Share:
 
                      OCTOBER 2016
THE MONTH’S HEADLINES
TOTAL OF 29 EDITIONS PUBLISHED
(Story numbers 9727-9888)


Click below to access each individual edition listed below 
 
 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,935

 Saturday, 1 October 2016

 

• Two Indian states adopt Lodha recommendations, BCCI still discussing [1935-9727]. 

• Without city T20 English four-day game will ‘perish’: Hampshire chairman [1935-9728]. 

• Counties dig heels in over media rights for city T20 [1935-9729]. 

• Herefordshire stalwart laments the state of his county’s cricket [1935-9730]. 

• New ECB player pay deal acknowledges ‘popularity’ of white ball game [1935-9731]. 

• Stump microphone catches batsman’s expletive-ridden rant [1935-9732]. 

• Cricket in USA to get professional league [1935-9733]. 

Two Indian states adopt Lodha recommendations, BCCI still discussing.

Nagraj Gollapudi.

Cricinfo.

Friday, 30 September 2016.

PTG 1935-9727.

The Tripura Cricket Association (TCA) and the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) have become the first full members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to adopt the recommendations of the Indian Supreme Court’s Lodha Committee.  That did so in separate Special General Meetings (SGM) held on Thursday and Friday respectively.

This development could affect the BCCI, which has been resolutely opposing the Lodha Committee's recommendations and had failed to meet Friday’s first deadline for them to comply (PTG 1933-9714, 29 September 2016). The national board could not reach a decision at its own SGM on Friday and will reconvene again on Saturday to further discuss the issue. 

On Thursday, the TCA "unanimously" decided to amend its constitution in accordance with the Lodha recommendations.  In an email to the Lodha Committee, TCA secretary Sourav Dasgupta indicated a resolution to implement its recommendations had been made “unanimously".  Then on Friday, at the VCA's SGM in Nagpur, 727 out of the 730 members voted in favour of a new constitution in line with the Lodha recommendations. 

Without city T20 English four-day game will ‘perish’: Hampshire chairman.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Friday. 30 September 2016.

PTG 1936-9728.

Rod Bransgrove, the chairman of Hampshire, has warned that traditional four-day cricket will “perish” unless the game adopts a new city-based Twenty20 competition (PTG 1925-9672, 16 September 2016).  Bransgrove made public a 1,200-word statement he sent to Hampshire members during which he makes a strong case for English cricket to vote through drastic change over the coming months.

Hampshire are at the forefront of the city Twenty20 revolution and for years Bransgrove has supported its formation, a stance that led him into conflict with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and previous chairman, Giles Clarke.  But with Colin Graves, the current chairman, a strong supporter of the idea and Tom Harrison, the board’s chief executive, putting the final touches to his vision for a city Twenty20 tournament, Bransgrove has now found himself welcome back on the inside.

Last month the 18 county chairmen and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) met to approve the ECB’s plan for a Twenty20 tournament featuring eight teams. The informal vote gave the board the go-ahead to add further detail which will be presented to the counties in October before going to the ECB’s executive board for approval (PTG 1926-9674, 18 September 2016).

If the ECB’s forecasts are correct, Counties are set to benefit to the tune of £UK1.3-1.5 million ($A2.2-2.5 m) per year from the new competition. But it still faces opposition from county members who fear for the future of the championship, which proved with its thrilling finale last week that it remains a relevant competition in the rush to cash in on Twenty20. Surrey, Essex and Somerset have made the current ECB T20 series work financially while non-Test match grounds fear being sidelined.

Hampshire have struggled to make the current T20 competition work and ticket sales at the Ageas Bowl have been poor. Warwickshire, Lancashire and Glamorgan are other Test match ground counties who also believe change is necessary to reinvent Twenty20 along the lines of the Big Bash League in Australia to bring in new supporters.

The ECB’s recent research showed that only two per cent of children aged seven-to-15 ranked cricket as their favourite sport. More were able to recognise WWE wrestler John Cena than Alastair Cook.  (PTG 1925-9671, 16 September 2016).  “All is certainly not lost and the ECB’s own research suggests that some 9.9 million people in the UK profess some interest in cricket. Of this huge number, only 75,000 or so have been attracted to join one of the 18 first-class counties as a member”, said Bransgrove. 

He continued by saying: “Most opponents [to city-based T20] are well-intentioned people who simply enjoy attending long-form cricket and enjoy the skills and durability required for this game. To them I can only stress that this is a format which does not accord with modern day life and is not attracting new spectators. Without significant new funds this will perish altogether”.

Counties dig heels in over media rights for city T20.

Elizabeth Ammon.

The Times.

Friday, 30 September 2016.

PTG 1936-9729.

The England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) plans for a new city-based Twenty20 competition have hit an early hurdle with a number of counties refusing to sign a document that would effectively hand over all media rights to their grounds to the board.  ECB chief executive Tom Harrison surprised the counties by emailing them with a request that they sign aa legal document that was attached which would give the board ownership of all future broadcasting rights, including for any domestic competitions played at Test, county or outgrounds.

The present broadcasting deal for international and domestic cricket runs to 2019 after the ECB signed an extension with Sky. However, it is understood that the governing body wants to begin negotiations with broadcasters for a new deal, which would run from 2020 to 2024 and could be split into several packages, including one for the proposed new eight-team city based tournament (PTG 1924-9667, 15 September 2016).

The legal situation regarding who owns the TV rights to domestic matches played at county and Test venues has never been set out clearly because they have not been out to tender in the market since 2004. At that time there was nothing more than a gentlemen’s agreement that the ECB would negotiate the deal on behalf of the counties and some of the revenue would be distributed among them. No memorandum of understanding exists in relation to ownership of media rights, as it does between Premier League football clubs and the Premier League.

However, it is understood that a number of counties, including Surrey, Middlesex and also the Marylebone Cricket Club which owns Lord’s, have refused to sign the document on the basis that they have received no reciprocal guarantees from the ECB about the amount of international cricket they will receive.

They have also told ECB officials that they will not be in a position to sign until they have received further details about the proposed city-based T20 tournament. They are also unwilling to sign away their rights while key details of how the competition might work alongside county and international cricket have become clearer.

Yorkshire have reiterated to ECB officials that any team taking part in the T20 competition and playing at Headingley must do so under the brand Yorkshire, rather than a city name, and there is a belief among some county chairmen that they have been told that would be acceptable.  ECB chairman Colin Graves has continued his meetings with county boards — described by one chairman as “The Graves charm offensive” — in which he has reassured board members that any new competition could not start before 2020.

Herefordshire stalwart laments the state of his county’s cricket.

Paul Rogers.

Hereford Times.

Thursday, 29 September 2016.

PTG 1935-9730.

One of Herefordshire's longest serving stalwarts has given a damning verdict on the state of the game in the county.  Eastnor chairman Jim Sandford was involved with the Marches League, which covers Herefordshire and its Welsh border area, for 25 years before stepping down at the end of the season.  Speaking earlier this week, Sanford is flabbergasted that there is only one cricket team in Hereford and believes the current crop of players in the county are not as good as they were in the past.

"We had a 17's game here and the 17-year-olds were not up to the mark in my opinion”, he said.  "We have coaching here on a Wednesday night and I think a lot of it is like a babysitting service.  There's a few people who will make the standard, but there's a lot that won’t.  When I first starting playing many years ago many clubs had good cricketers.  But you look around now and there's not the players of the same quality”.

Herefordshire Cricket Ltd have confirmed that they are due to have meetings with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and 'Chance 2 Shine’ that are to set to "shape the future for Herefordshire cricket at club and school level”.  But Sandford believes that the board has a big task on their hands in increasing player participation in the county.  

He is of the view one of the reasons why some players struggle to commit to playing on a regular basis is because of the travelling involved and the length of games.  He would "personally like to see lower divisions regionalised and that will be passed on to the committee to decide.  It seems a long way to travel to play lower league games in my opinion”.

"We [at Eastnor] run four teams and we struggle on occasions [and] I'm sure for every club it's the same.  The interest is dying unfortunately and I don't know what the answer is.  When we were young, we had one thing to do and that was play cricket.  But now, they seem to have nightclubs to go to and computer games to play.  Another big reason is that football is now overrunning cricket as its season starts a lot earlier and finishes a lot later than it used to”.

Sandford also believes more local cricketers should play for the Minor Counties side.  Of the side that won the Unicorns Knock-out Trophy at Worsley in the season just passed, only two Herefordshire-based players were in the playing XI.  "I would like to see more Herefordshire players play, but whether they're committed enough to play a three-day game is another matter”, said Sanford.

New ECB player pay deal acknowledges ‘popularity’ of white ball game.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Thursday, 29 September 2016.

PTG 1935-9731.

England's one-day and Twenty20 international players will be better rewarded after a revamp of the central contract system.  The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said it was making the changes in recognition of the fact limited-overs cricket was increasing in popularity.  Previously, white-ball specialists could only receive increment, or partial, contracts.  Of the new 12-month contracts which come into effect this Saturday, ten have been given to Test players and eleven to those involved in white-ball internationals. 

ECB Director of cricket Andrew Strauss added: "We believe the restructure of the central contract system will recognise the increased focus of the shorter format and the importance that we place on this.  It is undeniable that the introduction of central contracts in 2002 has greatly benefited the fortunes of the England Test team. During this period, the team has consistently performed well against the other Test nations around the world. We hope that continues over the next few years”.

Decision on how each individual player earn will be decided according to how they rank in terms of their performances on the pitch, as well as a number of other factors, including off-field contribution, fielding and fitness. Only four of the dozen Test players listed, Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham) and Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), also received white ball contracts.

Stump microphone catches batsman’s expletive-ridden rant.

Alex Blair.

News Limited.

Saturday, 1 October 2016.

PTG 1935-9732.

Australian one-day opener Aaron Finch exhaled an expletive-ridden rant that was heard via the stump microphone when he was given out after a review during the opening One Day International against South Africa in Centurion on Friday.  The right-hander had tucked one away off Andile Phehlukwayo which landed square in the hands of Wayne Parnell at short fine leg.  

Looking nonchalant, Finch stood his ground and waited for the third umpire to rule the decision not-out but Nigel Llong judged the ball had been taken cleanly and advised his on-field colleague Joel Wilson to that effect.  Finch left the field cursing at the top of his lungs, his views on the situation being broadcast live across the world, something that has occurred a number of times in the past (PTG 1780-8893, 13 March 2016).  On-line commentary from the match said: "The soft signal from the on-field umpires on that decision was ‘out’".

Cricket in USA to get professional league.

Arjun Devgan.

International Business Times.

Friday, 30 September 2016.

PTG 1935-9733.

Cricket in the United States is set to go professional as part of a $US70 million ($A91.4 m, £UK54m) licensing agreement between the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) and Pennsylvania-based Global Sports Ventures (GSV).  More than 1.4 million people in the US, most of them expats from the sub-continent, watched the World Twenty20 Championship held earlier this year and the USACA believes the move to make cricket professional is the first step to help grow the game in the country.

GSV president Jignesh Panda said: "The professional sports landscape is a notoriously tough market to break into, but we're confident in the strength of the consumer demand in the US. This agreement allows us to grow the world's second most popular sport right here in our own backyard”. 

According to the terms of the agreement, a franchisee Twenty20 league will be established in a couple of years with talks currently underway the focus on the number of teams and the cities where they will be based, the facilities required and also on the creation of clear-cut contracts for both men and women.  "It's not something we want to rush [as] we want it to be a quality product”, said USACA President Gladstone Dainty.

Cricket was very popular in the US before the Civil War and the rules were formalised by then president Benjamin Franklin. Another president, George Washington, played the sport in 1778 and the first international competition in any sport was a cricket match between the US and Canada played at Bloomingdale Park in Manhattan in September 1844, 33 years before the first Australia-England encounter.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,936

 Sunday, 2 October 2016

 

• CA sets out ‘Concussion Substitute’ requirements [1936-9734]. 

• BCCI rejects key Lodha panel suggestions [1936-9735]. 

• Six Odisha U-19 state players dropped for fudging age [1936-9736]. 

• Survey seeks feedback on ’state' of NZ game [1936-9737]. 

• BCCI opens purse strings, doubles salary of Test players [1936-9738]. 

• Sharjah Cricket Stadium reaches 225-ODI milestone [1936-9739]. 

CA sets out ‘Concussion Substitute’ requirements.

PTG Editor.

CA Playing Conditions.

Saturday, 1 October 2016.

PTG 1936-9734.

Players or umpires who are formally diagnosed by medical personnel as having been concussed as a result of an incident in any of Cricket Australia’s (CA) non first class domestic matches during the 2016-17 austral summer, can be replaced by a ‘Concussion Substitute’ (PTG 1933-9714, 29 September 2016).   Details of the arrangements that will apply are contained in CA Playing Conditions for the season ahead which were posted on line on Saturday around the same time CA’s 23-match domestic 50 over series got underway.

CA requires that should someone on the field suffer a "head trauma”, play shall cease immediately and the "highest qualified medical personnel" available can enter the playing area and are able at their "absolute discretion" to conduct an initial assessment for the presence of concussion symptoms and signs.  A maximum of five minutes is be allowed for the initial assessment on the field of play.

A batsman who is as a result of that examination instructed to leave the field will be deemed to have retired ’not out’ and if no concussion is subsequently diagnosed they can resume their innings at the fall of a wicket in the normal manner.  A fielder or umpire who is required to leave the field of play for such reasons can similarly return should they be appropriately cleared.  In the latter case normal mid-match umpire replacement requirements apply whereby the other umpire stands at both ends and an appropriately qualified person is brought in a square leg.

However, should medical personnel determine as a result of initial or subsequent examination off-field that concussion is the diagnosis, they are required to formally, as soon as possible after providing oral advice, notify the match referee “in writing” of their findings.  The 'Concussion Substitute’ cannot be activated without that formal notification.  

There is no obligation for a team to immediately or subsequently activate a 'Concussion Substitute’ but if they do they need to nominate "a like-player" to the opposing team captain, or coach if the opposing team captain is on the field of play, for approval, "which must not be unreasonably withheld”.  Where approval is not provided by the opposing captain, the match referee will make the final determination "in consultation with Cricket Australia”.

Once approved, the Concussion Substitute may immediately participate in the match as a complete replacement player for the Concussed Player.  CA says "To be clear, the Concussion Substitute is able to bat, bowl or field as though he was a member of the starting 11”.  Once replaced by a Concussion Substitute, a concussed player may take no further part in the match concerned.  There is no maximum number of Concussion Substitutes that will be available in a particular match. 

BCCI rejects key Lodha panel suggestions.

Press Trust of India.

Sunday, 2 October 2016.

PTG 1936-9735.

On Saturday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) rejected key recommendations of the Lodha Committee, such as one-state one-vote and an age limit of 70 for administrators, thus setting the stage for another round of confrontation with India’s Supreme Court.  The BCCI's Special General Meeting (SGM) in Mumbai deliberated on the recommendations and chose to only accept a few minor recommendations.

Among the significant recommendations adopted unanimously during Saturday's SGM were the inclusion of a representative of India’s Comptroller and Auditor General on both the Board and the India Premier League’s (IPL) Governing Council.  It also accepted Lodha’s recommended 'Code of Conduct for Players and Team Officials’ and 'Anti-Corruption Code and Operational Rules' for implementation prior to the next IPL season”.

BCCI president Anurag Thakur said all members attended the meeting except the Vidarbha Cricket Association, which became the first full member of the BCCI to adopt the Rules and Regulations set out by Lodha’s group (PTG 1935-9727, 1 October 2016).

Six Odisha U-19 state players dropped for fudging age.

Benita Jaiswal.

Times of India.

Saturday, 1 October 2016.

PTG 1936-9736.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has dropped six Odisha players from the Under-19 squad for the Vinoo Mankad Trophy (VMT) because of age fraud, a move that deals a huge blow to Odisha Cricket Association (OCA).  Cricket association sources said the players were dropped after the BCCI found serious irregularities in the birth certificates submitted by them.

OCA sources said the association had sent the names of forty U-19 players to the BCCI for approval. "But the board rejected the names of 12 players, including the six selected to play the [VMT], after it found irregularities in their birth dates". Another OCA official added: "The incident is certainly shameful for us”.  The date of birth documents submitted by the players during registration did not match with the ones submitted by them in the previous season.  In the past players provide only documents related to their date of birth, but now it is mandatory for each player and their parents to submit a legal affidavit confirming the authenticity of the birth details. 

The BCCI has taken "serious note" of the situation and recommended the OCA take immediate action against these involved for fudging their age.  The six who have been dropped are Suryakant Samal, Harshit Rathod, Khyamasagar Bal, Suraj Singh, Pratyush Mohapatra and Rajesh Mohanty.  The news comes at a time when police are investigating alleged age fudging by 36 other players, a group that includes the son of OCA chief executive Subham Nayak.

Survey seeks feedback on ’state' of NZ game.

PTG Editor.

NZC web site posting.

Saturday, 1 October 2016.

PTG 1936-9737.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) is seeking, via an on-line survey, to obtain thoughts on the current state of cricket in that country from those involved at all levels of the game there as they "look to ensure the long-term health of the game".  The survey, which is part of an overall review of NZC's activities initiative two months ago (PTG 1910-9586, 29 August 2016), focusses on the experiences of players, administrators, officials and volunteers from across all forms of cricket, but makes a distinction between organised cricket competitions, and the "casual or impromptu” playing of the game.

 

NZC defines “casual or impromptu" cricket as "where friends, family or a group gather to play cricket that is not part of a competition or league.  It could be an unstructured game at the beach, the park or in the back yard with a bat, ball and something representing wickets.  It could be a more structured game between two teams of any number of players but the game is played in isolation and is not part of a wider competition”.  

"Organised cricket" is considered to be "where games are played within an administered league or competition [and] will typically involve multiple teams playing regularly over a defined season”.  It is in turn broken down into "School and Club Cricket” and "Other forms of organised cricket”.

 

The survey, which “takes 10 minutes to complete” and is open until the third Monday of October, and takes each respondent down different and distinct channels depending on their responses to each set of questions.

Meanwhile, NZC is yet to post match officials appointments on-line for its ten domestic tournaments scheduled for the 2016-17 season from first class down to Secondary Schoolboys and Women’s Under-21 series.  The appointments page of the NZC web site indicates such appointments "will be available in September”.  The delay may be because administrators are waiting to finalise the selection of the six match referees NZC is seeking to employ on a part-time basis (PTG 1918-9627, 7 September 2016), applications for which closed 16 days ago. 

BCCI opens purse strings, doubles salary of Test players.

K Shriniwas Rao.

Times of India.

Saturday, 1 October 2016.

PTG 1936-9738.

Indians who play Test cricket will now earn twice as much for each game than they did previously, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCC) raising the amount from 700,000 to 1.5 million Rupees  ($A13,730-29,425, £UK8,100-17,365).  Those who serve as reserves during such games will now be paid 700,000 Rupees, twice the previous amount.  

BCCI president Anurag Thakur said on Friday evening he has "always maintained that we need to do more for Test cricket and this is the first step in that direction”.  With India scheduled to play eleven more Tests at home during the current season after the on-going Kolkata Test against New Zealand, those who play every single game will earn a cool 16.5 million Rupees ($A324,000, £UK191,000).

Sharjah Cricket Stadium reaches 225-ODI milestone.

Mohammad Abdullah.

The Gulf Today.

Saturday, 1 October 2016.

PTG 1936-9739.

The first One Day International (ODI) between the West Indies and Pakistan on Friday was the 225th played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium (SCS) in the United Arab Emirates. The SCS has been recognised by the Guinness World Records as the world’s most frequently used ODI ground, the first such match being held there in April 1984, it being an Asia Cup fixture between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,937

 Tuesday, 4 October 2016

 

• Lodha committee directs banks to halt ‘non routine’ BCCI pay outs [1937-9740].

• Illingworth appointed to day-night Test for second time [1937-9741].

• ECB disability chief calls on ICC to raise its game [1937-9742]. 

• Indian decision on UDRS use to come after ICC meeting: Thakur [1937-9743]. 

• Aussie players responsible for ensuring their helmets meet specs [1937-9744]. 

• CA second-tier referees attending pre-season workshop [1937-9745]. 

Lodha committee directs banks to halt ‘non routine’ BCCI pay outs.

Press Trust of India.

Monday, 3 October 2016.

PTG 1937-9740.

In a significant move, the Indian Supreme Court's Lodha Committee has “directed” banks that hold Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) accounts, not to distribute any funds in relation to financial decisions taken by the Board at its Special General Meeting (SGM) last Saturday.  At that gathering the BCCI again rejected key recommendations laid down by the Lodha group, thus setting the stage for another round of confrontation with the Supreme Court (PTG 1936-9735, 2 October 2016).

In a letter to the banks, the Lodha Committee said in part: “It has come to [our] notice that certain decisions have been taken at the [BCCI meeting on Saturday] to disburse large funds to various member associations.  You are aware that [as detailed in] this Committee’s direction dated 31 August, no further decisions were to be taken [by the BCCI] apart from routine matters. The disbursement of these amounts are not routine, you are hereby directed [to cease such actions and] any violation of this direction will be placed before the Supreme Court for appropriate directions”.  A copy of the letter was also sent to BCCI secretary, Ajay Shirke, chief executive Rahul Johri and treasurer Anirudh Choudhary.

The Lodha panel also cited the mid-July Supreme Court verdict which instructed the BCCI to “cooperate and act in aid of the Committee and its directives”.  The Committee has provided the Court with a report of the status of the BBCI’s responses, or rather lack of them, to its recommendations, and asked for the removal of the Board’s entire top personnel for violating its recommendations during Saturday’s SGM.

Illingworth appointed to day-night Test for second time.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Monday, 3 October 2016.

PTG 1937-9741.

English umpire Richard Illingworth, who stood in the first ever day-night Test in Adelaide last November (PTG 1673-8206, 28 October 2015), is to also stand in the second, the opening match of the Pakistan-West Indies series, which is due to get underway in Dubai on Thursday week (PTG 1908-9572, 26 August 2016).  During what is a three-match series, Illingworth will be working with his International Cricket Council  (ICC) Elite Umpires Panel colleagues Paul Reiffel and Ian Gould, plus match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand.

Illingworth and Reiffel will be on-field together in Dubai with Gould the television umpire, while the second Test in Abu Dhabi will see an Ilingworth-Gould combination out on the ground with Reiffel in the television spot, and in Sharjah during the third match it will be Gould-Reiffel on-field and Illingworth the third umpire.  Both the second and third Tests will be played during normal daylight hours.  Pakistan members of the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, Shozab Raza and Ahsan Raza will serve as the fourth umpires, the former in the first game and the latter in the other two.

The last match of West Indies tour before the first Test is a three-day, pink ball, day-night match against a Pakistan Cricket Board Patron's XI which is due to be played in Sharjah starting this Friday.  Whether Illingworth and Reiffel will have the chance to get a ‘sighter’ in that game, as did the Englishman and India’s Sundarum Ravi prior to the Adelaide day-nighter last year (PTG 1674-8212, 29 October 2015), is not known at this stage.

By the end of the forthcoming three Test series Crowe’s record as a referee at the game’s highest format will have moved to 79 matches, Gould to 55 on-field and 18 in the television spot (55/18), Reiffel to 27/16 and Illingworth 24/9.  

ECB disability chief calls on ICC to raise its game.

George Dobell.

Cricinfo.

Monday, 3 October 2016.

PTG 1937-9742.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has been challenged to do more for disability cricket if they are to justify the claim of governing a truly global game.  The call was made by Ian Martin, the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) head of disability cricket, as the organisation seeks to stage a World Championship for physically disabled cricketers in 2019.

The first disability World Cup was staged in Bangladesh in September last year, a 12 match series for which the home nation provided match officials. On that occasion, five nations took part with the hosts joined by teams from Afghanistan, England, India and Pakistan, an event that was heavily subsided by the International Red Cross.

The ECB are hoping to host a seven-team World Championship in three years time that features teams from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Pakistan and South Africa.  The format proposed is a two-week T20 competition that is held between the playing of the World Cup and the Ashes series scheduled for England in 2019.

The process is complicated, however, as several national cricket boards have little involvement with disability cricket. In India, for example, four or five organisations claim to be the governing body of the nation's physical disability cricket with the Board of Control for Cricket in India seemingly reluctant to take responsibility. As a result, funding - or even just selecting a side said to represent India - is problematic.

In 2015, and to date for the 2019 tournament, the ICC have had no meaningful involvement with the organisation involved, in spite of comments made by then ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat in 2012 that "disabled cricket is on the agenda".

"We're not as inclusive as we should be”, said Martin this week. "We talk of being a global game and we celebrate images of it being played in different communities and in different environments - by Maasai Warriors or on mountain tops - as evidence of its popularity and diversity.  But if we are not providing opportunities for people to play in countries where we think of cricket as a popular, accessible sport, we're not truly global and we're not fulfilling our duty".

"A global governing body should be able to evidence what it is doing to enable participation for disabled communities within its member nations. But rather than being driven and guided by the ICC, such matters are devolved to individual boards who have little or no experience in developing the game for disabled people. I think we can do better”.

In the long term, the likes of Martin would like to see ICC membership criteria extended to include requirements for the encouragement and development of disability cricket. In the short term, he is hopeful that some contribution from ticket sales for the 2019 World Cup will be allocated towards the planned physical disability World Championship.

Indian decision on UDRS use to come after ICC meeting: Thakur.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Monday, 3 October 2016.

PTG 1937-9743.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is open to the possibility of using the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) and will make a decision on the matter after the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) board’s quarterly meeting in Cape Town next week, according to BCCI president Anurag Thakur.   ICC members are to consider reports on UDRS technology trials during their Cape Town gathering and Thakur said the BCCI would be carefully considering the feedback obtained from the testing involved.

Asked about the issue by reporters on the sidelines of the second India-New Zealand Test at the Eden Gardens on Sunday, Thakur said: ."In the Sri Lanka series [in late August], I made an official statement that BCCI is open about UDRS”. At that time he emphasised the BCCI is unhappy with the margin for error that applies in current ball-tracking technology, but has no problem using ‘Snicko' or ‘Hot Spot' to aid umpires (PTG 1913-9604, 1 September 2016).

Earlier this year the ICC commissioned the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to study the performance of UDRS systems and provide a report on their findings and it is the outcomes of those studies that Thakur is likely to be referring to.  He emphasised that any decision made by his home board will only be taken after the views of the Indian team are taken into consideration. 

Reports three months ago indicated that MIT researchers have found 'Hawk-Eye' ball-tracking technology can have a field of error of up to almost four centimetres when determining the projected height of balls (PTG 1847-9260, 7 June 2016).  Hawk-Eye has always maintained its technology is accurate to within 5 mm.  

Aussie players responsible for ensuring their helmets meet specs

PTG Editor.

Monday, 3 October 2016.

PTG 1937-9744.

Cricket Australia's (CA) Playing Conditions for its 2016-17 matches make clear it is the responsibility of individual players, and not the umpires, to ensure the helmets they wear when batting against "fast or medium-paced bowling”, keeping up to the stumps, or fielding less than seven metres from the bat unless they are behind square on the off side, comply with 'British Standard 7928:2013'.  Last year umpires were required to check helmets, and at least one player whose head protection did not comply was formally reprimanded by CA (PTG 1658-8114, 7 October 2015). 

CA's umpires are required to ensure helmets are worn in each of the three situations outlined, otherwise they are not permitted to allow play to proceed. CA goes on to make it clear though that its umpires “are the sole judge of whether bowling is fast or medium-paced”, and that such assessments are to be made on what is considered ‘fast', 'medium-paced' or ‘slow' "within the context of [a] particular match”.

Clip-on guards that better protect the back of a batsman's neck are not part of BS7928:2013, and wicketkeepers can wear other types provided they are "approved in writing by [CA]”.  Last year two of Australia's leading wicketkeepers asked to be able to use a specialised helmet when standing up to the stumps, their claim being that using a batsmen’s helmet for such a purpose was not ideal (PTG 1673-8208, 28 October 2015.  That request is reported to have been rejected then but whether such approval has since been given by CA is not known.

While those are the requirements for matches played under direct CA auspices, just how the various state and local associations around the country will apply them, if at all, seems likely to vary considerably.  The same will apply in regards to another changes to CA Playing Conditions made recently, including that which says a batsmen can be dismissed caught, stumped or run out by a ball that comes directly off a fielder or keepers’ helmet, a situation that is contrary to the currently Laws of the game (PTG 1933-9714, 29 September 2016). 

CA second-tier referees attending pre-season workshop.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 3 October 2016.

PTG 1937-9745.

Around a dozen match referees who are to manage games in Cricket Australia’s (CA) Futures League, Womens National Cricket League, Womens Big Bash League and other lower-tier national competitions during the 2016-17 austral summer are to attend a one-day workshop at CA's National Cricket Centre in Brisbane on Tuesday.  CA’s six senior match referees met in Brisbane two weeks ago (PTG 1930-9702, 24 September 2016).

In addition to managing such games those involved, who include state-level match officials managers and those with long-term senior level umpiring experience, will provide assessments to CA on the performance of umpires standing in their games, key information that feeds into CA’s umpire coaching systems and development pathway selections.

Tuesday’s meeting is expected to look at two key issues, the first to try and ensure a common standard of assessment and reporting is applied in regards to umpire performance, and the second that any player Code of Conduct issues that arise during matches the referees are responsible for are handled in an appropriate and consistent manner.

The workshop is to be conducted by CA Match Referee and Umpire Selection Manager Simon Taufel, others expected to be in attendance to share their views and experiences being CA's Match Officials Unit manager Sean Easey, senior match referees Peter Marshall and David Talalla, umpire coach Ian Lock, and umpire educator Bob Parry.  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,938

 Wednesday, 5 October 2016


• Lodha directives threaten NZ series claims BCCI [1938-9746].

• Financial plight sees Durham relegated, handed $A6.3 m bailout [1938-9747].

• Umpire shows frustration after bowler ignores warning [1938-9748].

• CA, players set to open pay-war innings [1938-9749].

• WA batsman reprimanded for stump bat strike [1938-9750].

Lodha directives threaten NZ series claims BCCI

Press Trust of India.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016.

PTG 1938-9746.

The Indian Supreme Court’s Lodha Committee moved to clarify their position on its freeze of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) monies on Tuesday after the BCCI threatening to call off the ongoing series between India and New Zealand.  On Monday, the Lodha group announced it had “directed” banks that hold BCCI accounts not to distribute any funds in relation to financial decisions taken by the Board at its Special General Meeting (SGM) last Saturday (PTG 1937-9740, 4 October 2016). 

Lodha now says its financial direction actually applied to the BCCI not distributing monies to its state associations, but that there is “no prohibition” on funding “day-to-day affairs, routine expenditure and that scheduled matches should go on”.  However, the BCCI argues that state associations were depended on the national body for funds needed to organising matches, and that as such Lodha’s requirement is affecting preparations for the third and final Test against New Zealand and the One Day International series that follows that.

A senior BCCI official also said the directive affects domestic fixtures and that: “So far seven state associations have indicated they are unable to host games in the [coming] home season while another nine of them have inquired about the matter”.  He continued by saying:  "There is too much interference at the moment. People need to realise India has become a cricketing super power under BCCI's administration. We are the only sports body which has not taken a single penny from anyone including the government. We have created all the infrastructure on our own".

Financial plight sees Durham relegated, handed $A6.3 m bailout.

Mike Atherton.

The Times.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016.

PTG 1938-9747.

Durham have been relegated to division two of the County Championship because of its dire financial situation and given a £3.8m ($A6.3 m) bailout from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to help ensure the continuation of first-class cricket in England's northeast.  Reports last month indicated Durham’s debts to the local council, the ECB and others are in the region of £UK5-6 million ($A8.3-10 m) (PTG 1933-9717, 29 September 2016).  

When the 2016 County Championship season ended last month, Durham finished fourth in the nine-team Division one, 45 points clear of Hampshire, who were eighth, with bottom-placed Nottinghamshire being 31 points further adrift.  Hampshire and Nottinghamshire were therefore relegated to Division two, however, Durham’s situation means that Hampshire have now had a reprieve.

In what is a draconian punishment, Durham will also begin next season with a 48 championship point deduction in the first class County Championship, a four-point penalty in the ECB’s Twenty20 series, and a two-point deduction in the 50 over format one-day competition.  In addition, any non-player related prize money it earned in 2016 will be refunded or withheld until debts have been repaid, there can be no further development of Durham’s Chester-le-Street ground without ECB approval, they can no longer bids for Test cricket at the ground, and their salary cap must, for the next three years, be lower than previously. 

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison was quoted as saying: “The financial package and associated conditions approved by the board reflect the unprecedented seriousness of Durham’s financial situation. To help them through these difficulties and continue as a first-class county this had to be addressed with immediate, practical financial assistance”.

That assistance includes writing off £2 million ($A3.3 m) of debt to the ECB, and settling a debt of £1 million ($A1.7 m) to a secured creditor. By ensuring Durham’s financial survival, the ECB have given with one hand, but have taken away with the other, sending a message to other counties that breaching financial regulations will bring harsh consequences, and that they do not want to be seen as a lender of last resort (PTG 1625-7930, 22 August 2015). Durham will survive, but it will take enormous resolve from players who will feel that they have been punished for issues unrelated to them.

Durham, who won the County Championship just three years ago, were given a non-negotiable, take-it-or-leave-it proposition, which left them little, if any, wriggling room. There was little support for Durham’s position among other (conflicted, it must be said) county clubs. Many felt that Durham’s continued competitiveness was as a result of spending money they did not have. 

Umpire shows frustration after bowler ignores warning.

PTG Editor.

CA web site.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016.

PTG 1938-9748.

Australian umpire Rod Tucker showed considerable frustration after Indian spinner Ravindran Jadeja went into the Protected Area twice in two balls during the last day of the second Test against New Zealand in Kolkata on Monday.  Bowling to the visitor’s Tom Latham, Jadeja appealed vigorously, but unsuccessfully, for an LBW decision, his pleading taking him right into the Protected Area.

That action resulted in a clear warning from Tucker.  The very next ball though brought another unsuccessfully appeal from the bowler, this time for a caught behind, and once again it was the Protected Area across which Jadeja tramped.  Tucker, hands-on-hips, was clearly frustrated that his warning less than a minute before was ignored.

CA, players set to open pay-war innings.

Jon Pierik.

Fairfax Media.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016.

PTG 1938-9749.

Australia's cricketers will lodge their official submission for increased wages and conditions in less than three weeks, kick starting the latest round of negotiations (PTG 1827-9142, 14 May 2016).  Friday fortnight has been pencilled in as the date when discussions will officially begin, with the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA), or players’ union, and Cricket Australia (CA) working feverishly in recent months to ready themselves for what could be protracted negotiations.

One of the key agenda items will be women's pay (PTG 1903-9545, 20 August 2016). The ACA failed in its bid to have the women included in an overall memorandum of understanding earlier this year, but it is understood CA is now more open to this, which would also help women secure better conditions. Female players 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). But the issue will be where this extra money will come from.  

As it stands, money generated by the national womens’ side and the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL), such as through broadcasting rights, sponsorship, digital media and ticket sales, is not included in the revenue used to pay the men. The ACA is likely to argue that the money already generated by the women would greatly cover their needs but CA could argue that the men may have to share some of their revenue.

The women's payment pool jumped from $2.36 million to $4.23 million when announced in April. The base rate for an international cricketer also competing in the WBBL is $80,000, while match and tours fees ensure a six-figure salary. But the women do not have injury payments, visiting periods for partners while on tour and access to retirement funds.

ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said on Tuesday it was time for women to have better conditions.  “[CA] have done a lot of good work in the development of female cricket but now we would like to see the next step taken on this journey”, he said.  "Equality of terms and conditions, for all cricketers regardless of gender, is what we are striving for; and having male and female players in the same agreement is the best way to achieve this".

