that they have assigned an official to keep a watch over the balls in a room that is also covered by CCTV surveillance.  A BCCI official pointed out that the balls are "very costly" at around 8,000 Rupees each ($A158, £UK90) and “that is why we made this arrangement”.  

It remains to be seen whether the BCCI decides to use them in an international match that involves India, the first opportunity being next month’s India-New Zealand Test series.  However, with a long 2016-17 home season ahead that BCCI could wait until they host England in November-December or Australia in February-March next year.

Champions Trophy costs much lower than claimed: ICC.

Nagraj Gollapudi

Cricinfo.

Monday, 5 September 2016.

PTG 1918-9630.

Despite speculation of the Champions Trophy budget is upwards of $US100 million ($A131 m, £UK75 m), it is understood that the overall budget for the quadrennial International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament is actually less than $US60 million ($A78.6 m, £UK45 m). Last week the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) expressed reservations with what it said was a planned budget of $US135 million ($A178.3 m, £UK101.5 m) to support the event, as well as the setting up an office in London which will be handed over to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) once the tournament is over (PTG 1916-9620, 4 September 2016). 

The total operational costs calculated for the Champions Trophy is about $US23 million ($A30 m, £UK17.3 m), while the fixed costs, which include host fee, member fee, prize money, is about $US20 million ($A26 m, £UK15 m).  The remaining costs of approximately $US17 million ($A22.3 m, £UK12.7 m), which is the major difference between the World Twenty20 Championship and Champions Trophy budgets, is for marketing and publicity expenses, but will be covered under the Value in Kind (VIK) with no direct cost to the ICC or its members.

Being an influential member of the ICC, the BCCI's stance is not being been seen as hostile. Officials in the know have pointed out the BCCI has the right to enquire, and they have been provided with a detailed explanation by the ICC.  Regardless, the Indian board believes the budget is too steep. "Even if you factor the price differential of various things between India and the UK, even then the overall costs are still much, much higher”, said a senior BCCI official. "For us they audit, say 'Reduce this, don't do this’. Similarly, why not do the same for everyone?"

The BCCI is unhappy with a plan by the ECB to rent an office to house the staff of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the Champions Trophy. "Then they are talking of renting an office, then buying over and then eventually handing it over to the ECB. All kind of those costs are built into that (overall budget). How can you do that?”, said the official.  The BCCI has been told that with the ECB hosting three major global events from 2017-19, the others being next year’s Women's World Cup and the 2019 men’s World Cup, it’s necessary to have an independent office where the LOC could be housed. 

The proposed office is expected to be a pre-fabricated extension to the ECB offices at Lord’s to provide a more cost-effective workspace for the LOC than paying four years of commercial rent in London. The workspace could be utilised either by the ICC's Europe staff or by the ECB post the 2019 World Cup.

Leading England players set for Pakistan Super League T20.

Elizabeth Ammon.

The Times.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016.

PTG 1918-9631.

Leading England players will play in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 series in February in the United Arab Emirates. It is understood that James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Jason Roy and Moeen Ali are all being put forward as marquee names for the player draft, which is due next month.

The tournament is set to take place in mid-February although the dates have yet to be finalised. It is expected that it will be completed in the small window that England players have between the end of the tour to India and the beginning of the one-day series in the West Indies in March.  Andrew Strauss, the director of England cricket, is keen for players to play in domestic Twenty20 leagues around the world and is understood to have given blessing to players who have put themselves forward for the event.

The PSL was first played earlier this year between five franchises in a round-robin format. Players are chosen for each franchise using a draft system rather than an auction system as favoured by the Indian Premier League.  Top players can earn up to $US140,000 ($A183,500, £UK104,940) for playing in the three week long tournament. 

There should be no confusion about an Indian players’ association.

Pradeep Magazine.

Hindustan Times.

Tuesday, 6 September 2018.

PTG 1918-9632.

If you can’t fight them, join them, is a wonderful euphemism for compromise. Indian cricketers understand this very well and some of the most influential players have, over the years, become the mouthpieces of the establishment, reaping rich rewards in return.  From time to time, efforts have been made to form an association which could air the genuine concerns of players and force the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to address cricketing issues, without profits or power being the motivating factors behind a decision.

Those efforts failed, be it the Kapil Dev-led rebellion in the late eighties or the one led by the quartet of Ganguly-Tendulkar-Kumble-Dravid just before the 2003 World Cup. Since safeguarding personal interests rather than solving larger collective concerns of the players were the motives behind those moves, they were bound to fail, as they eventually did.  Today, as things stand, India is among the very few countries, apart from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, which does not have a players association that is recognised by their Board (PTG 1917-9622, 6 September 2016).

The BCCI sees this as a trade union activity and is loath to give them any representation in a decision-making body. The irony is that the international body, the ICC, which is currently headed by an Indian, recognises the international players’ body the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA), but India does not.

This is soon to change as the Indian Supreme Court’s Lodha panel recommendations have made it mandatory to have two players, a man and a woman, nominated by the players’ association, to become part of a nine-member committee that will become the administrative wing of the Board.  To put this plan into action, the panel has recommended the formation of a steering committee — Anil Kumble, Mohinder Amarnath and Diana Eduljee — to oversee the formation of the association, which will have all the former Test and even first-class cricketers as their members. Once formed, the two bodies (men and women) will then nominate two players to the BCCI’s top committee.

For this to take concrete shape, the Lodha panel has set the end of this month as a deadline for the Board to form the steering committee and put the process of forming a player’s association into action. According to the new set of deadlines given to the BCCI, the two associations have to be in place by the end of November. The onus of providing administrative support and finances for this purpose also lies with the Board.

The biggest hurdle, even now, is the lack of any will or initiative by the Board to put this blueprint into action. They are still hoping against hope that a miracle could happen in the Supreme Court where their petition for a review of Lodha’s findings gets a positive response.  This resistance to accept the inevitable is resulting in a lot of confusion and players across the country are either unaware of this provision or unsure of what lies ahead.

Some think that this recommendation has to be implemented at the state level as well and are seeking clarity, which is not forthcoming.  The Lodha panel report makes it clear that there will be only two national-level associations, one for men and the other for women, whereas at the state level all local Test and first class players are eligible to become members of their respective associations.  Only the Board can sort out all these confusions and before time runs out, they better put a proper system in place so that the voice of the players and their genuine concerns are not thwarted once again.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,919

 Thursday, 8 September 2016 

 

• Opposition sees two-tier Test proposal set aside [1919-9633]. 

• Three killed while working on Jharkhand stadium floodlights [1919-9634]. 

• Lankan off-spinner fined for ‘send off’ [1919-9635]. 

• Two pink-ball warm up fixtures for South African tourists [1919-9636]. 

• Bad ball bounce sends player to hospital [1919-9637]. 

• BCCI pumps chest, warns of Champions Trophy pullout [1919-9638]. 

• Caribbean curators attend ICC workshop in Antigua [1919-9639]. 

• Don't ask the batsman to judge if he's LBW [1919-9640]. 

• Fiasco proves TV revenue is greater than cricket itself [1919-9641]. 

Opposition sees two-tier Test proposal set aside.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release

Wednesday, 7 September 2016.

PTG 1919-9633.

"Significant progress" on the future shape of all international cricket was made at the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) two-day 'cricket structures' workshop in Dubai on Tuesday-Wednesday, according to ICC chief executive David Richardson.  Despite that on-going discussions on such matters will not include the two-tier Test structure he and others, including the international players’ union, have been championing for some time (PTG 1917-9622, 6 September 2016). 

Richardson said in a media release that the meeting’s "focus [was] on solutions that will grow fan interest and engagement by delivering high quality cricket with the best players playing in an environment where every match counts”, and that "consensus [had been reached] in a range of areas”.  

The latter is said to include "details of One Day International and Twenty20 structures”, a probable reference to some sought of a league-type system.     “Principles around Test cricket schedules” that involve the "concept of a Test Champion play off every two years, and the opportunity for more nations to be involved” at Test level”, were also part of the consensus; the 'on again off again' Test Championship arrangement again being recycled back into contention.

Indian media reports on Wednesday evening claimed the ICC “withdrew" its two-tier Test proposal following “vehement opposition” from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with the support of Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. An unnamed BCCI source quoted by the Press Trust of India said the two-tier proposal had been taken off the table given the four boards’ objections and “the ICC will now look afresh at the whole aspect”.  BCCI chief executive Rahul Johri was quoted as thanking the ICC for understanding the BCCI's point of view and ensuring it of the BCCI’s "fullest co-operation in the interest of the game to popularise Test cricket worldwide”.  The BCCI apparently has other concerns though (PTG 1919-9638 below).

The ICC media release concludes by saying its members will now "share the details of the proposed revised structures and principles” with their home boards. While that is happening, “work will continue to develop a clear structure and position for each format over the coming months as the ICC collectively focuses on improving bi-lateral cricket for fans and players in the long run”. It is “envisaged” any changes eventually agreed to will be implemented for 2019. There are though, says the ICC, "some complexities, not least because of scheduling and existing structures” that still need to be addressed. 

Three killed while working on Jharkhand stadium floodlights.

The Indian Express.

Wednesday, 7 September 2017.

PTG 1919-9634.

Three people were killed while working on floodlights at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association cricket stadium in Ranchi eastern Indian on Wednesday afternoon. Police say the three were in a basket that had been hoisted up one of the light towers at the ground and that they were tipped out when a problem occurred, falling “tens of metres” to the ground.  They were rushed to hospital but could not be revived.

Lankan off-spinner fined for ‘send off’.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release

Wednesday, 7 September 2016.

PTG 1919-9635.

 

Sri Lankan off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake has been fined 30 per cent of his match fee for giving Australian opener David Warner a ‘send off’ during the Twenty20 International (T20I) against Australia in Pallekele on Tuesday.  The incident happened in the fifth over of Australia’s innings when, says the International Cricket Council (ICC), Senanayake "made remarks which could have provoked a reaction from the Australia captain".

 

After the match, Senanayake admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Javagal Srinath and as such, there was no need for a formal hearing.  The charge had been laid by on-field umpires Ranmore Martinesz and Raveendra Wimalasiri, third umpire Ruchira Palliyaguruge and fourth umpire Deepal Gunawardene.  ICC Level One disciplinary breaches carry a minimum penalty of a warning/reprimand and/or the imposition of a fine of up to 50 per cent of the applicable match fee.

Two pink-ball warm up fixtures for South African tourists.

Associated Press.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016.

PTG 1919-9636.

South Africa will play two pink-ball tour matches in the lead-up to their day-night Test against Australia in Adelaide in late November.  Cricket Australia said on Wednesday the tourist will meet a Cricket Australia XI in a two-day day-night match at the Adelaide Oval in late October, and another in the same former against a Victorian XI at the Melbourne Cricket Ground a week ahead of the pink-ball Test.  South African players were originally against the now scheduled day-night Test being incorporated in their tour but they changed their stance in June.

Bad ball bounce sends player to hospital.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016.

PTG 1919-9637.

Hyderabad's Pragyan Ojha collapsed after being hit in the head by a ball while fielding during daylight play in the day-night Duleep Trophy match between India ‘Blue' and India ‘Green’ in Greater Noida on Wednesday.  Ojha was at mid-on when he was hit on the left side of his head after a hard hit ball "bounced viciously" in front of him forcing him to take evasive action. 

Players quickly surrounded the left-arm spinner and umpires Anil Dander and Nitin Menon called a break to the game so that he could be treated. He had to be stretchered off the field and was transferred to a nearby hospital where he underwent a CT scan.  Whether he will be available for the rest of the Duleep tournament is not yet known.

BCCI pumps chest, warns of Champions Trophy pullout.

Devendra Pandey and Shamir Chakraborty.

The Indian Express.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016.

PTG 1919-9638.

The gloves are off in the fight between the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) and the International Cricket Council (ICC). In the latest salvo, the BCCI has threatened to withdraw the Indian team from the next year’s Champions Trophy in England after being excluded from the ICC’s powerful Financial and Commercial Affairs (FCA) committee held a few days ago in Dubai.

The latest face-off comes on the back of a burgeoning list of complaints that the Indian board has against the ICC, which is led by former BCCI chief Shashank Manohar. The BCCI has already expressed its disappointment with the ICC’s move to revoke the 'Big Three' revenue model via which India gets a major share of revenues along with Australia and England, and by the new plan for a two-tier system for Tests.

BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke termed his board’s non-inclusion in the FCA group as “a humiliation”. "We will tell the ICC, ‘either you amend this or we will decide what to do to protect India’s cricket interests globally’. It could be anything. “There are so many options”, said Shrike.  The ICC web site, which may not be up-to-date, shows one spot on the FCA committee as vacant.

Sources said that Shirke has informed the ICC that if the Indian board continues to be ignored, it will have to think on “parallel lines”.  “The problem with the ICC now is that it is acting like a dictator. Apart from the 'Big Three' model that the ICC now wants to change, it is slowly trying to keep the BCCI at bay”, said another top BCCI official, who did not wish to be identified.

Another BCCI office-bearer said: "Unfortunately, the BCCI is being deprived of a seat [on the FCA committee]. When 70 per cent of the ICC’s income comes from the BCCI, why should we not have a place in the finance committee? There’s no question of domination, but is the ICC trying to be a 'Robin Hood' — robbing the rich and giving it to the poor?”   The latest confrontation has come on the back of BCCI’s reservations with the ICC’s decision to allocate a budget for next year’s Champions Trophy in England it claims is “around $US135 million”, something the ICC itself has denied (PTG 1918-9630, 7 September 2016).  

The current Big Three formula was voted in during Narayanaswami Srinivasan’s tenure at the ICC in 2014, and ensured that India, Australia and England got a major chunk of the pie from the world body’s gross revenue. The BCCI was also scheduled to receive 22 per cent of revenue generated by the ICC from their broadcast cycle from 2015-2023.

However, when Manohar took over as ICC chairman a few months ago, one of the first issues he spoke about was putting an end to the governance model put in place by his predecessor. He had suggested that the world body would go back to its old model, which guaranteed 15 per cent of the share to the BCCI.  In January, Manohar had proposed 7 per cent of the Srinivasan-inspired formula be directed back to the ICC and other members. This could mean a loss in excess of one billion Rupees annually ($A19.6 m, £UK11.3 m) over each of the next nine years for the Indian board, said sources.

BCCI president Anurag Thakur has made it clear his board is not going to compromise when it comes to its share of revenue. Thakur has informed the ICC that the board will not change its stand,” said a BCCI official, on condition of anonymity.  However, it will not be easy for the Indian board to find support from the other full members in the ICC. The fact that Manohar’s appointment as chairman was unopposed is a clear indication that many other countries might be on the same page as him about reversing the Big Three formula.

Caribbean curators attend ICC workshop in Antigua.

The Jamaica Star.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016.

PTG 1919-9639.

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) says improving the quality of pitches around the Caribbean remains a top priority ahead of the third season of its Professional Cricket League (PCL) first class competition.  Twenty-five curators from around the region attended a workshop in Antigua on Tuesday-Wednesday conducted by International Cricket Council (ICC) Pitch Consultant Andy Atkinson.

Issues covered over the two days included pitch allocation, rotation, maintenance, draining and outfield management.  WICB director of cricket Richard Pybus called the workshop “timely” and that it "should serve to assist our curators around the region with additional information on how to maintain and improve their respective pitches and grounds”.  The outfield at Queens Park in Port of Spain was rated as ‘poor’ by the match referee and the ICC is currently looking in to the matter (PTG 1907-9564, 25 August 2016), and it is likely Atkinson will go there during his Caribbean visit.

Englishman Atkinson has been with the ICC since 1998 and frequently visits cricketing nations around the world.  His last three visits to the Caribbean were for the World Cup of 2007, the World Twenty20 Championship in 2010, and to conduct a similar pitch workshop in 2011.  WICB head curator, Kent Crafton was among participants as well as representatives from St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, University of Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, Jamaica, and Antigua and Barbuda.

Don't ask the batsman to judge if he's LBW.

Sam Perry.

Cricinfo.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016.

PTG 1919-9640.

"Review it! Review it!" screamed the Australians, goading Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne as they hurtled past him to backslap, high-five and bum-pat each other in a recent Test. Fifth over, day one, first Test of the series: Mitchell Starc had struck the pad and elicited the raised finger to provisionally dismiss the opener, who now stood prone, mulling whether or not, as a professional batsman, he agreed. He had 15 seconds to decide, computing angles and circumstance amidst a cacophony of side-mouthed badgering from the Aussies. "That's out mate! Go on, review it!"

It must be the most unnatural calculation known to anyone who has ever held a cricket bat: I've been hit on the pad. The umpire thinks I'm out. Do I agree?  Cats eat mice; lizards lie on rocks; batsmen are 'not out'. Compelling them to think rationally about whether they are LBW or not is surely the most perverse aspect of on-field cricket in the modern age. To watch a batsman's agony as he attempts to transcend his survival reflex is either excruciating or darkly entertaining, depending on how you like your schadenfreude served. But is it fair?

Cricket's connection to law, particularly Westminster law, is as old as the game itself. Each is meant to contain social meaning and life lessons. The relationship between the game and legal theory is well chronicled in books like David Fraser’s 'Cricket and the Law: The Man in White is Always Right', and the parallels are pretty clear. 

In the case of LBW, a batsman's protection of the stumps via pad is the crime. The bowler is the victim, or plaintiff, and the batsman is the defendant. The umpire, or judge, hands down the ruling. And in cricket's modern society, the batsman now has the right of appeal. All sounds pretty fair so far.  But if cricket's laws are meant to reflect societal values, should we be allowing the batsman - undoubtedly irrational at the key moment - an opportunity to adjudicate? Seriously, who has ever been struck on the pad and comprehensively agreed that they are out?  Batsmen, in this moment, are in a state of madness. They should be considered, for legal purposes, criminally insane. 

Enter Shane Watson: the human embodiment of bad reviews and the resulting face of the most tired gag in cricket. A precociously talented cricketer who will be remembered for the grievous crime of thinking he was not out when he often was. He deserves sympathy because he's just like us. 

If asked to adjudicate your own dismissal, how would you fare? It's a scenario not uncommon in playing fields, nets, backyards and back alleys across the world. These arenas are like nation states: each claiming sovereignty over its territory and domestic affairs, and establishing its own culture, custom and protocol in doing so. But LBWs, worldwide, remain a unilateral source of contention. 

My own backyard was no different. I still remember the day - I was ten - when my dad introduced a new rule into our own 'nation state'. I was deemed to have a grasp on the laws of LBW, so now the batsman would be the sole decision maker on all appeals. Looking back, I presume there was a moral dimension to this new legislation. I was being encouraged to trade infantile tantrums for a more sober, objective appraisal of the game. I was being taught fairness. 

A batsman-review at amateur level would be disastrous. Not just for their inevitably poor application, but because it would compromise a key cultural pillar of cricket: the joy of casting doubt on the umpire's decision. Robbing players of the opportunity to wage a dressing-room whisper campaign about the veracity of their dismissal would bring to an end to one of the great sources of comedy for cricketers: watching a batsman convince himself that, yet again, he has been the victim of a bad decision.

Because batsmen, when hit on the pad, are not out. It's their natural plight. Technology may reduce the howler and help us arrive at the truth, but an elegant law may reflect some understanding of this phenomenon.  When my dad struck me on the toe, or back leg, fully covering the stumps, I knew what the answer was. I am not out, because I'm normal and I want to keep batting. I may be wrong, but I am in no state to decide. 

Karunaratne didn't think he was out either, but he took too long to decide. He was out. "Suck s***!" bellowed one Australian in typically elegant ‘down under’ fashion as the opener plodded off.  When it comes to getting out, we are all children, and so it should remain.

Fiasco proves TV revenue is greater than cricket itself.

Vedam Jaishankar.

F. Sports.

Wednesday, 6 September 2016.

PTG 1919-9641.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's cry of anguish that the sloppiness of the television production house robbed his team of a certain victory over the West Indies in last week’s Twenty20 International (T20I) in Florida has let the cat out of the bag: the interests of television far outstrips that of any other stakeholder, including that of the game itself.

The T20I, the second of a two-match series which India needed to win and thus draw the series, was not started on schedule as the production house had issues with satellite uplinking (PTG 1913-9603, 1 September 2016). Although the weather was ideal for cricket, match officials did not allow the match to start until the broadcaster was ready to go. This led to a waste of  excellent weather, a fact magnified later when rain led to the match being abandoned and thus India’s chance to draw the series.

For some time now, it has been obvious that the conduct of international cricket has revolved around the needs of television, in appreciation of the fact that the medium was bringing in mega bucks into the game. Consequently, all three forms of cricket were tinkered to ensure that the interests of television were protected.

In Tests, television's biggest heartburn was that some matches were finishing within three and four days. Channels which had pumped in huge sums of money to bag rights to telecast Test series, especially the ones involving India and marquee series like the Ashes, were thus taking a beating.  To overcome this, host cricket boards opted to prepare pitches that would last five days. The game's administrators also wielded the stick, threatening to blacklist any venue that provided "dangerous" pitches.  The attendant financial losses would have been so huge that they prudently agreed to play ball.

Thus, pitches worldwide became more batsmen friendly and this is borne out by the fact that of the 43 all-time batsmen who have an average of above 50 in Tests, a whopping 20 — close to 50 per cent — are modern-day cricketers whose careers ran into the new millennium.

Australia's Adam Voges, who made his debut in 2015 and has played 18 Tests thus far, has a stunning average of 72.75, second only to the peerless Don Bradman. The list of 20 does not include the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Viv Richards, Allan Border, Greg Chappell, Javed Miandad and others who quit international cricket before 2000.

Their's was the era when Australian pitches were usually pacy, bouncy and a handful for batsmen; West Indian pitches were two-paced, two-bounce fiends; Indian pitches more often than not crumbling tracks tailor-made for home team spinners; and England's pitches were ideal for swing and seam bowling.

However, by the start of the new millennium, most pitches were uniformly beaten flat in a manner that the Test would go into the fifth day. Pitch covers were mandated to be taken off as early as 7 a.m. to ensure that any help to seamers would be minimal and only at the start of play. Spinners too were blunted to the extent that they could not get purchase on the first two days of a Test.