Outside of pure monetary matters, male cricketers have growing concerns about the lack of input they have in attempting to ease an increasingly congested international schedule, although this problem has arisen, in part, because of lucrative domestic Twenty20 tournaments. The players want to make international cricket more relevant – but plans for a two-tiered Test system have been scuttled by India. They also remain concerned the Sheffield Shield is being used for experimental reasons, pointing to three different types of ball – ‘Kookaburra' red and pink balls and the English ‘Duke' ball – being used this season (PTG 1842-9226, 2 June 2016).

WA batsman reprimanded for stump bat strike.

PTG Editor.

CA media release.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016.

PTG 1938-9750.

Western Australia’s Cameron Bancroft has been reprimanded for "abuse of cricket equipment" during his side’s Cricket Australia domestic one-day cup match against South Australia in Perth on Sunday.  After being dismissed by South Australia’s Wes Agar, Bancroft made contact with his bat to his off stump, a Level one offence..

Match referee Steve Bernard considered the written report prepared by umpires Greg Davidson and Paul Wilson before offering Bancroft  a reprimand, a sanction that he accepted therefore no formal hearing was required.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,939

 Thursday, 6 October 2016


• BCCI ‘threat' to cancel NZ series a calculated move against Lodha [1939-9751].

• Players support introduction of ‘Concussion Substitutes’, says CA [1939-9752].

• Counties must demand more ECB money: former Durham chairman [1939-9753].

• Kent’s chairman on the warpath over Hampshire reprieve [1939-9754].

• Umpires should give 'leeway' on sledging: England vice-captain [1939-9755].

• Off-field controversies, uncertainty, cloud Ranji Trophy build-up [1939-9756].

BCCI ‘threat' to cancel NZ series a calculated move against Lodha.

Press Trust of India.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016.

PTG 1939-9751.

Until now, the dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Indian Supreme Court’s Lodha Committee was just restricted to the courts and in press conferences. Now, there’s a very real threat that it could spill on to the cricket field with consequences that could affect world cricket as well. So just why did BCCI threaten to cancel the India-NZ series? Because they risk losing their financial clout.

It was only after a strong directive from the Supreme Court that the BCCI decided to bite the bullet. But even then, they cherry-picked and implemented only a few recommendations at their Special General Meeting (SGM) on Saturday (PTG 1936-9735, 2 October 2016).  Subsequently, the Lodha panel took exception to two financial decisions taken at the SGM (PTG 1937-9740, 4 October 2016), whichled to an unnamed Board member claiming Lodha’s move could risk the New Zealand series and domestic cricket (PTG 1938-9746, 5 October 2016).

But, it is important to understand that this entire set of affairs is only the tip of the iceberg. This is not a matter of two financial transactions by the BCCI. It is far bigger.

It is already accepted that the BCCI calls the shots in world cricket because of the huge financial clout it enjoys. A report in 2014 indicated that India as accounting for 80 per cent of the world game's revenue and 75 per cent of overall television viewership. If it is one thing the BCCI have done well, it is how they have monetised the game in India, leading to a huge financial windfall for everyone associated with the game in the country.

Naturally, this financial muscle allowed the Indian cricket body to exert considerable influence on world cricket's affairs. The BCCI used that heft so that they had to get their way whenever any dispute came up. The biggest example is the Umpire Decision Review System where India currently remains the only country to steadfastly oppose it, and hence, not use it, although they have once again recently suggested they may change their outlook on the system (PTG 1937-9743, 4 October 2016).

The Lodha panel's directive to banks asking them to freeze BCCI's financial transactions strikes at the very heart of that clout. While a lot of Lodha’s other recommendations revolved around changing the structure of governance, this recent directive is a sign that the Lodha panel is not averse to dropping the bomb on the golden goose of BCCI's might: money.

The Indian cricket body is in disarray and that might have prompted the threat to call off the India-New Zealand series. It has become a battle of the control of finances and BCCI cannot afford to blink. If it loses control of its financial powers, it will lose the muscle which allowed it to wield such a considerable influence on the world stage. In one swift stroke, India would lose all its bargaining power with the International Cricket Council.

It is not likely that the BCCI will cancel the India-New Zealand series. That would put cricket in disarray. But is likely that it was a veiled message from them, before the hearing with the Supreme Court on Thursday, that come what may, they are holding on to their turf.

Players support introduction of ‘Concussion Substitutes’, says CA.

Ben Horne.

Sydney Daily Telegraph

Thursday, 6 October 2016.

PTG 1939-9752.

Cricket Australia (CA) says players are fully behind the introduction of ‘Concussion Substitutes' for all domestic one-day matches played under CA auspices this austral summer (PTG 1936-9734, 2 October 2016).  The move is aimed at making the game safer for players and comes as a result of an independent review conducted for CA earlier this year into the death of batsman Phillip Hughes (PTG 9124, 12 May 2016), although concerns about concussion issues were around well before that tragic event (PTG 1465-7099, 23 November 2014).

For other sports such as Rugby League and the Australian Football League, the introduction of concussion replacements has been relatively simple, but for cricket, a sport that has never allowed for interchanges of any kind and traditionally asks players to tough it out through injury, it requires a fundamental adjustment to how the game has always been played.  So far there has been no negative feedback from players from states across the country, despite the significant change it makes to the game’s rules and ethos.

However, Sean Cary the head of CA operations, said it was important that cricket made a distinction between regular injuries and concussions.   “I’m no medical guru but I think concussion is a little bit different in that [it] can have such a significant long-term effect and that’s been proven in a number of sports”, Cary said.  “We’re treating it differently from other injuries in that respect.  If this helps then I think it’s an important step, but we are treating concussion differently from other soft tissue or broken bone-like injuries".

Cary said an incident involving former Test cricketer Ed Cowan during a Sheffield Shield match played in Christchurch, New Zealand, last February reflected a change in attitude from players across the game (PTG 1764-8799, 15 February 2016).  

Even though International Cricket Council (ICC) rules continue to prevent concussion substitutes from being used in first-class cricket, players from both sides in that Shield game apparently wanted Cowan’s New South Wales (NSW) side to be able to replace him after he suffered a brutal blow to the head while batting in Christchurch (PTG 1756-8758, 8 February 2016).  “Players will be open to this if someone is significantly concussed and they can see they’re not going to play any further part. I think everyone playing doesn’t want to give one team a significant disadvantage [when concussion is concerned]”.

Last May, the ICC’s Cricket Committee (CC) rejected, for the second time, CA’s Concussion Substitute proposal for first class cricket (PTG 1844-9246, 4 June 2016). It did stipulate though that the use of the latest British Safety Standard (BSS) helmets should be made mandatory in international cricket, something CA has in its current Playing Conditions (PTG 1937-9744, 4 October 2016).   The ICC Committee formulated their view after a presentation on injury surveillance trends provided to them by the world body's medical consultant Dr Craig Ranson, expressing concerns afterwards "that there were still too many instances of international cricketers wearing helmets which did not meet the latest [BSS]”.

News of the ‘Concussion Substitutes’ arrangement came a week ahead of the start, next Monday, of the five-day coronial inquest into the death of batsman Phillip Hughes in Sydney at which a number of players and officials who were present when he was struck are expected to be called to give evidence.  NSW Coroner Michael Barnes’ hearing is expected to focus on helmet safety, ambulance response time, the appropriateness of media coverage of the event, and the “nature of play” (PTG 1850-9276, 10 June 2016).  

Counties must demand more ECB money: former Durham chairman.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

PTG 1939-9753.

Clive Leach, the former Durham chairman, has urged counties to stand up to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and demand a “fairer share” of the broadcast money that flows into the game.  Leach stood down at the weekend after twelve years as chairman and only a day before the ECB announced a string of punishments for Durham, including relegation from the Championship’s Division one, in return for a £UK3.8 million ($A6.3 m) bail-out (PTG 1938-9747, 5 October 2016). 

Durham ran up debts of £7.5 million ($A12.5 m) and Leach warned in the annual accounts last month that the club would not meet their liabilities for a year. Durham were put up for sale in the summer but Leach says buyers were put off making bids by the control the counties have to concede to the ECB.  The ECB pays counties an annual fee of £2 million ($A3.3 m) and almost all clubs have at some point asked for an emergency advance on their dividend to tide them over during cash flow shortages (PTG 1825-9126, 12 May 2016).

Over the past decade the ECB has built up offshore reserves of around £73 million ($A122 m), although this is budgeted to fall to around £45 million ($A75 m) when the Board returns a loss next year because the 2016 northern summer tours by Sri Lanka and Pakistan did not attract big overseas TV deals.  The reserves have been developed to cover an unforeseen event such as a tour cancellation or other acute financial crisis.

Leach believes though that too much of the money is being kept by the Board and thinks eventually there will be a backlash from players who want to be paid more.  He said: “The money that comes into cricket has to be distributed in a much more clear and fair way". “The clubs have got to say enough is enough. We own 1/18th of the ECB as shareholders, so own one 1/18th of the rights that come into the game. That is how the money is split in other successful sports but not at the ECB. In the end I believe the players will start asking questions” (PTG 1832-9710, 20 May 2016).

Durham have no option but to accept the ECB’s punishment with no appeals process in place to reverse or soften the sanctions.  In other sports such as football, similar punishments are appealed against. But the ECB’s decision was not made by a disciplinary committee so there is nowhere for Durham to go within the game to argue their case. They have in effect agreed a commercial deal with the ECB that brings much-needed cash with long strings attached.  The chairman of at least one other county is however disturbed by the way decisions were taken on the matter (PTG 1939-9754 below).

Kent’s chairman on the warpath over Hampshire reprieve.

Press Association

Wednesday, 5 October 2016.

PTG 1939-9754.

George Kennedy, the chairman of County Championship second division side Kent, claims the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has dealt his county “an unfair hand” by not considering them for promotion to Division One in place of demoted Durham.  Kent finished second in Division two in 2016 behind top side Essex who were promoted, but the ECB chose to allow previously relegated Division one side Hampshire to stay in the upper level of the competition in 2017 (PTG 1939-9753 above).

In a statement issued on Monday, the ECB said that Hampshire’s retention of Division one status is “in accordance with ECB’s competition regulations”.  Kent’s Kennedy, however, believes it is “embarrassing”, “plumb wrong” and “against the spirit of cricket” to have chosen Hampshire “arbitrarily” as the beneficiaries of Durham’s demotion. He is therefore planning to take up an invitation to meet the ECB chairman, Colin Graves, over the next week to state Kent’s case as the 2016 northern summer’s Division two runners-up. 

Kennedy learned of the arrangements only when contacted by the media for his response. He told Sky Sports News: “The ECB at that stage hadn’t told me”, he said. “They had, unfortunately, told Hampshire they were staying up a day or so earlier – so it was rather embarrassing all round”.  “I would have expected them to at least have had a look at number two in the second division” . “But we heard nothing at all”.

Since then, however, he has been in contact with the ECB. “They called me and said ‘Look, it’s time we had a meeting’ – because I had said I’d rather lost confidence in the ECB, and you can understand why.  They want to try to repair that damage. We finished second; there seems to be a vacancy, and to arbitrarily take one club and let them stay up without even looking at the others just seems plumb wrong. I think we deserve to be at least looked at”.

An ECB spokesman issued no response to any of Kennedy’s specific remarks other than to spell out the premise on which Hampshire remain in Division One.  He said: “[The] decision to reinstate Hampshire was in line with the two-down, one-up relegation and promotion rules for this season’s county championship which were notified to all counties and published prior to start of the 2016 season”.

Kennedy is hoping that his county will not need to consider legal action. “Kent at least is in a very stable financial situation and ready to move forward – but to move forward for another year in the second division would be a little depressing, when we haven’t even had a chance to present our case”, he said.  “The last thing I want to do is end up in court with an organisation like the ECB. But I’m hoping they won’t be totally intransigent and at least they’ll listen to our arguments”.

Meanwhile, Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove has risked annoying Durham further by suggesting his own county’s hopes of hosting an Ashes Test have been boosted by Durham’s Riverside ground losing its Test status as part of the ECB’s financial bailout requirements.  Hampshire have never hosted an Ashes Test but Durham staged one in 2013. 

Umpires should give 'leeway' on sledging: England vice-captain.

BBC World Service.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016.

PTG 1939-9755.

Umpires should give 'leeway' on sledging, says Ben Stokes England's one-day vice-captain for the current tour of Bangladesh as they can jump in “too early” and make “a situation out of nothing”.  Stokes told the BBC: “We’re trying to win a game playing for our country, so give us a bit of leeway” as "some fans want players to sledge each other".  “They like to see passion and desire to win, so I think there could be a bit more lenience towards stuff like that, definitely”, said the 25-year-old.

Off-field controversies, uncertainty, cloud Ranji Trophy build-up.

Shashank Kishore.

Cricinfo.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016.

PTG 1939-9756.

The 2016-17 season of India's Ranji Trophy first class series is to begin on Thursday in uncertain times for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which has been put in the dock after its failure to implement several key Lodha Committee recommendations (PTG 1939-9751 above).  While it may not directly affect the 28 teams and 700-odd Ranji players, it is impossible to ignore that situation, and added to that are the teams' concerns of playing at neutral venues, a move adopted as a result of a recommendation by the BCCI’s technical committee.

Chaos has been a constant in the build-up to the season. The board announced the Ranji Trophy schedule at the start of September, just  a month before it is to begin. During that time there was a push to play the tournament with the pink ball and BCCI president Anurag Thakur confirmed the move even though the board had shelved its plans for a day-night Test this season. Several sides then confirmed that they hadn't received the pink ball for training, which forced the board to continue with the existing ‘SG' Red ball. 

Additionally, logistical nightmares, not entirely of the board's making, sprang up with several sides being allotted new venues for their opening games. Political tensions along the border of the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu because of a dispute over water supplies forced Karnataka's opening match against Jharkhand to be moved from Chennai to Greater Noida near Delhi. Tamil Nadu's December match in Belgaum may also be moved, while the first-round Saurashtra-Rajasthan game was shifted Chennai because of "unforeseen issues". It is such scenarios that the ten teams in the competition’s Group C and nine each in Groups A and B, will have to battle during the season.

The 17 curators in charge of preparing grounds across the country, seven more than were used last year, will have a tough job of trying to find the "middle path”. Several admitted they were hesitant to prepare either a green surface or a turner for the fear games would not last four days. The only difference this season, though, is that with neutral venues teams will not have a distinct home advantage, compared to the previous two seasons when associations were guilty of producing surfaces with varying degrees of dryness and grass cover to suit their needs.

That said, surfaces in different parts of the country have specific characteristics. It is a given teams will encounter swing in Lahli, spin in Chennai and bounce, to an extent, in Mohali. The problematic bit is when sides try to go out of the norm and tailor tracks according to their needs. The weather poses another challenge for curators. With winter slowly setting in in early November, lack of sunshine and fog could hinder curators in India's north. With conditions suiting the fast bowlers, spinners have been largely redundant. 

Instead of going to neutral venues to try and stop home sides preparing pitches that suit their bowlers, there is the question of whether there is a case to be made for docking points from teams for under-prepared surfaces. A few coaches have also suggested that the system of home and away matches could continue without a toss being non-mandatory, in which case a visiting captain could choose to bat or bowl as was trialled during the 2016 English county season (PTG 1931-9707, 25 September 2016). 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,940

 Friday, 7 October 2016

 

• BCCI faces Supreme Court intervention after resisting reforms [1940-9757].

• NSW women’s side turn full-time professionals [1940-9758].

• State colleagues appointed to main CA U-17 tournament final [1940-9759].

BCCI faces Supreme Court intervention after resisting reforms.

Reuters.

Friday, 7 October 2016.

PTG 1940-9757.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is facing a possible leadership crisis after the country's Supreme Court demanded it accept sweeping changes by Friday. The BCCI has again been challenged after it agreed to implement only some, not all, of the forms recommended by the court-appointed Lodha panel.  

India’s chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur said on Thursday: "We will pass an appropriate order [on Friday] if the BCCI refuses to give any undertaking [to accept the reforms]”.  The Lodha panel blocked the BCCI from making two payments to its state associations on Tuesday, while approving routine expenditure (PTG 1939-9751, 6 October 2016).  The BCCI have yet to reply to a request for comment on the Supreme Court's Friday deadline.

NSW women’s side turn full-time professionals.

James Buckley.

Fairfax Media.

Thursday, 6 October 2016.

PTG 1940-9758.

• 

As of Thursday morning, every member of New South Wales’ senior women’s team will be able to pursue the sport full-time after a landmark move by Cricket NSW turned them into Australia's first full-time professional domestic women's sporting team.  In less than ten years NSW women cricketers have gone from not earning a cent to enjoying a minimum wage of $A35,000 (£UK20,860), with leading international players now capable of pocketing upwards of $A100,000 a season (£59,600).

The move follows Cricket Australia's (CA) increase of total women's payments last April, which boosted minimum payments for internationals to $A40,000 (£23,840) and maximum retainers to $A65,000 (£38,730) (PTG 1795-8965, 8 April 2016).  It also follows last month's announcement by Netball Australia a pool of almost $A5.5 million (£3.3 m) will be shared among 80 players in its new National Netball League.  The Australian Cricketers’ Association, or player’s union, is hoping for a further boost to female players’ pay (PTG 1938-9749, 5 October 2016).

NSW coach Jo Broadbent and her four full-time staff now have the ability to conduct training sessions during office hours before CA's domestic season which for NSW starts in Brisbane next Thursday.  She still recalls the days of her career when playing cricket as a woman, and winning the 1998 World Cup, left her out of pocket.  

In those days "Representing your state team, you're probably paying about $A1,500-2,000 (£895-1,190) to go away, that's not including the uniform and your blazers”, Broadbent said.  "They'd told us on the [1998 World Cup] tour that we'd get a bill for the tour and we're all thinking, 'You win a World Cup and you've got to pay for it’?  Then a publican just came out of nowhere and we were just told that our bills were paid for and that we didn't have to pay them.  We weren't getting much publicity back in the '90s [so] for someone to do that [was amazing] and I never found out who that person was either”.

NSW veteran Alex Blackwell never had to pay her way, but Australia's most capped player said it wasn't until about six years ago that she started earning a crust from cricket.  The 33-year-old pursued a medical degree after leaving high school, but abandoned plans to be a doctor in 2007 to remain a cricketer, and instead studied genetic counselling.  She admits she never thought women's cricket would become professional during her playing career.

"We used to rock up at Cricket NSW [headquarters at the Sydney Cricket Ground] at about 5.30, ready for a 6 p.m. training session; the Waugh brothers and the other NSW men’s squad were leaving at that time having had an amazing training session during the day”, Blackwell said.  "They could go home, put some dinner on and have a regular life, whereas we were actually starting our training after a full day at uni or a full day at work.  We used to dream about [being] like the Waugh brothers”.

State colleagues appointed to main CA U-17 tournament final.

PTG Editor.

CA media release.

Thursday, 6 October 2016.

PTG 1940-9759.

New South Wales (NSW) umpires Troy Penman and Glen Stubbings stood in the main final of Cricket Australia’s (CA) men’s Under-17 National Championships in Brisbane on Thursday.   In other finals matches, Steve Dionysius (Queensland) and Cain Kemp (South Australia) managed the third-fourth place game, Steven Farrell (Queensland) and Todd Rann (WA) that for fifth-sixth spots, Dinusha Bandara (ACT) and Muhammad Qureshi (Tasmania) the seventh-eighth decider, and Marc Nickl (NSW) Deanne Young (ACT) the match for nine-tenth places.

Penman, the NSW Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association administration manager, took up umpiring four years ago and made his debut at Premier League club level in Sydney in December 2014, Stubbings doing so a month later.  Both are in their twenties and started on CA's umpire high performance pathway at recent Australian '15 and Under’ Championships.  Their selection for the main U-17 final indicates observers rated them first-second of the umpire panel for their performances across the seven games that led up to Thursday’s finals, other appointments that day also reflecting overall assessments.

For Nickl, Qureshi and Young it was their second U-17 series, Kemp his third and Rann his fourth.  During the ten days of the Brisbane tournament, all ten umpires stood in eight one-day games.  On the competition’s two ‘rest days’ they took part in education and training sessions organised by CA’s Match Officials’ Unit that were designed to continue their on-going development as match officials.  For Penman and Stubbings and a number of their colleagues, the next major step on CA’s umpire pathway will be selection for the national body's men’s Under-19 tournament in late 2017. 

 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,941

 Saturday, 8 October 2016

 

• ECB gives 2017 Edgbaston day-night Test the nod [1941-9760].

• Supreme Court puts BCCI hearing put off for ten days [1941-9761].

• Researchers looking English game’s sporting ethos [1941-9762].

• Pakistan get day-night warm-up for Brisbane Test [1941-9763].

ECB gives 2017 Edgbaston day-night Test the nod.

Richard Hobson.

The Times.

Friday, 7 October 2016.

PTG 1941-9760.

Edgbaston will host the first day-night Test match in England next year after the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) agreed to the pink-ball fixture (PTG 1927-9681, 21 September 2016). The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) hopes that the game in mid-August will spur the five-day format outside London and help to draw a new, younger audience towards the sport, plus prepare England players for the near certainty of a similar game there come the Ashes series in 2017-18.

England and the West Indies will play warm-up fixtures under lights before heading to Edgbaston for what will be the first Test of the scheduled three-match series, the hours of play will being from 2-9 p.m.  The official sunset time in Birmingham at that time of the year is close to 8.25 p.m.

Tom Harrison, the ECB's chief executive, said that the players were in support via their union, the Professional Cricketers’ Association. Neither the WICB nor the International Cricket Council is thought to have taken much persuading.  “We expect this to have a real impact on our market as we continue to try to do things that make the game a bit more accessible to audiences around the country with a particular focus on young people”, said Harrison.

He indicated that "Edgbaston is a great venue to play this game to see what impact it has [for] if we put a Test match on in London, it sells out. Outside London, it is not as straightforward, and maybe this will help to break down some of those new communities that have not been to Test cricket at Edgbaston before”.

Tickets for the Test go on sale on Monday. Harrison said: “It is a good opportunity for us again to stick a stake in the ground and say, ‘Look, we are prepared to innovate and look at new opportunities as and when they come.’ Also, giving our guys the experience before playing in similar conditions in Adelaide is useful”.

Plans for a day-night trial in the final round of championship matches last season had to be abandoned because the designated Warwickshire versus Lancashire game was a “live” relegation issue.  But the ECB took positive soundings from an earlier second XI match between Warwickshire and Worcestershire played under lights at Edgbaston. That contest was chosen because the dates of August 22-24 were close to those of the West Indies game next year (PTG 1909-9578, 27 August 2016). 

Final approval in England has been a long time coming. Giles Clarke, the then ECB chairman, wanted England to entertain Bangladesh under lights as far back as 2010, the first year that the curtain-raiser to the domestic season between a Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) XI and the champion county was played with a pink ball in Abu Dhabi.

Harrison said: “We think the [pink] ball is in good shape and that will improve. If we were not comfortable with the development of the ball it would not have got through our cricket committee”.  Andrew Strauss, the England director of cricket said: “What I do not want us to do is stick our heads in the sand and pretend everything will be OK.  With the shifting sands of international cricket we need to be proactive rather than reactive”.

The second day-night Test begins next Thursday between Pakistan and the West Indies in Dubai, a venue that has typically struggled to draw crowds for the format. Australia have been emboldened by their own success and will host pink-ball games at Adelaide in the final Test of their three-match series against South Africa and Brisbane for the first Test of another three-match series against Pakistan.

Supreme Court puts BCCI hearing put off for ten days.

Cricinfo.

Friday, 7 October 2016.

PTG 1941-9761.

India's Supreme Court has put off passing a final order concerning the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) implementation of the Lodha Committee recommendations until its next working day on Monday week.  The court had initially given the board one day to provide an undertaking that it would accept the recommendations "unconditionally" by Friday (PTG 1940-9757, 7 October 2016). The matter had been listed for consideration after all other cases listed for the day had been heard but in the end that wasn't possible.

Despite that India’s Chief Justice TS Thakur said in court that BCCI president Anurag Thakur must file a personal affidavit to respond to whether he had approached the International Cricket Council (ICC) asking for a letter that may have aided the board in not implementing the Lodha Committee's recommendations.  

He was referring to a story that ran in the India media last month which quoted ICC chief executive David Richardson as saying the BCCI president had asked the ICC to address a letter to the BCCI, asking it to clarify whether the recommendations of the Lodha Committee did not amount to government interference in the board's running.  According to Richardson, ICC chairman Shashank Manohar, who Thakur succeeded as BCCI president, had been reluctant to get involved in the matter unless "formally" requested to.

The court also said that whatever amounts had been given by the BCCI to certain state associations after the board's annual general meeting two weeks ago would go into a fixed term deposit, and would be released only after those state associations provided the court with a resolution that they were adopting the Lodha Committee's recommendations.

A BCCI official said the board would continue to stick to its stance that it will not give the undertaking asked by the court to "unconditionally" implement the recommendations and timelines of the Lodha Committee. When asked whether the postponement to Monday week would give the BCCI time to reach out to the state associations and get their opinion, the official said the absence of senior board personnel would be a hurdle.

Both BCCI president Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke will be in Cape Town from this weekend to attend ICC board meetings that are due to run from Monday to Thursday next week.  They are due to return to India the day before the Supreme Court next considers the matter.

Researchers looking English game’s sporting ethos.

PTG Editor.

Friday, 7 October 2016.

PTG 1941-9762. 

Researchers at Portsmouth University are looking to obtain the perspective of cricket umpires and rugby referees as to whether the principals of player behaviour that used to be a core part of each sport’s ethos are different today than they may have been in the past.  In order to do that they are asking cricket umpires from as many areas as possible across England who are active in the game to respond to an on-line survey that takes 5-10 minutes to complete.

Questions in the survey explores are designed to elicit the views of today’s match officials about such factors as sportsmanship, attitude to teamwork, respect for those involved, enjoyment obtained and the discipline participants apply to their games.  Such things, say researchers Mike Rayner and Tom Webb of the university’s Department of Sport and Exercise Science, "have historically defined both sports", and they want to determine if they still do.

Of the survey’s 26 questions, a third focus on the person providing the details: which county; years and level of umpiring; and the average commute they have to their games.  The second section asks for comments on training products, personal development and promotional opportunities available to umpires by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Association of Cricket Officials.  The third part focusses on the umpire abuse question: how often if any; whether its varies from competition to competition; it the frequency of such things has increased in recent years; whether such issues make umpires question who they are involved in the game; and if they thinking of leaving the game because of abuse.

News of the research comes after a northern hemisphere season in which the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) conducted a trial into the use of ‘red' or ‘yellow' cards in some club, university and schools cricket in England to see how effective such an approach would be in stamping out excessive sledging and curb the increase of violent behaviour.  The MCC's move came after five matches in England were abandoned 2015 due to violence (PTG 1759-8772, 10 February 2016).

'PTG’ reported on all five of those games soon after the incidents occurred, the number of such abandonments that have come to light in England in 2016 being three.  In July this year a Huddersfield Cricket League game was abandoned due to fighting (PTG 1921-9647, 10 September 2016), as was Yorkshire and Derbyshire Cricket League fixture PTG 1902-9543, 18 August 2016).  The same thing happened in Cherwell League Division 4 match in August (PTG 1915-9615, 3 September 2016).

Pakistan get day-night warm-up for Brisbane Test.

CA media release.

Friday, 7 October 2016.

PTG 1941-9763.

Pakistan will warm up for their first day-night Test against Australia in December with a match under lights in Cairns in far north Queensland.  The tourists, who are to play their first ever day-night Test in Dubai next week, are to play a Cricket Australia XI over three days starting on 8 December, a week before the Brisbane Test,

It will be the first international match in Cairns since it hosted Tests against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2003 and 2004.  Cricket Australia head of operations Sean Cary said Cairns was an ideal venue to host the tour match.  "The lighting at Cazalys Stadium is very good and the overall playing conditions are first-class”, he said.  "The pitch has had a very good reputation and we are confident it will provide a competitive environment”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,942

 Monday, 10 October 2016

 

• South Australian disquiet leads to state parliamentary inquiry [1942-9764].

• Jadeja fined for repeated Protected Area incursions [1942-9765].

• Three receive reprimands in CA U-17 series [1942-9766].

South Australian disquiet leads to state parliamentary inquiry.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 10 October 2016.

PTG 1942-9764.

A South Australian parliamentary select inquiry has lifted the lid on bitter infighting in cricket’s corridors of power at the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA). The dysfunction in the nation’s worst performing cricket state which has not won a Sheffield Shield in 20 years runs all the way to the top, according to former SACA board member Glenn Bain.

Bain's testimony before the parliamentary committee last week paints SACA’s administration as a closed shop that doesn’t deal well with dissent.  The select committee was convened by the South Australian parliament to investigate the SACA after it tried to force two of the state’s oldest clubs, Port Adelaide and West Torrens, who play in its top-tier competition that feeds the state’s first class side, to amalgamate. The clubs, which were both formed in 1897, were told if they didn’t, one of them would be axed (PTG 1801-9001, 15 April 2016). 

During the parliamentary hearing, Bain said the case to merge the clubs was based on little more than a report to the board from a SACA staff member.  He indicated SACA’s cricket operations manager told the board last November that Port were struggling to field sides in lower and junior sides.  A follow up report the next month was that the situation had not improved and the recommendation was put that Port Adelaide should be removed from the competition.

Bain said that Keith Bradshaw, SACA’s chief executive, and another board member were “concerned about the negative public relations that could eventuate if SACA removed Port Adelaide.  When both clubs brought a strong protest campaign to bear SACA “beat a retreat”, which led to both being “granted additional time to work through merger discussions.

SACA representatives are scheduled to appear before the parliamentary select committee in Adelaide during the coming week.

Jadeja fined for repeated Protected Area incursions.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 10 October 2016.

PTG 1942-9765.

Indian Ravindra Jadeja has been penalised half of his match fee for “causing avoidable damage to the pitch during the third Test against New Zealand in Indore on Sunday.  Umpire Bruce Oxenford awarded New Zealand five penalty runs when Jadeja ran down the middle of the pitch for the fourth timing during his innings after previously receiving two ‘informal’ warnings and one ‘official’ warning.  

As per recently changed International Cricket Council regulations the Indian also earned three demerit points. If he receives one more demerit point, within a two-year time frame, he could be suspended from one Test, or two One Day Internationals or two Twenty20 Internationals, whichever comes first.

Three receive reprimands in CA U-17 series.

PTG Editor.

Sunday, 9 October 2016.

PTG 1942-9766.

Three players were reprimanded for their actions during Cricket Australia’s Under-17 national championship series over the last two weeks, one of them being a batsman who transgressed following a team warning in regard to "avoidable or deliberate" damage to the pitch.  The other two cases involved the use of offensive language.

Tasmania’s Fletcher Bennett, the batsman concerned, had been advised on reaching the crease that his team was on a final warning after a batsman from his side had been warned about pitch damage earlier in the innings.  However, Bennett repeated the offence and as a result the unnamed umpire concerned disallowed the runs scored off the ball concerned, awarded five penalty runs as required by Law 42.14, and reported the offence to match authorities. Bennett subsequently pleaded guilty and accepted the proposed sanction of a Reprimand.

Those reprimanded for using offensive language were James Pike of Western Australia and Will Sutherland of the Victoria Metropolitan side.  Both pleaded guilty and accepted the proposed sanction of a reprimand.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,943

 Tuesday, 11 October 2016

 

• Coroner told unsportsmanlike conduct not a factor in Hughes death [1943-9767].

• Umpires' responsibility to safeguard pitch, says NZ coach [1943-9768].

• Sports Commission survey seeks views of Aussie match officials [1943-9769].

• Two fined, one reprimanded, for ODI on-field confrontation [1943-9770].

• Another ODI, more fines for players behaving badly [1943-9771].

• Warning, demerit point, handed out for dissent [1943-9772].

• MCC ‘delighted’ about Edgbaston day-night Test [1943-9773].

Coroner told unsportsmanlike conduct not a factor in Hughes death.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Monday, 10 October 2016.

PTG 1943-9767.

Former New South Wales captain Brad Haddin told the first day of a five-day Coronial inquest into the death of South Australian batsman Phillip Hughes’ at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) almost two years ago that he did not instruct his team to bowl more short balls at the former NSW player.  Hughes, 25, was struck on the neck by a ball during a Sheffield Shield match at the SCG, and died after the injury to his neck caused a haemorrhage in his brain (PTG 1469-7113, 27 November 2014).

NSW State coroner Michael Barnes is examining the circumstances surrounding Hughes' death, including whether the 'nature of play' exacerbated the risk of injury, the response to his injury was appropriate, and if a different type of batting helment would have reduced the likelihood of death.  Several players and others who were at the SCG that day are likely to be called to give evidence during a hearing that is expected to run until Friday (PTG 1939-9752, 6 October 2016).

Barnes said on opening of the inquest that “quite clearly the death [of Hughes] was a terrible accident, but that does not mean that cricket cannot be made safer”.  In the opening address delivered by counsel assisting the Coroner, Kristina Stern, the inquest heard that NSW team doctor, John Orchard, was performing mouth-to-mouth on Hughes within five minutes of the accident.  It also heard it took more than an hour before an ambulance was able to deliver him to hospital. 

Stern said that she anticipates the time taken to get Hughes to hospital had no impact upon whether he died or not for his passing "appears to have been inevitable from the point of impact”.  The inquest was told Hughes was struck by a 152 km/h delivery on the left side of the neck, the force of the ball lifting and rotating his head, and causing "severe trauma to his vertebral artery".

Haddin was questioned over safety and team strategy issues.  The former Australian vice captain told the inquest he did not instruct his team to bowl “a higher number of" short balls and there was “no discussion” about such an approach.  According to him: "The game was played in a good spirit. It was just a normal game of cricket and there was no ungentlemanly conduct and no talk of sledging, or verbal intimidation".  

Greg Melick, the lawyer for the Hughes family, said they have concerns NSW fast bowler Doug Bollinger, who did not bowl the ball that struck the late batsman, said to batsman Hughes: "I'm going to kill you”.  Bollinger told the court he never said that, adding he did not feel Hughes had been targeted in any way, in fact he had not "sledged" or verbally intimidated Hughes that day at all.  

Stern questioned Bollinger over details of a legal statement he made in which he said he had bowled just two bouncers at Hughes before he was struck by another bowler.  She said that "umpire analysis" showed that altogether across the bowling attack, 23 bouncers were bowled during the course of the day, and of that Hughes received 20 of them in the 161 ball he faced.  Bollinger responded by saying: "After watching the footage of my bowling, I was bowling to regulation”.

NSW Police Detective Senior Constable Jay Tonkin told the court that none of the players recalled the alleged “kill you" sledge when they gave their statements, which were taken some 18 months after the incident.  Stern said the umpires on the day, Ash Barrow and Mike Graham-Smith, "did not recall any on-field talk between the opposing cricketers that concerned them nor of any concerns being raised by the batsmen”. 

Haddin was also asked by Stern about the emergency medical procedures in place on the day.  The then NSW captain said he did not feel the procedures or equipment available required improvement.  "For me personally, I'm comfortable with what we have available", he said. "I've played the game a long time and I've never felt uncomfortable with those procedures in place”.

Stern said the area of Hughes' neck which was struck by the ball was not protected by the helmet and there was no suggestion his helmet malfunctioned.   "Since this incident, ‘Masuri', the helmet manufacturer, has introduced the  'stem guard' which clips onto a cricket helmet and provides additional protection in a flexible form in the neck area”, she said (PTG 1535-7393, 14 March 2015).  Hughes's helmet complied with Australian standards but not with the 2013 British standard, said Stern, but "it did not appear” that a 2013 standard helmet would have prevented his death as it did not include stem guards.

A spokesman for the Hughes family, his former manager James Henderson, admitted that it would be a "very, very, very difficult week" for the relatives.  "They're hoping that perhaps there will be [something] positive come out of Phillip's death as we go through this".  Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland made a similar comment: “It's an emotionally challenging time for those involved" and his "thoughts were with the Hughes family and his cricketing friends and teammates.  We never want to see a tragedy like this happen on the cricket field and to that end we have the utmost respect for the coronial inquest and the process we all need to go through this week”.

In May, CA released the findings and recommendations of an independent review into Hughes's death (PTG 1825-9124, 12 May 2016).  They found that wearing a more modern helmet and a neck guard would have been unlikely to prevent the cricketer's death.  As a result of those findings CA has introduced specific requirements about helmet standards and use in games played under its auspices (PTG 1937-9744, 4 October 2016).

Umpires' responsibility to safeguard pitch, says NZ coach.

Ganesh Chandrasekaran.

Monday, 10 October 2016.

PTG 1943-9768.

Speaking after play on the second day of the third Test against India in Indore on Sunday, New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said the umpires have to be "very decisive" about how they look after the pitch.  "There are rules in place and they need to stick to them”, said Hesson, whose comment follows the fine and demerit points handed to Indian spinner Ravindran Jadeja for running down the middle of the pitch on four occasions while he was batting on Sunday (PTG 1942-9765, 10 October 2016).

The five runs handed to New Zealand as a result of Jadeja’s pitch trampling might not cost India much but one footmark extra will be a goldmine for their spinners, Jadeja himself and Ravichandran Ashwin. They are experts at exploiting the footmarks on a pitch and are skillful enough to keep landing the ball consistently in those areas. The advantage of doing so is unpredictable spin and bounce and if it's in line with the stumps, the danger it presents if magnified.  There is no doubt that the Indians are aware of it.  

Sports Commission survey seeks views of Aussie match officials.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 10 October 2016.

PTG 1943-9769.

Australian cricket scorers, referees and umpires, as well as match officials from a host of other sports, are being asked by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC), a government agency, to provide details of their views, experiences and the “operating environment” they work in so that those who officiate in sport across that country can be "better supported”.   Those involved are asked to provide a snapshot of their perspectives by answering 60 questions contained in an on-line survey that takes around 20 minutes to complete.

Apart from identifying what level of their sport respondents are involved, they core issues the survey, which covers both the ‘professional and ‘grass roots’ areas, focusses on include: the time an official spends on related tasks each week; happiness or otherwise with remuneration received; what they see as the biggest challenges involved; the appropriateness and quality of training, accreditation and associated support available; communication from central bodies; how good or otherwise current structures and management are perceived; and whether there is any need for a specific coverall national sports officials organisation.  

ASC says the data collected will assist it in developing support and resources, as well as supporting sporting organisations, in the "development of best practice models for officiating pathways and development opportunities".  The survey, which went on line on Monday, will close next Friday, but no time frame for output from it has been announced by the Sports Commission.  Cricket Australia took the, to date, unusual approach on Monday of sending details of the survey to its accredited umpires e-mail list around the country and asked they they respond with their views.

Two fined, one reprimanded, for ODI on-field confrontation.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release.

Monday, 10 October 2016.

PTG 1943-9770.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza and middle-order batsman Sabbir Rahman have both been fined 20 per cent of their match fees, while England captain Jos Buttler has received an official reprimand, for their actions during their sides’ second One Day International (ODI) in Mirpur on Sunday.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) said the incident involved occurred in the 28th over of England’s run-chase when Mashrafe and Sabbir “overreacted" after Bangladesh’s LBW review against Buttler was successful, the England captain responding by making what the ICC described as "inappropriate comments".

Charges over the incident were levelled by on-field umpires Aleem Dar and Sharfuddoula, third umpire Marais Erasmus and fourth umpire Anisur Rahman.  Match referee Javagal Srinath found both the Bangladesh players used "language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batsman upon his/her dismissal during an international match”.  Buttler was found to have used “language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an international match”. 

While this was the first offence for the two captains, Sabbir has been sanctioned for the second time since the introduction of the ICC's revised disciplinary code. He became the first to receive ICC demerit points two weeks ago for “using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an international match” (PTG 1932-9711, 27 September 2016).   As such, he now has three demerit points against his name.

If the three players reach four or more demerit points within a 24-month period, the points will be converted into at least two suspension points which will equate to a ban from their next match or matches. Two suspension points means a ban from one Test or two ODIs or two Twenty20 Internationals, whatever comes first for the player.

Following the match England’s Ben Stokes found himself at the centre of a social media storm for claiming on Twitter that some Bangladeshi players had refused to shake hands after the game.  That brought an equally unedifying response from opposition players.

Another ODI, more fines for players behaving badly.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release.

Monday, 10 October 2016.

PTG 1943-9771.

Australia wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and South Africa spinner Tabraiz Shamsi have been fined 25 per cent of their match fees and given one disciplinary demerit point for a heated incident during their sides' fourth one-day international in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.  Both players were found to have engaged in "conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game”.

The incident occurred during the 17th over of Australia's innings when Wade's top-edged sweep landed very close to a South African outfielder, which prompted Shamsi to offer some prolonged advice to the Australian keeper captain.  Shortly after, as he ran through for a single from Shamsi’s bowling, Wade veered towards the South Africa left-arm wrist spinner and might have even have brushed his shirt with his left elbow as he ran past with Shamsi standing stock still on the pitch edge

The International Cricket Council said that ."Shamsi and Wade twice ignored the umpires’ instructions by continuing to verbally and aggressively engage with each other for a prolonged period and in doing so, displayed behaviour which was deemed as contrary to the spirit of the game”.  Wade admitted the offence after the match and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Chris Broad, while Shamsi pleaded not guilty and attended a formal hearing in which video evidence was also used.  

When asked about the incident after the game, Wade claimed he did not believe it was a serious matter, saying: “I hope it all stays out there, there wasn’t a lot in it to be honest”. “It’s just competitive cricket really. It gets me in the contest I feel so I like that side of the game. “It obviously gets blown out of all proportion at times with the all the technology around the wicket and stump [microphones] and cameras everywhere”.

Warning, demerit point, handed out for dissent.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release.

Monday, 10 October 2016.

PTG 1943-9772.

West Indies’ Erva Giddings has received an official warning, and earned one disciplinary demerit point, for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during her side’s opening One-Day International against England in Jamaica on Saturday, a Level One breach.  The incident happened in the 45th over of the West Indies’ innings when Giddings, after being given LBW, showed her bat to the umpire to indicate that she had hit the ball first.

The charge was levelled by on-field umpires Gregory Brathwaite and Nigel Duguid and third official Jacqueline Williams.  After the match, Giddings admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by remote match referee David Jukes. As such, there was no need for a formal hearing.  Level One breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand, a maximum penalty of 50 per cent of a player’s match fee, and one or two demerit points.

MCC ‘delighted’ about Edgbaston day-night Test.

PTG Editor.

Monday, 10 October 2016.

PTG 1943-9773.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has expressed its “delight" at last week's decision to host a first ever day-night Test at Edgbaston next year (PTG 1941-9760, 8 October 2016).  Play will take place from 2-9 p.m, next August using a ‘Dukes’ pink ball.  The MCC has long championed day-night first-class and Test cricket, and played six consecutive MCC versus Champion County fixtures using a pink ball under lights in Abu Dhabi from 2010 -15.

John Stephenson, MCC Head of Cricket, said: "We are delighted that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have decided to take this step.  MCC has been instrumental in conducting research into day-night Test cricket for many years, both in trialling pink ball matches at Lord’s and overseas, and in working with equipment manufacturers and scientists to help develop the ball itself”.

Stephenson added: "The MCC World Cricket committee has long supported and promoted the introduction of day-night Test cricket to help arrest declining attendances around the world and thus ensure the viability and health of the purest form of the game. The ECB’s decision is further confirmation that this format has an important part to play in the future of Test cricket. MCC is working with both the ECB and Warwickshire  to help ensure the success of the first day-night Test Match in England next year”.

As part of the West Indies' preparation for the Test, their tour match against Derbyshire at the County Ground the week before the Test will be played under the same conditions.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,944

 Wednesday, 12 October 2016

 

• Fatal SCG match being played within Laws, 'Spirit', say umpires [1944-9774].

• England players lead 2016 Code violations [1944-9775].

• BCCI calls another SGM to discuss Lodha reforms [1944-9776].

• Gough back to stand in more Tests [1944-9777].

• Neutral officials named for India-NZ ODI series [1944-9778].

• Suspicious loan stalls Zimbabwe Cricket audit [1944-9779].

Fatal SCG match being played within Laws, 'Spirit', say umpires.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

PTG 1944-9774.

Ash Barrow and Mike Graham-Smith, the two umpires who were standing in the match in which South Australian batsman Phillip Hughes was fatally struck by a ball at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) nearly two years ago, say the match was being played within both the Laws and ‘Spirit’ of the game.  Two players in the match and former international umpire Simon Taufel, all made similar comments during the second day of the Coroner's inquest into Hughes death in Sydney on Tuesday.  

A key area of interest on the hearing’s second day was what constituted short-pitched bowling and whether the umpires should have taken a more proactive role in protecting the batsmen.  Both umpires, NSW player David Warner and Tom Cooper of South Australia who was Hughes’ batting partner when he was struck, all gave evidence that a short-pitched salvo directed at Hughes after lunch was nothing unusual.  They had the backing of former international umpire Simon Taufel, now Cricket Australia’s (CA) Match Referee and Umpire Selection Manager, who had reviewed video footage of the game and prepared an independent report on the incident.

Taufel found there was no "dangerous or unfair” bowling involved and said: "There was nothing that stood out to suggest the umpires should have intervened ... they acted accordingly and appropriately”.  Asked about potential changes to the game’s Laws that relate to short-pitched bowling Taufel, who is a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s Laws sub-committee, was unwilling to make specific recommendations.  He indicated though it was a conversation that will continue at both CA and the international Cricket Council, but suggested that regardless of the inquest's findings both bodies will struggle to define and enforce totally appropriate measures.

The focus on the first day of the hearing was on what sledging may have been going on whilst Hughes was at the crease (PTG 1943-9767, 11 October 2016), but Graham-Smith indicated that the only piece he could “recall was one player referred to the weight of another player”.  Both Barrow and Graham-Smith confirmed they had no first-aid training to call on during the incident.

Cooper told the inquest he's confident NSW paceman Doug Bollinger didn't say something like "I'm going to kill you" and can't remember telling Hughes' brother Jason about Bollinger's alleged comments.  "Mr Cooper, I suggest to you, you told Jason these words and you are now denying them”, asked Greg Melick the barrister for the Hughes family.  "No," Cooper replied.  Jason Hughes shook his head at times during Cooper's evidence.

The Coroner heard Cooper, who was a pallbearer at Hughes’ funeral, did not want to view match footage from the day unless absolutely necessary for forensic purposes.  When asked whether he still had memories of the incident he replied "Unfortunately, yes”.  Cooper said the NSW team seemed to be bowling short at Hughes in an attempt to slow the run rate but that he did not seem concerned.  In a statement read to the court, Cooper said he didn't think there was anything inappropriate about his opponents' tactics, and that bowling short at a batsman who had been at the crease for some time was common.

Warner, who provided evidence via video link from South Africa, thinks Hughes made an "error of judgment” in the way he played the fatal delivery.  He said there was always a general plan to bowl at or over leg stump to move Hughes backward but that it had not been specifically discussed in the interval before Hughes was hit.  Asked about Bollinger’s alleged "kill you” comment, he told Melick that Hughes "wasn't sledged at all”, and noted that while banter is common in Tests, that wasn't the case at domestic level.  When it was suggested by Melick that Hughes was targeted by bowlers in an "ungentlemanly way", Warner said he’d "have to disagree”.

In addition to the umpires and two players, others who gave evidence on Tuesday were forensic pathologists Johan Duflou and Brian Owler.  Professor Duflou, who conducted Hughes’ autopsy, said his internal injury was most commonly seen in "one-punch homicides” and that “in the Sydney area there are probably one to two [such assault] cases a year”.  Neurosurgeon Owler said guards to protect the neck area where Hughes was hit, such as the "stem guards" now worn by some players, may reduce the force of impact and therefore the likelihood of injury.  The inquest will resume on Wednesday before NSW coroner Michael Barnes. 

England players lead 2016 Code violations.

Will Macpherson.

The Guardian.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

PTG 1944-9775.

England coach Trevor Bayliss has said his players will “not back down” from confrontation despite captain Jos Buttler’s reprimand for the fracas that marred the end of the second One Day International against Bangladesh in Mirpur on Sunday (PTG 1943-9770, 11 October 2016).  Meanwhile, England's Ben Stokes, who was involved in a heated discussion with Tamim Iqbal over a handshake, and whether or not the Bangladesh opener barged Jonny Barstow, has not been subjected to censure by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

While Bayliss said he did not encourage such behaviour from his players, he promised they would not change their ways.  “Don’t forget there are always two teams in this type of argument and some of the teams around the world are not quite as pristine as they might like to make out”, he said. “We are not going to back down from anything and certainly we have some characters in the team who will not back down”.

Bayliss felt the punishments handed out to Buttler and Bangladesh’s Mashrafe Mortaza and Sabbir Rahman were appropriate but he was quick to defend his captain: “I haven’t read the match referee’s report but they were fined and Jos was warned for retaliating and that in itself tells a bit of a story. I think Jos wearing the captain’s hat was not going to take it lying down. He got a slap on the wrist and I am sure he will be doing his best to stay out of trouble in the future.  I think he has every right as captain to back his players up”.

Of the Stokes incident, Bayliss said: “Stokesy, to his credit, was the one trying to get clarification on what [the Bangladesh players] actually meant. It was not directed at him personally, but he was the one standing up for his team-mates”.

England lead the way in ICC Code of Conduct violations in 2016.  With Stuart Broad fined on two occasions this year, England players have now been penalised eight times during the past ten months. 

Of the Englishmen to transgress this year: Broad was fined 30 per cent of match fee for dissent against an umpire’s decision in a Test in January; February saw Reece Topley warned for smashing his stumps in a Twenty20 International (T20I); in March, David Willey lost 15 per cent of match fee for a send-off and Jason Roy 30 per cent for dissent in a World T20I Championship game; then in June, James Anderson was warned for dissent in a Test; in August it was Broad again who was fined 20 per cent for criticising an umpire, and Alex Hales 15 per cent for dissent in a Test; all that coming before Jos Buttler was reprimanded for using bad language in Bangladesh this week.

BCCI calls another SGM to discuss Lodha reforms.

PTG Editor.

Indian media reports.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

PTG 1944-9776.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has called a Special General Meeting (SGM) on Saturday, its second in two weeks, to discuss the India's Supreme Court’s directive that it implement all, not just some, of the recommendations made by the Lodha Committee earlier this year into the way the BCCI is structured and operates.  Last week the Supreme Court gave the BCCI until next Monday, two days after the now planned SGM, to implementation Lodha's recommendations in their totality (PTG 1941-9760, 8 October 2016).

BCCI president Anurag Thakur is currently in Cape Town attending International Cricket Council (ICC) meetings and is not expected to return to India until the day before the latest SGM.  Amongst other things, Thakur has to file a personal affidavit in the Supreme Court regarding allegations he requested the ICC write a letter threatening the BCCI with suspension from the world body if Justice Lodha Committee's recommendations are implemented.  

However, several reports claim a video is available that shows ICC chief executive David Richardson naming five people who were present during the meeting in which Thakur himself is said to have mentioned request.  A source in the Lodha panel told an Indian journalist that "Thakur is in a tricky situation. If he says he has discussed any such issue in an ICC meeting, it would certainly amount to contempt of court.  But if he denies any such discussion then [Richardson’s reported] admission in the video clip could land him in even bigger legal trouble for lying under oath”.

Gough back to stand in more Tests.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

PTG 1944-9777.

English umpire Michael Gough is to stand in his third and fourth Test matches during the three-match series between Pakistan and the West Indies in the United Arab Emirates over the next three weeks.  Gough, who made his Test debut in Zimbabwe two months ago, appears to have been brought in to replace his countryman Ian Gould who a usually reliable source named last week as working in the series alongside umpires Richard Illingworth and Paul Reiffel, and match referee Jeff Crowe (PTG 1937-9741, 4 October 2016).

Illingworth and Reiffel will still be on-field together for the first match in Dubai, which will be the world’s second day-night Test, with Gough in place of Gould as the television umpire, Gough's first in that role at Test level.  The second Test in Abu Dhabi will see an Ilingworth-Gough combination out on the ground with Reiffel in the television spot, and in Sharjah during the third match it will be Gough-Reiffel on-field and Illingworth the third umpire.  Both the second and third Tests will be played during normal daylight hours.  

The appointment of Gough, a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), suggests he continues on track for a potential spot on the ICC’s top Elite Umpires Panel of which Illingworth and Reiffel are already members.  Reports suggest Gough has other Test appointments in New Zealand early in 2017.

Crowe will presumably still be the match referee, although as of this morning the ICC’s appointments web page leaves the listing for that position vacant.  Pakistan IUP members, Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza and Ahmad Shahab, appear likely to serve as fourth umpires during the series.

Neutral officials named for India-NZ ODI series.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

PTG 1944-9778.

Richie Richardson of the West Indies and Australian Bruce Oxenford have been named as the neutral officials for the five One Day Internationals (ODI) India and New Zealand are to play in Dharmsala, Delhi, Mohali, Ranchi and Vizag over the next two weeks.  Richardson will oversee the games as the match referee while Oxenford will be on-field in each game with either Chettihody Shamshuddin, Anil Chaudhry or CK Nandan who are all Indian members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel.  That trio are also expected to work as the television and four umpires during the series.

Oxenford, who is currently standing in the third and final India-NZ Test (PTG 1923-9662, 13 September 2016), will have taken his ODI umpiring record to 80 matches by the end of the one-day series, while Richardson’s ODI referee record will have moved up to 11.  Shamshuddin goes into the series having been on-field in 12 ODIs and the television umpire in 10 but he has not served in a ODI fourth umpire sport before (12/10/0).  Chaudhry’s current record is 5/12/2 and Nandan 0/6/5.  The latter may therefore make his on-field ODI debut during the coming series.

Suspicious loan stalls Zimbabwe Cricket audit.

Daniel Nhakaniso and Enock Muchinjo.

Zimbabwe Standard.

Monday, 10 October 2016

PTG 1944-9779.

A bank loan of over $US3.85 million ($A5.1 m, £3.1 m), which has to date accumulated interest of $US3.9 m ($A5.2 m, £3.2 m), is one of the items stalling Zimbabwe Cricket's (ZC) long-overdue 2015 audit.  Two weeks ago, auditors HLB Zimbabwe disowned what appears to be a fraudulently compiled ZC audit report, revealing in a letter published in the 'Zimbabwe Independent' that they were still waiting for key information from the cricket governing body in order to conclude a credible forensic audit.

Asked to comment on the loan yesterday, ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani accused members of his staff and directors of leaking information to the media, saying: "The audit is still ongoing and I can only comment when it has been completed.  If I comment about an audit that is still going on, I am basically pre-emptying it and it will defeat the whole purpose. If I start throwing around figures in newspapers, it would not be proper”.  He went on to accuse people who “were probably leaking privileged information”.

After unearthing the loan, HLB Zimbabwe requested documentation about it and details of how it has been serviced since it was secured in 2011.  Curiously, the loan is not recorded in ZC accounts, something the auditors have asked now be down.  At an emergency board meeting last week, ZC directors endorsed the auditor's request and resolved that the loan be scrutinised and information handed over to the auditor.

Apart from the loan, the 'Zimbabwe Independent' had also reported that one of the areas of concern in the fraudulent audit report is an sum of $US5.2 m ($A6.9 m, £4.2 m) which is listed as "tours expense”.  That is despite the fact that a majority of Zimbabwe's series during the year were bankrolled by other parties.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,945

 Thursday, 13 October 2016

 

• Hughes inquest hears different view on ‘kill you’ claim [1945-9780].

• Sledging is hurting Australian cricket [1945-9781].

• Future looks pink for Sialkot ball-makers as day-night Test looms [1945-9782].

• CA names five debutants for state Second XI fixtures [1945-9783].

• Parliamentary committee set to continue SACA ‘merger’ inquiry [1945-9784].

• ECB shelves 2017 Women's Super League 50-over event [1945-9785].

• It's a Team Game [1945-9786].

Hughes inquest hears different view on ‘kill you’ claim.

PTG Editor.

CA appointments.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

PTG 1945-9780.

The Coronial inquest into the death of South Australian batsman Phillip Hughes has heard from a friend of Hughes who was a pallbearer at his funeral, that he was present when NSW bowler Dough Bollinger mentioned his “I’m going to kill you" comment, something Bollinger and others have indicated was not said or heard on the field of play that day (PTG 1943-9767, 11 October 2016).  Former Tasmania player Matthew Day, who now plays club cricket with Hughes’ brother Jason, made his claim in a statement that was drawn up on Tuesday and provided to the third day of the hearing on Wednesday.

Day says he heard Bollinger talk about the sledge while he was sitting with players in the NSW dressing-room at the Sydney Cricket Ground, where players and friends of Hughes had gathered after his life-support machine had been turned off two days after he was felled.  Day said: "There were six or seven players [there including] Doug Bollinger.  There was general discussion regarding the circumstances of the match. At one stage, Doug Bollinger said words to the effect of: 'One of my sledges was, I am going to kill you. I can't believe I said that. I've said things like that in the past but I am never going to say it again’”.  

Bollinger's comment “stunned” Day and he later relayed it to Jason Hughes, who told him he had heard the same from Tom Cooper, who was batting at the other end when Hughes was struck and who gave evidence to the Coroner on Monday.  Day went further to say he'd been in a taxi home with Trent Johnston, then an assistant NSW coach and now its head coach, and that in the course of the trip Johnston had told him he was "struggling with the fact that I was a big part of the plan that NSW adopted, that was to bowl short to Phil, and that eventually ended up with him being struck”. 

Following the tabling of Day’s statement, Kristina Stern the counsel assisting the Coroner told the hearing: "One of the issues identified in my opening statement was the nature of the play that afternoon and if that in any way exacerbated the injury to Phillip Hughes.  My submission is ... that there is no evidence that any comment or sledging or whatever description you wish to use, exacerbated the injury” (PTG 1944-9774, 12 October 2016).  Use of “kill you” type jibes during play in games at club level are not totally unknown, however, since Hughes died umpires usually point out the inappropriateness of such comments. 

The differences in testimony heard regarding sledging issues led a Cricket Australia (CA) spokesperson to point out that: “[CA] interviewed player and umpire witnesses appearing at the coronial enquiry. Each person was interviewed in this process independently. These interviews were held at the request of counsel assisting in which each of the players and umpires voluntarily participated…. [and] we are comfortable [the] process [followed] has allowed the players and umpires to provide accurate, independent and truthful evidence to the enquiry”.

The inquest was also told by other witnesses on Wednesday the SCG’s emergency protocol had been changed since Hughes’ death such that an emergency procedure briefing is now held before each day's play, and an intensive care paramedic is present during the entirety of matches.

In addition the recollections of Sean Abbott, who delivered the ball that struck Hughes, were also made public via a statement.  Though Abbott did not appear in court, it was the first time he has been heard from publicly about the tragedy. In the past two years, there have been dozens of requests from media outlets to interview him, from magazines to current affairs programs, and they have all been declined, the bowler not wanting to recount the accident and also show respect to the Hughes family. 

Sledging is hurting Australian cricket.

Antony Pinshaw.

Herald Sun.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016.

PTG 1945-9781.

An Australian coach with years of experience working with the world’s best batsmen says most sledging in the modern game not only doesn’t work, but is hampering the growth of the current Australian team.  The Australian side has again come under fire for its sledging tactics on the current tour of South Africa, especially in the wake of a particularly fiery One Day International encounter in Port Elizabeth on the weekend that saw a player from each side fined for their behaviour (PTG 1943-9771, 11 October 2016).

Despite being on the verge of a fourth-straight defeat the Australians went out of their way to verbally engage their opponents, a tactic that was deemed “embarrassing” and “totally ineffective” by former Test batsman Kepler Wessels. He described the sledging as “mindless babble”.  Recently-retired bowler Ryan Harris, who is with the Australian squad as a bowling coach, defended his players’ actions and said they were well within their rights to stand up for themselves given the verbals they copped from the South Africans.  However not everyone in Australia shares Harris’s view.

Trent Woodhill has worked as a batting coach for the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Kevin Pietersen, and believes far too much emphasis is placed on verbal intimidation in Australia.  “We need to get away from this mentality of ‘we’ve all played the game, you’ve got to be tougher, you’ve got to be harder, you’ve got be noisier, you’ve got to be louder’, because it’s basically bulls—“, said Woodpile. “Unless you’ve got Mitch Starc bowling 150 km/h thunderbolts, which is what other players are wary of, then no one’s interested in a sledge or a phrase that might look to unsettle [he batsman], especially away from home when other teams are comfortable”.

It’s this latter point that Woodhill, who made a name for himself in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and also works as batting coach with Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League, is keen to drive home.  With a tour of India coming up early next year, Woodhill fears the Aussies could be set for a similar experience to their 2013 tour – when they were whitewashed 4-0 – if there is no change in mindset.

“There’s too much talk away from home from the Australians”, Woodhill said.  “What are they going to do when they go to India, because they’re going to come up against the best player in the world in Virat Kohli who can handle pressure and handle chat better than anyone.  He just responds, he responds to any bulls--- and does well.  Australia’s got to come up with a different way of doing it and they won’t do that if they’re continually handing ex-players [coaching] roles when they don’t earn it. That prevents growth and innovation”.

Woodhill is well aware his opinion will not sit well with everybody in the Australian cricket fraternity. Having never played higher than Sydney grade cricket or league cricket in England he also knows his opinion may be brushed aside because he never played the game at the highest level.  However, his coaching successes show he’s living proof of his own belief that you don’t need to be a great player to be a great coach.  

Woodhill isn’t calling for the Australian side to be less intimidating on the field, he just wants them to find a different way of doing it away from home. “I think everyone just rolls their eyes now [at sledging]. I’m so bored with it, I’m bored with the way that teams like that play. I’m just not interested. That’s why I love franchise cricket now because it’s all about the result.  Surely in this day and age what someone has to say on a cricket field is completely and utterly irrelevant”.

However Woodhill is realistic about how his advice will be taken by many in the cricket community.  “That’ll be shouted down with I 'never played', so what would I know”.

Future looks pink for Sialkot ball-makers as day-night Test looms.

Agence France Presse.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016.

PTG 1945-9782.

The second ever day-night Test between Pakistan and the West Indies gets underway in Dubai on Thursday, and it is a match that will be particularly closely followed in Sialkot, the city that is Pakistan's sports manufacturing hub.  Pakistan's sports goods industry is positioning itself to be the top supplier of pink balls for use in a format that is aimed at dragging the five-day game into the 21st century.

Two major factories and dozens of small units in Sialkot are involved.  Khawar Anwar Khawaja, chief executive of Grays of Cambridge, who have been making cricket balls since 1953, said: "We are probably making 15,000 to 20,000 pink balls per year [and] the numbers are growing.  Last year we produced about 120,000 cricket balls [across all colours] but the demand is on the up and this year we are hoping to produce 150,000 at minimum”.

Grays produces red, white, pink and orange balls, that are hand-sticked, for brands such as ‘Dukes' and 'Gray-Nicolls'.  "We have been producing pink balls for the last eight years and exporting them to mainly Australia and to England as well”, said Khawaja.  The history of sports goods manufacturing in Sialkot dates back to the 19th century when locals first began to produce footballs for the British army, then the occupying power.  Today, the city's total sports exports are worth $US900 million ($A1.2 billion, £UK737 m) annually.

CA names five debutants for state Second XI fixtures.

PTG Editor.

CA appointments.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

PTG 1945-9783.

Claire Polosak, a member of Cricket Australia’s (CA) second-tier Development Panel (DP), will become the first female to stand in a CA men’s State Second XI, or ‘Futures League’ match, early next month in Canberra.  Polosak is one of 13 females amongst the 82 match officials, 38 of them umpires (3 females), 31 scorers (10) and 13 match referees (0), who have been named for the 2016-17 season opening 9 Futures four-day, and 21 Womens National Cricket League (WNCL) one-day, games scheduled over the next six weeks. 

Of the 17 Futures League umpires five, Dinusha Bandara and Andrew Crozier (Australian Capital Territory), Troy Penman, Glen Stubbings and Polosak (NSW), will be making their Futures League debuts.  Others given such games are: Steven Brne and Dale Ireland (Victoria); Muhammad Qureshi and Wade Stewart (Tasmania); Murray Branch, Donovan Koch and Damien Mealey (Queensland); Nathan Johnstone, Trent Steenboldt and Ben Treloar (Western Australia); and Simon Lightbody, and Anthony Hobson (NSW).

A total of 13 referees, who will both manage matches and provide observations of umpire performance, have been named to oversee Futures League and WNCL fixtures.  All are men, they being senior referees Daryl Harper, David Talalla and Peter Marshall, plus Davis, and state-level referees Rob Dunbar, Matthew Hall, Kent Hannam, Terry Keel, Roy Loh, Richard Patterson, Kim Perrin, Graham Reed and Richard Widows.  Davis, Dunbar, Hannam, Keel, Loh and Reed will manage both Futures and WNCL matches, and Harper and Talalla only Futures games.

Seven of the 38 umpires selected by CA are to stand in matches outside their home region.  The Futures’ League will see the DP members, Koch and Polosak in Canberra, and their colleague Lightbody plus Hobson in Brisbane.  In addition, Johnstone will be flown from Perth to Sydney, while those travelling to Brisbane for WNCL matches are Penman, Craig Thomas (South Australia) and David Taylor (NSW).

Of CA’s six DP members, Koch, Lightbody, Polosak and Mealey have single Futures’ games each, while David Shepard has two WNCL fixtures, the sixth member Tony Wilds not featuring in appointments for either competition.  The match referee for the Futures game Koch and Polosak will be on ground for will be Harper, Lightbody and Mealey will have Talalla as their referee, while Davis will look on when Johnstone and Penman are on-field together.  Davis, along with Marshall, will also oversee WNCL games, the former those involving Taylor, Thomas and Queensland’s Stephen Farrell, and Marshall when Branch and Penman are on-field.

While Polosak will be the loan female umpire in Futures games, Deanne Young of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Ashlee Kovalevs from Western Australia will each stand in one WNCL match in their respective home cities.  Young has two previous WNCL games to her credit but for Kovalevs it will be her WNCL debut.

All the umpires who stood in CA’s recent Under-17 men’s national Championship series have been allocated games, Bandara, Penman, Qureshi, Stubbings in the Futures League, and Farrell and Steve Dionysius (Queensland), Cain Kemp (South Australia), Marc Nickl (NSW), Todd Rann (WA) and the ACT’s Young, all home WNCL games.  

Of the 31 scorers 13 have been named to record the details of the nine Futures games, and 22 the WNCL fixtures.  Of the 13 Futures scorers only one is female, while 9 women are amongst the 22 appointed to score in WNCL fixtures. 

Parliamentary committee set to continue SACA ‘merger’ inquiry.

PTG Editor.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

PTG 1945-9784.

The South Australian Parliament’s 'Select Committee’ inquiry on the ’SACA Premier Cricket Merger Decision’ is to hold a second day of hearings in Adelaide on Friday, this time to hear from “witnesses” from the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA).    The inquiry was convened after SACA tried to force two of the state’s oldest clubs, Port Adelaide and West Torrens, who play in its top-tier competition, to amalgamate, saying that if they didn't one would be axed (PTG 1942-9764, 10 October 2016).

The five-person committee of politicians opened its investigation into the matter two weeks ago by hearing from “Witnesses” from the Port Adelaide and West Torrens clubs, former SACA director Glenn Bain, and former Australian politician and sports administrator Chris Schacht.  Reports last week said that Bain told the committee the case to merge the clubs was based on a report to the board from a SACA staff member.  

The Parliament established the Select Committee in May, saying they were required to: “inquire into and report upon the [SACA’s] Premier Cricket merger decision, particularly the evidence used by SACA in making the merger decision; the “transparency and procedural fairness” involved; whether SACA, in deciding to proceed with the merger, met the intent of its Constitution and with its aim of promoting the game in South Australia; and “any other related matter”.

ECB shelves 2017 Women's Super League 50-over event.

Stephan Shemilt.

BBC Sport.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016.

PTG 1945-9785.

The England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) planned expansion of the Women's Super League (WSL) to include a 50-over event will not take place in 2017.  The inaugural 20-over format series played during the 2016 northern summer was widely seen as a success, but after consultation with the six teams involved, the ECB has decided to focus resources on developing the T20 version.  Another factor next year is that the 2017 Womens’ World Cup, which is to be played in England, hinders the availability of overseas WSL players.

The 50-over competition was due to take place before the World Cup which is to run for a month from late June,  with the 20-over tournament still set for the two-week time slot it filled last August.  ECB director of women's cricket Clare Connor said: "It had been our intention to introduce a 50-over version of the [WSL] in 2017, but the success of the first edition of the T20 competition has given us a new lens to reassess this”.

The maiden 20-over tournament attracted an average attendance of more than 1,000 people across its 15 fixtures.  "The 2016 competition exceeded all of our expectations”, said WSL general manager Jo Kirk, and “we now have a great opportunity to build on this relationship and create an even bigger fan base for the women's game”.  There is no new target date for the launch of the 50-over competition.

It's a Team Game.

Neil Mantorp.

Super Sport.

Thursday, 13 October 2016.

PTG 1945-9786.

History beckoned and South Africa grasped their place in it despite the heroic efforts of David Warner in the final One Day International against Australia on Wednesday.   The Proteas were superior in many physical and technical aspects but it was as much a change in attitude and a reminder of what was most important that allowed them to become the first team ever to whitewash Australia in a five-match series.

Cricket is an individual sport wrapped in the context of a team environment more than any other sport. Even in team versions of golf and tennis it is possible to play shots to the benefit of your partner, at least in foursomes and doubles, but in cricket everyone has to bat and bowl on their own.  

You can run the runs and hold the catches but the truth is that each player is alone when it comes to the implementation of their skills. So the difference between the most consistent and successful teams and those which win sporadically is the development of a culture which maximises every element of ‘togetherness’ available.

A personal disregard, perhaps even indifference, to one’s individual successes sends a powerful message to teammates that milestones are irrelevant without a collective victory.  Landmarks and milestones are to be celebrated and cherished by all of the XI, even the whole squad, rather than the individual.  Personal mastery and selflessness means that players care about each other’s wellbeing as much as their runs and wickets.   

The antithesis of this approach is a player being concerned about his place in the starting line-up and thinking about what he might need to do in order to retain it for the next match.

Much as rugby has truly transformed into a 23-man game, today’s best cricket teams rotate their squads and select specific players for particular conditions.  New Zealand’s Black Caps were the first cricket team to make it clear there would be no place in national teams for sulkers. They had the best example to follow – the All Blacks.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,946

 Friday, 14 October 2016

 

• Kent ready to sue after missing out on top flight [1946-9787].

• Coroner looks at safety protocols, ambulance response [1946-9788].

• Hughes had 'unsafe workplace', claims father [1946-9789].

• Opinions vary about ‘StemGuard’ use [1946-9790].

• BCCI president for ICC committee position? [1946-9791].

• Player fined for dissent, he and his team for slow over-rate [1946-9792].

• Drilling team breaches water main, stops play [1946-9793].

Kent ready to sue after missing out on top flight.

Elizabeth Ammon.

The Times.

Thursday, 13 October 2016.

PTG 1946-9787.