All these ensured that a number of batsmen made hay right through the first decade of 2000. They enhanced their reputation to a great extent, but escaped the tag of "good-wicket" bullies. It was only subsequently that England selectively provided green tops or Australia chose pacy, even wide-cracked strips for some series. India too provided rank turners only occasionally when they encountered a must-win situation to boost their standing.  More recently Sri Lanka’s approach to pitch management left a lot to be desired according to neutral officials.

The bottomline though was not about exaggerated batting averages, records and reputations, but Tests lasting for more than four days and consequently providing huge monetary rewards for television networks.

Likewise, One Day Internationals also saw a sea change, in an effort to cater to television's interests. Pitches were made high-scoring flat tracks. Two new balls, one from each end minimised reverse swing opportunities. Additionally, field restrictions were also altered to suit batsmen. Only four fielders were permitted outside the inner circle till the start of the 41st over. This completely neutered spinners and allowed batsmen to have a field day.  In the process, channels promptly earned more opportunities to telecast advertisements.

Simultaneously, T20, a cash cow if cricket ever had one, was treated like putty for television. It was pulled, pushed, squeezed and swatted to suit the interests of television. This included twiddling with match timings, not to mention strategic breaks and other gimmicks.  So while Dhoni might fret and fume with righteous indignation that the rules of the game permitted a match to be delayed only owing to rain, bad light or unsuitable playing surfaces, "match delayed owing to satellite uplinking" or some such television-motivated issue is a reality that cricketers and fans would have to live with.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,920

 Friday, 9 September 2016 

 

• ECB looking at 8-team city-based T20 series [1920-9642]. 

• Pennine league bans seven players as tempers fray [1920-9643]. 

• ICC cautions Kingsmead, Queen's Park over 'poor’ outfields [1920-9644]. 

• BCCI prepares for next player contract round [1920-9645]. 

ECB looking at 8-team city-based T20 series.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Thursday, 8 September 2016.

PTG 1920-9642.

Counties will be given up to £UK1.8 m ($A3.1 m) each per year if they agree to the most radical change to the domestic game in UK history by voting for a new city-based Twenty20 series.  The tournament, details of which were first revealed publicly in July (PTG 1887-9451, 29 July 2016), is to be launched in 2018 and will involve eight teams based at Test match grounds played over a four-week period.

Officials from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have spent the past month sharing details of the potential financial gains from the new tournament in a series of meetings with county chief executives and chairmen. Last Monday they also met player representatives from 13 of the 18 counties.

The ECB has insisted all parties sign non-disclosure agreements but it has been learnt the counties will each receive £1.5 m per year ($A2.6 m) from the new tournament plus a £300,000 ($A519,000) staging fee to each club owning a Test match ground that hosts one of the new teams.  Television rights for the new tournament have been valued at around £35 m ($A61 m) annually by television rights experts Pitch International with another £10-12 m per year ($A17.3-20.7 m) coming from marketing and sponsorship.  Pitch estimates a competition featuring all 18 counties would only be worth around £5-7 m per annum to broadcasters ($A8.6-12.1 m).

The league will be played alongside the ECB’s current Twenty20 tournament, allowing the counties to keep their popular Friday night matches and it is understood the ECB is close to gaining the two-thirds majority vote it will need for the project to be ratified.  It is also understood there will be a player draft for the new tournament and all ticket and marketing will be handled centrally by the ECB.

The board has told the counties that some of the new tournament's matches will be shown on terrestrial television but the majority will go to a satellite broadcaster able to pay the rights fee needed to make it financially viable. However, to hit their £10-12m target from marketing and sponsorship the tournament will need a presence on terrestrial television where it can reach a much wider audience.

The new tournament will be played in a window in July but it has been proposed that the County Championship first class competition continues at the same time. That will probably force those Test match counties to play at out grounds, a prospect that will be popular with members but less so with some coaches and players.

There is a meeting of the 18 county chairmen and chief executives with the ECB next Wednesday where the board hopes to gain consensus on change. However, a formal vote on changing the constitution of the ECB, which currently states all 18 counties have the right to play in any tournament, will be taken later this year. The ECB hopes it will be able to approach broadcasters and begin a formal tender process for the new league by the first quarter of 2017. 

For those counties struggling financially, the prospect of an extra £1.5 m ($A2.6 m) annual payment on top of the £1.8 m ($A3.1 m) they already receive from the ECB will be hugely tempting, particularly if they can retain their own Friday night Twenty20 competition.  It will also be attractive to those Test match grounds struggling with large debts and unable to sell out their grounds regularly for the ECB’s current T20 series. They will receive £1.8 m with no risk attached. It will help ease the burden of debt.

The ECB believes this competition will revitalise the domestic game and help lift falling participation levels. They hope it will help them to attract a family audience and raise the profile of cricket.

Pennine league bans seven players as tempers fray.

Kevin Richardson.

Oldham Evening Chronicle.

Thursday, 8 September 2016.

PTG 1920-9643.

The monthly disciplinary statistics for August make for pretty grim reading in the Pennine Cricket League (PCL) in northern England.  Seven players were banned for a combined total of 25 matches, but, according to PCL chairman Nigel Tench, it at least shows umpires are willing to report offences.

Those censured last month by the disciplinary committee were cited for a variety of misdemeanours.  Royton's Liam Brown was suspended for six games, his second offence this season for abusing an umpire.  The Walsden club saw two players receive bans. Max Gale was banned for four matches for "abusing and then goading umpires", while Stuart Hanson was handed two games for knocking over his stumps.

Hollinwood's Abid Hussain was given a four match ban for swearing at an opponent and Monton and Weaste's Awais Jatala an identical ban for abusing an opposition player.  Werneth professional Azam Hussain got two games for showing dissent at an umpire's decision and Ben Downend, of Stayley, picked up three matches for swearing at an umpire and then throwing his bat.

A league meeting on Tuesday heard that umpires had come under pressure from players ­- some were threatened by legal action according to umpires administration secretary Eric Roberts ­- when doubt surrounded whether matches should go ahead because of ground conditions, fearing injury to players.  Roberts claimed this amounted to "bullying", and was "upsetting" to officials.

ICC cautions Kingsmead, Queen's Park over 'poor’ outfields.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release.

Thursday, 8 September 2016.

PTG 1920-9644.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has handed official warnings under its pitch and outfield monitoring process to the Kingsmead ground in Durban and the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain.  Kingsmead hosted the first Test between South Africa and New Zealand while Queen's Park Oval played host to the fourth and final Test between West Indies and India last month’

Both rain-marred matches were heavily curtailed because of "poor" outfield conditions, forcing the ICC to issue sanctions after the respective match referees Andy Pycroft and Ranjan Madugalle submitted their official reports (PTG 1907-9564, 25 August 2016).  Madugalle and Geoff Allardice, the ICC's general manager cricket, reviewed Cricket South Africa's (CSA) response to the "poor" rating, while Allardice and match referee David Boon reviewed West Indies Cricket Board's (WICB) response.

Since this was the first occasion either ground had received a "poor" rating, the grounds stood to receive either a warning or a fine not exceeding $US15,000 ($A19,600, £UK11,280) along with "a directive for appropriate corrective action”.  The ICC said in a statement: "The sanctions take into account Durban and Port of Spain venues' history of producing good conditions for international cricket and commitment by both the boards to take appropriate steps to ensure similar events are not repeated in future”.

BCCI prepares for next player contract round.

Arya Shekhar Chakrabortty.

Sportskeeda.

Thursday, 8 September 2016.

PTG 1920-9645.

With the next contract round due to start in November, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has paid a total of 125 million Rupees ($A2.44 m, £UK1.41 m) as a basic retainer fee to the 28 players on its central contracts register over the past year.  The players are split into three categories, A, B and C, based on their experience and performance over the previous 12 months, the annual retainer for each of the four Grade A rated individuals being ten million Rupees ($A195,000, £112,760), the ten Grade B five million Rupees ($A95,450, £56,400), and the fourteen Grade C two-and-a-half million Rupees ($A48,720, £28,200).

Category A players are paid a match fee of 500,000 Rupees ($A9,745, £5,635) for each Test they play, while for a One Day International (ODI) its 300,000 Rupees ($A5,850, £3,380), and for every Twenty20 International (T20I) 150,000 Rupees ($A2,925, £1,690).  Category B and C player match fees are 300,000 ($A5,850, £3,380), 200,000 ($A3,900, £2,255), and 150,000 Rupees ($A2,920, £1,690), for a Test, ODI and T20I respectively

There are also individual performance bonuses should a player achieve an individual landmark in an international.  For a batsman, scoring a century in a Test or ODI attracts 500,000 Rupees ($A9,745, £5,635), double hundreds in Tests or ODIs 700,000 Rupees ($A13,640, £7,890), while for bowlers a five-wicket haul in Tests, ODIs or T20Is sees them earn an additional 500,000 Rupees ($A9,745, £5,635), and ten wickets in a Test 700,000 Rupees ($A13,640, £7,890).

It goes further though for there are also additional individual bonuses for team members if they win a Test against any of the top three rated sides.  In that case each persons’ match fee is boosted by 50 per cent to 750,000 Rupees ($A14,620, £8,450).  If they go on to win a series against one of the top three Tests sides, match fees are doubled to one million Rupees ($A19,500, £11,270).  On the other hand a World Cup trophy means match fees go up by 300 per cent to 900,000 Rupees ($A17,540, £10,140), and similarly for a World Twenty20 Championship win the fee goes to 450,000 Rupees ($A8,770, £5,070).

International Labor Organisation statistics for 2015 put the annual average wage for a labourer in India at around 66,400 Rupees ($A1,300, £750), while for an engineering or medical graduate its in the order of 606,000 ($A11,800, £6,830) and 850,000 Rupees ($A16,570, £9,585) respectively. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,921

 Saturday, 10 September 2016

 

• Pooled rights deal may cause international financial shift [1921-9646]. 

• Huddersfield players given 12-month bans for racial abuse, assault [1921-9647]. 

• Charges pending after ugly mid-pitch confrontation [1921-9648]. 

• Early ODI on-field appointment for South African [1921-9649]. 

• Pitcher hit in head by ball struck at 169 km/hr [1921-9650]. 

• Test Championship playoff, ODI league on the table [1921-9651]. 

• Counties to challenge ECB on its T20 tournament plans [1921-9652]. 

• $A70 m bonus headed for Aussie player retirement fund [1921-9653]. 

 Lodha committee confirms administrative time limits [1921-9654]. 

• ‘Mindless’ vandals strike again at Leeds club [1921-9655]. 

Pooled rights deal may cause international financial shift.

Daniel Brettig.

Cricinfo.

Friday, 9 September 2016.

PTG 1921-9646.

International cricket is headed for a major financial shift as Australia, England and South Africa lead a push to sell overseas television rights in a collective bundle overseen by a new, independent administrative body.  While the Indians have expressed reservations about the concept, it is understood Cricket Australia (CA), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket South Africa (CSA), are adamant that a more collaborative approach to selling bilateral rights is the only way to minimise potential damage to revenue levels due to a shrinking of the Indian television market.

Their push for a new way to sell bilateral rights was a key part of discussions at a workshop convened by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Dubai this week. These meetings effectively signalled the death knell for the concept of two-tier Test cricket (PTG 1919-9633, 8 September 2016), but prospects are brighter for a Test Championship playoff, and formalised league structures for One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals (PTG 1921-9651 below).

The recent acquisition of broadcaster Ten Sports by the Sony company has cut the number of major Indian television rights bidders by a third, and both CA and the ECB are aware their current rich deals with Star Sports - worth up to $US 8 million per international match ($A10.5 m, £UK 6 m) - are unlikely to be equalled next time around.  Overseas rights contracts for both nations are soon to expire, adding urgency to the three boards' desire for another approach that will mean less competition between nations and a better overall return.

A source said: "All countries are worried about the downturn in the Indian market and they feel a linked-together approach will be better.  Otherwise they're out there on their own, two Indian broadcasters and ten countries all with rights deals to sell, a situation the means broadcasters can pick and choose.  If you've got one rights package to sell with content they want included somewhere in it then you're in a much better position”.

So eager are CA, ECB and CSA administrators to try the collective approach that they are unlikely to wait for consensus before pulling the trigger. The pooled bid could feature as few as three nations or as many as ten, depending on who responds positively between now and the next round of official ICC meetings next month.

Given that the deal would be for bilateral series only, there is no requirement for the pooled option to pass a vote of the ICC executive board. Instead CA, the ECB and CSA will need to convince other nations that the new deal is in their best financial interests, and also to formulate an independent body to oversee proceedings in a manner that would remove any doubts about the rich seeking a bilateral cash-grab at the expense of the rest.  "The decision to pool rights could be made by three, five, ten countries, however many agree”, the source said. "It isn't all in or none in - it will take place regardless of how many sign up”.

While the ICC has a department tasked with selling commercial rights to global tournaments, it has no authority to sell bilateral series. "Independence in decision-making in that group and also independence in terms of how the money is divided up is going to be really important”, the source continued. "If big countries are seen to be muscling little countries then the concept weakens.  But it's got [to have] independent management and potentially governance that will position it as a genuine media player, rather than countries pursuing their own individual interests”.

Huddersfield players given 12-month bans for racial abuse, assault.

PTG Editor.

Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

Friday, 9 September 2016.

PTG 1921-9647.

Two Huddersfield Cricket League (HCL) players in Yorkshire have been handed one-year bans, one for racially abusing an opponent, and the other following an assault on a spectator.  The Clayton West club’s Robert Kaskiewivz was suspended for racial abuse and Chris Sykes from the Almondbury Wesleyan club in regards to assault.

HCL chairman Trevor Atkinson said: “There is no place for vile racial abuse in society, let alone in cricket, and the same can be said for gross acts of violence, and we believe the two suspensions are in line with what would be expected.  The two clubs involved are to be thanked because they have co-operated fully with the league both during our deliberations and with regard to the decisions which have been taken.  As a league, we would hope it is a very long time before we have to deal with matters of this nature again”.

Kaskiewicz has been punished for remarks made in a match at Thongsbridge at the end of July, when the latter's overseas player Brandon Mavuta, from Zimbabwe, was the victim.  Atkinson said it was adjudged a Level Four offence of: “Using language or gesture that seriously offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify another person on the basis of that person’s race, religion, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation or disability"

Sykes has been banned following an altercation with a spectator when he was playing for Almondbury Wesleyan at Denby Dale in a Twenty20 match in early July (PTG 1872-9382, 8 July 2016).  The fixture was abandoned and Sykes has subsequently been de-registered by the club.  The offence was also rated as a Level Four under the description: “Physical assault of another player, umpire, referee, official or spectator”.  A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police confirmed a complaint was made to police about Sykes and the matter was settled by a "community resolution”.

Two months ago former Lascelles Hall player Matthew Essex who stole club funds was suspended "until further notice” from playing the game in the HCL.  The 35-year-old was jailed for ten months, suspended for two years, at Leeds Crown Court in June after admitting he stole around £20,000 ($A35,100) from Lascelles Hall where he was treasurer.  In addition to the suspended sentence, Essex was ordered by the court to do 160 hours of unpaid work and ten days activity.

The Judge told him: “You were in a position of trust in relation to that club and over a period of time you stole from them. It doesn’t take a long time if you steal regularly for the sum to build up”.  In court Essex accepted his responsibility and said he was “deeply ashamed”.  Atkinson said at the time: "We are preparing a full report for the Yorkshire Cricket Board and the England and Wales Cricket Board for advice on how to proceed from here and how long the suspension may last”.  

Charges pending after ugly mid-pitch confrontation.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Friday, 9 September 2016.

PTG 1921-9648.

An ugly clash occurred between a bowler and batsman during a Tamil Nadu Premier League Twenty20 fixture between the Chepauk Super Gillies (CSG) and Dindigul Dragons (DDD) sides in Chennai on Thursday.  CSG spinner R Sai Kishore dismissed DDD batsman Jagadeesan Narayan, after which pair engaged in a verbal confrontation which turned physical when the bowler pushed the batsman. 

Non-striker Ravichandran Ashwin rushed to intervene and stopped Jagadeesan who appeared to want to elevate further the level of his argument with Sai Kishore.  Umpires Mohammed Rafi and Ramamurthy Sundar also moved to separate the pair.  At the post-match press conference Ashwin, who remonstrated angrily during the confrontation on field, and CSG skipper Sathishh, tried to play down the incident, however, reports suggest match referee Sridharan Sharath will take the matter further.

Over in Brisbane on Friday, Australia ‘A’ batsmen Joe Burns and Cameron Bancroft were both hit by throws from Indian fast bowler Shardul Thakur during the second day of the two sides’ first class match in Brisbane.  On both occasions Thakur fielded the ball off his own bowling then threw it aggressively back towards the striker’s stumps, hitting the batsman both times.

Bancroft was the initial victim and he didn’t appear to take too kindly to Thakur’s action, just about accepting the bowler’s apology.  Thakur didn’t apologise when he hit Burns though, in fact he appealed without success to umpire Adrian Holdstock of South Africa for ‘Obstructing the Field’.  Burns was out of his crease when Thakur shaped to throw the ball but was also directly in line with the stumps so there was very little chance of a run out.  Burns turned to get back into his crease and was struck on the leg by Thakur’s fierce throw.

So far during the India ‘A’ side’s current tour to Australia, opening bowler Dhawal Kulkarni has lost a quarter of his match fee for giving a 'send off’ (PTG 1917-9625, 6 September 2016), while skipper Manish Pandey was fined 25 percent of his match fee for dissent (PTG 1907-9567, 25 August 2016).

Early ODI on-field appointment for South African.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 9 September 2016.

PTG 1921-9649.

South African umpire Bongami Jele is to make his senior international on-field debut in the opening One Day International (ODI) between South Africa and Australia in Johannesburg early next month, according to African reports.  Jele, 30, was only elevated to a third umpire position on the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) two months ago (PTG 1875-9394, 12 July 2016), and his appointment to an on-field spot so early is unusual for normally time has to be served as a third umpire first.

Jele, his countrymen and fellow IUP members Shaun George and Adrian Holdstock, plus neutral officials Chris Broad and Nigel Long from England and the West Indies’ Joel Wilson, are to look after seven ODIs in South Africa over the next month.  The first are single ODIs between South Africa and Ireland then Australia and Ireland, both in Benoni towards the end of this month, before the five-game South Africa-Australia series scheduled for Centurion, Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

The South Africa-Ireland and Australia-Ireland games will both see George and Wilson on-field, Llong the television umpire and Jele the reserve, Broad being the match referee for those fixtures plus the South Africa-Australia series.  The latter games will see Wilson on-field with Jele in the first game and with Holdstock and George in matches three and five.  Llong will be on-field with George and Holdstock in games two and four, he and Wilson working as the television umpire when not on the field.

The seven matches will see Broad’s ODI match referee record move on to 278 matches, Llong to 105 on-field and 59 as the third umpire (105/59), Wilson to 35/14, George to 18/4, Holdstock to 6/2 and Jele 1/0.  For IUP member Wilson, his appointments come after a busy two months in which he stood in two England-Pakistan Tests and worked as the television umpire in another two, plus five ODIs in the triangular series between the West Indies, Australia and South Africa in the Caribbean.

Pitcher hit in head by ball struck at 169 km/hr.

David Lengel.

The Guardian.

Friday, 9 September 2016.

PTG 1921-9650.

It’s the nightmare scenario for pitchers in baseball: a blistering line drive off the bat of a big leaguer, leaving no time for hurlers to move their head or swing the glove up for defence.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it makes for chilling video and it makes you wonder why, with just 18.4 metres of space between batter and pitcher, only two metres less than the distance between a batsman and an umpire in cricket, why only one of those players is wearing a helmet. When you consider the triple-digit speeds a ball blasts off of a bat, it makes you wonder even more.

The latest pitcher to be victimised by a line drive, Los Angeles’ Matt Shoemaker, was hit on Sunday by a strike by the Seattle Mariners’ Kyle Seager that was clocked at a staggering 168 km/hr.  The ball fractured Shoemaker’s skull and forced emergency surgery for subdural haematoma.  Acute subdural haematomas are the most lethal of all head injuries and have a high mortality rate if they are not rapidly treated with surgical decompression.

Yet, when you consider the slow moving history of headgear in baseball, it’s not surprising that despite the threats that pitchers face daily, exactly zero pitchers are wearing the latest offering from a California-based company working on a joint helmet development plan with Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Players Association. Some twenty pitchers were offered the chance to try the carbon fiber caps in the pre-season earlier this year, none of whom elected to wear them during the regular season. Astros pitcher Collin McHugh wears a product that hasn’t been tested or approved by MLB or the union, and it does not protect the ears.

In 1920, Indians shortstop Ray Chapman died after being hit in the head by a ball from Yankees pitcher Carl Mays. After that MBL banned the spitball and ordered dirty balls to be replaced to keep them from darting unpredictably, yet helmets for batters weren’t mandatory until 1971.  A single ear-covering flap wasn’t standard until 12 years later, and it wasn’t until 2013 that we even had a batting helmet capable of withstanding speeds of 160 km/hr. 

Sixty-odd years after helmets were introduced to hitters, adding on to what already exists represents an easier change. Pitchers are basically starting from ground zero – they’ve rarely worn anything but soft caps on their heads.  Even while first and third base coaches stand on the sidelines wearing head protection, even when dugouts have been reinforced with mesh fencing to protect them from line drives, even as teams begin to install more comprehensive netting to protect the fans from bats and balls flying into the stands, there is the pitcher standing solo on the mound, a sitting duck, unleashing a force that can come back at him even quicker than he can deliver it.

Reliever Mark Melancon, then with the Pittsburgh Pirates and now with the Washington Nationals, experimented with the carbon fibre caps back at spring training.  “It looks funny,” Melancon told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in February. “Just because of the looks, it might not be something that I wear during the season. As shallow as that seems, and I’m definitely not that guy … I don’t know. I’m just not there yet. Give me a little time, and maybe I’ll get there”.