Kent have threatened to sue the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) unless the governing body reconsiders its decision not to promote them to the first division of the County Championship.  Last week, Kent chairman George Kennedy claimed the ECB had dealt his county “an unfair hand” by letting Hampshire stay in Division one of the County Championship and not considering Division two runner-up Kent for promotion in place of financially demoted Durham (PTG 1939-9754, 6 October 2016).

In a strongly-worded legal letter seen by 'The Times', Kent’s lawyers assert that the decision was “prejudiced, perverse and contrary to natural justice” and that the ECB is in breach of contract, which Kent would be willing to address through court action.  However, while Kent have said that they could take legal action, they have called first for independent arbitration involving the ECB, Hampshire and Kent. The ECB has been given seven days to accept the proposal for an independent panel or Kent will look to begin more formal court proceedings.

The letter contains notes of a meeting held between Kent and the ECB late last week which state that the ECB said that Durham were told in May that they would be relegated at the end of the season, thus calling into question the integrity of the whole championship season.  

The letter also sets out extraordinary details of a loud and indiscreet conversation, overheard by a passenger on a train from Durham to London in mid-September, that allegedly took place between four members of the ECB's senior management team, believed to be chairman Colin Graves, deputy chairman Ian Lovett, chief finance officer Scott Smith, the chief finance officer, and chief operating officer Gordon Hollins. 

It is alleged that the train conversation contained full details of Durham’s bail-out terms, including that it had been settled that Durham would be relegated and the team who finished second from bottom would not.  It was also said to have covered the timing of when the agreed arrangement would be announced and that the four of them believed that it would be a good idea to delay the announcement until the end of the 2016 ECB season when “fewer people would be talking about cricket”.

The letter sets out a number of areas that lawyers believe undermine the decision to reinstate Hampshire, including the absence of any published regulations relating to circumstances such as Durham’s and potential conflicts of interest with members of the ECB who voted on the decision on the last day of September. Kent claim that there is no justification for the ECB’s assertion that Division one second bottom side Hampshire, should be reprieved. Kent have not yet received a response from the ECB.

Coroner looks at safety protocols, ambulance response

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Thursday, 13 October 2016.

PTG 1946-9788.

Physiotherapist and Cricket Australia (CA) sports medicine manager Alex Kountouris, who completed his PhD on injuries in cricket, told the Coronial inquest into the death of Phillip Hughes on Thursday that "extensive research" has found only one other case of a cricketer being killed in precisely the same manner.  Hughes was fatally struck on the neck by the ball at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) nearly two years ago such that his vertebral artery was severed (PTG 1943-9767, 11 October 2016).

Kountouris told the Coroner that safety practices at matches were changed within a month of Hughes’ death.  CA now requires that a medical officer, a team physiotherapists and a paramedic be present at all Shield Shield matches.  The International Cricket Council only stipulates a doctor be on call and according to Kountouris, Australia is the only nation in which doctors are required to be present at first-class matches.  CA's new arrangements also allow State Medical Officers to carry mobile phones in dressing rooms and on the field, where previously this was prevented under anti-corruption regulations. 

CA’s sports medicine manager also pointed to a range of recommendations made in the independent review of the Hughes tragedy that have also been implemented. These include: the mandatory wearing of a helmet for any batsman facing bowling other than spin, and for close fielders in front of the stumps and wicketkeepers standing up to the stumps; a minimum helmet safety standard; a 'Concussion and Head Trauma Policy’; and the availability of ‘Concussion Substitutes’ in all but its domestic first class games (PTG 1939-9752, 6 October 2016).

Kountouris indicated that in addition to setting the minimum helmet standard CA also recommends players wear ‘StemGuards' attached to the helmets to better protect their necks.  Counsel for the Hughes family, Greg Melick, asked him: ""Are you aware of players worried about attachments falling off and dislodging bails?”  Kountouris replied: "I am aware they come off, yes”, but that “to be honest” he hadn’t heard the complaint about dislodged bails.

Helmet manufacturer Masuri's managing director Sam Miller said in a statement the impact absorption of the StemGuard's they had developed was "outstanding" compared to that of helmet shells.  Miller pointed out though that helmet safety standards did not assess the neck area as the likelihood of being hit there was so low.  A neurosurgeon, Brian Owler, told the inquest earlier this week that neck guards may reduce the force of a ball's impact and therefore the likelihood of a violent twisting of the neck (PTG 1944-9774, 12 October 2016).

Kountouris was asked if in preparing his report for the inquest, he was aware of concerns raised by Hughes' family about the passage of play leading up to the fatal strike, a reference to on-field tactics and sledging used by the fielding side, Kountouris said: "Absolutely not” (PTG 1945-9780, 13 October 2016).  At that members of the Hughes family, who were in the courtroom, shook their heads, and Hughes’ father was heard to say: "Lying, lying” (PTG 1946-9789 below).

Thursday's hearing also spent time looking at the provision of an ambulance to the SCG after Hughes was felled.  A NSW Ambulance Service official said that his organisation's resources were stretched on that day, and while there were 25 ambulances in the area at the time not one of them was free.  Also, it was also not clear to the dispatcher who received the emergency call how serious Hughes’ situation was at the time.  As a result the Service has since produced posters and cards that outline for sporting clubs what information is needed by an operator when an ambulance is called for.

Hughes had 'unsafe workplace', claims father.

Peter Lalor.

The Australian.

Friday, 14 October 2016.

PTG 1946-9789.

Phillip Hughes’s father, Greg, ­has told the Coroner looking into his son’e death, that the Sydney Cricket Ground was an “unsafe workplace” on the day the batsman was killed, detailing in letters obtained by 'The Australian' his concerns about too many bouncers being bowled and exchanges that went beyond sledging to abuse and ­intimidation.  Other letters by family members to the Coroner before this week’s inquest outline their grief and anxieties surrounding the ­accident in November 2014.

The family's frustration with the process and Cricket Australia (CA) was on display during yesterday’s hearing.  Hughes senior whispered “liar” when (CA) sports science and medicine manager Alex Kountouris said he was unaware of the family’s concerns before making a statement (PTG 1946-9788 above). The inquiry has taken its toll, with brother Jason Hughes unable to ­attend yesterday and the remaining three family members breaking down in tears when a witness for the ­ambulance service offered his sympathy from the stand.

Hughes’ father, who spent a decade driving his son from one tournament to another, outlined his concerns about the approach of the NSW side and the umpires ignoring the two bouncer limit that exists for first-class cricket in Australia. “Their tactics changed after lunch, which started to slow the run rate down, and this was by bowling short at my son for a good majority of the time”, he said.  “The umpires did not call them under the Sheffield Shield [Playing Conditions, which] are different to the [the Laws]. By those balls not getting pulled up, of course this kept the bowlers ­continuing to target my son in an ungentlemanly way”.

There was a number of witnesses who gave evidence at the inquest as to the nature of play that day, and the bowling.  Former umpire Simon Taufel, appearing as an expert witness, explained that under Sheffield Shield conditions of play, the basic rule for a batsman of Hughes’s ability was a limit of two deliveries over the shoulder an over.   Counsel for the Hughes family, Greg Melick, alleged that Hughes faced nine consecutive short balls from Sean Abbott, including three that could have been considered bouncers in the over before the one in which he was hit.  Taufel backed the umpire's ­assessment, but said not all ­bouncers came under the rules because they were not over the shoulder (PTG 1944-9774, 12 October 2016)..

The court has heard conflicting evidence about sledging on the day, in particular a comment by bowler Doug Bollinger along the lines of “I am going to kill you”.  Bollinger, his playing colleagues and the umpires deny there were any exchanges, but this has been contradicted by a claim the bowler said as much at the wake for Hughes (PTG 1945-9780, 13 October 2016).  "Sledging is part of the game”, Hughes senior says in his letter, but “[the alleged comments] were more abusive and intimidating than sledging … these slanderous comments … and the use of illegal deliveries in my eyes lead to a very unsafe workplace"

Hughes also expressed concerns about the medical treatment his son received on the day.  “We do not want to see any other family go through the pain we have endured”, he wrote.  His mother Virginia and sister Megan said Hughes "deserved the best care and the best people around him doing their job and if there are mishaps that have happened, we need to settle this and hopefully receive an end result that will help us progress through life without our dearly beloved son and brother".

Opinions vary about ‘StemGuard’ use.

Australian Associated Press.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016.

PTG 1946-9790.

Australian batsman David Warner says he does not wear a ‘StemGuard', the helmet attachment developed following cricketer Phillip Hughes' death, because it is uncomfortable and a distraction.  Warner detailed his concerns about the neck guard as part of his written statement to the ongoing inquest into Hughes death being conducted by the New South Wales Coroner (PTG 1946-9788 above).

Warner wrote: "I do not and will not wear them.  When I turn my head ... wearing a StemGuard, it impedes my neck and restricts the movement of my neck when I turn around to face bowlers. I have tried a StemGuard and it digs into my neck. It is uncomfortable and is a distraction”.  The Australian opener went on to say that "players talk about having the lightest possible helmet, [but] with safety [policy issues] the helmets are getting heavier.  As a player, it is what you feel comfortable with and I go with being able to see better, and being able to move my neck”.

An independent report commissioned by Cricket Australia that was released in May found there is limited scientific evidence that current neck guards will prevent a similar tragedy and they must be properly evaluated before they are made compulsory (PTG 1825-9124, 12 May 2016).

Warner's experience is in sharp contrast to that of South Australia batsman Tom Cooper, another witness at the inquest.  Cooper, who was batting with Hughes when he was struck, explained in his written submission why he routinely wears a StemGuard.  "I fractured my skull in a game in Melbourne about six years ago and that experience, together with this incident, [means that it] makes me feel safer wearing a StemGuard”.

Cooper continued: "In relation to whether StemGuards should be made compulsory, I can't see why not. Players have to wear helmets anyway.  Whether you can comfortably wear a StemGuard may depend on the size of your neck or head”.  Former Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin noted in his written statement that he had "worn it and not worn it. I tried both ways and it didn't bother me”.

BCCI president for ICC committee position?

Sayantan Maitra

International Business Times.

Thursday, 13 October 2016.

PTG 1946-9791.

Anurag Thakur, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), could be named as the chairman of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Development Committee (DC) next Monday provided India's Supreme Court gives a favourable ruling to the BCCI.  The Court is set to hear the BCCI-Lodha Panel case on Monday, two days after Saturday’s critical BCCI Special General Meeting (PTG 1944-9776, 12 October 2016).

BCCI sources are claiming, with what accuracy is not known, that the ICC, whose board is meeting in Cape Town this week, is keen to give Thakur the DC chairmanship role.  If he does he will succeed Shashank Manohar, his predecessor as BCCI president, who is now the ICC’s independent chairman.  Just what machiavellian moves are behind the reported push behind Thakur are not known.

Thakur, an Bharatiya Janata Party member of the Indian parliament, is not expected to face any hurdle in continuing as both the BCCI's president and DP chairman if it works out that way.  A BCCI source, who was probably acting on instructions to leak the information, claimed: "There is no conflict of interest issue here. The ICC is also not pre-empting anything right now. The next course of action will be taken after the Supreme Court order”.

Player fined for dissent, he and his team for slow over-rate.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release.

Thursday, 13 October 2016.

PTG 1946-9792.

South Africa’s Imran Tahir has been fined 30 per cent of his match fee, then fined again along with his ten team mates a further 10 per cent, because his side maintained a slow over-rate, in the fifth and final One Day International (ODI) against Australia in Cape Town on Wednesday.  

The International Cricket Council (ICC) say that during Australia’s run-chase, Tahir displayed "a lack of respect" for umpires Joel Wilson and Shaun George when he ignored their requests to stop "verbally engaging" with Australian batsman David Warner, conduct that was "contrary to the spirit of the game”.  

As per the ICC’s recently up-graded Code of Conduct system Tahir was also given two disciplinary demerit points.  If he reaches four or more demerit 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 means a ban from one Test or two ODIs or two Twenty20 International, whatever comes first for the player.

 

South Africa was ruled to be one over short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration in Wednesday’s ODI.  Under ICC regulations "minor over-rate offences” such as that requires players be fined 10 per cent of their match fee for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.  

As such captain Faf du Pleases lost 20 per cent of his match fee.  Should South Africa commit another minor over-rate breach in an ODI within 12 months of this offence with du Plessis as captain, it will be deemed a second offence by him and he will face a suspension.

Drilling team breaches water main, stops play.

Mitch Mott

Adelaide Advertiser.

Thursday, 13 October 2016.

PTG 1946-9793.

 

A trial match being played in Adelaide in the lead up to selection of South Australia’s Under-19 side was curtailed on Wednesday morning after workers drilling adjacent to the ground breached a water main, a situation that led to parts of two ovals and several tennis courts being inundated.  Spectators at the game say water erupted in plumes some 30 metres high and that it took some time before the main was turned off.  While the water did not reach the square at either ground it caused what one person described as a "massive disruption”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,947

 Saturday, 15 October 2016

 

• Hughes inquest ends, coroner to report in three weeks [1947-9794].

• Durham not relegated in May, says ECB [1947-9795].

• NZ umpire to pass 50 first class game mark [1947-9796].

• South African umpire for NZ exchange visit [1947-9797].

• Bahrain council mulls ban on playing on waste ground [1947-9798].

• ECB’s encouragement of entrepreneurship behind Durham downfall [1947-9799].

Hughes inquest ends, coroner to report in three weeks.  

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Friday, 14 October 2016.

PTG 1947-9794

Friday's final day of the coronial inquest into the death of Phillip Hughes was told that the description of what constitutes "unfair bowling” needs to be made more precise by the game’s administrators for umpires to apply.  Kristina Stern, counsel assisting the NSW coroner, and Greg Melick for the Hughes family, both recommended that the wording of Playing Conditions, and perhaps the Law itself, that cover short-pitched bowling issues be examined in light of what happened to Hughes.

In her summing up, Stern also submitted to coroner Michael Barnes that he should conclude Hughes’ was a case of "accidental death”.  She went further to emphasise her assessment that the way the game was being played and managed that day, specifically in regards to the bowling regime that was in operation, was not a factor in the death.  Stern also called for greater clarity around emergency roles at Australian grounds, better training of staff, especially in the provision of relevant information to emergency services, and that testing and research into helmet technology currently underway continue.  

However, while Melick acknowledged the use of short-pitched bowling was a "legitimate tactic", he and the family contend that the number of short balls Hughes received in the lead-up to the ball that struck him, was "going too far” (PTG 1946-9789, 14 October 2015).  He questioned the accuracy of evidence provided by players and the degree to which sledging and short-pitch bowling that were part of team tactics; especially given a submission by Hughes’ friend Matthew Day on Wednesday that suggested the fielding side were inappropriately targeting the late batsman (PTG 1945-9780, 13 October 2016).  

Cricket Australia’s (CA) senior counsel, Bruce Hodgkinson, responded on Friday by strongly defending evidence provided by players and umpires earlier in the week.  He also said what he called Day's "unsworn and unsubstantiated” statement, which was prepared on Tuesday following Monday’s evidence, should be disregarded when the coroner considers how the game might be made safer.  

In that regard, Melick submitted on behalf of the family that the game’s Laws be altered in regards to helmet neck guards.  They believe some players are reluctant to have such guards attached to their helmets because they are concerned that under the current Law they will be given out if they detach from the helmet while the ball is being played and break the stumps.  Most of the discussions regarding the use of the guards though appear to centre on how comfortable or not they are to wear (PTG 1946-9790, 14 October 2016).

While CA has defined the minimum helmet standard players must use and when and where they must wear them, it only “recommends" batsmen attach neck guards to helmets and they are not mandatory (PTG 1946-9788, 14 October 2016).  Melick asked the coroner that in preparing his findings: "consideration be given to adjusting the laws of cricket to ensure that if a batsman's helmet or ‘StemGuard' falls and dislodges a bail(s) that he not be given not out”.

Hodgkinson countered that the laws around neck guards need not be dealt with by the coroner as "a lot needs to be done" before the guards could be made mandatory and that research and testing continues in that regard.  A review conducted for CA earlier this year determined that there was "limited scientific evidence that current neck guards will prevent a similar tragedy and they must be properly evaluated before they are mandated”.  Hodgkinson thus asked the coroner to confine his final recommendations around helmet safety to the need for more research.  

When giving evidence on Tuesday, neurosurgeon Brian Owler said guards to protect the neck area where Hughes was hit may reduce the force of impact and therefore the likelihood of injury (PTG 1944-9774, 12 October 2016).

The five-day hearing ended on Friday afternoon and Coroner Barnes is due to hand down his findings in Sydney on the first Friday of November.

Durham not relegated in May, says ECB.

Elizabeth Ammon.

The Times.

Friday, 14 October 2016

PTG 1947-9795.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has denied Kent’s claim that they told Durham several months ago that they would be relegated over their financial problems regardless of where they finished in the first division of the 2016 County Championship.  Kent have threatened legal action against the ECB in a bid to get promoted from the Championship’s second division (PTG 1946-9787, 14 October 2016).

Kent’s notes of a meeting with Colin Graves, the ECB chairman, allege that the decision to relegate Durham was taken in May and that was relayed to the northeast club. However, the ECB disputes that this is what was said and Durham have now issued a statement denying that they had been told in May about relegation.

The ECB also denied that it had treated their £3.8 million ($A6.1 m) support to Durham as an “insolvency event”. The board’s financial regulations set out what happens in terms of penalties in the event of an “insolvency event”.

It is understood that Durham used those regulations as the basis for their thinking on what might happen in the event of any ECB bailout. If an insolvency takes place before the end of June in any season, the deduction of up to 50 championship points would apply in that season. If it takes place after that the board decides whether the deduction would apply for the present or the next season.

NZ umpire to pass 50 first class game mark.

PTG Editor.

NZC match appointments.

Friday, 14 October 2016.

PTG 1947-9796.

New Zealand umpire Wayne Knights will be standing in his 50th first class match when Auckland host Otago in a Plunket Shield match at the end of this month.  Knights was one of 11 umpires named on Friday for the first 15 matches of the 2016-17 Plunket Shield season, eight of the others being his colleagues on New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) National Panel (NP), plus a potential future NP member in Richard Hooper from NZC’s Reserve Panel, and South African exchangee Brad White (PTG 1947-9797 below). 

Knights, 46, made his debut at first class level in November 2008, and apart from such games at home he has also stood in seven overseas, two in South Africa in February 2012, three in Sri Lanka in March 2013, and two in Australia, the first in November and the second, a day-night fixture,  a year later.  Earlier this year he was appointed as a New Zealand member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP) (PTG 1855-9300, 17 June 2016.

Of the Plunket appointments made for the next six weeks, Knights and his IUP colleagues Chris Brown and Shaun Haig, have all been allocated four Plunket games in what is the first half of the season, Knights’ second being his 50th.  In addition, fellow NP members ‘Billy’ Bowden, Phil Jones, Tim Parlane and Derek Walker have three, Tony Gilles two and Ash Mehrotra one, while visitor White has two and Hooper one.

Twenty scorers have been named to record the details of the 15 games, Bill Anderson, Tony Feely and Malcolm Jones leading the way with three, Gail McGowan, Duncan Mitchell, Ian Smith and Jeffrey Stuart have two, while single games go to Michael Anderson, Beverly Baker, Annette Campbell, Robyn Dixon, Jared Larsen, Chris McQuaid, Lindsay Neilson, Dean Plummer, Phil Rice, Kirsty Sands, Helen Simpson, Cheryl Styles and Evan West.

NZC, which is reintroducing match referees back into its games during the coming season after a year’s break, has named seven to oversee the 15 Plunket matches that will be played up until the end of November.  The seven are: Gary Baxter, Ross Dykes and Kevin Pulley who each have three games, Kevin Earl and George Morris each two, and Richard Hayward and Pat Malcon both one.  

Morris, a former Test umpire, was a member of NZC’s original referee’s group (PTG 1220-5879, 30 October 2013), Baxter stood in One Day Internationals before his retirement in 2015, while Earl has a long record of service as an umpire in NZC’s Northern Districts where he is now its umpire administrator (PTG 1910-9586, 29 August 2016).  Little is currently known though about the backgrounds of Dykes, Hayward, Malcon and Pulley.  

Whether those seven are the complete list of referees NZC has recruited is not clear at this stage, no general announcement on the matter yet having been made.  However, NZC indicated when it called for applications for those positions five weeks ago that six spots were available (PTG 1918-9627, 7 September 2016).

South African umpire for NZ exchange visit.

PTG Editor.

NZC match appointments.

Friday, 14 October 2016.

PTG 1947-9797.

South African umpire Brad White will be in New Zealand next month as part of the long-running exchange agreement between New Zealand Cricket and Cricket South Africa, his second such visit there this decade (PTG 728-3582, 17 February 2011).  White, 46, a former first class player with Transvaal, Border and Easterns from 1988-2001, made his first class debut as an umpire 12 years ago, and has to date been on-field in 113 matches at that level.

During the coming visit White is to stand with Wayne Knights in Hamilton in a Plunket Shield game between Northern Districts and Canterbury, then travel to Wellington for that side’s Shield match against Central Districts, his partner then being Tim Parlane.  White is no stranger to Hamilton having stood in a Plunket Shield match there whilst on exchange in 2011, his second game then being in Whangarei north of Auckland.

There has been no indication to date as to which of the nine members of NZC’s top domestic umpire panel will be travelling to South Africa in February-March next year.  Of the nine only one, new member Shaun Haig, has not previously been on exchange to South Africa  (PTG 1855-9300, 17 June 2016).

Bahrain council mulls ban on playing on waste ground.

The News Tribe

Friday, 14 October 2016.

PTG 1947-9798.

The Gulf country of Bahrain’s Northern Municipal Council (NMC) is proposing to ban expats from the sub-continent from playing cricket on open waste ground near the city amid claims that it constitutes an illegal gathering, players could molest passing children, and that “people’s lives are at stake”.  Cricket is especially popular among the country’s Asian community and it is not uncommon to see amateur games being played in the open, particularly during weekends.

However, on Wednesday the NMC voted to outlaw the pastime in its constituencies, citing complaints from neighbours. Council chairman Mohammed Buhamood said: “I don’t want to say there have been regular confrontations, but a number of people complained about participants taking up car park spaces in front of their homes or blocking their garages, that their children could be molested, and that those playing the game making a huge noise.  The whole situation is beyond control, mainly on Fridays when expatriates have a day off".

Buhamood went on saying: “Concerned government bodies have to step in and introduce a system that everyone is satisfied with because without arrangements, people’s lives are at stake”  He claimed the council was also concerned players are not wearing safety gear, thus putting their well-being in danger.  “We are not against labourers’ right to play their favourite sport freely, despite it being mainly played without permission on open spaces that are private or government property, but there is no ambulance on site for those who could be seriously injured". 

There also seems to be a problem determining whether the activity is a sport or an illegal gathering.  “If it is considered an illegal gathering, police have to ask organisers to seek prior permission from the nearest police station”, concluded Buhamood.  The proposal to ban games will now be referred to Bahrain's Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry for review.

ECB’s encouragement of entrepreneurship behind Durham’s downfall. 

Vic Marks.

The Guardian.

Monday, 10 October 2016.

PTG 1947-9799.

The majority of the cricket world has great sympathy for the plight of Durham – though there may well be a few discreet smiles in the Southampton region – and much of that sympathy is justified. They are regarded more as victims of an entrepreneurial England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) than spendthrift villains.

Since Durham satisfied one of the criteria of becoming a first-class county two decades ago, which was to build a new stadium in their county, they have been an adornment to the professional game. They have won three County Championships, produced more than their fair share of England players and have offered their characteristically warm welcome to any visitors to the north-east.

But, like many before them who possess a touch of idealistic zeal, they were slow to recognise their financial problems. Now they are stunned yet helpless at the penalty of relegation and docked points imposed by the ECB, who are simultaneously providing the money to keep them alive.

Paul Collingwood, who is employed by the ECB in Bangladesh, described the sanctions as a “big kick in the nuts”, an apt analogy since in the circumstances it is not possible for Durham to voice a coherent argument against the injustices of the world. They just have to wince, then grin and bear it.

There have been other clubs with bigger debts. Yorkshire were bailed out by Colin Graves, now the ECB’s chairman, and they remain indebted to him. Hampshire, another county that dreamed of a brave new world after constructing a purpose-built stadium, would have sunk without the generous infusion of cash from their chairman, Rod Bransgrove, but there is no such benefactor around for Durham.

The optimism in the north-east has long since evaporated. Durham’s original presentation, when seeking first-class status, spoke of “an enormous boost through encouraging visits from outside the region, creating jobs, improving the cultural and visual image and raising local expectations, morale and pride”. The assumption was that two million residents within 40 minutes’ drive would flock to Chester-le-Street. In fact the stadium there became a burden: so, too, did the advent of international cricket. Unless Australia were the opponents – and they seldom were – it was tough to fill the ground.

The entrepreneurial spirit that has pervaded at the ECB for the past couple of decades has done Durham few favours. The ECB rarely pays too much attention to the old adage of “Beware Greeks bearing gifts” – or Texans for that matter. Of course the game desperately needs money to survive, but succumbing to the highest bidder is not always the best way to long-term stability. Entrepreneurs make profits and they take risks and along the way there will be victims. This approach sits more comfortably in business than in the management of sporting bodies.

Durham were encouraged to build a ground capable of hosting international cricket; then they found they had to tender for those matches in an increasingly competitive market. Soon there were other newcomers in Southampton and Cardiff, where they have somehow managed to host Australia in two of their three Tests. The books would not balance.

The ECB could hardly have stepped in with their cash without imposing sanctions on Durham. That would have set a very dangerous precedent, which promised that any county would be bailed out with impunity. They might just have imposed their points penalties. In the championship this would have probably resulted in relegation from Division One anyway since Durham have already been forced to bid farewell to two of their best and most expensive batsmen, Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick, who have been snapped up by Surrey.

The severity of the sanctions raises the question of what would have happened if Durham had already been in Division Two. There is nowhere to go from there. Would they have been allowed to disappear as a first-class county 25 years after their elevation? Probably not. But it is clear the ECB, despite their reserves, do not wish to be seen as a guaranteed saviour for counties in strife.

Since news broke of Durham’s demise there has been a spike in membership, though this is highly unlikely to transform their finances. The ECB insists that no other county has come so close to the brink of extinction and that without their intervention the bulldozers would have been moving in at Chester-le-Street.

Even so, entrepreneurs remain in charge at the ECB. This explains the eagerness for the eight-team T20 competition, which seems to be based on the simple – or is it naive? – premise that if this format is such a success in Australia, it might work here as well, despite all the differences of climate, demography and tradition. Perhaps they are right, but have they also noticed that in Australia they do not have a secondary T20 tournament running alongside the Big Bash League?

A similar appetite to ape Australia applies with the decision to have a day-night Test match against West Indies next summer at Edgbaston. Do not brand me as an arch-conservative just yet, though. Just as T20 is a vital component of the modern game, so day-night cricket, including the Test variety, can be a wonderful spectacle in places like Adelaide. It is less likely to work so well in Birmingham, where it tends to be colder – and lighter – at 7.30 in the evening.

However, I’m not so bothered by this day-night experiment. If there are pitfalls it is easy to revert to an 11 a.m. start the following year. It is not so simple to resolve past mistakes when dealing with our domestic structure – or with the travails of a new county, urged to build and bid for international cricket without recognising the perils ahead.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,948

 Sunday, 16 October 2016


• BCCI president now on ICC's finance committee: reports [1948-9800].

• Parliamentary inquiry into SACA club merger plans to continue [1948-9801].

• First ICC neutral appointment for NZ umpire [1948-9802].

• UDRS for Indian Test series for first time? [1948-9803].

• Former first class player amongst NZC match referees [1948-9804].

BCCI president now on ICC's finance committee: reports.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release, media reports.

Saturday, 15 October 2016.

PTG 1948-9800.

Indian media outlets are reporting that Anurag Thakur, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), was made a member of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) powerful Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee (FCAC) during the ICC board's last meeting of the year in Cape Town this week.  No mention is made of that move in the post meeting media release the ICC issued on Saturday, however, if the report is correct it means the BCCI’s strong complaints of recent months of having no one on the FCAC have been resolved.

The FCAC is working to overturn the ICC financial model introduced by the so-called ‘Big Three’ in 2014.  Reports in the past have suggested such a wind back 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 (PTG 1919-9638, 8 September 2016).  As such the BCCI is keen to have direct involvement in any decisions taken regarding the distribution of ICC finances, however, Thakur’s on-going participation with the BCCI and FCAC could depend on India’s Supreme Court (PTG 1944-9776, 12 October 2016).

The ICC’s comment about the outcome of FCAC related matters in its Cape Town meeting media release was a very bland: “Work continues on the future governance structure of the ICC, including the revenue sharing model, and a comprehensive proposal is expected to go to the ICC Board [at its first quarterly meeting of 2017 in February]”.  However, the FCAC and the ICC board "agreed that some form of [financial] assistance” be provided to help the Pakistan Cricket Board deal with "issues related to not being able to compete at home”.  

Other financial decisions include the approval of further payments of $US500,000 ($A656,400, £UK410,300) to Ireland and Afghanistan to assist them in staging more One Day Internationals (ODI) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).  Additionally, $US250,000 ($A328,210, £UK20,515) will also be given to each of the other Associate Members with ODI and T20I status, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates, for the same purpose. That investment is designed to continue to "increase the number of competitive teams on the world stage" and comes on top of their existing member distribution. 

In a similar vein, the ICC board agreed to give Ireland’s top domestic competition, the Inter-Provincial Championship, first class status, while its 50 over and T20 competition fixtures will now become List A games.  Ireland hope to play their first Test as early as 2019, with neighbours England the mooted opponents, as discussions over expanding the Test format continue (PTG 1928-9685, 22 September 2016).

The ICC board also gave approval to a request from Cricket Australia (CA), the hosts of the men’s and women’s World Twenty20 Championships (WWT20C) in 2020, to hold the women’s tournament as a stand-alone event six months ahead of the men’s edition.  The ICC says that given the success of the Womens’ Big Bash League "there is a clear appetite for women’s cricket”. 

CA chairman David Peever, who is also the chair of the ICC’s Governance Committee, said: “Women’s cricket is undoubtedly gaining in popularity around the globe and we felt that by separating the two events we could accelerate that growth.  Having the [WWT20C] as a stand-alone event means we can hold it in stadiums that we can fill, put on TV at prime-time and ensure it has the space to be promoted away from the shadow of the men’s game. This decision means we have the opportunity to hold the biggest women’s sporting event ever held in Australia”.

Parliamentary inquiry into SACA club merger plans to continue.  

Andrew Faulkner.

The Australian.

Saturday, 15 October 2016.

PTG 1948-9801.

South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) officials strongly defended their board’s decision to reduce the number of clubs in Adelaide’s top club competition from 13 to 12, when they appeared before the South Australian Parliament’s Select Committee inquiry into the ’SACA Premier Cricket Merger Decision’.   The inquiry was convened after SACA tried to force two of the state’s oldest clubs, Port Adelaide and West Torrens to amalgamate, saying that if they didn't one would be axed (PTG 1945-9784, 13 October 2016).

SACA's chief executive Keith Bradshaw, cricket operations manager Shane Bernhardt and Public Policy and Government Relations Manager Ben Page appeared at the Committee’s two-hour hearing on Friday.  Bradshaw and his colleagues rejected “straight out” any suggestion SACA was targeting western suburbs clubs over “more elite communities” and argued rationalisation was needed in the city’s northwest.

Select Committee chair Jennifer Rankine MP chided Page over the existence, or otherwise, of a report relating to SACA’s push to merge the two clubs, accusing him of “playing games” and "not providing the information that we have asked for”.  Rankine was seeking a copy of what she called "the ‘Schedlich’ report”, but Page and his two colleagues said there was no such document.  

Rather, the so-called report on merger related issues was in fact "written briefing notes for the board” prepared by SACA staffer Shannon Schedlich.  “Shannon laughs at this every time it comes up [something] she finds hilarious”, said Page.  Rankine was not amused: “Well you can let her know that I don’t find it hilarious”.

SACA’s turn to front the committee came a fortnight after former board member Glenn Bain appeared before it (PTG 1942-9764, 10 October 2016).  During Friday’s hearing though, neither Bradshaw, Bernhardt or Page were asked about Bain’s specific accusations that include SACA being a “closed shop", nor did they voluntarily address his claims.  At the end of proceedings, Rankine directed that SACA appear before the Committee again before it delivers its findings next month.

First ICC neutral appointment for NZ umpire.  

PTG Editor.

ICC media release.

Saturday, 15 October 2016.

PTG 1948-9802.

New Zealand umpire Chris Brown, who was promoted to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) second-tier International Umpires Panel four months ago, has received his first appointment as a neutral official from the ICC.  Commencing Sunday, Brown and Papua New Guinea (PNG) umpire Lakani Oala, are to stand in an Intercontinental Cup (IC) match between PNG and Namibia in Port Moresby, the first-ever first class match played in PNG and Oala’s first class debut.  

Brown will stay on after the Cup match as the two sides are to play two one-day, 50-over, World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) games in Port Moresby next weekend, Bernard again being the match referee.  Brown will be on-field with another local, Alu Kapa, in both of those fixtures.  Steve Bernard from Australia, a member of the ICC’s second-tier Regional Referees Panel, will oversee the IC and WCLC fixtures.

UDRS for Indian Test series for first time? 

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Saturday, 15 October 2016.

PTG 1948-9803.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is said to be "seriously contemplating” the use of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) for England's tour of India next month (PTG 1937-9743, 4 October 2016).  Should that occur it will be for the first time it will have been used for a bilateral Test series involving India, although it did feature in the 2011 World Cup in India as that event was run by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

An ICC spokesperson is reported to have confirmed that Geoff Allardice, its general manager cricket, along with representatives of companies who provide the systems that make up the UDRS package, are to meet senior BCCI officials and coach Anil Kumble during the coming week.  The spokesperson said part of the discussions will focus on the findings of ICC-sponsored research conducted Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) into ball tracking and other technologies.

Kumble's presence is seen as vital in the outcome of the discussions, not only because he is the chairman of ICC Cricket Committee but also as he had visited the MIT laboratory last year with Allardice to monitor the progress on the much talked about ball tracking technologies (PTG 1639-8020, 7 September 2016).

India's limited overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been adamant about ball tracking technology not being foolproof.  The BCCI has been resisting using UDRS in bilateral series it plays in since its experience of it in the very first Test it was used in 2008 (PTG 288-1526, 1 August 2008). 

Former first class player amongst NZC match referees. 

PTG Editor.

NZC media release.

Saturday, 15 October 2016.

PTG 1948-9804.

Only three of the seven match referees selected by New Zealand Cricket (NZC) to oversee games played in its 2016-17 domestic first class, one-day, Twenty20, tour and womens’ international series have direct experience as match officials, however, the other four bring to the role considerable expertise in playing and/or administering the game.  The seven who have been appointed are: Gary Baxter, Ross Dykes, Kevin Earl, Richard Hayward, Pat Malcon, George Morris and Kevin Pulley.

Baxter, Earl and Morris have many years of umpiring behind them, the latter being a member of NZC’s original referee’s group (PTG 1947-9796, 15 October 2016).  Dykes, from Auckland, has been chief executive of Otago Cricket and a national selector, while Macon, of Hamilton, has served Northern Districts in a number of roles including as a selector, operations manager and director of cricket.  Wellington’s Pulley, has been a board member of Wellington Rugby since 2002, and has managed a number of NZC national age group sides, while Nelson-based Hayward has played first class cricket for Hampshire, Somerset and Central Districts, and worked as Canterbury's Director of Coaching and Development.

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,949

 Monday, 17 October 2016

• BCCI still holding out against key Lodha reforms [1949-9805].

• Don’t believe players evidence, says Hughes family [1949-9806].