In the National Football League there is no concussion-proof helmet. In cricket there is no 100 per cent effective form of protection, as we sadly saw when Australian batsman Phillip Hughes was tragically killed after being struck by a ball just below the ear (PTG 1470-7116, 29 November 2014). Sports will never be completely safe and all risk will never be eliminated.  However, a pitcher wearing a helmet gives them the best chance to save them from a fluke tragedy, one that could happen at any moment. And since it seems that pitchers will never voluntarily wear them en masse, MBL and the Players’ Union must now make the decision to save them from themselves. 

Test Championship playoff, ODI league on the table.

Nagraj Gollapudi and Daniel Brettig.

Cricinfo.

Friday, 9 September 2016.

PTG 1921-9651.

A Test Championship playoff along with One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) league structures may be adopted by member countries at the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Board meeting in Cape Town in the second week of October, after the two-tier Test system was abandoned earlier this week (PTG 1919-9633, 8 September 2016).  Alternate plans to keep afloat bilateral cricket were the main focus for the chief executives of member countries, who met in Dubai for a two-day workshop where support for the two-tier model collapsed under pressure from a number of nations.

Changes to be considered in the Test area include maintaining present Future Tours Program arrangements but with a Test Championship playoff between the top two ranked teams added every second year most likely hosted at a neutral venue.  2019 is the earliest such an arrangement could apply.  Individual nations are to retain responsibility to negotiate for Test series against other nations.  There has so far been no mention of four-day Tests in reports generated from the Dubai meeting to date.

For the fifty over format, an ODI league structure is to be implemented in time to feature in qualifying for the 2023 World Cup.  It will take place over three years with 13 countries to play each other in at least one series in that time, the final year of the cycle featuring World Cup qualification playoffs for teams that do not automatically qualify.  A similar T20I league structure is to be introduced, with limited-overs series between nations to be standardised to three ODIs and three T20Is.

According to Haroon Lorgat, chief executive of Cricket South Africa and a former ICC chief executive, "everyone supports the primacy of international cricket” and "all boards are trying to develop context for international cricket, with the best solution being a Test Championship”. He indicated discussions will continue with the next round of ICC meetings when the Chief Executives Committee and the ICC Board meet formally in Cape Town. "What is clear is that a few members do not support the two-tier system, so we will need to find another way to develop a Test champion using the existing rankings table”.

Lorgat also said it was the members, and not the ICC, that had taken responsibility to ensure bilateral cricket was in good health. “The media have got it wrong. Bilateral cricket is not the responsibility of the ICC. They are facilitating a process to assist the member countries to sustain fan interest by developing context”.

Counties to challenge ECB on its T20 tournament plans.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Friday, 9 September 2016.

PTG 1921-9652.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will be challenged on its financial valuation of the current 18 county Twenty20 tournament by opponents of the new city-based competition proposed to start in 2018.  Analysts employed by the ECB have valued television rights for the current county Twenty20 competition at £UK5-7m ($A8.6-12.1 m) per year as opposed to the £30-35m ($A52.7-61.3 m) that a tournament involving eight new teams could be worth (PTG 1920-9642, 9 September 2016).

What is seen as a  low figure will be queried at a meeting of the 18 counties and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) with the board at Lord’s next Wednesday, where the ECB will hope to gain consensus on the way forward. County sources have indicated that they believe a rebranding of the ECB’s current Twenty20 tournament could be worth significantly more than £5-7 million ($A8.6-12.1 m) on the rights market.  It would also involve lower costs than a city-based competition that would include around £15 million ($A26.3 m) per summer spent on items such as marketing and players’ salaries.

There are also fears of devaluing the County Championship first class series by running it at the same time as the new tournament, and concerns about what happens to 30 per cent of players who fail to earn a contract with one of the eight newly formed teams who will play at Test venues. Existing counties are also concerned about the prospect of being in competition with a new tournament as they try to sell their own T20 series, which is expected to continue as it is.  Two of the most powerful counties, Surrey and Yorkshire, insist they will only play in a new tournament if they can retain their county names.  They say their 'existing brands' enjoy huge loyalty and while they are open to reform they would not countenance a name change.

The new eight team competition will feature 30 matches played over 30 days at the height of the English summer. A report by multinational professional services firm Deloitte commissioned by the ECB states they can expect 80 per cent of tickets to be sold in the first year. All ticketing and marketing will handled centrally by the ECB.

The ECB will reveal further details to the counties at Lord’s on Wednesday. It is expected the executive board of the ECB will recommend the new competition to be adopted at its next meeting in mid-October. The counties and the MCC will then be balloted on the change with a two-thirds majority needed for approval.  England host the World Cup and an Ashes series in 2019, making it impossible to launch a new Twenty20 tournament that summer, meaning if they miss the 2018 window they will have to wait until 2020 to make any significant changes.

$A70 m bonus headed for Aussie player retirement fund.

Peter Lalor.

The Australian.

Friday, 9 September 2016.

PTG 1921-9653.

Australian cricket is rolling in cash after the success of Cricket Australia’s (CA) Big Bash League, last year’s World Cup and a record broadcast agreement, and the players look set to use a large proportion of their share of whats due to them to set up a retirement fund.  They may have lost the Ashes and suffered a whitewash at the hands of the seventh-ranked Sri Lankan side, but Australia’s cricketers are still set to rake in a bonus of almost $A70 million (£UK40.3 m) at the end of the 2016-17 financial year in June.

 

CA’s contracted male players are entitled to around 26 per cent of cricket revenue, the top male players earning almost $A2 m (£1.2 m) from CA a season.  Players will also received a $1 m (£575,100) bonus for finishing on top of the Test rankings at the start of this year, even though since then the side has fallen to third in the rankings following the loss to Sri Lanka. Last year CA posted a net surplus of $A98.7 m (£56.8 m), up from $A9.9 (£5.7 m) the year before (PTG 1675-8221, 30 October 2015), and revenue this year is well in excess of projections as CA and the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) prepare to start negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement next month.

Under the current CA-ACA Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), money players are entitled to is usually distributed on a pro rate basis to state and Test players, but the ACA has encouraged the players to invest the cash into a retirement fund for the benefit of those leaving the game.  Some of the windfall from CA’s media rights deal has already been use by the ACA to subsidise coaching programs for former players and set up a Premier Cricket Program that provides grants to Premier League-level clubs to employ experienced players (PTG 1662-8143, 14 October 2015).  The ACA also put $A500,000 (£287,550) towards a private health scheme for women cricketers (PTG 1760-8781, 11 February 2016).

There has been pressure behind the scenes from CA for the players to use their 26 per cent share to top up womens’ pay (PTG 1664-8153, 18 October 2015), but the ACA is determined that female players are brought into the next MoU (PTG 1903-9545, 20 August 2016).  ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson is preparing for negotiations on the new MoU and says the player’s windfall reflects the good health of the game in Australia.  According to him: “The game is in good shape because of the way the partnership model in the MoU works [and] it grows the game for all parties”.  However, “currently our female player members do not have access to a retirement fund or a revenue share model and that needs to be fixed”.

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 (PTG 1907-9565, 25 August 2016).  Last month CA’s Australian Cricket Conference was told growing participation rates of women was a key focus for the game (PTG 1896-9514, 10 August 2016).

Lodha committee confirms administrative time limits.

Outlook Magazine.

Friday, 9 September 2016.

PTG 1921-9654.

Cricket administrators in India can now rule for a maximum of 18 years according to the Indian Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee.  Officials can govern for a maximum nine years at the state association level and another nine years as an office-bearer at the Board of Control for Cricket in India, although that is subject to a "cooling-off period after each term”.  

Plans call for the cumulative period of nine years for current office holders to be calculated retrospectively.  Apart from length of service, no one can continue as an office-bearer after they reach the age of 70 years, even if they have one or two years left in the tenure.

‘Mindless’ vandals strike again at Leeds club.

Yorkshire Evening Post.

Friday, 9 September 2016.

PTG 1921-9655.

‘Mindless’ Vandals have struck again at a club in Leedswhich has been plagued by criminal damage.  The series of attacks, which involve property damage and joyriding at Green Lane Cricket Club in Yeadon, stretches back to 2009.  In the latest incident hundreds of pounds worth of damage resulted from smashed windows and tampering with CCTV cameras overnight on Tuesday.

Thomas Powell, who has been the club groundsman for more than 30 years, said: “When I saw the damage I felt sick, I thought, ‘not again’.  It makes you want to just pack up. I just feel we’re doing the work at the club for nothing, just to see mindless vandalism”.  Powell, 72, added: “Now we somewhow have to get the club sorted for the next game” which is scheduled this Saturday.  “We have had damage here for years on the trot now, we just want them to leave us alone”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,922

 Monday, 12 September 2016

 

• Duleep feedback positive, Ranji Trophy for day-night games? [1922-9655]. 

• No action yet on brawling TNPL players [1922-9656]. 

• ICC chairman under fire from BCCI counterpart [1922-9657]. 

• BCCI rejects CA-ECB-CSA broadcast rights push [1922-9658]. 

• CricHQ bids for global domination of cricket scoring [1922-9659]. 

• Snipers, tanks will reduce England’s Bangladesh security fears [1922-9660]. 

Duleep feedback positive, Ranji Trophy for day-night games?

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Sunday, 11 September 2016.

PTG 1922-9655.

Indian selectors Vikram Rathour and Saba Karim are positive about the pink ball ‘experiment' being conducted in the on-going Duleep Trophy first class series and believe such a format should be taken further into the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy first class season which starts early next month. Rathour said as many as one game in each of the nine Ranji rounds, or all seven matches in the finals of that series, are possibilities, and “there are a few things like that that are being discussed at this stage”.

Rathour said that "feedback from the players has been positive. I don’t think there are visibility issues [with the ball]. From our perspective, it is a great initiative and something different, something welcome. Basically good for the game”.  Both men see pink ball cricket as “the way forward”.  However, Rathour said "some work may have to be done on the ball, the glaze is too much, but that can be rectified in time”.  Karim noted: “apprehensions about the pink ball will go away when you play more and more. The bowlers talk of not getting the ball to reverse, but with time this will get activated. They will find ways to make use of the pink ball” (PTG 1910-9587, 29 August 2016).

Positive feedback from players and sizeable crowds in the Duleep matches are behind the pair’s remarks. “I have never seen such a large turnout for a Duleep Trophy final. Have you?…I think it’s to do with the night games. It gives people an opportunity to come to the ground and watch the game after work”, said Rathour.  Karim said: "Low attendance [in first class games] has been an issue, and having a day-night game will make it more exciting and draw more crowds".

Both Karim and Rathour though are of the view it is too early to conduct pink ball Tests in India, even though such fixtures are “desirable". "But before that a lot of factors need to addressed. Firstly, all the players must get used to playing with the pink ball. Secondly, the ball must be used on all different surfaces and conditions to see how it behaves”, said Rathour.

The selector’s comments came after Anurag Thakur, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, told reporters his board will decide on the future course of action sometime after the Duleep Trophy final ends next Wednesday, and only after taking into account player feedback. “We are open to changes [but] are in no hurry”, said Thakur.  And then he all but confirmed Ranji matches, which are all to be played on neutral grounds this season (PTG 1915-9614, 3 September 2016), will have a day-night component saying: "We will experiment in the Ranji Trophy and then I will seek a detailed report”.  

That suggests a day night-Test may not be played during next month’s New Zealand visit, rather either late in the year when England tour after some Ranji experience, or as now seems more likely, early next year when Australia will be in the country.

No action yet on brawling TNPL players.

Shobhit Kumar Mittal.

India Today.

Sunday, 11 September 2016.

PTG 1922-9656.

Three days after R Sai Kishore and Jagadeesan Narayan were involved in an on-field confrontation during a Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) match, no action has yet been taken on the incident by the league or the Board of Control for Cricket in India (PTG 1921-9648, 10 September 2016).  Sports historian Boria Majumdar described the scene that unfolded let Thursday as "very disturbing” and said if "action is not taken then the credibility of the league will be affected”.  

Majumdar said: "It is not soccer, it is not wrestling or rugby, cricketers have to behave and stay within the limit. The league should step in and the players concerned should be fined heavily and given a ban”.  He points to what happened between Harbhajan Singh and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth in the Indian Premier League’s first season in 2008, the former being banned for eleven matches and fined his entire match fee after he was found guilty of slapping Sreesanth at the end of a match (PTG 237-1307, 29 April 2008).

ICC chairman under fire from BCCI counterpart. 

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Sunday, 11 September 2016.

PTG 1922-9657.

Anurag Thakur, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has strongly criticised his predecessor and current International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman Shashank Manohar, over what he and his board perceive is their countryman's unwillingness to appropriately look after India’s interests on the world stage.  Reports indicate the BCCI has been spurned in attempts to have a representative appointed to the ICC’s Financial and Commercial Affairs (FCA) committee, a powerful group that is working to overturn 2014’s ‘Big Three’ financial model, a change that would see India’s share of world revenues reduced (PTG 1919-9638, 8 September 2016).

Thakur, a member of the Indian parliament for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and a close ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has his hands more than full at home as the BCCI is under pressure to introduce administrative and structural reforms after being tarnished by scandals in the Indian Premier League three years ago.  The demand for those reforms came from the Indian Supreme Court appointed Lodha Committee, and while a deadline has been set by which the BCCI has to comply, it currently has a petition before the Court asking for Lodha’s required changes be set aside. 

On Saturday, after returning earlier in the week from an ICC workshop in Dubai, Thakur told reporters at a press conference: "the Board needed Mr. Shashank Manohar as [BCCI] president [but] he left in the middle of the things”, a reference to the BCCI’s on-going fight with the Lohda Committee. "It is like a captain of the ship leaving a sinking ship. He was expected to deliver”, said Thakur.  Several Indian media reports claim that the Board had expected the ICC to assist the BCCI in its dealings with the Lodha Committee.

Thakur has changed his view of Manohar since a press release the BCCI issued in mid-May this year when Manohar was elected unopposed as the ICC’s first ‘independent’ chairman, an unpaid position, to a two-year term that ends in June 2018.  Manohar talked of returning some of the money that goes to the BCCI under the ‘Big Three’ agreement to the ICC for distribution elsewhere when he held the BCCI presidency and BCCI chairmanship earlier this year.  Under new ICC rules a person in that position cannot simultaneously be a member of his national board while serving in that post, a requirement that did not previously apply (PTG 1826-9135, 13 May 2016).

On Saturday, Thakur went on to mention the “external pressure” coming from the Lodha Committee. “The BCCI was a global cricket leader until the Lodha Committee recommendations and the [current] ICC regime”, he lamented. “But now we are not taken seriously anymore. The [Lodha] reforms should not be forced upon us [but] rather come as guidelines [only]". 

On the wider scene, Thakur went on to say “the BCCI does not limit itself to look only after its interests. Rather, being the global leader, we will look after the interests of world cricket as well. That is why we have raised the issue [of the Champions Trophy budget] when others kept mum.  [We have] raised this because we want every single penny saved. Every single penny saved is every single penny earned, not only for BCCI but for [the ICC’s] 105 countries [and] that is why BCCI was concerned” (PTG 1918-9630, 7 September 2016). 

“When you talk about the two-tier Test system, the BCCI could have got benefits by joining hands with associations like Australia and England, but we stood by countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, and to an extent the West Indies. We want to stand with those who want to do well. The BCCI has always helped those countries who are not doing financially well”.  The BCCI played a key role in scuttling the two-tier Test proposal last week (PTG  1919-9633, 8 September 2016).

In that May BCCI press release, Thakur "welcomed the unopposed election of Mr. Shashank Manohar as the Chairman of the ICC”.  He was then quoted as saying ithat Manohar's "unanimous, unopposed election is a matter of pride for India [and that] with his vast administrative experience he will provide leadership to the ICC to strengthen the position of cricket at the global level”.  "The BCCI", continued Thakur, “looked forward to working closely with the ICC in developing cricket”.

BCCI rejects CA-ECB-CSA broadcast rights push.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Sunday, 11 September 2016.

PTG 1922-1958.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is not happy about the decision of Cricket Australia (CA), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) to forge a partnership to better market their overseas broadcasting rights for Test cricket (PTG 1921-9646, 10 September 2016). The BCCI is not buying into the concept of all cricket boards coming together and selling the broadcast rights for bilateral Test series as a block, said BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke  on Sunday.

Shirke was dismissive of the idea which was first floated by several ICC members two months ago, and said the BCCI is capable of looking after its own affairs and will do so. “They are desperate to dig into the Indian market, let them do what they want to do, for we are the biggest market in cricket. They are looking to form an independent body separate from the International Cricket Council to sell the TV rights, but how that can be done is beyond me”.

The BCCI is not amused by the talk of downturn in the Indian market following the acquisition of broadcaster Ten Sports by the Sony company. “The claim that only two major broadcasters are left is not correct. [CA and the ECB] have quite a few for them with Sky Sports, BBC, Channel Nine apart from Star and Sony,” observed Shirke. 

Shrike went on to reiterate his previous comments that there was a campaign to sideline BCCI from the decision making process in the ICC after finding no representation for it on some important committees, including finance. “They are trying to gang up and trying to sideline the BCCI, if they want to run the ICC without the BCCI, let them do it.  We are being told that there is one TBC [to be confirmed] seat in the finance committee. What does it mean?“.

"Now that [ICC president]Shashank Manohar has made it clear that BCCI has to look after its own affairs, we will look after our own affairs and we are fully capable of doing it”, said Shirke.

CricHQ bids for global domination of cricket scoring.

Fairfax New Zealand,

Sunday, 11 September 2016.

PTG 1922-9659.

‘CricHQ', the New Zealand company that specialises in the capture and use of cricket data, started with a handful of staff and an unstable scoring app for cricket five years ago.   Last week, a year on from raising $US10 million ($A13.3, £UK7.5 m) from a Singaporean investment fund, it signed up its 50th international cricketing body, Hong Kong Cricket, as a customer.

With well over 100 staff, the majority of whom are in India, eight in New Delhi and 80 in Kochi, CricHQ is seeking dominance of global cricket software as a service market.  It already claims to record one in every ten balls bowled in organised cricket world-wide, and is targeting one in every two within four years.  But while scoring cricket remains integral to the business, the efforts of CricHQ are increasingly being directed elsewhere, from competition management to data mining, to live streaming games at all levels.  

Mike Loftus, the company’s chairman, said virtual reality cameras could soon allow grandparents to watch 12 year-olds "as if you were standing in the umpire's shoes”.  "It's going to change the way people watch sport. You place a 360 degree camera anywhere on the ground or on the umpire or on the player, or wherever it is, and you can watch the game as if you were on the field playing [in it]”.

While most of the 50 cricket bodies the company has signed up are small, some of India's major regional cricketing bodies have already officially adopted the technology as have New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Africa (PTG 1676-8226, 31 October 2015).  Loftus said it is in talks with all other Test playing nations except Australia which has developed its own scoring platform.  The initial interest in India was not the scoring itself, but the chance to search the country's millions of players for talent identification, using the data to uncover potential ‘stars' who may otherwise be held back by bias or politics.

While match predictors already use analytics from the history of cricket, CricHQ may soon begin generating a ball predictor.  "Going through the history of cricket, and the situation, and this player and that player in the situation, what will the ball be”, Loftus said.  "This bowler would usually bowl it full pitch, and this batsman would usually hit that for six”.  Another company app provides support in the often laborious process of working out when particular teams will play on particular grounds and who will umpire them. 

Snipers, tanks will reduce England’s Bangladesh security fears.

Dhaka Daily Star.

Sunday, 11 September 2016.

PTG 1922-9660.

England's players have been given assurances about the scale of the security operation which will see them put on 'lock down' in Bangladesh with snipers positioned at the team hotels and tanks parked outside them.  England one-day captain Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales have both decided not to tour over security fears, but the majority of players will go after agonising over whether to travel to a country where westerners have been terrorist targets in recent years, and to which Cricket Australia has twice in the past year refused to send touring teams there. 

The ECB have moved to reassure England's concerned players and families – none of whom will travel to support the team – that the security operation which will be supported by the Bangladesh Army and police force will provide a 'ring of steel' around their hotels in Dhaka and Chittagong.  Covert sniper teams will be positioned around the team hotels, whose staff will be individually vetted as part of a process aimed at minimising any risk to the players and support staff in a country which has seen a rise in violent extremism in recent times.

Players will not be permitted to leave team hotels, apart from for training and on match days, with the team coach set to be closely guarded by Bangladesh police. Concerns remain among some players about being caught in static traffic on heavily congested roads and becoming a potential target.  The ECB remain confident all appropriate measures have been taken to keep the team safe.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,923

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

 

• Warwickshire day-night plans off, Division 2 game now eyed [1923-9661]. 

• Five neutrals named for India-NZ Tests [1923-9662]. 

• Lankan IUP member for Pakistan-Windies ODIs [1923-9663]. 

• Reprimands for three County players [1923-9664]. 

• Battle lines drawn as counties prepare for city franchise vote [1923-9665]. 

• Cricket brings Indian ‘Alice' migrant community together [1923-9666]. 

Warwickshire day-night plans off, Division 2 game now eyed.

George Dobell.

Cricinfo.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016.

PTG 1923-9661.

Plans to play Warwickshire's final County Championship match of the season against Lancashire at Edgbaston under lights later this month have now been shelved (PTG 1909-9578, 27 August 2016).  Both clubs remain in danger of relegation from Division One and are unwilling to add an element of experimentation into such an important fixture, but it is understood that fixtures in Division Two will be considered instead.

Matches at Leicestershire (who host Glamorgan) and Gloucestershire (who host Sussex) starting next Tuesday are deemed especially suitable, with none of the clubs involved in the promotion challenge. All the clubs involved would have to agree before it is confirmed that the match could be held under lights. Leicestershire though may be precluded from using their lights for the fixture due to local area planning restrictions. 

While sitting outside in the evening in late September might not be hugely attractive to spectators, the England and Wales Cricket Board feel it is necessary to conduct further tests - not least into the deterioration of the pink ball used in day-night Test cricket - before making a final decision as to whether a floodlit Test could be played in England next year. 

Edgbaston remains the target venue for the first floodlit Test in England with the West Indies the opponents identified. That Test is due to start in mid-August. Warwickshire has already hosted a 2nd XI fixture under lights at Edgbaston (PTG 1888-9459, 30 July 2016).  "Tickets for [the Windies’ Test] go on sale in mid-October”, said Neil Snowball the Warwickshire chief executive. "So we really need to have made a decision before then so people know what they are going to be watching.  I went into that Second XI match open-minded and came out of it very positive about day-night cricket, but we would need to come to a conclusion within the next few weeks”.

Andrew Strauss, the director of England cricket, remains a supporter of pushing the day-night concept forward after the inaugural floodlit match in Adelaide last year.  "We are looking at it from a sample size of one at the moment but on reflection that seemed like a good match for Test cricket”, he said. "The question will always be: is that something we can and should replicate in this country, are there other things we can do? What I don't want us to do is stick our head in the sand and pretend everything will be okay.  With the shifting sands of international cricket we need to be proactive rather than reactive”.

There remains a chance that one of the Ashes Tests in 2017-18 could be played under lights - Australia have day-night Tests against South Africa and Pakistan in their coming season - and while Strauss said he would ideally want England to play one before an Ashes campaign he would still be open to the idea regardless.  Several senior Cricket Australia officials hinted in June that the 2017-18 Ashes series down under could feature two day-night Tests (PTG 1850-9277, 10 June 2016, 1841-9217, 1 June 2016 and 1807-9030, 22 April 2016).  Exploratory talks between England and Australia have indicated that there is a will in both countries for such games (PTG 1729-8582, 4 January 2016). 

Should the plans be shelved for 2017, it seems unlikely England or Wales would host a day-night Test before the 2020 season. The tourists in the high-summer of 2018 are India, where broadcast times would not be suited to later start times, while Australia return in 2019 means there's little need for any novelty value to assist with ticket sales.

Five neutrals named for India-NZ Tests.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Monday, 12 September 2016.

PTG 1923-9662.

Five neutral match officials have been appointed to manage the three Test series between India and New Zealand that is to be played in Kanpur, Kolkata and Indore late this month and early in October.  Those named are Australians David Boon, Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker, plus Richard Kettleboorough of England and Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka.

Boon will oversee the series as match referee, while Kettleborough and Tucker will stand together in the first and second games, and Dharmasena and Oxenford in the third.  Third and fourth umpire spots appears likely to be filled by ndian members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, Chettithody Shamshuddin, Anil Chaudhary, CK Nandan and Nitin Menon.

The series will take Tucker’s list of Tests as an umpire to 48, Dharmasena and Kettleborough both to 39, and Oxenford to 34, while Boon’s record as a referee in Tests will move up to 35.

Lankan IUP member for Pakistan-Windies ODIs.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Monday, 12 September 2016.

PTG 1923-9663.

Sri Lankan umpire Ruchira Palliyaguru, a member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), is one of three neutral officials appointed to the One Day International (ODI) series between Pakistan and the West Indies in the United Arab Emirates.  

Palliyaguru is to stand in the first and third games in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, Sundarum Ravi from the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel being the third umpire for those matches, their positions being reversed for the second ODI in Sharjah.  Andy Pycroft of  Zimbabwe being the match referee for the series.

The series will take Pycrocft’s ODI record as a referee to 123, Ravi to 27 on-field and 22 as the television umpire (27/22), and Palliyaguru  to 36/11.  The second on-field and fourth umpire positions in each game will come from Pakistan's IUP members, Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza and Ahmad Shahab.  All have stood in ODIs before, however, Shahab is yet to work on-field in an ODI featuring top-tier nations.

Reprimands for three County players.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Monday, 12 September 2016.

PTG 1923-9661.

Three county players have been reprimanded for their on-field actions during County Championship first class games played over the last two weeks, all being Level One code breaches.  Kent’s Darren Stevens was cited for “abuse of cricket ground, equipment of fixtures/fittings" in his side’s game against Sussex, while both Jonathan Trott of Warwickshire, in the game against Middlesex, and the latter’s David Malan in a fixture against Nottinghamshire, for “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision by word or action”.  

Battle lines drawn as counties prepare for city franchise vote.

Mike Atherton.

The Times.

Monday, 12 September 2016.

PTG 1923-9664.

English cricket approaches its crossroads. A seminal few weeks, beginning with what will be a lively meeting of the chairmen and chief executives of the 18 counties on Wednesday, will determine whether it moves towards a city-based Twenty20 tournament — tearing the domestic game from its traditional moorings for part of the season — or continues to allow all counties an equal stake in the future (PTG 1921-9652, 10 September 2016).

The battle lines have been drawn. On the one side are Tom Harrison and Colin Graves, the chief executive and chairman respectively of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), who have staked their tenure on radical change. At the start of the season, Graves described the ECB’s current T20 competition as “mediocre”, while Harrison fears for the future of bilateral international cricket and wants a vibrant domestic game to plug the gap.

On the other side are counties, such as Surrey, whose business model, financial strength and fortunate location close to the City of London place them in a unique position and Somerset who, despite marketing T20 as well as, or better, than anybody else, fear being marginalised from any new city-based tournament. It is a marriage of convenience, wrought by a desire to tinker with, rather than rip-up, domestic T20 in its present guise.

In between are a number of un-decided counties and the Marylebone Cricket Club, all of whom have different problems, constituencies and aspirations and who must balance issues of self-preservation, ambition and the long-term good of English cricket, at a time of rapid change when it is not entirely clear how much overlap there is between the three. All look enviously at what Cricket Australia's Big Bash League (BBL) has done for participation and growth in Australia, both of which were declining until the BBL transformed the scene. Whether you can simply transplant a copycat tournament on to a very different cricketing country, whose traditions are based around shires rather than cities, though, is the great unknown.

There are complicating factors, which add to the drama. Both Richard Thompson and Andy Nash, the chairmen of Surrey and Somerset respectively, are ECB board directors, charged with a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of English cricket. The interests of counties and English cricket are normally aligned, but when a new model is under discussion, things are not straightforward. How to separate local and national considerations?

A further complicating factor is the personality clash between the leading executives at Surrey and the ECB. Thompson recently resigned as chairman of the ECB commercial committee after an interview in which he outlined his opposition to a city model (PTG 1846-9258, 6 June 2016).  Richard Gould, Surrey’s chief executive, was also close to landing the chief executive job at the ECB until Harrison’s late run up the rails. There is no love lost between Kennington and Lord’s, so discussions on Wednesday can be expected to be tough.

Cricket brings Indian ‘Alice' migrant community together.

Scuba Krishna.

ABC News.

Monday, 12 September 2016.

PTG 1923-5665.

It is a sport that is worshipped by both Indians and Australians, and in the outback town of Alice Springs, cricket is helping to unite hundreds of new Indian migrants.  With around 3,000 Indians living in a town of less than 30,000, the new migrants have not only changed the multicultural vibe in town, they have also had a huge impact on the cricket scene. 

The president of the Alice Springs Indian Community John Paul Sirus said that over the past five years there had been a big migrant boom from India and that cricket had brought the resulting Indian community together. “We've got people from different states such as Punjab, Kerala, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, everyone is here. So the game has actually brought us together as one unit and showed that if we can play together, we can live together as a community as well”.

The Indians have formed their own cricket club: the Alice Springs Indian community cricket club. It has more than 60 players registered and this season they will have three teams competing in the local Twenty20 competition.  "We thought if we have a club of our own it would be much easier to bring the children up and start training them and give them all the facilities”, said Sirus.

Bruce Walker, President of the Northern Territory Cricket Association, has welcomed the new Indian players to the local competition, and said Indian cricketers brought a different experience to the game.  "The sort of energy that the Indian cricketers bring and the numbers that they've got now and a lot of young people ... it's a really exciting stage in the growth of cricket in Alice Springs”, he said.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,924

Thursday, 15 September 2016

 

• English cricket moves towards 8-team T20 series [1924-9667]. 

• Zim players refuse to train over unpaid fees, contract issues [1924-9668]. 

• BCB looking to ‘full UDRS’ for England series [1924-9669]. 

• ‘Energiser’ over latest T20 variation [1924-9670]. 

English cricket moves towards 8-team T20 series.

Richard Hobson.

The Times.

Thursday, 15 September 2016.

PTG 1924-9667.

City-based Twenty20 teams are set to be introduced in England from 2018 after a meeting of county chairmen at Lord’s on Wednesday overwhelmingly backed one of the most radical changes in the history of the domestic game (PTG 1923-9665, 13 September 2016).  The vote in favour of an eight-strong T20 league hosted at the biggest grounds is believed to have gone 16-3 with Surrey, Sussex and Kent said to be in opposition; however, a final decisive vote on the issue will not come until next month.

Somerset, who have also been against, said that they are backing further research on more detailed proposals rather than a new competition itself, and will start consultations with their members next week.  Counties have been tempted by the prospect of increased revenue from broadcasters that will mean a basic payment of around £UK1.5 million ($A2.7 m) for all of the 18 first-class clubs plus an additional £300,000 ($A530,000) for those playing hosts (PTG 1920-9642, 9 September 2016).

Prior to yesterday reports were suggesting there was strong opposition to the eight-team proposal (PTG 1921-9652, 10 September 2016).  Therefore the decision to move forward with the city option of five potential set ups put to the meeting will come as a relief to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) hierarchy of Colin Graves, the chairman, and Tom Harrison, the chief executive, who have made no secret of their belief that this is the way forward.

Essex chairman John Faragher revealed some of the working details in an interview with the BBC.  The teams will contain some overseas players, with others selected from counties; matches will be played at Test grounds, but under the control of the ECB; it will be a two-three week tournament so players will be released by their counties and essentially sign with the ECB for that period; and it will not be a franchised competition. "Its planned and being talked about but that's as far as it's got. There is work to be done”, added Faragher.  "They are looking at 2018, possibly 2019, but it could be 2020 because we have got to get it right”.

Surrey chief executive Richard Gould said in a statement that he would have "preferred an option involving all counties to have remained on the table", adding that "a lot more detailed work needs to be done before anything can be finalised”.  Somerset chairman Andy Nash also said much more work remains to be completed before the new competition is rubber-stamped.  He wrote on Twitter: "Woah! We have NOT voted to accept City T20”.   

More information will be gathered before the next ECB Board meeting in mid-October, with a formal vote of the full 41 members of the ECB, including Minor Counties, before the end of the year. But Graves and Harrison will see this as by far their biggest hurdle cleared.

Attendances for the ECB’s current T20 competition have increased this season and the tournament will be played in two self-contained blocks next year, a move likely to increase its popularity. Even so, a feeling has grown that English cricket needs something more glamorous to match the allure of the Big Bash League in Australia, if not the mighty Indian Premier League.

There has also been concern at the growth of the Caribbean Premier League as a rival for the best overseas players taking place during the English summer (PTG 1866-9354, 1 July 2016). However, the availability of England players themselves, at least until the end of the international program mapped out until 2019, is unclear. So is the potential for a fight between broadcasters with Sky owning current domestic rights until the end of the 2019 season for a fee of  £75m-a-year ($A133 m).

Earlier this year, the counties rejected a proposal for a two-divisionT20 league involving all 18 counties, citing the loss of lucrative local derby matches.

Zim players refuse to train over unpaid fees, contracts.

Cricket Country.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016.

PTG 1924-9668.

Zimbabwe’s Harare-based players have refused to train owing to unpaid match fees which go back to July last year. The players were supposedly to train for their upcoming series against Pakistan A which is to start from the end of this month. Following that the players have fixtures against Sri Lanka they have refused to carry on with the preparations and have sought to have a meeting with Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) managing director Wilfred Mukondiwa to discuss “their worsening situation.” 

If the reports are to be believed, not only is ZC yet to pay the outstanding player bill, they also seem to have neglected to arrange for players from outside Harare to attend training camps as they don’t have the funds needed. There are also persistent reports of umpires also not being paid.

When contacted for a comment, ZC spokesperson Darlington Majonga said: “The players have asked ZC for an update on new contracts and their delayed match fees, but to equate their honest request for an engagement on the important issues to an ultimatum of some sort would be kind of making a mountain out of a molehill”.

There has been no announcement about the international season after the series against New Zealand. Zimbabwe was scheduled to play against Sri Lanka but there have been speculations that the series has been changed into a tri-series of fifty-over competition which will also involve the West Indies.

BCB looking to ‘full UDRS’ for England series.

New Age.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

PTG 1924-9669.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board is working to try and provide the “full” Umpire Decision Review System for next month's series against England, according to Nizamuddin Chowdhury its chief executive.  Such a move would require the International Cricket Council (ICC) to appoint three neutral officials, a referee and two umpires, to the three-match One Day Internationals on the schedule, plus another four for the two Tests.

The ICC indicated last month it was planning to undertake a security review before sending its officials to Bangladesh for the series, an analysis already undertaken by the England and Wales Cricket Board (PTG 1910-9584, 29 August 2016).  England's players have been given assurances about the scale of the security operation which will see them put on 'lock down’ whilst in Bangladesh with snipers positioned at the team hotels and tanks parked outside (PTG 1922-9660, 12 September 2016).  

England though will be without the support of the 'Barmy Army' in Bangladesh after the group failed to receive guarantees over fans' security while travelling to and from cricket grounds.  They were provided with a list of hotels that will receive police security and were promised a segregated area within the grounds but were told fans will have to arrange their own private security while commuting to cricket stadiums. No other official travel group is planning to arrange a tour to Bangladesh.

Just who the match officials who have been earmarked to manage the five games has not yet been announcement.  However, ICC Elite Umpire Panel member Chris Gaffney was quoted by his home town ‘Otago Daily Times’ late last month as saying: "I'm off to Bangladesh shortly for Tests against England and then off to India for the Tests against England”.  The five matches of the latter series will be played in the period from mid-November until just before Christmas.

‘Energiser’ over latest T20 variation.

Press Trust of India.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

PTG 1924-9670.

Games in the recently completed Twenty20 format Campus Cricket tournament in Sri Lanka, which involved university sides from Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates, used a new Playing Condition organisers titled as an ‘Energiser’ over.     

Under that rule, batting sides had to nominate an over between the sixth and twentieth as an ‘Energiser’.  In it all runs scored were doubled while five runs were awarded to the fielding side if they took a wicket. Score sheets available for the 15-match series record runs scored in a such a way as Penalty Runs. 

Reports claim the ‘Energiser’ proved to be a game changer for many teams in the tournament with Bangladesh’s University of the Liberal Arts snatching a two-wicket win against Pakistan’s University of Central Punjab after amassing 28 runs in the 16th over, for 56 overall, while chasing 153 to win. 

While the Energiser over is new to the competition, there is also a two innings format for the Twenty20 series, where teams bat twice in ten over blocks.  Hitesh Walunj, the captain of India’s Marathwada Mitra Mandal College of Commerce, believes the "format has a lot of potential. Though it might look complex, a lot of strategic decision making goes into it and it makes it more interesting and less tiring for the players as there are two innings of 10 overs”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,925

Friday, 16 September 2016

 

• ECB warnings swayed counties over T20 shakeup [1925-9671]. 

• City-based T20 series raises fears over domestic game’s future [1925-9672]. 

ECB warnings swayed counties over T20 shakeup.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Friday, 16 September 2016.

PTG 1925-9671.

 

Stark warnings about the declining status of cricket in England and promises of wiping away the county game’s £UK170 m ($A300 m) of debt persuaded chairmen to back plans for a new city based Twenty20 competition (PTG 1924-9667, 15 September 2016).  

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) executives told the counties during a meeting at Lord’s on Wednesday that market research had revealed more children recognised the photograph of a World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers such as Randy Orton or ‘The Undertaker’ than Alastair Cook, the Ashes winning captain and England’s leading run scorer in Test cricket. 

The ECB also told the counties that of the 9.9 million people they believe are cricket fans, judged through social media and marketing, only 990,000 bought tickets this year to a match.  Counties were also told that the new city based tournament will pay off county cricket’s massive debt within seven years, vital to those existing on the breadline.

Officials at the ECB have begun the process of finalising details of the new tournament which was given the general backing of counties on Wednesday. They will now work through details such as venues for teams, team identities, player drafts and the structure of the holding company that will own the tournament. 

Several county clubs have issued statements to try and placate worried members but many of them accept the Twenty20 revolution is now unstoppable.  “I am not saying we are there yet or there are not concerns but it is a way we can ensure we secure the first-class future of Derbyshire which is crucial”, said Chris Grant, the chairman of Derbyshire, one of the club’s that will not be involved in the new competition. “This is the one option that gives us the best chance of ensuring we are still around in 2020 to celebrate our 120th anniversary”.

Surrey voted against change but will work with the ECB to make the new Twenty20 tournament a reality, ending a potentially damaging split between the game’s most powerful county and governing body.  That county had lead opposition to the introduction of a new eight team tournament but after losing the vote at Wednesday’s meeting with the ECB they will now work to ensure they are part of the process.  

Winning over Surrey deprives those remaining counties thinking of rebelling against the vote of their most powerful ally, and one with enough resources to take on the ECB board.  “We were disappointed that there was not more support to keep a county option on the table but we now need to understand and shape the future”,  Richard Gould, the Surrey chief executive said. “We want this club to be an important part of what happens next and we will happily work with the ECB on what that future looks like. In fact the work with the ECB has already started and the relationship between Surrey and the ECB is being strengthened”.

It is not guaranteed that the new teams will be based at Test match grounds. An independent panel, along the lines of the ECB’s major match group that allocates international fixtures, may well be formed to deal with counties applying to be hosts.  The counties will put pressure on the ECB to be guaranteed a stake in the holding company that will control the new tournament so money can be ring fenced for the county game. 

City-based T20 series raises fears over domestic game’s future.

Vic Marks.

The Times.

Thursday, 15 September 2016.

PTG 1925-9672.

The prospect of a city-based T20 tournament comprising eight teams took a major leap forward after a meeting of the county chairmen at Lord’s on Wednesday (PTG 1924-9667, 15 September 2016). Those chairmen voted by a surprising margin for a series which is planned to start in 2018. It will probably be broadcast on Sky, at least in the first two years, but at the outset it is unlikely to include the regular presence of current England players.

This vote is likely to have brought a broad smile to the face of former Yorkshire chairman and now England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman, Colin Graves, albeit on the day when Yorkshire’s attempts to retain the County Championship faltered after suffering a rare defeat at Headingley at the hands of Somerset. However, this outcome will not be so cheerfully received by a large proportion of the members of the county clubs, represented by those chairmen.

Sussex confirmed on Thursday that they are in opposition to the plan. In a statement the county said: “We recognise the current financial risks to counties, including over-dependence on international income, and the opportunities to develop interest in the game, including the changing media landscape. The board is open to considering change in the schedule, but our strong preference is that domestic tournaments should feature all 18 first-class counties.  Sussex Cricket will continue to participate in this process in a constructive way”.

Middlesex chairman, Mike O’Farrell, has also spelled out the importance of impending consultation with his county’s supporters. At Wednesday’s meeting he emphasised that the county cannot vote for the new competition until they have asked their members’ opinions.  “We made it very clear to the ECB that we could not consider voting for such a dramatic change to the domestic cricket landscape without first consulting our members”, he said. “Currently, we do not believe that there is enough detail on the proposal for us to give a considered opinion. The ECB have been tasked with providing that, so we can consult widely and informatively with our membership”.

Wednesday's vote is not binding. Meetings with county chief executives and their members will follow, but the door is now wide open for an upheaval – another one – of the domestic schedule. The chairmen will be able to offer the consolation to their members that this new competition will, according to their market researchers, produce significant cash for their clubs (PTG 1925-9671 above). This will be snatched eagerly since many clubs, not just the minnows but also some of those who host Test cricket, are in grave financial difficulty. Moreover the ECB will delight in having another product to sell to a broadening television market in 2020.

However the supporters of the smaller county clubs, including Northamptonshire, the winners of this year’s T20 tournament, will now be denied access to the best T20 can offer. There may be more than eight venues for the eight teams but the smaller clubs are likely to miss out on these games. The current domestic T20 series, which involves all 18 counties, is expected to continue earlier in the summer in June and July. The new competition will take over in August, with a match on just about every day of the month. This is the tournament which the overseas T20 specialists will now be eyeing.

Graves was predictably upbeat, especially since the opposition to this scheme seems to have declined so dramatically. “We’ve all been looking at how we can use domestic T20 for an even bigger purpose, especially getting more young people to play”, he said. “This format was invented here and is successful worldwide. It can excite new fans, attract the best players and fuel the future of the game on and off the pitch”.

The ECB are more eager to focus on the notion that this new competition will somehow attract a younger audience and increase participation than the fact that it should generate more income from a new television deal. “The need to grow interest and participation in the game we love is at the core of our thinking and this is a rigorous process”, said Graves. “We’ve talked to each county individually about the need for change, a range of potential options and the implications.

“There’s a constructive dialogue with county chairmen and chief executives, the Marylebone Cricket Club and Professional Cricketers’ Association, or players’ union. and now agreement to move forward and further develop this approach. The next steps for us all, as a game, will be to extend the discussions and get valuable input from players, members and other key voices in the game”.

Many questions are raised by the prospect of the new competition. What will be the impact on the County Championship? Next summer the number of first class fixtures will be reduced to 14 per side instead of 16. The pressure to reduce that figure further will intensify. Currently the expectation is that Championship matches will continue to be played in August 2018 even though key players will be absent in the new T20 series.

Then there is the obvious danger of the schedule being saturated by T20 cricket. This summer each county played 14 matches in the ECB’s T20 competition in the hope of playing three more in the knockout stages. The new eight-team competition would presumably offer 14 more games before the process of contriving another final begins. So a decent T20 county cricketer, not required by England, could end up playing at least 30 T20 matches per season.

Hence there are reservations about whether two T20 competitions in one season are sustainable. Even those who have made the NatWest Blast work successfully such as Somerset’s chief executive, Guy Lavender, have expressed doubts.

In July, Lavender outlined the pitfalls. “Several clubs sell out their grounds and have a passionate and committed following and it would be terrible if that was destroyed by the introduction of city-based franchises”, he said. “That option could well damage many smaller counties. Members, fans, players and commercial partners will have less Championship cricket, fewer 50 over matches and, for as long as it lasts, a second rate T20 competition. Two T20 competitions are unlikely to be sustainable in the long-term”.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,926

Sunday, 18 September 2016

 

• Missing ball delays start of day’s play [1926-9673]. 