• Dew a problem for bowlers in second day-night Test [1949-9807].

• Local council ready to bail out Durham [1949-9808].

• Who gives a toss in Tests? [1949-9809].

• Long-serving umpire to be buried ‘in uniform’ [1949-9810].

BCCI still holding out against key Lodha reforms.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Sunday, 16 October 2016.

PTG 1949-9805.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is to continue its opposition to key Lodha Committee reforms when it appears before India's Supreme Court on Monday.  After making its view clear eight months ago (PTG 1755-8754, 5 February 2016), the Court gave the Indian cricket body a “last chance” until Monday to accept the Lodha recommendations “unconditionally”, however, BCCI members decided to maintain its position on a number of matters at a Special General Meeting (SGM) it held in Delhi on Saturday (PTG 1944-9776, 12 October 2016).

A senior BCCI official was quoted as saying after the SGM: "We maintain that there are certain clauses [in Lodha’s recommendations] that are practically not implementable [and] our legal counsel Kapil Sibal will present that point of view to the Court on Monday”.  The BCCI and all but three of its state members, Tripura, Vidarbha and more recently Rajasthan and Hyderabad, have made it clear that Lodha’s 'One State One Vote', 'One person One post', an age limit of 70 for administrators, and a cooling off period between successive terms for top officials, are not negotiable.

Linked to that is the issue as to whether the International Cricket Council (ICC) regards the action by the Court-sponsored Lodha Committee as “government interference”, something the ICC constitution does not allow for its various members and could lead to the suspension of the BCCI from the world body.  

Reports over the last few months have suggested that BCCI President Anurag Thakur has indicated ICC chief executive David Richardson’s view is that that is indeed the case, which if so Could give the BCCI an ‘out’ regarding Lodha’s recommendations. Others are no so sure though and the Court has directed Thakur to file an affidavit and clarify whether or not he himself had asked Richardson to take that position.

In an interesting move the BCCI also decided on Saturday to part ways with former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju, who was their key negotiator with Lodha panel (PTG 1895-9504, 9 August 2016).  A senior BCCI member who did not wish to be identified said, "Justice Katju is no more involved with us. We are no longer looking at his advice [and] he has been moved aside, therefore Sisal, our senior counsel will present our views to the Court on Monday”.

Several news reports in India are suggesting, with what degree of accuracy is unknown, that the elevation of Thakur to the ICC’s powerful Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee (FCAC) may be ‘quid pro quo’ for the BCCI accepting the use of the Umpire Decision Review System in its national team’s bilateral series.  ICC and BCCI officials are to meet to discuss the UDRS issue during the coming week (PTG 1948-9800 and 1948-9803, 16 October 2016).

Don’t believe players' evidence, says Hughes family.

Sam Buckingham-Jones.

The Australian.

Saturday, 15 October 2016.

PTG 1949-9806.

The family of Phillip Hughes urged the NSW State Coroner, during the final day of the inquest into the 26-year-old’s death on Friday, to dis­regard evidence from other players on the field when he was fatally struck because they have “faulty” memories and are “inherently unbelievable”.  Hughes’s parents Greg and Virginia, sister Megan and brother Jason left the hearing abruptly that day soon after a lawyer for Cricket Australia accused them of providing unsubstantiated evidence of aggressive sledging from people who “think they heard things”  (PTG 1947-9794, 15 October 2016).

In his closing submission Greg Melick, who was representing the family, told coroner Michael ­Barnes that because key witnesses David Warner, Brad Haddin, Doug Bollinger, Tom Cooper and Sean Abbott were not asked to ­record their memories until ­some 18 months after the event, their evidence “cannot stand up to even cursory scrutiny”.  

“Rather than being contemp­or­aneous statements made in the same manner as the Hughes family, they were made in the presence of various legal representatives and drafts were carefully checked”, said Melick (PTG 1945-9780, 13 October 2016).  He went on to claim the players’ statements were riddled with phrases such as “I don’t recall” and “I don’t remember” — eight times by Cooper, seven by Warner and fifteen by Abbott.  

Dew a problem for bowlers in second day-night Test.

Gulf News.

Sunday, 16 October 2016.

PTG 1949-9807.

The pink ball, along with dew and Dubai's already slow wicket, seems to be giving bowlers a hard time during the second ever day-night Test between Pakistan and the West Indies.  Speaking to Geo News after stumps on Saturday, the third day of the game, Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz admitted difficulty in handling the pink ball, especially when dew, a common feature after sunset in the region, appears.

Local council ready to bail out Durham.

Simon Wilde.

The Sunday Times.

Sunday, 16 October 2016.

PTG 1949-9808.

Durham’s ailing county cricket club, the beneficiary of £UK3.8 million ($A6.1 m) from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), is expected to submit itself to part-ownership by the local council under a plan to resolve the club’s debts of about £5.5 m ($A8.8 m) .  The ECB last week wrote to Durham County Council (DCC) and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP), who between them have advanced the club £5.5 m in recent years, asking them to support an “all-creditors’ solution”, which means writing off outstanding debt.

The DCC will meet on Wednesday to vote on the proposal but appears ready to support it, even though the club owes it £3.785 m ($A6.1 m). It would spark criticism from those who feel councils which have cut public services should not bail out a private company.  The Labour-run council told members it could not provide a detailed report until Wednesday because it was involved in “ongoing dialogue” with the ECB and that Durham’s board was meeting on Tuesday to discuss its position. 

John Shuttleworth, a DCC independent councillor, said: “This is not fair to Joe Public. The council have shut and sold care homes, and shut schools, and older and younger people are the ones that can’t defend themselves. This is hitting them at the expense of 500 people who want to play cricket.  When you take a stake in a private company, you take a stake in the liability. They [Labour] want to produce the report on Wednesday, say that’s what’s good for you and vote it through. There was never any chance of getting their money back. The council hasn’t said what the money was spent on and won’t have asked. That money was used to bankroll the players”.

Durham’s wages fell from £2.094 m ($A3.4) in 2012, when the club breached the salary cap of £1.8 m ($A2.9 m), to £1.325 ($A2.1 m) in 2015.

When in 2013 Durham were loaned £2.8 m ($A4.5 m) by the DCC and £1.2 m ($A1.9 m) by NELEP it was claimed the club would bring the local economy £40 m ($A64 m)  over three years. Ian Thompson, the council’s corporate director for regeneration and local services, said: “While we know the club is experiencing financial difficulties it’s important to say it has delivered huge financial benefits to the county and wider region and is a key aspect of our sporting and cultural offer”.  Shuttleworth disagreed: “They [the council] issued statements saying [international matches] would put millions into the economy but that’s rubbish”.

Durham’s apologists argue that the club was encouraged by the Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB), the precursor to the ECB, to build a venue fit to stage international matches, and then bid for them, but there appears no evidence to support this (PTG 1947-9799, 15 October 2016). The TCCB merely expected the county to build a main ground rather than use club and university venues as it had previously.  The club is up to date with loan repayments but debts have risen from £3 m ($A4.8 m) in 2012 to £7.5 m ($A12 m) in 2016.

Who gives a toss in Tests?

Sam Hewat.

New Zealand Herald.

Sunday, 16 October 2016.

PTG 1949-9809.

New Zealand have only won four out of fifteen Test matches away from home in the last two years and they've lost the toss 10 times.  Ricky Ponting and Michael Holding avidly campaigned to get rid of the toss from Test cricket last year. The argument is that away teams have the ability to prepare their wickets in such a fashion, that winning the toss almost becomes an integral part of the match's outcome.

Now, the Test game is falling into such a crisis, the idea might actually have some strong validity.  Consider this, Pakistan have only lost three of their last twenty Test matches at ‘home’.  Similarly, India have only lost two of their last 20.  Clearly there is an advantage to playing at home, that's always been the case in cricket. And no one is advocating for teams not to be able to prepare their wickets in the way they want.

But for all of Pakistan's victories and draws, only three came when they lost the toss.  Likewise India have won nine of 15 after winning the toss.  The toss, completely down to a 50/50 chance, is becoming too important.  And it's not just the Kiwis.

Australia have played five Tests in the sub-continent in the past two years. They've lost all five tosses, and all five matches.  England have played just two in the sub-continent in the past two years. They've lost both tosses and both matches.  With the Test game in decline, crowd numbers and TV ratings dropping in favour of the shorter formats, Tests need to bring back competitiveness.

Two years ago, NZ selector Gavin Larsen would have squashed the idea. Now, he thinks the International Cricket Council need to move seriously to look at how they deal with the toss.

NZ coach Mike Hesson agrees, telling NZ radio that even he, a strong traditionalist, has now changed his tune.  "I think it evens up the contest when teams tour away”, he said. I know it takes away from tradition, but based on the record in the past five years with teams that tour away, it becomes more of an uneven contest”.  

Hesson believes the competition is already stiff enough without throwing in the added challenge of winning a game of chance.  "People want to see competitive matches”, he said. "I think sometimes if the home team prepares surfaces that are in favour of one skill or another then it can become lopsided”.

Travelling to the sub-continent, playing in excruciating climates and high altitudes is a challenge in itself. If the away team has the ability to choose whether they bat or bowl first, Test cricket may once again become the competitive spectacle it used to be.

Long-serving umpire to be buried ‘in uniform’

Mort Birch.

Nuneaton News.

Sunday, 16 October 2016.

PTG 1949-9810.

Dennis Docking, who played, administrated and umpired in the Coventry and District Cricket League for over 60 years, will go to his rest dressed in the white umpire's coat and hat he wore for many decades. Docking, 89, died of cancer two weeks ago and is to be farewelled in a service at St Giles Parish Church, Exhall, on Thursday.

Dennis Coombe, a former league chairman said “Dennis was honest and reliable umpire and always welcome at the grounds where he officiated.  He carried the job as competitions' secretary very well for years and was proud of the amount of money that was raised for the charities the game in this area supported.  As a player, umpire and administrator he put back what he got out of the game”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,950

 Tuesday, 18 October 2016

 

• Supreme Court reserves order as BCCI seeks 'more time’ [1950-9811].

• County Championship ’toss optional’ rule to apply in 2017 [1950-9812].

• New ECB competition may run alongside ’SuperCharge' T20 [1950-9813].

• CA to pump $A15 m into womens’, diversity programs [1950-9814].

Supreme Court reserves order as BCCI seeks 'more time’.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Monday, 17 October 2016.

PTG 1950-9811.

The Supreme Court of India has reserved its order regarding the Lodha Committee’s status report, which had recommended that current office bearers of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) be “superseded” and a panel of administrators be appointed to implement the court-approved recommendations.  At the end of Monday afternoon's two hour hearing the judges they could return to hand down their decision on the matter this week.

The Court heard from independent council Gopal Subramanium that the BCCI’s “consistent attitude of defiance” warranted the appointment of a panel of administrators. However, BCCI counsel Kapi Sibal asked for more time to “persuade” its 27 state units to accept the recommendations, but also suggested that in certain cases the Lodha Committee was going beyond the original judgement.  Four of those 27 states, Hyderabad, Rajasthan, Tripura and Vidarbha have already accepted the Lodha reforms in full.

It was acknowledged by the Court that replacing the BCCI’s office bearers would be an “extreme measure” but did not rule it out, and Subramanium was asked for other approaches that could be taken to resolve the issues. One option discussed was to “appoint a committee or an officer” at the BCCI who reports to the Lodha Committee.

BCCI counsel Sibal continued to argue that constitutional changes could only be made to the board through a two-thirds majority of its members. “We have not defied any judgement”, Sibal said in response to the court. “We are just finding some of the recommendations difficult to implement”.  Anurag Thakur, the BCCI president, said that the board needed more time, saying: “Right now there is more confusion in the state associations on how to implement the recommendations, I think we need more clarity”.

Thakur also denied, via an affidavit presented to the Court, that he sought a letter from the International Cricket Council stating that adoption of the Lodha Committee's recommendations was "tantamount" to government interference in the working of the board, something that would, in theory at least, put the BCCI’s ICC membership at risk.

Subramnium concluded by saying that during its last hearing the Court had given the BCCI and its state association ten days to fall in line. “Everybody wants to give the board a fair opportunity”, he said. “The fact is that BCCI has not produced a single affidavit of compliance, and the less said about their interviews in the media the better”.

County Championship ’toss optional’ rule to apply in 2017.

Nick Hoult.

London Daily Telegraph.

Monday, 17 October 2016.

PTG 1950-9812.

A meeting of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) at Lords on Tuesday is expected to approve the extension of the toss rule change that applied to County Championship first class matches in 2016 to be extended for another year. Under the arrangement, visiting teams were given the opportunity to bowl first or opt for the traditional toss. The ECB believes the change encouraged teams to use more spin bowlers and seamers learned to bowl on better batting decks because home teams stopped preparing pitches to suit their own attacks (PTG 1934-9725, 30 September 2016). 

New ECB competition may run alongside ’Supercharge' T20.

Elizabeth Ammon.

The Times.

Monday, 17 October 2016.

PTG 1950-9813.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is exploring the possibility of introducing a new T20 competition to run alongside the proposed eight-team, city-based Twenty20 competition that is being called ‘Supercharge' .  ECB officials are engaged in meetings with County members around the country to discuss the ‘Supercharge' tournament and the restructuring of domestic cricket.

The ECB is said to have admitted that the new T20 tournament may involve eight “regional” rather than “city-based” teams so as to allow more than eight venues to be used — an admission that has led to one County chairman saying: “They’re clearly making it up as they go along with no answers to our questions”.

It has also been revealed that one option the governing body is looking at is to have a knockout-style T20 competition involving the 20 Minor Counties and the County players who are not picked to compete in ‘Supercharge'.  There is growing recognition within the ECB that it may not be possible to continue to play the County Championship during the window identified for ‘Supercharge’, a four or five-week period during the UK school holidays, and that cricket outside of the eight cities or regions cannot stop for five weeks.

Richard Gould, the Surrey chief executive said: “The practical considerations of another T20 competition are complicated and we are waiting for the ECB to provide us with a full understanding of their plan. We do not know when it will be unveiled”.  The ECB is expected to press ahead with the new competition, though it will need a formal vote by the counties for its proposals to be approved.

Colin Graves, the ECB chairman, is reported to have admitted that it is almost certain that the Board of Control for Cricket in India will not approve any Indian players appearing in the ‘Supercharge' and that there will need to be an England international program that runs throughout the proposed ‘Supercharge' window.

The ‘Supercharge’ T20 competition will move a stage closer to becoming a reality on Tuesday when the ECB’s executive board meets at Lord’s.  The next stage is for the ECB to begin formal tender process for the television rights to the new competition, which is estimated to cost about £30 m ($A47.9 m) per year to run.  First, the board has to decide how it packages its television rights after a decade of selling cricket exclusively to one broadcaster, Sky. 

CA to pump $A15 m into womens’, diversity programs.

PTG Editor.

CA media release.

Monday, 17 October 2016.

PTG 1950-9814.

Cricket Australia (CA) has, with the assistance of one that nation’s major banks, committed to the "single largest investment" directed at players in the womens', indigenous, disabled and local clubs games around the country.  Starting in the 2017-18 austral summer those areas of the game will, say CA, be “the big winners” from $A5 million a year (£UK3.1 m) that will be allocated over each of three years, however, just what the funding breakdown into each of those areas of the game will be was not mentioned.

The banks’ money will be used for a 'naming rights partnership' with the national women’s side both domestically and abroad, and increasing CA’s total investment in its 'Growing Cricket for Girls Fund’.  In July, CA committed $A4 million (£UK2.5 m) over the next four years to that fund, then in late August announced it was increasing it by a further $A500,000 (£313,310) because of the high level of interest that flowed from the original funding announcement (PTG 1913-9605, 1 September 2016).

The additional funding announced on Monday will, says CA, "increase awareness of and access to pathway opportunities for girls, particularly all-girls competitions around the country”.  The bank will also become an 'Official Partner' of the Women’s Big Bash League and a naming rights partner of CA’s Female Talent Pathway.  Virtually all of the media stories in Australia on Tuesday morning about the new funding initiative only focusses on the boost for the women’s game, which is in a fight to lure women from a number of other sports who are seeking to attract female participation with additional financial support.

CA says though the new money will also enable cricket to become the first non-Paralympian Australian sport to fully integrate and support its national teams for players with a disability. As a consequence, for the first time Australia’s Blind, Deaf and other disabled teams will not have to pay to represent their country, and will have access to the support required to perform at the international level.  

There will also be monies “to grow the diversity of grassroots cricket and celebrate the sport’s many heroes”.  That will include sending Australian Indigenous women’s and men’s squads to England in 2018 as part of plans to commemorate the ground-breaking all-Aboriginal team tour of England in 1868.  The funds will also help "career pathways and opportunities for Indigenous players to help balance their sports and professional careers".

 

Match officials do get a mention, but almost as an afterthought, for the bank will also become a ‘presenting partner' of CA’s 'A Sport For All' program that supports "female, multicultural, Indigenous and disability participation, talent, volunteers and officials”.  CA indicated earlier this year it was investing $A300,000 (£18,800) a year into that particular venture.  No mention was made in CA’s media release about support for the rapidly growing Over 60s game in Australia.  

CA’s announcement of the new funding comes less than two weeks after the NSW womens’ side became Australia's first fully professional domestic women’s sporting team. Its players now earn at least the minimum of $A35,000 (£21,850), with the top international players earning $A100,000 (£62,420) or more (PTG 1940-9758, 7 October 2016).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,951

 Wednesday, 19 October 2016

 

• World cricket chiefs to assess Test conference system [1951-9815].

• More Tests for Australia’s Fry [1951-9816].

• Dew hindered spin, reverse swing in day-night Test: winning skipper [1951-9817].

• Dubai day-night Test fails to capture the imagination [1951-9818].

• Batsman run out while celebrating his century [1951-9819].

• County Championship to feature day-night round in 2017 [1951-9820].

• Australia’s era of sledging over, says Proteas’ skipper [1951-9821].

• Public servants criticised for playing during work hours [1951-9822].

World cricket chiefs to assess Test conference system.

Jon Pierik.

Fairfax Media.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016.

PTG 1951-9815.

World cricket authorities will investigate what would be a radical split of Test nations into two conferences as a way of reinvigorating the traditional format.  The idea was floated among chief executives from International Cricket Council (ICC) member nations who attended last week's ICC board meeting in Cape Town.

The merits of such a move will be reviewed as part of an ICC analysis of all possible structures to be completed before the world body’s next board meeting in February.  There were no specific details given about how the 10-Test playing nations would be divided, although it would not be rankings based. Officials would also need to determine whether more nations would need to be added. A conference system, at least initially, could also be confusing for fans.

Countries would also want their marquee series preserved, particularly the Ashes and for example the battle for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy between Australia and India. Finding a stand-alone window for the Indian Premier League is also an issue.  But the suggestion has been seen as an acknowledgement that change is needed.

With poor attendances a long-time concern in many countries, officials continue to grapple with how to add context to the sport's three formats, with Test cricket seen to be the most under threat outside of Australia and England.  Several nations, led by India and Sri Lanka, torpedoed plans – backed by Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa – for a two-tiered, promotion-relegation Test system, but sources indicate a plan along those lines could yet be reprised.

India and Sri Lanka had argued that nations relegated into the second tier – on current rankings that would be Bangladesh and Zimbabwe – would be harmed financially (PTG 1919-9633, 8 September 2016).

The statement issued by the ICC at the end of last week’s meeting said: "There was further discussion around the structure of international bilateral cricket as members collectively aim to bring greater context across all three formats of the game with more progress made. Further work will be undertaken around scheduling before a full proposal for consideration will go to the ICC board in February” (PTG 1948-9800, 16 October 2016).

Many nations are in favour of an end-of-season "play off", regardless of whether that's derived from an ongoing single division or a revamped format.  Officials believe more needs to be done to raise awareness of who the world's number one Test side is. As it stands, the top ranked Test nation at the end of April is presented with the championship mace. A conference concept could mean a play-off was held every two years.

Plans to have a Test championship featuring the four best nations have been scuttled before when the format failed to find a broadcaster over fears India would not be involved.  While the structural format is the major point of debate, there are players and coaches, including Australia's Darren Lehmann, who believe the biggest threat to the five-day format are pitches which are too batsman-friendly or weighted too heavily in favour of the home side.

Day-night Test cricket, with two more matches to be held in Australia this summer, against South Africa in Adelaide and Pakistan in Brisbane, is also seen as a way for the sport to move with the times. This week's match in Dubai between Pakistan and the West Indies was viewed as a success, although as could have been anticipated in the region, dew was an issue (PTG 1951-9817 and 1951-9818 below).

There is also a push for greater context for One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. This has largely focused on all matches counting towards qualification for the World Cups.

More Tests for Australia’s Fry.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016.

PTG 1951-9816.

Australian Simon Fry is to stand in his second and third Tests during the two-match Zimbabwe-Sri Lanka series, the first game of which is to get underway in Harare on Saturday week.  Fry, 50, became the 481st person to stand in a Test, and 92nd Australian, when he made his debut at the game’s highest level in Colombo last October (PTG 1658-8113, 7 October 2016).

Fry has been appointed with Englishmen Chris Broad and Ian Gould as the neutral officials for the two Tests, Broad being the referee and Gould Fry’s on-field colleague.  The third and fourth umpires for the series are expected to come from Zimbabwean members of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel, however, as yet they have not been named.

While Fry is early on in his Test career, the coming series will take Broad’s record as a referee in Tests to 82 matches, which is second on the all-time Test referee’s list, and Gould’s as an umpire 55.  The first Test of the series will be the 100th Zimbabwe has played since its debut in October 1992 (PTG 1934-9726, 30 September 2016).

Dew hindered spin, reverse swing in day-night Test: winning skipper.

Cricinfo.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016.

PTG 1951-9817.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has said that dew played a role in reducing the effectiveness of his bowling attack during the day-night Test against the West Indies in Dubai because the dampness affected the pink ball's ability to spin and reverse swing (PTG 1949-9807, 17 October 2016). He also said the pitch did not deteriorate as it usually does at the venue because the dew.

The pattern of the game, which was only the second day-night Test, was in contrast to the first such fixture in Adelaide, where Australia beat New Zealand inside three days in a match dominated by bowlers. In contrast, Pakistan made 579 and 123 in Dubai, while West Indies made 357 and 289.

Misbah said after his side won the Test said: "A bit of dew in the evening session was effecting the ball. With the sogginess, the ball was getting softer so different factors contributed and helped the batsmen score runs.  Spinners and fast bowlers will get more help and reverse swing will also be there in the dry weather, but in the evening the pink ball was getting wet and the seam was swelling and it got softer".

"The pitch was on the slower side, I don't know why, but otherwise the Dubai pitch normally starts deteriorating after two days. But since the dew was helping the pitch bind again and it wasn't breaking up at the same rate it used to. But in the end it was a good Test match, both teams played really well, and it's good for Test cricket”.

Dubai day-night Test fails to capture the imagination.

Kalika Mehta.

The Times.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016.

PTG 1951-9818.

If the purpose of day-night Tests is to resurrect the popularity in the longest form of cricket, the second experiment in Dubai between Pakistan and the West Indies left much to be desired.  While Pakistan pulled off a thrilling 56-run final-day victory on the field at the Dubai International Stadium, almost everything else attached to a day-night Test failed to captivate.

As with every new concept it undoubtedly needs more time to develop fully, yet the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision to allocate only the second day-night Test to a ground in the middle of the desert which is notoriously difficult to access is questionable.

Cricket is far from a popular sport with the locals in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and it is something the ICC would have been aware of given their headquarters are situated in the country, in fact in sight of the Dubai stadium. However, notably, the first Twenty20 match between the two sides in September sold out as Pakistani expats who work in the UAE filled the 25,000-seat venue to its capacity.

The ICC’s hope for the day-night Test was to entice more spectators to the ground, specifically after work for the final two sessions — which ran from 6-8 p.m. and 8.30-10.30 p.m. — with their core demographic the expat labour workers from Pakistan. While the cheapest tickets were £4.50 ($A7), the decision not to offer free tickets to the labourers was questionable, given their low earnings and obvious desire to watch their national side.

Outside a busy labour camp in Al Quoz, groups of men had huddled around a radio listening to Azhar Ali compile an impressive triple hundred; too far (approximately 20 km) from the stadium to justify spending the money required to get there.  A lack of marketing by the Pakistan Cricket Board in the build-up to the match also hindered the prospect of a healthy turnout. And, it looked abysmal when just 68 fans were present for the start of the first day and a mere peak of 2,400 attended on Friday, the first day of the weekend in the UAE.

Over the five days, official figures suggest a maximum of 6,000 people watched some part of the Test match at the ground, a far cry from the 123,736 fans that went to the Adelaide Oval over three days for the first day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand last November.

Disappointing crowds aside, plenty of issues with the pink ‘Kookaburra' ball cropped up despite improvements made to it following the first day-night Test. In Dubai just one pink ball throughout the duration of the Test lasted 80 overs, with one needing to be changed after only three overs at the start of Pakistan’s second innings because it lost its shape.  In addition, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq and West Indies skipper Jason Holder both noted that the added dew factor in the evening constantly affected the ball (PTG 1951-9817 above). 

After the match ended, former West Indies captain Sir Viv Richards admitted “the jury is still out on day-night Tests and the pink ball”. This is certainly one match the ICC will not be holding up as an example of success as they push forward in their attempts to reinvent Test cricket.

Batsman run out while celebrating his century.

PTG Editor.

Indian media reports.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016.

PTG 1951-9819.

Tamil Nadu opener Abhinav Mukund was in the midst of a game-changing innings against Railways in the Ranji Trophy on Sunday, and had just reached his century when he was adjudged 'run out' as he was celebrating his ton.  He had hit the ball to deep square-leg, reached his ton with the second run, and had turned for the third but thought the ball had crossed the boundary and began to celebrate before reaching the bowler’s end. 

Out of the safety of his crease, Mukund raised this bat towards his teammates in the pavilion, but as he was soaking up the moment, ’keeper Mahesh Rawat lobbed the ball to the bowler, who in turn removed the bails, which led to the centurion to be given out by umpire Rohan Pandit.

After the game ended Mukund said he "feels so sheepish about the whole thing!  I thought it had gone for four. It was also the last ball of the over, and I was celebrating. I realise it was my mistake, it wasn’t a dead-ball I guess. I could have reached the other end comfortably. I was batting well, and it was an important situation in the game”.

Somewhat ironically, Mukund played a key role when England's Ian Bell was 'run out’ in similar circumstances during a Test at Trent Bridge in 2011 (PTG 806-3946, 1 August 2011).  

On the last ball before tea at a critical stage of that game, Bell flicked the ball to deep square-leg and took three runs, before he walked down the pitch towards his batting partner to celebrate what he thought was a four and from there depart for the tea interval.  However, the ball had been fielded near the boundary, thrown in and relayed to Mukund who removed the bails and appealed, after which Bell was given out.  However, India withdrew the appeal during the tea interval and Bell resumed his innings.  

Reliving that incident on Sunday, Mukund said that during the break England’s captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower went to the Indian dressing room where Duncan Fletcher was the India coach. "There was a feeling of unanimity that we should reinstate Bell, as getting him out in that manner would be in contravention to the spirit of the game”.  Mukund saw the humour in being involved in both the incidents, but unlike the national side, Railways, which was led by Karn Sharma, didn’t recall him.

County Championship to feature day-night round in 2017.

The Times.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016.

PTG 1951-9820.

One round of the County Championship during the 2017 northern summer is likely to be played under lights to help players become accustomed to the conditions.  The first Test match under lights in England will be played against West Indies at Edgbaston in August (PTG 1941-9760, 8 October 2016), and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) does not want England players going into the fixture without experience of the conditions.

When the day-night Test at Edgbaston was announced, Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, promised that Test players would be given opportunities to experience using the pink ball in English conditions. Many will already have used the pink ball in the annual preseason fixture between Marylebone Cricket Club and the Champion County, which from 201-15 was played in Abu Dhabi as a day-night, pink ball, fixture (PTG 1755-8753, 5 February 2016).

Freeing up England’s Test players to participate in a round of floodlight Championship fixtures could be tricky, however, batsman Joe Root, for example, played just two Championship games for Yorkshire last season, both of them in May.  A day-night county match at Edgbaston was suggested for as early as the end of the 2016 season, although it never came to pass. Trials of the pink ball under light have taken place in second XI cricket, with mixed reviews from players about the quality of the ball (PTG 1909-9578, 27 August 2016).

Australia’s era of sledging over, says Proteas’ skipper.

Australian Associated Press.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016.

PTG 1951-9821.

Australian cricket’s snarly, sledging era is over, according to South Africa’s captain Faf du Pleases.  He isn’t forecasting total peace and quiet for the Proteas’ three-Test tour of Australia in November but says the verbal abuse that marred recent one-day series between the the two countries played on the western side of the Indian Ocean has ended — mainly because Steve Smith is Australia’s captain.  

“I have played against Australia now a lot of times and I think this [Australian] team is a little bit different than the team of old”, said du Plessis in Adelaide on Tuesday.  “The two of us play a similar brand of cricket now ... we let the cricket do the talking.  Sledging ... it’s not as important these days. It’s respecting the opposition and trying to win the game of cricket.  I have gone through different stages of playing against Australia, and certainly in the beginning it was different. But now under Steve Smith they seem to play a different brand and a similar brand of cricket that we do”.

Du Plessis’ comments follow injured South African player AB de Villiers describing the 2014 Test series between the nations as featuring the worst sledging he had encountered.  De Villiers’ account of that series differs from Australian bowler Peter Siddle.  “He must never have been sledged before if that’s the case”, Siddle told reporters in Sydney.  “We were pretty tame, I think, compared to probably past eras and past teams”.

Public servants criticised for playing during work hours.

Santana bhalerao.

Hindustan Times

Tuesday, 18 October 2016.

PTG 1951-9822.

Public servants from Mumbai’s Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation have been criticised after they were seen playing cricket in a school playground during work hours on Monday instead of fixing pot holes. The officials concerned defended themselves by claiming that before they started to play they ensure that all the work waiting for them was completed, and anyway they were only playing during lunch hours, but the latter time ended up running from 12 to 3 p.m.

One report said that the ‘engineers’ involved "created a ruckus and said they were insulted when they were criticised for not filling potholes, and as a result they threatened to go on strike". "Why aren’t they embarrassed when they were not on work during office hours” said one councillor, while another criticised the officials for “unprofessionalism".  Civic chief Ajoy Mehta said that he will look into the matter. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,952

 Thursday, 20 October 2016

 

• Pitch found to be 2.4 m too long after match ends [1952-9823].

• Durham 'rescue package' agreed with county council [1952-9824].

• One censured, another found ‘not guilty’, of equipment abuse [1952-9825]. 

• Covers in limbo over import duties [1952-9826].

Pitch found to be 2.4 m too long after match ends.

CA web site.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016.

PTG 1951-9823.

Bowlers from the Victorian Premier League’s (VPL) St Kilda club had a better excuse than just early season rust for conceding 27 wides and struggling to find their lengths on Saturday, for the pitch they were playing on was 2.4 m (eight feet) too long.  The revelation came only after Footscray Edgewater had knocked off St Kilda's 197 in the 48th over in their third round VPL fixture at the latter’s Harry Trott Oval.

Umpires Brad Davies and Chris James confirmed the mistake after the match, finding the pitch had been measured out incorrectly.  St Kilda coach Glenn Lalor said: “Things make sense now. I thought we bowled too short and I think we bowled 27 wides. Whether the wides had anything to do with the length of the pitch, I don’t know.  It was bizarre. It wasn’t until after the game that someone said, ‘Was the pitch too long … it looks a bit long’. Then the umpires had a look and thought, ‘Well, maybe’. Then they measured it with a tape measure. Yeah, eight feet too long”.

The four batsmen who were run out on the day may feel a little hard done by.   The company that prepared the pitch on behalf of Cricket Victoria have issued an apology to both clubs for the “the embarrassing situation”.

A similar incident occurred in 2012, when a match between Richmond and Prahran had to be restarted with freshly painted creases after Prahran al-lrounder Dan Salpietro noticed the Toorak Park pitch they were playing on appeared a little long, a hunch that was confirmed when umpires measured the pitch shortly after.

Durham 'rescue package' agreed with county council.

Paul Vinnell.

Sky Sports.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016.

PTG 1952-9824.

Durham's future as a financially viable first-class club is a major step closer after confirmation that the Durham County Council has unanimously agreed to a "rescue package” (PTG 1949-9808, 17 October 2016).  Durham agreed a £UK3.8 m ($A6.1 m) bail-out with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) earlier this month, a deal that included stringent conditions including relegation from Division One of the County Championship and a 48-point penalty for the 2017 season (PTG 1938-9747, 5 October 2016).

On Wednesday morning, Durham County Council announced in a ‘Tweet' that a recommendation has been accepted for a plan to convert £3.74 m ($A11.8 m) in outstanding debt to the local authority into shares in the club's new structure as a community interest company.

A statement from the club read: "Durham CCC welcomes the support of the partnership of stakeholders, notably the ECB and Durham County Council, that has come together to invest in an important regional asset and secure the future of first class and international cricket in Durham. The club is pleased that this has been achieved without the need for significant public debt write off as has been the case elsewhere in cricket".

According to the statement the "club's difficult financial position was brought to a head earlier in the year by the unexpected calling in of a long term loan and the challenge of securing, in time, private development investment”.  It finished by saying: "Durham CCC now looks to the future and to cricket success in a sustainable business”.

One censured, another found ‘not guilty’, of equipment abuse.

PTG Editor.

CA media release.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016.

PTG 1952-9825.

Queensland all-rounder Jess Jonassen has been reprimanded for "abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings during a match”, a Level One offence, during her side’s Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) match against South Australia in Brisbane last Friday.  Cricket Australia (CA) says the offence occurred during Queensland’s innings when Jonassen was dismissed after being run out.  It was her first offence under the CA’s Code of Conduct in the past 18 months.

Meanwhile, Australian Capital Territory spinner Erin Osborne was found not guilty of the same offence following her side’s match against Western Australia around the same time in Perth in her side's WNCL game against Western Australia.  She disputed the charge laid and match referee Matthew Hall accepted her submission that the knocking off of the bails in her case was not intentional.

Covers in limbo over import duties.

Justine Marville.

Nation News.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016.

PTG 1952-9826.

A number of covers being imported for use by the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) at their grounds have been held at that country’s Grantley Adams International Airport for four months.  The BCA has applied, so far unsuccessfully, to the Barbados Customs and Excise Department to have the import duties that apply waved.  Unfortunately, this is not the first time that a sporting body has had equipment held up at the airport.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,953

 Thursday, 20 October 2016

(Second edition)

 

• ‘Fly-in, fly-out’ Lahore final planned for PSL series [1953-9827].

• Failed Durham backer failed ‘fit and proper’ test [1953-9828].

• Fifth Aussie umpire for Indian exchange visit [1953-9829].

• Port Elizabeth umpire off to Australia [1953-9830].

• Fourth CA domestic one-day final for Stratford [1953-9831].

• Taufel to take on match referee duties [1953-9832].

 

‘Fly-in, fly-out’ Lahore final planned for PSL series.

Agence France Presse.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016.

PTG 1953-9827.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will again base their Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 franchise competition in the United Arab Emirates next February, however, the 2017 final is to be played in Lahore on a “fly-in, fly-out’ basis.  PSL chairman Najam Sethi announced on Wednesday that the deciding match will be played in the city where the Sri Lankan team bus and match officials' van was attacked by militants in 2009, and that what he called "top-level security will be put in place for players and officials".

Some 414 players, including former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, West Indians Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, Australia's Shane Watson, Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan, former England batsman Kevin Pietersen and England's Eoin Morgan, have been placed in the draft for next year's five-team event.  The inclusion of Morgan is noteworthy as he withdrew from England’s One Day International tour of Bangladesh earlier this month over security concerns (PTG 1922-9660, 12 September 2016).  