• Counties did not expect ECB T20 vote [1926-9674]. 

• Worcestershire batsman wins ’Spirit of Cricket’ award [1926-9675]. 

• Neutrals named for Bangladesh-Afghanistan ODI series [1926-9676]. 

• Packed international season means no 'live' Ranji telecasts [1926-9677]. 

• Instant replays are a blight on sports [1926-9678]. 

• Illegal mining a headache for cricket chiefs [1926-9679]. 

• Guinness recognises another world record! [1926-9680]. 

Missing ball delays start of day’s play.

CA web site.

Saturday, 17 September 2016.

PTG 1926-9673.

The Australia ‘A’ batsmen were ready at their respective ends of the pitch, India A fielders were right to go, and bowler Shardul Thakur was at the top of his run up, however, the lack of a ball led to the start of the second day’s play in the first class match between the two sides in Brisbane on Saturday being delayed for eight minutes.  

As confusion ensued, Australia ‘A’ batsman Hilton Cartwright, who was on 99 overnight, was made to sweat even more. Umpire Paul Wilson made his way towards the pavilion and promptly had two balls rolled to him by the Indian camp.  Between he and his umpiring colleague, South African visitor Adrian Holdstock, there appeared to be some conjecture as to which – if either – of the two balls was the 11-over old one India A had been using when play ended the previous afternoon.

Wilson, who like Holdstock is a member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, then asked third umpire Greg Davidson via radio to bring a box of balls onto the field for he and Holdstock to examine, and eventually there seemed to be a degree of satisfaction with the ball that was chosen.  Cartwright managed to reach what was his second ever first class hundred off the second delivery of the day, however, just what happened to the ball from the previous evening is not known.

In December 2014, West Indian umpires Danesh Ramdhanie and Christopher Taylor “misplaced” the match ball during a first class game between Jamaica and the Leewards Islands.  The latter's coach Ridley Jacobs claimed the ball used after tea on the third day of the game was the “wrong one” (PTG 1482-7175, 13 December 2014). 

Jamaica went into that interval on 3/42 chasing 194 to win outright, the ball in use being just 16 overs old when tea began.  However, Jacob claimed his side was handed a 34 over old ball after the interval.  Jamaica recovered and did not loose its next wicket until its score was 184, eventually winning the match outright by four wickets (PTG 1517-7308, 10 February 2015).  One report at the time suggested the right ball was later found in one of the umpire’s bag.  

 

Counties did not expect ECB T20 vote.

Elizabeth Ammon and Richard Hobson.

The Times.

Friday, 16 September 2016.

PTG 1926-9674.

Some county chairman were taken completely by surprise when the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) asked them to vote on a radical new city-based Twenty20 competition at a meeting on Wednesday (PTG 1924-9667, 15 September 2016).  The proposed tournament was given overwhelming backing but a group of chairmen privately fear they were outmanoeuvred by ECB chairman Colin Graves and chief executive Tom Harrison, who declared at the meeting that there would be a vote on the new tournament by a show of hands.

The chairmen had expected that the meeting would be an interrogation of the five options — of which the eight-team, city-based franchise was the most radical — and would culminate only in counties giving the ECB permission to go away and further explore two of the options.  One county executive present described the voting process, which resulted in 16 votes for and three against, as “unexpected, difficult and awkward” (PTG 1925-9671, 16 September 2016).

The meeting was preceded on the Tuesday evening by a barbecue for county chief executives and chairmen hosted at Lord’s — jokingly described by one county as a “booze and schmooze attempt”.  Kent and Sussex, two of the three counties who did not raise their hands during the vote, have urged Graves to listen carefully to the feelings of county members as they are consulted over the new league during the coming weeks (PTG 1925-9672, 16 September 2016).

As well as calling for Graves to hear concerns in the shires, George Kennedy, the Kent chairman, said he wanted his members to recognise the reality of the vote. Jim May, the Sussex chairman, cited a “a shed load of details that need to be worked on”.   Both pledged to play a constructive part in the debate.

Kennedy said: “It was an amicable meeting. Colin is quite a strong character and of course it is ‘back me or sack me’, but it is not a question of that, it is a case of making the right decision.  He has got to listen to the memberships, but our membership has to understand that standing alone is difficult and it is better to be inside the tent than out. We are a club with 3,500 members and we cannot commit without at least talking to them".

“We were not asked to vote, the question was ‘give us a direction to travel in’ and I said I could not because there are other options, not just this one. Because of the non-disclosure agreement [insisted on by the ECB] (PTG 1891-9482, 4 August 2016), I have not discussed it with the county or members. I didn’t say ‘no’ and I didn’t say ‘yes’”.

The preference of Sussex is for a competition involving all 18 first-class counties, and May was disappointed that the ECB is taking forward only one of the five possibilities available. “We felt we wanted to look at two options, not just one with the eight teams”, he said. “There is a hell of a lot of devil in the detail. We are adamant it would be wrong to use existing county brands. Then you have player drafts, salary caps, player availability, when it will begin. Until we find out about these things we are a long way to the final agreement. They are aiming to go to [broadcasting] market this year".

“In no way are we blocking progress. The presentations by the ECB executive were terrific. We have lost that argument of the 18-county structure to some extent, but we do not want to be marginalised. We will do our best to try to shape whatever the structure is”.  Counties who supported the ECB clarified that their positions were taken before internal meetings and member forums over the next fortnight.

Worcestershire batsman wins ’Spirit of Cricket’ award.

PTG Editor.

MCC media release.

Saturday, 17 September 2016.

PTG 1926-9675.

The 2016 Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award has gone to Worcestershire batsman Tom Fell for his act of sportsmanship during a tense Sussex run chase in a first class match earlier this month.  Fell completed a diving stop on the boundary and returned the ball to the wicketkeeper then signalled to the umpire that his foot had been in contact with the rope when he collected the ball and four runs should be awarded.

Derek Brewer, MCC Chief Executive, said: “Tom Fell has had a great year and is fully deserving of this award in light of his actions against Sussex.  The MCC works hard to promote the ‘Play Hard, Play Fair’ message through the Spirit of Cricket at all levels of the game, so it is very encouraging to see professionals like Tom setting such a good example”. The award was set up in memory of former MCC President and BBC commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins, who passed away in January 2013.

Neutrals named for Bangladesh-Afghanistan ODI series.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Saturday, 17 September 2016.

PTG 1926-9676.

Richie Richardson of the West Indies and Chettithody Shamshuddin from India have been appointed as the neutral officials for the there-match One Day International (ODI) series between Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Dhaka late this month.  Richardson will oversee each match as the referee, doubling the number of ODIs in which he has performed that role, while Shamshuddin will take his ODI record to twelve, nine of which have involved Afghanistan. The second on-field, third and fourth umpires are expected to come from Bangladesh’s Enamel Hague, Sharfuddoula, and Anisur Rahman.

Packed international season means no 'live' Ranji telecasts.

Shankar Narayan.

Sportskeeda.

Saturday, 17 September 2016.

PTG 1926-9677.

While the news of India’s long home season, which consists of thirteen Tests will come as great news for lovers of the traditional format of the game, the cramped schedule of international matches means that games in the domestic Ranji Trophy first-class series are unlikely to be telecast.  Over the last few seasons at least one game in each round of matches has been televised live, together with one of the quarterfinals, the semi final and final.

As has been the case for some time, the Ranji Trophy does not attract large crowds to watch, although when a high-profile international is turning out for his state side there are usually a few more at the ground.  The fact that all matches are to be played on neutral grounds during the coming season is likely to impact further on crowd numbers.

Instant replays are a blight on sports.

Bernie Lincicome.

Chicago Tribune.

Friday, 16 September 2016.

PTG 1926-9678.

Almost all sports now have instant replay, even cricket and rodeo, and in tennis there is a system so accurate on line calls it could be used to surgically repair the eyesight that once was good enough. No more John McEnroes railing that an official is the pits of world. Save that for the robots in the control room.

Part of the flavor of a baseball game is knowing an umpire's tendencies, and while a consistent strike zone might be ideal, it is boring. Why not just use that TV strike zone box and eliminate the umpire? We have the technology.

Home runs have been allowed when fans reach out and catch a ball that was not going over the wall. Tags have been made with the glove while the ball was in the bare hand, and allowed. Double plays have been turned without ever touching the bag. Teams have gone to the World Series when the winning run never touched home plate. Wonderful stuff. Couldn't happen today.

Former Major League Baseball umpire Don Denkinger made the most famous botched call in any World Series when in 1985 cameras showed the runner was clearly out, a call that let the Royals stay in the Series against the Cardinals and win it eventually. Human failure is part of the lore of the game.

The demand to get everything exactly right is not human, not fundamental, not needed. Error is anticipated. There's a place for it on a baseball scorecard. And, more particularly, it is no fun.  Nothing is duller than a referee or an umpire standing around waiting for some unseen critic on the other end of his headset to give a thumbs up or thumbs down.

Illegal mining a headache for cricket chiefs.

Murray Swart

Diamond Fields Advertiser.

Friday, 16 September 2016.

PTG 1926-9679.

South Africa’s Northern Cape Cricket (NCC), which is part of the country’s Knights first class franchise, is facing the challenge of illegal mining activities that are under way adjacent to its Diamond Oval in Kimberley that has left its unofficial parking area unusable.  The last fortnight has seen the number of people sifting through the gravel on the land in search of diamonds grow to more than 2,000, which has left residents in the area concerned for their safety.

NCC chief executive Eugene Jacobs says the illegal activity threatened the turnout at local cricket matches when the coming domestic season gets into full swing.  “The mining in the area is causing two major concerns for us”, said Jacobs.  "We are worried about both safety and parking for the season as the holes being left by the miners will make it impossible to use the area when we need the extra parking".

Jacobs said local mining companies have been approached for help but so far to no avail and a meeting will be held on Monday to discuss a contingency plan for parking.  “Fortunately, we haven’t found any miners trespassing on our property but they are on the periphery and will have an impact on the logistics of our bigger games”, said Jacobs.  “We are facing a big problem and will need to come up with a solution”.

Guinness recognises another world record!

The Hindu.

Saturday, 17 September 2016.

PTG 1926-9680.

A third-year student at Madurai Medical College in Tamil Nadu, India, has been recognised by the 'Guinness World Records’ (GWR) for managing to continuously tap a ball on a bat for 2 hours and 16 minutes.  Gowthama Narayanan made his first attempt last year, notching up an impressive 6 hours and 14 minutes with one hand on the handle and one steading the blade, however, GWR declined to accept it.

GWR subsequently decided that tighter parameters were needed for such record attempts. After consultation with "cricketing experts”, they decided anyone attempting the feat had to have both hands on the handle of the bat, and set a minimum target of two hours before an initial record would be recognised. Narayanan followed their requirements and has now had his 2 hour 16 minute juggle acknowledged as the first and current world mark. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,927

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

 

• Hopes of 2017 Edgbaston day-night Test dim [1927-9681]. 

• BCCI calls for bids for next IPL media rights deal [1927-9682]. 

• Asian neighbours prepare for milestone Tests [1927-9683]. 

ª Missing umpire hat has DDCA officials in a tizz [1927-9684]. 

Hopes of 2017 Edgbaston day-night Test dim.

George Dobell.

Cricinfo.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016.

PTG 1927-9681.

The chances of England hosting a floodlit Test have receded sharply with the acceptance that there will be no pink-ball cricket in the final round of the 2016 County Championship season.  While the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was hopeful that Edgbaston could stage the first such Test in 2017, the Test between England and West Indies in August had been identified as the most likely option, they were keen to thoroughly test all aspects of the initiative before committing themselves. 

In particular, they were keen to assess the deterioration of the pink ball in English conditions.  Initial tests - Warwickshire hosted a Second XI Championship match against their Worcestershire counterparts in late August - suggested no issues with floodlights, but that the balls deteriorated quite severely with players feeling it was almost impossible to gain swing, either conventional or reverse, after the first dozen or so overs (PTG 1888-9459, 30 July 2016).

It was therefore decided to host another game in similar conditions, but hopefully at a higher standard, before a commitment was made the day-night Test, with the final Championship match of the season between Warwickshire and Lancashire identified as a possible option. But with both teams fighting to avoid relegation, it was decided it would inappropriate to conduct such tests (PTG 1909-9578, 27 August 2016).

Attempts to use a Division Two game were thwarted when local planning issues ruled out the matches at Bristol and Leicester (PTG 1923-9661, 13 September 2016). It is also understood that players were underwhelmed at the prospect of using a pink ball with which they have not have an opportunity to practice. An attempt to persuade them to use a pink ball in normal playing hours and without the use of lights fell on deaf ears.

With tickets for next summer's Tests going on sale in the coming weeks and Neil Snowball, the Warwickshire chief executive, having previously confirmed that there would be no change to playing regulations once they had, it now seems highly unlikely that a day-night will be played in England in 2017. 

And with India the visitors in high summer of 2018 and Australia in 2019, it seems equally unlikely that such a match will be scheduled in either of those seasons. The time difference in India would not be conducive to the change of playing hours, while there seems little need for any marketing gimmicks during an Ashes series. For the 2017 Test against West Indies, however, it might have proved advantageous to those attempting to sell tickets.

Snowball said: “The ECB did consider just using the pink balls for one of the Division Two matches during normal playing times and not under lights but it's not happening.  Despite that, they still remain positive about day-night cricket in England, so we will continue to work together and see what happens”.

BCCI calls for bids for next IPL media rights deal.

Urvi Malvasia.

Business Standard.

Monday, 19 September 2016).

PTG 1927-9682.

One of the most anticipated media rights battles has started with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announcing an open bid for rights to the Indian Premier league (IPL) series, and operation that is expected to attract fierce bidding from interested companies. Broadcasters, telecommunications service providers, mobile video platforms and marketing agencies have one month to buy the tender and submit their respective bids which could total around $A6.6 billion (£UK3.8 b). 

 

The rights have been divided into three categories: Indian subcontinent television rights for the ten years from 2018-27; Indian subcontinent digital rights from 2018-22 with the stream to be provided five minutes behind TV transmission; and Rest of the World media rights for 2018-28 that are available in entirety or in regard to one or more of the six world regional groupings the BCCI has designated.

Only television broadcasters are eligible to bid for the ten-year broadcast rights for the Indian subcontinent. Since the acquisition of Ten Sports, Asia’s largest sports network, by Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI), the Indian sports broadcast landscape has become a clear duopoly.  The other company expected to bid is Star India, a media and entertainment company owned by United States’ firm 21st Century Fox, and they and SPNI are expected to fight tooth and nail for IPL television rights. 

Currently, SPNI holds IPL media rights but next year's edition of the tournament will be the last in the current contract. SPNI is paying the BCCI the equivalent of $A220 m (£UK127 m) per year over the period of the current 2008-17 contract. The digital media rights to the IPL at the moment lie with Star India subsidiary Novi Digital, the company that operates the network’s digital properties including video streaming platform Hotstar. Novi Digital won the rights in 2015 for a three-year period at a fee of three billion Rupees ($A60 m, £35 m).

Asian neighbours prepare for milestone Tests.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 19 September 2016.

PTG 1927-9683.

The next Tests India and Pakistan play, the former this week against New Zealand in Kanpur, and the latter against the West Indies in Dubai next month, will be the 500th and 400th respectively played by the two nations.  India’s first Test was against England at Lord’s in June 1932 and it has since gone on to play 499 and win 129 games, draw 212, tie one and lose 157 (129-212-1-157), while Pakistan’s debut came in October 1952 when they played India in Delhi, their record since being 399 (128-158-0-113).

India is the fourth Test playing entity to reach the 500 mark after England who are currently on 976 (350-342-0-284), Australia 791 (372-206-2-211), and the West Indies 517 (164-173-1-179).  After that comes New Zealand 412 (85-161-0-166), South Africa 402 (146-122-0-134), Pakistan 399, Sri Lanka 251 (78-81-0-92), Zimbabwe 99 (11-26-0-62), Bangladesh 93 (7-15-0-71) and an ICC World XI 1 (0-0-0-1).  

Zimbabwe’s 100th Test is currently listed as being against Sri Lanka at home in November but whether those side’s two Test series will actually go ahead is not yet clear.  Players there have ended their protest over non-payment of match fees and return to training on Monday after being given an assurance by Wildfred Mukondiwa, the Zimbabwe Cricket chairman, that their monies will be paid and that there is certainty over contracts (PTG 1924-9668, 15 September 2016).

Missing umpire hat has DDCA officials in a tizz.

Indranil Basu.

Press Trust of India.

Monday, 19 September 2016.

PTG 1927-9484.

A missing umpire’s hat had Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) officials worried on the last day of the three-day tour match between New Zealand and Mumbai in Delhi on Sunday.  There were 15 people in and around the match officials' room and CCTV cameras were placed in every corner of the players’ area but still the umpire's hat went missing.  Fourth umpire Amit Bansal lodging a complaint with the match referee Amit Sharma, who in turn, made a submission to DDCA officials.

Sources said DDCA officials spent a few hours on Monday scanning CCTV footage but they couldn't determine who, if anyone, was responsible. It was later decided that Anil Chaudhry the umpire concerned must have left the hat in the taxi that took him to the ground. "It is nothing but a hoax as no one can enter the match officials’ area without anyone knowing”, claimed a top DDCA official said.

This is not the first time an item has gone missing from inside DDCA's high security zone. Earlier this year, it was alleged that four TV sets were stolen after Indian Premier League finals games. DDCA denied the claim and said only one TV was missing.  "With the DDCA scheduled to host a One Day International between India and New Zealand next month, the authorities will have to be extra careful now”, said an official.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,928

Thursday, 22 September 2016


• Ireland set for Test status – and a date at Lord’s [1928-9685]. 

• Female umpiring trio appointed for Nelson WT20I [1928-9686]. 

• Second Test TV appointments for Indian umpires [1928-9687]. 

• Top referees, umpires attend ICC workshop [1928-9688]. 

• Hansie trapper arrested [1928-9689]. 

• Security situation key to Pakistan home matches [1928-9690]. 

• No floodlight back-up for key County fixture [1928-9691]. 

• Russell anti-doping hearing set for next week [1928-9692]. 

• England cricketers donate £25,000 to heart charity [1928-9693]. 

Ireland set for Test status – and a date at Lord’s.

Tim Wigmore.

The Times.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016.

PTG 1928-9685.

Ireland are likely to play their first Test match against England at Lord’s in 2019 as part of International Cricket Council (ICC) plans to revolutionise the longest form of the game.  Cricket’s governing body is poised to award Afghanistan and Ireland Test status in three years’ time, even though plans to introduce a two-division format for Tests have been shelved (PTG 1919-9633, 8 September 2016).

It is understood that there is agreement among the ten Test-playing nations that the format should be expanded. Unlike with the two-division proposal, existing Test teams do not fear that the elevation of two new countries would threaten their own positions. An announcement could come at the next regular ICC quarterly meeting which is scheduled for Cape Town next month.

Ireland have long argued that Test status is needed to prevent the loss of players to England, as has happened previously with the likes of Eoin Morgan and Boyd Rankin. In 2014, England guaranteed that, if Ireland won Test status, they would play them at Lord’s in 2019.

The identities of the new teams are likely to be determined by the standings in the present edition of the Intercontinental Cup, the first-class competition for ICC second-tier associate member nations, which finishes in December next year. Ireland currently lead the table, with Afghanistan in second place.

The two new Test nations, expanding the total to 12, would be the first teams elevated since Bangladesh in 2000. Not since the late 1920s have multiple teams, in that case New Zealand and the West Indies, won Test status in the same decade. The promotion of Afghanistan and Ireland would also herald Test cricket moving beyond its Commonwealth footprint, while Ireland would become only the second Test nation from Europe.

In both countries, cricket has risen remarkably in recent years: Afghanistan, whose team is primarily made up of players who learnt the sport in refugee camps in Pakistan, played their first official international match in 2004 but are now ranked tenth in One Day International cricket and beat West Indies in the World Twenty20 Championship series this year. Ireland have beaten half the Test nations, including England, in the World Cup.

A Test play-off is likely to be introduced from 2019, with the top two nations in the world Test rankings playing a one-off Test every two years (PTG 1921-9651, 10 September 2016).  It is also understood that the ICC hopes to get Test nations to agree to a new six-year playing structure. While this is less ambitious than the two- division idea, the plan would be for the 12 nations to play one another in a minimum of one Test, either home or away, over six years. It is felt that this would give the rankings more integrity and help the lower-ranked Test nations — including the two new teams — with commercial and broadcasting deals.

But the requirement for the 12 nations to play one another could also cause difficulty. England have not played Zimbabwe in any international fixture since 2007, while India and Pakistan have not played a Test against each other since December 2007.

Female umpiring trio appointed for Nelson WT20I.

PTG Editor.

North Shore Times.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016.

PTG 1928-9686.

The single Womens’ Twenty20 International (WT20I) tourists Pakistan are to play against New Zealand in Nelson in late November will be umpired by an all-women team, Kathy Cross from Wellington, Diana Venter from Auckland and Canterbury's Kim Cotton.  All three are members of New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) Reserve Panel (PTG 1882-9430, 21 July 2016), while Cross is also on the International Cricket Council’s third-tier Associates and Affiliates International Umpires Panel.

Cross, 59, who stood in this year’s womens’ World Twenty20 Championship series and will be standing in her 16th WT20I in Nelson, will be on-field with Venter, 50, for whom it will be her first T20I, although she is no stranger to the international scene (PTG 1883-9437, 22 July 2016).  Cotton, 38, who like her two colleagues routinely stands at men's Premier League level, will work as the third umpire during the game.

Prior to the WT20I, which is the sixth and last game of Pakistan’s tour, the two teams are to play two One Day Internationals (ODI) and three other games, three at Lincoln near Christchurch and the last three in Nelson.  

NZC have yet to indicate who will stand in, referee and score those games, although if previous seasons are any guide Cross is likely to feature in the WODIs.  To date she has stood in 38, including the Womens’ World Cups of 2000, 2009 and 2013.  A fourth such series beckons in England next year, the final of which is to be held at Lord’s about a month after Cross turns 60, and is likely to feature female umpires on-field.

Last May, Sue Redfern of England and Jacqueline Williams of the West Indies, became the first women to stand together in a mens’ international when they managed the match to decide fifth place between Nigeria and Tanzania on the last day of the World Cricket League Division 5 series in Jersey (PTG 1839-9207, 30 May 2016).

Second Test TV appointments for Indian umpires.   

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 22 September 2016.

PTG 1928-9687.

Anil Chaudhry, CK Nandan and Chettithody Shamshuddin will each be working as the television umpire for a second time during the three-Test series between India and New Zealand which starts on Thursday.  Chaudhry has been appointed in that role in the first game in Kanpur, India’s 500th Test (PTG 1927-9683, 21 September 2016), Nandan for match two in Kolkata and Shamshuddin for the third in Indore.  

Nandan is the reserve umpire for the first game, his third in that role, then Nitin Menon, the newest Indian on the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), comes in for games two and three, his first at that level (PTG 1918-9628, 7 September 2016).  The four umpires will work with match referee David Boon and neutral umpires Richard Kettleborough, Rod Tucker, Kumar Dharmasena and Bruce Oxenford during the series (PTG 1923-9662, 13 September 2016). 

Top referees, umpires attend ICC workshop.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016.

PTG 1928-9688.

Members of the world’s top referee and umpire panels took part in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) annual three-day 'Elite Panel Conference' in Dubai last weekend.  Topics discussed at the workshop are said to have included, "among other items", the front-foot no-ball trial during the recent England-Pakistan one-day series (PTG 1917-9623, 6 September 2016), things learned from the this year’s World Twenty20 Championship series, briefings on new technology, and new regulations which come into effect from on Thursday.

According to the ICC the gathering gave those present "an opportunity to discuss various aspects of the game’s conduct, share their experiences, engage in group discussions as well as to go through simulation exercises”.  Presumably, as suggested by the ICC three weeks ago (PTG 1913-9603, 1 September 2016), they also discussed last month’s West Indies-India T20 match situation in Florida when television technical issues delayed the start of play, a situation that contributed to the ‘no result’ in the match (PTG 1919-9641, 8 September 2016).

ICC General Manager – Cricket, Geoff Allardice said via a media release the seminar was important because it was not easy to get so many officials together.  “It gives us a chance to get the umpires and referees together - twice a year – once around an ICC event, the other time in September, to go over changes to playing conditions, regulations and focus on areas for improvement".

 

Adrian Griffith the ICC’s Senior Manager, Umpires and Referees, said the annual seminar helped build teamwork and gives the officials an opportunity to share their experiences and learnings.   “Our seminar in September is about re-grouping and discussing relevant issues in the game’s conditions. We, the umpires and referees, have our own role to play in the game and we want to ensure we do that to the best of our ability. We make sure we give the umpires the tools and resources that they need to place them in the best position to perform.”

Referee Javagal Srinath said the meeting was an opportunity for officials to discuss many aspects.  “This seminar has high significance, enhancement of our own performance can happen through discussions and finding solutions. All these things can only lead towards one way – the development of the game.  This is a collective learning, expectations are set, minimum standards are described, when you get together, amended [Playing Conditions] come into play, overall learn a lot and share a lot”. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 IMAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those who attended were also put through a range of tests to 

determine  their level of fitness.  

While it does not mention names, the ICC says “members” of its Elite Panel of Match Referees, Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) and second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) plus its umpire coaches, Denis Burns, David Levens and Peter Manuel, were amongst the twenty-six who took part in the meeting. Simon Taufel, who recently took up the 'Match Referees and Umpire Selection Manager’ position with Cricket Australia last month (PTG 1902-9544, 18 August 2016), was also there in a training role. 

Those present are understood to have been referees Srinath, David Boon, Chris Broad, Jeff Crowe, Ranjan Madugalle, Andy Pycroft and Richie Richardson, plus EUP members Aleem Dar, Bruce Oxenford, Chris Gaffaney, Ian Gould, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus, Nigel Llong, Paul Reiffel, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Rod Tucker, and Sundaram Ravi.  

IUP members who took part appear to have been Simon Fry, Michael Gough and Joel Wilson, all three of whom made their Test debuts over the past 15 months.  Their Sri Lankan IUP colleague Ranmore Martinez, who has been allocated eight Tests over the last three-and-a-half years, is also believed to have also present at the meeting. All appear likely to be in the running for possible elevation to the EUP in 2017.  

Hansie trapper arrested.

Neil Mantorp.

Super Sport.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016.

PTG 1298-9689.

It may have gone largely unnoticed among South African cricket supporters – or perhaps it is simply not talked about – but the man primarily responsible for luring former national captain, the late Hansie Cronje, into the lurid world of match-fixing may, finally, be about to get his comeuppance.

Sanjeev Chawla first met the former South African captain in the late 1990s and befriended him with gifts and small payments before the test and ODI series of 2000.  It was during that tour that Delhi police inadvertently stumbled upon – and recorded – telephone conversations between Chawla and Cronje in which details of match-fixing were discussed. Delhi detectives were believed to be investigating an entirely unrelated series of crimes.

Chawla moved to London soon after the police made their announcement and the extradition process, as always, has been painful and protracted.  But just a few days ago it was confirmed in London that the UK Crown Prosecution Service had written to the Delhi police to inquire about the facilities in which Chawla would be kept if and when the extradition hearing rules that he should be returned to India. His hearing is set for Monday week.

As painful and disagreeable as many South Africans will find it, Cronje’s misdemeanours and tragic death in 2002 will undoubtedly make news all over again with Chawla forced to give testimony in the event that a corruption trial finally gets under way in Delhi, probably early next year.

In the shadow of the four South African players recently being banned from the game for between seven and twelve years (PTG 1985-9498, 9 August 2016), the world’s cricket audience will once again be reminded that match-fixing in cricket is not confined to the subcontinent. No doubt, the Proteas’ opposition will be reminded to remind them of that fact on the field.

Security situation key to Pakistan home matches.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016.

PTG 1928-9690.

International cricket can return to Pakistan only after the security situation improves in the country, says International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson.  He was speaking at a press conference held after he presented the ICC Test Championship mace to Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on Wednesday.

Richardson said it was a remarkable achievement for Pakistan to reach the number one Test ranking spot and this was only because of the intense passion for cricket among the people. “I know there is lot of passion for cricket in Pakistan and that is why I always enjoy coming here. But only the security situation will decide when international cricket returns to Pakistan”.  He said the ICC wanted all its member countries, including Pakistan, to be playing international cricket at home but the security situation will dictate what happens in the future.

Pakistan has not hosted a full Test series at home against any team since March 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore killing six policemen and injuring an umpire and some visiting players.  Since than only lowly ranked teams Afghanistan, Kenya and Zimbabwe have visited Pakistan for short limited over matches.

No floodlight back-up for key County fixture.

PTG Editor.

MCC media release.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016.

PTG 1928-9691.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) will not be able to use the floodlights at Lord's during the key County Championship match between Middlesex and Yorkshire.  The four-day game, which is scheduled to end on Friday, is likely to decide this year’s competition winners.  

The MCC says that prior to the season commencing the Westminster City Council's approval for the use the lights at Lord's was limited to "14 day times, ten evening uses and two evening practice sessions" over the six months from the start of April and the end of September, and only for implementation in major matches - Tests, One Day Internationals, Twenty20s and domestic finals. 

Russell anti-doping hearing set for next week.

Cricinfo.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016.

PTG 1928-9692.

West Indian Andre Russell's anti-doping hearing, looking into the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission's (JADCO) claim that the all-rounder had missed three dope tests in a 12-month period, resulting in a whereabouts-clause violation, has been adjourned until next Wednesday.  Apreliminary hearing before an independent anti-doping disciplinary panel was held in July (PTG 1880-9422, 19 July 2016).

According to the WADA code, three missed tests amount to a failed dope test and the athlete could face a ban of up to two years. Russell was present at the hearing in Kingston, having skipped the Twenty20 International series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates which starts on Friday, citing "personal reasons".

On Monday, Russell's lawyer, Patrick Forster, argued in front of the independent anti-doping disciplinary commission that the burden of proof was on JADCO to show Russell was negligent in fulfilling his whereabouts-clause obligations in January and early and late July last year, when he was supposed to undergo out-of-competition dope tests.

After preliminary hearings in late July, the independent panel comprising Hugh Faulkner as chairman, Dr Marjorie Vassell, and former Jamaica cricketer Dixeth Palmer, was supposed to carry out a two-day hearing starting Monday. However, it was curtailed because a second key witness, Carey Brown, the JADCO's executive director, could not be present as he was recovering from an accident.

England cricketers donate £25,000 to heart charity.

BBC.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016.

PTG 1928-9693.

A group of England cricketers have donated £UK25,000 ($A43,000) towards a fundraising effort for the British Hear AND t Foundation, in support of former Leicestershire AND England batsman James Taylor.  The players made the contribution to a fund organised by Taylor's partner Josephine Naylor and her siblings.  Taylor, 26, who played seven Test matches and 27 One Day Internationals, was forced to retire from all cricket in April because of a serious heart condition.  The fund's initial target was £3,000 ($A5,160).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,929

Friday, 23 September 2016

 

• ICC adds 'Demerit Points’ to its Code of Conduct system [1929-9694]. 

• Pakistani umpires named for Windies WT20I series [1929-9695]. 

• WICB boosts retainer, support pay, for women players [1929-9696]. 

• UK sports betting monitoring group up-dates Code of Practice [1929-9697]. 

• Cricket club vandals strike yet again [1929-9698]. 

• ‘A century of cricket games’, now on show at Lord’s [1929-9699]. 

ICC adds 'Demerit Points’ to its Code of Conduct system.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release.

Friday, 23 September 2016.

PTG 1929-9694.

Players who are found to have breach the International Cricket Council's (ICC) 'Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel’, will now accumulate 'Demerit Points’, an arrangement that means repeat offenders can be suspended.  There has been no change though to the list of offences in the current Code of Conduct, or the current penalty regime of warnings, fines and suspensions applicable to each offence.

In a system that appears similar to that operated by the England and Wales Cricket Board, ICC Demerit Points ‘earned’ will remain with a player for two years.  All those who play in matches run under the auspices of the ICC will, as of Thursday this week, start with a zero balance. 

In another changed announced by the ICC overnight, new playing conditions relating to the LBW ‘umpire’s call’ when the Umpires Decision Review System have also come into effect (PTG 1868-9365, 4 July 2016).  For a 'not out' decision to be overturned, more than half the ball now has to be impacting the pad within a zone bordered by the outside of off and leg stumps (formerly the centre of off and leg stumps), and the ball needs to be hitting the stumps within a zone bordered by the outside of off and leg stumps and the bottom of the bails (formerly the centre of off and leg stumps, and the bottom of the bails).

The first match to be played under these new Demerit Points and ‘umpire’s cal’  regulations will be the One Day International between South Africa and Ireland in Benoni on Sunday.

Pakistani umpires named for Windies WT20I series.

PTG Editor.

Pakistan media reports.

Thursday, 22 September 2016.

PTG 1929-9695.

All three Pakistanis on the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, Ashan Raza, Ahozab Raza and Ahmed Shahab, plus Khalid Mahmoud, have been appointed to manage the three Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) Pakistan and the West Indies are to play in the United Arab Emirates over the next week under match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe.

Pakistan media reports indicate Shozab Raza will be on-field in all three games, Ashan Raza on-field in two and the television umpire in another, and Ahmed Shahab on-field on one and in the television spot in two.  The series will take Shozab Raza’s WT20I tally to 20 on-field, Ashan Raza to 23 on-field and 10 in the television spot (23/10), and Ahmed Shahab to 5/6.  Pakistan first class umpire Khalid Mahmoud will be the reserve umpire in all three games, which will take his record in that role to six T20Is.

WICB boosts retainer, support pay, for women players.

PTG Editor.

Caribbean media reports.

Thursday, 22 September 2016.

PTG 1929-9696.

A recent agreement between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) will see increases in annual retainer, sponsorship, match fees and captains’ allowances paid to the Caribbean’s top women players. It is estimated the increase, which will see the number paid a retainer rise by four to fifteen, will cost the WICB just under $US600,000 ($A795,180, £UK462,170) over the coming year.

Windies’ captain, Stafanie Taylor appreciates the increase. She notes: “I believe we are stepping in the right direction. England and Australia are the two top teams where women’s cricket is concerned and I think we can mirror what they are doing and get on their level. We hope that, as time goes by, more things will be improved”.  Former captain, Merissa Aguilleira is also happy and "strongly believes that an increase like this will only encourage us to work harder and continue representing the people of the Caribbean to the best of our abilities”.

WICB’s chief executive Michael Muirhead hopes the "new package will not only serve as an additional incentive for the current set of women, but also as a drawing card to more women to be attracted to cricket”.  WIPA president and chief executive Wavell Hinds ages, said: "our senior women’s team has been a solid elite performing group over the last decade, as such, the improvement and security in their compensation package is well deserved”.

West Indies women are now in camp for a home-series of five One Day Internationals against England, the last three of which will count towards the International Cricket Council's Women’s Championship.  That championship, a multi-year bilateral competition, is between the top eight international women’s sides, and the four who finish top will gain automatic qualification to next year’s World Cup in England.

UK sports betting monitoring group up-dates Code of Practice.

PTG Editor.

SBG media release.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016. 

PTG 1929-9697.

The Sports Betting Group (SBG), a UK-based entity from across sport whose aim is to provide leadership and to share good practice to address the risks from sports betting corruption, launched a new website and a revised Code of Practice at an event held Lord’s on Wednesday.   

The event which was titled 'Are you playing integrity?', was hosted by the Sports Betting Integrity Forum which was established in 2012 to develop Britain’s approach to protecting sport and sports betting being corrupted. It brings together representatives from sports bodies, betting operators, the UK Gambling Commission and law enforcement to highlight the work currently underway at a national level to tackle sports betting corruption and the help available to sports governing bodies to minimise risks to integrity.

SBG says there are seven key actions sports governing bodies should take to protect integrity highlighted in their up-dated Code. They include practical, real-world examples drawn from the group's members that are designed to help governing bodies to apply the Code within their own sports.  It says the new website will provide sports governing bodies and wider stakeholders in the sports betting field with a central resource containing information and good practice including betting rules, reporting contacts and educational material.

Emma Boggis, SBG’s chair, said her organisation "is committed to making sure sports governing bodies have the knowledge and tools to put in place effective measures to address the risks of sports betting corruption. Sports betting is evolving fast and we have worked to refresh the Code of Practice to ensure it remains fit for purpose and to create a new website to provide governing bodies with the resources they need to protect their sports”.

UK Minister for Sport, Tracey Crouch, said: "The integrity of sport is absolutely paramount and no stone can be left unturned in the fight against corruption. Ensuring the Gambling Commission, sports bodies, law enforcement agencies and betting operators are all aligned is crucial and the new Code of Practice will help on this front. It also complements the new Governance Code that Sport England and UK Sport will be publishing later this year, ensuring the highest levels of transparency in British sport”. 

Next month’s British Association for Sport and Law’s annual conference in London has speakers who will talk about: 'Can sports governing bodies be trusted to run their own anti-doping programs?’; 'With over 235 million viewers in 2015, eSports is the world’s fastest growing sport – is it a game changer for the sports media industry?'; and 'Can government intervention eliminate corruption in sport?’. 

Cricket club vandals strike yet again.

Jacob Metcalf.

Oldham Evening Chronicle.

Thursday, 22 September 2016.

PTG 1929-9698.

Over the last six months the Pennine League’s Glodwick Cricket Club has seen its main pavilion broken into, practice nets ruined and scoreboard hut destroyed such that damage at the venue has run into thousands of pounds. In the latest attack, vandals broke into the club’s main building, destroyed alarms and damaged the door, however, it is the club's scoreboard hut which has borne the brunt of abuse over the summer.  

Club chairman David Challoner said the hut had been attacked on four occasions, its door being kicked in and brickwork damaged to the point where the building is now dangerous. : "We spent money to build a new score box ­- the Oldham College building department came and built if for us - and it was almost ready.  But vandals have now wrecked it.  We have tried repairing it before but it just happens again so we are now wondering whether to pull it down.  We are not a rich club and it would cost us about £UK2,000 ($A3,420) to repair".

Challoner said that in addition "practice nets have been vandalised and the main pavilion was broken into last week.  It's got to the stage where, as a club, we are getting very weary of it.  It's having an impact on our neighbours, we have good neighbours but they are worried about the increase in anti-social behaviour and vandalism.  For 30 years we have had very little trouble but over the last six months we have been plagued by it”.

Despite the trouble, it hasn't stopped officials opening a new clubhouse in honour of former first team member Bilal Malik who lost his fight against cancer in February last year.  “It was paid for by funds raised by members and will enable them to host their own events rather than looking further afield”, said Challoner.  "Bilal came over from Pakistan when he was 11 and then he came to play cricket for us.  He was a really nice guy and he was loved by everyone. In 2014, he was part of the first team which won the district league and when he was diagnosed with cancer and passed away it was devastating. So we have named the pavilion after him”.

‘A century of cricket games’, now on show at Lord’s.

Charlotte Goodhew.

MCC media release.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016.

PTG 1929-9699.

The current Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) Museum exhibition, A 'Century of Cricket Games', brings together a hundred years of cricket games, encompasses all aspects of the subject, from table-top to computer games, and looks at the history of play, game design and ways in which the game’s enthusiasts enjoy cricket-themed games.  Developing and filling gaps in a collection is one of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of working in a museum, especially when new acquisitions immediately go on display to help tell new stories in engaging and interactive ways.  

In preparation for the exhibition, staff at the museum worked with collectors and specialist interest groups to build up a significant permanent collection of games, which are on display alongside major loans from national museums.  The research behind its establishment involved trips around the country that included consultations with digital curators at the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, the National Media Museum in Bradford, and the Museum of London.

That interaction helped with the identification and acquisition of some of the first home computer games, which were made for the ZX Spectrum and Amiga platforms, and have firmly established MCC’s collection. New additions include 'The Ashes', published by Pulsonic for ZX Spectrum in 1983, which features the names of real players on the England and Australia teams that year.  It allows a choice of English and Australian venues, fielding positions, as well as bowling and batting styles, all of which are depicted graphically onscreen.  

Another new acquisition is Bosoft’s Testmatch, published by Tynesoft for ZX Spectrum (1984), which is believed to be a prototype for Ian Botham’s Test Match (1985). Botham’s face appears on the cover of the game, but not onscreen at any point.  The game is viewed almost from the perspective of the Lord’s Pavilion, with a crowd and scoreboard in the background, and continues to use the stick-figures, this time in white, which are a familiar feature of early computer games.

British mathematician and entrepreneur Sir Clive Sinclair was responsible for bringing home computer game technology to the masses.  His Cambridge-based tech company, Sinclair Research, created the ZX Spectrum platform, which had a colour display, in 1982. Previously, simple simulation computer games were only used by academics for scientific research.

At Lord’s the museum, the visit to which features as part of the normal tour available at the ground, has converted these early computer games into a playable format so that exhibition visitors can experience them games for themselves using the original Spectrum keyboard and joystick to play cricket on an early home-entertainment system.  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,930

Saturday, 24 September 2016

 

• Ball's contact with fielder’s helmet saves Kiwi opener [1930-9700]. 

• Modified actions of Bangladesh pair declared ‘legal’ [1930-9701]. 

• CA umpires, referees, attend three-day workshop [1930-9702]. 

• Declaration bowling: vital tactical cricket or shameful farce? [1930-9703]. 

• Kashmir tensions high but cricket bats still needed [1930-9704]. 

Ball's contact with fielder’s helmet saves Kiwi opener. 

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 24 September 2016.

PTG 1930-9700.

New Zealand opener Tom Latham was given a reprieve when he appeared to have been caught during the after lunch session on the second day of the first Test against India in Kanpur on Friday.  On 47 at the time, Latham played a sweep shot onto his pads, which ballooned into fieldsman KL Rahul’s hands at short leg, bowler Ravindra Jadeja appealed and umpire Richard Kettleborough, after consulting with colleague Rod Tucker, referred it to television umpire Anil Chaudhary to check whether the ball had bounced off the ground or Latham’s pads. 

Replays showed that it was indeed a catching opportunity however Rahul, before completing the dismissal fumbled the ball such that it touched either the strap or grille his helmet before he had it securely in his hands.  Chaudhry advised Kettleborough of the situation and as required by Law 32.3 (“It is not a fair catch if at any time after having been struck by the bat and before a catch is completed the ball has touched a protective helmet worn by a fielder”, Latham was given ‘not out’.

Modified actions of Bangladesh pair declared ‘legal'.

Daily Star.

Friday, 23 September 2016.

PTG 1930-9701.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has found that following remedial work and re-assessments, the bowling actions of Bangladesh’s Arafat Sunny and Taskin Ahmed are now legal and both can resume bowling at international level.  During the re-assessments, which were carried out at Cricket Australia's National Cricket Centre in Brisbane two weeks ago (PTG 1905-9558, 22 August 2016), the amount of elbow extension in all types of Arafat and Taskin’s deliveries were within the 15-degree level of tolerance permitted under the ICC regulations.

The two Bangladeshis were reported after their side’s opening match in the World Twenty20 Championship against the Netherlands in Dharmsala in early March (PTG 1779-8884, 11 March 2016). Shortly after that laboratory assessments conducted at the ICC-accredited testing centre in Chennai showed their actions then were illegal (PTG 1784-8908, 20 March 2016).  While the pair have now been cleared to play internationals again, umpires in those games are free to report either of them in the future if they believe they use a suspect action.

CA umpires, referees, attend three-day workshop.

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 24 September 2016.

PTG 1930-9702.

The eighteen umpires who make up Cricket Australia’s (CA) National Umpires Panel (NUP) and second-tier Development Panel (DP), plus the six members of its match referees panel, completed their pre-season workshop at CA’s National Cricket Centre in Brisbane on Friday. As yet though, CA has not given any publicity to what actually went on on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday under the auspices of CA Match Officials Unit manager Sean Easy, its Match Referees and Umpire Selection Manager Simon Taufel, Umpire Coach Ian Lock and International Cricket Council (ICC) Umpire Coach David Levens.