Sethi said Pakistan’s government "has promised to give full security to the players”.  In July the PCB announced it had bought four bulletproof buses in an effort to improve security arrangements for international players visiting the country (PTG 1877-9407, 16 July 2016).  

Earlier this year the PCB said it had made a profit of 260 million Rupees ($A3.2 m, £UK2 m) from the first edition of the event but as the franchises involved "incurred some losses” it decided to give 200 m Rupees of that ($A2.5 m, £1.6 m) to them.  That therefore reduced the PCB's profit to 600,000 Rupees ($A745,000, £UK465,000). The PCB also indicated around 600 m Rupees ($A7.4 m, £4.7m) was earned from television rights and gate money.  Reports in the past have indicated “top" players can earn up to $US140,000 ($A182,500, £UK114,000) for playing in the three week long tournament (PTG 1918-9631, 7 September 2016). 

Failed Durham backer failed ‘fit and proper’ test.

Richard Hobson.

The Times.

Thursday, 20 October 2016.

PTG 1953-9828.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has admitted that a consortium showed interest in buying Durham before the board bailed out the county but said that the backer would have failed the fit and proper person test.  Scott Smith, the ECB's chief financial officer, said in a letter marked “strictly private and confidential” to Durham County Council (DCC) that the insolvency company brought in last summer found “no viable third party interest”.

The identity of the backer is yet to be revealed, Smith’s letter only saying: “The only third party which has expressed any interest is backed by an individual who would not pass the ECB’s fit and proper person test".  The ECB relegated Durham from the county championship’s first division as part of the rescue and refused to comment last night. It has denied reports that it encouraged the county to reject a £UK4 million ($A6.4 m) offer from a private group.

Smith’s letter formed an appendix in a 13-page document the DCC provided to its members before they agreed yesterday to convert £3.74 million of debt ($A6 m) into shares in the new community interest club (PTG 1952-9824, 20 October 2016). Their decision has effectively saved Durham as a first-class entity and venue for white-ball internationals, and former England captain Ian Botham is now likely to become the county club’s chairman. 

Fifth Aussie umpire for Indian exchange visit

PTG Editor.

CA appointments.

Thursday, 20 October 2016.

PTG 1953-9829.

Cricket Australia (CA) National Umpire Panel (NUP) member Sam Nogajski is to stand in two Ranji Trophy first class fixtures next month as part of the on-going umpire exchange agreement between CA and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).  Nogajski is the fifth Australian to visit India on exchange, the first being the NUP’s Simon Fry in 2012, he being followed by Mick Martel, Paul Wilson and John Ward in successive years (PTG 1695-8351, 25 November 2015).

Nogajski's first Ranji match will be in Belgaum, a city midway up the west coast of India in Karnataka state, between Uttah Pradesh and Mumbai from 13-16 November.  After that the Australian will travel 930 km north-east to Nagpur for a fixture between Tamil Nadu and Punjab.  BCCI Playing Conditions for this year’s Ranji series mean that all four teams will be playing at neutral venues (PTG 1915-9614, 3 September 2016).

The two games will be Nogajski’s 27th and 28th at first class level since his debut five years ago.  One of those matches was in New Zealand, and two others in South Africa, all three being on exchange (PTG 1748-8705, 28 January 2016).

To date seven NUP members have been selected for exchange visits to either India, South Africa and New Zealand: Fry,  Martel, Ward and now Nogajski to all three, Wilson to South Africa and India, Gerard Abood to New Zealand and South Africa, and Geoff Joshua to New Zealand.  Which NUP members will travel to New Zealand and South Africa in February-March next year is not known.  South Africa’s Stephen Harris is reported to be that country’s exchangee this austral summer (PTG 1953-9830 below), but so far those from India and New Zealand have not been named.

Port Elizabeth umpire off to Australia.

Tebuho Zongwana 

Port Elizabeth Herald.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016.

PTG 1953-9830.

The doors continue to open for Port Elizabeth’s Cricket South Africa (CSA) National First Class Panel (NFCP) umpire Stephen Harris for he will be making his way to Australia in February where he will officiate in two Sheffield Shield first class matches.  For Harris, 36, a director of sport at a local high school, it will be his second exchange in a year for he travelling to New Zealand for two first class games there last March (PTG 1748-8705, 28 January 2016).

Only three umpires are chosen to take part in CSA’s exchange program each year, the third country involved being India, and Harris says he’s "grateful for another opportunity to travel. It’s good to experience these things now for when you get to the top one day. To get an opportunity to have travelled to New Zealand and now to Australia is just amazing".

According to Harris, who joined the NFCP a year ago, his experience in New Zealand gave him a lot more knowledge of the game.  He will be umpiring in Australia for the first time but believes the pitches there will be very similar to those in New Zealand.  “The pitches are reckoned to be pretty much the same – the ball going around a bit and there’s a bit of assistance for both”, Harris said.  Although he is yet to be appointed specific fixtures, he could umpire at venues such as the Adelaide Oval, Melbourne Cricket Ground, the ‘Gabba’ and the like.

Currently, Harris’ first class match record stands at 41, four being in the CSA’s top-tier first class series, the two in New Zealand, and  the other 35 in CSA’s second-tier three-day first class competition.

Fourth CA domestic one-day final for Stratford.

PTG Editor.

CA appointments.

Thursday, 20 October 2016.

PTG 1953-9831.

Cricket Australia (CA) match referee Bob Stratford has been named to oversee this year’s final of CA’s domestic one-day series in Sydney on Sunday.  For Stratford, who will also be the referee in the ‘eliminator’ match there on Friday, it will be the fourth time he has managed a CA one-day final, all of them being  during the current decade.

CA National Umpire Panel (NUP) members Mick Martell and Paul Wilson are to stand in Sunday’s final.  It will be the second time Martell has been allocated the final, and before that he worked as the television umpire in another two.  Wilson too has been the television official in a decider but its his first final on-field in that competition.  CA Development Panel (DP) member Tony Wilds will be the fourth official in the final.

Friday’s game will see Martell on-field with fellow NUP member Sam Nogajski with Wilson in the television spot and Simon Lightbody, another DP member, the fourth umpire. Christine Bennison and Kay Wilcoxon are the scorers named for both games.

Taufel to take on match referee duties

PTG Editor.

CA appointments.

Thursday, 20 October 2016.

PTG 1953-9832.

Simon Taufel, Cricket Australia’s (CA) Match Referee and Umpire Selection Manager, may have been on-field in nearly 300 international matches as an umpire, but records available suggest this weekend will see him working officially as a match referee for the first time.  Taufel is listed as the referee for the two-day, day-night, pink ball match the South African tourists are to play against a CA XI at the Adelaide Oval, their first in Australia ahead of what will be a three-Test series.  

Following that game, which is part of South Africa’s warm up for its first day-night Test in Adelaide in November, Taufel will also oversee the visitor’s second match of their visit against a South Australian XI, a two-day, day time fixture that is to get underway at a ground in suburban Adelaide on Friday next week.  CA National Umpire Panel (NUP) members Shawn Craig and John Ward are to stand in the day-night fixture, and Craig again and fellow NUP member Sam Nogajski in the second.   Mick Harper and Neil Ricketts will be the scorers for both games.

The South Africans will play a second two-day, day-night tour match in Melbourne in late November just prior to the Adelaide day-night Test.  The umpires appointed to that fixture are NUP members Gerard Abood and Mick Martell, the referee Peter Marshall and the scorers Jim Hamilton and Mike Walsh.

CA will be playing a round of day-night Sheffield Shield first class games in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth over the next two weeks. NUP members Phil Gillespie and Mike Graham-Smith will be on-field in Brisbane, Greg Davidson and Geoff Joshua in Melbourne, and Ash Barrow and Gerard Abood in Perth.  Daryl Harper, David Talalla and Peter Marshall will be the match referees respectively at the three grounds.

A second round of Shield games in Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth in early November will be overseen by referees Bob Stratford,  Marshall and Steve Bernard, their umpires respectively being Barrow and Joshua, Abood and Ward, and Davidson and Gillespie.  

The scorers appointed to the day-night games are Gail Cartwright and Cliff Howard in Brisbane, Lance Catchpole and Sandy Wheeler in Perth and James Higgs and Mike Walsh in Melbourne.  The second round of games see Mick Harper and Neil Ricketts in Adelaide, Jim Hamilton and Craig Reece in Melbourne and Robyn Sanday and Kay Wilcoxon in Sydney.

Of the NUP members not allocated Shield games in those two rounds, Fry will be in Zimbabwe on Test duty (PTG 1951-9816, 19 October 2016), Craig has the two tour games, and either Nogajski, Mick Martell or Paul Wilson will have fourth umpire duties in the opening Australia-South Africa Test in Perth.

Given Nogajski will be off to India in mid-November (PTG 1953-9829 above), the absence Wilson suggests he may well have an appointment from the International Cricket Council waiting for him. Hong Kong are hosting three One Day Internationals against Papua New Guinea during the time the second round of Shield games will be underway, however, officials for those fixtures have not yet been announced. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,954

 Friday, 21 October 2016


• WICB schedules six ‘domestic’ day-night first class games [1954-9833].

• Batsman reprieved three times in six balls by technology [1954-9834].

• New generation of players embrace the ‘StemGuard' [1954-9835].

• Union boss laments 'lack of action' to preserve Test cricket [1954-9836].

• CA chief reacts to scheduling criticism with IPL ‘holiday period’ jibe [1954-9837].

WICB schedules six ‘domestic’ day-night first class games.

PTG Editor.

WICB media release.

Thursday, 20 October 2016.

PTG 1954-9833.

Six of the 30 matches in the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) 2016-17 Professional Cricket League ‘domestic’ first class series will be day-night contests played with pink balls.  The WICB says that in keeping with the trend worldwide and to further pursue the experiment that it started six years ago, it has scheduled the matches throughout the season which begins on the second Friday of November.  The WICB played a total of 14 day-night first class games over three seasons in the period from 2011-14 (PTG 1315-6344, 18 March 2014). 

WICB Manager, Cricket Operations Roland Holder said in releasing fixtures for the season on Thursday: “We welcome the return of day-night matches with the pink ball.  Each [of the six] team[s] has two matches – one home, one away – as gradually international boards begin to embrace this concept.  The purpose of the re-introduction such games is two-fold. First, it allows our elite players to familiarise themselves with the pink ball, and secondly, it allows for greater spectator attendance, as patrons can have a relaxing evening watching their favourite team”.

Four of the day-night games, which will begin at 3 p.m. local time, have been scheduled before the Christmas-New Year’s holiday break in the tournament. The last two are currently scheduled to be contested in April.  The West Indies completed their first ever day-night Test last week against Pakistan in Dubai, and are scheduled to play a second next year at Edgbaston during their tour of England (PTG 1941-9760, 8 October 2016).

Batsman reprieved three times in six balls by technology.

PTG Editor.

Match reports.

Friday, 21 October 2016.

PTG 1954-9834.

England batsman Moeen Ali was given out LBW three times by umpire Kumar Dharmasena in the space of six deliveries from Bangladesh slow orthodox bowler Shakib al-Hasan during the opening day of the first Test in Chittagong on Thursday.  However, he was saved on each occasion by technology, a faint nick rescued him the first time, then ball-tracking showing the next ‘out' decision to be missing the stumps, while on the third occasion two deliveries after that replays showed the ball’s impact with his pad was outside the line.

Mooed was grateful for the advice from his batting partner Joes Root regarding whether to challenge, saying: "If it wasn't for Rooty I probably would have walked on the first one”.  He went on to emphasise though that the condition of the pitch made it difficult for the umpires as you're not sure how much it's spinning. To give those LBWs is not easy”.  While Dharmasena had three of his decisions sent for review with a 100 per cent overturn rate on day one, his on-field partner Chris Gaffney was challenged four times, three being struck down and one upheld.

New generation of players embrace the ‘StemGuard'.

Ben Horne.

Sydney Daily Telegraph

Thursday, 20 October 2016.

PTG 1954-9835.

Daniel Hughes is going places in Australian cricket, but he won’t go anywhere these days without a neck guard.  Just two months after the Philip Hughes tragedy, namesake Daniel, also a run-scoring opener from country New South Wales, was struck in a similar place on the back of the neck during a Sydney grade game (PTG 1509-7274, 26 January 2015).  The scary events of that day are the furthest thing from the 27-year-old’s mind as he prepares for Friday’s Cricket Australia's (CA) one-day semi-final against Victoria in Sydney (PTG 1953-9831, 20 October 2016).

Hughes is now also leading a new generation of players who have cast old habits and comforts aside and are making new helmet technology part of their make-up, even though CA has not as yet made the use of neck guards compulsory (PTG 1947-9794, 15 October 2016).  Hughes feels confident at the crease with the extra ‘StemGuard’ protection.  “I was OK thankfully but it was quite a scary moment” in that grade match said Hughes, who at the time was rushed to hospital amid concerns over swelling on his neck.

“Luckily for me it just hit me in the jaw and it more concussed me than anything. A few people around the ground were a bit scared for me but the guys there took the precaution and took me to the hospital to get checked out.  I do wear the ‘StemGuards' now. Most of the guys wear them. I feel a bit more at ease with [them] on the back of the helmet”, said Hughes.

Union boss laments lack of action to preserve Test cricket.

Jon Pierik.

Fairfax Media.

Friday, 21 October 2016.

PTG 1954-9836. 

Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) president Greg Dyer has taken aim at the International Cricket Council (ICC) amid fears nothing is being done to "stem the declining interest" in Test cricket.  Dyer, a former Australian wicketkeeper, will have a critical role to play when the ACA and Cricket Australia (CA) officially begin discussions over a new ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MoU) next month.   Attempting to schedule these discussions has been a delicate operation, with talks now set to begin in early November.

Dyer has used his address to Australian players in the ACA's latest annual report to take aim at cricket chiefs.  He said ICC chairman Shashank Manohar had shown "good intent" on making major changes, praising the move to dismantle the power Australia, England and India had enjoyed in essentially running the game under the previous regime. But he lamented "the potential for material changes from this initiative currently remains unfulfilled".

According to Dyer: "The post-Srinivasan era is yet to show any significant game changers for the international game.  As a result, not a lot has been done to stem the declining interest in Test cricket. We continue to rely on the poorly explained, ambiguous Test rankings and there is still no movement towards a Test cricket championship.  As we continue down the same path, Test cricket is becoming less and less significant as a competitor on the world sporting landscape. Test cricket needs to be cricket administration's number one priority and we need a well-thought-through strategy with the objective of reversing the current downward spiral”.

Cricket officials are aware that change is needed in the Test arena, particularly in countries outside of Australia and England.   CA's support for the pink-ball concept is borne by the need to appeal to more spectators and television viewers, with a revamped ball (now with an improved black seam) to be used in two day-night Tests in Australia this austral summer.  The ICC is also looking at whether a two-conference system would work (PTG 1951-9815, 19 October 2016). Australia had been in favour of a two-tiered, promotion-relegation structure, but that was rejected by India, for fears countries relegated would suffer financially. The ICC continues to debate a play-off between the two top nations, potentially every two years.

Dyer says players need to be better "incentivised to prioritise Test cricket", an ongoing issue in several countries where players earn more from becoming domestic Twenty20 specialists than they would by continuing in the sport's traditional format.  He said it was crucial CA and ACA continued to adopt their revenue-sharing model, which is under pressure because CA wants women's funding to be derived from the same pool of about 26 per cent of revenue the men have shared in. The ACA says that pool needs to be expanded if women are to be included in the MoU between the two sides for the first time (PTG 1938-9749, 5 October 2016).

"The ACA has set the precedent with the well-established model of revenue sharing and we must ensure that we continue down this path via the upcoming MOU renegotiation, allowing the players to continue as partners in the game with a vested interest in the success of the sport”, said Dyer. "This model needs to be replicated across the cricket world as a strong priority”. Congested scheduling, internationally and domestically, also remains a major concern for players (PTG 1954-9837 below).

CA chief reacts to scheduling criticism with IPL ‘holiday period’ jibe.

Greg Buckle.

Melbourne Herald Sun.

Thursday, 20 October 2016.

PTG 1954-9837.

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has hit back at criticism about match and tour scheduling from former Test batsman Simon Katich, suggesting that if players are concerned they should make use of their ‘holiday time’ and not play in the Indian Premier League (IPL).  

Commenting on Australia’s recent one-day tour of South Africa, where key bowlers were rested and the home team won 5-0, Katich said “when there is so much cricket being played that you are handing out [Australian] caps left, right and centre, it sends a bad message.  It means the relevance of the Australian team is in jeopardy, especially with the prospect of two different Australian teams playing at the same time in different spots in the world next year, [and] you would have to think that fans would feel short changed".

The latter is a reference to Australia’s three-match home Twenty20 International series against Sri Lanka next February and the fact that it could clash with the Test squad’s commitments in relation to the Test tour of India.  Katich, now a consultant to the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) or players’ union, says he’s worried for the players and fans.

But Sutherland says scheduling is a balancing act and a revamp of the global game now being worked on by the International Cricket Council and its members could lead to Australia playing less international games “if we get that right”.  “It’s interesting to hear those comments coming from the players’ association but at the same time players do choose, in a six-week window in the middle of the year when they are technically on holidays, to play in India in the [IPL].  So it’s one thing to be criticising us for that but it’s another thing, there’s a different side to that coin I guess”.

CA is also facing pressure to expand its four-man selection panel, after comments from coach-selector Darren Lehmann this week pointing out the difficulty of attending every match.  If an international game is on while there’s a full round of Sheffield Shield matches, one of those domestic games won’t be viewed in person by a selector.  “Players must be able to see a selector at each game”, Lehmann said.  Sutherland says expanding the panel “is certainly something we’ve talked about”.  “Ideally they are at games but at the same time the way we package our [video] footage [of games], it’s very easy for them to stay in touch with what’s going on”.

Katich and the ACA are about to commence negotiations with CA on their next collective bargaining agreement (PTG 1938-9749, 5 October 2016).

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,955

 Saturday, 22 October 2016


• CA queries referee Broad watching golf in umpires room [1955-9838].

• Ireland women’s keeper breaks 38-year umpiring drought [1955-9839].

CA queries referee Broad watching golf in umpires room.

Chris Barrett.

Fairfax Media.

Friday, 21 October 2016.

PTG 1955-9838.

Cricket Australia (CA) has written to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to alert it to a bizarre post online by match referee Chris Broad in which he admits to watching golf in the officials' room during the first match of Australia's One Day International (ODI) series against South Africa last month.  Staff from CA's integrity unit came across the picture of Broad appearing to watch the Ryder Cup golf on his computer during the ODI at Centurion on the last day of September, above which he posted: "Cricket? What cricket? #bbcrydercup".

CA have not made a formal complaint but have brought the embarrassing scene to the attention of the ICC's senior manager of umpires and referees, Adrian Griffith, and ICC general manager cricket Geoff Allardice.  The post by Broad looks rather innocuous at face value but figures at CA were left stunned at the sight of the 59-year-old appearing to keep track of the action at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota with the Australian and South African teams playing on the ground in the background.

A spokesman for CA declined to comment when contacted on Friday but officials have privately questioned the appropriateness of Broad's apparent conduct at Centurion.  The match referee is the official appointed to oversee games and make post-match rulings on issues such as behavioural sanctions. They view matches from the same room as the television umpire, which during the first ODI in South Africa was Englishman Nigel Llong.

The Australians had been unhappy during that match about a contentious decision in which opener Aaron Finch was given out caught at short fine leg despite replays appearing to show the ball simultaneously touching the grass as South Africa's Wayne Parnell grabbed it.  Third umpire Llong was called upon to make the ruling and was convinced the ball carried, determining it a legal catch and triggering Finch to yell in anger as he walked off the ground (PTG 1935-9732, 1 October 2016).

It is understood CA is yet to hear back from the ICC about the Broad image beyond an acknowledgement of the email sent by the integrity unit. The Australians have a difficult relationship with Broad, having found him far from the easiest of match officials to deal with.  Broad has history with Australia stretching well back past his days as a match referee, having inspired England to victory in the 1986-87 Ashes with 487 runs in the series including three hundreds.

Since becoming an ICC match referee in late 2003, Broad has to date overseen 80 Tests, 278 ODIs and 68 Twenty20 Internationals, being second on the all-time list in all three formats.  The ICC is yet to announce the match referees and umpires for Australia's upcoming Test series against South Africa, which begins in Perth in two weeks.

Ireland women’s keeper breaks 38-year umpiring drought.

PTG Editor.

SACA media release.

Friday, 21 October 2016.

PTG 1955-9839.

Ireland wicket-keeper Mary Waldron became the first female to officiate a men’s South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) Premier Cricket match in almost 40 years last weekend.  Waldron umpired in a fourth grade match between Adelaide University and Tea Tree Gully, the first woman to umpire in the competition since the 1970s.

For the past six years, Waldron has represented Ireland on the international stage as a wicket-keeper and is now entering her third season of playing cricket in Australia. Waldron will join the Port Adelaide Cricket Club after spending the last two seasons in Tasmania.

Waldron’s umpiring partner over the weekend Edward Branson, was impressed by her communication style and ability.  “Mary won the respect of players, spectators and her umpiring partner with her poise, clear decision making and pleasant, respectful manner”, Branson said.

Waldron was introduced to umpiring after spending time with experienced officials while playing in Tasmania.  “I really enjoyed the day and hopefully didn’t get too much wrong”, said Waldron of her first umpiring experience in South Australia. There are always things to learn and improve on; hopefully I’ll get many more opportunities to umpire during my time here”.

Mary hopes to play some senior men’s cricket while she is in Adelaide, on top of her other playing and officiating commitments.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,956

 Sunday, 23 October 2016

 

• CA concussion protocol gets its first workout [1956-9840].

• India agrees to ’trial’ 'full UDRS’ use in England series [1956-9841].

• Ten match officials named for WCL-4 tournament [1956-9842].

• BCCI gets one more chance to adopt reforms, revamp structure [1956-9843].

• Another country, another High Court involved in the game [1956-9844].

• Players’ fears on crowded schedule vindicated [1956-9845].

• Yorkshire keen for pink-ball, day-night match [1956-9846].

• New or old money for CA 'GCST’ program? [1956-9847].

• Counties target ECB chief over conflict of interest [1956-9848].

CA concussion protocol gets its first workout.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Saturday, 22 October 2016.

PTG 1956-9840.

New South Wales opening batsman Daniel Hughes has become the first player to be substituted during a match under Cricket Australia’s (CA) new concussion protocol (PTG 1939-9752, 6 October 2016).  Hughes was replaced by Nick Larkin during the elimination final of CA’s one-day competition between New South Wales and Victoria after being struck on the helmet by a bouncer from fast bowler Peter Siddle.  The blow came a day after Hughes talked publicly about helmet safety issues (PTG 1954-9835, 21 October 2016).

Hughes fell to the ground after attempting a pull shot but was quickly back on his feet, although with a cut below his eye, and left the field where he failed a concussion test conducted by John Orchard, the same doctor who treated Phillip Hughes when he suffered his fatal blow almost two years ago.  Well before Hughes’ death, Orchard was calling for cricket to tighten concussion protocols and adopt concussion substitutes (PTG 1244-6010, 29 November 2013).

Siddle was clearly distressed and was one of many concerned Victorian players to rush in and check on Hughes' welfare.  “[Siddle] was definitely rattled. For that over and probably the one after, he was struggling for 10 or 15 minutes”, said Victoria skipper Matthew Wade.  "You start to just get back into the game slowly but surely. It's not a nice situation after what everyone's been through.  That’s generally going to happen when someone gets hit in the head”.

Nic Maddinson, who came in to bat when Hughes retired hurt went on to make 86, was also struck on the head during the match, and afterwards called the new concussion rule 'a great move’. While Larkin replaced Hughes in NSW's batting order he was not required to bat in what was a rain affected match, however, he has been named to replace Hughes in Sunday’s one-day final.

India agrees to ’trial’ 'full UDRS’ use in England series.

Chris Stocks.

The Times.

Saturday, 22 October 2016.

PTG 1956-9841.

India have finally dropped their opposition to the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) and confirmed that it will be in use on a "trial basis" during their five-Test series against England which starts next month (PTG 1948-9803, 16 October 2016).  The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had been staunch opponents of UDRS ever since it was rolled out in 2008, and while they agreed to use a modified version without ball-tracking technology in England in 2011, they have until now been staunchly opposed to full use of UDRS.

Hawk-Eye ball-tracking has long been the sticking point for India, whose recalcitrant stance was thought to stem from opposition to such technology from several senior players, including Sachin Tendulkar.  However, Geoff Allardice, the International Cricket Council’s general manager cricket, convinced India to try out full UDRS on a trial basis for the England series during a presentation to senior BCCI figures in Mumbai on Wednesday.

India had long said they will not sign up to UDRS until there is 100 per cent accuracy. Allardice, though, presented persuasive evidence to the BCCI in favour it – and crucially the ball-tracking technology - that came from independent testing carried out by a team of engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (PTG 1847-9260, 7 June 2016).

Anurag Thakur, the BCCI president, said: “We are happy to note that Hawk-Eye has institutionalised all the recommendations made by BCC.  Based on the performance of the system and the feedback that we will receive, continued use of the full system after the England series will be decided.  We recognise the enhanced role of technology in sport and BCCI will lead such initiatives in coming days, and enrich the viewer experience”.

The key recommendation made by the BCCI that will now be adopted by Hawk-Eye is the use of more cameras to help reduce the margin for error on ball-tracking even further.

Ajay Shirke, the secretary of the BCCI, added: “With MIT endorsing the enhancements made in the system on the basis of recommendations made by the BCCI, we are convinced that such technology should be utilised in supporting correct decision-making.  While recognising that improvements in technology are ongoing, BCCI will continue to include any and all such path-breaking interventions, to further the cause of the sport”.

Several high-profile umpiring errors during India’s recent home series against New Zealand appear to have helped change minds at the BCCI.  That Allardice had an ally in Anil Kumble, the India coach who is also chairman of the ICC’s Cricket Committee, was also a key factor. Kumble had been convinced by the MIT findings and it is thought his backing held significant weight with his superiors at the BCCI.

India, though, might wonder just what they are letting themselves in for given the review situation over the first three days of the opening Test between Bangladesh and England in Chittagong saw 19 reviews.  Five of those came from the tourists successfully overturning erroneous on-field leg-before calls, with Moeen Ali the recipient of three lives on the first day (PTG 1954-9834, 21 October 2016). 

To date there have been 7 reviews on day one, 5 day two and another 7 on day three.  Of those umpire Chris Gaffney had (7 bowling and 2 batting) with 3 decisions overturned, and there were 10 for Kumar Dharmasena (5/5) who had half of his decisions overturned.

Ten match officials named for WCL-4 tournament.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Saturday, 22 October 2016.

PTG 1956-9842.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has named ten match officials, two of them women, to manage the week-long, 18-match, World Cricket League (WCL) Division 4 series in Los Angeles which is due to get underway next Saturday.  Six teams, Bermuda, Denmark, Italy, Jersey, Oman and the United States are to take part in the event, the two that finish top being promoted to WCL Division 3, and the bottom pair relegated to Division 5.

The umpires named are: Alu Kapa and Lakani Oala (Papua New Guinea), Carl Tuckett and Jacqueline Williams (West Indies), Akbar Ali Khan and Iftikhar Ali (United Arab Emirates), Kathy Cross (New Zealand) and Courtney Young (Cayman Islands).  The ‘mentor umpire’ for the tournament is West Indian Gregory Brathwaite from the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel (IUP), and the event’s referee South African Devas Govindjee of the ICC’s second-tier Regional Referees Panel.  

Kapa, Oala and Cross are ICC East Asian Pacific members of the ICC’s third-tier Associated and Affiliates International Umpires Panel (AAIUP), Young and Williams the ICC Americas’ division and Khan and Ali its Asia division.  However, Tuckett, a former West Indian One Day International player who made his first class umpiring debut in November last year, is not a member of either the AAIUP or IUP, and the background to his presence is not known. 

The seven AAIUP members are well travelled umpires having been appointed to numerous ICC events over the last decade. In terms of the WCL, for Young it will be his fourth such event since 2010, Ali, Cross and Oala their third and Khan his second.  Earlier this month Williams, who last December became the first women in a quarter of a century to stand in a first class game (PTG 1711-8476, 13 December 2016), stood in two of the five Womens’ One Day Internationals between the West Indies and England earlier this month, her second and third at that level.  

BCCI gets one more chance to adopt reforms, revamp structure.

Krishna’s Rajagopal.

The Hindu.

Saturday, 22 October 2016.

PTG 1956-9843.

India's Supreme Court concluded on Friday that the top administrators at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), including its president Anurag Thakur, are "an impediment" to the Lodha Committee’s efforts to reform Indian cricket.  A Bench of Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.M. Khanwilkar said there is “substance” in Justice Lodha Committee’s suggestion that senior BCCI personnel’s "defiance of and intransigence to its recommendations”, should be punished with their removal.

However, in what was a 21-page judgment, the Supreme Court chose to tread cautiously and refrained for now from ordering the exit of the individuals involved. Instead, it gave the BCCI an “additional opportunity” to prove it is prepared to put all of the Lodha recommendations into practice, by making “an all-out effort” to have the State associations that are its members to adopt the reforms for fairness and transparency in cricket administration.  The Court adjourned further consideration of the matter until the first Monday of December.

Another country, another High Court involved in the game.

Award Ali and Jelani Beckles.

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

Saturday, 22 October 2016.

PTG 1956-9844.

Friday’s election of a new executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board of Control (TTCB) has been stopped by the country’s High Court following an agreement between the incumbent regime and the opposing team led by former West Indies players Dinanath Ramnarine and Daren Ganga.  High Court judge Carol Gobin ratified a Consent Order that requires the TTCB not hold its 2016 Annual General Meeting on Saturday, a decision that flows from the Ramnarine-led group's lawsuit for an injunction to stop the elections. 

Ramnarine, a former president of the West Indies Players Association, and his colleagues, want to hold the TTCB accountable for what they see as a number of alleged breaches, including that certain articles of its constitution governing the election process are unconstitutional.   

Among the constitutional changes Ramnarine had been lobbying for are the implementation of a one club-one vote system, removal of the 12 outgoing votes and term limits for the president. He also wants to see the Tobago Cricket Association, primary and secondary schools, the umpires council and women’s cricket all have a seat on the executive of the TTCB,  Senior Counsel Ramesh Maharaja told the court exisiting TTCB arrangements were "unfair, illegal, and undemocratic”.  

Maharaj, together with attorney Vivek Lakhan-Joseph, further contended that TTCB Zonal councils each nominate three members to the TTCB, but that in the elections that recently took place in the zones "serious irregularities occurred".  Outgoing officers and nominated persons were allowed to cast votes, the lawsuit alleged.  Maharaj therefore contended that there is "a serious and real risk” that Saturday’s elections "would be unconstitutional, irrational and infected with bias". 

Justice Gobin directed that the applicants file further affidavits by next Friday and that the TTCB file evidence in response six days after that, following which the next formal hearing on the matter will be held.  

Players’ fears on crowded schedule vindicated.

Peter Lalor.

The Australian.

Saturday, 22 October 2016.

PTG 1956-9845.

Australian players’ worst fears about the crowded cricket calendar were proved well-founded on Thursday with the confirmation that an Australia team will be playing in Adelaide on 22 February and then are due to begin a Test match in India the next morning.  The Australian Cricketers ­Association (ACA) fired broadsides this week over the crowded schedules and representative Simon Katich warned the national cricket team was losing relevance (PTG 1954-9837, 21 October 2016).

Australia play series against South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and India this austral summer. The three Tests against South Africa will be the fourth time Australia have played the Proteas in a series in 2016 alone.  New Zealand fly in for a One Day International (ODI) series when the South Africans leave. Pakistan then arrive for a three-Test series, then Steve Smith’s side flies back to New Zealand for a return ODI series before flying home for Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) against Sri Lanka from 17-22 February.

The Test series in India begins 9,000 km away in Pune on 23 February. Even if the side were to catch a plane direct out of South Australia it still would not arrive in the ­Indian city in time for the toss.  Fans reacted with outrage at the news on Thursday, but it is the team who feel the pain. The Test squad, including Smith who is captain in all three formats, will have to fly to the subcontinent early for preparation.  High-profile players of the calibre of David Warner and Mitchell Starc will be obvious in their ­absence from the T20Is.

Cricket administrators spend a lot of time mouthing concerns about the game needing relevance and context, but show scant regard for these concepts when scheduling money-making tours.  The crammed fixtures have been signalled as a major issue by players in the new round of wage negotiations. Smith was left in an awkward position when pressured into taking a rest from the Sri Lanka ODI series in August. His absence caused howls of protest from critics who questioned his decision when it had been planned by the high-performance management team months before.

The ill feeling between the players and administrators was on display when Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland hit back at players who spend their holidays playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL).  The players argue they want to play every game for their country, but with so much cricket it is impossible even if they avoided the Indian tournament.  Hazlewood and Starc, the two bowlers rested from the recent ODI series against South Africa, didn’t attend the IPL this year.

After playing six Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is in the home summer (including the trip to NZ), most of the Australians will be away for the first six months of 2017 for the four Tests against India, the IPL (for those who play) and the ICC Champions Trophy in Britain. There is talk of a series in Bangladesh in August to make up for the one cancelled in 2015, then another ODI series in India and then England will arrive for the Ashes OF 2017-18.

Yorkshire keen for pink-ball, day-night match.

Australian Associated Press.

Saturday, 22 October 2016.

PTG 1956-9846.

Yorkshire have been approached by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) about staging a day-night pink-ball fixture in the County Championship at Headingley during the 2017 northern summer.  The ECB is planning to conduct a round of domestic first class games under lights to help players become accustomed to the conditions (PTG 1951-9820, 19 October 2016), ahead of a day-night Test against the West Indies in August (PTG 1941-9760, 8 October 2016)

Yorkshire is home to several of England's current players and therefore is an obvious contender to host one of the matches.  The county confirmed on Friday it "would willingly make the ground available for such an event".   Yorkshire cricket's chief executive Mark Arthur said "it is a challenge to be met head on, and one which could boost attendances during the extended sessions, but until the fixture program is published we don't know when it will be or who the opposition is likely to be”.  Arthur said Yorkshire has "the best lights in the country for cricket purposes”.

New or old money for CA ‘GST’ program?

PTG Editor.

CA media release.

Saturday, 22 October 2016.

PTG 1956-9847.

Cricket Australia (CA) announced this week that it has "decided to invest $A1.8 million (£UK1.1 m) each year over the next five years” into what it is calling 'Grassroots Cricket Service Transformation’ (GCST).  That is, says Andrew Ingleton, CA’s game and market development manager, because “cricket is far more than the first day of a Test match, or 80,000 fans at a Big Bash League game, [rather] its hundreds of thousands of Australians playing the game right across the country”.

The investment is focussed on improvements in CA’s digital services area, but whether its new money or old money that has simply been rebadged is not clear.  Keeping track of CA’s funding allocations and actual expenditure in the game, and in the ‘grassroots’ area in particular, is very difficult if not impossible.  That presents a considerable challenge in making assessments, beyond the ’spin’, as to just what progress or otherwise CA is actually making in areas about which it makes funding announcements. 

In the latest announcement Ingleton, whose e-mail was sent to a group that includes over 5,000 accredited umpires on the national body’s data base, says that the GCST investment comes as a result of work undertaken during an Australia-wide, 10-week study to find new and innovative ways to help you better enjoy your cricket”. That would appear to be a reference to CA’s 'Australian Cricket Pathway Roadshows' which were held around the country last year.