From what little that has come to light, it would appear the three days involved the normal range of sessions and activities that apply in such pre-season gatherings.  On the overall lifestyle front there were presentations on ‘Culture and Professionalism’, Health and Wellbeing’ and ‘Mindfulness and Mental Wellbeing’, plus a general fitness assessment.  Technical issues covered included CA Playing Conditions and changes to them for the 2016-17 season, items titled ‘Maximising Play’, ‘Code of Conduct’ and ‘Ball Management’, together with practical training sessions that covered LBWs and Third Umpire operations.  There were also discussions on match paperwork, reporting requirements and performance plans.

With what CA in July described as the finalisation of the restructure of the group it now calls its Match Officials Unit, it seems reasonable to assume the opportunity was taken for Easy and Taufel to outline face-to-face to those present  just what has changed and how things will work from now on.   It is understood one of the key messages that has been circulating since Taufel’s arrival has been that the selection of individuals for matches and panels will be based on merit (PTG 1900-9533, 15 August 2016), something that has been perceived by many as not always having been present in the past.

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 whether arrangements that existed that were appropriate 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.  

At the end of the the pre-season Workshop on Friday, Bruce Oxenford, an Australian member of the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel, and NUP member Simon Fry, who is also on the ICC's second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), briefed those present on matters that arose from the ICC’s own referees and umpires workshop in Dubai last weekend, a meeting they, Taufel and Levens attended (PTG 1928-9688, 22 September 2016).

It is believed Levens is now conducting an ICC workshop in Brisbane for the three Australian IUP members, Fry, Mick Martell, Paul Wilson and Sam Nogajski, plus their New Zealand counterparts Wayne Knights, Chris Brown and Shaun Haig.  It will be the first such ICC meeting for the latter three and Nogajski as all have only been elevated to the IUP over the last few months.

Declaration bowling: vital tactical cricket or shameful farce?

The Times.

Saturday, 24 September 2016.

PTG 1930-9703.

Spectators at Lord’s and viewers of Sky Sports 1 were (depending on their views) treated or subjected to the spectacle of “declaration bowling” on Friday afternoon as both Middlesex and Yorkshire tried to ensure that their game would finish in a positive result, thus allowing one of them to win the County Championship title. A draw would have guaranteedSomerset the trophy.

With Middlesex leading by more than 150 runs on the final day Yorkshire wanted to make sure that the opposition got as many runs as they liked quickly enough to allow Yorkshire sufficient time to chase whatever total they were set. Thus Yorkshire bowled a series of long-hops and slow balls to allow Middlesex to score quickly.   The tactics divided spectators and viewers. What follows is two cricket fans' arguments for and against declaration bowling.

In Josh Burrows’ assessment: ‘Both teams were trying to win’.  He sats The important thing about declaration bowling - indeed the only thing about declaration bowling - is that it happens only when both sides desperately want to win. On Friday afternoon it wasn’t just the match at stake, but the County Championship title too.

After more than five months of back-breaking toil and soul-sapping travel Yorkshire and Middlesex had earned the right to ensure that the final match of the season would come down to a 40-over shootout. Yes, Middlesex could have attacked earlier with the bat, but doing so would only have increased Yorkshire’s chances of victory.

Commiserate with Somerset if you’re that way inclined, but with the title at stake expecting Middlesex and Yorkshire to extend their rivals the same sympathy is like expecting two pitbulls not to fight for the sake of the cat that lives next door. The real farce would have been allowing the game to peter into a draw, thus handing the title to Somerset on a silver platter.

Declaration bowling is all part of the rich and varied fabric of first-class cricket - a freakish spectacle brought to you by the same sport that frequently forces bowlers to win games with the bat, or defensive batsmen to give up their wickets for the greater good of their team. The only unusual thing about Friday’s events was that they were being broadcast on Sky Sports 1. The tactics on display at Lord’s were the price teams and spectators willingly pay then cheerfully forget when a thrilling run-chase inevitably follows.

Doug Gratton on the other hand believes the approach used is: ‘A dreadful advert for the county game’.  He says declaration bowling has been part of the county game for as long as, if not longer than the Father Time wind vane has kept watch over Lord’s. But even it must have been tempted to kick over his stumps and scythe as he watched Friday’s play from his perch on the Mound Stand.

“It’s part of the game” seems to be the defence for a practice that makes the sport look not only amateurish but contrived. Watching professionals serve up half-trackers and full tosses like a weak Saturday fourth team hardly convinces you that this is a dramatic end to a gruelling season of teak-tough cricket. Twenty20 is meant to be for hits and giggles; not the Championship, not its last round of matches. Appearances matter, particularly when you are on live television and have a rare opportunity to advertise how competitive your sport is.

Those defenders of meaningless runs and contrived finishes will say that it was the only way to force a result. But that just isn’t true. This match hadn’t been wrecked by rain and both teams needed a win. Middlesex should have been made to risk a heavy defeat for their shot at glory. Instead, coming to the crease with three wickets down and still 63 behind, Stevie Eskinazi should have been under pressure not only to prevent a collapse but to score enough runs to make victory, and the title, a possibility.

Instead he got off the mark off his 27th ball - the actions of a batsman who knew that if he hung around long enough Yorkshire would make it easy for him. The balance of the game - and the appearance of competitiveness - had been ruined although more fool Yorkshire for making it possible, some may say.  Somerset will not expect sympathy and will no doubt say it is part of the game, but so do the fans forced to watch a showpiece match turned into an afternoon of near-farce.

Kashmir tensions high but cricket bats still needed.

Times of India

Friday, 23 September 2016.

PTG 1930-9704.

As tensions in the territorial conflict between India and Pakistan escalate, a strange demand for goods from the Pakistan side of the border between the areas claimed by each nation has stunned Indian authorities. Amongst the items that have appeared on a proposed list of 72 items to can be exported into what India refers to a ‘Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir’, or PoK, are cricket bats.

Not many know that apart from a bus service, trade has been going on across the border since 2008 via six-wheeler trucks that are allowed to ferry commercial goods on a barter service between Salamabad in the Indian area to Muzaffarabad on the Pakistan side of the divide. Farooq Ahmad Shah of the Trade Facilitation Centre in Salamabad said: "Even we were surprised when we discussed the items with the PoK director of trade, but sports lovers are the same everywhere”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,931

Sunday, 25 September 2016

 

• Lankan day first class series to use pink ball [1931-9705]. 

• Spot-fixer set for domestic return [1931-9706]. 

• ’No toss’ boosts ‘Away’ sides’ outright win chances [1931-9707]. 

• Long distance ‘commute’ pays off for Aussie umpire [1931-9708]. 

• Nero honoured at TTCB awards [1931-9709]. 

Lankan day first class series to use pink ball.

S.R. Pathiravithana.

Colombo Sunday Times.

Sunday, 25 September 2016.

PTG 1931-9705.

Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) first class 'Super-Eight’ tournament early next year is to be played using pink ‘Kookaburra' ‘balls, even though all fixtures are to be conducted in daylight hours only.  The teams that play in the series will be those that top SLC’s 14-team, three-day Premier League Tier ‘A’ first class competition which is scheduled for to be played from late October until the end of the year. 

SLC vice president K. Mathivanan said: “At some point, we have to get accustomed to the pink ball, and I don’t think there would be big impact if they use [such balls] for a ‘day’ game”.  He and other cricket analysts say that as pink is the coming colour in world cricket, Sri Lankan does not want to ‘miss the bus’ in that area of the game.  

In another move, and unlike the three-day Premier League tournament which will be played on a home-and-away basis, games in the Super-Eight series is to be played at neutral venues.  All matches in this season’s Ranji Trophy first class series in India are also to be played at neutral grounds (PTG 1915-9614, 3 September 2016).

Spot-fixer set for domestic return.

Daily Star.

Sunday, 25 September 2016.

PTG 1931-9706.

Former Bangladesh captain Mohammed Ashraful will mark his return to domestic cricket on Sunday after serving a five-year ban with a two-year suspended sentence when he plays for Dhaka Metro against Dhaka Division in one of the opening matches of the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s four-day National Cricket League.  Ashraful was banned for his involvement in the spot-fixing scandal during the 2013 Bangladesh Premier League series (PTG 1169-5649, 14 August 2013).

’No toss’ boosts ‘Away’ sides’ outright win chances.  

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 24 September 2016.

PTG 1931-9707.

Raw statistics show that visiting sides who took up their right to bowl without contesting the toss in first class matches played in the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) 2016 County Championship first class series, had a much better chance of winning outright than when they decided to let the toss proceed in the normal manner.  In comparison to the ‘all toss’ 2014 and 2015 seasons where away sides took out around 44% of outright wins and home sides 56%, in ’no toss' games in the season just ended, away sides won 55% and home sides 45%. 

Late last year the ECB decided to scrap the mandatory coin toss in 2016 County Championship games, a move aimed at encouraging better pitches for four-day cricket.  Under the new arrangement the visiting captain is offered the opportunity of bowling first, and if he declines the toss then takes place as per the Laws of the game (PTG 1698-8376, 28 November 2016).  Overall, 55 of the 140 Championship matches, or 39%, saw no toss, while in 87 or 61% of the games the toss proceeded as required by the Laws.  

There were a large number of draws this year (72), up from 51 and 56 in the previous two seasons, but of all the 70 games in 2016 where an outright win was achieved, the home side won 39 (56%) and the away side 31 (44%).  The figures for the previous two seasons when tosses always applied weren’t dissimilar for in 2015 it was 52% home and 48% away, and in 2014 59% home and 41% away.  Over the last three seasons then, 56% home and 44% away outrights were around the norm.

An examination of this year's 29 ‘no toss’ outright wins shows something different as the home team won 13 and the away team 16, or 45% and 55% respectively of total ’no toss’ games.  That’s a reversal of the home-away results 56%-44% average of the last three seasons. On the other hand when a toss applied in County Championship fixtures in 2016, of 41 outrights home sides won 26 (63%) and away sides 15 (37%).  

The tactic of doing away with the toss was more popular with captains in Division 2 of the Championship, 33 games going that way, than in Division 1, where 22 fixtures saw no toss.

All nine Division 1 counties opted for an uncontested toss at least once in their eight games away from home, Warwickshire doing it four times with four draws (DDDD) and Yorkshire also four (DDDL), including this week’s critical Championship decider at Lord’s.  Durham (WLW) and Middlesex (DWW) did it three times, Hampshire (DD), Lancashire (LL) and Nottinghamshire (LL) all twice, and Somerset (D) and Surrey (L), each once. As home sides, Yorkshire and Hampshire batted four times because of their visitor’s ’no toss’ decision (DWWW and DDWL respectively), Durham (DDD) and Nottinghamshire (WDL) each three, Middlesex (DW), Somerset (LW) and Warwickshire (DL) twice, and Lancashire (D) and Surrey (D) both one.

In Division 2, all sides also took up the option in their eight away fixtures.  Essex (DDLWD) and Sussex (DDWWD) did so five times, Derbyshire (DDDL), Northamptonshire (LDDW) and Gloucestershire (WDWL) on four occasions, Kent (DWW), Glamorgan (LWW) and Worcestershire (DWD) each three, and Leicestershire (WW) twice.  Each county also experienced the ‘no toss’ when at home, Leicestershire (DLDLLW) six times, Glamorgan (DDLLL) and Gloucestershire (DWWLD) both five, Essex (WDL), Derbyshire (DDD), Kent (DLD), Northamptonshire (DDW), and Worcestershire (LLW) all three, and Sussex (DL) two.

Overall though the matter is complex and the ECB will no doubt be examining all aspects of their data for the 2016 season to see what, if any, long-term conclusions they can draw from the first season of their ‘no toss’ experiment.

Long distance ‘commute’ pays off for Aussie umpire.  

PTG Editor.

Saturday, 24 September 2016.

PTG 1931-9708.

Long-serving Australian umpire Simon Lightbody, a member of Cricket Australia’s (CA) second-tier Development Panel (DP), is to make his List A debut during CA’s domestic three-week, 23-match, one-day series next month, according to reports circulating in Australian cricket circles.  The Canberra-based umpire stands in New South Wales’ top club competition, a commitment that has involved him in a 580 km round-trip for games over the last four austral summers.

Lightbody, 50, has been appointed to a range of representative games over the past decade, his match record including 18 state Second XI fixtures, Australian Prime Ministers’ XI games, one CA men’s Under 17 and four CA men’s Under-19 tournaments, the latter a key milestone in CA’s umpire development pathway, plus Under-19 Test and One Day Internationals.  

He has been either in or around the fringes of senior CA umpiring ranks since early this decade, eventually being selected as a member of the DP when it was formed under its present name last year (PTG 1607-7810, 1 August 2016).  Last January, he was awarded a year-long National Officiating Scholarship by the Australian Sports Commission, his mentor for that program being now CA Match Referee and Umpire Selection Manager Simon Taufel (PTG 1743-8671, 22 January 2016).

Sketchy but consistent reports are suggesting that in addition to Lightbody, all twelve CA National Umpires Panel (NUP) members have been allocated three matches each in the 21-match round robin part of the 50-over series that will see three matches played in Brisbane, five in Perth and fifteen in Sydney.  Should senior NUP member Simon Fry have three games as has been suggested, the last of those will be his 100th List A fixture, 58 of which will have been in CA domestic series, four of them the final, and 29 One Day Internationals. 

Apart from debutant Lightbody, two other DP members, most probably Damian Mealey and Tony Wilds, will also be on-field in some games as they were last year.  Selections for the two-match ‘finals’ of the event will not be made until late in the competition, which fits with CA’s normal approach over many years.  

With thirteen of the event’s games being televised, third umpires will be needed in those matches so all NUP members will probably be allocated at least one each.  Both they and DP members engaged in another bout of third umpire training during their three-day pre-season meeting in Brisbane a few days ago (PTG 1930-9702, 24 September 2016).

Past practice suggests reserve umpires will also be appointed to all matches.  If reports are correct, the latter is a role the three other DP members, newcomer Donovan Koch plus Claire Polosak and David Shepard (PTG 1829-9151, 17 May 2016), will be limited to during the competition.  The latter pair made their List A television debuts last year (PTG 1649-8068, 22 September 2015), but one report suggests they have not been given another such spot this year, however, other sources are as yet unsure and unable to confirm that. 

Each of the tournament’s matches will be overseen by one of the five members of Taufel’s referees’ group, all who have apparently been assigned to tournament games.  

With the competition due to get underway in Brisbane next Saturday, reports on preparations being made by each of the six state and the 'CA XI’ teams who will play in the tournament have been running in Australian media outlets, however, nothing as yet has been announced about umpires.  Presumably full details of overall match officials appointments will be released by CA sometime in the coming week. 

Nero honoured at TTCB awards.

Trinidad Saturday Express.

Saturday, 24 September 2016.

PTG 1931-9709.

Recently retired international umpire Peter Nero was among several cricket officials honoured by the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) for their contribution to the game at its their 60th annual awards function.  Nero, 51, a member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) from 2010 until late last year, is still serving as a member of the West Indies Cricket Board’s Regional Umpires Panel (PTG 1760-8777, 11 February 2016).

Nero has been one of the leading umpires in Caribbean cricket for over a decade and he is regarded as an insightful individual who commands the respect of players on and off the field. He shared the spotlight at the TTCB function with two of his umpiring colleagues, Kimrajh Barasingha, who is still active, and Zainul Maccum, who has retired.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,932

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

 

• BCCI rules out home day-night Test in 2016-17 [1932-9710]. 

• Bangladeshi first to earn ICC demerit points [1932-9711]. 

• Former first class player moves into umpiring [1932-9712]. 

BCCI rules out home day-night Test in 2016-17.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Monday, 26 September 2016.

PTG 1932-9710.

India has ruled out playing a day-night Test at home during the current season on the sub-continent, a period up unit next March over which a total of thirteen Tests have been scheduled.  Board of Control for Cricket in India president Anurag Thakur said on Monday that more “experiments" such as that conducted in the Duleep Trophy a few weeks ago are needed before a final call is taken on whether or not to proceed at Test level. 

Thakur called the Duleep trial "a big success, but you need to look at overall picture before you take the final call.  I would like to go into the details in a scientific manner [and] as of now, we are not ready to implement pink ball this season.  With the red ball, you can have reverse swing after 20-25 overs, but with pink you can't. So the challenge for batsman goes away".

“Also, if you have matches like the [just finished Test against New Zealand] in Kanpur [which lasted five days] then we don't need to do anything. Secondly, how do you involve more fans who come to the ground or watch it on TV? Third, you really need to look into areas as to how [the pink ball] is impacting on the nature of the game”.   Thakur did not mention a suggestion that has been made that some games in the BCCI’s Ranji Trophy first class series be played as day-nighters (PTG 1922-9655, 12 September 2016)

Initial ideas were for a day-night game to be used in the on-going Test series with New Zealand but the decision was put off amid speculation that it could occur in the upcoming home series against England in November and Australia early next year. The home team is also scheduled to play a one-off Test against Bangladesh. 

The England and Wales Cricket Board has been looking at holding a day-night Test during the 2017 northern summer, however, recent reports suggest that objective will not be achievable (PTG 1927-9681, 21 September 2016).  Should that be so another report has said it seems unlikely England or Wales would host a day-night Test before the 2020 season as India are the tourists in 2018 and broadcast times would not be suited to later start times, while Australia return in 2019 means there's little need for any novelty value to assist with ticket sales (PTG 1923-9661, 13 September 2016).

Bangladeshi first to earn ICC demerit points

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Monday, 26 September 2016.

PTG 1932-9711.

Sabbir Rahman of Bangladesh has been fined 30 per cent of his match fee and received two demerit points for “using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting”, a Level one offence, during his side’s opening One Day International Level against Afghanistan in Mirpur on Sunday.  Rahman became the first played to receive demerit points under a new International Cricket Council (ICC) statute that had come into operation three days before (PTG 1929-9694, 23 September 2016).

The incident happened during Afghanistan’s run-chase when, after a drinks interval Rahman, who was not bowling, questioned umpire Sharfuddoula’s LBW decision and made "inappropriate comments”.  The charge was levelled by on-field umpires Chettithody Shamshuddin and Sharfuddoula, third umpire Anisur Rehman and fourth umpire Tanvir Ahmed.  Rahman admitted the offence and accepted the sanctions proposed by match referee Richie Richardson and, as such, there was no need for a formal hearing.

The two demerit points have now been placed on the Bangladeshi's disciplinary record, and should he reach total of four or more points within a 24-month period they will be converted into, at least two suspension points which will equate to a ban from his next match or matches. Two suspension points equate to a ban from one Test or two One Day International or two Twenty20 Internationals, whatever comes first for the player.

Under ICC regulations all Level one first offences carry a penalty that runs from the minimum of an official reprimand up to a maximum penalty of 50 per cent of a player’s match fee.  Under the new demerit system, a finding that results in a player receiving a warning or loosing up to 25 per cent of their match fee they receive one demerit point, but a fine between 26 and 50 per cent means they lose two points. 

Former first class player moves into umpiring.

PTG Editor.

PCA media release.

Monday, 26 September 2016.

PTG 1932-9712.

Former Essex, Northamptonshire and Yorkshire off-spinner James Middlebrook has announced his formal retirement from professional cricket at the age of 39 and plans to focus on a new career as an umpire.  During 226 first-class games from 1998-2015 he scored 7,873 runs and took 475 wickets, and also featured in 192 List A and 106 Twenty 20 matches, taking 202 wickets across the latter two formats.  

Records available indicate Middlebrook began umpiring in the Bradford Cricket League (BCL) in May last year whilst playing a near full season, his last, at first class level.  That was enough to see him elevated to the Minor Counties Panel for the 2016 season, something that normally takes those who have not played at first class level many years to achieve.  He continued to play club cricket for New Farnley in the BCL this year, at the same time standing in three Minor Counties and nine county Second XI matches.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,933

Thursday, 29 September 2016

 

• Board loses control of cricket in India [1933-9713]. 

• CA to allow dismissals direct off fielders’ helmets [1933-9714]. 

• Another small step for female umpires [1933-9715]. 

• ICC name neutral officials for Bangladesh-England series [1933-9716]. 

• Durham facing points deduction over financial status [1933-9717]. 

• Florida T20Is a windfall for WICB, BCCI [1933-9718]. 

Board loses control of cricket in India.

Devendra Pandey.

Indian Express.

Thursday, 29 September 2016.

PTG 1933-9713.

The headquarters of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) wore a defeatist look on Wednesday, the day India's Supreme Court came down hard on the organisation for violations of the recommendations and non-compliance in implementing the reforms set out by its Lodha committee earlier this year (PTG 1727-8568, 2 January 2016).   During a court session, Chief Justice of India TS Thakur warned Indian cricket officials to “fall in line” and set Thursday next week as the deadline for them to comply.

 

The BCCI had called a Special General Meeting (SGM) for this Friday to consider the Lodha group’s requirements, but it’s now likely to see a few resignations from the Board.  Several BCCI officials and office bearers have suggested they don’t have much choice but to accept the Lodha recommendations at the SGM.  Speculation is rife that BCCI president Anurag Thakur, who is also a member of India’s national parliament, might step down, followed by secretary Ajay Shirke.

The Supreme Court backed the Lodha committee, which detailed the timeline by which the BCCI was required to change the way it operates and cited "numerous delays” in meeting milestones, violations of the recommendations it had set the BCCI, and a lack of will to implement the reforms. One senior BCCI official contacted said “we have no option left now, we are helpless.  One goes to Supreme Court to get justice but here something else is happening. We have to accept all reforms by [Friday]”.

CA to allow dismissals direct off fielders’ helmets.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016.

PTG 1933-9714.

Cricket Australia's (CA) domestic Playing Conditions for the 2016-17 austral summer have changed the provision of the game’s Laws that say a batsman cannot be stumped, run out or, as happened in a Test in India last week, caught, by balls that rebound directly off a fielder’s or umpire’s helmet (PTG 1930-9700, 24 September 2016).  Amongst other changes included is the introduction of a ‘concussion substitute’ into all domestic women's, youth and senior games played under CA auspices, the exception being its Sheffield Shield first class competition. 

CA, which is yet to publicly release the Playing Conditions concerned, those currently on its web site being for the 2015-16 season, has tightened a number of its regulations in regards to helmets and their use as of a result of the outcomes of the independent review it commissioned into the 2014 death of batsman Phillip Hughes (PTG 1819-9099, 4 May 2016).  

They include making it mandatory for batsmen, plus fielders outside the area behind point to wear helmets who are closer that seven metres from the bat, to wear helmets of an approved standard, and for wicketkeepers to have them on when standing up to the wicket, baseball-type head guards not being permissible.  It is not yet clear what progress has been made regarding development of a specialist wicketkeeper’s helmet, the concern of some a year ago being the unsuitability of a batsman’s helmet for the keeper's role (PTG 1673-8208, 28 October 2015).

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) introduced similar helmet wearing regulations for their recently completed 2016 season (PTG 1698-8376, 28 November 2015), however, the ECB Playing Conditions that applied did not include an overturning of what the Law requires in terms of rebounds off fielders’ helmets.  At least one Australia state, Tasmania, has followed CA’s lead and included the ‘out off the helmet’ requirement in its club Premier League Playing Conditions for 2016-17, but it is not yet clear how many other states have taken that approach. 

The introduction of the new ‘concussion substitute’ rules come four months after the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee rejected a CA proposal for such replacements to be allowed in first class cricket who can bat, bowl and presumably wicket keep, in place of teammates being treated for possible concussion (PTG 1844-9246, 4 June 2016).  That is why the coming season’s CA Playing Conditions will not apply to Sheffield Shield games as they would otherwise lose their first class status.

Well before Hughes’ death, CA "aborted a move" to trial a substitutes system in Shield games during the 2012-13 austral summer after being told the series would lose its first-class status if such a rule was introduced (PTG 1022-4963, 27 November 2012).  Two years later, somewhat ironically just days before Hughes died, CA’s then newly appointed chief medical officer John Orchard who treated Hughes on-field after he was struck, repeated calls for the game to allow batting, bowling and wicketkeeping substitutes when players are injured in Test matches (PTG 1465-7099, 23 November 2014).  

Another small step for female umpires.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016.

PTG 1933-9715.

Since the International Cricket Council (ICC) took over responsibility for the womens’ international game from the International Women's Cricket Council (IWCC) eleven years ago, only three women have stood in the 460 Womens’ One Day Internationals (WODI) played under ICC auspices (PTG 1599-7749, 23 July 2015).  However, that number could become four in November, for Cricket Australia (CA) is believed to have appointed Claire Polosak, 28, a member of its second-tier Development Panel, to three of the WODIs the Australian and South African sides are to play in November.

According to a Canberra report, Polosak is to serve as a reserve for the first WODI of the coming series, which is to be played in that city, then will make her WODI on-field debut in the second game there and also stand in the third which is scheduled for Sydney.  After that two more ODIs are to be played in the series in Coffs Harbour, however, there its no indication she will be involved in those fixtures.  

CA appointments released on Monday show in the lead up to WODIs she will serve as the reserve umpire in four CA men’s List A matches in October (PTG 1931-9708, 25 September 2016), and there are also likely to be Womens National Cricket League 50 over format fixtures and those in the Sydney Cricket Association (SCA) men’s first grade competition, the feeder league to New South Wales’ first class and List A sides. .

Polosak, 28, took up umpiring aged 16 and on-line score sheets indicate she has been standing regularly in SCA men’s first grade matches since late 2014.  The latter part of her career to date has coincided CA’s belated recognition of the need to encourage and provide a development pathway for female players and umpires. 

As a result of that development and her commitment to the game, the last two years has seen Polosak awarded an Australian Institute of Sport officials’ scholarship, join CA’s ‘fast-track' Project Panel and Development Panel, and last May, along with New Zealand’s Kathy Cross, Jacqueline Williams from the West Indies, and Sue Redfern of England, the ICC’s third-tier Associates and Affiliates International Umpires Panel (PTG 1824-9121, 11 May 2016).  As well as an ICC Womens’ World Twenty20 (WWT20) Qualifying event in Bangkok last December, she and Cross also stood in the WWT20 itself in India earlier this year (PTG 1779-8886, 11 March 2016).

At least two other Australian female umpires appear likely to stand at WNCL level in 2016-17, but the pool below them across the country appears at the moment at least, very limited.  CA is offering free courses and additional support to prospective female umpires as part of its efforts to lift those numbers.

Records available, not all of which are entirely reliable, indicate that a total of 34 females have taken 194 of the 1,990 on-field umpiring spots that have been available in the 995 WOIDs played since the first in 1973, 31 of them doing so in the first 33 years when the IWCC managed the international game.  Of the 34 overall to this time, 25 have been from England, five New Zealand, two from the Netherlands and one each from Australia and the West Indies.

NZ’s Cross heads the current list of WODI appointments with 38 from 2000 until the present time, the rest in the top five being Englishwomen Ann Roberts with 16 (1993-2005), Valerie Gibbens 11 (1990-2001), Sally Marshall 10 (1986-1998) and Ann Garton 9 (1984-1998).  Netherlands-born Inge Bevers, who now resides in England, has stood in seven games since 2003, her last being in 2009, and Williams one, although she is likely to add to that number when the England women's tour the Caribbean next month.  

ICC name neutral officials for Bangladesh-England series.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Thursday, 28 September 2016.

PTG 1933-9716.

The International Cricket Council has named its neutral match officials for the One Day International (ODI) and Test series between Bangladesh and England next month, a move that suggests its review of security issues for officials involved in that tour have been resolved to its satisfaction (PTG 1910-9584, 29 August 2016).  Two match referees and five umpires, all the latter from the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel, have been selected to manage the five matches involved.

The three ODIs, the first of which will be played late next week, will see Javagal Srinath of India oversee the series as the match referee and South African Marais Erasmus and Pakistan’s Aleem Dar and the neutral umpires.  Erasmus will be on-field in games one and three in Dhaka and Chittagong with Dar the television umpire, their roles being reversed in the second game which will also be played in Dhaka.  The series will take Srinath’s ODI record as a referee to 184 games, Dar to 181 on-field and 46 as the television umpire (181/46), and Erasmus to 66/41.

The two Tests, in Chittagong and Dhaka respectively, have Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle as the referee, while his countryman Kumar Dharmasena will be on-field in both games, his colleague in the first being Chris Gaffney of New Zealand in the second Sundarum Ravi of India.  Ravi has been named as the television umpire in the opening Test and Gaffaney the other.  

Maugalle will be overseeing his 168th and 169th Tests and Dharmasena his 39th and 40th on-field, while Gaffaney’s Test record will move to 10/9 and Ravi 11/12.

Durham facing points deduction over financial status.

Mike Atherton.

The Times.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016.

PTG 1933-9717.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB is) considering whether to impose a points deduction on Durham after giving the club financial support to survive the season that ended last week, a move that could mean relegation the club’s relegation from Division one of the County Championship.  Durham’s debts, to the local council, the ECB and others, are thought to be in the region of £UK5-6 million ($A8.5-10 m). 

To ensure Durham’s viability through the summer, the ECB accelerated the annual fee payment for county clubs and rescheduled the staging fee (£923,000 - $A1.6 m) for the Sri Lanka Test last May.  It also provided further loans to enable the club to meet payroll responsibilities. Now the governing body will decide what penalty, if any, Durham should incur. Given the county’s precarious situation, a financial penalty would be clearly self-defeating. A points deduction, whether retrospective or for the 2017 season, seems a more likely course of action.

The 2016 County Championship season ended on Friday, Durham finishing in number four in the 9-team Division one, 45 points clear of Hampshire, who were eighth, with bottom-placed Nottinghamshire 31 points further adrift.

Whatever the result of the ECB’s decision, there will be aggrieved parties. If relegated, Durham’s players would feel hard done by. Nor is it clear which of Hampshire or Kent, who were runners-up in the second division, would benefit. No doubt both would make their case convincingly. If penalised for the 2017 season, or not at all, other counties would feel that Durham have been allowed to remain competitive this year using money they do not have.

Because of the debts that they have built up and the intervention of the ECB, Durham will change their governance structure in the near future, moving from a private limited liability company to a community interest company instead, ensuring that any future profits will be retained and used for the good of the club. Although Durham cricket will continue to function as before, the ECB sees this change in governance, essentially, as an “insolvency event”, which means that sanctions are under consideration due to the financial regulations that govern the ECB.

There is no suggestion of any financial impropriety at Durham, however, the ECB is in a tricky situation.  Should a points sanction be imposed, Durham’s players would feel unfairly penalised. In particular, the county would point to the stipulation — made at the time of the grant of first-class status — to build an international venue and how, since then, the risk involved in hosting international cricket has shifted from the ECB to the counties. It has been costly for Durham to bid for international games against the more financially powerful southern Test-match grounds.

Durham have a fine record of producing top-class cricketers. Collingwood, Stephen Harmison and Stokes are among the most influential England cricketers of recent years. Durham won the second XI championship this year, as well as the under-17 competition, and the senior side have continued to perform competitively despite the financial constraints.

The extent of Durham’s financial plight was reported in May, before the Sri Lanka Test. Since then, the situation has deteriorated to the point where Durham would not have been able to survive the season without added help. Now the club will find out whether they are to be penalised on the field for their financial difficulties off it.

Florida T20Is a windfall for WICB, BCCI.

PTG Editor.

Caribbean media reports.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016.

PTG 1933-9718.

The last minute decision to stage two Twenty20 Internationals against India in Florida late last month turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the West Indies.  Sources say the matches were financial successes with some $US11.2 million ($A14.6 m, £UK8.6 m) being generated from media rights and gate receipts.

Although cricket in the Americas falls under the auspices of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), it was the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), who were given permission by the WICB to host the matches, and despite the fact that one of the two games was affected by rain (PTG 1919-9641, 8 September 2016), the BCCI was still able to make a profit.

A WICB board member told Trinidad and Tobago’s 'Guardian Media' that the outcome has gone a long way in healing wounds between the two cricketing nations following the 2014 debacle which saw the West Indies aborting a tour of India with several matches still to be played.  That fiasco left the WICB with a debt of $US41.97 million ($A54.6 m, £32.2 m) and it took months of discussion and sensitive negotiations before the WICB and the BCCI were able to arrive at a workable option.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the WICB director said that "through some sound negotiations” the board has been able to come up with solutions to pacify the Indians.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,934

Friday, 30 September 2016

 

• Sixth-straight UK PCA ‘Umpire of the Year’ award for Gough [1934-9719]. 

• Ravi earns $A52K for month's IPL work [1934-9720]. 

• Indian skipper ‘definitely' wants to think about UDRS use [1934-9721]. 

• CA names match officials for domestic List A series [1934-9722]. 

• Hong Kong spinner confident ahead of bowling action retest [1934-9723]. 

• Arrested bookie reported spilling spot-fixing ‘beans’ [1934-9724]. 

• Spinners stir after change to toss rules [1934-9725]. 

• Zimbabwe’s 100th Test set for Harare [1934-9726]. 

Sixth-straight UK PCA ‘Umpire of the Year’ award for Gough.

PTG Editor.

PCA media release.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016.

PTG 1934-9719.

Former first class player Michael Gough, now a prospective candidate for a spot on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel later this decade, has been named the UK Professional Cricket Association’s (PCA) ‘Umpire of the Year’ for the sixth year in a row, an extraordinary achievement given he is one of 25 first class umpires on the county circuit.  He was again named as the winner of the 'Harold Goldblatt Award’ the PCA's 2016 awards ceremony in London on Tuesday.

  

Gough, 36, started playing cricket at the Durham County Cricket Academy at the age of twelve, before going on to play for England Under-19s as captain and with the England A side on a 1999 tour to New Zealand and Bangladesh.  He retired from first class cricket aged just twenty-three at the end of the 2003 northern summer, and stood in his first game at that level two-and-a-half years later.

Appointed to the England and Wales Cricket Board's umpire Reserve List at the age of 27 in 2006, then in late 2008 to its Full List (PTG 347-1844, 11 November 2008), his rapid rise continuing when in 2012 he became a third umpire member of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, then an on-field member in late 2013 (PTG 1297-6257, 23 February 2014).  

Gough stood at Test level for the first time two months ago (PTG 1882-9429, 21 July 2016), and is scheduled to do so again in New Zealand in a few months.  During the just completed 2016 County season he was on the field or in the television spot in a total of 8 first class, 14 List A,  9 of which were One Day Internationals, and 16 Twenty20 games, 9 being Twenty20 Internationals.

The PCA’s ‘Umpire of the Year’ award is named for Harold Goldblatt, a chartered accountant who assisted with the establishment of the PCA three decades ago, in particular negotiating players' minimum wage, and their standard contract and insurance cover.  The PCA does not say what system it uses, or who is involved, in determining the winner of its umpire award each year.

Ravi earns $A52K for month’s IPL work.

PTG Editor.

BCCI media release.

Thursday, 29 September 2016.

PTG 1934-9720.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) paid Sundarum Ravi, an Indian member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel (EUP), a total of 2.64 million Rupees ($A51,589, £UK30,400) for his services during the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) 2016 series earlier this year, according to BCCI accounts published on Wednesday.  

During the series, Ravi worked in 10 IPL matches over a period of 27 days (10/27), and earned almost half the fee paid to top IPL match officials earner Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena, another EUP member, who took home 4.5 million Rupees ($A87,055, £UK51,230) for 15/51, his games including the tournament’s final (PTG 1896-9508, 10 August 2016). 

In addition to that pair, another EUP members to obtain work with the IPL this year included Marais Erasmus of South Africa (3.2 million Rupees or $A62,925, £37,070 for 11/31), however, figures for the EUP’s Australians Bruce Oxenford (12/36), one of his games also being the final, and Rod Tucker (5/14), plus Kiwi Chris Gaffaney (9/25), have not yet been released.  

ICC match referees Ranjan Madugalle, who is from Sri Lanka (3.4 million Rupees or $A65,545, £38,615 for 9/35), and Indian Javagal Srinath (2.6 million Rupees, $A52,000, £30,400 for 11/44), plus their former ICC colleague Roshan Mahanama 3.2 million Rupees, $A63,255, £37,270 for 13/43), have also received BCCI payments (PTG 1874-9390, 11 July 2016).

Indian skipper ‘definitely' wants to think about UDRS use.

Sidhnarth Monga.

Cricinfo.

Thursday, 29 September 2016.

PTG 1934-9721.

India's Test captain, Virat Kohli, has given a strong indication that India will start using the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in the future.  India have been the biggest opponents of UDRS since they had, for them, a bad experience with it in the very first UDRS Test back in 2008, but Kohli said that there have been discussions and meetings about it, and the system is something they "definitely want to think about". 

Kohl’s comments are a big departure from his Test captain predecessor’s views and Board of Control for Cricket in India president Anurag Thakur's ambivalent musings. MS Dhoni always opposed UDRS because it was "not 100 per cent", and Thakur recently wondered, if the machine is going to make the same error as humans, "what are we getting out of it”? (PTG 1913-9604, 1 September 2016).

Kohli still has reservations about the system, but seemed convinced about the merits of having a review system. It is noteworthy that under Kohli's captaincy India have been at the receiving end of calls that could have been reversed easily under UDRS in two Tests where the said decisions made a big difference. India ended up losing those two Tests, Adelaide in 2014-15 and Galle in 2015 (PTG 1620-7890, 17 August 2015). 

In the Adelaide chase, where India came close to beating Australia, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane were sent back when UDRS would have recalled them. In Galle, Sri Lanka mounted an incredible comeback in the second innings, but both their heroes, Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne, would have been out in single figures had the UDRS been in operation . 

CA names name officials for domestic List A series.

PTG Editor.

CA appointments.

Thursday, 29 September 2016.

PTG 1934-9722.

Over the next three weeks eleven scorers from three states will record the details, and five match referees oversee matches that involve a total of 18 umpires, in the 21-match ‘group stage’ of Cricket Australia’s (CA) 2016-17 domestic List A series, according to match officials data released by CA earlier this week.  

The 15 group games scheduled for the Sydney area will utilise the services of six scorers, Christine Bennison, Toni Lorraine, Darren Mattison, Robyn Sanday, Kay Wilcoxon and Ian Wright, the three Brisbane fixtures three, Gail Cartwright, Cliff Howard and Doug O’Neill, while in Perth the details of all five games will be recorded by Lance Catchpole and Sandy Wheeler.

Five of CA's six senior match referees, Stephen Bernard in Perth, Peter Marshall in Brisbane and Sydney, and Daryl Harper, Bob Stratford and David Talalla also in Sydney, will provide overall management support.  Umpire appointments have gone the way suggested by several reports last week (PTG 1931-9708, 25 September 2016), all twelve members of CA’s National Umpires Panel and two from its second-tier Development Panel (DP) standing in games. Four other DP members will be limited to either three or four reserve umpire positions. 

Hong Kong spinner confident ahead of bowling action retest.  

Nazvi Careem.

South China Morning Post.

Thursday, 29 September 2016.

PTG 1934-9723.

Hong Kong all-rounder Nizakat Khan, who has been banned from bowling internationally since July last year because of an illegal action, is to undergo a retest of his now modified action at the International Cricket Council-accredited laboratory in Brisbane during his side’s tour this December.  

The Pakistan-born, 24-year-old leg-spinner, whose action was reported during Hong Kong’s Twenty20 Championship qualifier against Nepal in Northern Ireland 14 months ago  (PTG 1595-7718, 19 July 2015), failed a retest of his action in October last year, but believes that because he’s "been working very hard” on changing his action with coaches in Hong Kong, he can "can get it right this time” in Brisbane.

Arrested bookie reported spilling spot-fixing ‘beans’.

Shantanu Guha Ray.

Firstpost.com.

Thursday, 29 September 2016.

PTG 1934-9724.

Who is the former top Indian cricketer named by bookie Sanjeev Chawla during his interrogation by sleuths in London? (PTG 1928-9689, 22 September 2016),  And who was the Indian bookie splurging loads of cash at a Las Vegas casino earlier this month after obtaining cash through hawala? The latter is a traditional system of transferring money used in Arab countries and South Asia, whereby the money is paid to an agent who then instructs an associate in the relevant country or area to pay the final recipient.

Crucial information pertaining to match-fixing is slowly trickling out from the woodwork as Delhi Police gears up to interrogate a host of former cricketers for their alleged involvement in match-fixing following the extradition of top bookie Chawla from London.  Chawla, whose case will be heard at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London next Monday, has told his interrogators that spot-fixing, which replaced match-fixing, was rampant with huge stakes of money at play.

Last week, his interrogators conveyed to the Delhi Police how a top Indian bookie splurged 50 million Rupees ($A976,000, £UK574,150) every day for a four-day gig at one of the biggest casinos at Las Vegas, home to gambling in the United States. "The bookie, based in South India, organised cash through hawala and had a great time during his stay in Vegas”, according to a senior member of the Delhi Police.

Chawla, who is considered by police in Delhi and Mumbai the biggest cog in the "fixing wheel", could be headed for India next month, requests for his extradition by the Ministry of External Affairs already being accepted by the British government through its foreign office.  "Chawla named a top Indian cricketer, now retired but we will not be able to reveal the name” said a Delhi Crime Branch source. Investigators in London have agreed to share crucial details they collected from Chawla with the help of Interpol and associates of the bookie.

Spinners stir after change to toss rules.

Alan Gardner.

Cricinfo.

Thursday, 29 September 2016.

PTG 1934-9725.

Last November, when announcing the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) decision to change the coin toss before the start of County Championship matches, Peter Wright, chairman of the ECB’s cricket committee, set out the thinking behind the move: "By giving the away team the option of bowling first, we hope the home side will be encouraged to produce the best possible four-day pitch. That will be good for cricket in general, and not only for spinners” (PTG 1931-9707, 25 September 2016).

So, with the dust settling on the 2016 season has the new regulation succeeded? Did better pitches help to rebalance the game, allowing English spinners to gain more traction?  Speaking earlier in the month, Andrew Strauss, England's director of cricket and a member of the ECB's cricket committee, indicated that the governing body has been satisfied by the trial.  

"Anecdotally it's been a really important step forward”, Strauss said. "We've played on better pitches, more games have gone to the fourth day, the bowlers who have done well are those more likely to play international cricket, there have been different challenges on batsmen and spinners have bowled more overs.  I think it's achieved most of the objectives we set out.  The noises are encouraging, and once people have got their heads round the idea, in my opinion, it has nudged the right behaviour”.

In the Championship’s Division One, the effect was marked by two spinners - Warwickshire's Jeetan Pateland Somerset's Jack Leach - topping the wicket-takers' list. Not since 2009, when Danish Kaneria and James Tredwell led the way in Division Two, were the two most successful Championship bowlers both purveyors of spin.

Middlesex's director of cricket, Angus Fraser, said. "If its design was to get spinners more involved then it's been a success because you just have to look at the top wicket-takers in the country”.  Somerset captain Chris Rogers, the former Australian opener, said at times his side was "forced to try the spin path and it worked”.  He has suggested a similar tweak to the toss rules could work in Australia as all the wickets there "are becoming quite uniform in the way they play. The drop-in wickets, at Melbourne and Adelaide, and then Sydney doesn't play the way it used to".

One inarguable statistic from the toss trial was that the number of outright results dropped from 93 to 70, although if, as Strauss suggests, the priority is to produce battle-hardened players ready for the drawn-out rigours of Test cricket, that need not be a bad thing.

There may well be dissenters out there, though, Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale for one speaking against the move when it was announced (PTG 1698-8376, 28 November 2015), and it could be argued the change possibly contributed to his team missing out on a third straight title.  However, it is perhaps too early to tell if the fortunes of English spin are on the turn or not but, either way, the flip of a coin has never been so hotly discussed.

Zimbabwe’s 100th Test set for Harare.

PTG Editor.

ZC press release

Thursday, 29 September 2016.

PTG 1934-9726.

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has confirmed they will host Sri Lanka for two Tests in Harare in late October and early November, the first of which will be the 100th played by the African nation since its debut in October 1992 (PTG 1927-9683, 21 September 2016).  Concerns had been expressed that ZC’s growing debut and general economic situation in the country could preclude the series, which will be followed by a seven-match One Day International tri-series in Bulawayo that also involves the West Indies.



 

End of September 2016 news.