According to CA, that work involved a "team conducting more than 65 one-on-one interviews, six workshops, and six hours observing and discussing cricket with families and players at cricket matches and training across Brisbane and Melbourne. There was even one mega workshop with 130 U-15 junior boys”.  Match officials do not appear to have been part of that program though  (PTG 1608-7817, 2 August 2015).

 

As a result new digital technologies are being rolled out, including "a new version of the Scorer app for iPad and Android Tablet that is now available", while messaging capability will be added to the MyCricket app by Christmas which will enable you to "talk with your teammates and coach, all through the one application”.    

Ingleton finishes by saying CA plans to "keep you informed as we develop further improvements [as its] all about making cricket a sport for all Australians”, and asks those will suggestions on how any of the MyCricket products can be improved to visit mycricket.ideas.aha.io to submit their ideas and "vote on features you’d like to see implemented”. 

Counties target ECB chief over conflict of interest.

Tim Wigmore.

London Daily Telegraph.

Sunday, 23 October 2016.

PTG 1956-9848.

Colin Graves, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) chairman, has been accused of a conflict of interest as a rift over the future structure of the ECB’s domestic game deepens.  The Graves Family Trust is owed over £UK18 million ($A28.9 m) by Yorkshire, and, after frustration that Yorkshire benefited from the recent sanctions against relegated Durham, counties have raised further concerns about Graves’s involvement in the awarding of international matches after 2019.

One county chief executive said: “It is becoming increasingly obvious that his position is untenable, and things will only get worse when they start to decide on who gets what international cricket post-2019”.  The ECB has yet to announce the allocations for those international matches, another senior figure in the county game “suspecting" its because "any favourable allocation to Yorkshire would ignite the conflict of interest story and disunite the Test match grounds”.

From 2020, England’s Test fixtures are likely to be reduced, from seven to six games a summer, which will make bidding between counties to host the Tests even more competitive. Even with Durham’s Chester-le-Street ground stripped of its right to host Tests, there are still eight Test grounds. With the Oval and Lord’s certain to host at least one Test a summer, that leaves six venues competing for four Tests – or three if Lord’s continues to stage two Tests a summer after 2019.

Counties are concerned that Graves has failed sufficiently to distance himself from the bidding process for major matches. If Headingley, Yorkshire’s home ground, is awarded lucrative Test matches, it will help the club generate more revenue, and so allow repayment of the money owed to the Graves Family Trust more quickly.

Graves has no direct stake in the Trust, after his previous personal loan to Yorkshire was refinanced when he left his post as Yorkshire chairman in 2015, after 13 years, to become ECB chairman. “The lawyers may say technically there is no conflict of interest but the perception is there is”, said another county chief executive.

Some county officials feel that the recent sanctions against Durham, in return for a £UK3.8 million ($A6.1 m) bail-out, stand to benefit Yorkshire, and by extension the Graves Family Trust.  Yorkshire’s chances of progressing to the knockout stages of the ECB’s Twenty20 series in 2017 received a significant boost by Durham’s deduction of four points, equivalent to two wins, in that competition before it starts. 

There are also concerns that Headingley will stand to benefit from the proposed new eight-team domestic T20 series, which is likely to be launched in 2020, as that ground very likely being one of the venues. It is believed that the teams playing in the new T20 competition might be able to use the existing names of counties, rather than have completely new identities as was previously thought. “That benefits the brand of Yorkshire”, the county official said, and “would help Yorkshire repay the Graves Family Trust". 

An ECB spokesman said: “These claims are entirely unfounded. Our awarding of major matches is firmly based on principles of good governance and the awarding process for the post 2019 cycle will not begin until the future tours program for this period has been agreed with the International Cricket Council. Match allocations are made by the Major Match Group which is wholly independent of ECB and the ECB chairman is not involved in the decision-making process”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,957

 Monday, 24 October 2016

 

• ‘Floodlit’ County games set for UK’s longest days [1957-9849].

• Zimbabwean referee set to reach 50th Test mark [1957-9850].

• Scoreboard error has club arguing against draw result [1957-9851].

• Bowlers' approach to short ball cricket will remain the same: Haddin [1957-9852].

• Minimalist TV venture into Test highlights a real gem [1957-9853].

• Chennai 'has funds' to support India-England Test [1957-9854].

‘Floodlit’ County games set for UK's longest days.

George Dobell.

Cricinfo.

Sunday, 23 October 2016.

PTG 1957-9849.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is planning to stage a round of Championship matches under lights at the end of June next year as England prepare for their first day-night Test (PTG 1951-9820, 19 October 2016).  England are scheduled to play two Tests under lights in 2017, the first against the West Indies at Edgbaston in August, then a second in the Ashes series in Australia at the end of the year.

While details are yet to be confirmed, it is understood that the ECB has identified a round of games starting on 26 June for the floodlit matches in the hope that England players will be available. England play a Twenty20 International against South Africa in Cardiff on 25 June, with the first Test against South Africa starting at Lord's on 6 July.

That scheduling is not ideal. It comes just a few days after the longest evening of the year with sunset time around 10 p.m., so the value of using lights will be diminished. But the ECB hopes it will attract more spectators to games and provide more data over the strengths and weaknesses of the pink ball and optimum pitch conditions for its usage.   It is also one of few rounds where England's Test specialists are expected to be available. Plans to stage the games in August were rejected as not all teams are scheduled to play at the same time and, in the ECB's words, "equitability is deemed important".

The Division One games involved will be hosted by four of Warwickshire, Yorkshire, Essex, Hampshire or Surrey, while the Division Two games will be staged by five of Durham, Kent, Nottinghamshire, Sussex, Northamptonshire and Glamorgan. The ECB has asked each of the counties to ensure there are no issues - such as permission from the local council - with them hosting such games before they confirm their match schedule.

Zimbabwean referee set to reach 50th Test mark.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Sunday, 23 October 2016.

PTG 1957-9850.

Englishman Nigel Llong was the third umpire for the first ever day-night Test in Adelaide last year, but at the end of next month he will be on the field for the third between Australia and South Africa at the same venue.  Llong together with Pakistan’s Aleem Dar and a second Englishman, Richard Kettleborough, plus Andy Pycroft from Zimbabwe who will pass the 50 Test mark as a referee, are the neutral officials for the three-Test series between the two southern hemisphere countries.

The first match in Perth will see Dar and Llong on-field with Kettleborough in the television spot and Pycroft the match referee.  For the second Test in Hobart it will be Dar-Kettleborough on-field and Llong the third official, before Llong and Kettleborough take the field in Adelaide in the day-night game with Dar the television umpire.

The series will take Pycroft’s record as a match referee in Tests to 51, Dar’s an umpire to 107 on-field and 18 as the television umpire (107/18), Kettleboorough to 41/14 and Llong 39/20.  

The Zimbabwean will become only the sixth person to oversee 50 Tests when he manages the game in Hobart.  Currently, Ranjan Madugalle leads the way with 168 Tests (1993-present), then comes Chris Broad on 80 (2003-present), Jeff Crowe 78 (2004-present), and the retired Clive Lloyd 53 (1002-2006) and John Reid 50 (1993-2002).

Pycroft’s match referee career in Tests commenced in May 2009 at Lord’s (PTG 414-2187, 2 May 2009).  His 50 Tests will have been made up of 10 in Sri Lanka, 9 in the United Arab Emirates, England 7 (3 at Lord’s), South Africa 6, Bangladesh and the West Indies each 5, and Australia and India both 4.  He has not overseen a Test played in New Zealand as yet and, as is to be expected given the International Cricket Council’s neutral officials policy, none at home in Zimbabwe. 

  

Scoreboard error has club arguing against draw result.

Tim Michell.

Sunbury Leader.

Sunday, 23 October 2016.

PTG 1957-9851.

The Ashfield club’s B-grade side has asked Victoria's Gisborne and District Cricket Association (GDCA) to examine the circumstances which led to its match against Bacchus Marsh ending in a draw on Saturday.  The teams finished locked at 187 runs apiece despite Ashfield still having one over and seven wickets remaining in its chase, but the scoreboard had Ashfield one run ahead when the last ball of the 39th over had been bowled.

Convinced it had won the game, Ashfield left the field and stumps were called, but after both scorebooks were studied, it became clear the result had not been decided.  Ashfield president Shane Woolley, who played in the match, says he asked Bacchus Marsh “three or four times” to return to the field and play the remaining over. 

“The scoreboard said we were 188 runs, so we were one run in front”, said Woolley said.  “The captain of Bacchus Marsh [Chris Amphlett] basically conceded ... saying you guys are up, no need to play the last over.  They pulled the stumps, came off the ground”.  After about an hour of haggling, Ashfield captain Ryan Pretty and Amphlett signed off on a drawn result.

GDCA president Rob McIntyre indicated Ashfield’s dispute would be decided by the league’s pennant committee.  He said though that: “They should have gone out and completed whatever balls were left [but] both captains agreed on a draw at the completion of adding up the scorebooks.  That probably will be the result, but Ashfield are going to ask the pennant committee to have a look at it anyway”.

Bacchus Marsh president Darran Fowlie said he was confident the drawn result would stand.  “I understand the books didn’t balance when they walked off”, said Fowlie.  “One score was one run short of us and the other one was two runs short of us” and by "the letter of the law”, Ashfield “should have probably won”.  But “they have walked off with an over to go and effectively declared their innings closed.  They probably should have stayed out there; there’s not too many winners in it”.  It is not known whether GDCA Playing Conditions allow a ‘declaration' in a one-day game

Woolley said it was ironic the teams had played 79 overs to earn three points each when the other games in the competition that day were washed off.  “I believe we will have to go front the GDCA, let them hear all the facts and make a decision.  It’s really as simple as that. It’s hard to sit here and try and celebrate last night — our first win of the season — which it should have been.  There was still one over of cricket to play and all we needed was one run”.

Bowlers' approach to short ball cricket will remain the same: Haddin.

David Polkinghorne.

Fairfax Media.

Sunday, 23 October 2016.

PTG 1957-9852.

Victorian bowlers might have been shaken when NSW batsman Daniel Hughes was struck in the helmet on Friday (PTG 1956-9840, 23 October 2016), but former Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin thinks bowlers won't change the way they approach the game.  Haddin said it was hard to talk about the issue given the NSW coroners inquest into Phillip Hughes' death two years ago will hand down its findings next month.

Haddin, NSW captain and wicketkeeper the day Phillip Hughes was struck, didn't think it would lead to a change in the way fast bowlers approach the game.  "I don't think there'll be a change in the landscape of the way cricket's played”, Haddin said.  "I think what happened to Phil was a horrible event and you can look at cricket as not as pure as it once was. But I don't think the game of cricket will change”.

Minimalist TV venture into Test highlights a real gem.

Alan Tyers.

London Daily Telegraph.

Monday, 24 October 2016.

PTG 1957-9853.

UK TV made a late deal to show daily highlights of the Bangladesh-England series, and have been rewarded with a Test that was far more exciting and closely fought than many suspected.  The 7 p.m. program each night on Freeview channel ITV4 has been a quiet success so far, and English cricket fans should welcome a new player in the broadcast market for Test cricket, especially one that is doing it on free-to-air.

The 60-minute program is one for the minimalist, making do with no studio, graphical jiggery-pokery or even an appearance from its anchor, Ed Smith. The former England batsman commentates unseen over the highlights from a studio in London, and has thus far been joined by one colleague each day: Jonathan Trott, Matthew Hoggard and Michael Vaughan have all come to the party.  Cost effective free-to-air programming like this from ITV4, could well pick up some viewers, and good luck to them.

Chennai 'has funds' to support India-England Test.

PTG Editor.

Indian media reports.

Sunday, 23 October 2016.

PTG 1957-9854.

The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) have enough money to conduct the India-England Test match in mid-December, even though it is not receiving funds from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), its president Narayanaswami Srinivasan said on Saturday.  India’s Supreme Court has stopped the BCCI from providing money to its state associations until the national body accepts the Lodha reforms in full (PTG 1941-9761, 8 October 2016).

The series and the Test in Chennai had come under a cloud after India’s Supreme Court stopped the BCCI funding those State associations that have not fully implemented Lodha Panel recommendations.  Srinivasan was quoted as saying by ’The Hindu’ that he "cannot speak for the other associations, but the TNCA is very keen to do it for the people of this city. There will be expenditure, but we will not back away”.


PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,958

 Tuesday, 25 October 2016


• CA looking at sensors in helmets to measure force of head hits [1958-9855].

• Chittagong Test produces new record for reviews [1958-9856].

• Umpiring for CA comes at a cost for some [1958-9857].

• Use of ‘Dukes' balls in Sheffield Shield confirmed [1958-9858].

• BCCI postpones IPL media rights tender process, blames Lodha [1958-9859].

CA looking at sensors in helmets to measure force of head hits.

Andrew Wu.

Fairfax Media.

Monday, 24 October 2016.

PTG 1958-9855.

Cricket Australia (CA) are looking at installing sensors in helmets to help them gauge the impact of hits to the head as part of measures aimed at increasing the understanding of concussion in the game.  CA are in preliminary talks with several IT companies as they look to develop the technology, but though the concept is still in its early stages there could be a finished product in two years, says Alex Kountouris CA's sports medicine and sports science manager .

The development comes after NSW pair Daniel Hughes and Nic Maddinson were both ruled out of domestic matches after hits to the head in a one-day elimination final on Friday (PTG 1956-9840, 23 October 2016). While Hughes missed the final, Maddinson played after passing a concussion test on the eve of the game but suffered delayed symptoms during the match forcing him out of the NSW's' opening Sheffield Shield game which begins on Tuesday.

While players, including Australian captain Steve Smith, have been very supportive of CA's introduction of concussion subs this season for the Big Bash League and domestic one-day competition, there are no provisions for a concussed player to be replaced during a Shield game as it would lose first class status (PTG 1939-9752, 6 October 2016). Therefore, if last Friday's one-day game was a Shield match, NSW would have finished the game with only nine fit players.

Kountouris said it was difficult to prevent situations such as Maddinson's but they were  conducting research to help better predict what type of head knocks led to concussion. Part of this will be the possible introduction of sensors in helmets to measure how hard a player has been struck and transmit the information wirelessly to an app.  "Maybe there's a cut-off if they adsorb ‘X' amount of force, that's when a concussion comes in”, said Kountouris.

He went on to say testing, both in the lab and with players, was required to understand the "complexities" around sensors and the data transmitted.  "How much force goes through when they're running between wickets, ducking a bouncer, playing a forward defensive – the head's moving back and forward. We have to understand what the normal forces are.  There's a lot to learn but we've started to look down that path".  

According to Kountouris “they're trialling it in other sports. I don't know if anyone's done it well yet. We're speaking to anyone who wants to speak to us. We haven't seen anything that will work in cricket right now but we're certainly looking whatever there is.  Sensors are small these days, it's not like a big GPS unit, you can fit them into a helmet and people won't even know they're there”.

CA is reviewing footage of every incident where a player is struck on the head, regardless of whether there is concussion, in a bid to find trends. How a player responds on impact – such as whether they collapse, kneel or wobble – is noted and combined with observations of the match doctor.  "We put that all together and look for a pattern if a concussion is likely to happen”, Kountouris said.  "It will be better in a year or two – we need to see quite a few of them to see a pattern. Otherwise you see one or two and think that looks a hard knock and resulted in a delayed concussion but five others might have it and not get one”.

Kountouris said the only way to guarantee no player took to the field with delayed symptoms of concussion would be to rule out any player struck but that was impractical.  "We're going to be leaving people out when they're not concussed. We need to get that balance right. We want the game to be as safe as possible but we also want to be able to play and not hold people back”.

Chittagong Test produces new record for reviews.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016.

PTG 1958-9856.

The Umpire Decision Review System (DRS) played a major part in the intriguing first Test between Bangladesh and England in Chittagong with a record 26 on-field decisions reviewed by players, 13 each from both sides.  On a pitch reports say consistently did something in almost every single delivery, it was Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena who was mostly involved. 

During the match a total of 16 decisions made by him were reviewed, eight being overturned, the most reversed decisions for an umpire in a single Test match since the UDRS was introduced in 2008.  Of the 16, sides requested 8 when batting and 8 when bowling, all except one being in relation to LBW appeals (PTG 1954-9834, 21 October 2016).

Chris Gaffney of New Zealand, Dharmasena’s on-field colleague, had his decisions queried 10 times, 6 batting and 4 bowling, with 3 being upheld and 7 struck down.  All of those reviews were in relation to LBW appeals.

Dharmasena will be on-field with India’s Sundarum Ravi for the second and final Test of the series in Dhaka which begins on Friday, Gaffney being the television umpire (PTG 1933-9716, 29 September 2016).  Some elements of the media in Bangladesh, perhaps in the wake of their side’s defeat, queried a number of the review assessments made by Ravi in Chittagong.

Umpiring for CA comes at a cost for some.

PTG Editor.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016.

PTG 1958-9857.

Unless they're on a contract with the International Cricket Council, senior national board or prominent Twenty20 series, most umpires in the game don’t get, or necessarily expect, the amount of monetary return from their contributions on the field that would put their total hourly rate for the total work involved beyond subsistence levels.   However, a number of umpires in Australia who have been chosen to stand in representative games in middle level tournaments conducted by Cricket Australia (CA) say that in accepting invitations from the national body they will be somewhat out of pocket.

CA has had contracts for its top-level umpires, such as those on its top National Umpires Panel (NUP), for many years now, however, abbreviated ones have for the first time now been introduced for State Umpire Panel members and others who stand in Futures League (FL), Womens’ National Cricket League (WNCL) and other series such as CA national under age events.  What are said to be nearly 20-page long documents, which have been drawn up by legal experts, have to be signed by umpires before they are allowed to stand in any of those competitions.

The problem for some comes from the fact that the new contracts require umpires, who as Australian nationals are covered by the government's public health insurance scheme, to also have private health insurance cover.  The latter is something not everyone in the country, including some umpires, can afford, or for various valid reasons, often to do with family situations, choose to sign up to.

It is not possible to find private health cover in Australia for lower than around $A250 per month (£UK155), a level that does not include dental cover, and the agreement involved lasts for a minimum of one year, plus there is a moratorium at the start of such products that preclude some medical situations.  Therefore a minimum cost of around $A3,000 a year (£1,870), and sometimes more, involved in maintaining the private cover, well in excess of what most umpires can expect to earn from standing in CA's middle-level competitions over a season.  

For example, during the current 2016-17 austral summer, those standing in FL and WNCL games are being paid a basic match fee of $A250 per day (£155) and in under age events $165 (£100).  A FL umpire will thus earn $A1,000 per match (£620), those in the WNCL one-day series $A250 a game, and in under age tournaments around $A1,300 (£810) for what is usually up to eight games.  The best paid umpires, perhaps one or two, who are not on CA’s top two panels, could be expected to earn around $A3,000 (£1,870) at best in 2016-17, while for most its no more that $A1,500-2,000 (£935-1,245), and for some as little as $A250-500 (£155-310).

While their content is being held particularly tightly by recipients, a key part of the CA contracts is understood to focus on health insurance matters.  It is believed they say in part that CA will not be responsible in any way for the costs involved in an umpire’s medical issues during the time or after the contract is formally operational.  Another part though is believed to state that CA will provide its contractor umpires personal insurance cover of up to $A500,000 (£310,100).

As far as can be determined, there appear to be up to half-a-dozen middle-level umpires around the country who have been contracted by CA for the 2016-17 season who find themselves out of pocket over their health insurance situation, and there may be others.  Whether the national body plans to review that situation now or prior to the following season is not known, however, in the meantime the lure of being able to stand at representative level is putting a number of individuals significantly out of pocket.  That’s something CA NUP members, who are understood to be on$A90-150,000 a year (£56-93,000) for their cricket activities, don’t have to worry about.

Use of ‘Dukes' balls in Sheffield Shield confirmed.

CA web site.

Monday, 24 October 2016.

PTG 1958-9858.

Cricket Australia (CA) has confirmed it will use balls made by English manufacturer ‘Dukes' for the second half of the Sheffield Shield first class competition as it leaves no stone unturned in a bid to break Australia's longest-ever period without an away Ashes series victory (PTG 1845-9251, 5 June 2016). The 115th season of the Shield begins on Tuesday with three day-night matches.

Following successful trials the hand-made ‘Dukes’ balls, which have a more upright seam, will be used for rounds 6-10 in February-March, as well as the final, as CA targets the 2019 tour of England for a first overseas Ashes success since 2001. "Over winter we worked with ‘Dukes' to produce a ball that suited Australian conditions but also mirrored the look and feel of the English Test ball”, said CA's Head of Cricket Operations, Sean Cary (PTG 1842-9226, 2 June 2016). 

"This was trialled alongside the exact ‘Dukes' English Test ball with Queensland Cricket at CA’s National Cricket Centre to make direct comparisons between the two Dukes balls and culminated with a 50-over match between Queensland and South Australia in Brisbane.

Cary said: "We believe the English Test ‘Dukes' ball will endure our conditions and will look to implement this in the second half of the Sheffield Shield.  We wanted a ball that is fit for purpose, and the purpose is to prepare our cricketers to be adaptable, and using the ‘Dukes' ball is not new to cricket.  We've gathered feedback from players and high-performance staff around the country, and we are confident with the results to date, and we thank the players who participated in the winter trials.  This opportunity will give our players more experience to hone their batting and bowling skills with this ball, and will hopefully lead to more success in both home and away series".

As part of CA's arrangement with ‘Dukes', each of Australia's 87 Premier League Clubs will be provided six 'Dukes County International' balls (three red and three white).  They are being encouraged to trial the ball in net training or centre wicket practice, though they are not expected to use them in matches.  CA has previously used Dukes balls in the National Second XI competition, the Toyota Futures League for two seasons and in Under-17 and Under-19 National Championships.

BCCI postpones IPL media rights tender process, blames Lodha.

Press Trust of India.

Tuesday, 24 October 2016.

PTG 1958-9859.

On Monday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to indefinitely defer the awarding of its on-going global broadcast and digital media rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL) which was scheduled for Tuesday.  it says it took that approach as the Lodha Committee is yet to appoint an independent auditor to oversee the entire process as required by India’s Supreme Court.

In a detailed media release, the BCCI explained its side of the story about what it claims are “repeated communications" with the Court-appointed Lodha Panel and how its commercial interests were being hurt due to the delay in the process of awarding tenders.  It also “apologised” to the 18 potential bidders from across the world. 

The release said the BCCI was seeking a directive from the Lodha group on the process.  It said in part: “Keeping in view the urgency in the matter, the BCCI has informed the [Lodha] Committee that the tender process underway [has] certain timelines that potential bidders were following. The BCCI also informed the Committee that a large number of potential bidders had travelled to the country from outside as bids had to be submitted in person.  The BCCI has so far not received any further directions from the Committee, which is now the custodian of the entire process”.  

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,959

 Wednesday, 26 October 2016

 

• Australian cricketers opposed to pink-ball Ashes Test [1959-9860].

• Test debut for Adelaide scorer [1959-9861].

• Soft signals help in negating over-reliance on technology [1959-9862].

• Hafeez ready for test of revamped action [1959-9863].

• Twelve state bodies won’t use funds till further orders: BCCI [1959-9864].

Australian cricketers opposed to pink-ball Ashes Test.

Jon Pierik.

Fairfax Media.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016.

PTG 1959-9860.

Australia's top cricketers remain opposed to a day-night Ashes Test during the 2017-18 austral summer, as the upgraded pink ball went under the microscope on Tuesday on the opening day of the Sheffield Shield season.  Cricket Australia (CA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have yet to agree to scheduling a pink-ball Test in Australia next year, CA saying discussions were ongoing.  CA chief executive James Sutherland has indicated previously there could be between "zero and two" day-night Ashes Tests (PTG 1841-9217, 1 June 2016). 

Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) chief Alistair Nicholson said on Tuesday an Ashes day-night Test was not needed.  "The players have consistently showed a willingness to adapt and innovate with the changing landscape of the game; with new formats, crowd engagement, new technology and playing an exciting brand of cricket”, he said. 

"For 140 years the Ashes has been the pinnacle of Test cricket for Australia and England, and is widely recognised as the most popular Test series on the international calendar.  The players can provide valuable insight into the use of the pink ball going forward, at both international and domestic level. A coordinated approach is the best way to ensure that Test cricket remains the pinnacle of the game”.

The ACA was also opposed to last year’s inaugural day-night Test, and Australia playing a day-night Test against South Africa (PTG 1844-9247, 4 June 2016), but despite their protests the latter game will also go ahead in Adelaide early next month.

Australian captain Steve Smith and counterpart Alastair Cook this year said they were against rescheduling an Ashes Test (PTG 1850-9277, 10 June 2016).  The argument players may struggle to counter is that a day-night Test is likely to attract a greater television audience, with the afternoon local start time more appealing to viewers in England, who are 10 hours behind in time difference.

The 2017-18 series will be the first Ashes broadcast in England by BT Sport, which outbid Rupert Murdoch's Sky Sports for a five-year deal to Australian cricket. BT is believed to have spent more than $A120 million £UK75.8 m) acquiring the rights, beginning during the 2016-17 summer, and will be keen for as big a possible return on its investment.

The ECB has signalled its support for the day-night concept, and an Ashes Test, by scheduling its inaugural home pink-ball clash against the West Indies at Edgbaston in August (PTG 1957-9849, 24 October 2016).

Test debut for Adelaide scorer.

PTG Editor.

CA appointments advice.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016.

PTG 1959-9861.

Adelaide scorer Mick Harper will become Australia’s 104th Test scorer when he makes his debut at that level when Australia plays South Africa in the third-ever day-night Test next month (PTG 1895-9499, 7 August 2016).  Harper was named yesterday to record the details of the match along with long-serving Neil Ricketts, former South Australian state scorer and scorer coordinator Rita Artis having retired at the end of the 2015-16 austral summer after 30 years of service to the game.

Harper, who has been first team scorer with the South Australian Cricket Association's Sturt District Cricket Club for over a decade, made his first class scoring debut in late 2015.  Over that time he also served as the club’s secretary, more recently a committee member, and also works as its assistant Groundsman.  The now retired policeman is a member of the South Australian Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association’s Scorers working committee, and is also the Adelaide-based recruitment officer for the North Melbourne Football Club in the Australian Football League.

While Harper and Ricketts will be looking after the Adelaide Test, their Western Australian colleagues Ann Ridley and Sandy Wheeler will be the scorers for the opening Test of the series in Perth next week, while in Hobart for the second Test it will be Graeme Hamley and Robert Godfrey in the score box.  

The fourth umpires for the series, who will support the four neutral officials appointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) (PTG 1957-9850, 24 October 2016), come from the Australians on the ICC’s second-tier International Umpires Panel.  Perth will see Sam Nogajski in that role, his debut at the game’s highest level, Mick Martell in Hobart, his sixth as the fourth umpire, and Wilson in Adelaide, for whom its also his sixth.  Martell has also served once as the television umpire in a Test.

Soft signals help in negating over-reliance on technology.

Times of India.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016.

PTG 1959-9862.

On-field umpires are there to make decisions and answer appeals, not simply send them ‘upstairs' to the third umpire to make the call, says former Australian umpire Simon Taufel.   As such, said the now Cricket Australia 'Match Referee and Umpire Selection Manager’ in an interview published in Wednesday’s edition of ‘The Times of India’, so-called ‘soft signals’ used by on-field umpires in internationals are “part of the decision making process”.

Taufel says such communication between those on-field "maintain the premise that the decision-making happens on field and is not just left to technology to provide an outcome”.  "If the third umpire cannot find conclusive evidence to prove that the original on-field decision is incorrect, then it stands”, says Taufel.

In answer to another question regarding umpires "wearing helmets or even a protective arm-guard”, Taufel pointed to bats becoming "more powerful” and “players stronger”.  He said as protective equipment allows the batsman more freedom to play naturally and focus on the ball and not the fear of being hurt, its “perhaps the same for umpires”.  Such equipment he says “allows  [umpires] to focus on their duties knowing that they are protected if something unusual happens".

Does improving technology mean the role of on-field umpires will become more limited, was another question.  Taufel doesn’t think so, rather technology "should be used to support the role of the on field umpire, not replace it". Decision-making is not the only important function of an on-field umpire”, he says, for other items such as managing ground, weather and light, maximising playing time, player behaviour, applying the laws and playing conditions, various codes and effective communication with captains, are also involved.  "Technology is there to be embraced as an addition to the skill set, not a replacement for other skills”, he says.

Maintaining a rapport with players is seen by him as vital”.  "I always had a healthy respect for what the players had to do, and I hope they felt the same about me. To manage the match efficiently, I believe a match official needs to have a strong professional working relationship with all the participants — based on respect and trust. It's easy to manage a match when things are going well, but when there is conflict or disagreement, the foundation relationship comes into play and allows the matter to be resolved better. While the player or team may not like the outcome, they are far more likely to accept it and move on faster".

Effective communication is also vital for messages "need to be clearly communicated and understood. Umpires need to communicate well with each other, team management, captains, ground staff and scorers. So many problems occur when umpires do not communicate effectively and this area is made more challenging with the global nature of our game — we all don't speak the same language! When we hold umpiring development workshops, communication is often a module wherein we look at aspects such as key communication phrases, reducing mixed messages with our body language and applying "less is more" techniques — how do we be clear, concise and accurate".

In order to promote umpiring as a profession Taufel said there needs to be a "clear communication of the pathway from grassroots to the international level”, something he indicated "most boards do really well”.  In his view there also has to be clarity around what is expected of the umpires and "governing bodies need to provide umpires with the necessary tools, facilities and environment to promote high-performance". 

However, he says: "Being full time doesn't make you a professional — what you do with that time does. Being a professional means one is committed to continued learning. For umpires to be truly professional, they have to be committed to actively seeking more information, trying new things and constantly exploring their potential — match after match, season after season".

Hafeez ready for test of revamped action.

Press Trust of India.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016.

PTG 1959-9863.

Pakistan all-rounder, Muhammad Hafeez has advised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that he is ready to undergo a reassessment of his bowling action.  Hafeez has faced problems with his bowling action since 2014 and in July last year was banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) from bowling in international cricket for a year after his bowling action was reported again following a Test against Sri Lanka in Galle (PTG 1595-7717, 19 July 2015).

Off-spinner Hafeez, 35, said on Monday in Karachi that he had delayed taking the reassessment because a knee problems meant he was not 100 percent fit.  "But now that I have made a complete recovery, I have told the PCB they can get a date from the ICC”.  "I have focussed fully on my batting since I couldn't bowl and I think except for a few matches I have generally delivered the goods as a batsman”.  Hafeez said he is "keen to make the test squad in New Zealand and Australia.

Twelve state bodies won’t use funds till further orders: BCCI.

Press Trust of India.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016.

PTG 1959-9864.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) told that nation's Supreme Court on Tuesday that twelve of its member associations have kept the funds received from the BCCI in term deposit and will not utilise them until the Court issues further orders. In an affidavit filed with the Court, Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI’s General Manager (administration and game development), said the board has received letters in this regard from 12 member associations.

Among the BCCI member states who have sent letters to the national body in that regard include Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Punjab, Saurashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.  Last week the Court stopped the BCCI providing funds to state associations until it and its state unites “undertake to implement” the Lodha Committee recommendations on reforms. 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,960

 Thursday, 27 October 2016

 

• Second Indian reaches 100th first class match mark [1960-9865].

• Get used to two Aussie teams [1960-9866].

Second Indian reaches 100th first class match mark.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 27 October 2016.

PTG 1960-9865.

Amish Saheba will become the second Indian umpire to stand in his 100th first class match on Thursday when Kerala and Chhattisgarh meet in Ranchi.  A former member of the International Cricket Council’s second-tier International Umpires Panel who played first class cricket for Gujarat in the early 1980s, stood in two Tests in New Zealand and one in South Africa, late last decade (PTG 533-2733, 16 December 2009).

Saheba, 56, who made his first class umpiring debut in December 1993 and was named as India’s best umpire in 2010, says his 100th match "will be a memorable moment for me”.  The Gujarat-based umpire’s 100 comes after Mumbai's Suresh Shastri who brought up his century in December 2013 (PTG 1261-6086, 30 December 2013).  Shastri went on to stand in 107 first class games before retiring in January last year.  

Karnataka’s Shavir Tarapore, 59, another former Indian Test umpire, is currently on 99 first class games and is expected to reach the 100 game mark in the near future.

Get used to two Aussie teams.

Peter Lalor.

The Australian.

Thursday, 27 October 2016.

PTG 1960-9866.

Cricket Australia’s (CA) high-performance manager Pat Howard believes fans and players will just have to get used to seeing two Australian cricket teams in action.   The crowded fixture list has become a bone of contention for the Australian Cricketers Association, the public and other countries (PTG 1956-9845, 23 October 2016).

Thanks to the crowded bilateral international schedule Australia are due to play a Test match in India the morning after a Twenty20 International (T20I) against Sri Lanka in Adelaide in February.  Key players and whoever else is in the Test side are expected to miss most of that T20I series to prepare for the tour of India when all have made it clear they want to play every game for Australia.

Howard, the CA manager who makes the decision about when players are rested, indicated the situation was unlikely to change much in the near future and people should get used to inexperienced players filling in the gaps.  “To a certain extent I want to embrace it”, Howard said on radio, when asked about the prospect of two Australian teams being in action almost simultaneously.  

“We’ve done better and performed better when players have really lavished the opportunity, versus it being tacked on at the end of a long season.  So there is a way to have a think about this differently to give us a better chance of winning”, said Howard in the same month Australia lost 5-0 to South Africa in a One Day International series.

CA chief executive James Sutherland this week raised questions about the players using their holiday period to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL).  Howard continued that argument saying: “There’s been continuous cricket since August 2014 through to June 2017.  The IPL [period] is their break … there are limitations to what we can and can’t do”.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,961

 Friday, 28 October 2016

 

• Umpires’ decision to award match under 21.3 upheld [1961-9867].

• Dharmasena will bounce back after tough Chittagong Test [1961-9868].

• CA-player revenue-sharing model in for change? [1961-9869].

• Support from CA for short-form international ‘leagues’ [1961-9870].

• English cricketers set to go against union’s PSL advice [1961-9871].

• More trouble in the offering for the BCCI? [1961-9872].

Umpires’ decision to award match under 21.3 upheld.

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 27 October 2016.

PTG 1961-9867.

A two-day first grade match in the Sydney Shires Cricket (SSC) competition between Epping and Macquarie University earlier this month was awarded to Epping by umpires Stephen Clements and Bill Luke under Law 21.3.  They judged the position University took after one of their players was injured whilst batting constituted a refusal to play, a SSC committee confirming that result at a meeting held on Wednesday evening.

Epping declared its innings closed at 8/347 and Macquarie was 4/73 on day two of the game two Saturdays ago when batsman Ben French was struck in the chest and collapsed on the pitch.   According to reports he was unconscious for a few minutes but came to shortly after.   An ambulance was called and an early tea break was taken. 

During that interval a discussion occurred between Epping captain Michael McKeough, his University counterpart Rehan Anjum, and umpires Clements and Luke.  Anjum is reported to have stated his side considered the match over as they were going to hospital with French.  McKeough insisted the match should go on given French was conscious and seemed in good spirits, but Anjum refused and after considering the matter further the umpires awarded the match to Epping.

 

Macquarie University later protested that “result” and the matter was referred to the SSC management committee, who ratified the decision made by the umpires to award the match.  Law 21.3 says in part: "if an umpire considers that an action by any player or players might constitute a refusal by either side to play then the umpires together shall ascertain the cause of the action. If they then decide together that this action does constitute a refusal to play by one side, they shall so inform the captain of that side. If the captain persists in the action the umpires shall award the match”.

Dharmasena will bounce back after tough Chittagong Test.

David Lloyd.

Daily Mail.

Friday, 28 October 2016.

PTG 1961-9868.

Despite what the armchair pundits will tell you, umpiring can be an extremely tough job, especially on the sub-continent with the heat, the spinners and men round the bat.  One thing’s for sure. Kumar Dharmasena, who had a tough Test in Chittagong, is a strong character and a brilliant umpire.  It was bad luck that all the tough decisions seemed to be going on at his end! (PTG 1958-9856, 25 October 2016).

It wouldn’t surprise me during this second Test which starts on Friday if the whiteboard in both dressing-rooms in Dhaka features the words: ‘Test the umpire’. The players will be asking themselves whether Dharmasena and Sundarum Ravi, the two on-field officials for this game, will be vulnerable or fretting.  I don’t believe they will be, and Dharmasena in particular will be looking to bounce back. Like the players, they work hard and out there preparation is the key.

Obviously you need to make sure you are properly hydrated in these conditions, because the physical exertion of standing in the sun for six-and-a-half hours concentrating on the front foot, then looking up to see what’s going on at the business end, can be draining.  But they will also have spent time in the nets before the game assessing the bowlers’ actions, lines and lengths. Above all, they will be looking at bounce.

If you are umpiring at the WACA in Perth, you know that a batsman practically has to be hit on the shin to be given out LBW. In Bangladesh it’s a bit different, so an ability to judge the bounce is crucial.  The Umpire Decision Review System has helped in that regard. We know it’s four-five per cent better than the naked eye and it’s ridiculous that India have played for so long without it (PTG 1956-9841, 23 October 2016).

CA-player revenue-sharing model in for change?

PTG Editor.

Thursday, 27 October 2016.

PTG 1961-9869.

Cricket Australia (CA) announced an $A9.7 million (£UK6 m) operating surplus for the 2015-16 year at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Melbourne on Thursday, a significant drop from the $A98.6 m (£61.5 m) in the year before when World Cup earnings boosted coffers (PTG 1675-8221, 30 October 2015).  CA has flagged a $A68.4 m (£42.7 m) loss in 2016-17 when South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka all tour, but as governing body works on a four-year cycle, it says it is set to enjoy a $A50 (£31.2 m) million surplus over the 48 months from 2014-17.  

CA distributed grants to state associations totalling $A106.3m (£66.2 m) over the past year, up some $A250,000 on last year’s figure. The national body indicated that all but one of the six states had made a profit in 2015-16, bug did not say which one didn't.

According to CA, 1,727,270 patrons attended international cricket and the men and womens’ Big Bash League (BBL) during 2015-16, figures that it says makes it the game's "most attended cricket season on record”.  Test cricket in Australia consistently rated in the 'Top 10 television' programs nationally, an average of 1.3 million people tuning in to watch broadcasts of Test, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals, and "many more” followed them via various internet platforms.  The national body also pointed to cricket being the country’s "most popular and highest participation sports, with "a record 1,311,184 participating around the nation last year, an eight and a half per cent increase since 2014-15" (PTG 1906-9559, 24 August 2016).

Two key items for CA over the 2016-17 year are getting agreement on a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the players, and finalising a new television rights deal.  The latter could generate $A200 m (£125 m)  a season, covering international matches, the BBL and streaming rights.  Discussions over a new MoU with the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), or players’ union, will officially begin soon, with players concerned the current revenue-sharing model, which has been embraced since the inaugural deal in 1997 and and at this time means 26 per cent of CA earnings going to the players, may have lost CA support.

Asked about that following the AGM, CA chief executive James Sutherland and chairman  David Peever did not guarantee it would remain. “We have thought a little bit about that but we won’t be talking about it here”, he said.  ”It’s speculative to suggest that we will walk away from it. It’s just not something that I am comfortable talking about right now. The appropriate place to talk about it is in discussions with the ACA and it will be one of a raft of different issues we talk about where both parties will be looking to ensure the game goes forward”.

The ACA is bracing for a new world of industrial relations under Peever, who took over the chairmanship this year and has a background with mining giant Rio Tinto — an organisation with a reputation for hard bargaining.  ACA chief executive Alastair Nicholson said the players were determined to defend the status quo. “The revenue-sharing model is one of Australian sports administration’s great success stories, and is the main reason that cricket in Australia is in such a healthy ­financial position”, he said.

Support from CA for short-form international ‘leagues’.

Cameron Best.

ABC News.

Thursday, 27 October 2016.

PTG 1961-9870.

Cricket Australia (CA) is throwing its support behind a radical plan to restructure the scheduling of international one-day and Twenty20 matches to address concerns over the number of matches players are required to play.  Under the proposal floated earlier this year, a 13-team league would replace current scheduling, with each country playing a total of 12 matches per year in each format.

CA chief James Sutherland said the move would create more certainty around the amount of cricket being played.  "That means you play six one-day matches away, six one-day matches at home every year”, he said.  "It doesn't seem to any point playing any more than that because they're the matches that count.  It would mean the Australian cricket team would play less cricket on an annual basis, while other countries would play more frequently than is currently scheduled”.

Sutherland’s comments come after some former Australian players criticised the tight scheduling of matches and the heavy workload placed on players (PTG 1956-9845, 23 October 2016).

English cricketers set to go against union’s PSL advice.

Will Macpherson.

The Guardian.

Friday, 28 October 2016.

PTG 1961-9871.

A number of high-profile English cricketers are set to go against the advice of the Professional Cricketers’ Association (ACA), their union, if they are called on to participate in the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), which is scheduled to take place in Lahore (PTG 1953-9827, 20 October 2016). There are heightened security fears in the country in the wake of the Quetta terrorist attack on Tuesday.

Ten English players have been drafted for the 2017 PSL competition, which will largely be staged in Dubai before the final takes place in Pakistan. Although the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will grant the players 'No Objection Certificates', the PCA in conjunction with the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association, has strongly advised them not to go to Lahore. The PCA has said the situation in Pakistan “presents an unacceptably high security risk and remains unmanageable”.

It is understood that the players, including Luke Wright, who is due to play for Quetta Gladiators alongside Kevin Pietersen, Tymal Mills and David Willey, are happy to compete in Pakistan should their team reach the final. Those considering playing in the final have been encouraged to ensure their insurance coverage is in place and were reminded they travel as individuals and at their own risk.

There have been suggestions the final could be moved from Lahore but Najam Sethi, the PSL chairman, said at the draft last week: “International players know what we can do; most of them are ready to come to Pakistan and play. We have signed players with a condition that, if their team reaches the final, they will have to go to Lahore and they have all agreed. The government has promised to give full security to the players. We are convinced that the final will happen in Lahore”.

The ECB’s stance on the PSL is the same as its view on next month’s Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), in which a number of players are also playing against PCA advice. England have been granted protection on the current tour in Bangladesh that is without precedent and the PCA believes that players could not be guaranteed the same security at the BPL (PTG 1922-9660, 12 September 2016).

The hitherto smooth passage of England’s visit has brought the prospect of an Australia tour of Bangladesh a step closer.  Australia cancelled a tour last year because of security concerns, and also did not send a team to this year’s Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, but Cricket Australia’s head of security, Sean Carroll, has travelled to Dhaka for the second Bangladesh-England Test to scope the prospect of a tour next August.  Carroll will look at the security measures put in place – in terms of accommodation and transport via convoy – by the Bangladesh government, the Bangladesh Cricket Board and Reg Dickason, the ECB’s security adviser.

More trouble in the offering for the BCCI?

Press Trust of India.

Friday, 28 October 2016.

PTG 1961-9872.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may encounter fresh trouble after facing the prospect of the Lodha Committee asking for Deloitte’s audit reports on the functioning of its affiliated state associations, which are said to be damning.  According to an 'India Today’ report, the audit reports by the US-based professional services organisation are said to reveal misuse of funds by state associations and could bolster the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha panel’s offense against the Indian board. For now, the reports are in the custody of Amarchand Mangaldas, the BCCI’s legal advisors.

A BCCI source was quoted as saying: “If they get these and place them before the Supreme Court there is every likelihood of a new investigation being launched into the affairs of the BCCI and the state associations. The Deloitte reports on the functioning of some associations are just damning”.  The source went on to accuse members of the Goa Cricket Association of buying as many as 18 cars for personal needs, with expenses such as fuel being billed in the association’s name.

The Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) was accused of distributing gold coins among its managing committee members and gifting their wives jewellery. The Odisha body was described by the source as one whose accounts were hand-written in the digital age. Another source close to the Indian board was quoted as saying that the BCCI would lose any sympathy that they were currently enjoying in their lock-down with the Supreme Court.  The report also stated that the HCA gave an undertaking in a letter to the BCCI that it would rectify the irregularities.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,962

 Sunday, 30 October 2016

 

• Pink ball needs more work, says Aussie vice-captain [1962-9873].

• Dharmasena again in review spotlight [1962-9874].

• Batsman reprieved after review deems ball above waist [1962-9875].

• No ‘HotSpot' for India-England Tests [1962-9876].

• Introducing ‘ScanCam’, the latest TV broadcast gadget [1962-9877].

• Move over Dad, its time Mum was recognised and thanked [1962-9878].

• Victory for fans as county matches move to Friday starts [1962-9879].

• Australian cricketers get inside mail in pay war [1962-9880].

• Zimbabwe to submit its audit to ICC [1962-9881].

• We know there’s a line you can’t cross and we’ll set it where we want [1962-9882].

Pink ball needs more work, says Aussie vice-captain.

Peter Badel.

The Courier-Mail.

Saturday, 29 October 2016.

PTG 1962-9873.

Cricket’s pink ball is again under fire with Australian vice-captain David Warner claiming the ball designed to save Test cricket becomes “dead” and “needs work”.  Just 25 days out from Australia’s day-night Test against South Africa, Warner is not convinced manufacturers have found the right formula for cricket’s ideal pink ball.

Warner was among the Test players who took part in the pink-ball Sheffield Shield match between NSW and Queensland that ended at the Gabba on Friday.  Manufacturers ‘Kookaburra' has spent several millions in the quest for a pink ball that is fit for Test cricket, but Warner delivered a critique that will concern cricket’s top administrators.  While he is adamant improvements have been made to the pink ball, Warner said the Shield game at the Gabba spotlighted some key flaws.

According to the Australian opener: “Once you get through the new ball, it becomes a bit dead and it falls to the captains to make the game.  The ball has come a long way since last year. It’s got an extra layer of lacquer, similar to the [English company] Dukes' balls.  Still, I feel it needs a bit of work. You can’t buff it or shine it. We have to work on that somehow”.

The pink ball is being touted as Test cricket’s saviour as the sport explores ways to grow attendances, but it lacked venom for large portions of the NSW-Queensland clash.  On the opening three days, batsmen from both sides plundered in the first two sessions, with the pink ball only coming to life in the final session after 6 p.m.  That forced NSW skipper Steve Smith and Queensland counterpart Usman Khawaja to make three declarations collectively in the quest for a result.

“You look at the declarations ... that’s the trend at the moment”, Warner said.  “Is that going to be the way forward?  In Test match conditions, it’s going to be up to the captain and coach to play it out. There’s a lot to work on.  If you’re batting first you try to make the most of it through the middle periods and get on with it in the last hour. That’s when the wickets start falling. Everyone [in the Shield games] has been around 2/240 and then made 330 to 350".

Warner also said: “The pink ball is holding it’s wear. We had the ball swinging a little bit reverse after about 50 overs, then it just went straight.  It wasn’t as if it was falling apart or anything. It was just a bit soft and that makes it very hard to get a wicket”.

Queensland opener Joe Burns said the pink ball is particularly dangerous in the final night session.  “It is certainly different to the red and white ball, it reacts differently in different situations.   During the day it doesn’t do a whole heap, but at night it does a bit. It alters your strategies and you have to stagger your plans for the game.  It was very challenging under lights, the first two days under lights the ball certainly does a lot more.  The last session [when lights are in operation] holds the key to each day’s play”.

Dharmasena again in review spotlight.

PTG Editor.

Match commentary.

Saturday, 29 October 2016.

PTG 1962-9874.

Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena is again in the review spotlight after just two days of the second Test between Bangladesh and England in Dhaka, having had seven of his decisions officially queried, as opposed to one for his on-field colleague Sundarum Ravi of India.  During the first Test of the series in Chittagong last week, Dharmasena was involved in 16 reviews, his original decision being overturned in half of them to produce a new record (PTG 1961-9868, 28 October 2016).

Dharmasena was challenged five times on day one in Dhaka and twice on day two on Saturday, technology supporting his calls four times and overturning them three times.  Five of the reviews were requested by the bowling side and two by batsman, five overall being for LBW, one for caught behind and another for either caught in slips or LBW.  On two occasions when he gave a batsman out LBW, and once when he turned down an appeal for LBW, the technology supported him, as it did for the caught-LBW appeal which he also answered ‘not out’ to.  

In the case of Ravi’s so far single review, which came after he raised his finger to a shout for caught behind, there was no ‘spike’ on the stump microphone feed when the ball passed the bat and his call was subsequently overturned.

Batsman reprieved after review deems ball above waist.

Cricinfo.

Saturday, 29 October 2016.

PTG 1962-9875.

England batsman Chris Woakes played a key innings in the second Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka on Saturday, however, he might have been dismissed half an hour before his eventual departure, after being given a reprieve off a waist-high full toss. Facing the legspin of Sabbir Rahman, Woakes pulled fiercely across the line and straight into the hands of midwicket, and began walking off the field.

However, umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Sundarum Ravi opted to check the height of the delivery before upholding the decision, and after assessing several replays, third umpire Chris Gaffaney ruled that the ball had been above waist-height and therefore a no-ball was called.  Under International Cricket Council (ICC) Playing Conditions, which are different to the relevant Law 42.6: "Any delivery, which passes or would have passed on the full above waist height of the striker standing upright at the popping crease is deemed unfair, whether or not it is likely to inflict physical injury on the striker”.  The speed of the ball is not an issue under ICC regulations.

Woakes, however, can consider himself lucky as his was extremely marginal decision. The ball had looped high above his eyeline and was clearly dipping sharply when the batsman made contact several feet in front of his crease. In fact, subsequent ‘HawkEye' replays showed that the ball was heading for the base of the stumps.

What is more, Sabbir had opened his spell with two further full-tosses, the first of which was much higher than the wicket-taking delivery, neither of which was called for no-ball by Dharmasena or Ravi. The Woakes incident was reminiscent of Rohit Sharma's reprieve against Bangladesh in the World Cup quarter-final at Melbourne last year, on that occasion for a delivery that was clearly below waist-height (PTG 1545-7425, 1 April 2015).

No ‘HotSpot' for India-England Tests.

Cricinfo.

Friday, 28 October 2016.

PTG 1962-9876.

Although the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has agreed to use the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) for the five Tests against England which start on Wednesday week, ‘HotSpot' will not be among the tools available.  The last time India played in a series against England in 2011, they were not impressed with ‘HotSpot’ (PTG 825-4032, 6 September 2011), however, its absence now is the result of logistical issues. 

It is understood that about a month ago the BCCI asked HotSpot proprietors if they could provide the equipment for HotSpot and Realtime Snicko. At the time, the board hadn't made up its mind over the use of UDRS, but was happy to include the technologies as a broadcast tool. 

However, the BCCI was told it would take at least until the middle of November to transport the hardware to India. And that was not a guarantee either. There was a worst-case scenario which suggested the BCCI would have to wait until mid-February to have HotSpot and Realtime Snicko in working order. This was because the cameras used for HotSpot are military-grade and their shipping required special permission from the Australian government.  As the first Test against England is scheduled to begin in less than two weeks the BCCI has decided to use UDRS minus HotSpot. 

The presence of ‘UltraEdge', however, should help make sure UDRS deliberations are as accurate as possible. The technology is used to determine exactly when and what part of the bat or batsman the ball has struck, and its use was a contributing factor in convincing the BCCI to use UDRS. "UltraEdge also ensures that post-impact balls do not affect the predicted path or impact point and hence the accuracy has been improved”, the board had said last week.

‘UltraEdge' will now be used in detection of edges on caught-behind dismissals and bat-pad catches, and to determine whether a batsman had hit the ball in LBW scenarios.

Introducing ‘ScanCam’, the latest TV broadcast gadget.

Michael Evans.

Fairfax Media.

Saturday, 29 October 2016.

PTG 1962-9877.

Australian broadcaster Channel Nine regularly introduces new gadgets to its presentation of matches and this year is no different with a device called ‘ScanCam’ being its newest piece of technology.  According to the Nine Network's director of sport, Tom Malone, ‘ScanCam’ will do two things.  

Firstly, "It scans the pitch every day and tells you which parts of [it] are alive and which parts are dead [so we will] be able to show viewers why the bowler is aiming there, [as well as] the grip and turn they get there”.  Secondly, it "creates a 3D image of the pitch [so that] when a fast bowler comes in and hits the crack and deviates we can fly in and look at the crack”.

Move over Dad, its time Mum was recognised and thanked.

PTG Editor.

Indian media reports.

Saturday, 29 October 2016.

PTG 1962-9878.

Players in One Day Internationals have long had their, and therefore usually their father’s, surname emblazoned across their upper back, however, Indian players in the fifth and final One Day International of their series against New Zealand in Visakhapatnam on Saturday instead wore tops bearing their mothers’ maiden names.  The familiar number seven on Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s jersey had ‘DEVAKI’ on the back instead of the normal ‘DOHNI’, the rest of the team also had unfamiliar names above their familiar numbers. 

At the toss, Indian captain Dhoni underlined the role a mother plays in every individual’s life. “It is an initiative to appreciate the contribution of mothers. If you ask me, I was always emotionally connected with my mother. It is not like dads are not there, they are there, but we don’t appreciate a mother’s contribution.  What is important is to get up every day and thank them for what they have been doing and we need to appreciate the contribution of mothers in the same way”.  

Victory for fans as county matches move to Friday starts

Ivo Tennant.

The Times.

Friday, 28 October 2016.

PTG 1962-9879.

County Championship matches will be held on Fridays and Saturdays at the start of the 2017 northern summer in a victory for supporters.  For the past three years most matches have begun on Sundays, resulting in complaints from fans who want more chances to watch first-class cricket at weekends.

The change follows a growing belief that fixtures should be staged when most people are free from work commitments. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have yet to finalise the fixture list, but seven rounds of four-day championship matches starting on a Friday have been pencilled in from April until mid-June.

The first four rounds of championship fixtures will not clash with international cricket and, after the thrilling finish to last season, the ECB is hoping for heightened interest.  ECB Twenty20 matches will then be held from Thursday to Sunday, beginning in the second week of July. The 50-over competition also has to be fitted into a crowded schedule. The bulk of these group matches will be staged in May, including on certain Saturdays.

Cricket on Fridays should also attract more corporate hospitality than in the early part of the week. Late-season championship matches will start on other days. “The 2017 schedule will have a different structure with different formats played in calendar ‘blocks’ as much as possible to help players prepare better and avoid the ‘chop/change’ factor”, said an ECB spokesman. 

“In the previous schedule, a player could switch formats as many as 24 times a season and the new structure aims to bring this down to single figures.  We are aiming to schedule T20 fixtures in a Thursday-Sunday window to help maximise attendance in line with the feedback we have had from counties as part of the planning process”.

The Marylebone Cricket Club which stages Twenty20 fixtures at Lord’s on Thursday evenings rather than Friday evenings, lobbied the ECB for change. It feels that the attendance at a Middlesex match in June would increase by up to 20 per cent if the fixture began on a Friday.  “There is a growing consensus in the game as a whole that we need to play more matches at times when more people can attend”, the ECB spokesman said.  He also indicated "there has been a positive response from counties to the plans for a day-night round of championship matches” (PTG 1951-9820, 19 October 2016). 

Derek Bowden, the Essex chief executive, said: “Our members will be pleased. Sunday starts have not been that successful as people have found other things to do”.

Union gets in early on player wages battle.

Jon Pierik.

Fairfax Media.

Friday, 28 October 2016.

PTG 1962-9880.

The body representing Australia's cricketers sent an e-mail to all of its members on Friday reaffirming the need for Cricket Australia’s (CA) current financial model, which has allowed players to share in 26 per cent of revenue, to remain and to now include female players.  A day after CA refused to publicly endorse the ongoing model (PTG 1961-9869, 28 October 2016), a move that signalled a potential industrial relations standoff, the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) has rubber-stamped its stance ahead of negotiations opening on a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

CA is predicting it will make a profit of around $A50 million (£UK31.2 m) over the four-year cycle from 2014-17.  ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said the current financial model, of which players take a hit if revenue is down, had helped to keep the game strong.  In the message to players, he said: "From a financial and participation perspective, cricket comfortably sits amongst the biggest and best sporting codes in Australia, and the players should feel enormous pride in the profound impact that you have had in establishing this position".

Nicholson’s letter continued: "One of the critical elements to this success is the revenue sharing model that has allowed the players to be genuine stakeholders in the growth of the game.  The model, which was set up in 1998, is designed to give the players a stake in the revenue that is generated by them; hence it is a fair return for the work that you contribute. When the game is going well, the players share in the upside, and when it is not, then the players share is also impacted.  The revenue sharing model also demonstrates how the players have embraced the innovation that has driven cricket in areas such as fan engagement, new formats, on-field use of technology, and digital media”.

CA, which is aware of Nicholson’s e-mail, has produced figures that show player payments have risen by 39 per cent in the past four years. 

Nicholson added: "As we enter in to the upcoming MoU negotiations, the ACA will be leading the push to have the female players join their male colleagues in the same model which, as has been demonstrated over the past 20 years, been the backbone of a successful partnership between [CA] and the players. Women's cricket in Australia is rapidly rising and they, too, should share in the upside that they are creating”.

The revenue model is one of several issues to be addressed during negotiations, with players also voicing concerns about the schedule and the status of the Sheffield Shield.

Zimbabwe to submit its audit to ICC.

Firdose Moonda.

Cricinfo.

Friday, 28 October 2016.

PTG 1962-9881.

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) is ready to submit its 2015 audit to the International Cricket Council (ICC) almost four months later than it was due.  ICC rules require all of its Full Members to file an unqualified audit within six months of the end of its financial year, which in the case of ZC was the end of June, but it has taken them until the end of October to finalise the audit. 

In a statement ZC said it "was satisfied with the audit process and subsequently recommended the adoption of the audited accounts to the Special General Meeting (SGM). Delegates to the SGM, after considering the financial records, adopted the audited accounts”.  The ICC confirmed they were aware of delays in ZC's audit and that they were in regular communication with the board. However, the ICC did not immediately comment on the news of ZC's finalised accounts. 

Three weeks ago it was reported that some members of the ZC board had raised concerns about the figures in an initial audit, particular in regard to tour expenses (PTG 1944-9779, 12 October 2016).  The amount was thought to be inflated because most of Zimbabwe's incoming tours were paid for in other ways. The accounts were rejected by ZC, and its auditors HLB Zimbabwe distanced themselves from the report saying they were still waiting for information from the board in order to complete the audit.  ZC now claim to have "worked closely with its auditors who satisfactorily concluded the exercise”.

We know there’s a line you can’t cross and we’ll set it where we want.

Gideon Haigh.

The Australian.

Saturday, 29 October 2016.

PTG 1962-9882.

If every Test match series these days seems somehow a sort of ­referendum on the format’s future — ‘Texit', perhaps — then the signs lately have been pleasantly positive.  Through the austral winter, inter­national cricket has warmed the cockles. Sober judges pronounced England-Pakistan one of the best of all series, full of skill, dash and nerve — Pakistan have been to 2016 what New Zealand were to 2015, a transformed team thrilling a nation. 

For Australia, unfortunately, not so much. As the first Test against South Africa begins in Perth on Thursday, it’s going on two years since we hosted a five-day match of truly memorable quality. For a long time, this country has preened itself as a ­pacesetter in the longest format, last year’s day-night Test an ­exhibit of our self-praising commitment. But in content as distinct from packaging, we’re in danger of slipping off the pace.

Test cricket was last the main attraction in Australia in the summer of 2013-14. There have been upticks of interest since, coinciding with brief custodies of the International Cricket Council’s Test mace, after visits to South Africa in 2014, and to New Zealand earlier this year. Otherwise there has emerged a disturbing pattern of monotony at home, calamity abroad. On our increasingly moribund pitches, we remain smugly unassailable. Elsewhere, Australia’s performances have been downright neurotic: to hosts India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka since 2013, we have played nine, lost nine.

One wonders, in fact, whether these parallel phenomena are related — that we travel so wretchedly because we are so cosseted at home; that we have become so ­accustomed to dispatching underprepared and out-of-season visitors as to develop a kind of brittle complacency that dissolves at the first sign of resistance.  Whatever the case, the results should embarrass us, beyond simply the ignominy of surrendering the Ashes. “The subcontinent’’ is not an exotic, faraway location ­fragrant with spices; it is where cricket lives. In hindsight, crying off from last year’s Bangladesh tour, from which an injured David Warner would have been missing, may have been a blessing.

We are seeing signs and ­hearing noises of how Australia intends addressing this. They are not encouraging. Indeed, they are symptomatic of an inward-­looking culture reverting to stale habits and shrinking from criticism.  In South Africa, for example, captain Steve Smith complained that his team had recently “lacked a fair bit of energy in the field” which “cost us at times”. He foreshadowed a return to “the old Australian way of puffing your chest out and ­making your presence felt”. 

Alas, “puffing your chest out and making your presence felt” while you’re being absolutely smoked just looks juvenile — there’s swagger, and there’s posturing, and opponents and fans aren’t so dim that they can’t tell the difference. If “energy” is so integral to Steve Smith’s thinking, then he should be investing in renewables.

Australians want to take pride in their Test team, to feel a stake in it, to link it with XIs of yore, to see membership of it as cricketers’ paramount aim. And at the moment I’m not sure they do. They observe the team’s steady marginalisation by the face-painted funfair of the Big Bash League. They hear former members grinding axes, current management’s waffling self-justifications. They are confused by the comings and ­goings, the sprawling schedules, the shouty marketeers — last week, Cricket Australia momentously foreshadowed “fan initiatives’’ ahead of the Brisbane Test featuring “Test ambassador’’ Stephanie Rice? Cricket “fan initiatives” featuring a retired swimmer: gee, who wouldn’t want to be a part of those?

Wouldn't you like to hear an Australian Test cricketer dedicating their team to the greater good of cricket, to universal principles of sportsmanship, and to honouring the 140 years of Test match tradition, rather than falling back on the gimcrack ­cliches of energy, positive body language and “we-know-there’s-a-line-you-can’t-cross-and-frankly-we’ll-set-it-where-we-want-got-a-problem-with-that-buddy?” Just a hint or two of the value of representing the nation, of respect for the opposition, of a wish for Test cricket to prosper.

That’s not all it will take, of course. Test cricket needs pitches with possibilities: heaven help us if Perth serves up an autobahn like last year’s. Test cricket needs commentary showing it to best advantage: not the garrulous prattle that has for years gone unchecked. But ultimately it is teams and their leaders that excite and engage us. There’s hope around, if you care to look, from Lord’s to Galle, from Kolkata to Chittagong, and it’s time Smith’s Australians built on it. Who knows? They might even find it inspiring.

 

PLAYING THE GAME

NUMBER 1,963

 Monday, 31 October 2016


• All EUP neutrals except Dar for India-England Tests [1963-9883].

• Stokes fined for on-going verbals [1963-9884].

• Fielder looses artificial leg, still chases the ball [1963-9885].

• Scrap coin toss to save Test cricket: Aussie coach [1963-9886].

• WACA ‘dramas’ prompts ‘Kookaburra’ to make changes to red ball [1963-9887].

• Change rooms broken into during play, money missing [1963-9888].

All EUP neutrals except Dar for India-England Tests.

PTG Editor.

ICC appointments.

Sunday, 30 October 2016.

PTG 1963-9883.

Ten match officials from five countries, all of them former first class players, have been named to manage the five Test and three One Day Internationals (ODI) India and England are to play on the sub-continent over the three months starting on Wednesday week.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) have appointed all but one of the seven non India-England, or ‘neutral’ umpires, available on its Elite Umpire Panel (EUP) to look after the Tests, the absentee being Pakistan’s Aleem Dar who media reports on Sunday say “was withdrawn from the series on security grounds".

The Test matches will be overseen by ICC match referees Ranjan Madugalle from Sri Lanka and Jeff Crowe of New Zealand, the former working in that role in matches one, two and three in Rajkot, Visakhapatnam and Mohali respectively, and the latter in games four and five in Mumbai and Chennai.  Umpires for the Tests are Sri Lankan Kumar Dharmasena, who reportedly replaced Dar, Chris Gaffney of New Zealand, Marais Erasmus of South Africa, and Australians Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker.

Next week’s first Test will see Dharmasena-Gaffaney on-field with Tucker the television umpire, the second grouping is Dharmasena-Tucker (Gaffney TV), third Erasmus-Gaffney (Dharmasena TV), fourth Oxenford-Reiffel (Erasmus TV), and fifth Erasmus-Reiffel (Oxenford TV).  Gaffney, and particularly Dharmasena, go into the Tests straight after two challenging Tests in the Bangladesh-England series (PTG 1962-9874, 30 October 2016), the latter having had decisions reviewed a total of 27 times, 13 of which were overturned.  

If confirmed it will not be the first time the ICC has withdrawn Dar, who will be in Australia for Tests there whilst the first three India-England Tests are being played (PTG 1957-9850, 24 October 2016), from a series in India over security concerns.  

A year ago he was pulled out of ODIs four and five of an India-South Africa series in Chennai and Mumbai respectively, because right-wing Indian political groups were denunciating public figures from Pakistan who visit India. Ironically, it was Dharmasena who replaced Dar in Mumbai (PTG 1669-8180, 24 October 2015), however, the Pakistani was withdrawn at such short notice that unusually two non-neutral umpires, both Indian, stood together in the Chennai game, although similar politics meant the ICC would have been unlikely to send Dharmasena to that city (PTG 1547-7423, 4 April 2015).

The India-England Tests will take Madugalle’s Test record as a referee to 171 games, Crowe to 81, Tucker to 49 on-field and 18 as the television umpire (49/18), Dharmasena to 44/10, Erasmus 38/26, Oxenford 35/14, Reiffel 27/17 and Gaffney 13/9.

Following the five Tests, the last of which ends four days before Christmas, England will return to India in January for a three-match ODI series in Pune, Cuttack and Kolkata, as well as three Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) in Kanpur, Nagpur and Bangaluru.  Andy Pycroft will be overseeing all six games as the referee, Dharmasena and his country-man Ruchira Palliyaguruge being the neutral umpires.  One of those two will be on-field in two ODIs and the television umpire on another or the reverse.  Its the fifth time Palliyaguruge has been selected as a neutral in a senior ODI in the past three years.

The T20Is will take Pycroft’s record as a referee in that format past the 50 mark to 52, the fifth person to achieve that feat.   He will also pass 50 Tests when he manages the second match of the series between Australia and South Africa in Hobart next month (PTG 1957-9850, 24 October 2016).

Stokes fined for on-going verbals.

PTG Editor.

ICC media release.

Monday, 31 October 2016.

PTG 1963-9884.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been fined 15 percent of his match fee and handed one demerit point for engaging in a running verbal battle with Bangladesh's Sabbir Rahman on the final day of the second Test in Dhaka on Sunday.  Stokes did not stop despite repeated requests from the on-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Sundarum Ravi, who had also instructed England captain Alastair Cook of the all-rounder’s actions.

The charges against Stokes, who admitted the offence and accepted the sanctions, were laid by Dharmasena, Ravi and third umpire Chris Gaffney.  He was found to have engaged in "conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game”.  Should Stokes reach four or more demerit points within a 24-month period they will be converted into suspension points and he will be banned. Two suspension points equate to a ban from one Test or two One Day Internationals or two Twenty20 Internationals, whatever comes first for the player.

Fielder looses artificial leg, still chases the ball.

PTG Editor.

Media reports.

Monday, 31 October 2016.

PTG 1963-9885.

English cricketer Liam Thomas kept calm and carried on after losing his artificial leg during the final of a tournament for people with physical disability in Dubai last week.  Thomas, 22, dived for a ball during England Physical Disabilities team's game against Pakistan when his artificial leg became lose and went flying.  

"It just happened, really. I was sprinting for the ball, put my hand out, hit the deck hard and the next thing I know I stood up and had no leg," Thomas said. "I didn't know whether to grab the leg or get the ball in. I decided to go for the ball”.  Instead of waiting for a teammate to come to his assistance or chase the ball, he got up off the ground, hopped after the ball and threw it back towards the keeper.  He then returned for his leg, adjusted it and took up his fielding position.

Thomas, who blamed the Dubai heat for expanding the leg's socket and causing it to loosen, works for the local water service near his home in Bradford, England, and urges disabled people to get involved in sports. "Don't be afraid, no matter what sport it is”, he said.  "Never in a million years would I have thought I would be touring Dubai, playing cricket, doing something I love. It's just not something you think a disabled person would do, but being involved in disabled sport allows you access to do stuff like that”.

Scrap coin toss to save Test cricket: Aussie coach.

Jon Pierik.

Fairfax Media.

Sunday, 30 October 2016.

PTG 1963-9886.

Australian coach Darren Lehmann has called for the pre-match toss of the coin to be scrapped in a bid to save – and enhance – the health of Test cricket.  While respectful of the traditions of the sport, Lehmann has questioned whether a couple of the pitches the Australians encountered in England last year and in Sri Lanka in August "would have been quite as they were had we had the choice of batting or bowling".

In his autobiography, ‘Coach', to be released on Monday ahead of the Christmas sales period, Lehmann says the biggest threat to Test cricket remains the state of pitches – and abolishing the coin toss would ease this.  "I accept Twenty20 represents a significant challenge to that – and to the health of One Day International cricket, too – but the biggest challenge to the longest format, for me at least, comes not from Twenty20 but from the surfaces on which matches are being played”, says Lehmann.

 

"Put simply, those surfaces are either far too bland or, conversely, are far too heavily weighted in favour of the home side. In both instances, that does Test cricket no good at all.  On the other hand, no one wants to see 600 plays 500 on pitches that offer the bowlers nothing. Producing tracks like that is the surest way to kill off the format”.

"My solution to ensure the best possible pitches are produced is, at international level, to do away with the toss, with the visiting side given the option of whether they want to bat or bowl.  That way the result is not decided by the toss of the coin, host boards have a greater incentive to produce decent pitches that are fair to both sides and the chances are that after five days the better side – rather than the one that has called correctly and thus been able to take advantage of favourable conditions – is the one what will come out on top”.

His comments come as Dean Jones, a former Australian batsman, said he feared Test cricket "will be dead" within a decade unless there is major change.  Lehmann questioned whether the pitches used in three Tests in Sri Lanka two months ago – Australia lost all three – would have been "as dry and shaved" had Australia had the guaranteed option of batting first.  Queries were raised about the pitch for the Galle Test in particular, although they were rejected by local officials (PTG 1900-9532, 15 August 2016), but other evidence has since emerged that ‘doctoring’ to the playing surface indeed occurred during that match.

Lehmann also says the seaming pitches used in the third and fourth Ashes tests last year, at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge, "were so heavily weighted in favour of the home side that it helped to ease my conscience about our heavy losses to some degree.  Yes, we were not good enough in the key moments and we played the moving ball very poorly, but the pitches on which those matches were played could hardly be said to have produced an even contest between bat and ball”, he said.

Lehmann says day-night Test cricket is a "great innovation" but there needs to be recognition that it is not going to work in every country, and the pink ball needs to be “right” (PTG 1962-9873, 30 October 2016).  He is also in favour of Twenty20 internationals being phased out, outside of the World Twenty20 Championship. Players would be selected on their form in domestic Twenty20 tournaments.  This, says Lehmann, could strengthen the domestic tournaments, which could "run along the lines of a global tour, so that it runs in parallel with international cricket, similar to what happens with the rugby union sevens series”.

WACA ‘dramas